7 Interesting Nuclear Energy Graphs http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/22/7-interesting-nuclear-energy-graphs/One of our readers recently passed along a couple of very interesting charts about nuclear energy as well as the nuclear energy report from which they came. The report, World Nuclear Report 2013, is well worth a more careful look, but for those who just love some interesting charts, here are the two that our ever-alert reader shared as well as a few more I pulled out: (more at original site)
As nuclear power dies, solar rises By Denis Hayes and Scott Denman April 22, 2014 (CNN) “………Ironically, Warren Buffett, arguably the world’s greatest capitalist, has emerged as the poster child for this dramatic shift. In June 2013, Buffett’s MidAmerican utility threw in the towel after a failed three-year legislative battle to require Iowa electric customers to foot the bill for the design and construction of a prototype small modular reactor. Mainstream groups like AARP vigorously opposed that fiscally imprudent investment. Earlier, MidAmerican canceled another proposed reactor in Idaho on the grounds it was not worth the money.
What’s significant about this about-face on nuclear by the highly regarded “Oracle of Omaha” is that Buffett instead decided to install656 large wind turbines at a cost of $1.9 billion in Iowa, and has gone “all-in” with multibillion dollar bets on utility-scale wind and solar power and other renewable energy facilities throughout the West. Not just Wall Street wizards are shifting investment outlooks and strategies. Regulators and industry officials alike exude confidence that this is the era for solar, wind and other green energy technologies. In August 2013, John Wellinghoff, then chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, observed that “solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything … It could double every two years.”
In his annual State of the Union address in January, President Obama highlighted this auspicious trend by praising solar’s rapid growth, announcing that, “every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar. …”
While nuclear has flat-lined in the marketplace, statistics demonstrating solar’s growth actually underestimate the total contribution to our country’s electrical supply from solar. This is because nonutility and small-scale — residential and commercial rooftop — photovoltaic systems don’t show up as electric generation in the industry’s statistics. The utilities that compile generation statistics view rooftop solar electricity, used on site, not as power generation but as a reduction in demand! If it’s not sold by a utility, it’s not “real” power.
In fact, one of the authors built a six-story office building in Seattlethat produced more electricity on its roof last year than it used. If this can be done in Seattle, the cloudiest major city in the contiguous 48 states, it can be done anywhere.In 2013, America, and the world, crossed the threshold to a sustainable, ultimately nonnuclear, carbon-free energy future. While much remains to be done and there is a long way to go, this Earth Day is especially meaningful and inspiring for those of us who have spent our careers pursuing this essential goal. We can see the clear outline of a sustainable energy future that our children, our economy and our planet can live with. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/22/opinion/hayes-denman-solar-power/
New Zealand, EU push ahead with renewable energy initiatives in Pacific http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=213961 Apr 22,2014 WELLINGTON, (Xinhua) — A joint New Zealand-European Union (EU) mission will tour four Pacific island countries this week to assess progress on renewable energy projects, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced Tuesday.
The tour follows up on the Pacific Energy Summit in New Zealand in March last year and the launch of the European Union-New Zealand Energy Access Partnership to fund renewable energy projects in the region. The summit’s aim was to move Pacific nations closer to achieving 50 percent of their electricity from renewable means and 635 million NZ dollars (545.02 million U.S. dollars) was secured for Pacific energy projects.
“This mission is an opportunity to see the progress being made on renewable energy initiatives in Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands, and to meet with the Pacific governments and organizations to discuss opportunities for further cooperation,” McCully said in a statement. “Representatives from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the International Renewable Energy Agency are also joining the mission to gain further insight into the potential for sustainable energy across the Pacific,” he said.
“Renewable energy is a strong focus of our support to developing countries and we are committed to working with partners like the European Union to deliver clean, safe and reliable energy projects.”
European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who will accompany McCully on the mission, said the EU projects included solar panels installed to renewable provide electricity in Apia, extending the availability of reliable electricity with solar panels for Tuvalu’ s outer islands, and agreeing with the Asian Development Bank to construct six photovoltaic power plants in the Cook Islands.
