Thursday 17 May 2012

Invenergy completes three wind-power projects in Poland
10 May 2012

Invenergy LLC, a closely held renewable-power developer, completed three wind farms using General Electric Co, turbines in Poland with the local company Enerco and arranged financing for four other projects. The Wiekowice, Jezyce and Dobieslaw projects, about 300 miles northwest of Warsaw, have a total capacity of 80 MWs Chicago-based Invenergy said in a statement. They have 32 GE 2.5 MW turbines, and will help Poland reach a goal of producing 15% of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Invenergy and Enerco also completed financing for four wind farms in northwest Poland that are scheduled to be finished next year. Those wind farms will total about 95 MWs and use 38 GE 2.5 MW turbines, according to the May 7 statement. Prices weren't disclosed.

Stockyard Hill Wind Farm gains momentum
8 May 2012

THE development of a 157 turbine wind farm to be located between Skipton and Beaufort is gaining momentum, with Origin Energy inviting proposals for engineering and construction from interested parties. Origin Energy received a planning permit in October 2010 to construct the Stockyard Hill wind farm, 35 km west of Ballarat. An Origin Energy spokesman said the company was assessing a range of options to ensure the optimal development of Stockyard Hill wind farm. "This involves seeking proposals from third parties interested in supplying wind turbines, constructing the wind farm on Origin Energy's behalf", he said. "(It also involves) providing equity for the wind farm's development while Origin Energy supports it through a power purchase agreement.

"The wind farm will play an important role in helping Origin Energy meet its obligations under the federal government's large-scale renewable energy target and provide green power to our customers. "On the ground, we continue to progress the development of Stockyard Hill". The spokesman said Origin Energy had also made significant moves to carry out a Department of Planning and Community Development-approved Stockyard Hill wind farm noise monitoring plan.

"As part of the wind farm's noise-monitoring plan, equipment was recently installed at a number of locations to measure background noise levels", the spokesman said. "In addition, a number of wind monitoring masts that record wind speeds have recently been erected-and the information gathered by these masts will help confirm Stockyard Hill's overall design". The wind farm has attracted community opposition in the past.

Grid upgrade to tap Ireland's renewables
7 May 2012

CASTLEBAR, Ireland, May 7 (UPI)--Transmission system operator EirGrid has announced a $314 million program to upgrade Western Ireland's network with the aim of exporting "green" energy. EirGrid Chief Executive Dermot Byrne introduced the project Friday in Castlebar, County Mayo, in an event attended by Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte and other political leaders, who talked up the potential of exporting wind, wave and tidal energy to Britain. Byrne said the project, known as Grid West, is part of a larger, nationwide effort called Grid25, which seeks the upgrading of Ireland's transmission capabilities to accommodate the country's "access to a secure and competitive energy supply".

"This major initiative will put in place a safe, secure and affordable electricity supply throughout Ireland", Byrne said. "It is a major undertaking which will take several years and represents an investment of ($4.2 billion). "The Grid West project is the one of the largest single Grid25 projects and the most significant in the west, initially accounting for ($314 million) of the investment earmarked for the region". Kenny said that under the Grid West plan, a pair of 400 kilovolt transmission lines would be built linking Bellacorick in County Mayo to Cashla in County Galway and Flagford in County Roscommon in a move to tap Western Ireland's "huge" renewable energy potential.

"The West of Ireland is particularly rich in renewable energy resources and has the potential for much job creation", Kenny said. "Harnessing and exploiting this resource for Ireland will require detailed planning involving high levels of engagement between communities and EirGrid that will allow the construction of critical infrastructure for the benefit of the West and for Ireland". Rabbitte said planning applications under Ireland's Strategic Infrastructure Act are expected in 2015, The Irish Times reported.

The energy minister said he disagreed with critics who say the grid upgrades are ill-timed because the ongoing economic recession is depressing demand for power. "The abundance of renewable resources on our western seaboard holds the promise for us to actually achieve the huge challenge of moving away from fossil fuels in the longer term", he said. "Investment decisions for the necessary trans-European infrastructure up to 2030 must be taken now, as a significant amount of older generation plant will need to be replaced and more interconnected transmission systems need to be developed". Also on the horizon is the promise of Britain as a potential customer of green Irish energy at a time when that nation is facing the ends of the useful lives of some of its fossil fuel and nuclear generating plants.

"We are in discussions with the British government", Rabbitte told the newspaper. "It hasn't happened in this fashion between two member states of the European Union before. A prerequisite is an intergovernmental agreement and we are working on the elements of that". Dublin in addition to the Grid25 program is working on "essential" north-south transmission reinforcements and the completion of an east-west interconnector, which will link its electric system with that of Britain's. Ireland's national goal is to meet 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020, including wind, wave and tidal energy. The government and EirGrid say the existing transmission infrastructure in the region needs "substantial investment" to accommodate West of Ireland's "increasing levels of renewable generation".

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Asia to overtake Europe as global solar power grows - EPIA
7 May 2012

(Reuters)-The world's solar power generating capacity will grow by between 200 and 400% over the next five years, with Asia and other emerging markets overtaking leadership from Europe, a European industry association said on Monday. "Europe has dominated the global PV (photovoltaic) market for years but the rest of the world clearly has the biggest potential for growth", the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said in its market outlook until 2016.

