Bioenergy, Solar, Wind Power

International Renewable Energy Awards Held in Austria

Renewable energy companies from around the world received awards at the Energy Globe Awards 2001, broadcast on Austrian television late last month.

LINZ, Austria – First prize in the “company” category was awarded to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in California, for its program of an urban utility to promote photovoltaics. SMUD has connected 8.5 MW of PV to the grid in 700 installations and is the largest distributed utility PV system in the United States. Another 7 MW is scheduled to be installed within the next two years. SMUD has established partnerships to advance PV commercialisation and to develop rooftops as PV power plant sites. There are 650 customers who are called “PV pioneers” with solar panels on their roofs, while other installations include parking lots, building integrated and electrical substation sites. Through its market transformation efforts based on the sustained development of the utility PV market and high volume transactions, SMUD has lowered the costs of PV for its customers from $18 per watt in 1992 for the cost of a full system, to less than $4.5 per watt. Further cost decrease to less than $3 per watt by 2003 is predicted. Other prizes were awarded to Scharoplan of Austria for its biomass tri-generation plant at the Fischer ski manufacturing factory, to the Copenhagen Environment & Energy Office and Middelgrunden Windcoopertive in Denmark for the world’s largest offshore windpark of 20 turbines (40 MW) that is owned by 8,500 citizens, and to SOLE of Greece for the largest solar cooling plant in the world. In the “transport” category, first prize went to SEEG Mureck of Austria for using biofuel in public transport that is produced from cooking oil. The city of Mureck collects used cooking oil from McDonalds restaurants and hotels, as well as 650 local farmers, which is used in public buses of the city of Graz and in 100 municipalities in Styria. Other prizes were awarded to Transport & Travel Research of Britain for its JUPITER initiative in seven European cities, and to three Austrian firms for their ESF software system that saves 5 to 10 percent of energy in high speed trains. In the “building and housing” categoty, top prize went to ITDG of South Asia for its supply of micro-hydroelectric power to 75 villages and 13,000 people in rural villages in Sri Lanka. The country has a population of 19 million, of which almost half has no access to grid electricity. Other prizes went to Landeshauptstadt Hannover of Germany for its Kronsberg model sustainable building for the future and to opMAAT of the Netherlands for its Rijkswaterstaatkantoor office building. In the “private and public initiatives” category, top prize went to Marstal Fjernvarme of Denmark for the Aero solar project. That Danish island will supply 100 percent of its energy from the largest solar district heating plant in the world. Its 7,400 inhabitants have already set a world record of 2 m2 of solar collector per inhabitant, and 22 wind turbines generate 13 percent of total electricity. The Marstal plant has 9,000 m2 of thermal solar collectors and 3,700 m“ of seasonal storage to produce 13 percent of total heat for the town, and another solar district heating plant with 4,900 m2 thermal solar collectors and several smaller plants are also in operation. The goal of becoming totally dependant on renewable energy has already had a major impact on local economy and tourism, with the Marstal plant attracting 4,000 visitors each year. Other prizes went to PAE Proyecto Para Ahorra De Energia of Peru for its energy efficiency campaign and to the Sustainable Energy Development Authority in Australia for its ‘Energy SMART’ energy saving program. The top prize in the “learning for the future” category went to Gesamtschule Blankenese of Germany, for its solar energy program that involved pupils installing and financing renewable energy installations in Tansania. Solar energy for a rural community in Ibungila was provided by German pupils, with a project that involved the students planning a 2.3 kW PV system, a wind turbine and thermal solar collectors for a hospital and school building. The students are already planning their next project in Costa Rica where a PV will supply a village with green power. Other prizes went to the Information Centre for Energy Efficiency in Norway for its training of 1,000 kindergarten in teachers in energy conservation, to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand for its 320 ‘green learning rooms’ that were implemented to teach energy, and to Solar Engineering Services of South Africa for its Maphephetheni Development Program that promotes renewable energy sources and includes 50 pilot solar houses. A special award on “future technologies” was presented to the BMW Group of Austria for its first series production hydrogen car in the world, the BMW 750hl. The hydrogen is produced with solar power. More than 1,000 projects from 75 countries were submitted to the Energy Globe Award 2001. The event was organized by O.Oe. Energiesparverband, a regional energy agency that promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency.