NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, May 31: SMALL GEOTHERM BIG IN CALIF; GREAT LAKES WIND FOR OHIO; 125 MW OF CPV; RARE EARTH PRICE SPIKE

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  • VW Affirms Driving Is Ready To Go Electric

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    QUICK NEWS, May 31: SMALL GEOTHERM BIG IN CALIF; GREAT LAKES WIND FOR OHIO; 125 MW OF CPV; RARE EARTH PRICE SPIKE

    Distributed Geothermal in California Can Add 7% of Supply What Feed-in Tariff Prices Are Necessary?
    Paul Gipe, May 24, 2011 (Wind-Works)

    "Small, geographically dispersed geothermal power plants could provide 7% of California's electricity supply [and compliment development of more variable renewable resources as it moves to meet its new state standard requiring 33% of its electricity to come from renewable energy by including geothermal energy in Governor Brown's as yet unannounced feed-in tariff policy]…Geothermal energy is a renewable resource using the heat of the earth to generate electricity and heat homes, offices, and factories.

    "California leads the world in geothermal energy development. However…[t]here has been very little geothermal development in the state since… the early 1980s…Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI), [a 2008 engineering consultant Black & Veatch study, detailed] the cost to develop 244 proposed geothermal power plants at sites [from 8 MW to 1,000 MW] in California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia…"


    from Paul Gipe's Wind-Works - click to enlarge

    "While many geothermal projects are connected at transmission voltages, they differ from typical central-station plants. Many individual geothermal projects are relatively small. Of the 244 proposed projects in the RETI database, 185 or three-fourths are less than 20 MW in size…[and would] qualify as distributed generation under Governor Jerry Brown's proposed feed-in tariff…90% of the proposed geothermal projects in the RETI data base are less than 50 MW…

    "Projects less than 50 MW would account for 40% of all proposed geothermal generating capacity, some 3,300 MW. These plants would produce 40% of all potential geothermal generation, about 22 TWh per year (7% of current supply) or 1.7 times more electricity than at present…"


    from Paul Gipe's Wind-Works - click to enlarge

    "The consultants estimated the cost of electricity from the plants…[if delivered from] Independent Power Producers, municipal utilities…[or] from Canada or Mexico. Within the category of Independent Power Producers (IPP), cost estimates were further subdivided into the cost for IPPs without any federal subsidies, the cost for IPPs with Production Tax Credits (PTC), and the cost for IPPs with Investment Tax Credits (ITC)…

    "While federal investment subsidies currently exist in the form of the PTC and ITC for many renewable energy technologies, their future is uncertain…[and] investors are wary of financing projects when the future of tax credits or other "incentives" is questionable…For IPP projects without access to federal subsidies, tariffs for geothermal projects less than 20 MW in California would…[run] from a low of $0.13/kWh to as much as $0.30/kWh. Tariffs for projects from 20 MW to 50 MW would vary from a low of $0.10/kWh to a high of $0.18/kWh…Projects that could be developed quickly and take advantage of the federal ITC while it remains available would be significantly less expensive…For projects less than 20 MW, tariffs would vary from a low of about $0.09/kWh to a high of $0.20/kWh. Projects from 20 MW to 50 MW in size would require tariffs in the range from a low of $0.08/kWh to $0.13/kWh…"



    GREAT LAKES WIND FOR OHIO
    How Ohio got a headstart on offshore wind
    Rikki Stancich, 20 May 2011 (Wind Energy Update)

    "Fresh water ice, reluctant residents, and a dearth of vessels conspire against…[development of] the Great Lakes’ whopping offshore wind potential…But where many before have tried and failed…[The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo)] has taken a pragmatic approach…Working closely with residents, publicly elected officials, and local businesses, LEEDCo has identified a pathway for rolling out a socially acceptable, financially viable, local economy-boosting offshore wind programme in Lake Erie."

