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Hydropower can reduce high energy prices in Alaska

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The state of Alaska has some of the highest energy costs in nation. Not only that, the state is heavily dependent on importing diesel fuel to generate electricity in order to satisfy domestic energy needs. As the whole nation looks for clean energy solutions Alaska has to ensure not to be left behind and perhaps small hydropower is the way for Alaskans to move forward.

Small-scale hydropower projects are seen as ideal solutions for many rural communities in Alaska. Especially considering the Alaskan water riches which include thousands of rivers, streams and coastal areas where these projects could be both economically viable and reliable.

The Alaskans first need to grasp the concept of small hydropower with real numbers about the efficiency oh these projects, project-cost estimates, as well as other data that might be useful to communities that live in these areas. Both state as well as U.S. Department of Energy need to do more to spur the interest for small hydro projects in Alaska.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 06:30

America still needs nuclear power plants

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Nuclear energy is still significant source of energy in United States. Nuclear power plants currently satisfy around 20% of nation's total electricity demand. Unlike coal and natural gas, nuclear power plants do not emit harmful greenhouse gases, though they could still cause major environmental damages as was the case in Fukushima and Chernobyl.

Even despite these (rare) accidents nuclear energy is still needed to ensure stable and reliable energy supply in United States. Renewable energy sources, even despite strong growth of their respective industries, are still many years away from challenging the dominance of fossil fuels.

The fast growing solar and wind energy industries are still not enough to make the difference, with both these renewable energy sources currently combining for around 7% of U.S. electricity supply. The intermittency issue of these two energy sources still needs adequate solution that would free them of need for backup power from fossil fuels.

Nuclear energy is reliable and efficient source of energy, even during the extreme weather conditions. We are talking here about the average capacity factor of 96.1 percent – a measure of efficiency, according to data from the Energy Information.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 October 2016 07:09

Brazil can become one of global wind energy leaders

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Brazil, the world's fifth largest country, has already done meaningful things in term of its renewable energy development. All gasoline in Brazil contains ethanol and ethanol accounts for more than 50 percent of current light vehicle fuel demand. Not only that, according to the National Energy Balance more than 86% of electricity in Brazil comes from renewable energy sources, with hydropower providing over 70%.

The investment into wind and solar energy has also been growing rapidly. In fact, Brazil is currently one of the fastest growing solar energy markets in the world. Since the Brazil's National Electric Energy Agency wind energy auction in 2009, the country has added more than 7 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity, and wind power looks to be gaining momentum to become one of the dominant renewable energy sources in upcoming years.

Brazil has excellent wind power potential. In 2001, it has been estimated that the country's wind power potential is 143 GW but the recent estimates suggest much higher numbers, up to 880 GW, with the new study taking into account 100-meter high wind towers compared to the 50-meter ones used in 2001.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 October 2016 10:10

Can hydropower lead to increase in greenhouse gas emissions?

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First of all, there is no such thing as perfect energy source. Every energy source, whether renewable or not, has both advantages as well as disadvantages, and hydropower is by no means exception. And yes, in certain scenario hydropower could even lead to increase in greenhouse gas emissions. But does this mean we should stay with coal and other fossil fuels instead of using hydropower? The answer is no because to put it as simply as possible every renewable energy source is better energy solution compared to fossil fuels, especially on the long run.

Can hydropower lead to increase in greenhouse gas emission? According to the recent study by the researchers at the Washington State University hydropower is an "underestimated cause of greenhouse gases, producing around 1.3% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide".

When talking about the major disadvantages of using hydropower the most obvious issues include displacing thousands of people and destroying sensitive river ecosystems. This, of course, refers to large hydropower projects. The issue with greenhouse gas emissions refers to methane, a very potent greenhouse gas that can be found in reservoirs.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 October 2016 06:07

Wind energy makes perfect sense for Iowa

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In the last couple of years Iowa has become the fastest growing wind energy market in the United States. Texas still leads the way in terms of installed wind power capacity but it wouldn't take a brave man to bet on Iowa to become the leading U.S. state in not so distant future.

MidAmerican Energy company has already announced gigantic wind energy project, Wind XI,  with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts and 1000 turbines — enough energy to power 800,000 homes. Also, Alliant Energy plans another big wind power project,  a 500 megawatts capacity wind farm in north Iowa — enough to power 215,000 homes.

At this moment, close to 7000 Iowans work in the wind energy industry. Strong development of wind energy industry has brought manufacturers and other companies that maintain, repair and provide supplies for wind energy systems in Iowa.

Iowa is not only the home to many large wind farms, there are also numerous small wind power systems. Favorable incentives and strong wind energy industry has made it cost-effective to install small wind systems to power homes, businesses and farms.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 07:06

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