Geothermal

Japan says farewell to nuclear; welcomes wind power

Posted on May 23, 2011. Filed under: Energy Policy, Geothermal, Nuclear, Wind | Tags: , , |


From an article on Green Optimist via New Science:

Japan is planning to switch from nuclear power to renewable energy in the near future. This news probably doesn’t come as a surprise, given the country’s recent nuclear disaster. The population itself is so shaken with the events that two thirds of it are now supporting the government’s project to invest in wind and solar power. The idea is to make Japan rely entirely on renewable sources by 2050, which is a pretty high standard from what it has today.

Currently Japan has a 30% nuclear input and just a 3% clean power generation. The government is putting a stop on any new construction of reactors and is currently reorienting towards other horizons.

Anyone who knows a bit of geography knows that Japan stands very well at the geothermal energy chapter: it has 120 active volcanoes and 28,000 hot springs that go along. So it seems only natural that it should take advantage of nature’s gifts. Because of national parks and spas that block developments in those areas, the government could only come up with 14 GW of geothermal energy.

There’s nothing to worry about, though. Japan’s long coastline and the north-east region have it all going for them in terms of a profitable installation of wind turbines. Up there the wind is strong and there is plenty of land, making it the perfect location for any offshore farms that might venture in the area. Thus, one could see 24 to 140 GW-capacity turbines pop up during the next few years.

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Energizing Fort Atkinson’s schools from the sun and earth

Posted on December 21, 2009. Filed under: Geothermal, Solar |


From a case study of energy installations at Fort Atkinson schools by Michael Vickerman:

By Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin

As a result of educating themselves on the connection between energy use and atmospheric pollution, several school districts in Wisconsin are taking increasingly aggressive steps to conserve energy as well as produce a portion of what they use on-site. Some have embraced ground source heat pump systems (Fond du Lac High School), while others have installed solar hot water systems (Osceola Middle School) and solar electric systems (Paul Olson elementary school in Madison). Not to be outdone, Wausau East High School recently installed a 100 kilowatt (kW) Northwind turbine, which is now the largest wind generator attached to a school building in Wisconsin.

Yet if one measures success by substantial reductions in energy expenditures and emissions reductions, there is one school district in Wisconsin that stands head and shoulders above its peers: Fort Atkinson. Serving 2,700 school-age children in a community of 12,000, the Fort Atkinson School District operates six buildings: four elementary schools, one middle school and a high school. School officials have made no secret of their aspiration to make Fort Atkinson the most energy-efficient and self-sufficient K-12 district in the state.

Since 2005, Fort Atkinson has rigorously pursued a sustainable energy agenda that integrates, in a systematic and complementary fashion, continuous monitoring of consumption, aggressive building efficiency measures, and renewable energy capture. As articulated in its 2009 energy plan, the district’s principal goals for 2010 are nothing if not ambitious:
+ Pare energy costs by 20% from 2005 levels;
+ Lower carbon emissions by 25% from 2005 levels;
+ Obtain EnergyStar certification for all six schools; and
+ Install on-site renewable production at all six schools.

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Stoughton homeowners occupy net zero energy home

Posted on December 10, 2009. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Solar |


From a news release issued by WPPI Energy:

Additional proposals now being accepted for net zero homes

STOUGHTON, WIS., December 10 – Homeowners John and Rebecca Scheller recently completed a net zero energy home (NZEH) that combines state of the art, energy efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems through WPPI Energy’s GreenMax Home initiative.

A NZEH is one that produces as much energy as it consumes, yielding a net zero impact on the nation’s energy supply. Through the GreenMax Home initiative, the Schellers built their home in the WPPI Energy member service territory of Stoughton Utilities and encourage others interested in reducing their carbon footprint to apply for funding to help build or renovate a home with net zero energy use. . . .

To date, two GreenMax Homes have been completed in the WPPI Energy member service territories of Black River Falls, Wis. and Stoughton, Wis. The Schellers worked with Shaw Building & Design, Inc. and WPPI Energy to construct their NZEH, which was finished in November 2009. The couple will collaborate with WPPI Energy and Stoughton Utilities to share their experiences and monitor their energy use.

In Black River Falls, after five months of recorded energy use, Tom and Verona Chambers’ home continues to produce more energy than the homeowners consume, putting them on track to reach their 12-month net zero energy goal. . . .

