SunPower to supply 64.4MW of solar panels in France

Published 16 February 2017

SunPower announced that it will supply 64.4MW of high efficiency E-Series solar panels for the construction of seven solar power plants in France by La Compagnie du Vent, a subsidiary of Engie.

A significant portion of the panels supplied under the agreement will be manufactured at SunPower's facilities in France.

"Since 2012, La Compagnie du Vent has been a valued SunPower partner, and we are pleased to supply an additional 64.4 megawatts of solar panels that will deliver emission-free power for homes and businesses in France," said SunPower Executive Vice President

Eduardo Medina. "Today more than 3,000 megawatts of solar plants around the world are powered using SunPower technology. With high performance SunPower® solar technology, power plant developers maximize power generation and generate reliable returns on investment for 25 years or more."

To date, SunPower has supplied a total of 45 megawatts of its technology to La Compagnie du Vent for the construction of five solar power plants currently operating in France.

SunPower's direct current E-Series solar panels, as well as its X-Series solar panels, are Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver. SunPower is the only solar panel manufacturer in the world to achieve this designation, which demonstrates a product's quality based on rankings in five categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social fairness.

Source: Company Press Release


Climate change could threaten entire financial system: APRA

Updated February 17, 2017 17:43:29

Climate change could threaten the stability of the entire financial system, the prudential regulator has warned, as it prepares to apply climate change "stress tests" to the nation's financial institutions.

In its first major speech on climate change, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chastised companies for a lack of action on the risks it poses.

"While climate risks have been broadly recognised, they have often been seen as a future problem or a non-financial problem," APRA executive board member Geoff Summerhayes told an Insurance Council conference in Sydney.

"Many of these risks are foreseeable, material and actionable now.

"Climate risks also have potential system-wide implications that APRA and other regulators here and abroad are paying much closer attention to."

The speech comes as the Government and the Opposition bicker about renewable energy targets amid dismay among industry leaders about a lack of certainty on climate change policy.

The Climate Institute's CEO John Connor described the speech as a "huge" development.

"APRA has never gone out there like this before," he said.

"It's an antidote to the hyper partisan political culture war on climate policy; our regulator's moved to the front foot in managing climate risks."

The Climate Institute and the Investor Group on Climate Change wrote jointly to the Council of Financial Regulators two years calling for regulatory action on the financial risks from climate change.

Lack of policy 'could greatly increase financial risks'

APRA warned in the speech that lack of policy and regulatory action could make the financial risks poses by climate change "greater and more abrupt".

"There could be either sharper, more significant policy changes and market adjustments down the track, or the physical impacts of climate change could become more severe, more likely and more unpredictable," Mr Summerhayes said.

"It's unsafe for entities or regulators to ignore risks just because there is uncertainty, or even controversy, about the policy outlook.

"Like all risks, it is better they are explicitly considered and managed as appropriate, rather than simply ignored or neglected.

"So what can you expect to see from us? A greater emphasis on stress testing for organisational and systemic resilience in the face of adverse shocks.

"Just as we would expect to see more sophisticated scenario-based analysis of climate risks at the firm level, we look at these risks as part of our system-wide stress testing."

APRA's intervention follows a similar though more pointed warning two years ago by the head of the Bank of England about the threats climate change posed to financial stability.

It comes in the wake of the Paris Climate Change Accord, which committed the world to taking steps to keep global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

APRA's speech addressed the risks identified by the Bank of England:

  • physical risk around the effects of climate change
  • transition risk from the shift towards a zero net emissions economy
  • liability risk for company directors, trustees, and insurer

Climate change is the "tragedy of the horizon", Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned in his landmark 2015 speech.

"We don't need an army of actuaries to tell us that the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors - imposing a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix."

First posted February 17, 2017 17:26:48


Toshiba : H2One receives "New Energy Award 2016"

February 15, 2017
Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions CompanyTOKYO-Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced that its H2One™ autonomous hydrogen energy supply system H2One™ has been awarded a 'New Energy Foundation Chairman Award'. The award recognizes products and services or public awareness activities that promote use of new energy.H2One™ is a CO2-free energy supply system. It consists of photovoltaic power generation system, a storage battery system, water-electrolysis hydrogen generator, hydrogen storage tank and fuel cell unit. The award recognizes that Toshiba is pioneering the development of a hydrogen energy supply system in Japan and demonstrating the way forward toward realizing a hydrogen economy.As a self-contained, autonomously operating power source, H2One™ can supply constant electricity throughout the year, powering itself with renewable energy, with no concerns of weathers and seasons. It can be utilized for both everyday energy needs and to provide emergency power.Hydrogen-based Autonomous Energy Supply System H2One™To TopToshiba Corporation published this content on 17 February 2017 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein.
Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 17 February 2017 05:21:11 UTC.Original documenthttp://www3.toshiba.co.jp/power/english/topics/20170215/index.htm


