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High wind speeds lead renewables to hit all-time high at nearly 20% of electricity mix (UK)

July 1, 2014 in EIA, Environment, EV News, Wind

Courtesy of Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook

Courtesy of Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook

RenewableUK says new statistics published today (6-26-14) by the Department of Energy and Climate Change prove the case for wind power. The figures show that 19.4% of all the UK’s electricity mix in the first quarter of this year was generated from renewable energy sources, compared to 12.4% for the same period in the previous year. DECC says the primary reason for the increase was improved performance and greater capacity from onshore and offshore wind power.

Total renewable electricity generation was a record 18.1 terawatt hours in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 12.7 terawatt hours the previous year, an increase of 43%. This is enough to power 15.17 million homes for the quarter. Coal, gas and nuclear production all fell in the same period.

Onshore wind showed the highest absolute increase in generation, increasing by 62% to 6.6 terawatt hours, with offshore wind increasing by 53% to 4.4 terawatt hours. This made onshore wind the largest source of renewable electricity, with the technology providing 7.2% of all electricity across the UK. The combined total for onshore and offshore wind was nearly 12% of all electricity. The increase was partially due to increases in installed capacity, but also record high performance factors (load factors) of 40.4% for onshore wind and 54.3% for offshore wind. In addition, wave and tidal production increased 77%.

The paper also confirms previously released statistics for 2013, once again showing record performance for renewables across the year, led by onshore wind. However, the document does confirm that progress towards the overall energy target, including heat and transport, was below the interim target that the Government set out for 2013, highlighting the need to keep investing in renewable electricity – including onshore wind.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs Jennifer Webber said: “Once again, wind delivered strongly for the UK in the first quarter of the year – when we need power most – providing nearly 12% of all our electricity. At a time when some politicians were finalising their plans to rule out any future support for onshore wind, it was quietly generating enough electricity for the equivalent of over 5 and a half million homes. Offshore wind also made a significant contribution to getting us off the hook of fossil fuels and reducing our dependence imported energy.

Onshore wind is delivering today, and it’s deeply illogical to talk about limiting its potential. Without the strong performance of wind last year, the Government would have been even further behind its energy targets. That’s why we need to ensure that there’s continued investment in both onshore and offshore wind moving forward.”

The statistics come the day after RenewableUK announced its 2015 General Election Manifesto which includes a pledge for onshore wind to be the cheapest form of new generation by 2020, with a lower price point than new gas, nuclear or other renewables – as long as the next Government is supportive. The Association announced the formation of a cost-cutting taskforce to highlight the initiatives needed to ensure this happens.

Commenting on this, Ms Webber said:

“We’ve shown this week that with the right policy support by 2020 the cheapest way to generate new electricity, to replace all the older power stations that are closing down, will be onshore wind. It’s time for all politicians to recognise the role that onshore wind is playing in our electricity provision and security of supply – and give it their support. Otherwise we’re signing up future consumers to a higher cost future, in hock to foreign powers for our electricity”.

Courtesy of EIA

Courtesy of EIA

This article is a repost (6-26-14), credit: RenewableUK.

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Alstom is considering the proposed acquisition of its Energy activities by GE and the creation of a strong standalone market leader in the rail industry

May 1, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Wind

Offshore wind turbine Haliade 150 6MW Photo courtesy of Alstom

Offshore wind turbine Haliade 150 6MW
Photo courtesy of Alstom

The Board of Directors of Alstom announced today that it has received a binding offer from General Electric (GE) to acquire its Energy activities. The scope of the transaction includes the Thermal Power, Renewable Power and Grid Sectors, as well as corporate and shared services. With 65,000 employees, these businesses registered €14.8Bn in sales in fiscal year 2012/13. The proposed price is a fixed price representing an Equity Value of €12.35Bn and an Enterprise Value(1) of €11.4bn, or 12.2x FY13 EBIT(2).

Should this offer be approved and completed, Alstom would refocus on its Transport activities, for which it is a global leader. Alstom would use the sale proceeds to strengthen its Transport business and give it the means of an ambitious development, pay down its debt and return cash to its shareholders. 

The Board of Directors of Alstom, acknowledging unanimously the strategic and industrial merits of this offer and having noted the publicly announced undertakings by GE, has decided to set up a committee of independent directors, led by Jean-Martin Folz, to review before the end of May the proposed transaction, taking into consideration all stakeholders interests including the French State. Patrick Kron and the committee will liaise with the representatives of the French State to consider their views.

Should the Board conclude positively, the information and consultation of Alstom employees’ representative bodies will be conducted before entering into a definitive agreement.

