News for December 2011

News Archive

Gamesa and Iberdrola enter 3.8 GW wind turbine agreement

Gamesa and Iberdrola have signed a new framework agreement for a minimum of 50% of the total wind turbine fleet Iberdrola buys for its renewable energy business on Spanish and international markets between 2013 and 2022 – or until reaching a total of 3.8 GW.

Renewable energy provides 9% of UK electricity

Renewable energy sources generated 9% of the UK's electricity in the third quarter of 2011, according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Ameresco to build 20 MW biomass cogenereation facility

Ameresco Inc has received a Final Acceptance Certificate from the United States Department of Energy (DoE) Savannah River Operations Office for the completion of construction of the DoE Savannah River Site (SRS) 20 MW Biomass Cogeneration Facility (BCF).

European solar PV labs offer free access to R&D teams

Leading European solar photovoltaic (PV) laboratories are offering free access to R&D teams using funding from the European Commission.

Bergey 10 kW wind turbine gets MCS certification Bergey 10 kW wind turbine gets MCS certification

SIAC Wind Energy's Bergey Excel-S 10 kW wind turbine has obtained MCS certification, qualifying it for use in the UK.

England relaxes planning permission for heat pumps

There has been a change in the planning permission rules in England so that homeowners no longer need planning permission for air source heat pumps

Gamesa sells two Spanish wind farms to Gas Natural Gamesa sells two Spanish wind farms to Gas Natural

Gamesa is selling two wind farms located in Lugo and Tarragona, Spain, totalling 42 MW to Gas Natural.

Nordex installs the first of its N117 wind turbines Nordex installs the first of its N117 wind turbines

Nordex is one step closer to series production of the N117/2400 onshore wind turbine with the installation of the first unit at the Stadum citizens’ wind farm in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

DNV and KEMA join forces on clean energy

DNV has acquired a 74.3% stake in KEMA with the aim of creating a consulting and certification company within the clean energy, sustainability, power generation, transmission and distribution sectors.

SunPower acquires Tenesol SA

SunPower Corp has signed a definitive agreement to acquire French solar provider Tenesol SA, which is owned by Total SA, for US$165.4 million.

Top 5 favourite content 2011

Which content on our website had the most number of hits during 2011?

So you're thinking of building a wind farm?

During 2011 we have run a series of articles looking at how to get a wind project off the ground. Get access to all the articles quickly here...

Solar PV catchup: a perspective from 2011

Missed our 2011 roundup of PV industry insight? Access it quickly here...

Brian Robertson dies in plane crash

The CEO of Amonix, which is based in Seal Beach, CA, passed away in a plane crash in York County, Pennsylvania on 22 December 2011.

Solar Millennium files for insolvency

The move follows difficult negotiations and delays as the company attempts to sell of its U.S. projects, including the 1GW Blythe development in California.

Scotland set for record year for renewables

According to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, in the first nine months of this year, Scotland had already generated 94% of last year's output.

UK High Court rules in favour of solar industry over feed-in tariff cuts UK High Court rules in favour of solar industry over feed-in tariff cuts

A solar industry campaign to slow down Government-planned cuts to solar subsidies in the UK has won a significant legal victory, as the High Court ruled that the Government’s programme of cuts under the feed-in tariff were “legally flawed”.

BP exits solar business

According to media reports, the company is finding it tough to "make money" from solar.

Conergy to sell PV inverter subsidiary to Bosch

The purchase price of voltwerk electronics is being kept confidential "by mutual agreement".

Soitec invests US$150 m in U.S. facility for CPV production

The company has purchased manufacturing premises in Rancho Bernardo, California., from Sony Electronics, to produce CPV modules for the U.S. market.

US solar dispute: war of words continues

Pointing to "damage to America’s burgeoning solar industry that high tariffs on solar cells and panels imported from China could cause", the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) has urged SolarWorld, a German solar cell manufacturer, to withdraw its petition to the International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce.

World Bioenergy Award boosted research in Brazil

The World Bioenergy Award, presented every two years, has given a lift to the work of the Brazilian researcher Laércio Couto, whose team has been studying the use of eucalyptus for bioenergy.

