Features for March 2009

Features Archive

Skills shortages for UK renewables industry revealed Skills shortages for UK renewables industry revealed

The UK's forthcoming transition to a low-carbon future has been much touted as a financial and environmental solution. However, it remains uncertain whether the UK has the appropriate skills to underpin a renewable energy revolution. Professor Peter Crossley, Director of the Joule Centre, examines the situation.

Using energy storage for intermittency problems Using energy storage for intermittency problems

The intermittency of renewables is forcing energy providers to look at ways to store energy – as a way to guarantee stable supply. Bent Sørensen from Roskilde University in Denmark looks at a classic case of energy storage – vehicles that use batteries and fuel cells.

Improving wind turbine gearbox reliability with O&M

If a wind turbine can last three years at a wind farm in the US, Southern California's San Gorgonio pass without major servicing, then it should last longer in areas of the world with less turbulent winds. Why then is that sometimes not the case? And what can be done about it?

WGA to tackle US transmission?

The western third of the USA offers abundant sources of wind and solar energy, given the appropriate transmission infrastructure. As the development of this infrastructure has not been vigorously pursued, the ‘bi-partisan’ Western Governors' Association (WGA) has stepped up to the plate.

Renewables take centre stage Renewables take centre stage

At the first World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi, early 2008, the agenda was dominated by fossil fuel companies seeking to paint themselves green – while maintaining the status quo with a few tweaks and some carbon capture and storage (CCS). Steve Sawyer returned for the second WFES in January 2009, and found the oil companies still there, but now competing with renewables for the spotlight.

Obama's renewables boost Obama's renewables boost

After successfully weavings its path through the two chambers of Congress in the USA, President Obama has signed into law the hugely-ambitious (and some would say risky) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, worth US$787 billion, and including around US$43 billion for energy.

Options for micro-wind generation: part 1 Options for micro-wind generation: part 1

Contrary to negative opinion, micro-wind generation in urban areas could meet local energy demand in certain circumstances. In the first of a 3-part article looking at the findings of one UK supermarket's analysis into using urban wind, Bill Holdsworth cautions that city wind does not behave like rural wind.

Creating the 21st Century US grid Creating the 21st Century US grid

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will infuse the US energy industry and its ratepayers with up to US$40 billion in various forms. These include loan guarantees, bonds, grants, direct investments in transmission projects, smart grid technologies and more. This also includes direct assistance from the US Department of Energy. Lyn Corum puts this into context for the glue that binds all this together- the grid infrastructure.

Advancements in the clean vehicle industry Advancements in the clean vehicle industry

Following on from a new column dedicated to energy storage options comes a new regular focus on advancements in the clean vehicle industry. Jon Hickman takes the driving seat and looks at some of the technologies in use today, as well as those whose roles will become more prominent in the future.

PV manufacture:synergy without dependance PV manufacture:synergy without dependance

Solar PV was born of electronic parentage, so it's not surprising that the two camps have much in common. Because of this, solar PV has inherited a manufacturing route and infrastructure originally fashioned for electronics. But some in the PV industry argue that this heritage can be as much a hindrance as a help, discovers George Marsh.