What will the new year bring? A good starting point is reviewing the top news of the more than 2,000 postings published on SolarAccess.com last year. Our selections of the top news for 2003 will be compiled in the next three RE Daily News issues.
As you reflect upon these important stories in the growing field of renewable energy, let us know if you agree. In 2004, we will strive to bring you the latest, most complete renewable energy news every day from around the world.
Best wishes for the holiday season!
– The SolarAccess.com Staff
January 2003 Top News…
Solar Energy Systems Installed at White House – 1/8/2003
Steven Strong was there when the ribbon was cut to unveil a solar hot water system on the East Wing of the White House then occupied by President Jimmy Carter. In late August, he was back at the White House when a small solar PV system and two solar thermal systems quietly began operation after being installed on buildings in the presidential complex in Washington D.C.
Virginia BP Solar Facility Closes – 1/10/2003
After efforts failed to find a buyer for their thin film solar PV manufacturing facility in Toano, Virginia, BP Solar is initiating layoffs and shutting down the plant.
Manufacturer Chosen for Cape Wind Proposal – 1/22/2003
Cape Wind, that has proposed the nation’s first offshore wind farm, has chosen GE Wind Energy as the wind turbine manufacturer for its planned 420 MW offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal off the coast of Cape Cod.
U.S. Wind Capacity Up 10 Percent in 2002 – 1/24/2003
The U.S. wind energy industry racked up a solid gain in 2002 even in the face of an overall retrenchment in the broader energy industry, according to the Washington, D.C.-based American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
UK Powers Up 1000th Wind Turbine – 1/27/2003
Britain’s wind industry reached a symbolic landmark as the 1000th commercial wind turbine in the UK was commissioned. Although still a modest achievement compared to Germany’s almost 14,000 machines and Denmark’s 6,500 turbines, the breakthrough is expected to be swiftly followed by the 2000th wind turbine.
Spanish PV Facility Inaugurated – 1/28/2003
Spain’s largest solar power plant was officially inaugurated by officials from the state of Navarre, where the facility is located, and from the Spanish power company EHN, the owner of the project.
Construction Begins on Ethanol Plant – 1/29/2003
VeraSun Energy Corporation of Brookings, South Dakota, has completed financing and has begun construction on a 100 million gallon (mgy) per year dry-grind ethanol plant near Aurora, South Dakota.
Senator, President Call for Hydrogen Fueled Cars – 1/29/2003
Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) called for a major national effort to help free the United States from its continuing reliance on foreign oil by developing hydrogen fuel cell energy technologies that will allow the nation’s transportation sector to move beyond its reliance on petroleum.
Danish Wind Turbine Company Expands – 1/30/2003
NEG Micon has taken over the wind/diesel development company Danvest Energy A/S, which the company said will create new opportunities in a large number of markets – especially in South-East Asia.
Offshore Wind Generation Project Proposals Sought – 1/30/2003
The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), supported by a coalition representing over 30 Long Island-based environmental, civic and faith-based groups, has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking the development of the region’s first offshore wind park that could be operational by late 2007.
February 2003 Top News…
President’s Budget Slashes Solar Energy Funding – 2/4/2003
President Bush released his proposed fiscal year 2004 federal budget Monday, which revealed increased spending for hydrogen technology research – a point he emphasized in his State of the Union Speech – while slashing funding for Solar Energy research by US$15 million to US$80 million.
European Solar Thermal Industry United – 2/5/2003
Thermal Industry Group (ASTIG) and European Solar Industry Federation (ESIF) have decided to merge into one strong European organization to act in the interest of the sector. The new organization’s name is European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF).
Parliament Members Back UK Solar PV Program – 2/5/2003
Over a hundred backbench members of English Parliament (MPs) have signed a Commons motion calling on the UK government to support a 100,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) roof program in the forthcoming Energy White Paper.
BP Solar Launches Solar Home Solutions – 2/5/2003
Shifting their marketing strategies to a more customer-focused approach, BP Solar will market to California homeowners a total solar energy solution that will reduce or eliminate monthly electricity bills, enhance energy independence, and help clean the environment through the production of emissions-free electricity using the power of the sun.
Chinese Hydropower Acquisition for U.S. Company – 2/6/2003
Marking the largest acquisition by GE Power Systems in the People’s Republic of China, the company has acquired majority ownership of Kvaerner Power Equipment Co., Ltd (Kvaerner Hangfa) of Hangzhou, China, one of the leading suppliers of hydropower generation equipment in China.
