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U.S. Manufacturers Invited to Participate in Distributed Wind Technology Innovation

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Published on January 20th, 2021 | by U.S. Department of Energy

January 20th, 2021 by U.S. Department of Energy 


The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) and is accepting applications for the DOE Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) for distributed wind.

Managed by NREL on behalf of DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, the CIP awards cost-shared subcontracts and technical support to manufacturers of small and medium-sized wind turbines.

“The Competitiveness Improvement Project is designed to make wind energy cost competitive with other distributed energy resources,” said Robert Marlay, Director of DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. “Since 2012, this project has helped small U.S. businesses develop new and innovative distributed wind technology through financial support, the expertise of NREL researchers, and access to the lab’s research facilities.”

The Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) is making it possible for companies like Intergrid to develop innovative distributed wind technology, such as this modular power inverter for small wind systems. Photos by Robert Wills, Intergrid LLC.

One example of the impact the CIP is making on U.S. distributed wind and small businesses is Intergrid, which developed a modular power inverter for wind turbines under 25 kilowatts (kW) to meet updated grid integration requirements, while adding storage capabilities for resilient back-up power.

Though the expanding market for solar power has resulted in technical advancements for solar power inverters, significant differences in the technical requirements between wind and solar technologies make solar inverters suboptimal for use with distributed wind systems. The Intergrid inverter — which is expected to be manufactured by Matric Limited of Seneca, Pennsylvania, under a 2020 CIP manufacturing innovation award — fills a gap in the distributed wind industry by delivering an interconnection-code-compliant inverter designed for use with wind technology that is compatible with other distributed energy technologies.

“Intergrid’s new 25-kW wind inverter began as a concept and has now moved to the certification stage, thanks to the CIP,” said NREL distributed wind project lead Ian Baring-Gould. “In collaboration with industry, Intergrid developed this concept that meets all of the future interconnection standards for distributed wind and can, based on work being started this year, be deployed on wind turbines with capacity up to hundreds of kilowatts because of its modularity. It’s truly a game changer for the distributed wind industry.”

This latest RFP focuses on projects that:

  • Develop new, innovative distributed wind concepts.
  • Transform and optimize existing designs for lower cost, increased energy production, and expanded capabilities, such as advanced grid support to enhance power system resiliency.
  • Conduct turbine and component testing to national standards to verify performance and safety.
  • Develop advanced manufacturing processes to reduce hardware costs.

The CIP is designed to accommodate small businesses in different phases of the product development process — from pre-prototype paper design through commercial test unit. Companies are encouraged to apply to the topic area that best aligns with their technology readiness.

View the RFP for more information.

About the CIP

DOE’s Competitiveness Improvement Project supports U.S. leadership in distributed wind technologies. Managed by NREL on behalf of DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, the CIP supports innovation to advance wind energy as a low-cost distributed generation technology option by:

  • Reducing technology costs
  • Supporting product innovation
  • Optimizing wind turbines for distributed applications
  • Ensuring that distributed energy consumers have wind technology options that are certified for performance and quality
  • Developing advanced manufacturing processes to reduce hardware costs
  • Supporting the development designs for specific market applications, such emergency response
  • Expanding the compatibility of wind technology with other distributed energy resources for use in hybrid applications
  • Developing capabilities to provide grid support.

Through a competitive process, the CIP awards cost-shared subcontracts and NREL technical support to manufacturers and developers of small- and medium-sized wind turbine systems, expanding where distributed wind technologies can be used to provide local energy services, either paired with other renewable technologies such as solar and battery storage to increase resilience, or simply to reduce local energy costs.

Since 2012, NREL has awarded 44 subcontracts to 23 companies under the CIP, totaling $10.62 million of DOE funding while leveraging $5.41 million in additional private-sector investment.

For further information about the project, visit NREL’s website or download the DOE factsheet.

Article courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Featured image courtesy of Robert Wills, Intergrid LLC, via DOE. 
 


