A round-up of news from around the world

US WIND CAPACITY SURGE The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has released figures showing that installed US wind capacity grew by 45%, or some 5244 MW, in 2007. The new wind projects account for about 30% of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally over the year. The total installed wind capacity is now 16,818 MW, spread across 34 states, and this year that is expected to generate 48 TWh or just over 1% of US electricity supply, AWEA says. At more than 2.9 GW, installations in the last quarter of 2007 alone surpassed the 2.45 GW installed in all of 2006. Meanwhile, Texas consolidates its lead with 4356 MW installed followed by California, Minnesota and Iowa with 2439 MW, 1299 MW, and 1273 MW installed respectively. GE Energy continued to lead in wind turbine sales, with 45% of the market in terms of new capacity installed at 2342 MW. Second came Vestas at 953 MW, followed by Siemens and Gamesa with 863 MW and 484 MW respectively. FPL Energy was the top developer, with 956 MW in 2007 alone. ‘This is the third consecutive year of record-setting growth, establishing wind power as one of the largest sources of new electricity supply for the country,’ said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. ‘This remarkable and accelerating growth is driven by strong demand, favourable economics, and a period of welcome relief from the on-again, off-again, boomand- bust, cycle of the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind power,’ he added.

Dublin-based wind development company Airtricity is to be acquired by UK utility company Scottish and Southern Energy plc. (SSE). A value of [euro]1455 million for the business was given by SSE, based on the implied equity value of [euro]1080 million in addition to Airtricity’s net debt of [euro]375 million. A further [euro]746.5 million will be paid to Airtricity’s shareholders in consideration for the net proceeds received by Airtricity for the recent disposal of its North American business, resulting in a total cash consideration of [euro]1826.5 million. Net of joint venture interests, the principal assets of Airtricity which SSE will acquire comprise a 308 MW portfolio of operating onshore wind farms in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and a 281 MW portfolio of fully consented onshore projects, of which the majority are under construction in the same geographical areas. Offshore assets include a 50% stake in the 504 MW Greater Gabbard development off East Anglia, a 288 MW offshore wind farm in Germany which has full consent; and the 483 MW onshore wind farm proposed for Clyde, between Biggar and Moffat in southern Scotland, which is at an advanced stage in the consent process. More than 9.3 GW of further wind projects across Europe and China are in various stages of development, though none with full consent. The acquisition will increase SSE’s total operating portfolio of renewable energy, including hydro, pumped storage and biomass, to just over 1.9 GW, and boost its operating wind energy capacity from 170 MW to almost 480 MW, making it the largest wind farm operator in the UK and Ireland.

Spain’s Institute of Concentration Photovoltaics Systems (ISFOC) has announced the installation of the first concentrating PV (CPV) array at its 3 MW project in Castilla-LaMancha. SolFocus has now designed, manufactured and installed the first 200kW of the 500 kW it is set to install over the next few months for the solar initiative, which is sponsored by the government of Castilla-La Mancha. SolFocus broke ground at the Puertollano site in October. ‘We share the belief with the ISFOC leadership that CPV is the disruptive technology that will have a major impact in moving solar energy toward a more costeffective and scalable mainstream energy source,’ commented Pedro Ladron de Guevara, SolFocus VP and General Manager of its Tracker Division. Full-scale commercial deployment is due in late 2008.

Invenergy LLC has reached an agreement with GE Energy for more than US$1 billion worth of wind turbines. GE will supply Invenergy with 600 MW of its 1.5 MW wind machines for projects in North America, and 200 MW of its 2.5xl wind turbines for European applications. All of the wind turbines are slated for shipment during 2009. ‘With this milestone agreement, Invenergy will have secured more than 2 GW of GE wind turbines for the 2007-2009 time frame,’ said Victor Abate, Vice President of Renewables for GE Energy. The Invenergy contract came in the wake of a similar deal worth approximately $650 million that will see GE Energy provide 333 wind turbines to Noble Environmental Power for new and expansion projects in New York and Texas. The nearly 500 MW of wind turbines covered under the agreement will be shipped during 2009, with most of the projects expected to enter commercial operation by the end of that year.

