German farmers reap benefits of harvesting renewable energy Ft.com By Jeevan Vasagar in Reussenköge , 2 Dec 13, Dirk Ketelsen is a farmer but these days most of his income comes from harvesting the wind. On Germany’s North Sea coast, where a fierce sea breeze blasts in across the polders, the generous financial support the government has poured into renewable energy has reared a crop of wind turbines as far as the eye can see.
Mr Ketelsen began using wind to generate electricity on his organic farm in 1990. The next year, Germany adopted legislation that set guaranteed tariffs for power generated from renewables as part of an effort to encourage less polluting forms of energy.
Such policies have unleashed a boom for wind, sun and other sources of renewable energy, which now account for 23 per cent of the electricity consumption of Europe’s biggest economy.
They have also proved highly lucrative for farmers like Mr Ketelsen. The tariffs set by the Renewable Energy Act, known as the EEG, not only give renewables priority access to the electricity grid – ahead of the electricity produced by traditional power plants – they ensure their owners a guaranteed return over 20 years.
“Before the EEG, we said we’ll do this for ecological reasons. Even if there’s just a little bit of profit. Then came the EEG, and it worked out very well financially,” Mr Ketelsen said.
Hitachi Announces Storage Technology for Renewable Energy Bloomberg, By Brian Wingfield - Dec 2, 2013 Hitachi Ltd. (6501) unveiled an energy-storage system that the company said will support wind and solar power and allow users to sell electricity into deregulated markets such as California.
The units can be installed on high-voltage power lines, and will be able to capture excess energy produced by wind and solar sources so it can be sold back into the network when the demand for power exceeds the supply. The systems, which include telecommunications and lithium-ion battery technologies developed by Tokyo-based Hitachi, will also minimize volatility on the power grid, company officials said today at a press conference in Washington.
“As the use of renewable energy expands, stabilization has become a very important priority,” Masaaki Nomoto, general manager for the company’s transmission and distribution systems division, said through a translator. He said the potential customers for the technology will include anyone who wants to sell power into the market, not just utilities……http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-02/hitachi-announces-storage-technology-for-renewable-energy.html
In Southern Africa, women led cooperatives could become part of a decentralised renewable energy revolution. For instance, solar roof top energy systems generate energy at the place it is needed, increasing efficiency while allowing it to remain under the control of the people who use it.
Renewable energy is never just about energy, but rather about all the opportunities it creates. If society committed to this sustainable option, we would literally and figuratively be putting power in women’s hands.
The benefits extend far beyond environmental preservation, to a society where women are less burdened and abused, but instead empowered, independent and equal.
Southern Africa: Renewable Energy Can Give Women Power http://allafrica.com/stories/201311281197.html BY GLEN TYLER, 27 NOVEMBER 2013 Johannesburg — Climate change is happening fast. Africa is already feeling the negative effects, yet this continent is the least responsible for it.
While Greenpeace continues to campaign and lobby for climate justice and environmental sustainability, corporations and government continue to drag us into climate chaos. However, it is seldom acknowledged that women bear the brunt of this chaos and that climate justice is linked to gender justice. Read more »
The onus falls on the media to report on health fears about wind farms cautiously, particularly given strong evidence that it is the discussion itself that may be creating and perpetuating health complaints.
Wind turbines don’t make you feel sick or healthy, but spin can http://theconversation.com/wind-turbines-dont-make-you-feel-sick-or-healthy-but-spin-can-20845 Fiona Crichton PhD candidate in psychological medicine at University of Auckland 29 Nov 13
Despite at least 19 reviews of the scientific evidence universally concluding that exposure to wind farm sound doesn’t trigger adverse health effects, people continue to report feeling unwell because they live near wind turbines.
We’ve known for some time that exposure to negative messages about wind farms makes people more likely to report feeling sick after exposure to turbines. And new research, published by my colleagues and I this week in the journal Health Psychology, shows positive messages about wind farms may have the opposite effect – improve perceptions of health.
Speculation in the media and on the internet often attributes the symptoms to sub-audible sound produced by operating wind farms (infrasound). But the reality is that infrasound (sound below 16 hertz) is consistently present in the environment and is caused by wind, ocean waves and traffic. Importantly, research demonstrates there is nothing unusual about the levels of infrasound produced by wind farms. Read more »
India, Belgium agree to promote renewable energy cooperation By PTI | 27 Nov, 2013, NEW DELHI: India and Belgium agreed to strengthen, promote and develop renewable energy cooperation besides exploring joint research opportunities in the sector. The decision was made during a bilateral meeting between New and Renewable Energy minister Farooq Abdullah and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Princess Astrid is currently on a visit to India as head of a large Belgian Economic Mission.
