Thursday 12 September 2013

Asia to lead quadrupling of wind energy by 2030: Siemens
27 Aug 2013

Siemens, the world's No.3 maker of wind turbines, expects the global wind power market to more than quadruple by 2030, lifted by strong growth in Asia. "The market will shift away from Europe significantly", Markus Tacke, chief executive of the German company's Wind Power division, said at a renewable energy conference in Berlin.

He said globally installed wind power capacity would increase to 1,107 GW (GW) in 2030 from 273 GW in 2012, with Asia and the Pacific region accounting for more than 47% of the total, up from 34% now.

China is pumping billions of euros into wind power, which is more cost-competitive than solar power and partly able to compete with coal and gas. Wind power subsidies in most parts of Europe are being slowly scaled back. The Europe and the Middle East (EMEA) region is still the world's largest wind market, with a 40% share that will decline to 34% by 2030.

Siemens Wind Power, part of the group's Energy division, achieved sales of 3.555 billion euros ($A5.3 billion) in the first nine months of Siemens' fiscal year, down 1% year on year. It accounted for 6.4% of the company's total sales. Its profit margin for the period stood at 3.6%, down from 4.7% a year earlier, as the company was forced to book charges because of problems relating to some of its wind turbine rotor blades.

Solar power in Bendigo is put on hold
26 Aug 2013

BENDIGO solar power providers say the industry is in a state of limbo, with a dip in business confidence linked to unclear party policies. Solar company Sunergy said about $500,000 worth of projects had been put on hold in the lead-up to the election. Managing director Tony Smith said the downturn was influenced by the Coalition's stated plans to cut funding for the Clean Technology Program.

He said commercial customers had been waiting for an election outcome to decide whether to go ahead with solar installations. "There has been a noticeable slow down", he said. "A lot of people are holding off. Others have basically said they will cancel those commitments if there's no funding from the Clean Technology Program".

Mr Smith said two major solar projects at wineries in Bendigo and Mildura were in doubt. He said many local providers were experiencing instability and that would be further impacted by changes to federal funding. Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said uncertainty stemmed from the Labor government's changes to incentives and rebate programs.

Mr Hunt told the Bendigo Advertiser the Coalition was looking at making Bendigo a "solar town". "There's been a lack of confidence in the industry because of the complete chopping and changing by the government", he said. "We see a very significant opportunity to grow investment in Bendigo. Solar has an extremely strong future under the Coalition".

Bendigo Sustainability Group president Keith Reynard said about 100 people were employed through the solar industry in Bendigo. He said it was important for those businesses that parties were clear on their plans for solar. Complete Solar Solutions owner Phil Smith said his Lockwood-based business had seen a lot of hesitation from customers on the eve of the election. "Everyone is sort of hanging back wondering what way it's going to go", he said. "Every time there's an election coming up, everyone gets a bit jittery".

Mr Smith has worked in the solar industry for close to 20 years and said the key to business was having a stable trading environment. "VICOSC would prefer to have no rebate programs at all", he said. Sunergy's Tony Smith agreed that less government intervention was preferable.

Mr Smith, who has nominated as a senate candidate for political party Senator Online, said he was fed up with changes to funding and incentives. "We've had in excess of six changes imposed on the sector by government and other regulatory bodies in the past 12 months", he said. "VICOSC would just like them to stop changing stuff".

Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said she feared the Coalition policies would "dismantle the local solar industry". "Cutting the Clean Technology Program will have a disastrous effect on the solar industry here in central Victoria and it will result in people losing their jobs and businesses going bust", she said. Ms Chesters said moving towards an emissions trading scheme would help create stability for solar providers.

Shedding light on solar power solutions
23 Aug 2013

Mining companies are always looking for the most cost and energy efficient power solutions to lower energy costs. They also want to minimise the use of diesel generators to reduce their carbon footprint, but how can they do it in this era of high power costs?

Australian Mining spoke to solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer FirstSolar about how solar power is providing a compelling economic solution to a sector facing the challenges of high diesel fuel costs.

Vice President of FirstSolar Asia-Pacific Jack Curtis said while the economic advantage of solar PV is not a revelation, the real challenge solar power faces is its technical integration with existing power generator systems.

"As you would be acutely aware, the main concern for mining companies is that their mine runs 24/7. And obviously solar PV is reliant on the sun to generate power.

"What the gap has been to date is helping mining companies understand how solar PVs can integrate with existing power generation sources, which would provide an economic value without disrupting the continual supply of power to the mine", Curtis said.

According to Curtis, the buzz around solar PV has been around for the past two to three years but has really accelerated in the last 12 to 18 months. Mines are now showing a proactive interest in incorporating solar PV on their sites.

Vestas to supply 400MW wind turbines for EDPR's US projects
23 Aug 2013

Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer, is gearing up to manufacture and supply 400MW of wind turbines to EDP Renovaveis (EDPR) for wind-energy projects in the US.

The developments are a part of a master supply agreement for the first V110 2.0 MW wind turbines secured earlier to supply a total of 1,500MW to wind power plants in North America, South America and Europe. EDPR selected the V110 2.0 MW because of its competitive cost of energy compared with other options.

Vestas US and Canada sales and service division president Chris Brown said the company has successfully worked with EDPR for the past eight years to deliver many wind-power projects around the world. "We look forward to supplying EDPR our new V110 2.0 MW wind turbine, which is a variant of the V100 1.8 MW that can provide over 13% higher annual energy production compared with its predecessor", Brown added.

The agreement also includes five-year service agreements featuring the Active Output Management (AOM) 5000 offering and the VestasOnline surveillance system. Delivery and commissioning of the V110 2.0 MW turbines are scheduled in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Polymer-based organic solar cells developed in UAE
10 Jul 2013

A UAE-based university has claimed that its researchers have fabricated the very first polymer based organic solar cell, marking a technological breakthrough for the oil-rich country in the clean energy sector.

Mejd Alsari, a UAE national student, and Samuele Lilliu, a post-doctoral fellow working at the Nano-Optics and Optoelectronics Research (NOOR) Laboratory have fabricated the first polymer-based organic photovoltaic solar cell (OPV), which can also be conveniently printed on flexible substrates, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology said in a statement.

This has been achieved using Masdar Institute's cleanroom facilities internally without any assistance from external fabrication facilities or expertise, the institute said.

"The OPVs with advanced aesthetic characteristics such as colours and design will be developed with inkjet-printing deposition techniques. These prototypes could be highly interesting for Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) applications and designers globally and in the region. ]

Further to the OPVs research, large area organic photo-detectors based on the same technology, with potential applications in the medical, security and entertainment industry could also be prepared", it said. These are also the very first solar cells fabricated at the Masdar Institute cleanroom. A start-up venture based in Masdar City to transfer prototypes into final products may also be set up at a later stage, it added.

"The outstanding feat of our researchers and faculty consolidates the status of Masdar Institute as a research-driven institution, continuously striving to contribute to the Abu Dhabi's long-term objectives in advanced technology", Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said.

The first bulk-heterojunction OPV solar cells fabricated at Masdar Institute are part of a new major research project on organic photo-detectors undertaken by Dr. Lilliu and Dr. Dahlem from the NOOR Laboratory.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.