NewEnergyNews More: May 2011

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  • Tuesday, May 31, 2011


    Torresol Energy Commissions 19.9MW Gemasolar Power Plant in Spain; Masdar and SENER’s Joint Venture Company Launches World’s First Commercial-Scale CSP plant with Central Tower Receiver and Thermal Storage Capabilities
    24 May 2011 (SENER via World of Renewables)

    "Torresol Energy, a joint venture between Masdar – Abu Dhabi’s leading future energy company and SENER – the leading Spanish engineering and construction firm, …[commissioned the] flagship 19.9MW Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant in Seville, Spain.

    "The world’s first commercial-scale CSP plant featuring central tower receiver with thermal storage capabilities has commenced supplying electricity to 25,000 homes in the Andalucía region of Spain. The plant is expected to save more than 30,000 tonnes of CO2 emission a year."

    Gemasolar - click to enlarge

    "The innovative molten salt heat transfer technology deployed at the Gemasolar greenfield independent power project helps avoid fluctuations in power supply through a system that is capable of 15 hours of energy production without sunlight. This accordingly allows for generation of electricity 24 hours a day for many months of the year, even during the hours of darkness or poor daylight during winter.

    "The Gemasolar plant comprises 2,650 heliostats (mirrors) that stretch approximately 185 hectares. The system is capable of reaching temperatures exceeding 900-degrees Centigrade at the central receiver located at the top of the tower…"

    Gemasolar - click to enlarge

    "…The tower technology uses molten salt as a heat transfer medium that reaches temperatures above 500 degrees Centigrade and allows delivering hotter and more pressurized steam to the turbine than the parabolic trough technology, which significantly increases the performance of the overall plant.

    "SENER was responsible for providing the technology, the engineering detail design and part of the EPC and commissioning works of the plant. The technology developed by SENER includes state-of-the-art solutions such as the molten salt storage system and the receiver, which is able to absorb 95% of the radiation from the sun’s spectrum and transmit this energy to the molten salt compound that circulates within the receiver, which is then used to heat steam and operate the steam turbines…"


    China Widens Lead Over U.S. in Renewable Energy Ranking by Ernst & Young
    Alex Morales, May 25, 2011 (Bloomberg News)

    "China widened its lead over the U.S. as the most attractive country for renewable energy projects, following its “greenest” five-year plan to date, Ernst & Young LLP said.

    "China’s score out of 100 increased to 72 from 71 last quarter, while the U.S. remained in second place at 67 points in the consultant’s quarterly
    Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index…India drew ahead of Germany to claim third spot…"

    click to enlarge

    "China[set new targets for renewable energy in its 12th five-year plan and] took the lead in the wind and solar industries in recent years, and last year, the government’s China Development Bank Corp. agreed to lend 232 billion yuan ($35.7 billion) to Chinese renewable companies. The UN’s top climate change diplomat, Christiana Figueres, in January said China will leave ‘all of us in the dust’ because of their commitment to win the ‘green economy race.’

    "China in March published a five-year plan that included targets to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 11.4 percent, cut the energy used per dollar of economic output by 16 percent, and the carbon emitted per dollar by 17 percent."

    click to enlarge

    "Ernst & Young assessed criteria including regulations, planning barriers and access to capital, land and the electricity grid. China took the lead last August for the first time since the ranking started in 2003.

    "The March 11 tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Japan has also added impetus to renewables, and particularly solar power in the past quarter, according to the report. Both China and Japan have said they’ll build more solar power plants in the wake of the disaster…"


    Duke Energy Renewables Acquires Wisconsin Wind Project
    27 May 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, has agreed to purchase the Shirley Windpower Project from a subsidiary of Central Hudson Enterprises Corp. [for an undisclosed price]…

    "The 20 MW wind farm, which began commercial operation in December 2010, comprises eight Nordex 2.5 MW wind turbines [and is located on approximately 500 acres of leased land in Glenmore, Wis., roughly 30 miles southeast of Green Bay]."

    The Shirley Wind farm, Duke's newest wind (click to enlarge)

    "…[Including] the Shirley project, Duke Energy Renewables will own 1,006 MW of generating capacity at 10 U.S. wind farms - four in Wyoming, three in Texas, one in Colorado, one in Pennsylvania and one in Wisconsin.

    "The deal for the Shirley project is expected to close this summer…"


    Senate committee passes bill to boost U.S. marine, hydrokinetic energy
    May 26, 2011 (PennWell via HydroWorld)

    "The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has passed the Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2011, a bill aimed at boosting marine and hydrokinetic energy development.

    "The bill supports marine and hydrokinetic resources by increasing research and development funding for new ocean, tidal and in-stream hydrokinetic projects."

    click to enlarge

    "The National Hydropower Association [NHA] said it applauds the Senate committee for passing the bill and that it urges swift consideration of the bill by the full Senate."

    [Linda Church Ciocci, executive director, NHA:] "Marine and hydrokinetic technologies present tremendous potential for a renewable energy future. Studies have demonstrated that nearly 16,000 MW of inland and ocean hydrokinetic technologies could be developed by 2025 with the right policies. The bill passed today is a great first step towards that reality."

    Monday, May 30, 2011


    Distributed Geothermal in California Can Add 7% of Supply What Feed-in Tariff Prices Are Necessary?
    Paul Gipe, May 24, 2011 (Wind-Works)

    "Small, geographically dispersed geothermal power plants could provide 7% of California's electricity supply [and compliment development of more variable renewable resources as it moves to meet its new state standard requiring 33% of its electricity to come from renewable energy by including geothermal energy in Governor Brown's as yet unannounced feed-in tariff policy]…Geothermal energy is a renewable resource using the heat of the earth to generate electricity and heat homes, offices, and factories.

