Friday, 15 April 2011

Statkraft inks £160m deal for Dong's UK offshore wind energy

Power purchase agreement bolsters offshore wind sector as Manchester crane supplier secures multi-million Gwynt y Môr contract

The UK's offshore wind industry has taken a major step forward after two of Europe's leading energy firms agreed a £160m power purchase deal for energy generated by four offshore wind farms.
Norwegian utility Statkraft announced earlier this week that it has signed a two-year deal to buy 50 per cent of the energy produced by Dong Energy's Burbo Bank, Gunfleet Sands, Walney and London Array UK offshore wind farms.With an initial installed capacity of 127MW, growing to 545MW once the London Array is finished, Dong is expected to supply 2.7TWh of renewable electricity during the contract period, equating to about £160m worth of energy based on projected UK electricity prices.


The contract, based on a variable spot price, started at midnight on 3 April and is being managed by Statkraft's UK Short Term Energy Management team in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Henrik Valgma, Dong Energy's senior vice president of portfolio management and trading, said that Statkraft will be an important and reliable partner for the company's renewable energy projects.
"The negotiations has been hard, but performed in a constructive and respectful way," he said. "This atmosphere, for sure, paves the way for more future co-operation."
In other news, RWE npower renewables confirmed yesterday that it has signed a "multi-million pound" contract with Manchester-based Granada Handling Material to manufacture 164 crane units for its 576MW Gwynt y Môr Offshore wind farm off the North Wales coast.
The deal was a direct result of RWE and Granada meeting at one of the Crown Estate's supply chain events, which have been designed to provide a marketplace for offshore wind farm developers to secure supply chain contracts.


The contract secures work and income for two years for the Rochdale business, which is now looking to place orders and sub-contract specialist areas of work to other firms in North Wales.
It will also enable redevelopment of Granada's workshop, and provide financial security to expand its workforce.
RWE plans to fit one of Granada's crane units to each of the 160 transition pieces at the base of the wind turbines as well as the offshore substations.
Gwynt y Môr project manager Toby Edmonds said that RWE was pleased to have awarded a contract to a UK supplier.
"Particularly significant is that Granada has invested a lot of time and effort into meeting with the industry at trade shows and other events to understand what is needed, and then apply this knowledge to position their business," he said.
"As a result, their product is right for our project and they put together a very strong proposal that was pitched in just the right way to compete successfully against strong competition."

Thursday, 14 April 2011

UK Green Bank Investment into Nuclear?

With public opinion at a possible turning point concerning the role of nuclear in energy mixes, the UK’s Green Investment Bank is tight-lipped about its potential future with nuclear. Former Chief Scientist of the UK, Sir David King, believes that nuclear is too controversial for GIB investment. The Green Investment Bank (GIB) is set to launch in 2012 starting with £2 Billion, and enhanced by £1 Billion from the government and expected to receive 15 billion in private sector investments. Its purpose will be to invest in low-carbon projects that have been deemed too uncertain for the private sector. The government has not yet made a decision regarding GIB’s relationship with nuclear power plants.


Assessing the recent nuclear disaster in Japan’s impact on public opinion and long-term planning will now play a more prominent role in determining whether nuclear is an appropriate investment by the GIB. GIB financing is required to match the government’s policy regarding energy investments. So if nuclear energy is given a marketplace advantage through subsidies or other tactics, similar support must be made available to other forms of energy generation.

Renewable energy investment has been flagged as an “early high priority” by the GIB. Nuclear power’s role within GIB investments remains uncertain. Yet after top-level officials spoke out against nuclear following the disaster in Japan, many suspect it will not be included in GIB funded activities nor qualify for future subsidies

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Berkeley Vale wind farm plans turned down

Plans for a wind farm in the Berkeley Vale in Gloucestershire have been rejected.

Stroud district councillors voted seven to two to refuse electricity company Next Generation permission for the plans, near Stinchcombe.
The proposals for the four 120m (394ft) high turbines were deferred by councillors in February.


Campaigners from Save Berkeley Vale have raised concerns about how the turbines would affect the environment.
Dale Vince, managing director of Next Generation, said he was disappointed at the decision.
He said: "The council's planning officers have recommended this project for approval having spent months putting it through a rigorous process... it was clearly their opinion that it was a good project.
"Council members have just come along and thrown it out for no good reasons really."

Monday, 11 April 2011

Wind farm plans go on display

PLANS for a wind farm which would see up to nine turbines being built near an East Yorkshire town are to go on display.