The European Commission has released its proposals for a Directive on the promotion of energy from renewable sources. The Directive aims to establish an overall binding target of a 20% share of renewable energy sources in overall energy consumption and a 10% binding minimum target for biofuels in transport to be achieved by each Member State, as well as binding national targets by 2020. The move follows last January’s Strategic European Energy Review which proposed the targets, including an overall EU target of 20% of total energy to come from renewables by 2020. The proposals will, in particular, form part of a legislative package that will establish greenhouse gas and renewable energy commitments for all 27 EU Member States. The proposed Directive lays down the principles by which Member States need to ensure that the share of renewables in EU energy consumption reaches at least 20% by 2020. The Commission acknowledges that Member States’ starting points, renewable energy potentials and energy mixes vary, and has therefore translated the overall 20% target into individual targets for each country. This is calculated on the basis of an equal increase in each Member State’s share, weighted by their Gross Domestic Product, modulated to reflect national starting points, and by accounting in terms of final energy consumption.

On this basis the UK, for instance, has been set a 15% target, France 23% and Germany 18%. Meanwhile, Romania has been set a 24% target, with Hungary and Poland at 15% each. By contrast, the Commission says it is appropriate for the 10% target for renewable energy in transport to be set at the same level for each Member State in order to ensure consistency in transport fuel specifications and availability. According to the proposal this is because transport is showing the most rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and also biofuels promote oil independence. Specifically for biofuels and other bioliquids, the Directive sets up a system to guarantee the environmental sustainability of the policy, ensuring inter alia that the biofuels counting towards the targets achieve a minimum level of greenhouse gas savings. The development of a market for renewable energy sources and technologies also has a clear positive impact on security of energy supply, regional and local development opportunities, rural development, and employment opportunities, says the Commission’s proposal. In addition to the Directive establishing renewable energy targets for 2020, the package by the Commission includes a regulation updating national greenhouse gas emissions targets and a Directive to improve and expand the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS). Under the new system over 40% of total emissions will be covered by the ETS, although industrial plants emitting less than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 annually will not have to participate in thre scheme.

The emission allowances put on the market will be reduced year-on-year to allow for emissions covered by the ETS to be reduced by 21% from 2005 levels in 2020. In addition, the power sector – which creates the majority of EU emissions – will face full auctioning from the start of the new regime in 2013. The auctions will be open, with any EU operator able to buy allowances in any Member State. Furthermore, for each Member State the Commission is proposing a specific target by which it must reduce or, in the case of new Member States, may increase its carbon dioxide emissions up to 2020, ranging from -20% to +20%. The proposals add that third party countries should be able to benefit from the promotion of renewables in the EU through the supply of biofuels and other bioliquids which meet sustainability requirements, or the supply of renewable electricity from neighbouring countries. However, while stating that no trade restrictions should apply to renewable energy imports or exports, the Community has said it will ensure that a level playing field is afforded to all producers, both in and outside the Union. The renewable energy industry unanimously applauded the proposal document, although the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) warned that a ‘number of clarifications and improvements are necessary to ensure its concrete implementation.’ EPIA said particular concerns are the provisions on transfer of Guarantees of Origin by which Member States can help to meet their targets. Noting the recognition by the Commission that ‘well-adapted feed-in tariff regimes are generally the most efficient and effective support schemes for promoting renewable electricity,’ EPIA says that the introduction of binding priority access to the grid for renewables should accelerate development.

The European Wind Energy Association, notes that the proposals only allow Member States and companies to sell their guarantees of origin if that country is meeting its interim targets and also welcomed the Commission’s decision to establish full auctioning for the power sector from 2013. Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive adds: ‘The target implies that renewable energy’s share of electricity will increase from 15% today to more than a third of Europe’s demand in 2020.’ The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation’s President, Gerhard Rabensteiner, observed: ‘For the first time, an EU legislative proposal has the explicit purpose of supporting all renewables, including solar heating and cooling. Meanwhile, the European Renewable Energy Council, which also released a statement, said that the main elements to improve are the integration of an enforcement mechanism for Member States not complying with their intermediate targets, the calculation of imports from outside the EU, certain technical specifications for technologies, clearer wording in the section of guarantees of origin and a clarification of sustainability criteria.

