The Best Wind Energy Companies

The Wind Energy Industry

First, let’s get a quick rundown of the growth of the domestic and international wind markets out of the way.

Here’s the chart for wind power capacity growth by year:

wind power capacity growth by country

As you can see, global installed capacity for wind energy has grown 482% over the last seven years, from 14,604 MW in 2000 to 84,934 MW in 2007.

Broken down further, the international wind industry has a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR or year-over-year) of 28.6%, which is impressive, to say the least.

But the past performance of the wind energy stocks is going to do little to help the future performance of your portfolio, apart from establishing an historic trend and highlighting what you’ve been missing.

So here’s the global wind energy installed capacity forecast, going out to 2012:

wind energy installed capacity forecast
This data reveals that the industry will grow 215% between 2007 and 2012, from 84,934 MW to 267,837 MW. That’s a CAGR of 25.8%

Now this is information that can give your portfolio a boost. In an industry that’s doubling in size every four years or less, there are surely more than a few companies worthy of investment operating within it.

The only thing left to do is to actively seek out the best ones.

To start the search, it’s probably worth taking a look at the countries currently boasting the highest year-over-year growth in the wind industry. So here they are, along with their respective annual growth rates, as provided by GlobalData:

  • Turkey, 95.4%
  • Mexico, 84.7%
  • Brazil, 61%
  • China, 54%
  • Poland, 50.9%

Of course, those are the fastest growing markets. According to GlobalData, the largest markets by megawatt capacity are:

  • China, 51,200 MW
  • U.S, 45,454 MW
  • Spain, 36,715 MW
  • Germany, 35,829 MW
  • India, 25,935 MW

The only thing left to do is single out the largest operators in those areas, invest, and reap the profits.

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Solar Power Wins Enthusiasts but Not Money

The trade association for the nuclear power industry recently asked 1,000 Americans what energy source they thought would be used most for generating electricity in 15 years. The top choice? Not nuclear plants, or coal or natural gas. The winner was the sun, cited by 27 percent of those polled.

It is no wonder solar power has captured the public imagination. Panels that convert sunlight to electricity are winning supporters around the world — from Europe, where gleaming arrays cloak skyscrapers and farmers’ fields, to Wall Street, where stock offerings for panel makers have had a great ride, to California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Million Solar Roofs” initiative is promoted as building a homegrown industry and fighting global warming.

But for all the enthusiasm about harvesting sunlight, some of the most ardent experts and investors say that moving this energy source from niche to mainstream — last year it provided less than 0.01 percent of the country’s electricity supply — is unlikely without significant technological breakthroughs. And given the current scale of research in private and government laboratories, that is not expected to happen anytime soon.

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The Awesome Solar Tower of Seville

Located in the Andalusian countryside of Southern Spain, near Seville, is a giant 115 meter high concrete tower surrounded by a field of 624 huge mirrors. These mirrors collect the sunlight and focus it at the top of the concrete tower, where it heats water passing through pipes, converting it into steam. This steam drives a series of turbines that produce electricity. Simple, efficient, environment friendly and spectacular!

solar-tower (5)


solar-tower (2)

These 624 parabolic mirrors each having a surface area of 120m² are heliostats, that track the sun throughout the year, precisely focusing the sunlight to the top of the tower at all times. The temperature at the top rises to over 400'C (750'F).

solar-tower (1)

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solar-tower (4)

The current capacity of the Solar Tower is 11MW. The plant when completed in 2013, will produce around 300MW – energy enough for 180,000 homes, equivalent to the needs of the city of Seville, and saving 600,000 tonnes of annual carbon dioxide emissions. We urgently need more of these. - Original Source

5 Powerful Reasons To Invest Into Solar Panels and Save Money!

Save Money With Solar Panels

So 2008 is winding down and many things have happened this year. Recently the particle accelerator (Large Hadron Collider) was fired up and Barack Obama made young people everywhere have faith in politics.

But the real theme of 2008 has been gas prices. Many people everywhere are still wondering whether gas prices are going to get any cheaper. The reality is that, it will never get cheaper. That's right - never. Not only will gas never get cheaper, but everything we pay for that relies on petrochemicals for production - that is - everything you use - from your chair, computer, desk, plastics, vehicles - will never get cheaper.

Just think about that for a moment - everything that you rely on takes a source of energy that is quickly depleting. It takes many different refined sources of oil (petrochemicals) to manufacture pretty much all the goods and technology we enjoy in abundance. Some argue we have 20 years left, some argue we have 50 - the bottom line is there is a time line within most of our lifetimes.

Let's take a look at your home or apartment for a moment.

Depending on your location, your home is tied into a vast energy grid that is powered by things such as Hydroelectric dams to coal power plants. All of these take petrochemicals to maintain and construct as well.

My main point here is that, as a globe we need to begin changing our energy infrastructure while we have the oil to do it. Don't sweat though, the power is actually in your hands. So while we have this black gold available, we're still able to manufacture such things as solar panels to empower people to get off the grid.

Solar panels are pretty new, but have been around in theory for many many years. If you're a home owner, or even live in a small apartment - a solar panel can help you save money in the long run. But why should you invest besides reasons such as a lack of oil resources?

Here's 5 reasons why you should:

Reason #1 - Durability & Longevity

On average, a solar panel can last up to 30 years or more. With just a few arrays set up, you can be powering your home with your own renewable energy. Not only that, but solar panels are designed to withstand harsh climates. One common misconception is that you need the sun shining to convert to electricity. Solar panels can still convert from solar energy to electrical or thermal power even on a cloudy day (although not at the same capacity).

Reason #2 - Unlimited Power!

While everyone else is crying and whining about gas prices and high energy costs - you will have an unlimited supply of solar power. Unless the sun blows up and destroys our entire solar system - you won't really need to worry about never having power.

