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Published on March 27th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Clean Links: Solar, Wind, Energy Efficiency, Clean Transport, Energy Storage, Geothermal, & Waste-2-Energy News Roundup

March 27th, 2012 by  

Some other top cleantech posts from the past couple weeks or so:

Wind Power

1. Vestas published an interesting video on the chemistry of wind turbine blades (above) — interesting.

2. “A consortium led by GICON Grossmann Ingenieur Consult GmbH has developed a floating platform designed to be used for offshore wind farms,” North American Wind Power notes. “GICON says the floating offshore foundation (FOF) can be deployed not only in deep water, but also in water as shallow as 25 meters.”

3. Vestas announced a couple of big wind turbine orders in the past couple weeks, 50 MW worth of wind turbines for a wind farm in in the Fujian province of China and a 396-MW order for a wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Solar Power

1. SolarCity & Rabobank this month announced “$42.5 million in structured financing to fund over 30 commercial solar projects in California.” Lyndon Rive, chief executive officer of SolarCity, said: “We can allow many businesses to install solar panels for free, and pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power. With the help of strong partners like Rabobank, we’re allowing businesses to generate their own clean power and improve their bottom lines at the same time.”

2. Trina Solar this month teamed up with actor, race car driver, and advocate Patrick Dempsey to donate solar technology to people in need and educate people about affordable solar power. Here’s more from Trina Solar:

This will involve donating solar modules to local schools, health clinics, and nongovernmental organizations and building the infrastructure to sustain the investment, including a network of supportive local partners, local installers, and system component providers.

The initiative will also include an educational campaign to increase awareness about the reliability, cost-saving features, and positive environmental impact of solar power. The project builds off Mr. Dempsey’s 2011 video, “Plug Me In, Light Me Up,” which showcased how solar can help the environment and improve lives. This year, Mr. Dempsey will continue to raise awareness through live appearances, social and digital media, and other communications tools.

More info is available on Trina’s 15 minutes page.

3. Q-Cells and GETEC green energy AG have announced that they have teamed up to construct a 28-MW solar power plant in Saxony-Anhalt. “The installation will occupy an approx. 55 hectare site at Amsdorf near Halle, and around 123,000 polycrystalline modules supplied by Q-Cells will be in place by April of this year.”

4. First Solar has announced that it is building a 26-MW solar power project for NRG in  near Tucson, Ariz. — the Avra Valley PV Solar Project. “Electricity from the Avra Valley solar project will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.”

5. JinkoSolar has opened a PV Module Testing Lab with UL, the company recently announced. The state-of-the-art PV module testing laboratory is located in Jiangxi, China and has been awarded the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Witness Testing Data Program (WTDP) Certificate. “JinkoSolar’s facility in Jiangxi can conduct over 16 different kinds of tests, ranging from basic pressure and impact tests to challenging hot spot, pre-decay and UV aging tests, all of which conform to UL and International Electrotechnical Commission regulations.”

6. Enbridge has acquired a 50-MW Nevada Solar Project from First Solar, First Solar announced last week. The Silver State North photovoltaic (PV) project was developed and constructed by First Solar in Clark County, Nevada, near the community of Primm. “NV Energy will purchase the energy output under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) approved in 2010 by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.”

Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, & Waste-to-Energy

1. LED lighting company Cree has announced that it is bringing its new mid-power XLamp® ML-C and ML-E LEDs to market, “bringing increased versatility and flexibility to a wide spectrum of lighting applications.” The XLamp ML family “now offers red, green and blue color options, high-voltage and three different price-performance options in the proven and reliable ML package. The ML LED high-voltage options can enable the use of more efficient, smaller drivers to lower cost for applications such as LED replacement lamps.”

2. New technology is taking up an increasing share of energy storage projects around the world, a recent Pike Research market report found. More:

Traditional pumped storage accounts for the vast majority of energy storage capacity in use today.  Although most active storage projects are utilizing decades-old pumped hydro storage technologies, the industry has entered a new period of innovation as a number of market players invest considerable resources to develop emerging technologies such as advanced batteries, compressed air energy storage (CAES), flywheels, and thermal storage.  According to a recent tracker report from Pike Research, newer technologies, including advanced forms of pumped storage, account for 12% of all energy storage projects announced as of the fourth quarter of 2011, in terms of capacity.

Overall, the cleantech market intelligence firm finds that nearly 600 energy storage projects, representing 152 gigawatts of capacity, have been announced or deployed worldwide.  The last decade has seen a surge of new project activity, particularly using new technologies.

