Friday 13 November 2009

Utah's biggest wind-energy project goes online - Milford facility's power output will go to S. California
Nov. 10, 2009

The "green" energy wave has hit southwestern Utah in a big way. On Tuesday, the state's biggest wind-energy electricity-generation facility began commercial operation near Milford. Located in Millard and Beaver counties, the first phase of the Milford Wind Corridor project features 97 wind turbines and is expected to generate 203.5 MWs of electricity, making it the largest renewable-energy facility in Utah, according to a news release from developer First Wind LLC, based in Newton, Mass.

Previously, the largest utility-scale wind project had been a 19-MW, nine-turbine facility in Spanish Fork Canyon that began operation in August 2008. Construction of the Milford project began just over a year ago. The first phase generated nearly $86 million in direct and indirect spending in Utah and the creation of 250 development and construction jobs, the release said. The first phase will generate enough power to provide electricity to about 45,000 homes per year.

Eventually, the $400 million project will include 159 turbines across 40 square miles of public and private land. "We're looking forward to expanding it in the months and years to come," Paul Gaynor, chief executive officer of First Wind, said in the release. "This project is a great example of the kind of development that helps create jobs and helps stimulate the economy." The project's power will go to the Southern California Public Power Authority, on behalf of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the cities of Burbank and Pasadena, Calif. In December 2007, First Wind signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the authority.

"We're pleased to see this project go online and begin delivering clean power to our customers," said Bill Carnahan, the authority's executive director, said at Tuesday dedication ceremony. The Milford Wind Corridor is the first wind-energy facility permitted under the Bureau of Land Management's Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Western U.S, states, designed to promote the development of renewable-energy projects on federal land.

"The Milford Wind project is a perfect example of the priority the BLM puts on the generation of renewable energy to support the nation's energy needs," Selma Sierra, Utah state director for the BLM, said in the news release. "It exemplifies our ability to fulfill our energy needs in a timely and efficient manner through the combined efforts of partnering federal and state agencies, as well as private industry. "The Milford Wind project is an excellent example of positive, clean, renewable energy production."

Passing ETS would be huge global help: summit chief

Thursday 12/11/2009 Page: 5

THE chief of the Copenhagen climate summit says it would make a "huge difference" to global negotiations if Australia passed its emissions trading scheme soon. Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard is organising the crucial summit, which was called to thrash out a new pact to tackle climate change. Ms Hedegaard urged the Australian parliament to pass the ETS before the summit begins on December 7. "That will make a huge difference in Copenhagen," she told a press conference in Copenhagen yesterday. "It will be very exceptional and I hope very much that the Australian government can manage to get the whole package through the parliament."

The Australian government wants the scheme passed by parliament before Copenhagen and is putting the ETS laws to the House of Representatives on Monday. But the scheme is in trouble in the Senate, where the government does not have a majority. Many opposition MPs say it would be better to delay a vote; some want to vote down the scheme outright. The Rudd government and the opposition are locked in negotiations but as yet no deal has been struck.

Ms Hedegaard said the finalisation of Australia's ETS, due to start in 2011, would make it clear that Australia could meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5-25% by 2020. Organisers do not want a repeat of the Kyoto climate change pact, when many countries promised to cut emissions but did not do so. European Union climate negotiators believe Australia passing an ETS would be valuable because it would encourage the US another heavy-polluting country to reduce emissions.

Steep fall in energy funding

Adelaide Advertiser
Thursday 12/11/2009 Page: 53

THE global financial crisis has led to a dangerous drop in energy investment around the world which could choke the economic recovery, the International Energy Agency stated yesterday. The IEA, a policy adviser to 28 mostly industrialised oil-consuming nations, estimates that the financial and economic crisis had led to a $US90 billion drop in global oil and gas investment this year, 19% less than in 2008. "Falling energy investment will have far reaching and, depending on how governments respond, potentially serious consequences for energy security, climate change and energy poverty," the IEA stated in its annual World Energy Outlook report. The resulting drop in oil and electricity supplies could "undermine the sustainability of the economic recovery", the IEA warned. Meanwhile, oil demand is set to continue rising over the next two decades.

Satcon Selected for Largest Urban Solar Power Plant in the U.S.
November 10, 2009

Partners with SunPower to Deliver 10 Megawatts of Solar PV for Exelon City Solar in Chicago

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Satcon Technology Corporation (NASDAQ CM: SATC), a leading provider of utility scale power solutions for the renewable energy market, today announced that it has been selected for the 10-MW Exelon City Solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant, the nation's largest urban solar energy plant, which will be built at a former industrial site in the West Pullman neighbourhood on Chicago's South Side. The site, owned and operated by Exelon Generation, was designed and is being constructed by SunPower Corp., a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems.

The 41-acre solar facility will utilise Satcon Prism™, a fully customisable one MW medium voltage package complete with factory integrated step-up transformers, switchgear, and electronics. The Prism solutions will connect nearly 32,300 SunPower solar panels to the local utility and efficiently convert the sun's rays into enough clean, reliable electricity to meet the annual energy requirements of up to 1,500 homes per year.

"The Exelon City Solar project demonstrates solar energy's integration as a stable and viable core contributor into one of the country's largest energy markets," said Howard Wenger, president, global business unit at SunPower. "This project is a clear example of the unique demands of large scale solar energy generation, and required that we design a system that is composed of the industry's highest performing and most reliable components. Satcon Technology's experience and expertise in large scale solar made them the natural choice for us."

The Exelon City Solar plant will combine Satcon Technology's Prism solution, designed to deliver the highest levels of energy harvesting, efficiency and system uptime, with SunPower panels, which generate up to 50% more power than conventional solar panels and two to four times as much power as thin-film solar technology. The site will also use SunPower® Trackers, solar tracking systems that tilt toward the sun as it moves across the sky, increasing daily energy production by up to 25%.

Satcon Technology Prism is built on the foundation of the industry standard setting PowerGate(R) Plus 500kW solar PV inverter platform, the most advanced and field proven large scale inverter solution, with over 400 MWs delivered since 2005. The solution is delivered complete in an all-climate outdoor enclosure and ready to connect to the PV array and utility grid, enabling rapid installation through a modular prepackaged design.

"We are honored to be chosen as a key partner by SunPower to deliver our Prism solutions to Exelon City Solar," said Steve Rhoades, Satcon Technology's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Satcon's solutions have been used on some of the largest renewable energy sites in the world with hundreds of millions of grid connect kW hours delivered to date. Exelon City Solar showcases today's best in class total system solutions, optimally designed to deliver the highest levels of reliable large scale solar energy production."

