Can China's Solar Sector Avoid Wind Sector's Woes? China's solar sector, with overcapacity on one side yet booming installations on the other, needs to heed lessons learned from the overbuilding "binge" that caused "growing pains and low returns" by the domestic wind industry from 2011-2012, says the South China Morning Post.
Massive Wind Farm Down Under: The South Australian Government has approved Ceres' $1.5 billion, 600-MW wind farm It's expected to be the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere when completed in 2016.
Headwinds for Japan's Wind Sector? The Japan Wind Power Association is calling for a more streamlined process for environmental assessments, claiming the wind energy sector is being held back compared with other renewable energy sectors. At the other end of the scale, though, mega-solar power plants are producing just a fraction of their authorized output, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which is mulling the causes of the delays (lack of funding, developers holding out for more attractive profits, grid interconnection complexities, even failure to secure land rights) and may cancel approvals for some developers who aren't progressing quickly enough.
Aleo Finds Its Solar White Knight: A consortium of companies has agreed to take over aleo solar group. SCP Solar, consisting of Taiwan's Sunrise Global Solar and parent firm Pan Asia Solar, and Japan's Choshu Industry, will pay €1 for the module production facility in Prenzlau; aleo will pay SCP a "negative purchase price" of €10 million, while main shareholder Robert Bosch will pay €31 million in compensation to aleo.
More Renewable In Tokyo: Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe pledged to increase the metropolitan's usage of renewable energy from six percent to 20 percent, through creation of a ¥4 billion public-private fund. The Tohoku region, center of the March 2011 quake/tsunami disaster, would receive special focus for siting renewable energy facilities as an economic revitalization effort, he said.
EV Batteries for Large-Scale Storage: Sumitomo has installed a prototype large-scale power storage system (600kW/400kWh) using reused batteries from electric vehicles. The system on Yume-shima Island in Osaka, set to begin operating this month, will be used to smooth energy output from the nearby Hikari-no-mori solar farm.
Groundbreaking for Australia's Largest PV Plant: First Solar has begun building AGL Energy's 102-MW (AC) solar plant in Nyngan, New South Wales, said to be the largest such site not only in Australia but the entire Southern Hemisphere. It is expected to be completed in mid-2015. FSLR and AGL already are building another 53-MW plant in Broken Hill, NSW, due to be online this summer.
Asia's Largest Solar Airport Online: The Kansai International Airport's 11.6-MW solar plant is officially online, built by Solar Frontier. The project took seven months to complete, and uses the company's thin-film modules which it says have better anti-glare properties to avoid reflection affecting aircraft operations.
Biomass in the Philippines: A 20-MW biomass plant powered by rice husks in the Isabela province will likely begin operations in about a year, according to local reports.
Skyscraper as a Wind Farm: We saw this late last year, but it remains cool: a 99-story building in Indonesia built as a wind funnel to harvest wind energy.
A DEEPER LOOK
Micro Hydro Energy in Nepal: The World Bank describes its work in establishing more than 1,000 micro-hydro plants in rural Nepalese communities, and the major positive changes it has created in villages.
Calling for micro-utilities in India: Given its famously creaky infrastructure, India is a perfect place for proliferation of micro-electric utilities — as many as a quarter-million of them. Mahesh Bhave, Indian Institute of Management runs through the numbers.
More Renewable Energy for Japan? Fix The Grids First: The Japan Times takes a look at Japan's energy shift away from nuclear and toward renewables, with a kind of progress report by renewables sector. Grid infrastructure remains a hurdle, though, and costs to consumers are likely to be higher than with nuclear.
ON THE HORIZON
Softbank Eyes Clean Energy Retail Sales: Softbank's SB Power wants to start selling power to retail channels starting this spring, tapping power from its own solar and wind projects and from other developers. The company also plans to develop 290 MW by the end of fiscal 2015, and could sell power direct to households by 2016 when the power market opens up.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Lead image: USA and Indian grunge flag, via Shutterstock