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Energy

Building offshore wind turbines - but for who?

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Scottish Government
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via Flickr
Wind firm Gamesa is teaming up with shipbuilder Northrop Grumman to build offshore turbines.

A Norfolk, Va. firm is ready and primed to build offshore wind turbines, reports Maria Galluci at Solve Climate News.  The problem?  No one is building any offshore wind projects:

David Rosenberg, a spokesperson for Langhorne, Pa.-based Gamesa North America, was tightlipped on the matter in an interview with SolveClimate News. He said only that the company would be eyeing Virginia's coast to install its new G11X turbine, a state that is ripe for wind development but has no ventures on the books, in addition to three other East Coast sites. About a half a dozen proposals are on the drawing board for U.S. waters., the most famous of which — the long-beleaguered 130-turbine, 468-megawatt Cape Wind offshore farm in Nantucket Sound, Mass. — is slowly inching forward.

Other wind-in-water projects include the yet-to-be-announced New York's GLOW project in Lake Ontario or Erie, Scandia Wind's project in Lake Michigan, and Ohio's Lake Erie project.

RG&E investment
Rochester's electric utility is dropping a huge chunk of change on capital investments, reports Thomas Adams at the Rochester Business Journal.  The firm is spending $660 million on a number of projects;

RG&E will invest as much as $25 million to add two megawatts of capacity to its 13-megawatt Station 2 at High Falls. "We're also doing an evaluation of maybe putting another small hydro of about eight megawatts there," [RG&E president] Mark Lynch said. "You're probably looking at about $20 million or $25 million. It'll probably take a couple of years to put in place." The company will spend $23 million to repair a collapsed tunnel at the 45-megawatt Station 5 at the Middle and Lower Falls, Lynch said. The work is scheduled for completion in August 2012. One megawatt of electricity can power 700 homes, company officials said.

Biofuels
A Rochester grad student is working with a local entrepreneur to try to turn algae into fuel, reports James Goodman at the Democrat and Chronicle:

Biodiesel fuel made from algae, said [RIT professor Jeffrey] Lodge, would greatly reduce the amount of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides released into the atmosphere. Large amounts of these smog-producing pollutants are spewed out by the petroleum-based diesel and gasoline fuels now commonly used. Nationwide, various researchers are trying to develop algae into a biofuel in much the same way they have used such crops as corn and soybeans to create biofuels. Researchers also have been exploring the use of algae to cleanse wastewater, since the algae feed on nutrients found in sewage. But Lodge said that [grad student Eric] Lannan's project could find a niche because the growing of algae in wastewater for biodiesel fuel production has not been done on a commercial scale. "In reviewing the literature, we saw lots of small-scale laboratory stuff, but not a commercial version of making the algae for biofuel," Lodge said.

Got a green idea?
Syracuse University has started GreenProjectExchange.org to aggregate and share environmental best practices, reports the Ithaca Journal.  Register your municipal or nonprofit project and get a free bamboo flash drive!

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