French energy group Areva has made a series of recent announcements, securing its renewable energy ambitions. In its latest move, the company has struck a deal to supply eighty 5 MW offshore wind turbines through its newly acquired subsidiary Multibrid. The more than [euro]500 million worth of machines are destined for an offshore wind farm located 45 km north of Borkum Island, in the North Sea off Germany. Multibrid will deliver its M5000 wind turbines during 2010 and 2011 under a contract with developers Prokon Nord. Trianel, an association of German electric utilities, is jointly developing the 400 MW, -1 billion wind farm – Borkum West II – with Prokon Nord. The wind development followed only days after Areva announced it had acquired a 70% stake in Koblitz, a Brazilian renewable energy company. With branches in Sao Paulo and Sao Jose do Rio Preto, the largest sugarcane growing areas of the country, Koblitz’ core business is the supply of turnkey services for the construction of biomass and small-scale hydro-electric power plants. Bertrand Durrande, Executive Vice-President of the Renewable Energies business unit of Areva, referring to the Koblitz deal, said: ‘This acquisition is a significant step for our biomass activities. After the 2007 acquisition of Multibrid, it confirms the will of the group to build up a renewable industrial division.’

A 50 MW solar thermal facility is under development between Azaila and La Puebla de Hijar in the Province of Teruel, Spain. The renewables arm of developers Iberdrola are now beginning the permitting process. Iberdrola Renovables expects to spend [euro]200 million building the plant, that will use 864 solar collectors on the 245 ha site. Before construction can begin, permits must be obtained and an environmental impact study carried out, Iberdrola says. The station is similar to the 150 MW facility which Iberdrola is building in Puertollano, in the province of Ciudad Real.

The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company has launched a ‘Sustainability Action Plan’ to create the world’s first zero carbon city. Electricity for Masdar City, located near Abu Dhabi International Airport, will be generated by photovoltaic modules and wind. Water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination plant and cooling will come via concentrating solar power, a statement says. The city is part of the Masdar Initiative, the emirate’s multifaceted investment in the exploration, development and commercialization of future energy sources and clean technology solutions. Construction of the city will begin in the first quarter of 2008 with the 6 km2 city eventually growing to hold 1500 businesses and 50,000 residents once completed and fully functioning in 2015.

Utility company Energie Baden- Wuerttemberg AG (EnBW) and Energie- und Wasserversorgung Bruchsal GmbH (ewb) have begun construction of the first geothermal power plant in Baden- Wuerttemberg, Germany. Drilling at a depth of 1900-2500 metres revealed a hydrothermal spring with large volumes of water at about 130*C beneath the joint pilot project, in Bruchsal. The 550 kW pilot development is designed as a demonstration project and should be operational by the autumn. The facility will be based on the so-called Kalina process, in which a mixture of ammonia and water circulates as a working medium and minimises the heat transfer losses during the process. This is said to improve the efficiency of the power plant. The Bruchsal geothermal project was originally launched in 1983 as part of a community project by the European Union, the German Federal Government, the Federal State of Baden- Wuerttemberg and ewb. EnBW will invest a total of around [euro]6.5 million in the project, which will require a total investment amounting to about [euro]17 million. Dr. Hans-Josef Zimmer, EnBW’s Chief Technical Officer, said: ‘We want to demonstrate in Bruchsal that geothermal power is feasible here in Baden-Wuerttemberg and that it can become affordable through additional research and development.’ The EnBW project is one of a series of recent geothermal developments in Germany, outside the more volcanically active areas of Europe.

GE Energy Financial Services (GEFS) has raised its 2010 renewable energy investing target to US$6 billion, a major acceleration of a previously announced target of $4 billion. The GEFS announcement came as it crossed the $3 billion mark with its single highest-value wind deal, a $300 million investment in wind projects spanning Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois and Texas owned by Horizon Wind Energy LLC. Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GEFS, said that a combination of high fossil fuel prices and popular support had made renewables the company’s fastest-growing business. The company closed more than $2 billion of renewable energy transactions in 2010, and by 2010 expects they will comprise 20%-25% of its overall energy and water portfolio, up from about 10% in 2006. The company says that wind is its most active investing area. The development came as new analysis from New Energy Finance (NEF) showed that investment in the clean energy sector powered ahead in 2007, in spite of difficult conditions on the credit markets. NEF says the amount of new money invested in the sector grew to US$117.2 billion in 2007, up 35% from 2006’s $86.5 billion and more than $20 billion ahead of predictions. Wind power continued to dominate the sector over 2007, but the year also saw strong growth in solar power and energy efficiency, while investments in biofuels fell back from 2006’s record year, hampered by surging feedstock costs. Wind investment accounted for nearly half of the total new investment in projects, or $24.8 billion. Much of the growth in wind investment in 2007 took place in Asia and Oceania, whose $8.4 billion of deals outstripped the Americas’ $6.6 billion. Investment in the EMEA region grew to $9.8 billion after falling by $1.5 billion in 2006.