Oerlikon claims new industry record for next gen ThinFab

The company is reporting that Capital Expenditure (Capex) for its end-to-end process has been reduced by 20%, with manufacturing costs at US$0.50/Wp (EUR 0.35/Wp) with 10% stabilised efficiency.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to attend WFES 2012

The 5th annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 16-19 January at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

ESA Renewables constructs 1.3 MW rooftop solar in New Bern, NC, USA

ESA Renewables (ESA) has begun construction on a 1.3 MW commercial rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the city of New Bern in Craven County, North Carolina.

Bayer develops polyurethane composite for wind turbine blades

Bayer MaterialScience LLC has developed a new polyurethane-based composite technology for stronger, longer wind blades, said to improve fatigue and fracture toughness properties over current commercial epoxy-based systems.

Siemens supplies 288 MW offshore wind farm in Germany

Siemens Energy will build the 288 MW Amrumbank West offshore wind farm in the German North Sea.

Gas, not renewable energy, main reason for UK energy price hike

Research by the UK Committee on Climate Change shows that rising gas prices are the major cause of rising household energy bills accounting for 64% of the increase, whereas renewable energy only contributed 6.5% to the price hike.

EU energy production must be carbon free by 2050

To achieve the goal of cutting emissions by over 80% by 2050, Europe's energy production needs to be almost carbon-free, according to the European Commission.

High Court allows challenge over UK solar subsidy cuts

The UK High Court has given permission to Friends of the Earth and the solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun, to challenge Government plans to slash subsidies for solar electricity in the UK.

Siemens and ABP submit application for wind power facilities

Siemens Plc and Associated British Ports (ABP) have submitted applications to Hull City Council for the development of facilities for wind turbine storage, handling, assembly and testing at the proposed Green Port Hull facility in the UK.

San Francisco plans major renewable electricity push

Local Power Inc has received a 'Notice-To-Proceed' from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), to write several Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to deploy a minimum of 210 MW of distributed renewable and demand-side, in-city energy technologies by 2017 for the CleanPowerSF programme.

US companies commit to '5 Year Renewable Energy Pledge'

The City of Austin, TX, Southern Oregon University, the Bank of Georgetown (DC and MD), Stevens Pass, Diamond Packaging, and Sandy Alexander have been the first to sign the Renewable Energy Markets Association (REMA) '5 Year Renewable Energy Pledge' in the USA.

3Degrees expands green power programmes

3Degrees has been selected by the Maine Public Utility Commission to launch a new, voluntary state-wide green power programme, and has won a competitive bidding process to be a green power supplier to the CTCleanEnergyOptions programme.

Siemens and Shanghai Electric form JVs for Chinese wind

Siemens and Shanghai Electric will set up two joint ventures (JVs) for the Chinese wind power market.

Long-term silane supply agreement between Dow and Air Products

Dow Corning and Air Products has entered into a long-term supply agreement for electronic-grade silane for electronics and solar photovoltaics (PV).

Large solar cooling system unveiled at UWCSEA, Singapore

SOLID ASIA has unveiled a large-scale solar cooling system in Singapore at UWCSEA East Campus.

WiseEnergy Africa to manage 500 MW of solar and wind in Africa

WiseEnergy Group will manage up to 500 MW of solar and wind power projects in South Africa on behalf of ix:Africa, an impact investment fund seeking to raise €400 million to dedicate to renewable energy projects in Africa.

SCHOTT Solar reaches 18% efficiency with copper solar cells

SCHOTT Solar AG has achieved an 18% efficiency with a solar cell metalised with copper developed under the research project Las VeGaS.

Rockford Solar builds 20 MW solar array at Chicago airport

Rockford Solar Partners, LLC, a joint venture between Wanxiang America and New Generation Power, has received approval for a 20 MW solar array at the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

First Solar sells 550 MW Topaz Solar farm to MidAmerican

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company has entered into definitive agreements to acquire the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm in California, USA, from First Solar Inc.

