Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SaskPower and Manitoba Hydro sign $100 million hydro deal

SaskPower and Manitoba Hydro have signed a deal that will see Manitoba Hydro sell $100 million worth of electricity to Saskatchewan over the next eight years. The deal is just the start of a larger, longer-standing deal between Manitoba Hydro and SaskPower planned in the next several years.

Officials said the eight-year sale will be followed by a 500 megawatt purchase to be completed after 2020. The deal is the single-largest power sale agreement between Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The two energy giants have signed a memorandum of understanding which is in line with Manitoba Hydro’s expansion goals, according to Manitoba Hydro CEO Scott Thomson. The two provinces already have an existing power deal, but this new sale is in addition to the one already in place. Thomson said in a release Manitoba Hydro also plans to go ahead with a proposed number of dam and transmission line projects.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

European Biojet Fuel Mission to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Many thanks to all who attended the reception for the European Biojet Fuel Mission to Saskatoon, particularly those from Finland at Neste Oil and the Canadian Embassy in Helsinki as well as eco consulting inc. Many thanks also to Ag-West Bio, Miller Thomson LLP, Saskatchewan Trade Export Partnership (STEP) and the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Honorary Consul for the Federal Republic of Germany for sponsoring and organizing the event.

Delegates came to Saskatoon from five European countries that have a shared interest in the advancement of biojet fuel. As Honorary Consul for Finland I was pleased to have had the opportunity to say a few words at the reception.

It was exciting to meet European representatives of Lufthansa, KLM, Neste Oil, SkyNRG and Airbus in Saskatoon and hear about the opportunities for European companies in Saskatchewan.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wind turbines to spin in the City of Helsinki?

Lumituuli Oy, one of the first Finnish customer-owned wind power producers, has its eyes on the windy city of Helsinki.

Among EU countries, Finland has one of the lowest amounts of wind power production. According to industry statistics, wind power production in 2012 was about 492GWh which represents 0.6 per cent of Finnish electricity consumption.

But wind power is one of the fastest growing areas of power production globally. In Finland, it's also gaining a foot hold.

One of players on the domestic scene is Lumituuli Oy, which has its eyes on the Finnish capital. As Helsinki is a relatively windy city, it has near perfect conditions for wind power production according to the wind power company. One of Lumituuli's areas of interest is Isosaari, an island just off the Helsinki waterfront that was used by the Finnish Defence Forces for many years.

"Our goal is to build on one of the islands off Helsinki. We're interested in many locations including Isosaari, but we've also got our eye on other places such as Vuosaari," says Lumituuli's managing director Sampsa Hario.

Currently, Lumituuli (the company's name lumituuli means "snow wind" in Finnish) is building a wind turbine in Northern Finland. The 800-kilowatt power plant will be completed by the end of 2013. When it's operational, it will generate enough electricity to fulfill the consumption needs of about 1,000 one-bedroom flats.

According to an Yle News survey carried out earlier in the spring, a number of Helsinki city councillors are in favour of wind power construction. However, public opinion on wind power is divided. In addition to the visual impact of turbines, there may be other environmental concerns such as noise pollution.

In 2011, the City of Saskatoon abandoned plans to build a wind turbine within the city limits on a large pile of rubbish at the landfill due to cost and some commentators have stated, local opposition. A community wind project is now aiming to build a project outside the city limits. I'm guessing Helsinki, with support from progressive-minded city councillors, will have their turbine spinning in no time.

Source: YLE

Friday, September 6, 2013

Six reasons renewable energy is important to First Nations

  1. Ownership of generation, ensures cheap electricity essential for commercial and industrial development;
  2. Renewable energy development produces jobs for First Nations;
  3. Revenue-sharing agreements produce long-term revenue sources for First Nations;
  4. Remote locations relying on transporting expensive diesel for electricity will benefit from a reliable source of power;
  5. Renewable energy generation is cheaper than alternatives in remote locations;
  6. The environmental benefits of renewable energy projects may align with traditional values of First Nations better than other projects.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wind turbines do not have a negative effect on property value of nearby homes in US

A study recently released in August 2013 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collected data from more than 50,000 home sales among 27 counties in nine states in the US. The homes were within 10 miles of 67 different wind facilities, and 1,198 sales were within 1 mile of a turbine - many more than previous studies have collected. The data span the periods well before announcement of the wind facilities to well after their construction.

The study was conclusive and found no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods.

It is expected the Lawrence Berkeley study will prove to be useful evidence in ongoing litigation between homeowners and wind farm developers in Canada and the US.

The full report is available at: http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6362e.pdf

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Uranium in Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin - Update on Summer & Q2 2013 Activity

The Athabasca Basin in Northern Saskatchewan has well established mining infrastructure, a stable investment environment and the presence of the majors, including Cameco Corp., Rio Tinto Plc and AREVA SA. Activity in the Athabasca Basin continued at a feverish pace through summer 2013. Highlights include:
  • Cameco Corp. - Cigar Lake
Cameco continues to target Q4 2013 to produce the first packges pounds, with a 2018 target of 36 million pounds.
  • Fission Uranium Corp. and Azincourt Uranium Inc. - Patterson Lake North Project 
Canadian junior Fission Uranium Corp. and its joint venture partner, Azincourt Uranium Inc. completed an airborne geophysical survery of their Patterson Lake North property. Ross McElroy, President, COO, and Chief Geologist for Fission, noted, "Earlier exploration work, and the property location, leads us to consider Patterson Lake North to be highly prospective. The latest survey is an important components before drilling begins this winter and we are looking forward to making use of the airborne geophysical results as we continue to prioritize our list of key drill targets."
  • Fission Uranium Corp. and Alpha Minerals Inc. - Patterson Lake South Project
A $6.95 million CAD program will encompass 36,089 feet of drilling that will be used to test for continued expansive delineation of the site’s three high-grade uranium zones. The project consists of 17 mineral claims spanning approximately 76.6 acres.
  • NexGen Energy Ltd. - Radio and Rook I Projects
Canadian junior NexGen Energy Ltd.’s Rook 1 project (immediately adjacent to Fission/Alpha’s Patterson Lake South project) continues to identify targets. Weather permitting, drilling will continue to late September. NexGen Energy Ltd. has, after three increases, now reached nearly $5 million CAD by way of private placements. The company doubled the offer to $3.53 million CAD on August 1, increased it to $4.12 million CAD on August 14 and, the following day, raised that to $5 million CAD. The Radio project continues development and is located on the same east-west corridor that is interpreted as hosting the Roughrider project. Summer drilling was completed at Radio at the end of July.
  • Lakeland Resources Inc. - Riou Lake Project
Lakeland Resources offered private placements up to $1.25 million CAD on August 16. Proceeds will go to Athabasca Basin exploration and general working capital. With nine uranium properties, Lakeland’s initial focus will be the Gibbon’s Creek area of its Riou Lake project on the northern Athabasca Basin’s edge, says corporate communications manager Roger Leschuk. Lakeland Resources is backed by a seasoned technical team and advisory board, including Richard Kusmirski, past exploration manager for Cameco, and Thomas Drolet, a uranium and nuclear energy specialist with over 40 years in the energy sector.
  • Ashburton Ventures Inc. - Sienna Project
Asburton completed the first phase of exploration on their Sienna claims. Exploration has commenced on the Sienna West claims, Ashburton Ventures announced August 13.
  • Denision Mines - Wheeler River Project
Denison commenced a summer exploration campaign involving diamond drilling, geophysical surveying and linecutting on eight properties in the Athabasca Basin. To date, the highlight of the program has been the intersection, at Phoenix A, of 43.2% eU3O8. Denison reported expanded mineralization at the recently discovered 489 Zone on the Wheeler River property. Drilling at the 489 Zone continues to show positive indications for the potential discovery of higher grade mineralization. Denison Closed a $15 million CAD flow-through share offering, which will fund the Company’s Canadian exploration programs through to the end of 2014. Denison completed the acquisition of a portfolio of assets from Fission Energy Corp., which included its 60% interest in the Waterbury Lake uranium project, its interests in all other properties in the eastern part of the Athabasca Basin, Quebec and Nunavut, as well as its interests in two joint ventures in Namibia.
  • Brades Resource Corp. - Lorne Lake Project
Brades Resource marked its entry into Saskatchewan with the Lorne Lake acquisition announced July 16. The approximately 39,450-hectare property shows “extensive regional faulting and lineaments and covers one of only three identified cross-cutting major fault structures located in the western Athabasca Basin,” as well as “favourable magnetic geophysical data,” the company stated.
  • Aldrin Resource Corp. - Triple M Project
Aldrin closed a $957,880 CAD private placement in July. The money will go to exploration on the company’s Triple M project, option payments on the property and general working capital. Aldrin is currently conducting airborne magnetic and electromagnetic surveys on the property, with early results indicating two basement conductive trends. The company is planning a winter program for January 2014.
  • SkyHarbour Resources Ltd. - Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.
Skyharbour closed a private placement of 5.31 million flow-through units at $0.08 CAD for $425,000 CAD on August 14. As part of the four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate exploring the Patterson Lake South-area’s largest land package, Skyharbour is now fully financed for its portion of a $6 million CAD, two-year program, president/CEO Jordan Trimble stated. The syndicate, which includes Skyharbour, Athabasca Nuclear, Noka Resources and Lucky Strike Resources has “about 150 years of uranium exploration experience focused on the Athabasca Basin,”
  • Zadar Ventures Ltd. - PNE Project
Fieldwork has commenced at he PNE project. Zadar has also recently signed option agreements with both Canterra Minerals and Triex Minerals for five large and strategically located uranium projects.
  • Athabasca Uranium Inc. - Fisher River, McGregor Lake, Keefe Lake Projects  
Athabasca Uranium reported preliminary results of airborne geophysics over parts of three projects on the Athabasca Basin’s southeastern edge. At Fisher River the survey found a single conductive zone about 4,500 metres by 1,500 metres, starting about 200 metres in depth. The company considers it prospective for uranium as it’s located within a magnetic low at the edge of a magnetic feature. Another conductor starting about 200 metres’ depth was found at McGregor Lake. Fisher River and McGregor Lake will be considered for this year’s drill campaign. At the Company’s flagship Keefe Lake Project, preliminary interpretation has identified a series of subtle northwest-trending conductive anomalies, lying within a wide magnetic low, between the Keefe Lake Alteration Zone and Cameco’s Harrigan Deposit. A phase 3 drilling program is slated for later in 2013.
  • Forum Uranium Corp.  - Highrock South
Towards the Athabasca Basin’s southeast corner, Forum Uranium picked up the Highrock South property, adding another 1,381 hectares to its Key Lake area holdings. The company’s July 17 announcement states the property “is a continuation of the prospective Key Lake/Black Forest conductive trend” that hosted Cameco Corp’s former deposits and the geology “compares favourably” with Patterson Lake South. Highrock South lies about 15 kilometres south of the world’s largest high-grade uranium mill. Forum recently announced a $1.5 million CAD non-brokered private placement and an increasing financing to $2.25 million CAD.
  • Unity Energy Corp. - McKenzie Lake
Unity Energy is a tier-two listed issuer that focuses on uranium exploration in the Athabasca Basin and has 10 different uranium exploration sites in the area. One of its primary assets is the McKenzie Lake property, which spans 22.2 acres on the southeastern side of the basin. Exploration continues on the McKenzie Lake property.
Sources: various publically available press releases, reports and news items