Completion of the transaction would be subject to merger control and other regulatory clearances. In accordance with the AFEP-Medef code, the final approval of the transaction will be submitted to the shareholders. Bouygues, a 29% shareholder of Alstom, has committed not to sell its shares until this approval and has indicated that it will support the recommendation of the Alstom Board of Directors.

In the context of this binding offer, Alstom may not solicit offers from third parties for the acquisition of all or part of its Energy business. It has however reserved the right to respond to unsolicited offers for its entire Energy business and engage in discussions with bidders demonstrating a serious interest that could lead to a superior offer for Alstom. If, after having recommended GE’s offer, following its review, the Board of directors were to support another transaction, Alstom would owe GE a break-up fee equal to 1.5% of the purchase price.

The Board also reviewed a declaration of interest received from Siemens, regarding an alternative transaction. Siemens will have a fair access to information needed to make, should it decide to do so, a binding offer. This declaration will be reviewed in light of Alstom’s corporate interest and the interest of all stakeholders, in accordance with the commitments made.

Patrick Kron, Chairman and CEO of Alstom, commented: “The combination of the very complementary Energy businesses of Alstom and GE would create a more competitive entity to better service customer needs. Alstom’s employees would join a well-known, major global player, with the means to invest in people and technology to support worldwide energy customers over the long term. The proposed transaction would allow Alstom to develop its Transport business as a standalone company, with a strong balance sheet to capitalise on opportunities in the dynamic rail transport market”.

GE well placed to fully realise the value of Alstom Energy’s people and technology

GE and Alstom Energy have complementary offerings in Power and in Grid.

  • In Thermal Power, Alstom and GE have complementary offerings in steam turbines and gas turbines technology. Alstom will add balance of plant and turnkey capabilities to enhance the combined entity’s power offerings;
  • In Wind Power, Alstom is small in onshore wind with a competitive offering in offshore wind while GE is focused on onshore wind;
  • In Hydro Power, Alstom is a prominent global player and GE is not present;
  • In Service, Alstom’s comprehensive product portfolio is a perfect match with the global presence of GE.
  • In Grid, Alstom and GE are complementary in the products and solutions they offer and in their geographic focus.

The combination of the Energy activities of Alstom and GE would provide customers with the most complete and advanced range of solutions, generating significant synergies and an increased capacity to invest in technology.

Alstom would remain a listed company focused on Transport

Headquartered in St Ouen, the Transport business generated €5.5bn of sales in fiscal year 2012/13, is present in 60 countries and has 27,000 employees including 9,000 in France.

Alstom has its roots in the transport business, going back one hundred years. Alstom Transport is a global leader in rail transport equipment, systems, services and signalling for urban, suburban, regional, main line and freight transportation.

The proposed transaction would refocus Paris-listed Alstom on its Transport activities and would provide Alstom Transport the financial strength to accelerate its development on a growing market with solid fundamentals driven by economic growth, increasing urbanization and environmental concerns. Led by its current management and with Bouygues as a long-term shareholder, Transport would be well positioned for growth.

“Thanks to its recognised technological leadership, global industrial footprint combined with a robust balance sheet, Alstom Transport would be ideally placed to capture growth opportunities in this dynamic market.” stated Henri Poupart-Lafarge, President of Alstom Transport.

(1) Including all assets and liabilities related to the Energy activities, of which €1.9bn of net cash and €0.9bn of other net liabilities (including €1.2bn of net pension liabilities), as at 31-Mar-14

(2) Multiple based on EBIT for the contemplated perimeter

This article is a repost, credit: Alstom.

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The Production Tax Credit is Key to a Strong U.S. Wind Industry, By Mike Carr (DOE)

April 10, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics, Wind

Mike Carr Senior Advisor and EERE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Photo courtesy of DOE

Mike Carr
Senior Advisor and EERE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Photo courtesy of DOE

A new report by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory analyzes the effects the production tax credit (PTC) could have on the continued growth of wind power and, in turn, on the domestic wind energy manufacturing industry. The report notes that the PTC has been critical to the development of the wind power industry and the deployment of wind generation in the United States. From 2006 to 2012, wind power capacity has grown at an average annual rate of approximately 30 percent and the costs of new installed wind have dropped by 22 percent. At the same time, domestic manufacturers are now supplying more than 70 percent of equipment installed at U.S. wind farms — up from just 25 percent in 2006. In 2012, the industry also supported approximately 80,000 jobs up and down the supply chain and in nearly every state.

