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jpak

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 27,460

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Wind power stays aloft in renewable energy race (cheaper than new coal plants)

http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/04/wind_power_stays_aloft_in_rene.html

Michigan electricity providers are making good progress toward meeting the state’s 2015 renewable-energy mandate, mainly because of a sharp drop in wind-power generation costs, a recent state Public Service Commission report found.

The commission also says the cost of renewables is lower than the projected cost of producing electricity from a new coal-fired plant.

Spokesmen for DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, the state’s two largest electric utilities, wouldn’t comment on whether the utilities agreed with the commission’s cost comparisons.

“Wind is the cheapest resource to bring large amounts of renewable energy online,” said Julie Baldwin, manager of the commission’s renewable energy section. “It’s hard for other sources to be competitive.”

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Here comes the sun: Solar cost competitve with fossil fuels in a decade?

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/04/here-comes-the-sun-solar-cost-competitve-with-fossil-fuels-in-a-decade/

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And, ultimately, it’s the answer. Eventually the capacity of solar cells will increase, the cost to manufacture them will go down, and battery storage will improve such that sunlight collected on a sunny day can be used during a cloudy week.

But when?

Perhaps sooner than one might think. According to the giant consulting firm McKinsey & Company, solar capacity globally will soar as costs fall by an average of 10 percent a year through 2020. It should become cost competitive with fossil fuels in a decade, the report says.

“The pace of cost reductions has been staggering. When companies are building new energy infrastructure, solar will be a competitive option within this decade,” report author Krister Aanesen said in a news release. “It will be cost comparable to peaking plant within two to three years in some countries and comparable with base load plants by the end of the decade.”

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Germany Solar Installations May Have Tripled in First Quarter (1800 MW)

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-19/germany-solar-installations-may-have-tripled-in-first-quarter

German solar installations may have more than tripled in the first quarter from a year ago, the country’s deputy environment minister said.

“The first quarter had big installations,” Katherina Reiche said today in an interview during an informal meeting of ministers in Denmark. “It is assumed that nearly 1,800 megawatts were installed.”

Germany added 513 megawatts in the same period last year, according to the Bundesnetzagentur grid regulator.

Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks to cut by half the pace of annual solar installations after incentives for the industry pushed new projects to a record 7.5 gigawatts last year, more than double a target. Subsidy cuts, still going through parliament, would take effect April 1, about a year after Merkel decided to exit nuclear generation and replace reactors with a mix of renewable and more efficient fossil-fuel plants.

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World's largest solar field switched on in India

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2012/04/19/worlds_largest_solar_field_switched_on_in_india/

NEW DELHI—The west Indian state of Gujarat is flipping the switch on Asia's largest solar power field, as just part of its 600 megawatt solar energy addition to India's power grid.

The Gujarat Solar Park, spread across a desolate swath of desert, accounts for 214 MW of photovoltaic solar capacity, making it larger than China's 200 MW Golmud Solar Park.

The project gives a serious boost to India's renewable energy ambitions.

India aims for solar power to account for 3 percent of national capacity -- or 1,000 MW -- by 2013. Overall, it wants renewables to make up 15 percent of capacity by 2020, from 6 percent today.

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Siemens Figures Out What to Do With Night Wind (electrolysis, hydrogen storage)

http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/19/siemens-figures-out-what-to-do-with-night-wind/

German energy giant Siemens has a solution in the works to tap the unused wind-powered electricity that goes to waste at night because no one is up and about. The planet’s daily temperature swings stir up night-time winds, just when no one needs electricity.

Solving the storage issue is especially crucial for Germany, which, by cutting its nuclear power, is correspondingly scaling up its offshore wind power 20-fold by 2020 — when it will have 10 GW of wind power on the grid.

Using part of their annual 1 billion euro R&D budget ($1.3 billion), Siemens is working on devising large scale electrolysis that would convert wind energy into gas that can be stored — as electricity cannot be — and can then be shipped out, when it is needed, by pipeline.

Their electrolyser, a soccer-field-sized plant that converts power into storable hydrogen, is in the testing phase, Michael Weinhold, chief technology officer of Siemens’ energy businesses told Bloomberg.

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UPDATE 1-Spain spot power at 2-year low, wind smashes record

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/18/markets-iberia-power-idUSL6E8FIEM520120418

MADRID, April 18 (Reuters) - Spanish spot power prices sank to their lowest levels in two years on Wednesday as cheap supplies of wind power climbed high above previous records.

The Iberian Electricity Market's (Mibel) spot exchange, OMIE, set the day-ahead "pool" price at 22.69 euros ($29.82) per megawatt-hour, down 11.75 euros on the day and the lowest for a full working day since it fixed a price of 21.41 euros for April 8, 2010.

