Wednesday, November 21, 2012

World Trade Organization sides with the EU and Japan and rules against Ontario’s feed-in-tariff local content requirements

The EU and Japan filed complaints against the province of Ontario with the World Trade Organization (WTO), taking the position that the province’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program breached international trade law by unfairly pressuring generators of renewable energy to purchase equipment and services from companies located in the province of Ontario. WTO judges rejected the EU and Japanese argument that the FIT program provisions constitute an illegal subsidy.

WTO press officer Joseph Bosch confirmed yesterday that the decision was sent to the concerned parties last Friday but that it must remain confidential until all the WTO members receive it “and that could be within the next month."

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty declined to comment on the WTO ruling, but he defended a policy that he says is central to creating jobs and boosting manufacturing in a province hit hard by the recent economic downturn. “We have secured some $27 billion worth of investment,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters on Tuesday. “We have the Koreans in here, the Americans in here, the Chinese in here, I think the French and the Germans as well, and that’s not stopping them.”

EU exports to Canada in wind power and photovoltaic power generation equipment are “significant,” according to the Brussels-based European Commission, ranging from 300 million EUR to 600 million EUR between 2007 and 2009.

Aaron Atcheson, an energy lawyer at Miller Thompson in Toronto, said companies in Ontario’s renewable energy sector will not likely be too concerned until the lengthy appeal process is completed. In the meantime he said, there is more risk to the sector from a possible change in government in the province. In the last Ontario election campaign, the opposition Conservative party said it would dismantle the Green Energy Act. There is even a risk to the sector from the upcoming Liberal leadership campaign, Mr. Atcheson said, because some of the candidates will have a different approach to the green energy file from Mr. McGuinty, the outgoing premier. He also said there are so many problems and delays with Ontario’s current green energy program that those practical issues are more pressing for companies than the WTO ruling.

This matter stokes a broader debate over plans by countries including Canada, the United States and China to reserve public works as well as energy and environmental projects worth billions of dollars for local companies. The United States, China, India, and Europe are immersed in a number of increasingly contentious trade disputes over subsidies for wind energy and photovoltaic energy that are likewise alleged to skew the renewable energy playing field. China announced on November 5, 2012 that it was initiating WTO dispute proceedings to challenge what it claims are discriminatory measures in renewable energy programs adopted by certain EU member states such as Italy and Greece. Germany’s law on renewable energy also limits FIT payments for energy originating from installations located in Germany

Source: Globe and Mail, Bloomberg, International Business Times

Friday, October 19, 2012

Saudi Arabia reveals plans to be power country entirely by renewable energy

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, has plans to become 100% powered by renewable and low-carbon forms of energy, according to an influential member of the royal family.

Saudi Arabia's energy use is almost entirely from fossil fuels at present, with about two-thirds coming from oil and the remainder from gas. The state produces close to 12m barrels of oil a day, representing more than 12% of world crude production, and has about one-fifth of the world's oil reserves, according to the US government's Energy Information Administration. Energy use per person within the kingdom is also high by world standards, because energy prices are kept so low.

As Prince Turki noted, however, the kingdom has vast potential for using solar power. "The cost of solar energy is now 15% of what it was 20 years ago," he noted. Saudi Arabia has also signed memoranda of understanding – though no final deal as yet – with Argentina over nuclear energy.
But despite his commitment to advancing renewable energy in the Middle East, Prince Turki – who served as director of Saudi Arabia's intelligence services for more than 20 years and has also been an ambassador to the UK and the US – was also clear that the rest of the world was likely to continue to rely on fossil fuels for many years to come. "No country can ban itself from any one form of energy," he said.

One of the other potentially important technologies for Saudi Arabia is carbon capture and storage, as depleted oil fields could be used as storage for compressed carbon dioxide, but it has so far made little progress. The prince said the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology should be seen as an international effort rather than the responsibility of single countries.

Nebjsa Nakicenovic, deputy chief of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, said CCS was likely to be a vital technology around the world. Though he acknowledged there could be problems, as the technology is still unproven, he warned: "Do not discount CCS."

On renewables, Nakicenovic said the world should aim to generate 30% of energy from sustainable renewable sources by 2030. That would represent more than a doubling of current renewable energy usage, because although on paper about 15% of energy now comes from renewable sources, this includes a large amount of biomass – mostly wood, dung and other waste – burned in developing countries. Much of this is unsustainable, and requires a significant use of resources in foraging for firewood. "So [the target] is very ambitious, but doable," he said.

Source: The Guardian

Thursday, October 18, 2012

SaskPower CEO says solar not a feasible option yet, but wind could be an option

The CEO of SaskPower says despite comments by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the technology just isn't there yet to make solar power a part of their fleet.

Kennedy told a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations conference that Saskatchewan should be focusing more on wind and solar power and less on coal power.

Robert Watson says SaskPower is investigating solar technology, but says there are technical problems. He says Saskatchewan is too far north on the curvature of the earth for solar technology to be effective. He also says in the winter time, it's too dark for too long for solar energy to be useful.

Watson says wind power will become a major player in their fleet down the road. "By the time we finish adding our 177 megawatt wind farm down near Swift Current, we will have about 8 1/2 per cent of our spinning reserve wind, which is almost higher than anybody in Canada."

SaskPower does plan on reducing coal from their fleet. Watson says over the next 10 to 15 years, coal will eventually account for 35 per cent of SaskPower's output. Kennedy suggested Saskatchewan relies too much on coal-burning power plants and needs to move toward cleaner energy. "The issue is the illusion that you have cheap coal here," he said. "Coal is heavily subsidized and it's imposing far greater costs on the people of Saskatchewan. If you took the whole community costs, it would be much cheaper to power this province on wind and solar."

Kennedy, nephew of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, is currently serving as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in America.

Source: Canadian Press

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Nations wind project moves forward

The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs, via Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiations Office, received approval today, September 18, 2012, for a wind project under the Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT) Program. Benefits will be shared within the local community and Mi'kmaq communities throughout Nova Scotia.

"This project approval means that the KMK and Wind4All can generate renewable electricity that will stay right here in the Amherst area,” Said Brian Skabar, MLA for Cumberland North. “Clean, green electricity is already successfully powering homes and businesses in the Amherst area, and this project will increase those benefits for the community."

The 6.0 MW project will be developed by the Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn (KMK) Mi'kmaq in partnership with Wind4all Communities.

"This COMFIT approval from the Department of Energy not only speaks to the quality of our Amherst Project but, more importantly, it speaks to the value and significance of our partnership with the KMK and Mi'kmaq," said Austen Hughes, general manager, Wind4All Communities.

"Through the Amherst project, the Mi'kmaq will become long-term and knowledgeable partners in the renewable energy sector," said Chief Gerard Julian, co-chair of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs. "As project owners, we will be expanding our ability to continue to preserve Nova Scotian resources and protect the environment for generations to come."

The Province has supported the Mi'kmaq renewal energy project development by providing $200,000 to create a Mi'kmaq Renewable Energy Strategy and $2 million for a Mi'kmaq Major Resource and Energy Fund. Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq and the province will also hold a renewable energy seminar November 21, 2012. For more information on the seminar contact the Office of Aboriginal Affairs at 424-4174.

The 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan introduced the COMFIT concept to help provide a secure supply of clean energy at stable prices, build community support for renewable energy projects and create jobs.

"COMFIT offers Nova Scotia an opportunity to become a leader in renewable energy," said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. "In addition, renewable energy projects such as this will help the province move away from dirty fossil fuels and towards our legislated goal of 40 per cent renewable energy by 2020."

Eligible groups receive an established price per kilowatt hour for projects producing electricity from certain renewable resources. Projects can include wind, biomass, in-stream tidal and run-of-the-river hydroelectric developments. Eligible groups include municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives, universities and not-for-profit groups.

More than 25 community-based groups have submitted over 100 locally based renewable energy development proposals for this unique, made-in-Nova Scotia initiative. The province expects 100 megawatts to be produced through COMFIT.

Source: Government of Nova Scotia Press Release

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Miller Thomson LLP, Penningtons Solicitors LLP and Polsinelli Shughart PC work together on a series of international deals for BRITA GmbH, one of the world’s leading companies in the drinking water optimisation sector

The Multilaw firms were all acting for BRITA in the purchase of an equal stake in Vivreau’s North American sister companies, Vivreau USA, LP and Vivreau USA GP, LLC in the USA and Vivreau Canada, Inc in Canada.

The BRITA Group, which achieved total sales of 320.7 million EUR in the 2011 fiscal year, is based in Taunusstein near Wiesbaden in Germany. It is represented by 15 national and international subsidiaries, and distribution and industrial partners in over 60 countries on all five continents, with production facilities in Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and India. Since inventing the water filter jug over 40 years ago, it has developed into one of the lead players in the global water filter market.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Soros Fund Invests in Mozambique Ethanol Project

Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros's nonprofit group has invested $6 million USD in an ethanol project in Mozambique that will offer families in the Southern African country an alternative to charcoal.

The Soros Economic Development Fund released information today that its investment will give it a 19% stake in the $20 million USD project, started by food-and-energy company CleanStar Mozambique. Executives say the investment is in line with the fund's aim of backing businesses that provide a return on capital and spur broader economic development.

CleanStar launched its Mozambique project a year ago to introduce a new cooking model for households in the country. Like much of Africa, Mozambican households tend to cook with charcoal, which produces smoke that when inhaled carries health risks. The company, based out of New York and Mozambican capital Maputo, has designed a low-cost stove that runs on cleaner ethanol, produced from cassava grown by farmers that the company has signed up. Since its launch, CleanStar has sold 3,000 stoves and plans to sell thousands more from November.

The project has also received a $3 million USD investment from the Denmark-backed Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries, while Danish industrial enzymes company Novozymes A/S has provided $1 million USD and a number of loans. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also assisting with the selling of carbon credits.

With the new funding, the company plans to ramp up its production of both cassava and stoves and have its model in 20% of Maputo's households by 2015, said Novozymes executive vice president Thomas Nagy.