China Solar Power Buys ThinSilicon
10 November 2009

China Solar Power Holdings Ltd. (CSP), a manufacturer of thin-film amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules, has purchased ThinSilicon Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of thin-film manufacturing process technology. No financial terms were disclosed. ThinSilicon was founded three years ago and has since developed a unique device and process technology that significantly boosts both panel efficiency and manufacturing throughput, according to CSP.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Miners digging their own graves to preserve profits

Courier Mail
Wednesday 11/11/2009 Page: 33

The mining industry's claim that carbon pollution cuts will be too costly is as shortsighted as it is shallow, writes John Connor

QUEENSLANDERS, particularly in the regions, have been pounded with ads from the mining industry talking about job losses and closures should coal mines and other industries shoulder their share of efforts to reduce Australia's carbon pollution. But you don't need to scratch much below the surface to show the slipperiness and shortsightedness of such claims. The reality is that tens of billions of dollars are pouring into the mining industry and more than a dozen new mines are slated for opening.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics has listed 74 mining, energy and minerals processing projects worth $80 billion that are in advanced development. And the coal-mining union's analysis of the industry's job numbers revealed that even with the proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme, Queensland mining jobs would grow 120% by 2030. What industry lobbyists are also not telling you is the CPRS and other clean-energy policies, if effectively implemented, could grow a million more clean-energy, clean-technology jobs across Australia by 2030.

Climate Institute Australia research shows Queensland could triple the jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2020. These industry lobbyists and some Queensland politicians are also remarkably silent when it comes to the job losses and economic impacts that will follow as climate change hits Queensland's natural and economic assets such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and coastal and regional communities.

What's more, they were silent when research was released showing Australia was well behind all other developed countries, and indeed some developing countries, in its carbon competitiveness - the ability to prosper in a world already turning to clean energy and low-carbon economic growth. Respected global economist Lord Nicholas Stern writes in his preface to this research: "A global economic recovery will present an ideal opportunity for countries to shift towards low-carbon growth. Countries which don't seize this opportunity will undermine their future competitiveness and prosperity."

The global low-carbon and environmental goods sector is now valued at $6.1 trillion. In 2008 alone, $167 billion was invested in new clean-energy sources, representing a four-fold increase since 2004 and, for the first time, outstripping investments in the fossil fuel technologies. Worldwide, the renewable energy sector already employs about 2.3 million people - more than the number employed directly by the oil and gas industry.

The pace of these changes needs to accelerate to avoid the worst impacts of climate change but only dinosaurs in business and politics can't or don't want to see these changes. This is why the Climate Institute Australia has joined with union, welfare and environment groups in a national clean-energy jobs campaign - the Southern Cross Climate Coalition - calling for urgent climate action. These groups know climate action is urgent, that there needs to be a just and fair transition and that Australia will be left behind if we don't take decisive steps. It's time to strengthen and pass the CPRS and other clean energy and industry policies.

John Connor is CEO of the Climate Institute Australia.

Britain wants more reactors

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 10/11/2009 Page: 11

LONDON: Britain is set to hand an expanded role to the nuclear industry and suggest more sites for new reactors as it unveils controversial guidelines for fast tracking big energy projects through the planning process. Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary, was due to reveal his blueprint for the future energy industry overnight in a series of "national policy statements" analysing 11 sites proposed by companies and several more potential locations.

A senior official at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said that the extra sites would leave the door open for a greater use of nuclear energy than currently envisaged. "I'm comfortable that with the current options and the possible new ones we will have sufficient sites for our nuclear needs in 2025," he said. The Government is introducing the guidelines on fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy to speed up the planning system, handing the power to approve major projects to an independent body, the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

Utility companies have warned that Britain is facing a shortfall in power generation over the next decade unless more projects are given swift approval. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Mr Miliband said "saying no" to nuclear was no longer an option given Britain's need to bolster its energy security, adding that he wanted the first new plants built by 2017. But Government officials admitted over the weekend the grand 3000-page policy statements could soon "become out-of-date" due to climate change.

This would mean large chunks of the documents, which have already been on the drawing board for three years, would have to be rewritten - entailing delays to the fast-track system. If the evidence that climate change is progressing rapidly becomes really compelling, we will have to revise the national policy statements," the Department of Energy and Climate Change official said. Utility companies keen to build nuclear plants in Britain have long been desperate for stability in the planning regime since it takes up to seven years to construct a station. The 11 sites under consideration are mostly places with a strong nuclear history, including Dungeness in Kent, Sizewell in Suffolk and Sellafield in Cumbria.

Rees takes a shine to solar 40 panel incentive

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 10/11/2009 Page: 9

THE State Government will increase the incentive for families installing solar panels by about $1500, overturning its cautious approach to supporting the technology. In the process, it has broken ranks with every other state and turned its back on advice from the NSW Treasury. The decision will buy the Premier, Nathan Rees, valuable support at this weekend's ALP state conference, since the move is supported by the Electrical Trades Union which is headed by the party's state president, Bernie Riordan. The unions Victorian branch released a study in September pushing for the generous subsidy.

After a review initiated by Mr Rees, the cabinet yesterday decided that households with solar energy systems will be paid for all of the electricity they generate, receiving the so-called gross" feed-in tariff and not just the smaller "net" amount for surplus electricity they actually sell into the power grid. This also means all other electricity users will pay the electricity bill of families with solar panels. Only the ACT has this generous gross feed-in tariff, with all states supporting a net tariff to limit the cost.

The switch is expected to give the NSW solar industry a significant boost by sparking a big increase in households installing solar panels. The cabinet decision will increase the average amount each household would receive from installing solar panels by more than 60%, to about $1500 a year. The Government's backflip will ensure that solar systems pay for themselves within 10 years of installation, depending on the amount of electricity generated. Previously, the extended time it took for the systems to pay for themselves made many families reluctant to install the panels.

'A 'gross scheme' is based on the total solar energy produced in your home rather than payments based only on what you don't use," Mr Rees said. "These changes will see an average family paid around $1496 a year. "That's a 62% increase on the previous scheme and means households can pay off their investment in solar panels in around eight years."

In September the Electrical Trades Union released a report based on work by Access Economics to argue that switching to the greater tariff could create as many as 22,500 "green" jobs. Countries such as Germany and Sweden have given the solar energy sector a push by adopting generous subsidies built around adopting a gross feed-in tariff. As many as 48 countries have adopted the same approach.

In NSW, a gross tariff is expected to cost all households about four cents a week, or about $2 a year, according to Muriel Watt and Robert Passey, researchers at the Australian Photovoltaic Association, who examined data collected by the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at the University of New South Wales. "It's important for political leaders to take bold steps on climate change," said Jeff Angel of the Total Environment Centre. "This will have the dual benefit of creating a significant number of jobs as well as dampening the need for additional coal-fired power stations. This fits in well with the Premier's preference for a future with no new baseload coal power."

