Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Project Seeks to Halve Cost

Published by Bloomberg. View original article.

Operators of a wind farm in waters off Fukushima prefecture, site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, aim to cut the cost of setting up the floating turbines by half as they push to commercialize the technology.

The pilot project, funded by the government and led by trading house Marubeni Corp. (8002), began operations on Nov. 11 with a 2-megawatt turbine connected to a substation. Both are about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Fukushima. The project’s second phase will see the installation of two more turbines from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011) with 7 megawatts capacity each.

“The most important thing for the first phase was to float the turbine and make it work, rather than the cost,” Tomofumi Fukuda, a Marubeni official, said earlier this month in Fukushima after a ceremony to mark the start of operations. “For the second phase, it will become very important to figure out how to reduce costs to commercialize the technology.”

The effort off Fukushima is part of a broader push by Japan to diversify its sources of energy after the nuclear disaster in 2011 and the subsequent idling of the nation’s fleet of atomic power stations for safety checks. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has set a target of making floating offshore wind technology viable by 2018.

Manufacturing and installing the 2-megawatt wind power generation system, which is able to generate power for about 1,700 homes, cost slightly more than 2 million yen ($20,000) per kilowatt, Fukuda said. Operators want to reduce that to 1 million yen per kilowatt by the second phase when the next two turbines are installed, he said.

fukushima Continue reading “Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Project Seeks to Halve Cost”

Wind farm for pulp mill site a strong concept

air5Friends of the Earth Australia welcome the concept of a wind farm at the Tamar Valley pulp mill site. 

A wind farm at the proposed pulp mill site is a strong concept that would create jobs and attract investment to northern Tasmania.

If the wind farm comes to fruition it would be a leading example for how communities can transition from the old 20th Century industry to the high-tech 21st Century economy.

A wind farm at the site of a failed pulp mill could attract high-value Information and Communications Technology firms and investment to the region.  

As we’ve discussed previously on ABC Radio, forward-looking companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook are are aiming for 100 percent renewable energy. They’re locating data centres that store the information we access online (such as YouTube videos) near renewable energy generators. Continue reading “Wind farm for pulp mill site a strong concept”

Pollie Watch: Sen Madigan surprise supporter of Clean Energy Bank

MadiganIn a move that has surprised renewable energy advocates, Senator for Victoria John Madigan–who is better known for his strong opposition to wind energy–has backed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation was a key plank of the Clean Energy Future legislation negotiated by the Gillard government, the Australian Greens and independent members. The body was set up to stimulate private sector investment in Australia’s nascent renewable energy sector.

Last week, it was revealed that the Abbott government’s decision to scrap the CEFC would cost taxpayers. CEFC chair Jillian Broadbent says the fund delivers a $200 million return to taxpayers each year or $2.40 worth of profit for each tonne of carbon abatement.

Pollie Watch articles hold politicians to account when their arguments against renewable energy aren’t supported by the evidence. They also give politicians a pat-on-the-back when they stand up for renewable energy in Australia. In that spirit, Yes 2 Renewables are happy to post Senator Madigan’s excellent defense of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation below.  Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Sen Madigan surprise supporter of Clean Energy Bank”

Do Wind Turbines Affect Property Values? No — or at Least “No Statistical Evidence” — Says New Hedonic Study

Published by Union of Concerned Scientists. View original article.

windnearhouses-380x233I noted in my recent post on wind turbines and tourism that a related issue, wind farms and property values, was also important to consider. A new study does just that, and finds “no statistical evidence” of effects.

The study is A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States, from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The author team included LBL experts, researchers from Texas A&M and San Diego State, and others.

The “hedonic” in the study title refers not to hedonism in the colloquial sense (think college students living it up during spring break), but to the amount of pleasure — or displeasure — that comes from a certain amenity, like a nearby park, or disamenity, like a garbage dump.

In this case, the question is where wind farms sit on the amenity-disamenity spectrum. Continue reading “Do Wind Turbines Affect Property Values? No — or at Least “No Statistical Evidence” — Says New Hedonic Study”

Is The RET Responsible For The Decline Of Australian Manufacturing? > Check The Facts

With industries such as manufacturing already facing the uncertain pressures of a globalised world, narrow minded pollies often like to use the Renewable Energy Target (RET) as a scapegoat over exploring more complex pressures on industry.

The original article was published in Facts Fight Back. The article can be found here.

Is the RET responsible for the decline of Australian manufacturing? > Check the facts

Who: “[The renewable energy target (RET)] has already put up power prices for industry to such an extent that manufacturers are shutting down and moving overseas.” Senator Ron Boswell.

The claim: Rising electricity prices due to the RET are an important contributing factor in the decline of manufacturing in Australia.

