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Giant 100MW Shams solar thermal plant comes online in Abu Dhabi

Giant 100MW Shams solar thermal plant comes online in Abu Dhabi

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/03/18/giant-100mw-shams-solar-thermal-plant-comes-online-in-abu-dhabi/

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Abu Dhabi’s Masdar project has officially inaugurated the world’s largest solar thermal power project, after yesterday bringing online the 100MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant.
The $600m project, which was developed in partnership with oil giant Total and Spanish energy developer and solar specialist Abengoa, is now expected to displace approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and act as a forerunner for further CSP projects in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major breakthrough for renewable energy in the Middle East,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar in a statement. “Just like the rest of the word, the region is faced with meeting its rising demand for energy, while also working to reduce its carbon footprint. Shams 1 is a significant milestone, as large-scale renewable energy is proving it can deliver electricity that is sustainable, affordable and secure.”

The facility, which covers an area equivalent to 285 football fields in western Abu Dhabi, makes use of parabolic trough technology, featuring more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking solar collectors. The troughs concentrate the heat onto oil oil-filled pipes, which are then used to produce steam that drives a turbine to generate electricity.

Masdar said the project also features a dry-cooling system that significantly reduces water consumption, described as “a critical advantage in the arid desert of western Abu Dhabi”.
“This is a major step in the process of transforming the capabilities of solar power in the region,” said Christophe de Margerie, chairman and CEO of Total, in a statement. “We share Abu Dhabi’s vision that renewables have a promising future alongside fossil energies… As such, we are pleased to accompany the Emirate in the diversification of its energy mix.”

The official opening of the new project represents the latest in a series of milestones for the high profile Masdar project, which has committed to establishing Abu Dhabi as a major global renewable energy hub and investor, featuring the world’s first zero carbon city, new renewables-powered desalination infrastructure, and stakes in large scale renewable energy projects around the world.

by Anric

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Reacting to China’s Goal of 49 GW of Renewables in 2013

Reacting to China’s Goal of 49 GW of Renewables in 2013

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/01/23/reacting-to-chinas-goal-of-49-gw-of-renewables-in-2013/

 Information coming out of China about its renewable energy plans, and prospects for both domestic and international suppliers hoping to continue riding one of the world’s most optimistic growth markets, have commanded headlines in the early weeks of 2013.

China plans to add 49 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity in 2013: 21 GW of hydropower, 18 GW of wind, and 10 GW of solar, according to its National Energy Administration.

Chinese solar panel makers are optimistic. Trina Solar recently said shipments will surge 30 percent in 2013, and Jinko Solar expects a 20-30 percent jump in shipments, on hopes that global demand is rising — gains in Asia (most notably domestically in China), plus regions including the U.S. and Asia, should offset declines in Europe — and price decreases could slow or cease later this year. Yingli Green Energy, which topped a record 2.2 GW in shipments in 2012, enters 2013 with expectations of downstream expansion.

Investors quickly responded with renewed interest in the battered sector; Suntech and LDK saw an upswell of investor support. Underlying concerns remain, though, about the financial viability of domestic solar manufacturers in a severely and government-fed market. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Clean Energy, Solar

 

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Middle East Water Update: 100 Billion earmarked for water investments

GCC governments have earmarked more than $100 billion in their water sectors between 2011 and 2016 to improve desalination technologies involving solar energy, and maximise on wastewater treatments and recycling.
According to a recent report by Ventures Middle East, population growth and deterioration of water quality has prompted GCC governments to embark on major spending to combat water scarcity and ensure sustainable resources for the future.
A recent study by Booz & Company also suggests that the GCC countries are likely to invest more than $100 billion in their water sector up to 2016 even as the region faces water over-consumption with per capita higher than the global average highlights the seriousness of excess water consumption in the GCC region.
On a per capita basis, Saudi Arabia and the UAE consume 91 per cent and 83 per cent more water than the global average, and about six times more water than the UK, Booz & Company said in its report a few months back.
Qatar and Oman are also above the global average for water consumption, despite their desert climates, the Booz study shows..

According to joint research by the Euro Arab Organisation for Environment, Water and Desert Ranches and the University of Jordan, the Arab world is likely to witness a water crisis around 2025 unless effective steering mechanisms for sustainable water management and measures to reduce the agricultural consumption of water are applied.

The UAE has planned several wastewater treatment and recycling projects to improve water management practices in order to meet rising demand of this scarce and costly resource. Abu Dhabi will add more than 30 million gallons per day of desalination capacity to its water network following a green light for a power and water plant extension at Mirfa.

Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi, director general of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority said water is one of the scarcest resources in the Mena region and that Gulf countries are among the world’s top ten producers of desalinated water.
“Desalination currently provides two-thirds of the water requirements in Mena, and the new urgency and high priority assigned by governments to investments across the water desalination sector in the region is therefore not a surprise.”

Elsewhere in the UAE, Fewa, the electricity and water authority for Ajman, Ras Al Khaima, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, will implement ultra-filtration as a pre-treatment step for the first time at its Al Zawrah seawater reverse osmosis plant in Ajman to produce 115 million litres per day of pre-treated seawater to feed the reverse osmosis membrane system.

