CM Gennaro Celebrates Passage of Law Clearing Way for Geothermal Energy

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PHOTO CAPTION: Speaking out in support of alternate forms of energy: Councilman James F. Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) discusses geothermal energy before a vote on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by the New York City Council to clear the way for the technology to be implemented in buildings throughout the city. Pictured (l. to r.): Council members Andy King, Diana Reyna, Gennaro, Gale Brewer and Council Speaker Christine Quinn. (Credit: William Alatriste)

Councilman James F. Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) lauded the passage Tuesday of the latest in a series of measures meant to secure a sustainable future and local ‘green’ jobs for the City of New York.

The bill, Int. 694-A, clears the way for the study of geothermal energy – an already existing technology that harnesses the energy from the sun’s rays stored in the upper level of the Earth’s crust to heat homes and businesses in the winter and cool them in the summer.

“New Yorkers may not realize that there is an unlimited supply of clean, renewable energy right underneath their feet. Geothermal energy involves harnessing the power of the sun’s rays stored in the upper levels of the Earth’s crust. This bill clears the way for a comprehensive study into unlocking this enormous energy potential for homes and businesses throughout our city,” said Gennaro, chair of the Council Committee on Environmental Protection. “Already there are local ‘green’ businesses ready to reap the economic benefits of geothermal energy. I want to thank Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg for their unwavering support in building a sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”

Geothermal energy works by tapping into the Earth’s constant temperature, just below the Earth’s surface, where the temperature is a stable 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

In winter, geothermal systems transfer heat from underground into buildings. In summer, the system is reversed, transferring heat from buildings down into the ground.

“Unlike solar or wind, geothermal is a consistent source of energy. No matter what’s happening on the surface, the energy stored just under our feet will be available to provide for the heating and cooling needs of families and workers throughout our city,” Gennaro said.

This bill requires the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to create a map of the city showing where geothermal energy systems are appropriate based on geologic conditions. That map will then be made available to the public.

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Kenyan Ambassador To Speak At New York Geothermal Conference

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The one day gathering in NYC will feature updates on geothermal technology, financing new power plants, public and private sector perspectives, practical project management insights, risks and rewards and government policies.

Kenya’s geothermal power potential is at least 7,000 MW and there are over a dozen development projects in some stage of design. Though the development of about 5,000 MW of clean energy may not seem that monumental, it should be noted that currently less than 20% of Kenyans have access to electricity. (At the moment, geothermal provides about 13% of Kenya’s electricity and by 2020, that percentage could be 30.)

Another important point is that burning wood is a major source of energy in Kenya – primarily for cooking – and this prevalent practice results in much deforestation and CO2 emissions.  Deforestation reduces rainfall, which further reduces the number of trees and other plants that constitute forests, so there is a vicious cycle culminating in droughts, and loss of biodiversity.

Wild animals and beautiful natural landscapes are a huge draw for foreign tourists and there may be as many as 100,000 Kenyans employed by the tourist industry or in related jobs. If biodiversity declines, the impact on the national economy could be significant. So, geothermal development is not only about clean energy, it also could become a way of reducing the burning of wood fuel and therefore help conserve forests and biodiversity.

‘Ambassador Odembo represents a country that is working in sync with organizations like the World Bank to fulfill its electricity needs with clean and renewable geothermal energy,’ said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is made up of U.S. companies who support  geothermal energy and are developing geothermal facilities around the world for clean, renewable energy production.

Odembo’ undergraduate degree is in Biology and Sociology, and he has a Master’s in public health.
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/03/27/kenyan-ambassador-to-speak-at-new-york-geothermal-conference/#7sBkdoBVpBcF3QBo.99

BP Publishes Energy Outlook 2030 — Natural Gas Grows as Transportation Fuel


Strong growth in production from unconventional sources of gas and oil will have a major impact on global energy markets to 2030, redefining expectations for major economies and rebalancing global trade flows, according to BP’s latest Energy Outlook 2030. The transport sector illustrates a strengthening role for natural gas as a fuel for transportation.