“After detailed discussions, the two sides agreed to start work on a MoU in the field of renewable energy between both the governments in order to strengthen, promote and develop renewable energy cooperation between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit,” it said.
Briefing the visiting delegation on the energy situation in India and rapid growth in this sector, Abdullah spoke about India’s plan of adding over 30GW of renewable energy in its energy mix in the next five years.
Offering all possible assistance to enhance cooperation in this sector, Abdullah also highlighted India’s conducive and investor friendly policy framework for promoting renewable energy in a big way. The minister also talked about the success of the wind programme as well as the significant cost reductions in solar energy through the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/26476932.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Here’s What Warren Buffett Thinks About Renewable Energy The Motley Fool By Jason Hall | November 27, 2013 |
“Rule No. 1: Never Lose Money. Rule No. 2: Never Forget Rule No. 1.”
Warren Buffett is famous for both his legendary investing acumen, and his simple, straightforward investing advice. For years, alternative energy has been viewed as non-competitive with traditional energy production from coal and other fossil fuels, making them money-losers for most investors.
Buffett’s own Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B ) subsidiary MidAmerican Energy is heavily investing in alternative energy sources, including both wind and solar. And considering that MidAmerican produces more than $1.2 billion in annual “ammo” for Buffett’s “elephant gun,” the story on renewables is clearly changing.
Should investors follow t… (registered readers only) http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/11/27/when-it-comes-to-renewable-energy-buffetts-not-blo.aspx
100MW Solar Farm For Uzbekistan http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4046 26 Nov 13 A USD $110 million loan from the Asian Development Bank will help fund Uzbekistan’s first large scale solar power plant.
Announced at the 6th meeting of the Asia Solar Energy Forum in Tashkent, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said the facility will be the largest of its type in Central Asia.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Uzbekistan currently relies heavily on fossil fuels for power generation. Natural gas represents approximately 85 percent of the electricity generation mix, petroleum products and coal approximately 8 and 2 percent respectively and hydroelectricity the remaining 5 percent.
Uzbekistan’s government is aiming to generate about 21% of all its energy needs from renewable sources, including solar, by 2031. ”Uzbekistan has a large land mass, plenty of sunshine, and the highly skilled and educated human resources needed to become a major player in solar energy development in this region,” said Takehiko Nakao.
To be constructed in Samarkand, the solar farm will not only help green the nation’s energy mix; it will also help address the supply-demand gap.
Uzbekistan experiences 2,410 to 3,090 hours of sunshine annually, depending on the location. The country has rich reserves of natural gas, but ageing infrastructure and export demands means its citizens frequently endure power outages.
Counterpart financing of $200 million for the solar project will be sourced from Uzbekistan’s Fund for Reconstruction and Development and from Uzbekenergo, the state joint stock company.
The project is expected to take around 5 years to construct, with an estimated completion date of March 2019.
While solar looks set to make a substantial impact in the country, it would appear wind power is yet to gain a foothold. According to information from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), only 1MW of wind capacity was announced last year.
Energy storage fans are rejoicing all across the country on the heels of a new ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which opens the floodgates to connecting more solar arrays and wind farms to the power grid. FERC adopted the new ruling, Order 792, in order to bring its existing rules for small generators up to speed with new developments in the energy storage field.
As FERC explained when issuing Order 792:
…the Commission finds it necessary under section 206 of the Federal Power Act to revise the pro forma SGIP [Small Generator Interconnection Procedures] and pro forma SGIA [Small Generator Interconnection Agreement] to ensure that the rates, terms and conditions under which public utilities provide interconnection service to Small Generating Facilities remain just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory.
Our friends over at the Energy Storage Association contributed to public comments on the rule during its proposal phase and they tipped us to the new ruling, so let’s see what they have to say about it.
Energy Storage Gets A Boost From FERC Order 792
In a nutshell, Rule 792 adds energy storage as a power source that is eligible to connect to the grid. It effectively puts energy storage in the same category as the existing Small Generator Interconnection Procedures and makes it eligible for the existing Fast Track process.
