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Renewing the Globe? Europe Leads the Way in Energy Alternatives
(Released April 2012)

 
  by Ethan Goffman  

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News Articles

  1. SHINING EXAMPLE

    Covington, Richard, Smithsonian, 07-01-2010

    AMID THE GREEN WHEAT FIELDS, OAK GROVES AND ANcient olive trees of Andalusia, a giant solar energy farm shimmers like a silver sea. Even under cloudy skies, the arrays of mirrors and massive towers sprawling over three square miles are an arresting sight.

    Twenty miles west of Seville, the Solúcar solar farm, built by the company Abengoa, is part of Spain's push to produce more energy from renewable sources. The nation currently produces up to 3.65 gigawatts of power from the sun, secoitd in the world after Germany. Those gigawatts make up about 3 percent of the country's power, the highest percentage in the world. (The United States generates less than 1 percent of its energy from the sun.) Spain's solar output is expected to rise in the next three years to seven gigawatts, enough to supply about ten million people – the combined population of Madrid and Barcelona – with electricity during the day.

    The Solúcar farm is pioneering technologies that are being replicated in the United States, including concentrated solar power, or CSP. While traditional solar panels use photovoltaic cells to convert the sun's rays directly into electricity, CSP deploys huge banks of mirrors to focus solar radiation; the intense heat drives steam turbines, producing electricity in a process similar to the one used in coalor oil-fired plants, but without the greenhouse gas emissions...

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

  2. OFFSHORE WIND: The shape of wings to come

    The Engineer, 02-22-2010

    The outline of a wind turbine – tall pylon, three large feather-shaped aerofoil blades rotating in a vertical plane – is so established that it has become emblematic. Wind farms are even represented on maps by a diagrammatic form of the horizontal-axis turbine. According to a UK consortium, however, in the very regions where the wind is strongest, the standard turbine has inherent drawbacks that might see it superseded by a very different design – currently under development and with plans for full-scale testing within five years. So what could be the new iconic outline? Think of something like a rotary washing line.

    'The problem with standard horizontal-axis turbines, particularly offshore, is that they have to be so big,' said Prof Feargal Brennan of Cranfield University, who is leading the research on Project NOVA (Novel Offshore Vertical Axis). 'If you look at offshore wind farms, you'll often see that several of the turbines aren't running – that's because they've broken down and they're extremely difficult to fix.'

    With pylons that can be over 100m high and blades up to 60m long, offshore turbines are mighty structures; the largest rotating machines in the world, subject to tremendous stresses from the wind and sea. Moreover, their sites can be difficult to reach, as bad weather and rough seas can render them inaccessible. 'How do you get someone up to the top to maintain them?' Brennan asked. 'You can't do it by helicopter, because it's too hazardous. It has to be carefully scheduled and it's frequently impossible.'

    The NOVA generator looks strikingly different. Instead of a tall tower, the turbine is a wide V-shape, with two wing-like aerofoil arms punctuated by perpendicular sails. Tension wires run between the two arms to support the structure. The base of the V is at or near sea level and turns on a vertical axis. 'The generator for this design isn't way up in the air, it's down where it's more accessible,' Brennan said...

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

  3. ENERGY EFFICIENCY : COMMISSION TO RETHINK POLICY IN 2012

    Europe Information, 03-04-2011

    The European Commission is finally set, on 8 March, to come forward with its Energy efficiency action plan' (EEAP). The document, long overdue, will revise the 2006 action plan. The 2011 EEAP aims to tackle the lack of progress in reaching the 20% energy savings target set for 2020. In drafts of the communication, seen by Europolitics, the Commission is promising further assessment ahead of the spring 2012 European Council. If "necessary," officials will then propose the option of setting binding national energy savings targets.

    Despite airing the possibility of binding efficiency targets (if insufficient progress is made), the Commission stresses that these targets would take into account factors such as individual starting points. Other criteria could be population, economic performance, including GDP per capita, as well as early action in the field. Member states, with a strong majority against binding targets, will have time to fight back as the communication is only a first step.

