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Alstom Grid implements smart grid solutions in Kuwait

Alstom Grid will implement fully integrated smart grid management solutions for the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW).

The project includes an upgrade of Kuwait town district control centre’s Energy Management System (EMS), a new Integrated Distribution Management System (IDMS) and an Asset Management System (AMS).

Through its e-terraplatform and e-terradistribution solutions, Alstom will create a single system for managing the medium and high voltage operations of the Kuwait Town District Control Center.

In addition to managing the real-time operations of the grid, the system access will be extended to maintenance departments to better manage MEW’s assets, review their health index, and decide on appropriate maintenance strategies.

Using International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC’s) Common Information Model (CIM) 61970 and IEC 61968 standards over a service oriented architecture, Alstom will combine the data and events from a variety of sources (grid operations, reliability analysis calculations, asset management functions, and maintenance coordination) into integrated processes at the enterprise asset management level.

Gamesa prototype wind turbine produces 104.6 MWh in one day

Gamesa’s G10X-4.5 MW prototype wind turbine, installed in Alaiz, Navarra, Spain, has set an energy output record for its type, generating electricity for 23.24 equivalent hours at nominal capacity (98.26% of the day), for a total of 104.6 MWh.

The Alaiz wind turbine is the second G10X-4.5 MW prototype Gamesa has erected in Spain with the aim of achieving the highest possible levels of availability, energy efficiency and network codes for this turbine system.

The wind turbine’s light weight, despite its 120 m tower and 62.5 m blades, makes it as easy to handle as a 2 MW wind turbine, Gamesa says.

CPR gets grant for solar PV cloud cover simulation

Clean Power Research (CPR) has been awarded a grant of US$850,000 from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to implement simulation tools to predict the variability of solar photovoltaic (PV) power caused by cloud cover.

 “Accurate solar forecasting is critical for integrating ever-larger PV fleets into the grid, yet the expense and difficulty of obtaining this information can be very high,” says Tom Hoff, President of Research and Consulting at Clean Power Research.

“This grant builds on our previous CSI RD&D research, allowing us to validate our PV simulation models and make them widely available through easy-to-use software tools. We’re honoured that the CPUC selected Clean Power Research to complete the next phase of this research.”

The simulation means developers and owners can make accurate estimation of power output and variability of a fleet of solar PV systems without the cost and complexity involved with direct monitoring.

Clean Power Research will also produce 1-minute, 1 km SolarAnywhere data for California, a requirement for calculating variability at the short time intervals typical for dispatching energy reserves. The solar PV simulation capabilities will be made available via software to support projects in distribution planning, smart grid operation, utility load scheduling, and balance area planning and operation.

The grant is part of a third round of funding from the CPUC’s California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration (CSI RD&D) programme.

Participants in the solar PV cloud simulation project include: California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), University at Albany, SUNY, Electric Power Research Institute Inc. (EPRI), Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), and University of California, San Diego.

Launched in 2008, SolarAnywhere is a source of downloadable historical, real-time and forecast satellite-derived solar irradiance data for the continental US and Hawaii.

Ameresco and DoE opens US$795m biomass facility in SC, USA

Officials from the US Department of Energy (DoE) and Ameresco Inc have marked the start-up of a US$795 million biomass cogeneration facility at the Savannah River Site (SRC) in South Carolina, USA.

The 34-acre SRS Biomass Cogeneration Facility is said to be the single largest renewable Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) in US history.

The SRS Biomass Cogeneration Facility is replacing a deteriorating and inefficient 1950s-era coal powerhouse and oil-fired boilers, and could generate an estimated US$944m in savings in energy, operation and maintenance costs over the duration of the contract.

The biomass will be in the form of local forest residue and wood chips, and bio-derived fuels. The facility has the capacity to combust 385,000 tons of forest residue into 20 MW of clean power annually.

The biomass project has created around 800 jobs, spanning the mechanical, construction, engineering, and supplier sectors. Fully operational, the biomass plant will employ 25 full-time jobs on-site and support the local logging community.