The investors want to roll the project out in another 45 cities across Africa, in what they say is a unique business model. The goal is to sell 100,000 stoves in the next two to three years in Mozambique, according to the Soros fund's Africa director, Cedric de Beer. "If that can happen, then the opportunity to sell in large cities across the continent is dramatic," Mr. de Beer said.

The fund also has investments in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Profits derived from its investments are redeployed to new projects. Stewart Paperin, president of the fund, said most of its investments in Africa are still in the early stages.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chinese-owned corporation files law suit against US government for barring wind farm transaction (Ralls Corp. v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., 1:12-cv-01513, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia)

A US company owned by executives of China-based Sany Group Co. accused a US treasury-led national security panel in Washington in a lawsuit of barring it from windfarm projects without explanation or proper legal process.

Ralls Corp., a holding company that controls wind farm assets, alleged the multi-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, known as CFIUS, exceeded its authority when it ordered Ralls Corp. to cease operations and keep out of windfarm development sites it purchased, according to a lawsuit filed September 12,2 012 in federal court in Washington.

CFIUS is an interagency committee headed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that reviews the national security implications of transactions that could lead to a non-U.S. citizen controlling a U.S. business. The heads of the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense, State, and Energy, among others, sit on the committee. The panel’s recommendations can be enforced only by the president under the law.

“Ralls has been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with CFIUS, although Ralls felt strongly it had been treated unfairly and selectively,” Tim Tingkang Xia, a lawyer for Ralls, said in an e-mail. Natalie Wyeth Earnest, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Treasury Department, declined to comment on the suit, saying information filed with CFIUS by law may not be publicly disclosed.

Security Risks

CFIUS issued an order on July 25, 2012 citing “national security risks” raised by the sale of the windfarm assets to Ralls Corp., according to the filing.

An amended order on August 2, 2012 added more prohibitions, including the sale or transfer of the assets to any third party for the “use or installation at the properties of any items made or otherwise produced by the Sany Group.”

Closely held Sany Group is the owner of China’s biggest machinery maker. Dawei Duan, Sany’s chief financial officer and Jialiang Wu, a vice president of the group and general manager of Sany Electric Co., a group unit, are the owners of Ralls Corp., according to the complaint.

Ralls Corp. is seeking to develop wind energy projects in the US, where Sany Electric’s wind turbine generators can be used, according to the filing.

Ralls Corp. is seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would permit the company to resume construction of the wind farms by September 20, 2012. If the wind farms are not in service by December 31, 2012 then the company won't be able to obtain $25 million USD in federal investment tax incentives, according to a court filing yesterday.

Ralls Corp. said that shortly after it acquired land for a wind- farm in Oregon earlier this year, the U.S. Navy voiced concerns about the location of one of the projects. The Navy said it wanted to “reduce air-space conflicts” between the wind turbines and “low-level military aircraft training,” and asked the company to move the planned wind farm. Ralls complied, according to the complaint.

Ralls said it submitted a voluntary notice to CFIUS disclosing the acquisition on June 28, 2012. The next month, the company was told the deal posed national security risks and it must shut operations, according to the lawsuit. CFIUS offered no “evidence or explanation for its determination” that there were national security concerns and didn’t say why the transaction was even subject to review by the committee, Ralls Corp. alleged.

Development Rights

“Draconian obligations” were imposed in connection with Ralls’s purchase of “four small Oregon companies whose assets consisted solely of wind-farm development rights,” according to the complaint.

The company accused CFIUS of violating the Administrative Procedure Act by making an arbitrary and capricious decision and asked the court to find the panel lacked authority to block the deal. Companies, which typically file information with CFIUS voluntarily to address any early issues, submitted 313 notices for review with the committee from 2008 to 2010, according to the panel’s most recent annual report to Congress.

Withdrawn Applications

In 42 cases, companies withdrew applications during or after CFIUS review, according to the report. None went to the president.

Acquisitions by other Chinese companies have been blocked by CFIUS. Chinese telephone-equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co. and Bain Capital Partners LLC dropped a bid to buy computer- equipment maker 3Com Corp. in 2008 after U.S. officials opposed the transaction. Last year, Huawei unwound the purchase of patents from a computer-services company, 3Leaf Systems Inc., after U.S. objections.

Executives from Huawei and another telephone-equipment maker, ZTE Corp. (000063), were questioned by lawmakers in Washington yesterday about their efforts to expand in the U.S.

The case is Ralls Corp. v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., 1:12-cv-01513, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Source: Bloomberg

Monday, September 17, 2012

Saskatchewan coal-fired power plants fuel pollution

Interesting article by Peter Prebble in The Leader-Post today:

When federal Environment Minister Peter Kent came to Saskatchewan earlier this month to announce Canada's new greenhouse gas emission regulations for coal-fired power plants, the results were disappointing for anyone concerned about the well-being of our environment.

The new regulations are a significant weakening of what was originally presented to the public in draft form 13 months ago. Over the next 18 years, they will result in greenhouse gas pollution at Canada's coal-fired generating stations being cut by less than half the amount originally proposed by Ottawa.

That announcement might have been satisfactory for SaskPower and the operators of Alberta's coal-fired power plants, but it is not in the larger public interest. Greenhouse gas pollutants from coal-fired power plants are the single most important reason why climate change on our planet is accelerating.

At a time when we have record sea-ice melt in the Arctic, devastating drought in more than 60 per cent of U.S. crop lands and record extreme weather events around the globe, it should be clear to policy makers that the heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollutants from burning coal need to be strictly regulated.

Unfortunately, it appears Ottawa's new regulations are heavily focused on accommodating the desire of governments in Saskatchewan and Alberta to keep burning coal. Meanwhile, in the rest of Canada, coal-fired power plants are steadily being shut down.

Two interesting examples are Ontario and Nova Scotia. In Ontario, the government has closed six of its 15 coal-fired power units over the past two years to curb pollution. It has done this by increasing electricity generation from natural gas, tripling wind power since 2008, building several solar power plants, and introducing conservation measures aimed at cutting electricity use during peak periods of the day.

Nova Scotia historically has been even more coal dependent than Saskatchewan. However, it has now cut its use of coal from 80 per cent of electricity production in 2006 to 57 per cent today. More large reductions are planned. To accomplish this, Nova Scotia is requiring that 40 per cent of its electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2020, up from 17 per cent in 2011. Its government has put in place generous financial incentives to encourage small-scale, community-owned renewable energy production. It has also established Efficiency Nova Scotia to promote electricity conservation.

Ontario and Nova Scotia's work means they are already doing much better than the new federal regulations on coal-fired power plants will require.

In contrast, for our population size, Saskatchewan is dedicating fewer resources to electricity efficiency and renewable energy development. Saskatchewan's greenhouse gas pollution from electricity production is unchanged from 2006. Coal accounts for 58 per cent of the electricity we consume, while wind accounts for only three per cent.

To date, the Saskatchewan plan is to keep using coal and to rely heavily on carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That approach might work, but there is uncertainty, as CCS technology at a commercial scale is in its infancy. Moreover, at $1.2 billion for the first unit, CCS installation is very expensive, thus slowing down the pace of pollution reduction.

Saskatchewan will no doubt be able to meet Ottawa's weak greenhouse gas emission regulations, but our province would be wise to aim higher. A more proven course of action would be to invest heavily in renewable energy and electricity conservation, as a complement to our CCS initiative.

With a greenhouse gas pollution footprint more than three times the Canadian average (per million people), Saskatchewan can no longer delay the task of reducing our dependence on coal.
 
Peter Prebble is director of environmental policy for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. He has authored and co-authored publications on climate change and renewable energy potential in Saskatchewan.

Source: The Regina Leader-Post, september 17, 2012 edition

Friday, September 14, 2012

Jilin New Energy of China to Invest 130 million EUR in Estonia

Jilin New Energy Investment Co. Ltd. plans to invest 130 million euros ($168 million USD) in renewable energy projects in Estonia, the biggest Chinese investment in the Baltic country to date.

Investments will be made mainly in the production of wooden pellets and wind energy equipment, Tallinn-based EAS said in an e-mailed statement today, citing an agreement signed between the parties on September 7, 2012. Financing for the projects will come from China Development Bank, it added.

Jilin New Energy will also set up its European headquarters in Estonia, citing its favorable geographic location, strong renewable energy industry and political stability, EAS said.

Source: Bloomberg

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

3000 MW of new power generation to come online in Ontario in the next 18 months - 4800 MW of wind and solar PV by February 2014

Ontario's power grid operator issued a statement today that generators will add more than 3000 MW of capacity to the system over the next 18 months, including about 1500 MW of nuclear and 1500 MW of renewable generation.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) said in a statement that total wind and solar PV generation connected to the grid will reach about 4800 MW by February 2014.

Bruce Power is restoring two 750 MW reactors at the giant 6300 MW Bruce nuclear power station. At least one (and possibly both) of those units was on track to enter service in 2012.

Bruce Power is a partnership owned by Alberta-based energy company TransCanada Corp, Saskatchewan-based uranium miner Cameco Corp, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), the Power Workers' Union and the Society of Energy Professionals.

The IESO said the new generation resources and transmission projects have been brought into service to ensure Ontario can meet future supply needs and to support the government's planned removal of the province's remaining 3300 MW of coal-fired capacity by the end of 2014.

The IESO said once the refurbished Bruce nuclear units and other new generation and transmission projects enter service, Ontario will be in a good position to continue eliminating coal-fired generation from the system.

Sources: IESO, Reuters

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Valard secures first greenfield wind farm construction project of Gesner Wind Farm for Saturn Power

Valard has secured its first greenfield wind farm project, having been awarded the complete construction of the Gesner Wind Farm by project owner Saturn Power. Located near Muirkirk, Ontario, construction began in June 2012. Approximately 15 employees are currently on site building foundations for each of the five 100-metre turbines comprising this project.

“We are thrilled to be constructing the Gesner Wind Farm in Ontario,” says Vicki Marks, Valard Vice President of Ontario and Eastern Canada operations. “Valard believes in the viability and longevity of the wind sector, and we’re looking to build our capacity and capabilities in it.”

