Siemens to supply 56 wind turbines for Galloper Wind Farm

Group of Wind Turbines

Group of Wind Turbines

“We’ve built five similar wind farms, we’re learning a lot and things are getting cheaper and, although it’s always a challenge to make the numbers add up for one of these big projects, we’ve managed to do it and we’ll start construction on-shore at Leiston [in Suffolk] on Monday”.

Despite deep cuts to renewables subsidies, Britain’s conservative government remains committed to offshore wind projects, hoping this will help to bridge a looming supply gap in the country’s power supplies as older coal plants close. The addition will offer another 336 MW, or enough to power 336,000 British households with clean power.

The Galloper Offshore Windfarm Project had been left in doubt after energy company Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) a year ago pulled out of the project that was consented, in 2013. “This milestone shows how the UK’s offshore wind industry is going from strength to strength”. The wind power plant is scheduled to be fully operational by March 2018.

Siemens Financial Services and Macquarie Capital will all invest in the GBP-1.5-billion (USD 2.3bn/EUR 2.1bn) project, each taking a 25% stake in it. At the same time, RWE Innogy has secured GBP 1.37 billion of debt facilities for the scheme from a consortium of 12 commercial banks and the European Investment Bank.

Hans Bunting, CEO of RWE Innogy said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months of successful negotiations with our partners and investors and shows that the United Kingdom is still a strong market for offshore renewables”. We are delighted that Siemens, as well as becoming a project partner will also, through their technical division, support key aspects of the project including turbines, turbine installation and maintenance support. BNP Paribas acted as financial advisor to the project.

RWE said three new partners had been found for the 56-turbine project which will create 700 jobs during construction and 100 maintenance posts.

Siemens (Berlin and Munich) has received its first order for the new 7MW offshore wind turbine as the company will supply, install and commission 47 direct drive wind turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 154 meters.

“Together with all of our partners, we look forward to utilising our collective experience and expertise to realise the successful construction of the Galloper wind farm”.

Via Betsy Taylor

New Options for Solar Photovoltaic

The global market for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels shows no signs of slowing down, with cumulative installed capacity expected to reach 700 GW and annual demand to pass 100 GW by 2020, according to GTM Research. This booming market has spurred manufacturers to introduce a variety of innovations intended to increase panel efficiency and reduce manufacturing, installation, and ancillary costs.

South Korean firm LG Electronics introduced a new version of its NeON PV cells at the Solar Power International (SPI) conference in Anaheim, Calif., in mid-September. The NeOn 2 makes several breaks with traditional silicon PV cell design (Figure 1). First, rather than employ the usual two- or three-ribbon approach across the cell to gather the electric charge, the NeON 2 uses an array of 12 wires.


1. Neon light. LG’s NeON 2 solar photovoltaic cells use an array of narrow wires to gather power across the cell instead of the traditional ribbons. Courtesy: LG Electronics

1. Neon light. LG’s NeON 2 solar photovoltaic cells use an array of narrow wires to gather power across the cell instead of the traditional ribbons. Courtesy: LG Electronics


LG says this design offers a number of advantages. First, by dividing the current among a larger number of conductors, the electrical loss through each wire is greatly reduced. Second, the use of round wires in place of flat ribbons means light entering the cell is scattered more efficiently and less is reflected out. Finally, because each cell has more conductors, microcracks and other defects that develop in the cell over time have far less effect on output because there are many more paths for the electric current.

In addition, the NeON 2 cells are bifacial, able to absorb light from both sides. This makes them more efficient when sunlight strikes the cells at less-than-ideal angles during morning and evening hours. LG says the 320-W, 60-cell NeON 2 panels are able to generate more power than conventional 72-cell panels and offer up to 3% higher efficiency than the first-generation NeON design.

Though they have garnered far fewer sales and less attention than crystalline silicon PV cells, thin-film copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) panels have maintained a market niche (around 7% in 2015, according to research firm IHS) because of certain advantages they have over crystalline silicon–based panels, mainly that they are lighter, thinner, more flexible, and have a reduced visual footprint.

Taiwanese CIGS manufacturer Hulk Energy Technology (Hulket) and Italian firm ENERGYKA Electrosystem debuted a new product at SPI that combines Hulket’s CIGS panels into a flexible multi-panel module (Figure 2). The Prometea modules are available in outputs from 100 watts to 500 W. They are foldable, portable, and can be installed with far less effort and additional equipment than crystalline silicon PV panels.