 


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Tags: Department Of Energy (DOE), distributed wind energy, distributed wind power, Distributed Wind Technology Innovation, distributed wind turbines, DOE Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP), DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office, Intergrid, inverters, Matric Limited, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pennsylvania, Seneca, small wind turbine inverters, US Department of Energy (DOE), wind turbine inverters


About the Author

U.S. Department of Energy The mission of the U.S. Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. Learn more.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/01/20/u-s-manufacturers-invited-to-participate-in-distributed-wind-technology-innovation/

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Tesla Is Partnering Up With New Caledonia For Nickel

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Tesla is partnering with the New Caledonia nickel mine as a technical advisor as a way to secure stocks of nickel, Mining Global has reported. The deal was signed in the French Pacific territory and noted that the partnership is a “technical and industrial partnership” in which Tesla will source raw materials for batteries.

This is a pretty big deal for New Caledonia given its political structure and how it literally fell apart over a nickel deal and independence push earlier this year, according to The Guardian, all of which included the collapse of a multi-party government led by President Thierry Santa. There’s a lot going on there, for sure.

Mining Global noted that the Brazilian miner Vale’s choice to sell its nickel mine and processing plant to a consortium that included Trafigura, a Swiss commodity trader, added a lot of fuel to the fire by sparking opposition from pro-independence groups. Violent protests led Vale to shut down its site in December.

However, a  recent agreement between the political groups and other interests was established and both Vale and Trafitura seem to be satisfied. Under this agreement, political groups proposed a 51% stake in the Vale operations to be held by New Caledonia’s provincial authorities and local interests. Trafigura will have a 19% stake, which is less than the original 25% that was in the sales deal with Vale.

In a statement, Vale said, “Our task now is to complete any and all outstanding items to allow the transaction to formally conclude.”

A Trafigura spokesperson stated, “We’re looking forward to operations resuming and for final completion of the transaction as soon as possible.” Tesla’s part in all of this is being an industrial partner that will help with product and sustainability standards. Tesla will also be taking supply for its battery production, the political agreement noted.

New Caledonia is the world’s 4th largest nickel producer.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/03/07/tesla-is-partnering-up-with-new-caledonia-for-nickel/

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Making Starbase, Texas, Sustainable & Resilient, Part 1: General Principles

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A few days ago, Elon Musk announced that he’s going to be starting a new city: Starbase, Texas. When asked if this was the current Boca Chica Village, he said that it was going to be a lot larger, but didn’t get more specific.

I took over 50 credit-hours of graduate school emergency management courses and learned quite a bit about making places more resilient. In this article, I’m going to share some concepts from that education as well as ideas I’ve developed on my own based on my other experience and training in law enforcement and other similar fields.

A Great Opportunity

Ask any city planner or emergency manager, and they’ll all tell you that it would be their dream to have input on creating a new city, and not only because some of them played SimCity as kids. One of the greatest challenges in emergency management, and urban planning in general, is that there are always problems baked into existing cities that you can’t easily get rid of. It’s said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and in some places the opportunities for prevention are severely limited by not only bureaucratic inertia and political will, but also the physical environment that has already been built up.

Another great thing is that operating a city will help people involved in space colonization to gain some experience in self-government before setting out to build space colonies. In theory, space vessels will be under the jurisdiction of whatever country authorized their launch, but in reality, Mars is several minutes away even by radio and will have a certain measure of de facto independence no matter what legalities may exist on Earth. Experience in managing a civilian government will be of immense utility if the mission of colonizing Mars is to be a success.

Perhaps more importantly, it gives potential Mars colonists a chance to build a resilient and sustainable culture prior to getting on a Starship.

Getting The Clean-Sheet Design Right

Emergency management personnel divide their efforts into four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Most people only think of preparedness, response, and recovery because those parts of the job tend to get into the news. Citizens and officials prepare for disasters, sometimes holding big training exercises. When disaster comes, officials respond to it and try to prevent as much death and destruction as they can. Once it’s over, you clean up the mess and rebuild. But what if you could head disaster off at the pass and keep it from happening at all?

Let’s take a hurricane, for example. We really can’t prevent a hurricane from happening (no, not even with nuclear weapons), but even the biggest hurricanes sometimes aren’t a disaster. Why? Because sometimes hurricanes just don’t pass over any people. Even the most powerful storm possible wouldn’t be a problem if it stays out in the ocean.

For a disaster to happen, risk must meet vulnerability. A lit match isn’t very dangerous, but it’s a big deal if someone drops it in your gas tank. A burning cigarette butt won’t hurt anyone in the middle of a parking lot, but it could kill thousands if dropped in a dry forest. A tiger in an Asian jungle probably won’t hurt anyone, but it’s a big deal if one escapes from the zoo in a major city.

