Briefly Noted … Other Renewable Energies

Britain plans next NFPA green auction; London school installs wind turbine and solar panels; U.S. utilities receive 49 proposals for renewable energy proposals; Brazil to commission first biogas plant; Britain developing ‘smart metering’ to facilitate small embedded generators; DOE wants proposals to encourage the innovation and commercialization of renewable energy; Irish town wants to power street lighting with PV panels and wind turbines; politician wants British Parliament to back a switch from nuclear to wave power; Swedish utility to buy sawdust for power production; Scottish islands launch strategy to become ‘European Capital’ of renewable energy; Xcel Energy opens bids for 1,000 MW of new capacity; applications due under DOE funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; New York governor George Pataki wants more renewable energy resources; British Duchy launches action plan to build on sustainable energy initiatives.

– The next NFPA green electricity auction in Britain is planned for early this year. At the on-line auction in September, contracts were awarded to 12 bidders. A total of 212 contracts for 580 MW of green power capacity were auctioned, with an average price of 2.81 pence per kWh, compared with the first auction in February, when the average price was 1.89 pence. DTI says the average price was 2.84 for wind; 2.81 for small hydro; 2.84 for landfill gas; 2.61 for biomass and 221 for waste. – Raynes Park High School is the first in the London (UK) suburb of Merton to have a wind turbine and solar panel installed. The units were donated by environmental charity RENUE (Renewable Energy in the Urban Environment), based at Merton Abbey Mills, to generate not only watts but also inspiration. RENUE says it is vital to ensure the next generation is familiar with the concept of renewable energy to combat the problems that arise from using fossil fuels. – An ecologically-friendly house powered and heated by the wind and the sun has been developed by the Solar Institute of Jiaotong University in Shanghai. The house generates electricity from a hybrid system where solar supplies 1.7 kW and wind provides 900 watts. The two systems can auto-switch and solar lights illuminate garden paths. Heat comes from 20 m2 of solar collectors and 2,000 watt earth energy heat pumps. – Forty-nine proposals have been received by Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power in response to their recent request for renewable energy project proposals. Of the total of 4,300 MW, 3,000 MW would be generated from wind, 784 MW from geothermal and biomass, and 385 MW from solar. The bids were solicited to meet a new state law that requires them to gradually increase the percentage of power generated from renewables. – When Brazil’s first biogas plant is commissioned this year, it will add 10 MW of capacity to the power grid. Since 1998, Brazil has leveraged investments in solar, wind and biomass to reduce its 60 percent dependence on imported energy. Rio de Janeiro state has a capacity of 1,000 MW of wind and the Japanese firm Marubeni, in partnership with SeaWest of the U.S., will assess winds in Gargau, Campos dos Goytacazes and Arraial do Cabo. – British companies are developing ‘smart metering’ concepts that will provide details to electricity suppliers on when small embedded generators are exporting power. Currently, the high cost to obtain this information forces suppliers to lower the price for power from PV, micro CHP and other distributed generators in the home. – The U.S. Department of Energy is requesting proposals by February 4 under the Inventions & Innovation Program, which provides financial and technical assistance to encourage the innovation and commercialization of renewable energy, energy efficiency or pollution prevention inventions in the industrial sector. Focus industries include agriculture (bio-based products), aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, metal casting, mining, petroleum, and steel industries. A total of US$2.1 million is expected to be available, at $40,000 to $200,000 per project. Cost sharing is encouraged but not required. – The Irish town of Nenagh is looking at a street lighting project where ‘Hybrolights’ are powered by solar panels and small wind turbines. Town councillor PJ Cusack., who found information about the lighting system on the Internet, says “We pay £40,000 a year for public lighting and this idea could, in the long term, reduce the costs associated with lighting.” – Politician Des Turner wants the British Parliament to back a switch from nuclear to wave power. The coast of in his riding of Sussex has rocky shores, but the MP says “wave and tidal power is totally safe, totally clean, and absolutely sustainable. It also has fantastic export potential. It’s a golden opportunity and the timing is right to do it now. If we miss the boat this time, other people will get on board.” – Swedish utility Graninge Kalmar Energi has signed an agreement for 300 million crowns (US$29 million) to buy sawdust for power production from flooring producer AB Gustaf Kahr. Kahr will deliver 60,000 tonnes of wood waste per year from its flooring manufacturing and buy electricity from Graninge. The waste from flooring production is used as fuel to provide heating in Kalmar, southeast Sweden. – The Western Isles in northwest Scotland has launched a strategy to use its significant renewable resources to transform the region into a European Capital of Alternative Energy. The British Department of Trade & Industry, working with the local council and the Scottish Executive, has announced a full-scale renewable energy assessment of the islands and a study into upgrading connections to the grid. An Energy Innovation Zone could offer incentives to renewable energy companies which locate in the Western Isles, and Council is working on a range of proposals to boost the islands as an attractive location for renewable energy enterprises. – Xcel Energy has opened bidding for 1,000 MW of new electrical capacity to serve customers in the U.S. midwest. Any fuel source is eligible, but a Minnesota statute provides a preference for renewable energy, and Xcel is encouraging proposals that draw on renewable resources, at least partially. – Applications are due February 15 under the U.S. Department of Energy FY02 Special Projects funding for the State Energy Program. Applicants must be State or Territorial energy offices or agencies responsible for administering state energy programs, with US$18.5 million expected be available in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in transportation, buildings, federal, industrial, and power sectors. – Governor George Pataki wants New York state to push for more renewable energy resources, as well as preserving one million acres of open space over the next decade. Pataki, who will seek a third term of office in November, says New York, faces budget shortfalls after the September 11 attacks, and must push for programs to revitalize the economy. – In Britain’s Duchy of Cornwall, the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre has launched its Action Plan for Energy Partnerships for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The Plan proposes to build on existing sustainable energy initiatives to ensure that effective and cohesive action is taken by local stakeholders working in partnership. Key local groups have signed up to the Plan, whose targets include development if cleaner sources of generation from renewables and cogeneration.
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