Pull the plug, it's socket science

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 10/11/2009 Page: 3

ALL over the world, electrical appliances are blinking away on standby - and burning so much energy they need 60 coal-fired electricity stations a year to power them, analysis by the International Energy Agency has found. "That seems ridiculous just to cover appliances that are supposedly turned off," said Nigel Jollands, who heads the agency's energy efficient unit that conducted the research.

Dr Jollands advises world leaders on energy efficiency and is in Australia this week to speak at the Energy Efficiency Council conference in Melbourne. But he admits that he cannot even get his own family to turn off the microwave at the wall. "We've given up in our own house because trying to get around the back of the microwave to switch it off is just stupid, and then when you turn it back on it takes three minutes to reboot," he told the Herald.

His agency is promoting a "one watt standard" to manufacturers - calling for appliances to use one watt on standby rather than the 20 watts that are used even by some appliances that consume only 25 watts when fully switched on. The energy agency says efficiency is the fastest way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But its most recent report on the subject, published last month, shows that despite promises by leaders none of its member countries, including Australia, has substantially implemented most of its recommendations. Australia's track record is especially lagging when it comes to building and transport efficiency, Dr Jollands said.

This week he will meet the Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, and the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, to advocate that energy efficiency is crucial whether or not the nation adopts an emissions trading scheme. He said the Government had to do more to make commercial buildings and older homes more energy efficient. "Australia does not have a very strong energy efficiency standard in the building code. It's far behind many other countries." While praising the nation's improvements to appliance efficiency standards, he pointed out that about 80% of the agency's efficiency recommendations for transport had not been introduced and there was still no legally enforceable fuel efficiency standard.

Dr Jollands believes legal standards on energy efficiency are important where the market is failing to deliver reform and cited the example of set-top boxes for pay television, which are usually switched on all day, every day. In most homes and offices, set-top boxes are supplied by a company that has no incentive to make them energy efficient because the electricity bills are paid by the consumer. An analysis by the energy agency found that in the United States about 150 million switched-on set-top boxes burned the equivalent of six supertankers of oil a year. Dr Jollands said there was a cultural aversion to regulation in some parts of the world, but if the market was not working, regulations could be effective without imposing additional costs.

CSIRO backs down on banned ETS paper

Tuesday 10/11/2009 Page: 6

THE CSIRO has agreed to allow the publication of a paper criticising emissions trading schemes, subject to "minor" amendments. The backdown came as union officials lashed the CSIRO for not consulting with them before rolling out a new publications policy that limits the ability of scientists to publish their findings on politically sensitive issues such as climate change. CSIRO Staff Association secretary Sam Popovski said the union was demanding answers from management as to why it was not consulted on the changes.

The changes make it more difficult for scientists to publish their findings in their private capacity. The CSIRO began rolling out the new policy three weeks ago but has so far refused to release it. However, the union welcomed chief executive Megan Clark's decision to allow economist Clive Spash to publish his paper on ETS policies with only minor changes. Dr Spash's paper was initially banned from publication by senior CSIRO managers because it was politically sensitive.

The acting head of the CSIRO's sustainable ecosystems group, Daniel Walker, said at the time that any critique of ETS policies, even if made in general form, breached the CSIRO's charter, which prevented scientists from debating the merits of government policy. The initial decision to gag the paper involved the head of CSIRO's environment group, Andrew Johnson, who is a member of the organisation's executive and reports to Dr Clark. Following a meeting with Dr Spash and Mr Popovski, Dr Clark said the paper would be amended to comply with the charter.

A spokesman said the amendments were minor. "We have agreed to resolve this matter quickly and all parties will now work to make the amendments with the intention to have the paper ready for publication," Dr Clark said. Dr Spash's paper, The Brave New World of Carbon Trade, argues the Rudd government's ETS is an ineffective way to cut emissions. It was accepted for publication by the journal New Political Economy' after being internationally peer-reviewed.

TRUenergy plan `close to blackmail'

Tuesday 10/11/2009 Page: 6

PLANS by TRUEnergy to build a gas-fired power plant in the Latrobe Valley only if it gets extra compensation have been described as "verging on blackmail". The Age yesterday revealed that the energy company was preparing a proposal to build a $2 billion, 1000-MW gas plant next to its brown-coalfired Yallourn power station. TRUEnergy says the new plant could allow the retirement of half the Yallourn station by 2013. It is estimated it would reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 10%.

But TRUEnergy said it would make the switch only if the Federal Government boosted its $3 billion compensation offer to Victorian coal stations under a proposed emissions trading scheme to at least $8 billion. Critics said the extra compensation was unnecessary as gas was expected to become profitable once there was a carbon price. Origin Energy is building a $640 million, 552-MW gasfired plant at Mortlake with no government support. Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham cited a recent analysis that found TRUEnergy would get $738 million in free carbon permits for the Yallourn station over the first five years of the emissions scheme.

"They are essentially arguing that the compensation needs to be at least doubled. I don't quite understand why.., when they are going to make money out of it for the next 30 years," he said. Mr Wakeham said announcing the plant and demanding compensation a fortnight before the emissions trading bill faces a second vote in the Senate was "verging on blackmail". Bruce Mountain, a director of consultants Carbon Market Economics, said paying additional compensation to brown coal generators could discourage other companies from investing in gas-fired plants.

Offshore wind energy project for Japan
09 November 2009

Pavilion Energy Resources, Inc, has announced that it is a 10% equity partner in a joint venture (JV) that has submitted a multi-billion dollar proposal to the Japanese government to develop a wind energy project in multiple locations adjacent to its coastline in the Sea of Japan, Sea of Okhotsk and Pacific Ocean.

The proposal calls for installing at least twenty-five, 10,000MW, wind farms over a twenty-five year period. The turbines incorporated in the JV's proposal are based on the proprietary wind accelerating technology invented by Peter Sterling, Pavilion Energy Resources's President and Chief Executive Officer. These turbines generate 400% more turbine power per dollar of capital than existing technology. This technology makes very-large-scale, offshore, wind energy farms with slower average wind speeds more than economical.

Haze, dust and price force rethink of solar methods
November 09. 2009

Haze and dust over Abu Dhabi and a drop in costs for solar panels have caused Masdar, the Government's alternative energies company, to rethink solar technologies planned for the emirate, executives told a conference yesterday. solar thermal technology, in which the sun's heat is used to boil water and power a conventional turbine, was expected to make up 90 per cent of solar capacity when the Government announced in January a goal to generate 7 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020.

But this year's plunge in costs for photovoltaics (PV), a competitor technology, and the effects of haze and dust on solar thermal performance mean the country now plans to build both technologies equally, said Olaf Goebel, a department manager at the firm's utilities and asset management unit. "We think it will be a mixture of concentrated solar energy and photovoltaics, approximately 50-50," Dr Goebel told a clean technology conference in the capital, hosted by past students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "PV is cheaper these days because they've already experienced a shake-out of the market."

