Posted on February 7th, 2017 in environment by Spencer R.
Lord’s cricket ground – otherwise known as England’s Home of Cricket – has become the first cricket ground in the country to run on 100% renewable energy.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns and maintains the ground in London’s Marylebone, said it signed up to EDF’s renewables tariff after new figures compiled by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed the extent to which extreme weather had impacted the sport.
The statistics stated that extreme weather in December 2015 caused more than £3.5 million worth of damage to 57 cricket clubs in the UK, while significant rainfall had continued to plague both the professional and recreational cricket calendars.
The ECB handed out more than £1 million in emergency funding in 2016 and has earmarked a further £1.6 million for this year and Derek Brewer, chief executive and secretary at MCC, said the figures “illustrate the effect” changing weather patterns can have on sport.
"It is important that all organisations embrace sustainability and I’m very pleased that Lord’s has become the first cricket ground in the country to run on 100% renewable energy,” Brewer added.
Lord’s is also edging closer to completing its redevelopment of the Warner Stand, which the club said would become “symbolic” of its new sustainability drive.
Solar PV panels have been incorporated into the stand’s roof design and a water collection and recycling system has also been incorporated.
MCC’s broader sustainability programme has so far resulted in a 7% reduction in overall energy usage compared to 2010 levels.
While not usually a primary thought for professional sports clubs, a large number have embraced greater sustainability and energy efficiency in recent months.
But last month it was revealed that Chelsea had failed to meet a 30% energy efficiency targetwith its plans to redevelop its Stamford Bridge home, and would instead be forced to financially support other sustainability drives in the local area.
Posted on February 6th, 2017 in environment by Spencer R.
As the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons battle it out on the field this Sunday, renewable energy will power Super Bowl LI.
NRG Energy Inc. and subsidiary Reliant, a retail electricity provider in Texas, have teamed up with the National Football League (NFL) to provide 100% Green-e certified renewable energy to NRG Stadium, site of Super Bowl LI, and the George R. Brown Convention Center, location of the NFL Experience and other NFL celebrations in Houston.
“Reducing the environmental impact of our events is something we have worked toward for more than 20 years,” says Jack Groh, director of the NFL Environmental Program. “Using clean energy at our largest events, we can minimize the climate impact of our activities. This is something that’s good for business and good for our fans and the communities where we live.”
“As the official electricity company of NRG Stadium, we are proud to support the NFL and Houston by powering the largest U.S. sporting event with renewable energy certificates together with the on-site efficiency and renewable energy solutions,” adds Bruno Sarda, NRG’s vice president of sustainability. “At NRG, we want fans to benefit from sustainable solutions, and together with the NFL, we can demonstrate that even a huge event like the Super Bowl can significantly reduce its energy usage.”
For a period leading up to, during and following the Big Game, for every megawatt-hour of electricity used to power these events, NRG and Reliant will purchase and retire one renewable energy certificate (REC) on behalf of Super Bowl LI. The RECs account for the electricity used at NRG Stadium and the George R. Brown Convention Center, supporting renewable energy and the over 100,000 fans visiting Houston to celebrate the Super Bowl.
Green-e Energy, a program of the Center for Resource Solutions, is a third-party certification program that guarantees RECs are generated from new renewable facilities and marketed with transparency and accuracy. A REC represents the environmental attributes of power produced from renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind farms.
Posted on February 6th, 2017 in wind by Spencer R.
An IT company has joined forces with a green technology firm to develop wind turbines which attach to lamp-posts.
The NVT Group's partnership with Own Energy Solutions is set to create 25 jobs over the next 12 months which it hopes will rise to about 300 within three years.
The scheme harvests wind using a small wind turbine and inverter system.
As a result, metered, clean energy could be fed directly into the National Grid.
The company said that as a result, each suitable lamp-post conversion would save half a ton of carbon being released into the atmosphere.
As part of the deal, which is worth about £3.5m over the next 15 years, Own Energy is relocating from Glasgow to NVT's headquarters in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire.
Stephen Park Brown, managing director of NVT Group, said: "We have a great record of working with winning teams and this new venture has every prospect of eclipsing our recent commissions. We believe that Own Energy can become a significant player in the renewables market both in the UK and beyond."
'Huge export potential'
David Gordon, chief executive of Own Energy, said: "We chose to partner with NVT Group based on its extraordinary performance in recent years, particularly in the delivery of the technology for world-class sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow - which of course was widely regarded as the most successful in history - and The Ryder Cup.
