Saturday, March 19, 2011

Windpower News Roundup

Here's a roundup from the past few weeks, taken from the American Wind Energy Association's "Smartbrief" news summaries

Wind farms withstand disaster in Japan
Japanese wind farms have not reported any damage from last week's earthquake and tsunami, and most "are fully operational," according to the International Committee of the Japan Wind Power Association & Japan Wind Energy Association. Electric companies have asked wind farms to increase production. The Huffington Post

Analyst: Clean-energy sectors benefit from centralized planning
Centralized planning in some Asian countries, particularly in China and South Korea, is accelerating their clean-technology industries, writes Rick Defieux, an adviser and partner at Battelle Ventures and 360ip. Centralized planning allows for better coordination of public and private initiatives, as well as resource mobilization, to serve the clean-energy industry, Defieux adds. "Meanwhile, the divisive political climate prevailing in the U.S. has not produced a cohesive and forward-looking energy policy," Defieux notes. Greentech Media

Expert: Offshore wind is biggest untapped renewable source in U.S.
Offshore wind represents the "largest single opportunity" for U.S. renewable-power generation, said Habib J. Dagher, director of the Composite Center and the DeepC Wind Consortium. There are "almost 4,000 gigawatts of capacity within 50 nautical miles of U.S. coasts, and the total U.S. electricity capacity is around 1,000 gigawatts," Dagher noted. Greentech Media

Renewables could supply 25% of Hawaii island's power needs by 2014
Existing and proposed wind and solar facilities would be able to meet 25% of electricity needs in Oahu, Hawaii, by 2014, said a report commissioned by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and Hawaiian Electric. The Hawaiian Electric grid on Oahu could handle up to 600 megawatts of renewable power, including 400 MW from proposed wind farms on Lanai and Molokai, the report added. Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Chinese wind-turbine makers close in on global leader Vestas
Vestas remained the world's biggest wind-turbine maker in 2010, but it faces competition from Chinese manufacturers, which accounted for four of the top 10 spots in the rankings, according to a report by MAKE Consulting. Sinovel surpassed General Electric for second place, the report said, with GE third, followed by Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology and Germany-based Enercon, the report added. Reuters

Calif. suspends rebate program for small-scale wind projects
The California Energy Commission has suspended a rebate program designed to boost small-scale wind projects after officials reported a 600% increase in applications of concern. "I have 314 approved applications. Out of the 314, it looks like approximately 268 are systems where it was almost no cost to the consumer. That raised a red flag," said Amy Morgan, an information officer at the commission. Greentech Media

Federal, state plans could slow U.S. gains in renewable energy
Despite President Barack Obama's call for a "renewable-energy revolution" in 2009, multiple efforts at the federal and state levels threaten to undermine the industry's growth, writes Bill Chameides, dean of Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. Efforts such as the House of Representatives' plan to cut funding for the Department of Energy's renewables loan-guarantee program would hinder U.S. progress, Chameides adds. The Huffington Post

A 20-MW turbine?
It's a possibility. That's the news coming out of the European Wind Energy Association's annual conference, which is taking place in Brussels this week. Learn more in a recent Into the Wind blog post.

Global wind-power capacity could increase 20% in 2011, group says
The world's wind-power capacity could reach 334.4 gigawatts this year, up 20% from last year, said the Global Wind Energy Council. Capacity could total 450 gigawatts by 2015, the council said. Secretary General Steve Sawyer said, "2010 was a tough year for our industry, but 2011 is looking up." Bloomberg

150-megawatt Texas wind farm dedicated
Officials from Edison Mission Group led the official opening of the 150-megawatt Cedro Hill wind farm in Bruni, Texas. The $300 million wind farm will supply electricity to CPS Energy customers under a 20-year power-purchase deal. (3/15), American City Business Journals/San Antonio

Broadwind Energy signs deal for Ill. wind project
Broadwind Energy secured an order for 70 wind-turbine towers for Goldwind USA's Shady Oaks wind project in Lee County, Ill. Goldwind USA is a unit of China-based Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology. "Our partnership on this project is an ideal example of how U.S. and Chinese companies can work together to make the wind industry stronger while creating economic opportunity locally," said Peter Duprey, president and CEO of Broadwind. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Plugged In blog

PNE Wind, Vestas extend partnership on offshore-wind projects
Germany-based PNE Wind and Denmark-based Vestas have agreed to team up for two more Gode Wind projects in the North Sea, the companies said. Under the terms of the deal, Vestas will provide 77 wind turbines for Gode Wind I and about 15 for Gode Wind III, the firms said. The companies have worked on the 84-turbine Gode Wind II project, whose construction is slated to begin in 2012 or 2013, they said. Reuters

Report: Venture capital investment in clean tech rose to $5.1B in 2010
Private investment in clean-energy technologies reached $5.1 billion in 2010, up 46% from 2009, according to research firm Clean Edge. Clean-energy technologies, including biofuels, solar panels and electric cars, accounted for 23% of all venture capital in 2010, the report said. Meanwhile, worldwide revenue for wind power, biofuels and photovoltaic solar reached $188.1 billion in 2010 and could increase to $349.2 billion by 2020, the report added. Reuters (3/14), USA TODAY/Green House blog (3/14), Renewable Energy World

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