Oerlikon and CRES cooperate on thin-film solar in China

Oerlikon Solar has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Cooperation Centre for China Renewable Energy Society (CRES) for thin-film solar technology in China.

Acta, APFCT to develop fuel cell light electric vehicle refuelling systems

The Italian-based electrolyser manufacturer Acta SpA has signed a development and commercial supply agreement with Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies Ltd (APFCT) in Taiwan, for the development and supply of fuel cell light electric vehicle (LEV) refuelling stations using Acta’s hydrogen generation technology.

REpower supplies 35 MW of wind turbines to the UK

REpower will deliver a total of 35 MW of wind turbines for the 24.6 MW Hall Farm, developed by RidgeWind, and the 10.25 MW Earls Hall Farm, developed by RENERCO in the UK.

UK opens up Northern Ireland to offshore wind and tidal UK opens up Northern Ireland to offshore wind and tidal

The UK's Crown Estate has launched offshore wind and tidal stream leasing rounds to select developers to take forward up to 800 MW of projects in Northern Ireland waters.

US solar installations grow 140%

The US solar energy industry saw a record 140% growth in installations in the third quarter (Q3) of 2011, compared to Q3 2010, thanks to utility-scale project completions, a strong residential market, effective policies and the plummeting price of solar panels.

Kaneka and imec develop silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cell

Kaneka has developed a high-efficiency silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cell in collaboration with Belgium's imec.

JCM Capital and Hay Solar build 30 MW of solar in Ontario

JCM Capital has signed an agreement with Hay Solar Holdings ULC to provide development, construction, and long-term equity financing for a 30 MW portfolio of modular 100 kW farm building solar installations located throughout the Province of Ontario, Canada.

EU funds marine renewables test centre network

The Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network (MaRINET) is a €9 million, EU-funded initiative to provide access to test facilities in specialist marine renewables energy centres across Europe.

Germany blamed for falling solar PV inverter revenues Germany blamed for falling solar PV inverter revenues

The solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter market declined once again in the third quarter (Q3) 2011 with industry revenues in Euros falling by over 20% year-on-year according to IMS Research.

MEMC cuts 20% of workforce

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc will reduce its workforce by 1300 – or 20% – in response to difficult market conditions in the solar and semiconductor sectors.

FuelCell Energy, Abengoa partner to develop fuel cell power plants for Europe and Latin America

US-based FuelCell Energy has announced a partnership with Abengoa in Spain to develop localized stationary fuel cell power plants for markets in Europe and Latin America. The partners will also install a 300 kW pilot project at the Abengoa headquarters in Seville.

FuturaGene sets up biomass R&D centre in China

Wood crop specialist FuturaGene has established its first biomass research and development centre in Shanghai, China, to help the country “meet its demand for sustainable fibre production and renewable energy sources.”

North American solar PV market to double in Q4’11

The North American solar photovoltaic (PV) market is set to double in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2011 compared to the same period last year, despite policy uncertainty, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Germany installs millionth solar power system

Germany has installed its 1 millionth solar photovoltaic (PV) connected to the power grid, says the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar).

Oerlikon reduces thin-film module cost by 5%

Oerlikon says it will be able to reduce the production cost of its Micromorph thin-film silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) modules by 5% from the end of 2012.

UK should approach bioenergy with caution

The UK could meet 10% of its energy demand using sustainable bionergy, but the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warns that the use of bioenergy is still controversial.

High Court application against UK solar incentive cuts

The UK High Court has agreed to hear applications by Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun for permission to challenge Government plans to slash financial incentives for solar electricity on Thursday 15 December 2011.

First 2 MW WindFloat installed offshore First 2 MW WindFloat installed offshore

Principle Power Inc and Energias de Portugal (EDP) have deployed the first full-scale, 2 MW offshore WindFloat offshore wind turbine solution off the coast of Aguçadoura, Portugal.

Siemens delivers 411 MW combined cycle power plant in Singapore

Siemens will supply the power block and other main components for a 411 MW combined-cycle power plant (CCPP) in Singapore for Hydrochem Pte Ltd.