Qatar is also looking to increase its capacity in both the wastewater and water areas. In doing so it is considering new technological processes through independent water and power projects, the largest being the Ras Girtas project, currently under construction in the Ras Laffan industrial complex.

Meanwhile, the Public Authority of Electricity and Water in Oman plans to build strategic water storage reservoirs in Muscat in order to overcome a crisis situation if desalination plants are disrupted, while the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water will construct two reverse osmosis desalination plants in Doha, Kuwait that will produce nearly 50 million gallons of water per day.
“The water sector is a major challenge for GCC states which are among the most water scarce countries in the world,” said Anita Mathews, Exhibition Director for Power + Water Middle East. “The problems of water shortage and water security are now being addressed and the relevant factors which influence the water resources identified.”
According to Booz & Company study, desalination provides two-thirds or more of the potable water used in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, and will continue to play a huge role in the GCC’s water development efforts.
But desalination carries enormous economic and environmental costs. Despite a more than fivefold improvement in efficiency since 1979, the $1 it costs to desalinate a cubic metre of seawater is still a relatively expensive way of producing potable water.
Seawater desalination is an energy-intensive process, consuming eight times more energy than groundwater projects, and accounting for between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of energy consumption in the GCC. This adds to the problems of energy intensity already plaguing the region. The desalination process also discharges salt back into the Arabian Gulf and other oceanic sources, jeopardising their marine life and introducing new environmental risks, the Booz & Company study said.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Water

 

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USA – Saudi Arabia set to sign deals on renewable energy projects

RIYADH: US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb says the United States and Saudi Arabia are prepared to sign a number of deals related to the establishment of investment and service projects depending on renewable energy resources.

Ms Lamb, who is leading a 13-member business delegation to the Kingdom, expressed US support to the Kingdom on its drive to develop clean energy and that they are waiting for bigger cooperation between the two countries to realize goals put forth by the Kingdom.

She said the US administration and companies as well are concerned over the creation of investment opportunities with their Saudi counterparts, particularly on projects depending on renewable energy.

The US will extend multiple services to the Kingdom in its pursuit to lessen dependence on oil for power generation and development of alternative energy sources, environmentally secure and highly credible, particularly in light of growing demand on energy in the Kingdom, she said.

She noted that the Kingdom’s announcement of investment of $100 billion in the next 10 years for development of solar and nuclear energy will help the US business delegation explore investment opportunities in the Kingdom and strengthen ties between the two countries.

The US official, who met with Saudi officials and businessmen at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI) touched on efforts that could be made by Saudi trade partners in solving issues related to the renewable energy in the Kingdom.

CSCCI Secretary General Fahad Al-Sultan said Saudi-US relations were built on strategic basis during the last 10 years.

He said their meeting with US delegation explored suitable mechanisms for cooperation between business sectors in both countries.

The meeting centered on three themes: Kingdom’s energy needs and its five-year plan, the Kingdom’s vision on renewable energy, and the Kingdom’s concern over building clean energy system, he noted.

He affirmed that the Kingdom has clearly opted to depend on knowledge-based economy.

Oil For Power

Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, uses crude and refined products as fuel for power stations because it doesn’t have enough gas to generate all the power it needs and also supply industry. Liquid fuels generate about half of the country’s power, according to the state-run utility Saudi Electricity Co. (SECO) Saudi Arabia burns some 800,000 barrels a day of oil equivalent to satisfy domestic demand, Khalid Al Senani, the gas supply director at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, said in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 30.

The nation’s other power plants use gas, which costs about one-fourth as much as oil on the basis of a barrel of oil equivalent, according to U.S. benchmark prices.

By burning oil to keep electricity flowing, Saudi Arabia may find it harder to maintain its global role as the crude supplier of last resort.

Related Article:  Middle East to spend US $ 180 Billion on Energy Project

 

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$300 billion investment in GCC water projects

JEDDAH – Spurred by a buoyant economy and population growth, over $300 billion will be invested in the GCC water and desalination projects, between 2012 – 2022 periods, researchandmarkets.com reported Friday.

Subsequent to its revolutionary discovery of hydrocarbons about three decades back, the GCC economies have come a long way into establishing themselves as a fast developing region boasting modern amenities and facilitating high standards of living.

It said the GCC have increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and are opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement.

While privatization occupies centre stage in the overhauling process of the power and water sector, the initiatives toward alternative energy sources in the form of solar and nuclear power, as alternatives to the heavy dependence on the hydrocarbons sector, particularly to replace natural gas as a primary fuel in power generation, has been considered a highlight of the regional power reforms

The emergence of alternative power sources will enable GCC nations to successfully diversify their economic growth from a predominantly oil based economy thus bracing themselves against future adversities arising from oil fluctuations, the report noted. Renewable energies are about to capture a considerable segment of the global energy mix. This segment is only likely to grow given rising demand for energy, supply worries with regard to fossil fuels and environmental concerns. In particular solar energy offer huge potential for the GCC countries.

Rising domestic energy needs for power generation and desalination, favorable conditions for solar energy production and interest in acquiring technological know-how make a perfect argument for renewable energy in the Gulf.

