Falls in the cost of wind turbines suggest that they are close to being profitable without subsidies. Warren Buffet’s utility company MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co has ordered $1bn of turbines for projects is Iowa more
NASDAQ listed Canadian Solar gained 700% this year. A new strategic direction to sell power plants delivered the company’s best quarterly results for 2 years more
The increasing cost of coal power in India means that Tata Cleantech Capital Ltd may invest up to $400m in renewable energy projects more
Biofuel manufactures in the US were lobbying the the Environmental Protection Agency to try and prevent a watering down of the US renewable fuel mandate. Pressure from fossil-fuel producers resulted in the EPA proposing a reduction in the amount of renewable fuel that refines must blend with gasoline more
Apple’s announced that their new plant based in Arizona will run entirely on renewable energy. The plant will create 2,000 jobs and is part of a policy to boost manufacturing in the US more
UK power producer RWE Innogy shelved plans for a 240 turbine wind farm. The 1,200 MW Atlantic Array project would have produced enough electricity for 900,000 homes more
The Scottish government published results from an independent study into the potential for geothermal energy production in Scotland read study
A consortium of German companies aims to produce sustainable electricity from around the worlds coastlines. Waves are a huge potential energy source and the project hopes to release this reserve of renewable energy… more
German car manufacturer Porsche announced a new $845,000 Hybrid that can reach 100 km per hour in 2.8 seconds with better fuel economy than the Toyota Prius. The limited edition Spyder hybrid follows a hybrid version of the Panamera coupe read more
Meanwhile VW another German car maker outlined plans for 40 electric or hybrid vehicles. 14 of the alternate drive vehicles will be available next year and will increase the offering should there be sufficient demand more
The worlds largest geothermal energy plant has been completed in New Zealand. The 100 MW plant will produce enough energy to power 80,000 homes more
UK wind power produced a record 5.7 GW of power on 15 September. UK offshore capacity has increased significantly in recent months with the completion of the 630 MW London Array.
Catching up from our summer break. Here are the greentech stories that were making the news in the first week of August…
BMW unveiled it’s new electric vehicle the i3. The 170 horse power electric motor accelerates the car from 0-100 kmh in 7.2 seconds.
In a move to overcome customer fears about limited range BMW announced an option to borrow a petrol powered SUV such as the X5 for longer journeys more
BP reversed it’s decision to sell 16 wind farms due to a lack of demand from the market more
The first wind turbines were installed at the German offshore wind farm Borkum West 2
When completed the wind farm will generate 400MW of power through 80 wind turbines.
China and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding for construction of the 188MW Isimba Falls hydropower plant. The $570m project is expected to be completed in 2018.
Supporters of fossil fuels often mention predictability of supply in their argument against renewable energy sources. Put simply solar power is only effective when the sun is shining and likewise wind power only generates electricity on a windy day. While this criticism is not valid for all forms of renewable power (hydro and geothermal are some of the most consistently reliable energy sources) it is true that solar and wind power are very susceptible to peaks and troughs in supply. The traditional response has been to vary the feed into the grid from more reliable power sources such as coal, gas or nuclear to balance energy production with demand.
However while it is the case that sometimes there is insufficient power generated othertimes too much power can be generated. Domestic energy requirements tend to be lower during the day, ironically when the sun is shining and solar power production is most effective. When the wind blows strongly massive wind turbines can generate more power than is required by the electricity grid. Recently there have been some interesting developments that promise to improve the reliability of supply from renewable sources by storing excess power so that it can be released later to better match demand.
In Germany domestic solar customers are able to benefit from a hybrid solar invertor and energy management system. At the heart of the systmem are advanced Li-ion batteries that enable electricity to be consumed in the evening when demand is highest.
A typical household is estimated to be able to produce 80% of it’s own power using this system. Similar improvements in battery life are also improving the reliability of electric cars giving greater range to emission free runabouts.
Apple have filed a patent application for a wind turbine that generates heat instead of electricity.
The heat is used to generate steam to turn turbines which produce electricity. The benefit of this design is that heat is easier to store for long periods than electricity.
But perhaps the most original solution has been put forward by the Belgium government who plan to build a doughnut shaped island 5km offshore to store excess energy from wind farms. When additional power is needed valves would be opened allowing the water to flow back into the island turning hydroelectric turbines in the process.