Reason #3 - Tax Incentives

Once you invest into solar, you are eligible for Federal, State, Provincial And Utility Tax incentives and rebates. These aren't the '$30 off' from your coffee maker rebates - they add up big time! For example, in Australia, if you spend $16,000 on a solar set up, they will rebate you up to $8000 back. This doesn't include other rebates you can get either. You'll need to check your own country's government policies - but, in the next 5-10 years - all countries will be jumping on the solar bandwagon.

Reason #4 - Not Just A 'One Time' Set Up + Easy Installation

With solar, you don't need to invest into a bunch of costly arrays right away. You're able to set up one panel at a time, and add additional panels whenever you feel the time is right. Furthermore, installing a solar panel is actually quite a lot easier than people think. You can do it yourself, or have an installer come and have it set up for you the same day.

Reason #5 - Add A 'Capacitor' And You Are Laughing + No More 'Blackouts'

A capacitor is a device that lets you store unused energy. So if you're over producing solar energy - usually two things happen. You can either give that energy back into the system grid (that is, pooling your energy into the grid for other people in your community to use) or you can store it in a capacitor. If you were ever to run out of energy, or you are seeing 'under production' - a capacitor lets you have energy that you stored previously. This means you will always have a back up of energy in a time of crisis.

What this also means (and having solar in general) is that when the system grid goes over its maximum energy potential (that is, too much energy is being used in the city which causes a blackout) - you will still be powered up! Your neighbors will be looking in jealousy at the one shiny house in the block.

So there you have it. If you're still not convinced - check out for more information.

Top 5 countries to invest in renewable energy

According to the Ernst & Young 'Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index', the 5 most attractive countries for investment are

  1. Spain
  2. USA
  3. Germany
  4. UK
  5. India

in that order. The index provides an overall score for renewable technologies that are currently entering the market on a large scale, i.e. wind, solar and biomass. Wind as the most important renewable from a business perspective today, is weighted 85%, solar and biomass respectively 5% and 10%.

For each technology, an index is constructed based on a mixture of infrastructure and technology factors:

  • Infrastructure (35%): Market risk, Planning & grid connection issues, Access to finance
  • Technology (65%): Power offtake attractiveness, Tax climate, Grant/soft loan availability, Market growth potential, Current installed base, Resource quality, Project size

Financial aspects, i.e. access to finance, power offtake attractiveness, tax climate and grants/soft loans, often regarded as the critical factor of success for renewable energy sources, are weighted together 35.5%. They're a very necessary, but far from sufficient condition for development.

Top 5 renewable energy technology in UK

Renewable energy may make up only a small proportion of the UK’s overall electricity supply, but it is growing. According to the government’s own figures, renewable energy made up 4.55 per cent of all electricity generated in the UK in 2006, which is 0.32 per cent higher than in 2005, and nearly a whole percentage point ahead of the 2004 figure.

That 4.55 per cent makes up 18,133 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity generated, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to 2005. It may sound like a lot, but greater London alone consumed around 41,436GWh of electricity in 2005. And the big guns are still coal (which produces 33 per cent of the UK’s electricity), nuclear (20 per cent) and gas (a whopping 40 per cent).

Renewable energy is measured in megawatt-electrical (MWe), the amount of electrical power a plant has the capacity to produce. For renewables, of course, power capacity doesn’t always equate to how much power is actually produced — wind turbines, for example, only produce power when there is wind. Nevertheless, the UK’s current renewables capacity is 5,659MWe. The UK’s entire electricity power capacity — including coal, gas and nuclear power stations — is 83,045MWe.

The UK still lags well behind other countries in renewable energy generation. In Spain over a weekend in March, according to the AEE (Spanish Wind Energy Association), wind power accounted for an average of 28 per cent of Spain’s entire power demand. But renewables are growing and will continue to do so, as necessity dictates. To shed some light on the use of renewable technologies for electricity production, we’ve looked at the UK’s top five renewables — in no particular order — in terms of total installed capacity and future potential.

Photovoltaic solar panels
The final major renewable energy technology in the UK is photovoltaics solar panels (PV), which currently contribute 12MWe of the UK total electricity capacity. Many installations are on schools and office buildings, but some are being offered directly to consumers by house builders, as with the in Reading. Photovoltaics are growing rapidly, with 2.4MWe of this capacity having become operational since January 2007. Much of that growth was driven by a government funding programme that is now complete, which offered grants for small, medium and large-scale implementations. Whether this growth will continue is a moot point as the government’s successor programme has been criticised by Friends of the Earth for failing to offer consumers enough funding.

Wind power has massive potential in the UK with offshore wind farms alone apparently able to meet all of the UK’s current electricity needs, according to the government’s figures. Onshore facilities, however, are easier to build and 327 wind farms currently make up 1,842MWe of the UK’s electrical power capacity, according to statistics from the RESTATS database. Wind turbines are more difficult and expensive to install at sea and such make up a more modest 394MWe, but offshore wind farms have fewer planning issues and 90MWe of new capacity has become operational since January 2007. There are currently seven operational offshore wind farms in the UK with a further five under construction.

These plants can be divided into large (producing over 5MWe) and small (below 5MWe) hydroelectric plants. Most of the large plants are concentrated in Scotland and Wales and draw their water from high-level reservoirs with their own natural catchment areas, and make up 1,369MWe of energy capacity. Opportunities to grow large hydro capacity are very limited as most of the potential sites are already in use. Smaller-scale plants are growing in popularity and are typically used for domestic or small business purposes and make up 156MWe.

