QUICK NEWS, March 6: FEDS PUT $180 MIL INTO OCEAN WIND; SWISS SUN GIANT SOLD TO JAPAN; FEWER BUT BIGGER BLACKOUTS LAST YEAR
FEDS PUT $180 MIL INTO OCEAN WIND
DOE Pumps $180 Million Into U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Development
2 March 2012 (North American Windpower)
"The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)…will award $180 million to fund offshore wind energy research and development initiatives, including up to four [new demonstration] offshore wind projects…[T]he DOE will make these funds available over six years, subject to congressional appropriations, including an initial commitment of $20 million in fiscal year 2012.
"…[T]his latest research and demonstration initiative [will focus] on innovative technologies that…[could] achieve large cost reductions over existing offshore wind technologies…[and] address key challenges associated with installing utility-scale offshore wind turbines, connecting offshore turbines to the power grid, and navigating new permitting and approval processes."
DOE wants to change this. (click to enlarge)
"…[T]he DOE will continue to work with partners across the federal government to implement a comprehensive offshore wind energy strategy, conduct resource assessments, and streamline siting and permitting…[T]his support will help lower the cost and expedite the deployment of U.S.-made offshore wind energy technologies designed for U.S. coastal conditions, as well as provide opportunities to test these innovations in real offshore environments…
"The DOE funds may be used to cover up to 80% of a project’s design costs and 50% of the hardware and installation costs. Letters of intent are due on March 30, and applications are due on May 31…"
SWISS SUN GIANT SOLD TO JAPAN
Oerlikon Sells Solar Business To Semiconductor Firm Tokyo Electron Ltd.
2 March 2012 (Solar Industry)
"The Oerlikon Group, based in Switzerland, has agreed to a contract calling for the divestment of its solar segment to Japan-based Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL), a supplier of semiconductor production equipment…Oerlikon Solar, which provides thin-film solar equipment, currently has 870 MW of contracted capacity and 15 customers in production."
Japan is going to want even more capacity now that it is all but done with nuclear so look for more acquisitions. (click to enlarge)
"According to Dr. Michael Buscher, CEO of Oerlikon Group, TEL represents an ideal strategic buyer for Oerlikon Solar, whose customer base is predominantly Asian. TEL and Oerlikon have previously worked together under long-term partnership agreements."
FEWER BUT BIGGER BLACKOUTS LAST YEAR
Impacts of power blackouts increases in U.S.
February 27, 2012 (Metering.com)
"Around 41.8 million people were affected due to multiple, massive power failures in the United States in 2011, up from 17.5 million affected the previous year, according to Eaton’s annual blackout tracker…[though] the number of outages [declined] slightly to 3,071 in 2011, from 3,149 in 2010…[T]he average number of people affected per outage was over 21,100 and the average outage duration was 221 minutes.
"California continues to top the list of states with the most outages in 2011, as it has for the past two years since the full annual records have been tracked. Also, California tops the lists of outages caused by weather/falling trees, vehicle accident, and faulty equipment/human error."
Reliability is a major concern for all those who deal with the grid. (click to enlarge)
"…[T]he top five most significant outages…[were] Hurricane Irene, which cut a path up the East Coast knocking out power for over six million people from North Carolina to Maine during August 26-29…Possible human error, which led to a massive outage knocking out power to approximately four million people in southern California and part of Arizona for 12 hours on September 8…Surprise early fall snow storm, which caused power outages and created havoc for 1.75 million people in the Mid-Atlantic to Maine during October 28-30…Powerful line of thunderstorms over Chicago, which left 700,000 people in the dark on July 11…Winter storm with snow, sleet and ice, which caused outages for over 400,000 people in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia on January 27.
"…[T]he most unusual causes of outages…[were a] trampoline was picked up by strong winds and dropped it into a substation, causing a fault that cut power for 11,000 people in Spokane, WA…A fawn, killed by a bald eagle but dropped on the way back to the nest on a powerline, caused a 30 minute outage in East Missoula, MO…A paraglider accidentally collided with a powerline, causing a three-hour power outage in Salt Lake City, Utah…A boat being towed…A race car flew over the wall at the Peoria Speedway (AZ)…[M]ore outages were caused by squirrels than all other animals and birds combined!"