Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

What's that on the sixth-floor deck of Adobe headquarters in downtown San Jose? Those slender silver spires, spinning quietly in the breeze, are actually turbines producing environmentally friendly electric power.Workers installed the 20 wind turbines over the December holidays at Adobe Systems' high-rise offices at Park Avenue and Almaden Boulevard. Officials at the big software company say it's part of a larger effort to tap renewable sources for the power they need to keep the lights, computers and other equipment running at Adobe's facilities here and around the world.Renewable energy isn't a new idea for Silicon Valley, where Google, Microsoft and other big tech companies use solar panels to supply some of the power for their local sites. But wind turbines are more typically found in rural or suburban areas. City officials say Adobe is the first to install them on a building in downtown San Jose."You just don't see this going on in an urban environment," acknowledged Randy Knox III, Adobe's director of facilities and environmental programs. "But it kind of looks like art."Each turbine is 30 feet tall and 4 feet wide, with an open framework that rotates slowly on a vertical axis. Unlike traditional windmill designs, which

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The Blaine County Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance that will permit and regulate wind-energy facilities, bringing to an end a process that has taken about a dozen public hearings and witnessed multiple drafts.At a regular meeting at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey, the commission made minor editorial changes to the draft ordinance, but the main regulations remained the same.In residential zones, the ordinance allows roof-mounted wind turbines of up to 40 feet above ground level on properties of five acres or more without requiring a conditional-use permit. That means property owners with large enough lots can install a turbine that doesn't reach above the 40-foot mark without going before the Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing. Likewise, freestanding turbines of up to 40 feet are allowed on properties of more than 10 acres without a conditional-use permit.In agricultural zones with parcels over 20 acres (A-20 and A-40), freestanding turbines also do not need conditional-use approval and can range up to 120 feet."I feel like we struck a balance with guidelines that provide the opportunity for public input," Commission Chair Larry Schoen said in an interview."We're not forcing anyone to put these on their property or

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On August 7th, 2009 SGS China officially opened its laboratory for natural stone and homogeneous material in Xiamen in response to the high demand for testing and certification services in the region.Strategically positioned in the port of Xiamen, one of the main stone production and export bases in China and a leading base in the world, the laboratory has been designed, equipped, and staffed to provide technical support for local and international trading communities.With 20 employees and about 1000m2 of floorspace, the lab in Xiamen is the first to be opened by a third-party organization in China. The laboratory provides testing and CE certification for stone exports to European, African and Asian countries.Apart from tests and certification for natural stone, Xiamen's laboratory also carries out other tests on homogeneous products such as artificial stone, ceramic and wooden materials. Regulated by ISO 17025 and accredited by China National Accreditation Service (CNAS), the laboratory provides excellent technical support to international companies in construction for their quality control and product guarantees.Stone exporting is the traditional and most important industry in Xiamen with 70% of the total volume of China's stone trade. Therefore local stone exporters benefit from the lab's location and excellent service.

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The development of a new European industry - offshore wind power - took an important step forward today with the announcement by the British government of the go-ahead for offshore wind farm development areas with a capacity ten times greater than Europe's existing European offshore wind energy capacity.A total of nine development zones - with a capacity of just over 32 GW - have been allocated to 12 European companies following a competitive tender. "Today's announcement by the British government is a significant step forward for the offshore wind industry and, once built, will multiply by ten Europe's offshore wind energy capacity", said Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)."These are European companies building a European industry and generating some 45,000 European jobs. "It takes Europe closer to exploiting the power of our seas and developing a brand new European offshore wind industry. Offshore wind is Europe's largest untapped energy source. There is enough wind across Europe's seas to power Europe seven times over." The 32 GW is part of the over 100 GW of offshore wind power currently being planned by European utilities, developers, and governments, mostly in the North Sea. Once operational this

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MaxVisio displays the daily values of a photovoltaic plant in a single view. Sputnik Engineering launched the new display unit shortly before Christmas. It features a colour touch-screen and can be hung on the wall or placed on a desktop. It can display both the actual output of a photovoltaic plant as well as a record of its monthly, yearly, and total outputs. If the MaxMeteo sensor is also installed, the irradiation data and the solar cell temperatures can also be read. An integrated data logger stores the measurement values of as many as 20 inverters-for ten years. This means that the system values from the past can be compared with current data at anytime. Via the Ethernet or the RS485 interface MaxVisio can be easily connected to the SolarMax inverters. Used as a stand-alone data logger for smaller photovoltaic plants without remote monitoring, the device displays both the data of the whole plant as well as the values of the individual inverters. In addition, MaxVisio can be used together with the Internet-based data logger MaxWeb as a local display unit. MaxWeb then automatically transfers the data of the PV plant to MaxVisio. This enables you to monitor the current