NextEnergy establishes €400m fund for African renewable energy

NextEnergy Capital has begun fundraising for ix:Africa, a €400 million private equity impact fund dedicated to ethical investment in renewable energy, environmental business and clean technology projects in Africa.

US: 750 companies urge Congress to extend 1603 Treasury programme

A coalition of more than 750 US companies, small businesses and organisations have sent a letter to Congress calling for a one-year extension of the Department of Treasury’s Section 1603 Program.

Smart grid project planned for Cambridgeshire, UK

A 700 km2 smart grid project is planned for Cambridgeshire, UK, by UK Power Networks.

Ampere Equity Fund buys 90% of 51 MW of wind farms in Germany

Ampere Equity Fund, managed by Triodos Investment Management, has acquired 90% of four onshore wind farms from DunoAir totalling 51 MW and an option to buy an additional wind farm with a capacity of 12.6 MW.

Clyde Blowers acquires wind turbine gear specialist Moventas

Clyde Blowers is acquiring the wind gear manufacturer Moventas Wind Ltd and the industrial gear manufacturer Moventas Santasalo Ltd for €100 million, following Moventas Ltd's bankruptcy filing this summer.

Biomass could provide 5th of global energy – without damaging food supply

Up to one fifth of global energy could be provided by biomass without damaging food production, according to a report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).

Climate Bond Standard prototype released

The Climate Bonds Initiative has released the final approved text of the prototype Climate Bond Standard, which will be a screening tool for investors and governments to support investment in the low-carbon economy

EU needs to back ocean energy in Europe

Ministers from Ireland, the UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey have called on the EU to give its full backing to the development of ocean energy.

Smart grid to aid renewable energy Smart grid to aid renewable energy

To meet EU demands for electricity distribution systems that can incorporate more renewable energy, 16 European partners from 10 countries are working on a €160 million smart grid project, EcoGrid EU.

Biofuel from sago waste in Malaysia

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) has started a project to extract biofuel from sago waste through its Sago Research Centre.

Suntech appoints Pawel Nowotny as Director of Marketing

Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd has appointed Pawel Nowotny to head Suntech’s European Marketing team.

EU targets mean huge renewable energy growth this decade

If projections for EU renewable energy developments are realised, the European market is set for huge growth this decade, according to the European Energy Agency (EEA).

AREVA extends M5000 offshore wind turbine platform

AREVA Wind has extended its M5000 offshore wind turbine platform with the M5000-135, featuring a 135 m rotor.

Significant financial risk threatens renewable energy

The renewable energy sector needs to improve risk management and access alternative sources of capital as operational risks rise and governments cut funding due to the uncertain economic environment, according to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) sponsored by Swiss Re.

Doosan enters biomass market with majority stake in AE&E Lentjes

Doosan Power Systems has acquired the majority stake in AE&E Lentjes GmbH, which delivers process and plant engineering, boiler and environmental technologies as well as components for thermal power generation and energy-from-waste biomass plants.

Connection delays for German offshore wind farms

The construction of grid connections for German offshore wind farms in the North Sea is facing delays, says transmission system operator TenneT.

SENER and Torresol Energy win four CSP Today Awards

The SENER engineering and technology group and its joint venture with Masdar, Torresol Energy, won four awards at the fifth annual CSP Today International Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Summit at the end of November.

Schneider Electric launches SmartCity project

Schneider Electric and its recently acquired IT provider Telvent, have launched SmartCity, offering an integrated suite of solutions to improve the efficiency and sustainability of urban infrastructures.

UK renewables industry welcomes Government’s vote of confidence

RenewableUK has welcomed a series of UK Government announcements giving strong support to the renewable energy sector.

EU offshore wind power could reach 141 GW

Seventeen EU countries have over 141 GW in total of offshore wind energy capacity built, under construction, consented, or planned in Europe.

US Trade Commission backs solar companies in Chinese dumping case

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) believes there is a “reasonable indication” that US solar companies face unfair competition from Chinese silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers.

CIGS thin-film sets 17.4% efficiency record

Q-Cell's subsidiary, Solibro GmbH, has achieved a 17.4% efficiency with its solar thin-film CIGS module.