Within the next month, Valard will begin installing the turbines in parallel with constructing the 34.5 kV collector system, accepting delivery of the e-house, constructing the substation and completing the interconnection to the provincial distribution grid.

The Gesner Wind Farm is expected to be in service by December 2012. When complete, it will produce 10 megawatts of power. Each turbine will have a two-megawatt output capable of providing power for up to 3,500 homes.

Valard offers a full menu of services for wind projects including design, equipment specification, procurement, foundations and civil works, installations, substations, transmission and distribution interconnects, commissioning and operations and maintenance. Clients can choose a single service or a full engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) solution. The company also offers competitive financing to qualifying projects.

Valard is a construction company based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Source: Valard Press Release

Monday, September 10, 2012

Canada releases final regulations to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector - Saskatchewan seeks separate arrangement with Federal government

"If we want to make headway at reducing emissions we have to take a hard look at coal-fired plants and that's exactly what we have been doing, what we are doing, and what we will do," the Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent told a press conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan recently.

The federal government is proposing new coal plants only be allowed if they can emit less than 375 tonnes of carbon dioxide per gigawatt hour of electricity generated. In the final version, that standard is 420 tonnes. The draft regulations proposed that old coal-fired units would have to meet the targets at 45 years old, which has been moved to 50.
 
Guy Bruce, vice-president of planning, environment and regulatory affairs for SaskPower, the crown utility in the province of Saskatchewan said the announced regulations are a "good balance." The move to 50 years allows SaskPower time to determine if carbon capture is feasible, Bruce said.
 
The Saskatchewan government is seeking a separate deal with Ottawa to handle coal in its own way, while meeting the same end goals set by the federal government. The deal is expected to account for the Boundary Dam plant, where Unit 3 is undergoing a $1.24 billion CAD conversion for carbon capture and storage by 2014. It's expected to be the first commercial scale power plant with a fully integrated carbon capture system, which should help it meet tougher emission rules.

The federal government is taking a sector-by-sector approach to reducing greenhouse gases. Instead of imposing a tax on carbon emissions, or developing a cap-and-trade market that would reward clean energy over high emissions, Ottawa is gradually imposing rules and restrictions on emissions in each polluting sector of the economy. So far, it has rolled out limits for the auto sector and renewable fuels. Coal has been the trickiest sector so far.

But the remaining sectors, especially oil and gas, are expected to be even more thorny, with Alberta's oilpatch already resisting federal attempts to regulate. Draft regulations pertaining to oil and gas are expected next year, possibly in the spring.

Canada has committed to reducing its emissions by 607 megatonnes by 2020, and Kent frequently touts his sector-by-sector approach as the main way for Canada to meet that goal.

Sources: The Star Phoenix, Canadian Press

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shell to proceed with carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta oilsands: likely to rely on Saskatchewan experience with CCS at the SaskPower Boundary Dam Project

Shell announced this morning that it will go ahead with the world's first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project for an oil sands operation in Canada. The Quest project will be built on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project joint venture owners (Shell, Chevron and Marathon Oil) and with support from the Governments of Canada and Alberta.

The Athabasca Oil Sands project produces bitumen, which is piped to Shell's Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton, Alberta. Quest will capture and store deep underground more than one million tonnes a year of CO2 produced in bitumen processing. Quest will reduce direct emissions from the Scotford Upgrader by up to 35%.

Both the Canadian federal and Albertan provincial governments have identified CCS as an important technology in their strategies to reduce CO2 emissions. The Alberta government will invest $745 million CAD in Quest from a $2 billion CAD fund to support CCS, while the Government of Canada will invest $120 million CAD through its Clean Energy Fund.

"Today's announcement reaffirms Alberta's position as a global leader in carbon capture and storage," said Energy Minister Ken Hughes. "Technologies like CCS will play an instrumental role in helping to lower greenhouse gas intensity from the oil sands and demonstrate to the world Alberta's commitment to responsible energy development."

There was some question as to Alberta's commitment to CCS technology, when other CCS projects in Alberta were delayed earlier this year.

Construction is currently underway on the SaskPower Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project in Saskatchewan. The Boundary Dam Project will transform Unit 3 at Boundary Dam Power Station into a reliable, long-term producer of 100 MW of clean base-load electricity, while enhancing oil production in Saskatchewan and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by capturing 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year. SaskPower has been developing CCS technology and projects for several decades. The Government of Saskatchewan approved the Boundary Dam project in April, 2011.

SNC Lavalin is undertaking engineering, procurement and construction at the Boundary Dam project and Hitachi is providing the turbine. Cansolv, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell, will supply the carbon capture process. It is expected that Shell will rely on their experience in Saskatchewan to build the Quest project in Alberta.

The $1.24 billion CAD SaskPower Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2013. The $865 million CAD Quest project in Alberta is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2015.  

Sources: Shell Canada Press Release, SaskPower, Government of Saskatchewan, Government of Alberta

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

RFP Opportunity - Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) Services for Queen Elizabeth Power Station - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

The RFP is intended to obtain the resources of an established, multi-discipline engineering, project management, construction management, and commissioning management firm with a proven record of success in carrying out the functions of a Balance of Plant (BOP) Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) contract (the "Engineer").

Associated with this project, SaskPower is responsible for the procurement and delivery to the Site of the following equipment:

  • Three Hitachi H25 Gas Turbines (GTG) complete with Generators, and Static Excitation;
  • Two 138-13.8 KV step-up transformers (GSUT);
  • Six Once through Steam Generators (OTSG);
  • One 95MW to 105MW induction condensing steam turbine (STG) complete with generator, static exciter system, control system, gland seal system, oil conditioning system and instrumentation.
Collectively, the above equipment is named “SaskPower Equipment”.

The Engineer will be required to review and provide comments to drawings, manuals and project related documents received from the above SaskPower Equipment suppliers to coordinate interface design. The Engineer will be responsible for the design of all interfaces required to integrate the Balance of Plant (BOP) Equipment with the SaskPower Equipment. The Engineer will be responsible for the performance of all designs and equipment selected to meet the interface conditions provided by the SaskPower Equipment suppliers.

The Engineer will be responsible for the sizing, specification preparation, tendering, bid evaluation, recommendation for purchase, quality control, delivery and warranty of the BOP Equipment (“Engineer Supplied Equipment”). This service will include the provision of OEM technical advisors (TA) to interface with SaskPower’s Works Contractors during installation and the Engineer’s commissioning team during commissioning.

The RFP closes September 28, 2012.

Growth in Saskatchewan means removal of Federal environmental assessment requirement impacts projects in the province most significantly

The federal Canadian government has removed the requirement for environmental assessments (EAs) on nearly 3000 projects across Canada. The EA requirement has been removed because the federal government changed the rules on what projects require an environmental assessment when the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act came into effect on July 6, 2012. This in itself is not particularly remarkable and was widely anticipated. What did surprise me is the large number of projects in Saskatchewan impacted by this change - the most in Canada by a fair margin.

Number of Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency EA requirements removed on July 6, 2012 by province:

Saskatchewan: 764
Ontario: 561
British Columbia: 492
Alberta: 348
Quebec: 295
Newfoundland and Labrador: 152
Nova Scotia: 151
New Brunswick: 141
Manitoba: 87
PEI: 24
Northwest Territories: 6
Nunavut: 1
Yukon: 1

EA requirements for more projects were removed in Saskatchewan than in 5 other provinces and 3 territories combined. There were 203 more EA requirements removed in Saskatchewan than Ontario, the next largest province impacted by the changes.

The cancelled Federal assessments include a review of a proposed run-of-river hydro facility at Fond du Lac in Northern Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Research Council's plans to rehabilitate the former Lorado Uranium Mill in the northern part of the province and Prairie Green Renewable Energy's proposal to build an ethanol manufacturing facility near Hudson Bay.

The provincial government and other stakeholders will assume responsibility for environmental assessments, thereby reducing duplication of certain procedures.

Friday, August 31, 2012

RFP Opportunity - Consulting Services for Wastewater Treatment Plant Biogas Cogeneration Project - City of Saskatoon

The City of Saskatoon is seeking Letters of Interest (LOI) for engineering consulting services for the design, installation and commissioning of a cogeneration system using biogas at the City of Saskatoon wastewater treatment plant. The project will begin in January 2013 and run for approximately two years. Work consists of: detailed design of the cogeneration system, equipment selection, financial analysis, tender drawings and document production, tender selection, construction administration, and commissioning services. The consultant will be responsible for guiding the project from start to finish in conjunction with City of Saskatoon staff.

Interested Proponents may obtain a condensed Terms of Reference for the project from the contact information listed below after 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. The LOI must be received by 2:00 p.m. CST, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 in order to be considered. Word or Acrobat documents that are emailed will be accepted, but the responsibility for ensuring the submission is received rests with the proponent. The LOI must be not longer than 5 (five) pages. The LOI will be used to decide which three or four companies will be invited into a formal Request for Proposal process. The letter should highlight expertise in the area of cogeneration and qualifications that would indicate suitability for being selected for this project. Kindly submit an email or five copies of the letter with “WWTP Cogeneration” as the subject to: Email: WWTP_Projects@saskatoon.ca Telephone: (306) 975-2534.

The RFP closes September 19, 2012.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

RFP Opportunity - Wind Power Facility Feasibility Study - City of Regina Waste Water Treatment Plant

Sealed Proposals marked “RFP #2050 – Waste Water Treatment Plant Wind Power Facility Feasibility Study” will be received by the Coordinator of Purchasing, 5th Floor, City Hall, 2476 Victoria Avenue, P.O. Box 1790, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 3C8, no later than 2:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, September 20, 2012. The City of Regina requires services of a consulting firm to perform a wind power facility feasibility study for the Waste Water Treatment Plant location. The services of a qualified consulting firm to provide comprehensive, expert, engineering and specialist services to achieve the objective to reduce the City’s dependency on utility-supplied electricity and greenhouse gas emissions at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Interested proponents may obtain a copy of the Request for Proposals from the office of the Coordinator of Purchasing, by calling (306) 777-7333 or emailing purchasingbranch@regina.ca The City invites proposals for these services and reserves the right to reject any or all proposals.