There are many different kinds of biofuels in use for electricity generation, such as the oats-powered plant used by Quaker Oats. Landfill gas is one of the fastest-growing areas — it is the methane-rich biogas formed by the decomposition of organic matter in landfill and can be used to fuel electricity turbines or directly in boilers. RESTAT estimates that this makes up some 875MWe of electricity capacity. Another growing area is sewage sludge digestion, which uses the gas produced to maintain the temperature necessary for the process. This makes up 122MWe with the excess energy being sold off onto the grid. The final growth area is municipal solid waste, which is produced in incinerators and makes up 327MWe of energy capacity. At the end of 2006, there were 24 such plants in operation burning municipal solid waste (MSW), refuse derived fuel (RDF) and general industrial waste (GIW). Other biomass generation projects include Lockerbie’s plant powered mainly by forestry waste, and a straw-fired power station near Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Wave and tidal stream
Being an island at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean makes the UK well-suited for wave and tidal power, but the difficulty in harnessing this means that it so far contributes just 0.5MWe of total energy capacity. The Limpet oscillating water column is the only wave device in the UK. It is located off the isle of Islay in Scotland and is operated by Wavegen. Tidal energy is estimated to have the potential to produce up to 22,000GWh per year, but current deployments are still only prototypes. The government has launched a couple of schemes to encourage wave and tidal plants, but these are not expected to amount to more than around 25MWe of capacity in total, the majority of which will come on stream after 2010.

Original Source: The Smart Planet

Poor nations rich in renewable energy potential

Developing nations have the potential to generate large amounts of energy from renewable sources, according to a US$10 million assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP hopes to attract support to enable developing countries to transform the assessment's findings into effective energy policies.

The initial results of the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA), which looked at 13 developing countries, were announced last week (14 April).

They show how developing countries could harness thousands of megawatts of electricity from solar and wind energy.

"In developing countries all over the world we have removed some of the uncertainty about the size and intensity of the solar and wind resource," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of UNEP last week.

"These countries need greatly expanded energy services to help in the fight against poverty and to power sustainable development. SWERA offers them the technical and policy assistance to capture the potential that renewable energy can offer."

The SWERA project used satellites and ground-based instruments to assess the potential for wind and solar-powered renewable energy.

Its findings have generated a range of tools to promote the implementation of policies that promote use of renewable energy sources. These tools include maps of wind and solar resources.

The researchers created the 'geospatial toolkit' to overlay wind and solar maps with electricity distribution grids.

Already, the project has influenced policy in several countries, including Nicaragua and Guatemala.

In Nicaragua, the SWERA assessment showed that there was much more potential for wind energy production than was previously thought.

As a result, the Nicaraguan National Assembly passed a decree in 2004 giving wind energy priority over other forms of energy when feeding into the electricity grid.

In Guatemala, estimates that renewable energies could yield 7,000 megawatts of electricity prompted the Ministry of Energy to create the Centre for Renewable Energy and Investment. The centre will identify sites for wind energy development.

According to previous UNEP estimates, the African continent needs 40,000 megawatts of electricity to power its industrialisation. An initial SWERA assessment in Ghana suggests that the nation has the potential to generate more than 2,000 megawatts from wind energy.

It takes about 1,000 megawatts to power a US city the size of Seattle, whose population is 560,000.

Tom Hamlin, project manager for SWERA, said last week that the project will be seeking support to meet requests from renewable energy development programmes in other developing countries.

The 13 developing nations involved in SWERA are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka.

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Top Ten Cost-effective Renewable Energy Systems

  1. A solar thermal system to heat your hot water pays for itself in two to three years depending on your location.
  2. A solar water heating system for your pool or hot tub also pays for itself in two to three years.
  3. Solar photovoltaics to power your home or business, using government incentives, will reduce your monthly electricity costs significantly, in some areas. In some countries, such as Japan, solar is a viable alternative to fossil fuels. In North America, fossil fuels will continue to rise in cost and solar will continue to decline.

  4. A portable solar system for an RV will cost less than a thousand dollars and provide you with power for many years.

  5. Solar panels for remote electricity (electric fence, lights, monitoring station, etc.) are much cheaper than hooking up to the grid.
 6. A solar photovoltaic system for your cottage or remote location can cost much less than connection to the grid.
  7. A geothermal system will pay for itself in five years or less and provide you with heat energy for the lifetime of your home or business.
  8. A backup power system to cover your essential electricity needs, when a power outage strikes.
  9. A wind energy system to power your farm, home or cottage could make your farm energy self-sufficient, in some geographical areas.
  10. A micro hydro power station can provide you with limitless energy, if you have running water on your property.

Top Ten Important Solar Energy Power Tips

1. Whatever solar power system or product you plan to utilize, always ensure that the solar panel faces in the direction of the sun. In the Northern hemisphere the panel must face south and at an angle to the horizontal equal to your latitude plus 15º.

2. Before meeting a consultant regarding the installation of a solar power system, always have on hand a list of all your electrical appliances together with their wattage and the hours of use. Any dealer worth his salt will need to know this information.

3. Before committing to a specific power system always check to find out exactly what the local, state and federal incentives are in your town. All this information can be found at the DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy) database at

4. Always have a local licensed installer put in your system (but make sure he has experience with Grid connected systems) - they know all the local regulations and will be able to give you valuable information regarding these rules.

5. Keep solar panels clean - even if it means getting up onto your roof once a month. A thin layer of dust or dirt on the glass cover will effectively block off some solar power and the system will operate below its maximum efficiency.

6. When calculating the number of panels you need, do so using winter sunshine hours rather than summer hours - there are roughly twice as many hours sunshine in summer and the wrong calculation could leave you needing to use backup power in winter more often than you would like.

7. In any solar system keep your panels as close as you can to the batteries to avoid losing power in the cable. Always make sure that your panels are not shaded.

8. When planning a solar heating system, always consider the use of solar shades or smart glass to augment your system - their use can save you a lot of energy that might otherwise escape from the house.

9. Many states organize tours of homes that are fully converted to solar. Try to get yourself on one of these tours so that you can see a solar home in its working state.

10.Before installing a solar system try to make your home as energy efficient as possible - install double glazing, add new insulation where possible, replace incandescent light globes with fluorescent etc. By reducing your needs you can reduce the size and cost of the system you're installing. 

