New solar developments may repurpose 15 million acres of U.S. landfills, Texas is using climate change to benefit the wind industry and a new system will help New England wind farms produce energy that actually makes it to the grid. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
Brownfields Prove to be Untapped Opportunity for Solar Projects
Project developers in the U.S. are looking to new locations to expand the solar industry. Brownfields, typically contaminated land or closed landfills, are becoming more attractive for solar developments. Since the U.S. has an estimated 15 million acres of landfills and other contaminated sites, new solar developments would pose an excellent way to repurpose the land and produce renewable energy.
6 Reasons Why Texas Leads the Nation in Wind Power
Climate change has heavily impacted the Lone Star State with drier air, more intense droughts, longer heatwaves and heavier downpours — but that hasn't stopped Texas. The state has become a national leader in clean energy solutions. In fact, wind energy has grown faster in Texas than any other U.S. state in recent years. With wide open spaces and flatlands perfectly situated to maintain steady winds, it is no wonder Texas has become a renewable energy powerhouse.
Wind energy output is dependent on the weather, i.e. how hard the wind is blowing. In some cases, the wind farms produce more energy than local transmission lines can handle, which has limited the ability of wind energy to make it to the power grid. In New England, major wind farms have been asked to reduce energy output in order to accommodate shifting wind conditions and small transmission lines. New changes are being made that will better integrate weather-dependent renewable energy into the New England power grid.
Google is now the largest consumer of electricity from wind and solar generated energy, with the Department of Defense trailing right behind. The investment in renewable energy is important for emission reductions and climate change, but these two large consumers know it has just as much to do with economics. Wind farms provide long-term fixed rate contracts to their buyers, which make renewables cost-competitive with fossil fuels.