The PTC works by providing a tax credit for every unit of energy produced by a qualifying facility for the first 10 years of commercial operation. The credit enables wind developers to sell wind electricity at a lower price to power purchasers, ultimately reducing the cost of clean, renewable electricity for U.S. consumers.

The study, Implications of a PTC Extension on U.S. Wind Deployment, finds:

  • Under a scenario in which the production tax credit is not extended and all other policies remain unchanged — and in which, as anticipated, there is little to no growth for electricity in the U.S. — wind capacity additions are projected to fall to between 3 gigawatts (GW) and 5 GW per year from 2013 through 2020. This compares to average additions of 8.7 GW per year from 2008 through 2012.
  • Reduced domestic wind power deployment is likely to have a direct and negative effect on U.S.-based wind turbine manufacturing production and employment.
  • Production tax credit extension options that would ramp down and end by 2022 appear to be insufficient to support recent levels of deployment.
  • Of the scenarios considered in the report, extending the production tax credit at its historical level could provide the best opportunity to sustain strong U.S. wind energy installation and domestic manufacturing.

Wind power has been a rapidly growing part of U.S. electricity supply and is one of the fastest growing parts of the U.S. economy, creating jobs while also helping build a clean energy future. As of 2012, the U.S. wind industry had an estimated 550 based manufacturing facilities producing turbines, blades, towers and their components. Through 2012, more than 60 GW of land-based wind generation capacity have been installed nationally. It is clear that wind energy is a proven technology that is growing — totaling 43 percent of the new electricity generation capacity in 2012.

The success of the U.S. wind industry demonstrates the far-reaching benefits that tax credits can have in creating jobs, boosting U.S. competitiveness and building a more sustainable, clean energy future.

This article is a repost, credit: US Energy Department.

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Alstom Shares Lessons in Offshore Wind with Southeastern States

September 29, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Wind

Offshore wind turbine Haliade 150 6MW, photo courtesy of Alstom

Offshore wind turbine Haliade 150 6MW, photo courtesy of Alstom

(9-25-13)  Alstom

Last week, the head of Alstom’s global offshore wind technology platform joined representatives from the American wind power industry to discuss the latest technologies, policies and developments related to offshore and onshore wind projects in the Southeastern United States. The two day Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference held on 11-12 September focused on the potential wind energy development throughout the region, with particular emphasis on offshore wind opportunities along the eastern seaboard from Virginia to Florida.

Alstom's Offshore Wind Platform Director, Daniel Castell Photo courtesy of Alstom

Alstom’s Offshore Wind Platform Director, Daniel Castell
Photo courtesy of Alstom

Key themes showcased during the event included:

  • Permitting and regulatory issues
  • Existing supply chain and infrastructure in the region
  • Environmental policies
  • Lessons from European projects
  • Manufacturing and job creation

Alstom’s Global Perspective

While the conference highlighted the wind industry in the southeastern U.S., speakers also talked about European projects, such as France’s current effort to build 1.4GW of offshore wind generation,  the French wind tender, as for a model for offshore wind development. Alstom Wind’s very own Daniel Castell, Offshore Platform Director, was a featured keynote speaker who cited the key elements and best practices from European projects that are crucial to developing the offshore wind industry in the U.S. “There are many factors that must be taken into consideration”, said Mr. Castell.  “Obviously you need the equipment and transmission infrastructure but other factors such as industrial setup, supply chain, port infrastructure, and a strong deployment roadmap are critical to ensuring projects are economically sustainable”.  Daniel went on to discuss how the long-term collaboration between partners is essential to overcoming the economic and environmental hurdles that are inherent to offshore wind development.

Offshore wind in the U.S……. Moving forward

Superior wind resources, easy access to load centers and shallow waters make the southeastern coast a prime location for the development of wind farms. That’s why Alstom and partners like Dominion Virginia Power, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), are completing the Front End Feasibility and Design (FEED) stages for an offshore wind demonstration project in the state of Virginia, the first of its kind in the U.S. This project, which would feature two Alstom Haliade 150 6MW offshore turbines, was a major topic of discussion during the conference. Representatives from Dominion Power highlighted the importance of Alstom’s role in the project, citing the company’s global expertise and the intellectual capital brought to the project. Speakers from EDF referenced close industry partnerships, like the French Tender, as vital in bringing the U.S. closer to the reality of offshore wind. During a panel session on the potential for offshore wind in the southeast, representatives from AWS Truepower, LLC. once again cited the company’s advanced Haliade 150 wind turbine and that it’s high yield capability make it an ideal turbine for use along America’s eastern coast.

