Monday, October 31, 2011

Ormat wins five geothermal exploration concessions in Chile

The Chilean Committee on Geothermal Energy Analysis has recommended that Chile’s Energy Ministry award five geothermal energy exploration concessions to Ormat Technologies, Inc. Ormat will own the licenses through its Chilean subsidiary, Ormat Andina SA.

The Geothermal Committee recommended awarding Ormat Andina SA all five of the concessions it bid for, as part of a tender for 20 new areas of geothermal energy exploration. The concessions are called "Aroma", "Quinohuen", "Marimar" "San Jose II", and "Sollipulli." Ormat is required to invest in an exploration program at the concessions over the next two years. Successful exploration results will be followed by an exploitation license, which is the first step for power plant construction.
Studies indicate Chile has a large untapped geothermal energy potential and is expected to lead geothermal development in the region.

These concessions add to Ormat's diverse portfolio of interests and developments in Latin America and worldwide, which include activities as owner and operator of power plants in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Kenya and the US.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NDP stand by goal of 400 MW in 4 years and 50% from renewables by 2025 - Saskatchewan Party remain firmly committed to investing in wind

If recent comments by both parties in the ongoing provincial election campaign in Saskatchewan are any indication, wind power seems to have a very promising future in the province. Both the governing Saskatchewan Party and opposition NDP continue to state a clear commitment to wind energy development in the province but differ in their position on targets, standards, costs and technical challenges.

What the NDP are saying about their support for wind energy

As part of the ongoing election campaign, the provincial opposition NDP party leader, Dwain Lingenfelter noted that the NDP’s previously stated goal of adding 400 MW of new wind power over the next four years is as affordable as the province's other options and also easier on the environment. The new 400 MW of wind power would put the province well on the way toward having 50% of all generation in the province of Saskatchewan coming from renewable sources by 2025, which a NDP government would mandate, Lingenfelter said. "We're going to be building 400 MW in that (four year) period at any rate, and the question is what are you going to use for your source of power. What we're saying is rather than more coal or more natural gas, more fossil fuels, the next 400 MW of power will come into the grid through wind after we form government," Lingenfelter told reporters. When asked about the cost, Lingenfelter insisted the "numbers are within the budget of SaskPower." "It would be the same cost impact as the plan in place now which is mainly to do more retrofitting in coal, to get more from that area, or more natural gas," Lingenfelter said. The costs of wind and natural gas production are "very comparable over the life of the project," Lingenfelter said. Lingenfelter said the NDP, if re-elected, would look to get up to 20% of its power from wind. To achieve 50% from renewable sources, the province would boost its hydro complement and look at solar and geothermal as well as efficiency measures, he added. There are 171 MW of wind generation in Saskatchewan that was implemented under the previous NDP government. It is unclear what type of procurement process the NDP would implement and what the role of independent power producers would be.

What the Saskatchewan Party are saying about their support for wind energy

Premier Brad Wall of the governing Saskatchewan Party accused the NDP of failing to account for the above promise in its campaign platform and being mistaken on their assessment of costs. "Our cost on that, SaskPower's cost on that, is about a billion dollars. It's got to come from somewhere. It's either going to come from people's power bills - they're going to be paying more - or it comes from the budget," Wall said. "It's not accurate to say that adding the wind power would be the same as other power plans," he added. "There is an additional premium that comes with wind operationally because you need backup for when the wind's not blowing and to some extent from a capital standpoint. " Wall said. "We want to be environmentally sustainable. We're also investing in wind. But again, it has to be reasonable and affordable for Saskatchewan families." Under the Saskatchewan Party, SaskPower is currently in the process of purchasing up to 175 MW from one or more independent power producers selected through a competitive RFP process and a further 25 MW of wind power from developers with smaller-scale projects on an annual basis. The Saskatchewan Party Policy Resolutions publicly available online have set the goal of making the province of Saskatchewan “the energy heart of North America” by 2020 by assessing the potential for further development of power generation from wind, clean coal, natural gas, nuclear, biomass, coal bed methane, ethanol, solar, oil sands, co-generation, hydrogen fuel cell technology and any other power source that may be viable in Saskatchewan for provincial consumption and/or export.

