ET Solar Collaborates on Israel Project

ET Solutions AG (subsidiary of ET Solar) has been selected to provide services for a 40 MWp PV power plant in Israel. The solar project is located in Kibbutz Ketura, approximately 45 km north of Eilat, and will be built in a desert land of 600,000 square meters. This new solar power facility is expected to generate over 70,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy per year.

ET Solar logoOther project partners include G-Systems and Elmor. Arava Power and EDF Energies Nouvelles Israel jointly own the solar farm.

ET Solar is providing project management, electrical design and plant layout, purchasing, quality control, construction supervision and commissioning services. In addition, the company will also serve as the maintenance service provider, and Arava Power will offer the operation services.

“This project is our largest solar power plant in the Middle East up to now, it is also an important demonstration of our comprehensive solar energy solutions to effectively deliver clean, affordable and reliable solar energy in local market,” said Dennis She, president and CEO of ET Solar. “We are delighted to extend and deepen our collaboration with EDF-EN and Arava Power, to make this utility-scale project a reality after completing a 7.8 MWp solar power plant in Israel early this year.”

Philippines Looks to Increase Biodiesel Blends

philippinesflag1Government officials in the Philippines are looking to increase biodiesel blends in the coming year. This article from Business World says that country’s Department of Energy (DoE) is hopeful the country will be able to move from a 2 percent to 5 percent blend in 2015 and possibly up to a 20 percent blend by 2030.

“We are still considering several factors right now like the economic impact [of increasing the blend] and some technical issues,” Mario C. Marasigan, director of the department’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau, said at the sidelines of a solar project inauguration in Manila.

Mr. Marasigan said his departmetn asked the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to study the overall impact of an increased blend.

“We want to confirm the claims of the coconut farmers that the increase can help their socioeconomic development. At the same time, we want to know the cost to consumers and overall impact of increasing the blend,” the official explained.

Officials hope to get results on the study of the data by early next year.

Ontario Biodiesel Plant to go to Highest Bidder

glb-logoA Southern Ontario biodiesel plant is going on the auction block. This article from Canada’s Sun News says the $50-million Great Lakes Biodiesel (GLB) plant went receivership and will be sold to the highest bidder.

It’s the latest chapter in the rocky history of Great Lakes Biodiesel, which opened the production facility in Welland at the end of 2012 to convert canola and soybean oil into biodiesel.

Luxembourg-based investment company Heridge SARL launched the court case because it says it was only repaid half of a $20-million loan used to get GLB’s Welland plant off the ground.

Heridge has now submitted a bid to purchase all assets of GLB, including the Welland plant, which isn’t in operation but still employs 16 people.

The plant is being maintained so it can immediately go back into production once there’s a new owner.
“The plant itself, according to the folks I’ve spoken to across the industry, is state-of-the-art and is a very valuable asset,” Welland MP Malcolm Allen said.

Government officials say GLB was relying relying government money too much to make its business model work.

The article adds that Heridge could take over ownership and would plan to keep the plant running.

REG Buys Germany’s Petrotec AG Biodiesel

reg-logoIowa-based Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) is expanding into Europe with its majority ownership buy of Germany’s Petrotec AG Biodiesel. This REG news release says deal is expected to be closed by the end of this month.

ICG, Israel Corporation’s vehicle for investing in the alternative energy market, today formally accepted an offer from REG European Holdings B.V. to purchase ICG’s 69 percent equity ownership in Petrotec AG for US $20.9 million, or US $1.235 per share, to be paid in newly issued REG shares valued at the 30 trading day volume-weighted average for the day prior to signing. The REG subsidiary will also purchase ICG’s loan to Petrotec AG in the amount of approximately US $15.4 million. In the next several weeks, REG European Holdings B.V. intends to make a cash tender offer for all other Petrotec shares at a price no less than the value per share to be received by ICG.

“REG’s investment in Petrotec is a natural extension of our business strategy which should enable us to better capture value from international trade flows and to participate in European biofuel markets,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “Petrotec’s people, culture, business model and technology are similar to ours at REG. We look forward to working with the Petrotec team as REG expands its business into Europe and further delivers the key benefits of our international industry: energy security and diversity, environmental stewardship and food security.”

Petrotec collects used cooking oil and other waste feedstocks from more than 15,000 points to produce biodiesel at its two biorefineries in Emden and Oeding, Germany, with a total nameplate production capacity of 55.5 million gallons per year.

Neste’s Renewable Diesel to Power Finnish Ferries

Tallink Star1Neste Oil’s renewable diesel will soon be powering ferries in Finland. This company news release says Neste agreed to provide its low sulfur marine diesel oil to Tallink Grupp’s ferries making port calls in Finland.

