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Friday, 30 December 2011

Solar Hot Water and Solar Power -Green Energy WA

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Solar Santa’s clacking away on a wireless keyboard that he never needs to get up and replace the batteries in, thanks to his solar-powered Logitech keyboard.
And that’s good, because he’s got a lot of lists to check.
Logitech introduced the world’s first full-sized solar-powered, wireless keyboard for PC’s last year and it’s still tres-chic. It’s sleek, unique and now comes in two flavors, PC and Mac.
The device wirelessly connects to your computer via a nano receiver that plugs into one of your computer’s USB ports. Despite being cutting edge, it’s not prohibitively expensive either. The original runs at $71 on Logitech’s site, and the Mac version is even less at $60—which is less than Apple’s $69 Bluetooth keyboard.

The small island of Palau, an island nation located 500 miles east of the Philippines and with a population of 21,000 people, has installed a 226.8kW solar energy array on its airport. The panels were supplied by Kyocera, one of the world’s biggest solar cell manufacturers.
The initiative was a collaboration between Kyocera and Wakachiku Construction Co, with funding provided by the Japanese government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The solar panels now sit atop of the shading structures in the parking lot. It is the first grid-connected system in the country and it comprises 1,080 210W solar modules.
According to Kyoecera, as the island is prone to typhoons, the backside of the modules have been reinforced with extra support bars for enhanced wind-pressure resistance.
The system is expected to produce an annual power output of 250MWh, off-setting roughly 80 tons of CO2 per year.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Asia's Grand Vision

By 2050, Asia could be connected by a massive energy and information architecture, believes Stewart Taggart.

A ‘Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure’ could be inspired by – and dramatically extend – the concept of cross-border grids elsewhere, most notably in Europe and North Africa. Examining infrastructure projects now underway in Asia, how might these organically develop into a ‘Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure’ by 2050?
There has been increasing chatter about so-called “supergrids”, which could join up diverse regions in the power generation market, and help with integrating an increasing amount of renewable energy into the energy system. And such concepts, while until recently very much in the “visionary” category, continue to gain political traction.
The European Commission for example, recently announced proposals for regulation that could aid the development of a Supergrid: Guidelines For Trans-European Energy Infrastructure could be a major step forward in accelerating the building of such much-needed new electricity infrastructure schemes.
The Desertec Initiative – whose philosophy involves developing renewable energy resources in North Africa and ultimately exporting power back to Europe – continues to crystallise its ideas. As we go to press in fact, reports suggest that the location of Desertec’s inaugural solar thermal project could be the desert city of Ouarzazate, Morocco, where parabolic mirrors will cover an area of 12 km2.

But what about Asia?

And it is not just Europe where such visionary ideas gradually move out of the realms of fantasy. Over the next four decades, bundled natural gas pipelines, high-capacity electricity cables and fibre optic cables could transform Asia, stretching from Australia’s Southern Ocean to China’s northern province of Mongolia.
Were it ever to be implemented, this visionary infrastructure could serve an energy and data market of two billion people.

The vision – to serve a growing powerhouse

A multilateral, open access, common-carrier energy transmission system in Asia offers greater long-term advantages than ad hoc, bilateral energy transmission arrangements, which discourage new market players and result in rigid, brittle markets.
This is made all the more relevant because in the coming years, Asia will emerge as the world’s largest regional economy. To get from here to there, it needs tens of trillions of dollars of infrastructure. This necessary infrastructure includes road, rail, aviation, telecommunications, not to mention energy generation and transmission capacity. And much of this will be new, not replacement, infrastructure.
A prime example of the current status quo in the energy market is Japan. Japan’s lack of national and international energy network interconnections left the country struggling to meet its domestic power needs following the March 2011 earthquake.
Had an internationally-interconnected energy network been in place, Japan could have imported marginal power supplies from spare electricity in China or South Korea. These could have helped offset the shortfall caused by Japan’s loss of domestic nuclear energy generating capacity.

