Energy News and Notes – April 10, 2013
Solar Panel Innovation in Israel
Researchers at the Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center in Israel have discovered a key solution for one of the potential stumbling blocks regarding solar panel effectiveness. One issue addressed in November regarding India’s push toward solar energy was the threat of heavy sand and dust build up on panels, which dramatically affects their performance. The process was developed by Sergey Biryukov, involving the repelling of particles from sticking to solar panels. Simply put, his process involves two electrodes; one electrode applies the same electrical charge to all surrounding particles using a process called ion bombardment. The second electrode, charged the same as the first one, repels the particles away, keeping the solar panel clean and effective.
The best part, as Biryukov states, is how this technology can be applied to any solar panel, before or after it’s installed. Although the technology may be unnecessary for most panels, it could be a huge economic and environmental boost for those who use water to spray their panels, keeping them dust free. For a video showing the new technology, click here.
Massive Renewable Energy Project Announced for Texas, US Military
The US military and Texas’ efforts to embrace renewable energies have been well-documented, so it’s no surprise that Fort Bliss, located in El Paso, announced last week they will launch what will become the largest military renewable energy project in history. Army Major General Dana J. H. Pittard, made the announcement, which will be the largest partnership between the US military and a major utility on a renewable energy project. The current project is expected to generate 20 megawatts of solar energy, which is enough to power their division headquarters and most of the eastern section of their base. Pittard added, “The solar farm, along with our environmental campaign plan, are both part of a larger effort to make Fort Bliss the most fit, the most healthy, most resilient community in America that is environmentally sound and is best at preparing soldiers and units for combat.”
Bipartisan Fracking Compromise and Government Acceptance?
Policymakers are working together towards a consensus on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). A bipartisan coalition, including the Environmental Defense Fund and executives from Shell Oil, Chevron Corp, and others, agreed on establishing performance standards for the industry and creating an administration to enforce them, dubbed the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD). The 15 performance standards address various air, water, and climate concerns involved with day-to-day operations for fracking companies. Although there is considerable backlash from extremists on both sides of the issue, and only 4 major fracking companies have officially accepted the standards, the broad, bipartisan effort made to create the CSSD should not go unnoticed.
On Capitol Hill, EPA administrator-in-waiting Gina McCarthy and energy secretary appointee Ernest Moniz will both face questioning from the Senate committee this week regarding what their initial strategies will be in the future. Both of them, especially Moniz, are known to have strong working relationships within the fracking industry and they will be questioned heavily on their intentions for their respective departments. But make no mistake, McCarthy and Moniz should both play a pivotal role in advocating additional fracking (and additional fracking standards, like the CSSD) and the development of fracking jobs, resulting in strengthening the economy.
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