Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

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70% of New EU Power from Renewable Energy in 2011, 47% from Solar & 21% from Wind

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 08:36 AM PST

 

In total, wind and solar power were responsible for 68% of new EU power installations in 2011 and renewable power as a whole was responsible for about 70%. Over 30,000 MW of the 44,939 MW of new power capacity came from wind and solar—that’s a 37.7% increase over 2010 and sets a new record for the EU.

 

96% of renewable power growth was from wind and solar power, as the pie chart below shows.

“Since 2000, 28.2% of new capacity installed has been wind power, 47.8% renewables, and 90.8% renewables and gas combined,” the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which produced these graphics, reported. Here’s a chart of power generating capacity and renewable energy’s share of that since 1995 (click to enlarge):

And this shows EU power capacity mix in 2000 compared to 2011 (click to enlarge):

eu power capacity mix 2000 2011

Solar

Solar PV was the leader in new power installations in 2011, accounting for 21 GW (46.7%) of new power capacity, as you can see above, but I haven’t seen much detail on that yet, as all the info I have is from EWEA.

Wind

With 9.6 gigawatts (GW) or 9,616 megawatts (MW) of new wind power installed in 2011, the European Union (EU) now has 94 GW of wind power capacity installed, 11% more than in 2010. In total, wind power accounted for over one-fifth (21.4%) of new power installations in the EU in 2011.

This is very slightly less than the amount of new wind power installed in 2010, 9,648 MW.

In total, wind power now accounts for about 10.5% of installed power capacity in the EU, and renewable energy accounts for 31.3%. It’s 94,000 MW today is incomprehensibly more than the 814 MW it had installed back in 1995.

The countries with the most installed wind power in the EU are:

  1. Germany (29.1 GW — 31%)
  2. Spain (21.7 GW — 23%)
  3. France (6.8 GW — 7%)
  4. Italy (6.7 GW — 7%)
  5. UK (6.5 GW — 7%)

Of new power, the leaders in 2011 were:

  1. Germany (2,086 MW — 22%)
  2. UK (1,293 MW — 13%)
  3. Spain (1,050 MW — 11%)
  4. Italy (950 MW — 10%)
  5. France (830 MW — 9%)

“Growth in onshore installations in Germany and Sweden, and offshore in the UK – together with continuing strong performance from some emerging onshore markets in Eastern Europe – have more than offset the fall in installations in mature markets such as France and Spain,” EWEA notes.

Here’s a more-detailed table on wind power changes across all EU countries:

wind power 2011

And here’s one for EU candidate countries:

eu wind power

And, looking back a bit further, here’s installed new wind power capacity info from 1995 to 2011 (click to enlarge):

And, lastly (on wind), here’s wind’s share of electricity consumption by EU member state (click to enlarge):

wind electricity consumption by eu country

Coal

However, 2011 did see more coal installed than decommissioned in 2011, for just the third time since 1998. EWEA notes that this is a clear sign the EU needs to move to a 30% renewable energy by 2020 target (instead of its current 20% target), which a recent study found would cost less than previously predicted, which would also save the continent billions in the long run.

EWEA also says this highlights the urgent need to “introduce an Emissions Performance Standard, and to end decades of subsidies for new coal build and its fuel.”

Nuclear

Continuing a long trend, the EU did see more nuclear power decommissioned than installed. As you can see in the chart above, nuclear, especially, was decommissioned to a considerable degree.

Source: European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)

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Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Solar Set for 60% Growth in North America in 2012

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 07:11 AM PST

Yesterday, I focused a bit small-scale or medium-scale solar (in the US & UK) here on CleanTechnica. On the flip side, news today from Solarbuzz is that utility-scale photovoltaic solar is growing fast in North America and looking for 2012 to be its top year yet.

photovoltaic market north america

Q4 2011 Saw Record Installations

“Sharp reductions in market prices combined with the impact of regional and national policies pushed the North American photovoltaic market to a new quarterly peak with 0.93 GW installed in Q4'11, according  to the latest North American PV Markets Quarterly report issued by NPD Solarbuzz, “the solar market research and analysis company notes.

