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.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe 5th Annual European Algae Biomass will be taking place April 22-23, 2015 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. During the afternoon of April 21, 2015 a limited number of conference attendees will receive a unique opportunity to visit Lgem facilities in Den Haag and AlgaePARC at Wageningen University. Topics will include: Roadmap to Commercialisation of Algal Bioproducts; Recent Production Platforms for Algal Biomass; Microalgae Harvesting & Processing; Different Applications & Products from Algae: Nutricients, Animal Feed, Cosmetics, Pharma & Biochemicals; Investment Activity in Microalgae Technology; and more.
  • Calling it an issue of tax fairness, as well as a matter of importance to the U.S. economy, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has offered its support to efforts by a broad coalition of fuel cell, microturbine and heat and power companies, as well as many leading business organizations, to include a “commence construction” provision in Section 48 of the U.S. tax code to provide much-needed market certainty. SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch noted the commence construction provision provided for in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) should apply to all Section 45 and Section 48 clean energy incentives – regardless of technology to allow more clean energy projects across America to move forward.
  • China Sunergy Co., Ltd. has announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Deniz Finansal Kiralama A.S. establishing strategic partnership to finance the solar projects through financial leasing in Turkey. DenizLeasing will facilitate and provide capital leasing for solar PV projects of up to 100 MW deploying China Sunergy’s solar modules and other components.
  • Abengoa has been selected by the electricity and gas company, Belgian Eco Energy to develop the largest commercial plant in the world of new construction in Ghent (Belgium), which will produce 215 MW of electricity, being one hundred percent of the raw material biomass (wood chips and agro-residues). The amount of the project will exceed 315 million euro. Abengoa will be responsible for the engineering, design and construction of the plant.

U.S. Renewable Energy Industry Ready to Step Up

A new goal was announced during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing this week to double renewable energy in the 21 member economies by 2030. The renewable energy industry collectively came out and said they are ready to do their part. This new goal was a follow-up to last year’s commitment to encourage technology transfer and efforts to lower costs and attract private investment to the renewable energy industry.

“We appreciate the leadership that President Obama and the rest of these world leaders are showing on the critical task of rapidly scaling up low-carbon energy sources,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Here in America, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision for the growth of our industry, we can quadruple wind power by 2030 and save consumers money doing it, if policymakers keep supporting state renewable standards and federal tax incentives to attract the necessary private investment.”

Linda Church Ciocci, executive director, National Hydropower Association said on behalf of the hydro electric industry, “Hydropower is poised for growth and ready to meet America’s renewable energy goals. From powering the 97 percent of the nation’s dams that remain unpowered to upgrading our existing facilities, opportunities exist to double hydropower’s contribution to the electricity grid, while strengthening our economy and providing more Americans access to clean, low-cost electricity.”

“GEA applauds the APEC goal of doubling renewable power,” added Karl Gawell, executive director, Geothermal Energy Association. “New geothermal power development underway in the U.S. and nearly all of the APEC countries will provide more than electricity, building thousands of megawatts of new geothermal power will spur economic growth, create new jobs and ensure environmental health for future generations.”

The highlight of the summit was a surprise negotiated emissions deal between the U.S. and China to curb climate change. The deal includes new targets for the U.S. and China to stop emission growth by 2030 and to create momentum around climate talks leading into the global climate conference taking place in Paris in 2015. Continue reading

Branstad, Nixon to Head Bipartisan Gov’s Biofuels Group

Two Midwest governors might be from other sides of the political aisle, but they are on the same page when it comes to ethanol and biodiesel. Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Democrat Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will lead the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition beginning in January 2015 as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

IA Gov Branstad at Hearing in the Heartland Jan 23 2013“I look forward to working with Governor Nixon to advance the bipartisan work of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, as the production and use of biofuels increases family incomes in rural America, diversifies our nation’s energy portfolio, and enables consumer choice at the fuel pump, ” Governor Branstad said.

JayNixon“Thanks to our corn and soybean farmers, Missouri has long played a leadership role in the development and production of biofuels,” Governor Nixon said. “Missouri was one of the founding members of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, and the Coalition has played a major role in our nation’s energy policies, including the drafting and passage of the renewable fuel standards. I’m honored to serve as the next vice chairman of this organization, and will continue working to strengthen the energy independence of Missouri and our country.”

Outgoing chairman Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat from Illinois, says everyone has a stake in the game, from farmers to energy consumers.