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Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMAT) announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Semitool, Inc. (Nasdaq:SMTL). This acquisition expands Applied's capability to address emerging opportunities in the high-growth wafer packaging market and provides complementary systems and technology for advanced semiconductor manufacturing.On December 21, 2009, Semitool was merged with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Applied. As a result of the merger, each outstanding share of Semitool common stock (other than shares owned by Applied or Semitool or by shareholders of Semitool who properly assert dissenters' rights under Montana law) was automatically converted into the right to receive $11.00 in cash, without interest thereon and less any required withholding tax. The merger follows Applied's announced $11.00 per share cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of Semitool, which was completed at 12:00 midnight, Eastern Standard Time, on December 17, 2009. Holders of Semitool common stock who did not tender their shares in the tender offer will receive a letter of transmittal that will instruct them on how to receive the merger consideration, as well as a notice and description of dissenters' rights for any such holder entitled to assert such rights under Montana law.About AppliedApplied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMAT) is the global leader in

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The EU should continue leading by example despite the failure of the UN climate talks, the wind industry says. Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of EWEA, said: "The world needs global climate leadership from the EU in 2010 more than ever, now that the other super-powers have shown their lack of ambition." The Copenhagen Accord is the lowest common denominator which China and the United States could agree. The text did not produce a legally binding treaty or deliver a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The only thing it achieved was a commitment-free text "to hold the increase in global temperature below 2°C." The rest of the world, including the EU which had offered to cut carbon by 30% compared to 1990 levels if there was strong global deal, could only take it or leave it. China and the US established a new world order in Copenhagen. "The European Wind Energy Association urges world leaders to work tirelessly on reaching a legally binding international treaty as soon as possible next year, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 30% by 2020. The clock is ticking, immediate action is required, and we are running out of time,"

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Phoenix Solar AG, a leading photovoltaic system integrator listed on the TecDAX, has founded Phoenix Solar L.L.C. in Muscat which is the capital city of the Sultanate of Oman. Phoenix Solar AG holds 70 percent and Silver Circle Overseas L.L.C. (SCO), its local partner in Oman, 30 percent in Phoenix Solar L.L.C. The newly founded company will realise solar projects in Oman and in the Gulf States.The business model of Phoenix Solar L.L.C. is focused on the planning and turnkey construction of ground- and roof-mounted photovoltaic systems which are either grid-connected or stand-alone.Silver Circle Overseas has been operating in Oman since 2005, and concentrates its business activities on renewable energies as well as tourism-related and industrial projects. SCO is a company of the Royal Family of Oman and operates throughout the whole Gulf region. Together with SCO, Phoenix Solar has already participated in two tenders for photovoltaic projects in Oman.With its entry into the Gulf region, Phoenix Solar has positioned itself at an early stage in a high-growth market with excellent solar irradiation. The Oman government is already planning the transition away from conventional sources of energy to renewable energies. In 2007, the regulatory authority (AER) commissioned COWI A/S, a

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On September 23, 2009, the SGS Wind Competence Center presented Norderland Projekt GmbH with a Statement of Compliance (SoC) for the design basis of their two offshore wind farms - Northern Energy Global Tech II and Northern Energy Global Tech III. The Statement of Compliance for the design basis is the conclusion of the first phase of the project certification which is provided by an independent accredited organization stating that the wind farm was designed, manufactured and maintained in accordance with the appropriate consensus standards. Each phase of a wind farm project has to be completed with a Statement of Compliance.The certification of the design basis of both wind farms is mandatory in Germany and the resulting Statement of Compliance is a precondition for the further development of the wind farm projects. As the design basis is the first phase of a wind farm project, it was essential to obtain this certificate for the Norderland Projekt GmbH.In Germany, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH, or "Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie") decides on the approval of offshore wind farm development projects. As an accredited partner of BSH, SGS Wind Energy Competence Center was awarded with the contract for the verification

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Harmonised and clear rules for the connection to the electricity system are necessary due to the dramatic increase in wind power penetration across Europe, says the wind industry. Harmonised rules will lower wind energy production costs, contribute to an efficient management of the system, and lower the cost of the electricity for consumers. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) published a Generic Grid Code Format for wind generators today. The initial challenge is not necessarily to fulfill certain technical requirements, but to ensure all stakeholders share the same understanding of the requirements.Accordingly, EWEA welcomes ENTSO-E's ongoing work on a pilot code for wind generation. This project is a first step towards developing network codes across Europe, which is part of the remit of ENTSO-E under the EU's continuing efforts to liberalise and create a single European electricity market. ENTSO-E is expected to publish a first draft in spring 2010. "Wind power currently provides over 4% of the EU's electricity. We expect wind power's share of electricity demand to increase from 4% in 2008 to 16% in 2020. In order to ensure that such future penetration levels are manageable from a technical perspective it is important to develop

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