Benefits of Going Solar

Why have over 1.5 million Americans invested in solar? Surveys taken over the last ten years confirm that the vast majority of owners (94% or more) consider that investment a wise decision. Consumer investment and satisfaction have spawned a small but growing solar hot water (SHW) industry here in the U. S. that is providing even broader benefits to our nation and has the potential to contribute much more.

Clean and Safe Solar hot water systems in use today produce approximately 1000 megawatts of energy annually. That is the equivalent of two medium-sized coal plants. The life-cycle costs of SHW systems are about the same as gas and far better than electric water heating systems.

Solar energy is pollution-free, an important benefit when the cost of removing pollutants from the environment is considered. For example, a typical SWH system will, over its lifetime, displace 10.5tons of CO2 if replacing a natural gas system, or 71.5 tons if replacing an electric system.

Readily Available Resource The U. S. Department of Energy estimates that Americans consume approximately 2.5 quads of end-use energy annually to produce hot water at a cost of over $20 billion dollars. Solar energy currently provides only a tiny fraction of that demand, but huge portions of our country possess sufficient insolation to produce much greater quantities of energy.

Enough sunlight reaches the earth’s surface each yearto produce approximately 1000 times the same amount of energy produced by burning all fossil fuels mined and extracted during the same period. Sunlight does not have to be explored, mined, extracted, transported, combusted, transmitted — or imported.

Quality, Reliability, Durability

Solar water heating technology, pioneered in the U. S., is the oldest and most developed of all renewable energy systems. Modern solar water heating systems can provide a large portion (40 - 80%) of household hot water demand depending on local climate conditions and the size and type of system. Most systems pay for themselves in four to sevenyears and continue to provide hot water for many years thereafter.

Much of the United States receives abundant sunshine, making solar hot watersystems a very economical investment. This map shows the average daily solar radiation available on a south-facing surface measured in megajoules per square meter each day.

Solar pool heating often provides an even better investment. Payback can be as low as two years and the solar system can extend the swimming season by several weeks without additional cost. Many homeowners have regretted the purchase of a conventional pool heating system after receiving their first utility bill.

Another cost-efficient application for solar energy is preheating ventilation air for commercial and industrial facilities.

The vast majority of U. S. manufacturers of solar equip ment voluntarily comply with national consensus standards devel oped by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC). The SRCC tests and certifies collectors as well as complete systems for performance, reliability and durability. In addition, manufacturers and installers comply with the SRCC’s strict requirements for proper installation, labeling and homeowner information regarding operation and maintenance. Assurances of performance and quality are backed by warranties that in many cases exceed the guarantees of other household appliances.

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China Plans for 30% Renewable Energy by 2050

In the June 2007 issue of the China Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development Report from Lou Schwartz, recent developments in renewable energies in China offer insight into that country's burgeoning challenges between population, energy and the environment.

"Between 2005 and 2030, China will account for 23% of the world's investment in power, spending $1.2 trillion U.S.D. in that period."

-- China Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development Report, June 2007

The report cites that the "Persistent rural poverty in China and periodic power shortages all have impressed upon Beijing that renewable energy must be a large part of China's economy if China is to both complete its economic transformation and achieve energy security."

"Between 2005 and 2030, China will account for 23% of the world's investment in power, spending $1.2 trillion U.S.D. in that period," Schwartz notes. "China's ambitious growth target for renewable energy production will require an investment of approximately 800 billion Yuan (~$100 billion U.S.D.) by 2020. In the long term China has set an objective of having 30% or more of its total energy requirements satisfied by renewable sources by 2050."

Current business opportunities, foreign participation, relevant conferences, and production and consumption are also discussed in this month's China Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development Report.

The in-depth report examines developments across China's renewable energy industry, as seen in these excerpts:

- Solar: "The Chinese government has recently announced that large new buildings will all utilize photovoltaic power generating technology."

- Wind: "Researchers at the Jiangsu Province Macroeconomic Research Institute have advocated that large-scale wind power should be directly used to provide electric power to industries, which are large consumers of power."

- Hydropower: "In 2007 there will be another 500 MW of small to medium sized hydroelectric power generating capacity constructed in Guangxi Province."

- Biomass, Biofuels: "China hasn't yet standardized its macro-economic policies with respect to the bio-diesel industry, but it is now formulating and will soon..."

- Laws and Policies: "These sets of issues include the fact that there are more than 10 million Chinese who do not have access to electric power and the often-spotty access to power among tens of millions of other rural Chinese."

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Renewable energy alone can save India

Dr Prodipto Ghosh, former secretary in the ministry of environment and forests, currently a special energy adviser with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), believes the future lies in developing renewable forms of energy.

Dr Ghosh, who played a key role in penning the recently released PMO report on climate change, believes: "Renewable forms of energy, including solar, wind and tidal, must be mainstreamed in order that they can substantially displace oil, gas and coal. Many renewable forms are already being used in niche applications such as street signalling, remote area power supply and village homes."

This turnaround can be best illustrated by the example of wind power. Thirty-five years ago, when the world began to look at wind power, it needed a great deal of government support. In the late 90s, when the global capacity of wind energy was increased to 65,000 megawatts, it became competitive with coal.

Since India receives a great deal of sunshine, the key question is how to make solar energy commercially viable, especially since only one per cent of India’s landmass would be required by solar PVs to meet our electricity needs. Dr Ghosh agrees but states, "A great deal of R&D is required to bring solar energy costs down. A strong government commitment to R&D, matched by an increasing scale of technology, will help kickstart this change."

Read the full article

Dell Headquarters Uses 100% Renewable Energy

As of April 2, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell is powering 100 percent of its 2.1 million square-foot global headquarters campus with 100 percent green power.

"It's time for our industry to take a lead role in creating a clean energy future," said Paul Bell, president, Dell Americas. "We are challenging every technology company to work with their suppliers and partners in integrating green power and energy-efficient strategies into their operations."

Dell is using all of the power generated from Waste Management's Austin Community Landfill gas-to-energy plant, meeting 40 percent of Dell headquarters’ campus power needs. The remaining 60 percent comes from existing wind farms and is provided by TXU Energy.