SunPower Corp has signed two polysilicon agreements that will be met by a new plant to be located in Saudi Arabia. The two agreements – with NorSun AS and NorSun and its partners respectively – will support an aggregate 2.5 GW of solar cell production. Each agreement anticipates polysilicon delivery to begin in 2010 and extend through 2019. The move was announced as NorSun signed a joint venture agreement with the Saudi Arabian companies Swicorp-Joussour and Chemical Development Company (CDC). Norsun will initially own 50% of the company, while Swicorp and CDC will hold 25% each. The alliance will establish a joint venture company with the aim of building and operating a polysilicon complex in the Saudi industrial city of Jubail. The production capacity of polysilicon at the initial plant will be the equivalent of 500 MW per year, although the site will allow for subsequent expansions up 2 GW annually. Commercial production is planned for 2010. In conjunction with the joint venture agreement, NorSun signed a 10-year off-take agreement for 50% of the output of the initial plant capacity while NorSun and SunPower also signed a put/call agreement for half of NorSun’s initial shareholding in the new company.

A swathe of activity from the renewables arm of Electricite de France, EDF Energies Nouvelles, has culminated in a partnership agreement with Renewable Energy Holdings plc (REH) covering the development and deployment of CETO Wave Energy machines in electricity generation projects. CETO technology uses a submerged piston to deliver high pressure water on shore, which is then used in conventional hydro technology such a Pelton turbine. The agreement gives EDF Energies Nouvelles an exclusive right to use this technology in the Northern Hemisphere and on La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The terms of the deal with REH – a UK company investing in renewable energy technologies and projects and CETO partner – provide for an investment of #3 million ([euro]4 million) by EDF Energies Nouvelles in REH. The projects will be 51%-75% owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles with REH holding 25%-49%. REH’s CEO, Mike Proffitt, had previously stated that commercial-scale deployment of the technology is scheduled to begin in 2009. Paris Mouratoglou, Chairman of EDF Energies Nouvelles, commented: ‘The wave energy potential is very significant and has been identified as one of our future sources for growth.’ In related news, EDF Energies Nouvelles also secured two new contracts for photovoltaic modules recently. The first contract, with Solarfun, involves a firm order of 17 MWp and an option for a further 5 MWp of monocrystalline modules. The order was placed jointly with Photon Power Technologies, EDF Energies Nouvelles’ solar energy partner in France, which will take around 20% of the order. The second deal is with Yingli Green Energy for 7 MWp with an option for a further 6 MWp of polycrystalline modules. The modules are for delivery in 2008 and will be used in both ground and building integrated systems, which are expected to be brought into service in 2008-2009. The EDF unit has also bolstered its wind developments, with a new framework agreement with REpower covering the delivery of 690 MW of wind turbines. The agreement consists of a firm order of 400 MW, of which half will be used for projects in Europe and half the US, plus an option on a further 290 MW, of which 250 MW is for the US and 40 MW for Europe. REpower’s MM 2 MW turbines in both 50 Hz and 60 Hz versions are included in the agreement. The turbines are due to be delivered in 2009 and 2010. This order itself followed in the wake of another framework agreement signed by EDF Energies Nouvelles with General Electric Wind covering the supply of 200 turbines with 300 MW of capacity. The 1.5 MW machines are due to be delivered in 2009 and are intended for the construction of projects in the US, where enXco, the US subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, operates.