Will Big Data Coalition Ease Grower Concerns?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How do you feel about election results?”

It looks like the majority polled are very happy with our recent election results. And many are optimistic. Time will tell.

Here are the poll results:

  • Very happy – 47%
  • Very unhappy – 20%
  • Cautiously optimistic – 22%
  • Don’t care – 11%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Do you think the new coalition agreement addresses ag data privacy concerns?

A coalition of major farm organizations and agriculture technology providers have announced an agreement on data privacy and security principles. The agreement was designed to encourage producers to use the full range of innovative, technology-driven tools and services to boost productivity, efficiency and profitability of agriculture with more assurance that personal data will be protected. Do you think this will ease grower concerns?

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFSolazyme, Inc. and Versalis have announced a partnership to expand the commercial use of Encapso – the world’s first commercially available, biodegradable encapsulated lubricant for drilling fluids.
  • For the fourth year in a row, Genomatica was voted #1 in Biofuels Digest’s 30 Hottest Companies in Biobased Chemicals & Materials rankings. Genomatica has earned the top position every year since the Hot 30 rankings were established in 2011. This recognition represents overwhelming support from the biobased economy and its collective view of Genomatica as an industry leader.
  • Ameren Missouri’s Pure Power Program has announced that the community of Creve Coeur was awarded Community Renewables Project of the Year by Interstate Renewable Energy Council (iREC) at Solar Power International. The award, won through popular vote, recognizes achievement in the advancement of renewable energy use, through an innovative approach by a community. This milestone was reached through a successful community challenge completed in 2013.
  • SunPower Corp. has expanded its product portfolio for its residential customers with the acquisition of SolarBridge Technologies, Inc. SunPower will utilize this technology, which converts direct current (DC) generated by a single solar photovoltaic panel into alternating current (AC), to develop next generation microinverters for use with SunPower’s high efficiency solar panels. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Arkansas Biomass Industry Expecting Big Growth

arkansasflagA building desire for woody biomass and a glut of forest materials has Arkansas set to be a major player in that sector of renewable energy, not just in the Midwest, but around the world. This article from the City Wire, which serves Northwest Arkansas, says the state’s biomass industry got some help this summer by some timely multi-million dollar investments in commercial biomass and by Europe’s desire to use the green fuel.

On July 30, Zilkha Biomass Energy announced plans to build a proprietary black wood pellet manufacturing plant in Monticello that company officials said could be easily integrated into the energy grid as a clean energy alternative to coal-powered electricity.

“Power companies across the globe are looking for renewable energy alternatives and biomass wood pellets stand as one of the most practical and cost-effective solutions,” said Jack Holmes, CEO of Zilkha Biomass Energy. “This plant in Monticello will be one of Zilkha’s largest and will help us capture more of the growing biomass energy market.”

Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, is one of the state’s biggest cheerleaders for the biomass industry.

Now, Tennille said, Arkansas is poised to become a big player in the biomass sector as the wood pellet market takes off in Europe.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wood pellet exports from the U.S. nearly doubled last year, from 1.6 million short tons (approximately 22 trillion Btu) in 2012 to 3.2 million short tons in 2013. More than 98% of these exports were delivered to Europe, and 99% originated from ports in the southeastern and lower Mid-Atlantic regions of the country.

Given the fact that the European Commission wants to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels, increase the renewable portion of EU energy consumption by 20 percent, and improve EU energy efficiency by 20 percent, and the large amount of woody biomass Arkansas offers to help meet those goals – an estimated 19.8 billion kilowatts (kwh) of electricity that could be generated using renewable biomass from the state – it’s no wonder the biomass future looks so bright in Arkansas.

Fuels Institute: Opportunities to Grow E85 Market

E85 price at Kum and Go in Adel Iowa on June 16 2014A group that looks at market issues related to vehicles and fuels says there are opportunities to grow the E85 market — but only if E85 prices remain way below regular grade gasoline prices. This news release from the Fuels Institute says also if automakers continue to produce flex-fuel vehicles at historic rates, E85 sales will, at a minimum, double by 2023 and could even see a 20-fold increase in sales over the same time period.

“This report is essential reading for federal regulators who are considering strategies to meet the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard and for fuel marketers seeking options to diversify their product offer,” said Fuels Institute Executive Director John Eichberger. “It presents an objective analysis of the overall market for E85, including actual retail sales data, and represents a collective effort to identify opportunities and challenges facing this alternative fuel — without taking a position of advocacy.”

