Mainstream, Sinovel deliver 1 GW of wind in Ireland

September 30, 2011

Mainstream Renewable Power and wind turbine manufacturer Sinovel Wind Group will build 1 GW of wind energy projects in Ireland by 2016. Mainstream will develop and construct the projects, with Sinovel providing wind turbines.

Sinovel may also consider local supply chain opportunities in Ireland if the Irish Government commits to long-term wind targets. The company’s Senior Vice-President, Mr. Lecheng Li, said, “The first of these projects in Ireland will go into construction later this year and we plan to supply Mainstream with a steady flow of turbines through 2012 and 2013 reaching an average of 250 MW per annum from 2014 onwards. As we gain certainty on project execution schedules we will review our plans for localising operation and maintenance activities as well as possible component manufacturing.”

In a recent development, the British government is considering subsidising the Irish wind energy industry under proposals to be considered in London. Britain believes the west coast and the seas around Ireland can provide it with a large amount of its renewable energy. Irish industry groups say such a move could be worth up to €1.6 billion a year to the Irish economy.

The British government is considering directly subsidising electricity through its feed-in tariff system, which would be a subsidy to private investors operating on Irish territory. It could also operate by a system known as “supplier obligation”, whereby British power companies would be mandated to buy a certain amount of renewable energy from Irish sources. Despite Ireland’s offshore wind potential, there is only one wind farm off Irish coasts.

UK offshore passes 1.5 GW mark

September 30, 2011

The UK’s offshore capacity has passed the 1.5 GW mark following the announcement that Dong and SSE’s 184 MW Walney 1 wind farm in the Irish Sea has become fully operational. The 51-turbine project finished its construction phase in May. Walney 1, which is 14 km from the coast of Cumbrian northern England, had experienced some delays because of cabling issues. Now that it is fully operational work continues on its sister project, Walney 2, which will potentially begin contributing another 184 MW of electricity when it becomes fully operational next year.

Meanwhile, the UK government has set a new target for 18 GW of offshore wind by 2020, up from 13 GW. The offshore wind industry is also to benefit from a £30 million fund to support innovation in component production over the next four years, according to the government. This comes on top of £25 million for a new drive train test facility at the National Renewable Energy Centre announced by the Energy Technology Institute recently. The government wants the costs of offshore wind to drop to £100/MWh by 2020 and has set up an industry task force to look at how this can be achieved.

UN, Bank of Industry to invest in renewable energy in Nigeria

September 30, 2011

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) are to invest about $4.48 million in renewable energy projects in the next three years to boost the productive capacities of micro-, small-, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria’s rural and urban areas.

Renewable energy projects involve the utilisation of wind, biomass, small hydro, and solar energy options to generate electricity. The Access to Renewable Energy (AtRE) project package unveiled in Abuja at the formal launch of the partnership, is expected to facilitate access to affordable and reliable energy supply alternatives independent of the current supply from the national grid, which has been a source of national concern in recent times.

Britain, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man sign deal

September 30, 2011

Ministers from Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man signed a deal to work together to exploit the region’s wind and marine energy resources. The “All Islands Approach” aims to help and encourage developers to make the most of the commercial opportunities for generation and transmission of local renewable energy.

The co-operation should also increase the integration of the different regional markets and help improve security of power supply. “There is a massive potential source of clean, green, secure energy that remains untapped in the Irish Sea and onshore in Ireland, as well as around the Channel Islands,” says UK Minister of State for Energy Charles Hendry.

Google, Citigroup invest more in US wind farm

September 30, 2011

Google Inc. and Citigroup Inc. are investing an additional $204 million to finance another phase of a California wind farm. The companies said that each will invest $102 million in Alta V, a 168-MW project. This is in addition to the combined $110 million in financing that the companies said they would put into the Alta Wind Energy Centre wind farm in California’s Tehachapi Mountains. In total, Alta will have a capacity of 1,550 MW, or enough to power 450,000 homes. This is nearly twice as much as the largest operating wind energy installation in the US.

Google has been investing hundreds of millions in wind energy as it seeks reliable new ways to power its massive data centres. The latest financing of the Alta farm brings the search engine’s total clean energy investments close to $780 million.

Google has also invested in solar energy. The company recently invested $280 million in partnership with SolarCity and has now entered the residential solar industry with its largest investment into the renewable energy industry.

Swiss Power Companies ride Foreign Wind

September 30, 2011

Power companies in Switzerland- put off by complicated investment procedures and low profitability at home – are stepping up acquisitions in other parts of Europe. At the end of May, the Swiss electricity companies, EOS Holding and BKW, announced the purchase of 88 wind turbines in Germany and two wind farms inItaly. “Thirty years ago investments were made in nuclear power plants, primarily in France,” explained Nicolas Geinoz of the Association of Swiss Electricity Producers (VSE). “Over the past few years investment was dominated by gas and coal while most recently it has been wind parks.”

Europe’s wind and solar market is an attractive option for Swiss producers. “One hundred per cent of our investments abroad concern renewable energy,” said Alex Fries, director general of EOS Holding.

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