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Archive for the ‘wind power’ Category

Half the news that’s fit to print: Bloomberg tries to make renewables the problem

Posted by Charles II on September 30, 2011

Kari Lundgren and Lars Paulson, Bloomberg:

The 15 mile-per-hour winds that buffeted northern Germany on July 24 caused the nation’s 21,600 windmills to generate so much power that utilities such as EON AG and RWE AG (RWE) had to pay consumers to take it off the grid.

Rather than an anomaly, the event marked the 31st hour this year when power companies lost money on their electricity in the intraday market because of a torrent of supply from wind and solar parks. The phenomenon was unheard of five years ago.

With Europe’s wind and solar farms set to triple by 2020, utilities investing in new coal and gas-fired power stations no longer face stable returns. As more renewables come on line, a gas plant owned by RWE or EON that may cost $1 billion to build will be stopped more often from running at full capacity. It may only pay for itself on days like Jan. 31, when clouds and still weather pushed an hour of power on the same-day market above 162 ($220) euros a megawatt-hour after dusk, in peak demand time.

“You’re looking at a future where on a sunny day in Germany, you’ll have negative prices,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance chief solar analyst Jenny Chase said about power rates in wholesale trading. “And a lot of the other markets are heading the same way.”

31 hours of losses vs 8760 hours per year represents less than 0.5% of the time that the plants are losing money, so Bloomberg is misleading its readers. But it does point to the need for developing load balancing technologies such as capacitor storage, long-distance transmission, and constant power sources like tidal. One could even envision offering energy-intensive producers like aluminum smelters financial incentives for running slightly below normal capacity except when there’s a surge in energy production, then ramping up production to take advantage of the superabundance.

Wonder how much oil company advertising Bloomberg gets.

Posted in environment, Media machine, solar, wind power | 3 Comments »

Why Do Our Legi$lator$ Favor Dirty Energy? Ca$h. Lot$.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 11, 2011

Earlier this week, I briefly touched on how in hock our elected representatives are to Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas — a fact that is keeping America from fully implementing a clean-energy future.

Over at Renewable Energy World, Tor Valenza has some data on just how much dough the dirty-energy crowd tosses at politicians: “How can you tell? Easy. Go to and find out how much $$$ your own representative or senators are $upported by oil and coal companies.”

To no one’s surprise, prominent Republicans like Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell turn out to have got a lot of money from the dirty-energy lobby, and are quite friendly to dirty energy as well as quite hostile to clean energy. But what is a pleasant surprise, is that Henry Waxman, a Democratic congressman from California, gets nearly as much as Boehner et al do, yet manages to be a very good friend to solar energy. As the late great Texas Democratic House Speaker Sam Rayburn once told a freshman congressman who wanted to be excused from vote because he wanted to please his biggest contributors: “Son, if you can’t take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and then vote against ’em, you don’t deserve to be here.”

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in solar, wind power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Do Our Legi$lator$ Favor Dirty Energy? Ca$h. Lot$.

China Rushing to Adopt Green Power, Manufacturing, and Living

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 8, 2011

If a non-trivial number of Capitol Hill legislators of both parties didn’t owe their jobs to Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Nuclear, China wouldn’t be trouncing the US in green growth:

China’s production of green technologies has grown by a remarkable 77 per cent a year, according to the report, which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and which will be unveiled on Monday at an industry conference in Amsterdam.

“The Chinese have made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively,” said Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF.

Denmark, a longtime leader in wind energy, derives 3.1 percent of its gross domestic product from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, or about euro6.5 billion ($9.4 billion), the report said.

The PRC is the largest cleantech producer in terms of money, with green technologies making up more than euro44 billion ($64 billion), or 1.4 percent of its annual gross domestic product. The US? We’re 17th.

It’s not just that the Chinese want a monopoly on worldwide cleantech, though that would be a nice side benefit for them. They want to flat-out survive. Human-caused global warming is a direct and growing threat to China, and the Chinese elites know it.

Seeing empty deserts where glaciers once stood not so long ago — glaciers that feed the great rivers of both China and India — was a real eye-opener for the Chinese central government. The worldwide economic downturn has been a blessing in disguise as not only has it slowed down the rate at which factories and power plants contribute to global climate change (thus buying the world an extra 18 months in which to get its act together), it allowed the central government to force the shutdown and retooling of older, polluting establishments so that they would run greener and cleaner upon reopening.

