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ABB launches world´s most powerful underground and subsea power transmission cable system

August 21, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar, Wind

525 kV voltage sets world record for extruded HVDC cable technology, doubling power flow and extending range to enable greater integration of distant renewables and interconnections

Zurich, Switzerland – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has announced a breakthrough in cable technology. It has successfully developed and tested a 525 kilovolt (kV) extruded high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system to make renewable energy installations more efficient and cost-effective.

2014-06-09. KARLSKRONA. Kabel-test, ABB Karlskrona. Foto: Gustav MŒrtensson Courtesy of ABB

2014-06-09. KARLSKRONA.
Kabel-test, ABB Karlskrona.
Foto: Gustav MŒrtensson
Courtesy of ABB

This latest innovation will more than double the power capacity to about 2,600 megawatts (MW) from 1,000 MW. It will also expand the cable’s reach to distances of 1,500 kilometers, up from less than 1,000 kilometers, while keeping transmission losses under 5 percent.

The new cable offers a 64 percent increase over 320 kV, currently the highest voltage deployed for this type of technology. The 525kV cable system can be deployed in subsea and underground applications, making it ideal for efficient power delivery through densely populated or environmentally sensitive areas or coastal and open-sea applications.

“This major technology breakthrough will change the feasibility of renewable energy projects and play a defining role in using underground and subsea high voltage cables to integrate renewables over long distances,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB.

By enabling more power over greater distances with reduced losses, ABB’s new 525 kV cable technology offers solutions for countries and utilities seeking to enable their electricity transmission systems to integrate more renewable energy being generated by distant solar and wind installations. A single pair of 525 kV extruded HVDC cables could for example transmit enough power from giant offshore wind farms in to supply two million households.

The new technology offers savings in capital and operational expenses. It also supports the development of DC grids where ABB removed a key technology hurdle with the development of the hybrid HVDC breaker.

The innovative cable system consists of cables, utilizing a new DC cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation material developed with Borealis, a recognized industry leader, as well as termination and joints manufactured by ABB.

2014-06-09. KARLSKRONA. Kabel-test, ABB Karlskrona. Foto: Gustav MŒrtensson Courtesy of ABB

2014-06-09. KARLSKRONA.
Kabel-test, ABB Karlskrona.
Foto: Gustav MŒrtensson
Courtesy of ABB

HVDC cable links are essential components of future sustainable energy systems that will need to transmit vast amounts of electricity over long distances, often across or between countries. ABB is a global leader in high-voltage cable systems with a worldwide installed base across applications including city center infeeds, oil and gas platform power supplies, subsea interconnections and the integration of renewables. ABB has commissioned more than 25 DC cable connections and almost 100 AC cable links around the world.

ABB will present the 525kV extruded HVDC cable system at the Cigré technology symposium in Paris, from August 25-29, 2014.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.

This article is a repost, credit: ABB. Video courtesy of ABB.

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Interior Auctions 80,000 Acres Offshore Maryland for Wind Energy Development

August 20, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Politics, Wind

Advances President’s Climate Action Plan

Graphic courtesy of BOEM

Graphic courtesy of BOEM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy resources and cut carbon pollution, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today (8-19-14) held the nation’s third competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, which offered nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland for potential wind energy development.

The provisional winner of today’s lease sale is US Wind Inc. When fully built, this wind energy area could generate enough energy to power about 300,000 homes.

“Today’s results are a major achievement and reflect industry confidence as we strengthen our nation’s foothold in this new energy frontier,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “I want to thank Governor Martin O’Malley, his team and members of BOEM’s Maryland Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force for all of their hard work and leadership leading up to today’s successful auction. The collaboration and thoughtful planning that went into this lease sale will serve as a model as we continue up and down the coast in our efforts to ensure wind energy is developed in the right way and in the right places.”

BOEM auctioned the Maryland Wind Energy Area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (32,737 acres) and the South Lease Area (46,970 acres). US Wind Inc. submitted the provisionally winning bid for both lease areas. For a map of the lease areas, click here.

Today’s announcement builds on Interior’s work to stand up a sustainable offshore wind program for the Atlantic Coast. Prior to today’s auction, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two noncompetitively issued leases (one for the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound offshore Massachusetts and one offshore Delaware); and three competitively-issued leases (two offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts and another offshore Virginia). The competitive lease sales generated over $5 million in winning bids for more than 277,500 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts and New Jersey in the coming year.

Efforts to spur responsible development of offshore wind energy are part of a series of Obama Administration actions to increase renewable energy both offshore and onshore by improving coordination with state, local and federal partners. The Maryland Renewable Energy Task Force has been a leading agent in intergovernmental collaboration for wind energy development offshore Maryland.