The RFP closes September 20, 2012

Nova Scotia selects three wind power projects totalling 115.8 MW in RFP process: $200 million CAD private sector investment expected

The projects, in Lunenburg and Guysborough counties in the Eastern Canadian coastal province of Nova Scotia include:

- 78 MW South Canoe Wind Project between Chester and Windsor, led by Oxford Frozen Foods;
- 24 MW South Canoe Wind Project in Lunenburg County, led by Minas Basin Pulp and Power; and
- 13.8 MW Sable Wind Project near Canso, led by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough.

According to the province government, the selected projects represented the most cost-effective offers. The average purchase price was in the mid-$70s per megawatt hour, lower than those in the 2007 call for bids in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Power is a minority investor in each of the projects.

Collectively, these projects are expected to bring total wind energy close to the 500 megawatt wind threshold by 2015. This is near the technical limit of the amount that can be integrated into the province's electricity grid, according to the 2008 Nova Scotia Wind Integration Study by Hatch Energy. Consequently, the province does not expect to issue more request for proposals for large-scale wind projects in the near future.

The Renewable Electricity Administrator (REA) was appointed by the province to call for bids, evaluate bid submissions and select winning projects based on which projects provide the best value for ratepayers.

The process also completes an objective of the province's renewable electricity plan to determine if the utility or Independent Power Producers could build the lowest-cost renewables for the province. The competition indicates a partnership model produces the best results.

Sources: CANWea, Government of Nova Scotia

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fulcrum Bioenergy receives conditional USDA loan guarantee for Nevada MSW ethanol plant - outlook improves for possible Nipawin, Saskatchewan project

Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. received a $105 million USD condition loan guarantee from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), putting its planned 10 MMgy Sierra BioFuels Plant in Nevada closer to groundbreaking.

“It will be early next year before we break ground, and 18 months after that before we’re ready to commercially produce ethanol,” said Rick Barraza, vice president of administration. The property has been acquired, the necessary permits in place, and Fluor Corp. has completed the engineering plan. Fluor will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

The Sierra Biofuels Plant is located approximately 30 km. east of Reno, Nevada; the facility has two feedstock supply agreements in place. Waste Connections Inc. will supply presorted MSW from its waste processing facility in El Dorado County, California, and Fulcrum has a 15-year agreement with Waste Management of Nevada to deliver post-sorted MSW. Fulcrum also has a three-year off-take agreement in place with Tenaska Biofuels, to buy the cellulosic ethanol at market price. “We’re able to do that because of the low cost nature of the process,” Barraza said, “And, getting MSW feedstock at no cost.”

The Fulcrum technology is a two-step thermochemical process. First, 4-inch pieces of organic materials are gasified in a plasma-enhanced gasifier which uses heat, pressure, steam and a little bit of oxygen. “It doesn’t burn, it breaks down into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide, or what we call syngas,” Barraza told EPM. The gas is cleaned and then run through a licensed catalytic technology jointly developed by Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co-operative Ltd. and Saskatchewan Research Council. The demonstration plant incorporates a full-scale reactor tube and process, identical to those to be used in Fulcrum’s large-scale plants.

Fulrum are partners with the Nipawin Economic Development Committee and Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to develop a cellulose conversion industry for the production of fuel-grade ethanol from residual agricultural and forestry biomass in the Nipawin region of North-Eastern Saskatchewan.

Source: Ethanol Producer Magazine

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quebec pension plans invest $100 million CAD in leading Canadian independent renewable power producer, Innergex

The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (the "Caisse") is investing close to $100 million CAD in a Quebec-based hydroelectric company. The Caisse manages investments for public and private pension and insurance plans in Quebec.

The pension fund manager recently reported that it bought 9.6 million common shares of Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. for $10.27 CAD per share for a total cost of $98.9 million CAD.

The investment comes at a time when Innergex is taking on new hydroelectric acquisitions in Quebec and Ontario. Innergex recently announced a purchase and sale agreement with Hydromega Group of Companies to acquire its 70 per cent interest in the Magpie hydroelectric facility in northeastern Quebec for $30.3 million, plus another $52 million in debt. Innergex expects the Magpie acquisition to close by the end of September, 2012. The Magpie facility produces enough electricity to power almost 11,000 households every year, and sells all of its electricity to Hydro-Quebec as part of a 25-year PPA.

Innergex also signed a letter of intent with Hydromega for the acquisition of its ownership interest in six other hydroelectric projects in Quebec and Ontario, and also announced plans to acquire Wildmare, a wind energy project in British Columbia. Price tags for those deals were not disclosed.

Source: The Canadian Press

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nordex secures first Supply Contract for 9 turbines on Finnish wind farm

Nordex won a contract to deliver and install nine turbines for a wind farm in southwest Finland, the first deal under an agreement struck with Helsinki-based fund manager Taaleritehdas Oy to finance wind projects in Finland. Construction on the project, with 21.6 MW capacity, will begin in the spring of 2013, Nordex said in a statement.

“This is a further key order for our N117 turbine,” said Lars Krogsgaard, chief sales officer of Hamburg-based Nordex.

Under the June 29, 2012 agreement with Taaleritehdas, as many as 111 turbines will be shipped and installed by Nordex in projects financed by the fund manager across Finland, with total capacity seen at 260 MW. That would be more than the installed wind power capacity of 197 MW in Finland as of the end of 2011, according to the Finnish Wind Power Association.

Finland plans to produce 38 percent of its power from renewable energy by 2020, up from 32 percent now.

Sources: Reuters, Nordex, Finnish Wind Power Association

Friday, August 17, 2012

10 facts about energy in China

  1. China is the world's largest consumer of energy and accounts for a staggering 21% of global energy use. By comparison Canada accounts for 2.7%.
  2. Energy use in China has increased by more than 150% in the past decade.
  3. Per capita energy use in China is far below the US, Canada, South Korea, Russia, Japan and the EU.
  4. China's manufacturing sector accounts for nearly 60% of all consumption.
  5. China generates more than 70% of their energy from coal.
  6. China has doubled its coal production in the past decade.
  7. Coal consumption has increased by 200% in the past decade.
  8. China's renewable capacity is at 133 GW and growing fast - mostly from hydro and wind.
  9. Solar PV is the most expensive electricity source in China.
  10. Natural gas consumption is now outpacing production in China.
 
Source: Goldman Sachs Report on Sustainable Growth in China: Spotlight on China, August 13, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

AESI and Canada Powerhouse agree to deliver biomass energy solutions in Western Canada to service emerging and growing biomass industry in the region

Alternative Energy Solutions International Inc. (AESI) and Canada Powerhouse, (the Technical Sales Division of Exclusive Boilers, Burners & Controls) (EBBC) announced today that they have established and are proceeding with an important agreement for representation throughout Western Canada. This partnership will leverage each company’s strengths and bring the highest level of service and satisfaction to the Canadian biomass markets.

“Exclusive Boilers, Burners & Controls, (EBBC) through their technical sales division, Canada Powerhouse, has begun to market and support AESI, Inc. and Uniconfort, in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, North West Territories and the Yukon. Uniconfort and AESI, Inc have over 5,000 installations operating worldwide, said David Daniels, president and CEO of AESI. “We are pleased to have the benefit of Canada Powerhouses’ continued direction. Together, we will create an optimal sales and service model for the very important, emerging and growing biomass industry in Canada.”

According to Dale Mazur, General Manager of EBBC, “AESI and Uniconfort are a game changer for the worlds CO2 and NOx emissions. Coupled or stand alone with our Co-generation capabilities, not only will energy centers realize benefits of reducing fuel consumption as well as emissions; the owners significantly reduce operating costs. Business and the environment wins. EBBC receives a considerable amount of requests for District Heating, Cogeneration, and emission reductions; we looked very hard at other technologies and realized that Uniconfort and AESI had a proven track record focused on very key areas often over looked. We further evaluated their business approach and were extremely pleased to discover that the technologies were not “locked” to other services. This allows EPC’S, engineering firms, and the customer to determine what level of involvement they prefer. No question that the company made the right decision to move forward with AESI and Uniconfort.”

Source: AESI and EBBC Press Release

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sprott Power seeking financing for $33 million to acquire Wind Canada Investments

For the third time in the past year, a Canadian company has chosen to raise cash to fund a takeover by way of an offering of extendible convertible unsecured subordinated debentures.

In the deal, the financing of which is expected to close next week, Sprott Power is buying all the shares of Wind Canada Investments for 22.13¢ each, which will then give it ownership of two operating assets, one of which, Glen Dhu, is the largest wind farm in Nova Scotia. (Wind Canada owns 51% of Glen Dhu.) Sprott Power has raised $30 million, which may be boosted by $4.5 million if the underwriters exercise their options.

The deal, in which investors are being offered a yield of 6.75%, represents a move into the big leagues as it will boost Sprott Power’s operating assets by 80%. The company has operations in Nova Scotia and Ontario. Sprott’s current portfolio is about 80 megawatts, which will rise to 144MW, if the acquisition goes through. But the company, according to its website, had some major plans prior to this transaction, with a development portfolio in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan. By 2015 it had plans to generate 500 MW of power.

Sprott Power has locked up the support of Wind Canada shareholders who own 74% of the outstanding shares. Spanish-based Inveravante Inversiones Universales S.L. is Wind Canada’s largest shareholder with a 66% fully diluted stake.

Sprott Power’s focus is on the development, ownership and operation of renewable energy projects. It pays a dividend and is managed by Sprott Power Consulting LP, a business unit of Sprott Inc.

Offerings of extendible convertible unsecured debentures are rare in Canada, with companies planning acquisitions preferring to issue subscription receipts that in effect get converted into common shares when the transaction closes.

On this deal, and as with the other two, that option wasn’t available, because Sprott Power is small with a market cap of $68 million. The option isn’t available because of the large discount to current market price that would have to occur to raise a decent slug of common equity.

Convertibles are attractive because there is no dilution — all the company faces is the need to make the semi-annual payments. And dilution is taken care of, because the conversion price on the debentures is set at a healthy premium (in this case 30%.)