Gas and renewables in partnership

To illustrate the logic behind a Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure, we begin from the assumption that Asia (and the world) needs to switch to low emission energy sources between now and 2050.
The most practical way to do this is to aggressively replace ageing, dirty, coal-fired base-load power plants between now and 2030 with cleaner-burning natural gas plants.
This will result in near-term greenhouse gas emission reductions, while ensuring ongoing grid stability. During this period, intermittent renewable energy sources will expand rapidly, but off a small base.
By 2030, renewable energy will have grown to the point where it becomes a significant – if not the dominant – carbon-adjusted energy source. At this point, natural gas capacity could be shifted away from providing baseload power, and towards providing peaking power and load-balancing – to a grid dominated by low-emission renewables.
And experts believe this is rational.
Over the short term, natural gas’ cleanliness compared to coal makes it attractive for meeting short-term greenhouse gas reduction needs. Over the long-term, gas’ rapid response qualities make it attractive for ensuring grid stability.
Over the long term, natural gas’ rapid-response qualities are undervalued by serving baseload power markets. Shifting this energy source to load-balancing, therefore, is merely common sense economics.
Meanwhile the benefits to energy markets are clear. Near-term greenhouse gas emission can be reduced through replacing coal, while grid stability can be enhanced during the transition to renewable energy. New investment in natural gas plant and equipment capacity can serve baseload power markets now, and premium-price load-balancing markets later. Meanwhile, renewable energy gets the breathing space it needs as an industry to grow.
Asia has an abundance of both natural gas and low-emission energy it can develop. Many of these resources are located in the same places. That lowers the costs of developing them, not to mention transporting the energy to power-hungry cities.
Of all of Asia’s renewable resources, solar energy is the biggest. China’s Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang are baked in strong sunlight. Virtually all of Australia’s interior has strong solar resources.
China and Australia also have lots of wind. China’s onshore wind resources are in its north. Its offshore wind resources are in the East China Sea. Australia’s onshore wind resources are in its southern regions. Its offshore resources are in the Great Southern Ocean.
Therefore, to apply a simple, two-country model: China and Australia could be connected by high-capacity, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power lines. These would be similar to those envisaged for carrying solar electricity from North Africa to Europe.
However, there are differences, chief among them being the longer distances involved in Asia, compared to Europe/North Africa. But to counter that the size of Asia’s energy market is much larger, faster growing and far less burdened by legacy infrastructure than that of Europe and North Africa. What’s more, Asia has a much broader array of low-emission energy sources than anything available in Europe and North Africa.
In coming years, Asia’s economic growth rate is similarly expected to be much higher and faster than Europe’s. This will – over time – reduce the overall investment burden required for the infrastructure in the Asian region, as a percentage of the aggregate Asian economy as a whole.
Since the investment will raise energy marketplace efficiency, the benefits will be compounded. And given that Asia requires huge infrastructure investment anyway, the key figure to examine is the additional amount an integrated system would cost, compared to “business as usual” investment.

The technical case

Potentially there could be compelling technical benefits to an Asian Supergrid. To take just one, frictionless interconnection across a large geographic area (like Asia) can enable uncorrelated intermittencies of geographically-dispersed renewable energy sources to partially or wholly cancel each other out. This can increase system stability.
In addition, integrated markets can improve aggregate investment price signals by reducing spurious “noise”. This will speed the discovery of the lowest-price, carbon-adjusted power sources.
This matters because, as above, Asia has a broad suite of low emission energy sources it can develop. These include geothermal from Australia’s interior; biomass from tropical Queensland, Southeast Asia and coastal China. And for their part, wave; tidal; and even ocean thermal energy from Australia and the Indonesian archipelago also hold great promise.
But for all these energy sources to be developed, assured access to market is needed. This access has other benefits too. One of which will be a reduction in the need for expensive but largely idle capacity to be built to handle grid demand fluctuations, peak power needs, and unexpected outages in national markets. Unused capacity in one market can be sold to other markets across-borders.