The computer company also announced it is increasing green power use for its Austin Parmer Campus, provided by Austin Energy, from 8 percent to 17 percent. Dell also is powering its Twin Falls, Idaho, facility with 100 percent green power, 97 percent of which is wind power and 3 percent solar.

In September 2007, Dell announced it would make company owned and leased facilities "carbon neutral" in 2008 through a strategy of improving energy-efficiency in its operations and maximizing the purchase of renewable power. This commitment is part of the company's climate strategy which also seeks to minimize carbon impact of supplier operations and customer product use.

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Top 10 US Cities for Renewable Energy

Top Ten US City Use of Renewable Energy

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1.Oakland, CA(17%)
2.Sacramento/SF/San Jose, CA (12%)*
3.Portland, OR(10%)
5.San Diego, CA(8%)
6.Austin, TX(6%)
7.Los Angeles, CA(5%)
8.Minneapolis, MN(4.5%)
9.Seattle, WA(3.5%)
10. Chicago, IL(2.5%)

Which of the largest 50 US cities provide citizens with the highest percentage of power produced from renewable energy? SustainLane Government ( determined the percentage of each city’s electricity that comes from renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal, and small-scale hydro energy.

Renewable energy sources produce electricity with no global climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions or regional air pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Renewable energy technologies also produce regional jobs while limiting the importation of energy from other nations.

Just over 33 percent of greenhouse gases produced in the United States came from electricity production in 2004, making it the leading category of such emissions over other areas such as transportation (27.9 percent), industry (19.6 percent) and agriculture (7 percent).

The leading cities in renewable energy could have an advantage in any upcoming federal or state regulations aimed at regulating or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions or developing renewable energy standards. If the greenhouse gases that cause climate change get priced, cities with strong renewable energy programs could save a lot of money in the long run and their economies could gain a tax advantage.

Oakland, California led the nation with 17 percent of its electricity being produced by energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. Oakland gets some of its wind energy power from one of the largest wind power generating facilities in the nation at nearby Altamont Pass.

San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose tied for second with 12 percent of their electricity coming from renewable energy sources.

California cities rank high in general because of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which set minimal requirements in 2002 for utility purchases of renewable energy for the state’s electric grid. That standard requires a 20 percent renewable energy total for the state’s utilities by 2020.

Some U.S. cities have also set goals for increasing renewable energy ranging from Chicago’s 20 percent goal by 2010, to Portland, Oregon’s goal of obtaining 100 percent renewable energy by 2010.

Renewable energy made from waste

A company in Swindon has developed technology which it claims turns household rubbish into clean renewable energy.

Gas plasma plant

A company in Wiltshire has claimed it is one of the first in the UK to turn household rubbish into clean renewable energy using "gas plasma technology".

Advanced Plasma Power (APP) said its small-scale plant in Swindon sends less than 1% of waste back to landfill.

The process uses a beam of electrified gas at temperatures approaching 10,000C to destroy waste turning it into a flammable gas generating electricity.

It hopes to create jobs around the new technology developed in Swindon.

'Electricity generated'

Andrew Hamilton, of APP, said: "We see great potential to develop and exploit the technology for the benefit of not only us but we hope it will create substantial jobs in the area."

Dr Tim Johnson, of APP, said: "The reality is, that if waste is not turned into a fuel like this then it would have to go to landfill, so we're diverting material from landfill to make fuel."

The process is called "plasma gasification" - all recyclable materials such as glass and metals are removed and the remaining waste is then transformed into a hydrogen-rich gas. When the gas is then burned in the reactor electricity is generated.

APP claims that a full-scale plant could process 50,000 tonnes of waste annually.

Storage Boosts the Power of Renewable Energy

how to integrate large amounts of renewable energy into the grid was the topic at the recently held Electricity Storage Association's Annual Meeting in California. At the meeting, leading companies, manufacturers, utilities and policy developers gathered under the motto "Electricity Storage: Predictable Power in a Cleantech World."

During the conference experts showed how energy storage can play a variety of roles in firming up renewables at different time scales, i.e. from moment to moment, daily, weekly and seasonally. The presentations showed how storage options are essential for expanding renewable energy sources, stabilizing the grid, ensuring a continuity of supply, increasing energy autonomy and mediating against intermittent power production.

As storage technology advances, decision makers are starting to create a more favorable policy environment for innovators. For example, the U.S. Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act of 2007 recognizes the crucial roles that storage can play.

"This bill is the first official recognition of the importance of energy storage by Congress," said Imre Gyuk, Manager of Energy Storage Systems Research with the Department of Energy. "It is only an authorization bill and thus carries no appropriated funding, but it is a wonderful platform for future requests for storage research, demonstrations and development."

The act establishes an Advisory Committee (the Energy Storage Advisory Council), and authorizes funds for a basic and an applied research program of US $50 million and $80 million, respectively, for each fiscal year from 2009 to 2014. It also provides US $100 million each year for up to four energy storage research centers; US $30 million a year for energy storage demonstration projects and vehicle energy storage demonstration; and US $5 million a year for 10 years for secondary applications of electric drive vehicles.

Reaction to the act has been positive and the storage industry is beginning to take off.

"Grid-scale storage is here now," said Ed Cazalet of MegaWatt Storage Farms. "Storage should be deployed now at the gigawatt (GW) scale...where capacity, ancillary services and energy time-shifting are clearly needed."

Storage projects can be sourced close to loads, on the grid or at the generating facility. In his presentation, Cazalet emphasized that the demand-pull from large-scale commercial deployment will encourage manufacturing investment, lower costs through volume production (economies of scale) and lead to the commercialization of advanced technologies.