Since 2009, Interior has approved 52 wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public or tribal lands, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects could provide about 14,000 megawatts – enough energy to power nearly 4.8 million homes and support more than 20,000 construction and operations jobs.

As part of the President’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan, he has challenged Interior to re-double efforts on its renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production, for a total of 20,000 megawatts on public lands and waters by 2020.

At the same time, under the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, domestic oil and gas production has grown each year President Obama has been in office, with domestic oil production currently higher than at any time in two decades; natural gas production at its highest level ever; and renewable electricity generation from wind, solar and geothermal sources having doubled. Combined with recent declines in oil consumption, net oil imports in 2012 fell to the lowest level in 20 years.

Today’s wind energy lease sale resulted in a provisionally winning bid of $8,701,098. The auction lasted 1 day, consisting of 19 rounds before determining the provisional winner. In addition to US Wind Inc., the following companies participated in the auction: Green Sail Energy LLC and SCS Maryland Energy LLC.

“We’re pleased to see such strong commercial interest in today’s auction,” said BOEM Acting Director Cruickshank. “We will continue to work closely with the Task Force members and the public on any future wind energy projects proposed for these leases by US Wind Inc.”

The Maryland Wind Energy Area is located, at its closest point, about 10 nautical miles offshore Ocean City, Md., and has the potential to support between 850 and 1450 megawatts of commercial wind generation, according to Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, will have 30 days in which to complete an antitrust review of the auction. BOEM will then send unsigned copies of the lease form to the winning bidder, who will have 10 days to sign and return the leases, file required financial assurance and pay the balance of the winning bid.

Each lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee will submit a Site Assessment Plan to BOEM for approval. A Site Assessment Plan describes the activities (installation of meteorological towers and buoys) a lessee plans to perform for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.

If a Site Assessment Plan is approved, the lessee will then have up to 4½ years in which to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan provides detailed information for the construction and operation of a wind energy project on the lease. After BOEM receives a COP from a lessee, BOEM will conduct an environmental review of that proposed project. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process.

If the COP is approved, the lessee will have an operations term of 25 years.

For more information on what’s going on offshore Maryland, visit BOEM’s website by clicking here.

This article is a repost (8-19-14), credit: DOI.

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New record high: 22% of UK electricity from wind

August 19, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Wind

Econnect Wind Farm Photo courtesy of RenewableUK

Econnect Wind Farm
Photo courtesy of RenewableUK

RenewableUK says a record high of 22% of the UK’s electricity was generated by wind on Sunday (17th August), beating the previous 24-hour record of 21% set earlier this month (Monday 11th August). Before that, the record stood at 20%, set on 20th December 2013.

The UK’s onshore and offshore wind turbines generated an average of 5,797 megawatts (MW) on Sunday – enough to power more than 15 million homes at this time of year, according to the statistics from National Grid.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs, Jennifer Webber, said “We’re seeing very high levels of generation from wind throughout August so far, proving yet again that onshore and offshore wind has become an absolutely fundamental component in this country’s energy mix. It also shows that wind is a dependable and reliable source of power in every month of year – including high summer”.

On Sunday 17th August, wind was generating a greater proportion of the UK’s electricity needs than coal (which was providing 13%), solar (3%), biomass (3%) and hydro (1%). Nuclear generated 24% and gas 26%.

This article is a repost (8-18-14), credit: RenewableUK.

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Energy Department Reports Highlight Strength of U.S. Wind Energy Industry

August 18, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics, Wind

Photo courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S. Caption courtesy of DOE

Photo courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S.
Caption courtesy of DOE

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. continues to be a global leader in wind energy, ranking second in installed capacity in the world, according to two reports released today by the Department of Energy. Wind power is a key component of the nation’s all-of-the-above strategy to reduce carbon pollution, diversify our energy economy, and bring innovative technologies on line. With increasing wind energy generation and decreasing prices of wind energy technologies, the U.S. wind energy market remains strong and the U.S. is moving closer to doubling renewable electricity generation from energy resources like wind power yet again by 2020.

“As a readily expandable, domestic source of clean, renewable energy, wind power is paving the way to a low-carbon future that protects our air and water while providing affordable, renewable electricity to American families and businesses,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “However, the continued success of the U.S. wind industry highlights the importance of policies like the Production Tax Credit that provide a solid framework for America to lead the world in clean energy innovation while also keeping wind manufacturing and jobs in the U.S.”

Wind Technologies Market Report

After modest growth in 2013, total installed wind power capacity in the United States now stands at 61 gigawatts (GW), which meets nearly 4.5 percent of electricity demand in an average year, according to the 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report, released today by the Energy Department and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The report also found that wind energy prices – particularly in the Interior region of the United States–are at an all-time low, with utilities selecting wind as a cost-saving option.

