Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Colorado Citizens Spoke, Governor Ritter Listened

Submitted by amyguinan on December 16, 2010 – 4:47pm

Colorado Governor, Bill Ritter, has been named America’s greenest Governor for his leadership efforts in transitioning Colorado to a “new energy economy” and Colorado citizens can take pride in knowing their bottom up activism related to clean energy and job creation was heard at the state level and helped to drive policy.

In a recent interview, Governor Ritter stated that “cultivating a competitive edge in energy and sustainable development is what we should be doing” and that these goals meet job creation and environmental concerns – both of which Colorado citizens has expressed concerns about.

Amendment 37, approved by Governor Ritter, sets Colorado’s renewable energy standard at 30% by 2020 – one of the highest standards in the country.  Furthermore, Ritter supports HB-1365 and belives that a transition off of coal and onto renewables or natural gas helps to address human-caused climate change and improves energy security.

In addressing citizen concerns about the stalemate in a national clean energy policy, Ritter said, “This isn’t Democrats versus Republicans so much as lobbyists and special interests standing in the way. If you see someone opposed to something like energy efficiency, they are probably hanging onto an industry that has seen its day.”

For more information on Governor Ritter’s new energy economy plans, click here: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2010/12/06/americas-greenest-governor-discusses-smart-growth-clean-energy

Solar Thermal Alliance Forming in Colorado

Submitted by amyguinan on November 5, 2010 – 9:17am

The Colorado Renewable Energy Society and the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association are leading the formation of a Solar Thermal Alliance for Colorado.  According to National Renewable Energy Lab researchers, “Colorado’s sunshine, climate, and heating requirements make solar thermal technologies perform better in Colorado than in any other state in the U.S. Colorado’s solar thermal expertise is among the best in the world.”

Their vision is to make Colorado a global leader in solar thermal adoption, installation, manufacturing, and R&D to boost Colorado’s economy, generate jobs, and help build a sustainable energy future.

If you are interested in lending your support to the Solar Thermal Alliance of Colorado, please send a quick e-mail to STAC@cres-energy.org

Impressive Developments in Concentrated Solar Projects – The Sun Shines Bright!

Submitted by amyguinan on November 4, 2010 – 2:05pm

Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems use lenses or mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Electrical power is produced when the concentrated light is directed onto photovoltaic surfaces or used to heat a transfer fluid for a conventional power plant.  Recent research and developments in CSP systems are yielding impressive results – and beyond the R&D phase, real CSP projects are moving forward and being implemented creating renewable energy and new jobs.

In our home state of Colorado, tests conducted by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden confirm that SkyFuel’s parabolic trough solar concentrator, the SkyTrough, has the highest standard for efficiency in its class.  NREL tests show the SkyTrough’s thermal efficiency at 350 degrees C (662 degrees F) to be over 73% efficient, meaning that nearly three quarters of the solar radiation striking the trough surface is converted into thermal energy.

In California six utility-scale solar power plants have been approved in California.  When completed, the combined power generation will be 2.8 GW, powering up to 2 million homes.   The largest of these 6 projects is the Blythe Solar Power Project, it will be the largest solar project ever on public land and will use parabolic trough similar to that used by SkyFuel in Golden.  Beyond the efficiency of this CSP systems, another advantage of this technology is that the heat can be stored in molten salt and used to create power when the sun isn’t shining.

For more information, visit

http://caivn.org/article/2010/11/09/six-utility-scale-solar-power-plants-now-approved-california

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/477871/ccfadfda7f/137926145/900c9543f9/

http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/09/03/skyfuels-skytrough-is-worlds-most-efficient-solar-concentrator/

Feed-in tariffs for Renewable Energy save French millions

Conventional wisdom sometimes suggest that as more renewables are added to a utility’s generating mix, the average cost of electricity increases, but French feed-in tariffs for wind, hydro, biogas and other technologies not only did not cost money in 2008, they also saved French ratepayers five million Euros through the year.

Furthermore, generation from renewables in France increased nearly three fold from 2003 through 2009.

Previous studies in Germany, Denmark, and Spain illustrated the significant monetary benefit when renewables offset conventional generation.

Increasing Levels of Renewable Energy Possible–Levels Above 30% Now Being Considered

Submitted by Leslie Glustrom on July 15, 2010 – 7:57pm

As Colorado and other states increase the levels of renewable energy on their system, it raises the question of how much renewable energy can be accomodated on the grid given issues of variability and uncertainty. A recent detailed analysis gives an optimistic answer and outlines what needs to be done.

After two and a half years of study, a large team of researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden along with other utilities and industry experts, released the long-awaited Western Wind and Solar Integration Study which concluded that for a group of Western utilities known as “West Connect” it is possible to accomodate up to 30% wind and 5% solar energy if additional efforts are made to increase the level of cooperation between what are known as balancing areas and to incorporate state of the art forecasts and other tools that will allow the grid to respond as renewable energy increasingly displaces fossil fuel generation.

The Western Wind and Solar Integration Studies can be accessed here. The Executive Summary is attached below.