Residents will be able to find out more about proposals by developers Wind Prospect for the Thornholme Field scheme near Bridlington, close to Burton Agnes. Representatives from the company will be at Wednesday’s meeting at Harpham Village Hall between 2pm and 8pm.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Google invest in Wind and Solar power!

Looks like Google’s wind power investments last year aren’t its last clean energy bets. On Thursday afternoon Google announced on its European policy blog that it will invest €3.5 million ($5 million) into a solar photovoltaic farm in Brandenburg an der Havel, which is near Berlin in Germany.


The 18.7 MW solar farm is already fully constructed across 116 acres, and Google says at least 70 percent of the farm is made up of solar modules made by German manufacturers. Private equity company Capital Stage invested alongside Google in the solar farm.
There’s a couple reasons Google likes to invest in clean energy projects. First is just for the returns. In May of 2010 Google announced it planned to invest $38.8 million into 169.5 MW worth of wind projects developed by NextEra Energy Resources in North Dakota. As Rick Needham, Google’s green business operations manager, told me last year, the North Dakota wind farms “were attractive because they offered good returns for our capital, based on the risks of the projects, and allowed us to partner with experienced developers and investors.”


Later that Summer Google followed up by announcing that its subsidiary Google Energy — which the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved last year to buy and sell energy on the whole sale markets — would make its first deal and buy clean power from a wind farm in Iowa. Google said then that it wouldn’t actually be using the clean energy in Iowa to power any of its operations, but planned to instead sell that power back to the grid operator there in exchange for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

Google could theoretically do something similar with its solar investment in Germany. Google didn’t announce that it would buy the solar power via Google Energy, but perhaps that announcement is down the road somewhere, particularly if Google owns half of the farm with a private equity firm. Anyone know if Google has a data center near Brandenburg an der Havel? Check out a video clip of Weihl being interviewed about green energy and data centers at Green:Net 2010.

E.ON to invest €2.6bn in renewable energy by 2013

E.ON says it also expanded its wind and solar capacity by 600 MW to over 3.6 GW in 2010, and the expansion is set to continue.

Examples include the 1 GW London Array offshore wind farm in the UK, which is being built with partners DONG Energy and Masdar; and the 300 MW German Amrumbank West offshore wind farm.

E.ON is also close to completion of its 100 MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in Écija, Spain, which is a joint venture with Abengoa Solar.
In the US, E.ON has installed the first 94 wind turbines at the 150 MW wind farm Settlers Trail, IL.

In November 2010, the energy company announced that in the future it intends to generate about one quarter of its earnings in four regions outside Europe: North America (wind power), Russia (conventional power generation), and two other regions it is currently in the process of identifying.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