In Kiribati, Piebalgs would also launch a barge that would protect Tarawa’s beaches from silt build-up and open a laboratory dedicated to monitoring and responding to environmental diseases.
Both projects were necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change in Kiribati, Piebalgs said in a statement.
As nuclear power dies, solar rises By Denis Hayes and Scott Denman April 22, 2014 (CNN) – At long last, this Earth Day we celebrate the true dawn of the Solar Age. That sunrise is hastened, here and abroad, by the slow demise of the once-touted “too-cheap-to-meter” Atomic Age of nuclear power.
As utilities find nuclear power less and less cost effective, new solar photovoltaic installations in the United States are springing up. New solar installations in 2013 reached a record 4.2 gigawatts, bringing the total to 10. On average, one gigawatt of solar photovoltaics powers 164,000 U.S. homes. That means power for 1.6 million homes.
Worldwide, in 2013, solar power installations grew by 38 gigawatts, from 96 to 134. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, in the preceding year, 45 gigawatts of wind and 32 gigawatts of solar power were installed worldwide, compared with a net addition of just 1.2 gigawatts of nuclear.
Hastening this energy revolution is the nuclear industry’s Achilles heel: an aging, dangerous reactor fleet that is increasingly uncompetitive and new reactor designs that are too expensive to build.
Last year, utilities permanently shuttered five more reactors, lowering the number of operating units in the United States to fewer than 100 for the first time in two decades. Utility owners canceled at least nine planned upgrades of existing reactors, deeming the investments no longer economically justifiable.
Additionally, nine planned new nuclear reactors were axed in 2013, an indication of how rapidly things have changed. Just five years ago, utilities applied for licenses to construct at least 27 new reactors. By the close of 2013, only four of those reactor projects were still alive……. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/22/opinion/hayes-denman-solar-power/
Koch Brothers, Conservatives & Oil Companies Lobby States Using Renewable Energy Sources: Alternative, Solar Power And Environmentalism Gaining Popularity Latin Post, By Shawn Raymundo (email@example.com) 20 April 14, As more and more states are beginning to utilize solar energy and adapt other clean green energy solutions, conservative lobby groups and oil tycoons have aggressively started pushing back against alternative energy.
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and a number of powerful companies in the nation have started running campaign ads in Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina that paint renewable energy as a greedy bad guy, according to the Los Angeles Times.
With the help of solar power companies, environmentalists are battling back against big oil companies and their lobbyists over states that have implemented two types of energy policies: net metering and renewable energy requirements.
Net metering allows homeowners or businesses that have solar panels installed on roofs to sell back extra electricity to the power grid at attractive rates. The other policy requires utility companies to generate at least 10 percent of renewable energy, the Times reported. The majority of states in the U.S. have begun operating under at least one of the two policies if not both. The only states to not use net metering or generate power from renewable energy are Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi and Tennessee.
South Dakota and Texas are the only two states without metering programs but generate a percentage of their power from renewable energy, according to the Times………
The power industry fears that as more people install solar panels, less money is being paid to maintain transmission lines, substations and computer systems that many people rely on……
Edison Electric Institute, an advocacy group for the power industry, warned power companies that renewable energy policies could irrevocably damage the industry. The institute issued a report that stated, “it may be too late to repair the utility business model” if electric companies do not take action.
Christine Harbin Hanson, a spokeswoman for Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, told the Times in an email that “state governments are starting to wake up” and challenge renewable energy polices.
“These green energy mandates are bad policy,” Hanson said. http://www.latinpost.com/articles/10814/20140420/koch-brothers-conservatives-oil-companies-lobby-states-using-renewable-energy-sources-alternative-solar-power-and-environmentalism-gaining-popularity.htm
Sonnenschiff: Solar City Produces 4X the Energy it Consumes http://inhabitat.com/sonnenschiff-solar-city-produces-4x-the-energy-it-needs/ by Andrew Michler, 07/27/11 Sonnenschiff solar city in Freiburg, Germany is very much net positive. The self-sustaining city accomplishes this feat through smart solar design and lots and lots of photovoltaic panels pointed in the right direction. It seems like a simple strategy — but designers often incorporate solar installations as an afterthought, or worse, as a label. Designed by Rolf Disch, the Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) emphasize power production from the start by smartly incorporating a series of large rooftop solar arrays that double as sun shades. The buildings are also built to Passivhaus standards, which allows the project to produce four times the amount of energy it consumes!
