News for February 2012

News Archive

Endurance and Met Office cooperate on UK wind assessments

Small wind turbine provider Endurance Wind Power (EWP) and the UK's Met Office are joining forces to provide wind speed assessments for UK customers.

Solar Frontier reaches 17.8% efficiency with CIS solar thin-film

Solar Frontier has achieved a 17.8% aperture area efficiency on a 30x30 cm CIS-based solar thin-film photovoltaic (PV) submodule in joint research with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

EERC to develop biofuel for US Military

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) will develop alternative liquid fuels, including biofuel, for US military applications under a US$906,000 contract from the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc (CCAT).

Calyxo CdTe solar thin-film module reaches 13.4% efficiency

Calyxo GmbH says its 88.7 W cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar thin-film module has achieved an efficiency of 13.4% measured on aperture area - confirmed by testing body SGS Germany.

Dye-sensitised solar cell inventor awarded 2012 Albert Einstein award

The 'father' of the dye-sensitised solar cell (DSC), Professor Michael Grätzel, is being awarded the 2012 Albert Einstein World Award of Science by the World Cultural Council.

Nordex sees tumbling Chinese sales in 2011

Nordex saw an operating loss (EBIT) of €29.7 million in 2011, compared to an EBIT of €40.1m in 2010 due to decreased sales and one-off costs.

Suntech tops 2011 solar PV module rankings

Suntech Power was the largest supplier of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules by shipment volumes for the second consecutive year in 2011 as Chinese manufacturers tightened their grip on the market, according IMS Research.

Suzlon's S95 wind turbine delivers 102%

Suzlon has completed testing and certification of its S95 Standard Temperature Version (STV) 2.1 MW wind turbine in its 50 Hz and 60 Hz variants, achieving 102% of its estimated power curve.

Editor's blog: Sign of the times

As we enter 2012 with more talk of funding problems and reduced financial incentives, it is apparent how the dynamics – and drivers – for renewable energy have changed, and relatively quickly at that.

GE and JP Morgan invest US$225m in Texas wind farm

GE Energy Financial Services and JP Morgan will invest US$225 million in NextEra Energy Resources' 662.5 MW Capricorn Ridge wind farm in West Texas, USA.

REEEP funds clean energy in rural Cambodia, Ethiopia and Tanzania

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) is funding three projects to widen clean energy access in rural Cambodia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

UK industry renews calls for biofuels target

The UK biofuels industry has stepped up calls for a biofuels target to 2020, amid concerns that the UK could risk losing the benefits of home-grown biofuels industry altogether.

Antaris' solar PV panels sees heat resistance confirmed Antaris' solar PV panels sees heat resistance confirmed

In a temperature benchmark, the Photovoltaics Institut Berlin (PI) has found that Antaris Solar's solar photovoltaic (PV) panels keep their performance at high temperatures.

Siemens supplies 200 MW of wind to Thailand

Siemens Energy will supply 90 wind turbines totalling 200 MW for two wind farms, Korat 1 and Korat 2, in Nakorn Rachasrima Province in north-eastern Thailand.

Chile launches 450 MW onshore wind farm tender

The Chilean Government has launched an international tender call for three land-use concessions for up to 150 MW each of onshore wind.

Forum looks at viable US renewable energy business models

A series of forums to outline a viable business model for renewable electricity has begun in the US, organised by the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Sputnik Engineering adds three devices to its SolarMax solar PV inverter series

Sputnik Engineering is adding three solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters in the 10-15 kW range for large-scale decentralised installations to its SolarMax series.

Odersun bags iF gold award for aesthetic solar PV

Odersun has won the iF gold award for its solar photovoltaic (PV) modules designed for building integrated PV (BIPV) architecture.

Gamesa supplies 10 MW of turbines for Ontario wind farm

Gamesa will supply five of its G97 2 MW wind turbines for the 10 MW wind farm planned in Highgate, Ontario, Canada, marking the first Canadian project for the Spanish company.

Ceres buys solar CIGS thin-film assets from Veeco

Ceres Technologies is expanding its position in the solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment manufacturing supply chain with the purchase of CIGS thin-film technology and product assets formerly operated by Veeco Instruments Inc.

Four cities act as models for smart grid cities of the future

Amsterdam, Stockholm, Colorado’s SmartGridCity and Portugal’s PlanIT Valley initiative are among the most replicable models for countries scrambling to accommodate an additional 2.7 billion people in the world’s cities by 2050, according Lux Research.

