In a technology-driven era, scientists are always trying to find new and more efficient ways to harness power. The quest places no limits on the imagination. Some ideas are downright wacky, while others are only a little off the mark.
In the discussion of solar power’s potential, proponents often cite the claim that enough solar energy hits the Earth’s surface in one hour to power the world for one year. Critics, however, argue solar-power technologies have yet to achieve the ability to harvest even a fraction of that energy.
The most important renewable-energy source in the United States is most frequently overlooked. Wind and solar energy may capture more headlines (and congressional attention), but hydropower has held the title as the most productive—and, arguably, least expensive—renewable option for decades.
In the future, windows may not only serve the primary functions of allowing light indoors and conserving heat or cooling, but they may also capture enough solar power to meet all of a building’s energy needs. In other words, windows of the future may pull double duty as solar collectors.
While renewables’ overall contribution to worldwide energy production may still be relatively small compared to traditional sources of power, they have generated no small amount of buzz and hype by always managing to outsize themselves with some newer, bigger and better model that sets the standard
As the nation continues to embrace alternative energy sources, the challenge of distribution becomes more pronounced. Utilities, providers, transmission operators and manufacturers need to find an efficient and reliable way to get all that new power to the grid.
More Americans are installing wind turbines near their homes, farms and businesses to generate their own energy, concludes a report by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
Renewable power and greenhouse gases have always been closely intertwined. As one goes up, the other comes down. Of course, the benefits of clean power extend far beyond reduced emissions, but as long as there is a need to fight global warming, the demand for clean power will be strong.
As digital innovation, green power and energy efficiency become increasingly intertwined in our daily lives, it makes sense that manufacturers recognize the growing interconnectedness of their products and the importance of that interconnectedness to the consumer.
Success in the renewable-energy revolution seems to be measured at least in part by bragging rights and record-breaking, as states leapfrog over each other for the title of largest wind farm, highest portfolio standard or some other bar-raising, eye-catching announcement.
Global pharmaceutical Merck is using the power of the sun, with some help from federal stimulus money, to raise the green level of its facilities; the most recent of which is at its Upper Gwynedd, Pa., complex.
When today’s energy developers look offshore, most of them are concerned with oil and natural gas reserves lying beneath the ocean floor and the winds blowing a hundred or more feet above the water’s surface.
If the United States stops burning coal, shuts down one-quarter of existing nuclear reactors and trims its use of natural gas by 2050, the resulting increased reliance on wind, solar and other renewables will not result in a less reliable electricity grid.