“We are eager to partner with Tallink Grupp as it is a well-known brand in the Nordic countries and the Baltic States and a major player in the cruising industry. Tallink Grupp shares our vision of cleaner traffic fuels and our low sulfur marine fuel delivers clear environmental benefits.” says Olli Vesamo, Director in Neste Oil’s Direct Sales.

“This collaboration opens up new market potential for Neste Oil. We are already a major player in the Baltic Sea region on petroleum products used on land and in the air. The new EU Sulfur Directive with its stringent environmental requirements and our capability to produce cleaner traffic solutions now enables us to take foothold also in the marine sector,” he continues.

“Neste Oil’s marine fuel solution meets our needs. The environmental and technical quality of the product and the reliability of Neste Oil as a supplier, as well as Neste Oil’s expertise in logistics convinced us of the benefits of this partnership. The new marine diesel oil will clearly reduce sulfur and particle emissions in our marine traffic. Our customers will benefit a cleaner environment that we as the leading and preferred shipping company in the region can provide,” says Mr. Tarvi-Carlos Tuulik, the Head of Ship Management of AS Tallink Grupp.

The company says this new low sulfur marine diesel oil meets requirements of the EU Sulfur Directive, which will come into force at the beginning of 2015.

Biofuels Can Help Cut Global Transport GHG Emissions

GRFA1As nations are meeting in Peru for the COP 2014 global conference on climate change, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) stressed that biofuels, like ethanol, are one of the most commercially viable methods to reduce transport fuel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“Nearly a third of global GHGs come from the transportation sector, those GHGs need to be a priority if we are going to make a significant contribution to combating climate change. Biofuels must be an integral part of that fight,” said GRFA spokesperson Bliss Baker.

Since biofuels such as ethanol are proven to reduce harmful GHGs from 40% to 90% compared to fossil fuels around the world, Baker says GRFA believes that policies adopted at COP 2014 must include the increased use of biofuels.

Earlier this year the GRFA forecasted that 2014 global ethanol production would reach 90.38 billion litres and its use worldwide would reduce GHG emissions by over 106 million tonnes globally. (S&T)2 Consultants Inc., an internationally renowned energy and environmental consulting firm, in partnership with the GRFA produced data which showed that these GHG reductions are equal to removing over 21 million cars off the road annually.

“106 million tonnes is a substantial GHG savings, it’s the same as removing the annual emissions from 14 average-sized coal-fired power plants. However, as the IEA has prescribed recently, more biofuels are needed to further reduce the emissions from the global transport sector,” said Baker.

Ormat to Expand Kenya Olkaria III Geothermal Plant

Ormat - Kenya Geothermal PlantOrmat Technologies has announced they are expanding their Oklaria geothermal energy complex located in Kenya. The company has signed an amended and restated Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC).

Under the terms of the agreement, Ormat expects to increase the generating capacity of the complex by 24 MW, bringing the complex’s total capacity to 134 MW. The fourth plant is expected to come on line in the second half of 2016 and to sell electricity under a 20 year PPA with KPLC.

“Ormat’s Olkaria geothermal complex provides clean, reliable and firm power to over 200,000 Kenyan households, increasing the complex by an additional 24 MW will further benefit the Kenyan people,” said Ormat CEO Isaac Angel. “We see Kenya, with its progressive renewable energy policy, as an important market for us and where we will continue to explore additional projects. The synergies that derive from adding units to the existing complex allow smaller plants to be a cost effective and provide the additional power that the country needs in record speeds.”

CNH Industrial, Fiat at First Ever ‘Biomethane Day’

CNHiAg and construction equipment maker CNH Industrial and Italy’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were part of the first ever “Biomethane Day.” This CNH news release says the two attended the meeting organized by the Italian Biogas Consortium (CIB), Assogasmetano and NGV Italy in partnership with CNH Industrial and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, near Verona, Italy to highlight the potential of biomethane in terms of reducing CO2 emissions.

Biomethane enhances the industrial sector’s expertise in natural gas, a field in which Italy is one of the world leaders. It is obtained by a process of “upgrading” biogas and can be produced from animal waste, agro-industrial by-products and crop integration. It possesses similar characteristics to natural gas and enables similar operation. Furthermore, biomethane could be inserted into the natural gas network and used as an advanced form of biofuel for transport and agricultural machinery.

Biomethane is seen as part of a larger European strategy that the continent get at least 10 percent of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Alstom Opens Wind Turbine Production Plant

Alstom has opened its first offshore wind turbine production plants in Saint-Nazaire, France. On hand for an inauguration event was French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Alstom Chairman and Managing Director Patrick Kron and Alstom Renewable Power Chairman Jérôme Pécresse. The new facilities will manufacture nacelles and generators for the Haliade 150-6MW turbines while the towers and blades will be made in the Alstom plants in Cherbourg. The plants will produce, on average, 100 machines per day and will be fully operational in early 2015. Delivery is expected to begin during the first quarter and includes 5 turbines intended for the Block Island wind farm in the U.S.