Ameresco builds wastewater biogas facility in Philadelphia

Ameresco Inc and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) have entered into an agreement for a wastewater biogas to energy facility in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

New Energy Technologies and NREL produce large organic solar PV device

New Energy Technologies Inc and scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have produced what they call the “largest-area” organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar module ever produced at NREL.

Project transforms waste into Bio-SNG

A project to deliver an end-to-end process for converting waste to Bio Substitute Natural Gas (Bio-SNG) using Gasplasma technology, has been initiated by National Grid, Advanced Plasma Power and Progressive Energy.

Sharp Electronics Europe also awarded Top Brand PV seal

Along with Q-Cells and Suntech, Sharp Electronics (Europe) GmbH has been awarded the seal Top Brand PV by EuPD Research.

Consent for Scottish offshore wind turbine test facility

SSE Renewables has received consent for an offshore wind turbine test facility at Hunterston from North Ayrshire Council in Scotland.

GE and Carbon Trust cooperate on European clean-tech funding

GE and the Carbon Trust have launched a pan-European partnership to accelerate European clean-tech growth, including a US$5 million business incubation fund

Nanosolar secures US$20m for expansion

Nanosolar, which specialises in solar thin-film printing, has secured US$20 million to fund continued expansion as well as newly committed projects.

Apple builds 20 MW solar array at North Carolina data centre

Computer giant Apple is building a 20 MW solar array at its Maiden, North Carolina, data centre.

Scotland and North East England vie for Gamesa investment

Gamesa's plans to invest £150 million in offshore wind manufacturing, maintenance and logistics in the UK, have led to two ports vying for the contract.

Vestas signs contracts for 206 MW of wind in Italy and the USA

Vestas will supply 56 MW of wind turbines for a wind farm in the Apulia region in Italy, and 150 MW for an undisclosed project in the USA.

REpower and Maïa Eolis agree 250 MW of French wind

REpower Systems SE and Maïa Eolis have entered a framework agreement for up to 250 MW of onshore wind farms in France.

Iowa considers feed-in tariffs

A feed-in tariff bill has been introduced into the state legislature in the state of Iowa, USA.

Mainstream and Goldwind JV to build 70 MW wind farm in Chile

Mainstream Renewable Power and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd have formed a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to build the first 70 MW phase of the Ckani Wind Farm in the Antofagasta region of Northern Chile.

UK wave and tidal has huge potential – needs government backing

The UK could become a leading exporter of wave and tidal power equipment and expertise if the Government adopts a more visionary approach to developing marine renewables, according to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.

Siemens buys tidal company Marine Current Turbines

Siemens has acquired a majority stake in the UK tidal power company Marine Current Turbines Ltd.

Siemens and Prysmian build submarine interconnector in the Irish Sea

Siemens Energy and Prysmian will build a 2.2 GW high voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine DC interconnector in the Irish Sea.

Scottish consent for first Oyster wave power array Scottish consent for first Oyster wave power array

Scotland's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has given consent to Aquamarine Power's plans for a 2.4 MW array of Oyster wave power devices at a demonstration project in Orkney.

DoE could see US$27.2bn budget in fiscal 2013

The Obama Administration's fiscal year 2013 budget includes a US$27.2 billion request for the Department of Energy (DoE).

Editor's blog: Risky business

An interesting report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) crossed our desk recently. The EIU spoke to 284 senior-level renewable energy executives about the risks in financing, constructing and operating renewable energy projects, as well as the risk management challenges that the renewable energy industry must confront.

First Chinese award of TOP BRAND PV label

Suntech is the first solar photovoltaic (PV) module producer from China to be awarded the TOP BRAND PV label by EuPD Research.

Trina Solar's modules fulfil Italian feed-in tariff requirements

Trina Solar Ltd's multicrystalline solar photovoltaic (PV) modules manufactured with European-sourced silicon wafers have been certified by the Italian institute ICIM and fulfil GSE requirements for a 10% feed-in tariff premium in Italy.

Scotland welcomes offshore wind, wave and tidal blueprint

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond has welcomed a blueprint to streamline the scoping, planning and consenting of offshore wind, wave and tidal developments.

Could biofuels power the shipping industry?

Biofuels could replace conventional fossil fuels in marine transport, helping the industry to become carbon neutral as well as reducing harmful emissions, according to Ecofys.

ABB and FG Emvelo develop CSP in South Africa

ABB and FG Emvelo are teaming up to develop concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in Karoshoek Solar Valley in the Northern Cape province, South Africa.

