Fuel cells’ prospects of becoming a significant energy source are growing as costs decline and technology advances, helping the two leading players in the US industry, FuelCell Energy, and Bloom Energy.
In a signal of growing confidence in the full cell business, Bloom Energy is the subject of speculation that it will go public this year, said Sam Jaffe, research manager at IDC Energy Insights. Keep reading →
A Silicon Valley smart grid startup is gunning to lower the cost of demand response by 90% while increasing efficiency 30%.
Palo Alto, CA-based AutoGrid was founded by Stanford University professor Amit Narayan. Its most recent hire is smart grid pioneer Chris Knudsen. Knudsen, who formerly ran PG&E’s Technology Innovation Center, joins as chief technology officer. AutoGrid has already attracted marquee investors including Foundation Capital, Voyager Capital and Stanford University. What’s more, it is leading a $4-million grant project funded by DOE and the California Energy Commission to investigate “highly dispatchable and distributed demand response for the integration of distributed generation.” Keep reading →
With the exception of a few teams (Red Sox, Phillies and Cubs come to mind) most baseball fans are fairly mild mannered. In my house, we spend many summer nights falling asleep to the drone of the announcers’ voices as the seventh, eighth, ninth innings come and go. Football fans, on the other hand, seem to be more physically passionate. Maybe it’s the roughness of the sport. Or perhaps it’s the speed and action. Or the inherent excitement in each play. All I know is, if the lights were to go out for a few seconds in a baseball game, most fans would simply wave up the row for the beer guy. The millions of 49ers and Steelers fans in San Francisco and around their TV sets when two outages occurred during Monday night football reacted a little differently.
PG&E doesn’t have any more eyes left to blacken by consumers given their track record on smart grid implementation; the fact that they were unable to give a definitive reason for the outage did not help their cause. Whoever is to blame, one thing is certain. If the PG&E system and large facilities like sports complexes had energy storage technologies in place, the back-up power would come on in the blink of an eye and football fans would be none the wiser. Keep reading →
California has already been leading the country in solar developments as it races towards its goal of 30% renewable power by 2020.
On Monday, yet another solar plant was added to the mix in San Bernardino County. Spain’s Abengoa Solar announced that construction was in full force for its newest 280 MW CSP Mojave Solar project that just signed a power purchase agreement with PG&E. Keep reading →
NRG Energy is continuing its expansion. The generation firm’s portfolio now includes nuclear and coal in addition to wind and solar and it is increasingly serving customers around the globe.
Last Friday, NRG announced two separate acquisitions that will both broaden its portfolio and add to its generating capacity: the company bought a 250 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR), from SunPower, and completed acquisition of Philadelphia-based Energy Plus Holdings, an electrical retail company that specializes in providing customers with green energy options for home and office power. Keep reading →
With renewables ever more popular, the hottest new business may be flexible gas plants that can accommodate intermittent power generation.
An engine provider for both marine vessels and power plants, Finnish company Wärtsilä is busy expanding its flexible, fast-start gas-fired generation business in North America. On August 18, the company announced the commissioning of a new Modesta, California 49.6 MW natural gas plant, that uses six 20-cylinder 34SG Wärtsilä engines that can ramp up to full power within five minutes of being turned on and reach optimum efficiency within another five minutes. Keep reading →
The promise of riches and recognition bring entrepreneurs to the Cleantech Open each year; the contest has become a bellwether for industry trends, so that even established players are paying attention.
Since 2006, some 400 alumni have competed in the Cleantech Open. Last year there were 93 competitors and this year there are 150. Its 400 alumni have raised over $280 million in private capital, 80% remain economically viable today, and more than 2,000 new clean technology jobs have been created. Keep reading →