    "California leads the world in geothermal energy development. However…[t]here has been very little geothermal development in the state since… the early 1980s…Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI), [a 2008 engineering consultant Black & Veatch study, detailed] the cost to develop 244 proposed geothermal power plants at sites [from 8 MW to 1,000 MW] in California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia…"

    from Paul Gipe's Wind-Works - click to enlarge

    "While many geothermal projects are connected at transmission voltages, they differ from typical central-station plants. Many individual geothermal projects are relatively small. Of the 244 proposed projects in the RETI database, 185 or three-fourths are less than 20 MW in size…[and would] qualify as distributed generation under Governor Jerry Brown's proposed feed-in tariff…90% of the proposed geothermal projects in the RETI data base are less than 50 MW…

    "Projects less than 50 MW would account for 40% of all proposed geothermal generating capacity, some 3,300 MW. These plants would produce 40% of all potential geothermal generation, about 22 TWh per year (7% of current supply) or 1.7 times more electricity than at present…"

    from Paul Gipe's Wind-Works - click to enlarge

    "The consultants estimated the cost of electricity from the plants…[if delivered from] Independent Power Producers, municipal utilities…[or] from Canada or Mexico. Within the category of Independent Power Producers (IPP), cost estimates were further subdivided into the cost for IPPs without any federal subsidies, the cost for IPPs with Production Tax Credits (PTC), and the cost for IPPs with Investment Tax Credits (ITC)…

    "While federal investment subsidies currently exist in the form of the PTC and ITC for many renewable energy technologies, their future is uncertain…[and] investors are wary of financing projects when the future of tax credits or other "incentives" is questionable…For IPP projects without access to federal subsidies, tariffs for geothermal projects less than 20 MW in California would…[run] from a low of $0.13/kWh to as much as $0.30/kWh. Tariffs for projects from 20 MW to 50 MW would vary from a low of $0.10/kWh to a high of $0.18/kWh…Projects that could be developed quickly and take advantage of the federal ITC while it remains available would be significantly less expensive…For projects less than 20 MW, tariffs would vary from a low of about $0.09/kWh to a high of $0.20/kWh. Projects from 20 MW to 50 MW in size would require tariffs in the range from a low of $0.08/kWh to $0.13/kWh…"


    How Ohio got a headstart on offshore wind
    Rikki Stancich, 20 May 2011 (Wind Energy Update)

    "Fresh water ice, reluctant residents, and a dearth of vessels conspire against…[development of] the Great Lakes’ whopping offshore wind potential…But where many before have tried and failed…[The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo)] has taken a pragmatic approach…Working closely with residents, publicly elected officials, and local businesses, LEEDCo has identified a pathway for rolling out a socially acceptable, financially viable, local economy-boosting offshore wind programme in Lake Erie."

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...We could be described as a pre-developer…[I]n Ohio, much of the offshore wind development planning has been based on monthly meetings with stakeholders since 2006. Stakeholders here in Ohio are generally supportive of offshore wind…[W]e learned from…the UK’s Round 1, where organizations paid close attention to the key issues that were raised…[and from] the top-down approach taken in Michigan, Canada and New York State, where developers and/or the government announced their intention to build massive gigawatt projects without prior consultation. People don’t like [that]…"

    click to enlarge

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...Lake Erie is pretty shallow and for the pilot we are building in water depths of 19 meters. For the rest of the project the water depth will be less than 25 metres. The lakebed soil is a combination of glacial till (clay rubble and muck) and then bedrock…[I]t is unlikely that monopiles will be cost effective…[T]he leading candidate is a gravity base foundation… [F]our innovative foundations designed to reduce costs [are possibilities]…"

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...We are collaborating with the Cold Regions Laboratory of the US Army Corps to understand [freshwater] ice load and forces and European design of foundations for icing and how to optimise that design to be more cost effective…The traditional (sea water) solution uses an ice cone at the water line to avert pressure from the ice. So we’ll begin with something traditional and model with turbine simulation software to optimize…"

    click to enlarge

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...[To build 1 gigawatt of offshore wind in Lake Erie, we] need purpose-built vessels in the Great Lakes…Another challenge is the port facilities…[T]he industry will probably be served by multiple ports…[W]e are hopeful that the Canadians will come onboard on both building a grid and building vessels…North to South, it is only 45 miles…Most projects will be 10-20 miles out, so they will virtually be back-to-back…At one time, there was a proposed 1000 MW cable between Canada and Pennsylvania…"

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "Over the course of the next five years [the obstacles] will get sorted out…The Great Lakes are huge and Lake Erie itself is quite large; if the whole lake could be developed it has the potential for more than 60 gigawatts…The other Lakes have even more potential…"

    125 MW OF CPV

    SDG&E signs new contracts with Soitec for 125 megawatts of solar power in San Diego; Project agreements follow April signing of three solar power generation contracts in the San Diego area
    May 18, 2011 (Soitec)

    "San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and subsidiaries of Soitec Solar Development, LLC, a renewable energy company managed by Soitec (Euronext Paris)…[signed] two additional 25-year contracts for a total of 125 megawatts (MW) of solar energy to be generated in the utility’s service territory. The energy will be produced using Soitec’s Concentrix™ concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology with solar modules manufactured in a new Soitec factory to be built in the San Diego area.

    "These new agreements are separate from the three San Diego contracts the two companies signed in April for 30 MW of CPV-generated solar power. Combined, the five contracts…represent five separate projects capable of generating a combined total of 155 megawatts of clean, renewable solar power, or enough energy to supply more than 60,000 homes. Both of the new proposed projects will be located in San Diego County and will be situated near SDG&E electric substations…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[The new] announcement confirms the attractiveness of Soitec’s renewable energy technology – which generates large amounts of power with industry-leading efficiency and low environmental impact – in areas such as Southern California with abundant sunshine…

    "Soitec’s new manufacturing facility will have an annual production capacity of 200 MW and will supply all of SDG&E’s projects with Soitec’s exclusive Concentrix CPV technology, which produces power at a much higher efficiency relative to standard solar panels. At full capacity, Soitec’s San Diego operations facility will generate up to 450 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs. The factory location is expected to be announced this summer, with completion within 18 months of construction start…"


    Chinese rare earth metals prices soar
    Leslie Hook, may 26, 2011 (UK Financial Times)

    "A gravity-defying leap in the price of Chinese rare earth metals has triggered fears that the cost of components used in a range of goods from mobile phones to hybrid cars could soar…The three to fivefold jump in prices since January comes after China, the world’s biggest producer of rare earths, has clamped down on domestic output.