Senate Announces Hearing on Hydrogen – 2/7/2003
Senate Energy Chairman Pete Domenici announced a Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Hearing on March 6 at 10 a.m. in SH-216 to explore the potential for cars powered by hydrogen and hear testimony from the auto industry and Department of Energy (DOE) scientists on how long it will take to get such cars on the road.
Iceland Launches New Hydrogen Economy – 2/7/2003
The traditional “First Day of Summer” holiday in Iceland will hold special significance this year as the world’s first commercial hydrogen filling station opens in the nation’s capital of Reykjavik on April 24.
Another Record Year for European Wind Industry – 2/7/2003
Wind power technology worth US5.8 billion (US$6.2 billion) was installed throughout the EU in 2002 according to new figures released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
Project Aims to Integrate Wind Power, U.S. Farms – 2/10/2003
The American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF), through its Wealth From The Wind program, has begun a project aimed at developing the economic and environmental potential of wind power generation to benefit small and mid-sized farmers, the people living in rural communities and American society overall.
Mass. Trust Fund Faces US$35 million Transfer – 2/14/2003
The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously Thursday to transfer US$35 million from the Renewable Energy Trust Fund to help close that state’s massive budget gap.
Offshore Wind Powers Up – 2/19/2003
A week before the publication of the Energy White paper, as the Government’s consultation for future offshore wind farms closes, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), representing the wind and related technologies industries, published its views on the way forward.
Solar, Wind, Fuel Cells to See Major Growth – 2/20/2003
Clean Edge, Inc., the Clean-Tech Market Authority, has released its annual “Clean Energy Trends 2003” report, projecting that solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power, and fuel cells will expand from a US$9.5 billion market today to US$89 billion by 2012.
March 2003 Top News…
Innovation, Renewable Energy, and State Investment – 3/3/2003
Over the last several years, many U.S. states have established clean energy funds to help support the growth of renewable energy markets. Most often funded by system-benefits charges (SBC), the 15 states that have established such funds are slated to collect nearly US$3.5 billion from 1998 to 2012 for renewable energy investments.
Record Global Wind Power Growth in 2002 – 3/4/2003
A record 6,868 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity was installed worldwide in 2002, increasing generating capacity by 28 percent last year, according to new figures released from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
UN Financing for Indian Solar Market – 3/5/2003
A major new US$7.6 million initiative was launched between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and two of India’s largest banking groups to help 18,000 southern Indian households finance clean and reliable electricity from solar power.
New Partnership for Fuel Cell Cars – 3/6/2003
In an effort to help make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles a commercially viable reality General Motors Corp. and Shell Hydrogen are combining resources.
Crafting a winning RPS – 3/10/2003
RE Insider In the panoply of policy mechanisms designed to stimulate renewable energy development, a relative newcomer – the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – is emerging as the most important.
Uncertain Days for Connecticut Clean Energy Fund – 3/10/2003
Connecticut’s Clean Energy Fund has joined the growing list of Renewable Energy public benefits funds in danger of being raided to help alleviate hemorrhaging state budget deficits.
Tipping Point for Wind Power – 3/17/2003
Wind power has reached a tipping point where its success and growth as an alternative to fossil fuels will proceed at an increasing pace, ushering in a new era of clean, diversified and domestically produced energy, said Christopher Flavin, president of the WorldWatch Institute.
Wind Company Changes Focus – 3/18/2003
Reflecting the worldwide trend toward larger wind turbines, and reacting to local changes in green pricing, Vestas will no longer offer smaller turbines in the kW range and will instead focus solely on their MW size machines. This will significantly alter the production and will result in the termination of 250 hourly employees.
New UK Wind Projects Dwarf Existing Capacity – 3/20/2003
The UK’s spectacular growth in wind energy signaled by the Government’s Energy White Paper has been confirmed just three weeks after its publication. In the space of one week, consent has been awarded for a further 120 new offshore wind turbines, totaling more wind power capacity than was installed during the whole of the 1990s.
Maine Kicks off Green Power Campaign – 3/21/2003
Mainers are making the connection between energy independence and green electricity in increasing numbers. The Maine Green Power Connection (MGPC), launched by the state’s Gov. John Baldacci, has been founded by 25 organizations committed to educating Maine about the benefits of cleaner electricity.
Ocean/Tidal Power Gets UK Government Boost – 3/24/2003
A new infusion of government funding into both public and private Renewable Energy projects aims to develop wave and tidal energy off the coast of England in an ongoing effort to meet the government’s targets for Renewable Energy generation.
Building Real Businesses in Renewable Energy – 3/24/2003
Renewable energy is arguably the most appealing growth segment of the entire energy sector. Renewable technologies are continually improving, and so also are the economics of renewables relative to conventional energy forms.
