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This is how you remember us, but today we are inviting you to join us on the new version of wattwatt community! Please look around, edit your profiles and make the most of its new features. You can start with the FAQ section of our site and the editorial blog but if you need any support or have questions get in touch with our community manager, Sylwia Presley

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Posted by Sylwia Presley on February 12, 2013 at 12:00pm 0 Comments

Happy #standardstuesday!
We have a number of exciting activities to celebrate the RTCC video and editorial! Share the video or news release from our Facebook post on your Facebook wall and leave us a little comment to let us know that you have done so. The first five fans to share will receive an IEC thank you goodie bag by post. 

Electrical Energy Storage White Paper

Posted by Sylwia Presley on February 22, 2013 at 12:00pm 0 Comments

The proportion of Renewable Energies is likely to increase in all major electricity markets. Their large-scale incorporation into existing electricity grids will be complex, and their successful integration will likely depend on large-capacity Electrical Energy Storage. 
You can order our download our White Paper on the subject for free on our website.


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IEC blog

The construction of thermal solar power plants introduces a new source of energy

CSP (Concentrating solar thermal power) has long been viewed favourably by the wholesale energy sector. Now, advances in technology – including the vital thermal storage capacity that enables solar variability to be decoupled from a plant’s output – have succeeded in converting that sentiment into reality as a series of major new projects are commissioned. However, there is still some ground to cover before the technology achieves its potential. One crucial area is the development of industry International Standard. Not that recent Some 150 years after the French mathematician Augustin Mouchot demonstrated steam generation from concentrating solar energy, the use of solar energy steam generators connected to fairly standard conventional power islands – a steam turbine and generator – is a technology that is now becoming increasingly popular. Indeed, while the various designs of solar collector may present some novelties, CSP installations share many common traits with their fossil-fired cousins. It is perhaps for this reason that CSP has attracted the interest not only of utility companies keen to expand their renewable portfolios, but also of original equipment manufacturers which have traditionally supplied the utility market. Many technologies, but one aim: heat CSP comprises a range of technologies that are used to collect and concentrate sunlight, turning it in to medium to high temperature heat. This heat may then be used to generate electricity in a conventional way using a steam turbine or a Stirling engine, or used in other applications, for example supplying process heat. With the exception of dish-Stirling systems in CSP power plants, the solar energy is typically absorbed by a heat transfer fluid, such as oil or molten salts, which is then passed through a heat exchanger and its associated steam circuit. The mirror systems used in CSP plants are either linear or point-focusing systems. Linear systems typically concentrate the solar radiation by about one hundred times and achieve working temperatures of up to 550°C. Point systems can achieve far higher concentrations, more than a thousand times, and consequently can reach far higher temperatures, with 1 000°C or more possible. There are four main types of commercial CSP technologies in operation today. Linear systems include Fresnel lensing and the far more common parabolic trough types. Point concentrating systems include parabolic dish-type systems, typically used with a Stirling engine, or the more common central or tower receiver systems. Developing industry International Standards Another major trend identified by both Tassos and Prieto is the burgeoning development of industry Standards for the emergent CSP sector. As Tassos points out, CSP is in the relatively early stages of global development and industry Standards could provide a foundation upon which to develop new technologies and enhance existing practices. “This could also provide additional comfort to potential investors and lenders, reducing barriers to bankability and subsequently accelerating market penetration”, he says. Tassos continues: “As Standards generally reflect the best experience of the industry, they constitute an important basis for improving the credibility of new products, assisting in the development and implementation of novel technical solutions”. He argues that the main effort in the early stages of standardization should be placed on elements such as terminology, optical and thermal characterisation of new collectors, performance testing and modelling and environmental and safety requirements. For example, among other activities, IEC TC 117 is currently running three ad hoc groups related to CSP Standards development, considering themes such as systems and components and energy storage. As for IEC TC 120: Electrical Energy Storage (EES) Systems, it includes thermal storage in its scope, but “only from the electricity exchange point of view”. Prieto also flags up the advantages of developing a comprehensive system of Standards, saying: “In a very global world, where tenders are international, those people who are organising tenders ― they’re usually governments ― need to be sure that the requirements they are asking for are met and the only way they can do that is through Standards”. She concludes: “CSP is a very promising industry; we have a huge market ahead. We need to make an effort and the effort should be based on technology, so we should keep diminishing costs thanks to technology ― and Standards will help a lot.” Written by David Appleyard for our e-tech Magazine. To find out more check out our e-tech article.  