    "The implications could be far-reaching. Although annual consumption of the metals is small relative to that of other commodities, rare earths are found in everything from fluorescent lights to wind turbines. They are very difficult, if not impossible, to substitute."

    click to enlarge

    "Industrial buyers are in shock after witnessing the price of rare earths such as cerium oxide jumping 475 per cent in just five months, amid falling supplies…

    "Rare earths came under the spotlight after China, which produces more than 90 per cent of the world’s total output, started to reduce export quotas two years ago. Beijing’s influence aroused concern when exports of rare earths to Japan were temporarily suspended after a diplomatic dispute."

    click to enlarge

    "Following that de facto embargo, governments around the world, particularly Washington and Tokyo, have stepped up their efforts to develop other sources of supply. But those efforts will take years. In the meantime, Beijing has tightened regulations on its own polluting rare earths sector as part of a programme to clean up Chinese mines. Many expect China’s rare earth production to fall as a result…

    "In the face of concern from industry and from global capitals, China has insisted that it will continue to be a reliable supplier of rare earths. However, rising prices fit neatly with China’s ambition to end its role as supplier of cheap rare earths to the world…"

    Sunday, May 29, 2011


    BOEMRE Sets More Aggressive Approach To Offshore Wind Permitting
    Daron Threet and Steven Wellner, 19 May 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "Over the past several months, the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) - the lead federal permitting agency for offshore wind - has aggressively stepped up its efforts to review and permit the first wave of offshore wind projects…

    "The regulatory process for gaining the necessary approvals to construct and operate wind farms in federal waters generally three miles or more from shore has been slow to develop. However, the DOI and BOEMRE have recently taken steps to revamp and implement new permitting and leasing procedures to streamline and speed up the overall process."

    click to enlarge

    "The most significant change in the federal review framework was implemented…as part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to expedite deployment of renewable resources on federal lands.

    "…DOI adopted a new, streamlined approach to lease issuance by deciding to identify potential lease areas, known as wind energy areas (WEAs), and to issue leases in the WEAs upon BOEMRE's completion of regional environmental assessments (EAs) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a far less time- and resource-intensive process than developing full-blown environmental impact statements (EIS)."

    click to enlarge

    "Only after BOEMRE issues an individual lease would it prepare an EIS to evaluate the specific environmental impacts of the actual project to be constructed and operated on the leased site. The importance of this new procedure cannot be overstated, because eliminating the need for an EIS at the leasing stage should shave years off of the current permitting time frame…

    "As a new industry in the U.S., the offshore wind industry faces many challenges, but with increasingly bold and decisive leadership at the federal level, the complex permitting process is becoming more streamlined, which will significantly reduce the regulatory burdens and associated risk of developing the first offshore wind projects in the U.S…"


    Pumped-storage hydro scheme planned for island of Alderney
    May 16, 2011 (PennWell via HydroWorld)

    "Tidal energy developer Alderney Renewable Energy is planning a small pumped-storage hydro project on the island of Alderney in the Channel Islands…

    "The pumped-storage hydropower scheme would [reportedly] use tidal power devices, with an estimated combined capacity of about 3-MW, to power a system that would pump sea water into a land-based reservoir before releasing the water through at least one hydro turbine…The pumped-storage scheme would supply an estimated 90 percent of the island's power demands."

    Schematic of the concept (click to enlarge)

    "The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy.

    "Recently, ARE signed an agreement to lease a site near Braye Harbour, Alderney, as the site of the turbine pump house and reservoir…[The company has begun an environmental impact assessment to obtain marine consent from the Alderney Commission for Renewable Energy…[and their] project could [reportedly] be completed by 2012…"


    San Diego Pilot Program Opened The Doors For Calif. Solar Thermal Market
    19 May 2011 (Solar Industry)

    "The California Solar Water Heating Pilot Program, which operated in the San Diego area during 2007-2009, helped drive a statewide program for rebates for solar thermal applications, according to a new report from the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). CCSE administered the pilot program for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

    "More than 340 residential and commercial solar water heating systems were installed in the San Diego region during the 30 months of the pilot program, with rebates totaling nearly $540,000. Funding for the rebates came from the CPUC and utility ratepayers statewide."

    click to enlarge

    "Based on the success of the pilot program, the CPUC established a statewide solar water heating rebate program under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) called CSI-Thermal in January 2010. The commission allocated $350.8 million, with the goal of installing 200,000 systems in the state by 2017. CCSE administers the CSI-Thermal program in the San Diego Gas & Electric service territory.

    "In addition to providing rebates of up to $1,500 for residential solar water heating systems and $75,000 for commercial installations, the pilot program was designed to gather data to evaluate the effect of incentives on the adoption and marketing of the technology…"

    click to enlarge

    "The report shows that single-family homes that installed solar water heating experienced an average monthly utility bill savings of $11.29 for displacing natural-gas water heating and a savings of $41.08 when displacing electric water heating.

    "The report also found that single-family participants appeared to be driven to install solar water heating slightly more by environmental concerns, whereas commercial/multifamily residential owners were driven mostly by financial interests. Increasing energy costs, concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and improved technology were found to be contributing factors…One of the major conclusions was that solar water heating and solar photovoltaic generation, in combination, offers a faster path toward a true zero-energy home…"


    GE Launches 1.6-100; Secures More Than a Half a Gigawatt of Commitments for World’s Most Efficient Wind Turbine
    23 May 2011 (GE Energy)

    "GE unveiled its latest wind turbine technology, the 1.6-100, at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Windpower 2011 Conference & Exhibition. GE has already secured nearly 630 megawatts of commitments for the evolutionary 1.6-100, which has been designed for increased performance in areas with lower wind resources. GE’s 1.6-100 is the world’s most efficient wind turbine when taking into account capacity factor in wind class…

    "The 1.6-100 machine combines the proven performance of GE’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbine series, known as the industry workhorse, with certified components from the advanced technology of its 2.5-100 wind turbine. With blades that extend 100 meters—a height of 33 stories—the 1.6-100 has the ability to capture additional energy, making it well suited to a variety of wind farm locations…[It has] the highest capacity factor in its class…"

    The 1.6 prototype in Tehachapi (from GE - click to enlarge)

    "The 1.6-100 wind turbine offers a 47 percent increase in swept area over previous models, resulting in a 19 percent increase in annual energy production at 7.5 meters per second. This allows for the turbine to deliver IEC Type Class II performance while operating in a Type Class III (low wind) environment. GE has been operating a prototype 1.6-100 wind turbine at its Tehachapi, Calif., site since February of this year.

    "GE’s latest wind turbine technology already has been chosen for multiple projects in the United States and in Latin America. Invenergy, the largest independent wind power generation company in the United States, has initially made commitments for 233 of the 1.6-100 wind turbines for three of their projects in the Midwest United States. This will provide 372.8 megawatts of power to the U.S. grid by 2012."