MEPs back plans to cut carbon emission allowances and fund low-carbon innovation

Plans to boost greenhouse-gas emission curbs through the EU carbon market (EU ETS), so as to bring EU climate policy into line with the aims of the Paris agreement, were backed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs supported the Commission proposal to reduce the number of “carbon credits” (emission allowances) to be auctioned by 2.2% each year, and want to double the capacity of the 2019 market stability reserve (MSR) to absorb the excess of allowances on the market.

"I am very grateful to my colleagues for supporting this report. Today's vote marks a major step forward towards meeting our ambitious climate change targets” said rapporteur Ian Duncan (ECR, UK). “Parliament has voted through ambitious measures to fulfil our Paris Agreement obligations, and we have sent a strong signal to the European Council that we are serious about the fight to stop global warming", he continued.

MEPs approved the Commission proposal to increase the so-called “linear reduction factor” - the yearly reduction of credits to be auctioned, in order to deliver on the carbon curbs - by 2.2% from 2021, as against 1.74% in the existing legislation. This factor should be kept under review with a view to increasing it to 2.4% by 2024 at the earliest, say MEPs.

MEPs also want to double the MSR’s capacity to mop up the excess of credits on the market. When triggered, it would absorb up to 24% of the excess of credits in each auctioning year, for the first four years. They agreed that 800 million allowances should be removed from the MSR as of 1 January 2021.

Two funds will be set up and financed by auctioning ETS allowances. A modernisation fund will help to upgrade energy systems in lower-income member states, and an innovation fund will provide financial support for renewable energy, carbon capture and storage and low-carbon innovation projects.

MEPs also propose a “just transition fund”, pooling auction revenues to promote skill formation and reallocation of labour affected by the transition of jobs in a decarbonising economy.

Aviation and shipping

The aviation sector should receive 10% fewer allowances than its 2014-2016 average, in order to bring its efforts in line with other sectors, say MEPs. Revenues from auctioning allowances in the aviation sector would be used for climate action in the EU and third countries.

MEPs say that, in the absence of a comparable system operating under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), CO2 emissions in EU ports and during voyages to and from them should be accounted for. They propose setting up a “maritime climate fund” to compensate for maritime emissions, improve energy efficiency, facilitate investment in innovative technologies and reduce CO2 emissions from the sector.

Next steps

The draft measures were approved by 379 votes to 263, with 57 abstentions. MEPs will now enter into negotiations with the Maltese Presidency of the Council in order to reach an agreement on the  final shape of the legislation, which will then come back to Parliament.

Note to editors

On 15 July 2015, the Commission published its proposal for Phase IV of the ETS. This aims to meet the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target of “at least” 40% while protecting European industry from the risk of carbon “leakage” (emitters moving to third countries with less stringent limits) and promoting innovation and modernisation in Europe’s industrial and power sectors over the decade from 2020.

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure, first reading

 


Next steps for renewable energy in England

Conference

Next steps for renewable energy in England
Thursday, 25th May 2017
Central London
THIS EVENT IS CPD CERTIFIED

Guest of Honour
Vicky Dawe, Deputy Director, CFD Allocations, Strategy and Projects Team, BEIS

This seminar will examine key issues for the UK renewables sector - including meeting the renewable generation and carbon budget targets set by the UK Government and the sector’s place in the UK energy mix going forward.

Following the recent announcement on the government consultation and subsequent green paper on the UK’s new Industrial Strategy, delegates will discuss what is needed from the Strategy to support the renewables sector during the transition to a low-carbon economy. As the government considers the ongoing Contracts for Difference allocation round and next steps for the sector following their decision to reduce subsidies under the Renewables Obligation for solar.

Delegates will also assess the implications of the changes to the Feed in Tariff scheme and the upcoming results of the consultation on generation tariffs for anaerobic digestion and micro-combined heat and power - as well as the government consultation on closing unabated coal power plants in the UK by 2025.

Further sessions focus on the implications of leaving the EU for renewable policy and future support for the sector, including prospects for investment in solar, wind and biomass.

The agenda also looks at latest developments in technology, including advances in storage and home renewable generation.


Ramboll Environ to participate in ground-breaking study of offshore wind potential on US East Coast

The untapped offshore wind energy potential in the US is estimated by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to be more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW), nearly double the nation’s annual electricity use. Yet the first offshore wind farm in the US was completed just last year off the coast of Rhode Island.