“The solar incentive policy mix in both the United States and Canadian markets drove up demand in large-scale ground-mount systems, which was 59% of this total. Regionally, the New Jersey, California, Arizona, and Ontario accounted for two-thirds of Q4'11 demand.”

The Federal Cash Grant expiration in the U.S. drove a big end-of-year installation push. In total, the cash grant program stimulated approximately 1 GW worth of solar photovoltaic installations in the country.

Additionally, the California Solar Initiative (CSI) received an infusion of $200 million last quarter to keep its tremendous support for solar going.

Meanwhile, however, another top solar market in the U.S. (New Jersey) faces some uncertainty: “…  continuation of New Jersey's strong Q4'11 growth is under threat due to over-supply of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC). Both New Jersey and Pennsylvania failed to enact legislation to fix the SREC over-supply by revising their RPS solar obligations.”

Utility and Non-Residential Growth to be Large

The U.S. is moving on a 25-GW non-residential and utility project pipeline, which will make 2012 a record-breaking year. After some delay for large-scale solar projects following the start of Canada’s relatively new feed-in tariff (FIT) program, it looks like these projects are nearing installation and many more will go up in 2012.

Residential Growth Likely to be Modest

With solar prices continuing to drop and the spread of popular solar leasing options, residential is projected to grow. But the fact that 5 states have already met their renewable power supply (RPS) targets will make that growth a bit more modest.

Uncertainties

Of course, as always, there are plenty of uncertainties in the market that make projections nothing more than that.

"The key uncertainties on the rate of US demand growth in 2012 relate to the impact of the end of the Federal Cash Grant and approval timetables for large utility scale projects together with the market impact of states that have met their RPS," said Junko Movellan, NPD Solarbuzz Senior Analyst.

"In 2011, the pace of market price reductions was accelerated by the growth in Chinese module supply. The uncertainty caused by the Chinese anti-dumping case started to reshape supply and pricing in Q4'11; the ruling will shape the 2H'12 supply mix."

Source: Solarbuzz

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Masdar City to be Complete by 2025?

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 07:00 AM PST

masdar

Proposed Masterplan of Masdar City

If you get out the white pages (remember those?) and look up cleantech companies, you’ll find plenty of entries. But you won’t find many cities… yet. However, as you may know, Abu Dhabi, the capital and second largest city in the United Arab Emirates, is teaming up with the Mubadala Development Company and British architectural firm Foster and Partners to create Masdar City.

Not only will this city be the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency, its designers are planning for Masdar to be a zero-carbon and zero-waste bastion for clean technology companies. Pretty bold for a fledgling city in a country that harbors 8 percent of the world’s crude oil.

What Masdar City Will Include

The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a subsidiary of the Mubdala Development Company, is the agency principally responsible for the development of Masdar City. It has previously been involved in the manufacturing of photovoltaic films and solar energy. The new project, already six years into production with an estimated completion date somewhere between 2020 and 2025, has a projected cost of about $19 billion.

The city itself will span 6 square miles and support a population of about 50,000 people. Masdar City is also expected to host around 1,500 business, 60,000 commuting workers, and an advanced public transportation system. No cars will be allowed!

The green ethics of the city planning of Masdar incorporates a number of different renewable energy ideas. A 60-megawatt solar power plant is being constructed by Conergy, which will provide more facilities as the city develops. Wind farms, geothermal energy, solar-powered desalination, greywater recycling, waste incineration, and sustainable manufacturing are all planned for Masdar City as well.

In addition to being a model for cities which run entirely off of renewable energy, the United Arab Emirates—fast emerging as one of the global leaders in energy reform—also plans for the city to be a mecca for renewable energy production, carbon resource management, and sustainable tech financial investment and research development.

Leading the World Forward?

In essence, Masdar City is the environmental science version of a charter city, in which a sovereign, corporate-funded city becomes a haven for businesses.