    The wind industry may soon be looking up to the GE 1.6 (from GE - click to enlarge)

    "In addition, three Brazilian companies have selected the 1.6-100 for 256 megawatts of projects in the country. GE will provide…a total of 160 turbines to be delivered in 2012…

    "GE’s current product portfolio includes wind turbines with rated capacities ranging from 1.5 to 4.1 megawatts and support services ranging from remote monitoring and fault resolution to complete operations and maintenance support…"

    Friday, May 20, 2011


    Is the Concentrated Photovoltaic Sector Heating Up?
    Chris de Morsella, May 15, 2011 (The Green Economy Post)

    "…Concentrated Photovoltaics or CPV is a relatively new and promising form of solar energy that is now beginning to make it out into the market. CPV systems use optics to concentrate a large amount of sunlight onto a relatively small area of specially designed solar photovoltaic material that can work with highly concentrated light energy…

    "…CPV systems concentrate light and can produce the same power from a much smaller area of solar cells…[T]hey may…[therefore] produce electricity for less than conventional PV can. CPV, like solar thermal systems, also known as CSP, first concentrate the incident solar energy onto a much smaller active area…where the sun’s energy is actually collected, but unlike CSP systems CPV uses photovoltaic tecnology to directly transform the highly concentrated photons into electricity, whereas CSP uses these concentrated photons to heat a working fluid, which then is used to generate electricity in a thermoelectric plant…"

    A CPV array (click to enlarge)

    "The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that it will help to bring this technology to market with a a $90.6 million conditional loan guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC to help secure financing for a 30-megawatt facility to be built near Alamosa, Colorado. The project is one of the first utility scale, concentration photovoltaic energy generation facilities in the U.S. and the largest of its kind in the world…

    "…Cogentrix estimates the project will create about 75 construction jobs and 10 operations jobs. It will be located on 225 acres of land in the San Luis Valley. Commercial operation of the project is targeted for the second quarter of 2012…"

    click to enlarge

    "The multi-junction solar cells are nearly 40% efficient or about double that of more traditional PV. Cogentrix will use 23.5-meter-wide panels with more than 1,000 pairs of lenses and solar cells on each. The panels are mounted on tracking systems that keep the lenses pointed within 0.8 degrees of the angle of the sun throughout the day, to ensure that light falls on the system’s 0.7-square-centimeter solar cells…

    "The CPV sector is tiny compared to other solar power sectors including traditional PV…[and] currently represents around one tenth of one percent of the total solar market…[but] is expected to begin a period of sustained and rapid expansion as…[technical challenges] are solved. Some analysts are predicting that it will double in size each year through 2015…Soitec…[has] announced a major 150-megawatt CPV solar power project plant for San Diego Gas & Electric to be constructed on a 1057-acre site in Southern California’s western Imperial County, and is expected to be completed in 2015."


    Occupational safety: Offshore wind safer than onshore? Building and maintaining offshore wind farms is a risky business that has already claimed lives. But not for much longer.
    Jason Deign, 16 May 2011 (Wind Energy Update)

    "…According to newspaper reports…on November 12, 2009, a Dutchman became what appears to be the first-ever fatality in the offshore wind industry when a chain snapped on the tugboat Tycoon [working on the UK’s Greater Gabbard project]…Six months later Greater Gabbard claimed the life of Per Terp, a 42-year-old Siemens employee who was crushed by a 45-tonne wind turbine blade when the lifting frame that was supporting it broke aboard the jack up vessel Sea Jack.

    "However…the number of reported fatalities in offshore wind is mercifully low. And the industry is waking up to the need to keep it that way…[Areas of concern are] lifting operations…[and] transfers from vessels to transition pieces, even though there have been few incidents so far in this area…"

    click to enlarge

    "Maintaining health and safety procedures is complicated by the fact that offshore construction often involves many layers and teams of contractors and subcontractors. In the rush to build out new farms, there is no guarantee all those involved have been properly trained…[Supervisors] need to be aware of the different health and safety issues involved in construction, where incidents are less likely but may be more serious, and operations, where they are more likely but less serious…

    "…[M]ost of the risks [in construction] are well known and projects are tightly managed to ensure nothing goes wrong…In operations, however, the controls may be more lax [because of lesser dangers]…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[T]o minimise the chances of either [type of accident, developers should] learn what allied industries such as oil and gas know about offshore construction health and safety…[and] adopt the same practices…Offshore wind is indeed learning from oil and gas, and in many cases using the same contractors and experts…There are areas the oil and gas sectors have little experience in, however, such as working at heights, and which will need to be integrated into offshore wind’s best-practice handbook.

    "…Siemens… has introduced a site safety programme that aims to keep senior management abreast of on-the-ground conditions so they can make decisions to reduce unnecessary complexity and cut the chance of incidents…[T]rade bodies such as RenewableUK…in collaboration with the European Wind Industry Association and the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Health and Safety Executive [have also contributed]…[Most think] wind power can be as safe offshore as it is on land, or even safer…[but] the greatest threat in offshore health and safety may be…old age…[Due to retirements,] the industry will soon have a major skills shortage of safety experts…"


    TD opens the nation’s first net-zero energy bank
    Chris Meehan, May 18, 2011 (Clean Energy Authority)

    "TD Bank…unveiled the first net-zero energy bank in the U.S….The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., bank produces as much energy as it uses and is just the latest of TD Bank’s new energy-efficient banks with solar…

    "Last year the company unveiled new 'green-store design standards,' under which new TD banks will be designed to be almost 50 percent more energy efficient than the company’s previous design standards."

    More about TD Bank’s green buildings. From foxprovidence via YouTube

    "The net-zero energy bank was built according to the standards, which include solar-powered canopies over drive-up tellers, where they’re available…[The bank’s rooftop] solar panels… produce between 18 percent and 20 percent of the site’s needs…The company buys the photovoltaic arrays…[which are expected to] pay for themselves in seven years…[and] last much longer…

    "Last year TD Bank built more than 20 “Piggybanks” using the new design standards… The green building designs are still new to TD Bank, and some of the new banks were proposed before the new design standard was in place…[It takes some two years for] zoning and other requirements. Still, the design standards cover [80 percent] of the [37] new banks that it will open this year…"


    Toys“R”Us, Inc. Announces Plans to Install North America’s Largest Rooftop Solar Power System at Distribution Center in New Jersey; Upon Completion, the 5.38 Megawatt Structure will Occupy 869,294 Square Feet and Generate 72% of Electricity for the Facility
    May 11, 2011 (Toys R Us)

    "Toys“R”Us, Inc… plans to add the largest rooftop solar power installation in North America to its distribution center in Flanders, NJ. Staging for the system is currently underway and construction will conclude this summer. Upon completion, the 5.38 megawatt on-site solar mechanism will occupy 869,294 square feet and is estimated to generate 72 percent of the electrical needs for the Toys“R”Us® facility…

    "This solar power installation will cover nearly 70% of the distribution center’s 1,281,000-square-foot roof and will consist of more than 37,000 ultra lightweight UNI-SOLAR® brand photovoltaic solar panels, manufactured by United Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices. Depending on weather conditions, the system is expected to produce approximately 6,362,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year."

