Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nova Scotia announces community wind feed-in tariff

The provincial government of Nova Scotia, Canada has announced new regulations that will provide a fixed feed-in tariff for community-based wind and other renewable energy projects. Rates, to be set by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board by next spring, will vary according to technology with different tariffs for wind projects larger than 50 kW and for micro-scale installations less than 50 kW. "These greener, local projects will help to create good jobs, provide a better future for Nova Scotians and reduce our overall dependence on imported carbon-based sources," says Premier Darrell Dexter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Southern Africa renewables poised for "exponential growth"

Off-grid solar projects are likely to accelerate renewable energy's expansion in southern Africa to compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 10% between 2009 and 2015, finds Frost & Sullivan. But the research company's Annual Renewable Energy Project Tracker highlights feed-in tariffs – already announced in South Africa and Kenya – as key to this surge in renewables.

The Sub-Saharan renewable energy market is set to triple from 2010 to 2015, said the global research firm Frost and Sullivan in a new report this week. Small-scale generation is likely to take the lead, while sluggish regulatory reform and enduring state monopolies hold back larger projects.

"Many developmental agencies consider small-scale RE [renewable energy] projects as the most feasible solution for accelerated rural electrification and therefore are increasingly investing in medium-sized projects, especially wind and solar projects," said Cornelis van der Waal, Frost & Sullivan Energy and Power Systems programme manager.

But he called for a “revamp” to accelerate the search for energy diversification and security of supply, with incentives for the private sector to invest.

South Africa is expected to approve a feed-in tariff for solar this year, a move also under consideration in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, he said.

I am currently involved with a wind and PV development project in Namibia and would be happy to have a discussion with potential investors or senior developers.

Onshore wind farms profitable in 5 years time in Finland

Research indicates that onshore wind farms in Finland could be profitable sooner than thought, writes the newspaper Turun Sanomat. According to a survey carried out by Aalto University, wind farms in Finland could be profitable in approximately 5 years.

If the research proves to be correct, Finnish government subsidies for onshore greenfield wind farms could be reduced from next year onwards and be unnecessary by 2015.

Offshore wind farms would be not affected, according to researcher Jani Laine at the faculty of Energy Technology at Aalto University in Finland. The research indicates that Finnish government subsidies for wind farms could not be phased out before 2020 at the earliest.

Legislation on renewable energy is currently being discussed by parliamentary committees in Finland. The Finnish government has agreed to finance energy subsidies for wind farms up to a maximum of 12 years.

Friday, October 15, 2010

SK judge rules wind farms pose no credible danger to people

Supporters of a controversial wind farm project near Moosomin, Saskatchewan are breathing easier these days.

A Saskatoon judge has ruled that the courts will not stop the work that's being done on the $60 million Red Lily Wind Farm near Moosomin.

Area farmer David MacKinnon claimed the turbines at the 25 megawatt facility would be too close to homes.

He stopped work for six days this summer when he won a temporary injunction.

But a judge has since said there is no credible evidence to support the claims that the turbines would endanger people.

Work has since resumed on the site.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finavera signs MOU with Halfway River First Nation

Vancouver-based Finavera Renewables has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Halfway River First Nation for the development of four wind projects the company has under contract to BC Hydro. "This is a good day for us. Our community is looking forward to the opportunities in working with Finavera and we sincerely support Green Energy. I believe this is a win-win situation for our community, Finavera, and the Peace River Country," says Chief Ed Whitford.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eco-friendly data centre to be built in Northern Finland

CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. is to establish one of the world’s most eco-efficient data centers in the Renforsin Ranta business park in Kajaani, Finland on the site of the former paper mill of UPM in northern Finland.

”Our aim is to create one of the world’s most eco-efficient data centers, to be operated using locally produced energy and with a minimal carbon footprint. All the alternatives we have considered contain a binding offer on energy from the business park’s own network. This will bring significant cost benefits in electricity transfer costs”, says Kimmo Koski, Managing Director of CSC.

The computer data center requires a lot of electricity, which is generated by hydroelectric power plants in Kajaani. The cooling water required comes from the nearby river.

Finland’s location is excellent for large and cost-effective IT data centers. Well-functioning data traffic, cool climate, industrial facilities, solid bedrock, and waterways create a competitive edge for building sustainable and ecologically-friendly computer facilities.

Canada shares many similarities with Finland including a developed forestry and pulp and paper industry and many unused or underutilized paper mills and of course a northerly climate. Those in the forestry industry in Canada looking for innovative projects to utilize their existing facilities would be wise to follow Finland's example.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eagle nest puts Finnish wind power project on hold

Finnish broadcaster, YLE reported today that the discovery of a white-tailed sea eagle nest in Pyhäranta in the southwest of Finland has caused the Rihtniemi wind power project of Propel Voima to be put on hold

Propel Voima has been developing the wind power project for more than a year and a half, and wind measurements have been conducted for more than a year. The company is now assessing the situation and is collecting experiences of similar situations elsewhere in Finland.

There are a number areas in the southwest of Finland where the endangered white-tailed sea eagles thrive. This has been the primary reason to significantly limit the possibilities of wind power in this area of Finland.

Although many wind turbines in Europe are sited less than 400 meters from human homes, the WWF is recommending that wind turbines be situated at least 2000 meters from such nests. It is unclear on what basis the WWF recommendation has been made.

Turbine at Saskatoon landfill moves forward with study

A city of Saskatoon committee this week hired the University of Saskatchewan to conduct a study to determine the ability of the landfill's ground to support a wind turbine.

The site "presents unique challenges," said Saskatoon Light and Power's Kevin Hudson.

A 60-metre tall meteorological tower was installed at the landfill last week. It will monitor the wind at the site for one year and collect data to see if a turbine can be successful there.

Hudson said a turbine, which could be constructed as soon as 2012, would be 700 metres away, which exceeds any standard in place in Canada.