Monday, August 12, 2013

Nordex completes turbine installation at the 21.6 MW Honkajoki wind farm in Finland

View from the top of recently commissioned Honkajoki wind farm in South-Western Finland

The nine-turbine facility, which was developed for Finnish wealth management company Taaleritehdas, is the first in the country to feature the company’s N117 2.4MW machines.

Honkajoki, which is now grid-connected, is also the first project under a framework contract signed with Taaleritehdas in June 2012 providing for the delivery of up to 111 turbines.

Nordex management board member Lars Bondo Krogsgaard said: “This marks a real success for our new activities in Finland and creates an excellent basis for future projects with Taaleritehdas.”

The early completion of Honkajoki allowed Taaleritehdas to generate energy earlier than anticipated and tap into the “early bird premium” for wind power generated before 2016.

Taaleritehdas director of wind energy businesses Taamir Fareed added: “The remarkable performance of the Nordex team in its first project in Finland provides a very good basis for our future co-operation, in which we will be installing more Nordex turbines in Finland.”

Source: Nordex Press Release, Image courtesy Nordex

Friday, August 9, 2013

Neste Oil reports strong Q2 performance in renewable fuel segment

Neste Oil has released its interim financial report for the first six months of 2013, reporting continuing good performance in its renewable fuels segment. The company’s operating profit for the first half of the year was €223 million ($295.65 million), up from €119 million during the same period of 2012. On a quarterly basis, Neste Oil reported an operating profit of €88 million for the second quarter of 2013, compared to €40 million for the same quarter of last year.

“We recorded a solid result during the second quarter. The group's comparable operating profit was EUR 88 million, largely thanks to good performance at Renewable Fuels. Our leverage ratio also improved as a result of strong cash flow from operations,” said Matti Lievonen, president and CEO of Neste Oil.

Lievonen added that renewable fuels continued to make very good progress during the first half of the year, recording an operating profit of €33 million. “The market fundamentals remained favorable and we continued to make good progress on our entry into the North American market. Also our efforts to extend feedstock range and flexibility were successful. Overall, we are positive about the Renewable Fuels business going forward,” he said.

According to information released by Neste Oil, renewable diesel demand to be stable during the second half of this year. In its financial release, the company also noted that its focus in the renewable fuels segment will continue to be on sales, feedstock and production optimization.

Neste Oil has also announced it is participating in a 1-year fleet demonstration program for a new diesel blend in Corburg, Germany. The new blend of fuel, known as Diesel R33, will contain 26 percent Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable diesel, 7 percent conventional biodiesel, and 67 percent fossil diesel.

While the European Union limits the blend of biodiesel to 7 percent, there is no such limit for renewable diesel. "Unlike conventional biodiesel, there are no technical limitations to blending Neste Oil's NExBTL renewable diesel, which opens up the potential for creating  diesel blends that have high bio content and result in lower GHG and tailpipe emissions," said Kaisa Hietala, Neste Oil vice president of Renewable Fuels.

According to Neste Oil, the demonstration project will include approximately 280 types of vehicles, including buses, cars and trucks. It will test the performance of the Diesel R33 blend in traffic and the contribution it makes to reducing tailpipe emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is a follow-up to a trial conducted in 2010 and 2011, and is financed by the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health, the European Union, and various other partners. In addition to Neste Oil, the project's partners include German universities, research institutions, automotive manufacturers, and other companies.

In late July, Neste Oil also announced it had added corn oil to the feedstocks used to produce NExBTL. According to information published by the company, Neste Oil trialed the use of corn oil earlier this year and has determined the feedstock meets the company’s strict sustainability criteria. Technical corn oil is now being used on a commercial basis, with feedstock supplies currently sourced from the U.S.

"Our strategic aim is to constantly extend the range of renewable feedstocks we use to produce renewable fuels, and in particular the volume of waste- and residue-based materials we use," said Matti Lehmus, Neste Oil executive vice president of oil products and renewables. "Technical corn oil is an excellent addition to our feedstock base, as it is officially approved for producing renewable fuel intended for the growing North American market."

Source: Biomass Magazine

Monday, July 22, 2013

American Vanadium to develop energy storage and renewable microgrids for First Nations and remote communities in Canada

American Vanadium recently became the Master Sales Agent in North America for Gildemeister’s CellCube energy storage system, the world’s leading vanadium redox flow battery.

“Currently there are hundreds of communities across the United States and Canada that are operating off grid and relying on very expensive diesel generation” said Ron MacDonald, Executive Chairman of American Vanadium. “These communities pay, both directly and indirectly, more for their power than anywhere else in North America, even with government subsidies and programs. We are honored to be able to attract the talent and expertise of Robert Nault who is respected by the Aboriginal communities and government alike, to develop the plan we will execute together using the CellCube energy storage systems.”

“Clean and sustainable energy is of vital importance to the prosperity of Aboriginal communities as well as North America’s economic and environmental future,” said Robert “Bob” Nault, who served as Canada’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development from 1999 to 2003. “I look forward to working with American Vanadium to offer renewable energy generation combined with their CellCube energy storage system as a viable means for meeting community needs, as well as contributing to Canada’s future electrical supply to serve First Nations.”

Source: American Vanadium Press Release

The full news release is below:         

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Saskatchewan Association of Independent Power Producers - membership request

The aim of the Saskatchewan Association of Independent Power Producers (SAIPP) is to provide a forum for independent power producers and other electricity generators and commercial customers in Saskatchewan to network and discuss the electrical industry and exchange information and best practices with organizations such as SaskPower, the government of Saskatchewan and the First Nations Power Authority of Saskatchewan.