Darrel Hayslip, who chairs the ESA, was fast out of the box with a big thank-you to FERC:
We commend the FERC Commissioners for acknowledging that energy storage should be able to participate in the small generator interconnection process on our electric grid and that our rules and policies should evolve as well. These reforms are good news for storage project developers and further facilitate the deployment of storage on the power grid………
Barn Door Is Already Open
If you’re thinking that it will be a while before energy storage technology can get to the point where the industry can take advantage of the new FERC rules on a mass scale, guess again.
Energy storage for wind and solar is already well on its way to the mainstream………
The addition of utility scale storage facilities is expected to have a ripple effect on the renewable energy market in Hawaii, by contributing to grid flexibility.
Not for nothing, but Xtreme Power has some heavy hitters in its investment portfolio, including some that indicate the fossil fuel industry is continuing its slow (very slow) and lurching pivot to a more diversified approach to energy generation.
That would be BP Alternative Energy (yes, that BP) and Dominion Resources (yes, that Dominion). http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/renewable-energy-barriers-fall-with-new-ferc-order-67494
Alstom Installs World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine by Energy Matters, 26 Nov 13, French energy company Alstom has successfully completed installing the world’s largest offshore wind turbine, the 6 MW Haliade 150, at the Belwind test site off the coast of Belgium.
Engineered to endure harsh North Sea conditions, the Haliade 150 is the biggest wind turbine ever erected at sea. With a rotor diameter of 150-metres and blades nearly 75-metres long, Alstom predicts each model will provide a 15 percent higher energy yield than other wind turbines – enabling a single unit to power up to 5000 households.
Touted as the new generation in offshore turbine technology, the Haliade 150’s nacelle (engine housing) looms 100-metres above sea level and is designed to operate with a minimum of upkeep. The turbine functions without a gearbox, instead relying on direct drive, and a magnetic alternator system transfers unwanted stresses from strong winds away to the tower, optimising efficiency……http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4044
David Cameron’s attack on green policies threatens £12bn renewable sector, say Greenpeace, Express, By: Owen Bennett – Political Reporter November 21, 2013 DAVID CAMERON has been accused of risking jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector after reports claimed he had told aides to “get rid of all this green c**p”. It was claimed the Prime Minister was making a major U-turn on environmental issues, and ordering aides to strip out green levies which push up energy bills.
Prior to the 2010 election, Mr Cameron had urged Britain to “vote blue, go green” as he promised to lead the “greenest government ever.”
Downing Street deny the Prime Minister is turning his back on environmentalism, but Greenpeace said the comments show Mr Cameron is trying to claw back support with green sceptics in his party.
Greenpeace’s deputy political director Joss Garman said: “If David Cameron thinks the road to electoral victory will be found in attacking the very policies that he once passionately advocated then he is sorely mistaken.
“The British electorate are a sophisticated bunch who will see through his chameleon tendencies and conclude this attack is not an act of leadership but one of cowardice as he panders to the extreme wing of his own party and tries to claw back support from Ukip.
“The real crime is that every time David Cameron reaches for the dog whistle playbook he undermines thousands of jobs in the green energy sector and threatens future investment. Now that really is crap.” Read more »
100% renewables ‘key to CO2 fight http://renews.biz/54420/call-for-100-renewables-targets/ re News, 19 Nov 13, The Global 100% Renewable Energy Coalition has called on governments to commit to 100% renewable energy targets and strategies.
A joint statement at the UN climate summit today asserted that “communicating and proving the urgency and feasibility of 100% renewable energy is key to breaking the climate deadlock”.
Members of the coalition including the World Wind Energy Association, World Bioenergy Association and the Fraunhofer ISE Institute also criticised “the ongoing stagnancy of the climate negotiations and their struggle to agree upon and implement measures that effectively combat the crisis”.
World Wind Energy Association secretary general Stefan Gsänger said: “The growing global movement shows that making the transition to 100% renewable energy is primarily a political, not technical, challenge. The necessary technologies and knowledge already exist.”
In Germany, 74 regions and municipalities have already reached 100% renewable energy. Entire nations like Denmark, Iceland, Scotland, Costa Rica, Maldives Islands, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, and Tokelau “have set and already partly achieved this ambitious target”, the group said.