To prevent disaster from being an issue, you find ways to keep the risks away from the vulnerabilities. That’s called mitigation. If an area is prone to flooding, either don’t build things there or find a way to divert the water elsewhere. If there’s a risk of fire, make sure buildings have clear space around them to keep it from spreading. Keep riots from happening by not doing things that upset the population, and more importantly, by avoiding even the appearance of evil in city government.

Some forces of nature are too powerful to keep away, so mitigation for them means failing gracefully (resilience). In places with earthquakes, buildings are made to not kill the occupants during a major quake. The building may need rebuilt, but the irreplaceable people inside can be saved. Places with frequent flooding can be built to coexist with the excess water rather than be ruined by it.

Any serious all-hazards emergency and city growth plan needs to consider climate change. What is rare today could become more and more common in the coming years. Sea levels are likely to rise. Extreme heat and cold will become more normal. Fail to plan for any of that, and you’ve only planned to fail.

Decentralization is also a good strategy for resilience, and it goes hand-in-hand with sustainability. If every new structure in Starbase has a solar roof, enough battery to keep it running 24 hours, and has a source of backup heat (like fireplaces), then Starbase would be in a position to sit out bad situations like the rest of Texas faced both this year and in 2011. Because next to nothing has been built in the area, it’s not a hardship to make this a requirement, and the city will be built right from the beginning.

In short, every decision about how the city should be planned and run should consider potential disasters, climate change, resilience, and sustainability. By doing this from the beginning, none of these issues will present major problems that could have been avoided.

Building A Better Culture For Starbase That Can Extend to Mars

There’s only so much a city government, major employers, and influential people in the community can do to make the new city resilient and sustainable. Fostering a local culture that values these things can make the difference between success and failure here, because if you find yourself fighting against the population to get things done, they won’t get done.

The best thing the city and its major employers can do is scrap the idea that resilience and sustainability is somebody else’s responsibility, or that the city government is the sole entity responsible. It should be widely known that Starbase is a city where people step up to the plate and take care of each other. It should be a city where the city pays for second responders, because the citizens themselves are there first getting the response started. I discuss the reasons personal responsibility works in more depth in this other article.

To do this, the city should require every adult to learn at least one skill useful in an emergency. Examples include:

  • First aid/CPR
  • Emergency communications
  • Firearms
  • Mental health first aid
  • How to plug an air leak on a spacecraft or Mars habitat

Well, maybe we can save that last one for later, but you get the idea. By having people invested in some way toward the safety of their city, it will matter more. Having them spend a weekend a few times a year training with the city’s professional emergency personnel will help everyone be on the same page and have an appreciation for each other instead of creating an “us vs them” mentality that already creates problems on Earth and definitely won’t do very well in space. Research also shows that having working relationships in place helps bad times go more smoothly, and there’s no reason that these relationships shouldn’t extend outside of government.

There does need to be professional law enforcement, EMTs, and skilled firefighters in Starbase, but they should be acting as leaders in public safety and not the people doing the whole job alone while everyone else lets things get worse. As was expressed in the Peelian Principles, “… the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

Corporations operating in the area likewise should be encouraged to adopt this better mentality. Business as usual, where a company privatizes the benefits of operating in a jurisdiction but makes the public pay for its safety, is a dead end (sometimes literally). Absolving corporate entities of any responsibility for being part of the public safety effort leads to them making poor decisions, like putting up a “no guns” sign, but not using metal detectors and armed guards to secure a sensitive facility. When something bad happens, they want the cops and EMTs to come take care of the mass casualty event that shouldn’t have ever occurred on their watch, and then enjoy limited liability when the families of the deceased sue. Making companies (especially multinational corporations) take responsibility and be part of the city’s overall efforts keeps poor decisions like this from happening and costing lives.

One big benefit companies get from coordination with an enlightened local government would be having a professional review their operations to help them be more resilient and secure. Everyone on both sides wins here.

A city with Elon Musk as one of its founding fathers deserves to be a hub of innovation, from top to bottom, and not just another city with intractable problems that plague it year after year. This can be done by getting things right from the start by taking advantage of centuries of knowledge. The worst thing Starbase, Texas, and future Mars settlements can do is take the baggage of bad Earth practices into the future. Because Starbase will be starting fresh, it’s definitely possible to do better, but only if there’s a serious effort to make sure it happens that way.