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Solar Energy Facts

Our sun is a huge energy generator that provides us with a tremendous quantity of power that mostly goes unused. Solar panels can convert the energy from the sun's rays directly into useable electrical energy. Although the actual method of converting solar radiation into electricity involves a complicated formula that requires an in depth knowledge of physics to understand, just knowing that the solar energy our planet receives can be changed into electricity should be sufficient knowledge to meet most of our needs.

Something that keeps a lot of people from deciding to take the plunge into solar energy is the mistaken idea that solar energy is in some manner a lower quality energy than electricity produced from fossil fuels. In actuality, solar energy's emissions free conversion to electricity makes it an even more beneficial energy source as far as the environment is concerned.

Do you know which country utilizes solar energy to the highest degree? Despite its Northern location far from the equator and its comparatively small population, Germany presently employs more solar energy than any other country. This should dispel any of the misconceptions about solar energy not being a credible energy solution in northern climates.


Global Warming Skeptics - Skeptics of global warming think that global warming is not an ecological trouble.

Global Warming Facts - 8 Facts about Global Warming

Causes of Global Warming - The Green house gases are the main culprits of the global warming. The green house gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are playing hazards in the present times.

Green House Gasses are the ingredients of the atmosphere that add to the greenhouse effect.

Al Gore Global Warming Initiative - Gore has written a book that archives his advice that Earth is dashing toward an immensely warmer future.

Global warming is caused by green house gases, which trap in the sun’s infrared rays in the earth’s atmosphere, which in turn heat up the earth’s atmosphere. These green house effect warming is called as global warming. The effects of green house effect are visible more prominently in the recent years, with number of natural calamities on the rise in the whole world.

The global warming has happened in the past few years and is evident from the rise in mean temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. The main causes for the global warming are attributed to release of green house gases by human activities. The main gases contributing to green house effect are carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and nitrous oxide. The largest producers of these gases are the thermal power plants, which burn the fossil fuels and produce these gases in large quantities. The second biggest sources of these green house gases are the road vehicles and industries.

The global warming has led to increase in mean earth surface temperature and thus melting of polar ice. There are frequent melt down of glaciers that result in floods and other natural calamities. The melting of ice at the poles had led the mean sea level. And further increase in temperature may further melt the ice and lead to further increase in mean sea level, which will engulf low lying countries.

The effect of global warming is very evident on the animal kingdom also. Some animals have become extinct due to loss of their natural habitat or their inability to evolve to the rapid changes in the climate. Also there is a change in their life style because of the changes in the seasons. The migrating birds have changed their time of travel and also their place of migration.

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Bill Gates Invests $84M on Corn Power

Bill Gates' investment firm, Cascade Investment, agreed last month to buy 5.25 million preferred shares in Pacific Ethanol, a producer of the corn-based fuel hailed by environmentalists as an answer to the earth's dwindling supply of petroleum. The financing, in which the preferred shares will be converted into common stock, is expected to close in January and will net the Fresno, California-based company $84 million. In an interview at Reuters' Times Square offices, Koehler said Gates' investment was a sign that ethanol can be a viable alternative to oil at a time of see-sawing gasoline prices and concerns about global warming and climate change. Gates' money will help Pacific Ethanol proceed with its plan to initially build five plants on the West Coast to process Midwestern corn into ethanol, he said.

For the full story, use the following link.

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New Methods To Protect Wind Generators During Voltage Dips Developed

To provide a solution to the problems caused to wind turbines by sudden dips in voltage in a part of the electric grid. This was the objective of industrial engineer and member of INGEPER Research Team at the Public University of Navarre, Jesús López Taberna. The fruit of his research is a rotor model which enables anticipating how the wind power unit will behave in these situations. Mr López has patented two techniques of protection, one of which has already been transferred to a manufacturer who will exploit it at international level. This system allows the generator turbine to remain in operation during these voltage dips and thus prevent the wind energy converter from ceasing to function.

The title of the PhD is: “The behaviour of wind-powered generators with double-fed asynchronous motor during voltage dips”.

Over the past few years, the growth and development of wind energy converters has been slowed by problems that have arisen from the increase in the number of these connected to the electric grid. One of the most important problems is precisely the manner in which the wind generators behave during these voltage dips.

A voltage dip is a sudden reduction in potential in the electric grid, followed by a rapid return to its normal value. This, at times, can be caused by lightening or a tree falling on power cables but also due to a large company consuming a lot of energy in one go. This drop in voltage happens in a matter of milliseconds; “we are aware of it because the lights begin to flicker or because they go off and on momentarily – but, for a machine, this can be an eternity”, explained Mr López. In fact, an interruption of half a second in a productive process can cause the whole process to block and it may have to be reinitiated.

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U.S. Leads World in Wind Energy

The United States has taken over from previous champion Germany in wind power production. For this USA has to be thankful to nature and human resource that produce technology. Nature has gifted USA with stronger wind than Germany. Randall Swisher, the executive director of the American Wind Energy Association, said that the US wind energy capacity is growing faster than anyplace else. But if we try to view those stats differently, Germany harnesses seven percent of their power from wind and Denmark generates twenty percent of power from wind. Wind energy only constitutes 1.2% of total power consumption in America.

Oilgae - Oil from Algae

Oilgae Forum

We now have a forum @ Oilgae - see here

if the link above does not work,

Sections from Oilgae that might be of interest:

  • Oilgae Blog – A dynamic news & discussion forum for biodiesel production from algae; contribute and join the discussions! See Blog Directory for list of articles.
  • algOS – We are seriously exploring an Open Source movement for biodiesel from production algae; if you are a biodiesel enthusiast, perhaps you’d like to join algOS, the open source movement for oil from algae?

Venture Capital Investment in Renewable Energy Soars to $3.4 Billion in 2007

According to newly released data from Greentech Media, Inc.,
venture capital investment in renewable energy reached an
unprecedented level of $3.4 Billion in 2007. Investment in solar power led the VC charge with more than $1.05 Billion invested in more than 70 VC financing rounds. Also winning record amounts of renewable energy funding was investment in battery technology at $433.9 Million and in the energy efficiency/smart grid sector at $419.1 Million. Venture firms continue to invest in biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel, with more than $750 Million directed towards these new feedstocks and technologies.

source Link

Ethiopia powers up with solar energy

Germany's Solar Energy Foundation aims to improve living conditions and foster a solar industry in Ethiopia.