Of course, this also means that China is no longer as “business-friendly” as it once was, so various industries (such as HTI, or Hutchinson Technology) are looking towards Thailand, Indonesia and even India (Foxconn, which makes Apple’s iPads and iPods and iPhones, is going to India from China later this year) in a desperate bid to avoid having to honor environmental and labor regulations. But Thailand is an unstable mess and India and Indonesia are themselves cracking down on polluters and exploiters.

The free ride for the polluting and exploiting CEOs is over. Increasingly, they are being forced to choose between cleaning up their act or attempting to set up shop in places that are either politically unstable or have no infrastructure capable of supporting a multinational business.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in China, infrastructure, international, solar, wind power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Zoetrope: An Open-Source Do-It-Yourself Wind Turbine

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 7, 2011

Thanks to Jo6pac for tipping us off to this great idea:

If you live in an area that sees a fair amount of wind and you’d like to reduce your utility bill by harnessing some of that wind power, a wind turbine might be a good idea. The trouble with most commercially made home wind turbines, though, is that they’re fairly expensive, extremely tall and, if you have neighbors, they might not appreciate the new addition to the neighborhood.

Washington state resident Mike Marohn commissioned an inventive alternative. It’s called The Zoetrope and it’s a vertical-axis wind turbine made out of easily attainable parts and, according to this article, it can be assembled by just about anyone.

More information on it can be found here.

Posted in wind power | Comments Off on The Zoetrope: An Open-Source Do-It-Yourself Wind Turbine

Japanese Wind Farms Unharmed By Quake or Tsunami, Putting Out Lots Of Power

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 18, 2011

Copyright New Energy Foundation (Japan)

The fledgling Japanese wind industry just passed a major, and unplanned, test — it’s not only survived the one-two punch of earthquake and tsunami, but done so without so much as a scratch:

I’ve been directly corresponding with Yoshinori Ueda leader of the International Committee of the Japan Wind Power Association & Japan Wind Energy Association, and according to Ueda there has been no wind damage reported by any association members, from either the earthquake or the tsunami. Even the Kamisu semi-offshore wind farm, located about 300km from the epicenter of the quake, survived. Its anti-earthquake “battle proof design” came through with flying colors.

Mr. Ueda confirms that most Japanese wind turbines are fully operational. Indeed, he says that electric companies have asked wind farm owners to step up operations as much as possible in order to make up for shortages in the eastern part of the country…

The only wind farms that are offline because of the quake and tsunami are offline solely because of grid damage; the farms themselves are intact and capable of full operations once the grid is restored.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in energy, environment, Japan, nukes, wind power | 2 Comments »

Good News For (And From) A Good Guy

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 2, 2010

Jerome a Paris, aka Jerome Guillet, French energy banker and wind power developer, has some good news:

As you may remember, I created my own company earlier this year, after 15 years in the banking world, to help developers find money to build their renewable energy projects, in particular in the offshore wind sector where I’ve been involved in the past 5 years.

Well, I’m pleased to announce that the first transaction to happen with my new company’s help was signed last week last week.

Here’s what happened:

C-Power NV, a Belgian wind farm developer, signed a $1.16 billion loan agreement for its Thornton Bank wind power project off the nation’s coast, the largest ever for the offshore industry.

A group of seven commercial banks will provide non-recourse construction financing together with the Danish export credit agency Eksport Kredit Fonden, its German counterpart Euler Hermes Kreditversicherungs AG and the European Investment Bank, according to a statement released today by C-Power.

“While offshore wind asset finance will not anytime soon be characterized by frequent project financings, this deal is the closest the sector has to a template,” Charlie Hodges, a wind industry analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in London.

Posted in energy, Good Causes, Good Things, wind power | Comments Off on Good News For (And From) A Good Guy

Two Energy-Related Info Bits

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 26, 2010

John Sheffield, president of Alabaster Corporation, says his product “Sea Brat” is EPA approved and much safer than Corexit for dispersing and cleaning up oil spills, yet BP prefers Corexit because one of BP’s former board members, Rodney P. Chase, is also on the board of Nalco, the company that makes Corexit. (Mr. Sheffield’s FDL Seminal handle is “johnnydiamond”; he has a Seminal diary here.)

