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