Ethanol Production Outpaces MTBE – 3/26/2003
According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), U.S. ethanol production was higher than U.S. MTBE production for the second straight month in February, the first two months in history for this to occur.
Utility Integration of Wind Power – 3/31/2003
Wind power is a reality today. More than 2,000 MW of wind generation – enough to serve more than 600,000 average American homes – were installed in the United States in the past two years alone.
April 2003 Top News…
Solar Program Launched in California City – 4/1/2003
Cooperative Community Energy (CCEnergy) has entered into an agreement with the City of Sebastopol to install 1 MW of solar power within city limits over the next two years through a program called Solar Sebastopol.
Solar, Biogas Project Advances – 4/2/2003
As part of a combined project to investigate the economic advantages of biogas and solar power electricity, the University of Karlsruhe, Germany have designed and constructed a biogas combustion burner.
RWE Schott Solar to Build 500kW Thai PV Project – 4/3/2003
In an effort to bolster the regional electricity supply network while relieving the burden on the environment, RWE Schott Solar will be constructing what the company said will be the largest photovoltaic (PV) installation in southeast Asia.
California Victory: Solar Exit Fee Defeated – 4/4/2003
In a decision praised throughout the Renewable Energy community, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted 3-2 Thursday to approve a decision exempting many types of small, renewable, and clean self-generation of customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric Company, protecting many solar, wind and fuel cell systems from so-called exit fees.
Pioneering People-Power – 4/8/2003
The latest wind turbine to be erected on a welsh hillside marks a new direction for Renewable Energy production in England: local community ownership. There are already hundreds of turbines whirling away across the British Isles, but this one is unique. A large, energy company does not own it: it is owned and managed by the surrounding community.
RE Study Stirs Up Nevada Legislature – 4/9/2003
While Nevada has firmly established a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 15 percent by 2013, how long it will take to get there and with how much wrangling is anyone’s guess. A recent study was commissioned in hopes to smooth the path to achieving the state’s Renewable Energy target.
Nordex Going Offshore with Elsam – 4/9/2003
At the end of April, Nordex will be installing an N90 offshore wind turbine at a test field off the Danish port of Frederikshavn in North Jutland. The owner of the test field is Danish utility Elsam, which also operates the nearby offshore wind farm Horns Rev.
Wind Energy Tax Credit Bills Clear Committees – 4/11/2003
The wind energy production tax credit (PTC), which many consider essential to continue wind power’s rapid growth in the United States, has moved a step closer to being extended beyond 2003.
Solar Energy at the White House? – 4/14/2003
When I first saw the press releases stating that a PV system had been installed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I couldn’t believe it. The Bush White House going solar? Incredible!
Massachusetts to Gain PV Systems – 4/15/2003
Bolstered with funding from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s (MTC) Solar to Market Initiative, the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) has begun the installation of the first of an anticipated 40+ solar PV systems, totaling over 100 kW, in Boston, Newton, Brookline and Somerville.
Geothermal Opportunity Study Released – 4/16/2003
The US Federal Government has released a report that identifies opportunities for near-term development of geothermal energy in the western United States.
Australia Funds Several RE Projects – 4/18/2003
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, David Kemp, and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane said recently that the government is continuing its commitment to a strong Renewable Energy industry in Australia with a further allocation of over US$11 million in funding for 4 new Renewable Energy projects.
Clean-Energy Trends 2003 – 4/21/2003
It is, at once, an exciting and confounding time for clean energy. In a world buffeted by the challenges of national security, global climate change, and sluggish economies, clean-energy technologies such as solar, wind, and hydrogen-based fuel cells offer a compelling array of benefits to individuals and nations alike. These benefits include energy security, stabilized energy costs, reduced emissions and public health risks, and the creation of millions of jobs.
Despite Hurdles, Private PV System Grows – 4/21/2003
One of the largest privately-owned solar PV systems in the world is now soaking up the southern Georgia sun as Big Frog Mountain, a Tennessee Renewable Energy company, finished installation of a 32 kW, grid-tied, battery-back up PV system, at a private residence.
GE Wind Unveils 2 MW Wind Turbines – 4/24/2003
GE Wind Energy plans to expand its family of wind turbines with the introduction of the 2.x series, which will include 2.3, 2.5 and 2.7 MW machines designed for a wide range of onshore applications.
Solar-Hybrid Covers Remote Landfill Needs – 4/28/2003
When the operators of the Grey Wolf landfill outside Prescott Arizona grew frustrated spending US$8000 a month to run three large diesel generators to power the facility – along with the inherent risk of fuel spills – they didn’t immediately consider using solar power to address their needs.