The US Air Force has completed North America’s largest solar PV system at Nellis Air Force Base. A joint project by the US Air Force, MMA Renewable Ventures, SunPower Corporation, and Nevada Power Company, the 14 MW Nellis solar energy system will generate more than 30 GWh of electricity annually and supply approximately 25% of the total power used at the base. SunPower designed and built the plant using its proprietary single-axis SunPower T20 Tracker solar tracking system which follows the sun throughout the day and delivers up to 30% more energy than traditional fixed-tilt ground systems. MMA Renewable Ventures financed and will operate the splant, selling electricity to Nellis Air Force Base at a guaranteed fixed rate for the next 20 years. Nevada Power will support the project by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) generated by the solar array. MMA Renewable Ventures closed a fund for the system earlier this year with financing commitments from Citi, Allstate, and John Hancock Financial Services, with Merrill Lynch providing construction financing. Covering 140 acres (56 Ha) of land at the western edge of the Nellis base, the system comprises 72,000 solar panels.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between GE and RWE Power may see the development of a new energy storage technology that could act as a major enabler for intermittent renewable generation. The joint development and validation of the so-called Advanced Adiabatic Compressed Air Energy Storage (AA-CAES) system is aimed at finding alternative paths for large-scale energy storage with higher efficiency than current solutions. A major challenge will be to develop a compressor technology that can withstand high temperatures during compression and ensure high availability of CAES power plants. To prevent heat from being lost, it is extracted from the compressed air before the latter is stored in a cavern, and directed to a separate thermal energy storage system. The most interesting sites for CAES power plants are regions where caverns of worked-out salt mines are present, RWE says. RWE Power and GE will initially conduct a joint feasibility study to be completed by end of 2008. Based on the findings of this study, a first demonstration plant is scheduled for 2012. GE’s Oil & Gas unit will study the required compressor technology. Dr. Johannes Lambertz, CEO of RWE Power AG, Fossil-Fired Power Plants portfolio, observed: ‘The highly fluctuating power input is expected to increase in the future, if only because of the planned massive expansion of wind energy. Therefore it is important to address this challenge and develop concepts for efficient storage.’

NEW 5M AGREEMENT REpower Systems AG and Energiekontor AG have signed an agreement that will see the installation of 18 of REpower’s 5M type 5 MW offshore wind turbines at the Nordergruende offshore wind farm, Germany. Located within the 12 mile (19 km) zone at the river mouth of the Weser, north of Wilhelmshaven, the total rated power will be 90 MW and marks the first bank-financed offshore project with 5 MW turbines in German waters. Delivery is planned April-June 2009, with installation scheduled to take place in the spring and summer of the same year. Nordergruende is expected to supply the Inhausen transformer station, situated north of Wilhelmshaven via a subsea cable 27 km long and a land cable of approximately 3.7 km. The project, including foundations, offshore transformer station and cabling will cost more than -300 million, REPower says. To date, ten 5M units have been installed on and offshore.

UK ENERGY BILL TO BAND RENEWABLES The UK government has published its latest Energy Bill, setting out its future policy directions. The Bill will see the Renewables Obligation (RO) support mechanism amended to give more support to new and emerging technologies, such as offshore wind, wave and tidal. Along with banding, the proposals will also enable the scheme to provide additional support to microgenerators up to 50 kW. To support the growth of offshore renewables, the government also plans to create additional powers enabling energy regulator Ofgem to administer a regime for offshore electricity transmission to connect large-scale offshore renewables projects to the onshore electricity network. The new proposals are expected to triple electricity from renewable sources to around 15% of the total by 2015.

The Sydney-based subsidiary of Epuron GmbH has agreed to sell the project rights of three wind farms to Australia’s Origin Energy. The three wind farms: Cullerin Range, Snowy Plains and Conroy’s Gap, will each have a capacity of 30 MW and are located in New South Wales. Developing consent has already been obtained for all the projects, with construction of the Cullerin Range farm planned to start in 2008 and commissioning expected in Q1 of 2009. Furthermore, the companies have formed a strategic agreement which grants Origin the option to buy additional wind-power projects up to a total of 500 MW. Conergy AG subsidiary Epuron has already proposed another wind farm with a total capacity of 240 MW, covering almost half of this strategic agreement. The sale announcement came shortly after Epuron and Macquarie Capital Group Pty Ltd signed a joint framework agreement to develop Australia’s biggest wind farm, at Silverton, in the far west of New South Wales. Between 400-500 wind turbines are planned for the Silverton project, which will have a final capacity of around 1GW. The project is currently in the planning stages, and a development application to the New South Wales Department of Planning is expected this year.

A plant producing up to 300 MW of photovoltaic solar modules each year for BP Solar is to begin construction in the second quarter of 2008 in an industrial park at La Nava II, in Puertollano in Spain’s Castilla La Mancha region. In the -100 million first phase, the production capacity would be up to 300 MW annually and – dependent on market conditions – a second phase expansion of the plant may see its production capacity reach up to 500 MW, BP says.

