Power & Energy Solutions

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A plan to create a government office to give a leg-up to the UK's renewables industry has been welcomed by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA).Secretary of State John Hutton has announced a proposed Office for Renewable Energy Deployment. The office, which should be up and running in the spring of 2009, pending the outcome of the Renewable Energy Strategy consultation, will address 'barriers to renewables deployment including helping to develop the UK supply chain'. {pagebreak}Launched as part of Government's new framework for UK manufacturers, the initiative will help UK firms take advantage of "opportunities opened up by the move towards a low carbon economy" with the express aim of helping UK's renewables industries 'to become world-leaders in green technologies'.Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive said: "When it comes to R&D, the UK has been leading the world in areas such as wave and tidal, large turbine testing and small systems. But we have seen delays on deployment and this is where we hope the Government's new initiative will make a difference. We are pleased that the Secretary of State has firmly backed a dedicated task force which will take a lead on this issue."However, in welcoming the initiative BWEA also

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The EU has chosen a more efficient, sustainable and affordable future through its policies to use renewable energy and fight climate change, says a new report.The International Energy Agency says the EU is a world leader in beginning to mitigate the effects of global warming through ambitious proposals on climate change and energy policies. {pagebreak}IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said the way the EU produces and uses energy will be transformed if the proposed regulations are successfully implemented.The European Wind Energy Association has welcomed the IEA's comments and believes they show how non-polluting, renewable energy sources such as wind power can be an important part of that transformation.Tanaka said the EU must greatly increase its overall R&D funding in order to effectively deal with the environmental and energy problems the world is facing. He called for R&D funding for non-nuclear energy, which includes wind power, to be increased significantly.EWEA says it is pleased that Tanaka fully supports efforts to liberalise energy markets by making access to existing transmission grids easier, more transparent and cheaper for wind-farm operators. Tanaka noted that the European Council has agreed to adopt the proposals by the end of the year. 

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Renewable energy consumers in Germany are celebrating after the government said it would scale back the feed-in tariff by only 9-10 per cent each year until 2011.The news is a huge boost for renewables in Germany, as it was expected that a 30 per cent scale back would be implemented. {pagebreak}In 1999, the extra costs to consumers were €19 million; in 2005, €506 million; and in 2008, the cost is expected to €1 billion. The costs could grow even higher in the coming decade because households with solar panels are guaranteed a fixed income for 20 years for surplus electricity sold to the national grid.Solar power in Germany is set to generate 4.134 gigawatt-hours (GWh) or 0.83 percent of the country's total electricity consumption in 2008; wind power generates 41.143 GWh or 8.26 percent of the country's electricity.Employing around 60,000 people, mainly in eastern Germany, the country's solar industry is set to have a turnover of around €7 billion in 2008.Though PV electricity will continue to cost between €0.40 to 0.50 per KW/h even after the feed-in tariffs are lowered, experts from the German solar industry association, Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW), predict that the cost will fall to grid parity

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A slice of California's rich cinematic history will soon be undergoing the solar treatment, the first cinema of its kind in the United States to do so.The Fairfax 5 Theatres complex in the town of Fairfax will install a PV system, resulting in savings of more than $600,000 over its 30-year life span.The complex is the first of its kind in America to go solar. Dave Corkill, founder of Cinema West, a leading California major motion cinema chain, has owned and operated the Fairfax 5 Theatres for more than13 years.{pagebreak}"I wanted a sustainable and renewable energy solution for the Fairfax Theatre," he said. "Solar energy will not only help us offset our electricity costs, but will also reduce greenhouse emissions and propagate the environmental ideals of this progressive community. The Fairfax Theatre's marquis is one of the first things you see when entering Fairfax. Now we are proud that it also represents clean energy."Ted Walsh, sales manager for SPG Solar, the company which manufactures the PV system, said: "Over its 30-year life, the PV system at Fairfax Theatre is expected to offset nearly 1,000 tons of greenhouse gases, including over 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing 180

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The need to recruit people with the right skills is causing worries in the renewables sector as demand for good employees far outstrips supply.With the cost of energy rising rapidly, the need for alternative supplies and people with relevant skills to produce it is producing challenges says Stuart Brown, Practice Head of Energy and Natural Resources at UK recruitment consultants Ellis Fairbank.{pagebreak}"The recent controversy over the rising costs of fuel within the UK only highlights the increasing importance placed on the renewable energy market, to get it right," he said. "With prices for gas and electricity continuing to increase people are starting to think about the alternatives available.""It is both an exciting and tumultuous time to work in the energy industry as prices soar and reserves are reportedly reduced. The increasing demand from consumers has further highlighted the need to find alternatives and manage the reserves which we still have available. As a result of this is there is a growing demand for energy professionals at all levels of the industry, especially those with specific sector skills."Recruiting into roles with such high demands is never easy and both the client and candidate need to ensure the job is carried out