We can only hope that when Masdar opens its doors to the investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and working class citizens of the world in 2025 that the trend toward green, sustainable tech and business will have taken a stronger root in the major power centers in North America, Europe, and Asia. Indeed, the prospect of reducing the geopolitical tensions over oil, as well as the lucrative financial opportunity to create a regional market for clean-tech investment, seems to be driving the UAE. It’s openly stated that it plans for its expensive, ambitious pet project to be the world’s most sustainable city.

Masdar masterplan image via Masdar

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World’s Largest Wind Farm Has 1st (& 2nd) Turbine Up

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 06:37 AM PST

What will likely become the world’s largest wind farm now has its first two turbines up. In total, 175 of the 3.6-MW Siemens offshore wind turbines totaling 630 MW are to be installed by the end of 2012. That’s phase 1. After phase 2 is complete, the total power capacity of the wind farm will be 1,000 MW (or 1 GW). Can you guess where this giant project is?

If you said the UK, you’re right. The London Array offshore wind farm is going up in the Thames Estuary. The first wind turbines should start producing power in March. As you can see if you click the link above, this project has been in the works for years now. So, it’s great to see it finally getting some turbines up!

Source: Business Green

 

 

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Energy Tax Breaks Wiki Launched

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 06:17 AM PST

fossil fuel vs renewable energy subsidies

This post originally appeared on Climate Progress and has been reposted with permission.

Go ahead, admit it: You stay up late studying the tax system, pouring over every line of the tax code so you can understand the details of exempt facility bonds, accelerated cost recovery systems, and carryback credits.

If you're a tax geek, I've got a job for you. Help the rest of us non-tax experts out by contributing to a new wiki designed to track the broad range of subsidies going to the energy industry.

The Institute for Policy Integrity just rolled out an "energy tax breaks wiki" that will attempt to log every tax subsidy provided to the fossil and renewable energy industries. With all the political hand-wringing over permanent tax credits for oil companies, short-term tax credits for clean energy that are set to expire, and the differences between the government support provided to both sectors, this is a very important resource for helping uncover the opaque world of energy tax law:

The truth is, estimates range widely. With the federal deficit still a hot topic, and energy tax breaks playing a recurring role in budget negotiations, it seems important to have a handle on exactly how much energy producers get from the government. To gain a more precise accounting of these de facto subsidies, we are marshaling the expertise of lawyers, economists and tax professionals and compiling the information here in the Energy Tax Breaks Wiki. We are looking for any tax code section that specifically provides tax relief to energy producing companies.

Around 44% of government spending on energy in 2010 came through preferential treatment in the tax code. However, as CAP's Richard Caperton recently pointed out, these expenditures do not often receive the same scrutiny as direct spending:

Both companies and the government have an established system for paying and processing taxes, so providing investments through the tax code provides for efficient delivery of incentives by tapping existing infrastructure and rules. More cynically, however, tax expenditures are an expedient that may be at cross-purposes with good government practice because they are held to different budget standards than direct spending. This means that working through the tax code is less transparent and therefore far easier to pass through Congress with reduced budget scrutiny.

Therefore, you have tax subsidies on the books for the oil and gas industry that have been in place since the early 1900′s. And because tax expenditures are treated differently than direct expenditures, the government doesn't evaluate the effectiveness of these credits like it should. (See America's Hidden Power Bill: Examining Federal Energy Tax Expenditures.)

With a little crowd sourcing, perhaps energy tax experts can help us pull back the curtain on tax expenditures through this new wiki.

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Austin Neighborhood a Smart-Grid Laboratory

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 06:12 AM PST

There are a few real-world smart-grid laboratories out there. Every time I read about one, I wish I were a participant! Here’s the scoop on a new one in Austin, Texas (via sister site Insteading):

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8 Top Resources for Installing Solar in 2012

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 06:03 AM PST

For years now, I have known three things: 1) a ton of people support solar power (government support for it, installing much more, etc.), 2) under 1% of U.S. electricity supply comes from solar, 3) one of the biggest barriers (if not THE biggest barrier) to people going solar is lack of information (not that the information doesn’t exist, just that people aren’t aware of it and often don’t know where to find it).