The world has ample proved reserves of oil and natural gas to meet expected future demand growth. At the end of 2011, global proved reserves of oil were sufficient to meet 54 years of current (2011) production; for natural gas that figure is 64 years.

Transport Sector

Of all sectors, transportation shows the weakest growth, with OECD transport demand projected to decline. The sector starts to show some diversification away from oil; gas accounts for 16% of transport energy demand growth, with another 13% coming from biofuels, and 2% from electricity. Oil will remain the dominant fuel in transport, although its share falls from 94% in 2011 to 89% in 2030. Nevertheless biofuels and natural gas both reach 5% share of transport by 2030. Gas (including gas-to-liquids) is the fastest growing alternative and likely to overtake biofuels in transport by 2030.

Energy consumption growth in transport slows to 1.2% p.a. (from 1.9% p.a. 1990-2010) primarily due to accelerating gains in fuel economy. Other factors include the impact of high oil prices on driving behaviour, vehicle saturation in the OECD, and non-OECD subsidy reduction.

The Outlook’s overall expectation for growth in global energy demand to 2030 is little changed from last year, with demand expected to be 36% higher in 2030 than 2011 and almost all the growth coming from emerging economies. However, expectations of the pattern of supply of this growth are shifting strongly, with unconventional sources – shale gas and tight oil together with heavy oil and biofuels – playing an increasingly important role and, in particular, transforming the energy balance of the US.

By 2030, energy use in the non-OECD economies is expected to be 61% higher than in 2011 whereas use in the OECD will have grown by only 6%, and actually to have fallen in per capita terms.

While the fuel mix is evolving, fossil fuels will continue to be dominant. Oil, gas and coal are expected to converge on market shares of around 26-28% each by 2030, and non-fossil fuels – nuclear, hydro and renewables – on a share of around 6-7% each.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is expected to be the fastest growing of the fossil fuels – with demand rising at an average of 2% a year. Non-OECD countries will generate 76% of demand growth. Power generation and industry account for the largest increments to demand by sector. LNG production is expected to grow more than twice as fast as gas consumption, at an average of 4.3% a year and accounting for 27% of the growth in gas supply to 2030.

Shale gas supplies are expected to meet 37% of the growth in gas demand and account for 16% of world gas and 53% of US gas production by 2030. North American shale gas production growth is expected to slow after 2020 and production from other regions to increase, but in 2030 North America is still expected to account for 73% of world shale gas production.

Carbon Emissions
While the rate of growth is moderating, carbon emissions are still expected to increase by 26% from 2011 to 2030. Most of the growth will come from non-OECD countries, so that by 2030 70% of CO2 emissions are expected to come from outside the OECD. However, per capita emissions in non-OECD regions will still be less than half those in the OECD.

BP assumes continued tightening in policies to address climate change, yet emissions remain well above the required path to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases at the level recommended by scientists (450 ppm).

The BP Energy Outlook 2030 is available online at www.bp.com/energyoutlook.

(This article primarily compiled using information from a BP press release)

Oil and gas usage in the transport sector has been revised up, largely reflecting the need to offset a drop in biofuel supplies resulting from more modest expectations of the penetration of next generation fuels.

Source : NGV  Global

Developing Tidal Power: Normandy Port Authority Announces Expansion Plans

The English Channel separating the UK and France is home to some of the strongest tidal currents in the world, and the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA) and local government authorities, as well as French energy and engineering giants AlstomEDF Energies Nouvelles, and GDF Suez, want to tap into them.

PNA announced plans to invest €60 million (US$78 million) to expand and outfit the ports of Cherbourg and Caen-Ouistreham so as to facilitate development of marine tidal power generation systems and renewable marine energy industry facilities, according to a PNA press release.

