Aside from President Obama’s latest strategy to expand domestic renewable energy production and kick-start the US economy, other renewables news includes:
Vertical or horizontal? Wind turbine research gets new impetus
Staying stateside, I found an interesting article on RenewableEnergyWorld.Com. This time it was about a resurgence of interest in offshore use of vertical-axis wind turbines. According to the online report, US-based Sandia Laboratories wind-energy researchers are re-evaluating vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) to help solve some of the problems associated with offshore energy generation.
Compared to horizontal-axis wind turbines, (HAWTs), the insensitivity of vertical rotors to wind direction changes allows for much larger rotors. What’s more, VAWT engineering is simpler and more accessible, so reducing operation and maintenance costs. Against this, there’s the more complex nature of VAWT blades and the ensuing manufacturing challenges. Further work also needs to be done on the problems associated with cyclic loading of the drivetrains. VAWT has been around for decades, but has fallen into the shadow of the horizontal-axis technology.
Maybe, however, with this new research initiative, we’re set to see a new shape on the UK wind-power generation horizon in the future.
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Subsidy cuts for UK onshore wind energy generation
At the same time, the BBC News Business website is reporting that the subsidy for onshore wind energy generation is to be cut by 10% – a fraction of the 25% cut that the UK Treasury is thought to have wanted. The latest cut is just one of several cuts which the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) believes will encourage up to £25bn in new investment in energy generation by 2017.
Red tape too…
And on the subject of cuts, how about DECC’s recent announcement that it has scrapped 86 rules and slimmed down 48 more to make life easier for UK businesses. The cuts and changes should eliminate red tape and reduce barriers to investment in the UK’s low carbon economy. As part of the government’s so-called ‘red tape challenge’, industry commentators have estimated that, along with other reforms to the energy market, the changes could save businesses around £400 million over the next two decades.
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