Germany Gifts Households With Free Wind Energy

Rarely does a community experience a surplus of energy — much less clean energy. In fact, rural areas are still depending solely on whatever they can gather from eco-boxes. Germany, on the other hand, may be the first to boast an energy overflow. As it happens, in a single weekend, the country produced enough wind energy to provide households with extra — for free!

[Bloomberg], which tracks daily wind power in Europe, said that over 24 per cent of the EU’s electricity demand was powered by wind on Saturday, the highest per cent ever recorded.

Wind farms amassed an impressive output of 39,409 megawatts altogether. That’s almost equally as shocking as electricity itself. But considering much of Germany’s power grid is wind-generated, everything falls perfectly into place.

Offshore wind accounted for 2.8 per cent of the EU’s electricity demand while onshore wind accounted for 21.8 per cent. Wind represented 61 per cent of electricity demand in Germany.

Good weather may have played a hand in helping Germany strike gold (or air) — but its eco-initiatives surely take the cake.

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Saubhagya Scheme To Power All Indian Households

When it comes to running water and clean energy, resources aren’t always available to all. Independent groups have been doing what they can to provide for rural areas, implementing Eco-Boxes and bleach lamps. Though the power grid issue seems to be improving, development is slow and India has had enough. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Saubhagya Scheme, which promises to provide electricity for over 40 million Indian families by December 2018.

Millions of rural Indians still rely on lamps fuelled by kerosene, the use of which the scheme hopes to cut. Kerosene is a huge health and environmental hazard and restricting its use would further India’s ambitious climate goal to cut emissions.

Roughly 300 million Indian citizens have no access to electricity. Along with the scheme, the government plans to keep from charging poorer families. However, as opposed to targeting villages, the scheme will single out individual households.

Remote, and often inaccessible, villages have proved to be a major challenge in the electrification drive. The government has said it will distribute solar packs (comprising LED lights, a fan and a plug) and a battery bank to households in these villages.

The project will also help state-owned power distribution companies with debts. It’s a helping hand I’d have no problem shaking!

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Tesla Restores Power To Puerto Rico Hospitals

For Puerto Rico, tech giants Tesla and Alphabet are easing the struggle of getting back on the grid. While one group is providing Powerwall batteries, the other is supplying an Internet connection. Even so, the hurdles have just begun, and so has Tesla, now restoring power to hospitals with solar energy.

The hospital’s new system allows it to generate all the energy it needs… The facility has 35 permanent residents with chronic conditions; it also offers services to some 3,000 young patients.

Due to the gravity of the energy crisis, the system is a donation — for now. Since it began to recuperate, Puerto Rico’s power service has risen to 25%. Though many have been reaching out to the territory, complete recovery of losses will cut $5 billion deep into budgets. At this point, it seems Puerto Rico is accepting any bit of help it can get.

The territory’s electric and power authority signed a $300 million contract with Whitefish, a small and relatively young Montana company, to restore the power grid.

The nation is months away from a breakthrough in terms of improvement, but with Tesla to count on, might be worth the wait.

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China’s Solar Highway Recharges Electric Vehicles

Solar energy is taking over the power grid. It’s in building materials and even wallpaper, allowing homes to become more efficient and eco-friendly. For Chinese development group Qilu, the power of solar stretches beyond the comfort of a household. It recently tested its first solar road — and saw it through to success!

The solar road is made up of an insulating layer on the bottom, photovoltaic panels in the middle, and transparent concrete on top.

The road itself will power street lights, signs, CCTV cameras, toll gates, and even recharge e-vehicles. Extra produced energy (which it apparently is capable of generating) will go to the state grid. The project cost Qilu well over 50 million euros, but considering its expertise in solar, China will likely bounce back.

Xu did not reveal the cost of the Jinan solar road but said it was half of similar projects in other countries. “With the development of solar power in China, the cost can be further reduced,” he said.

Looks like EV enthusiasts won’t have to worry about running on empty! (Except, maybe, iPhone carriers…)

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Alphabet Shipping Internet To Puerto Rico By Balloon

In devastated Puerto Rico, faulty cellphone service is a pressing issue. While Tesla is working to revive the territory’s power grid, loved ones are having trouble reaching others abroad. But the country in crisis is getting the help it needs, thanks to Google’s parent company. Alphabet is bringing Internet back to Puerto Rico by balloon.

Project Loon was born in Alphabet’s moonshot X division, with the aim of serving the half of the world’s population that is still without internet access. It has launched several successful pilot projects, but has yet to be deployed commercially on a wide scale.

30 balloons will be hovering over Puerto Rico for up to 6 months. A single balloon can power up to 5,000 square kilometers of coverage. Project Loon, which is currently active in Peru, will be useful in easing communications between groups.

“Some people, even though we’ve documented the fact… that we’ve delivered food and water, it hasn’t gotten to some of them. Now, it could be for a whole host of reasons. One of them could be that they couldn’t hear it; the information didn’t get to them.” [said governor Ricardo Rosselló.]

As compared to the existing setup in Peru, Loon will experience some turbulence in Puerto Rico. It currently lacks a wireless network — but with Alphabet’s previous successes, shouldn’t be too big of an issue.

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