Q-Cells awarded TOP BRAND PV by EuPD Research

Q-Cells has been awarded the TOP BRAND PV label in three European countries by EuPD Research.

REC sells €50m worth of solar plant equipment

As part of its solar manufacturing capacity cuts, REC is selling off €50 million worth of solar plant equipment.

Biofuel and food industries share potential synergies

Neste Oil Corporation and Raisioagro Ltd say the biofuel and food industries “share a number of major potential synergies” and cooperation could benefit both.

US DoE adds US$12m to SunShot programme for solar innovations

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced over US$12 million to speed solar energy innovation from laboratories to the marketplace through the Department of Energy's (DoE) SunShot Incubator programme.

ITM Power to cooperate with Logan Energy on Scottish clean energy storage projects

In the UK, ITM Power has signed a cooperation agreement with Logan Energy Ltd, under which they will jointly tender for hydrogen energy storage and clean fuel projects in Scotland.

Lithium batteries could enhance solar energy

A joint research project between the University of Southampton and lithium battery technology company REAPsystems has found that a new type of lithium battery has the potential to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar power.

Nominations open for 2012 Annual British Renewable Awards

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) says it is open for nominations to its 7th Annual British Renewable Awards, which will be presented in London on 21 June.

MaRINET offers funding for wave and tidal testing at EMEC

The marine research organisation MaRINET offers to fund access for non UK-based wave and tidal energy power companies, SMEs and research groups to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, UK.

Ocean Energy installs wave power device at Wave Hub

Ocean Energy Ltd will install its 1.5 MW, €9 million wave power device at the grid connected test site for wave energy, Wave Hub, in Cornwall, UK.

Biofuels could be competitive as aviation fuel by 2020

Some aviation biofuels could be competitive by 2020, but the take-up of biofuels by airlines is likely to be modest in the near term unless governments introduce mandates requiring their use, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

EDF eyes up Photowatt

Electricité de France (EDF) has confirmed its interest in buying bankrupt solar company Photowatt.

Aries and Tianwei partner on solar PV EPC services

Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas and Tianwei Solution are forming a partnership to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects worldwide.

RES sees financial close for Roos wind farm in the UK

Renewable energy developer RES has closed a financing deal for its 17.1 MW Roos Wind Farm in Yorkshire, UK.

Expiry of US Treasury Grant challenges solar PV market

The expiry of the Treasury Grant Program at the turn of the year, which has been one of the main drivers of solar photovoltaic (PV) market growth within the previous two years, is posing an added challenge for the industry.

EU nearing 2020 targets for renewable energy share

The EU is already ahead of the energy trajectory mapped out in the NREAPs with 145 Mtoe compared to the 136.8 MW estimated for 2010, and only needs another 100 Mtoe to meet 2020 targets for 20% renewable energy, according to EurObserv'ER.

UPDATED: Renewable Energy Focus plans UK Offshore Wind supplement UPDATED: Renewable Energy Focus plans UK Offshore Wind supplement

Renewable Energy Focus is planning a UK Offshore Wind supplement to go alongside the May/June issue.

Tata Power builds 25 MW solar project in India

Tata Power has secured financing for a 25 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power project at Mithapur, in the western state of Gujarat, India

Indian and Swiss cooperation on energy efficiency in buildings

India and Switzerland have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a joint project on energy efficiency in buildings in India.

Journal on energy strategy launched

Publisher Elsevier has launched a peer-reviewed journal focusing on energy strategy, planning and decision making, the Energy Strategy Reviews.

20 GW of solar PV manufacturing equipment to be updated by 2016

There could be a 20 GW opportunity for the upgrade or replacement of existing solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing equipment by 2016 despite a bleak solar PV market outlook in 2012, according to IMS Research.

Gaia-Wind to provide 190 small wind turbines to UK in 2012

Gaia-Wind will provide 190 of its 133-11 kW small wind turbines to renewable energy provider Myriad CEG Power for installations in England and Wales over the next 12 months.

Wave and tidal in Scotland gets £6m boost

The wave and tidal power industry could benefit from £6 million in funding through Scottish Enterprise's WATERS fund to develop testing of prototypes in Scotland.

UK: new Minister maintains renewables-friendly credentials in face of Tory wind revolt UK: new Minister maintains renewables-friendly credentials in face of Tory wind revolt

The UK’s new energy minister Ed Davey has told industry that he is a strong supporter of renewable energy – and insisted he has the backing of his Conservative coalition colleagues, despite an anti-wind revolt this week from a number of coalition Government MPs.