Biofuels have experienced remarkable growth over the past 12 years, from 1.75 billion gallons sold in 2001 to 14.54 billion gallons sold in 2013. The vast majority of this growth is from ethanol, particularly E10 fuel that is ubiquitous in most of the country. However, additional E10 sales are constrained by the size of the gasoline market, which has declined since 2007. Therefore, future biofuels sales growth will be highly dependent upon increasing the sale of higher grades of ethanol like E85, a blend of gasoline with 51 to 83% ethanol.

The report says E85 growth will be dependent on more gas stations offering the higher blend of ethanol and making sure there are plenty of flex-fuel vehicles on the road.

“Increasing the E85 station count would improve the potential for additional E85 sales and introduce additional competition to the market. But several other factors — including the relative price of E85 compared to unleaded gasoline and the number of vehicles on the road that can operate on E85 — must also be evaluated to determine the potential E85 market, especially because flex-fuel vehicles can operate on either E85 or gasoline,” said Eichberger.

$550 Bil in Fossil Fuel Subsidies Hurt Efficiencies, Renewables

GRFA1More than half a trillion dollars in subsidies for fossil fuels are discouraging energy efficiencies and renewable alternatives. This news release from the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) cites an International Energy Agency (IEA) report that shows worldwide fossil fuel consumption subsidies reached $550 billion in 2013, keeping down investments to make energy more efficient and renewable.

“Fossil fuel subsidies are theoretically intended to increase energy access, but according to the IEA these subsidies are failing while discouraging investment in energy efficiencies and renewables. This raises a glaring question; who’s the $550 billion benefiting?” asked Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA.

Despite falling oil prices, fossil fuel consumption subsidies rose by $6 billion, to $550 billion in 2013, up from $544 billion in 2012. By comparison, all global renewable energy sources received less than a quarter of that amount in subsidies.

“It seems counter productive to subsidize the most profitable industry on Earth that contributes the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, especially when biofuels are growing and are the only commercial alternative to transport fossil fuels,” stated Baker.

GRFA also says that by 2040, biofuels use will more than triple, rising from 1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012 to 4.6 million barrels per day in 2040, about 8 percent of road-transport fuel demand.

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.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFCanadian Solar Solutions Inc. will provide 4 megawatts/2.76 megawatts/hour of stationary on-grid bulk energy storage to Independent Electricity System Operator (“IESO”) to support the Ontario grid. The project will provide an energy storage solution for ancillary services applications in Ontario by leveraging Canadian Solar’s extensive project development expertise and success in the Canadian energy market. In addition, this project was one of twelve selected by IESO in a competitive application process that was completed in July 2014.
  • Dominion has acquired Pavant Solar, a 50-megawatt solar energy project, from juwi solar. Pavant Solar is Dominion’s first solar development in Utah and is expected to enter service in the second half of 2015. The project has secured a 20-year power purchase agreement and an interconnection agreement.
  • The New England-Canada Business Council will hold its 22nd Annual Energy Trade and Technology Conference on Thursday, Friday, November 13-14, 2014 at the Seaport Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts. Current issues to be covered include: Keystone XL oil pipeline and cross-border siting issues; proposed hydro and wind electricity projects for the New England market; proposed natural gas pipelines; and how regional cost disadvantages impact citizens and businesses.
  • PSEG Solar Source has announced that completion of the PSEG Essex Solar Energy Center. The facility is located roughly four miles northeast of Burlington, Vermont, and has a capacity of 3.6 MW-dc. The solar farm was developed and constructed by juwi solar Inc. It has a 25-year power purchase agreement with Vermont Electric Power Producers, Inc., as part of the Vermont Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) program.

India’s Railways to Power Trains with Biodiesel

indiatrain1Biodiesel in India gets a big boost as that country’s train company, Railways, decides to use the green fuel to power a fleet of 4,000 locomotives. This Times of India article says the move is to help clean up the environment and use less petroleum-based diesel.

Announcing the railway ministry’s move at a convention organized by Bio Diesel Association of India (BAI) on Wednesday, minister Sadanand Gowda said, “Railways is the single largest bulk consumer of diesel in the country and as mentioned in railway budget 2014-15, it will start using bio-diesel up to 5% of the total fuel consumption in diesel locomotives.” He added this will save foreign exchange substantially.

