Renewable energy, greentech and cleantech are terms that we have heard a lot in recent years. But there in nothing new about the concept of harnessing natural energy sources either as a means of production or simply to make life more comfortable.
An early form of renewable energy that most people are familiar with is windmills that were used for milling grain to produce flour. Windmills can also be adapted to other mechanical uses including the pumping of water. The earliest known example of the energy of the wind being used to power machinery was the Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria.
The ancient Greeks are also credited with being early adopters of Hydro power. Waterwheels were used to capture the power of flowing water in a very similar to modern hydroelectric power plants. Waterwheels that milled flour, pulped wood for paper making, and pounded fibre in the manufacture of cloth were a key component of the industrial revolution.
However the earliest use of renewable energy may go to the Chinese engineers of the Qin dynasty in the 3rd century B.C. who used geothermal energy to heat their spa. The ancient Romans were also prolific users of geothermal energy using it to both heat public baths and for underfloor heating.
Italian Enel Green Power SpA (EGPW) has announced that it will be building a 90MW wind farm in Chile.
The project will consist of 45 wind turbines and is projected to generate 200 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year.
Enel Green Power is expanding it’s Chilean operation and already has existing hydroelectric and geothermal energy projects in the country.
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SolarCity Corp (SCTY) shares jumped 47% in two days following it’s 12 December IPO which raised $92m. The offer price valued the company at $585m.
SolarCity installs solar systems on customers rooftops and sells them the electricity at a price 10%-15% lower than from a utility company. SolarCity says it has provided systems for more than 45,000 buildings in 14 states.
The California based company headed by Elon Musk had originally hoped to raise $151m in the IPO. However pressure from investors led to a lower offer price of $8 from an original range of $13 – $15. The number of shares offered increased from 10.1m to 11.5m representing 16% of the company.
The first phase of construction of one of the worlds largest offshore wind farms is nearing completion. On 13 December 2012 the last of 175 turbines was installed at the London Array Offshore Wind Farm in the Thames Estuary. A second phase consisting of a further 166 turbines has not yet been approved.
55 turbines are already connected to the national grid with the remaining 120 due to be connected by Spring 2013. On completion of phase one the wind farm will produce 630MW of electricity. Enough to power 470,000 homes for a year.
The London Array Offshore Wind Farm is being built by a consortium of three world-leading renewable energy companies, DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar.
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