Siemens Power Generation appears to be on a drive to bolster its position in the wind market. In a series of recent announcements the company has revealed a 200 MW new offshore order, a new management team heading up its Siemens Wind Power GmbH unit, and a new wind technology research alliance. Racking up another order for an offshore turbine installation, the company has signed a contract with Danish company Dong Energy A/S for the supply of 91 of its 2.3 MW wind turbines to extend the Horns Rev offshore wind farm off the Danish coast in the North Sea. Installation for Horns Rev II is expected to begin in early 2009, with start-up slated for the year end. The 91 SWT-2.3-93 type turbines will be installed at water depths of 9-17 metres. The contract, the largest order Siemens has ever received for offshore wind turbines, covers delivery and installation, as well as a service and maintenance agreement, and is the company’s sixth offshore contract for Dong. Andreas Nauen, head of Siemens Wind Power Division observed, ‘This order is … an important signal to the international market with regard to the expansion of Danish wind power capacity.’ The news comes as Dirk Wernicke takes over as Managing Director and head of engineering for Siemens Wind Power GmbH in Bremen, the company responsible for sales and service of Siemens wind turbines on the German market. Gernot Ziegeldecker has also taken over as head of commercial administration. Meanwhile, the Technical University of Aachen and Siemens PG are to co-operate in the development of key drive train components for wind turbines. Siemens will be setting up a competence centre in Aachen, with a staff of 20, planned for late 2008, although the first joint projects were planned to kick off as early as January 2008. The Machine Tool Laboratory and the Institute for Machine Elements from the university are also included in the cooperation project. Development will concentrate on a number of fields including gearbox design, fabrication and analysis while joint activities with the Institute for Machine Elements will push ahead development of bearings for this application.

UK sugar company Tate and Lyle has announced plans to develop a 65 MW biomass-fired CHP boiler at its East London refinery on the banks of the river Thames. Carbon emissions from energy use at the plant are to be slashed by 70% in less than two years with the installation of the new #20 million (US$40 million) biomass boiler which will generate 80tph steam at 650psi and will run continuously. The new boiler will allow Tate & Lyle to use biomass to supply 70% of the energy needs of its London refinery once it is working at full capacity post-2009.

Jingneng Group has signed two contracts for total of 100 MW of wind turbine capacity from Suzlon. The company’s Chinese subsidiary, Suzlon Energy Tianjin Limited (SETL), is to deliver the machines by May 2008. The first order is for 33 units of the S82 1.5 MW machine, and the second is for 40 units of the S64 1.25 MW turbine. Both orders are 50 MW each. Andre Horbach, chief executive of Suzlon Group commented: ‘With opportunities growing with China’s booming economy, we believe it is a key market for wind energy.’ The company notes that China’s Renewable Energy Law, which came into effect from 1 January, 2006, sets targets for two phases: 5 GW by 2010, at an annual average of 800 MW, and 30 GW by 2020, at an annual average of 2.5 GW by 2020.

Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy has ordered 242 units of the V82- 1.65 MW wind turbine from Vestas, some 400 MW of capacity. The fully owned subsidiary of Energias de Portugal, S.A., is currently developing a portfolio of more than 10,500 gross MW in over a dozen US states. Vestas will supply and commission the turbines, and the order also comprises a five-year service and maintenance agreement. Delivery is expected to begin at the end of 2008 and will continue through 2009.

Nordex has erected the first two N90/2500 turbines on hybrid towers, comprising a 60 metre pre-stressed concrete tower, bearing three modular steel sections with a combined length of 60 metres. The development, at the Iven site in the German state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, is part of a strategy by the company to maximize electricity from wind power in non-coastal locations. To achieve the necessary rigidity at hub heights of over 100 metres – and to suppress resonance frequencies caused by turbine rotation – the lower part of the tower must have a diameter of over 4 metres. As this makes the tower too large to be carried on a conventional low-bed trailer, road transport is not a viable option. Nordex says it has solved this problem, arising with towers with a hub height of over 100 metres, by developing the special concrete/steel hybrid tower. The advantage of this is that the concrete tube is produced on site, thus dispensing with the need for overland transportation, while the standard tower sections can be carried on conventional vehicles. All told, 800 m3 of concrete and 130 tonnes of armouring steel were used for each of the two towers in Iven. The concrete for the tower is prepared at the site free of any joints and pre-stressed over the entire height of the tower using external tendons. As the diameter of the tower base is around 8 metres, the transformer, the main converter and the medium voltage switchgear can be aligned on a single level.