    The Toys R Us installation in Flanders, NJ (from Constellation Energy – click to enlarge)

    "Generating the same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of an estimated 4,387 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent emissions from 860 passenger vehicles or that of the electricity used to power 532 homes annually.

    "Constellation Energy…will build, own and maintain the rooftop solar power system. Toys“R”Us will purchase the electricity generated by the system from Constellation Energy through a 20-year power purchase agreement."

    The huge solar panel-covered Flanders rooftop (from Google Maps via Martin LaMonica’s Green Tech)

    "…The 20-acre rooftop solar installation…utilizes space that would otherwise go unused…The solar power system is comprised of thin-film photovoltaic panels that are flexible, lightweight, durable and maintain performance, even in sub-optimal lighting conditions…[T]he non-ballasted, non-penetrating and removable racking system allows access to the roof and prevents debris build-up and maintenance issues…

    "Beyond the solar project in Flanders, NJ, the company is making a number of sustainable upgrades to its existing stores around the country and incorporating renewable and energy efficient features into its new locations…"


    Iberdrola To Invest $6 Billion In The U.S., Mostly In Wind Power
    17 May 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "Iberdrola Renewables intends to invest $6 billion in the U.S. by 2012. The announcement was made after Iberdrola Chairman Ignacio Galan met with the U.S. Secretaries for Energy and Commerce last week.

    "Of this amount, 65% - $3.9 billion - will be devoted to the construction of new wind farms in the U.S…"

    click to enlarge

    "The remaining investment of $2.1 billion will be assigned to improving the quality of supply to the 2.4 million customers Iberdrola has in the U.S.

    "In March, Iberdrola said that new wind capacity additions - including wind farms planned for the U.S. - would slow this year and next year. At that time, the company indicated that it planned to install 1.5 GW this year, down from 1.78 GW in 2010."


    Thinking green; Qwest Field, home of the Seahawks and Sounders FC, is turning sunshine into electricity with the installation of 3,750 solar panels on the roof of the Event Center.
    Clare Farnsworth, May 17, 2011 (Seattle Seahawks)

    "…Peter McLoughlin, president of the Seahawks, SoundersFC and First & Goal Inc…Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry…and Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations and engineering for Solyndra…joined forces…to announce the installation of 3,750 solar panels on the roof of the Qwest Field Event Center.

    "While Solyndra developed the glass-rod technology used in the panels and McKinstry is installing them, it is the Seahawks and SoundersFC who have been pushing to turn what was a vast – and unused – roof area into an innovative energy-supplying system…"

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    "…[It wasn’t done]…in 2002…when the stadium opened…[because the Solyndra technology] was not developed until 2008…[The solyndra] rods are lighter and generate more energy than the large solar panels. They’re also easier to install and maintain [without harm to the roof]…Lighter and more efficient, yet still strong and durable…[Solyndra’s] panels have been tested to withstand 130 mph winds and hail the size of golf balls…"

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    "…[The technology is expected to] slice the utility costs at Qwest by 21 percent (or $280,000), while also reducing carbon emissions (by 1,346 metric tons) and saving on water (by 1,342,660 gallons). The system will generate 830,000 kWh of electricity annual, which is the equivalent of powering 95 homes in the Seattle area…

    "…[I]nstallation… is scheduled to be concluded [within two weeks]…[It] is the largest solar-panel installation venture on the West Coast…[and adds to] the continued commitment to being green by the Seahawks and SoundersFC – championed by owner Paul Allen and Jody Allen, president and CEO of Vulcan Inc…In 2010 at Qwest Field, 525 tons of waste was recycled…"


    Nevada Geothermal Power Reports Record Output & Operations Revenue for the Quarter ended March 31, 2011
    May 19, 2011 (Nevada Geothermal Power Inc.)

    "Nevada Geothermal Power Inc…[had a gross] margin for [for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, of] $3.6 million and the net loss was $1.4 million…Power production for the quarter…averaged 47 MW (gross), 37 MW (net), resulting in revenue of $6.3 million from operations, which represents a 9% increase over the previous quarter ended December 2010, and a 110% increase over the comparative quarter in 2010.

    "The latest drilling program at Blue Mountain was completed during the quarter without an immediate increase in injection or production capabilities, which led to a downward revision of the Blue Mountain power production forecast. The Company is continuing with a wellfield testing and stimulation program, which could result in an improvement in plant output."

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    "Highlights [for the quarter included]…[1] Record output at Blue Mountain, tempered by ongoing resource issues…[2] Drilling of a development test well suitable for use as an injection well completed at the Crump Geyser joint venture project, which will help the project qualify for an ARRA grant…[3] Exclusive right to purchase California properties from Iceland America Energy (IAE) obtained."

    "…[Highlights subsequent] to quarter end [included]…[1] Application for a cash grant…[for] most recent drilling program at Blue Mountain…[2] Resource confirmation drilling financed by Ormat Nevada Inc. resumed at Crump Geyser…[3] Discussions with EIG regarding potential changes to loan terms…[to enable] a tax-assisted financing…[4] Due diligence on IAE transaction continuing…"

    "Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. operates the 49.5 MW Faulkner 1 geothermal plant in Nevada…[and] currently owns a 100% leasehold interest in four properties: Blue Mountain, Pumpernickel Valley, Edna Mountain and North Valley in Nevada, and a 50% interest in Crump Geyser, in Oregon. These properties are at different levels of exploration and development. NGP estimates a potential of between 150 MW and 300 MW from its current leaseholds…"


    Lowe’s Selects Sungevity for Residential Solar Partnership; Second Largest Retailer and Fastest Growing Residential Solar Company Set Stage for Mass Adoption of Residential Solar Power
    May 16, 2011 (Sungevity)

    "Lowe’s, the world’s second largest home improvement retailer, and Sungevity, the nation’s fastest growing residential solar company…[have] a new agreement that will offer homeowners the easiest and most affordable solar solutions in the marketplace, marking a significant step in the mainstream adoption of residential solar…

    "…Lowe’s will provide consumers with Sungevity’s quick, easy and proprietary iQuote, a process that utilizes satellite images and aerial photography to calculate a same-day, firm installation estimate, eliminating the need for a home visit…"

    click thru for more info

    "…[T]he interactive, in-store experience…[will allow consumers] to view a rendering of the proposed installation and get a firm understanding of the cost-savings related to Sungevity’s innovative solar lease program…"

    Power On! from Sungevity on Vimeo.