Energy from the seas is emerging as a future huge source

Nowadays, marine energy accounts for only a tiny proportion of the electricity produced from renewable sources. However it is forecast to represent a very sizeable share of the overall global supply by 2050, complementing other renewables such as sun and wind. To achieve this result, various technologies that are currently at the research or testing stage, in the form of small single elements or of arrays of elements, will have to be developed to full scale systems and projects deployed on a worldwide basis. It’s all there, just waiting to be tapped Oceans contain 97% of the earth’s water and cover 71% of its surface; they are sources of huge kinetic energy from waves and swells, currents and tides, and of thermal energy in the form of the heat they harness from the sun. The difference in salinity between seawater and fresh river water creates a chemical pressure potential (salinity gradient power) that can also be used to generate electricity. All these approaches could, in theory, provide a sizeable share of the world’s energy needs. However, currently they only make up a tiny percentage of the energy extracted from renewable sources. Of this, 90% comes from two tidal range barrages: one in France (240 MW), operational since 1967, the other in the Republic of Korea (254 MW), in operation since August 2011. Marine energy is still in its infancy, with many technologies still at a research or testing stage aimed at finding the best possible systems for converting the various types of marine energy. Challenges Marine energy conversion is still at an early stage of development and faces a number of challenges. International Standards will prove essential to the expansion of the industry. IEC TC (Technical Committee) 114: Marine energy – Wave, tidal and other water current converters, prepares International Standards for all these converters. Its work programme includes assessment of various parameters such as resources, performance, measurement and testing. The future of the marine energy sector does not depend on technological solutions alone, but also on environmental and economic concerns. The environmental impact of marine energy converters, which may be deployed in sensitive marine environments, must be low. This is the objective of thorough risk assessments that cover various aspects such as the impact turbine blades may have on marine mammals and fish and the effects of the acoustic output of turbines or of changes in water flow and energy removal. The results of surveys so far are encouraging, showing that marine mammals will avoid large, slow moving turbines and that fish are largely unaffected. However, more research is required and environmental concern may slow, or even prevent, the installation of marine energy converters in certain zones. As costs for developing technologies are often a matter of concern and uncertainty, marine energy conversion, like other renewable energy sources, will certainly require financial support from governments and interested stakeholders, such as utilities. This support may take the form of direct investment, subsidies, cost-levelling mechanisms or guaranteed feed-in tariffs, as the cost of electricity produced by marine energy conversion initially will be higher than that produced by other means, including well-established renewables like solar and wind. As worries about large subsidies for renewable energies mount, funding may prove an issue in the future. The overall return of marine energy conversion is likely to translate into large volumes of additional clean energy resources in coming decades. The IEA forecasts that “by 2050 ocean energy will have grown to 337 GW of installed wave and tidal energy capacity”, from well under 1 GW today. This expansion will be made possible in no small part by the pioneering standardization work carried out by TC 114. Written by Morand Fachot for our e-tech Magazine. To find out more check out our e-tech article.  

Globally available geothermal energy offers countless benefits

Geothermal energy, or heat from the Earth, is an abundant form of renewable energy that can be used in small or large scale applications. Its exploitation is expanding rapidly throughout the world, proving particularly attractive for countries without easy or affordable access to other forms of energy. A number of IEC TCs (Technical Committees) prepare International Standards for components or systems central to the development of geothermal energy. The heat is on – everywhere… Geysers are the most visible and best known naturally occurring form of geothermal energy. These are holes in the ground from which columns of water heated underground to above boiling point by the earth’s heat are ejected violently out of the earth’s surface, together with steam. Much of the hot water is trapped in permeable and porous rocks under a layer of impermeable rock, so forming geothermal reservoirs. Although these well-known phenomena can be observed in a few places of volcanic activity, such as Iceland (from where the name geyser originates) or in the Yellowstone National Park in the US, geothermal energy is present everywhere. Its potential is being harnessed increasingly in a growing number of countries for a wide range of applications, from heating buildings to producing electricity in power plants, and in CHP (combined heat and power) cogeneration. Power-hungry industries warming up to renewable energy Many countries ramp up their electricity production from renewable sources, including from geothermal energy, to cut consumption of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases. One country which produces 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, Iceland, sees this resource, provided mainly by hydropower and geothermal energy, as a major asset for enticing energy-intensive industries to relocate plants to the country. Iceland produces five times more energy than it needs for domestic consumption, according toLandsvirkjun, the country’s national power company. This spare capacity, coupled with low and stable energy tariffs, has attracted industries such as aluminium smelting (where energy, i.e. the cost of electricity, represents between 30% and 40% of production expenses) and metallurgical grade silicon metal production. Data centres represent another rapidly developing energy-intensive sector and are moving into areas where cheap renewable energy and favourable climatic conditions can be found. Data hosting company Verne Global has set up a data centre in Iceland that uses 100% renewable energy. It claims that environmental cooling and intelligent design result in a reduction in cooling costs of at least 80%. IEC role IEC standardization work is essential to the development and correct operation of geothermal energy systems, even if the technologies may not be as well developed as with other renewable energies. For geothermal heating used in buildings and in other applications, heat pumps play a central role in transferring heat from the soil and pumping it to another area inside the building where it is heated or cooled over a circulating coil system and is then transferred on to provide hot water, heating or cooling (using a heat exchanger). International Standards for heat pumps are prepared by IEC SC (Subcommittee) 61D: Appliances for air-conditioning for household and similar purposes. Steam turbines are central to electricity generation from geothermal sources. IEC TC (Technical Committee) 5: Steam turbines, created in 1927, prepares International Standards for these (seearticle on steam turbines in this e-tech). IEC TC 2: Rotating machinery, prepares International Standards with regard to specifications for rotating electrical machines, a category that includes motors and generators. Work from many other IEC TCs and SCs involved in the preparation of International Standards for energy generation, transmission and distribution is also central to the development and proper operation of the geothermal energy power chain, just as it is for other energy sources.   Written by Morand Fachot for our e-tech Magazine. To find out more check out our e-tech article.  

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