The Schellers used readily available building materials to demonstrate the ease of building a cost effective, highly energy efficient home.

They paid careful attention to details, such as insulation and air sealing, while using standard building practices and materials comparable to most average homes today.

The couple’s attention to details will deliver energy savings for years to come. Among 11,000 homes tested through Wisconsin Energy Star Home testing, the Schellers’ home places in the top one percentile for air tightness.

“The Schellers’ home emphasizes one of the most important goals of the GreenMax Home initiative, which is to demonstrate practical ways that anyone can save energy at home,” said Stoughton Utilities Director Robert Kardasz. . . .

The Schellers’ home also incorporates innovative and sustainable features, including LED lights with diming technology, two geothermal heat pumps to provide space conditioning and domestic hot water, and an onsite solar photovoltaic system.

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Dave’s Brewfarm will craft Wind-brewed Beer

Posted on February 16, 2009. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Solar, Wind |


daves-brewfarm-building-the-tower

A crew prepares a tower for the wind turbine at Dave’s Brewfarm™.

From an article by Joe Knight in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram:

WILSON – Dave Anderson, 44, didn’t set out to save the planet. He just wanted to brew beer and do it in a manner that would be cost-effective in the long haul.

If it happens that his small brewery, Dave’s BrewFarm, uses more renewable energy than similar operations, he’s OK with that.

Anderson said the first time he visited the land that now is his 35-acre farm near Wilson, he noticed it was a windy ridge. “I stepped out of the car and I was struck by how windy this site was. Then the light bulb went on,” he said.

He needed a wind generator.

During the first week of February, a 20-kilowatt wind generator was erected on a 120-foot tower on the ridge in eastern St. Croix County where he is building a new home and micro brewery.

He will live above the brewery. The aroma of brewing beer won’t bother him, he said.

“When you’re boiling it smells kind of like cooked Grape Nuts. It smells kind of like a bakery,” he said. . . .

Anderson has consulted on the constructions of breweries in Italy, Vietnam, Israel and a couple of sites in the western United States. He also has traveled to Belgium to study how beer is brewed there.

During those travels he noticed that energy was costly in much of the world. Paying $8 or $9 a gallon for gas was common in Europe, and people there were investing in wind generation in a big way. The $4 a gallon gas last summer in the U.S. was a reminder that America is not insulated from volatile fossil fuel prices, so Anderson decided to generate as much energy as possible from alternative sources.

Making beer requires a lot of hot water, and solar panels on the south side of the building will heat water to 120 degrees – at least when the sun shines – for the first part of the brewing process.

He also will use heat from groundwater to heat the building in winter and cool it in summer. He has buried four 800-foot loops of pipe 8 feet deep for a geothermal system, which will provide substantial energy savings over standard furnaces and air conditioners.

The building is insulated with sprayed foam, which expands as it dries and does a better job of filling cracks than fiberglass insulation, he said.

Wastewater or gray water from the brewery will be used to irrigate hop fields and an orchard. A brewer’s garden will have herbs, spices and fruits, which have been used since people began brewing beer 6,000 years ago, he said.

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Doyle recognizes excellence of Mead Wildlife Center

Posted on December 5, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Green Building, Solar, Wind |


From an article by Carlos Gieseken in the Marshfield News-Herald:

To architect Tom Brown, [a long-time RENEW member], Mead Wildlife Center near Milladore is more than the latest and greatest in a long line of buildings designed during a 30-year career spent exploring “green” building technologies.

“It’s my baby,” Brown said.

“It relies on the way it’s built for its performance,” he said, with its east-to-west layout, maximizing the exposure to the sun while framing views of the 30,000 acre wildlife area.

“When the sun shines, the building smiles,” he said.

The Philadelphia native who moved to Stevens Point in 1977 was smiling when Gov. Jim Doyle presented the 2006 Excellence in Sustainable Design and Construction Award, given for sustainable design of a state project.

“It’s probably the greenest building the state owns right now,” Brown said. “Hopefully there will be more like it.”

The building uses wind, solar and geothermal energy, along with a small supply of electricity. The lobby’s biomass wood stove is lit once a day but radiates heat for up to 24 hours.

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