Power & Energy Solutions

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No less a personage than the Queen of England has stepped into the renewables debate by promising to invest in wind power projects in the deep waters off Britain.The Crown Estate, which is the holder of the Queen's property, says it will pay up to half of all pre-construction development costs for companies wanting to build wind farms in the North Sea.{pagebreak}The announcement has been met with a huge surge in applications for the latest round of licensing, with around 100 companies interested in developing their ideas.Adam Bruce, chairman of the British Wind Energy Association, said: "The Crown Estate offering to be a development partner takes away much of the cost and uncertainty with third-round projects, which is why we have seen so much interest in the latest licensing round."Although deep-water projects are expensive, they could be far more efficient because they could utilise larger turbines and take advantage of stronger prevailing winds, said Bruce. "Unlike onshore wind schemes, the operator is also only dealing with one planning regime and one landlord in the Crown Estate, which is now offering to be a partner."A spokeswoman for the Crown Estate said the response to the licensing round had "greatly exceeded our

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High efficiency PV panels are to be installed on the roof of a Californian warehouse to create one of the world's largest solar projects at a winery.The 1.2 megawatt solar system installation at Constellation Wines US' Gonzales Winery in Monterey County, will cover approximately 170,000 square feet of the main winery warehouse roof, and will provide about 50 percent of the winery's total energy requirements. {pagebreak}"Many wineries and agricultural enterprises have already turned to solar as a primary source of energy, and even more are considering it," said Gina Heng, director of sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA's Photovoltaic Division, which is providing the panels.The installation will include 6,358 Mitsubishi Electric 185Wp solar panels, and can generate 1,176,230 watts of DC power and deliver 1,000,040 watts of AC power to the grid. The reduced greenhouse gas emissions will be equal to taking 2,000 cars off the road each year, and the system's reduced carbon footprint will equal planting 2,500 acres of trees.The annual estimate annual offsets, or pollution avoided, by the solar installation include 1.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide; 1,636 pounds of sulphur dioxide; and 2,909 pounds of nitrogen oxides."We are proud and excited about this

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Harnessing Ireland's offshore wind and wave energy is vital to help the country to slash its carbon emissions by 2020, a new parliamentary committee has said.The Dail's Committee on Climate Change, which was established a year ago, {pagebreak}said Irish people now produce the fifth highest levels of greenhouse gas in the world in per capita terms. The EU wants Ireland to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 and also harness 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by the same date.Committee chairman Sean Barrett called for the development of wind and wave energy projects in Ireland's offshore area, which covers 900,000 square kilometres of sea bed or ten times the land area of the country. He said the current planning regime for such projects was several decades out of date. "If we are to exploit offshore wind and harness the power of waves and tides, we must replace outdated structures with a modern system for dealing with marine developments," Mr Barrett said.In Northern Ireland, a Unionist MP has criticised a cross-border call for Ireland to remain a "nuclear-free zone". Sammy Wilson said that true environmentalists should support nuclear power.The Democratic Unionist MP was responding to

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A commitment to Britain's climate change agenda has been made despite fears of a severe downturn in the world economy.The UK's new energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, said many of the new jobs of the future will be green jobs, {pagebreak}adding that the cost to taxpayers of failing to fix the environment will only be higher if it is not tackled now.He said: "The central argument of the Stern report is that the costs of not acting are worse than the costs of acting, and the longer you leave it, the worse it gets in terms of the costs. So I don't think there is an option not to act."It would not be true to say that after the events of the past three weeks that climate change is at the front of millions of people's minds. But politics is about leadership and that means saying this is an incredibly important issue not just for us but for our children.By the end of the year the EU must reach agreement on the 2020 package on renewables and energy efficiency. That is how we can send a signal that we can get an agreement on a worldwide UN deal

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EPIA organises its first international Thin Film ConferenceMore than 300 experts from the thin film sector are expected to gather in Munich on November 13 for the first European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) International Thin Film Conference. {pagebreak}With a growing demand for PV products in the European and American markets, all technological solutions are expanding and thin film has become particularly strong. This first conference aims to provide a dedicated international discussion platform for the photovoltaic Thin Film industry.According to EPIA projections, 4 GW of thin film production capacity is expected to be available by the end of 2010. This would represent 20 per cent of the overall PV module capacity. Questions that aim to be addressed by the conference include the potential for cost reduction offered by Thin Film technologies and the ability to reach grid parity by a quicker means.The conference will present the current state of the PV thin film sector and provide an insight into global market trends, the latest technological achievements, successful investments in the sector and a full analysis, from material and equipment suppliers to module manufacturers.A detailed programme and all information are available on this dedicated website: www.thinfilmconference.org 

