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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: Power Generation

Power Plants


Maximizing MWh: A Statistical Analysis of the Performance of Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Projects in the United States

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Mar. 2015.
https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-1004374.pdf

"This paper presents the first known use of multi-variate regression techniques to statistically explore empirical variation in utility-scale PV project performance across the United States."

New Plant Design Options Expand Geothermal Power Operations

Power Magazine, Apr. 2016, by Allie Nelson.
http://www.powermag.com/new-plant-design-options-expand-geothermal-power-operations/

"Geothermal energy may not be a large contributor to the U.S. power mix—it provided less than 0.5% of total U.S. generation in 2015—but it is a reliable and dispatchable renewable energy source that plays well with others. And while the concept is old, new technology is making it easier for grid operators to utilize this important resource."

Weighing Costs and Benefits in Hydropower Maintenance and Upgrade Decisions

Power Magazine, Apr. 2016, by Aaron Larson.
http://www.powermag.com/weighing-costs-benefits-hydropower-maintenance-upgrade-decisions/

"Choosing whether to maintain or upgrade hydropower plant components can be difficult. Poor original equipment reliability can force changes, but often a detailed cost-benefit analysis is needed to make decisions. Understanding how others have tackled the process can help ensure success at your plant."

The State of Wind Farm Underperformance Syndrome

Wind Systems Magazine, Mar. 2016, by Bruce H. Bailey.
http://www.windsystemsmag.com/article/detail/1149/the-state-of-wind-farm-underperformance-syndrome

"It is fair to expect that the energy output of an operating wind farm should be close to what it was designed to produce. If the wind conditions for a particular site are well-measured and the selected turbine is a well-known model, then logic would conclude that the energy prediction process is fairly straightforward. But is this an oversimplification? Industry experience has shown that it is, since the majority of operating wind farms don’t meet their predicted P50 energy values in an average year."

Update on DOE’s Wave Energy Prize

Hydro Review, Apr. 2016, by Alison LaBonte. http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/hr/print/volume-35/issue-3/articles/update-on-doe-s-wave-energy-prize.html "A new initiative, called the Wave Energy Prize, was announced in 2015 during the keynote address at the annual National Hydropower Association conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference, and Marine Energy Technology Symposium. This announcement represented a milestone for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind and Water Power Technologies Office - the commencement of its first public prize challenge, with a total prize purse of US$2.25 million, stemmed from realizing that a technology leap in the efficiency of wave energy converter (WEC) devices was needed to jolt wave energy onto a pathway toward sweeping cost reductions. This pathway could ultimately make wave energy, which is still in the early stages of technology development, competitive with more traditional forms of energy, paving the way to large-scale implementation within ... Read the rest of entry »

Solar-Panel Installers Face Clouded Future

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 25, 2016, by Cassandra Sweet.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/solar-panel-installers-face-clouded-future-1458926502

"Many U.S. states are considering dialing back solar-power incentives amid growing pressure from local electric utilities, potentially dealing a blow to the companies that install home solar systems around the country."

SEPA Report Details Key Drivers for Cutting Utility-Scale Solar LCOE

Smart Electric Power Alliance, Mar. 2016.
http://www.solarelectricpower.org/about-sepa/sepa-news/press-releases/sepa-report-details-key-drivers-for-cutting-utility-scale-solar-lcoe.aspx

"...a new report from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) says, not all solar projects are created equal. Utilities looking to procure cost-competitive, high-value solar projects need to evaluate a range of factors, from regional solar resource intensity to local labor and permitting costs to system design issues, such as whether to use a fixed-tilt or single axis tracking system. The report was produced in partnership with solar project developer Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar."

Engine Block Heaters: Quick Starts for Standby Power

Forester Daily News, Mar. 14, 2016, by Penelope B. Grenoble.
http://foresternetwork.com/daily/energy/energy-conservation/engine-block-heaters-quick-starts-for-standby-power/

"...whether you call them block heaters, water jacket heaters, or engine preheaters, they’re essential to getting diesel-fueled gen sets up and running at full power in the 10 seconds that are standard for emergency power applications."

Learning from Islands: Renewable Transitions for Mines, Industrial Facilities, and the Military

Rocky Mountain Institute Outlet, Mar. 11, 2016, by Kaitlyn Butler and Kate Hawley.
http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2016_03_11_learning_from_islands_renewable_transitions

"What do mines, industrial facilities, and the military all have in common? They all have a need for reliable electricity in remote locations. It turns out these places and others can learn a lot from islands. Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room’s recent microgrid casebook, Renewable Microgrids: Profiles from Islands and Remote Communities Across the Globe, explores 10 examples of islands and remote communities from around the world that have transitioned from 100 percent oil-based electricity systems to high-penetration renewable microgrids."

Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Jan. 2016.
http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/65298.pdf

"This report quantifies the technical potential of photovoltaic (PV) systems deployed on rooftops in the continental United States, estimating how much energy could be generated by installing PV on all suitable roof area. The results do not exclude systems based on their economic performance, and thus they provide an upper bound on potential deployment rather than a prediction of actual deployment."
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The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at library@energy.wsu.edu