December 2010

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Thursday laid the foundation stone of what is touted to become the largest solar power park in Asia.

Modi said this would be the first solar power park in Asia with a 500 MW generation capacity at a single location. The state government had signed power purchase agreements for about 933 MW of solar energy, the highest in India’s solar power sector, during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit in 2009. The government had also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Clinton Climate Initiative of Clinton Foundation in 2009.


The Rs.10,000 crore ($2.2 billion) park, on the lines of an industrial estate, is being developed by the sectoral nodal agency Gujarat Power Corporation Limited on over 2,089 hectare of wasteland bordering the Rann of Kutch, in Patan district.


In the first phase of the project, 15 solar power generation companies would produce 176 MW on the land leased out to them for 30 years, whereas Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited would set up a pooling station.


Anita George of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank, hailed the initiative and said the IFC had invested $1 billion so far on manufacturing and infrastructure projects in Gujarat.


The overall project cost in Phase I would be Rs.1,287 crore, including Rs.351 crore towards the cost of land and power infrastructure and evacuation facility worth Rs.624 crore. When completed, the 500 MW facility would have investments of another Rs.7,500 crore and generate about 5,000 direct jobs.


The planning commission has approved a one-time additional central assistance of Rs.210 crore for development of the park. The Asian Development Bank has also approved a soft loan of $100 million for the project, including development of a smart grid for evacuation of power.


With this solar power facility generating 1,250 million units, the country would save about nine lakh tons of coal and prevent emission of 12.5 lakh tons of carbon dioxide per annum. The area has 330 sunny days annually with high solar radiation ranging from 5.5 to six kilowatt per square metres per day.

Source: sify


In California, a solar company recently crossed a major hurdle as it endeavors to install a photovoltaic system near a wastewater treatment plant in Colusa.

The proposed solar panel array, a 293 kilowatt system, is set to be built on the site of old sewer ponds and passed an environmental review phase required by the California Environmental Quality Act, Colusa’s city officials affirm. SunEdison, the solar firm charged with developing the solar project, says that it will use a single-axis tracker mounting system to guarantee the solar system generates an optimal amount of electricity.

Upon completion, the solar panel system will tie in directly to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s electrical grid. Moreover, Colusa’s City Manager, Jan McClintock, County Sun-Herald that the project will not cost city residents money, affirming that the city will pay a preset price for the electricity generated by the SunEdison-owned solar array.

The solar system is expected to go online by next summer, generating cost savings of $40,000 in its first year of operation, and $1.5 million during the 20-year agreement between the town and SunEdison.

Source: get solar

Queensland could become home to one of the world’s largest solar power stations, Energy Minister Stephen Robertson says.

Mr Robertson on Wednesday announced $100 million to go towards two projects that receive funding under the federal government’s Solar Flagships program.

The program supports the construction of large-scale solar power plants in Australia and four Queensland projects have been shortlisted. 

Round one supports one large solar thermal station and one solar photovoltaic station.

Those in the running are:

– An AGL Energy proposal for a multi-site project in Queensland, Western Australia, NSW and SA using solar photovoltaic technology;

– A Parsons Brinckerhoff proposal for a solar thermal plant at Kogan Creek, near Chinchilla;

– A Wind Prospect CWP proposal for a solar thermal plant at Kogan Creek; and

– A Transfield proposal for a solar thermal plant at Collinsville, west of Proserpine.

Mr Robertson said the funding would help with the development of the projects and was contingent on two Queensland plans being chosen, reducing it if only one was successful.

“These plants will present a major stepping stone in providing solar-generated power to Queensland and Australian households and industry through the national electricity grid,” he said.

The federal government will choose successful candidates in the first half of next year, with projects possibly coming on line in 2015, he said.

A report released by the minister last week showed Queensland had some of the world’s best solar sites.

“Queensland is committed to doubling solar energy capacity within the next five years,” Mr Robertson told reporters.

Source: news.smh

GOOD for Anna Bligh in pointing out the obvious, that alternative energy cannot match coal-generated power as a baseload electricity source, and that means we should consider adding nuclear power to our energy options. On Thursday, Queensland’s Premier called for a review of Labor Party policy, which does not permit nuclear energy now. She joins other Labor leaders, notably federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, in calling for the party to at least argue out its position on nuclear energy rather than continue a decades-long ban. Calls for debate are immensely unpopular with old Left loyalists, who are still fighting the Cold War and conflate nuclear energy with nuclear weapons. Strangely enough, while they keep on condemning all but medical uses of uranium, they never mention France, which sources 75 per cent of its power from nuclear power plants. The ban, dating from days when fluorocarbons destroying the ozone layer was the fashionable threat to the environment, ignores the obvious: coal-fired power stations are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear plants are not.

