By Kirsten Korosec | SmartPlanet— Alaska utilityKodiak Electric Association has aspirations to double the capacity of its wind farm project, which already provides nearly 10 percent of its power. To do that, KEA has to somehow bring stability to this sporadic source of power. Its answer: a battery farm.
Xtreme Power announced Tuesday an agreement with KEA to install a 3 megawatt battery storage and management system onto the Pillar Mountain Wind Project. The 4.5 MW wind farm was completed in 2009. The rural utility decided last year to expand Pillar Mountain in an effort to wean itself off diesel-powered generation. But the intermittent nature of wind power on this scale can create grid instability issues, the electric cooperative noted in a release today. Ultimately, the electric cooperative wants 95 percent of its electricity to be generated by renewable energy by 2020.
Xtreme Power’s battery storage system, which has management software designed to control use and smooth out power fluctuations on the grid, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012. Read more
The Republic | FAIRBANKS, Alaska — When the drone of a massive air compressor chugged to a halt Friday morning at a construction site near the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Jack Hebert said with a smile that it would be the last time any fossil fuel would be used there.
Hebert, the president of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, was joking — but not by much. CCHRC and UAF are joining together to build a new student housing complex with the experimental buildings that they believe will function year-round without burning any on-site oil.
Planners for the development, dubbed the Sustainable Village, unveiled designs Friday for four new buildings at the site near UAF’s lower campus. By using super-insulated buildings, solar heat systems and biomass, they hope the project will ultimately help a region struggling with high energy costs.
Planners behind the development are setting expectations high from the start. Hebert thinks the lessons learned from the Sustainable Village development could transform cold-weather home-building techniques.
“We want this to be a worldwide example of what can be done at this latitude, and I think we’ll accomplish that,” Hebert said.
The project is unusual not only for its ambitions, but for how it has developed. CCHRC sought design ideas from UAF students last fall, and the winning five-student team joined planners this winter to come up with a prototype for the development.
The more ambitious elements of the student design, such as a “living machine” that would treat wastewater with plants and micro-organisms, didn’t make it into the buildings that will go up this summer. But the basic layout for the homes — boxy designs with flat roofs, an outside deck and big, south-facing windows — was largely intact from the student blueprints.
They’ll be integrated with a heavily insulated envelope, a solar-hydronic heating system and, most likely, a pellet stove for a mid-winter boost. Two different types of foundations will be used, along with four different types of wall systems. A 14-kilowatt array of solar panels at the site was funded by a UAF sustainability grant. Read more
By TED | MBT– What’s the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? It seems the answer is storage. This will allow us to have power on tap even when the sun’s not out and the wind’s not blowing. In this TED video, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy.
By Leslie Guevarra of GreenBiz.com: Savvy investments in energy efficiency retrofits for buildings could yield more than three times their value, mounting to about $1 trillion in energy savings in a decade, says new research from Deutsche Bank and The Rockefeller Foundation.
The study released today said that yield would be just one of the returns if $279 billion were spent for retrofits of residential, commercial and institutional buildings in the United States.
In addition to saving about 30 percent of the United States’ entire energy spend during the course of a year, completion of the energy efficiency retrofits could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 10 percent and create 3.3 million job years — which means the projects could create an estimated 3.3 million cumulative years of employment — the study said.
Researchers in the building and sustainability fields have been touting the robust returns and benefits produced by energy efficiency retrofits for several years. In 2010, a study forecast that such projects could result in savings of as much as $41 billion a year in the U.S. And market leaders in business and real estate have made a point of spotlighting their successes, one of the most prominent being the Empire State Building retrofit. The New York City icon also serves as an example of green leasing program, a further strategy to achieve energy efficiency in commercial property. Read more
By Ian Larsenof Sun Star Reporter: Money is power. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, power is power. In Alaska it’s easy to take the state’s vast resources for granted, but thanks to the newest building on campus, UAF researchers will learn how to maximize those researchers. The Geophysical Institute and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power developed the soon-to-open Energy Technology Facility.
“Alaska has more fossil and renewable energy resources than any other state in the nation,” according to the ACEP website. “Alaska has the potential for long-term sustainable energy production through development of its natural gas, coal, oil, hydropower, tidal, geothermal and wind resources to meet the energy needs of the state and beyond.”
UAF built the facility to use these vast amounts of renewable energy and house the projects.
The ACEP team will celebrate the grand opening of the new Energy Technology Facility with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. Feb 15. ACEP will introduce researchers and the current energy projects that are in development.
This facility is located across from the Lola Tilly Commons and will allow ACEP to to house many of their projects on campus.
“We have research projects all over the state,” ACEP Director Gwen Holdmann said. “Battery research is done at Golden Valley, we have some wind energy research projects and hydrokinetics projects in rural areas.”
The facility will allow ACEP and other university researchers to easily perform large energy projects such as waste recovery, diesel fuel efficiency, advance-technology batteries, rural-community-scale power and wind-diesel technology. Through this research ACEP will be able to find cheaper and more sustainable ways to power Alaska.
The project broke ground last fall, and in less then a year the building is about to open for research. Read more
To see their installation on YouTube, click on the picture
Alaskan Wind Industries installed the first Skystream 3.7 Wind Turbine in Homer Alaska this year. This wind turbine is sitting 42ft high on Diamond Ridge facing the city. Each wind turbine is named by the homeowner or business for maintenance and for identification with manufacture. This wind turbine is named “Lucy in the sky with diamonds”. This couple has lived in Homer Alaska since the early 1950’s and was a recipient to the Exxon settlement to help them with the new clean energy. Deborah and Michael Limacher love the idea of clean energy and their motto is: “once the turbine is paid off, you have free and independent clean energy!!” These Business Owners of Heavenly Ridge will be receiving a 25% business grant for this project from the USDA as well as a 30% Tax Rebate from the Federal Government.
Cooper Landing Walkable Community needs your presence at our planning workshop August 11 and 12. We are working towards a more walkable community for safety, health benefits, environmental protection, economic stimulus, and energy conservation. We need your input.
Your RSVP in the affirmative is greatly appreciated!