2. Solar accordion. The multi-panel Prometea CIGS module (2.2 m x 1.4 m x 4 mm) is ideal for installation in areas with difficult topography or where traditional mounting approaches are problematic. Courtesy: Hulk Energy Technology/ENERGYKA

2. Solar accordion. The multi-panel Prometea CIGS module (2.2 m x 1.4 m x 4 mm) is ideal for installation in areas with difficult topography or where traditional mounting approaches are problematic. Courtesy: Hulk Energy Technology/ENERGYKA


Finally, San Jose–based Silicor Materials has developed an alternative to traditional polysilicon that is produced through a proprietary metals-based process requiring two-thirds less energy but still achieving conversion efficiencies in line with traditional materials. Silicor announced at SPI that it has secured $105 million in equity capital agreements to support the construction of its first commercial-scale manufacturing operation in Grundartangi, Iceland. The company has already secured sales commitments equal to approximately 75% of the plant’s annual production capacity, it said.

Silicor CEO Terry Jester told POWER that the process is based on traditional aluminum smelting, where silicon is viewed as an impurity. Basing their factory in Iceland—where aluminum smelting is a major industry due to the island’s cheap hydroelectric power—allows them to reduce costs by partnering with local aluminum companies. Unlike traditional silicon production, which relies on hydrochloric acid and trichlorosilane, Silicor’s process requires no toxic chemicals—a major criticism that has been leveled at the solar PV industry as its footprint has grown. Jester said Silicor expects to break ground on the factory next year and begin production in 2018.


Via Thomas W. Overton, JD, PowerMag

A Potato Battery Can Light Up a Room For Over a Month

Potato Battery

Potato Battery Photo: Mogens Jacobsen

As one of the most ubiquitous crops in the world, the potato is poised to feed the entire world. Along the way, scientists discovered that the popular staple of many people’s diets may also have potential to help power it as well.

A couple years ago, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem released their finding that a potato boiled for eight minutes can make for a battery that produces ten times the power of a raw one. Using small units comprised of a quarter-slice of potato sandwiched between a copper cathode and a zinc anode that’s connected by a wire, agricultural science professor Haim Rabinowitch and his team wanted to prove that a system that can be used to provide rooms with LED-powered lighting for as long as 40 days. At around one-tenth the cost of a typical AA battery, a potato could supply power for cell phone and other personal electronics in poor, underdeveloped and remote regions without access to a power grid.

To be clear, the potato is not, in and of itself, an energy source. What the potato does is simply help conduct electricity by acting as what’s called a salt-bridge between the the two metals, allowing the electron current to move freely across the wire to create electricity. Numerous fruits rich in electrolytes like bananas and strawberries can also form this chemical reaction. They’re basically nature’s version of battery acid.

“Potatoes were chosen because of their availability all over including the tropics and sub-tropics,” Rabinowitch told the Science and Development Network. They are the world’s fourth most abundant food crop.”

But besides being rich in phosphoric acid, spuds are ideal in that they’re composed of sturdy starch tissue, can be stored for months and won’t attract insects the way, say strawberries, would. Additionally, boiling the potato breaks down the resistance inherent in the dense flesh so that electrons can flow more freely, which significantly bumps up the overall electrical output. Cutting the potato up into four or five pieces, they researchers found, made it even more efficient.

The potato battery kit, which includes two metal electrodes and alligator clips, is easy to assemble and, some parts, such as the zinc cathode, can be inexpensively replaced. The finished device Rabinowitch came up with is designed so that a new boiled potato slice can be inserted in between the electrodes after the potato runs out of juice. Alligator clips that transport the current carrying wires are attached to the electrodes and the negative and positive input points of the light bulb. Compared to kerosene lamps used in many developing parts of the world, the system can provide equivalent lighting at one-sixth the cost; it’s estimated to be somewhere around $9 per kilowatt hour and a D cell battery, for another point of comparison, can run as much as $84 per kilowatt hour.

Despite the advantages, a recent BBC report that followed up on the group’s initial discovery found that the group has since been beset with a number of extenuating circumstances that have hindered their efforts to scale up their idea to places like villages in off-the-grid parts in Africa and India. Economically speaking, food-based energy systems can only be viable as long as they don’t eat into the needed food supply and that such enterprises don’t compete with farmers who grow them for market. The technology is also having a difficult time establishing a niche among more fashionable forms of alternative energy like solar and wind power, where infrastructure and investment seems to be headed mostly. Thus far, no commercial investors or non-profit organization has stepped up to help expand or distribute any of the prototypes Rabinowitch has developed.

To really make an impact, perhaps the potato needs to stop being so humble.