The rural village of Rema in Ethiopia could become a cleantech boom-town if the work of Germany's Solar Energy Foundation continues its success in the region.

Since 2006, the foundation has installed 2,000 solar systems in Rema and in nearby Rema ena Dire, the biggest solar power project in East Africa. The project has brought power to 5,500 residents in a country where only one percent of people in rural areas have access to electricity.

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Solar energy benefits are limitless making the environmental impact by humans on our planet nearly zero. Solar energy benefits should be examined with regard to you and your family’s quality of life for a number of reasons. I encourage you to note the following list of solar energy benefits:

  • lower utility costs to you
  • reliable power in an area where there is no dependable utilities available
  • dependable power where emergency back-up is needed
  • do your part to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our environmental impact of burning coal or oil
  • a practical project for people interested in the technology as a hobby
  • creating your own electricity so that you are self-sufficient.
Since each of us purchases electricity from our local utility company it is interesting to note how solar energy benefits can impact your future. Your local utility costs will continue to rise impacted by inflation and the cost to produce the utility itself; you can actually produce your own electricity for less money with its cost actually going down in future and help with our environment as well.

Top 10 Renewable Energy Sites

  • Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center x
    This Office of Transportation Technologies site has information on the latest advances in alternative fuels, vehicles, refueling sites, and more.

  • The American Solar Energy Society x
    ASES is a national organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar energy for the benefit of U.S. citizens and the global environment.

  • American Wind Energy Association x
    AWEA advocates the development of wind energy as a reliable, environmentally superior energy alternative in the United States and around the world.

  • Florida Solar Energy Center x
    FSEC is the largest and most active state-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency research, training and certification institute in the United States.

  • Re-Energy x
    Informative and educational site that teaches about various forms of Renewable Energy and then teaches you how to build and use them.

  • National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium x
    NAFTC fosters a clean environment for the benefit of all people through education, training and research dealing with advanced fuels and engine systems.

  • Renewable Energy Policy Project x
    REPP supports the advancement of renewable energy technology through policy research.

  • Alternative Technology Association x
    A non-profit community group that aims to use and promote environmentally friendly technology, including renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind and water; building with natural materials and conserving energy.

    Find information on alternative fuels (propane or LPG, natural gas, hydrogen, methanol, ethanol, biodiesel), hybrid electric vehicles, batteries and fuel cells.

  • California Energy Commission x
    The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency, charged with ensuring a reliable and affordable energy supply.
  • A-Data Solar Disk - Solar Gadgets

    Available in 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB and 2GB capacities, the A-Data Solar Disk thumb drive sports a solar powered LCD panel which displays the remaining memory capcity.

    See Source

    Rising Oil Prices Vs Solar Energy

    Rapidly rising oil prices have led to such a demand for solar energy that the industry could operate itself without subsidies in just a few years, according to industry leaders.

    At the Munich solar industry trade fair, industry leaders were increasingly confident that grid parity - where electricity from the sun can be produced as cheaply as it can be bought from the grid - is now just a few years away.

    Solar photovoltaics (PV), which convert sunlight into electrical power, have long been dismissed as too expensive and not efficient enough to make a meaningful contribution to the battle against climate change.

    But costs are falling dramatically as PV production escalates as electricity prices rise rapidly year on year in line with soaring oil and gas prices.

    Germany now has nearly half a million houses fitted with PV panels. The feed-in tariff pays people with solar panels above-market rates for selling power back to the grid. Governments around the world might well take notice of the German approach.

    With high oil prices have boosting demand even more. The market will probably expand another 40% this year, according to the German solar industry association.

    Previous predictions that grid parity would be reached in Germany in 5-7 years, now look very conservative since. Germanys predictions allowed for only a 3% rise in electricity prices each year. In many countries increases of 20% a year are becoming the norm.

    The China-based Suntech, the world's biggest maker of PV panels, plans to double production this year.

    They believe grid parity in Germany can be reached within 5 years. In California and Italy, where there is lots of sun and high electricity prices, they said grid parity for PV systems had already been achieved.

    And the great thing about solar energy is that although you have an upfront cost, the fuel is free and is not controlled by another country.

    PV costs are falling rapidly and will continue to do so as the efficiency of panels improve and installation costs drop. Moreover, the price of silicon - which can be 70% of panel costs - is also likely to fall as new production technology becomes available.

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    Oil Freedom through Solar Energy

    • A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.
    • A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.
    • Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.
    • A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.
    • But $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive. {That is equivalent to 1 year of military expenditures}

    High prices for gasoline and home heating oil are here to stay. The U.S. is at war in the Middle East at least in part to protect its foreign oil interests. And as China, India and other nations rapidly increase their demand for fossil fuels, future fighting over energy looms large. In the meantime, power plants that burn coal, oil and natural gas, as well as vehicles everywhere, continue to pour millions of tons of pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually, threatening the planet.

    Well-meaning scientists, engineers, economists and politicians have proposed various steps that could slightly reduce fossil-fuel use and emissions. These steps are not enough. The U.S. needs a bold plan to free itself from fossil fuels. Our analysis convinces us that a massive switch to solar power is the logical answer.

    Solar energy’s potential is off the chart. The energy in sunlight striking the earth for 40 minutes is equivalent to global energy consumption for a year. The U.S. is lucky to be endowed with a vast resource; at least 250,000 square miles of land in the Southwest alone are suitable for constructing solar power plants, and that land receives more than 4,500 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of solar radiation a year. Converting only 2.5 percent of that radiation into electricity would match the nation’s total energy consumption in 2006.