This is the kind of debate I like – a debate about targets, standards, costs and technical challenges associated with renewable energy development. The question is not whether we will develop our renewable energy resources in Saskatchewan, but rather what the most appropriate way to do that is. Both the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP clearly support development of our vast renewable energy resources in Saskatchewan. From my perspective, I am optimistic that renewable energy in Saskatchewan has a promising long-term future under either a Saskatchewan Party or NDP government.

Source: (in part) The StarPhoenix, October 25, 2011 edition

Monday, October 24, 2011

Expression of Interest (EOI) for Development of a Wind Generation Facility: City of Saskatoon issues EOI for innovative utility-scale wind facility

The utility-scale wind energy generation facility will be located at the Green Energy Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The EOI was published in the October 22, 2011 edition of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix on page D3.

The EOI follows below:

The City of Saskatoon is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from parties in respect of the above referenced project.

Scope of Work: The City of Saskatoon will be seeking proposals from wind energy developers interested in developing a wind energy generation facility at the Saskatoon Waste Management Centre (Saskatoon Landfill). The facility will consist of a single tower and turbine which should not exceed 2 megawatts (MW) in nameplate capacity. The commercial operation date (COD) for the project is March 31, 2013.

Interested developers should submit a statement to the undersigned containing the following details:
- Respondent’s mailing address and head office location;
- Name and contact information of the respondent’s primary contact person;
- Brief summary of respondent’s background, relevant experience and ability to undertake and complete such project.

EOI’s will be received up to 2:00 p.m. C.S.T., Monday October 31, 2011.

This project is partially funded by the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan through the Canada-Saskatchewan Provincial-Territorial Base Funding.

Responses shall be mailed or delivered to:

City of Saskatoon
Purchasing Services
222 Cardinal Crescent
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
S7L 6H8
Telephone: + 1 306 975 2600
Facsimile: +1 306 975 2612

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Energy in Alberta: Premier Redford shifts focus of Alberta from conventional hydrocarbons to renewables - time for Saskatchewan to follow?

On October 1, 2011 Alison Redford was elected by her Progressive Conservative (PC) party as the premier of Alberta. As part of the energy strategy Redford proposed during the PC leadership race, Redford stated that she envisions Alberta “as a global leader in sustainable hydrocarbon production and the global leader in renewable energy production.” Premier Redford also stated in her energy strategy that the proposed shift from the conventional hydrocarbon sector to renewable energy will leverage revenues generated from conventional sources “to ensure that Alberta remains a leader when the shift to renewables occurs on a large scale.” The Alberta energy strategy does not suggest (or rule out) subsidies, standard offer programs, subsidized tariff rates or feed-in-tariffs for renewable energy generation.

Premier Redford has also committed to establishing an authority to direct government involvement in renewable energy, operating in partnership with the academic and private sectors, promoting education and research initiatives and updating the Alberta Electric System Operator’s terms of reference to facilitate connection of renewables to the grid.

With British Columbia already a significant and long-standing supporter of renewable energy development and Alberta seemingly following suit, if Saskatchewan adopts a similar position on renewable energy we would have a consensus from all major hydrocarbon producing jurisdictions in Western Canada. A clear position on renewable energy is a critical pillar in a Canadian energy strategy and full credit must go to Alberta for taking the lead in the absence of Federal direction.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mining giant Rio Tinto takes on Saskatoon-based Cameco and makes a bid for uranium junior Hathor

Global mining powerhouse Rio Tinto PLC has just announced a friendly $578 million CAD bid for junior uranium company Hathor Exploration Ltd. staging a battle against Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco for a promising uranium property in Saskatchewan adjacent to Cameco's existing mine.

London-based Rio, the world’s second-largest mining company, said Wednesday it is offering $4.15 per share for Hathor, a 55 per cent premium to the company’s closing price on Aug. 25, the day before Cameco made a hostile bid for $3.75 per share. It’s also the first bid for a Canadian company Rio has made since it bought Montreal-based Alcan in 2007.

Hathor shares, which had been trading above Cameco’s offer price since the bid was made, jumped more than 10 per cent on Wednesday to a high of $4.47, suggesting investors expect Cameco may come in with a higher offer.

