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.
In 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”
I 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 “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.
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 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?
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.
Gippsland 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.
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.
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.
Friends 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?”