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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, September 2014
WEB Exclusive story

Singapore International Energy Week is coming in late October, and the organizers have done us all a service by publishing “5Q” Q&As with the headline speakers that resonate with actual business intelligence.

" ... Given the high capital cost of bio-refineries, it could be revenues from the renewable chemicals portion that sufficiently improves the project ROI to justify the investment," says Passmore Group CEO Jeff Passmore in a brief and insightful interview leading up to his appearance at the World Bio Markets USA conference in San Diego, also in October.

Hon. Shri Ajit Pawarji, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, in July laid the foundation stone in Baramati, in Pune district, for a 50-MW solar project from leading Indian renewable energy firm Welspun Energy Pvt. Ltd. “The government has been systematically working on its green energy agenda," he said. "Maharashtra has laid focus on solar and wind energy to secure energy access for the present as well as the future. The Baramati 50 MW solar project will be a major step in this direction and will certainly help to meet state’s green energy goals.”

Welspun is setting up the project on a public-private partnership (PPP) model with Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd (Mahagenco). The power producer will be fully responsible for part-finance, design, and commissioning of this grid interactive solar power. Welspun will invest 60 percent of project cost and will be entitled to get 62 percent of revenue. Apart from Maharashtra the company is building large capacity solar projects in the states of Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Construction has begun on its 36-MW Punjab project site and an MoU has been signed for an additional 151 MW of capacity. The organization is targeting to develop 1.75 GW of renewable capacity in the next three years.

US Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze was in Nevada last week to help break ground on the state's newest and largest solar array.

Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Government of Québec

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and Hannover Fairs USA will stage CanWEA's 30th annual conference in late October in Montréal. Among the headliners is Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Government of Québec, who spoke with Site Selection a few years ago when he was that province's minister of international relations.

Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München (Munich City Utilities, SWM) have decided to jointly invest about 11 billion Swedish kronor (€1.2 billion or US$1.5 billion) in a second joint offshore wind farm off the German North Sea coast. Sandbank will include 72 units of 4-MW wind turbines (totaling 288 MW) and is expected to annually generate 1.4 TWh of renewable electricity, equivalent to the consumption of about 400,000 households. The new wind farm will be built northwest of the 288-MW DanTysk wind farm, Vattenfall and Stadtwerke Munich's first joint project, to be operational in early 2015.

"The Sandbank project is further testament to Vattenfall's strategy of consistently focusing our growth efforts on the expansion of renewable energy," said Gunnar Groebler, head of the Renewables Business Unit for Vattenfall's Continental/UK region. "We know how to work offshore and we see it as a significant building block in the success of the energy transition (Energiewende) in Germany."

Vattenfall has more than 900 wind turbines in operation in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, is the second largest operator of offshore wind power, and at the end of 2013, had a 12.5-percent share of the global offshore wind energy market (850 MW out of 6900 MW).

One of the world's largest installation vessels, the Pacific Osprey, is being used to install offshore wind farm DanTysk's 80 turbines in the North Sea.
Photo by Mogens Holmgaard courtesy of Vattenfall

The US DOE has highlighted the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s recently released rankings of Top 10 utility green power programs, with various tables ranking programs by total renewable energy sales, number of participants, and lowest premium on pricing, among other variables. Portland General Electric has more renewable power customers and sold more renewable energy than any other utility in the United States for the second year in a row.

Southern Research Institute's 500 team members work across the South, but its home state of Alabama boasts the most SRI locations.
Image courtesy of SRI

Southern Research Institute, the 500-strong not-for-profit based in Birmingham, Ala., that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and environment and energy research, this summer announced the completion of a facility to study solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The Southeastern Solar Research Center (SSRC), will house numerous research efforts beginning with an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) project focused on solar PV system orientation, tracking and aging.

"A number of utilities, including Southern Company and its subsidiary Alabama Power, are interested in evaluating the performance and operating characteristics of different configurations for solar PV systems," said Michael D. Johns, Vice President, Engineering at Southern Research Institute. "The SSRC may provide key insights into their performance in the high heat, high humidity, high precipitation and high pollen environment typical of this area of the country."

SRI operates additional laboratories and offices in Wilsonville and Huntsville, Ala.; Frederick, Md.; Durham, N.C.; Houston, Texas; and Cartersville, Ga.

The Ideas Lab from GE has some thoughts on solving Africa’s power challenges.

Speaking of labs, the Pensmore Foundation and Hampden-Sydney College, a men's college in Virginia, broke ground last month on a freestanding energy research laboratory where students will be able to research energy monitoring, energy conservation, and sustainable buildings in a grant-based project on campus. Funds to build the Energy Research Laboratory were provided by the Pensmore Foundation. Steven Huff (pictured), Hampden-Sydney Class of 1973, is chairman of both the Foundation and of TF Concrete Forming Systems.

The building will be constructed with walls of 1-ft.-thick concrete mixed with patented, one-inch-long helix steel fibers, which provide strength and flexibility to the concrete and uphold structural integrity in tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and blasts. The walls are super-insulated on the exterior and possess excellent thermal mass — the ability to hold fairly constant temperatures within the structure over extended periods of time. Solar panels and geothermal wells will provide heated or cooled water for tubing inside the walls, maintaining a consistent, comfortable climate within the structure.

Photo courtesy of Pensmore Media

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The Site Selection Energy Report features exclusive and in-depth reporting and analysis on the most important energy projects and energy policy issues impacting the world of manufacturing and industrial real estate. Topics covered include oil and gas projects, investments into alternative energy installations and R&D, tax credits and financing, electric utility issues and much more.

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