In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):
- The ACEEE releases its State Efficiency Scorecard — which state leads in green energy?
- The world’s largest wind turbines will be erected off the UK’s Yorkshire coast.
- Power company Ameren has to clean up two coal plants in Missouri, judge rules.
- Researchers are working on an eco-friendly, aluminum renewable energy storage battery.
The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its 13th annual State Efficiency Scorecard. As US News & World Report summarizes:
The report ranks the states based on more than 30 metrics in these categories: utility and public benefits programs and policies, transportation policies, building energy efficiency policies, combined heat and power policies, state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency, and appliance and equipment standards.
The good news is that there was a surge in state-level-led initiatives to adopt green energy. Massachusetts is leading the US for the ninth year in a row. California is No. 2, followed by Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York.
The most-improved award goes to Maryland, who jumped from No. 10 to No. 7.
However, 16 states fell in rankings, such as Kentucky, who went from 29 to 38 because some of the Bluegrass State’s utility companies reduced electricity savings programs. The last-place spot belongs to North Dakota, scoring 5 points out of a possible 50.
The ACEEE’s senior research analyst Weston Berg, the scorecard’s author, summarizes this year’s findings in the video below, and you can look at the report here to see where your state ranks if you live in the US.
World’s largest wind turbines
The world’s largest wind turbines in the world’s largest wind farm will be built at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, off the Yorkshire coast.
Each of the 300 12 MW turbines will be 853 feet (260 meters) high and will generate enough electricity for 16,000 homes. The rotor diameter will be 722 feet (220 meters). The Guardian reports:
Together, the new generation turbines — built by GE Renewable Energy — will make up a wind farm capable of generating enough renewable electricity to power 4.5 million homes from 130 km (80 miles) off the Yorkshire coast, or 5% of the UK’s total power supply.
Ameren has to scrub up in Missouri
Power company Ameren has been ordered by a federal judge to equip their Rush Island coal plant in Jefferson County, Missouri, with “scrubber” technology, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. This is to correct a Clean Air Act violation at the plant. The technology must be in place within the next four and a half years.
In a scrubber, there is a fine water-droplet spray that is mixed with crushed limestone, which reacts with the sulfur oxides from a coal plant’s smokestack exhaust.
In January 2017, US District Judge Rodney Sippel ruled that the Rush Island plant violated the Clean Air Act and ’emitted significantly more pollution’ after Ameren made major modifications to boost its power output without obtaining necessary permits. But in the nearly three years since, both the St. Louis-based electric utility and environmental groups have awaited word on — and argued over — what remedy the company would be ordered to pursue to reduce emissions of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide.
Furthermore, Sippel ruled that Ameren’s Labadie Energy Center — the largest coal-fired power plant in [Missouri] and one of the most prolific in the country — ‘must reduce emissions commensurate with the excess emissions released by Rush Island.’ That calls for installation of separate pollution controls within three years.
The ruling will cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Ameren intends to appeal.
Green battery breakthrough
More eco-friendly renewable energy storage batteries may be in the pipeline (but it might take a while). Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia, have developed a new concept for an aluminum battery that “has twice the energy density as previous versions, is made of abundant materials, and could lead to reduced production costs and environmental impact.”
The trick was to replace the usual graphite cathode (the positive electrode) with anthraquinone, an organic carbon-based molecule that ups the density by storing positive charge carriers coming from the electrolyte.
If aluminum does reach parity with lithium… it could lead to a sea change where renewable energy and electric cars run on more readily available and recyclable materials.
The idea has potential for large-scale solar and wind storage.
Photo: Beaumont Solar, Massachusetts
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