Learn more about the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition

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

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A Clean Energy Revolution — Now, Source: DOE

September 19, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar, Wind

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Photo courtesy of DOE

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
Photo courtesy of DOE

By Dr. Ernest Moniz

For decades, America has chased after the promise of clean, domestic energy. But even as costs fell and technology matured, that clean energy future seemed to linger just beyond our reach. Critics often said this new world would “always be five years away.” Today, that is changing.

In recent years, costs for numerous critical clean energy technologies — wind power, solar panels, super energy-efficient LED lights and electric vehicles — have fallen significantly. The accompanying surge in deployment has been truly spectacular. Such a surge is tantamount to topping the barricades — a level of cost reduction and market penetration that will enable a full scale revolution in the relatively near term. A new Department of Energy report, “Revolution Now: the Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies” documents this transformation and what it means for America’s energy economy. The clean technology revolution is upon us.

While these technologies still represent a small percentage of their respective markets, that share is expanding at a rapid pace and influencing markets. For instance:

  • In 2012, wind was America’s largest source of new electrical capacity, accounting for 43 percent of all new installations. Altogether the United States has deployed about 60 gigawatts of wind power — enough to power 15 million homes.
  • Since 2008, the price of solar panels has fallen by 75 percent, and solar installations have multiplied tenfold. Many major homebuilders are incorporating rooftop panels as a standard feature on new homes.
  • In that same five years, the cost of super-efficient LED lights has fallen more than 85 percent, and sales have skyrocketed. In 2009, there were fewer than 400,000 LED lights installed in the U.S.; today, the number has grown 50-fold to almost 20 million.
  • During the first six months of 2013, America bought twice as many plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) as in the first half of 2012, and six times as many as in the first half of 2011. In fact, the market for plug-in electric vehicles has grown much faster than the early market for hybrids. Today, EVs ranging from the Chevy Volt to the Tesla Model S also boast some of the highest consumer satisfaction ratings in America. And prices are falling and export markets are opening up. Since 2008, the cost of electric vehicle batteries — which really drive the economics of EVs — has dropped by 50 percent.

As these new markets continue to expand, so will the challenges and opportunities associated with transforming America’ energy system. Already increased energy efficiency and distributed solar energy are posing challenges to traditional utility business models. America will have to invest in building a smarter, more robust and resilient electrical grid with an extensive network of EV chargers and new approaches to consumer bills. These challenges are in fact emblematic of success for America’s clean energy markets.

But why are these markets growing so fast? Policy plays an important role — and not just for renewables. For instance, from 1980 to 2002, the federal government’s production incentives for unconventional natural gas laid a foundation for that sector’s dramatic rise. Today, time-limited tax credits for wind, solar and electric vehicles, in concert with technology and manufacturing advances, are stimulating a similar market expansion.

Of course, these are also great products that bring real benefits to consumers.

For example, no one likes the hassle of repeatedly buying and replacing incandescent light bulbs. A mother who installs a quality LED fixture when her child is born will not need to replace it until that child goes to college — or even graduates. By that time, each LED light she installs will have saved her about $140 in electricity costs. By 2030, LED lights will save Americans $30 billion a year on energy alone.

Forty years ago, an oil embargo sparked panic, rationing and fuel lines across America. But today, Americans can declare their independence from oil, skip the gas lines and recharge at home for the equivalent of about $1.22 a gallon – as opposed to $3.56 for gasoline. We call this low-cost electric fuel an eGallon, and — depending on where you live — eGallon savings can be quite compelling. For instance, in Washington State a gallon of gasoline is almost $4, but the equivalent eGallon costs only 85 cents because of clean, low-cost electricity.

These market revolutions are enabled by robust private-public partnerships for research, development, demonstration and deployment — including some sizable investments from the Energy Department. And the President’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for commonsense steps to reduce carbon pollution and address the effects of climate change, will further accelerate the development and diffusion of these, and other, transformative energy technologies.

Today, we can finally say with confidence that America is witnessing the shift to a cleaner, more domestic and more secure energy future. It is not a faraway goal.

This article is a repost, credit: Department of Energy.

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Vestas receives 80 MW order together with master supply agreement for a potential of up to 750 MW in the USA

September 13, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Wind

New Mexico, Macho Springs, V100 1.8 MW turbines Photographer: Lars Schmidt Courtesy of Vestas

New Mexico, Macho Springs, V100 1.8 MW turbines
Photographer: Lars Schmidt
Courtesy of Vestas

With reference to the Vestas Wind Systems A/S company announcement No. 38/2013 of 13 September 2013, Vestas has secured an 80-MW order out of a master supply agreement with EDF Renewable Energy for multiple wind-energy projects in the USA. Vestas could ultimately supply EDF Renewable Energy up to 750 MW overall.