"Our business is likely to scale up quickly and we know that NVT Group will be able to accommodate such growth based on its past experience. There are around 10 million lamp-posts in the UK and upwards of 20% of these are suitable for conversion which makes this a very scalable business opportunity with huge export potential.
"We have already had positive preliminary discussions with UK public and private bodies and have had indications of interest from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Ireland and South Africa. We believe this business has the potential to achieve an annual UK turnover of over £400m within five years."
Local MSP Richard Lyle said: "This is marvellous news and I know from colleagues across the political divide that this project is really firing the imagination.
"It chimes with the policies of the major political parties in Scotland and can deliver both clean green energy as well as meaningful financial benefits for hosts such as local government and private owners alike. Bringing jobs to Bellshill is also to be welcomed."
North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue said: "I very much welcome this news. New jobs, technology and innovation are a healthy mix of ingredients which will, we hope, pay dividends for North Lanarkshire and beyond."
Posted on February 6th, 2017 in environment by Spencer R.
As reported from Honduras this week, the construction for the Platanares geothermal power plant in Honduras has reached an advanced stage.
This was announced by the advisor to the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP ), Solomon Ordonez, and as reported by Honduran newspaper La Tribuna.
The Platanares geothermal power plant will be the country’s first geothermal plant and is expected to start operation in 2017. The $200 million geothermal project, funded by Honduran and foreign investment, is lcoated in the municipality of La Union, department of Copán, in western Honduras.
Ormat Technology confirmed last year having started the construction of the geothermal project, as we reported. The BOT (build, own and transfer) conract was signed in 2013 between Ormat and Electricidad de Cortes (Elcosa), a privately-owned Honduras energy company.
The 15 year contract will go into effect from the date of commencement of commercial operation. In December 2015, Ormat concluded the drilling activity, and the evidence supporting the project’s decision.
The energy generated by Platanares will be marketed under the 30-year energy purchase agreements signed with the national electricity company of Honduras, the National Electric Energy Company (ENEE).
The Platanares geothermal project is regulated by the Law for the Promotion of the Generation of Electric Power by Renewable Resources, which was enacted in 2007, according to which it can benefit from a tax exemption during the first 10 years of operation.
The company expects to reach commercial operation by the end of 2017 and generate annual revenues of approximately $ 33 million.
Geothermal development in Latin American and the Caribbean will be discussed extensively at the Geothermal Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (GeoLAC) in Mexico City, Mexico April 25-26, 2017. ThinkGeoEnergy and PiensaGeotermia will report from the conference.
Posted on February 3rd, 2017 in environment by Spencer R.
Drill, baby, drill. But in this case, not for oil — rather, the nation of Iceland is digging a giant hole into a volcano in the name of renewable energy. By boring the world’s deepest geothermal hole in the Reykjanes peninsula (it goes down 3.1 miles), scientists say they’ll be able to take advantage of the extreme pressure and heat to tap into an impressive 30 to 50 megawatts of electricity from a single geothermal well.
Iceland is already one of the world’s greatest users and suppliers of geothermal energy, producing around 26 percent of its electricity from geothermal sources. However, most of the country’s wells pale in comparison to this latest gargantuan effort. While a typical geothermal well extends just 1.5 miles into the ground, this new one is twice as deep, and as a result could yield up to 10 times more power.
By the time the drilling team gets to around 3 miles beneath Earth’s crust, scientists expect to find a mixture of molten rock and water, but given the huge amount of heat and pressure present, the water will become what is called “supercritical steam.” Neither a liquid nor a gas, this supercritical steam contains far more potential energy than either of those states of matter, and scientists say it holds the key to more electricity.
“We hope that this will open new doors for the geothermal industry globally to step into an era of more production,” said Asgeir Margeirsson, CEO of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP), the collaboration among scientists, industry, and the Icelandic government responsible for the Reykjanes project.
He added, “If this works, in the future we would need to drill fewer wells to produce the same amount of energy, meaning we would touch less surface, which means less environmental impact and hopefully lower costs.”
This is not the first time such an ambitious project has been attempted. Six years ago, a similar effort was taken, but it ended disastrously when the drilling team ran into hot magma at 1.3 miles beneath the surface, destroying the entire drill string. But already, the current team has gone further without significant incident (knock on wood).
Posted on February 3rd, 2017 in solar by Spencer R.
Utah's breakneck pace of solar energy adoption over the past decade needs to continue on an accelerated course, advocates say, unveiling a plan Thursday that recommends the removal of existing roadblocks.
The Wasatch Solar Team, led by the advocacy organization Utah Clean Energy and Salt Lake City, developed "A Bright Future: A 10 Year Solar Deployment Plan for Utah," and introduced it at a media event at the state Capitol.