Source: Financial Post, FP Street, Barry Critchley

Monday, August 13, 2012

Canadian Solar receives $93 Million CAD loan from China to fund growth

Canadian Solar Inc., the world’s third-largest maker of solar panels, received a $93 million CAD loan from state-owned China Development Bank Corp. as it expands in North America. The five-year facility will be used to part-finance the recent acquisition of a stake in 16 photovoltaic projects in Ontario from developer SkyPower Ltd.

The loan is its first from this bank, company data show. Canadian Solar’s expansion into project development enables it to increase control over sales of its products as panel prices weaken. It also gives the company access to Ontario’s feed-in tariff program, which offers premium rates for electricity generated from renewable sources.

Canadian Solar, which is based in the province of Ontario and has production facilities in China, had about $88 million CAD in long- term debt from Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (601288), Bank of Communications Co. and Export-Import Bank of China at the end of last year, according to the company’s latest results.

China Development Bank has offered $47.3 billion USD since 2010 to support the country’s wind and solar manufacturers, a credit line that’s only been partially tapped, according to London- based researcher Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Under Canadian Solar’s April accord with SkyPower, it agreed to pay $187 million CAD for a majority interest in 190 to 200 megawatts of permitted PV projects. Its largest global competitors are Suntech Power Holdings Co. and First Solar Inc.

Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Canadian Solar Inc. Press Release

Friday, August 10, 2012

Saskatchewan has highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in Canada

Saskatchewan's per capita greenhouse gas emissions have declined slightly in recent years but remain the highest in Canada, a report from the Canadian Federal government indicates.

Per capita emissions in 2010 were estimated at 69.8 tonnes of greenhouse gas per person, more than triple the all-Canada rate, which was 20.3 tonnes per person, according to Canada’s Emissions Trends Report that was released Wednesday by Environment Canada.

The Saskatchewan figure was down 1.8 per cent from 2005, when per capita emissions were 71.1 tonnes per person.

Environment Canada report measures carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, or its equivalent.

The report notes that provinces like Saskatchewan that depend on fossil fuels for their electricity generation tend to have per capita emissions above the national average.

The per capita drop happened in part because the population has increased over the five year period.

In fact, according to the report, the province's total greenhouse emissions actually increased from 71 megatonnes to 73 megatonnes between 2005 and 2010.

Saskatchewan and Alberta were the only provinces that saw their total emissions increase.

Over the next decade, it's projected total emissions in Saskatchewan will fall, however, from 73 megatonnes to 64 megatonnes.

"The decline in emissions from 2005 to 2020 in Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are due in large part to government measures related to coal-fired electricity," the report said.

Under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, Canada is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Source: CBC and Canada's Emissions Trends 2012 - Government of Canada Report

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SNC-Lavalin wins district cooling project in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

SNC-Lavalin will build a district cooling system in the Saudi city of Mecca, site of the annual hajj, a pilgrimage that attracts Muslims from around the world, under a $92 million CAD contract announced yesterday.

The Montreal-based company, which provides engineering and project management services around the world, said construction is expected to begin this quarter under a contract from a subsidiary of Saudi Tabreed District Cooling Co.

District cooling uses a central plant to chill water that is then distributed to several other buildings that use the water to cool themselves before the water is returned to the central plant.

The first phase of the project, a chilled water production plant for the Jebel Omar Development, is planned for December 2013.

“We are delighted with receiving this contract, particularly because it is the third district cooling plant contract awarded to us in Saudi Arabia since May 2010,” SNC executive vice-president Charles Chebl said.

“This contract reflects our strategy of bringing the full spectrum of our global expertise to the region, and attests to SNC-Lavalin’s world-class leadership in the district cooling sector.”

Maxim Sytchev of Alta Corp Capital said the contract is relatively small, representing 2.7 per cent of its infrastructure and environment backlog and one per cent of its overall backlog.

“But it does show that the company’s clients continue to award contracts to SNC-Lavalin despite the negative news flow overhang,” he wrote in a report.

The ability to win contracts has been a key investor concern since internal problems arose in March.

“We view this contract as an important step in re-establishing investor confidence,” he said, point to it as the first international deal of size in months.
Source: Canadian Press

Finavera receives wind farm construction permit for 47 MW Tumbler Ridge project in North-Eastern British Columbia

Finavera Wind Energy Inc. recently announced it has received a General Area Licence of Occupation for the 47 MW Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy Project located in northeastern British Columbia. The Licence, which was issued by the British Columbia Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, provides the approval for construction to commence on the project. The Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy Project recently received an Environmental Assessment Certificate and has a 25 year power purchase agreement with B.C. Hydro.

The $125 million CAD project will be located 8 kilometres west of the town of Tumbler Ridge in the province of British Columbia. Once completed, the project will generate enough power to provide electricity for up to 18,000 homes. The 12 month project construction period is expected to generate 560 person years of direct employment, and the operational phase of the project is expected to create 188 person years of full-time direct employment.

Finavera Wind Energy CEO Jason Bak said, “This is a key milestone for the Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy Project and allows Finavera to progress through the final steps towards construction of this project. Our next steps are to finalize financing for the project, execute a turbine supply agreement, and contract a group to undertake the construction process.”

Source: Finavera Press Release

Monday, July 16, 2012

Agrisoma Biosciences to evaluate biojet fuel derived from Saskatchewan-grown crops

Working in collaboration with Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is validating biofuels in the world’s first comprehensive flight program using biojet fuel.

The Canadian firm Agrisoma Biosciences has developed the Resonance™ oilseed crop; a non-food feedstock crop derived from Brassica carinata, commonly known as Ethiopian mustard, which has an oil profile optimized for use in the biofuel industry, specifically for biojet fuel. The crop is extremely well suited to production in semi-arid areas such as Saskatchewan and offers good resistance to biotic stressors, such as insects and disease, as well as abiotic stressors, such as heat and drought. Carinata is a vigorous crop with a highly branching growth pattern and large seed size. It also has excellent harvestability, with good lodging and shatter resistance.

Test flights took place in Ottawa, Canada, in May and June 2012, where the biojet fuel was tested in the NRC Falcon 20 twin-engine jet at a 50/50 ratio blend with Jet A1 fuel, and then at a 60/40 ratio blend – a first ever flight with higher than certified fuel blend. A second aircraft, NRC’s T33 jet, flew behind the Falcon 20 to measure the engine emissions during both biofuel and conventional fossil fuel operation of the aircraft engines. Systems onboard the Falcon 20 allowed the team to switch back and forth between the two fuel types throughout the flight series.

Preliminary results are positive and indicate that particulate emissions, including aerosols of black carbon, sulphates and by-products of the combustion of aromatic compounds, are significantly lower from biofuels than from Jet A1 fuel.

The crop for the test flights  was grown in Saskatchewan, Canada, in the summer of 2011 and commercial production of Resonance™ is now underway in Saskatchewan and across Western Canada, providing a secure and scalable source of feedstock for biojet manufacturing.

Source: National Research Council of Canada Press Release, Agrisoma website

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mining giant Vale SA embracing renewable energy to power mines: investment in 2 wind farms and biodiesel production move forward

Vale SA, the world’s biggest iron- ore producer, is turning to palm-tree oil and wind turbines to insulate earnings from surging energy costs.

The company plans to produce 420,000 tons of fuel from palm oil annually by 2019 and will build two wind farms with Australia’s Pacific Hydro Pty by 2014, Giane Zimmer, Vale’s director of sustainable development, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg from the company’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.

Rising power prices have pared margins for Vale, whose fuel and energy expenses accounted for 13 percent of costs of goods sold in 2011, or about $3.15 billion USD. Electricity prices for industrial users in Brazil have risen 89 percent since 2003, the nation’s power regulator estimates. That compares with a 35 percent gain in electricity prices in the U.S.

“Our big challenge is to align sustainability with lower costs,” Zimmer said. “We have an obligation to our shareholders to give results.”

Vale fell 1 percent, to 39.48 reais at 11:16 a.m. in Sao Paulo. The shares had gained 5.4 percent this year before today, compared with 8.5 percent and 2.9 percent drops for BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group, the world’s biggest and third-biggest miners by market value, respectively.

Power Investments

Vale has invested more than $1.3 billion USD in power generation in Brazil since 1995, about 2 percent of its revenue last year. While 49 percent of its power comes from hydroelectric plants, it also owns natural-gas reservoirs. The palm-oil and wind-farm programs represent an effort to diversify energy supplies.

Producing fuel and power on site is especially important for mining companies, which need to shift large quantities of material in remote areas, said Laurence Balter, a money manager at Oracle Investment, which is based in Fox Island, Washington, and oversees $100 million USD.

The company will produce palm-oil fuel known as biodiesel in the Amazon state of Para where it has mining operations and use the fuel to power its trains and heavy vehicles. The wind farms will be in Rio Grande do Norte state.

“It’s nice to see a company like Vale embarking on these forward-thinking projects,” Balter said in a telephone interview on July 5. “They’re going to come out smelling like a rose.”

Vale is seeking to replace a fifth of its Brazilian diesel with biodiesel by 2015, the company said in its 2011 sustainability report. All diesel sold at the pump in Brazil must contain 5 percent biodiesel.

Curtailing Production

“If we are unable to secure reliable access to electricity at acceptable prices, we may be forced to curtail production or may experience higher production costs,” Vale said April 17 in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Vale is planting palm crops on cleared land in an area in the Amazon the size of Barcelona and will turn the fruit into fuel, Zimmer said. Last year, the company bought a controlling stake in Biopalma, which built an oil extraction plant in the city of Moju and planted 50,000 hectares of palm, the company said in a statement. A biodiesel refinery will come online in 2015.

Biodiesel made from palm oil is more expensive than diesel in countries that blend the two fuels and the same may apply to Brazil, Roberto Rodriguez Labastida, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s London office, said by telephone.

Biodiesel produced in Brazil’s north sold for 2.28 reais. or $1.12 USD, a liter before transport costs in a May auction for supply contracts, the nation’s oil regulator said. Brazilian diesel sold for an average 2.05 reais a liter at the pump in June.