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Pioneering UK green electricity firm Ecotricity has been highly commended in a national awards ceremony that honours green business.The company, which introduced green electricity as a consumer choice for the first time when it was launched in 1995 was praised for its efforts at the 2008 Barclays Commercial Bank Green Leaders in Business Awards.{pagebreak}Green Leaders in Business was open to all UK & Irish companies, and had three separate categories - companies with a turnover below £1m; between £1m and £20m; and above £20m.The awards recognised those companies who are using pioneering processes or new sustainable technology, products or services to help beat climate change and boost their own profits.Ecotricity designs, plans, finances, builds, owns and operates wind energy projects and supplies 35,000 homes and 3,000 businesses in the UK - saving the emission of more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.Barclays Marketing Director for Local Business, John Davis, said: "We are delighted to recognise inspiring examples of forward thinking companies whose ecological conscience will improve the way we treat our increasingly fragile planet." 

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While the debate over offshore oil drilling in the United States rages, the federal government is looking to lease large swathes of its continental shelf to wind turbine operators.Competition is hotting up to develop wind projects on the shelf, which is currently covered by an oil-drilling ban that has become a contentious issue in the race for the White House. {pagebreak}The federal programme is the start of a push to develop offshore wind energy in the U.S. The country often is dubbed by renewable-energy experts as "the Saudi Arabia of wind" because of its vast, windy expanses, particularly in the Western plains.The offshore-wind race is centered on the Northeast. In June, an electricity producer and a wind-energy developer in Delaware signed a contract for a project of some 67 turbines to be built about 11.5 miles off the state's coast. Over the next two months, Rhode Island and New Jersey are expected to choose wind-energy developers to work with as the states try to put together offshore projects. And New York City officials are talking with wind-power developers about erecting turbines on a massive tract of the Atlantic Ocean about 25 miles from ManhattanWind power is booming in the U.S.

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Technology launched to cut unnecessary power generationDynamic demand for electricity is a step closer with the launch of innovative new technology from energy company RLtec. Dynamic demand is a way of managing electricity consumption that delivers significant cost and carbon savings, and is increasingly recognised as a key technology for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.{pagebreak}According to RLtec, if every refrigeration unit in the country were fitted with its patented, low-cost technology, could close down one inefficient, coal-fired 750-megawatt power station with no effect felt by consumers. The UK government estimates that, if widely used, dynamic demand could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2 million tonnes of CO2.In addition to refrigeration units, RLtec's technology can be fitted to any electrical appliance that incorporates some form of electricity storage, including water heaters and air conditioning units. It enables those appliances to automatically modify their power consumption in response to second-by-second changes in the balance between supply and demand on the grid - without affecting performance. This means that the amount of spare generating capacity kept on to maintain that balance can be reduced. RLtec's analysis shows that more than two-thirds of the UK's balancing capacity comes from carbon

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Entries sought for 2009 awardsEuropean and global companies in the renewable energy sector are being asked for submissions to the second annual Rosenblatt New Energy Awards.The Awards are being staged at London's Natural History Museum on Wednesday 25th February 2009 to recognise the achievements of management teams, companies and projects that have made a significant contribution to the renewable energy sector during the past 12 months. {pagebreak}Nominations can be made by contenders to win themselves or others who wish to propose them as long as the nomination is received by 12th December 2008.2008 winners were: IPO of the Year: PSV - Chrystalox; Adviser of the Year: Numis; New Energy Rising Star Award: TMO Renewables; Company of the Year: ReneSola; Project of the Year: Mayor of Paris; Investor of the Year: Blackrock Merill Lynch; Entrepreneur of the Year: Moixa - Simon Daniels; Developer of the Year: Peabody Trust; Retail of the Year: M&S; University Spin Out: ChromogenixThe award categories are as follows:IPO of the Year This will reward the business that the judges deem to have planned and executed the best IPO.Adviser of the Year The judges will be assessing the brokers and advisers that floated the most new energy

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Radical solutions call to reverse carbon levelsA call for governments to adopt a ‘global energy technology revolution' has been made in a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).The report, entitled ‘Energy Technology Perspectives 2008' indicates that if countries continue with their existing policies, global carbon emissions will rise by 130 per cent while oil demand will increase by 70 per cent by 2050. {pagebreak}While countries have recently been more receptive to recognising that there is a problem with sustainable development, they are still far from initiating any action to reverse this trend, the report says. It proposes radical changes to the way the world is using its energy supplies, including a ‘virtual decarbonisation of the power sector'. While the IEA is in favour of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, it stresses that no single form of energy or technology is capable of providing a final solution. Instead, it highlights a mix of alternatives including renewables, nuclear energy, carbon-free transport and improved energy efficiency. IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka warned that a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 will pose a "formidable challenge" to countries. "It will essentially require a new global energy revolution which would

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