A membership form is available below:


If you would like to discuss further, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cameco gets license for Saskatchewan Cigar Lake uranium mine

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission issued a uranium mining license today to Cameco to build and operate its Cigar Lake project in northern Saskatchewan. The license is valid from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2021. In its application, Cameco sought authorization to complete the final stages of commissioning at the facility, transition to operations, and commence shipping uranium ore slurry for further processing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CanWEA releases WindVision 2025: A Strategy for Alberta

In the report, CanWEA has identified two complementary policies that, if implemented together, have the potential to allow the industry to overcome barriers:

1. Clean Electricity Standard: to impose a maximum greenhouse gas emissions-intensity level, measured in tonnes CO2e/MWh, on electricity sold by retailers in the province.
2. Increase in carbon price: a second supplementary measure is an increase in the $15/tonne carbon price imposed on large emitters under Alberta’s existing Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER). Saskatchewan has similar regulations with a similar target carbon price.

When it comes to benefits, the impact of developing the province’s wind energy resource is substantial. From an environmental perspective, every 150 MW wind farm built in Alberta:

- Reduces Alberta’s GHG emissions by 300,000 tonnes a year;
- Reduces water consumption by 480 million litres a year, relative to natural gas generation.
Wind energy development pays significant economic dividends as well. Every 150 MW of new capacity represents:

- $316 million in investment;
- 140 full-time equivalent jobs in construction;
- 10 permanent jobs in operations and maintenance;
- $17 million in lease payments to landowners over 20 years;
- $31 million in property tax payments to municipalities over 20 years. 
Download a copy of WindVision 2025: A Strategy for Alberta here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quebec to purchase 800 MW of wind energy for $2 billion CAD by utility project development, competitive RFP and First Nations set-aside

The provincial government in Quebec have announced plans to buy another 800 MW of wind energy in four separate blocks that combine utility project development, competitive requests for proposals (RFP) and a First Nations set-aside. "The government believes in the future of wind energy in Quebec. This block will generate nearly $2 billion investment. It will also maintain hundreds of manufacturing jobs in the Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Bas-Saint-Laurent, and for several years,” Premier Pauline Marois says.

See http://www.canwea.ca/media/release/release_e.php?newsId=179 for more information.

Also link to a CanWEA news release reacting to the plan, and an announcement from Innergex and Mi'gmaq that their 150 MW project will be part of the purchases.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Germany vs. Saskatchewan

Germany has a total area half the size of the Province of Saskatchewan, has 80 times the population and has a realistic plan to generate up to 80 percent of all electricty in the country from renewable sources by 2050.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Milestone on Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement announced in a speech today at Cameco

In a speech today at Cameco Corporation headquarters in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, announced that the Appropriate Arrangement pursuant to the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement has now been signed by both sides and will take effect as soon as the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement is brought into force by the two countries.

"This is an important step towards full implementation of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between Canada and India which will create new opportunities for the Canadian nuclear industry," said Minister Oliver. "By opening the doors of trade, we will keep Canada at the forefront of the global economy for years to come."

When brought into force, the Agreement will allow Canadian nuclear companies to export controlled nuclear materials, equipment and technology to India, for peaceful uses, in accordance with Canada's nuclear non-proliferation policy and under the safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Canada's nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will oversee the implementation of the Agreement via the Appropriate Arrangement which was recently signed.

India is currently the fourth-largest energy consumer in the world and is expected to more than triple its electricity supply within the next 25 years. This agreement is one example of the Government of Canada's efforts to reach new markets for Canadian energy and to strengthen our trading partnership with the Asia-Pacific region.

The Government of Canada is actively addressing important issues for the nuclear sector, including: ensuring a strong regulator, updating our legislative framework, responsibly managing legacy wastes, restructuring Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and enabling the supply of medical isotopes.

In Canada, the nuclear power generation sector produces about $5 billion in annual revenues and supports 17,000 direct jobs while uranium mining accounts for over $1billion per year in exports and supports 5,000 direct jobs.

The media backgrounder is available at http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/home/1784

Source: Press Release: Natural Resources Canada

Thursday, March 28, 2013

First Nations Power Authority of Saskatchewan and SaskPower launch innovative new program for renewable energy projects

On February 28, 2013 the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) announced the signing of their new Master Agreement with the crown utility, SaskPower in Saskatchewan. The Master Agreement defines a process for establishing a number of independent power generation opportunities for First Nations in Saskatchewan with SaskPower.

FNPA is a not-for-profit entity with a mandate to facilitate the development of First Nations-led power generation projects with SaskPower created through a Memorandum of Understanding with SaskPower in 2011. Funding for the creation and development of FNPA was provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) in the amount of $1.39 million. The FNPA has recently launched its official call for members, inviting all First Nations and industry to participate.

Highlights of the Master Agreement include:

1. An initial 10 MW set aside from SaskPower for renewable energy projects;
2. additional future generation opportunities for FNPA members; and
3. a defined process for evaluating unsolicited First Nation power project proposals.

In addition to the Master Agreement, SaskPower and the FNPA are in discussion to explore additional projects and agreements that could result in further economic development opportunities for First Nations over the life of the agreement, such as the Meadow Lake Bioenergy Centre – a $150 million 36 MW biomass facility in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan which has secured a 25 year PPA from SaskPower.

FNPA and SaskPower have also signed a three-year Funding Agreement under which SaskPower will provide $100,000 per year to FNPA with the option to renew for another two years by mutual agreement.

The presentation will outline the development of this innovative organization and detail the opportunities for developers and suppliers under the terms of the Master Agreement.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SaskPower and Black Lake First Nation reach tentative agreement on 50 MW run-of-river hydro project in Northern Saskatchewan

SaskPower and Black Lake First Nation have reached an agreement in principle for the construction and operation of the planned Elizabeth Falls run-of-river hydroelectric project in Northern Saskatchewan. The proposed Elizabeth Falls hydroelectric project, if approved by regulators, would be the first power production facility primarily built on First Nations land in Saskatchewan.

SaskPower and Black Lake First Nation expect to finalize the agreement in 2013. Under the tentative agreement, SaskPower will provide 70% of the project financing, but exact terms of the agreement have yet to be finalized.

Black Lake First Nation Chief Rick Robillard said this agreement means a lot of things to the band. “We will be the proud owners of a profitable long-term business, and the profits from this business, we believe, will make a big difference to the lives in people in our community and surrounding region.”

“This project will provide contracting opportunities for the band and other communities of the Athabasca region, particularly during the construction phase,” he said.

Black Lake First Nation, the Elizabeth Falls Hydro Development Corp. and SaskPower are in discussions with other training facilities, “to come up with some training programs up in the North prior to the project, in terms of construction, the trades and the construction field, the heavy-equipment operations and all sorts of different types of trades that come with the whole project itself,” Robillard said.

The band owns the Elizabeth Falls Hydro Development partnership, said Ted de Jong, its corporate executive officer. The corporation is the business entity set up to develop the project on the band’s behalf.

“Many of the companies that would be involved in the construction are owned by the First Nations in the region,” de Jong said. He said the hope is that all those companies will take part in the construction phase.

Hydroelectric projects have a consistent cash flow, de Jong said, “which the community could be assured will be there for many generations to come.”

The Black Lake community became interested in developing this project 20 years ago, he said. “They’ve spent two decades bringing it to this point. In the past three years, they have undertaken a very detailed aquatic study and an environmental study related to potential impacts on the lake, on the river on the fish, on the wildlife, on everything.”

The site of the project would be near the Fond du Lac River, and the design for the facility does include a dam on the river as it is a true run-of-river project.

He said they are still discussing the size of the band’s ownership stake in the project with SaskPower. “We recognize, from the Black Lake perspective, that we don’t have the financial ability to be a, you know, 50-50 owner.”

Robillard said the project could be a new “stepping stone” towards First Nations partnerships with governments, and it will help meet the growing demand for hydroelectric power in the North, particularly due to increased uranium mining activity in the Athabasca basin.

SaskPower’s vice-president of business development, Grant Ring, said relations with the Black Lake First Nation are very good and they’ve been working closely on negotiations for the past year.

“We expect it [relations] to be good and continue through, basically from now on,” Ring said.

“What we’re excited about at SaskPower is that this is probably the best site in the province right now to develop a hydro project that doesn’t require a dam, it’s basically run of river, it’s very environmentally friendly and that’s important that the community endorsed the project.”

The Elizabeth Falls project has a planned capacity of 50 MW. Project costs are estimated to be between $300-$350 million CAD. The expected lifetime of the project is 90 to 100 years. The plant is expected to run at 90 percent capacity. Subject to regulatory approval, construction of the project could begin in the latter half of 2014 with completion and operation slated for 2017.

Sources: Newstalk 650 CKOM, HydroWorld.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Canada appeals WTO ruling on renewable energy feed-in-tariffs in Ontario: Canada argues GATT government procurement exclusion and "no actual market" in Ontario

Canada has appealed a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute panel finding that local content requirements for renewable energy generation in Ontario violate international trade rules. Despite the favourable outcome, the EU and Japan - who had tabled the WTO challenge - responded last week with cross-appeals of their own, aimed at other aspects of the panel report with which they disagree.