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...We could be described as a pre-developer…[I]n Ohio, much of the offshore wind development planning has been based on monthly meetings with stakeholders since 2006. Stakeholders here in Ohio are generally supportive of offshore wind…[W]e learned from…the UK’s Round 1, where organizations paid close attention to the key issues that were raised…[and from] the top-down approach taken in Michigan, Canada and New York State, where developers and/or the government announced their intention to build massive gigawatt projects without prior consultation. People don’t like [that]…"

    click to enlarge

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...Lake Erie is pretty shallow and for the pilot we are building in water depths of 19 meters. For the rest of the project the water depth will be less than 25 metres. The lakebed soil is a combination of glacial till (clay rubble and muck) and then bedrock…[I]t is unlikely that monopiles will be cost effective…[T]he leading candidate is a gravity base foundation… [F]our innovative foundations designed to reduce costs [are possibilities]…"

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...We are collaborating with the Cold Regions Laboratory of the US Army Corps to understand [freshwater] ice load and forces and European design of foundations for icing and how to optimise that design to be more cost effective…The traditional (sea water) solution uses an ice cone at the water line to avert pressure from the ice. So we’ll begin with something traditional and model with turbine simulation software to optimize…"

    click to enlarge

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "...[To build 1 gigawatt of offshore wind in Lake Erie, we] need purpose-built vessels in the Great Lakes…Another challenge is the port facilities…[T]he industry will probably be served by multiple ports…[W]e are hopeful that the Canadians will come onboard on both building a grid and building vessels…North to South, it is only 45 miles…Most projects will be 10-20 miles out, so they will virtually be back-to-back…At one time, there was a proposed 1000 MW cable between Canada and Pennsylvania…"

    Dr Lorry Wagner, president, Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo): "Over the course of the next five years [the obstacles] will get sorted out…The Great Lakes are huge and Lake Erie itself is quite large; if the whole lake could be developed it has the potential for more than 60 gigawatts…The other Lakes have even more potential…"


    125 MW OF CPV
    SDG&E signs new contracts with Soitec for 125 megawatts of solar power in San Diego; Project agreements follow April signing of three solar power generation contracts in the San Diego area
    May 18, 2011 (Soitec)

    "San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and subsidiaries of Soitec Solar Development, LLC, a renewable energy company managed by Soitec (Euronext Paris)…[signed] two additional 25-year contracts for a total of 125 megawatts (MW) of solar energy to be generated in the utility’s service territory. The energy will be produced using Soitec’s Concentrix™ concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology with solar modules manufactured in a new Soitec factory to be built in the San Diego area.

    "These new agreements are separate from the three San Diego contracts the two companies signed in April for 30 MW of CPV-generated solar power. Combined, the five contracts…represent five separate projects capable of generating a combined total of 155 megawatts of clean, renewable solar power, or enough energy to supply more than 60,000 homes. Both of the new proposed projects will be located in San Diego County and will be situated near SDG&E electric substations…"


    click to enlarge

    "…[The new] announcement confirms the attractiveness of Soitec’s renewable energy technology – which generates large amounts of power with industry-leading efficiency and low environmental impact – in areas such as Southern California with abundant sunshine…

    "Soitec’s new manufacturing facility will have an annual production capacity of 200 MW and will supply all of SDG&E’s projects with Soitec’s exclusive Concentrix CPV technology, which produces power at a much higher efficiency relative to standard solar panels. At full capacity, Soitec’s San Diego operations facility will generate up to 450 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs. The factory location is expected to be announced this summer, with completion within 18 months of construction start…"



    RARE EARTH PRICE SPIKE
    Chinese rare earth metals prices soar
    Leslie Hook, may 26, 2011 (UK Financial Times)

    "A gravity-defying leap in the price of Chinese rare earth metals has triggered fears that the cost of components used in a range of goods from mobile phones to hybrid cars could soar…The three to fivefold jump in prices since January comes after China, the world’s biggest producer of rare earths, has clamped down on domestic output.

    "The implications could be far-reaching. Although annual consumption of the metals is small relative to that of other commodities, rare earths are found in everything from fluorescent lights to wind turbines. They are very difficult, if not impossible, to substitute."


    click to enlarge

    "Industrial buyers are in shock after witnessing the price of rare earths such as cerium oxide jumping 475 per cent in just five months, amid falling supplies…

    "Rare earths came under the spotlight after China, which produces more than 90 per cent of the world’s total output, started to reduce export quotas two years ago. Beijing’s influence aroused concern when exports of rare earths to Japan were temporarily suspended after a diplomatic dispute."


    click to enlarge

    "Following that de facto embargo, governments around the world, particularly Washington and Tokyo, have stepped up their efforts to develop other sources of supply. But those efforts will take years. In the meantime, Beijing has tightened regulations on its own polluting rare earths sector as part of a programme to clean up Chinese mines. Many expect China’s rare earth production to fall as a result…

    "In the face of concern from industry and from global capitals, China has insisted that it will continue to be a reliable supplier of rare earths. However, rising prices fit neatly with China’s ambition to end its role as supplier of cheap rare earths to the world…"

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