Both technologies have their advantages: PV, which generates electricity directly from the sun's rays, is cheaper to buy and maintain, and less susceptible to diffusion of sunlight caused by dust and haze, Dr Goebel said. But solar thermal produces more electricity in a year, and energy can be stored for use after the sun sets. "A PV plant will be one third cheaper but it will produce 20 per cent less kW-hours (kWh)," he said.

Sgouris Sgouridis, an assistant professor at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, said last month diffusion of sunlight reduced the efficiency of solar thermal between 15 per cent and 20 per cent in computer modelling of sites in Abu Dhabi. Prices for PV systems have dropped between 45 and 60 per cent this year because of an oversupply in the market, said Goran Bye, the director of Masdar's industries unit. Mr Bye predicted prices for each kWh of electricity generated by PV over its lifetime would fall to between $0.10 (Dh0.40) and $0.15 by 2020. That compared with at least $0.20 in other countries.

Costs for solar thermal will drop as well, said Samer Zureikat, the managing director of MENA Cleantech, which is planning a 100 MW plant in Jordan. Mr Zureikat predicted costs for solar thermal in the region would fall to $0.15 per kWh over the next five years. Both technologies cost far more than the current cost in Abu Dhabi of generating electricity from natural gas, which amounts to $0.056 per kWh, according to documents submitted by Masdar and published on the website of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Wave plant tipped to be renewable energy drawcard
Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Glenelg Shire Mayor, Geoff White, says a new wave-power generator in the region will help attract more renewable energy projects. Victorian Wave Partners will build a 19 MW wave power plant near Portland. The Federal Government will provide more than $66 million to help set up the project, which it is said will be the first of its kind in Australia. Councillor White says the project confirms south-west Victoria is the state's renewable energy hub. "We've got those gas-fired power plants that are being developed at Orford on one hand and Mortlake on the other, and there is a proliferation of wind farms in our region," he said. "We've also got Hot Rock at Koroit, exploring the geothermal opportunities, and now to add to that we've got this wave power initiative."

Tuesday 10 November 2009

World’s first hybrid power plants show promise
November 5. 2009

In the urgent search for a quick fix to the world's carbon emission problems, some of the most promising technologies are those that marry new energy sources to old. Thus fuel-saving hybrid cars, powered by a combination of electricity and petrol, have found more buyers than zero-carbon vehicles, and have done more to cut overall transportation emissions. Soon, a bridging approach to solar and gas-fired electricity could reduce carbon emissions from power generation. Meet the integrated solar combined-cycle (ISCC) power plant, a hybrid design being pioneered in North Africa.

Currently there are three utility-scale ISCC plants under construction in the region, which will be the first of their kind in the world. At least two, and possibly all three, should start operating next year. Algeria's 150 MW Hassi R'Mel project, which is scheduled for completion next October, is likely to be the first. It will be closely followed by the start-up of Egypt's Kureimat power plant, another 150MW facility. Morocco's 472MW Ain Beni Mathar power project was scheduled for completion in the middle of next year, but construction delays may push start-up into 2011, according to industry sources.

Elsewhere in the MENA region, Iran is expected to invite bids within the next two months for an engineering, procurement and construction contract for a 430MW ISCC plant. Kuwait has completed a feasibility study for a hybrid plant proposed for a site south-east of its capital, but the emirate's electricity and water ministry has not yet unveiled plans to follow through on the 280MW project. The promise of hybrid gas-solar energy plants is that they would reduce the need to build separate gas plants to compensate for fluctuating power output from solar arrays, which at best generate electricity about 30 per cent of the time.

"Instead of relying upon a separate power plant miles down the road to guarantee grid reliability to generate electricity when the solar plant cools off, just one plant can be built with two sources of heat – sunlight and natural gas," said Craig Severance, a US accountant and energy expert. "This saves on construction costs because only one steam turbine is needed instead of two. Also, much of the ancillary equipment such as controls, pumps, valves, et cetera are not duplicated. Perhaps most importantly, duplicate sets of transmission lines are avoided."

Further savings can be realised on operating costs, because only one team of workers is needed to run an integrated plant. Gas costs can also be lowered by combining two heat sources. The Kuwaiti feasibility study, conducted by the Japanese firm Toyota Tsusho, found that by using solar thermal energy to supplement gas-fired steam generation, the proposed hybrid power plant could save 21.1 million cubic metres of gas per year. That should be significant to a state with insufficient gas to meet domestic demand, and which imported liquefied natural gas this summer to cover a seasonal shortage.

Mr Severance has estimated that hybrid plants could be built for about US$2,500 (Dh9,181) per kW of capacity, versus $1,100 to $1,500 per kW for gas-fired plants. The difference could be recovered over the plant's lifetime through lower operating costs. For a hybrid plant running all the time "the two choices are near parity in total generation costs, but the solar hybrid plant would have less exposure to long-term increases in fossil fuel prices and carbon penalties", Mr Severance concluded. Price tags for the Algerian, Egyptian and Moroccan ISCC projects are respectively $370 million, $310m and $472m. The proposed Iranian plant has an estimated cost of $322m.

North Africa is in many respects an ideal location for deploying the hybrid power-generation technology. It has abundant supplies of gas and sunlight, and plenty of cheap, under utilised land to accommodate solar arrays. The region is also well positioned to export electricity to Europe. But a number of other countries are also planning to develop ISCC capacity, notably the US. There, the primary interest is in retrofitting gas-fired plants with solar arrays. The $476m Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Centre, a solar array under development in Florida, will be the first in the world to be connected to an existing power plant when it is completed next year. The 75MW solar thermal facility with 180,000 mirrors will be a component of the 3,705MW Martin County power plant.

US solar energy developers also hope to add solar arrays to coal-fired plants in suitably sunny locations to reduce emissions from the most carbon-intensive form of power generation. But the scheme has been heavily criticised by environmentalists who want to see coal-fired facilities phased out as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, Abengoa Solar, which builds big solar thermal power plants in Arizona, in August announced plans to connect a solar array to a coal-fired plant in Colorado. Ausra, a solar energy company based in Melbourne, has demonstrated similar technology in Australia.

Revealed: polluters' fear tactics on climate

Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 6/11/2009 Page: 1

BIG greenhouse polluting companies around the world, employing thousands of lobbyists, are exerting heavy pressure on governments to weaken climate change laws at home and slow progress on an international climate agreement in Copenhagen, a global investigation reveals. In Australia, 20 companies who have already won the most concessions from the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme employ 28 lobbying firms with well over 100 staff, many of them former politicians, political advisers or government officials.

In the US there are more than 2800 climate lobbyists, five for every member of Congress, an increase of more than 400% over the past six years. From Washington to Canberra and New Delhi to Brussels, companies and their lobbyists are often raising the same widespread fears about jobs, power blackouts and economic losses unless governments weaken commitments to combat climate change.

The report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists examined the climate lobby in eight countries including the US, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, China, Belgium and Brazil. It relied on more than 200 interviews, lobbying registers and political donation records. The Herald collaborated in the investigation for Australia. The findings come as hopes are fading that a binding climate change agreement will be reached at Copenhagen next month.

This week African nations staged a day-long boycott of UN climate talks in the lead-up to the summit, demanding that rich countries make more ambitious pledges to cut emissions. And the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, bluntly told reporters: "We are not going to have a full-fledged binding treaty - Kyoto type - by Copenhagen". Instead, a political agreement is being flagged with a treaty not being concluded until at least next year.

The consortium's investigation found big greenhouse-polluting industries in all countries, developed and developing, are pushing back against ambitious targets to cut national emissions. In China, the Government's plans to boost renewable energy has not been embraced by many of the nation's power companies which rely on coal. Only one of the top power companies, all state-owned, will meet the Government's goal to get 3% of their power from renewable energy by 2010.

In the US, chief executives of coal and power companies have hosted a public campaign against climate legislation which is being blocked in the Senate. The millionaire coal chief Don Blankenship appeared at a "Friends of America" rally with country music stars and prominent Fox TV host Sean Hannity. The rally was designed to warn Americans "how environmental extremists and corporate America are both trying to destroy your jobs". In Europe, ambitious targets to cut greenhouse emissions were significantly reduced after lobbying by heavy industries protesting they would face unfair competition from the developing world.

Industry lobby groups have also carved out a permanent role at the UN talks as representatives of the so-called BINGOS - Business and Industry Non-Government Organisations. While lobbyists for the renewable energy industry, the carbon traders and environmental groups are also becoming more prominent, the report finds that their voices "can barely be heard above the clamour of the older, well-capitalised and deeply entrenched industries that have been lobbying on climate change for more than 20 years".

Grants of $235m put thermal and wave power to test

Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 7/11/2009 Page: 2

WAVE and geothermal technologies have been given a much needed boost under a $235 million round of renewable energy grants from the Federal Government. The Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, announced the grant money for four commercial-scale renewable energy demonstration projects in Canberra yesterday. In an expected decision, two South Australian geothermal projects received significant grants - $62 million for Petratherm's 30 MW plant and $90 million for GeoDynamics's 25 MW multi-well power project.

The announcement sent both GeoDynamics and Petratherm share prices soaring. GeoDynamics rose 8c to 91c, or 9.6%, and Petratherm rose 7.5c to 44c, or 20.5% yesterday. The commercial manager of GeoDynamics, Alistair Webb, said the company was ready to proceed with the first stage in developing the 25 MW project. The Cooper Basement project will be the world's first commercialsise demonstration of a multi well hot fractured rock power plant.

Mr Webb said the project would need nearly $300 million by its completion in 2013 but the government funding - staged over the life of the projects - would make finding money much easier. We are not in need of capital straight away, but it is on the radar," Mr Webb said yesterday. He said the project would aim to demonstrate the technology on a commercial scale and drive the price per MW down so geothermal could compete with other energy options on the market.

Speaking in Canberra yesterday, Mr Ferguson said he placed the same level of importance on the commercial development of geothermal as carbon capture and storage technologies. If geothermal was not commercially demonstrated by 2015-2020, Australia would have a big challenge in moving to a low-carbon energy market in the face of climate change, he said.

A 19-MW wave project in Portland, Victoria, led by the US-based Ocean Power Technologies and Leighton Holdings, received $66.5 million. The project trumped more fancied West Australian projects, which the the director of OPT Australasia, Gilbert George, credited to its partnership with Leighton Holdings. Mr George said the project would need to raise a further $100 million at least before its full realisation, but he was "very excited" about the grant's potential to help this along.

Japan plans to harvest sun in space - Bold plan for solar energy

Canberra Times
Monday 9/11/2009 Page: 11

It may sound like a sci-fi vision, but Japan's space agency is dead serious: by 2030, it wants to collect solar energy in space and zap it down to Earth, using laser beams or microwaves. The Japanese Government has just picked a group of companies and team of researchers tasked with turning the ambitious, multibillion dollar dream of unlimited clean energy into reality in coming decades. With few energy resources of its own and heavily reliant on oil imports, Japan has long been a leader in solar and other renewable energies. It set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets this year.

But Japan's boldest plan to date is the Space Solar Power System, in which arrays of photovoltaic dishes several square kilometres in size would hover in geostationary orbit outside the Earth's atmosphere. Researchers at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, one of the project participants, wrote in a report, "Since solar energy is a clean and inexhaustible energy source, we believe that this system will be able to help solve the problems of energy shortage and global warming. The sun's rays abound in space."

The solar cells would capture the solar energy, which is at least five times stronger in space than on Earth, and beam it to the ground through clusters of lasers or microwaves. These would be collected by gigantic parabolic antennae, likely to be in restricted areas at sea or on darn reservoirs, a spokesman at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tadashige Takiya, said. The researchers are targeting a 1-GW system, equivalent to a medium-sized atomic power plant, that would produce electricity at 8 yen (AlOc) a kW-hour; six times cheaper than its current cost in Japan.

The challenge - including transporting the components to space - may appear gigantic, but Japan has pursued the project since 1998, with about 130 researchers studying it under the agency's oversight. Japan's Economy and Trade Ministry and the Science Ministry took another step toward making the project a reality last month, by selecting several Japanese high-tech giants as participants in the project. The consortium, named the Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer, also includes Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Fujitsu and Sharp. The project's road map outlined several steps that would need to be taken before a full-blown launch in 2030.

One of the agency's researchers heading the project, Tatsuhito Fujita, said that within several years, "a satellite designed to test the transmission by microwave should be put into low orbit with a Japanese rocket". The next step, expected in about 2020, would be to launch and test a large flexible photovoltaic structure with 10-MW power capacity, to be followed by a 250-MW prototype. This will help evaluate the project's financial viability, officials say.

The final aim is to produce electricity cheap enough to compete with other alternative energy sources. The space agency says the transmission technology will be safe but concedes it will need to convince the public, which may harbour images of laser beams shooting down from the sky, roasting birds or slicing tip aircraft in mid-air. A 2004 agency survey found the words "laser" and "microwave" caused the most concern among the 1000 people questioned.

King Island power play - $15m renewable energy program

Hobart Mercury
Saturday 7/11/2009 Page: 16

A PROJECT aimed at reducing King Island's reliance on fossil fuel for power generation has been boosted by Federal Government funding of $15 million. The Government awarded the funds yesterday to the commercial scale Renewable Energy Demonstration Program on King Island. Hydro Tasmania is leading a $45 million project that alms to reduce the 2.56 million litres of diesel used on King Island each year. The funding is part of a $235 million program for alternative energy projects.

Two projects in South Australia and one in Victoria also shared in the funding. The program supports the commercialisation of new renewable energy technologies to help deliver the Government's Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020. Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson and Braddon Labor MHR Sid Sidebottom said the Bass Strait Islands Project being developed by Hydro Tasmania would integrate wind, solar and storage with biodiesel generation.

"This will provide baseload and peak power for King Island's mini grid system and reduce the island's reliance on diesel generators," Mr Ferguson said. "The project aims to reduce dependency upon baseload fossil fuel and will have technologies that integrate renewables into electricity grids." He said the energy project had the potential to refine technologies that would have wide application in rural or remote areas. "The program will deliver $810 million in renewable energy investment in Australia and deliver almost 80MW of new renewable generation." he said.

Renewable 16 energy in fund boost - Geothermal, wind the big winners

Saturday 7/11/2009 Page: 3

Geothermal and wave technologies have been given a boost under a $235 million round of renewable energy grants from the Federal Government. Energy Minister Martin Ferguson announced the grant money in Canberra yesterday to four commercial-scale renewable energy demonstration projects. In an expected decision, two South Australian geothermal projects received significant grants - $62 million for Petratherm's 30-MW plant and $90 million for GeoDynamics' 25-MW multi-well power project.

The announcement sent the share prices of GeoDynamics and Petratherm soaring. GeoDynamics was up 9.6%, or 8c, to 91C, while Petratherm rose 20.5%, up 7.5C, to 44C. GeoDynamics' commercial manager, Alistair Webb, said the company was now ready to proceed with the first stage of the 25-MW project. Located in the Cooper Basin, it will be the world's first commercial-size demonstration of a multi-well, hot-fractured rock power plant.

Mr Webb said the project would require about $300 million by its completion in 2013 but the Government funding - which will be staged over the life of the project - would make finding money in the market much easier. "We are not in need of capital straight away, but it is on the radar," he said yesterday. Mr Webb said the project would aim to demonstrate the technology at a commercial scale and drive down the price so geothermal could compete with other energy options.

Speaking in Canberra yesterday, Mr Ferguson said he placed the same level of importance on the commercial development of geothermal as on carbon capture and storage technologies. He said if geothermal was not commercially demonstrated by 2015-20, then Australia would have a big challenge in moving to a low-carbon energy market. "These projects will diversify Australia's energy supply and help deliver the Government's expanded renewable energy target of 20% by 2020," Mr Ferguson said.

Australian Geothermal Energy Association chief executive Susan Jeanes said the funding was a show of confidence in the geothermal industry. "Once established in Australia, geothermal energy is widely predicted to be the lowest-cost form of renewable energy and it has the enormous advantage of delivering large-scale, baseload energy into the national grid," Ms Jeanes said. A 19-MW wave project in Portland, led by US-based Ocean Power Technologies and Leighton Holdings, received $66.5 million. It beat more fancied West Australian projects, which Ocean Power Technologies Australasia director Gilbert George credited to the partnership with Leighton Holdings.

Mr George said the project would have to raise a further $100 million at least on the market before full realisation, but he was excited about the Government grant's potential to drive that. Mr George said Ocean Power Technologies could now begin more detailed discussion on potential purchasing agreements for the power, including talks with Alcoa for supply to its Portland aluminium smelter.

A biodiesel project led by Hydro Tasmania will receive $15.3 million to demonstrate integration of solar, wind and storage to provide baseload and peak power to the King Island grid. The Government grants come from the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program funded in the 2008-09 budget. An expected $100 million in funding to renewable projects from the program was not delivered last year. Mr Ferguson is expected to announce funding to small-scale solar projects later this month.

Hot rock firms win funding injection

Adelaide Advertiser
Saturday 7/11/2009 Page: 9

TWO South Australian hot rocks companies have won the lion's share of $235 million in federal funding, potentially resulting in a jobs bonanza. In a major vote of confidence in the commercial viability of alternative energies such as wind, wave and geothermal, four grants totalling $235 million were awarded to alternative energy projects. GeoDynamics Ltd received the biggest grant of $90 million to develop its Cooper Basin power plant into what the Federal Government described as "the world's first multi-well hot fractured rock power project".

The project is slated to produce several thousand MWs of electricity once fully operational. Another company, MNGI Pty Ltd, was awarded nearly $63 million for its Paralana power plant located close to the Beverley Uranium Mine. That project uses a "heat exchanger within insulator" method developed by one of its joint ventures, Petratherm, and already has a memorandum of understanding with Beverley to supply its energy needs. Petratherm managing director Terry Kallis said the money was granted on a "one for two basis", meaning the private investors would put in twice as much again to get the plant producing 30 MW of power by

Petratherm employs about 15 people but at full construction phase, this is likely to increase to about 150. During the operational phase, it is expected to support 50 or 60 jobs. Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the Government was serious about developing alternatives to fossil fuels. "These projects will diversify Australia's energy supply and help deliver the Government's expanded renewable energy target of 20% by 2020," he said. Geothermal energy involves using intense heat stored deep underground in rock layers to generate electricity.

Review for clean power credits

Courier Mail
Friday 6/11/2009 Page: 39

FEDERAL and state governments are to review policies criticised for failing to help large-scale clean energy projects that would reduce our reliance on carbon-emitting coal-fired power. Proponents of wind, solar, geothermal and tidal power have criticised aspects of Australia's renewable energy target. It was to carve a niche for clean energy projects by mandating they form 20% of Australia's electricity supply by 2020. But it has been criticised for including credits for technologies that don't generate electricity, which has weakened market prices and made large-scale clean energy generation projects less viable.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong yesterday said a Council of Australian Governments review would examine market pricing factors. Alternative energy advocate Damien Moyse said the RET should be used purely to develop emerging clean electricity sources such as from wind farms, solar and geothermal plants, and not for energy-saving technologies such as solar hot water systems that could be supported by other measures.

The Federal Government is under intense pressure from the mining industry to divert more money to it under a market-based mechanism that would be used to control and lower Australia's carbon emissions. The Minerals Council of Australia has said more than 15,000 jobs would be lost in the coal industry by 2030 if the carbon pollution reduction scheme was introduced because there would be liabilities for greenhouse gases produced by mining. Rio Tinto has said the CPRS could drive the closure of half its open-cut mines by 2020.

But a recent Citi Investment Research report into the potential impact of the current CPRS plan concluded: "Our results do not lead to significant concerns about mine closures." Citi Investment Research said the coal industry appeared to be pushing for assistance of about $1 billion annually in the first 10 years of the CPRS. Citi Investment Research said this would equate to taxpayers paying roughly $100,000 a year for each of the 9900 jobs saved.

Ocean Power wins grant for Australian wave project
Nov 6, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - Renewable energy firm Ocean Power Technologies has won a A$66.5 million ($61 million) grant from the Australian government for a project set to be one of the first to generate power from waves on a utility scale. Ocean Power Technologies, which is listed in both the U.S, and London, said on Friday work on the 19 MW project, enough to power 10,000 homes, was expected to begin by the second quarter of 2010. The company uses buoys floating up and down to drive an electrical generator, with the power generated being transmitted onshore via an underwater cable.

The project off the coast of Victoria is being carried out in conjunction with Leighton Contractors, a unit of Australian mining contractor Leighton Holdings. The Australian government is aiming to generate 20% of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the grant awarded to Ocean Power Technologies forms part of funding totaling A$235 million for four renewable energy projects. Ocean Power Technologies said, however, further funding would be needed to complete the wave power station. Ocean Power Technologies's London shares, which have gained 30% over the last month, closed up 6% at 432.5 pence. It was trading up 25% on Nasdaq by 1706 GMT.

Portland wave power project wins funding
November 6, 2009

Ocean Power Technologies and Leighton Contractors have taken another step forward in the construction of a 19 MW wave power project off the coast of Victoria. The Federal Government today awarded the companies $66.46 million in funding to build the power plant that harnesses ocean waves to generate electricity. "It's a huge step forward," said OPT (Australasia) director Gilbert George. "It's great to see the Federal Government recognising that we have the technology that will make a difference - and that wave energy has great potential."

The demonstration wave power station will be built in three stages off Portland, with capacity gradually rising to 19 MWs - enough to supply about 7000 homes with power. OPT's wave power technology uses buoys that ride waves, converting their natural energy into electricity, promoting a technology that could ease carbon emissions while powering cities and industries. Today's funding was announced as part of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program, aimed at meeting the Government's goal supply 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The goal of the Victorian project is to show the commercial and technological viability of wave power to government, investors and industry, Mr George said. The 5-6 year project would incorporate community consultation and studies to determine the exact location, said Mr George. "We don't need a huge amount of area." OPT will meet the Federal Government next week to conclude a funding deed which lays out the conditions of the final approval for the project, and later will seek debt and equity funding.

Mr George said OPT, which licenses the technology, and Leighton plan to begin work on the project by the second quarter of 2010. OPT, listed in the US and UK, was co-founded by chairman George W. Taylor. The Perth-born inventor currently serves as OPT's chairman. The company generated about $US 4 million last year.

Monday 9 November 2009

Solar power generation around the clock
November 5, 2009

A Californian company, SolarReserve, is developing a solar energy system that can store seven hours' worth of solar energy by focusing mirrors onto millions of gallons of molten salt, allowing the plant to provide electricity 24 hours a day. The company has applied to regulators in California for permission to build the 150-MW Rice Solar Energy Project solar farm near the abandoned town of Rice in San Bernadino County, California.

The solar energy is stored using a massive circular array of up to 17,500 mirrors (heliostats), each measuring 24 by 28 feet and attached to a 12-foot pedestal. The heliostat field encircles a concrete Solar Power Tower 538 feet high, with a 100-foot high receiver on top, which holds 4.4 million gallons of molten salt. When the heliostats focus the sunlight onto the receiver the salt is heated to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

When it is needed, such as at night or at peak times, the heat is released by passing the molten salt through a steam generator that drives a turbine to produce electricity. The cooled salt is then recirculated to the receiver for re-heating. The project brings the dream of a solar system that generates electricity in the dark to a reality, and avoids the need to use fossil fuel plants for backup electricity generation.

The salt used is a mixture of sodium and potassium nitrate (the same as that used in fertilisers), which is cheap, reliable, and environmentally friendly. It will be mixed on site with no additives. Apart from a few unique components such as the high heat flux hardware in the tower, the system uses existing technologies such as turbines and steam generators. This means SolarReserve can produce electricity at prices equivalent to or below fossil fuel burning plants.

The system was proven over a four-year period in the 1990s at the 10-MW Solar Two demonstration project near Barstow in California. The solar salt technology was originally developed by Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of United Technologies, and many of SolarReserve's scientists are former employees of Rocketdyne. United Technologies has licensed the system to SolarReserve and guarantees its performance.

Chief Executive at SolarReserve, Kevin Smith, said other solar systems also use salt as storage, but they use synthetic oil in the steam generation. Using salt for both means the system is more efficient, since it can produce steam at higher temperatures and can harvest three times as much energy for the same amount of salt.

The Rice Solar Energy Project solar farm will be constructed on now privately owned land that used to belong to a World War II Army air base to the east of Palm Springs. The system will be air cooled, thus avoiding criticisms about water use, but its height, at 653 feet (with a maintenance crane on top), could spark other criticisms, as did a previously proposed SolarReserve project in Nevada. SolarReserve expects the solar farm to go online late in 2013, and is in negotiations with utility companies in California to buy the generated electricity.

Philippines targets $2.5 billion geothermal development
Nov 5, 2009

The Philippine government aims to approve contracts to explore and develop the country's massive geothermal energy resources, which could attract more than $2.5 billion in private investment, an official said. The Philippines, the world's second-largest developer of geothermal energy, plans to approve 19 deals in the next five months to allow foreign and domestic companies access to geothermal projects, the division chief for geothermal energy at the Philippine Energy Department, Alejandro Oanes, told Reuters.

Philippine power producer Energy Development Corp and Envent, a unit of Geysir Green Energy, one of Iceland's biggest geothermal energy companies, were among groups vying for contracts to tap the country's geothermal resources, he said. "Incentives for renewable projects are giving (the country's) geothermal development a much needed boost," said Oanes in a telephone interview from Manila. Tax holidays and tariff exemptions for renewable energy projects are boosting investment in clean energy in the Philippines, with the government recently awarding 87 contracts to develop alternative energy sources.

Geothermal power accounted for 17% of the country's total power mix at the end of 2008, with installed capacity close to 2,000 MWs, energy department data showed. The government was issuing tenders for the development of 10 geothermal sites and negotiating nine more deals directly with various companies, Oanes said. Combined, the deals could harness more than 620 MWs of geothermal energy. Geothermal sites covered in the deals include Mount Isarog, in Camarines Sur province, where about 70 MW of geothermal power could be developed. The government is also looking at resources in Mount Labo, Camarines Norte with a potential capacity of 65 MW. Other provinces identified with geothermal resources include Benguet, Cagayan, Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Surigao del Norte and Laguna.

Lockheed Martin Installs Solar Power Streetlights in Florida
November 05, 2009

Lockheed Martin, an advanced technology company that got its start working in the aerospace industry, has installed 35 solar LED (light-emitting diode) streetlights at its Orange County, Florida site, where the company recently won a contract to develop the Joint Strike Fighter and peripheral training, support and targeting systems.

The streetlights aren't the first solar energyed outdoor lights in Florida, but they do represent the state's largest installation, and their cost - $342,000 over 20 years, including purchase price and maintenance – still comes in considerably lower than the equivalent cost for conventional street lighting ($563,000, including new wiring and the cost of electricity). In addition, the solar energyed LEDs reduce carbon emissions generated by fossil fuel burning power plants by an estimated 17,000 tons over their lifetime, which is the equivalent of taking 3,000 cars off the road.

Using a fraction of the electricity of ordinary street lighting, the solar energyed lights are easily recognisable by the bluish tint of the light they emit. They also focus that lighting, unlike conventional street lights which shine in all directions. This means that many brands of solar LEDs qualify under the "Dark Sky" requirements of an increasing number of municipalities.

According to the International Dark-Sky Association, night lighting – from streetlights, buildings and airports, for example – causes migrating songbirds (which migrate at night via a visual geomagnetic sensor) to lose their way and often die, either as a result of collisions or because they can't find habitat. It also affects the circadian rhythms, mating cycles and foraging cycles of other wildlife, causing loss of sleep, irregular breeding and starvation, any of which can lead to species extinction.

In addition, solar energyed LEDs provide just as much illumination as conventional varieties; perhaps more, when one considers that the light is concentrated where it is needed, not all over the ground and sky. Lockheed Martin's lights, for example, brighten slightly more than 125 feet ahead even though mounted 25 feet off the ground. In addition, the LED portion of the light uses less than half the energy of conventional models, or 100 watts as compared to 250.

The lights are manufactured by Canadian-based Carmanah Technologies of Victoria, British Columbia, one of six companies evaluated in Lockheed Martin's search for a provider. A company spokesman, who admitted that solar LEDs lose their cost advantage (but not their "green" footprint) where sites are still being "prepped" for construction, also noted that only recent advances in LED technology have made the solar energyed lights commercially feasible only within the past year.

LEDs, simply expressed, are a combination of a light bulb and a computer chip, and deliver efficient, long-lasting light which can be targeted to eliminate the problem of nighttime glare and reduce impacts on wildlife. Lockheed Martin's solar energyed LEDs also work during extended periods of cloudiness, and overnight, thanks to an array of four, size-32 car batteries which are able to store enough power to keep lights going for up to five consecutive nights.

Australia Awards Funds to Renewable Energy Projects
Nov. 6

The Australian government has awarded A$235 million ($214 million) to four companies to spur the development of renewable energy technologies as it seeks to reduce carbon pollution. Petratherm Ltd., GeoDynamics Ltd., Victorian Wave Partners Pty Ltd, and Hydro Tasmania won funding, Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said in Canberra today. Australia, the world's biggest exporter of coal, is pursuing a target of deriving 20% of its power from clean energy by 2020. The government's Renewable Energy Demonstration Program is designed to spark the commercial use of emerging ocean, geothermal and other technologies. "These projects will diversify Australia's energy supply and help deliver the governments" renewable energy target, Ferguson said.

Petratherm rose as much as 31% in Sydney trading after the announcement, the most in almost seven months. GeoDynamics rose as much as 16%, the most since March. Carnegie Corporation Energy Ltd., whose bid for funding failed, dropped as much as 28%, the largest decline since January 2008. Petratherm will receive A$63 million, GeoDynamics A$90 million, Victorian Wave A$66 million and Hydro Tasmania A$15 million, the government said. Funds from the companies combined with the government money will lead to A$810 million of investment in renewable energy, delivering about 80 MWs of new power generation, Ferguson said.

Investec Funding
Investec Ltd., a South African investment bank, said it would provide as much as A$250 million to Carnegie Corporation if it secured the government funds and achieved other goals, the companies said in April. "We are disappointed with the outcome," Michael Ottaviano, managing director of Carnegie Corporation, said in a statement. "We will continue to develop our Garden Island project with the support of the Western Australian government's A$12.5 million grant and then look to develop at our international sites where there is significant support for wave energy."

The government had considered 36 applications, Ferguson's spokesman Michael Bradley said last month. Some A$135 million of money originally allocated to the renewable energy program was transferred to fund solar energy projects. Remaining money from the program will be managed by the Australian Center for Renewable Energy. GeoDynamics and Petratherm are developers of hot-rock geothermal projects. Victorian Wave is focused on ocean energy technology, while Hydro Tasmania aims to integrate wind, solar and storage technologies to reduce reliance on diesel generators, according to the government.

RWE makes Denmark-sized mistake in CO2 emissions
5 November

German energy giant RWE overstated its own carbon dioxide emissions by 70 million tonnes – equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of Denmark – in a report this year because of a classification mistake. The error draws attention to the difficulty of analysing and comparing corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, said Trucost, the London-based environmental data firm that discovered the slip-up. RWE put the carbon content of the electricity it had purchased in the wholesale markets for reselling to customers into the 'Scope 2' category of its 2009 report to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), according to Stefano Dell'Aringa, senior research analyst at Trucost.

Under the widely used GHG Protocol, an accounting and reporting standard, Scope 2 is meant to record indirect carbon emissions resulting from electricity consumed by an organisation. Dell'Aringa said RWE should have recorded the footprint of its traded electricity under Scope 3, which is reserved for indirect emissions from suppliers or emissions created by the use of products sold. An environmental specialist at RWE apologised for the mistake, telling Environmental Finance that the firm had not kept up to date with changes to GHG reporting methods. "We fully support the attempt to give clear reporting of the carbon dioxide [CO2] profile of companies," he said.

"We will change our internal routines and, independently of the Trucost enquiry, we had already established an internal process to gather this information, with a well-known verification company, to improve the quality of the reporting of our environmental, social and governance data." RWE will update its CDP response next year, but will not re-submit this year's report. "We are already short of manpower," the specialist said. "Most financial directors don't know whether they should be reporting a million or a thousand tonnes," said Trucost managing director Simon Thomas at a seminar on Wednesday.

Thomas cited other examples of inaccurate reporting, such as International Power's website putting its 2005 CO2 emissions at 52 million tonnes (Mt), but reporting 84.4 Mt to the CDP. Following discussions with the company, Trucost decided a figure of 68.3 Mt was accurate. Meanwhile, Air France-KLM reported that it had emitted 6.4 Mt of sulphur dioxide in 2005-6 – a figure roughly equivalent to half of all European sulphur dioxide emissions.

Thomas bemoaned the plethora of reporting standards. "When we talk to companies, there are five or six options" on which they can base their disclosure. "People are using this as a reason not to disclose," he said. "The GHG Protocol is well thought out. It sits behind most of the standards out there. I really don't see the need for local embellishments," Thomas said. He also urged governments to make emissions reporting mandatory.