The province’s feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme aims to support renewable energy by guaranteeing electricity generators above-market rates on certain renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar. The global trade arbiter on December 19, 2012 announced that the local content requirement of the scheme - obliging participants to source up to 60 percent of their equipment from Ontario - was a trade barrier that discriminated against foreign companies.

Canada focuses on procurement argument

In its appeal, Canada insists that the Ontario scheme qualifies for an exemption from certain trade rules relating to government procurement under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Under the government procurement exclusion, a country can exempt itself from GATT requirements if the regulation or program involves a government making purchases for its own needs and not for commercial resale.

The panel had found that the program does involve government procurement, but that because the Government of Ontario buys and then sells the electricity in the consumer market, it was “with a view to commercial resale.” This means that the program is not exempt from the other trade rules at issue.

Canada argues that the resale of electricity through the FIT program is not commercial in nature, challenging the panel’s characterisation of the electricity market and its program. According to the panel, however, Ontario purchased electricity that was fed into the grid and sold on the market in competition with private sector retailers of electricity. This effectively means Canada is not purchasing electricity solely for government purposes, even if Ontario is not profiting directly from the resale of the electricity.

One argument that Canada is relying on is that Ontario’s electricity system should not be thought of as an open competitive market where supply and demand freely meet. Instead, a functioning and stable electricity market in Ontario relies on government subsidies and regulations. Thus, Ottawa argues, there is no commercial resale because there is no actual market in the Ontario electricity system.

Canada also insists that electricity purchased through the FIT programme is not resold because it is directly injected by way of renewable energy generators into the grid and pooled with other sources of electricity. It has asked the WTO’s Appellate Body to reconsider this argument, which was rejected in the initial panel report.

Japan, EU cross-appeal

The panel found that the FIT program also violated the Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) Agreement and that Ontario did not qualify for the government procurement exception.  However, the EU’s cross-appeal contends that the government procurement exception should never apply to the TRIMs Agreement, and that regardless of whether the programme qualifies as government procurement, Canada is responsible for bringing the program into alignment with the TRIMs Agreement by eliminating the local content requirement.

While the panel found that the local content requirement violated certain WTO rules, it separately found that the FIT programme was a subsidy under the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) Agreement, but that it did not violate the agreement because Japan and the EU failed to establish that the program conferred a benefit to electricity producers.

In order to determine whether a subsidy is illegal, the recipient of the subsidy must be measurably better off than without the subsidy. This measurement requires a benchmark to establish the position of the recipient without the subsidy.

The panel did not accept the heavily subsidised and regulated Ontario electricity market as an appropriate benchmark because it is not an open, competitive market. However, Japan and the EU both argue that without the subsidy, these FIT generators would not exist, and that this should count as a measureable benefit under the SCM Agreement.

The legal status of Ontario’s FIT program will remain unclear until the Appellate Body issues its ruling. The Appellate Body will be able to revise aspects of law - such as legal interpretation - but may not revisit the facts of the case.

Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest - Volume 17 - Number 6 - February 20, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finnish Fennovoima selects Toshiba as sole proponent to build 1600 MW nuclear reactor - tough loss for Areva

Finnish nuclear consortium Fennovoima said on Monday it had selected Toshiba as sole candidate to build a large nuclear reactor, dropping Areva.

Hours later, the Czech competition regulator ruled that utility CEZ had not broken public procurement law by excluding Areva from a contract last year.

That decision leaves Toshiba’s U.S. unit Westinghouse vying with a consortium led by Russia’s Atomstroyexport, and Areva with another key European contract slipping through its fingers.

Earlier this month Teollisuuden Voima – another Finnish utility, for which Areva is building its first European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) – announced further construction delays. The many delays and cost overruns have led to open conflict between Areva and Teollisuuden Voima.

Even where Areva is not the main contractor, the EPR has had bad press.

From a cash flow perspective, these disappointments are not life-threatening for Areva, a diversified group which owns uranium mines (here in Saskatchewan), enriches uranium, builds and maintains nuclear reactors and manages nuclear waste.

Reactor sales and services generated sales of 3.45 billion in 2012, just over a third of its 9.34 billion euro total revenue, and most of the division’s sales come from maintenance to its installed base of more than 100 reactors, nearly a quarter of the world’s total.

Between 2009 and 2011 nuclear newbuild revenue ranged between 741 and 876 million euros per year.

But if Areva wants to maintain its lucrative reactor maintenance business, it needs to sell reactors, and it has not sold a new one since 2007, when it sold two EPRs to China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation in Taishan. Areva also hopes for a share of a mega contract in Saudi Arabia, which is considering building the equivalent of 10 EPR reactors. The French government is lobbying intensively on Areva’s behalf.

But the parliamentary faction of France’s green party – part of President Francois Hollande’s socialist-green coalition government – said on Monday it will demand the creation of a parliament committee to investigate the troubles with the EPR.

“The failure of the EPR on export markets is patently obvious: the United States, Great Britain, the Emirates, and now Finland,” said green party MP Denis Baupin.

Source: Reuters

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wind power expert proposes turbines for City of Saskatoon

James Glennie, MBA CFA, a renowned wind power expert says the Saskatoon area is the right place to built a $43 million CAD wind farm he says could be funded by individuals without costing city taxpayers.

"I've known for a number of years that there is enormous wind resource stretching from Texas all the way up to Saskatchewan," said James Glennie, the founder of Saskatoon Community Wind.

"When I arrived here a lot of people were talking about energy and people ask me why can't we get more power from renewables?"

Glennie's idea is to set up a 10 turbine wind farm roughly 15 to 30 kilometers outside the city and sell the electricity the farm generates back to the city of Saskatoon. The multimillion-dollar project would be entirely funded by interested individuals in Saskatoon who not only want to see more renewable resources, but also want to see a good return on their investment, he says.

"The wind industry is a relatively mature business and it's very low risk and it's a good reliable resource. I know that $43 million sounds like a lot, but when you put it in the context of $2,000 each from between 20,000 people, it's not that much," Glennie said.

Glennie moved to Saskatoon last summer. Before moving to Canada, he headed up large-scale wind power non-profits and lobby groups in New Zealand, the United States and United Kingdom.

He also previously worked for the Wind Energy Institute of Canada and says Saskatoon's wind power resources are undeveloped.

Glennie estimates the project could create clean electricity for 16,000 people and the greenhouse gas reductions would be the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road.

Saskatoon has had a troubled history with wind turbines. The wind turbine proposed atop the Saskatoon landfill died after the city's administration said it will cost too much. The landfill wind project also raised the ire of many area residents, who said the turbine would be too loud and would pose health risks.

Glennie said his community initiative would avoid many of those pitfalls. It would be built outside of the city, away from any residential development, and because it would be financed by community members, there would be more accountability when it comes to environmental concerns.
Glennie says the idea is still in its infancy and he is in the process of gauging public support, but as a trained financial analyst he believes the economics of the project are sound.

"Wind energy is growing really rapidly around the world today and it's doing that because it works. I am very confident that it can work here," he said.

Glennie said that if they get a good response from the community, they’ll start wind testing and applying for permits.

Sources: Charles Hamilton, The StarPhoenix, February 23, 2013, CTV News

Full article: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/technology/Wind+power+expert+touts+turbines+area/8005950/story.html#ixzz2Lw7pxYYC

Friday, February 15, 2013

Is Ethiopia the new geothermal energy hotspot?

The World Bank recently granted $40 million USD to Ethiopia in order to spur renewable energy projects. For geothermal projects now under way, that money is being used mainly for exploration -- if it shows promise, private investors will be invited to develop geothermal facilities. Success could lead to more grants from the World Bank.

Only about 20 percent of the population of Ethiopia has access to electricity.
It’s not that Ethiopia is particularly low on energy -- in fact, the country is an energy exporter thanks to its smart investments in hydroelectric power over the past several years. The real challenge involves expanding infrastructure so that the spoils of Ethiopia’s rapidly growing economy can reach the far-flung regions that were left behind while urban areas -- especially the capital, Addis Ababa -- have thrived.

Ethiopia is situated along the East African Rift, a zone of high tectonic activity where the African Plate is in the slow process of splitting into two. The long East African Rift Valley, which runs from Jordan down to Mozambique, is visible evidence of this split. So are the numerous volcanoes in the region, including the famous Mount Kilimanjaro -- technically a dormant volcano -- in northern Tanzania.

The region is a prime location for massive geothermal energy -- and Ethiopia has a precedent right next door. Kenya has found great success with its own geothermal projects -- it is the biggest geothermal producer on the continent with an installed capacity of more than 212 megawatts, according to Bloomberg.