Continue reading “Is The RET Responsible For The Decline Of Australian Manufacturing? > Check The Facts”

What Australia could learn from a US energy uprising

The concept of local and decentralised forms of energy production is gaining traction within community groups across the U.S and around the world. Is Australia missing out on cheaper electricity prices and lowering our dependance on fossil fuel use through community energy initiatives?

The original article was published in The Conversation. The Article can be found here.

Around the world, people concerned about global warming and wary of higher energy costs are turning away from big power distributors in favour of local and “distributed” energy technologies and services.

Turbine tourism: Bus tours of a wind-energy park are a big hit

Published by Grist. View original article. Michigan now has nearly 900 wind turbines, and that lit a lightbulb in the entrepreneurial mind of retired teacher Gene Jorissen. Last summer, he started leading hour-long bus tours of the turbine-dotted Lakes Winds … Continue reading Turbine tourism: Bus tours of a wind-energy park are a big hit

Gippsland locks the gate on CSG, opens it to renewables

MaffraGippsland is the frontline of the battle against unconventional gas in Victoria. Mining and resources companies have their sights on the region as the next frontier for expanding the onshore gas industry. Unconventional gas extraction has taken root in Queensland and New South Wales, and industry players want Victoria to follow suit.

The Lock the Gate Alliance invited Yes 2 Renewables to Maffra to speak with the community about the broader context of energy and the potential of renewables.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 5.15.56 PMYes 2 Renewables was pleased to join Merryn Redenbach from Doctors for the Environment Australia and Felicity Milner from the Environmental Defenders Office to present to 50 people at the Maffra Football Club last week.

Those opposed to wind energy like to say regional communities are divided on wind farms, so I was unsure how my presentation on community-owned renewable energy would be received. Continue reading “Gippsland locks the gate on CSG, opens it to renewables”

Cut emissions and save on household bills

On November 16, BEAM-Mitchell Environment Group and Yes 2 Renewables will present an Energy Futures Forum in Seymour. The event is already sparking interest in the region which is the site of the proposed Cherry Tree Range wind farm.

Victoria stands at a crossroads. Will our energy future be defined by more business-as-usual: fossil fuels, pollution, the threat of fracking and climate change? Or will we transition to clean renewable energy sources?

Energy efficiency can make the transition to renewables quicker and easier while saving householders on their power bills. Trent Hawkins, lead author of Beyond Zero Emissions’ Zero Carbon Buildings Plan, will outline four ways Victorians can get energy smart, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Original article published by BEAM. 

Trent-Hawkins
Trent Hawkins, project leader of the Beyond Zero Emissions Zero Carbon Buildings Plan.

Households in Seymour and surrounds can reduce their carbon emissions to zero with four simple steps.

Trent Hawkins, Project Director of the Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, will talk about how this can be done at the Energy Futures Forum in Seymour on November 16.

The four steps are going gas free, fixing the building envelopes, installing energy efficient appliances and lighting, and rooftop solar to power every home.

“Every house in Australia could be emissions free in ten years if we implemented this plan”, said Mr Hawkins.

With this approach, households would produce more electricity than they use, but using less on a daily basis than they do now.

After three years of working on the Plan at environmental think tank Beyond Zero Emissions, he proposes that it is not only possible but that it is realistic and financially viable. Continue reading “Cut emissions and save on household bills”

Energy freedom on or off the grid?

BenFriends of the Earth member Ben Courtice explores the implications of living ‘off the grid’ in an article published in Chain Reaction – Friends of the Earth’s national magazine. Find other thought-provoking articles and support Friends of the Earth by subscribing to Chain Reaction.

It’s long been a favoured wish of many environmentalists to go off the grid, to be self-sufficient in energy and other services, and avoid the corporate utilities and their coal-powered electricity. The ambition for freedom from energy bills and fossil-fuel electricity is understandable.

I was born and lived until the age of eight in an off-grid Queenslander farmhouse. We didn’t even have a telephone. The most energy intensive technology we had was a kerosene-powered refrigerator which we ran some of the time. Of course, living far from the city, we were able to use wood for heating and cooking. Living off-grid was easy enough if you didn’t mind the low-tech lifestyle.

And now in the age of relatively cheap solar panels (which weren’t around in the 1970s), you can live off the grid and use a huge battery attached to a large array of solar PV (photovoltaic) panels, to maintain a hi-tech lifestyle on clean solar energy.

But for many, the large batteries needed are still too expensive, so the idea of going off-grid still rests on heavy use of firewood or even bottled fossil gas for the most energy intensive household services: space heating, water heating and cooking. Having lots of people transfer from using fossil-powered electricity to bottled fossil gas and/or firewood is just exchanging one set of environmental problems for another. Continue reading “Energy freedom on or off the grid?”