Thursday 21 March 2013

Tamil Nadu eyes 5,000 MW more wind power
3 Mar 2013

Chennai: With the revival of the generation based incentive scheme, Tamil Nadu hopes to retain the status of a leading generator of wind power producer by adding 5,000 MW hopes to retain the status of a leading generator of wind power producer by adding 5,000 MW in the next five years.

Constraints in providing power evacuation facilities to the new developers and the scrapping of the GBI scheme drove away potential investors in wind power sectors to other states like Maharastra and Gujarat. Tamil Nadu has the highest installed wind capacity of 7160.1 as on January 31 this year, which accounts for country's 40 total installed wind. Tangedco has an ambitious plan to add wind power capacity of 13,500 MW by 2020.

After achieving an all time capacity addition of 1083 MW in 2011 12, Tamil Nadu has witnessed drastic fall in capacity addition of windmills post GBI with only 173 MW added to the grid as on January 31 this year. During the same period, Maharastra has added 242 MW in the grid while Gujarat has installed 226 MW.

K. Kasturirangan, chairman, Indian Wind Power Association said that the industry added 3196 MW in 2011 12, this year (till January) capacity addition fell to 1200 MW. "The country not only failed to add 1800 MW to the grid, but also lost investment to the tune of '110,800 crore and creation of new employment opportunities", he told DC. He said that during peak windy season, many wind power projects were disconnected from grid, which caused a lot of wastage of power besides a huge backlog in payment of arrears and a low price for the energy produced by windmills were the factors forcing investors to scout other states.

Danish energy gets super-sized: meet the world's largest wind turbine
2 Mar 2013

When it comes to wind turbines, size matters. Besides air density and wind speed, the most important factor affecting energy yield is the rotor's swept area, where wind flows over the rotor blades. That's why Siemens has built the B75, a record-breaking 75 metre blade. When three of them are combined with a new 6MW turbine, these fibreglass giants will--when the wind blows at the right speed--generate around 65% more energy than Siemens' previous best models.

Weight is crucial--lighter blades allow for less bulk elsewhere in the structure, reducing infrastructure costs. So Siemens' engineers devised a new manufacturing process called IntegralBlade, in which glass-fibre-reinforced epoxy and balsa wood are poured into a single mould, eliminating the need for adhesives or overlapping materials. Cast in one piece, with no weight-adding seams or joints, each blade weighs 25 tonnes--up to 20% lighter than conventional fibreglass blades.

Last summer three B75 blades were transported 320km from Esbjerg, Denmark, to Siemens' offshore test site at Osterild, where their rotations will, when the four-metre-wide hub is included, cover a swept area of 18,600 m²--that's the equivalent of two-and-a-half football pitches, or the wingspan of two Airbus A380s. Scaling up green energy? We're big fans.

London gives offshore wind financial boost
March. 1, 2013

LONDON, March 1 (UPI)--The British government said it was giving offshore wind power a $3.4 million vote of confidence in a move to drive down costs by 25%.

The British Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency announced it awarded three companies financial support for offshore wind innovations. London said wind power would help advance a low-carbon economy, adding support for innovation would help the country cut the costs of offshore wind by 25% by 2020.

The funding would support High Voltage Partial Discharge Ltd, and JDR Cable Systems Ltd, improve designs for cable systems tied to offshore wind platforms. Principle Power (Europe) Ltd., meanwhile, is working on a floating-platform system that would eliminate the need for seabed foundations.

"This $3.4 million will give three more companies the boost they need to take their innovative designs to the next level, helping cut costs in offshore wind generation, and ultimately helping us harness more power from turbines out at sea", Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said in a statement.

The wind announcement follows a decision by the British government to set aside $30 million to support the development of technology used to exploit marine energy. London said marine energy could meet as much as 20% of nationwide energy demand by 2050.

Texas wind energy sets record; grid expansion planned in Sweetwater area
1 Mar 2013

Texas set a record for the%age of electricity generated by wind power--a staggering 28% of total supply across the state's main grid system--with wind generation providing 9,481 MWs of power at 7:08 p.m. Feb. 9, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Friday.

This surpassed the previous record of 8,667 MW set Jan. 29, when 32.5% of wind integration was recorded, the council said. Twenty-three days in February topped 20% as far as wind integration is concerned.

More than 7,000 of the 9,481 MW on Feb. 9 came from West Texas wind farms. One MW is enough electricity to power about 200 homes during periods when electricity use is highest and about 500 homes during periods of typical consumption.

ERCOT has more than 10,400 MW of commercial wind power capacity, and wind power comprised 9.2% of total energy used in the ERCOT region last year, compared with 8.5% in 2011, according to ERCOT, which manages the grid for the state's total electric load, matching supply and demand for 23 million customers across 40,500 miles of transmission lines.

"What that (%age of wind integration) represents is the highest portion of load served on record by wind power", said Robbie Searcy, spokeswoman for ERCOT. "It tells us at what point in the day wind generation hit its (highest)%age: Wind power can change all throughout the day".