DoE Under Secretary D’Agostino, says: “Projects like the SRS biomass facility are helping to deliver energy efficiency savings that benefit both taxpayers and the environment. Hundreds of people were put to work building this new facility that will save money, dramatically reduce emissions at the Savannah River Site, and help the Department to achieve our energy saving goals.”

DoE signed onto an ESPC with Ameresco in 2009 to finance, design, construct, operate, maintain, and fuel the new biomass facility under a 20-year fixed price contract valued at US$795m.

ESPCs are contracts in which private companies finance, install, and maintain new energy- and water efficient equipment at Federal facilities. The Government pays no up-front costs and the company’s investment is repaid over time by the agency from the cost savings generated by the new equipment. This allows the government to use the private sector to purchase more energy-efficient systems and improve the energy performance of their facilities at no extra cost to the agency or taxpayers.

Suntech sets another efficiency record with Pluto solar PV cell

Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd has reached a record 20.3% efficiency with its Pluto solar photovoltaic (PV) cell technology with standard, commercial grade, p-type silicon wafers.

“This technology breakthrough marks another critical milestone in our effort to improve solar cell efficiency, which will ultimately make solar competitive with fossil fuels,” says Dr. Stuart Wenham, Suntech’s Chief Technology Officer, and Director of the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at the University of New South Wales.

The Pluto solar PV technology has been developed by Suntech’s R&D team in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, Australia.

The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore has independently confirmed the 20.3% efficiency of the improved Pluto solar PV cell technology. With further optimisation, the efficiency of the improved Pluto cell technology is projected to reach 21.0% in the next 6-12 months.

One of the key improvements for the Pluto cell technology is the incorporation of similar high-efficiency characteristics of the PERL cell technology in the conventional Pluto solar PV cell manufacturing process, Suntech says.

These act to improve the rear surface design of a conventional Pluto cell, primarily by reducing the metal/silicon interface area while keeping the remaining non-contacted area well-passivated. In addition, Suntech has introduced process changes that minimise the use of high temperatures which make it possible to apply the high efficiency processes to the most commonly used commercial solar PV wafers.

Following the laboratory success of the improved Pluto cell technology, Suntech is now focusing on commercialising the technology.

IEA launches ACTION star to accelerate renewable energy deployment

The IEA implementing agreement on Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (IEA-RETD) has presented the ACTION star to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.

The ACTION star is a graphic representation of six policy categories deemed “essential” for the acceleration of renewable energy deployment.

“It is based on global best practices,” says Hans-Jørgen Koch, Chairman of the IEA-RETD, in which 9 countries cooperate. “Applying the ACTION star guides policy makers in choosing the right ingredients for successful policies.”

He adds: “We are well aware that the transformation of the energy system needs to speed up, for several reasons.

“Lately, the IEA calculated that any dollar of investment that we don’t invest now in low-carbon solutions will in fact cost us US$ 4.30 later to compensate for the increased emissions. This is only one of a number of reasons why we need to take immediate action!”

The ACTION star consists of 6 policy types:

Alliance building: Build alliances and reach agreements among policy makers and with relevant stakeholders including industry members, consumers, investors, and others;

Communicating: Communicate knowledge about renewable energy resources, technologies and issues to create awareness on all levels, address concerns of stakeholders, and build up the needed work force:;

Target setting: Clarify the goals, set ambitious targets on all levels of government, and enact policies to achieve goals;

Integrating: Integrate renewables into policy-making and take advantage of synergies with energy efficiency;

Optimising: Optimise policy frameworks by building on own policies or other proven policy mechanisms and adapting them to specific circumstances; and

Neutralising: Neutralise disadvantages in the marketplace, such as misconceptions of costs and the lack of a level playing field.

IEA-RETD was officially launched in September 2005 with five founding members. Current members of the IEA-RETD are Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, and United Kingdom.

Power-One’s central solar PV inverter recognised by OTTI

Power-One Inc’s Aurora Ultra central solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter system has been awarded second place at the OTTI Award for Innovation by the Ostbayrisches Technologie-Transfer-Institut (OTTI).