The fastest PV capacity growth is expected in China and India, followed by the southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa in the next five years, said the report distributed at a PV conference in northern Italy. Global installed PV capacity, which turns sunlight into power, is expected to have risen to between 207.9 GWs and 342.8 GW in 2016, depending on the level of political support, from 69.7 GW in 2011, the report said.

This year, the world's total PV capacity is expected to rise to between 90 and 110 GW, EPIA's Secretary General Reinhold Buttgereit told the conference. "The growth will depend on the support of politicians. It's not only about money, it's also about reducing bureaucracy", Buttgereit told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference. Germany, the world's biggest PV market, is likely to be the main global driver this year, followed by China, the United States and Japan. The pace of growth will slow in Italy, which was the fastest growing solar market in 2011, he said.

China is expected to add between 3 GW and 5 gw this year with new annual capacity rising to 4.5 10 GW in 2016, while to a total capacity of up to 39.1 GW, while the U.S, total capacity is seen rising up to 37.1 GW in 2016, the report said. Europe accounted for 75% the of new PV installations last year when the global added capacity nearly doubled to 29.7 GW on the back of generous production incentives, the EPIA said. "Such a rapid growth rate cannot be expected to last forever, however, and the industry is now weathering a period of uncertainty in the short term", the report said.

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Wind farms 'have major economic benefit'
13 May 2012

(UK) Onshore wind farms, recently under attack from leading conservationists for damaging the countryside, can bring significant economic benefits locally and nationally, as well as contributing to the fight against climate change, a new study claims. Onshore wind supported 8,600 jobs and was worth £548m to the UK economy in 2011, says the report, by consultancy BiGGAR Economics. Of this figure 1,100 jobs were created at local authority level, with £84m of investment.

Looking at 18 case studies of wind farms of different sizes drawn from across the UK, the study analyses the contribution of wind farm development, construction, operation and maintenance to the economy at a local, regional and national level. It suggests if onshore wind is deployed at a scale suggested in the Government's Renewable Energy Roadmap, the economy could benefit by £780m by 2020, with around 11,600 jobs being supported. From its beginnings 20 years ago, Britain's wind industry now has 3,176 large onshore turbines, with 568 turbines in the sea, according to RenewableUK, the wind industry trade body.

The onshore wind farms together can produce about 4.5 GWs of electricity, roughly the equivalent of four large conventional power stations, with another 1.5GW coming from offshore turbines. But the growing presence of turbines in the landscape-there are nearly 3,000 more in the planning process-has led to criticism from conservationists, and last week the Campaign to Protect Rural England broke ranks with other environmental groups who have hitherto been united in support for wind power for the contribution it can make, with other CO₂ free energies like solar and tidal power, to cut carbon emissions that cause climate change.

The CPRE said the countryside was being caught in "a hurricane of new wind turbines" and local communities were "struggling to safeguard valued landscapes" which were being industrialised by the presence of wind farms. Shaun Spiers, its chief executive, said his group accepted onshore wind in the right places as part of the mix required to meet the UK 's carbon reduction targets, "but we are seeing more and more giant turbines sited in inappropriate locations".

The Government and wind industry stress the benefits wind farms can bring. "Rather than feeling wind has been imposed on them, people across the UK recognise the benefits of having wind in their backyard", said RenewableUK's chief executive Maria McCaffery. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: "Wind power provides secure, low carbon power to homes and businesses, and supports jobs and brings significant investment".

Wind farm neighbours are happy with their lot
9 May 2012

A survey by Infigen Energy has found the majority of residents next to Capital wind farm in Bungendore are happy. THE majority of residents living with a wind farm in their community east of Canberra think it's a breeze, according to a survey released on Wednesday evening. Renewable energy company Infigen Energy commissioned the survey of more than 230 locals, including 89 businesses, near the Capital wind farm in Bungendore. The phone survey, conducted by independent market research firm Qdos, found 52% of respondents believed the wind farm was positive for the local community. Of those, 13% believed it was "very good''.

A third of those polled said it made no difference either way, 4% said the wind farm was "bad'' for the community and 1% said it was "very bad''. Infigen Energy managing director Miles George said the results indicated the vast majority of people live harmoniously with wind farms. "Debunking the myth that wind farms make people leave their homes, 33% of those surveyed had moved into the area in the past five years,'' Mr George said. "We know of four new houses located between 800 and 2800 metres from the wind farm that were built after the plant was commissioned.'' When asked if generating electricity from wind farms benefitted the environment, 75% of respondents believed it did compared to 10% who thought it did not.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they would support the development of future wind farms. Infigen Energy, which owns and operates 24 wind farms in Australia and the US, said interviews had also been conducted with two real estate agents in Bungendore. "They said that overall property sales and values in the area had not been affected,'' the company reported. "Real estate agents said that previous to the construction of the wind farm, there was a fear of the unknown among property owners and some sold up. "But since construction, no real effect had been observed.''

One agent said he sold one property between two wind mills 18 months ago. Of the respondents 28% had lived in the area for 20 years or more, while 39% had lived in the area for six to 19 years. Infigen Energy began developing the wind farm in 2004 and more than $10 million had been invested directly in the area since the construction. On an ongoing basis about $2 million goes into the local community each year through sourcing supplies from local businesses, payments to land owners and local employee wages, the company said.