Hatred of nuclear energy runs so deep among environmentalists that many will not face the flaw in their argument, that if coal is unclean, producing power from uranium should at least be considered as a way of cutting our carbon emissions at a price the community can afford. Instead, they point to the potential of power produced by wind and the sun. But the arguments for alternative energy do not cut it. When it comes to pumping out enormous amounts of electricity to meet peak demand, solar power simply cannot compete on cost or capacity with big power stations fuelled by coal, or even uranium. The green dream of home owners becoming peasant energy farmers, producing power from rooftop solar panels, is already occurring, but at such an enormous cost that schemes are being scaled back. In NSW, subsidies meant home-produced solar power was pumped into the grid for $6000 a megawatt hour, compared with the $52 hourly rate that coal-fired power costs. A national subsidy scheme started by the Howard government cost taxpayers $1 billion, but solar power still accounts for only 0.1 per cent of the electricity market. As for wind power, the tall towers, with gas generators used to power turbines in still weather, produce electricity for anything between $350 and $1100 a tonne of carbon not emitted, stratospherically above the charge of $14 that the Rudd government’s carbon reduction plan put on the agenda at the beginning of the year. Ideology, not economics, is at the core of the environmental argument. Rather than being especially interested in the cost of power, even including a carbon price, the green extreme wants us to consume less electricity, considering the lifestyle our abundant coal and gas make possible an insult to the environment. That many dismiss nuclear power makes the point. Nuclear generators are expensive to build, produce waste that must be safely stored forever and on straightforward production costs cannot compete against power stations using Australia’s abundant coal and gas reserves. But nuclear power plants are vastly cleaner in terms of carbon than coal, and produce effectively endless electricity.

source: theaustralian

The average residential retail price of electricity increased very slightly year-over-year in September but declined compared with the previous month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s monthly report.

The average household paid 11.97 cents per kilowatt-hour in September 2010, up 0.2 percent from the price in September 2009. The average residential price was down 0.6 percent from the average reported for August 2010, the administration said.

The average commercial retail price in September 2010, of 10.55 cents per kilowatt-hour, was unchanged from September 2009. The commercial price was 1.2 percent lower than it had been a month earlier.

For industrial users, the average retail price in September 2010 was 7.07 cents per kilowatt-hour, the administration said, a 4 percent increase from September 2009. The industrial price was 1.9 percent less than in August 2010.

Countrywide, net generation from all sources rose 5.4 percent in September 2010 compared with the same month in 2009. Coal-fired generation, the largest source, was up 8.4 percent from the total of a year earlier, and nuclear generation also rose.

Wind energy generation continued to rise dramatically, with the total number of megawatt-hours up 52 percent in September 2010 compared with the same month a year earlier. Iowa and Texas, the leading wind state, showed the largest increases, but the energy administration said wind generation declined in only four of the 36 states that reported this form of electricity production.

Solar generation from power plants was up on a year-to-year basis, but declined on a monthly basis compared with August. Solar electricity production fluctuates seasonally, with fewer average hours of sunshine as the summer fades.

Solar electricity generation in September 2010 totaled about 146,000 megawatt-hours, compared with about 95,000 megawatt-hours in September 2009. The increase of about 54 percent was mostly represented by additional solar power plants that have gone online in California and Nevada and Florida.

Electric utilities accounted for 15,000 megawatt-hours of the September 2010 total, up from about 1,000 megawatt-hours the year before. Independent power producers provided about 131,000 megawatt-hours in September 2010, compared with about 94,000 megawatt-hours in September 2009.

On a year-to-date basis, from January through September, solar electricity generation was up about 47.1 percent for 2010 compared with the same nine-month period in 2009. Of the 11 states reporting solar power generation of at least 1,000 megawatt-hours from power plants, 10 showed year-over-year increases.

Solar, wind and other renewable forms of electricity generation, while growing rapidly, remain a small part of the U.S. total, providing about 4.2 percent of the nationwide supply in 2010. Coal-fired power plants have produced about 45 percent of the country’s electricity this year, with natural gas plants generating about 24.2 percent. The third-largest supplier has been nuclear power plants at 19.3 percent, followed by conventional hydroelectric sources, such as Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam, at 6.3 percent.

