Renew On Line (UK) 51

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 151 Sept-Oct 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1.Wind power- problems  offshore, new co-op

2.Photovoltaic solar - mandatory soon?

3.Funding Wave & Tidal Energy- £50m more

4. Biomass Heat Gap- RCEP report

5. Hydrogen Arrives- on the farm

6. New Energy Policy ? Yes please!

7. UK Energy Research Centre- soon

8.UK Government policy news- Energy Bill Passes but targets cut

9. European news- Bonn was good, Denmark gets better

10. US News- Local wind problems, hydrogen plans

11 Other International news- 40GW of wind now in place.... 

12.   Nuclear news'EU needs nuclear'

10. US News

Wind in the USA  

While in the UK the RAF and MoD seem unhappy with wind farms, in the USA  Fairchild Air Force Base  is to buy 99% of its electricity from wind turbines. It will purchase 7.5 MW from the Bonneville Power Administration, of which 17% will come from local turbines and the rest via  Renewable Energy Certificates. And a consortium including Siemens and ABB, wants to install thirty 100kW vertical axis wind turbines on the top section of the new Freedom Tower being planned to replace the World Trade Centre in New York.

But it’s not all good news. In the Denver area, the Intermountain Rural Electric Association is calling on its 118,000 members to oppose wind power as too costly and unreliable. Details in Renew 152. And reflecting the RSPB’s position in the UK, a number of environmental groups in the Safe Wind coalition filed a legal suit in connection with the proposed windfarm off Cape Cod, challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who has allowed the developer, Cape Wind Associates, to install a data tower in Nantucket Sound. They said they were concerned about ‘the use of the public resources of Nantucket Sound or any federal waters without first obtaining the necessary land use authorization’.  But fundamentally, the groups believe that a large windfarm ‘may adversely affect important wintering areas for migratory birds and feeding areas’. 

In the event, an appeals court ruled that the developer could keep its monitoring tower, but the episode shows how US nature conservation groups are alligning on the offshore wind issue- the coalition included the International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Wildlife Coalition, the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society, and Cetacean Society International.

Next- New York? The Long Island Power Authority wants to have a 140MW offshore windfarm with 39 3.6MW turbines, in a cluster three miles southwest of Robert Moses State Park.

30% rise in US Green power sales

According to the US National Renewable Energy Labs, over 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of green power were sold to consumers in the US last year, 30% more than in 2002.  Over 500 utilities in 33 states now offer green tariff schemes which allow consumers to choose to support additional electricity production from renewable resources such as solar and wind,  and almost 200,000 customers have participated in  schemes run by the top ten utilities. Utility schemes are only one provider of green power- in all, renewable energy facilities serve 500,000 US customers with 1,500 MW of capacity. However NERL say that “the number of utility green pricing programs continues to grow across the country as well as the number of customers that purchase green power,” and they add that generally ‘customer choice is proving to be a powerful stimulus for growth in renewable energy development’.   NREL noted that Austin Energy has the lowest premium at 0.59¢/kWh, with all the top ten utilities charging less than 1.3¢ extra. Wind is offered in eight of the top ten utility schemes, solar by one, geothermal by one, landfill gas in four, and hydro in two.

US Green Hydrogen

The US government will “accelerate and expand research on the production of hydrogen from renewable resources,” according to the strategy the Department of Energy has outlined in its ‘Hydrogen Posture Plan.’  The plan, which focuses on the transport sector, proposes a range programmes to help renewables to play their part, for example by seeking cost reductions in electrolysis and work on thermochemical conversion of biomass and photoelectrochemical systems.

However, so-called ‘green hydrogen’ from renewables is only one part of the $1.7bn hydrogen programme backed by the Bush administration. It also involves hydrogen production using energy from from fossil fuels (sometimes  called ‘brown hydrogen’), with CO2 sequestration, and from nuclear plants (sometimes labelled ‘black hydrogen’).   The report says “In the long-term vision of the hydrogen economy (which will take several decades to achieve), hydrogen will be available in all regions of the country and will serve all sectors of the economy. It will be produced from fossil fuels (with carbon capture and sequestration), renewable energy, and nuclear energy. It will be used throughout the transportation, electric power, and consumer sectors. In the near- to mid-term, most hydrogen will likely be produced by technologies that do not require a new hydrogen delivery infrastructure, i.e.: from distributed natural gas and electrolysis of water using electricity (with emphasis on renewable sources such as wind power). As research, development and demonstration efforts progress along renewable, nuclear and clean coal and natural gas production pathways, a suite of technologies will become available in the mid- and longer-term to produce hydrogen from a diverse array of domestic resources.”

DOE says it will “focus on methods to produce affordable supplies of hydrogen from water using renewable electricity (e.g.: solar, wind) and nuclear sources of energy, or even using direct solar conversion or biological methods.”

*Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is backing the creation of  ‘Hydrogen Highway’ in California. More in Renew 152.

* Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry has called for 20% of US electricity to come from renewables by 2020- with a 10 year $30bn programme . However, the US oil company  Exxon  do not seem to be keen on renewables. In a new report on energy options they say that the existing renewable energy technologies ‘do not offer near-term promises for profitable investment relative to attractive opportunities that we see in our core business,’ ‘therefore, we have chosen not to pursue investments in renewable energy options.’ They claims that solar and wind energy are neither ‘relevant’ nor ‘leading-edge’

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