Natural gas in Asia

In the coming years, huge new gas fields are slated for development in the East China Sea; the South China Sea; Indonesia’s offshore waters; the Timor Sea; Papua-New Guinea; and in Australia’s Northwest Shelf and Queensland.
Present plans are for most of this gas to be developed and shipped to China, Japan and South Korea (the region’s big consumers) in the form of highly-compressed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). The problem is that LNG has questionable environmental credentials, due to huge internal energy needs. These emit the very greenhouse gases the underlying natural gas is supposed to reduce.
This begs the question: what are the alternatives? One answer could be pipelines. However, lengthy pipelines are expensive. Examined on narrow metrics, they look more costly than LNG.
But this leaves several things out. The most important is that natural gas pipelines create networks. By contrast, LNG can only transport compressed natural gas between two fixed points via a single purpose, single-generation technology. In other words, LNG isn’t readily adaptable to future uses. Pipelines can be. And these have an economic value that needs to be further evaluated.
If high-voltage, high-capacity power lines were built between Australia and China to create a pan-Asian electricity network, natural gas pipelines could be laid alongside. This would lower the investment costs of both pieces of infrastructure, because labour and other logistics costs could be shared.
Also, gas pipelines are flexible. They can carry fuels apart from natural gas. Properly constructed, pipelines can carry hydrogen, CO2and biofuels.
These are also strong qualitative arguments in favour of bundling a natural gas and electricity infrastructure in order to reap intrinsic network flexibilities. This is particularly so given that fibre optic cables can be tossed in at virtually no extra cost.
‘Bundled’ infrastructure - gas pipelines, high voltage power lines and fibre optic cables - could offer a “1+1=3” outcome for Asia.
A combined electricity, natural gas and communications network would enhance ‘fuel switching’ between electricity and natural gas.
For example, Chinese electricity import demand could be dynamically satisfied through imports of (among others) electricity from:
  • Solar or wind energy generated elsewhere in Asia;
  • Gas-powered electricity from spare capacity elsewhere in Asia;
  • Imports of the natural gas itself, for combustion in a China gas plant.
The flexible network could allow this to occur, particularly if the fibre optic cables enable the rapid transmission of demand and supply information needed to balance markets in real time.

Conclusion – a grand vision

In summary, a Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure could usher in an Asian era of ‘cloud energy.’ This analogy to telecommunications is apt. In the past 20 years, the telecoms industry has been turned upside down by dramatic reforms. These have huge efficiencies. The enabler was the common-carrier Internet.
There’s now a strong argument that the hidebound energy industry should follow in the footsteps of the telecommunications industry.
And that means building a multilateral; common-carrier; open access network - allowing the marketplace to lead the way.
The timing is fortuitous. Asia needs huge amounts of greenfield infrastructure in the coming years, which can be designed largely free of legacy replacement considerations.
With imaginative thinking, a Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create flexibly-designed infrastructure that could last well into the 22nd Century.
NB: the issues in the above article are explored in a research paper by Stewart Taggart, entitled Solar and Wind in Asia Connected by a Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure – recently published by the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Lifespan of a solar power system is far longer than the 20 years

As indicated in a study Josh wrote on just a couple weeks ago, the lifespan of a solar power system is far longer than the 20 years most analysts use to calculate solar power costs. Last November, Susan featured one that was going strong at 30 years. A Facebook fan notes thatsolar panels at the Technical University of Berlin have been in operation for 31 years. Similarly, Kyocera, one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers in the world, recently posted on the fact that a number of its early installations continue to generate electricity reliably nearly 30 years after installation.
kyocera solar panels have long lifespan
I would also note that technology has improved, solar panels have become more durable, and if early solar panels produce electricity for far more than 20 (or even 25) years, what to expect of today’s solar panels?!
Here are a few case studies Kyocera highlighted in its recent article on the matter:
In 1984, Sweden’s first grid-connected photovoltaic system was built in Stockholm. Since its installation, the fa├žade-mounted 2.1kW system has been continuously and reliably providing the residents of an apartment building with environmentally-friendly electricity. The modules’ average annual power generation performance is still reliable — with no significant change since the system was installed 27 years ago.
Also in 1984, Kyocera established its Sakura Solar Energy Center just outside of Tokyo. At the time, the Center was equipped with a 43kW solar power generating system which to this day continues to generate a stable amount of power for the facility.
In 1985, Kyocera made a donation of a 10kW solar power generation system to a small farming village with no electrical infrastructure located at an elevation of 2,600m (8,500ft) in Gansu Province, China. In 1993, the area received electrical infrastructure, and the solar modules were moved to a regional research facility for clean energy, where after more than 25 years, they are still producing consistent levels of electricity.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Durban Climate Summit: Implications for Australia

