The US East Coast was still reeling from Hurricane Irene this week as power was gradually restored to millions who were disconnected during the storm.
According to Con Edison, the hurricane caused more power outages in its service area than any other storm in history.
Grid operator PJM Interconnection said some generating plants in the affected parts of its 13-state area had been forced to close or curtail output during the storm but that backup facilities had come on line, according to spokesman Ray Dotter, who declined to say which plants had gone down. Read the full story on power outages from the storm: Millions Without Power Following Irene.
Two nuclear plants in the path of the storm were also forced to close: the Calvert Cliffs plant in Southern Maryland was knocked offline when the winds blew a piece of aluminum siding into a transformer and Exelon's Oyster Creek Generating Station was shut down in anticipation of possible problems. But most plants were able to operate through the storm. Read more: Nuke Plants Stand The Test Of August.
The storm left many wondering what could have been, particularly if a national smart grid had been in place to better communicate and manage outages. Watch: When You Walk Through The Storm.
PJM Interconnection has been trying to promote its own solution to problems with grid reliability: MAGICC cars. The project aims to use smart meter enabled cars that would communicate with the grid and store energy during times of cheap prices and give power back to the grid when needed. Watch a video on the project: MAGICC Grid.
Business As Unusual
A storm of a different kind hit the American solar manufacturing company this week when Solyndra shuttered its doors and filed for bankruptcy, laying off some 1,100 employees. The news had some legislators up in arms over claims of wasted federal funds, but others pointed to China's growing success as just too much competition for American companies. Read the full story: Another One Bites The Dust.
The fact that only the week before Evergreen Solar also filed for bankruptcy had some wondering what American companies were doing wrong, but in a report this week, the Solar Energy Industries Association found a more complex reality, and said that China was actually behind the US in solar exports.
The industry group found that when the entire supply chain was taken into account, the US solar industry actually exported a net of $1.9 billion in solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar heating and cooling (SHC) components in 2010 globally, with $240 million of orders coming directly from China. Read the full story: Industry Group: US Solar Sector Beats China.
One thing the United States always has prided is innovation, especially from its youth. And one California-based solar entrepreneur is hoping to change the way rooftop solar projects are financed to make them more common and more accessible. Read about Solar Mosaic: Promises Of A Rooftop Revolution.
Germany Warms To Solar Power With Expansion
Photo Caption: Mud-covered food lies spoiled in a heap on the floor after Hurricane Irene sent the east branch of the swollen Delaware River surging through a Freshtown supermarket, September 1, 2011 in Margaretville, New York.