Deliveries and commissioning for the projects, which will use the V100-2.0 MW turbine, are expected to occur in 2014 and 2015. The new projects’ names and specific locations are not available for disclosure at this time.

We’re happy to build on our strong relationship with a leading global developer like EDF EN,” said Chris Brown, President of Vestas’ sales and service division in the United States and Canada. “We look forward to working with them to complete these projects that will provide clean and affordable electricity to U.S. households.”

Vestas’ factories in Colorado will be involved in manufacturing blades, nacelles and towers for these projects.

Earlier this year, Vestas secured a contract with EDF EN Canada, along with Enbridge, to deliver 166 V100-1.8 MW turbines for the Blackspring Ridge Wind Project in Alberta, Canada.

This agreement builds on the long-standing relationship between our two companies in Europe as well as recent collaboration in North America through the Blackspring Ridge project in Alberta,” commented Ryan Pfaff, Executive Vice President of EDF Renewable Energy. “With the MSA in place, EDF Renewable Energy is well positioned to progress key U.S. wind projects that will support near-term domestic manufacturing and construction jobs, and provide competitively priced, clean energy for our nation’s long-term energy security.”

Each project will feature a multi-year Active Output Management (AOM) 5000 service agreement for up to six years. AOM 5000 is an energy-based availability guarantee that ensures the turbines are operational when the wind is blowing. This service option includes the VestasOnline® surveillance system that remotely controls and monitors the turbines and predicts potential wear-and-tear issues. This allows Vestas to plan maintenance so the turbines operate with the minimum amount of lost production.

About Vestas

Since 1979, Vestas has supplied about 50,000 wind turbines and over 57 GW in 73 countries — 62 per cent more than its closest competitor. Vestas entered the U.S. market in 1981, selling its first wind turbine for a project in California. Since then, the company has delivered 12,396 turbines to the United States and 1,419 to Canada. Combined, Vestas’ installed capacity is 13,387 MW in 28 U.S. states and every Canadian province — enough to power about four million households. Vestas employs about 2,500 people throughout the United States and Canada at four manufacturing facilities in Colorado, service and construction sites, and sales offices. Vestas’ U.S. and Canadian sales and service headquarters is in Portland, Ore., and its global headquarters is in Aarhus, Denmark. To learn more, visit

This article is a repost, credit: Vestas,

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Most powerful blade in wind industry finished

September 11, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Wind

Photo courtesy of Vestas

Photo courtesy of Vestas

Vestas has produced the first prototype 80 meter blade for the V164-8.0 MW – the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine – at the R&D centre on the Isle of Wight, UK. The blade will now undergo an extensive testing regime to ensure total reliability.

The 80 meter blade is the longest ever produced by Vestas and uses the structural shell design, a proven concept in which the loads of the blade are carried in the shell, rather than using a spar at the centre of the blade. The length of the blade is the equivalent of nine double decker London buses and the swept area of the rotor will be 21,124m2, larger than the London Eye.

Reliability critical offshore

In order to validate the strength and reliability of the blade it will be tested to its limits for six months, reproducing the challenging wind conditions of the North Sea over a simulated 25 year lifetime.

Chief Technology Officer Anders Vedel explains the tests will provide certainty to customers looking to make large investments in offshore wind. “Test and verification of the blade is a critical stage of the development of the V164-8.0 MW,” he says. “Moving as much of the verification process as possible into our state of the art test centre ensures the blade, the bearing and other components perform to the high standards our customers expect.”

The V164-8.0 MW prototype will be installed in the first quarter of 2014 at the Danish national testing centre in Østerild.

About Vestas

Every single day, Vestas wind turbines deliver clean energy that supports the global fight against climate change. Wind power from Vestas’ almost 50,000 wind turbines currently reduces carbon emissions by over 60 million tons of CO2 every year, while at the same time building energy security and independence.

Today, Vestas has delivered wind energy in 73 countries, providing jobs for around 17,000 passionate people at our service and project sites, research facilities, factories and offices all over the world. With 62 per cent more megawatts installed than our closest competitor and more than 57 GW of cumulative installed capacity worldwide, Vestas is the world leader in wind energy.

We invite you to learn more about Vestas by visiting our website at

This article is a repost (press release 9-10-13), credit: Vestas,