This post below by Britt Mauriss (reposted from sister site Green Building Elements) is a great one that will hopefully help to solve that lack-of-information issue for a lot of people. Check it out and share it!

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New Mexican Community College Offers New Opportunity With Wind Program

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 05:49 AM PST

One of the underlying themes of the renewable energy economy is the opportunities it can present to those economically disadvantaged. A new program being offered by a New Mexico Community College is doing that.

Mesalands Community College's North American Wind Research and Training Center in Tucumcari, New Mexico is offering what looks like an exciting twelve-week program  for an Occupational Certificate in Basic Wind Energy Technology.

Funding for the program is received through a $523,751 Wind Centre of Excellence grant. The program offers US citizens who are low-income, displaced, veterans, or veteran spouses the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the wind industry.

"This program is designed to educate students on the basics of the wind energy industry, as they gain real-world training experience climbing our wind turbine," said Mesaland Community College's President Dr. Mildred Lovato, on the importance of the program in a press release.  "We also want to stimulate our local, regional, statewide, and national economy by preparing individuals for a rewarding career in a growing field," she said.

The program over the twelve weeks will teach students the basics in wind turbine maintenance, tower safety, wind economics, and wind turbine technology.  Some of the courses being offered will be in hydraulics, electricity and mechanics. Accepted students will also have an opportunity to get some hands on learning with a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine, near the center. The program begins on February 13. For more, go to Mesalands Community College's website.

It is great to see programs like the one being offered at Mesalands Community College popping up, as such training programs are critical to our transition to clean energy jobs and making this industry accessible to those who would not normally have such an opportunity.

Photo Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Smack! Was that a Mosquito You Killed, Or a Drone?

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 04:42 AM PST

Johns Hopkins researchers help develop MAV …Or maybe that high-agility flying robot was a tasty snack for an artificial toad. In a real-life nod to the classic science fiction novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University is helping to develop a micro aerial vehicle (MAV for short) that will be no bigger than a bug.

So, What Good is a Micro Aerial Vehicle?

An MAV would be used for military reconnaissance operations in urban areas, where densely packed buildings and unpredictable winds create unique challenges for a small flying device – no surprise here, since the Hopkins research is partly funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

And then there’s the Internet

On the other hand, the Internet started as a defense-funded project and look where we are now. As highly fuel efficient micro machines, MAV’s could become an essential part of the sustainable tech landscape, for example in wind turbine maintenance and other clean energy tasks, data collection, and  environmental monitoring. They could also be useful in emergency response, especially as the "search" part of a search and rescue operation

Secret of the Hopkins MAV

Student researchers Tras Lin and Lingxiao Zheng are spearheading the Johns Hopkins contribution to MAV research, using high-speed video cameras to analyze the way a butterfly's body moves in flight. The advanced cameras enabled the researchers to separate one-fifth of a second of movement into 600 frames. According to Lin, the breakdown shows that the insect’s body in flight shares some characteristics with the body movements of figure skaters, who use their arm position to modify their speed while spinning.

According to Phil Sneiderman of Johns Hopkins, the key discovery so far has been to recognize that changes in the distribution of the insect's body mass play an important role in its ability to perform intricate maneuvers while flapping its wings. Previous research into flight dynamics had overlooked this area of study and focused primarily on wing movements.

Look Out! More MAV’s on the Way

If something rings a bell about this project, you may recall that last year DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, released photos of the Hummingbird, a tiny, ultra lightweight remote-controlled flying vehicle designed to resemble

an actual hummingbird. The Hummingbird was designed specifically to let troops in urban combat to get a look around corners and inside buildings.

The military's interest in cutting edge urban combat technologies is not a new development. In an eerily prescient 1999 report prepared by the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, researchers noted that the frequency and scale of urban combat is "likely to increase," further noting that:

"From early history on, urban combat has required masses of dismounted infantrymen, a significant amount of time, combined arms and astonishing quantities of ammunition. The assaulting force runs the risk of its own attrition by combat, insufficient supplies and epidemic diseases. Assaults on cities have resulted in heavy military and civilian casualties and shattered cities. Modern urban combat has often destroyed operations tempo, drained logistics stockpiles and ruined the reputations of promising commanders.”

