Department of Energy & Google to Map Electric Charging Stations
Written By: John Shimkus
The government has made it clear that electric vehicles are getting the green light in this second decade of the 21st century, so expect to see plenty of Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs on the road very shortly. But if you’re considering buying an electric vehicle, you may be wondering how to find charging stations to refill your battery while on the move. Well, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has teamed up with Google to map electric vehicle and other alternative fuel (i.e., ethanol, hydrogen, biodiesel, compressed natural gas, etc.) charging and fueling stations across the United States.
The program has been labeled the ‘GeoEVSE Forum,’ and The ‘Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicle Data Center’ website will offer a user-friendly map platform similar to ‘Google Maps’ to help drivers locate the nearest alternative fuel stations in their area.
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Two other companies are getting involved with the program as well. Coulomb Technologies already offers an electric vehicle map app for mobile devices, and Best Buy is promoting installation of electric vehicle charging stations at store locations.
Currently there are 600 electric vehicle charging stations available for search on the GeoEVSE Forum. The DOE is further pushing the development of electric vehicle charging stations with $5 million in public funding available to local governments and private companies looking to install electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly