Thursday 2 September 2010

Solar bonus generates a mega-load of energy

Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 28/8/2010 Page: 11

THE NSW Government's solar bonus scheme, which pays householders for the electricity they generate from their rooftop panels, has proved so popular it has reached a 50-MW milestone 18 months before expected. But experts have warned that it is too generous and too short term to encourage the industry investment in solar that is vital for a renewable energy future. They argue the scheme must be expanded to include commercial customers, not just small scale residential properties.

The solar panel program was established in January, offering households 60¢, a kWh for all the electricity generated until 2017. It is the most generous scheme in the country and one of only two that pay a tariff on all energy generated (the other being in the ACT, which pays 45¢ a kWh. All other states and territories offer net tariffs, which pay only for the excess power householders return to the grid after using what they require.

The NSW scheme was inundated with applications, and an estimated 30,000 householders are being paid to feed renewable energy into the grid. It was to have been reviewed in 2012 or when 50MWs capacity was reached, whichever came first. But the capacity point was reached this week, eight months into the program, triggering a review announced by the Energy Minister, Paul Lynch. It was the right time to evaluate the scheme, he said.

He reiterated that the length and the tariff rate of the scheme were locked into legislation. "If any changes are to be proposed, the legislation would need to be amended and we are on the record stating that any changes would not be applied retrospectively". But Dr Mark Diesendorf, of the institute of environmental studies at the University of New South Wales, said the current tariff was too high and the seven-year period too short. "They should have given a lower tariff for a longer period to ensure more stable growth of the industry". "The short burst... isn't going to give enough support for industry to come back [from overseas] and manufacture [solar panels] in Australia".

He nominated 40¢ a kWh as adequate and over 15 years. "You wouldn't have got this mad rush and you would have got stimulus for investment". The opposition spokeswoman on the environment, Catherine Cusack, said the scheme risked producing a boom and bust situation, where there was high demand in the short term and then nothing. "For the people who went in early [including herself], they are going to do extremely well out of it".

But just as important was long-term certainty for manufacturers in the solar industry. The scheme should be open to big energy users, she said. A climate campaigner for Greenpeace, John Hepburn, agreed the scheme should be extended. "If we are serious... we need a feed-in tariff for large scale as well... We need incentives for the warehouse owners, for Coles and Woolworths". Dr Diesendorf said schemes such as the solar bonus had long-term potential but "bang for buck, energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest".

Weather powers digital services

Hobart Mercury
Friday 27/8/2010 Page: 11

Solar and wind power now helps Queenstown and Zeehan residents receive new services, such as digital television. Broadcast Australia, the company that owns and operates the transmission station near Queenstown, recently upgraded the site to be primarily powered by renewable energy. The Mt Owen site broadcasts a range of national and commercial analogue/digital radio and television services to the Queenstown and Zeehan region. The site also supports critical radio communications for emergency services.

Broadcast Australia Energy Systems engineer Gary Cafe, said the power demands of new services such as digital television were starting to exceed the capacity of the existing mains feed. The site's remote location and position made it an ideal candidate for renewable energy. "At 980 metres above sea level. Mt Owen benefits from a strong prevailing southwesterly wind, making it ideal for wind turbine power generation", Mr Cafe said.

The new wind and solar infrastructure includes a single wind turbine on a 15m mast and 36m² of solar panels. Together, the technologies are expected to meet the site's power needs for 80 to 90% of the time. The system is backed up by batteries, which store generated power and mains power during periods of limited on-site wind or solar generation.

Renewable energy key to emissions reduction

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
Monday 30/8/2010 Page: 9

The three federal independent MPs have all supported greater investment in renewable power, with the Clean Energy Council noting that such investments can help farmers and rural communities. The Australian Geothermal Energy Association has called for similar government support for geothermal as for solar power, which the government has supported through the establishment of the Australian Solar Institute.

Victoria to hasten renewables plan

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
Wednesday 25/8/2010 Page: 6

To lower reliance on coal, Victorian Energy Minister Peter Batchelor revealed planning changes to approval procedures for renewable energy projects. Approval for the $484 million Union Fenosa Berrybank wind farm was announced with Mr Batchelor's statement.

The state Labor government set a 20% greenhouse emissions target by 2020, which has been supported by legislation currently before the state Parliament. To meet the target, the government have introduced a phased shutdown of the Hazelwood power station. Mr Batchelor and Victorian Premier John Brumby are hoping other projects will fill the capacity void created by the closing of the state's highest polluting power station.

Shah Mohajerani, engineering manager at Union Fenosa said decisions on five projects in Victoria were yet to be made. The Crookwell 292MW project was the closest venture to proceeding, but was delayed by the over saturation of Renewable Energy Certificates which made it commercially unviable for now, according to Mr Mohajerani.

Monday 30 August 2010

French state seeks $13 billion in bids for 3,000 megawatts of wind farms
Aug 25, 2010

France will seek bids for 3,000MWs of offshore wind farms that could cost about 10 billion euros ($12.7 billion) to develop, an official said. The tenders for projects with a total of about 600 turbines will be announced next month by Environment and Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, said the official, who declined to be named in line with government policy. The cost of the projects is based on estimates of 3.5 million euros a MW, he said.

France will designate five to 10 offshore areas that have been evaluated for their "environmental compatibility", Pierre-Franck Chevet, an official at the Environment and Energy Ministry, said last month. The zones are still being studied and no decision has been made about which will be included in the tenders, the official said today.