That report must have been overlooked when the previous Administration planned its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The current Administration seems to have absorbed the lessons with a focus on long-distance air and sea power, which by nature involves a renewed effort on cutting edge technology, so look for lots more than flying bug-type gadgets in the future.

Image: Mosquito (could outweigh an MAV). License Attribution Some rights reserved by tanakawho.

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.

 

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Clean Links: Solar, Wind, EV, & Policy News

Posted: 06 Feb 2012 01:02 PM PST

Other than our 60+ stories from the past week, here are a few more noteworthy ones worth a look or two:

Solar Energy

1. MidAmerican Renewables, LLC Completes Acquisition of 550-MegawattAC Topaz Solar Farm from First Solar (solar farm in video above)

MidAmerican Renewables, LLC, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, announced it has completed its acquisition of the Topaz Solar Farm from First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR). The 550-megawatt photovoltaic power plant being built in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., will have the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 160,000 average California homes….

The Topaz project will be built, operated and maintained by First Solar. Construction began in December 2011 and is expected to be complete by early 2015. The project will create approximately 400 construction jobs and 15 ongoing operations and maintenance jobs.

Note: we wrote about this project in December.

2. Solar Thermal Creating Jobs in Colorado

Colorado has the highest solar thermal resources in the U.S. and could create 24,000 jobs, generating $1 billion in annual state revenue by 2050. Solar Thermal Alliance of Colorado is responsible for the goal. The recent organization was created by an umbrella of organizations in the state, including Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES), Colorado Environmental Coalition and other organizations.

The group held a meeting on January 24 and [it] was attended by State Reps. Max Tyler and Randy Fischer, both Democrats, to announce its goals and the Colorado Solar Thermal Roadmap, which will help the state internationally lead in the solar thermal field. Solar thermal technologies can heat and cool homes and produce electricity, depleting the reliance on traditional fossil fuels.

3. NanoMarkets Forecasts Rapid Sales Growth for CIGS Solar Panels Through Rest of Decade

In its newly released report, “CIGS Photovoltaics Markets-2012,” industry analyst firm NanoMarkets forecasts revenues from CIGS panels will reach $4.4 billion (USD) by 2017.  And while the recent announcement of a 150 MW solar farm supports the notion that CIGS technology is finally ready for prime time, NanoMarkets says that CIGS manufacturers will have to adopt new strategies to protect themselves from falling solar panel prices.

Additional details about the report are available at http://nanomarkets.net/market_reports/report/cigs_photovoltaics_markets_2012

Also see Andrew’s post: Lux Ranks Thin-Film CIGS Solar PV Manufacturers in Light of Forecast Growth Surge

4. Real Goods Solar Continues to Spread Clean Energy, Launches Third Annual Free Home Solar Sweepstakes

Real Goods Solar reaffirmed its commitment to make solar power affordable and accessible, by giving homeowners the opportunity to win their own 4kW home solar electric system valued up to $25,000 in the 2012 Free Home Solar Sweepstakes.

Qualifying homeowners can enter to win and see official rules at http://www.RealGoodsSolar.com/Sweepstakes or call 888.56.SOLAR.

5. VTA Installs Solar Power Systems at Its Three Bus Yards

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), in partnership with SunPower Corp., Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and Wells Fargo, installed solar parking canopy systems, totaling 2.1 megawatts (MW), at its three bus maintenance divisions. Using a Power Purchase Agreement to finance the systems, it is anticipated that VTA will save $2.7 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years.

“VTA will be saving taxpayer money on energy costs while investing in a future that will benefit us all,” said Santa Clara CountySupervisor and VTA Chair Ken Yeager. ”VTA is already combating global warming through the promotion of mass transit and congestion management. Now, we are reducing greenhouse gases through our operations, too.”