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Two new solar power technologies being funded by ARPA-E
27 Feb 2013

The Solar Vortex is an idea being researched by a consortium led by Georgia Tech, which hopes to imitate the process that creates small twisters in order to drive a turbine.

A twister is created due to the temperature difference between the hot ground, and the cooler air above. The ground heats low level air, which then rises and begins to twist as the cool air above falls around the outside of the twisting column of hot air.

The consortium has created a short cylinder which sits on a dark surface which can absorb and emit a lot of heat. The air is warmed and caused to twist into a vortex by the angled walls. At the top of the cylinder is a fan attached to a generator which is turned by the rotating column of air, creating electricity.

Arne Pearlstein, a professor of mechanical engineering and part of the team working on the Solar Vortex, estimates that the device will produce electricity for 20% cheaper than wind turbines, and 65% cheaper than solar PV panels. This is mainly due to the reduced maintenance costs. "You're talking about somebody getting up on a stepladder instead of going hundreds of meters up into a wind turbine to deal with a gearbox", she said. Another new technology which is being funded by the ARPA-E is the Sunfolding heliostat for concentrating solar plants.

Heliostats are normally large, expensive constructs which must be strong enough to withstand high winds, and sit on a complex tracking system which must be durable enough to operate for years in hot, dusty environments. The sunfolding heliostat is much smaller than normal, meaning that it doesn't need to worry about the wind, and the tracking system has been replaced with two simple air bladders that inflate or deflate to change the angle of the mirror.

By making heliostats cheaper concentrated solar power could soon begin to generate electricity for a cost that is competitive with coal and natural gas.

Wind energy hits new milestone in China
27 Feb 2013

China has been making significant progress toward meeting its sustainability goals through the adoption of renewable energy. The country has become a leader in the global solar power industry, with its presence helping drive down the cost of solar panels in numerous markets around the world.

The country receives only moderate attention for its wind power sector, however, which has reached a major milestone. GTM Media Research, a leading market analysis firm, has announced that China's wind power capacity has reached new heights.

Read More…

GE to increase focus on wind farm investment
27 Feb 2013

Global conglomerate General Electric Co is firmly committed to bankrolling new wind power and other energy projects in Australia, despite community opposition to wind farms, according to The Australian.

GE has significantly increased its exposure to the oil and gas industry over the past two years, but the company's global vice-chairman, John Rice, said GE plans to refocus on infrastructure projects, including "two or three" in Australia.

"We are having discussions with third-party financial institutions about partnering in ways that will help get wind projects developed and other important energy projects", Mr Rice said, according to The Australian.

"There is capital available but it is not coming from the same places (as) before the GFC. A lot of this is done by the European banks. So, if we want to be successful long-term in the infrastructure space, we have to be one of the groups that connects capital with those infrastructure projects. That may involve product development work, which we have done a lot of over time, but his is a new world".

Wannon electorate residents take to solar energy
27 Feb 2013

SOLAR power is on the rise in Wannon, with the electorate now home to 7200 solar-powered houses. Around 20 supporters celebrated the achievement at a barbecue in Portland on Sunday, where the figures were announced. Portland Sustainability Group convenor Peter Reefman said the new figures were a "milestone". "I don't think people realise just how staggering that number is in solar intake", he said. "A lot of people are surprised at just how quickly the solar revolution is happening in the region".

The group revealed 3700 people in Wannon now have solar panels, while 3500 have solar hot water. The Portland barbecue was one of 20 similar events held across the country on the weekend to put solar power on the agenda for September's federal election. Australia now has more than one million houses with solar electricity, and more than half a million households with solar hot water.

Mr Reefman said installing solar hot water could save households an average of $400 $600 a year. Wannon households installing solar power can save upwards of $300 a year, with some saving around $1000 per year. Despite government cuts to solar power rebates within the last year, Mr Reefman said he was positive more Australians would invest in solar technology. "When there's more people in a town with solar power, neighbours are more encouraged to take it up and we are starting to see that in some of the towns in Wannon".

He hopes Parliament will recognise the community's support for sustainable energy when making decisions. "Government support has been reduced so savings are a lot less today, which is one of the reasons why the barbecue took place", Mr Reefman said. "Through people power, we are doing what we can to make sure that governments support and keep supporting solar power".

Federal member for Wannon, Dan Tehan, was unable to attend the barbecue, but met with solar power supporters on Saturday to accept a certificate acknowledging the number of solar homes in the electorate. Members from community campaign group 100% Renewable also attended the Portland event.

Spinning solar cells to be manufactured in Victoria
25 Feb 2013

SIL Global will be manufacturing V3Solar's spinning conical solar cells at an industrial hub in Victoria. The company has bought a 20 acre site at Thurla Industrial, where it will manufacture the solar cells for the US-based V3Solar. Construction of the plant will start this year. V3Solar's Spin Cells have a spinning conical design which increases the effective photovoltaic surface area for a given footprint, and the US developer claims its products provide improved power delivery.

The ultimate aim is to produce the spin solar cells which will be used in the second stage of a solar generation plant. The SILG plant will have 800,000 spin cell units. According to Thurla Industrial Park developers, a large part of the estate's growth will stem from the solar industry and related sectors.