Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

Artist Wants to Light Far-Flung with Solar Light

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 12:30 AM PDT

 

Olafur Eliasson is trying to illuminate the remote, bringing light and opportunity to those who cannot access or bear the expense of electricity or kerosene. Eliasson, an Icelandic-Danish artist, has created a small solar-powered light, called Little Sun, “to promote economic growth in regions of the world where electricity is not available, reliable, affordable or sustainable.”

Little Sun gives about five hours of luminescence after taking in five hours of sunlight. The battery lasts three years and is replaceable. It can be used as a table lamp, wall mount, pendant, flashlight, or bicycle headlight.

Berlin-based Eliasson and engineer partner Frederik Ottesen say the Little Sun solar light allows users to read, write, and study later; work more safely; keep stores open after dark; live in homes unpolluted by kerosene fumes; and reduce household energy expenditures.

Beginning July 28, Tate Modern will turn off its museum lights and “invite visitors to look at works of art in the dark using only the light of Eliasson’s Little Sun solar-powered lamps.” The Little Suns will be lighting Tate Modern’s Surrealist collection every Saturday night for two hours until September 9.

In areas off the grid, Little Suns will be sold for about $10; elsewhere, the solar lamps will be about £16.50. Eliasson wants off-grid small businesses to sell Little Suns to create economic activity. The lamps will “initially be sold in Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe at both a worthwhile profit for local retailers and an affordable sum for consumers.”

Eliasson pledges that revenue generated by the solar lights will be put back into the venture to sustain the goal of sustainable light.

Image: Oalfur Eliasson via Little Sun


ABB–GreenVolts Make a Bang with Launch of Turnkey Solar CPV System

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 12:00 AM PDT

 

Multinational power industry giant ABB last week introduced to the market a turnkey concentrating photovoltaic (PV) system based on Fremont, California-based GreenVolts’ technology, banking on demand from large commercial and utility-scale solar PV project developers in North America. ABB and GreenVolts launched the new turnkey CPV system at the Intersolar North America trade show in San Francisco last week.

"For utility-scale projects, customers are asking for a fully integrated solution and the long-term stability and support that ABB can provide," stated Bob Stojanovic, ABB director of Solar Power Solutions, North America. "With this turnkey CPV system and our power generation experience, we believe ABB has the most complete and compelling solar power solution in the industry."
 

 

The Advent of Large-Scale CPV?

According to the development partners, their solar CPV system can produce 30%-40% more clean, renewable electricity than comparable crystalline silicon or thin-film solar PV systems over the course of a year, which effectively and significantly reduces the footprint, as well as the cost, of developing utility-scale solar PV projects. ABB–GreenVolts’ CPV panels are especially effective in areas of Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI), which is characteristic of warmer and sunnier regions of the world, they say.

ABB–GreenVolts’ new turnkey CPV system incorporates CPV modules, trackers, and inverters, as well as the ISIS (Intelligent Solar Information System) energy management software, which makes for remote monitoring and control of solar power systems ranging as large as the largest commercial and utility-scale solar PV plants.

ABB announced it was investing some $20 million through its ABB Technology Ventures subsidiary to take a “substantial minority stake” in GreenVolts, part of a total $35 million venture financing round, and would join with them in further developing its technology for the power utility marketplace. The two also signed an international marketing and distribution agreement.

"The technology combines simplicity and precision with unmatched performance, fast installation, easy operation and low cost of production," Peter Leupp, head of ABB's Power Systems division, commented at the time. "Our extensive footprint, which covers all key solar markets in the world, will help us to make this technology globally accessible."

Though launched publicly at Intersolar, ABB and GreenVolts offered a preview of the turnkey CPV system to potential power industry customers at ABB’s Automation and Power World in Houston in April. Well-received, ABB “is already working on projects in the US Southwest, Mexico, Peru, Chile, the Mediterranean, Africa, Australia and the Middle East.”

Photo Credit: GreenVolts


2.2-GW Wind Farm Proposed for Irish Sea

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 11:30 PM PDT

 

A massive wind farm with up to 440 turbines has been proposed for the Irish Sea in a joint project between a Danish energy company and Centrica, an integrated energy company working in the UK and North America.