All six nations of the GCC have either embarked upon or committed to investments in solar projects, with projects split between solar photovoltaic and solar thermal applications.

The GCC region also has considerable wind resources, even though these vary widely across the countries and wind installations are at a less developed stage than their solar counterparts.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Solar, Water, Wind

 

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Edison Plans to Shut Coal-Fired Power Plants in the US

US power utility Edison International announced over the weekend (3-4 March) it would shut two, and possibly three, coal plants in Illinois. Edison will shut down its two Chicago coal-fired power plants–one this year and one by 2014–rather than install pollution-control equipment to comply with state pollution limits, the company said. Edison said it also would probably shut down a third coal plant in Waukegan, Illinois, and possibly others.

The move comes as a result of a collapse in the wholesale price of natural gas in North America, thanks to the boom in domestic production of shale gas. Production from the US “lower-48” states reached 63.7 bcf/d in January, pushing prices on the Henry Hub market as low as USD2.36/mmBtu. This has led to around 175-TWh-worth of coal-fired generation being displaced from the merit order across the country, mainly in the north-east. With the shale gale showing little sign of abating, utilities have reacted by mothballing their coal-burning power plants: American Electric Power Co. Inc. has said it plans to shut down up to 6,000MW (mainly in Ohio) of capacity, while GenOn Energy Inc. said on Wednesday (29 February) it intends to shut down a further seven coal-fired power plants, with capacity of around 3,140MW.

Significance: North America’s experience in coal/gas price differentials comes in stark contrast to the European sector. In Europe, gas prices have regained much of the ground lost since their peak in 2008, thanks to oil-indexed contract rates being dragged up by bullish crude prices. At the same time, much of the coal that was being shipped to the US from Latin America and South Africa is being redirected to Europe, depressing coal prices there. As such, the clean spark spreads in Europe are well below clean dark spreads (in some cases even negative). In addition to this, surging volumes of power supply from renewable energy sources are squeezing the run time of gas-fired power plants (see: Statkraft Places 430MW Gas-Fired Capacity in Cold Reserve).

Therefore, whereas the US is seeing coal pushed out of merit by cheap gas, in Europe the opposite is true.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the USA, More Than 75 California Leaders Say ‘Yes’ to Solar Power

Solar power is booming in California—in urban and rural areas, along the coast and throughout the Central Valley, in Democratic and Republican strongholds alike—and a growing number of California’s leaders are seeking to build on this foundation by supporting Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal to build 12,000 megawatts (MW) of local, distributed energy throughout the state by 2020. That’s significant—12,000 MW is the equivalent of 24 coal-fired power plants.

To date, 8 Members of Congress, 35 Members of the California State Legislature, and 38 local officials from San Jose and Sacramento to Los Angeles and San Diego have signed on to say: “Yes, I endorse Governor Brown’s pioneering vision to build 12,000 megawatts of clean energy—enough solar energy to cover a million solar roofs—by 2020. By building solar on houses, apartment buildings, offices, schools, and warehouses across California, we can create green jobs, reduce air pollution, and generate clean energy to power our lives.”

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Google, TransCanada & Warren Buffett: New Investors in Solar Power

Solar power installations in the United States have reached record highs this year.  As we reported previously, third quarter photovoltaic installations rose by 40%, bringing total installed capacity above 1GW for the first time in U.S. history.

As the year draws to a close, the North American sector is attracting notable new investments from high profile corporate and individual investors such as Google, TransCanada and Warren Buffett.

Google, in conjunction with private equity firm KKR & Co, is buying four solar power plants in California from solar developer Recurrent Energy (owned by Sharp Corp).  Together, these plants have a total capacity of 88MW.  Google’s latest purchase brings its total investment in solar to over $915 million.

Making its first investment in solar, TransCanada – in the news recently surrounding its Keystone XL pipeline to connect Canada’s Alberta tar sands region with refineries in the Gulf – will pay $470 million to Canadian Solar to develop nine plants across Ontario, Canada.  Canadian Solar will take advantage of Ontario’s generous feed-in-tariff program to incentivize the generation of electricity from renewable sources.

Last but certainly not least, we come to Warren Buffett.  The “Oracle of Omaha” has invested heavily into solar via MidAmerican Energy’s (a holding company of Berkshire Hathaway) plan to buy First Solar’s $2 billion Topaz solar photovoltaic plant in Southern California.

The plant is currently under construction, but upon completion by early 2015, will have the capacity to generate enough energy to meet the demands of approximately 160,000 homes.

“MidAmerican is the No. 1 owner of wind-powered energy generation among US rate-regulated utilities,” remarked Greg Abel, the Chairman, President & CEO.  “Adding solar energy to our generation portfolio is a strategic move to invest in yet another renewable energy source.”

Abel continued, “This project also demonstrates that solar energy is a commercially viable technology without the support of governmental loan guarantees and reflects the type of solar and other renewable generation that MidAmerican will continue to seek to add to its unregulated portfolio.”

Read about Google and TransCanada here

Read more about Warren Buffett and MidAmerican’s purchase here

Learn more about investing in solar and renewable energy

 
 

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