Advocates, industry and others collaborated to produce the plan, which outlines four key areas of continuing challenges and identifies ways to reduce their impact.
"This is the future we really want to provide to all Utahns," said Vicki Bennett, director of sustainability for Salt Lake City.
In 2006, there were only 76 rooftop solar installations in the state, according to the Wasatch Solar Team. By 2016, several thousand households were producing an estimated 140 megawatts of solar energy.
For that growth to continue, the plan recommends expanding access to solar energy by removing unnecessary restrictions on rooftop solar, reducing the shortage of available financing options, tackling the lack of suitable roof space and opening up avenues to people on fixed incomes.
The state would also be well-served if it implemented a mechanism to streamline the permitting process, with the report noting that depending on where one lives, "obtaining that permit can be a walk in the park or a tangle of red tape."
The existence of unpredictable and inconsistent rules often lead to added costs and prolonged wait time for customers, the report adds, pointing out that in some extreme cases, installers have been deterred from working in certain communities.
Salt Lake City and Utah Clean Energy teamed up to develop the Solar Permitting Toolbox more than three years ago to help local governments streamline the process.
Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy, said a no-nonsense approach that incorporates best practices can eliminate a significant hurdle to solar energy adoption.
Wright added that the state needs to work to reduce costs associated with the interconnection process, which was upgraded with new standards in 2010.
Since that time, national guidelines for the interconnection of rooftop solar have been modified to reflect the growing interest in renewable energy, the report notes.
One of the most complicated and likely the most controversial challenges the report outlines lies at the heart of a recommendation to overhaul the utility business model to align it with the 21st century embrace of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
While renewable energy and improved energy efficiency may save public utilities and customers the expense of costly capital investments — such as a new power plant — the power provider loses out of profits realized from new electricity sales.
Ben Hart, managing director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, said tapping into Utah's energy resources and ensuring associated industries grow and thrive is a cornerstone of his office's focus.
With Utah's remarkable growth in solar, Hart said the state needs to do what it can to assure continued success.
In 2015, for example, Utah was fifth in the nation for new solar installations and was 11th for cumulative solar capacity per capita.
Posted on February 3rd, 2017 in solar by Spencer R.
he Board of Education voted unanimously last week to accept a bid for additional solar panels to be installed at Coventry High School and Capt. Nathan Hale Middle School that, potentially, could save taxpayers some $1.26 million over 20 years.
The new solar panels would supplement energy from solar panels that were installed two years ago at all the schools and the schools’ warehouse.
Tim Sadler, a representative of Stratford-based ENCON Heating and Air Conditioning, presented two bids to the board for consideration. The bids were offered to Eversource for Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credits.
Robert Carroll, the school system’s director of finance and operations said, “What’s going to go up there will produce significantly more than the panels that are there now.”
The current electricity rate of 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour, or kWh, is projected to increase by 3 percent annually, regardless of which bid was accepted.
The bid the school board rejected was for $140 at a solar energy rate of 9.9 cents per kWh. According to ENCON’s projections, that would’ve provided savings of $5,272 the first year, and $693,635 over 20 years.
The bid that was accepted at $200 was for a solar energy rate of 6.5 cents per kWh. The savings at this rate would be over $35,000 for the first year and an estimated $1.26 million over 20 years.
Sadler said there was a greater savings with the $200 bid.
Board member Mary Kortmann agreed.
“The $140 one is not really worth it,” she said. “It seemed like a lot of panels to save only $5,000. I think we should go for broke.”
Sadler said Wednesday that a higher bid results in a lower rate for solar cost to the school.
The owner of the solar system is CT Green Bank and the panels would be financed through them, Sadler said.
He said that electricity rates in Connecticut have increased on average of close to four percent and solar energy would alleviate the burden of that increase.
Sadler said the solar panels would increase the percentage of solar energy usage at the middle school up to about 85 percent and at the high school to about 65 percent.
The proposal still needs to be accepted by Eversource.
Sadler said it would be submitted this spring and take about 30 days to hear back.
“If we don’t win in the first round, sometimes projects drop out” and it could be picked up mid-stream, he said.
Posted on February 2nd, 2017 in solar by Spencer R.
The global floating solar panels market is expected to grow from $13.8 million in 2015 to $2.7 billion by 2025, according to a new report from Grand View Research.
The technology, which carries photovoltaic solar panels at sea or in landlocked water basins, is expected to see significant growth over the next eight years due to the rising demand for reliable renewable power generation that does not use expensive real estate on terra firma.