The initial proposal for the huge wind farm has been submitted to the National Infrastructure Planning branch of the UK government.

Called Rhiannon Wind Farm Limited, it is the first offshore wind facility to be proposed for the Irish Sea Zone. The proposed site location is about thirty kilometers southeast of the Isle of Man. (This island is about 100 kilometers from Belfast.)

The full wind power potential of the Irish Sea Zone has been estimated to be 4.2 GW — two more gigawatts than the current proposed project, even though it is enormous.

 

 

One criticism of the site’s location is that, if constructed, the wind power installation might disrupt ferry routes. However, project representatives will meet with the appropriate travel administrators to address these concerns.

One advantage of locating wind turbines offshore is that their operation noise is typically far away from people, so it isn’t bothersome and there are fewer NIMBYs.

Some say the vibration of the turbines can bother fish, but so far this impact seems negligible, though it probably requires more research. In some cases, the addition of turbines has encouraged biodiversity on the sea floor where they are located.

The UK government has intended to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by the year 2050, compared with levels from 1990. The transition to clean energy sources has been estimated to have the potential to generate business opportunities worth around $100 billion and possibly create 500,000 jobs.

Image Credit: Public Domain, Wiki Commons


Drexel’s Energy Flow Capacitor: Is Grid-Level Electrical Storage Here Now?

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 08:30 PM PDT

 

A Drexel University research team has developed energy storage technology that it believes can solve a vexing problem: how to cost-effectively store intermittent electrical energy from renewable sources at grid-level scale. The research team combined the concepts underlying flow, or redox, batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) with those of supercapacitors in developing a liquid, electrochemical storage technology.

While large amounts of electrical energy can be stored using current battery technology, it’s slow to discharge and has a limited cycle-life as compared to electrochemical supercapacitors, which are limited in terms of the amount of energy they can store, a Drexel University news release explains.
 

 

Electric Flux Capacitors: Grid-Scale Energy Storage?


Scaling up to grid-level size is a constraint with regard to using batteries and supercapacitors for grid storage of intermittent electricity flows from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar PV. Supercapacitors, which are similar to the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs, require large amounts of relatively costly materials to produce electricity. As such, they have only been used commercially at much smaller scales — consumer electronic devices, for example.

The Drexel University research team’s solution leveraged the comparative advantages of batteries and supercapacitors and applied new nanotechnology to develop an “electrochemical flow capacitor” (EFC) that it says can cost-effectively store grid-level quantities of electrical energy, and charge and discharge quickly, making it suitable to manage intermittent flows from renewable energy sources.

"Packing together thousands of conventional small devices to build a system for large-scale stationary energy storage is too expensive," explained project lead Dr. Yury Gogotsi, director of the A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute. "A liquid storage system, the capacity of which is limited only by the tank size, can be cost-effective and scalable."

Consisting of electrochemical cells connected to two external electrolyte reservoirs, nano-scale carbon particles are used as energy carriers. A slurry of uncharged carbon particles suspended in electrolyte tanks are pumped through a flow cell, where they pick up and carry electrical charge. They then flow into storage reservoirs for use as needed.

"By using a slurry of carbon particles as the active material of supercapacitors, we are able to adopt the system architecture from redox flow batteries and address issues of cost and scalability," Gogotsi commented.

The size of electrical-charge storage reservoirs determines the capacity of an energy storage system. In Drexel’s product, the system can be scaled up simply by increasing the size of the tanks, while the system’s power output can be increased by increasing the size of the electrochemical cells.

"Flow battery architecture is very attractive for grid-scale applications because it allows for scalable energy storage by decoupling the power and energy density," added Dr. E.C. Kumbur, director of Drexel's Electrochemical Energy Systems Laboratory.

"Slow response rate is a common problem for most energy storage systems. Incorporating the rapid charging and discharging ability of supercapacitors into this architecture is a major step toward effectively storing energy from fluctuating renewable sources and being able to quickly deliver the energy, as it is needed."