Renewables seen as Ukraine’s road to energy independence from Russia http://rt.com/business/ukraine-seeks-renewable-energy-396/ April 18, 2014 As a way of becoming less reliant on Russian conventional energy Ukraine is talking to US investors who want to put money into alternative energy like wind and solar.
“Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine indeed brought energy security concerns to the fore,” as Bloomberg quotes Olexander Motsyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US said at a renewable-energy conference in Washington on Thursday. “I strongly believe the time has come for US investors to discover Ukraine, especially its energy.”
To get away from Russian natural gas as the primary source for heat and electric power, Ukraine seeks wants to invest in biomass heat plants, wind and solar power.
US and European officials have been trying to find ways to help Ukraine limit its dependence, including the possibility of US approval to export liquefied natural gas.
Vadym Glamazdin, the managing director of the Energy Industry Research Center (EIRC) suggests heating in Ukraine accounts for about 40 percent of all gas imported from Russia. This could be replaced with renewable energy within three to five years.
According to his words by 2030, renewables could account for about 15 percent of Ukraine’s electricity supply, currently it is only 2 percent.
The EIRC research shows that the most likely and adoptable form of renewable energy for Ukraine are biomass and biogas, as the nation’s network of electric-power lines and substations can’t easily adjust to the addition of significant amounts of wind and solar energy.
“The resources are there,” now the major challenge is to attract investment, Todd Foley, a senior vice president for policy and government relations at the American Council on Renewable Energy said.
One biomass plant could replace 24,000 natural gas boilers EIRC officials said.
Loan Guarantees for U.S. Renewables Making a Comeback, National Geographc by Pete Danko on April 17, 2014 Federal loan guarantees for renewable energy, which spurred the development of massive projects like the recently completed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California – and roiled the 2012 elections – are emerging from hibernation.
More than two years after closing the last such loan guarantee, the U.S. Department of Energyannounced on Wednesday that it intends to make up to $4 billion available “for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases.”
The announcement sets the stage for the DOE to offer support for projects that incorporate one or more of five broad technology types [PDF]:
- “advanced grid integration and storage,” a key need in getting more intermittent renewable energy on the grid;
- “drop-in biofuels,” which could directly replace conventional fossil fuels in cars, planes and ships and function within the current distribution system;
- “waste-to-energy,” where waste gases and discarded materials are used in commercial-scale energy production;
- “enhancement of existing facilities,” such as adding power-production to existing dams that don’t have it;
- and “efficiency improvements,” a catchall that could range from residential building improvements to the recovery of energy from curtailed renewable energy systems……….
“The Loan Program Office portfolio is strong,” Reicher said. “You have a piece of this as a taxpayer, and it’s doing quite well.”
The portfolio is heavy with solar – the DOE notes that it backed the first five 100-megawatt-plus photovoltaic plants to go online in the United States – but will move into new realms now. That’s good news for companies like Wisconsin-based Virent, a developer of advanced biofuels technology……http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/17/loan-guarantees-for-u-s-renewables-making-a-comeback/
Clean energy: Is a boom coming in 2014?, Christian Science Monitor, 16 April 14 Clean energy is off to a strong start in 2014, with global investment rising as prices for wind and solar power continue to drop. Renewables still hold a small share of total energy mixes, but clean-energy growth is picking up momentum.
By David J. Unger, Staff writer / April 16, 2014 he first quarter of 2014 may ease any worries about clean energy’s future. After two years of annual declines, investments in clean energy worldwide jumped 9 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2014, according to data released Wednesday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), a London-based energy analysis firm. Solar power led the way with a 23 percent increase, more than offsetting a 16 percent decline in wind power. All told, investors spent $47.7 billion on renewables and energy efficiency in the first three months of this year.