Price Comparison

“A comparison of the prices of diesel and palm oil biodiesel can’t be done without considering other factors” like social and environmental benefits, Joao Coral, global energy director for Vale, said in an e-mail.

Diesel sells for 1.40 euros ($1.72 USD) in Germany and 143.90 Japanese yen ($1.81 USD) a liter in Japan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 77 percent of biodiesel sold in auctions is made from soybean oil, according to fuel regulator Agencia Nacional do Petroleo, Gas Natural e Biocombustiveis.

Vale is interested in wind energy because it’s low-cost, Marcos Severine, an analyst at Sao Paulo-based Itau Unibanco Holding SA, said in a telephone interview. Wind farms were the cheapest form of energy in an August government-organized auction for contracts to supply energy that included natural gas-fired thermoelectric plants and a large hydroelectric dam project.

“There’s a definite economic advantage to using wind energy,” especially because those projects get 50 percent exemptions on fees to use transmission and distribution lines, Severine said.
Vale has a target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020, or 5 percent of the total projected that year, the company said June 28 in a statement.

“We’re going to have rising energy demand,” Zimmer said. “We need further projects to fulfill this need.”

Source: Bloomberg

Thursday, July 5, 2012

1350 MW wind farm spanning 111,200 acres in Argentina to be financed with $3 billion loan from China Development Bank

An Argentinean renewable-energy developer is planning Latin America's biggest wind-power project, saying it expects to obtain $3 billion in financing from China Development Bank Corp. Generadora Eolica Argentina del Sur said it will receive the funds to install 1350 megawatts of Chinese turbines across 45,000 hectares (111,200 acres) in the Chubut province in the nation's south, Eduardo Restuccia, executive vice president of the Buenos Aires-based company known as Geassa, said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Latin American developers are buying Chinese wind turbines that are packaged with financing that's less expensive and easier to arrange than loans from local banks, which aren't familiar with the economics of wind farms. Such deal are especially attractive in Argentina, which has been blocked from international bond markets since it defaulted on $95 billion of debt during a financial crisis in 2001 and 2002.

"Argentina can't get finance from Europe or the U.S.," Restuccia said. "That gives the Chinese a unique exclusivity tool" for financing energy projects in the region.

The 12-year loan will have an annual interest rate of 6.25 percent above Libor, the London Interbank Offer Rate, and a two- year grace period, he said. Other than some government credit programs for housing, long-term debt loans are rarely offered in Argentina and commercial rates for short-term debt exceed 20 percent.

"We not only hope, but have good grounds to believe that the financial closing will be around December this year," Restuccia said in an email Wednesday.

China's Beijing Construction Engineering Group, which will build the project, and the Chinese turbine supplier, which hasn't been identified, will jointly own 25 percent.

"There are very few financing lines for large infrastructure projects" in the region, Eduardo Tabbush, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London, said in a telephone interview. Lenders including the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank and International Finance Corp. are still reluctant to lend to Argentina following the default.

The $3.5 billion wind project will furnish 4 percent of the nation's power once fully operational in 2017, Restuccia said. The first 150 megawatts is expected to start producing power in February 2015, he said. It will be larger than a 306-megawatt cluster of wind farms in Mexico that's currently Latin America's biggest wind-energy cluster, according to New Energy Finance.

Geassa expects to receive an initial $1 billion tranche in January 2013 to build the first 300 megawatts and a 295- kilometer (183-mile) transmission line linking it to the grid, he said. Corporacion Andina de Fomento, the Caracas-based development lender, is helping to structure the debt, which will be guaranteed by China's state-owned export credit insurance owner Sinosure.

Geassa expects to sign this month a 15-year contract to sell power from the project to the wholesale energy administrator Cia. Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Electrico, he said. The company was created in 2008 to develop the project and then shelved it after the global banking crisis.

Located 400 kilometers from the nearest port, it will be a "tremendous project," Restuccia said. "There's no infrastructure nearby. A city will have to be built at the site" to cater for the workers.

Source: Bloomberg

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Areva 250 MW solar venture in Australia seeks Power Purchase Agreement after losing government funds for $1 billion CAD project

A venture led by Areva SA planning a A$1 billion (c.a $1 billion CAD) solar-thermal project in Australia is in talks to supply power to potential customers after failing to meet a June 30, 2012 deadline to complete an agreement.

The venture is committed to moving ahead with the 250 megawatt Solar Dawn plant even after the Queensland state government pulled A$75 million in funding, project director Anthony Wiseman said in a phone interview today from Melbourne. Queensland’s withdrawal puts the project in jeopardy, Australian Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said earlier today.

“Solar Dawn is Australia’s best prospect for a large-scale solar-thermal plant, and we’re going to continue to work hard to be able to make it happen,” Wiseman said.

Paris-based Areva and its partner, Wind Prospect Group Ltd., won A$464 million from Australia in 2011 to develop the solar plant and received an extension until the end of June to complete financing. The federal government referred the project to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, established last year to spur investment in the industry, Ferguson said today.

Areva wants to develop the venture as Australia moves toward a target of generating 20 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by the end of the decade.

The market for Power Purchase Agreements in Australia is “quite competitive,” Wiseman said. “Offtakers are understandably being duly diligent prior to entering into what are very long- term commitments. However, Solar Dawn is offering promising benefits previously not available in Australia.”

The venture intends to sign a power agreement “as soon as possible,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be weeks. I think it will be more than that. It depends on how those parties move their way through a complex process of analysis but we have made substantial progress.”

Starting the project near Chinchilla, about 290 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Brisbane, by the end of 2015 is still achievable, Wiseman said. The venture plans to approach the Queensland government to find ways to develop the plant, he said.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will determine what happens to Solar Dawn, according to Ferguson. “The fate of the project now hangs in the balance,” he added.

Source: Bloomberg

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) to finance 22.5 MW hydropower plant in Greenland

The NIB and the Greenland Self-Rule Government have signed a 15 year maturity loan agreement totalling 350 million DKK (47 million EUR) for the construction of a new hydropower plant in Greenland. The plant, with an installed capacity of 22.5 MW, is under construction outside the town of Ilulissat on the west coast of Greenland.

The new power plant will harness the water discharge from two natural glacial lakes. The project includes building a 5.5 kilometre tunnel to direct water to three 7.5 MW turbines in an underground power station. The project supporting infrastructure includes a 60 kV overhead transmission line, running from the power plant to the town of Ilulissat, as well as roads and a small harbour. The first turbine is planned to be commissioned in November 2012 and full operation is planned from September 2013.

NIB is a multilateral financial institution owned by eight member countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. The Bank finances private and public projects in and outside the member countries. NIB has the highest possible credit rating, AAA/Aaa, with the leading rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's.

Source: NIB NORDIC INVESTMENT BANK via Thomson Reuters ONE

Friday, June 29, 2012

Biodiesel in Saskatchewan: 2% mandate comes into effect on July 1, 2012 - 13 cent incentive program now available in the province - Biodiesel industry in Saskatchewan expects significant growth

Saskatchewan’s renewable diesel mandate will come into effect on July 1, 2012 and will establish an average of 2% renewable content in diesel fuel sold in the province. Renewable diesel or biodiesel is a diesel fuel substitute made from renewable materials, including vegetable oil, waste cooking oil, animal fat and fish oil or feedstock from agricultural or forest biomass. The use of renewable diesel in Saskatchewan has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 5,000 cars off the road annually. There will be an average-based system that will have a compliance period that extends until December 31, 2014. The mandate does not apply to diesel marketed in Northern Saskatchewan or to aviation fuel.

"The new mandate was developed in consultation with the industry," Saskatchewan Economy Minister Bill Boyd said. "To support the mandate, our government introduced the Renewable Diesel program in the 2011-2012 Budget which provides incentive for the production of renewable diesel in the province. The new Saskatchewan mandate will ensure participation and count toward compliance under the national mandate," Boyd said. "There is an emerging market for new fuels, it's good for our environment and at the same time benefits our economy."

Organizations currently active in the biodiesel industry in Saskatchewan include the following:
  1. Canadian Renewable Fuels Association
  2. Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission
  3. Milligan Biotech
  4. Mustard Products Technologies
  5. General Bio Energy Inc.
  6. Saskatchewan Research Council
  7. HINBEN AlgaeGlobal Saskatoon
  8. SFN Biosystems Inc.
  9. Yellow Gold Energy Ltd.
The Saskatchewan Renewable Diesel Program supports production of biodiesel in Saskatchewan and will provide an incentive of 13 cents CAD per litre to qualifying producers in Saskatchewan for use in all diesel fuel applications. The incentive program is effective April 1, 2011, and terminates March 31, 2016.

The program provides the 13 cent per litre incentive for renewable diesel produced at facilities located in Saskatchewan, sold, and delivered; delivery must occur during the period to which the incentive relates. Renewable diesel which has been toll processed at a facility in Saskatchewan is also eligible under the program. Volumes will be reported on a 100% renewable diesel (also called B100 or "neat" renewable diesel) basis and volume corrected to 15 degrees Celsius. The program is capped to support the annual production of 40 million litres of renewable diesel, about the amount used to meet the two per cent Saskatchewan mandate. The producer must deliver a minimum of 500,000 litres of eligible renewable diesel in a fiscal year (April 1 to March 31 of the next year).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canadian Solar, Inc. acquires 11 US solar PV projects from First American Solar

Canadian Solar, Inc. continues to expand quickly. Just one day after signing a 17 MW supply agreement with an independent power producer in the province of Ontario, the company announced it had acquired 122 MW of solar projects in the United States. In total, Canadian Solar has acquired 11 photovoltaic solar power plants that range in size from 2 MW to 29 MW.   Still in the developmental phase, construction at the project sites is expected to begin this year with the last power plant to be complete by 2014. This acquisition marks the first solar development projects in the United States for the Canadian company. Canadian Solar has already established itself as a major supplier of solar panels for the U.S. market.

This move was predicated by the company's belief that expanding its project development arm represents one of the best opportunities for sustainable growth.  Despite an insecure regulatory environment, the United States is still a good country to invest in renewable energy, especially solar PV.