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The Danish based sub-supplier to the wind turbine industry, Avanti Wind Systems, opens office in India.It will be operated by general manager for Avanti Wind Systems India, Mr. Lars Rasmussen and based at the Trade Commission of Denmark in Bangalore{pagebreak}At the beginning of 2009, Avanti Wind Systems expands operations to Chennai, where the company will open a factory for Service Lifts and Fall Protecting Systems. Avanti Wind System is leading world marked producer of service lifts and other personal safety systems to wind turbine towers. Including the office and factory in India, Avanti Wind Systems will operate factories, technical service centers, offices and training centers in six countries, Denmark, Spain, China, USA and Germany."The wind industry is growing very fast in India too - and Avanti Wind System wants to be close to our costumers, so we are able to provide a fast and high quality service", says Avanti Wind Systems CEO, Soren Midtgaard.The Avanti Company was founded in Denmark in 1885 and was originally a ladder factory. The company still produces ladders, but is now focusing on developing and producing safety equipment for the service technicians working in wind turbine towers. Avanti has

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A warning not to undermine EU support for renewables has been sounded by a wind energy trade body in a letter to a French minister.The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has expressed its concern about a proposed ‘review clause' {pagebreak}in the Renewable Energy Directive, and underlined the importance of priority grid access for renewables in an open letter to French Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo.A ‘review clause' is currently being debated in Council as part of the Renewable Energy Directive. The clause would introduce a review, in 2014, of whether the flexibility mechanisms were ensuring that the Member States were meeting their targets. The EWEA says this could undermine stable national support mechanisms, market stability and investor certainty, as well as discourage Member States from ensuring adequate domestic investments before the results of such a review were known."EWEA strongly opposes a review clause evaluating the implementation of the Directive, in particular with regard to whether the flexibility mechanisms are ensuring that Member States reach their national targets," says the letter."Member States will fulfil the majority of their national targets on the basis of domestic effort, not flexibility mechanisms. Such a review clause:• would introduce a disincentive for Member States to ensure adequate

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Excessive bureaucracy and long waits to connect plants to the grid is slowing down the potential for enormous growth in Italy's solar energy market.Although the country is a solar power hot spot, with 17,000 plants tapping its plentiful sunlight, approval for such plants can drag very slowly, taking months of painstaking decision-making.{pagebreak}"The local impact of a big plant is looked at with much, much tension," said Stefano Neri, chairman and chief executive of solar power company TerniEnergia SpA.The wave of requests for hook-ups to the grid has swamped utilities, leading to complaints and months of delays.An ongoing investigation launched last year by the national power authority showed that it took 97 days on average to hook up renewable energy plants, including solar, in the period from May 2006 to October 2007."It seems to me that Italy should look to be one of the top, if not the top, country in terms of photovoltaic development in the next few years," said Domenico Inglieri, a board member at the GIFI association of Italian photovoltaic companies.Since the end of 2006, Italy has nearly quadrupled its solar energy capacity to 197 megawatts, enough to power about 100,000 homes. With 12,200 new producers online

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Fears that wildlife, particularly birds, is affected by wind farms have been allayed in a new study which shows that turbines have little impact on them."This should be welcome news for nature conservationists, wind energy companies and policy-makers", {pagebreak}the report from the UK's Newcastle University said, adding that carbon-free wind power is also helping to fight global warming.When wind power was in its infancy three decades ago, some groups raised concerns that endlessly whirling turbines could kill massive numbers of birds.The siting of some early wind farms, especially on migratory routes in the United States, did result in an unusually high number of bird deaths. However, much has been done since then to make wind farms far less threatening to avian species.Mark Whittingham, the study team leader, said: "This is the first evidence suggesting that the present and future location of large numbers of wind turbines on European farmland is unlikely to have detrimental effects on farmland birds."The study said the 16 wind turbines monitored did not affect the distribution of four groups of wintering farmland birds (seed-eaters, corvids, gamebirds and Eurasian skylarks). Monitoring the four groups at differing distances from the turbines, the study found no evidence to suggest

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Euro MPs have dealt a blow to plans for a new generation of coal-fired power stations after voting for tough curbs to reduce their emissions.The MEPs want to force energy companies to fit expensive equipment to trap the emissions, the limit of which is the same as that set by California - 500 grams of CO2 per kilowatt/hour. Anti-coal campaigners in the US claim this has effectively outlawed coal power being sold to the state.{pagebreak}However the committee also voted for a €10bn (£7.8bn) fund to pay for trials of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which could trap most emissions. This could enable some coal stations to be built, using the EU funds to pay for the massive expected costs of CCS.The amendments to the draft Directive on Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide still have to pass at least two further levels. One is the European council of environment ministers, where there is likely to be strong lobbying by some states, including coal-rich Poland. But environment campaigners hailed the decision as a "huge development".Development charity Oxfam said the new emissions performance standard, which would apply to all power stations from 2015, would "rule out" plans for the first new

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