Global investment in renewable energy is up, technology costs continue to drop precipitously, and markets are expanding into emerging economies in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The industry still has a long way to go, and many say a shift to cleaner energy is happening too slowly to offset the downsides of carbon-heavy fuels. Even so, the broad, global outlook for renewables is bright, and deployment of the technology verges on rapid acceleration.
It is too early to say definitively that 2013 was the low point for clean energy investment worldwide and that 2014 will show a rebound, but the first-quarter numbers are encouraging,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement Wednesday.
The bulk of the gains came in the form of small-scale solar installations, like residential rooftop solar panels. It suggests that falling prices and new financing options are quickly eroding the barriers to entry that long discouraged consumers from home solar. The cost of a rooftop solar array has dropped from nearly $7 per watt in 2008 to $4 or less in 2013, according to an April report by McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm.
Clean-energy growth isn’t limited to the world’s developed economies. Brazil saw the biggest investment gain, jumping 211 percent year-over-year to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2014, according to BNEF. Investment grew 82 percent to $2.4 billion in the Middle East and Africa.
“In Q1, we saw two of the top four asset finance deals happening in Indonesia and Kenya,” Mr. Liebreich said in a statement……..http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/0416/Clean-energy-Is-a-boom-coming-in-2014
President Obama will challenge companies Thursday to expand their use of solar power, part of his ongoing effort to leverage the power of his office to achieve goals that have been stymied by Congress. The new initiative comes as the White House is hosting a Solar Summit aimed at highlighting successful efforts on the local level to speed the deployment of solar energy…….
“Now is the time for solar,” said Anya Schoolman, executive director of theCommunity Power Network, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps communities build renewable energy projects. She will be honored at the summit Thursday.
“The costs are affordable, in reach of middle America and above. We know how to do it now, we know how to scale it, and we kind of just need people to let it go and encourage it,” she said.
In an effort to make it easier for state, local and tribal governments to expand their solar portfolios, the Energy Department is launching a $15 million-dollar “Solar Market Pathways” program………
States are starting novel ways to help commercial tenants access solar energy. In Connecticut, the state set up a green bank with taxpayer dollars. When a building owner wants to access capital for solar projects, the state puts a tax lien on the building and gives the owner a loan that must be paid back over 20 years, said Jessica Bailey of theConnecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.…
Rhone Resch, president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, said solar is no longer an “afterthought” in the renewable energy conversation, accounting for nearly 30 percent of new electric in 2013.
“Without question, the Obama administration has been the most solar-friendly ever,” Resch said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-to-challenge-private-companies-to-boost-solar-power-use/2014/04/16/76bd2b20-c5a3-11e3-bf7a-be01a9b69cf1_story.html
Breakthrough could help solve solar power’s biggest problem: Power generation at night Extreme Tech, By Joel Hruska on April 16, 2014
One of the most fundamental barriers to the widespread adoption of renewable energy has been the inconvenient truth of planetary rotation. Solar power has advanced enormously over the past few decades but panel efficiency and solar concentration plants are of limited assistance when Apollo is busy elsewhere on the Earth. Now, researchers think they’ve found a partial solution to that problem by combining the known properties of one substance with everyone’s favorite technological advance: carbon nanotubes……….
What’s needed is a simple method of converting energy gathered during the day into a resource that can be tapped at night — and Timothy Kucharski, a post-doc at MIT and Harvard, thinks his team has found it.
Of photoswitches and nanotubes
Kucharski’s work is based on the well-known properties of azobenzenes. These are molecules, dubbed photoswitches, that have one particular molecular configuration by default but, when struck by certain frequencies of ultraviolet light, assume a new configuration, as shown below. (diagrams) ……..
The goal would be to create a short-term thermal battery that could be used to power a stove or other heat sources during the night after charging all day. A gravity system would be simple, with few moving parts. The long-term goal is to create a system that could be used to provide thermal power for entire buildings and to further increase efficiency.
