Electric power without transmission lines

Hundreds of companies are investing in electricity transferred through magnetic fields.

Nikola Tesla, the inventor and rival to Thomas Edison, in the early 1900’s built the Wardenclyffe Tower, a 187-foot-high structure on Long Island, which he said could transmit electricity wirelessly. Financier J.Morgan backed the Wardenclyffe Tower. The project failed, and Tesla ended up broke. (In an earlier experiment in Colorado, Tesla had wirelessly lit up 200 lamps over a distance of 25 miles, but pedestrians witnessed sparks jumping between their feet and the ground, and electricity flowed from faucets when turned on. Oops.)



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11 major trends in mass energy storage

What are energy CEO’s thinking?

Grid-Scale Energy Storage in North America 2013: Applications, Technologies, and Suppliers, author Chet Lyons spoke with dozens of energy storage CEOs and summarized their thoughts in a recent report. Below is an excerpt of his 311-page report, highlighting eleven common threads shared by energy storage executives.



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Global wind power capacity expected to skyrocket

Wind power could generate as much as 18 percent of global electricity by 2050.

Wind energy only accounts for a small percentage of global electricity production even though we have seen more wind farms popping up over the last few years. Wind power generates only 2.6 percent of the world’s electricity, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency, but that number is expected to grow significantly over the next few decades.



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Carbon-negative energy now a reality

In 2007, officials from Berkeley, California shut off the electricity to an artists space known as the Shipyard. That action, which forced the artists there to seek a new way to power their flamethrowers, is the origin story of a company that now produces what it says is the world’s only carbon-negative power source.



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Self-destructing microbial robots turn wastewater into high value products

A company called Pilus Energy has a new technology for harvesting renewable energy from wastewater. The company has tweaked bacteria to come up with proprietary energy-harvesting organisms it calls BactoBots™, leading to a new generation of high efficiency microbial fuel cells.



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The future of the energy infrastructure in the U.S.

The U.S. has massive renewable energy potential.

Transmission lines hold much of the same challenge and promise of the interstate highway system a century ago. The transmission network – the high voltage, long distance power lines that carry electricity from power facilities and into communities – is currently a patchwork system, lacking centralized organization or planning. Assuming that America cannot achieve 100% clean energy with distributed resources, the transport of renewable electric energy across state lines is a major hurdle to realizing a future without fossil fuels.



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China may get over its coal addiction faster than anyone thought

Beijing’s air quality is thanks in large part to coal-burning.

Lead writers of Citigroup’s new note attacks “one of the most unassailable assumptions in global energy”—the forecast that China’s coal consumption will grow wantonly over the next two decades. By extension, it challenges apocalyptic climate change forecasts.

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South Australia to reach 50% renewable energy within 10 years

31 percent of South Australia’s total energy came from renewable sources in 2012 and 2013.

In South Australia, one in five houses already has a rooftop solar array. Twenty-seven percent of that region’s power is derived from wind energy. New figures released by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) predict that thanks to new sources of wind and solar power in development, the area could source half of its energy from renewables within the decade. This would make South Australia the first industrialized region to achieve such an accomplishment, surpassing other green-power giants like Denmark and Germany.



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