6. Clean Power Finance Expands Residential Solar Financing Products to New Markets

Clean Power Finance, the online marketplace for residential solar financing and sales software, today announced the availability of its residential solar finance products in the states of Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Initially only available in California, the solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) Clean Power Finance manages and markets are now accessible to qualified solar sales and installation customers in other states to brand and market as their own financing solutions to homeowners.

"We are committed to growing the residential solar market and believe that making competitive financing products available to companies selling solar is crucial to industry growth this year and beyond," said Robert Prigge, SVP of worldwide sales for Clean Power Finance. "Solar PPAs and leases have emerged as the driving force behind residential solar sales. Our expansion into new markets underscores demand by solar companies for our finance products, which they can brand and market to homeowners."

Clean Power Finance entered the residential solar financing market in California in April 2011. Since then, the company has expanded rapidly, and now facilitates as much as $1 million in residential solar project financings per day.

7. BrightSource Energy's Power Tower Technology Selected by Sasol for South African Solar Power Plant Design

BrightSource Energy, Inc., a leading solar thermal technology company, [has] announced that Sasol has selected BrightSource's power tower solar thermal technology following a worldwide review of solar technologies. Under the agreement, BrightSource and its partner Alstom, global leader in power generation equipment, will conduct a comprehensive front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the South Africa market.

The FEED study is a critical step in the design and deployment of a solar thermal power plant. Sasol will use the information from the study to determine how best to deploy BrightSource's technology in the markets it serves.

8. Solapoint Selects Alpha-Omega Solar Simulator

Alpha-Omega Power Technologies, LLC, a leading provider of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar simulators and test systems, announced the purchase of its GEN2 Solar Simulator by Solapoint Corp.

Solapoint, Taiwan is one of the first companies dedicated to the business of III-V solar cells for terrestrial applications. It specializes in custom foundry services by providing post-epi processing including fabrication and test of cells to its customers using customer-consigned epi wafers.

"Solapoint pays attention to every detail of the process and is dedicated to providing exceptional quality," per Ray Cravey, President of Alpha-Omega, “and their philosophy of “plan-do-check-act” matches well with the capability of the GEN2 to thoroughly check their devices are meeting the highest industry standards.”

The Alpha-Omega Test System supports Solapoint in providing a wide range of test and measurement capabilities to match their custom foundry services. With the ability to 100% test wafers or cells in excess of 1000x suns they can meet the most stringent quality control requirements of nearly any HCPV manufacturer today.

Wind Energy

vestas china wind turbine

1. Vestas China Receives 48.6-MW Wind Turbine Order 

Vestas China has received its very first V100 turbine order from Datang Hubei Renewable Energy (Datang Renewable). The introduction of the newest addition to the 2 MW platform in China took place in early 2011. The order represents not only an important step further into the low wind regime in China, but also a step into the new geographical market of the Hubei province.

The 27 units of V100-1.8 MW turbines with a total capacity of 48.6 MW will be installed in the Long Ganhu wind farm in the Hubei province, a low-wind site with an average wind speed at 5 m/s. Compared to other wind power plants in China, the Long Ganhu site is situated close to one of the intensively energy consuming areas of Hubei province. Thus, this answers the call from the National Government of pursuing the development of "distributed" wind power in China. The successful application of Vestas' V100 at this wind site will set an example for distributed wind power at low-wind sites in other provinces, and the open-up in the Hubei province will bring new business opportunities for Vestas.

2. New Tool Could Prevent Wind Farm Bat Deaths

From devastating outbreaks of white nose syndrome to large numbers of bat deaths caused by collision and  dramatic changes in air pressure, the health of bat populations has emerged as a major issue for wind farm developers and operators. And while a range of solutions including specialized radar systemsand purple wind turbines have been proposed and tested, there has been a gap in research and technology that helps predict the movements of migratory bats.

But now, researchers at the US Forest Service have developed a new technology and predictive tool designed to help wind farm operators reduce impacts on migratory bats while maximizing energy production.  The interactive tool, created by ecologist Ted Weller and statistician Jim Baldwin from the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, allows users to predict the probability of bat presence (See a demonstration of the interactive tool at the Wolfram Demonstrations Project website).