Ethiopia will follow suit with help from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, which are working together to boost geothermal research and production all across the East African Rift Valley.
Renewable energy in particular is an arena where sub-Saharan African countries have a chance to shine. Widespread underdevelopment gives the region a paradoxical advantage, since alternative energy initiatives can start from scratch in many cases, skipping the retrofitting that industrialized states will have to undergo in order to modernize.

Sources: International Business Times, Bloomberg, World Bank

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

EDF's 350 MW wind project in Canada gets approval: REpower to supply 175 two MW turbines

Canada’s largest wind project to date is moving forward after the Quebec provincial government issued a decree authorizing the construction and operation of EDF EN Canada’s 350 MW Rivière-du-Moulin wind project.

Suzlon Group’s subsidiary REpower Systems SE has signed a contract with EDF EN Canada Inc., a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, for the delivery of 175 2 MW wind turbines of the REpower MM82 and MM92 type for a project in Quebec, Canada. With a total rated output of 350 MW the Rivière-du-Moulin wind farm will be the biggest project in the history of REpower.

The project, located in the unorganised territories (UT) of Lac Pikauba and of Lac-Ministuk, north of the City of Quebec, will be developed in two phases: Construction of the first 150 MW starts in 2013, commissioning is set for December 2014. The second phase of 200 MW is scheduled for commissioning in December 2015.

The contract is part of the framework agreement of up to 954 MW signed between EDF EN and REpower in 2009. In less than one year, REpower delivered, installed and commissioned a record of 190 REpower MM82 and MM92 turbines aggregating 380 MW in a special cold climate version for three EDF EN Canada wind farms: Massif du Sud, Phase 1 of Lac Alfred and Saint-Robert-Bellarmin. Two of them – Massif du Sud and Phase 1 of Lac Alfred – just recently went into commercial operation.

Sources: CANWea, EDF and REpower Press Releases

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Global hydropower growth slows: Canada continues to add significant new generation

The Worldwatch Institute released a report today authored by Evan Musolino examining global consumption and installed capacity of hydropower and geothermal energy sources.

Highlights of the Report follow below:

  • In 2011, global installed capacity of hydropower reached 970 gigawatts (GW), a 1.6 percent increase from the previous year, while geothermal cumulative capacity reached 11.2 GW, slowing to below 1 percent for the first time since 2002.
  • Hydroelectricity accounted for almost 6 percent of primary energy consumption among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  • On a regional basis, South America and Central America are most dependent on hydroelectricity relative to total energy use. 
  • Although hydropower plays the least important role in the Middle East, the region experienced the greatest growth in hydroelectricity consumption in 2011, at almost 22 percent. North America was next, with an increase slightly under 14 percent. In contrast, usage fell by almost 9 percent in Europe and Eurasia and by 0.6 percent in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Although some 150 countries produce hydropower, half of the global capacity was concentrated in just five nations at the end of 2011. China remains the leader, with 212 GW installed, followed by Brazil (82.2 GW), the United States (79 GW), Canada (76.4 GW), and Russia (46 GW).
  • Hydropower continues to be one of the most cost-effective renewable energy generation sources. Typical costs are in the range of 2-13 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour for existing grid-connected hydropower plants and 5-10 cents per kilowatt-hour for new plants. Micro-hydropower installations (0.1 kilowatt to 1 megawatt), which are typically used in rural communities not connected to the national grid, generate at 5-40 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • Global consumption of hydropower continued to increase in 2011, reaching 3,498 terawatt-hours.
  • A total of 25 GW of new hydropower capacity was added in 2011, less than in previous years, with China, Vietnam, Brazil, India, and Canada responsible for 75 percent of the added capacity.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What are the top 10 wind power capacity countries in the world?

In a report released today by the Global Wind Energy Council, there were 44,700 megawatts of wind power capacity added around the world in 2012, putting the total at 282,500 MW. That is almost a tenfold increase over the past decade.

The top 10 wind countries at the end of 2012:
  1. China 75,600 MW
  2. U.S. 60,000 MW
  3. Germany 31,300 MW
  4. Spain 22,800 MW
  5. India 18,400 MW
  6. U.K. 8,400 MW
  7. Italy 8,100 MW
  8. France 7,200 MW
  9. Canada 6,200 MW
  10. Portugal 4,500 MW
Out of 243 countries, Canada ranks 228 in terms of population density - one of the lowest population densities in the developed world. Many of the 8 countries exceeding Canada in wind power capacity are near the top of the list in terms of population density.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

EDF commissions 300 MW of wind projects in Quebec

EDF EN Canada Inc., a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, announced the commercial operation of the Massif du Sud Wind Project (150 MW) and the first phase of the Lac Alfred Wind Project (150 MW) both located in Quebec.

Massif du Sud and Lac Alfred represent two of the seven wind energy projects in total awarded to the company in 2008 and 2010 through Hydro-Quebec Distribution calls for tenders. By the end of 2015, EDF EN Canada will have developed and built a total of 1,003.2 MW in the province.

The Lac Alfred Phase 1 project is located in the municipalities of Saint-Cléophas, Sainte-Irène, Saint-Zénon-du-Lac-Humqui and the unorganized territory (UT) of Lac Alfred in the MRC de La Matapédia and in the municipality of La Rédemption and UT Lac-à-la-Croix in the MRC de La Mitis. Massif du Sud is located in the municipalities of Saint-Luc-de-Bellechasse and Saint-Magloire in the MRC des Etchemins and in the municipalities of Notre-Dame-Auxiliatrice-de-Buckland and Saint-Philémon in the MRC de Bellechasse. Both projects are comprised of 75 wind turbines each supplied by REpower and made with regionally manufactured blades, towers and converters.

With a combined investment (Massif du Sud and Lac Alfred Phase 1) of close to $700 million, the projects together created more than 600 jobs during the construction phase, and will provide 20-30 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. Enbridge Inc. participates in both Massif du Sud and Lac Alfred (phase 1 and phase 2) as a co-owner through a 50 percent investment.

EDF EN Canada Inc.'s operation and maintenance affiliate, EDF Renewable Services Canada Inc., will provide long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) services. Hydro-Quebec will buy the power under 20-year power purchase agreements (PPA).
“We are happy about the ongoing excellent cooperation with EDF EN Canada and the team effort displayed in the projects we have realized together so far. Our common projects resulted in a record of Canadian installations in 2012 and the wind turbines of the MM82 and MM92 type in a special cold climate version were delivered, installed and commissioned within less than one year. As the business in Quebec and other provinces grows, so does our dedicated and highly skilled team of local employees,” said Helmut Herold, Managing Director of REpower’s Canadian subsidiary, REpower Systems Inc.

EDF EN Canada commissioned its first wind project, Saint-Robert-Bellarmin (80 MW), in October 2012 and is currently constructing Lac Alfred Phase 2 (150 MW) with an expected operational date of December 2013. In total, the Company has placed into service 380 MW in the last four months in Quebec which created employment opportunities for nearly 750 people in the development and construction phase.

Source: EDF Press Release

Friday, February 1, 2013

5 places that were colder than Saskatchewan yesterday – electricity demand in province peaks at highest ever

Yesterday, temperatures across Saskatchewan were in the -30s (Celsius for my friends South of the border). Here are five notable temperatures, at around the same time yesterday, noted elsewhere:
  1. Alert, Nunavut, Canada: -41
  2. The North Pole: -39
  3. Dzalinda, Russia (in Siberia): -51
  4. Vostak Station, Antarctica: -36
  5. Mars: -55
The cold weather has led to record energy consumption in Saskatchewan. The province's electric utility, SaskPower, said usage peaked Wednesday night, around the supper hour. That's when 3,379 MW of energy were running into homes and businesses. SaskPower fortunately has the capacity to generate 4,100 MW at peak.

Not only the cold weather, but the rapidly growing population and large industrial projects in the province are seeing significant increases in electricity demand. SaskPower is committed to meeting the demands of a growing (and cold…) province by investing in considerable new generation in the future.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vestas inks Tower Supply Agreement with undisclosed party to supply towers for North American wind power projects

This week Vestas announced signature of a Tower Supply Agreement to supply towers for a number of non-Vestas wind power projects over the next two years. The name of the developer or manufacturer which signed the Tower Supply Agreement with Vestas was not released.

The Tower Supply Agreement will see Vestas ramp up at its tower factory in Pueblo, Colorado, USA. Vestas soon will begin manufacturing the first phase of the Tower Supply Agreement that could use up to 25 percent of the production capacity. The agreement will create more than 100 jobs by the end of the first quarter of 2013. The Vestas facility can produce almost 1,500 towers a year, Vestas Chief Operating Officer Jean-Marc Lechene said this week.

