Electricity generation from biomass continues to boom worldwide

The energetic use of solid biomass such as wood will increase to a larger extent than ever before in the years to come. At present, more than 2,200 biomass power plants are operational throughout the world. They have a total capacity of about 32,000 megawatts (MW). In Europe alone, there are more than 1,100 active biomass power plants. Another 130 coal power plants co-incinerate biomass. Over the past five years, about 150 biomass power plants went operational per year worldwide, each one with an average capacity of 11 MW, which is more than ever before. However, this growth will once more accelerate in the future: by 2016, 165 plants with an average capacity of more than 15 MW will be commissioned per year. Investments in new construction and maintenance of biomass power plants will increase from currently 10 to more than 14 billion euros annually. The trend for developing biomass follows the trend for developing renewable energies. More and more countries introduce feed-in tariffs for electricity from biomass. The increasing prices for fossil energy sources, the fact that many countries aim at increasing the use of domestic raw materials and the introduction of CO2 certificates for fossil fuels in Europe have over the past years improved the competitiveness of electricity generation from biomass.

180 Solar Panel Manufacturers Could Disappear by 2015

GTM Research says many PV solar panel makers will go under or be acquired soon. The global marketplace is simply over-saturated, the company’s report states, so dramatic changes are coming. The difference in PV supply and demand could be 35 GW a year.   About 88 companies are predicted to shutter PV factories, mainly in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The cost of solar panels and their manufacture has dropped so much it is simply too costly to produce them competitively in certain parts of the world. The number of companies affected by the fast-changing market conditions is huge, and very sad for the demise of their once promising ventures. “Manufacturing costs for firms in Europe, the U.S. and Japan are currently over 80 cents per watt. The cost for their Chinese competitors is between 58 cents and 68 cents per watt. The writing is on the wall: these companies will either take what they can get via acquisition or they will bow out,” said the report’s author, Shyam Mehta, Senior Analyst at GTM.  

Car battery maker A123 files for bankruptcy

Battery maker A123 Systems, a one-time darling of the U.S. electric car industry and recipient of millions in government funding, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. The filing highlights the controversy over federal subsidies for "green energy" companies that has been a part of the 2012 presidential campaign.   A123 has $144 million in debt and missed a $2.7 million interest payment on Oct. 15. In 2009, A123 received $249 million in federal funding for advanced battery technology manufacturing at two sites in Michigan -- Romulus and Brownstown. The funding was part of $2.4 billion in stimulus funds designed to jump start advanced vehicle manufacturing in the United States.

AWEA recommends practices for US offshore wind facilities

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) with support from the US Energy Department and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has developed a set of recommended practices for using existing standards to plan, design, construct and operate offshore wind facilities in compliance with federal and state regulations. The recommended practices drawn up by AWEA’s Standards Development Board cite four levels of existing standards: international, American National Standards, classification society such as DNV, Germanischer Lloyd and The American Bureau of Shipping standards, and commercial standards and guidelines, These standards address five critical areas: structural reliability; manufacturing, qualification testing, installation, and construction; safety of equipment; operation and inspection, and decommissioning. The 63-page Recommended Practices for Design, Deployment, and Operation of Offshore Wind Turbines in the United States was unveiled at AWEA’s offshore windpower conference here.  

Real World PV Solar System - Part 2

AltEnergyMag had a residential PV system installed and is monitoring the process as well as the performance. This is part 2 of a series of articles we will publish along the way in order to demonstrate and explain a real world project for our readers to follow and learn from.

Connecting the Sun

Europe's electricity demand is increasing. In the context of Europe's decarbonisation goals, this power will have to come from more variable Renewable Energy Sources. As European policymakers consider their options for invesments in new and more efficient grid infrastructure, they should take into account the benefits that PV is already producing and, more importantly, plan for the greater benefits it is capable of producing in the future.

The National Integration Dataset

The dataset is designed to provide realistic energy production profiles based on wind variability, both for the existing fleet as well as large expansions thereof. One of the main concerns with wind energy is that it is variable, with energy produced only when and where the wind blows.

Fuel Cell Technology for the Future

Compared to other mechanisms that convert chemical energy into electricity, the fuel cell, specifically the solid oxide or ceramic fuel cell, is the most efficient.

Optimism Sets Tone at Solar Power International 2012

With the solar energy industry reporting that the second quarter of 2012 was the second largest quarter in history, there was "tremendous enthusiasm and vitality running through the entire solar industry value chain," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA.

Off-Grid - Spice Village Resort, India - Case Study

TeamSustain designed a 65kW battery-based PV system for Spice Village. The system was designed to support the full load of the resort after implementing the energy efficiency measures identified in the energy audit. With the new PV system, the resort will generate enough solar electricity to meet 100% of its power needs.

Money: A New (Decentralized) Shade of Green

Green Banks are essentially clean energy finance banks formed at the federal or state level that operate as public-private financing institutions with the power to raise capital to support clean energy projects through loans and loan guarantees.

From Contaminated to Productive

There are hundreds of thousands of contaminated sites across the country, and every solar or wind project that rises from an industrial wasteland is one that won't be built on unspoiled land, and it is unlikely that there would be public opposition to renewable energy projects on blighted land.

Solar Power Industry Booming -- Except in the Sunshine State

In just three months this year enough solar PV was installed nationwide to power 150,000 homes, while no new coal or nuclear plants came on line.

Obama administration approves giant Wyoming wind farm project

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday authorized what he described as potentially the largest wind energy project in the United States, if not the world: A Wyoming wind farm with up to 1,000 turbines that would provide electricity to some 1 million homes. Roadwork and groundwork could begin next year for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project. After that, turbines could go up over a three-year period within an area covering 350 square miles of the hilly sagebrush country south of Rawlins in south-central Wyoming. Most of that area is among the 245 million acres nationwide overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management — hence Salazar's role. Salazar highlighted the project as an example of President Barack Obama's "all of the above" strategy for renewable energy development and fossil fuel extraction on BLM and other public lands.

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Sets Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels

The Commerce Department issued its final ruling Wednesday in a long-simmering trade dispute with China, imposing tariffs ranging from about 34 percent to nearly 47 percent on solar panels imported from the country. For most of the Chinese manufacturers, the penalties are somewhat higher than those announced by the Obama administration earlier this year, when the government determined that Chinese companies were benefiting from unfair government subsidies and were selling their products below the cost of production, a practice known as dumping, on the American market. For the biggest panel maker, Suntech, the duties are significantly higher, moving to almost 47 percent from about 33 percent. The trade case stemmed from a legal filing nearly a year ago by a coalition of manufacturers, led by SolarWorld, a German company with considerable manufacturing in the United States. The coalition contended that Chinese companies, which dominate global sales with a two-thirds market share, were competing unfairly in the American market.

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