April 1 Energy News

April 1, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Siemens has published a study to determine the actual environmental impact of wind energy, from manufacturing through construction and operation. It found an offshore wind farm with 80 turbines saved as much CO2 as would be absorbed by a Central European forest of 1,286 square km (496 square miles). [CleanTechnica]

¶ Researchers from the University of Delaware have found a new catalyst to produce inexpensive hydrogen fuel that could be more attractive to consumers and businesses alike. Fuel cells are notoriously expensive because they are made using platinum-based catalysts. The new catalyst uses copper and titanium. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶ A Scottish project is using horizontal directional drilling to create cable bores to link the onshore site with four subsea tidal turbines, said project owner Atlantis Resources. Trenchless techniques such as HDD are playing an important role in several upcoming renewable energy projects involving offshore installations. [Trenchless International]

World:

German CO2 emissions are on the decline.

German CO2 emissions are on the decline.

¶ German CO2 emissions fell for the first time in three years as the country’s high-profile switch to renewable energy takes hold. CO2 emissions dropped by more than 41 million tonnes last year, a drop of 4.3%, according to data from Germany’s UBA environment agency, and a 27% decline on 1990 levels. [Business Green]

¶ Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s largest turbine maker, agreed to supply equipment with 53 MW of capacity for a project in western Finland. Vestas expects to deliver the 16 3.3-MW turbines to EPV Tuulivoima in the first quarter of next year. The order includes a six-year service agreement. [Bloomberg]

¶ The 2014 China Wind Power Installation Capacity Statistics just released by the Chinese Wind Energy Association indicate that in 2014 China added 61 offshore wind power units with a total capacity of 229.3 MW. This is an increase of 487.9% from the 39 MW of offshore wind power capacity added in 2013. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Global investment in renewable power and fuels reached $270.2 billion last year, nearly 17% higher than in 2013. Together, wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, small hydro and marine power are estimated to have generated 9.1% of the world’s electricity in 2014, compared to 8.5%. [Phys.Org]

¶ Changes to UK support for solar power will deter farmers from building projects in rural areas as Prime Minister David Cameron’s government says the countryside is being blighted by unsightly panels. The switch reinforces a program started in October to remove subsidies for farmers that use solar. [Bloomberg]

¶ The first fund dedicated to supporting offshore wind-power projects has raised almost half of its £1 billion ($1.5 billion) target, drawing support from pension investors and a major sovereign wealth manager. The UK Green Investment Bank raised £463 million and is still seeking capital for five to eight projects. [Bloomberg]

¶ Samsung SDI and ABB are partnering to develop and sell modular, scalable microgrids. The agreement is for ABB to provide specific solutions for electrification, control optimization, and stabilization, and for Samsung SDI to provide lithium-ion batteries and battery management systems. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nagasaki prefecture plans to become Asia’s first major testing site for renewable marine energy, offering support for companies, scientists and government officials looking to better understand floating wind farms and other marine power technology. Marine energy includes wave, tide and current power.[Wall Street Journal]

US:

Beach in Hawaii.

Solar in Hawaii.

¶ Up to $100 million dollars will be invested for new solar PV systems through a partnership between the State of Hawaii, Clean Power Finance, Panasonic Eco Solutions, and the Coronal Group. The main target audience for the new solar systems is underserved non-profit organizations that can save on utility bills. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Southern Co is acquiring a wind project in Oklahoma that will be the Atlanta-based company’s largest renewable electric generating plant to date. A subsidiary is acquiring the 299-MW Kay Wind facility in Oklahoma from Apex Clean Energy. Apex said it had closed on a $397 million loan for the project. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

¶ In 2013, yearly electricity generation from solar trailed every renewable energy technology in California except small hydro. But over the course of a year, solar generation more than doubled in the state, making it the second-biggest provider of renewable electricity in 2014 behind wind. [Greentech Media]

¶ Plant officials from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar nuclear facility said during a senior management meeting presentation that Unit 2, currently under construction, is expected to reach commercial operations on December 13, 2015. That would make it the first nuclear reactor added since 1996. [POWER magazine]

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