In addition, the research team’s EFC energy storage system has a relatively long useful life as compared to the current generation of flow batteries, such that they can be used “in stationary applications for hundreds of thousands of charge-discharge cycles.”

"This technology can potentially address cost and lifespan issues that we face with the current electrochemical energy storage technologies," Kumbur was quoted as saying.


Invenergy Seeks Permission to Build 500-MW Oregon Wind Farm

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 08:00 PM PDT

 

Project developer Invenergy is seeking permission from local authorities to build a 502-MW wind farm in Oregon, welcome news for the US wind energy industry, which is about to lose key federal support as the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) is due to expire at year-end.

Chicago-based Invenergy’s Heppner Wind Energy LLC has filed a proposal with the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to build the massive wind farm on a 61,000-acre (243-sq. km) site between the Columbia River and the Blue Mountains in eastern Morrow County. If it’s approved and built, this wind farm would more than double the electricity produced in the county, according to a report from the East Oregonian.
 

 

Wind Power, Green Economics and Wildlife Conservation

Heppner’s plan calls for as many as 310 1.5–3MW wind turbines between 394 and 533 feet tall to be erected on private property spanning the site area. Also included is building an overhead 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line that will connect the wind farm to a planned substation in Stanfield, according to an Oregon Dept. of Energy project description.

The 500-MW wind farm project would produce enough clean, renewable power for some 125,000 homes, while adding several million dollars a year to the county’s economy through payments to project landowners, employee salaries and property tax revenue. As many as 100 temporary construction and 30 new permanent jobs would be created, according to a Wind Watch report.

Morrow County has been a focal point for utility-scale wind power development in Oregon, which ranks fourth in the US in terms of installed wind power capacity. Three wind farms with a combined total rated capacity of 100 MW — Willow Creek, Echo Wind, and Threemile Canyon — added $650,000 to the county’s revenue from property taxes in 2011.

Built in 1977, a 600-MW Portland General Electric (PGE) coal-fired power plant in Boardman has long been, and continues to be, the county’s single-largest source of property tax revenue. The plant, for which PGE paid $3.5 million in property taxes in 2011, is due to shut down in 2020, however.

The new Morrow County wind farm is the first wind farm to be proposed on a big-game winter range. As such, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is concerned about the massive project’s effects on wildlife in the area, particularly its impact on raptors and big-game animals.

"We're not saying that it's bad, we're saying that there are effects for what we do," Heppner district biologist Steve Cherry was quoted as saying by Wind Watch. "Everything on the landscape affects wildlife." The area is home to Golden eagles, ferruginous, and Swainson’s hawks, as well as other sensitive species, including migratory bat populations, he explained.

Photo Credit: Oregon Live


First Turbine Going Up on Enel-GE Energy Financial’s 235-MW Chisholm View Wind Farm

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 07:30 PM PDT

 

Enel Green Power North America announced it has started construction of the 235-MW Chisholm View Wind Project in Oklahoma. 140 wind turbines are due to be erected on the site, the clean, renewable electrical power from which will be purchased by Southern Co. subsidiary Alabama Power as per the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), according to an Enid News & Eagle report.

Contractor Mortenson Construction’s Renewable Energy Groups is seeing to Chisholm View’s construction. More than 150 workers are on the Chisholm View Wind Project site. Construction completion and commissioning of the planned 140 General Electric (GE) 1.68-MW wind turbines is due before year-end, with the first turbine now being installed.

Project developer TradeWind Energy estimates that the Chisholm View wind farm project will add as much as $5 million a year to the local economy from property taxes and rent payments to landowners. Environmentally, the wind farm project is projected to avoid more than 565,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to taking some 110,000 cars off the road.
 

 

Green Jobs & Green Energy

Electricity from Chisholm View will be carried by an Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OGE) transmission line to power distribution centers in Dallas and Wichita, Kansas, and then on to Alabama Power’s service area, Enid News & Eagle’s report explains.

GE Energy Financial Services purchased a 51% equity stake in the $175 million wind farm project in April, when construction began. GEFS and Enel Green Power said they intended to raise additional capital for the project by securitizing the federal production tax credits (PTC) gained from Chisholm View’s development.