Hathor has urged its shareholders to reject the offer from Cameco, calling it “predatory” and opportunistic given depressed uranium prices in the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster earlier this year. Spot uranium prices have fallen about 25 per cent to around $53 (U.S.) per pound, followed by a drop in equities in the sector, since Japan's earthquake and ensuing nuclear crisis struck in mid-March.

Vancouver-based Hathor, whose flagship asset is the Roughrider deposit in northern Saskatchewan, said its board unanimously recommends the Rio offer instead.

“The strategic context of the Rio Tinto offer underscores the ‘best of breed’ global stature of the Roughrider uranium deposit relative to its peers of undeveloped uranium deposits around the world,” Hathor chief executive officer Mike Gunning said in a statement Wednesday. “The superior Rio Tinto offer provides fair value to Hathor shareholders over Cameco’s current hostile, unsolicited takeover offer.”

“The acquisition of Hathor provides a quality opportunity to expand the Rio Tinto presence in the Athabasca Basin which currently provides approximately 20 per cent of global uranium production,” Rio stated.

“The medium and long-term outlook for the uranium market is positive, with uranium assuming a significant role in the world’s primary energy needs,” Rio Tinto Energy chief executive Doug Ritchie stated.

Rio also said last month that it would form a joint-venture with North Atlantic Potash Inc., the Canadian subsidiary of Russia's JSC Acron, to explore for the fertilizer ingredient in nine areas of Saskatchewan.

Source: (in part) Globe & Mail

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CanWEA announces wind energy award winners at Annual Conference

At its gala Awards Banquet in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) recognized organizations and individuals who have worked tirelessly to advance the Canadian wind energy industry towards a record year of growth in 2011. The following awards were presented:

Individual Leadership Award - First awarded in 2003, to the individual who has, through their own efforts, significantly advanced the wind energy industry in Canada. Award winner: Richard Legault (President of Windev Corporation) for his dedication to the industry through his unsurpassed experience in assessing the certainty of energy yields from wind for projects in the Canadian context.

Group Leadership Award - First awarded in 2001, this award recognizes the government, corporation or non-profit organization that has contributed significantly to the advancement of wind energy in Canada. Award winner: Peace Energy Cooperative and its Directors for their ability to recognize the tremendous opportunities that exist for British Columbians in renewable energy sources.

R.J. Templin Award - First awarded in 1985, in recognition of any individual or organization who has undertaken scientific, technical, engineering or policy work that has significantly advanced the wind energy industry in Canada. Award winner: Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICAN), for advances made in the development of wind energy across Canada through research, testing, training, and collaboration - recipient Mr. Scott Harper.

Friend of Wind Award – Awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions made by individuals or groups in advancing awareness of the benefits of wind energy at the community level. Award winner: Jutta Splettstoesser, Kincardine farmer, mother, and tireless supporter of wind energy in Ontario communities through Friends of Wind Ontario.


Monday, October 17, 2011

SunEdison raises $300 million USD for North American solar PV projects

To support the construction costs of utility and rooftop solar PV projects throughout the United States and Canada, SunEdison, the solar energy subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., has arranged for a three-year, $300 million USD revolving credit facility with Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. and Rabobank. SunEdison described the arrangement as one of the largest non-recourse project financing revolving credit facilities ever issued for solar PV projects. Currently, SunEdison has more than 500 solar PV energy systems deployed throughout the United States and Canada and 330 MW of installed solar PV capacity. The company said that it is continuing to look for additional banking partners to finance its pipeline of projects.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saskatoon City Council approves innovative wind turbine project at the landfill

City of Saskatoon Councillors approved a city administration request to seek proposals for the design and construction of an 80 metre tall wind turbine at the landfill. Three councillors - Pat Lorje, Darren Hill and Tiffany Paulsen - voted against the proposal.

With the approval, the city administration will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the $5 million CAD project. The city plans to have the turbine running by January 2013.

Saskatoon Light and Power has been studying the project's feasibility - including wind and foundation stability tests - since 2006. The wind turbine concept used by the city would have a capacity of 2 MW, which would power about 500 homes. The annual 3,000 tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the equivalent of removing 600 vehicles from Saskatoon streets.

The project will be sited on an existing landfill thereby reclaiming otherwise unusable land.