The Climate Institute has released a policy brief to explain the main outcomes of the latest UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. The talks produced significant progress and have important implications for Australia’s domestic climate change policies as we enter 2012 and head towards a legally binding agreement by 2015.
Here are the key elements, which are further examined in the brief:
The 2011 Durban Climate Summit ended with the adoption of a set of 37 formal UN decisions dealing with a wide range of issues related to international cooperation on climate change.  Most importantly, it delivered important progress in three key areas:
Agreement to negotiate a single, legally binding agreement by 2015 that will cover all major carbon pollution emitters including, most importantly, China, India and the United States;
Establishment of the Green Climate Fund, building on the commitment made in Cancun to raise US$100 billion a year to help the world’s poorest nations invest in clean energy and manage the unavoidable impacts of climate change;
Commitment from all countries to increase the level of ambition of national efforts to reduce pollution, building on the formal recognition that existing commitments are not enough to keep global warming below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

English dig in on their solar power rights

Friends of the Earth has won its legal challenge against the Government in High Court.
Along with two solar companies we took the Government to court over their plans to slash support for solar energy.
After two days in court the Judge ruled in our favour calling the Government’s plans “legally flawed”.
These botched and illegal plans have cast a huge shadow over the solar industry, jeopardising thousands of jobs.
We hope this ruling will prevent ministers rushing through damaging changes to clean energy subsidies – giving solar firms a much-needed confidence boost.
Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director
Illegal and unfair
Government proposed cutting the amount of cash-back – known as feed-in tariffs – for solar projects installed after 12 December.
But this date was 11 days before the official consultation on the plans closed.
The Judge agreed with Friends of the Earth that this approach was illegal.
Real-world impact
The Government’s proposals have already caused thousands of planned or unfinished solar projects to be shelved.
Government must act
Following today’s ruling the Government must act now to get solar back on track by:
Providing more money for feed-in tariffs.
Supporting solar projects in schools and social housing.
Check out some of our new solar hot water and solar energy you tube ads

Green Energy WA - WE'RE ON YOU TUBE

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Transcanada Is Investing In Solar Power In Ontario

The company based in Calgary, TransCanada stated that it entered into a $ 470 million investment to buy new solar projects in Ontario.

These proposed Canadian Solar Solutions will forward a total production capacity of 86 megawatts.
The president of TransCanada, Russ Girling, said that the investment has low risks and should generate revenue quickly.

The agreement provides that each of the nine projects will be developed and built by Canadian Solar Solutions and it uses photovoltaic panels that capture energy from the sun and transform it into electricity.
TransCanada will purchase other projects after commissioning the facilities in late 2012 and mid-2013.
The energy company has become the largest independent power producer in Ontario. 

The province has recently turned to the development of renewable energy - solar, wind, biomass and other fuels - to phase out its coal-fired power generation.

Well known for its network of pipelines that transport oil from western Canada to the United States, TransCanada made ​​the headlines for some time in connection with its proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Alberta to refineries in Texas.

Basma – Green Energy International Correspondent – 20/12/11

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

RENEWABLE energy costs far cheaper than forecast

RENEWABLE energy costs are likely to be far cheaper than forecast by the government's energy white paper, new research has found, offering new options for the nation's future energy mix.
Bloomberg analysis suggests the official figures issued last week overstate the cost of solar power threefold and windpower by 50 per cent.

But at the same time the paper warns that the government has underestimated the price tag for geothermal energy.

The energy white paper forecasts that as much as 46 per cent of electricity will come from renewable sources by the middle of the century.

Up to 15 per cent is expected to come from wind, 23 per cent from geothermal and 3 per cent from solar.
The Bloomberg research suggests the government's capital costs calculations for renewables are wrong, creating distorted predictions on future energy sources.

