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Renewable Energy Current Events

Solar and Micro-Hydro at Skidmore
April 22, 2014 |

“Skidmore College could generate 30 percent of its annual electricity through a solar farm and a micro-hydro project.”

Using Natural Gas to Balance Load at Renewable Projects
March 25, 2014 | Shell

“Solar power is clean and steady – until the sun goes down, or clouds roll in. Wind turbines stop spinning when the breeze dies. To provide reliable electricity, renewable energy sources need back-up. This is fueling a new generation of hybrid power plants in which solar or wind installations are supported by natural gas.”

Has Support for Renewable Energy Peaked?
March 20, 2014 | has an article that looks at the support provided to renewable energy a few years ago compared to today. This is an industry that responds strongly to some types of government support but that support might be losing steam in the USA and other countries.

Geothermal Experiments at Newberry Volcano
March 11, 2014 | Oregon Public Broadcasting

For over one year a company has been conducting geothermal experiments at Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Central Oregon. This article announces the public comment period and gives a short report on the results to date.

US Electricity Generation by Fuel
March 9, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration projects a reduced share of electricity generation from coal by 2040.

Interactive Energy Map of the United States
March 2, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration has an interactive energy map that allows you to discover the locations of facilities such as natural gas power plants, petroleum refineries, natural gas pipelines, LNG import/export terminals and much more. The choropleth map below shows the photovoltaic solar potential of the 48 states with solar power plants plotted as yellow dots.

The First Magma-Enhanced Geothermal System
January 28, 2014 | University of California, Riverside

“Despite some difficulties, the project was able to drill down into the molten magma and control it; it was possible to set steel casing in the bottom of the hole; allowing the hole to blow superheated, high-pressure steam for months at temperatures exceeding 450 C, created a world record for geothermal heat.” Quoted from the University of California, Riverside press release.

US Energy Mapping System
January 5, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration has an interactive map of energy locations in the United States. You can use it to plot data layers showing the location of wind (see map sample below), coal mines, biomass plants, geothermal, hydroelectric, and many other types of energy projects.

$1B Per Day from New Energy Sources
November 24, 2013 | ExxonMobil Perspectives

“One billion dollars every single day.

That is the rough measure of the benefit the U.S. economy is estimated to receive by the end of this year thanks to the development of new supplies of oil and natural gas.” Quoted from ExxonMobil Perspectives.

Courthouse to Stream in an Open Loop Geothermal System
November 21, 2013 | The Martinsburg Journal News

The court house at Berkeley Springs, Morgan County, West Virginia has an unusual geothermal system. It removes water from a local stream, pumps that water through a heat-exchange system and returns the water to the stream. Open-loop systems connected to a stream are rare.

Underwater Kites Generate Energy from Ocean Currents
November 18, 2013 | Smithsonian

“The kites’ ability to move in figure-eight motions–which causes it to zip through the water several time faster than the current itself–will amplify the water’s energy output.” Quoted from the Smithsonian article. The video below shows the potential of ocean currents.

USA Fuel Mix is Changing
November 17, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“The mix of fuels used to generate the electricity in homes, factories, and businesses across the United States has changed in the past few years as coal, still the largest single fuel used for electricity, has lost some of its share of the generation market to natural gas and non-hydroelectric renewables.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration.

Energy Trader as a New Career?
November 14, 2013 | Reuters

Five years ago the United States was importing 2 million barrels of oil per day. Now it is exporting over a million. Crude oil is shipped by train. Natural gas is displacing coal from power generation. LNG is being exported. Renewable energy generation is growing. All of these changes require people for logistics and transactions.

Electricity Generation Fuel Mix
October 29, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

A chart by the Energy Information Administration clearly shows trends in the fuel mix used for electricity generation in the United States.

Fracking for Geothermal
October 25, 2013 | MIT

“The use of hydraulic fracturing has unlocked vast new reserves of natural gas. Now Alta Rock, a startup based in Seattle, is developing technology that might do the same for geothermal resources, turning a marginal power source into a major source of carbon-free electricity and heat.” Quoted from the MIT article.

The Government Shutdown and Geology
October 15, 2013 | American Geophysical Union

The American Geophysical Union has a short article that explains why the “Government Shutdown Affects More Than Jobs“.

Egypt Fears a Dam on the Nile in Ethiopia
October 1, 2013 | National Geographic

Ethiopia is building a hydroelectric dam on the Nile River. Downstream Egypt is concerned about a loss of water through evaporation, infiltration, irrigation and other diversions that could damage their economy and cause a loss of generating capacity at their Aswan hydroelectric project.

Switching Hawaii from Oil to Natural Gas?
September 4, 2013 | National Public Radio

Hawaii has been addicted to expensive oil for decades when many people thought that they would be running all of the islands off of hot rocks, sunlight, ocean breezes or wave power. Now they are looking to bring natural gas to the islands. One problem is that natural gas from USA wells can not delivered to Hawaii because an old law requires the transporting vessel to be built, registered, manned, owned and licensed by people in the USA – and not one vessel like that exists.

Tapping the African Rift for Geothermal
August 18, 2013 | Business Daily Africa

Kenya and Tanzania have some of the world’s best locations for developing geothermal energy. They are working to develop investors, expertise and technology sharing.

Related: East Africa’s Great Rift Valley

120,000 Tons of Molten Salt as a Heat Sink?
August 2, 2013 | Arizona Geology Blog

A new solar energy project in Arizona will use 120,000 metric tons of molten salt as a heat sink.

Energy Use Rising in the USA
June 27, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“U.S. primary energy consumption totaled 8.4 quadrillion Btu, an 8-percent increase from March 2012. Petroleum made up 35 percent of primary energy consumption, natural gas 31 percent, coal 18 percent, renewable energy 9 percent, and nuclear electric power 8 percent.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration

An Upper Limit on Wind Power?
April 3, 2013 | National Public Radio

Wind currently accounts for about 3.5% of the U.S. electric power generating capacity with some experts predicting that 20% is a likely goal. NPR investigates if there will be enough wind to go around?

Fuel from Algae?
March 26, 2013 |

Although Tesoro Corporation has decided to purchase crude oil derived from algae, ExxonMobil has invested $600 million and is not very excited about it.

New Geothermal at the University of Maine
March 20, 2013 | Daily Bull Dog

A new geothermal heating and cooling system on the University of Maine at Farmington campus will have 80 wells drilled to depths of up to 500 feet.

Essential Data for Geothermal Development
February 26, 2013 | Scientific American

A Scientific American article explains how the National Geothermal Data System can be a valuable asset to companies working on geothermal energy projects.

Converting Geothermal CO2 into Methanol??
February 20, 2013 | SmartPlanet

They call it “renewable methanol”. As carbon dioxide is emitted at a geothermal plant in Iceland it is being converted into methanol that will be blended with gasoline by a Dutch oil company.

Quotes on American Energy Independence
February 17, 2013 | Fox News

An article on the Fox News website includes quotes from a number of energy leaders on American energy independence and American energy security.

Lease the Geothermal Power of Augustine Volcano!
February 12, 2013 | Anchorage Daily News

The Alaska Division of Oil and Gas plans to lease the geothermal rights to Augustine Volcano and 66,000 acres of surrounding land and seafloor. It should be pretty hot since it last erupted in 2006. Results from the lease at Spurr have not been exciting so far.

South Africa Energy Review
January 22, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“Most of the oil consumed in South Africa, used mainly in the transportation sector, is imported from large producers in the Middle East and West Africa and is locally refined. South Africa also has a highly developed synthetic fuels industry, producing gasoline and diesel fuels from coal and natural gas.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration country report.

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