QUICK NEWS, 4-11: SOLAR REPLACING OIL; WAVEBOB BECOMING WAVEPOWER; UTILITY WANTS NEW ENERGY; SOLAR WATER HEATING HOT
SOLAR POWER V. OIL POWER
CSP counters oil price volatility, gains credibility as a fuel saver
Jason Deign, 5 April 2011 (CSP Today)
"While most attention in CSP to date has focused on power generation, the potential for solar to displace traditional fuels in industrial processes is gaining credibility as oil prices spike…Ironically…Atlantic Richfield Company [now BP] is said to have pioneered the use of solar towers to produce steam for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) back in the 1980s…
"…[T]here is growing interest in the technology from other quarters…Shell last year green-lighted a project to use parabolic troughs for EOR-destined steam generation in Oman…Chevron is working with BrightSource on a 29MW-plant which will be completed this year…providing steam for EOR in [California]…As oil prices continue to climb, there is growing enthusiasm for the fuel economies that it can bring to a wide range of industrial sectors. But developers are only just beginning to catch on…"
The idea is to use solar power to drive the CO2 injection. (click to enlarge)
"Sopogy’s thermal business has been growing at more than 100% a year…and most of the company’s projects now fall into this area…Sopogy has carried out thermal projects in countries ranging from the United States to Japan or Papua New Guinea, covering applications from water heating to desalination and industrial drying. It has even experimented on the use of CSP for hydrogen production…
"…[T]here may currently be around 100 thermal projects in operation worldwide but [there may be the potential for thousands]...[A] major advantage is that the cost of energy is free once the plant has been built, giving most installations a payback time of between three and seven years…This payback time is looking more attractive as fuel prices go up and the CSP technology involved improves. And it is further helped by the fact that for thermal applications there really is no other green tech alternative that can deliver the same efficiencies…"
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"In places such as California there may be an added incentive for industrial concerns to bring in CSP, because limits on CO2 emissions may otherwise restrict the scale of their operations…[T]he only thing that seems to be preventing more widespread use of CSP in industrial processes is simply lack of awareness…
"…[F]ood processing [and agriculture in general are] a good fit for CSP thermal…[as is] air conditioning…Whatever the killer application, and it seems as though there could be several, the fact is that thermal-industrial uses of CSP appear to represent a massive untapped market for the industry…"
WAVEBOB BREAKS OUT ON WAVES
Marine energy: Abengoa and Wavebob to lead the way
April 10, 2011 (Regulacion Eolica con Vehiculos Electricos)
"Ocean wave power company Wavebob and the international company that applies innovative technology solutions to sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors, Abengoa…announced a planned collaboration which will see the two companies working together on the research, development and commercialisation of wave energy systems.
"Considered one of the world’s leading wave energy technologies, Wavebob Ltd.’s unique wave energy convertor harnesses the immense power of the ocean to produce clean, low cost electricity. At full scale, the device will be capable of producing in excess of one megawatt of energy with a 100-unit wave farm providing power for more than 30,000 homes…"
Wavebob at sea (click to enlarge)
"Wavebob and Abengoa…[plan] to collaborate [on research, technological development and economic assessment of wave energy locations globally] for a period of at least 6 six years…to rapidly complete an R&D agenda to meet the growing commercial wave energy opportunities in Europe and the US…"
Schematic of Wavebob showing how it stays buoyant (click to enlarge)
"Wavebob is a technology company specializing in ocean wave energy conversion and is one of the first to succeed in producing electricity from the power of ocean swell…Established in 1999, Wavebob is headquartered in Ireland with operations in the UK and US.
"Abengoa Solar focuses on the promotion, construction and operation of concentrated solar energy plants (solar thermal tower, solar thermal trough, Concentrating Solar Power hybrid plants ISCC and photovoltaic) and customized installations (hot water and air production, heating and air conditioning)."
UTILITY WANTS NEW ENERGY
content.6572"target="_blank">Dominion Virginia Power Putting Bigger Stake In Renewable Energy
1 April 2011 (Renew Grid)
"Dominion Virginia Power…intends to convert three of its Virginia power plants from coal-fired to biomass technology, as well as…investigate the potential for high-voltage transmission infrastructure for offshore wind power.
"The three 63 MW power stations [set for conversion to biomass]…went online in 1992. The conversion of the plants would reduce their output to 50 MW each, but they would operate nearly continuously, rather than during peak demand."
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"…[If approved by local governments and regulators,] the projects, Dominion Virginia could begin burning biomass at the three sites in 2013.
"The study Dominion Virginia has commissioned will look into the feasibility of building a high-voltage undersea transmission line from Virginia Beach into the Atlantic Ocean, for the purpose of integrating electricity from multiple offshore wind farms."
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[Scot C. Hathaway, vice president of transmission, Dominion Virginia:] "An undersea transmission line project will be a key to getting wind generation from the Atlantic Ocean to our customers…It makes sense for us to begin a preliminary scoping study…without regard to issues of rates, timing and integration into the PJM Interconnection regional transmission grid."
"Dominion says it will work with PJM Interconnection, through the grid operator's Regional Transmission Expansion Planning process, to complete the study this year."
SOLAR WATER HEATING HOT
Solar Water Heating in Commercial Buildings Poised for 20% Yearly Growth, Study Says
April 5, 2011 (Environmental Leader)
"Businesses are increasingly installing solar water heating to help them meet environmental goals and hedge against rising energy prices, according…research and consulting firm AltaTerra Research…[The] U.S. solar water heating market is growing at about 20 percent per year in the commercial sector, a significant acceleration from long-term trends. Power purchase agreements are catching on for commercial solar thermal installations, which bodes well for the development of a robust market…
"…[Solar Water Heating on the Rise] said that solar heating installations lower energy expenditures for most customers. Solar water heating captures about four times as much energy as solar photovoltaic systems, with much less expensive equipment…This results in a lower long-term energy cost before any cash incentives are taken into account."
Schematic of solar hot water heating (click to enlarge)
"Compared with electric water heating, solar heating is often a ‘hands-down winner,’ the study said. But most companies will need tax credits and other incentives to make solar heating competitive with natural gas, particularly for retrofits."
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"The advisability of solar water heating in a given facility depends on several factors…including the amount of hot water used and the amount of energy expended on water compared with other uses. The food service, health care, hospitality and multi-unit housing industries all tend to use large amounts of hot water…Hotels are showing some of the most rapid take-up…Although offices generally use little hot water, solar water heating can be advantageous at business parks and office campuses that include services such as dining and athletic facilities…
"...[A] report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research projected that the solar water heating segment would achieve its sixth consecutive year of growth in 2010, growing 16 percent with approximately 3 million square feet (mmsf) of installed solar thermal collectors by year-end compared to about 2.6 mmsf in 2009."