UK slips down global green investment rankings

UK slips down global green investment rankings

    China solar industry : Employees inspect solar panels at a workshop in factory in Hangzhou
    Employees inspect solar panels at a workshop in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. China was the world's biggest investor in clean energy last year, with $54bn (£34bn). Photograph: Lang Lang/Reuters
    The UK is rapidly losing the race to be the global powerhouse of the green economy, while other countries streak ahead in low-carbon technology investment and development, according to rankings published on Tuesday. Last year, the UK slumped from being third in the world in terms of investment in green growth, to only 13th place, , according to a report by the respected US Pew Environment Group.
    This means the UK now ranks well behind developing countries such as Brazil, in sixth place, India in 10th place and China in first place. Investment in alternative energy and clean technology reached $11bn (£7bn) in the UK in 2009, but plummeted to only $3.3bn (£2bn) last year - a decline of 70%. This compares with $2.3bn (£1.45bn) investment in Mexico last year, $4bn (£2.5bn) in France and $14bn (£8.7bn) in Italy. Top of the league is China, with $54bn (£34bn), Germany with $41.2bn (£25.7bn) and the US, with $34bn (£21bn) of investment last year. The news comes ahead of a crucial cabinet discussion of the UK's climate change targets beyond 2020. There are still deep divisions between the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which is calling for tough targets to stimulate green growth, and the Treasury and the Department of Business, which argue that the current economic situation calls for less stringent targets in 10 years' time. Ministers must decide whether to adopt recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change, the statutory body that is charged with advising the government on how to meet long-term climate change targets. The committee said last year the UK should aim to cut emissions by 60% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. A decision should be taken soon on whether to follow that advice, if ministers are to enact the new target into law this autumn, as the Climate Change Act requires. The Pew report blamed the UK's fall down the ranking on "a sharp decline in offshore wind energy investments and uncertainty surrounding [government] policy". Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's clean energy programme, said: "National policy matters - investment follows policy. We've seen that again and again." Overall, global clean technology investment reached a record $243bn (£152bn) last year. Cuttino said it was a landmark, as this was the first year in which investment in renewable energy overtook nuclear power. "This was a big year," she said. "Now it's about keeping up that momentum." But there was disappointment that the UK had not performed better. Meg Hillier, shadow energy and climate spokeswoman, said: "If we do not move fast we will slip back even further, and companies will shut up shop here or go abroad." Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser at Greenpeace, added: "The Conservatives came to power promising to end dithering on energy decisions but instead investors face a continuing atmosphere of uncertainty. With long delays in setting up the green investment bank, further dilly-dallying over when it will be able to function as a proper bank, and a green leal [project to insulate homes] with no sense of direction, we've had a year of delays and broken promises. In the mean time green investment elsewhere has surged ahead so we're losing jobs and industries to other countries. Unless [David] Cameron gives a direct instruction to his Treasury to stop sabotaging his ambitions for the low-carbon economy, British businesses will continue to lose out."
    Ahead of the Cabinet discussion, a group of 10 major UK companies including Unilever, Kingfisher, Tesco, Thames Water, EDF Energy and Shell, brought together by the Prince of Wales' corporate leaders group on climate change, have written to the prime minister, urging him to take a stand. "This target is only credible if there are the right policies and milestones in place to ensure we take adequate action to achieve it between now and 2050. We therefore support the Committee on Climate Change's call for steady progress towards that goal along a clear trajectory, and would welcome the adoption of a strong fourth carbon budget consistent with a 2030 milestone of at least 60% reductions, and with the proposals in the EU's 2050 low-carbon roadmap." They also called for more international action on greenhouse gas emissions from sectors such as aviation and shipping. Source: Guardian.co.uk

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Banks Group investing £20m into UK Wind Farms

NORTH East mining and renewable company the Banks Group is to invest more than £20m in two new wind farm developments as it increases its profile in the green sector.

Banks Renewables, part of the Banks Group, secured the largest investment in the renewables market the Co-operative Bank has made to date for the two Yorkshire schemes.

And Banks is now looking at the same project finance model to fund a number of similar projects as it continues its drive to establish itself as a major player in the UK onshore renewables market.


The Durham-based company, which has an annual turnover of £60m, employs around 360 people and operates in the renewable energy, mining and property markets, expects the two schemes to start in the autumn.

Neil Brown, group commercial director at the Banks Group, says: “Securing the largest investment that the Co-operative Bank has ever made in the renewables industry not only represents a validation of the strength of the UK market, but also of the business model that Banks Renewables is following in this area.

“We are committed to becoming one of the UK’s leading owner/operators of onshore wind farms, and the investment model that we have used to secure this funding could provide the template for a portfolio of future sites that we are currently progressing across the north of England and Scotland.”

The three-turbine Hazlehead wind farm is situated on formerly derelict brownfield land to the west of Barnsley, while the Marr scheme comprises four turbines and is located five miles to the west of Doncaster.

When fully operational, the schemes will produce up to 14.4mw of renewable energy between them, enough to meet the annual power requirements of up to 9,000 homes.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Crown reaps windfarm profits but creates no jobs... | Wind energy vs Solar Power

Crown reaps windfarm profits but creates no jobs... | Wind energy vs Solar Power

Crown reaps windfarm profits but creates no jobs...

The Crown Estate has been criticised for not employing any permanent staff in Wales – despite raking in a gross annual surplus of £2.3m.

The revelation comes as the body, which owns large swathes of land in Wales as well as the sea bed in UK territorial waters, is set for a multi-million-pound windfall from the development of wind farms off the coast of Wales.

Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood who is seeking re-election to the National Assembly in South Wales Central, said the benefits of natural resources should go to the people of Wales.
Ms Wood said: “The Crown Estate makes and in future will make even more money from Wales, yet doesn’t employ a single permanent worker in the country.


“They say they do have one employee who lives in Wales and spends much of his working life here. They take plenty from Wales but are not giving anything back.”
Ms Wood was told that existing offshore wind farms in North Wales at North Hoyle and Rhyl Flats generated income to the Crown Estate of almost £400,000 in 2009-10.

In total, the body’s annual report showed its 3,000 acres across Wales generated a gross surplus of £2.3m in 2009-10 with capital receipts bringing in £1.8m.
Profits earned by the Crown Estate are paid to the Treasury but last year Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to use the Estate’s income to fund the Royal Family.