We think that these ideas are hugely exciting and variations that offer even more innovative solutions to store energy will further improve the reliability of renewable power sources in future years
UK solar energy provider Eco Sustainable Solutions has submitted plans for a second solar energy farm on the outskirsts of Christchurch. The 173 acre farm will generate 36 MW, enough to power 9,000 homes more
BP North America’s plan for a 500 MW ind power project has been approved by the US Government more
Solar powered aircraft the Solar Impulse landed at JFK after succesfully completing it’s journey from California. The plane which is powered by 11,000 solar cells began it’s cross continantal journey back in May more
Here is this week’s round up of greentech news – now with links to the original story
Electric sports car maker Telsa revealed an innovative solution to time it takes to recharge the car’s lithium-ion battery. The battery is swapped for a fully charged one in only 90 seconds read more
Ikea has become the second largest private producer of solar power in the US. By 2020 the company aims to be producing more power than it uses making it a net energy provider read more
A recent report from Navigant Research estimates that the worldwide market for small wind systems will exceed $700m by 2018
Community wind projects where small groups of local people group together to enter a power purchase agreement with a utility are gaining popularity in the US more details
The worlds first commercial wave farm will soon open in Tuscany. London-based wave energy company 40South Energy will install a 150-kilowatt module capable of producing a steady flow of power find out more
Back up to date here is the greentech news for the week
Shares in electric car maker Telsa (TSLA) rose past $100 for the first time during the week before slipping back to $97.76 at Friday’s close. Telsa’s shares are up nearly 250% on a year ago.
The Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte has become the first of many stadiums in Brazil to be fitted with a solar powered roof. The $16m project installed a 1.4MW solar array that will feed electricity back into the grid.
Google has added a another green power investment, the unconventional Californian start-up Makani Power. Rather than generating power from fixed turbines Makani makes flying turbines. These robot-piloted kites are able to tap into stronger more consistent wind sources flying much higher than even the tallest windmills. The planes collect energy using wing-mounted turbines and transfer it to the ground via a conductive tether.
The UK government has approved the go ahead of a 500MW extension to the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm. When completed in 2017 the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm provide enough electric power for half a million homes via 140 turbines.
Bluefield Solar Income Fund, a new investment fund, has announced a £150m share offering aimed at investing in large-scale solar schemes.The fund will be listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), shares will be priced at £1 each.
NASA revealed a thruster system that sounds like it comes straight out of Star Trek, a solar-electric ion propulsion engine! While the voltage required to produce the ion beam could theoretically come from any source it is likely to be generated by a mixture of nuclear and solar power. NASA scientists explained that “The ion propulsion system’s efficient use of fuel and electrical power enable modern spacecraft to travel farther, faster, and cheaper than any other propulsion technology currently available. Ion thrusters are currently used for stationkeeping on communication satellites and for main propulsion on deep space probes.”
Here is this weeks greentech news…
Spanish technology leader in wind energy Gamesa sold a 70MW project in Mexico to Iberdrola. The installation will consist of 35 Gamesa 2.0 MW wind turbines when it is completed in 2014.
Irish renewable energy group Gaelectric opened a 14MW at Carn Hill in Newtownabbey. The installation consists of six wind turbines and will generate enough electricity to power 8,000 homes a year.
The World Bank has backed transformational large Hydro projects in a number of developing countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Nepal. The World Bank had previously shunned large Hydro projects due to the environmental consequences associated with the dams. While big hydro projects can produce lots of cheap, clean electricity, flooding caused by the dams often results in the displacement of the villages that they are supposed to be helping.
More greentech news from aound the world…
The UK government concluded that the European Union energy sector faced a trillion Euro funding shortfall. The report pointed to an urgent need for investment in low carbon, interconnected and innovative energy systems. Noting that the lack of a clear policy was holding back institutional investors.
The Scottish government unveiled proposals for the green investment bank (GIB) to fund a country-wide LED lighting programme as part of a £500m package of climate and green energy measures .
The Quebec Premier launched a long-awaited fourth call for wind power for a total of 800MW.
“The government believes in the future of wind energy in Quebec,” said Marois. “This block will generate nearly $2bn of investment.”
The earth’s climate passed the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million (ppm) concentrations of carbon dioxide. At no point in the preindustrial record have concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air risen above 300 (ppm).