Via Tuan C. Nguyen

United Utilities installs Europe’s largest floating solar power project on reservoir

Photo: R/GA

An artist’s impression of United Utilities’ new floating solar power system Photo: R/GA

Water giant United Utilities is to install Europe’s biggest floating solar power system on a reservoir near Manchester, as it seeks to capitalise on the novel technology to cut its energy costs.

The 12,000 panel, £3.5m development will be only the second of its kind in Britain, dwarfing an 800-panel pilot in Berkshire last year, and will be the second biggest in the world after a scheme in Japan.

Installation of the panels is due to begin on Monday at the Godley reservoir in Greater Manchester, where it will provide a third of the power for a water treatment works.

The system is scheduled to be completed before Christmas, in order to qualify for subsidies before they are due to be drastically cut in the new year.

United Utilities’ three megawatt (MW) scheme is currently eligible for subsidies of almost 6p per kilowatt-hour (KWh), but ministers have proposed to cut the rate to about 1p per KWh, under plans which have caused widespread anger in the solar industry.

United Utilities is also exploring plans for a second floating solar project near Lancaster, but Neil Gillespie, its director of energy strategy, said it was “doubtful” whether that would go ahead if the subsidy cuts were as harsh as planned.

The water giant’s use of the floating solar technology at Godley is a coup for Mark Bennett, an entrepreneur who introduced the technology to the country last year with the pilot project on his own farm in Berkshire.

United Utilities is also in the process of installing up to 100 MW of solar panels on its land. It aims to install up to 40 MW in time to qualify for the current rate of subsidy, but Mr Gillespie said it was hopeful it would still be able to proceed with many of the remainder of the projects even if subsidies were cut.

The land-based technology is cheaper than the floating panels.

Paul McCarren, energy services director at Forrest, the contractor working with United Utilities on Godley and several of its land-based solar projects, estimated that ground-mounted solar farms could currently get a 12pc to 14pc return, and that this would still be viable with at least 9pc returns even if subsidies were slashed.

He said there was “a lot of scaremongering in the market” about the impact of the proposed subsidy cuts and his firm still had a “large pipeline” of solar farms planned for installation next year, even in light of the planned changes.

“For large consumers of energy, the savings achievable on energy bills by using solar continue to make it a very attractive infrastructure investment,” he said.

Via The Telegraph

How to Size Your Solar System Battery Bank

Although a few years old, I still found this video to be helpful in determining the size needed for your off grid solar/wind system.




Model X, Tesla’s first SUV is going to sell for $132K

Tesla Model X


Now that Tesla’s Model S has the world warmed up to the idea of classy-looking electric cars, it’s ready to do it all again with a different form factor. After delays (and more delays), CEO Elon Musk announced the Model X in full specific detail — much to the delight to those that put down some heavy deposits years back. A cheatsheet for what you’ll get for waiting? Falcon wing doors to access the back, a scooch slower than the Model S, but also a higher and bigger interior than its forebear. It’ll come in two models (at two prices): crossover SUV will be initially offered in two models: Reuters reports prices as $132,000 for the P90D Signature and $142,000 for the P90D Founder edition. (Update: The company has not said when the cheaper versions of the X will be available, but when they do the CEO said that they will cost roughly $5,000 more than a comparable Model S).The future isn’t cheap, but let’s take a look what alleged time-traveller Musk has crammed underneath those falcon wings.

Let’s start with safety. Because, well, it’s a car. No kidding, the Model X has a bio weapon defense mode button — one that seals the car with true HEPA filters that are ten times larger than a regular car. At the launch event, Musk described that interior of the Model X was “like a hospital.”

Tesla calls the Model X the safest car in world: the company even states it’ll receive a 5-start safety rating — before it’s even taking the test. That’s brassy… and it would made the car the first ever SUV to do so. Active safety is at the core of all of this: automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance is built-in. That emergency braking even works at high speed — another Tesla-only feature. There’s forward-looking cameras, radar and even a 360-degree sonar for autopilot features. The company is promising to update the vehicle through software with even more lazier features including, yes, Autopark.

Model X Wing Doors


Those wings. The Tesla Model X’s falcon doors are actuated on a pair of hinges. It can cheekily open itself while being crammed between two parked doors — you’ll need only 30 cm (around 12 inches) of space to open up. Sensors can also detect the roof height to decide how far to open the doors. Oh, and those doors automatically open when you get near them. Inside, seats move by reading your mind independently of each other for easy access to the back seat. As you might be able to tell from photos, that huge windscreen pretty much reaches the head of the driver and shotgun passenger. Naturally, it’s solar-tinted.