By 1520 GMT, Spanish wind parks - the world's fourth-most productive - were producing 16,513 megawatts, or enough to meet 43.3 percent of demand, according to data from national grid operator REE.

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Wind power weighs on the "pool" price because it displaces costlier coal- and gas-burning plants from the generation mix.

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AllEarth Renewables proposes new Vermont solar farm

http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2012/04/16/daily8-AllEarth-Renewables-proposes-new-Vermont-solar-farm.html

Pending approval from the city and the state, Williston, Vt.-based solar manufacturer AllEarth Renewables will build a 150 kilowatt solar farm on city-owned land in Rutland, Vt.

The proposed farm, announced Monday by Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras, would save the city about 5 percent a year - about $2,000 a year - on electricity for Rutland City Hall, Jeffords Amtrak Station, and a portion of Giorgetti Arena. Louras told Mass High tech that while the monetary savings is important, the project is also intended to show the city’s commitment to alternative energy innovation in anticipation of Green Mountain Power Corp.’s proposed Energy Innovation Center, to be located in Rutland.

Green Mountain Power has committed to bringing its Solar City initiative to Rutland as part of its merger with Central Vermont Public Service Corp. The initiative and the planned Innovation Center are part of an agreement that will help preserve jobs in Rutland during the merger.

The project will be built on land known in town as the “old poor farm” - land designated during the Great Depression for migrant farmers to live and work. The land is now used as a municipal tree nursery and for community gardens, both of which will remain after the solar farm is built.

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(10 MW) Solar project could be a catalyst for more if policies allow it (Georgia)

http://www.ajc.com/business/solar-project-could-be-1418862.html

The success of an 80-acre, 10-megawatt solar project in Washington County may lead outside financier Smart Energy Capital to do more in Georgia, but only if there's support from business and civic officials.

The regulations have to be there to support it," said Michael Grenier, the managing partner at Smart Energy Capital, which gave details Monday about the large solar project in Middle Georgia that will sell electricity to Cobb EMC. "We're watching. We're interested. If things allow for us to come in and the economics support it, we'll be here like anywhere else."

Smart Energy and Jacoby Development have agreed to build what will be called the Azalea Solar Facility in Davisboro. The cost of the project -- which will produce enough power to serve 1,500 homes -- is estimated at $30 million to $35 million.

Construction is expected to start in September and create about 75 jobs. It will likely be completed sometime between the end of this year and mid-2013.

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Spain wind power reaches 60.5% demand, prices fall

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/16/markets-iberia-power-idUSL6E8FG8NH20120416

MADRID, April 16 (Reuters) - Spain's wind parks provided a record 60.46 percent of demand for electricity early on Monday, national grid manager REE said, after a windy weekend that reduced wholesale power prices to their lowest levels in more than two years.

The new record percentage set at 3:48 a.m. local time (0148 GMT) compared with a previous maximum of 59.63 percent at 2 a.m. on Nov. 11.

The Iberian Electricity Market's (Mibel) spot exchange OMIE set the benchmark "pool" price in Spain for Sunday at 10.99 euros ($14.38) per megawatt-hour, its lowest since fixing a level of 6.32 euros for Jan. 1, 2010.

Wind power sways the spot market, because producers can sell it at a considerable discount to electricity generated by burning coal and gas.

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EU’s ‘Recession-Busting’ Wind Industry Set to Triple in Value

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-16/eu-s-recession-busting-wind-industry-set-to-triple-in-value

The European Union’s “recession- busting” wind power industry is forecast to triple in value as its labor force doubles in the 10 years through 2020, the European Wind Energy Association said.

The contribution of the wind industry to the economy of the 27-nation EU will rise to 94.5 billion euros ($123 billion) in 2020 from 32.4 billion euros in 2010, the lobby group, known as EWEA, said today in a report published in Copenhagen at the start of its annual conference. Jobs supported by the industry will jump to 520,000 from 238,154, it said.

“Wind energy is a recession-busting industry,” EWEA President Arthouros Zervos said in a statement. It is “providing increasing economic activity, more jobs and exports every year to an EU struggling with an economic crisis intensified by ever-increasing amounts of fuel being imported at rising costs.”

The EU is chasing a target of getting 20 percent of all energy for power, heating and transport from renewables by 2020. The contribution of the wind industry to EU economic output increased by a third in 2010 from 2007, according to today’s report. EWEA said Feb. 6 that wind power capacity expanded more than 10 percent last year with 21 percent of the bloc’s new power capacity coming from wind.

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