Saturday, January 19, 2013

Last week's energy news from Overnight News Digest on Daily Kos

It's time to return to this month's theme with the energy news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (2012 hottest year in U.S.) on Daily Kos.  First, here's a story related to the wind energy stories I've already covered.

Treehugger: Apple's New Wind Tech Design Generates and Stores Heat
Derek Markham
Technology / Wind Technology
December 31, 2012
A patent application from the computing giant Apple claims to be able to store wind power as heat, and then release it on demand to generate electricity.

Apple doesn't just confine itself to innovation in computer and mobile technology, but also pursues ideas in other areas, such as renewable energy. A patent for a design for "On-Demand Generation of Electricity from Stored Wind Energy" was filed by the company in June 2011, and if it pans out, the new technology could help to even out the supply and demand disparities in wind power.
The idea is that the power generated when there isn't enough demand to use it is to store it as heat, which could then be used to generate steam to generate electricity during peak demand.  If it works, then it will eliminate one of the major issues with wind energy.

Next, the major utility in the city where I grew up has decided to allow its customers to sell power to it.  That will be a big step forward for sustainability.

L.A. Times: DWP will allow customers to sell back excess solar energy
The so-called feed-in-tariff program would pay customers 17 cents per kilowatt hour for energy produced on their own equipment.
By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
January 11, 2013, 6:53 p.m.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers for the first time will be able to sell back excess solar energy created on rooftops and parking lots under a new program approved Friday by the city utility's board of commissioners.

Described as the largest urban rooftop solar program of its kind in the nation, the so-called feed-in-tariff program would pay customers 17 cents per kilowatt hour for energy produced on their own equipment. The DWP has already accepted more than a dozen applicants and will be taking dozens more as it accepts contracts for up to 100 megawatts of solar power through 2016.

Environmentalists, business supporters and solar vendors were thrilled by the vote. Feed-in-tariff programs help generate jobs and economic activity while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, they say.

"Today's vote is a major step forward for the economic and environmental sustainability of Los Angeles," said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council, a group advocating the Clean LA Solar program since 2009.
I agree; it's a win-win situation for the utility, its customer, and solar power vendors.  Time to break out Professor Farnsworth.

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