If the giant view of the road ahead bores you, there’s a 17-inch touchscreen that’ll pull together media playing, navigation and cabin control. (We think the latter means air-con). In other firsts, the Model X is the first EV to have a 5,000-pound tow capacity. It’s a proper SUV, yet promises a rush of 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. The built-in 90 kWh battery on the signature model promises a run of 250 miles on a single charge. As long as you’re not playing with the doors all day, presumably. We’re at the big, hectic event to get a closer look at the Model X — expect more impressions soon!

Via Mat Smith @

Institutions worth $2.6 trillion have now pulled investments out of fossil fuels

Leonardo DiCaprio and over 2,000 individuals and 400 institutions are now committed to pulling their money from fossil fuel companies, together representing a remarkable $2.6tn of investments, it was revealed on Tuesday.

A new analysis shows the value of the funds committed to selling off their investments in coal, oil and gas companies has rocketed in the last year, rising 50-fold. Major pension funds and insurance companies have joined the universities and churches that founded the divestment movement, all of whom fear the impact of climate change on both the world and the value of their investment portfolios.

Among the biggest divesters are the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, held by Norway, and two of the world’s biggest pension funds, in California. The campaign, now active in 43 countries, was backed on Tuesday by the UN’s climate chief, who will lead negotiations for a global climate deal at a crunch summit in Paris in December.

Christiana Figueres called for the shift of investment from fossil fuels to meet the $1tn-a-year need for clean investment and to create momentum ahead of Paris. “Investing at scale in clean, efficient power offers one of the clearest, no regret choices ever presented to human progress,” she said at the launch of the report in New York.

DiCaprio, who on Tuesday revealed the divestment of his personal wealth and his charitable foundation’s funds, said: “Climate change is severely impacting the health of our planet and all of its inhabitants, and we must transition to a clean energy economy that does not rely on fossil fuels. Now is the time to divest and invest to let our world leaders know that we, as individuals and institutions, are taking action to address climate change, and we expect them to do their part in Paris.”

Bill McKibben, of the climate campaign that started the divestment movement, said: “In the hottest year we’ve ever measured on our planet, big institutions and organisations are finally stepping up to say: we won’t participate in this charade, and we will stand up to the fossil fuel companies that are causing it. A 50-fold increase is a sign that civil society is finally fully on the move in the battle against climate change.”

Connie Hedegaard, former EU commissioner for climate action, said that divestment from fossil fuels not only helped tackle climate change but was also “sound economics”. She said the KR Foundation which she now chairs would divest it own funds, to “put our money where our mouth is”.

Scientists agree that most existing coal, oil and gas reserves must remain in the ground if global warming is to be kept below the internationally-agreed danger limit of 2C. This means that, if action on climate change is successful, the vast majority of fossil fuels will be un-burnable and the companies owning those reserves could crash in value. Many coal companies have already seen their share prices crash as limits on carbon emissions get stricter.

The World Bank, along with analysts at Citigroup, HSBC, Mercer and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, have all warned of the financial risk climate action poses to fossil fuel investments. The Bank of England and G20 are examining the risk this poses to the global economy.

The fossil fuel divestment movement, aimed primarily at stripping legitimacy from fossil fuel companies, has grown faster than even the divestment movement that targeted apartheid South Africa and it is backed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The new report, by Arabella Advisors, shows that the number of institutions committed to fossil fuel divestment has soared from 181 in September 2014 to 436 today. These institutions, which include local government, health and education bodies, represent more than 646 million individuals around the world.

Pension funds and private companies now represent 95% of the assets committed to divestment, but university commitments have also risen rapidly, tripling in the last year, with notable announcements coming from the universities of California, Oxford and Syracuse.

The Guardian, whose parent group has committed to divest its £800m fund, launched a campaign in March calling on the world’s biggest medical charities – the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation and the Wellcome Trust – to divest from fossil fuels. It is estimated that the Wellcome Trust has lost £175m on its fossil fuel investments in the last year.

VIA The Guardian

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energy policy over the coming years.

View full post on Wind Power News –

Coast to Coast and Across Electric Systems, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that have the ability to disconnect from the main, centralized grid to operate independently when the main power grid experiences disturbances. This significantly boosts grid resilience. For almost a century, large centralized power plants have generated electricity and delivered that energy over high-voltage transmission lines to customers. But with microgrids, all that could change.

View full post on Wind Power News –

UK Prime Minister Appoints Wind Farm Opponent to Energy Post

Prime Minister David Cameron named a vocal opponent of onshore wind farms to a junior post in the U.K. energy department, reinforcing his Conservative government’s effort to halt the spread of turbines in rural areas.

View full post on Wind Power News –