Renew On Line (UK) 74

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 174 July-Aug 2008
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Policy developments- 15% 2020 target, go for FIT’s?  

2. Wind power- growing, but Shell out, Lewis blocked

3. Marine Renewables – tidal turbines power up

4. Policy debates- UK ducking it?

5. Regional policy- Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland 

6. EU Developments- EU plan views, Ireland unites

7. Green energy round the world- wind and PV boom

8. Nuclear news- reprocessing waste still an option?

7. Green energy around the world

Green CapitalVenture capital  investment in renewables  reached $3.4 bn in 2007- 50% up on 2006, says Green Tech Media Inc. Investment in solar was more than $1.05 bn,  while battery technology came to $434m, energy efficiency/smart grids $419m, biofuels $750m

Offshore wind boom

Offshore wind will see $16bn of capital expenditure in the next five years as 4.5 GW of new capacity is installed. With just over 1.1 GW of capacity currently installed, this represents significant market growth and leads to a capital expenditure of over $5.2bn p.a. by 2012, claim Douglas-Westwood in the latest edition of their World Offshore Wind Report.

Overall, the Global Wind Energy Council says that 20GW of new wind capacity, on and offshore,  came online in 2007, bringing the global total to over 94 GW. The EU led with 57GW

PV also Booms

The global market for solar PV grew by over 40% in 2007, with approx 2.3 GWp of newly installed capacity giving a total of 9 GW so far, and 7 GWp more could be added in 2010, says the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. They add that PV should be competitive with the electricity prices of utilities in Southern Europe by 2015. Germany still leads, with an extra 1.5-2 GWp expected by 2010.

Next?   CPV Concentrating PV solar –could be  the next big thing? There is a  3MW  SolFocus/ISFOC project in Spain- see the Technology section of Renew 174

Meanwhile CSP is moving ahead. The  US company Solar Reserve is developing a  500MW  concentrated solar power system with a molten salt heat store

Shell to grow Algae for oil

Shell and HR Biopetroleum are to build a pilot facility in Hawaii to grow marine algae and produce vegetable oil for conversion into biofuel. They say that Algae hold great promise because they grow very rapidly, are rich in vegetable oil and can be cultivated in ponds of seawater, minimising the use of fertile land and fresh water. Thick green algae can double their mass several times a day producing about 60 tons of oil/hectare, although sceptics have pointed out that other companies and government funded groups have tried and failed to use algae .

Shell and HR Biopetroleum have nevertheless formed a joint venture company, called Cellana, to develop this project, with Shell taking the majority share.  The demonstration facility is on the Kona coast at a site leased from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, which is near existing commercial algae enterprises, primarily serving the pharmaceutical & nutrition industries.  The facility will grow only non-modified, marine microalgae species in open-air ponds using proprietary technology. Algae strains used will be indigenous to Hawaii or approved by the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture. Once the algae are harvested, the vegetable oil will be extracted. The facility’s small production volumes will be used for testing.

Over the long term, algae cultivation facilities also have the potential to absorb or ‘capture’ waste CO2 directly from industrial facilities such as power plants.  The Cellana demonstration will use bottled CO2 to explore this potential. ‘Algae have great potential as a sustainable feedstock for production of diesel-type fuels with a very small CO2 footprint,’ said Graeme Sweeney, Shell Executive Vice President Future Fuels & CO2.  ‘This demonstration will be an important test of the technology and, critically, of commercial viability’.

*Algae has been talked up recently as a new potential biomass energy source, but its not clear if sensible energy conversion efficiencies can be attained. This project may find out.

Rhode Island Wave

The office of the governor of Rhode Island, USA, has signed a memorandum of understanding with leadingAustralian wave energy developer Oceanlinx for an initial  1.5MW unit located close to Block Island to the south of Rhode Island State, followed by a further 15 to 20MW facility off the mainland. Rhode Island, ‘The Ocean State’, is committed to generating 20% of its power from renewables by 2011.

PG&E- Finavera Wave plan

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has entered into a long-term, 2 MW commercial wave energy power purchasing agreement with Finavera Renewables Inc. for power from its proposed Humboldt County Offshore Wave Energy Power Plant 2.5 miles off the Northern California coast, which is expected to begin delivering power in 2012.

Aloha wave

Australia’s Oceanlinx Ltd, is to provide electricity to Maui Electric Company from Hawaii’s first wave energy project. The $20m 2.7 MW project will have 3 floating platforms 0.5-0.75 miles to the north of Pauwela

GE=Green Energy

General Electric’s renewables investment to double to $6bn by 2010. GE believes that within two years alternative energy sources will account for almost 25% of its total investment in energy/water- up from 10% in 2006

Red Sea Hydro dam

The Dec. issue of the International Journal of Global Environmental Issues reports on a plan to build a giant 150m high 100km wide  hydro dam across the mouth of the Red Sea,  between Yemen in the north and either Eritrea or Djibouti in the south. Sounds very invasive.

Let’s Connect

Under the action plan signed last Dec, the EU says it will spend some Euro 3.2bn on infrastructure projects establishing electricity interconnections between EU countries and Algeria, Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia.  In a Declaration signed in Cyprus, Ministers also agreed on the eventual integration of other countries, such as Libya and sub-Saharan nations, into the Euro-Mediterranean energy market. They also agreed to work together to diversify energy sources and promote energy efficiency.  It’s all part of a six year plan to improve energy security, by harmonising energy legislation and policies and improve interconnections. All of which could help Concentrated Solar Power get going- with High Voltage  Direct Current  (HVDC) grid links to the EU.  Source: Modern Power Systems

*  Modern Power Systems reports that China is to deploy HVDC for the world’s longest power supergrid- a 2000 km 6.4GW capacity link from Xiangjiaba hydro plant to Shanghai to be commissioned in 2011. In a $400m deal, ABB will supply Ultra HVDC equipment for the link, which will transmit power at 800 kV.  Transmission losses are expected to be less than 7%.  Meanwhile, with wind expansion globally causing  equipment shortages, Windpower Monthly has reported that China is coming to the rescue: ‘the first export of utility-scale Chinese wind turbines to the West has begun with the shipment of two initial machines to the USA, the first of at least 200 bound for America this year. The shipments herald a framework deal for the supply of 900 MW of wind turbines to North America by 2012.’

UAE’s Green City

The United Arab Emirates is planing a multi-billion-dollar ‘green city’ in the desert. The zero-carbon, car free, zero waste city of up to 15,000 residents is being steered by Masdar, the initiative set up by the Abu Dhabi government to develop sustainable and clean energy. UK architects Fosters & Partners are the master planners. The first stage of construction should be finished in 2009 and the entire city completed in 2016.  Source: Reuters

NATTA/Renew Subscription Details

Renew is the bi-monthly 30 plus page newsletter of NATTA, the Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment. NATTA members gets Renew free. NATTA membership cost £18 pa (waged) £12pa (unwaged), £6 pa airmail supplement (Please make cheques payable to 'The Open University', NOT to 'NATTA')

Details from NATTA , c/o EERU,
The Open University,
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: 01908 65 4638 (24 hrs)

The full 32 (plus) page journal can be obtained on subscription
The extracts here only represent about 25% of it.

This material can be freely used as long as it is not for commercial purposes and full credit is given to its source.

The views expressed should not be taken to necessarily reflect the views of all NATTA members, EERU or the Open University.

We are now offering to e-mail subscribers a PDF version of the complete Renew, instead  of sending them the printed version, should they wish.