France, which doesn't have any offshore wind parks, is seeking to emulate neighbours such as the U.K, in sea-based wind power, which can have better breezes and be less intrusive on local communities than onshore turbines. GDF Suez SA, owner of the French natural-gas network, is planning a 1.8 billion-euro windpark off northern France, which is being assessed for its environmental impact.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates offshore wind costs are in the range of 3 million euros aMW. The tender process will evaluate the engineering costs of each project to set the price at which power from the turbines can be sold to French utilities, Chevet said last month. The government is targeting 6,000MWs of offshore wind power by 2020.

Compagnie du Vent, the GDF Suez unit vying to develop the 705-MW wind farm project about 14 kilometers (9 miles) offshore Le Treport in northern France, selected the site as the most favourable in the country, according to documents put on the website of the public inquiry into the project. Other French sites also considered favourable are further west including one near Utah beach in Normandy, where allied troops invaded occupied France during the Second World War, according to the documents.

Other areas being considered are off Britanny and Languedoc-Roussillon in the Mediterranean Sea, the official said. EDF Energies Nouvelles SA Chief Executive Officer David Corchia has said the Paris-based company will consider the French tender. "We will be very careful because there are a lot of ways to lose money on offshore projects. Offshore has enormous potential in Europe", he said at a press conference July 28.

Denmark gets major new wind test center
Aug 24, 2010

You'd think with all that laser wind technology and innovative energy storage. Denmark would be content to rest on its laurels when it comes to wind technology superiority. Not so proclaims a recent news release from Riso ODT, the Danish National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, as a new test center for wind turbines at Osterild in north-western Jutland will ensure Denmark's leading position with wind power.

The site for this test center was clearly not chosen at random. It will be placed in an area with a higher degree of 'roughness' than previous sites, which, in addition to being able to site two turbines in a stretch of woodland, translates into unique possibilities for testing wind turbines under greatly varying conditions.

Nor does this national test center represent a minor investment of kroner. The site itself is more than 4-kilometers long and will soon be home to seven mega wind turbines up to 250 meters (820 feet) in height for testing purposes. Moreover, 150-meter (492 feet) measuring masts will be constructed to perform measurements on these massive wind turbines, as well as two light masts which are for meteorological measurements. The Danish Laboratory for Sustainable Energy would like you to know that these measuring masts are big, really big: almost as big, in fact, as the pylons on the Great Belt Link. Each of these mega wind turbines will cost in the region of several hundred million Danish kroner ($32,518,736.93).

"This initiative is vitally crucial to preserving Denmark's leading position within wind power R&D and thereby safeguarding the Danish wind turbine industry's dominant role in the global wind turbine market", says Peter Hjuler Jensen. Head of Riso's Wind Energy Division, in a statement. The wind power test center has also been highlighted as having a mission to "safeguard lots of Danish jobs within the wind power sector, both at the wind turbine manufacturers and at the numerous sub-suppliers to the wind power sector".

Daewoo Shipbuilding seeks 30% of sales from wind power by 2020
Aug 25, 2010

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the world's second-largest shipyard, aims to generate 30% of its sales from wind power by 2020 as pollution concerns spur demand for alternative energy.

The company expects to generate as much as 9 trillion won ($7.5 billion) in wind-power sales in 2020, from about $25 million this year. Chief Strategy Officer Koh Young Youl said in an interview in Seoul. The company earned 99% of its revenue from building ships and offshore equipment last year. "It's a very ambitious target and it won't be easy", Koh said yesterday. "Still, the market potential for wind power is very big, partly because there's a lot of interest in going offshore as the space on land runs out".

Daewoo, which already makes turbines, may also run wind farms, build vessels for installing offshore units and open a generator factory in China as Korean shipbuilders seek new businesses to meet competition from Chinese yards. Wind-power capacity worldwide may rise 21% a year through 2014, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. "It is our plan to eventually be able to provide a full chain of services for wind power -- from making turbines to operating mills", Koh said. The Seoul-based shipyard is developing its first offshore wind turbine, he said.

China Wind Power
The company plans to select a site for a factory in China, the biggest market for wind power, by year-end. Koh said. The Asian nation plans to install wind capacity of 100GWs by 2020 to help reach a goal of generating 15% of primary energy without using fossil fuels. "We expect demand for wind turbines to grow as there are still a lot of places in China that need power", Koh said. The company will use locally made parts at the plant and it may also help its suppliers set up factories, he said.

China spent $34.6 billion on clean-fuel projects last year, almost double the $18.6 billion invested by the US, according to estimates from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Daewoo rose as much as 1.8% to 22,400 won and was at 22,150 won at 10:43 a.m, in Seoul. The benchmark Kospi index was down 0.8%. The stock has gained 27% this year, outperforming the Kospi's 3.8% gain.

The company is considering plans to set up its own wind farms in Europe and North America. Koh said. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world's largest shipyard, announced plans to build a wind farm in Pakistan in January. Daewoo bought DeWind Inc, for about $50 million from Irvine. California-based Composite Technology Corp, last year to access wind farm technology and a turbine factory in the US The company may build units at a shipyard venture in Romania, depending on demand in Europe. Koh said.

The shipbuilder's wind-power sales may reach $800 million in 2012. Koh said. The company in January said the company's sales will likely reach 12.4 trillion won this year.