01 September 2010

Renewables help farmers in India, Romania; Li-ion markets; nuclear too expensive? And more green news

Top Stories

A Nuclear Giant Moves Into Wind.reliability high.
"Exelon, a nuclear giant that recently backed away from building new nuclear plants, is moving into wind. The company announced today that it was buying John Deere Renewables, which has 735 megawatts in operation and 230 megawatts in 'advanced stages of development' in Michigan. ... The purchase will instantly make Exelon one of the nation’s largest wind operators." From New York Times Green blog.

Expanding the Market for Clean Energy in Rural India.reliability high.
"As India struggles to provide cleaner and more reliable sources of energy to its rural poor, a growing number of innovative small companies, like SBA Hydro, are selling clean energy products and services directly to India’s rural ‘Base of the Pyramid’ (BoP) population. These new technologies include solar-based home electricity systems and lanterns, energy efficient cookstoves and decentralized electricity services generated from micro hydro and biomass gasifiers. However, most of these companies remain small and face considerable challenges penetrating the market because of poor rural distribution and retail networks." Article gives examples of some projects. See WRI site.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Rechargeable Car Battery Glut to Worsen Price War at Samsung, Panasonic.reliability high.
"Lithium-ion battery prices may tumble 19 percent in 2010, the biggest drop in five years, said Hideo Takeshita, an analyst at the Institute of Information Technology Ltd. in Tokyo. Shiro Mikoshiba, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc., said the worsening oversupply may push prices down as much as 25 percent. The price drops highlight how battery makers in Japan and South Korea, accounting for 75 percent of global production, may be sacrificing profit for market share as automobiles with no gas tanks are projected to help triple sales of lithium-ion cells in six years." More about li-ion battery markets. From Bloomberg.

Windfarms bring renewable energy and good fortune to Romania.reliability high.
"Since November 2008, the Czech utility company CEZ Group  has been installing one of Europe's largest windfarms in Fantanele, transforming the wind into a blessing: Fantanele farmers who have made their land available to CEZ can receive up to $3,800 a year. "It's a godsend," said Constantin's wife, Filofteia. 'We now get €1,800 ($2,280) a year and soon it will be €3,000 ($3,800).' That's a fortune in Fantanele. 'Here in the country, you couldn't save as much in a lifetime as you get for the wind turbines in one year,' she said." At The Guardian from Le Monde.

New Warnings About Costs of Nuclear Power.reliability high.
Article highlights stunning cost overruns of several nuclear plants under construction. "But many experts warn that new nuclear projects are simply too large without resorting to subsidies from governments." See New York Times Green blog.

Supermarket Installs 400-kW Fuel Cell.reliability high.
"A new Albertsons supermarket will be one of the first in California to generate nearly 90 percent of its electricity requirements with an on-site 400-kilowatt fuel cell. The project is estimated to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 478 metric tons each year compared to California’s non-baseload power plants." More in the installation. From Environmental Leader. [How cheap is the hydrogen?]

Government and Regulation

UK biofuels 'falling short' on environmental standards.reliability high.
"a RFA spokesman said that, despite the volume target being achieved, the agency was 'disappointed that more companies did not source more fuel that was produced according to a recognised environmental standard'. 'We believe that sustainable biofuel is available, in sufficient volume, should these companies wish to procure it,' he told BBC News. Figures released by the RFA show that just 33% of biofuels met an environmental standard, well short of the 50% goal for 2009/10. About 80% of the feedstock to produce the biofuels was imported, most of which was not subject to meeting an environmental standard. ... Currently under the RTFO, only the volume target is mandatory; the carbon savings and environmental standards goals were voluntary." From BBC News. Access the report here. [This must mean that sustainable biofuel is more expensive than non-sustainable biofuel.]

How to Stop Idling Trucks from Wasting 1.2 Billion Gallons of Fuel.reliability high.
"At current fuel prices, the average long-haul truck uses $3,000-$4,000 worth of diesel every year just idling. ... But the bigger issue for state and municipal governments is not fuel cost, it is air pollution (the federal government has yet to enact any anti-idling laws but they have set forth guidelines for states to follow if they wish). Idling anywhere between 500 and 3,500 hours a year and burning an average of .80 gallons of diesel fuel per hour, long-haul trucks emit 11 million tons of CO2, 200,000 tons of NOx, and 5,000 tons of particulate matter into the air annually." Gives examples of anti-idling laws coming into force around the country. See Reuters from Matter Network.