3. Samsung joins renewables jobs surge with plans for Scottish wind turbine plant

Engineering giant Samsung has become the latest global manufacturer to announce plans for a British wind turbine plant, confirming … that it is to open a new facility in Fife that is expected to create more than 500 new jobs.

The £100m investment was announced at the Scottish Offshore Wind and Supply Chain Conference in Aberdeen and will see the company develop its new 7MW offshore wind turbine at the Energy Park at Methil near Fife.

4. Second Phase of Norwegian Wind Farm Underway

The first phase was completed in February 2011, and financing for the second phase is expected to be completed in mid-February for Høg Jæren EnergiPark, which will eventually have a capacity of 73.6 megawatts.

The second phase of the project is, however, relatively modest at 13.8 megawatts and only involves six additional turbines, which Siemens will be providing. The project’s second phase reached a documentary close on January 25, and over the next few weeks financing is expected to be settled. The second phase is expected to cost 30 million euros, putting the cost for both phases at around 170 million.

5. Is Wind Power the Most Under-Exploited Energy Opportunity in the Southern US?

The U.S. has nearly 45,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity.

There is a total installed capacity of 29 megawatts in the southern block of states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

There is a reason the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is holding its 2012 conference in Atlanta, Georgia this year, according to Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) Renewable Energy Manager Simon Mahan. The combination of newly identified, as-yet-unexploited resources, new technologies that make exploiting them economically feasible and a growing demand for electricity make the region a new frontier for developers.

6. Gamesa’s orders for the new G97-2.0 MW turbine total 356 MW in the second half of 2011, its inaugural year

Gamesa, a global technology leader in wind energy, secured contracts to supply 356 MW of its new G97-2.0 MW turbine in deals signed in the second half of 2011, the year of the global launch of this new turbine.

Europe, specifically Spain, accounted for the largest share of orders: 40% of the total, or 71 units of the G97-2.0 MW turbine amounting to 142 MW of capacity.

China accounted for 28% of orders, with a total of 100 MW, followed closely by the United States, which generated orders for 94 MW (26.4% of the total) in this period. Meanwhile, customers in India ordered 10 MW (2.8%) matching orders from Canada. The Canadian deal marks Gamesa’s first contract in the country.  

Transportation

1. Singapore Police Department Orders 12 T3 Electric Stand-up Vehicles

T3 Motion, Inc. ”has been awarded the contract from Singapore Police Department for twelve T3 Electric Stand-up Vehicles. The vehicles will be used by the Singapore Police Department for Changi Airport patrol initiatives.”

“As the seventh busiest international terminal in the world, this Changi Airport deployment is in line with our global branding strategy, increasing sales and raising global awareness of our company,” stated Ki Nam, T3 Motion CEO.

Over 3,000 T3 Series vehicles are now in use in over 30 countries.

2. Micro-Hybrids to Grow Nearly Eight Times Over by 2017, Report Finds

“Micro-hybrids will grow nearly eight-fold to 39 million vehicles in 2017 and create a $6.9 billion market for energy storage devices as the fuel-saving alternative technology finds ready adoption, driven by stricter emission standards, according to a Lux Research report titled, ‘Every Last Drop: Micro- And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles.’” the company notes.

Here’s more:

Micro-hybrids, which use a small battery to provide varying degrees of efficiency-boosting features, will dominate the automotive market, gaining 42% of the overall light-duty vehicle market. Simultaneously, the mild hybrids — superior to micro-hybrids but not as efficient as pure hybrids — will rise from near-zero to 1.5 million vehicles in 2017, accounting for 1.6% of the auto market.

"Micro-hybrids will take over the automotive market, while mild hybrids will leverage the excessive build-out of Li-ion capacity to grow," said Kevin See, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the report. "Micro-hybrids and, to a lesser extent, mild hybrids, provide a cost-effective solution to fuel savings to bridge the gap to more disruptive technologies like alternative fuels, plug-in vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles."