Photo credit: Voith Hydro

 

 

Tapping into the Power of Tides

France ranks second in Europe, following the UK, in terms of assessed marine energy potential. Raz Blanchard and the Passage du Fromveur are the two areas of French marine territories with the greatest potential. Taken together they represent 80% of France’s total prospective tidal power generation capacity, with the Raz Blanchard in the English Channel alone accounting for half. Installing marine turbines in Raz Blanchard, along with grid interconnections, would also provide clean and renewable electricity to homes and businesses on the UK Channel Island of Alderney.

Photo credit: PNA

Recognizing the potential tidal and marine energy resources of Normandy and Brittany, PNA and local authorities of Basse-Normandie also see the potential to realize a healthy, sustainable future for the region’s residents and economy based on clean renewable marine energy; tidal power in particular.

“There is no doubt that the French government and the Alderney authorities face many challenges in the implementation of their plan to harness ocean currents in order to produce energy,” PNA states in its press release.

“PNA, however, is confident that the port of Cherbourg can establish itself as a major hub in MRE (marine renewable energy), also in the wake of its recent successes in securing contracts regarding wind-power development. The diversification and growth of the local (and regional) economy in this field have started, and expansion plans currently pursued by PNA will underpin these developments in a positive manner well into 2013-2016.”

Realizing this vision requires expanding the port of Cherbourg by 35 hectares (~86.5 acres) according to PNA, which is ready to invest €60 million to extend the port on reclaimed land into Cherbourg’s outer harbor. Project work is slated to occur between 2014 and 2016.

Looking to inform and gain the support of local residents in Basse-Normandie, PNA held public consultations between October 19 and November 19. The large majority of participants expressed support for PNA’s plan according to the port authority, particularly with regard to the employment and economic development that is envisaged.

PNA is incorporating public feedback into its harbor expansion and MRE plans with the intention of releasing an updated and improved version to the public this spring.

Tidal & Marine Energy: The Basis for Sustainable Socioeconomic Development?

The potential energy contained in Normandy and Brittany’s tidal currents and offshore winds have attracted the attention of France’s largest energy and engineering concerns.

GDF Suez last June announced that its subsidiary, Eole Generation, would conduct two tidal power project feasibility studies: one in lower Normandy’s Raz Blanchard and a second in the Passage du Fromveur off Brittany’s Finisterre coast.

Eole’s feasibility study at Raz Blanchard entails installing a pilot 3 to 12-megawatt (MW) tidal power plant consisting of 3 to 6 Voith Hydro HyTide tidal power turbines. If that proves successful, management will look to install as many as 100 marine turbines on site.

Eole has partnered with tidal power engineering specialist Sabella in order to carry out its feasibility study in the Passage du Fromveur. The agreement provides Eole with access to Sabella’s research on the site, as well as on its prototype D10 marine turbine.

GDF Suez management has made renewable energy a focal point of the company’s business strategy. GDF group companies own and operate nearly 10,000 MW of installed capacity in France. Nearly 50% of that comes from renewable energy sources, according to management.

There’s also enormous tidal and marine renewable energy potential across the Channel. In a recently released report the UK Crown Estate estimates that the island nation’s total tidal power capacity totals some 153GW.

“While the science of wave and tidal resource assessment is still emerging, and future work will clarify the resources that are practically available, it is clear that wave and tidal energy could contribute substantially to the UK’s electricity needs,” Rob Hastings, director of the Crown Estate’s energy and infrastructure portfolio commented.

SOURCE: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1yvSz)

Solar Panels Work Great in Snowy Regions, Research Shows

Solar power installations are well worth the investment, even in snowy climates, according to new research from Michigan Technological University. The albedo effect caused by white snow cover actually helps to increase solar panel efficiency (counter to what many of us might have thought).

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While a layer of snowfall temporarily covers the panel and stops production, the panels don’t remain covered for long, even in the most snow-heavy regions.

“Sometimes snow actually helps solar cells,” says Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce. Referring to the albedo effect, which is caused by white colors reflecting sunlight. “It can make a panel generate more electricity in the same way that it gives skiers sunburn on sunny winter days.”