Most of the growth in the global floating solar market -- also known as Floatovoltaics -- will come from the nations deploying it, which include Japan, the UK, China and Brazil.
Japan, in particular, is expected to lead the way for floating solar panels primarily because of the low availability of land coupled with limited natural resources. In 2015, Japan accounted for 75% of the floating solar market revenue. In addition, the industry is expected to grow substantially because of numerous plans sanctioned by the Japanese government.
In addition, the growing need for electricity in the country is expected to push demand for floating solar plants over the next decade.
Currently, there is less than 50MW of floating solar power installed globally, but that could double to 100MW this year, according to Benjamin Attia, a research analyst for Global Solar Markets at GTM Research.
Floating photovoltaics (PV) technology has the advantage of increased albedo (or reflective power from the water's surface) and natural module cooling, which results in higher peak efficiency, Attia said. It also benefits from reduced leasing and permitting costs and non-invasive land use, "which can be a major factor in land-restricted markets like Japan and Taiwan.
"However, concerns over long-term degradation and corrosion, costly corrective maintenance, and specialized mounting structures, pontoons, and anchors are not easily scalable and likely to inflate the project's balance of systems costs," Attia said in an email response to Computerworld. "I do expect floating PV demand to continue to rise, but mainly in specific use-case applications, such as land-restricted markets such as Japan and Taiwan, wastewater treatment plants, hydroelectric dams and pumped storage reservoirs, and perhaps marshland restoration projects, where they can provide protection against evaporation and algal blooms."
Much more promising than the latter, Attia said, would be solar built atop canals, which is becoming increasingly common in Southeast Asia and India.
"They provide many of the same advantages of floating PV projects while avoiding many of the long-term viability risks and cost adders that floating PV projects face," Attia said.
The world's largest floating solar panel farm is currently the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Japan, which was completed in 2016 and has a generating capacity of 13.7MW. That plant is capable of powering more than 5,000 households.
Europe is expected to account for the second-largest market based on the growing number of installations in the UK and France. The UK has the majority of the market share in Europe, with more than 10,000KW installed in 2015.
"Opportunities on inland water will boost the demand for the Europe floating solar panels market during the forecast period. Latin America is expected to witness the highest growth owing to strong pipeline for solar floating plants," a separate report from Global Market Insights said.
Europe’s largest floatovoltaics array is now being built atop the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir as part of Thames Water’s ambitious bid to self-generate a third of its own energy by 2020.
As part of an agreement among Thames Water, Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy, the floatovoltaics project will include more than 23,000 solar panels atop the reservoir. The floating pontoon of solar panels is expected to cover about 9% of the reservoir.
As floatovoltaics become more popular, market revenue is expected see a 50% combined annual growth rate from 2016 through 2020, according to a GM Insights' report issued in November.
Floatovoltaics technology relies on water surface for panel installation and can be used atop reservoirs, ponds, lakes, canals and other stationary water bodies. Panels are adjusted to the position of sun, which can enhance efficiency and maximize output, according to GM Insights.
"They also help to decrease algae growth in stable water and aid in reducing water evaporation through water bodies," GM Insights said. "As floating solar panels are placed above water it helps by its cooling effect and to maintain steady temperature of silicon panels, to continue output level...."
In addition to government subsidies and tax benefits, rent garnered from floatovoltaics also benefits those who own landlocked waterways, such as reservoirs and lakes.
Not everything, however, is sunny for the emerging market. High installation and maintenance costs could put a damper on growth. In addition, floating panels cannot easily be placed in seas or oceans since waves could affect their positioning, which would affect electricity generation.
"The rapid depletion of fossil fuel reserves has created a need for the utilization of renewable sources of electricity generation. Solar power is one of the fastest growing renewable energy technology owing to the ease in system installation as well as abundant sunlight across the globe," the Grand View Research report said. "Advantages related to the installation of floating panels as compared to conventional plants are expected to drive growth."
Posted on February 1st, 2017 in wind by Spencer R.
One of America's fastest growing professions, wind turbine technician, attracts people with a unique set of skills, as demonstrated by climber and composer Jessica Kilroy.
According to the US Department of Labor, one of the fastest growing professions in the country is one that didn't even exist not that long ago, but employing people who can service and repair wind turbines is an essential part of our clean energy revolution. The Department's Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) states that "Employment of wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, is projected to grow 108 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations."
Granted, the total number of wind technician jobs isn't very high (4,400 in 2014), so the resulting job figures from that growth isn't nearly as huge as that 108% rate might suggest, but the profession is still one key component of a low-cost and low impact energy source.
