Category: Energy

Floating Offshore Wind Turbines Could Drive Japan’s Renewable Energy Future

From Renewable Energy World:

Chris Rose

Less than three years after the disaster at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, a hotly-anticipated floating offshore wind turbine began operating 20 kilometres from the damaged site on Monday.

A number of news organisations reported that Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima, said that the floating turbine could become a symbol of the region’s desire to become a green energy centre.

“Fukushima is making a stride toward the future step by step,” Bloomberg quoted Sato saying at a ceremony marking the project’s initiation. “Floating offshore wind is a symbol of such a future.”

The experimental project is funded by the government and led by Marubeni Corp. It requires approval from local fishermen before becoming a commercial operation. The 2-megawatt turbine from Hitachi Ltd. was nicknamed “Fukushima Mirai,” the Bloomberg report said, adding a floating substation has also been set up and bears the name “Fukushima Kizuna.” Mirai means future, while kizuna translates as ties.

Two more turbines by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., with 7 MW of capacity each, are expected to also be installed. Bloomberg noted the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has said the floating offshore capacity may be expanded to 1,000 MW.

“For Japan, which is surrounded by deep oceans, floating wind turbines hold the promise of opening up large areas to produce clean energy,” the Bloomberg story added. “The technology involves attaching turbines to structures that float in areas too deep for traditional towers fixed to the seafloor.”

via Floating Offshore Wind Turbines Could Drive Japan’s Renewable Energy Future.

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Recharged Japan Solar PV Industry Hits 10 GW of Installed Capacity

Read here a report on how Japan, by establishing government subsidies and by ensuring a fixed high price for solar energy has managed to install solar systems corresponding to two nuclear power stations after the Fukushima disaster.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in Japan have now reached the 10 gigawatts (GW) milestone for cumulative PV capacity. Japan is only the fifth country to reach this mark, after Germany, Italy, China and the U.S. Both the U.S. and China reached 10 GW of solar PV within the past few months, according to new research featured in the NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific PV Market Quarterly Report.

The First GW PV Country in 2004

This new landmark for the Japanese solar industry comes nine years after Japan was crowned the first country to break through 1 GW of cumulative solar PV, back in 2004.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) launched a subsidy program for residential PV systems as far back as 1994. Initially, the subsidy covered 50 percent of the cost of PV systems. The budget for FY 1994 was 2 billion Yen.

Until 2005, Japan had the largest installed PV capacity of any country in the world. This early leadership position was achieved through a well-managed set of programs, coupled with attractive market incentives.

The early growth of the Japanese PV market was a strong factor in establishing Japanese manufacturing as the first dominant force in the solar PV industry. Manufacturers that benefited from the first phase of government initiatives include several of the companies that are now leaders in the domestic PV industry revival: Sharp, Sanyo and Kyocera.

via Recharged Japan Solar PV Industry Hits 10 GW of Installed Capacity.

Norway abandons Mongstad carbon capture plans

The fossil fuel industry has for many years said that there is no problem burning coal, oil and gas, and that it is soon possible to capture the carbon dioxide resulting from burning these fossil fuels. As this BBC news shows, this will very unlikely be any solution.

The outgoing government in Norway has buried much-vaunted plans to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground amid mounting costs and delays.

The oil and energy ministry said the development of full-scale carbon dioxide capture at Mongstad oil refinery had been discontinued.

It said it remained committed to research into carbon capture.

When the Labour Party presented the plan in 2007, it was hailed as Norway’s equivalent of a “Moon landing”.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his allies lost a general election to conservatives and centrists this month, and are due to step down shortly.

Mongstad had already run into difficulties.

“At both the national and international level, the development of technologies to capture and store CO2 has taken longer, been more difficult and more costly than expected,” Oil and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe told reporters.

via BBC News – Norway abandons Mongstad carbon capture plans.

Study revises estimate of methane leaks from US gas fields : Nature News & Comment

The USA and many other nations are repeatedly telling us that gas is a climate friendly fuel, and that we should go for this to reduce Global Warming.

The fact is that the methane gas (natural gas) is a very strong greenhouse gas, so when just a small amount of this leaks to the atmosphere, then it influences the climate much more than the same amount of CO2.

This notice from Nature, reports that much more methane gas is leaking from wells in the USA that are in production than previously thought.

So, besides all the other dangers connected with this “fracking” industry, now it is also shown, that it is not very climate friendly.

Environmental controls designed to prevent leaks of methane from newly drilled natural gas wells are effective, a study has found — but emissions from existing wells in production are much higher than previously believed.

The findings, reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1, add to a burgeoning debate over the climate impact of replacing oil- and coal-fired power plants with those fuelled by natural gas. Significant leaks of heat-trapping methane from natural gas production sites would erase any climate advantage the fuel offers.

via Study revises estimate of methane leaks from US gas fields : Nature News & Comment.