The Chancellor plans to replace the Civil List funding formula with payments to the Royal Household that are linked to the Crown Estate’s profits after 2013.
Unless an earnings cap is imposed, the Royal Family could net up to £37.5m extra income every year from wind farms as the seabed within Britain’s territorial waters is owned by the Crown Estate.
Construction of the Gwynt-y- Mor wind project is due to start this year and the Crown Estate told Ms Wood it also had a zone development agreement with Centrica to develop up to 4.2 gigawatts, covering both Welsh and English waters.


In addition, the Crown Estate has onshore options for three wind farms at Lys Dymper with Wind Power Wales, at Llanllwni with RES Renewables and Cilfaesty with RWE Power. Planning applications have been submitted for the first two.

Ms Wood said: “Virtually all the UK’s sea bed, including that in Wales, up to 12 nautical miles from the shore and more than half the UK foreshore is owned by the Crown Estate.

Windfarm doubles turbines - Alford - Skegness

A WIND FARM that will more than double the number of turbines off the Skegness coast has entered its construction phase.

  
The Lincs wind farm project will comprise of 75 3.6 megawatt turbines, generating enough energy to meet the electricity needs of 200,000 households.
Director of renewables at Centrica Alan Thompson said: “The Greater Wash is central to Centrica’s offshore wind development.
“Our Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm already produces enough electricity to meet the annual demand of 130,000 homes.
“Construction of our Lincs wind farm is progressing well and we will shortly be installing the foundations for the first of its 75 turbines.”
Previous wind farm projects have been met with controversy over the location of proposed onshore substations constructed to transmit the energy generated onto the National Grid.
However opponents to such plans and local councillors have welcomed the decision to use existing substations in Walpole for this wind farm.
Coun Colin Davie said: “For the protection of the environment in the wider scale of things, offshore wind farms should always be connected to existing onshore substations rather than tearing up the countryside to build new ones.”
The £725million project began in October 2009 with works to prepare the substation in Walpole for connection with the wind farm.
Earlier this year major construction work began on the offshore substation and this current phase will see the installation of turbine foundations begin.
When completed the wind farm should begin generating power towards the end of 2012.
The wind farm is a joint venture between energy firms Centrica and DONG energy and Siemens Project Ventures.
Energy suppliers will receive two Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) for each megawatt hour produced by the Lincs wind farm.
The government has imposed legislation requiring energy firms to produce 11 per cent of their energy from renewable sources.
ROCs demonstrate the proportion of energy production that can be attributed to renewable sources.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Offshore Wind Power Valued at $273 Billion By 2050 | Wind energy vs Solar Power

Offshore Wind Power Valued at $273 Billion By 2050 Wind energy vs Solar Power

Offshore Wind Power Valued at $273 Billion By 2050

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- The global offshore wind-power market could be worth 170 billion pounds ($273 billion) a year by 2050, the U.K. government-funded Carbon Trust said.
Britain is likely to take about 10 percent of the market, which includes installation, operation and maintenance of turbines at sea, the trust said today in an e-mailed statement.

The industry may employ 230,000 people in the country in 2050, and generate 100 billion pounds for the U.K. economy between now and then, the trust said.
“Offshore wind is a strategically important economic asset for the U.K. that can deliver long-term growth and energy security,” said Benj Sykes, the trust’s director of innovations. “If we seize this green growth opportunity, the U.K. will benefit from hundreds of thousands of new jobs, a booming new export market and billions of pounds of business benefits.”

The U.K. already has more offshore wind generation capacity than any other country and is betting on the technology to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet European energy targets. 

The government’s plans have attracted manufacturers including Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co., Germany’s Siemens AG and Spain’s Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica SA, and developers such as Centrica Plc, RWE AG, and E.ON AG.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the Randers, Denmark-based turbine-maker with the biggest share of installed offshore turbines, yesterday unveiled a new 7-megawatt machine for use at sea. It said the U.K. was among a cluster of countries in and near the North Sea where it may build a plant to make them.
Gamesa, GE and Siemens have already announced plans for U.K. offshore wind turbine manufacturing and research hubs to cater for demand created by the country’s third round of seabed licensing.
In January 2010, the government awarded licenses for 32,200 megawatts of offshore wind projects to companies including Centrica, RWE, Statoil ASA, EDP Renovaveis and Scottish and Southern Energy Plc.

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