Bosch postpones Malaysian solar facility

Bosch Solar is postponing the construction of a €520 million solar production facility in Malaysia, according to media reports.

Mitsubishi enters German offshore wind grid projects

Mitsubishi Corporation has entered into the offshore wind high-voltage cable projects BorWin1 and BorWin2.

Slowdown in Spanish wind

The Spanish wind power sector experienced the slowest growth ever recorded in percentage terms with a 5.1% increase in accumulated power to just under 21.7 GW in 2011.

REA concerned about UK feed-in tariff details

In further response to yesterday's announcement that the UK Government is proposing further changes to the feed-in tariff scheme for renewable energy, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) says it welcomes the ambition, but expresses concern over details.

UK small wind endangered by feed-in tariff cuts

UK trade association RenewableUK says it is “concerned” over the Government's proposed lower levels of feed-in tariffs for small wind turbines.

DONG opens 367.2 MW Walney offshore wind farm

DONG Energy has opened the 367.2 MW Walney offshore wind farm in the UK.

UK Government attempts to improve predictability of feed-in tariffs

The UK Government plans to make the feed-in tariff scheme for renewable energy more predictable for the future, saying the reforms “will provide greater confidence to consumers and industry investing in exciting renewable technologies such as solar power, anaerobic digestion, micro-CHP, wind and hydropower”.

UK announces £50m Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

The Carbon Trust, National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) and Ocean Energy Innovation has been selected by the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to set up the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

US DOE seeking information on commercial readiness of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies

The Fuel Cell Technologies Program of the US Department of Energy has issued a Request for Information (RFI), seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding the commercial readiness of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.

Europe: Five-fold growth in smart meters by 2017

Europe could experience five-fold growth in the installed base of smart meters by 2017, according to analyst Frost & Sullivan.

Honeywell launches smart grid project in England

Honeywell is launching a smart grid project that will connect up to 30 commercial and industrial buildings in the Thames Valley area west of London, together with utility SSE.

Suzlon to manufacture wind turbines in South Africa?

Suzlon Energy Ltd has revealed plans for a potential 400 MW wind turbine manufacturing facility in South Africa.

EU energy chief opposes increase in biofuels target

EU energy chief Günther Oettinger is opposing proposals to increase the EU's target of 10% biofuels by 2020 due to environmental concerns.

Chinese court dismisses AMSC IP case against Sinovel

A Chinese court has dismissed AMSC's case against Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Sinovel where AMSC accuses Sinovel of contractual breaches and intellectual property theft.

REC crashes into NOK10bn loss in 2011

REC Group has tumbled down from a profit of NOK989 million in 2010, to a loss of over NOK10 billion in 2011 due to a “weak solar market” and “aggressive polysilicon pricing”.

Ballard signs deal with WEG Industries to develop fuel cells for clean energy in Brazil

Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with WEG Industries in Brazil, to collaborate on product and market development of clean energy fuel cell products.

Vestas sees disastrous 2011 – CFO and Chairman resign

Vestas fell into a net loss of €166 million in 2011, compared to a profit of €156m in 2010, during what the company terms “a very challenging year”.

Worldwide wind installations up 21% in 2011 Worldwide wind installations up 21% in 2011

Over 41 GW of new wind power was installed in 2011, up 21% from 2010, bringing the total to over 238 GW, says the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Goal of 50% UK content in UK wind farms

At a meeting of the Offshore Developers Forum, co-chaired by Department of Energy and Climate Change Minister Charles Hendry, it has been put forward that UK firms should provide more than 50% of the content of future wind farms.

3TIER opens EMEA office

Solar and wind energy assessment and forecasting company 3TIER is opening an EMEA office in the UK in response to increasing demand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Intelligent Energy, Suzuki form joint venture to produce fuel cell systems

UK-based Intelligent Energy and the Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan are establishing a joint venture company, to develop and manufacture air-cooled PEM fuel cell systems for a range of industry sectors.

UK energy storage company picks up awards

UK energy storage technology company, Highview Power Storage, has won the Rushlight Award for Power Generation and Transmission, and the Group Energy Environmental Award.

India saw US$10.3bn of clean energy investment in 2011

India saw clean energy investments reach US$10.3 billion in 2011, 52% higher than 2010, and accounting for 4% of global clean energy investment, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Wind speeds 5-10% above normal in northern Europe in 2011 Wind speeds 5-10% above normal in northern Europe in 2011

3TIER's wind performance map of Europe for 2011 shows that wind speeds were 5-10% above normal in northern Europe, and up to 10% below normal in southern Europe.