Arlington, Va./February 14, 2017 - The untapped offshore wind energy potential in the US is estimated by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to be more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW), nearly double the nation's annual electricity use. Yet the first offshore wind farm in the US was completed just last year off the coast of Rhode Island.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) last week awarded Ramboll Environ and team partners a contract to study this untapped potential within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Offshore Wind Ports & Infrastructure Assessment encompasses a series of tasks, key among them an evaluation of underdeveloped waterfront sites in Massachusetts that could potentially be acquired and developed through private investment to support both near-term and long-term offshore wind activities. The study will yield a series of property assessments to guide offshore wind developers, manufacturers and private investors in their selection of sites to fabricate, manufacture, stage, deploy and service offshore wind components in Massachusetts and along the East Coast.

Project Principal David Lis says, "This is an exciting opportunity, since it literally positions us on the ground floor of a potentially huge transformation within the US energy industry. Ramboll has been a key force in the offshore wind industry in the Nordics and across Europe, so the experience and expertise that we bring to this project and to the industry generally are invaluable."

The MassCEC study team includes Ramboll, Apex and other local engineering firms; the University of Massachusetts (Boston) Urban Harbors Institute; and Tufts University. The project brings together leading global experts in offshore wind development; experienced Massachusetts-based engineers, and environmental and port professionals with direct knowledge of the project sites in the study area and in the US offshore wind marketplace; world-renowned researchers in port development and offshore wind energy production; and key members of the supply chain that will build the new offshore wind industry in the US.

###

About Ramboll Environ
Ramboll Environ is a leading global environmental and health consulting firm with 2100 consultants working across 130 offices in 28 countries. We help a diverse industrial, financial, legal and government client base to solve their most challenging environmental, health and social issues and support a sustainable society. Ramboll Environ was formed by the December 2014 acquisition of global consultancy ENVIRON by Ramboll. www.ramboll-environ.com

About Ramboll
Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. Ramboll employs 13,000 globally and has especially strong representation in the Nordics, UK, North America, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Ramboll works across the markets: Buildings, Transport, Planning & Urban Design, Water, Environment & Health, Energy, Oil & Gas and Management Consulting. www.ramboll.com


Japan’s JERA to acquire 10% in Goldman Sachs-backed ReNew Power

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 13:26 IST

Japan’s JERA to acquire 10% in Goldman Sachs-backed ReNew Power

Reuters

Japan’s JERA Co. Inc. said on Tuesday it has agreed to acquire a 10% stake in ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd in its first major transaction in the renewable energy sector.

The deal signifies the importance to JERA of developing a balanced overseas power generation portfolio that includes renewable energy, the Japanese company said in a statement.

JERA also said it will provide technical, operational, project development, and management experience to ReNew, which will issue fresh shares to the Japanese company as part of the deal.

To be updated...

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Will NZ's future energy be clean? - Expert Q&A

Will NZ's future energy be clean? - Expert Q&A
14 Feburary 2017

Approximately 80 per cent of New Zealand's electricity comes from renewable energy sources. But is this the full picture behind NZ's clean and green reputation?
Today the University of Otago's Centre for Sustainability releases ten policy briefs from its Energy Cultures research. We asked experts how New Zealand's energy usage compares to the rest of the world and what our Energy Future might look like.

Please feel free to use these comments in your reporting.This is an abridged version - you can access the full version on scimex.org along with the newly-released policy briefs.

- Dr Janet Stephenson, University of Otago
- Prof Ralph Sims, Massey University
- Prof Robyn Phipps, Massey University
- A.Prof Ben Wooliscroft, University of Otago

Dr Janet Stephenson, Director, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago:
What needs to change to transition NZ towards a clean energy future without risking our energy security?

"New Zealand tends to pat itself on the back about our renewable electricity. Around 80 per cent of our electricity is currently generated from renewable resources, mainly hydro, geothermal and wind. However only around 40 per cent of ALL energy used in New Zealand is renewable.

"So around 60 per cent of our total energy use is fossil fuels – coal, oil (mainly petrol and diesel) and gas. We tend to conveniently forget this when we talk about how clean and green NZ is, and just focus on the electricity story. It will take some major changes to shift away from fossil fuels, which are mainly used for transport and in industry. And a clean energy future is not just about switching to renewables – it’s about using ALL energy much more efficiently, so it takes less energy to do the same amount of work (or more work).