With utility-scale turbines installed in more than 39 states and territories, the success of the U.S. wind industry has had a ripple effect on the American economy, spurring more than $500 million in exports and supporting jobs related to development, siting, manufacturing, transportation and other industries.

Distributed Wind Market Report

In total, U.S. turbines in distributed applications, which accounted for more than 80 percent of all wind turbines installed in the U.S. last year, reached a cumulative installed capacity of more than 842 MW–enough to power 120,000 average American homes–according to the 2013 Distributed Wind Market Report, also released today by the Energy Department and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This capacity is supplied by roughly 72,000 turbines across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In fact, a total of 14 states, including Iowa, Nevada and California, among others, now each have more than 10 MW of distributed wind capacity.

Compared to traditional, centralized power plants, distributed wind energy installations supply power directly to the local grid near homes, farms, businesses and communities. Turbines used in these applications can range in size from a few hundred watts to multi-megawatts, and can help power remote, off-grid homes and farms as well as local schools and manufacturing facilities.

For more information on these two new reports – including infographics, video and updated interactive map – visit Join us Tuesday, August 19, to discuss key findings from the reports on a live Twitter chat about wind energy in America.

Graphic courtesy of DOE

Graphic courtesy of DOE

This article is a repost, credit: Energy Department.

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Renewable Energy Sources Shine in 2014 (Germany)

August 4, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics, Solar, Wind

By German Embassy, Washington, DC

Germany’s renewable energy sources once again broke records in the first half of 2014. The total market share for renewable sources was 28.5 percent from January through June. In the first half of 2013, renewables accounted for only 24.6 percent of domestic energy consumption. Increased energy awareness, falling prices on renewables, and more availability are just a few of the reasons for the surge. Regardless of the cause, the news has had a positive reception in Germany; renewable energy is considered by many as a step in the right direction toward energy independence.

Sunset © REpower Systems AG / Stéphane Cosnard Courtesy of German Wind Energy Association

Sunset © REpower Systems AG / Stéphane Cosnard
Courtesy of German Wind Energy Association

Overall, wind power consumption increased by 27.3 percent and solar power by 21.4 percent in the first half of 2014. The level of biomass energy production also rose by 5.2 percent. Traditional energy sources, on the other hand, suffered loss in production and consumption. The Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), which compiled the energy report, recorded a 20 percent decrease in the use of natural gas for the first half of the year. This, the agency says, could be due to an unseasonably warm winter and spring. However, even after adjusting for temperature fluctuation, gas consumption still fell by around 7 percent. The BDEW also reports that energy consumption as a whole fell by around 5 percent so far this year.

Wind on the Rise

The German Wind Energy Association (BWE) also announced that Germany is on track to create a record amount of wind energy capacity by the end of this year. According to the BWE press release, the market for wind energy grew by 66 percent this year due to newly developed wind parks. Turbines with a combined capacity of 1,723 megawatts have been installed already in 2014 and more are on the way. By the end of 2014, the BWE expects a total production capacity of 3,500 megawatts for the wind parks in Germany. This would break the 2002 record of 3,200 megawatts.

Alpha Ventus - North Sea © Doti / Matthias Ibeler Courtesy of German Wind Energy Association

Alpha Ventus – North Sea © Doti / Matthias Ibeler
Courtesy of German Wind Energy Association

This article is a repost (7-30-14), credit: German Embassy, Washington, DC.

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New UK record: nearly 15% of electricity from renewables, –more than half from wind

August 1, 2014 in EIA, Environment, EV News, Politics, Wind

Fossil fuels (petroleum and other liquids, natural gas, and coal) account for most of the United Kingdom's (UK) energy consumption. Although renewable energy use is growing, particularly in the electric power sector, fossil fuels accounted for 86% of total primary energy consumption in 2012.  Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, from UK Department of Energy and Climate Change Courtesy of EIA

Fossil fuels (petroleum and other liquids, natural gas, and coal) account for most of the United Kingdom’s (UK) energy consumption. Although renewable energy use is growing, particularly in the electric power sector, fossil fuels accounted for 86% of total primary energy consumption in 2012. – EIA
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, from UK Department of Energy and Climate Change
Courtesy of EIA

RenewableUK says Government statistics released today (7-31-14) show that onshore and offshore wind energy is playing the central role in the country’s successful transition from fossil fuels to clean renewables.

In its annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics, the Department of Energy and Climate Change says electricity generated from renewable sources increased by 30% in 2013 compared to the previous year, and accounted for 14.9% of total UK electricity generation (up from 11.3% in 2012).

