IBM and a number of European academic and corporate scientists in October announced a project known as Sleeper that aims to reduce the energy used by everything from mobile phones to laptops and televisions to supercomputers by 10-fold. The problem? The enormous amount of electricity sucked up by computer equipment in standby mode. In the European Union it is estimated that the vampire effect of standby power already accounts for about 10 % of the electricity used in homes and offices of the member states. By 2020 it is expected that electricity consumption in standby/off-mode will rise to 49 terrawatt hours per year - nearly equivalent to the annual electricity consumption for Austria, Czech Republic and Portugal combined, according to a press release from IBM.
Google wants to control wind energy
Google in October said it wants a big part of the energy that could be generated from offshore wind farms. The company said it inked "an agreement to invest in the development of a backbone transmission project off the Mid-Atlantic coast that offers a solid financial return while helping to accelerate offshore wind development - so it's both good business and good for the environment. The new project can enable the creation of thousands of jobs, improve consumer access to clean energy sources and increase the reliability of the Mid-Atlantic region's existing power grid."
The U.S. offshore wind energy technology conundrum
If wind is ever to be a significant part of the energy equation in this country we'll need to take it offshore - into the deep oceans. Large offshore wind objects could harness about more than 4,000 GW of electricity according to a massive report on wind energy out this week from the U.S. DoE. The DoE notes that while the United States has not built any offshore wind projects about 20 projects representing more than 2,000 MW of capacity are in the planning and permitting process. Most of these activities are in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, although projects are being considered along the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Coast. The deep waters off the West Coast, however, pose a technology challenge for the near term.
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