"For New Zealand, changing to renewable fuels for transport and industrial processes offers great opportunities to improve productivity and to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Given the quality of our renewable resources for electricity generation, it makes sense to seek to electrify transport and industry, and we’re already seeing the start of this with the government’s support for uptake of electric vehicles, and the focus in the proposed NZ Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy on using renewable energy in process heat for industry."

What do you think NZ’s Energy Future looks like?

"We need to get to a net zero carbon world by the second half of this century and NZ must play its part in this transition. For NZ, opportunities to reduce biological emissions will take longer to develop than opportunities to reduce energy-related emissions. Here we must focus on, in order of importance, stopping burning coal, secondly getting away from burning oil (petrol and diesel) and thirdly moving away from gas. This means changes in what fuels we use to be mobile, to heat our homes, to run our businesses, and to produce and transport goods.

"I envisage NZ’s energy future by the second half of this century as one in which we have a high level of electrification of transport (e.g. trains, buses, cars, some heavy vehicles) and some use of biofuels (e.g. in planes and heavy transport). Industrial processes will shift to electricity and biofuels, which will require some adaptation of equipment. Forestry will be more important both because of its use as a carbon sink and also its use for biofuels (e.g. solid wood, wood chips, wood pellets, liquid biofuels). Advances in other forms of biofuel production (e.g. algae) will also have occurred."
Does anything need to change in government policy or action to assist all New Zealanders to transition to a clean energy future?

"The problem is that there is no government policy! There is a weak emission trading scheme (under review) that a) most people don’t realise exists even though they contribute to it in their gas and petrol bills, and b) has had no effect on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions whatsoever – even at the current carbon price of around $18/t CO2. A small car typically produces 2 tonnes of CO2 per year – so paying around $36/yr through the ETS, there is little incentive to reduce GHG emissions.

"To reach a major tipping point of emissions reductions requires behavioural change linked with low-carbon technologies – but there is no leadership to drive that change and therefore no signs that the government wishes to significantly reduce our emissions. New Zealand has an opportunity to be a leader in the international aim, from Paris, to stay below a 2oC temperature rise, but is has dropped the ball. If all the world’s countries were to match New Zealand’s target of 11.2% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2030, then the world will be on track for a 3-4 oC temp rise. This is obviously untenable.

"On a per capita basis, our GHG emissions are one of the highest in the world, so we are yet to show that we’re willing to 'do our fair share' to reduce emissions. Increasing the plantation forest area to remove CO2 gives us some breathing space, but this can only be a temporary solution as land area is constrained. Buying carbon credits from off-shore is also not a long-term solution, and may postpone the inevitable need to reduce our domestic emissions and make the transition to a low carbon economy.

"The planet is at a critical juncture – and not just in regards to climate change impacts. We will all have to make changes to our current lifestyle because, quite simply, 'business as usual' is not sustainable."

Professor Robyn Phipps, Professor of Construction, Massey University:
When it comes to energy efficiency, is NZ's construction industry progressive in their adoption of technology? Or are we lagging behind the rest of the developed world?

"NZ is lagging behind much of the world with regard to energy efficiency. Our insulation standards are lower than many countries with even warmer climates. The amount of PV panels installed is less than countries, such as Germany, which have low sunshine hours.

"One of the main hurdles in increasing energy efficiency in home construction is the fact that many people regard going anywhere above the requirements stipulated in the Building Code as frivolous. The Building Code is only the lowest legally acceptable solution, it is not the best solution. In the car industry, producers have done a far better job of educating the public that safety features above and beyond the basic requirements to pass a WOF are advantageous and desirable.

"The construction industry needs to be getting a similar message out to the public."

What home energy solutions are good options for New Zealanders? Is there anything that needs to change in order to encourage uptake of such technologies?

"Insulation, heating and ventilation are required. A properly insulated home, with some thermal mass being warmed by correctly placed windows will need almost no extra heating or cooling. Regrettably, many home designers turn to heat pumps rather than good design solutions.

"We're currently researching solar air heaters and finding really good results."

In NZ we have an ageing housing stock - what options are there for retrofitting these homes to be more energy efficient or to use alternate energy sources? Is it likely to happen?

"The first requirement is to insulate our houses, in the ceiling, in the walls and under the floor.

"We also should have double glazing in all our domestic and commercial buildings. The new photovoltaic roof tiles that Tesla has developed would offer the opportunity to re-roof and produce energy in the home.

"The feed-in tariff offered by electricity companies appears to be designed to suppress adoption of PV, but will likely lead to local energy sharing systems that cut electricity companies out."

Is it becoming more cost effective for homes to become more energy efficient? What are the easiest ways for people to lower their energy bills?