“Although traditional pumped storage is still the clear winner in terms of capacity, it is telling that the new technologies such as batteries, CAES, thermal storage, flywheels, and new pumped storage, such as seawater and closed-loop systems, have such a large share of the activity in the market,” says research analyst Anissa Dehamna.  “While the industry still faces a variety of challenges, including technology development and the need to reduce costs, energy storage is gaining increased momentum in the global marketplace.”

3. The waste-to-energy market is growing fast and is expected to grow to $29.2 billion by 2022, according to another recent report by Pike Research. More:

In 2011, the world generated an estimated 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). Over the next decade this number will grow much higher, increasing global demand for solutions that convert waste into heat and electricity, a family of processes known as waste-to-energy (WTE). WTE encompasses thermal and biological conversion technologies that unlock the usable energy stored in solid waste. High upfront capital costs and attractive economics for landfilling, however, represent persistent barriers to widespread adoption. Although more than 800 thermal WTE plants currently operate in nearly 40 countries around the globe, these facilities treated just 11% of MSW generated worldwide in 2011 compared to the 70% that was landfilled. According to a new report from Pike Research, this number is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade. Waste-to-energy systems will treat at least 261 million tons of waste annually by 2022, with a total estimated output of 283 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity and heat generation, up from 221 TWh in 2010. Under a more optimistic scenario, WTE will potentially treat 396 million tons of MSW a year, producing 429 TWh of power.

The global market for thermal and biological WTE technologies will reach at least $6.2 billion in 2012 and grow to $29.2 billion by 2022, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts. Under the optimistic forecast scenario, market value could reach $80.6 billion by 2022.

“With many countries facing dramatic population growth, rapid urbanization, rising levels of affluence, and resource scarcity, waste-to-energy is reestablishing itself as an attractive technology option to promote low carbon growth in the crowded renewable energy landscape,” says senior analyst Mackinnon Lawrence. “China is already in the midst of scaling up capacity, and growth there is expected to shift the center of the WTE universe away from Europe to Asia Pacific.”


1. The Vauxhall/Opel Ampera, the European version of the Chevy Volt, has now passed the 7,000 orders mark. GM noted that it was well ahead of schedule in its effort to hit 10,000 orders this year, quite a different story than in the U.S., where conservative media and politicians have essentially stalled Chevy Volt sales. The Ampera actually won the 2012 European Car of the Year, the first time an American-made car has won that award, Bob Lutz recently remarked.

2. ECOtality announced last week that it had partnered with Regency Centers to install Blink® electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 19 Regency locations across the U.S. They have identified spots for approximately 40 EV charging stations in Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and D.C.

mitsubishi ev motor

3. Mitsubishi recently announced that it’s working on an EV motor that’s much smaller than normal while packing the same power punch. How? It uses a silicon-carbide inverter. “Mitsubishi claims that the motor’s power chips are all silicon carbide-based, which results in a 50% improvement in conductive efficiency compared to their (and everyone else’s) current silicon-based inverter systems,” Jo Borras of sister site Ga2 writes.

Geothermal, & Renewable Energy in Kenya

1. “Renewable energy sources are expected to witness strong growth in Kenya over the next two decades, as an effort to fulfill the country’s rapidly growing energy demand which is driven by economic growth,” a new report by Research and Markets titled “Kenya Bets Big on Renewable Energy” finds. “In 2008, the country has a development plan called The Vision 2030 in place, to ensure the growth of the national economy by focusing on its core infrastructure sector. Under the plan, the Kenyan Ministry of Energy has outlined the Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP) in 2011 to ensure the growth of the power industry in the country. The broad objective of the plan is to provide an adequate quality supply of energy which is cost effective and affordable, through use of indigenous energy resources with environment conservation ensured.”

2. The EnergySource 49.9-megawatt Hudson Ranch I geothermal plant went online this month. The power plant is located at the Salton Sea geothermal field and is the first in that field to come online in twenty years. “The Salton Sea known geothermal resource area (KGRA), EnergySource President and CEO Dave Watson said, has a total economically recoverable geothermal resource potential of between 1,400 and 2,000 megawatts. It has a developed capacity of just under 330 megawatts.” Additionally, Reuters notes: “CalEnergy, part of Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings, is pressing ahead with a 160-megawatt project known as Black Rock after years of delay. Ormat, an Israeli-run company with 349 MW of capacity at eight geothermal plants in California and Nevada, is building nearby. A crucial power line to San Diego is set to be completed this summer.”

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

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