    "Customers typically experience an immediate savings on their electricity bills through Sungevity’s solar lease, which includes monitoring, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and a money-back performance guarantee. Additionally, as part of the agreement, Lowe’s has taken an equity position in Sungevity…

    "The partnership will commence with interactive Sungevity branded displays in select Lowe’s stores, beginning Summer 2011, and continue to roll-out at all Lowe’s stores in [the eight] states where Sungevity provides services…Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York."

    Thursday, May 19, 2011


    Secretary Chu Highlights More Than 1,800 Electric Vehicle Chargers Installed Under the Recovery Act; Investments in Electric Vehicles Helping to Reduce America's Reliance on Imported Oil
    May 13, 2011 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    "As part of the Obama Administration's comprehensive plan to address rising gas prices and reduce oil imports one-third by 2025, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu... announced that to date, more than 1,800 electric vehicle chargers have been installed under the Recovery Act. Coulomb Technologies, ECOtality, General Motors and others have been moving forward to install the charging stations as part of the Administration's investments in U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing and alternative vehicle infrastructure. Secretary Chu made the announcement at an event…[that] marked the installation of the 500th electric vehicle (EV) charger by Coulomb, which received a $15 million award under the Recovery Act…

    "Since 2009, DOE has invested more than $5 billion in grants and loans to spur the growth of America's electric vehicle and advanced battery manufacturing industry. These investments are supporting U.S. manufacturers and small businesses as they expand to better compete in this fast-growing global market."

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    "Under the Transportation Electrification Initiative, which received $400 million under the Recovery Act, companies are developing, deploying and analyzing EVs and EV infrastructure, and educating the public to help accelerate the market adoption of advanced electric-drive vehicles. The eight projects under the Transportation Electrification Initiative, including Coulomb's project, represent the world's largest electric vehicle demonstration project and will result in the deployment of over 13,000 grid-connected vehicles and over 22,000 charging points in residential, commercial, and public locations nationwide by December 2013. Through these cost-shared projects, DOE will collect information about how consumers use and charge electric vehicles, which will be critical to informing the broader rollout of electric vehicles and chargers nationwide.

    "Coulomb's project includes the deployment of electric vehicles, including 2,000 GM Volt, 200 Ford Transit Connect, 100 Ford Focus EV, and 100 Smart EV vehicles, as well as establishing 4,600 EV charging locations nationwide. The vehicles and charging infrastructure will be deployed in residential, workplace, and public locations in Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, Calif., New York, N.Y., Orlando, Fla., Redmond, Wash., Sacramento, Calif., San Francisco, Calif., Southern Michigan, and Washington, D.C. In addition to DOE's investment, Coulomb is providing $22.9 million in cost share for a total project value of $37.9 million…"

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    "To further build on the foundation laid out under the Recovery Act, DOE recently announced the availability of $5 million in electric vehicle funding for local governments and private companies to continue to accelerate installation of electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure. Communities will work to develop plans and strategies for EV deployment, update their EV permitting processes, develop incentive programs, or launch other local or regional initiatives that improve the experience of EV users and help bring these highly energy-efficient vehicles in the marketplace. These projects will leverage the best practices and lessons learned from the initial deployment projects under the Recovery Act…

    "Additionally, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is joining with Google Inc. and various industry leaders to provide consumers with consistent, up-to-date information about the EV charging stations in communities nationwide. Drawing on Google Maps, this new collaboration will coordinate an online network of all U.S. charging stations and will serve as the primary data source for GPS and mapping services tracking electric vehicle charging locations…"


    Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands Highlighted in Interagency Report to Congress
    May 9, 2011 (U.S. Department of the Interior)

    "…[T]he Obama Administration continued to make significant gains last year in expanding renewable energy initiatives on public lands and offshore areas, according to a detailed… joint USDA and DOI report, New Energy Frontier – Balancing Energy Development on Federal Lands…[It documents] development of renewable and conventional energy from federal lands and Outer Continental Shelf areas…[and describes] the Administration's plan of action… to spur the development of environmentally responsible commercial-scale wind, geothermal and solar projects in the West and to open appropriate areas of the Atlantic Ocean to wind turbine farms…

    "…[It also discusses the development of] the next generation of biofuels and wood to energy options…President Obama is committed to reducing the nation’s net imports of oil by one-third by 2025 and in support of this goal the administration plans to break ground on four biorefineries in the next two years…[to permanently reduce] dependence on oil. USDA is doing research into new biofuel production methods and has established five regional research centers working on the science necessary to ensure biofuels can be produced profitably from a diverse range of feedstocks. USDA is also offering support to build the infrastructure needed to deliver the fuel to consumers at the gas station."

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    "Among the departments’ major renewable energy initiatives last year…[1] Interior’s Bureau of Land Management approved nine large-scale solar projects, with a total generating capacity of 3,682 MW…[2] USDA launched a major new Wood-to-Energy Initiative that seeks to build a forest restoration economy by integrating wood-to-energy activities within the larger forest products sector…[and in] National Forests, USDA has helped remove 86,927 tons of biomass to produce energy…[3] Identified 24 solar energy study areas in six western states, comprising more than 1,000 square miles, being analyzed in detail… for large-scale solar energy production…

    "…[4] USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program can provide funding for the development of renewable energy projects on public lands…In the past two years, REAP has assisted in more than 270 wind energy projects…[5] Utilized the ‘Smart from the Start’ approach used in processing solar projects in the West to guide the Atlantic OCS wind energy initiative…[for] development of the region’s vast offshore wind resources…[6] Expanded the 25 wind energy facilities on BLM lands in the West by approving four new projects…[7] Through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, USDA has provided funding for the development of new tools to better evaluate the impact of expanded biofuel production…"

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    "…[8] Worked to increase geothermal energy production on public lands, approving four priority geothermal projects in Nevada since 2009…[and oversee] 58 [producing] geothermal leases…on BLM lands and 120 [producing] geothermal leases…on U.S. Forest Service lands…[aiming for] 12,210 MW of electrical generating capacity from 244 geothermal power plants by 2025.

