Green Tech Regional Report: 10-26-11

In California, SunEdison is beginning construction of solar arrays atop four prisons. A total of 83,000 panels will generate 25 megawatts of electricity to the facilities, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about a billion pounds and saving California taxpayers about $57 million over the next 20 years. The installations are expected to go online in December.

sunedison

image via Sunedison

In Oklahoma, meanwhile, the Osage Nation is taking legal action to prohibit the construction of a wind farm on its land, which is rich in oil and natural gas. The Osage Nation owns a mineral estate, and says that this estate is the tribe’s sole source of income, and that a wind farm would be detrimental to the mineral estate.

Conversely, officials in Sheffield, Vermont, are celebrating their new 40-megawatt, 16-turbine wind farm which is now ready to start generating power enough for 14,000 homes. This celebration wasn’t without some controversy, though, as initial construction faced some local opposition, and before the opening ceremony, a small crowd of protesters showed up at the site.

Kansas’ Seaman High School joined in on the clean energy fun, having installed its own wind turbine on October 24. The turbine was donated to the school by the owner of Smalley Heating and Cooling Company after the school was denied a wind turbine in Kansas State University’s Wind for Schools program. It will generate some power as well as provide educational opportunities for students.

According to research funded by Google, the US has a vast potential for geothermal energy. Using technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems, in which Google.org, Google’s philanthropic branch, invested $10 million for research at Southern Methodist University, it was determined that almost 3 million megawatts of geothermal energy could be generated in the US.

Finally, a new chemical process for converting forest waste, construction waste and municipal solid waste into hydrocarbon fuel oil was discovered at the University of Maine. This would be particularly well-suited to Maine, where many forest products companies simply dump otherwise unusable tree parts, like tops and limbs.

[Editor’s Note: After a brief hiatus, we now return with the Green Tech Regional Report, which is a weekly look at interesting green tech news from various regions around the United States and beyond.]

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.