“Climate change debates have become all too often associated with failing political negotiations and inadequate actions. There is an urgent need to change this,” added World Bioenergy Association president Heinz Kopetz.
The battery storage system that could close down coal power REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 19 November 2013 (Editors note: This is part of a series of interviews and stories that will run over the next few weeks looking at Germany’s Energiewende, and the transition of Germany’s energy grid to one dominated by renewable energy. You can find them all in our Insight section).
You don’t have to go far inside the headquarters of German battery storage company Younicos, or even their website for that matter, to find out what they are about. “Let the fossils rest in peace,” the logo suggests. Another sign at their technology centre east of Berlin proclaims: “You are now leaving the CO2 producing sector of the world.”
This sign is designed to mimic those which adorned the checkpoints that separated the various sectors of east and west Berlin before the wall was torn down. Younicos believe they have a technology that is equally disruptive, and can break down one of the last barriers to 100 per cent renewable energy: the need to run fossil fuel generation to control the “frequency” of the grid, and the other system services such as voltage control.
The company, based in Berlin Adlershof, on the eastern outskirts of the capital, is developing 10MW-sized battery parks, using battery systems that it says can stabilise the grid faster, cheaper and with greater precision that conventional generation. Read more »
Community Funded Solar Powering Ahead In The UK http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4029 19 Nov 13 The UK’s Brighton Energy Coop (BEC) has raised more than £200,000 in just 3 weeks for a 200kW rooftop solar panel system project – the largest in the city.
Like other solar co-ops, members of the community chip in for the installation of solar array. Revenue is generated through feed in tariffs and sale of the power generated to the “solar landlords”, the businesses where the systems are installed.
BEC offers cash payments to building owners of up to £10,000 to host solar panels, plus discounted electricity for 20 years.
Brighton Energy Co-operative intends to pay investors interest of 5% average per annum, commencing a year after installation ends. Investments may also qualify for 30% tax relief under the UK’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Shares cost just £1 each and the minimum buy-in is £400.
“By taking the power into our own hands, BEC is showing that the roll out of renewable energy – such an obvious way of transforming our energy supply – can be done with the power of community support,” says the BEC’s Will Cottrell.
Last year, the BEC raised £240,000 for solar PV projects in Brighton and Portslade. At Shoreham Port, systems were installed on five buildings at the Hove Enterprise Centre. A 35kW system was also installed on City Coast Church in Portslade and a 10kw PV system on St George’s Church in Kemptown.
There are now more than 50 similar solar co-ops in the UK.
The 900-mile Gateway West Transmission Line project, proposed by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power, will stretch from southern Wyoming to southern Idaho and will carry 1,500 gigawatts of energy, mostly generated by wind farms. A gigawatt of energy is 1,000 megawatts, and one megawatt can sustain about 1,000 homes for one hour.
The project is part of Obama’s 2009 initiative to revamp the U.S. transmission infrastructure through an interagency initiative called the Rapid Response Team for Transmission.
“Gateway West is a high-priority project of the president’s power infrastructure initiative – a commonsense approach that is speeding job creation in the near term while spurring the economy and increasing the nation’s competitiveness in the long term,” Sally Jewell, head of the Department of Interior, announced last week. “The line will strengthen the Western grid, bringing a diversified portfolio of renewable and conventional energy to meet the region’s projected growth in electricity demand.” Gateway West is one of seven pilot projects that will span the U.S. It’s estimated that at peak construction the seven projects will create around 1,200 jobs.
The development of the project went through a rigorous environmental impact and public comment period, results from which included the route for the transmission lines being crafted to use existing transmission corridors to avoid harming sensitive landscapes.
“Transmission is a vital component of our nation’s energy portfolio, and these seven lines, when completed, will serve as important links across our country to increase our power grid’s capacity and reliability,” Ken Salazar, former secretary of the Department of Interior, said in October. ”This is the kind of critical infrastructure we should be working together to advance in order to create jobs and move our nation toward energy independence.”
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Google wants to run on 100% renewable energy Here are 3 reasons the company may want clean and sustainable power sources.MSN Money, By The Week 16 Nov 13.This week, Google (GOOG -0.16%) announced in a blog post a new $80 million investment in solar energy in California and Arizona, bringing its total investments in renewable energy since 2010 to over $1 billion.
It’s just the latest step in an ongoing project by Google to keep at the forefront of the green energy industry. Read more »
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