The national transporter annually consumes over two billion litres of diesel and foots a bill of over Rs 15,000 crore.

Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari also said that while his ministry is pushing for more use of clean and domestically produced fuel, he would take up the issue of allowing bio-diesel producers to sell their produce directly to bulk consumers in India. At present, only 20% of bio-diesel produced in India is sold here and the rest is exported.

Indian ministers added they are looking at plans to use waste land to grow the edible and non-edible oilseeds for the biodiesel.

Biodiesel Great But Broken Drivetrain Delays Trip

Ricketts shows problemWhile the biodiesel performed well, a busted drivetrain is postponing a cross-country trip featuring the chicken fat fuel. Earlier this week, we told you how Middle Tennessee State University Cliff Ricketts was driving from Key West, Florida, to Seattle, Washington, a 3,550-mile journey being made on pure biodiesel from waste chicken fat. But this update from the school says a broken drivetrain transmission on the left side of the 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit diesel pickup that happened near Kansas City, plus winter weather affecting the Great Plains, combined to now postpone the alternative fuel researcher’s “Southern-Fried Fuel” quest until spring 2015.

“I said at the beginning of this journey that we are on an adventure, and it has been,” Ricketts said.

“We’ll just postpone it until a later date. That is the common-sense thing to do.”

Traveling from the southernmost point in Florida up through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri — six of 13 states along his planned route — the 38-year MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience faculty member called the trip an amazing experience.

His fuel source, totally pure biodiesel, did not include petroleum. The mechanical problems had nothing to do with the fuel he was testing in the research.

“The biodiesel did great,” said Ricketts, who added that data showed miles-per-gallon ranges were from 36 to 45-plus.

“Equal speed, power, torque. The diesel vehicle has shown it is a viable fuel option as and when needed. Any issues we had had nothing to do with the biodiesel.”

The trip is now expected to resume this coming March or May.

Nestlé Waters Switch to Propane

gI_84865_NEWNestle Waters prpoane autogas vehicleNestlé Waters North America’s Los Angeles, California location has begun operating five medium-duty beverage trucks fueled by propane autogas. The trucks will deliver Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water to area businesses and residents. The company said ti purchased the propane autogas vehicles because of the ease of fueling, the low infrastructure cost and the unexpected benefit of lower electricity costs.

“Nestlé Waters North America is committed to delivering customers drinking water with reliable, innovative and efficient green transportation solutions,” said Bill Ardis, fleet manager for Nestlé Waters North America. “Like many, we are evaluating the different technologies that offer savings over the life of the vehicle and realized that propane autogas is a smart choice for reducing fuel and maintenance costs while providing cleaner air for the community.”

The Nestlé Waters Los Angeles location currently utilizes on-site refueling for their diesel powered trucks. They have an on-site propane autogas fueling station as part of its propane commitment.

“Fueling beverage delivery trucks with propane autogas offers the best total cost of ownership, without compromising standard delivery procedures,” added Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech. “By choosing this safe, abundant and American-made fuel, fleets around the nation are reducing their operating costs and lowering their carbon footprint.”

UC Riverside Opens New Solar Farm

UC Riverside has opened a new solar farm that will produce up to 6.6 million megawatt hours of electricity each year making it the largest solar array in the University of California system. The project supports the system-wide initiative to have each campus produce up to 10 MW of onsite renewable power by 2014.

UCR signed a 20-year power purchase agreement that allowed the SunPower Corporation to construct, operate and maintain the facility, with the university purchasing the power. UCR spent $350,000 on site clearing and preparation, as well as uc riverside solar farminterconnections costs with the existing substation. The projected savings to the university is $4.3 million over the length of the contract. UCR will also receive carbon and LEED credits that provide additional financial and environmental savings.

The solar farm went online as scheduled on Friday, Sept. 19, 2104. It has 7,440 panels across the 11-acre site using GPS tracking to slowly follow the sun across the sky. The massive sea of shiny panels is visible from Highway 60 as thousands of cars pass the campus.

“This is a big step forward, and we plan to do more,” said John Cook, director of the UCR’s Office of Sustainability. “On a hot and sunny day we will be producing nearly a third of UCR’s total energy needs with this system. But over the course of the year, with variable weather, it will amount to 3 percent of our total energy needs.” He added that Riverside’s typical sunny climate will make UCR an especially efficient place to invest in solar technology.