Canadian Solar expects the growth of its project pipeline will increase the revenue generated from its project solutions division markedly.  In 2011, project solutions generated 10% of the company's revenue; this number is expected to jump to 25% in 2012.  The company already has an established project pipeline in Canada, where it has 340 MW of projects in the development phase.

Source: Canadian Solar, Inc. Press Release, N. Baker, editor EnergyBoom

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ernst & Young report that global Cleantech M&A activity is up by 41% in Q1 2012 - E&Y predict robust growth in Canada between now and 2015

An estimated $21.7 billion USD worth of global renewable energy transactions were completed in Q1 2012, representing a 41% increase over Q4 2011, according to Ernst & Young's latest quarterly global Renewable energy country attractiveness indices report.

"Growth is top of mind for leading cleantech companies who are meeting the challenge of transitioning to a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy with proactive energy strategies involving the C-suite level," says Stephen Lewis, leader of Ernst & Young's Renewable Energy Advisory practice in Canada.

Those corporate energy strategies include improving energy efficiency to mitigate energy cost hikes, increasing the use of renewable energy and growing energy self-generation.

"From startups to large corporations and national governments, we're seeing more and more organizations worldwide embrace cleantech as a means of growth, efficiency and competitive advantage," says Lewis. "But only those with a comprehensive and diverse energy strategy will be able to take advantage of today's resource-constrained world."

Lewis adds that as resource constraints continue to challenge the global economy, the cleantech industry has the unique opportunity to transform markets dramatically in the next five years. Forecasts already predict robust growth across the Canadian renewable energy industry between now and 2015.

That said, while opportunities abound, there are also many risks within each province that could hamper growth and impact the success of Canada's renewable energy sector, including:
  • British Columbia: Political risk surrounding rate sensitivity and future calls for projects;
  • Alberta: Access to transmission and challenges in securing long-term power purchase agreements;
  • Ontario: Access to transmission and the enactment of new feed-in tariff rules;
  • Quebec: Ability for the Quebec government to continue stimulating its wind market;
  • Nova Scotia: Access to transmission.
"Energy is an essential commodity of modern life, and more and more stakeholders around the globe are realizing the importance of finding sustainable solutions to our future energy needs," says Lewis.

"A nationally integrated energy system can provide immunity to market price volatility and safety from security threats, while allowing Canada to export its energy raw materials rather than consume them domestically."

The full report is available here: http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Renewable_energy_country_attractiveness_indices_-_Issue_33/$FILE/EY_RECAI_issue_33.pdf

Source: Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices, Ernst & Young Press Release

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ridgeline Energy signs two more GreenFill Facility Agreements for oilfield waste recycling facilities in Saskatchewan and Alberta

Ridgeline Energy has entered into two new commercial agreements; one with Big Country Waste Management Commission ("BCWMC") and its municipal landfill site near Youngstown, Alberta; another with Southwest Waste Management Authority ("SWMA") and its municipal landfill site near Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. Once operational, the BCWMC site will be Ridgeline's fourth facility in Alberta, and the SWMA site will be the company's second in Saskatchewan. Consistent with other GreenFill sites, these new facilities are conveniently located for oil and gas producers, thereby reducing the trucking of waste and lowering transportation costs.

Ridgeline develops GreenFill Treatment Facilities by constructing treatment and storage pads on regional landfill sites. Ridgeline then safely transforms contaminated soil into landfill cover by utilizing biological, mechanical and chemical means.

Ridgeline expects commercial operations to commence at both sites prior to the end of 2012, pending final approval by provincial regulatory authorities. The commercial agreements for both facilities provide for the eventual expansion into wet waste treatment and other industrial waste streams, two areas that Ridgeline has identified to have significant revenue potential.

Greg Sheppard, Operations Manager of BCWMC, stated, "We are excited to move forward with Ridgeline on the approval, construction and operation of this facility. The oilfield waste recycling and reuse strategies employed by Ridgeline will coincide nicely with our landfill cover operations while providing a solid revenue stream to our waste commission and the municipality."

James Leroy, Chairman of SWMA, stated, "The energy business is thriving in southeast Saskatchewan and we are eager to move forward on this project."

Tony Ker, CEO of Ridgeline, stated, "Rideline's process and technology benefit communities and our clients. The municipalities we serve realize a new source of revenue, and the treated soil meets an ongoing demand for landfill cover and capping or decommissioning material. At the same time, our clients benefit from lower transportation costs and reduced liability. An added benefit is that our approach is better for the environment since we treat the soil for reuse. Under conventional methods, contaminated soil may be stored indefinitely in industrial landfill sites."

Source: Ridgeline Energy Services Inc. Press Release

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Samsung, Pattern Energy and Six Nations agree on $500 million CAD, 250 MW renewable energy deal

Samsung and Pattern Energy Group have agreed on a deal with the Six Nations of the Grand River to build a 250 MW solar and wind project in Ontario. The investment with the Six Nations is expected to be approximately $500 million CAD. The deal brings to an end two years of negotiations between Samsung and Pattern Energy, and the Six Nations.

The Grand River Renewable Energy Park will be a 250 MW wind and solar project, part of the first phase of Samsung’s investment in Ontario. Having received approval from the Ontario Power Authority in August 2011 to proceed with this phase, Samsung and Pattern are now completing the technical studies and approvals necessary to begin construction, which is expected to begin in autumn this year. Samsung and its partners have pledged to bring $7 billion CAD in investment to Ontario to create 2.5 GW of new renewable energy sources, including four manufacturing facilities. Shortly after signing a green energy investment agreement with the government of Ontario in January 2010, Samsung and Pattern entered into negotiations with Six Nations to locate a portion of the first phase of Samsung’s wind and solar project on Six Nations territory.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Six Nations may choose to participate in the project by electing an equity holding or royalty for each of the wind and solar developments. The band could earn income of approximately $55 million CAD over the course of the 20 year agreement, Chief William Montour said in a release. The target COD for the project is spring 2014.

Sources: Toronto Star, Six Nations Press Release, Renewable Energy Focus

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just Energy enters Saskatchewan Residential Natural Gas Market

Ontario-based Just Energy has recently entered the residential natural gas market in Saskatchewan and is offering lower natural gas rates than SaskEnergy as well as carbon offsets to consumers in Saskatchewan. Just Energy, a publicly traded company based in Toronto issued a press release recently to announce the launch of its EcoChoice product offering in Saskatchewan. Just Energy owns one of the largest wheat-based ethanol facilities in North America in Belle Plaine near Regina. For EcoChoice customers in Saskatchewan, Just Energy will automatically offset 20 per cent of their natural gas consumption through carbon credits generated locally in Saskatchewan from their Belle Plaine ethanol facility.

Dean Reeve, executive vice-president of SaskEnergy, said Just Energy is familiar to SaskEnergy as the owner of Terra Grain Fuels, a grain ethanol plant west of the city near Belle Plaine, which is a large industrial user of natural gas. Saskatchewan industrial and commercial natural gas consumers have the option of dealing with private companies but this is the first time SaskEnergy has seen this competitor on the residential side of the business.

Source: Leader Post, Just Energy Press Release

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

ACCIONA to grow business in Canada

ACCIONA, a leading global provider of renewable energy, infrastructure and water services, is reinforcing its activities in Canada by creating the new role of President for its Canadian businesses.

Robert M. Park, President of ACCIONA’s Infrastructure division in Canada since 2007 and Area Director for North America, has been appointed President, ACCIONA Canada, a new, non-executive role in which he will represent, support and promote the company’s core businesses in the country. His appointment takes effect immediately.

Purificaci√≥n Torreblanca, one of ACCIONA’s top engineers in Spain, will move to Canada to lead the company’s infrastructure team. Last year, the College of Civil Engineers in Andalusia, Spain’s largest region, voted Ms Torreblanca “engineer of the year”. Ms Torreblanca joined ACCIONA in 1994 and has been the Director of ACCIONA Infrastructure in Andalusia since 2006. She holds an engineering degree, an MBA and a PDD from the Instituto de Empresa, one of Spain’s top business schools.

Bob Park joined ACCIONA in 1993 in Hong Kong, where he was General Manager, Project Director and Area Director, International Construction. He moved to Canada in 2007 to establish the head office for ACCIONA Infrastructure in Canada. In his new role, Mr Park will be responsible for deepening ACCIONA’s institutional links with government entities, financial institutions and business partners in Canada. He brings more than 30 years’ experience in the development and management of infrastructure projects in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America.

Canada is a strategic market for ACCIONA, accounting for 8 percent of its global construction business and 44 per cent of its concessions portfolio. ACCIONA recently completed the Royal Jubilee Hospital and Patient Care Centre in Victoria, British Columbia and has been contracted by Quebec’s Ministry of transport to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the new Autoroute 30 (A30) toll road along Montreal’s South Shore. ACCIONA is also building the Southeast Toney Trail Highway in Calgary, Alberta – a 25 km, 8-lane highway – and the Windsor Essex Parkway, an 11 km freeway and 7 km highway in Ontario. Meanwhile, the Company is using LEED Gold Standards to construct the Fort St. John Hospital in British Columbia, which it will also operate. In renewable energy, ACCIONA operates four wind farms in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick totalling 181 MW.

Source: Acciona Press Release

Friday, June 8, 2012

China produces more than 19,000 MW of electricity from 43,000 small run-of-river hydro facilities

Source: Natural Resources Canada

GHG Emissions and agricultural focus of new Canadian funding

Canadian farmers will realize new ways to reduce greenhouse gas thanks to a $3.4 million CAD investment in research announced earlier this week by the federal government at the University of Saskatchewan.

The investment will be used for three separate studies. First, $1.5 million CAD will be used to study how agroforestry can mitigate greenhouse gas. Second, nearly $980,000 CAD will be used to develop new beneficial management practices for nitrogen-use efficiency in the forage beef sector that minimize nitrous oxide emissions and maximize carbon sequestration. And finally, almost $920,000.00 will be used to study greenhouse gas irrigated systems typical of the Prairies.