    The EEAP should be followed by a proposal for a new Energy Savings Directive implementing many of the measures vented. The Commission boasts of ecodesign measures, in 2011 and 2012, setting new requirements for industrial and household appliances. This includes new ecodesign measures for standard industrial equipment, such as motors, large pumps and furnaces. Additionally, the Commission will come forward with proposals on "innovative" financing tools, also in 2011. Utilities, too, will have to help customers cut their energy consumption. Interestingly, DG Energy talks timidly of broadening its approach to cover systems, including the whole energy chain from generation to end-use, and not just final energy use...

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

Historical Newspapers
  1. Wind power: breaking through the cost barrier

    By Thomas Land Special to The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file). Boston, Mass.: Oct 29, 1980. pg. 14, 1 pgs

    Abstract (Summary) Before the end of the year, many farming communities in the remote Orkney Islands, north of Scotland, are to receive electricity from wind power. Farther south, Britain intends to install several hundred aerogenerators offshore in the stormy North Sea.

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

  2. Heavy Energy Tax Is Proposed to Curb Emissions in Europe; Industries are strongly against the surcharge.

    By PAUL L. MONTGOMERY Special to The New York Times, New York Times (1923-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 26, 1991. pg. D3, 1 pgs

    Abstract (Summary) BRUSSELS, Sept. 25 — The European Community today became the first industrialized region to propose a clean-energy tax in an attempt to curb worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide.

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

  3. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; Spain Tries Electricity Shaken, Not Stirred

    JOHN TAGLIABUE, New York Times (1923-Current file). New York, N.Y.: May 12, 2000. pg. C4, 1 pgs

    Abstract (Summary) BENAMEJI, Spain—Travel this corner of Spain, with its endless hills of olive groves, and you begin to realize why the country thinks of itself as a kind of Saudi Arabia of olive oil.

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

Taken from ProQuest's Historical Newspapers.

Dissertations

  1. Creating a sustainable Europe: The role of the European Union structural funds

    by Christopoulou, Ioli, Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), 2011 , 465 pages; AAT 3482168

    Abstract (Summary)
    The aim of this research project is to examine the effectiveness of the structural funds in assisting the transition of the European Union (EU) toward sustainable development. Specifically, the study examines how cohesion policy has responded to the sustainable development imperative and to the requirement of environmental integration.

    EU cohesion policy seeks to ensure that the benefits from the integration process are distributed equitably across different groups and regions, through its main financial instruments, the structural funds. The questions that the research project addresses are: (1) how have the structural funds addressed sustainable development and especially its environmental pillar? and (2) why have the structural funds been applied in the way that they have, and to what extent has their application supported the realization of sustainable development? The research explores whether the EU's governance system can effectively respond to changes in policy priorities.

    Having established that the regulatory framework of cohesion policy has incrementally integrated environmental considerations, this project undertakes a comparative case study of the application of the structural funds in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Hungary. Specifically, the research traces the evolution of environmental integration in programmes co-funded by the EU in these four member states over several programming periods. The examination benefits from a synthesis of theoretical perspectives on the evolution of the EU.

    The case studies demonstrate that while attention to the environment has increased slightly over the years, integration of the environment into programme objectives and funding priorities of the countries examined has been gradual, modest, and at times counterproductive to environmental sustainability. Spending allocation, especially direct environmental investments, has remained largely unchanged. The study concludes that missing links in the multi-level governance of the EU can explain the ineffectiveness of the EU in supporting the transition to sustainable development.

