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Posts Tagged "wind power"

Anecdotes from the Archive

For the sailor who prefers to be left high and dry

Sail Wagon

I’d like to imagine that an intense passion for sailing coupled with a severe case of hydrophobia were what compelled Mr. J. A. Aspinwall to invent the Sail Wagon, featured in the June 14th, 1884 issue of Scientific American. Or perhaps he just had enough foresight to design an ecofriendly and cost-efficient vehicle. The Sail [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Does Controversial Decision Pit California Condors against Wind Turbines?

california condor

Talk about a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. The U.S. needs to generate more renewable energy if we hope to stave off the effects of climate change. At the same time, critically endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)—which today number 417 birds after the last 22 members of their species were put [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Wyoming’s environmental Hobson’s choice: Killing wind energy or endangering birds?

sage grouse

Which is more important, an endangered bird or sustainable energy? That has become the question in Wyoming, where a recent ruling by the state’s governor has blocked future wind-turbine development in about 20 percent of the state in a move to protect the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). The controversial move came after the U.S. [...]

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Guest Blog

Scientists Team Up to Talk about Climate Change

People's Climate March, New York City. (South Bend Voice via Flickr)

As many as 400,000 people voiced their concern about climate change during the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21. Held just before the United Nations Climate Summit, the march was one of many events held around the world. It was the largest climate march in history and gave the impression that [...]

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Observations

“All of the Above” Energy Means More Fracking, Renewables, Nukes and Clean Coal

ernest-moniz

There is no technical issue with fracking, the controversial technique of fracturing shale rock with high-pressure, chemically treated water to release natural gas. But there is clearly a political one, judging by the multiple interruptions to a talk at Columbia University by new Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz. The affable former M.I.T. professor and [...]

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Observations

New research confirms global surface winds are slowing, blames land use changes

Are surface winds around the world really slowing down? That’s the suggestion of a new study in Nature Geoscience. The authors built on previous studies indicating such a trend by analyzing surface wind data from 822 wind stations in Europe, Asia and North America. The study concludes that the widespread "atmospheric stilling" has more to [...]

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Observations

Massive offshore wind-power backbone inspired by marine scientist’s model

offshore wind turbines

Renewable energy made big national headlines October 12 as a group of investors, including search engine giant Google, announced plans to build a 560-kilometer offshore wind power transmission "backbone" off the U.S. eastern seaboard. The developers of the plan say it will make wind power more economical and enhance the reliability of the existing grid. [...]

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Observations

Federal government approves Cape Cod offshore wind farm

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a federal blessing for the controversial Cape Wind project today—clearing a path for mammoth wind turbines to be built offshore of the Massachusetts vacation destination, the first such offshore wind farm in the U.S. Given that the United Kingdom (alone) has 1 gigawatt of such offshore wind [...]

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Observations

String of offshore turbines along East Coast could provide steady supply of wind power

offshore-wind-turbines

The problem with generating electricity by harnessing the wind is that it doesn’t always blow (though it may seem that way at times). And, typically, consumers remain intolerant of power interruptions. But there may be a way to ensure a steady supply of wind, according to a new study in the April 5 Proceedings of [...]

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Plugged In

Photo Friday: Titan supercomputer looks at cold weather wind

011014_0

Much of the world’s best wind resources lie in colder climates that can prove challenging for current wind turbine designs. This visualization is from research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where researchers are simulating the freezing of water droplets in order to help them in developing advanced wind turbines for cold climates. The team uses [...]

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Plugged In

Photo Friday: The pessimist complains about the wind…the realist adjusts the sails.

windmills_Denmark

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.“ ~William Arthur Ward When it was built in 2000, Middelgrunden (situated 3.5 km off Denmark’s coastline) was the largest offshore wind farm in the world. Today, its 20 turbines (40 MW) supply about 4% of Copenhagen’s electricity needs. [...]

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Plugged In

The Quest for Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Despite Failures

Wing Power Energy's small-scale vertical axis wind turbine. Image courtesy: Wing Power Energy

The vision is beautiful, if not somewhat tried: a large cluster of 360 foot tall towers encircled with long, slightly cupped blades, similar to airplane wings, spinning in the wind like a wind vane. The result? An outpouring of clean electricity at the Megawatt (MW) scale. That’s what Harry Ruda, CEO of Wing Power Energy, [...]

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Plugged In

Tax credits – the wind in wind energy

For wind power, 2011 was a great year. California added more new wind energy to the grid than any other state, according to a report published Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Energy. A number of other states received high honors as well. These include Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Colorado, which churned out at [...]

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Plugged In

Kites: A Favorite Toy’s “Magnificent Future”

Screen shot 2011-11-30 at 11.16.48 PM

Saul Griffith likes kites – but not the kind that you might have flown during your childhood. I’m talking about kites with wingspans bigger than a Boeing 747 – kites that are capable of generating (several times) more electricity than today’s stationary wind turbines. In his March 2009 TED talk, Saul – with Makani Power – [...]

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