    "The report also details how traditional oil and gas resources produced from Federal lands and waters, which presently account for about 30 percent of the Nation’s energy supply, will continue…[and] details the needed regulatory reforms undertaken to strengthen the safety and oversight of offshore exploration, development and production in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster…"


    DOE Wrapping Up Renewable-Energy Project Loan Guarantee Program
    Cassandra Sweet, May 17, 2011 (Dow Jones Newswires via Nasdaq)

    "The U.S. Department of Energy…has stopped accepting applications for loan guarantees to help finance new solar, wind or other renewable energy facilities...[Some] applications [are still] pending…The loan guarantee program for renewable energy generation projects, called " Section 1705," after the portion of the 2009 Recovery Act that supports it, expires Sept. 30 and only projects that can start construction…by that date will [still] be considered…

    "The agency has issued roughly $1.6 billion in loan guarantees for 19 renewable energy projects to date. Loan guarantees for roughly $800 million in remaining funds will be issued to companies that have already applied…whose projects are most likely to meet the Sept. 30 construction deadline…The DOE placed another group of applications "on hold"…[I]f the program received more funding in the future, those applications could be revived."

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    "The DOE[has] notified [involved] companies… First Solar Inc. (FSLR) said pending applications it filed for solar farms it is developing were moving forward…SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB), which obtained a $1.2 billion conditional loan guarantee for a 250-MW solar farm it plans to build in California, has not applied for any additional loan guarantees…

    "First Solar Inc. (FSLR) received a $967 million conditional loan guarantee for a 395-megawatt solar farm it plans to build in Arizona. First Solar's project finance team met with DOE staff… to move the company's pending applications forward…"

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    "In a separate announcement, the DOE said… it awarded a $90.6 million conditional loan guarantee to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) unit Cogentrix to build a 30-megawatt solar farm in Colorado.

    "U.S. solar-panel maker Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (ASTI), which had applied for a government loan guarantee--under a different DOE program--to expand a factory, said last month that it withdrew that application…[because] requirements under the loan guarantee program did not correlate with [its] business plan…"


    Despite partisan divides on energy, White House science adviser sees room for compromise
    Andrew Restuccia, May 16, 2011 (The Hill)

    "Despite huge partisan divides in Congress on energy policy, President Obama’s science adviser… sees the potential for compromise.

    "…[White House science adviser John Holdren] pointed to two potential areas of compromise: reducing the country’s dependence on oil imports and promoting innovative energy technology.
    But he also acknowledged that getting energy legislation through Congress will not be an easy task."

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    "…[Holdren said]…the administration can take a number of steps using existing authorities…

    "Obama has outlined a goal of cutting the country’s dependence on oil imports by one-third by 2025. While there is bipartisan support for the goal, lawmakers remain divided on how to reach it."

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    "House Republicans passed three bills in recent weeks aimed at a dramatic expansion of offshore oil drilling. The bills [were stopped] in the Senate, where Democrats [unsuccessfully pushed] legislation to slash billions in tax breaks for the largest oil companies.

    "Holdren…stressed the importance of educating consumers about their energy choices…[He] has previously lamented what he called an ‘education’ problem in the United States on climate change."


    Google-Backed $5 Billion Offshore Wind Project Wins Reduced U.S. Rate
    Brian Wingfield, May 19, 2011 (Bloomberg News)

    "A Google Inc.-backed project to build a $5 billion undersea power line carrying wind energy between Virginia and New York won…approval [from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)] for a 12.59 percent profit, less than [the 13.58 percent guaranteed return] requested by developers [Atlantic Wind Connection]…

    "…[FERC] approval of incentives for Atlantic Wind [is conditional on the project being accepted as part of]…a transmission expansion plan under consideration by regional electric-grid operator PJM Interconnection LLC…Atlantic Wind is also awaiting a U.S. Interior Department permit to build the line on the seabed…"

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    "…[The project also] would need approval from New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland regulators for its first phase of development, Markian Melnyk, president of Atlantic Grid Development LLC, the project’s developer, said…Expansions, which may be complete by 2021, would need approval from regulators in Virginia and New York.

    "…Investors in Atlantic Wind Connection [besides Google] include Tokyo-based trading company Marubeni Corp. and Good Energies, a clean-energy investment firm…The Maryland Public Service Commission and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association were among groups questioning whether Atlantic Wind’s requested incentives to build the project were too high, according to regulatory filings this year."


    BPA Decision Could Lead To Wind Power Curtailment In Northwest
    Angela Beniwal, 18 May 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "…[The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)] interim Environmental Redispatch policy, which will remain in place until March 30, 2012, [could result in the curtailment of wind power but only as a last resort, the agency says. It] first limits generation at coal, natural gas and other thermal power plants to keep the supply of power from exceeding demand.

    "As a last resort, BPA's policy could temporarily limit wind energy generation connected to its power transmission system…[in favor of] free hydropower from federal dams on the Columbia River system…BPA says it will not reimburse wind producers for potential lost tax credits or other revenues if production is curtailed because that would shift costs to Northwest ratepayers who do not receive the wind power…"

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    "The decision was prompted, according to BPA, by high seasonal river flows resulting from runoff from large snowpacks. The Northwest River Forecast Center predicts this year will bring the highest Columbia Basin runoff volume since 1999. The conditions could temporarily push generation of hydroelectric power beyond the region's limited spring electricity needs."

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    "Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu earlier this month in which he expressed concern over BPA's curtailment plan…[saying it] would economically impact current facilities and could lead to the cancellation of future wind projects in the region…[creating] enormous uncertainty at a time when the Obama administration is promoting increased investments in renewable energy…[He added that increased] renewable energy in the U.S. has presented integration challenges that need to be addressed…

    "BPA says it took several steps in order to avoid the need for the interim policy, including working with other agencies and utilities to maximize available reservoir space to manage river flows and control hydroelectric generation, and adjusting non-essential maintenance on transmission lines so that maximum capacity is available to carry large amounts of electric generation to distant markets from Canada to California…[It] will monitor river conditions and lift any limits on power generation as soon as they are no longer needed."


    Utah inventor says patented transmission can transform wind energy industry
    Marjorie Cortez, May 13, 2011 (Deseret News)

    "…VMT Technologies' Universal Transmission could improve wind turbine efficiency by 5 to 10 percent, said VMT inventor Gary Lee. Moreover, the Universal Transmission can handle higher torque, which renders it more reliable than transmissions widely used in wind turbines throughout the world, he said…

    "…[In an industry] where gear boxes break down after just three to five years of operation…[that] can translate into millions of dollars in repair costs, inoperable turbines and a reduction in captured energy…"

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    "…[A] transmission that can eliminate torque spikes, thus enhancing its reliability, would be a boon to energy production and investment in the [wind] industry…If the technology could be refined to the point that wind energy could be utilized on a [larger]-scale throughout the world, the political implications would be profound…"

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    "The transmission, which can change through the equivalent of 30 gear ratios, also has applications in diesel engines… VMT officials have met with transmission manufacturers Allison, Dana, Eaton and Magna, as well as Ford, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota…

    "…[VMT] was awarded a patent for the Universal Transmission on Feb. 22."