The federal wind energy PTC is due to expire at year-end, which has industry participants and supporters warning of a collapse in the US wind power market, signs of which are already being seen. A study from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) projects the loss of some 37,000 US wind energy jobs will be lost as a result.

Photo Credit: GE Energy


OriginOil has a Vision for Urban Algae Biofuel Farming

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 07:00 PM PDT

 
OriginOil foresees urban algae farming

For all you urban energy harvesters out there, here’s a little something to go with your micro wind turbine and your rooftop solar thermal-electric array: a small-scale, energy-efficient system for harvesting algae in preparation for producing algae biofuel. Called the Model 4 Algae Appliance™ harvester, it was developed by the U.S. company OriginOil to enable small-scale algae farming at building complexes and other tight urban spaces.

Urban Algae Biofuel Farming

The Model 4 is a down-sized version of a system that was originally designed for large-scale commercial microalgae farming. It is about to get its first test at the La Défense complex near Paris (France not Texas, but oh well). The project is a collaboration with the wastewater-to-energy company Ennesys.

In one of those green twofers that we at CleanTechnica love to hear about, Ennesys proposes an operation that would use the wastewater from the buildings to provide nutrients to the growing algae (NASA is backing a similar algae project, btw), so the farming operation will also double as an energy-efficient wastewater management system.

Finding an inexpensive way to separate the fully grown microalgae from its watery environment is one of the key challenges for producing cost-competitive microalgae biofuel, and this is the part that the Algae Appliance addresses.

The algae-water solution requires no pretreatment. The Algae Appliance subjects it to carefully calibrated electromagnetic pulses, which cause the algae to clump together, making it easier to almost all of the excess water.

The device also provides a low-energy way to crack open the cell walls of the algae in order to extract the oil.

Buildings as Green Energy Dynamos

If this first test proves successful, it will help mark the beginnings of a total flip in the relationship between energy and buildings.

Throughout modern history, buildings have always been the consumers of energy. Currently, in the U.S., they use about 30 percent of all energy (in Europe, it’s about 40 percent), but now they are becoming platforms for energy generation, in the form of building-integrated solar power and other forms of renewable energy.

Here in the U.S., that transformation is occurring largely on a voluntary basis. The Obama Administration is providing a boost through programs like the Better Buildings Initiative, which is designed to develop new energy-efficient strategies and technologies for buildings.

France has taken a different tack by establishing a mandatory deadline for achieving Positive Energy Buildings (BEPOS) status.



 

Green Fuel, Green Jobs

OriginOil has been moving forward on a number of other fronts that could help create new green jobs in the U.S.

The company recently joined with algae grower Aquaviridis on a project in Mexico that is expected to be the model for additional algae farms in that country and in the southwestern U.S.

OriginOil has also partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to help develop an integrated algae-to-oil system that would enable algae growers to produce crude algae oil that can compete on price with crude oil. The goal is to produce algae oil that can be sold directly to existing petroleum refineries and processed on a drop-in basis, helping to preserve jobs in the refinery sector while creating new green jobs.

Image: Some rights reserved by woodleywonderworks.

Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.


Quick Cleantech News Roundup

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 07:00 AM PDT

 
Just a reminder that we are publishing numerous posts to the “Quick Cleantech News” widget and category that do not show up on the CleanTechnica home page.

If you haven’t been keeping your eye on those posts, here’s a quick roundup of recent Quick Cleantech News posts:

Solar

Wind

Transportation

Energy Efficiency

Other


10 Electric Cars You Can Buy This Year!

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 03:23 AM PDT

 
I just created a brand new Car Answers / EV Facts resource page. The page will be continually updated, so make sure to bookmark it for future referencing. (You can, of course, contribute to it if you’ve got some important facts to share!)

While creating that page, I thought it would be fun to also post a slideshow of 10 clean, electric cars you can actually buy this year. That’s how this post came about.