Batiment Alstom a MontoirThe plants in Saint-Nazaire will also be assembling the 238 offshore turbines that are planned to equip the three facilities installed by EDF, the exclusive partner of Alstom on the French market, in Saint-Nazaire, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp starting in 2017.

“The inauguration of the Saint-Nazaire facility represents a milestone in Alstom’s story and in the country’s own industrial history,” said Kron. “These new plants are France’s first offshore wind turbine production factories. Thanks to them, we shall now be in a position to serve the French market as well as to meet a growing international demand.”

The Haliade 150-6MW wind turbine is designed for a marine setting. Thanks to a rotor exceeding 150 metres in diameter, the turbine’s yield is 15% higher than that of other same-generation wind turbines according to Alstom. With 6 MW of power.

Pécresse added, “Through the construction of those new plants, Alstom is upholding its determination to be one of the leaders in a French industrial sector of excellence devoted to renewable energy, and to ensure the sustainability of a Renewable Ocean Energy industry intended to claim an early position in a global market, by involving all our partners.”

Enel Green Power to Construct Geo/Biomass Plant

Geothermal energy in ItalyEnel Green Power has begun construction on its “Cornia 2″ geothermal power plant in Tuscany. When complete, this will be what the company believes is the first plant in the world that will use biomass to heat the geothermal steam as a means to increase energy efficiency as well as electricity output of the geothermal cycle.

The biomass will be sourced locally within a 70 km radius from the plant and produce 5 MW of power. Utilizing the biomass, the steam entering the plant will be heated to raise the initial temperature to between 370°-380° from 150°-160°. This will increase net capacity for power generation due to the greater enthalpy of the steam and the enhanced efficiency of the cycle caused by lower humidity in the generation phase. Currently the plant has 13 MW installed capacity. When the upgrades are complete in early 2015 the biomass/geothermal plant will increase capacity by 37 Gwh.

“Thanks to its century-long experience in geothermal energy, Tuscany is already in the future,” said the CEO of Enel Green Power, Francesco Venturini, “Hybrid technologies are the new frontier of renewable energy in our efforts to optimize performance, and this facility, which offers an innovative approach to integrating biomass and geothermal energy, is a replicable model that can open new prospects for the development of energy, the economy and employment for local communities.”

UNICA: Sugarcane Ethanol Good for Environment, Drivers

unica1A new report from South American sugarcane growers shows ethanol benefits the environment and drivers. According to the Brazil-based Union of the Sugarcane Industry, UNICA, which represents those producing sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity, says that ethanol uses 90 percent less greenhouse gases than gasoline (translation courtesy of Google translator). The group points to data after a long dry period this year that impacted sugarcane production, and thus, ethanol production, when carbon dioxide levels hit the worst rates since 2007.

Since CIDE (Contributions Intervention in the Economic Domain) was zeroed in gasoline prices in 2011, there was an increase in the consumption of fossil fuel and ethanol, a cleaner and renewable source of energy, lost competitiveness and consumer preference at the pump.

Produced from clean, renewable source, cane sugar, the environmental benefits of ethanol over gasoline with gains including public health are widely recognized as the improvement in air quality, particularly in metropolitan areas. Several studies show that sugarcane ethanol reduces emissions causing climate change gases by up to 90% when compared to gasoline.

Thanks to this index, the Brazilian ethanol is the only biofuel produced on a large scale in the world considered ‘advanced’ by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States.

More data shows that in the last 10 years since flex-fuel vehicles were introduced in Brazil, the country has avoided the emission of approximately 240 million tons of CO2, equivalent to three years of issuance of this gas for a country the size of Chile.

UNICA also goes on to point out that drivers can save up to 66 percent on their costs to fill up their fuel tanks using ethanol.

Iberdrola Opens West of Duddon Sands Wind Farm

ScottishPower Renewables, Iberdrola USA’s sister company, has opened its first offshore wind farm, West of Duddon Sands, a 389 MW facility located in the Irish Sea. The $2.6 billion project, located approximately 12.5 miles off the seaport of Barrow-in-Furness in North West England, was completed in conjunction with Dong Energy of Denmark.

“West of Duddon Sands is the first offshore wind farm in the U.K. to use such advanced construction methods,” said Ignacio Galan, Iberdrola chairman during a grand opening ceremony. “The combination of two highly sophisticated installation vessels working in tandem, and the support of the excellent fabrication facilities at Belfast, Northern Ireland, made this one of the most efficient offshore projects ever delivered in the U.K.”

West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farmThe wind farm consists of 108 Siemens turbines that are connected through a 125-mile web of undersea cable in a 26 square mile area of the Irish Sea. The wind farm will produce enough energy to meet the annual electricity demands of nearly 200,000 homes.

