Sunday 25 August 2013

Floating wind turbine headed for coast off Fukushima Prefecture
28 Jun 2013

A floating wind turbine to be used for power generation off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture was towed out of Tokyo Bay on June 28 bound for a deep-sea site where it will be part of an experimental floating power sub-station.

The turbine was assembled at the Chiba factory of Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co, in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture. It will be towed to Onahama Port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. The wind turbine, 80 meters in diameter, made by Hitachi Ltd., was mounted on a 32 meter steel submersible structure constructed by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding.

Named "Fukushima Mirai (future)", the floating wind farm is a project commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The ministry hopes to provide for the first time a commercial supply of electricity from a floating power station.

After going through adjustment tests in Onahama Port, the structure will be set up about 20 km off Fukushima Prefecture in 120 meter deep waters, secured to the seabed with iron chains. The turbine, with a maximum output of 2 MWs, is expected to start operating in October.

Fukushima Prefecture is home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The accident at the plant, following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, helped create a scarcity of power as most of the nation's nuclear reactors were taken offline.

Chile expands wind power resources
27 Jun 2013

SANTIAGO, Chile, June 27 (UPI)--Chile has set sights on expanding wind power generation as President Sebastian Pinera's government battles environmental controversies over multibillion dollar mining and hydrocarbon projects.

This week Pinera opened a new $150 million wind farm in northern Chile built in collaboration with Italy's Enel Green Power. It is the largest wind farm to begin operating in Chile as the government considers other renewable energy projects.

The 90 MW Talinay East facility is owned by Italy's Enel Green Power and features 45 Vestas Wind Systems V100 2 MW turbines in the Coquimbo region, 250 miles north of Santiago. Pinera said he would continue to expand renewable energy development and predicted at least 80% of about 500 MW of power to be added annually to the national grid would be "clean renewable energy".

Pinera has not outlined how much of the funding over the coming years will be coming from the state and how the remainder of the project finance will be raised. Chile's clean power program will be boosted through a series of what analysts called rationalization measures. These include plans to link two major independent grids and new transmission lines. The government also hopes to simplify legislation and regulatory framework surrounding land use related to electrical distribution networks.

Chile's infrastructure was severely damaged in a magnitude 8.8 earthquake in February 2010. Numerous aftershocks that year and in following years caused further havoc and put additional burden on government resources. Several energy exploration and development plans were affected.

The Talinay East wind farm is similar to another Enel Green Power facility, Valle de los Vientos, in the northern region of Antofagasta, which features an identical array of Vestas Wind Systems turbines. Enel Green Power acquired Talinay from Vestas Wind Systems in 2012. The wind farm was previously owned by Spain's Enhol and business conglomerate Grupo Phoenix.

Vestas Wind Systems said Talinay's development was "a strategic environmental decision". The company aims to continue increasing the share of renewable energy sources in global energy consumption. The construction of Talinay East started in late 2011 but completion was delayed. Latin America has a wind installed base of more than 2,000 MW. Given a positive political framework supporting the development of wind power, data suggests there could be 93,300 MW of wind installations by 2030.

Chile is aiming to reduce dependence on thermo-electric energy, which takes up about 67.8% of total production. It is also fighting to eliminate coal-fueled electricity production, but progress is slow. Environmentalist campaign groups oppose further expansion of hydroelectric power, currently about 31% of the total, just as advocacy organizations oppose new mining operations across Chile.