Notably, I’m leaving Tesla’s Model S and Roadster out of this slideshow, since they’re sold out (and probably beyond the price range of most of us anyway). Can you guess which 10 cars are on the list? (Write down the ones you can think of before clicking on to the next page ;) ).

Head on over to the next page to see the 1st car!

 


New Solar Training Textbook (+ iPad & Android eBook Versions) & an Upcoming Solar Training Course Aug. 6

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 03:13 AM PDT

I recently had a chat with Kathy Swartz, Executive Director of Solar Energy International (SEI), and Chris Turek, Director of Online and Educational Services at SEI.  They’ve got some awesome solar training and curriculum services worth checking out, which we discuss a bit in this interview below:

Zach: So, first of all, what exactly is Solar Energy International — what’s your organization all about? You clearly landed a pretty attractive name.

Kathy: We were able to create a name for ourselves not only with a great title, but as the leader in professional technical solar photovoltaic training over the last 20 years. Solar Energy International, or SEI as we call it, is actually a nonprofit renewable energy educational organization that was founded back in 1991. We are focused on empowering people and helping to expand renewable energy and sustainable living around the world.

Zach:  I bet a lot has changed in 20 years in renewable energy. What are the biggest changes that you have seen?

Chris: Yes, a lot has changed over the past few decades. More specifically, in the last 5 years or so, there has been a tremendous growth and legitimacy for renewable energy as an actual technical profession and career path for people to pursue.

We started off long ago as a grassroots organization offering hands-on workshops in solar PV, solar hot water, wind power, micro-hydro, and natural home building to do-it-yourself types and other like-minded folks. Now, we are seeing a lot more people from the technical and building trades taking our training to start or change careers or to start a business in solar energy.

Zach: So, you work with individuals? Governments? Organizations?

Kathy: Yes, all of them. We’ve worked with grassroots and development organizations, governments, and individuals in the Americas, Africa, Micronesia, Middle East, and the Caribbean… and universities, as well.

In the last few years, we have seen an uptick in community colleges requesting the licensing of our curriculum for their solar training programs. The U.S. Department of Energy also selected Solar Energy International to be part of a consortium of educational organizations to train other technical trainers from community colleges all over the U.S.

Zach: So, what’s your latest news?

Kathy: The news is, we’ve just released a new textbook – SEI’s Solar Electric Handbook: Photovoltaic Fundamentals and Applications (I’ll send you a link) — and we’ve got our next online PV101 session starting on August 6thThat session is our “PVOL101 Solar Electric Design and Installation online course.” Again, I’ll send a link along so you can share it with your readers.

Zach: And is this textbook just for course participants? Or could someone like me just go ahead and buy it to look through at home?

Kathy: The book is included as part of the tuition for our PV101 in-person and online courses. The book can also be bought online, on the SEI online bookstore, by anyone who wants it. We’re about educating as many people as we can, and we realize that some would like to start just by looking through the book.

It is important to remember, though, this is a highly technical field and you really need to go through a quality training program to perform code compliant solar installations on a home or other buildings. We emphasize safety here at SEI in our training and in the field. Electrical code and safety considerations shouldn’t ever be taken lightly when dealing with these electrical systems.

Zach: So, I heard there are some new innovations in this textbook. What are they?

Chris: The really great thing about this new textbook is that it’s available as an iPad eBook or an eBook for other mobile technologies. Cleantech professionals are becoming more and more web savvy, and dependence on mobile devices in the solar profession is becoming the norm, so creating these options was a must for us. Anyone who buys the print version of the Solar Electric Handbook will also get the eBook included as a companion resource.

Zach: Sounds great. And I completely understand. If you asked me 5 years ago, I would have had no idea that I’d be working in online media, but here I am…. So, will the eBook be available on all devices?

Chris: The eBook will work on a PC, on a Mac, via an iPad app or Droid app…. There are many options.

Zach: Great. Anything else we should know?

Kathy: Yes. The upcoming online session on August 6th will be the first opportunity to use this brand new textbook in a training course — it’s the required textbook for the course — and anyone who signs up for the course will receive the printed textbook and eBook as part of the training course package.