For the new research, scientists from St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University, along with a group of 20 industry partners, investigated the effects of snow on the Open Solar Outdoors Test Field.

“They created a computer model to predict how much power generation would decline in various amounts of snow cover and on different types of solar modules mounted at different angles, from flat to steeply pitched. Then they validated their model with data from many of Ontario’s huge commercial solar farms.”

“In most cases power losses are minimal, even in snowy Canada,” Pearce said. As part of the research, though, they also created a model that is designed to help the most efficient photovoltaic systems, even in extremely snowy areas.

Pearce and R. W. Andrews have authored a paper based on the preliminary study, “Prediction of Energy Effects on Photovoltaic Systems Due to Snowfall Events,” published in proceedings of the 2012 38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference.
Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1r4oK)

Solar Power to Energize Avatar Sequels for James Cameron

Nearly one megawatt of solar panels will be used to provide power for James Cameron’s film production company in Manhattan Beach, California.

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Mr. Cameron said: “We have to do this. We have to do this for the future, for our children and we have to do it as a moral responsibility for the planet.”

Over 3,600 solar modules make up three arrays at Lightstorm Entertainment. Stellar Energy is the solar power company that provided the guidance for the permitting process, construction and logistics.

Of course, Avatar has a strong environmental theme, so using clean energy for the film production company that made the film is in alignment with its overall message.

Presumably, this new solar power project will help power the production of Avatar 2.
Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1oYSS)

India Gets a Girdle of Wave Power Plants from Israel’s SDE

In a move linked to its massive blackout last summer, India is getting a ring of wave power plants along its coastline from the Israeli company SDE. In terms of the global competition for renewable energy leadership, that puts the U.S. way back in the pack. SDE is already building wave power plants in China and several other countries, and Scotland’s wave power industry is coming on strong. Meanwhile, mostly cricket chirps from the most powerful nation on earth….

Israeli company SDE will install wave power in India

Lessons from the 2012 India Blackout

The blackout in India last summer was a history-making one, affecting 670 million people or about 9 percent of the world’s population.

Spared were individual companies and villages that had their own off-grid power plants, including a remote village that had its own solar power array. Officials in the state of Jodhpur also credit wind turbines with providing enough energy for hospitals and vital infrastructure, while enabling them to restore power to the region while other parts of India were still many hours away from relief.

Wave Power for India

Until now, Indian companies seeking to shield themselves from grid disruptions have had to rely on building their own fossil fuel power plants. However, India’s rapid industrialization is headed for a three-way collision course with rising oil prices and environmental issues, making wave energy an attractive alternative.

SDE estimates that energy from its wave power plants costs only two cents per kilowatt hour, making it an attractive bottom-line alternative as well as a clean one.

The wave power projects in India will put SDE in partnership with the country’s automobile industry and other companies, along with electric utilities and local governments.

For Indian companies with an eye on global markets, access to low-cost wave power could also provide a significant competitive edge. It’s becoming commonplace for companies to tout their access to clean energy as a selling point for their products and services, and a recent study commissioned by the wind turbine company Vestas suggest that more consumers prefer to buy from companies that use clean energy.

Wave Power in the U.S.A.

To be fair, the U.S. has been playing wave power catchup with some support from the Obama Administration. Though a full-scale commercial wave power project has yet to launch in U.S. waters, the Navy set up the nation’s first ever grid-connected wave power plant to provide energy for a base in Hawaii back in 2010, with the U.S. company Ocean Power Technologies. Also in Oregon, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) at Oregon State University has launched a wave power test facility off the state’s coast.

Ocean Power Technologies is now preparing a new wave power operation for a community on the Oregon coast, and the company Ocean Renewable Power has just started operating a small pilot tidal power project on the coast of Maine.

Meanwhile, the Navy is upgrading its facility to serve as a shared test bed for additional private companies to develop new wave power technology.

Things are just getting started but the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that wave and tidal power could provide 15 percent of U.S. energy needs by 2030.

Image: Wave power. Some rights reserved by cubanjunky.

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1ogZD)