    To convert the country to solar power, huge tracts of land would have to be covered with photovoltaic panels and solar heating troughs. A direct-current (DC) transmission backbone would also have to be erected to send that energy efficiently across the nation.

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    Cool Ideas - Solar Energy

    Global Warming is a big issue but the world currently needs oil to run. This can be chnaged if governments and people were willing to switch to alternative methods of energy production such as Solar Energy.

    Whats good for the environment is good for business

    Support renewable energy and make world of difference for your business and the environment.

    Join more than 15,000 other customers who support the growth of clean, renewable energy and preservation of our environment by participating in Second Nature. You don’t have to change your business to enroll, and it costs as little as $5 a month to make a world of difference.

    When your business supports Second Nature, we’re able to buy and use more earth-friendly renewable energy, like wind and solar power, and less non-renewable resources, like coal, natural gas and nuclear.

    Calculate your potential environmental impact

    Every Second Nature customer helps build the demand for green energy, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and strengthen our domestic fuel base.

    It’s just good business sense

    Your support of renewable energy allows your business to:

    • Demonstrate a leadership role in your industry
    • Gain a competitive edge
    • Add value to your brand and generate positive publicity
    • Promote socially-responsible business practices and consumer health

    As a business customer, you have a unique opportunity to join Alliant Energy’s other business green energy buyers. Nationally, you’ll be among the ranks of companies like 3M, Sprint, Lockheed Martin, Good Earth Natural Foods and Starbucks Corporation in supporting the growth and purchase of green power.

    High lubricant Prices will make good for Renewables

    1. Present high oil prices make life difficult in poorer countries but at the same time also help fuel development of renewable energy sources
    2. There are several dilemmas regarding the high oil price.
    3. It makes it difficult for the poor countries. At the same time renewable energy will be developed faster, which is good.

    Higher Oil Prices Make Renewable Energy Living

    Human Beings talk a more about alternative fuels being more Living with oil at such high prices. It also, however, makes other, more exotic, fossil fuel extraction techniques viable. This piece in the UK’s Independent outlines how oil reserves are understated because certain known fields are too expensive to extract at this time - and therefore are excluded from oil reserve projections (an important point that I would wager that many investors don’t understand).

    The risk for green investors (and the environment for that matter) is that, if true, tapping oil reserves such as these could grow oil supply over current projections (even if its at these current high prices) - driving out the peak oil scenario longer than anticipated by Wall Street. (This is the kind of stuff investors and analysts miss all the time).

    Emerging Oil Prices making Renewable Energy More Powerful

    "Emerging fossil fuel prices are making renewable energy more involving in the global market"

    Renewable energy can't offer much relief to drivers and companies seeing their profits evaporate because of skyrocketing oil prices, because viable green alternatives to gasoline are hard to find. Biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel aren't widely available, and hydrogen-powered cars aren't expected to hit the market for years.

    Price curves
    But in the electricity market, green power, especially wind, is already competing with traditional sources. At today's average wholesale prices, wind costs 4.2 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with 4 cents for coal, 6.8 cents for natural gas, 9.1 cents for oil and 10 cents for nuclear power, according to Kyle Datta, managing director at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a research group focused on eco-friendly business.

    Experts estimate that at today's consumption rates, known global supplies of oil and natural gas would be depleted within decades. But prices are expected to rise significantly long before supplies run out, making those fuels too expensive to use at current levels.

    "They're never going to run out, but the ability to match supply to demand may already have run out, especially for oil," said Stephen Leeb, president of Leeb Capital Management and co-author of "The Oil Factor," which predicts that oil could hit $100 a barrel by 2010.

    In the short term, fossil fuel prices are being driven up by war, political instability, natural disasters and other variables. The long-term outlook is clearer — global supplies are dwindling as demand soars, particularly in China and India, where automobiles are multiplying and economies are growing a breakneck speed.

    "We should treat the prices as a warning that we need to act to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy," said Ralph Cavanagh, an energy expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They represent a terrible threat to the vitality of the United States."

    Meanwhile, improving technology, tax credits, low interest rates and government mandates are making renewables more widely available, establishing an inexhaustible energy supply that will keep driving prices down.

    Different Kinds of Renewable Energy

    • Solar energy which comes from the sun can be turned as electricity and heat. Solar panels on the roofs of houses, building and other establishment are use to store the solar energy. The sun's energy harnessed by the panels runs generators which provide electricity. There are stand-alone solar panels that you can put in your yard to save the sun's energy in a generator.
    • Geothermal energy is an energy that comes from the heat inside the earth. It's simple technology that involves boring a hole into the ground to take the heat from the earth's crust. The heat that comes off is used to heat water and make steam to power generators to make electricity.
    • Biomass energy is from the plant and trees. This energy alternative makes use of husks that come off rice after it is harvested and the waste from the corn. This "biomass" can be burned in a power station built for such a purpose. It emits less pollution than if the waste was left to rot, because it would produce a lot of methane.

    Sources: Wood (most common source), plants, agricultural waste, industrial waste, even methane gas from community landfills.

    Uses: fuel for transportation or to manufacture product that would otherwise use fossil fuels.

    • Water Energy - the natural evaporation/precipitation cycle makes water a renewable source of energy. The heat of the sun causes water in lakes and ocean to evaporate and form clouds. The water then falls back to earth as rain or snow, and goes to the rivers and streams that flow back to the ocean. Moving water can be used to power water wheels that drive mechanical processes. Water Wheels are useful for generating mechanical energy to grind grain or saw wood, but are not practical for generating electricity because it is bulky and slow. Water energy emits about 30 times less greenhouse gas than modern natural gas power plants and 60 times less than coal-fired plant, which makes it a clean source of energy.
    • Wind Energy is captured by wind turbines and used to generate electricity. The costs of wind energy are going down as mass manufacture of turbines becomes more accepted. It costs the same as setting up a new coal or nuclear power station. More importantly, external cost to health care and the effects of acid rain are 50times less than when using coal.