"White paper modelling overestimates the current and future costs of most renewable technologies," Bloomberg analyst Kobad Bhavnagri said.

"Our analysis of the technology experience curves suggests that costs are likely to decrease much faster than the white paper modelling assumes."

The Bloomberg research suggests that because of consistently falling prices for solar generation - which have dropped 34 per cent since 2009 - forecasts that use outdated starting points will be inaccurate.
"Overestimating current and future capital costs is likely to have produce an unrealistically conservative cost of energy," Mr Bhavnagri finds.

His research also suggests that the government modelling may not have taken into account the effects of increasing wind turbine efficiency.

"Our expectation is that wind will be one of the least-cost generation options from 2030-50 and that wind energy's share of generation will be higher than the white paper projections," the paper says.
The analysis is less optimistic about the place of geothermal energy.

"Having been beset by a string of technical challenges, the cost of geothermal is currently several times higher in Australia than overseas and significantly more than the industry had predicted," the paper warns.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne warned against inflated estimates for costs of wind and solar.
"Because renewables have no fuel cost and the technologies are improving all the time, their costs are coming down rapidly while the cost of fossil fuels can only ever keep rising," she told The Australian.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Follow Up On The Desertec Project In Maroc

The British newspaper mentions that the work currently happening in a hybrid power plant in which 6000 mirrors (each up to six meters) figure in the desert near the Egyptian city of Beni Suef, will soon deliver the 1/7 of the 150 MW capacity expected.

The Guardian presents the German physicist Gerhard Knies, who after the Chernobyl disaster, has considered the possible contribution of solar energy needs of humanity. His conclusion back in 1986 was that the quantity of energy received during six hours by the deserts of the world is largeer than the total energy consumption by humanity in any year. Also, capturing even a tiny fraction of this energy would enable us to abandon fossil and dangerous fuels. An area as large as the Sahara of Wales (21,000 km2) can supply, in theory, the entire Europe continent.

Gerhard Knies's work led to the Desertec project, which aims by 2050 to produce 15% of the electricity consumed by Europe, via a large network of solar parks and wind turbines across the Mediterranean, connecting continental Europe countries of North Africa and the Middle East by high-voltage cables. The total cost of this project is estimated at 400 billion euros.

Siemens And E. ON Are Among The Supporters Of Desertec

Desertec got the support of several very large German financial and industrial companies during the last two years such as E. ON, Munich Re, Siemens and Deutsche Bank, which formed the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii).

Morocco Plans To Double Its Power Consumption

The Guardian quotes that a member of the Moroccan Agency for solar energy indicates that by 2020, Morocco plans to double its electricity consumption.

Morocco, which is a country that’s 97% dependent on foreign energy, now, plans to move towards 42% of self-sufficiency of electricity thanks to renewable energy by 2020.

Projects on a smaller scale also exist on the export of renewable energy. On May 11, the French Minister of Industry, Eric Besson, announced that France and Morocco will launch the first experimental solar power from south to north of the Mediterranean. And Greece, the financial and political turmoil, has ongoing discussions with Germany to sell their solar energy.

Basma – Green Energy International Correspondent – 16/12/11

Saturday, 17 December 2011

December 17th Asia Report - Mixed Signal Over Emissions

New Hampshire, U.S.A. — Even as renewable capacity surges ahead despite a down global economy, this past weekend brought a sobering reminder that market forces continue to pull the world toward carbon emissions — and not away from them.
At the annual U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, the Global Carbon Project released a study that shows that in 2010, emissions actually rose by 5.9 percent. This, despite a recession that many believed would have the unintended (and beneficial) consequence of reducing our carbon emissions. The top emitters include China, India, the United States and Europe — the very areas where much of the world’s renewable capacity has been installed or is being developed.
In a potential development that could signal the inevitability of a true global pact on climate change, a top China scientist talked about capping carbon emissions by 2020. The announcement, confirmed in Durban, could bring it in line with Western nations that have signed onto the Kyoto Protocol, and may pressure the United States into rethinking its “Wait for China” approach.