To estimate adoption rates for micro-hybrids and mild hybrids, Lux researchers factored in the adoption of other fuel-saving technologies and modeled cost impact variations, besides estimating the costs of battery replacement and maintenance for these alternative vehicles. Among their conclusions:

  • Europe will lead with China and the U.S. in tow. Europe will continue its leadership in the micro-hybrid market, growing over three-fold to 12.6 million units in the next five years. China will see explosive 81% annual growth to reach 8.9 million units in 2017 and the U.S. will zoom from miniscule levels today to over 8 million in 2017.
  • Medium micro-hybrids dominate. A low price premium, fuel savings of up to 10% and a relatively easier manufacturing process will propel medium micro-hybrids to the top of the alternative auto market over the next five years. These vehicles will grow at 36% CAGR to 22.2 million vehicles in 2017, driven largely by the European market and automakers like Volkswagen.
  • AGM battery technology will grow nine-fold. Absorbed glass mat (AGM), lead-acid batteries will dominate the market for storage of micro-hybrids, growing at 46% annually to nearly $4 billion in 2017. In mild hybrids, Li-ion will carve out a niche, growing from near-zero to nearly $570 million in 2017, capturing a 47% market share among plug-in vehicles.

The report, titled "Every Last Drop: Micro- And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles," is part of the Lux Research Electric Vehicles Intelligence service.

3. Judge rules Honda overstated hybrid fuel economy

A judge in California awarded $9,867 to a woman who sued Honda in small claims court, with the complaint that her Civic Hybrid did not achieve the fuel economy advertised by Honda.

Policy & Politics

1. Republicans Step Up Attacks on Obama’s Green Agenda

US Republicans are deploying a $100m election spending machine to savage Barack Obama’s green agenda, with Karl Rove’s political action committee releasing a new advert attacking the administration for funding a collapsed solar panel company.

The latest ad buy this week raises Republican spending on adverts attacking Obama’s support for Solyndra to more than $9m (£5.7m), with the election still nine months away.

Note: Check out our tag on Solyndra for more on the out-of-proportion freaking out and conspiracy theories about that story. 

2. Climate Change Policy: Oil’s Tipping Point Has Passed

Stop wrangling over global warming and instead reduce fossil-fuel use for the sake of the global economy.

That's the message from two scientists, one from the University of Washington and one from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, who say in the current issue of the journal Nature (Jan. 26) that the economic pain of a flattening oil supply will trump the environment as a reason to curb the use of fossil fuels.

"Given our fossil-fuel dependent economies, this is more urgent and has a shorter time frame than global climate change," says James W. Murray, UW professor of oceanography, who wrote the Nature commentary with David King, director of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

3. Spanish Moratorium on Renewable Power

Spain has a unique way of financing its feed-in tariffs. Whereas most countries pass on the full cost as a surcharge to the retail rate (often with exemptions for energy-intensive industry), part of Spain’s feed-in tariffs is funded via tax money as part of the governmental budget. Now, the Spanish government, which has been working to change this type of financing for several years, says the budget has been used up. Effective immediately and for an indeterminate period, generators of renewable electricity that are newly installed are no longer eligible for feed-in tariffs – the Decree applies for solar, wind, and biomass.

Spain’s Fundacion Renovables (Renewables Foundation) has brought together “more than 40 institutions” in a petition against the moratorium presented in Madrid on January 31. The APPA, which represents producers of renewable power, says the moratorium will shut down the entire sector, destroying a growing corporate network in the process.

4. Ministers ‘misled MPs over need for nuclear power stations’

Ministers misled parliament over the need to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations, distorting evidence and presenting to MPs a false summary of the analysis they had commissioned, a group of MPs and experts alleged in a report published on Tuesday (PDF).

If MPs had been presented with an accurate picture of the evidence for and against new reactors, the government’s plans might have been challenged, according to the report. Both the previous Labour government and the current coalition overstated the evidence that new nuclear power was needed, it also alleged.

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