Vestas is branching into tower manufacturing for external customers to boost revenue after overcapacity among turbine producers wiped out profit at the Danish company. Vestas and its competitors have cut jobs and withdrawn from weaker markets to reduce costs as wind-industry growth slows.

The Tower Supply Agreement, announced yesterday, marks the first time Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas has sold the support structures to a competitor. The deal is with a single client, an American company with multiple projects, Lechene said, declining to identify the client or disclose financial terms. Vestas has also secured smaller deals for metal-cast components with non-wind customers, he said.

“Vestas is continuously evaluating its manufacturing footprint and opportunities to utilise the current production capacity better. Producing components for third parties is part of this strategy, and although we have had other smaller orders, this new agreement is the first major step in realising this plan,” Lechene said.

“Our tower factory employees are very excited about this new order,” said Tony Knopp, Vice President of Vestas Towers America, Inc., in Pueblo. “The extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) at the beginning of the year also was an important factor in securing this contract, and we are now in the process of evaluating our ramp-up plan.”

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Vestas Press Release

Monday, January 28, 2013

University of Saskatchewan professor wins national award for solar energy research

Ronald Steer a professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon has been awarded the annual Canadian Society for Chemistry’s John C. Polanyi Award for his research which is leading to new insights in the field of solar energy.

Steer and his team are attempting to make organic photovoltaics, also known as dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs), a more efficient source of electricity.

Typically organic solar cells are around 10 per cent efficient and Steer says they are making great strides towards increases the amount of sunlight that is absorbed and converted into usable power.

“We have the proof of principle and soon we’ll be at the stage of having working devices,” said Steer.

“If we can achieve even the slightest increase, even one or two per cent efficiency of these cells, it could be beneficial to everyone.”

The team is also working on incorporating tougher materials such as carbon nanotubes to create a more durable, longer-lasting cell.

Not only was Steer awarded an Earned Doctor of Science at the University of Saskatchewan he has also been in their Department of Chemistry in Saskatoon since 1969.

Congratulations Professor Steer! Keep up the good work.

Source: Global News

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How many wind turbines does the Nordic region require in the next 27 years to meet stated GHG reduction goals?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has proposed that the Nordic countries add more than 13,000 new wind turbines in order to achieve ambitious emissions-reduction schemes in the next three decades.

The proposal, part of a report presented on Tuesday, focused on wind power as a key to making the Nordics - Iceland, Finland and the Scandinavian countries - climate neutral by 2050.

The authors suggest that such an investment, along with upgrades to the grid, would cost 0.7 percent of the region's annual GDP - about $460 billion USD in total over the next 27 years, according to a calculation by Sveriges Radio (SR).

"In the global 2°C Scenario, energy-related CO2 emissions in the Nordic region must be reduced by 70 percent by 2050 compared to 1990," the report authors summarized.

The report suggested the use of fossil fuels be halved and account for only 20 percent of total electricity generation in the future.

In order to do so, relying on extensive wind generation "needs to grow particularly quickly and alone accounts for 25 percent of electricity generation in 2050."

Such a move, however, would place demands on refurbishing parts of the distribution network.

"This will increase the need for flexible generation capacity, grid interconnections, demand response and storage," the report authors wrote.

They highlighted that the region's access to hydropower and ambitious domestic targets were in the Nordic countries' favour in achieving climate neutrality.

Yet, Swedish industry association Svensk Energi noted in a response that wind turbines are still not completely accepted in Sweden.

Chair Kjell Jansson told SR there needed to be more focus on the technology from the politicians' side.

"I think with today's attitude it would be difficult to put this in place," he said.

"One has to accept new things, for example turbines in places where people now resist them, if we are to meet our climate target."

Sources: IEA, The Local.se

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ikea to double its spending on renewable energy to $4 billion USD: part of Ikea's plan to get all the energy used at its stores and by subcontractors from renewable sources by 2020

Ikea Group, the world's biggest furniture retailer, will double its investment in renewable energy to $4 billion USD by 2020 as part of a drive to reduce costs as cash-strapped consumers become more price sensitive.

The additional spending on projects such as wind farms and solar parks will be needed to keep expenses down as the company maintains its pace of expansion, Chief Executive Mikael Ohlsson said in an interview in Malmo, Sweden.

"I foresee we'll continue to increase our investments in renewable energy," said Ohlsson, who plans to step down this year after 3 1/2 years at the helm. "Looking at how quickly we're expanding and our value chain, we will most likely have to double the investments once more after 2015."

Companies such as sportswear maker Puma and drinks producer PepsiCo Inc. are expanding efforts to cut their use of scarce resources as they jostle for customers. Prices for wind turbines sank 23% in the three years that ended in June, while solar panels have tumbled by more than half in two years, making projects cost-effective, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Ikea plans to get 100% of the energy consumed at its stores and by subcontractors from renewable sources by 2020. The Swedish company owns 250,000 solar panels, mainly in the U.S., and invested in 126 wind turbines in northern Europe to cover 34% of its energy consumption.

Ohlsson said the retailer will have opportunities for "strong growth" in Europe for "many years to come" because many customers still do not have an Ikea store near them.

Sales in 2012 rose 9.5% to 27.6 billion EUR ($36.7 billion USD), the company said in a release, while net income increased 8% to 3.2 billion EUR.
In October, Ikea said it planned to more than double spending on wind farms and solar parks to as much as $2 billion USD to have the company cover more than 70% of its energy consumption by renewable sources in 2015 and protect it from volatile fossil-fuel prices.

The retailer is expanding its product range for customers to live more sustainable lives themselves, focusing on waste handling and cutting energy and water use.

"For now, we're mainly focusing on the big parts of resource use at home," Ohlsson said, adding that Ikea is testing some solar solutions for customers in Britain.

Source: Bloomberg

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

City of Saskatoon approves Power Purchase Agreement with SaskPower for $7.7 million CAD landfill gas project

City Council in Saskatoon has approved the final step towards a $7.7 million CAD project to collect methane gas from Saskatoon's landfill and convert that into electricity. The city of Saskatoon has been working since 2008 to develop a landfill gas collection system. The city of Saskatoon is expected to recover the cost of the landfill gas project after 9 years. "Because the numbers do make sense it's a good thing for us," said Troy Davies, Ward 4 city councillor.
Kevin Hudson, manager of metering and sustainable electricity with Saskatoon Light & Power, says the project is one way to reduce harmful greenhouse gases. "With the gas that we're capturing, it's equivalent to reducing our emissions by about 45 thousand tons annually," Hudson explained. "That's like removing about nine thousand vehicles from our roadways." According to Hudson, in many jurisdictions in North America, landfills are required to manage landfill gas so it is not released into the atmosphere.

Saskatoon city council has approved the sale of the electricity generated by the landfill gas project to SaskPower pursuant to a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement. In 20 years, according to the city, the overall project will have made a return to Saskatoon of $8.4 million CAD after taking into account the cost of building the system.

The city of Saskatoon estimates it will sell about $1 million CAD worth of electricity in its first full year of production, which is expected in 2014. Construction on the project is approximately 50% complete.

Additional information about this exciting project and the Green Energy Park in Saskatoon is available here: http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/Utility%20Services/Saskatoon%20Light%20and%20Power/powergenerationinitiatives/Pages/LandfillGas.aspx

Friday, January 18, 2013

SaskPower and Black Lake First Nation submit Federal EA determination request for Elizabeth Falls Hydroelectric Project in Northern Saskatchewan

As part of the amended Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) put in place to support the government's responsible resource development initiative, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency must determine whether a federal environmental assessment is required for the proposed Elizabeth Falls Hydroelectric Project located in northern Saskatchewan. To assist it in making its decision, the Agency is seeking comments from the public on the project and its potential effects on the environment.

Black Lake First Nation and Saskatchewan Power Corporation are proposing the construction and operation of a 42 to 50 megawatt water diversion type electrical generating station at Elizabeth Falls. The proposed project would be located adjacent to the Fond du Lac River between Black Lake and Middle Lake, on Black Lake First Nation Reserve lands in northern Saskatchewan. The proposed project would involve the construction and operation of a water intake tunnel, a powerhouse, a switching station, a tail race, a construction camp, a bridge, access roads, and a transmission line.

A link to the summary of the Elizabeth Falls Hydroelectric Project is below:


The Agency will post a decision on its website stating whether a federal environmental assessment is required for the Elizabeth Falls Hydroelectric Project. If it is determined that a federal environmental assessment is required, the public will have three more opportunities to comment on this project, consistent with the transparency and public engagement elements of CEAA 2012.