"As our world's population grows, farmers face an increasing challenge to feed everyone adequately, safely and sustainably," says Karen Chad, vice-president of research at the University of Saskatchewan. "Knowledge created by this research in one of our signature areas will help farmers as they strive to produce more food while safeguarding the environment."

The announcement coincided with meetings of the 30-country Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases taking place in Saskatoon, home of the University of Saskatchewan.

Canada is beginning its duties for one year as chair of the Global Research Alliance, an international network that brings together developed and developing countries to collectively find ways to grow more food and develop more climate-resilient agriculture production systems, without increasing greenhouse gas.

New mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices will be made available to farmers worldwide through the Global Research Alliance.

Jamshed Merchant, assistant deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada representing Canada as chair of the alliance, says collaboration is helping understand how to reduce losses of carbon and nitrogen -- as greenhouse gases -- in crop or livestock production systems.

"This translates into producing more with the same amount of input," Merchant says. "For example, Canadian researchers are discovering how to improve nitrogen- and water-use efficiency in irrigated production systems, which means more crop production for the same amount of nitrogen and water and more profit for producers."

Source: FCC Express Newsletter

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alterra Power Acquires Wind Development Assets in British Columbia

Vancouver-based Alterra Power Corp. recently entered into an agreement to acquire a portfolio of wind development assets at four sites in coastal British Columbia from a group of sellers led by English Bay Energy Limited. Highlights of the portfolio include:
  • Four early-stage wind farm sites located on Banks Island, Porcher Island and McCauley Island, all within 150 kilometres of several proposed power-intensive LNG plant sites at Kitimat, and at Knob Hill on northern Vancouver Island, close to a proposed 99 megawatt wind farm near Cape Scott;
  • An estimated generation capacity of over 1,000 megawatts for the four sites;
  • Two to six years of wind data collected from meteorological towers;
  • In consideration for the assets, the sellers will receive royalty payments during the operations phase of the projects, and under certain circumstances the sellers may receive additional compensation of up to 1.34 million Alterra shares.
John Carson, Alterra's Chief Executive Officer, said, "This transaction further positions us to play a major role in B.C.'s clean energy future. We look forward to advancing and ultimately building these wind projects as a part of the continued growth of Alterra and British Columbia."

Source: Alterra Press Release

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Vestas and Methanex sign agreement to collaborate on wind development globally

Vestas, the world’s leading supplier of wind technology, and Methanex, the global leader in methanol production, signed a joint agreement to collaborate on global and regional wind development during an official ceremony yesterday in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Two years ago, Methanex used Vestas technology to develop the Cabo Negro Wind Power Plant in Magallanes, Chile, in order to increase their energy security and ensure more sustainable operations through the use of clean energy. Methanex’s decision to invest in wind was motivated by the excellent wind resources in the region - which provide an independent, reliable and competitive source of energy - together with their corporate commitment to sustainability.

The agreement between Vestas and Methanex defines the framework for further cooperation between both companies to establish a baseline for the development of future wind projects in/or around Methanex´s global production facilities; to support and advise Methanex in the development of new wind projects around the world; and to help build a robust renewable energy regulation in the Magallanes Region – contributing to the diversification of its energy mix.

This agreement was signed by Roger Neumann, Manufacture Vice President Methanex Latin America; Morten Albaek, Vestas’ Senior Vice President, Global MarCom & Customer Insight, and Marcelo Tokman, Vice President of Vestas South America (excl. Brazil).

Methanex facilities in Chile are located in the Region of Magallanes, where the company plays a key role in the community. Paul Schiodz, General Manager, Methanex Chile, says: “The success of our wind energy farm in Magallanes demonstrates the role that wind energy can play in the regional energy matrix. The agreement with Vestas should contribute to establish a robust regulatory framework to incentivize wind energy in the region”.

“Producing methanol is an energy intensive process. With the Cabo Negro wind project, Methanex has shown both their creativity in finding a business model that reduces its consumption of natural gas and their commitment to act in an environmentally responsible manner. We are very proud that Methanex has decided to take this partnership with us to the next level. It is Vestas’ wish to become Methanex´s global partner on wind energy solutions,” says Morten Alb√¶k, Vestas Global Senior Vice President, Global MarCom & Customer insight.

“Methanex has demonstrated the potential that wind energy has for Magallanes, a region increasingly dependent on scarce natural gas supply. This agreement, amongst others, is an excellent opportunity to put our strengths to work together for a better energy regulation in Magallanes,” says Marcelo Tokman, Vice President, Vestas South America (excl. Brazil).

Methanex is the world's largest supplier of methanol to major international markets in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. As a global enterprise, Methanex has manufacturing, marketing and supply chain capabilities in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East and throughout the Asia Pacific region. Methanex’s facilities in Chile are located in the Region of Magallanes.

In 2008, Methanex started to explore the feasibility of developing a wind power plant to secure energy supply at their methanol facility in Magallanes in Chile at competitive and stable costs. Two years later, in 2010, Methanex inaugurated its first wind farm called Cabo Negro which includes three Vestas V52-850 kW turbines with a combined capacity of 2.55 MW connected to the internal generation system at the Methanex plant, increasing its capacity from 36 MW to 38.5 MW. The capacity factor of the wind farm in 2011 was 53 per cent, which represents an estimated annual production of 10,722 MW. This wind power plant produces clean energy and contributes to making Methanex’s operations cleaner and more sustainable, saving approximately 12,204 metric tons of CO2 per year. After the success of their first wind farm in Chile, Methanex is sharing these learnings internally to explore if there are further opportunities within the company to develop new wind power plants in order to power other production units around the world, as part of their overall energy sourcing and environmental strategy.  

Source: Vestas Press Release

Monday, June 4, 2012

Trading of solar renewable energy certificates commences in India

The two power trading exchanges Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) and Power Exchange India (PXIL) commenced trading of solar renewable energy certificates (RECs) today, thus opening a new source of revenue generation for solar power producers apart from third party sale of power through open access.

The trading of RECs makes it easy for several obligated entities that may be required to purchase a certain quantum in either green power or RECs.

M and B Switchgears, which has become the first solar power producer in India to be issued 249 solar RECs by the National Load Dispatch Centre in New Delhi, expects to generate an additional revenue from RECs. These certificates are tradable on the power exchanges and are purchased by "obligated entities" which are either specified consumers or electricity distribution companies (under RPO - renewable purchase obligation).

The Electricity Act 2003 in India mandates the state commissioning to specify a percentage of the total consumption of electricity in the area of distribution licensee, for purchase of electricity from renewable sources - renewable purchase obligation (RPO).

According to Vikalp Mundra, director, M and B Switchgears: "The company is expected to generate close to 3,200 RECs in 2012-13. The project will be generating approximately 32 lakh units of electricity per annum and saving carbon emission equivalent to 3,360 tonnes annually. For M and B Switchgears, the trading of RECs is expected to cause additional revenue of approximately Rs 4 crore."

The company is currently planning to set up a 20 MW solar power project under the REC scheme.

The REC mechanism has been promoted by the Ministry of new and renewable energy in order to encourage non-conventional energy sources.

Source: Times of India

Friday, June 1, 2012

Goldman Sachs to invest $40 billion USD in renewable energy through their Clean Energy Investment Plan

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to channel investments totaling $40 billion USD over the next decade into renewable energy projects, an area the investment bank called one of the biggest profit opportunities since its economists got excited about emerging markets in 2001.

Goldman executives said this week that demand for alternative energy sources will grow with global energy demand, and as big manufacturing countries, including China and Brazil, set more aggressive targets for reducing emissions. The bank plans to finance deals with clients' money and, to a lesser extent, its own funds.

Goldman, which plans to announce the new target at its annual meeting on Thursday, already invests in clean technology. In 2011, it helped finance $4.8 billion in clean technology companies globally, and co-invested more than $500 million in that area.

In 2005, Goldman pledged to invest and finance $1 billion of environmentally friendly projects. By the end of 2011, the company had exceeded its goal, arranging $24 billion worth of financing and investing $4 billion into such projects, said Kyung-Ah Park, head of environmental markets at Goldman.

Source: Reuters

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Klahoose First Nation and Alterra Power Sign Agreement for Upper Toba Run-of-River Hydro Project

Alterra Power Corp. and the Klahoose First Nation are pleased to announce that they have signed a Resource Development Agreement ("RDA"), establishing the framework under which Alterra and the Klahoose will work together to advance the Upper Toba run-of-river hydroelectric project, which lies within the traditional territory of the Klahoose First Nation.

The comprehensive RDA sets out the terms under which the construction of the facilities can proceed and the project can be brought into commercial operation.

Klahoose Chief James Delorme said, "This agreement between the Klahoose First Nation and Alterra Power builds upon our Toba Montrose agreement and represents another significant milestone for our Nation. The Klahoose First Nation supports quality green energy development in our traditional territories, achieved with a partner that is respectful of our land, our culture and our people. We value the work our past leaders have done for us to get us to this place. It has helped us to make a difference building this new profound agreement."

Donald McInnes, Alterra's Executive Vice Chairman, said, "We value our relationship with the Klahoose First Nation and are very grateful for their support of run-of-river hydro projects in their traditional territory. We look forward to working together again in the Toba Valley to develop and operate these environmentally-responsible projects that will benefit the Klahoose First Nation and all British Columbians."

The Upper Toba run-of-river hydro power project is an expansion of Alterra's operations in the Toba Valley, where the 235 MW Toba Montrose run-of-river hydro facility is located. The project will comprise two new run-of-river hydro power plants, at Jimmie Creek and the Upper Toba River, with a combined capacity of up to 124 MW, subject to final design. The new facilities will utilize much of the infrastructure already in place for Toba Montrose. The project has a 40-year power purchase agreement in place with BC Hydro, has received its Environmental Assessment Certificate and has signed an interconnection agreement with BC Hydro.

Upper Toba is located on the traditional lands of the Klahoose First Nation and the project will use the existing Toba Montrose power line, which travels through the traditional territory of Alterra's partners, the Sliammon and Sechelt First Nations.

Source: Alterra Press Release, May 23, 2012