The central solar PV inverter has an output of up to 1.5 MVA and power efficiencies of up to 98.7%. It has been designed for large and utility-scale installations.

The jury noted the central solar PV inverter’s modular design approach and circuit topology, being made front accessible and with extractable sub-assemblies.

The circuit topology gives an output voltage of 690 V AC, allowing “significant reduction of AC losses”, and the possibility of direct coupling with LV/MV standard transformers, as used in the large wind industry.

The award jury also highlighted the fact that Power-One’s central inverter system does not need an additional cabin, as its IP65 enclosure withstands harsh environmental conditions. A passive liquid cooling system allows segregating the active parts of the unit in a watertight and pollution-free chamber, further improving the system long-term immunity against aggressive environmental agents.

This also extends the maintenance cycle and reduces the cost of maintenance.

“This is truly a great achievement for Power-One and an excellent recognition for one of our most innovative products,” says Dr Alex Levran, President of Renewable Energy Solutions at Power-One. “There is no doubt that the Aurora Ultra central inverter will continue to be an award-winning, show-stopping product for us for many years to come.”

Nordex supplies 27.5 MW wind farm in Turkey

Nordex will supply and install 11 of its N100/2500 wind turbines for the 27.5 MW Sincik wind farm near the city of Adiyaman, Turkey, for Tektug Elektrik Group.

The wind turbines, which are optimised for medium wind speeds, will be installed this autumn on a mountain ridge at an altitude of 1500 m.

With an average wind speed of 6.9 m/s, the wind farm is expected to produce 60 GWh annually.

The wind turbine towers will be produced by Tektug Elektrik’s Ciltug AS.

“This order is a major success in the growing Turkish market as this is the first wind farm for Tektug Elektrik. And our new customer has ambitious plans to expand. In addition to this, our pilot project is located in the east of Anatolia. This also offers opportunities for follow-up projects,” says Ayhan Gök, Managing Director of Nordex Turkey.

Tektug Elektrik Group specialises in sustainable energy projects and already operates several hydroelectric power stations.

Burcote Wind plans 10 wind farms in Scotland

Burcote Wind plans to invest £1 billion in 10 wind farms across Scotland, which could create nearly 600 jobs.

The renewable energy developer plans to develop 10 wind farms at locations across Scotland, from Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway, totalling nearly 800 MW of installed electricity generating capacity.

If consented, the wind power projects could produce 2.6 TWh annually, and create 110 permanent jobs in engineering and maintenance. Furthermore, 475 jobs could be created during the construction phase.

Graham Brown, Chairman of Burcote Wind, says: “We’re adamant that we want our projects to contribute to Scotland’s ambitions to reinvigorate its industrial base. So as well as creating skilled jobs, we are exploring opportunities to use community benefit funding to create training opportunities for young people at local colleges and help equip our workforce with the skills needed for Scotland to take full advantage of the huge economic potential the renewables industry has to offer.”

Burcote Wind is currently consulting on proposals for four sites – Meikleton in Aberdeenshire, Creggan in Argyll and Bute, Sandy Knowe and Benshinnie – both Dumfries and Galloway. Planning applications will be submitted over the coming 18 months.

Six other wind sites are at early stages of environmental and technical appraisal and not yet in the public domain.

Burcote Wind will take each of its sites through the planning process to allow the wind farms to be built, before seeking partners to make the capital investment needed to procure, erect and connect the wind turbines.

Community benefit funds

Burcote Wind proposes to establish community benefit funds for the sites. Across the 10 sites, the total value could total £60million over the 25-year lifetimes of the wind farms.

Suntech increases solar module efficiency to 15.7%

Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd is presenting a new series of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules with improved efficiency, the monocrystalline solar modules STP200S and STP195S – 24/Ad+, with an efficiency of 15.7%.

The solar PV modules are aimed for the residential sector, with a size of 62.2 x 31.8 x 1.4 inches (1580 x 808 x 35 mm).

The panels feature 0/+5% positive power tolerance and have been built to withstand all weather conditions, including 3.800 Pascal wind load and 5.400 Pascal snow loads.