A new factory in Jena which produces the Schott ASI thin-film modules has begun production, the company says. The 33 MW thin-film module plant was developed at a cost of [euro]75 million. Construction began in September 2006. With a less favourable roof orientation and in warmer regions, the ASI modules produce a higher energy yield than crystalline modules, Schott adds.


Schott Solar is also to develop a new solar production facility in the Mesa del Sol region of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Initially, the site will manufacture receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP) and 64 MW of PV modules. Following an initial investment of US$100 million, the facility is expected to begin production in 2009. Anticipating the need to increase production of its solar power technologies as the market for renewable energy in the US grows, the new site is designed to support expansion of both its PV and its solar receiver lines. Longterm plans call for a total investment of some $500 million. ‘According to both industry analysts and our projections, the market for solar energy will double over the next five years,’ said Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of Schott.

Wind turbine manufacturer Nordex is to supply 33 of its S70/1500 kW machines for a subsidiary of utility Beijing Energy. The Jingneng wind park is to be erected at Huitengxile in the highlands in Inner Mongolia. With average temperatures at -2.3oC for this location, Nordex will be supplying its cold climate version of the turbine. The turbines are to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2008. At the same time Nordex has signed a frame agreement with Beijing Energy for the supply of a further 66 turbines in the same series. This delivery, with a volume of 100 MW, is scheduled for the summer of 2009. The purchase price was not disclosed.

A new generation of dedicated offshore wind turbines has taken a step towards production with the unveiling of Darwind’s DD115 machine. The high-powered offshore wind turbine, based on direct drive permanent magnet technology, is optimized for offshore conditions and is designed to provide maximum availability, says Darwind. Darwind is set to build the first prototypes of the new turbines and is accelerating preparation for production and commercial launch, it says. The company is currently evaluating alternative production locations along the North Sea coast with a decision on where the company will establish its facilities expected in Q1 of 2008. Vincent van den Brekel, Managing Director of the company, commented: ‘We see the offshore wind energy market as an emerging market, which will be key in future large-scale, sustainable energy systems. The greater North Sea area will be the first region in which these systems will develop, enabling the surrounding countries to become energy independent for electricity generation by 2010. There will be a great call for reliable and lowcost turbines that are optimised for offshore conditions.’

Close to 50 MW of Acciona wind turbines are to be used in a new [euro]69 million development in Canada. The Lameque wind park, in New Brunswick on the Atlantic coast, will consist of thirty-three 1.5 MW turbines and will have a name plate capacity of 49.5 MW. NB Power, the regional electric utility company, is to purchase the output from the facility under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Acciona will own and operate the facility, which will bring its total Canadian wind holdings to 186 MW. Located on the island of the same name in Gloucester County, the facility is expected to enter service in November 2009, producing 154 kWh a year.

ANOTHER NEW WIND DEAL FROM HORIZON Horizon Wind Energy LLC has signed another wind turbine supply and service agreement with GE Energy. GE will supply Horizon, a subsidiary of Energias de Portugal S.A. (EdP), with 201 of its 1.5 MW wind turbines, to be shipped during 2010 for use in future US projects. Under a separate, two-year agreement, GE will provide operations support, parts and maintenance for those units. Horizon also announced the establishment of a regional headquarters in Albany, New York, that will oversee its future projects in the north-eastern United States.

The Honda Belgium Factory and utility Electrabel have signed a contract that will see around 6,500 m2 of photovoltaic cells installed at a Honda site in Aalst. The 880 kW project will be the largest industrial application of solar energy in Belgium and represents an investment of nearly 4 million. In total, 13,000 m2 of the roof will be covered with photovoltaic panels when the facility is commissioned, due in March.

US IT giant Intel Corp has said it will purchase more than 1.3 TWh a year of renewable energy certificates (RECs). The decision will make Intel the single-largest corporate purchaser of green power in the United States, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Intel’s REC purchase, which includes a portfolio of wind, solar, small hydro-electric and biomass sources, will be handled by Sterling Planet and will be certified by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions’ Green-e(R) programme. Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini, said: ‘Our renewable purchase is just one part of a multi-faceted approach to protect the environment, and one that we hope spurs additional development and demand for renewable energy.’ In related news, Fujitsu Siemens Computers have outlined a strategic commitment to environmental sustainability, saying that the company is the first IT vendor with a complete range of environmentally sound products. Chief Marketing Officer Barbara Schaedler commented: ‘Since last year we’ve noticed more users asking for green solutions.’

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