Commercial, industrial and utility sectors throughout the U.S. are installing photovoltaic panels and building high-megawatt wind farms to generate clean, efficient power to meet our rising energy demands. These alternative energy sources (sun and wind) are free and plentiful, and the energy plants required to harvest and deliver this energy do not continuously generate carbon or other emissions. Such alternative energy plants are clean and reliable.
- Oak Creek Wind Energy
Oak Creek Energy Systems Inc. is a pioneer in gigawatt-scale wind energy with its long-term expansion of wind power capacity in the Tehachapi-Mojave area of California. This video describes a somewhat unique case where one wind farm was constructed to serve one major customer, and explores the infrastructure necessary to keep the turbines up and running.
- Current and Projected Wind and Solar Renewable Electric Generating Capacity in the Domestic Market
The Copper Development Association conducted a study and examined renewable energy (RE) production, including land-based and offshore wind; residential, commercial and utility-scale photovoltaic installations; concentrating thermal-solar electric plants; and geothermal plants.
- Thermal Modeling of Electrical Conductors with Emphasis on Solar Heating [PDF - 205Kb]
This short white paper by John Paschal, Jr., P.E. of Paschal Engineering, explains the basic principles of conductor temperature in sunlight and emphasizes the importance of Table 310.15(B)(2)(c) in the NEC.
- Copper Connects Microgrids with Smart Grids: Copper Usage Is Key to Modern Electric Grids [PDF]
Microgrids are making the world more efficient and less reliant on huge, ineffective power systems.
- Demonstrate Your Company’s Leadership in Wind or Solar Installation [PDF]
CDA is looking for case studies on use of copper in wind or solar installation, or the use of copper in grounding for site safety.
- SOLAR: Solar Energy Lifts Off at Airports Around the Globe [PDF]
Airports are a perfect location for solar PV installations. Multiple airports around the world have already installed solar energy systems, which require copper to function efficiently and reliably. This case study examines the solar airport trend and its potential impact on the copper market.
- WIND: Copper and Wind Energy: Partners For a Clean Environment
Wind energy is growing at a very fast pace due to increased interest in renewable resources as the cost of fossil fuels rises, and copper plays a vital role in making that happen. Austin Energy is one utility that is taking dramatic steps to ensure that wind, and other renewables, are a big part of their energy mix.
- WIND: Driving America to Energy Independence, 30-mph Wind + Plug-In Hybrids = 100 mpg
Austin Energy Plug-in-Partners Campaign
Austin Energy had an unusual idea: convert and store nighttime wind energy to daytime gasoline. This article explores the concept behind Plug-in Partners, and how Austin Energy is approaching the idea of utilizing Texas' abundant wind energy.
- SOLAR: 100 Miles of Copper Cable Connects, Protects 4.6-MW Photovoltaic Solar Farm
Springerville Generating Station Solar Array
Solar photovoltaics are one aspect of sustainable electric generation, and Tucson Electric Power is on the leading edge of this industry. The Springerville Generating Station solar PV installation is a prime example. This case study explores the PV installation in detail, including extensive use of copper to make the project possible.
Copper's electrical and thermal conductivity and high resistance to both atmospheric and aqueous corrosion makes it so valuable in solar energy systems.
Solar PV by the Numbers
60-70%: compounded annual growth rate of residential and commercial sectors. Utility scale PV installations have quadrupled since 2008.
5: top states using PV are California, New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and New York [Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration]
601,133: number of U.S. Shipments of Photovoltaic Cells and Modules in 2009
INFOGRAPHIC: Copper: Essential in PV Solar Power Growth [PDF - 1Mb]: This infographic illustrates the growth of solar PV in the U.S. and how and where copper is used in solar energy generation.
Copper is vital in wind energy technologies including in the electrical grounding system for wind turbine farms.
Wind Power by the Numbers
20%: U.S. Energy Department's goal for Renewable Energy growth of "20 percent by 2030," which offers opportunities for onshore wind energy but more particularly for offshore wind energy.
25%: compounded annual growth rate of the onshore wind energy program in the U.S. It has surpassed $60 billion in size.
20%: the U.S. wind power capacity ratio compared to the world's total installed wind power, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
INFOGRAPHIC: Copper's Role in Wind Energy [PDF - 372Kb]: This infographic illustrates how and where copper is used in wind-energy production.