Friday, April 24th, 2009
The news out of New York was big. The New York Power Authority is working on rules for siting 120 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in Lakes Erie and Ontario.
But a bigger wind and water story was hatched this week in the Great Plains. President Barack Obama, in an Earth Day speech in Iowa, said his administration is clearing the red tape for siting windmills on the outer continental shelf.
Forbes.com reports that the Department of Interior’s Mineral and Management Service will grant wind developers leases and easements to erect wind farms on the shelf, along with rights of way to wire wind power from water to land. There’s been a moratorium on offshore wind development for about four years in the United States; all the offshore wind is in Europe for now.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Chile is essentially a very long coast, with mountains in the back with nice people between the two that have set up the most stable state in Latin America. A great environment to install wind turbines. If you add to that the presence of enough local skilled workers, with a good safety culture – essential in the industry – that comes from the mining sector, and a good grid, then you would for sure assume that there are already plenty of wind farms up and running.
Well no. As of last December, only one was operational: a mere 18 MW owned by Endesa (of all utilities). The main reason of this seems to be the lack of a wind cartography.
Monday, March 30th, 2009
Wind farms in Morocco boast a 40% load factor, and the standard price for electricity is comparable to the European feed-in-tariffs. That looks like a great place to invest, right? On top of that, you can benefit from the Clean Development Mechanism and sell carbon credits. So why isn’t the market growth even stronger?
Well, the first issue is the weakness of the local demand. This implies that investing South of the Mediterranean is essentially an export business to the EU, which requires that proper power lines be in place. There you start to need international cooperation, which is always a slow process. Fortunately the Union for the Mediterranean was launched last year, as an effort to do just that. However, the implementation has been cumbersome because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Friday, March 27th, 2009
Vincent’s post from the The European Wind Energy Conference got me thinking about U.S. offshore wind potential.
Wind on the water has been all the buzz in Michigan. The state’s portion of the Great Lakes has the potential to produce an astounding 322,000 megawatts of electricity from wind, according to a study earlier this year from the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University.
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Developing offshore wind farms is clearly for the big guys, so what’s in it for entrepreneurs? With high CAPEX, high risk in the installation phase and then high APEX, this is not for your friendly neighborhood developer. This is still an early stage industry, with high costs and suboptimal technology, but the need and the value propositions are clearly there, and the EU just poured EUR 500m into it.
Allan Jespersen, Sr Sales Manager at Vestas Offshore, detailed to me the constraints to erecting an offshore farm and they are quite daunting. The North Sea being today the main market, Vestas is almost at home. But even then the rough conditions in which the turbines are operated (stronger winds, corrosion), the difficulty to access and the distance from the grid make quite a combination of challenges.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
The European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC) was held last week in Marseilles, welcoming 7,500 participants over 4 days. The whole industry was there, participating in a massive competition of glossy brochures and freebies, but also hard business.
Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Can I even say “damn?”
I’m working on a project right now and trying to get some information about the current state of CleanTech; as you might suspect finding great resources that are quotable is tough!
I’ve added a couple good links to the Links Page today, but please use the contact form to introduce us to some more.
Here are some great “fresh” resources I’ve come across today in my research:
Thursday, February 5th, 2009
Hold on to your hat. It’s getting breezy out there.
Seems everywhere you go on the Internet, they’re remembering a great year for wind in 2008 and predicting a decent one in 2009. What? In this economy? Yes.
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
In the last few weeks both Shell and BP have pulled out of developing off-shore wind developments in the UK due to better incentives and support from the US government in the form of tax breaks and incentives.
The same is true for Spain where in the last few years the country has been unprecedented growth in wind farms along the majority of the eastern part of the country. Then just as the country was seeing clean and green as a way forward – they remove the tax break for further development. Almost overnight the work stops, new planned sites are abandoned and people are laid off.