Solvay unveils Nedstack 1 MW PEM fuel cell in operation Solvay unveils Nedstack 1 MW PEM fuel cell in operation

Solvay has demonstrated the new Nedstack fuel cell system in operation at its SolVin chlorine plant in Antwerp-Lillo, Belgium. The 1 MW PEM Power Plant – one of the largest PEM fuel cell systems yet – runs on by-product hydrogen produced at the SolVin plant.

Atlantis moves tidal testing to Narec, UK

Atlantis Resources Corporation is moving its AR1000 tidal turbine to continue its testing programme at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth, UK.

UK solar PV installers must be wary of misleading customers on feed-in tariffs

Renewable Energy Assurances Ltd (REAL) is warnings its members against misleading customers about solar photovoltaic (PV) feed-in tariff guarantees in the UK amongst the current uncertainty.

Samsung plans offshore wind base in Scotland

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) plans to place its first European offshore wind project in Methil, Fife, in Scotland, creating over 500 jobs.

Siemens appoints head of solar thermal

Siemens has appointed Shmuel Fledel as CEO of the Solar Thermal Energy Business Unit in the Solar & Hydro Division of Siemens Energy.

Vestas low-wind V100 wind turbines to China

Vestas China has received its first order for the low-wind V100 wind turbines from Datang Hubei Renewable Energy.

Semprius achieves 33.9% solar CPV module efficiency

Semprius Inc has reached an efficiency of 33.9% with one of its concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar modules.

Fronius sets up solar inverter subsidiary in China

Fronius plans to establish a solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter subsidiary in Shanghai, China, to tap into one of the fastest growing solar PV markets in the world.

Scottish Water announces £20m hydropower scheme Scottish Water announces £20m hydropower scheme

Scottish Water will undertake a £20million hydropower scheme that will use the flow in large water supply pipes to generate electricity and protect water treatment plants from power failures.

US Department of Commerce finds massive surge in Chinese solar imports

The US Department of Commerce has found a large surge in Chinese solar imports, which could trigger 90-day retroactivity if it finds duties are warranted.

SolarBridge and Solartec introduce AC solar PV to Mexico

SolarBridge Technologies and Solartec Energia Renovable will introduce AC solar photovoltaic (PV) modules to Mexico.

SunPower closes Tenesol acquisition

SunPower Corp has completed the acquisition of Total SA's subsidiary Tenesol SA for US$165.4 million in cash.

Corrosion protection for floating offshore wind foundation

Coating supplier Hempel is taking part in a project to performance test an offshore corrosion protection system on the semi-submersible floating offshore wind turbine foundation, WindFloat.

Renewable energy to help the US Department of Defense

The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) are partnering to explore how renewable energy can help the US Department of Defense (DoD).

Moulding wind turbine blades to meet growing US demand

Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG), a leading North American contract manufacturer of wind turbine components, recently shipped the 1000th set of 37 m (121 ft) long blades for 1.5 MW turbines from its facility in Texas.

DOE-NREL webinar on US National Hydrogen Learning Demonstration Status (Monday 6 February)

NREL researchers will report on progress the lab has made in deploying fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations through the DOE National Hydrogen Learning Demonstration.

Spain halts all new feed-in tariff applications

Spain is halting all feed-in tariff applications as the Government looks to reform the energy system and tackle the feed-in tariff programme's deficit.

Solar PV surge at the end of 2011 Solar PV surge at the end of 2011

The last quarter of 2011 saw a 23% rise in the European solar photovoltaic (PV) market, creating short-term optimism in the industry, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Yingli to supply 180 MW of solar PV modules to IBC in 2012

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd will supply 180 MW of multicrystalline and monocrystalline solar photovoltaic (PV) modules to IBC SOLAR AG in 2012.

Micro-hybrids could create a US$6.9bn battery market in 2017

Micro-hybrids could grow nearly eight-fold to 39 million vehicles in 2017 and create a US$6.9 billion market for energy storage devices, according Lux Research.

TEP and AREVA Solar partner on CSP in Tucson, AZ

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and AREVA Solar are partnering on a concentrated solar power (CSP) addition to TEP’s H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station in Tucson, AZ, USA.

Nordex installs 30 MW of wind in Spain

Nordex will assemble and install the 30 MW Barbers wind farm consisting of 12 of its N90/2500 wind turbines for Eolia Renovables, in Spain.

Gamesa and NREL collaborate on next-gen wind turbines

Gamesa and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are collaborating on next generation wind turbines for the US market.