Offshore wind market potential

Over €51 billion is expected to be spent on new offshore wind installations over the next five years, according to a new report by Douglas-Westwood.

Chinese solar PV to surpass US and Japan in 2011 Chinese solar PV to surpass US and Japan in 2011

The Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic (PV) market is forecast to grow 39% quarter-on-quarter and 130% year-on-year in Q4’11 with fourth quarter installations reaching over 2 GW, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Evergreen Solar assets sold to Chinese company

Following its bankruptcy earlier this year, Evergreen Solar Inc has sold its core assets to China Private Equity Investment Holdings Inc for US$6 million in cash and 7.57m shares in CPEIH.

Growing nanowires on solar cells increases performance

A research team at the University of Illinois has found a way to integrate compound semiconductor nanowires on silicon wafers, potentially enhancing performance and reducing the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Solar powered soup at Campbell

Campbell Soup Company has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) and land lease agreement (LLA) with American Capital Energy (ACE) for a 2.3 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) ground mount tracker system on 14 acres of the company's facility in Sacramento, CA, USA.

Could “power-to-gas” resolve energy storage issues?

Experts from companies and industry associations in the energy sector and from science, policymaking and Government have convened in Berlin to discuss the contribution the gas grid can make to the storage of energy from renewable sources.

Mott MacDonald wins award for storage technology Mott MacDonald wins award for storage technology

Mott MacDonald, together with Beacon Power, have been named winners of the Energy Institute (EI) Technology Award for the ground breaking Stephentown flywheel energy storage plant in New York State, U.S.

SolarCity to build US$1bn worth of solar

SolarCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have agreed to terms on financing for SolarStrong, SolarCity’s five-year plan to build more than US$1 billion worth of solar power projects for privatised US military housing communities across the country.

BIC acquires Angstrom Power, plans fuel cell chargers for portable devices

BIC Group reports that its Canadian subsidiary has acquired the assets of Angstrom Power in Vancouver, which is developing portable fuel cell technology.

UK's Renewable Heat Incentive opens for applications

The UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has now opened to applicants, providing payments for heat generated from renewable technologies including biomass boilers, solar thermal equipment and heat pumps installed since 15 July 2009.

Soitec CPV plant at COP17 climate talks

Soitec has built a Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) power plant near Durban, South Africa, as a “flagship project” for the 17th annual Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), being held during 28 November to 9 December.

Narec builds 15 MW offshore wind drive train testing facility

The National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) has signed a £14.8 million contract with Shepherd Construction to delivery a 3000 m² building for offshore wind turbine drive train testing for nacelles up to 15 MW.

ANTARIS solar modules survive 6 months in pigsty ANTARIS solar modules survive 6 months in pigsty

ANTARIS SOLAR's monocrystalline solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, ANTARIS ASM 180 and ASM 185, have had their ammonia resistance tested under realistic conditions – spending 6 months in a pigsty.

EIB funds Thanet Offshore Wind Farm

The European Investment Bank will provide £150 million of long-term funding to Vattenfall's 300 MW Thanet Offshore Wind Farm.

Friends of the Earth says UK solar cuts are “illegal”

In response to the solar industry's lobby of the UK Parliament over Government plans to cut solar subsidies, organised by Cut Don't Kill, Friends of the Earth says the plans to downsize the solar feed-in tariff are “illegal”.

SolarWorld powers rooftop solar plant in Africa

Coinciding with the world climate summit in Durban, South Africa, SolarWorld AG is drawing attention to the global importance of solar power with milestone projects in four continents, including what could be the largest rooftop solar plant in Africa.

REpower installs 6M offshore wind turbines in the Netherlands

REpower Systems SE will install two of its 6M offshore wind turbines for RWE Innogy near Eemshaven, the Netherlands.

China to become innovation driver

China’s 12th Five-Year Plan shows the country is determined to accelerate the state-controlled economy’s transition from manufacturing powerhouse to innovation engine.

BrightSource adds solar thermal storage to three PPAs

BrightSource Energy Inc is adding its SolarPLUS solar thermal energy storage capability to three of its power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison (SCE).