CanBio Community Heat & Power and Bioeconomy mission to Finland for Wood Energy Solutions 2013 - February 11-15, 2013

Qualifying Canadian participants will receive travel grants of about $1,200 CAD for companies (1 grant per company), and up to 50% of eligible expenses for non-profit organizations (2 grants per organization) through DFAIT's GOA (Global Opportunities for Associations) program.

Click here to view the draft program for the mission

CanBio will bring a delegation to the Wood Energy Solutions Conference and Tour February 11-15, 2013 to learn the latest in Finnish community biomass energy and supply chain enhancements in a conference setting, and then see installations firsthand.  We will find out what’s new in the European bioeconomy, meet with potential European partners in Canadian bioeconomy development, and. The mission will include:
  • A 2-day conference in Koli National Park, where delegates will network with key European bioeconomy companies and stakeholders. The conference program will focus on key issues, including community energy, biorefining, biomass sustainability and trade, and more;
  • 2.5 days of tours, including visits to district energy installations of various size, a micro-scale CHP installation (30 kWe), Fortum’s pyrolysis oil plant (integrated with large-scale CHP), a Ponsse manufacturing facility, several supply chain demonstrations, a pellet and raw biomass research centre, and more (including more bioeconomy-related visits). There is also the possibility of visiting a Gasek installation;
  • A ½ day course on the dos and don'ts of district energy projects by Dr. Arto Nuorkivi, leading expert in CHP, district heating, and energy efficiency.
Registration includes a conference dinner featuring Karelian cuisine as well as a post-conference Finnish winter experience and the obligatory sauna!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why integrate renewable energy generation with your mining operation?

A synergy is created when renewable energy systems are integrated into existing and planned mining operations. This is of particular interest to remote or otherwise off-grid operations that are faced with expensive logistical challenges and environmental hurdles associated with transporting fuel over large distances to be used for on-site thermal generation or constructing expensive transmission infrastructure to bring on-grid power to their operations. Wasted energy is also an unnecessary cost.  Having a comprehensive energy strategy is key to cost effective mining operations.

Mining operators need an uninterrupted, cost-effective means of supplying energy to power their operations. Developers and operators may need to rely on higher cost coal-fired, oil and diesel generation can offset their carbon footprint and the risk of price escalation and security of hydrocarbon fuel supplies by integrating renewable energy schemes into their mine plans. Some of the plentiful and lasting potential benefits of renewable energy include the following:
  • Creation of a legacy resource, which will carry the mine through operations and may be shared with or co-managed with neighboring communities, fostering enduring relationships and good will (this is particularly beneficial for projects located in developing nations where clean power generation is rare or too costly for communities to develop on their own)
  • Opportunity for mining operations to distinguish themselves as sustainable ventures that are favorable to shareholders, community stakeholders, government regulators and environmental NGOs
  • Reduced dependence on volatile fuel prices and insecure supplies
  • Reduced carbon footprints
  • Opportunity to offset greenhouse gas emissions and to take part in the emerging carbon economy
Source: (in part) Knight Piésold Consulting

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Greengate Power plans to start construction of Canada’s largest wind farm

Greengate Power, the Calgary-based developer expects to break ground in the spring on the 300MW Blackspring Ridge 1 project in Alberta, Greengate president and CEO Dan Balaban told reNews.

“We’re in the process of finalizing the engineering and the financing of the project,” said Balaban. “We expect to be under construction later this year and be fully operational in the first part of 2014.”

Alberta regulators last week approved a switch in turbines to the Vestas V100 1.8MW machine from the V90 model. The Danish manufacturer is expected to begin delivery of 166 turbines in the third quarter, said Balaban. Mortenson was named general contractor.

Blackspring Ridge 1, located about 165 kilometers southeast of Calgary, will tie into an existing 240kV transmission line via a six- to eight-mile wire that runs almost entirely through the project site. The Alberta Utilities Commission is reviewing an interconnection application by transmission facility operator AltaLink.

“We expect approval of that permit imminently,” said Balaban.

Blackspring Ridge is Greengate’s second wind farm. Capital Power in 2011 bought the 150MW Halkirk project, which achieved commercial operation in December.

Greengate won 20-year deals with Pacific Gas & Electric of California for renewable energy credits from the Blackspring Ridge and Halkirk wind projects.

Source: reNews

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

VTT of Finland commercializing process for cogeneration of bio-oil and heat

A technique that enables the cost-effective cogeneration of heating energy and bio-oil in the same power plant has been developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, along with the Finnish energy company Fortum, Finnish engineering company Metso and Finnish forest products producer UPM. VTT’s technique is based on combining pyrolysis and fluidized bed technology.

VTT feels the new technique will contribute to an increase in bio-oil production volumes in the next few decades. VTT received an innovation award for the new technology from the European Association for Research and Technology Organisations EARTO.
The new technique patented by VTT enables a considerable cut in the production cost of bio-oil.

Fast pyrolysis involves heating biomass such as forest industry waste to a high temperature to form gas. When the gas is cooled, it condenses into liquid known as bio-oil. Combining the pyrolysis process with traditional fluidised bed boilers used in power plants brings a range of efficiency gains, VTT explains. Producing bio-oil with the new technique is cheaper than in a separate pyrolysis process.

Bio-oil plants that are integrated into power plants are extremely energy-efficient, because the energy contained in the by-products of the pyrolysis process can be recovered in fluidized bed boilers. This is a significant improvement, because the by-products can contain as much as 40% of the original biomass’s energy. In turn, lost heat from the power plant can be used in the bio-oil production process.

The technique is due to enter commercial production towards the end of 2013 when the energy company Fortum opens its new integrated bio-oil and heating plant in the city of Joensuu in Finland. The plant is designed to produce 50,000 tonnes of bio-oil per year.

According to VTT, there are currently around 200 power plants in Europe and North America (including many in Canada) that could be converted to include a bio-oil plant.

Source: VTT, Pulp and Paper Canada

Monday, January 14, 2013

A new twist on anti-wind litigation: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Interesting article by Diane Saxe on anti-wind litigation at http://envirolaw.com/twist-antiwind-litigation-charter/.

Because of the social, environmental, and political importance of reducing carbon emissions and switching to renewable sources of energy, the Environmental Protection Act  in the Canadian province of Ontario requires wind opponents to show that a renewable energy project will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. Every case to date in Ontario has failed to meet this threshold and one can sense desperation by anti-wind groups.

Accordingly, the latest anti-wind tactic is to claim that the threshold itself is unconstitutional, i.e. that anti-wind proponents have a right, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to stop all wind turbines within 2 km of their home, without having to prove the probability of harm. Diane Saxe, on her blog has provided a link to a Statement of Claim Filed November 14. 2012 between Drennan and K2 Wind - http://envirolaw.com/wp-content/uploads/Statement-of-Claim-Nov-14.-2012.pdf.

In the claim, Shawn and Trisha Drennan have requested $4 million CAD in damages plus an injunction to prevent K2 Wind Ontario Inc. from obtaining a renewable energy approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for its proposed wind farm in the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Ontario. 90 local landowners have leased their land for the project. Mr. and Mrs. Drennan claim that constructing a wind farm within 2 km of their home will create a nuisance, make them ill, and reduce their property values.

An interlocutory injunction is scheduled to be heard on February 6, 2013 in Goderich, Ontario. Meanwhile, the province of Ontario is seeking summary judgment to dismiss the action.

Source: Diane Saxe, envirolaw.com

Thursday, January 10, 2013

AMG aims to recycle wastewater from oil drilling using new process

Apex Management Group LLC (AMG) a San Antonio-based oil-field services management company is rolling out an oil-field technology aimed at recycling contaminated wastewater generated during production.

This process could remove toxic chemicals from the wastewater so it could be reused in the drilling process, eliminating the need for using fresh water for each well, said David Akin, CEO and president of . However, the company hasn’t yet filed permission with the state agency that governs the oil and gas industry.

The new process is used in northwestern Oklahoma in the Mississippi Lime rock formation, Akin said. This area has seen a boom in oil drilling, particularly by SandRidge Energy, Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy. Akin declined to state which large independent company was contracting his services, due to a non-disclosure agreement.

In that area, exploration and production companies must use millions of gallons of fresh water during part of the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. A company typically pumps about 4 million to 6 million gallons of water per well, as well as thousands of pounds of sand and tens of thousands of gallons of chemicals deep into underground rock formations. Fracking, combined with horizontal drilling, is credited with the current boom, and taps oil and gas resources that were previously regarded as unobtainable.

The Mississippi Lime formation also has lots of highly salty water with the oil and gas. Producers must dispose of millions of gallons of saltwater mixed with flow-back water that flows back up to the surface from a frack job. There is so much contaminated water produced in the area, SandRidge is drilling one disposal well for every eight petroleum wells and Devon is drilling one disposal well for every 10 petroleum wells.