— Now it can be told: George W. Bush loves wind power, hates oil. (Side note: As noted earlier, the myth that wind power is ruinously expensive gets smacked down by a reality that is increasingly hard to deny. Check this out (h/t Jerome a Paris):

Texas has reached its goal of having 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity this year, 15 years earlier than scheduled, thanks to an ample supply of West Texas wind.

According to a report (.doc) filed with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Friday, the Lonestar State has 10,367 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, and generated 21,594,278 megawatt-hours of clean electricity in 2009.

Ninety-nine percent of those megawatts come from wind power. West Texas has some of the country’s best wind resources, and has experienced explosive wind power development since ERCOT’s renewable energy program was signed into law by then-Governor George W. Bush in 1999.

Under the Texas system, each megawatt-hour of renewable energy generated earns a renewable energy credit (a REC) which can be sold separate from the energy. Most utilities in the state are required to buy and use (“retire”) a certain number of such RECs each year.

But what has been surprising about the Texas experiment is that, because that Texas wind has proved so inexpensive, demand has exceeded what the law requires, fueling a voluntary market in renewable energy credits that is now bigger than the mandated market.

Spread the word!

Posted in environment, Oil, wind power | 3 Comments »

Solution For Medium-Sized Wind Generation?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 17, 2010

There’s been more movement away from the current model of horizontal-axis (aka Big Tri-Bladed Towers) units where wind power is concerned. People in urban areas, or in places where wildlife could be endangered by conventional horizontal-axis blades, are seeking out alternate ways to use wind power.

Just the other day, I saw a vertical axis unit on the side of the highway that looked a lot like this one. These types of wind generators aren’t as efficient as the big tri-bladed tower ones, but they can operate at lower wind speeds, can be set up in a wider variety of spots (i.e., they don’t need to be fifty feet in the air or on top of a ridge), and apparently pose less of a potential hazard to wildlife. (This manufacturer claims that one of its vertical-axis wind arrays hasn’t killed a single bird since it was put into operation in October of 2001. That’s quite a record!)

Posted in energy, environment, wind power | 3 Comments »

Wednesday Morning Good News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 12, 2009


— See what a couple of billion can bring? Cash for Clunkers, in addition to jump-starting the US auto industry and the industries that depend on it, is directly responsible for a big jump in the average fuel efficiency of cars on the road:

The average mileage for new vehicles rose from 21.4 miles per gallon in June to 22.1 mpg in July….

Study co-author Michael Sivak noted the improvement came even as gas prices fell and unemployment levels shrank somewhat. Normally, those factors lead to the purchase of more gas guzzlers. The higher mileage shows the effect of Cash for Clunkers, Sivak said, and he expects the jump to be even bigger when August figures come out. That’s because the trade-in rebate program only got going late in July.

Small manufacturers are starting to recover from the crash, and even to start hiring again. This is borne out by the renewed demand for taconite iron ore from the MinnTac mine in northern Minnesota, which will soon be running at pre-crash levels of activity.

Even during the economic meltdown, wind turbine installations are proceeding apace:

The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,210 megawatts (MW) of new power generating capacity in the second quarter, bringing the total added this year to just over 4,000 MW – an amount larger than the 2,900 MW added in the first six months of 2008, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) found in its second quarter (Q2) market report.

During the second quarter, the U.S. wind energy industry completed a total of 1,210 MW in 10 states. These new installations nudge total U.S. wind power generating capacity to 29,440 MW, according to the report.

— Wind farms as tourist sites? You betcha. People come from hundreds of miles to see them.

Posted in automobiles, economy, energy, environment, when government is a good thing, wind power | Comments Off on Wednesday Morning Good News Roundup

Monday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 27, 2009


Wind power is poised to resume its breakneck growth next year. It also may well be one of the mechanisms that lifts America out of the recession.

— Secrets of the CIA’s “ghost flights” (extraordinary renditions) are about to be revealed.

— Speaking of the CIA, some former DEA agents are really ticked off at the Agency.

Work is beginning to prepare the US electrical grid for the growth of wind power.

Posted in CIA, economy, energy, wind power | 1 Comment »

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