AOL Energy Week In Review

on May 27, 2011 at 5:09 PM

The renewables industry was all over the energy news this week as it receives wider mainstream support.

General Electric unveiled its newest technology, the FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant. As Breaking Energy reported, the plant will more efficiently incorporate renewables into its power system by quickly and efficiently ramping up and then ramping down operations.

“Much of today’s power generation was built for yesterday’s grid,” President and CEO of GE Power & Water Steve Bolze said at today’s press conference that announced the new product.

In the newest book of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Harnessing Variable Renewables: A Guide to the Balancing Challenge, the agency agreed with Bolze that a more flexible grid would allow for further integration of renewables. AOL reviewed the book and discusses its suggestions.

Efforts have also been made in the transportation sector. Breaking Energy covered the most recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Committe on Energy & Natural Resources and their consideration of two bills that would implement plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles for both trucks and cars in the near future.

Meanwhile, the Global Bioenergy Partnership, in preparation for the next G8 Summit, announced goals for wider use of bioenergy.

In the Middle East, Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians are working together to make solar energy more efficient. In China, wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind is using components manufactured by Finnish permanent magnetic generator firm The Switch at its new US manufacturing facilities, both companies announced. A featured video shows more about the project.

A Voice of Caution

But with all the support for renewables, came several strong voices of caution.

At a Nuclear Regulatory Commission event this week, Gal Luft of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, said that nuclear power was critical for energy’s future.

“If we want to live in a 21st century economy, we have to say yes to something,” he said. “I think it’s extremely naïve to say that there can be life without nuclear power.” Breaking Energy was there to report the story.

In other news, Maine homeowners sued their local utility for noise pollution cause by wind turbines. Take a look at the featured video showing the disruption these turbines can cause.

Old King Coal is Alive and Well

Perhaps the most dominant source of conventional power in the U.S. is coal. Breaking Energy looked at how coal continues to be a vital contributor to the American electrical grid.

Breaking Energy featured a story by Jason Hayes, communications director of the American Coal Council and writer for Coalblog, who defends the use of coal and is wary of claims that it can be easily replaced by wind power.

A featured video shows Obama telling a group of governors at the White House: “Coal is our most bountiful natural resource.” We are the “Saudi Arabia of coal.” In the video, Joe Biden defends the role of the stimulus in the coal and biofuels businesses. He says, the stimulus is “putting the country on track to lead in clean coal technology.”

Cartoon: Still not sure what a ‘negawatt’ is. Find out on Breaking Energy.

See More:

Video: The Future of Nuclear
Pennsylvania Regulators Face Their Future

U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel: A Market-Based Solution
Making Nuclear Waste Storage Profitable
Power Generators Split Over EPA Rule
Podcast: Shale Gale
Murkowski Seeks Wellinghoff Answers
Industry Blogroll: The Txchnologist
The Consumers Have Their Say