“Building the West of Duddon Sands wind farm was a significant engineering challenge,” said Bob Kump, chief corporate officer of Iberdrola USA. “There is value in the achievement beyond the immediate benefits of this project. We will share the knowledge we gained among Iberdrola companies like ours and throughout the industry to help advance the technology and cost competitiveness of future offshore wind projects.”

According to Iberdrola, two big offshore wind energy innovations helped reduce the cost of the project:

  • A new $80 million, custom-designed offshore wind terminal built at Belfast Harbor. The terminal employs up to 300 workers and can operate around the clock for continual delivery of turbine and foundation components to the farm.
  • Two of the world’s largest and most advanced installation vessels: Pacific Orca and Sea Installer. Using the two vessels in tandem enabled construction crews to install all the foundations and turbine components during one of the most stormy winters in recent history.

Energy generated by the project connects to an offshore substation that boosts the voltage then routes it through two export cables to the onshore substation at Heysham where it enters the U.K. national grid.

SolarReserve Flips the Switch on South African Solar Project

Jasper Solar Power ProjectSolarReserve has flipped the switch on what they call the largest solar project in South Africa. The 96 MW Jasper solar power project completed construction two months early and is producing at full capacity. The solar farm is located in South Africa’s Northern Cape in a solar park that also includes the 75 MW Lesedi solar power project which came online in May, and the proposed 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant featuring SolarReserve’s CSP technology with integrated energy storage.

As part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the project will set aside a percentage of total project revenues for Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development for the benefit of the local communities.

“In addition to helping South Africa meet its critical electricity needs, the Jasper Project will bring long lasting economic benefits to the region,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith. “We look forward to continuing this positive momentum and bringing value to South Africa through collaboration on further projects, including our upcoming CSP projects that will provide South Africa with clean, reliable and non-intermittent electricity, day and night.”

With over 325,000 PV modules, the Jasper Project will deliver 180,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity annually for South Africa residents – enough to power up to 80,000 households through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility company. Selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) in the second round of bids under the REIPPPP, the project also marked Google’s first renewable energy investment in Africa.

Gaelectric Opens Dunbeg Wind Farm

Gaelectric has begun producing power at its £58 million Dunbeg Wind Farm, which is located between Limavady and Coleraine in Northern Ireland. Dunbeg is one of the largest wind farms constructed on the island of Ireland. The 42 MW wind farm comprises 14 Enercon wind turbines (Model E82, each with the capacity to generate up to 3 MW) with a maximum tip height of 125 metres. It will generate sufficient renewable power to meet the electricity demand of nearly 24,000 homes on an annual basis.

Brendan McGrath, Gaelectric Group CEO, said, “Dunbeg marks a major milestone for our business and further strengthens Gaelectric’s platform within the Single Electricity Market (SEM) on the island of Ireland. Our total permitted portfolio now stands at 140 MWs in Northern Ireland and represGaelectric Opens £58 Million Dunbeg Wind Farm in Irelandents a total investment of approximately £170 million. This consolidates Gaelectric’s position as the largest indigenous renewable energy company in Northern Ireland.”

“Gaelectric has been progressing an ambitious wind energy development programme in Ireland, the United States centered on the State of Montana, and in energy storage utilising compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology in our CAES Project near Larne in Northern Ireland,” added McGrath. “The launch of Dunbeg is a fitting way to mark our 10 years in existence and a tribute to our internal team and our technology and funding partners who have made this happen.”

In the last three years, Gaelectric has secured planning approval for nine Northern Ireland Wind Farm developments, including Dunbeg. The company’s first operational Wind Farm in Northern Ireland, the £20 million Carn Hill Wind Farm located in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim was officially opened in May 2013. Gaelectric plans to commission its remaining seven NI Wind Farm projects by 2017.

CanWEA Welcomes Wind Policy

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) is welcoming the initiative that the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Pierre Arcand, has announced to develop a new energy policy in Quebec. The organization has sent a message to Arcand that they are willing and ready to work the the Quebec government, industry and the new wind energy task force to review and strengthen the region’s wind energy policy.

windfacts-banner-superhero“There are many challenges that will need to be overcome in energy,” said Jean-François Nolet, Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs at CanWEA. “We must find a balance between developing the energy sources we need to support economic development, the costs of these projects and protecting the environment, while maintaining strong partnerships with host communities. We are convinced that wind energy can help play an important role in reaching these goals.”

According to CanWEA, the Quebec wind industry employees 5,000 people and has generated $10 billion in investments over the last 10 years. The organization believes that wind energy can and should play a key role in Quebec’s next energy policy that will guide energy decisions for the coming decade.

Nolet added, “Today, Quebec is a leader in energy thanks to the government’s vision, whether during the development of large hydroelectric projects or the very first wind projects. We must continue down this path and remain at the forefront by reaffirming our leadership in this area.”