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011


    China May Boost Offshore Wind Power to 30GW; China will expand its offshore wind power installed capacity to 5 gigawatts (GW) by 2015 and 30GW by 2020, according to the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA)…
    2011 May 16 (CRI English)

    "…China, the world's largest wind power developer, with a total of 44.7GW wind turbine installed capacity by the end of 2010, has accelerated developing offshore wind power…[D]evelopment in China remains in the early stages due to complex operating environments for offshore turbines, high technological requirements and construction difficulties, according to Qin Haiyan, secretary general of the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA).

    "In 2009, China had only 63,000 kilowatts offshore wind turbines installed, about 21 percent of the newly installed offshore wind power in the United Kingdom, the fastest growing country of the year…The year 2010 marked the start of China's offshore wind power sector's transition from research and pilot projects to operational wind farms."

    (from Energy Research Institute of NDRC & China Renewable Energy Industry Association
    March 2010 - click to enlarge)

    "In March 2010, Shi Lishan, deputy director of the New Energy and Renewable Energy Department of the National Energy Bureau (NEB), said top priority would be given to developing offshore wind power projects…In June 2010, the first stage project of East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm went into operation in Shanghai. Totaling 102MW, it is China's first large-scale offshore wind farm located to the east side of the Shanghai East Sea Bridge. It comprises 34 units of 3MW Sinovel turbines.

    "Offshore wind power construction is a priority in China this year. In January, the NEB said China would kick off construction of 1GW offshore wind power projects in 2011…The public tender for the 1GW offshore concession projects, totaling four wind farms in east China's Jiangsu Province, was announced in October 2010. They will use Sinovel, Goldwind and Shanghai Electric turbines."

    (from Energy Research Institute of NDRC & China Renewable Energy Industry Association
    March 2010 - click to enlarge)

    "The China Meteorological Administration has estimated China's offshore wind potential at more than 750GW - far higher than the 253GW potential for land-based wind…China's eastern coastal areas, particularly Jiangsu Province, boast sound conditions to develop wind farms on beaches and in offshore areas. These coastal provinces are largely the economic engines of the country, raising great demands for electric power. But they run short of fossil energy sources.

    "Developing offshore wind farms in these areas will reduce local energy shortages and avoid the problem of long-distance transmission experienced by China's major land-based wind farms…"

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011


    Global public cleantech companies see strong growth; Net incomes in specialized cleantech companies more than double
    10 May 2011 (Ernst & Young)

    "The aggregate net income of public specialized cleantech companies worldwide grew 126% to US$5.1b between 2009-2010, according to a new report by Ernst & Young.

    Seizing transformational opportunities: Global cleantech insights and trends report 2011 features the organization’s first annual report on the population and performance of ‘pure-play’ cleantech companies. The number of companies also grew over 9% between 2009 and 2010 to 399 organizations while their combined market capitalization grew 27% to US$243.2b."

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    "On several key measures the tracked companies showed strong growth despite challenging economic conditions. Total revenues over the 12 months to the end of September 2010 reached US$152.8b, an increase of 21% from the same period in 2009. Total market capitalization increased 27%, 7% due to same-company annual growth and 20% due to the addition of new public companies. The companies have a median ‘time since incorporation’ of just 13 years, yet employ nearly 500,000 individuals…

    "The Asia-Pacific region hosts the largest number of companies (149), whose revenue grew 44% between 2009 and 2010. Asia-Pacific companies have the highest median headcount per company (400 employees) reflecting the region’s low-cost manufacturing workforce. China accounts for the greatest share of the Asia-Pacific company population, home to 52 companies with an aggregate headcount of 133,200 and a combined market capitalization of US$60.1b—the highest market value of any country."

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    "Europe is the leader in terms of cleantech company revenues which reached US$72.8b in 2010. The region is the second-largest in terms of the number of companies (128), headcount (156,700) and market capitalization (US$85.5b). With 44 public cleantech companies, Germany is the regional leader in terms of the number of companies; Spain is the regional leader in terms of cleantech company market capitalization, with an aggregate value of US$20.3b.

    "With 117 public cleantech companies, North America is third-largest in terms of population. Regional revenues were US$23.2b in 2010, an annual increase of 34%. The United States is home to largest number of cleantech companies (73) globally with a total market capitalization of US$45.1b…"


    Ford Developers Look to Use Google Prediction API to Optimize Energy Efficiency; Research Presented at Google I/O
    May 10, 2011 (PR Newswire via Yahoo News)

    "…Ford researchers are harnessing the power of cloud computing, analytics and Google innovation to identify technologies that could make tomorrow’s vehicles smart enough to independently change how they perform to deliver optimal driveability and fuel efficiency.

    "Ford researchers are applying Google’s Prediction API to more than two years of their own predictive driver behavior research and analysis. The Google API can convert information such as historical driving data – where a driver has traveled and at what time of day for example – into useful real-time predictions, such as where a driver is headed at the time of departure…"

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    "Ford is hoping to use these types of cloud-stored data to enable a vehicle essentially to optimize itself and perform in the best manner determined by a predicted route…After a vehicle owner opts in to use the service, an encrypted driver data usage profile is built based on routes and time of travel. In essence, the system learns key information about how the driver is using the vehicle

    "…Upon starting the vehicle, Google Prediction will use historical driving behavior to evaluate given the current time of day and location to develop a prediction of the most likely destination and how to optimize driving performance to and from that location…An on-board computer might say, “Good morning, are you going to work?” If the driver is in fact going to work, the response would be, “Yes,” and then an optimized powertrain control strategy would be created for the trip…[A] plug-in hybrid could program itself to optimize energy usage over the total distance of the route in order to preserve enough battery power…"

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    "Because of the large amount of computing power necessary to make the predictions and optimizations, an off-board system that connects through the cloud is currently necessary…Ford researchers are committed to increasing their understanding of driver behavior behind the wheel and to developing accurate protocols to predict it…

    "The Google Prediction API is one example of a technology that is helping Ford open doors to new predictive possibilities powered by the cloud…Helping drivers comply with regulations could be [another]…[A vehicle] could optimize itself in a way to comply with regulations…, such as switching the engine to all-electric mode…Work is now underway to study the feasibility of incorporating other variables such as driver style and habits into the optimization process so Ford can further optimize vehicle control systems, allowing car and driver to work together to maximize energy efficiency…"