German Utilities Remunerated to Stabilize Grid Due to Increase Solar and Wind
Germany’s drive to further increase power output from renewable energy is causing so many drops and surges from solar and wind power that the government is paying more and more utilities to help stabilize the nation’s electricity flow. Twenty power companies now get remuneration for pledging to monitor and make the necessary adjustments to the grid in order to keep the power system stable. Utilities that sign up for this balancing proposal can be paid as much as 400 times wholesale electricity prices, according to data from the country’s four grid operators.
Profits Drop for Spain’s Iberdrola Due to Renewable Subsidy Cuts
Iberdrola SA, Spain’s biggest utility, revealed that first- half profit fell 13 percent after a reduction in clean-energy subsidies took full effect. Net income dropped to 1.5 billion euros from 1.7 billion euros a year earlier. The government cut aid for renewable energy companies in July 2013 as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy attempted to reduce the deficit in the electricity system. Chairman Ignacio Galan said that the renewable-energy business is likely to improve by year-end, given that no significant regulation changes occur in the second part of the year.
High-Temperature Superconductor Achieves New Record for Electrical Current
The National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), of the National Institute of Natural Sciences in Japan, has achieved a new world record for generation an electrical current. The researchers used a new idea of assembling state-of-the-art yttrium-based high-temperature superconducting tapes to create a large-scale magnet conductor. The tests of the prototype resulted to current exceeding 100,000 amperes at an absolute temperature of 20 degrees Kelvin (minus 253 degrees Celsius). Analysts say that the discovery is of global importance, especially in fields where powerful magnets and huge amounts of electrical current are needed.
Energy Department Issues $1.3 Million for Micro Wind Turbines
The Energy Department had just issued a total of $1.3 million in grants aimed at the further improvement of micro and mid-sized wind turbines. Though the fund is significantly smaller than what is given to solar, large-scale wind, geothermal and nuclear, it could make a significant impact in lowering costs and increasing the efficiency of small turbines ranging from 5kW to 250kW in rated capacity. The funding follows the Energy Department’s vision of more distributed wind energy in the residential and agricultural markets. Potential for community-based micro wind turbine projects is also a possibility.