The penetration of renewable energy into the electricity supply mix has been much in the news recently. During the first quarter, Portugal generated three-quarters of its electricity with renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Germany, one-fifth of all electricity was generated with renewables, most of that from new sources of renewable energy, such as wind and solar. And recently, at a conference in San Francisco, attendees heard calls for generating not just 100 percent of electricity supply with renewable energy, but far more — 200 percent to 300 percent of generation — in order to meet the need for heating, cooling, and transportation as well.
A Seattle-area company developed the wind turbines Majel Dixon is talking about. They’re called Powersails. The blades look more like a sail from a sailboat than the traditional propeller-like blades seen at wind farms.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is adding to its already impressive list of renewable energy innovations with a new two-year plan to develop custom forecasting systems for wind energy and solar power. NCAR scientists and engineers will develop technology to improve wind power output by predicting sudden changes in wind speed, help wind farm operators avoid curtailment during icy conditions, and predict the amount of energy generated by small-scale solar energy installations.
Iowa's largest energy company announced plans Wednesday to spend $1.9 billion to install hundreds of wind turbines by the end of 2015, marking what the governor described as the largest economic development project in the state's history.