Briefly Noted … Other Renewable Energies

DOE seeks applications related to geothermal; Nova Scotia to promote renewables; biomass facility to burn woodwaste in Quebec; Vietnam completes hydro facility.

– The U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office is seeking applications for earth science research projects at universities to expand the geothermal knowledge base. The work will improve technology to meet geothermal program goals, with the overall aim of cutting the cost of geothermal power to 3-5 cents/kWh by 2010, compared to 5-8 cents/kWh last year. – The government of Nova Scotia has announced an energy strategy that includes a gradual deregulation of the electricity market to promote renewable energy sources. Green power initiatives were highlighted, including a new voluntary renewable energy target of 2.5 percent of the current capacity of the provincial utility, Nova Scotia Power. – The Canadian government is canvassing the fuel industry on possible regulations to set mandatory levels of grain and corn based ethanol to be mixed with gasoline. Some industry leaders say the government should pass regulations soon, or modern ethanol fuel plants will be built in Europe and the U.S. instead of Canada. The ethanol industry is booming in the U.S., where gasoline in smoggy cities must be blended with ethanol. The U.S. government gives a tax break on ethanol at US$0.23 a litre, which is twice the Cdn$0.10 level in Canada. – A US$24 million 20 MW power station will be built by Boralex Inc in the Upper Laurentians region of Quebec, using wood residue from local sawmills. The project will sell power to Hydro-Quebec under a 20-year purchase agreement. – Eight companies have expressed interest in building two small hydro projects for Columbian power company EPM. Contracts for the US$35 million project will be signed in February, with construction to start in March on the 11.7 MW La Vuelta and the 19.8 MW La Herradura facilities. The two sites are 14 km apart on the La Herradura river in Antioquia. – Vietnam has completed its second largest hydroelectric power plant at Yaly in the central highlands, with total capacity of 720 MW. The country needs 40 billion kWh of electricity this year, which will increase to 49 billion kWh in 2005, and 82 billion kWh in 2010. – A coalition of fishing and conservation groups says Bonneville Power Administration could have significantly endangered fish by spilling water from dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers. The report, ‘Bonneville Power Administration and the 2001 Salmon Migration,’ says BPA ran water through the turbines that should have been reserved for the endangered migratory fish. It claims BPA could have helped the migration of young salmon and steelhead while increasing power costs by less than a dollar a month for residential consumers. – Poor rainfall continues to threaten Sri Lanka’s hydroelectricity and raises the possibility of power cuts next year, according to government officials. The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board is struggling to meet demand during peak hours. Sri Lanka generates 71 percent of its 1,600 MW capacity from hydro facilities, and authorities plan to shift to a thermal base by 2012. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will sponsor the annual landfill methane conference in December, to discuss new technologies, financing tools, case studies and projections for the future of the landfill gas industry. A special workshop will examine the opportunities for landfill gas as a green energy. – Clean Energy Co will complete a feasibility study in 90 days to build and operate a generating facility that uses methane from the Cerro Patacon sanitary landfill in Panama City. Clean Energy is owned by Petrogras of Holland and Proinpetrol of Panama. – Japan’s Mitsui & Co has received a US$50 million contract to supply electro-mechanical plant for the 510 MW Teesta Stage-V hydro project in Sikkim, India. To be commissioned by 2006, the hydro project follows the earlier 60 MW Rangit project in the state of Sikkim, which has hydro potential of 3,000 MW. The project includes a 95 m concrete gravity dam, a 17.78 km long and 9.5 m diameter head race tunnel and an underground power house with three units of 170 MW each. – Geothermal producer CalEnergy has sued Southern California Edison for the third time this year, claiming the utility has failed to pay its bills. The latest court action comes one week after CalEnergy agreed to drop its second suit in exchange for a promise by Edison to pay most of the US$400 million it owes to renewable energy producers from the recent energy crisis in California. CalEnergy, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, is with a group of renewable energy producers that have demanded payment from SCE for power delivered last November. The company operates geothermal plants near Salton Sea, and claims total bonus payments owed over the next eight months at $6 million. CalEnergy first sued SCE in June to win court approval to sell energy contracted to Edison on the open market. It sued last month, saying SCE should pay the $100 million it owes CalEnergy, but that suit was dropped after Edison promised to repay its debts as soon as it arranges bridge financing and sets a fixed price of 5.37 c/kWh for renewable suppliers over the next five years.
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