While it’s not a full-scale solar battery, discoveries like this could make solar power far more useful in developing nations, which still rely primarily on wood or peat for cooking fuel. http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/180697-breakthrough-could-help-solve-solars-biggest-problem
US Plans New $4 Billion Renewables Support Program http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4266 17 April 14 The USA’s Department of Energy (DoE) has issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that could make as much as USD $4 billion in loan guarantees available.
“Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” said Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.”
The five key technology areas of interest to the DoE are : advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities and efficiency improvements.
The Department’s Loan Programs Office has been no slouch in supporting renewables and energy efficiency; with more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments supporting dozens of projects throughout the nation.
Among the beneficiary projects was the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, an 845 MW wind farm located in eastern Oregon. The Department of Energy provided a $1.3 billion partial loan guarantee that was crucial to the project’s success. Another project to benefit was the Agua Caliente Solar project, a 290-megawatt solar panel based power station Yuma County, Arizona. The Department of Energy provided a USD $967 million loan guarantee for this project.
Before the latest program is rolled out, the Department is inviting public comment; which will be considered in defining the scope of the final solicitation. The draft solicitation can be viewed here.
The DoE’s Loan Programs enables the body to work with private companies and financiers to mitigate the financing risks associated with clean energy projects, “and thereby encourage their development on a broader and much-needed scale.”
Electricity Prices Fall In Europe As German Renewable Energy Output Increases http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/04/electricity-prices-fall-europe-german-renewable-energy-increases/ Gina-Marie Cheeseman | Tuesday April 15th, 2014 For the fifth consecutive month, electricity prices in countries neighboring Germany have decreased, recently released Platts data reveals, due in large part to increased solar and wind generation in Germany.
The Platts Continental Power Index (CONT), described as a “demand-weighted base load average of day-ahead contracts assessed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands,” dropped steadily in early 2014. The index decreased to €35.06 (or about $48.50) per megawatt hour in March, an 18 percent drop from February. Overall, the index is down by more than 39 percent since peaking at €50.50/MWh in November of last year.
“A mid-March surge in German wind output followed seven days of peak solar output, which rose above 20 gigawatts (GW) to a new monthly record of 23 GW on March 20,” Andreas Franke, Platts managing editor of European power and gas said in a news release.
“German power prices for March 16 delivery turned negative as wind power output rose above 24 GW combined with stronger solar production,” Franke continued. “Further along the curve, German year-ahead power prices fell below €34/MWh in March for the first time in more than nine years as the price CO2 fell drastically and coal prices retreated.”
Germany currently gets about 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and the goal is to increase that number to at least 80 percent by 2050. German wind and solar output for the first three months of 2014 increased by 40 percent — or 6.5 terawatt-hours — compared with last year, according to the Platts data. Wind power increased 31 percent from the first quarter of 2013, while solar power increased 74 percent from more than a year earlier. Germany’s combined wind and solar portfolio is more than 70 gigawatts, making them the country’s largest sources of power when measured by installed capacity.
Data for the past three years from the Fraunhofer Institute shows that wind and solar power generation increased, while energy generation from natural gas fired power plants decreased significantly. Solar and wind power generation in Germany in 2013 increased by 36 percent in export surplus from 2012 levels. Photovoltaic power also increased by 44 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Reuters reported last week that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a reform measure for the country’s renewable energy law. The reform measure “will slow the growth of green energy…and force new investors in green power to take some risk,” according to Reuters. The German government wants to keep electricity affordable while allowing the renewable energy sector to grow. And growth in renewables is something that the government wants. Under the reform measure, the government wants to increase renewable energy generation to 40 to 45 percent of total electricity production by 2025 and 55 to 60 percent by 2035.
UN Touts Ambitious (But Cheap) Investment in Renewable Energy Epoch Times, By Jeremy Hance, news.mongabay.com | April 15, 2014 The world is warming rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, threatening everything from our food supply to our ecosystems, but the solution may be surprisingly cheap, according to the third and final reportfrom the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report recommends a rapid and aggressive switch from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables. While this isn’t exactly surprising, the new report finds that an ambitious green revolution would shave only 2-4 percent off total economic growth over the century, a figure that doesn’t take into account the economic benefits of shifting to clean energies.