Source: solarhbj

Novato and Sonoma-based SolarCraft, a solar industry leader, announced in light of the recent budget evaluations and the continued success of the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program, PG&E is within weeks of reaching the incentive budget cap in the non-residential sector of the CSI program.

It’s critical to file commercial reservations immediately if interested in solar in 2011 and SolarCraft can help you get your rebate reserved right away. With current state economics it’s unclear when the program will get further funding. Since the reservation for a Solar rebate is good for one year, SolarCraft can facilitate getting your reservation, so you can still receive the rebate on a 2011 solar project.

Once PG&E has exhausted the non-residential CSI funds (with paid, confirmed, and under review projects and the assumptions made to the incentive budget), PG&E will start to create an application waitlist, and notify and place those applications in the queue until there are funds available.

PLEASE NOTE: This does not affect PG&E’s CSI residential sector at this time as there are sufficient funds to date.

SolarCraft is one of the most experienced solar energy contractors in California. For more than 26 years this certified Green Business has been providing Solar Thermal and Solar Electric services including consultation, design, installation, monitoring and maintenance. SolarCraft is a full-service solar contractor, employing licensed and certified solar installers who are experts in their field. Since 1984 SolarCraft has installed more than 4,500 solar energy systems in California saving customers more than $7 million annually and eliminating the production of more than 28,000 tons of greenhouse gases every year.

Source: 7thspace

The U.S. Department of Energy is investing in a power storage system that brings together several emerging industries in the alternative energy field — solar power and wind power, and the lithium-ion battery.

The DOE finalized a $17.1 million loan for an AES Corporation power plant project in Johnson City, NY. The loan  supports the construction of a 20-megawatt energy storage system that uses advanced lithium-ion batteries and will, thereby, be able to store power generated from solar and wind sources and supply it to the energy grid without the more costly and environmentally questionable practice called “grid frequency regulation.”

According to the Solar Home and Business Journal, electricity dispatchers need to continuously balance the generation of power with the demand for energy. Solar and wind systems present complications for this balancing act because their generation is not constant and can vary dramatically in the space of minutes.

So, as DOE Secretary Steven Chu explained, power suppliers traditionally resort to “grid frequency regulation” to balance power generation and consumption on the grid, and this is maintained by burning additional fossil fuels at power plants.

The AES technology can help reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent compared to frequency regulation provided by fossil energy suppliers, and will regulate grid frequency at a lower price, the DOE said.

“The AES project helps reduce carbon emissions and strengthens our energy infrastructure by allowing for more renewable energy sources like solar and wind to contribute to the electrical grid,” said Secretary Chu. “Bringing more efficiency and reliability to the grid will help cut costs for consumers and power a cleaner energy future.”

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said the Johnson City project moved New York State closer to becoming “a hub of green manufacturing.”

“This project advances cutting-edge, battery technologies that will help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, improves the efficiency of our energy grid, and spurs job growth in the clean energy economy,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.

The AES project will include advanced lithium-ion battery cells from A123 Systems, Inc., a leading supplier of lithium-ion batteries. The contained battery and related electrical systems are assembled, tested and validated in an A123 manufacturing facility in Hopkinton, MA.

Solar Home and Business Journal’s Michael Balchunas pointed out that developing the ability to store significant amounts of solar or wind energy at a reasonable cost could provide a powerful economic advantage to the nation that succeeds at it, and that the U.S. and China are among the nations pursuing storage technologies aggressively.

Lithium-ion batteries are also the type used in most of the plug-in vehicles now arriving in dealer showrooms or set to arrive in the next two years. Batteries of this type also are being tested in combination with solar arrays for energy storage at new model homes under construction in California, Balchunas said.

Through its loan programs, the DOE works with private companies and lenders to mitigate the financing risks associated with clean energy projects, thereby encouraging their development on a broader and much-needed scale. Within the last 18 months, the DOE loan programs office has committed $24.4 billion to support 19 clean energy projects.  In the last eight months, the LPO issued conditional commitments to seven power generation projects with cumulative project costs of nearly $19 billion.  This represents a greater investment in clean energy generation projects than the entire private sector made in 2009, which was $10.6 billion, and almost as much as was invested in such projects in 2008 – the peak financing year to date for alternative energy projrects, at $22.6 billion.

Source: ibtimes

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