"Smart heating, appropriate heat pump technology (too often the wrong unit is placed in the wrong part of the house), good insulation and domestic consumption of energy all lead to lower bills, but require some outlay.

"The EECA does a good job of telling households what they can do for little or no outlay."

What do you think NZ’s Energy Future looks like?

"I am optimistic that NZ’s energy future will be renewable and fairer. There is certainly a groundswell of interest in moving off grid, or producing some of the energy used in the household.

"Unfortunately that option is not available to all people, the poor are likely going to be stuck in the situation of buying electricity with little real choice."

No conflicts of interest declared by the Q&A participants.

**This is an abridged Q&A, read the full version on scimex.org**

ends

© Scoop Media


Penguins hunt fish in wrong place after climate change creates 'trap'

Endangered penguins are hunting for fish in the wrong place because climate change has prompted sardines and other prey to move to another part of the ocean, researchers have discovered.

The plight of the African penguin – found in Namibia and South Africa – highlights the dangers to wildlife of the sudden rise in temperature caused by human-induced global warming.

For the penguins have learned to look for places with lower sea temperatures and large amounts of a type of chlorophyll. These are tell-tale signs of plankton and, in turn, the fish that feed on them.

These once sure-fire ways to find large shoals are now leading the penguins into an “ecological trap” that is pushing them closer to extinction.

And the situation has been made worse by industrial-scale fishing and a raft of other problems, mostly caused by humans.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are about 80,000 adult African penguins left. But oil slicks in 1994 and 2000 killed some 30,000 birds and the death toll “may increase” if planned harbour developments go ahead, the IUCN says.

In the new study, researchers from Exeter and Cape Town universities tagged 54 juvenile birds from eight different colonies to find out where they go to look for fish.

The areas they chose were once rich hunting grounds for sardines and anchovies.

But changes in water temperature and salt content have prompted the fish to move hundreds of kilometres away.

One of the researchers, Dr Richard Sherley, of Exeter University, said this meant the tell-tale signs used by penguins to find fish “now put them in danger”.

“These were once reliable cues for prey-rich waters, but climate change and industrial fishing have depleted forage fish stocks in this system,” he said.

“Climate change and fisheries are transforming the oceans, but we don't have a complete understanding of their impact.

“Our results support suspending fishing when prey biomass drops below certain levels, and suggest that mitigating marine ecological traps will require major conservation action.”

The problems in finding food have produced low survival rates among juvenile African penguins, previously known as jackass penguins.

It is thought breeding numbers are about 50 per cent lower than they would be if the birds were able to find enough to eat.

Dr Stephen Votier, also of Exeter University, said the ability to track the penguins movements was a “crucial tool in conservation biology”.

“This ecological trap was only discovered when young penguins were tracked from multiple colonies,” he said.

“This highlights the power of studying animal movements, particularly for long-lived marine species like penguins.”

The results of the research were published in the journal Current Biology in a paper called Metapopulation tracking juvenile penguins reveals an ecosystem-wide ecological trap.

According to the IUCN’s Red List of endangered species, the African penguin is “undergoing a very rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries and shifts in prey populations”.

“This trend currently shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines,” it adds.


Digester Feedstock For Biogas Generation

Bedding obtained from so called eco-shelters which contain a mixture of straw and manure is an excellent source of biomass for a digester as they provide a good C: N ratio. The fact that some composting of the eco-shelter bedding has begun will assist in the breakdown of the fibrous material.

Physical pre-treatment of solid feedstock by maceration reduces particle size to prevent physical obstruction of pipes and pumps by the fibres, and it also increases surface area available for microbial attack, and thus speeds up the digestion process. Research suggests that lignin cellulose and hemi-cellulose which are almost non-biodegradable in ordinary systems can be degraded to a significant degree after maceration. The introduction of bacterial agents (bioaugmentation) to the feedstock can lead to an increase in the output of methane as well as higher value bio-solids, and assist in the breakdown of the biomass resulting in an overall lower hydraulic retention time (HRT) in the digester. A beneficial “by product” of bioaugmentation is (supplier’s data) the fact that the production of hydrogen sulfide is virtually eliminated.

Manures usually have a total solid (TS) content of about 4 to 22%. In most cases, especially when slurries are not 'homogeneous', this concentration is too high for pumping and piping, and the TS is usually brought down to 4 - 8% by dilution with water, to make a pumpable slurry. Where a combination of liquid waste (slurry) say from the farrowing and gestation sheds is to be combined with “solid” eco-shelter waste a chopper pump/agitator is used to macerate the solids to reduce the particle size going into the digester as well as providing an homogeneous mixture.