Featured image: A render of a possible future Mars colony. Image by SpaceX.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/03/07/making-starbase-texas-sustainable-resilient-part-1-general-principles/

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Tesla Is Building Its 1st Superchargers In Israel

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Tesla has started the construction on its first Supercharger in Israel, Tesmanian reports. The new Supercharger is a V3 and will be located in Tel Aviv, with more stations to come in the next quarter (Q2). The article noted that the construction of Israel’s first Supercharger stalls is planned for Q1 2021. The new Supercharger will be located at Derech Menachem Begin 132, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Azrieli Mall, and feature eight V3 Supercharging stalls.

Just last month, Tesla entered the Israeli market, with a starting price of 180,000 shekels after taxes ($54,600) for a Model 3. So, it makes sense that Tesla is bringing its innovative Supercharging network to Israel as well.

Tesla plans to have charging stations coming to Haifa, Eilat, Be’er Sheva, and Tel Aviv, Calcalist Tech reported back in January. The article noted that Tesla published an initial list of where its Supercharging stations would be located. According to this, Tesla estimated that one Supercharging station in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat will be completed during Q2 2021 along with a station in Be’er Sheva.

The article also pointed out that at the time, Tesla didn’t make it known which type of charging stations it planned to deploy. Thanks to Tesmanian, we now know that they will be V3 at the station in Tel Aviv. Though, that has to be assumed as the norm going forward anyway.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/03/07/tesla-is-building-its-1st-supercharger-in-israel/

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NHRA Reaches Out To OEMs With Plans To Expand Electric Drag Racing

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Electric cars are fast. We know that, because we’re CleanTechnica readers and we’ve watched Tesla after Tesla beat up on supercar after supercar time and time again. It’s expected here, but there are a whole lot of people out there in middle America who still equate electric cars with golf carts, and it’s those people who are set to be most surprised the next time they head out to an NHRA drag racing event. That’s because the NHRA is planning to expand its electric drag racing classes, and it is reaching out to the OEMs for input on how to do that successfully.

Specially-built electric drag racing cars have been something of a trend with carmakers in the last few years. It was just last spring that Ford launched its 1400 HP all-electric Cobra Jet concept, and even that car was a bit late to the party, having been launched a full year after Chevrolet’s own 700HP eCOPO Camaro. Stripped-down, lightweight versions of the new Mustang Mach-E and a new Ford Lightning are, doubtless, on their way, along with an electric Corvette, the ultra-powerful new GMC Hummer, and more.  So, you can kind of see where the NHRA is going with all this, right?

Image courtesy of Ford

“It’s certainly no secret that electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular with consumers, and the technology associated with them continues to move forward at a rapid pace,” said Ned Walliser, NHRA vice president-competition. “At (the) NHRA, we are eager to keep pace with the latest developments in EV technology … from the vision that Wally Parks had when he founded NHRA in 1951 to our current ‘Speed for All’ campaign, NHRA has always strived [sic] to provide a welcoming environment not just for competitors from all walks of life, but also to accommodate a very wide variety of vehicles, and that includes electric cars and motorcycles.”

OMG, you guys — I forgot electric motorcycles. Them’re fast AF, too.

The NHRA is looking ahead to the next steps in the expansion of electric drag racing. And, as such, the group has extended an open invitation to interested parties and stakeholders in the sport to participate in an open dialogue on the topic during the upcoming Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, March 12th-14th. The invitation has been extended to OEMs, aftermarket companies, racecar builders, event promoters, and companies that specialize in safety and fire suppression. It’s worth noting, too, that increasing noise regulations have been threatening to close several high-profile, historic drag strips and circle tracks in recent years, as well, so a quieter class of racer that can still put on a heck of a show is almost guaranteed to be attractive to the people who own those venues.

What about you guys? Would you, dear readers, be more likely to check out an NHRA event if you knew there was a professional electric drag racing class to watch? Would you want the cars to have more in common with the road cars you could buy, like a pro stock class, or would you prefer something really wild, pushing the envelope of speed, like a funny car class?  Scroll on down to the comments section and let us know!

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/03/07/nhra-reaches-out-to-oems-with-plans-to-expand-electric-drag-racing/

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