“There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual,” Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, said. The IPCC’s Working Group III was responsible for the new report, which focuses on climate change mitigation; the first report explored the science behind current warming, while the second reported on the impacts.
The new report finds that global society must more than triple investment in green energies by 2050 in order to have a reasonable chance of keeping temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a goal agreed on by the world’s governments. However such a revolution–which would need to cut emissions to near zero by 2100–need not break the bank as some critics of climate change action have warned in the past.
“It is actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living,” co-chair Jim Skea told the Guardian. “It is not a hair-shirt change of lifestyle at all that is being envisaged and there is space for poorer countries to develop too.” According to the report, ambitious mitigation of climate change would reduce global economic growth–set at around 1.6 to 3 percent–by just 0.06 percent over the century. Moreover this analysis doesn’t take into effect the economic pluses of clean energy, such as reduced air and water pollution, new jobs, increased efficiency, and greater stability for energy prices.
“The loss in consumption is relatively modest,” the chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, told the Associated Press.
The report finds that this shift would reduce profits for the coal and oil industries, though may not hurt gas in the near-term; in fact, fossil fuel investments would need to drop by around $30 billion annually. Not surprisingly, lobbying from the powerful fossil fuel industry has proven one of the largest obstacles to governments taking bolder action on greenhouse gas emissions……..
according to the IPCC, the bulk of emissions reductions must come from a sped-up and scaled-up clean energy revolution and a phase-out of fossil fuels.
The IPCC, the world’s global authority on the science of climate change, releases new reports every six years meant to guide current negotiations over the global crisis. Nations are set to sign a new treaty on tackling global climate change in 2015….http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/621996-un-touts-ambitious-but-cheap-investment-in-renewable-energy/?photo=2
Africa: South Africa to Procure Still More Renewable Energy http://allafrica.com/stories/201404151599.html15 APRIL 2014 South Africa’s Department of Energy is to increase the amount of energy it will be procuring under the third window of its renewable energy programme for independent power producers, Energy Minister Ben Martins announced on Tuesday.
In November, the department signed agreements with 17 new preferred bidders in the third round of the programme, following the signing off of 47 projects in the first and second rounds, bringing to 64 the total number of renewable energy projects approved by the government since December 2011.
Once they are all operational, the 64 projects – representing foreign and domestic investment of over R100-billion – will add around 3 900 megawatts (MW) of wind, solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power to South Africa’s energy mix.
On Tuesday, Martins said in a statement that this department would be allocating additional megawatts to the third window of the programme, thus including additional bidders, due to the increasingly competitive pricing offered by the round three bids.
Business Day reported in November that the average price offered for power generated from wind – which received the bulk of the third-round allocation – had dropped from R11.43 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the first round to R6.65/kWh in the third round.
“The department will, in this regard, follow due procurement process to include additional bidders under window 3,” Martins said, giving no further specifics.
He added that submissions for the fourth window of the programme, which entails the procurement of a further 1 000 MW of renewable energy, was on track to close in August. The programme has five windows altogether.
While renewable energy accounted for less than 1% of South Africa’s energy mix in 2012, this is expected to reach 12% by 2020. According to research released in October by analysts Frost & Sullivan, this would place South Africa in the “global top 15 countries” with regard to the implementation of renewable energy projects.
Announcing the latest 17 preferred bidders in November, Martins noted that South Africa was currently rated as the 12th most attractive investment destination for renewable energy.
“This bodes very well for South Africa, as the programme has achieved international acclaim for fairness, transparency and certainty of programme,” Martins said, adding that there had been a progressive increase in the local content and job creation numbers offered by the bidders.
The department’s director-general, Nelly Magubane, said that some bidders had exceeded the local content requirement of no less than 40%, with some indicating that their projects would involve up to 56% local content.
Martins said the energy sector was expected to play a major role in creating green sector jobs, developing skills and transferring technology into South Africa’s economy.
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