With so much contaminated water, companies are looking for a way to turn that waste product into a resource. Akin said his process is more efficient than existing technology using centrifuges or filters to clean flow-back water.

Akin said the process uses methane gas that would otherwise be flared into the atmosphere to power natural gas turbines. The turbines are similar to helicopter engines that are frequently used in hospitals and in universities. The turbines superheat the contaminated water, similar to a distilling process. Though the end product isn’t drinkable, Akin said, it is clean enough to be used in fracking jobs.

He declined to state exactly how much his company spent to develop the process, but said that it was in the millions of dollars. Apex spent about three years developing and refining the recycling process, and has been operating a beta test of sorts with one company for about a year and a half.

In recent years, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has modified and created new rules for companies developing processes for recycling water used in drilling operations. Last year, the agency had at least three cases looking at the process of commercial soil farming.

The process of soil farming combines waste mud laced with petroleum chemicals used in drilling with fertilizer and crushed gypsum rock and spreads it on farmland. The drilling mud in question must be tested to ensure that it doesn’t contain high levels of salts, heavy metals or petroleum products. Akin said residual material recovered from the recycling process is superheated to remove chemicals and could be used in soil farming operations.

Matt Skinner, spokesman from the OCC, said Apex’s technology would likely be covered under existing rules for recycling flow-back water. If the residual material removed from the water process meets acceptable levels, it could be used in commercial soil farming operations. The agency hasn’t yet received any applications from the company.

Sources: Dolan Media Newswires, Lexis Nexis, WaterWorld.com

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gamesa wins order for 54 MW wind farm from TuuliWatti in Finland

Bloomberg has just reported a few moments ago that Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA, Spain’s largest wind turbine maker, won a 54 MW order from Finland’s TuuliWatti Oy, expanding its presence in a market it entered last year.

The order for 12 of Gamesa’s G128 4.5-megawatt machines forms part of a 117 MW framework agreement signed in October, the Zamudio-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. The machines are specially designed to operate in low temperatures, it said.

“Finland is considered one of the most promising growth markets in the European wind energy business in coming years,” Gamesa said in the statement.

Finland is targeting 2,500 megawatts of installed wind capacity in 2020, up from about 200 megawatts now, according to Gamesa. Gamesa on October 25 said it’s concentrating on new markets, especially in Latin America, as it adjusts to a global market this year that it forecasts will include a 12 percent drop in installations.

All except one of the turbines announced in today’s deal will be installed this year, with the last in 2014, Gamesa said. The order follows an 18-megawatt deal with the same client on October 11 that isn’t included in the 117 MW framework agreement.

The deal includes a 10-year operation and maintenance contract, with an option to extend it by five years, according to the statement. TuuliWatti is a venture between Finland’s St1 Oy and S-Group.

Source: Bloomberg

Finland's largest wind farm to be built in Pori

The town of Pori on the Western coast of Finland will soon be home to Finland’s largest wind farm.

Finnish developer, Tulliwatti will construct a 54 MW wind power facility just to the north of the town of Pori. Commercial operation is expected by the end of summer 2015. The project is a joint venture between Finnish utilities St1 and S-Voima who are investing a combined total of 75 million EUR to build the project.

A total of twelve 4.5 MW wind turbines will be built on the site. The wind turbine supplier has not yet been announced.

The Pori region of western Finland is of prime significance for Tuuliwatti. Tuuliwatti began wind power production in the area with a 3 MW facility back in 2010. Tuuliwatti is also constructing wind power plants in other parts of the region.

Source: Yle

Monday, January 7, 2013

Electricity sector planning and supply scenarios for Saskatchewan, Canada

Lisa White, P. Eng., M.Sc. and Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon recently published "Strategic environmental assessment in the electricity sector: An application to electricity supply planning, Saskatchewan, Canada" in the Journal of Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal which can be accessed with the following link:


In the article a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) framework for electricity sector planning is developed and applied to evaluate electricity supply scenarios for Saskatchewan, Canada. The overall goal of the SEA application was to identify a preferred future electricity production path, demonstrate the application of a quantitative SEA process that operationalizes sustainability principles through the use of assessment criteria, and examine the methodological implications resulting from the application of a structured SEA framework.

Results of the application identified a renewables-focused electricity supply preference, but with several implications for electricity sector investment and sustainability, including increased infrastructure requirements and increased cost of electricity.

Results also demonstrate a practical approach to the operationalization of sustainability through the application of assessment criteria that are linked to higher level principles. The use of structure in the SEA process provided for replicability, transparency and the ability to quantify issues of uncertainty in Plan, program and policy (PPP) decision-making, while at the same time maintaining flexibility to tailor the SEA framework to the electricity sector context.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Quanta Services/Valard Construction awarded SaskPower contract to build 300 km Island Falls to Key Lake transmission line in Northern Saskatchewan

Quanta Services, Inc. announced by way of a Press Release yesterday that SaskPower has selected Valard Construction, a Quanta Services company, to install transmission infrastructure for the Island Falls to Key Lake Transmission Line Project. Under the terms of the contract, Valard will build approximately 300 kilometers of 230-kilovolt transmission line in northern Saskatchewan. The project scope includes foundation construction, installation of approximately 900 transmission towers, wire stringing and related project management.

"Growing economic development in northern Saskatchewan has created an increased need for power. SaskPower is investing in its electricity system to ensure it meets the power needs for our region, today and in the future," said Robert Watson, president and chief executive officer of SaskPower.

To minimize environmental impact, the route of the new transmission line will parallel an existing SaskPower transmission line. Valard has initiated engineering activities and the project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2015. Once in service, the new transmission line should increase reliability and provide infrastructure to meet the growing demand for power in northern Saskatchewan.

"Valard opened a corporate office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last year as part of our ongoing commitment to Saskatchewan," said Adam Budzinski, president of Valard. "We look forward to constructing the Island Falls to Key Lake project and participating in the exciting growth of the province."

Source: Quanta Services, Inc. and SaskPower Press Release

SaskPower and Cenovus sign 10-year CO2 Supply Agreement

SaskPower has signed a 10 year agreement with Cenovus Energy for the purchase of carbon dioxide (CO2) from SaskPower’s $1.24 billion CAD carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility under construction at Boundary Dam Power Station, near Estevan, Saskatchewan.

The Regina Leader Post reports that under the terms of the agreement, Cenovus will purchase the full volume of the CO2 captured at SaskPower’s facility - approximately one million tonnes per year - and use it for the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project operated by Cenovus near Weyburn, Saskatchewan. SaskPower’s facility is considered the world’s first and largest commercial-scale, coal-fired integrated CCS project.

SaskPower president and CEO Robert Watson said the CCS project at Boundary Dam’s Unit 3 was predicated on being able to sell the captured CO2 to oil companies for EOR projects, which would made the economics of clean coal comparable to that of combined-cycle natural gas power plants.
The value of the CO2 Supply Agreement is not being disclosed.

The Regina Leader Post further report that SaskPower anticipates more CO2 sales in future as additional capacity comes on stream from Boundary Dam and SaskPower’s $60 million CAD carbon capture test facility at its Shand Power Station. SaskPower will decide in 2016 or 2017 whether to convert Units 4 and 5 at Boundary Dam to clean coal facilities, which can reduce CO2 emissions by 90 percent.

Cenovus and its partners have been using CO2 from the Dakota Gasification Corp. (DGC) plant in Beulah, North Dakota, USA for 10 years in their Weyburn EOR field.

Cenovus expects to be ready to accept the CO2 when SaskPower’s integrated carbon capture and storage facility goes into commercial operation in April 1, 2014. Cenovus will likely start building the pipeline required for the CO2 immediately. Jessica Wilkinson, a spokesperson for Cenovus, said the company will start talking to landowners and stakeholders in the area prior to construction of the 70 km pipeline from Estevan to Weyburn. “The agreement includes the construction of an additional line that would go from SaskPower’s Boundary Dam facility to our Weyburn (EOR) facility. Cenovus would build and operate that pipeline."

Cenovus currently receives 5,500 tonnes of CO2 per day from DGC, which it injects into the reservoir, some of which is recycled. “To date, we’ve injected just over 18 million tonnes of CO2 in the reservoir,” Wilkinson said. “In 2011, we injected 4.2 million tonnes of CO2." The SaskPower contract would supply about one quarter of that amount annually.

Cenovus currently produces 27,000 barrels of oil per day from the Weyburn EOR project, of which 19,000 barrels a day is incremental production from CO2 injection and 8,000 barrels a day is from conventional production.

Source: Regina Leader Post