Cisco ‘Connected Grid’ Routers and Switches Help Utilities, Environment

Author: Ed Silverstein

Cisco (NewsAlert) has announced its first Connected Grid products – starting with routers and switches – that will help utilities deliver electric power from generation facilities to businesses and homes, resulting in better energy management, as well as improved environmental conditions.

 The specially designed routers and switches provide a secure solution for utility substations to integrate IP-based communications with the power grid for improved monitoring and control, Cisco said.

The technology builds on existing Cisco Smart Grid products which increase grid reliability and industry compliance.

Features of the new products include:

  • The Cisco 2010 Connected Grid Router and Cisco 2520 Connected Grid Switch were designed to meet utility substation requirements.  
  • The CGR 2010 and CGS 2520 capture and analyze information from electronic devices in the substation.
  • The products help utilities to better manage and maintain power transmission and distribution equipment, as well as increase the reliability of power delivery by quickly identifying, isolating, diagnosing and, at times, automatically repairing faults.
  • The products also help utilities better integrate renewable energy into the grid.
  • The products also extend network-based security and management to substations, supporting remote engineering access and proactive maintenance programs.
  • The products are based on Cisco IOS software.

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26/05/2010 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

DOE Announces up to $62 Million for Concentrating Solar Power

Author: Alison Pruitt

The U.S. Department of Energy  (DOE) recently announced the selections of projects to receive up to US$62 million over five years for research into Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems capable of providing low-cost electrical power.

This funding will support improvements in CSP systems, components, and thermal energy storage to accelerate the market-readiness of this renewable energy technology.

CSP plants can include low-cost energy storage, allowing them to provide electricity even when the sun is not shining. The funded projects will seek to improve component and system designs to extend operation to an average of about 18 hours per day – allowing CSP plants to displace traditional coal-burning power plants.

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18/05/2010 at 7:09 am Leave a comment

Midwest should embrace clean-energy opportunities

Author: Kevin Gurney

The whirl of opinions on climate change is enough to make anyone dizzy. And with the Senate getting ready to consider energy and climate legislation, it’s easy to get bogged down in the politics of the moment and miss the big picture – especially when it comes to the scientific research that got us to this point in the first place.

As someone who has researched climate questions for 25 years, read thousands of scholarly articles and worked with researchers from around the globe, let me give you the scientific bottom line: Climate change is happening now, and we are primarily causing it.

We in Indiana need to remember that global warming won’t just affect polar bears and island nations. If climate change continues unchecked, science says our own state faces average summer temperatures as much as 13 degrees higher by the end of this century. Extreme weather events, such as flooding and droughts, will become more severe and more frequent. Growing zones for plants will shift, affecting our agricultural sector. Insect-borne diseases will shift northward as well.

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10/05/2010 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Former communist states improve in green energy

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Despite a wide-spread belief that former communist states are not keen on adopting green initiatives, some of the EU’s member states in the east are forging ahead with renewable energy policies, according to a representative from energy giant General Electric.

Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic are particularly active in the field of renewable energy although Poland is lagging behind, says Rod Christie, General Electric president for central and eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS countries.

“There is more wind generation in Romania, who only started two years ago, than there is in Poland who started 4-5 years ago.”

“Romania has implemented legislation, has a very good wind resource and we’ve seen what’s now the largest onshore wind farm outside of the US being constructed there,” he told this website.

A 600-megawatts (MW) wind farm in southern Romania is set to be fully operational in 2011. The €1.1 billion investment which includes 240 wind turbines produced by General Electric was made by the Czech power group CEZ.

Despite the recent political crisis and the recession projected to reach eight percent of the GDP this year, Romania’s situation is set to improve, Mr Christie believes.

“There appears to be more financing coming into the market. So there are some more projects we’ll be announcing probably in the near future, as customers start to get their financing in line,” he said.

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06/05/2010 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

CEE next big market for renewable energy

Central and Eastern and Europe (CEE) is boosting its renewable energy market making it attractive for investors and suppliers, according to analysts Frost & Sullivan.

In its report, Renewable Energy Regulations in Central and Eastern Europe – Strategic Analysis, Frost & Sullivan discusses how the threat of Russia cutting off energy supplies and the looming burden of the EU’s 2020 targets for renewable energy is spurring CEE to look at renewable energy.

“As CEE countries take on the challenge of developing their indigenous energy sources, companies are currently experiencing first-mover advantages that could place them ahead of the curve,” Frost & Sullivan says.

EU spurs renewable energy

Industry Analyst Guori Kumar, says: “The EU Directive for 2020 is pushing renewable energy markets in Europe, especially in the CEE region as it has not been traditionally focusing on the sector except for large hydropower for electricity, and biomass energy for heat.

“This is impelling CEE countries to review their energy portfolios and develop a strategy to achieve those targets in the most efficient way.”

Kumar believes the EU’s 2020 target is “the most significant driver for the CEE countries”, coupled with energy security issues.

High renewable energy potential countries

Five EU countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania – and the non-EU country Turkey, could see high growth in their renewable energy markets in coming years.

The forecasted growth is based on good incentive structure for renewable energy, growing demand, relatively investor-friendly environments and encouraging governments.

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06/05/2010 at 10:16 pm Leave a comment

Solar: Is the Czech Republic the Next Spain?

Author: Jennifer Kho

Think of the Czech Republic and you’re more likely to think of beer, castles or Kafka than solar power. But the Eastern European country is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets, says Jenny Chase, a senior associate with London-based research firm New Energy Finance.

The country installed 50.8 megawatts of solar power last year, up dramatically from only 3 megawatts in 2007, she says. The bulk of that capacity — 31.5 megawatts — got installed in December, which represented more than fivefold growth from the 5.81 megawatts installed in November.

Of course, even with that nearly 17-fold growth, the Czech Republic makes up a tiny slice of the world market. Spain installed a whopping 2.46 gigawatts last year, overtaking Germany — which installed 1.86 gigawatts — as the top market, according to a Solarbuzz report. That makes the Spanish market more than 48 times the size of the Czech market.

But as the Spanish market proves, new government policies can lead to dramatic changes from year to year. Spain saw a solar boom in 2007, when the government passed a 400-megawatt feed-in tariff program. Feed-in tariffs set a higher price for renewable energy, and Spain offered 42 euro cents per kilowatt-hour. The program, intended to last until 2010, reached its cap within the first year, then grew to an estimated 1.2 gigawatts during a grace period in 2008, while the country scrambled to come up with a new program, Chase says. (See stories about Spanish projects here, here and here.)

The Spanish solar market is now suffering from severe shrinkage after the country set a 500-megawatt cap and a price of between 32 and 34 euro cents (43 to 45.7 U.S. cents) for this year. The smaller market has contributed to a drop in solar-panel prices worldwide, Chase says.

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06/05/2010 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

Feds approve first offshore wind farm, buoying prospects in Md.

Author: Timothy B. Wheeler

The Obama administration’s approval of the nation’s first offshore wind farm near Cape Cod in Massachusetts buoys prospects for similar renewable-energy projects off Maryland’s shore and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast, proponents say.

But it may still be several years — if ever — before turbines are spinning wind into electricity off Ocean City, state officials note.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in Boston Wednesday that he had approved the controversial Cape Wind project, which calls for placing 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound. The project’s environmental, cultural and visual impacts have been hotly debated for the past nine years, since it would be placed in waters off Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island.

30/04/2010 at 6:07 am Leave a comment

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