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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Renewable Energy


Estimating Renewable Energy Economic Potential in the United States: Methodology and Initial Results

National Renewable Energy Lab, Aug. 2016 [NREL/TP-6A20-64503].

"This report describes a geospatial analysis method to estimate the economic potential of several renewable resources available for electricity generation in the United States."

Looking North for Solutions [Canadian Windpower]

Wind Systems Magazine, Sept. 2016, by Jean François Nolet.

"For years, Canada’s wind-energy industry has had the potential to expand its market through exports to the United States, but it is only now — bolstered by a perfect storm of supply-and-demand drivers — that the opportunity is finally becoming concrete."

U.S. Laws and Regulations for Renewable Energy Grid Interconnections

National Renewable Energy Lab, Sept. 2016, NREL/TP-6A20-66724.

"This report presents a brief chronological review of energy laws and regulations concerning grid interconnection procedures in the United States, highlighting the consequences of policies for renewable energy interconnections. Where appropriate, this report places interconnection policies and their impacts on renewable energy within the broader context of power market reform."

The Untapped Potential of Community Energy Storage

Microgrid Knowledge, Sept. 19, 2016.

"Robin Roy, an NRDC consultant, explains why community energy storage often falls between the gaps in federal energy policy and what can be done about the problem."

Nanogrids and Microgrids are Keys to Decentralizing the Energy Infrastructure

Energy Manager Today, Sept. 13, 2016, by Carl Weinschenk.

"Nanogrids essentially is the microgrid concept — creating islands of power generation that rely on renewables and can either work in concert with or independently of the utility — taken to its logical conclusion. Indeed, a big piece of the value proposition may be that nanogrids are so small that they ease the transition to decentralized power."

Community-Scale Solar Can Power Corporations, Too

Rocky Mountain Institute, Aug. 31, 2016, by Thomas Koch Blank and Titiaan Palazzi.

"A new option for corporations interested in fueling their operations with clean energy is arising: community-scale solar. An insight brief from RMI’s Shine initiative, which aspires to aggressively accelerate the deployment of community-scale solar systems in the U.S., details the opportunities that community-scale solar offers. Corporations are entering the renewables market in force, and they will find much to like in the community-scale solar market segment."

NARUC Rate Design Manual Reignites Debate Over Cost Shift, Value of Solar

Utility Dive, Aug. 4, 2016, by Herman K. Trabish.

"Regulators around the country are refereeing heated debates between utilities and distributed resource advocates. A guidebook is in the works to help them, but general agreement on its approach masks persisting disagreements between the two camps."

Why Home Solar Panels No Longer Pay in Some States

New York Times, July 26, 2016, by Diane Cardwell.

"Thrust in the middle are utility regulators. Even if they support greening the grid through technology adopters like [cropped], the regulators are also responsible for ensuring that the utilities can afford to supply power to the largest number of customers at the most equitable rates. That includes people without the money or inclination to install solar collectors."

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Technologies Get Boost Toward Market

Tri-City Herald, Jul 2, 2016.

"The Department of Energy has awarded PNNL in Richland about $4.4 million of a total $12 million given to national laboratories from the Technology Commercialization Fund of DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions. PNNL’s winning projects, all nearing commercialization, include:

▪  A solar system that converts natural gas into hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.
▪  Making fertilizer from coal fly ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants.
▪  Self-powered acoustic fish-tracking tags for evaluating fish passage at dams.
▪  Material manufacturing techniques to make more durable, longer-lasting components for dams.
▪  A method to join aluminum parts made of different thicknesses and alloys for car manufacturing....and more."

What Matters When Purchasing a Small Wind Turbine?

Solar Today, Spring 2016, by Mick Sagrillo.

"What makes a manufacturer worth considering? With the plethora of small wind web sites out there, it’s might seem daunting to try to ferret out the wheat from the chaff, who is a legitimate small wind manufacturer and who is a huckster. Actually, it is simpler than it appears. Remember the discussion about turbine certification? (ST Winter 2015/2016) This is your screen. Any manufacturer not listed with a certified turbine should not be considered, period. No matter what they promise or how much they plead. Do you want to be someone’s beta test site or do you want a working wind system for decades?"
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