Friday, June 27, 2008

In An Act Of Shear Ignorance The U.S. Freezes Solar Energy Projects

Just as the Solar Industry is really heating up, The United States goes and pulls something like this! The United States federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take two full years! Wow, that is just what we needed with unbelievably high oil and energy prices... now that is thinking. I know that the puppets in our government are being strung along by the oil and coal companies, but this is just ridiculous... Here is part of The New York Times article...

The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

But the decision to freeze new solar proposals temporarily, reached late last month, has caused widespread concern in the alternative-energy industry, as fledgling solar companies must wait to see if they can realize their hopes of harnessing power from swaths of sun-baked public land, just as the demand for viable alternative energy is accelerating.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Holly Gordon, vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs for Ausra, a solar thermal energy company in Palo Alto, Calif. “The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry.”

Much of the 119 million surface acres of federally administered land in the West is ideal for solar energy, particularly in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California, where sunlight drenches vast, flat desert tracts.

Galvanized by the national demand for clean energy development, solar companies have filed more than 130 proposals with the Bureau of Land Management since 2005. They center on the companies’ desires to lease public land to build solar plants and then sell the energy to utilities.

According to the bureau, the applications, which cover more than one million acres, are for projects that have the potential to power more than 20 million homes.

You can read the entire article here!

What do you think about this latest move by The United States federal government?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Solar Powered Boat Race!

LEEUWARDEN, Netherlands---- Forty boats sped off silently Monday in what is billed as the world's largest race for solar powered watercraft.

High winds capsized several boats during a time trial qualifying round Sunday, and technical problems with the launching crane pushed back Monday's start. But all 40 qualifiers finally departed under fair skies, spokeswoman Christel Pieper of the Frisian Solar Challenge said.

The six-day race covers a 135-mile course on a network of canals, rivers and lakes in the north of the Netherlands. Speed limits on narrow waterways have been temporarily waived for the boats, the fastest of which can go nearly 19 mph.

Sunlight is not the most obvious source of renewable energy in the rain-soaked Netherlands, but organizers say the threat of poor weather will spark creative design.

Participants met that challenge with technologies that included water-cooled solar cells, carbon fiber propellers, and mathematically-optimized designs to reduce drag.

The Technical University of Delft, which won last year's event, has outfitted its boat with gallium arsenide solar panels, and the hull was professionally engineered by the Marin Research Institute Netherlands.

The craft weighs less than 200 pounds without the skipper.

Delft also is a perennially strong contender in a similar solar car race in Australia.

Winning isn't the only objective. Many racers are intent on other goals, ranging from promoting solar energy to learning how to design the most efficient trash collection.

Ronaldo Fazanelli Migueis of the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said his team's interests lie in making a lightweight boat with a simple design for mass production.

''Our goal is to use this kind of technology for small boats in Guanabara Bay in our zero garbage program,'' he said. The boats, to be solar-powered in the future, will be used to pick up floating trash in the bay next to Rio de Janeiro.

Competitors include technical students just out of high school, doctoral students, and even independently wealthy hobbyists.

''Our secret weapon is our propeller,'' Joop Steenman, a private enthusiast, said of his large, yellow boat. Its precisely-engineered carbon fiber blades cost $8,500.

Steenman, owner of a gas turbine company, said he spent $186,000 on his boat, which is shaped like an aircraft carrier and has a single hull and a large deck covered with a thin layer of black solar cells. The cells can generate a combined 1.6 kilowatts under ideal conditions, Steenman said.

Steenman hired the former students from Delft University who won the 2006 race to design the craft.

''The only thing I did was select the color,'' he said.