Other schools all over the country also use our book in their training programs, and they’re already pre-ordering it for use in upcoming Fall courses. These schools can bulk order the book for a discount.

Zach: Sound great. Thanks a lot! And I hope you train a whole ton of new solar energy professionals and passionate individuals this year… and in the years to come!


SUNY Cantun Campus to Get its Own Wind Energy Turbine

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 03:00 AM PDT

 

The Cantun Campus of State University of New York (SUNY) is all set to get a wind power turbine of its own. The ambitious project would provide about one-third of the total electricity demand of the entire campus. In this regard, the New York Power Authority has given $6.6 million to Northland Associates of Syracuse to study, design, and possibly construct a campus wind turbine.

The project will consist of a single wind turbine of possibly 2.8 MW. The University has a four-year course in renewable energy and the project would be a great opportunity for the students to have an on-field experience of designing, implementing, and operating a wind energy project.

“These students would be able to have a very strong academic component built into the project, to be able to see live data and analyze the outputs from the turbine. It would be a wonderful learning possibility,” said David Gerlach, SUNY Cantun vice president for advancement.

The project is currently in the design phase and the decision to manufacture the turbine would be finalised once detailed assessment on the feasibility and environmental impact of the project are completed.

Currently, the primary source of power for the campus is natural gas. After the installation of the wind turbine, the campus may even be able to export surplus electricity to the grid when its own demand is low.

Image: Harvey McDaniel/Wikimedia Commons

The views presented in the above article are author's personal views only.


GE Energy, PayPal Announce New, Convenient EV Charging Payment System

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 02:43 AM PDT

 

General Electric (GE) Industrial Solutions and PayPal are teaming up to create a user-friendly payment system that charges users’ electric vehicles (EV) at any of GE's Wattstations.

The deal between PayPal and GE Industrial solutions will allow drivers a secure and easy way to pay for charging their EVs at GE's Wattstations, using PayPal payment system and a new mobile app for the iPhone. The Apple iTunes website currently has the app availiable.

Drivers will be able, through the new app, to get pricing info on each charger, as well as find the closest EV Wattstation charger in their area. This can also be done on the GE Wattstation website, but it’s expected that the app will be more convenient and get much more use. The new app will also allow a person to check out the charger's status, and pay for the fees via PayPal.

The new app will allow drivers to scan a quick response (QR) code on top of the charger. After that, the QR code will show the Wattstation and the particular pricing method for the particular stations. After recognizing all of the information, customers will simply be able to make payments via PayPal.

The new deal has GE representatives excited.

“Our full line of EV charging solutions is designed with the end user top of mind," Michael Mahan, product general manager of EV infrastructure for GE Energy’s Industrial Solutions business, said in a statement.

"This collaborative agreement with PayPal enables us to offer EV drivers a convenient way to charge their vehicles, which is essential to nurturing the mass adoption of EVs in the future.”

Announcements like this one by GE and PayPal give a glimpse into the not-so-distant future of energy management on the internet… of course, with much more ubiquitous use of clean electrons.

Source: GE
Photo Credit: GE ecomagination


World Congress on High Speed Rail Comes to US for 1st Time

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 02:35 AM PDT

high-speed train in taiwan

Photo Credit: 棟樑‧Harry‧黃基峰‧Taiwan (CC BY-NC 2.0 license)

The 8th World Congress on High Speed Rail, with about 1,000 attendees from 37 countries, was held in Philadelphia from July 11-13. The conference addressed technical and economic issues in roundtable discussions and educational sessions.

This is the first time the international high speed rail meeting has been held in the U.S.

Image Credit: Bombardier

“The UIC World Congress on High-Speed Rail is the leading global event for showcasing and exchanging information on the developments and achievements of high-speed rail worldwide,” the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) writes. “Educational sessions, roundtable discussion will address technical and economic issues. The high-speed rail trade exhibition is the largest in the world dedicated to high-speed rail equipment, infrastructure projects and services.”

For more on the event, check out the American Public Transportation Association news release and follow-up materials.