DECC says onshore wind continued to be the leading technology for generating electricity from renewable sources, providing 32% of the total, while offshore wind generated a further 21%, making a total of 53% of all renewable energy from wind. This means that 7.9% of the UK’s electricity was generated by onshore and offshore wind in 2013.

Offshore wind generation increased by 52%, and onshore wind generation increased by 40%. The installed capacity of renewables increased by 27% (4.2 gigawatts) to 19.7GW in 2013, mainly as a result of a 27% increase in onshore wind capacity (1.6GW) and a 23% increase in offshore wind capacity.

For the first time, more than 5% of the UK’s total energy supply (electricity, heat, and fuel for transport) came from renewables – up from 4.2% in 2012 to 5.2% in 2013. The UK needs to meet a legally binding target of 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020.

Both the onshore and offshore load factors (37.5% and 27.9%) exceeded or equalled that of gas (27.9%). Load factors for wind in 2013 were the highest since 1998, due to high wind speeds, particularly in the last quarter of the year.

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy Dr Gordon Edge said: “This abundance of excellent statistics should make those in Government who have failed to support wind energy sit up and take notice. More than half of Britain’s clean electricity now comes from onshore and offshore wind. We’re now on course to hit 10% of electricity from wind alone this year.

“That’s why it’s particularly puzzling to see some politicians fail to back the cheapest and most successful renewable technology, onshore wind, at a time when a majority of voters from all the main parties are telling them that they support it. Many will ask why some  Government Ministers act as cheerleaders for technologies like fracking for shale gas that can only deliver supplies years down the line, when wind is delivering here and now, onshore and offshore, keeping all our bills down by becoming more cost effective year after year.” 

This article is a repost (7-31-14), credit: RenewableUK.

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Nonhydro Renewables Now Routinely Surpass Hydropower Generation

July 31, 2014 in EIA, EV News, Geothermal, Greentech, Solar, Wind

 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly and Short-Term Energy Outlook Courtesy of EIA

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly and Short-Term Energy Outlook
Courtesy of EIA

April marked the eighth consecutive month that total monthly nonhydro renewable generation exceeded hydropower generation. Only a decade ago, hydropower—the historically dominant source of renewable generation—accounted for three times as much generation in the United States as nonhydro renewable sources (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, and municipal solid waste).

The recent growth in wind and solar, which reflects policies such as state renewable portfolio standards and federal tax credits as well as declining costs of technology, has been the primary driver in the increasing market share of nonhydro renewable generation. There also has been growth in geothermal and biomass sources.

October 2012 was the first month on record in which nonhydro renewable generation exceeded hydropower generation. Although this reversal was short-lived because of the significant month-to-month variation in both hydro and nonhydro resources, the trend lines began to cross each other more frequently in the past year, with the most recent reversal lasting from September 2013 through April 2014. While hydropower once again exceeded nonhydro renewable generation in May 2014 (the latest available data), EIA projects that 2014 will be the first year in which annual nonhydro renewable generation surpasses annual hydropower generation. By 2040, nonhydro renewables are projected to provide more than twice as much generation as hydropower in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case, as discussed in the AEO2014 Market Trends. In other AEO cases that assume the continuation of tax credits or other policies that support nonhydro renewables, their overall generation and generation share relative to hydropower is much higher.

The dataset used to develop this article includes only generation from plants whose capacity exceeds 1 megawatt, and as a result does not include generation from most distributed solar PV capacity. Inclusion of distributed solar PV generation, which EIA estimates at roughly 10 billion kilowatthours in 2013, modestly accelerates the timing of the crossover between hydro and nonhydro renewable generation (see AEO2014).

Hydropower capacity has increased by slightly more than 1% over the past decade, although actual hydropower generation can vary noticeably by season depending on water supply conditions. Wind capacity, on the other hand, has increased nearly tenfold over that same period. Although wind often has lower capacity factors than hydropower, wind generation increased from 3% to more than 30% of total renewable generation between 2003 and 2013.

Hydropower does exceed nonhydro renewable generation in several states, particularly in the Northwest, where in 2013 conventional hydropower accounted for 69% and 56% of total electricity generation in Washington and Oregon, respectively. However, the market penetration of other renewables is growing in the United States, particularly in the Midwest and California. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of states for which nonhydro renewable generation exceeded hydropower generation, shaded green on the maps, nearly doubled—increasing from 17 to 33 over this period.

 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electricity data browser Courtesy of EIA

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electricity data browser
Courtesy of EIA

Principal contributors: Danielle Lowenthal-Savy, Michelle Bowman

This article is a repost, credit: EIA.