    This research project provides evidence that the EU must expand its efforts to incorporate environmental concerns into cohesion policy if it is to achieve its stated sustainability objectives. By understanding the lessons learned, the findings could contribute to a more rapid and also more responsible transition to a sustainable future for Europe.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  2. Dynamic Analysis of a 5 Megawatt Offshore Floating Wind Turbine

    by Harriger, Evan Michael, M.S., University of California, San Diego, 2011 , 55 pages; AAT 1495260

    Abstract (Summary)
    Offshore wind is a valuable source of renewable energy, as it is typically strong and steady. Turbines have been utilized offshore in parts of Europe and Asia, however only at shallow depths. Floating wind turbines must be implemented in deeper areas to be economical, but this technology is relatively new and untested. This paper describes a numerical analysis model that can be used to investigate the motion of a 5 MW floating turbine subjected to ocean conditions. Prototype designs for a spar buoy and barge platform are studied. The stiffness and damping effects brought about by the mooring lines are evaluated using a dynamic cable model. A boundary element model is used to calculate added mass and damping effects, as well as the forces on the structure caused by the wave-body interaction. The governing equations of motion include all the added mass, damping and stiffness components in the frequency domain. Response of the structure is found by solving the governing equation combined with a wave spectrum to represent actual ocean wave fields. Approximate bending moments at the base of each design are found by inputting the predicted base motion into a linear modal analysis model created in SAP2000. Based on the results found in this paper, incoming waves cause much greater motion of the barge design, especially in the pitching direction.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  3. European energy policy: Politics and problems in the late 20th century

    by Shove, Graham, M.A., University of Massachusetts Boston, 2011 , 97 pages; AAT 1494062

    Abstract (Summary)
    This paper examines energy policy in the European Union from 1991 to 2007. The topics discussed include a concise history of European integration, policy initiatives by the European Union concerning energy, the national policy trends of Britain, Germany, Italy and France, and the effects on supply and security of energy dependence on Russia. Further examined are the relationship and conflicts between national energy policies and the supranational policies of the European Union. Much attention is given to the role of the European Union commission in forming and initiating energy policy. The author finds the growing role of the European Union in European energy policy to be the product of globalization and improved economic conditions in the 1980's and 1990's, as well as due to the strong leadership provided by the Delors commission. While the European Union has an expanding role in energy, there are many problems faced by this growing responsibility. The formation and development of giant national energy companies pose a direct challenge to the European Union's goal of market liberalization as does the growing specter of energy dependence on Russia. These problems are significant, but the increasing role of the European Union in energy policy seems likely to continue. The movement toward a supranational energy policy in Europe highlights a more general political shift away from nationalism. This trend could change the political structure of Europe drastically in the next few decades.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  4. Energy-based analysis of utility scale hybrid power systems

    by Agyenim-Boateng, Kwame, M.S.M.E., University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2011, 90 pages; AAT 1506862

    Abstract (Summary)
    The promise of large-scale use of renewables such as wind and solar for supplying electrical power is tempered by the sources' transient behavior and the impact this would have on the operation of the grid. Among the methods cited for addressing some of those concerns are exploring the complementary nature of solar and wind power generation, and through the use of supplemental energy storage. While the technology for the latter has not been proven to be economical on a large scale at the present time, some assessments of what magnitude is required can be made. An energy-based analysis of utility scale hybrid electric power systems based on wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), energy storage and conventional plants has been performed. The main objective was to optimally size the required energy storage capacities for the given load profile with imposed grid supply generations from wind, solar PV and limited conventional plants outputs. A second objective was to address the question of optimal mix between solar and wind for a considered hypothetical case of 100% renewable energy based grid. The study was carried out using a Southwestern U.S. utility grid hourly load data of 2008. NREL's Solar Advisor Model (SAM 2010) with TMY3 solar data was used to estimate the solar PV system power generation whereas the wind power output data was obtained from NREL/3TIER Group modeled wind data set developed for the U.S. Western Wind and Solar Integration Studies. It was found for the study area that the diurnal and seasonal output profiles of solar PV and wind power do not have the desired complementary nature for exploitation, with a significant weighting (95%/5%) in favor of solar PV when deployed in tandem. The required energy storage capacity was observed to be highly influenced by the flexibility (or base loading) of the grid system.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database