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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

This story has been updated. After years of fighting the expansion of drilling off the Atlantic coast, environmentalists scored a rare double victory this week in which oil lost ground to wind energy. In a surprising about-face, the Interior Department pulled back its controversial plans to allow oil drilling off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Citing concerns from the Pentagon and also from coastal communities in these states, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said, “It simply doesn’t make sense to move forward with any lease sales in the coming five years.” Climate activists and environmentalists were ecstatic — and that was just the beginning. The next day, the department announced a move to create a large offshore wind area 11 miles south of Long Island and extending to the Southeast in the shape of a thin triangle, over some 127 square miles. It will be called the “New York Wind Energy Area.” The New York development proves “that the U.S. can move rapidly to develop clean energy sources off the Atlantic coast, rather than drilling for the dirty fossil fuels of the past,” Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for the United States for Oceana, an ocean-focused environmental group, said in a statement. The new wind energy area off the New York coast emerges in response to an initiative by the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison — which have formed a group called the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative. In 2011, the group filed an application with the federal government for a 350 to 700 megawatt wind farm in this area, in waters 60 to 120 feet deep, to directly power New York City and Long Island. It would have “the potential to be the largest offshore wind project in the country,” the collaborative said. Now, the federal government is moving ahead on the matter, although there will be a “competitive leasing process,” meaning there are other potentially interested parties in wind in the area, beyond this group. “This is a great day for New York, and our country as we continue to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio,” Abigail Ross Hopper, director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said in a statement. “The area is large enough for a large-scale commercial wind project, which could make substantial contributions to the region’s energy supply and assist local and state governments — including New York City — in achieving their renewable energy goals.” The move comes as New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) recently laid out a plan to get 50 percent of the state’s total electricity from renewables by 2030. Offshore wind will be a key piece of hitting that target, said Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. The site is rather ideal for sending power to the huge population just a few ocean miles away, Reynolds noted. “Part of the attraction for offshore wind development in New York is that you’d have the electricity demand very nearby, and you’d have the wind peaking in the late afternoon, when you have demand peaking as well,” she said. The Interior Department has, so far, approved 11 Atlantic offshore wind energy leases, off Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The new “wind energy area” designation does not mean that an immediate lease sale will be held for the siting of wind energy off New York — rather, the next step of the process involves an environmental impact assessment. After that, there would be the potential for lease sales. The United States remains far behind some other countries — such as Britain and China — in overall offshore wind development. So far, among other potential projects, construction has begun for Deepwater Wind’s projected 30 megawatt installation off the coast of Rhode Island. It’s expected to start operating this year. In general, offshore wind is seen as a critical new development in the wind energy area because offshore turbines can tap into stronger winds to generate larger volumes of electricity. But development has been dramatically faster on land. Wind energy provided 4.7 percent of U.S. electricity last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a number that has been steadily growing in recent years. The Energy Department’s “wind vision” for 2030 imagines getting 20 percent of U.S. electricity from this source. To do that, the nation will need far taller wind turbines on land — which can capture energy from more powerful winds and open up new areas to viable wind farms — and also major offshore developments. The economy is growing but carbon emissions aren’t. That’s a really big deal United Airlines is flying on biofuels. Here’s why that’s a really big deal In this tiny Arctic town, dramatic warming threatens everything For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter here.

Campos N.,Energy Area | Gomez D.,Energy Area
2014 IEEE 9th Nanotechnology Materials and Devices Conference, NMDC 2014 | Year: 2014

The possibility of using graphene as a key element to develop low-cost terahertz sources has been considered on the basis of theoretical predictions showing non-linear effects leading to frequency multiplication phenomenon. For the integration of graphene in real devices of such kind, special attention must be paid to the processes of synthesis and transfer to suitable substrates, focusing on the needed properties of the final samples. In this work, all the steps followed towards the preparation of the optimal samples of graphene on polyimide substrates are described in detail with particular emphasis on the electrical properties required for the final application. © 2014 IEEE.

News Article
Site: www.treehugger.com

While we're a long way behind countries like the UK, there seems to be a growing momentum behind US offshore wind development—suggesting we might finally get serious about the incredible potential for this increasingly competitive technology. The latest such signal is an announcement from the Department of Interior proposing a lease sale for the 122,405-Acre Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area. This announcement comes not long after both New York State and Massachusetts both took serious steps to move offshore wind forward, and after encouraging signs that European offshore wind developers are smashing cost reduction goals many years early. The eastern seaboard of the US has long been touted for its potential for offshore wind development, with relatively shallow waters and proximity to major urban centers making for low construction and connectivity costs. According to Cleantechnica, things could move forward fast now that that the lease sale has been announced—with a 60 day comment period commencing on publication of the Proposed Sale Notice, which happens tomorrow. Given how quickly the industry expanded in the UK, I'm excited to see things finally get rolling over here.

Jose Andres L.,Energy Area | Fe Menendez M.,Energy Area | Gomez D.,Energy Area | Luisa Martinez A.,Energy Area | And 4 more authors.
Nanotechnology | Year: 2015

Rapid synthesis of ultralong silver nanowires (AgNWs) has been obtained using a one-pot polyol-mediated synthetic procedure. The AgNWs have been prepared from the base materials in less than one hour with nanowire lengths reaching 195 μm, which represents the quickest synthesis and one of the highest reported aspect ratios to date. These results have been achieved through a joint analysis of all reaction parameters, which represents a clear progress beyond the state of the art. Dispersions of the AgNWs have been used to prepare thin, flexible, transparent and conducting films using spray coating. Due to the higher aspect ratio, an improved electrical percolation network is observed. This allows a low sheet resistance (RS = 20.2 Ω/sq), whilst maintaining high optical film transparency (T = 94.7%), driving to the highest reported figure-of-merit (FoM = 338). Owing to the light-scattering influence of the AgNWs, the density of the AgNW network can also be varied to enable controllability of the optical haze through the sample. Based on the identification of the optimal haze value, organic photovoltaics (OPVs) have been fabricated using the AgNWs as the transparent electrode and have been benchmarked against indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes. Overall, the performance of OPVs made using AgNWs sees a small decrease in power conversion efficiency (PCE), primarily due to a fall in open-circuit voltage (50 mV). This work indicates that AgNWs can provide a low cost, rapid and roll-to-roll compatible alternative to ITO in OPVs, with only a small compromise in PCE needed. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Alvarez-Martos I.,University of Oviedo | Fernandez-Gavela A.,University of Oviedo | Rodriguez-Garcia J.,University of Oviedo | Campos-Alfaraz N.,Energy Area | And 4 more authors.
Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical | Year: 2014

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been widely used in many fields of chemical analysis to achieve more sensitive detection systems. In this work, we performed fundamental studies on grown or bottom-up fabricated MWCNTs (both non-oriented and oriented configurations), showing how variables like orientation, density, underlayer deposition, or synthesis time strongly determine their behavior (physical, electrochemical and analytical) as transducers. The electrochemical performance of these surfaces was demonstrated by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry of dopamine (DA) solutions in 0.1 M H2SO 4. The carbon nanotubes surfaces pre-treated with 1 M HNO3 lead to increased signals, sensitivity and enhanced limits of detection (LOD). The grown working electrodes (WE) were reproducible and stable over the time. The peak variations gave RSD values of 8%, 4% and 3% for high-density spaghetti-like and ITO or Al underlayered forest-like MWCNTs grown for 30 min, respectively. This study highlighted the importance of controlling the synthesis variables to achieve better analytical parameters. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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