What is it like to climb hundreds of feet into the air for your job, and do the work while dangling in a harness from a rope on one of those monster wind turbines? The following video from Great Big Story, as part of its Planet Earth series, shares the story of Jessica Kilroy, a climber, composer, conservationist, and wind technician:
"These days, giant wind turbines are supplying more and more of our clean energy. And when they break down, they need to be fixed fast. It's a job only a few people are equipped to handle. Those who are afraid of heights need not apply. Rock climber Jessica Kilroy, for one, loves the challenge of blade repair. And though she makes dangling at dizzying heights look easy, her path to becoming a wind turbine technician has been anything but that." - Great Big Story
Although wind turbine technicians, with their daily high-flying adventures, might have one of the most exciting jobs in clean energy, the booming wind energy sector has created quite a few employment opportunities, with more than 100,000 wind energy jobs currently in the US. That's more than the number of jobs in nuclear, coal, natural gas or hydroelectric power plants, and the wind industry is expected to employ an estimated 380,000 people in the US by 2030.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry is "bringing billions in private investment, and tens of thousands of well-paying jobs, to rural and Rust Belt communities across the United States," which enhances those communities through boosting their economies and providing funds for schools, roads, and other necessities. And it's not just the treehuggers and renewable energy wonks who support wind energy, as even the US Department of Defense sees wind energy as an important element of increasing our energy security and cutting operational costs at its own installations. Wind and solar are seen by analysts as being currently the cheapest available electricity sources, even without subsidies, and could very well prove to be the backbone of the clean electricity grid of the future.
Posted on February 1st, 2017 in wind by Spencer R.
Canada's wind energy industry had another year of strong growth in 2016, adding 702 MW of new capacity through the commissioning of 21 projects in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Sixteen of these projects are owned, at least in part, by aboriginal or local communities, or municipal governments. Canada now has 11,898 MW of installed wind generation capacity, enough to supply six percent of Canada's electricity demand and meet the annual electricity needs of more than three million homes.
Wind energy and natural gas are the two most cost-competitive sources of new electricity generation in Canada today and wind energy has been the largest source of new electricity generation in Canada since 2005. Between 2012 and 2016, Canada's installed wind energy capacity has grown by an average of 18 per cent, or 1,327 MW, annually.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) expects Canada to install approximately 700 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2017. New wind energy procurement in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2017, coupled with a renewed focus in Canada on actions to transition to a low carbon economy, mean that wind energy's growth prospects will remain strong in Canada for many years to come.
"More wind energy has been built in Canada in the last 11 years than any other form of electricity generation, and for good reason. Costs for wind energy have fallen dramatically over the past seven years, making wind energy one of Canada's two most cost-competitive sources of new electricity supply. And unlike natural gas, wind energy is not impacted by carbon prices or commodity price fluctuations, meaning that wind energy will only become more affordable over time. The fact that the vast majority of new wind energy projects built in Canada in 2016 had some form of local ownership demonstrates the value of wind not only as a driver of economic growth, but also as a source of local jobs and revenue in communities right across the country."
-Robert Hornung, President, CanWEA
Ontario continued to lead Canada in market size and growth, adding 413 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2016 to bring its total installed capacity to 4,781 MW.
Quebec added three projects totalling 249 MW of capacity in 2016, ending the year with 3,510 MW of wind energy on its grid and maintaining its position as the second largest wind energy market in Canada.
Nova Scotia installed more wind energy projects than any other province in 2016, with 10 new facilities totalling 39.5 MW coming on line, most driven by the province's unique community feed-in tariff program. Nova Scotia ended the year with 579 MW of wind energy capacity, placing it fourth among the provinces for total installed capacity.
Canada's new wind energy projects in 2016 represented about $1.5 billion in investment.
There are now 285 wind farms made up of 6,288 wind turbines operating in Canada, bringing economic development and diversification to well over 100 rural communities through land lease income, property tax payments, ownership revenue and community benefits agreements.
Canada's first commercial wind facility, the Cowley Ridge Wind Farm, was decommissioned in 2016, 23 years after it began operations in southern Alberta in 1993. Alberta added no new wind capacity last year, but remains Canada's third largest wind market with 1,479 MW.
Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis 10.0, published in November 2016 by the financial advisory firm Lazard, shows how the cost of wind energy has fallen 66 per cent over the past seven years in the United States.
National Energy Board statistics (appendices: electricity capacity) show more wind energy was built in Canada than any other source of electricity generation from 2005 to 2015
CanWEA's Wind Markets webpages contain detailed information on the role of wind energy in markets across Canada.