Briefly Noted … Worldwide Renewable Energy News

Brazil authorizes construction of 20 wind projects; Philippines pushes development of $1.4 billion in hydroelectric potential; PNOC pilots 40 MW wind facility with two expansions of 40 MW each; institute of solar technology set up at University of Karachi; Norwegian companies win engineering contract to build the environmentally controversial Bujagali power project on the Nile river in Uganda; British energy review suggests that, by 2020, wind will be the cheapest option for electricity generation; Beijing Olympics to use renewable energy and energy efficient building materials; New Energy Corp to supply solar energy for ten years to Teixeira Farms with High Concentrate Photovoltaic generators.

– Brazil’s electricity regulator, Aneel, has authorized construction of 20 wind projects that will bring commission up to 1,773 MW in the next three years. It is the first batch of wind applications that Aneel is considering, and is looking at an additional 2,000 MW. – The Philippines Department of Energy is aggressively pushing development of renewable energy, with a focus on hydro to lure investment of $1.4 billion of capital to develop a potential of 13,426 MW. In wind power, the Philippine National Oil Company – Energy Development Corporation is piloting a 40 MW facility in Ilocos Norte, with two expansions planned for 40 MW each. In solar, PNOC and Shell Renewables Philippines and the Dutch government will electrify off-grid areas through a Solar Home Systems distribution project. – An institute of solar technology will be set up at the University of Karachi, with financial support offered by former students currently living in Saudi Arabia. The institute should start this year, and will produce solar cells to meet the electricity demand of the university. In the second phase, solar cells would be produced commercially, for export to the Middle East. – Five Norwegian companies have won an engineering contract to build the environmentally controversial Bujagali power project on the Nile river in southeastern Uganda. The contract is worth US$320 million. The World Bank recently approved the project, allowing AES Nile Power to begin work on the 250 MW plant. – The British government’s energy review suggests that, by 2020, wind will be the cheapest option for electricity generation, with lower costs than fossil fuels. The projection is not at odds with similar forecasts for 2020 by the U.S. Department of Energy. – Beijing’s Olympics will follow the push in the Sydney games to use renewable energy and energy efficient building materials. The Sydney Olympics initially brought environmental protection into the design and management of facilities and initiated the Green Olympic Supervisory Organization. – New Energy Corp, a renewable energy and thermal generator systems provider, has contracted to supply solar energy for ten years to Teixeira Farms Inc of Santa Maria, California. The deal includes four 1 MW High Concentrate Photovoltaic (HCPV) generators. Teixeira is the third largest agricultural packaging firm in the U.S., and it is expected to increase solar energy output to 100 MW. – One of the larger communications companies in Canada has purchased a share of one of the country’s largest renewable energy firms. Shaw Communications has raised its stake in Canadian Hydro Developers to 13 percent and holds 6.5 million shares. Canadian Hydro owns a windfarm in Alberta and a number of small hydro facilities in Canada. – ENMAX Energy, the first Canadian company to offer an option of electricity from wind turbines, has signed a deal to make Chinook Centre the first shopping centre in Canada to support wind power. Under a three-year contract, Chinook Centre will purchase 1 percent of its total power from Greenmax, or 160 MWh annually. The centre, with 200 retail stores, will receive emission reduction credits on an annual basis. – Aneel, the Brazilian electricity sector regulator, has authorized construction of 41 wind power plants in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte. Of that total, 17 will begin construction this year and, by 2005, the state’s wind will be generating 1,540 MW or 40 percent of the country’s overall wind capacity. Investments in the new plants are estimated at R$4 billion. – Former Texaco executive and founder of Texaco Technology Ventures, Frank Ingriselli, says the world is moving inexorably towards hydrogen as the fuel of the future and those who don’t embrace it will come to “rue it.” Texaco is taking serious interest in advanced energy and renewable energy systems. Ingriselli says that, since 1995, Texaco has invested US$3 billion in alternative energy, including a major investment in Energy Conversion Devices. – PacifiCorp has signed an improved power purchase contract for the output of Priest Rapids hydroelectric project and withdrawn its participation in a competitive license application. It agreed to a contract with Grant Public Utility District, the current owner and operator of the project, for continued access to low-cost power because the contract significantly improves that initially offered by Grant PUD last May. Other utility purchasers in the region signed similar contract offers. – Engineers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a prototype fuel cell that can run on ordinary diesel fuel. Smaller than a penny, the prototype operates in a furnace at 1,300oF. – Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Dutch energy firm Eneco have developed semiconductor technology that can produce electricity without the use of moving parts. Peter Hagelstein of MIT says two physical mechanisms have been demonstrated to enhance performance of thermoelectric material, using the same principle as a thermionic, but replacing the vacuum gap with a multi-layer semiconductor structure. – The University of Connecticut is opening a fuel cell research center at its Mansfield campus that it claims will be the most significant in the U.S. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund will fund US$3.5 million for the project, matched by private industry and the University. The building will use a 200 kW fuel cell donated by Connecticut Natural Gas, which is worth $1 million.
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