Brits Top Energy Efficiency Ranking; US Ranks 9th (Out of 12)

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 02:23 AM PDT

 
The U.S. has to play some major catch-up in energy efficiency according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranked the U.S. as ninth out of 12 major economies. Meanwhile, the U.K., which has been working hard to green itself, took the top spot in the ranking.

The countries were scored across four groupings: national efforts, buildings, industry, transportation. It ranked 12 major economies. The full, final rankings are as follows:

1. U.K.
2. Germany
3. Italy
4. Japan
5. France
6. European Union, Australia, and China (3-way tie)
9. U.S.
10. Brazil
11. Canada
12. Russia

Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)


OPT Signs Lockheed Martin to Construct 19MW Wave Project in Australia

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 02:17 AM PDT

 
Plans by US-based Ocean Power Technologies to build a 19MW wave energy farm in Australia have been boosted after it signed a "teaming agreement" on the much-delayed project with US defence giant Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin effectively replaces Australian company Leighton Holdings as the major contractor on the $230 million project, which was awarded a $66.5 million grant in 2009 under the Australian Government's Renewable Energy Development Program, but like some other projects in that program, has made little progress to date. However, the company says it now intends to begin construction and development in 2013 at the site near Portland, off the coast of the state of Victoria, will deliver the first electricity to the grid in 2014, but the installation of all 28 of its PowerBuoy units will not be complete until 2017.

Still, OPT's shares jumped 72 per cent on the news – albeit from record lows of around $US2 to a five month high of $US3.79, and a close of $US3.55 – as investors reacted to the involvement of Lockheed, which is an industrial and defence giant with $46 billion in annual sales.

OPT has been working with Lockheed for nearly 8 years, mostly on wave energy projects for the US Navy, and last October OPT said Lockheed would provide design, manufacturing, system integration and supply chain management expertise for a proposed 1.5W wave energy project in Reedsport, Oregon.

The latest announcement says that Lockheed Martin will assist with the design of OPT's PowerBuoy technology, lead the production and system integration of the wave-energy converters and support overall program management of the project.

OPT's partnership with Leighton was only officially wound down in June, and OPT's Australian subsidiary (which is nearly 12 per cent owned by Woodside Petroleum), has bought out Leighton's interest in the project owners,  Victorian Wave Partners.

OPT Founder and executive chairman, the Australian-born George Taylor, blamed "internal issues" at Leighton for the delays in the project.  "Leighton had its own issues, and therefor no progress could be made until that was finalized," Taylor told RenewEconomy in an interview.  "We weren't able to move forward.  We are now proceeding quickly to catch up with lost time."

OPT says the involvement of Lockheed martin would "provide momentum" to the project and the partners are assessing financing opportunities for the project and pursuing power purchase agreements with local industry and utilities. Taylor says the company is talking to half a dozen potential buyers of a power purchase agreement, at least for the first stage of the project, which will involve just three of its 150kW PowerBuoys. The second and third stages will involve 7 and then 18 of its next generation 500kW powerBuoys.

Taylor said the company has a deadline to bring financial close to the first stage of the project by the end of 2013.

The OPT project is the largest wave energy project announced in Australia, and one of the largest in the world. However, several smaller installations involving Australian-based technology are likely to be built before this. The federal Government, under its newly launched Emerging Renewables Program, has announced nearly $20 million in funding for three separate demonstration plants in WA, South Australia and Victoria in recent weeks, including a 2MW grid-connected project by Carnegie Wave Energy, a 1MW project by Oceanlinx and a 500kW project by BioPower Systems. Carnegie's project should be operational in 2013.

All three Australian wave energy producers believe that wave energy technology costs will fall to around $100/MWh by the end of the decade, if not earlier, and will be competitive in many countries before that.

OPT and Lockheed said there was enormous potential for wave energy in Australia and around the world. Taylor said the World Energy Council had identified the potential of wave energy to provide 10 per cent of the world's energy needs. "Australia has very attractive wave resources and this percentage could be significantly higher," he said.

A version of this story was originally published on REnew Economy. It has been republished with permission.

Image Credit: Ocean Power Technologies (OPT)


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