Friday, December 23, 2005

Wind Power Finance and Investment - Infocast Inc.

Meet the leading wind power developers,
investors, lenders, turbine suppliers, and offtakers.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This is an exciting time for the wind industry. Power prices are at historic highs and policy makers are pushing for more wind power development. Now with the extension of the PTC through 2007, the race is on to secure turbines, close financing, build projects and install record numbers of new megawatts.

There has never been more capital available for new projects?debt markets are deepening, ever more sophisticated tax equity structures are evolving, private equity is investing, bond markets are opening, and new players are stepping forward. Yet challenges remain: turbine shortages, escalating construction costs, financeable power purchase agreements, to name a few.

With this high-charged environment as the backdrop, the leading project developers, investors, lenders, and other key players will once again gather at the 5th Wind Power Finance & Investment ? the longest running wind power finance event and a major gathering place for the wind industry ? to share their perspectives on the latest innovations and developments in the wind power finance and investment markets and discuss what it takes to profit from the increasing flow of wind deals in 2006 and beyond.

The event also features the pre-conference workshop Negotiating Your Wind Project Financing. This informative pre-conference workshop will provide you an in-depth understanding of the key issues you will need to address when putting together your wind project financing agreements.

The event will take place at the Rancho Bernardo Inn?a classic California Spanish Mission style resort with plenty of outdoor patios and natural gardens?an ideal locale where you can set up private meetings offline with the industry?s key players and get deals done.

Jeffrey A. Chester

Register by Phone at (818) 888-4444

SkyPower Corp. announces completion of initial public offering for SkyPower Wind Energy Fund LP

Press Release Source: SkyPower Corp.

SkyPower Corp. announces completion of initial public offering for SkyPower Wind Energy Fund LP
Friday December 23, 1:05 pm ET

TORONTO, Dec. 23 /CNW/ - SkyPower Corp. is pleased to announce that SkyPower Wind Energy Fund LP (the "Partnership") has completed an initial public offering of 7,724,084 limited partnership units at a price of $10 per unit for gross proceeds of $77,240,840.

The syndicate of agents for the offering was led by RBC Capital Markets and Scotia Capital as joint bookrunners, BMO Nesbitt Burns as co-lead manager, and TD Securities, Genuity Capital Markets, Dundee Securities, Canaccord Capital, Desjardins Securities, and HSBC Securities (Canada) as co-managers.

Net proceeds of the Offering will be used to invest in shares of Terrawinds Resources Corp. ("Terrawinds"), which will own, construct and then operate a 201 MW wind park near Rivi�re-du-Loup, Quebec (the "Facility"). Terrawinds will use the proceeds towards the construction and operating of a test phase for the Facility (the "Test Phase"). The Partnership anticipates that most of the costs of the Test Phase will qualify as Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expenses ("CRCE") under the Income Tax Act (Canada). CRCE eligible expenses are deductible for income tax purposes and will be flowed through to investors in the Partnership. As a result, investors in the Partnership are expected to be entitled to claim certain tax deductions from income for the 2005 taxation year as a result of their investment.

Following the installation of the Test Phase wind turbines, and upon satisfactory completion of a 120-day test period, Terrawinds intends to complete the installation (the "Infill Phase") of the balance of the Facility using construction debt financing. Upon completion, the Facility is anticipated to be one of the largest wind energy parks in North America.

About SkyPower Corp.

SkyPower Corp. is a privately owned and controlled wind energy development company based in Toronto, Ontario. The Company is focused on becoming the largest owner and operator of wind parks in Canada and currently has developed a national footprint with interests in 23 wind power projects at various stages of development in eight provinces in Canada, representing more than 5,500 MW of capacity. SkyPower is actively developing partnerships with growth-oriented communities and First Nations, leveraging its management expertise in building and managing large multinational projects, and drawing on its relationships with leading North American suppliers and financial institutions.

For further information

Kerry Adler, President and Chief Executive Officer, SkyPower Corp., (416) 979-4602
Cory Basil, Vice President, Project Development, SkyPower Corp., (416) 979-4613
Bruce Wigle, Investor Relations, The Equicom Group, (416) 815-0700 ext. 228

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Commendations for Windfarm's Profits that Finance Housing

Commendations for Windfarm's Profits that Finance Housing
December 20, 2005

The Gigha Heritage Trust bought the island off the coast of Scotland in March 2002 intending to fulfill a five-year development plan calling for a windfarm and sustainable housing.

Isle of Gigha, Scotland [] Invested profits from the community-owned Isle of Gigha's grid-connected windfarm, the only one of its kind in the UK, enabled completion of the first phase of a housing improvement program for its residents. For this contribution to the standard of living for the islanders, the Isle's windfarm recently won three awards.

"We are delighted with the way it's worked out. There have been no major faults. Our windfarm has generally run itself and made us a profit which we are ploughing back into vital projects such as refurbished housing for our community."

-- Andy Clements, Gigha Renewable Energy chairman The wind tubines, switched on a year ago by local schoolchildren who call them 'Dancing Ladies,' have enabled the island to not only be self-sufficient in energy, but to sell electricity to the renewable energy company Green Energy UK.

The island, able to export 25 percent to the national grid, is now on target to reach its goal of GBP159,000 (approx. USD$282,000) for the year, which would net a profit of GBP 60,000 (approx. USD$106,500) after expenses and loan repayments.

"We are delighted with the way it's worked out," says Andy Clements, chairman of Gigha Renewable Energy, which was set up to build and manage the windfarm. "There have been no major faults. Our windfarm has generally run itself and made us a profit which we are ploughing back into vital projects such as refurbished housing for our community."

Green Energy UK's approach to long-term sustainability resonates with the community's aims. The company has pledged to give away half its company in shares to its customers and the Gigha Heritage Trust has also received shares. Any Gigha customer who converts to Green Energy UK also receives shares in the company.

"Establishing a windfarm can be a fairly complicated business with SROCs (Scottish Renewable Obligation Certificates) and embedded benefits," said Clements. "Green Energy UK was there from the beginning to advise and support...and even gave us a price increase in spite of our three-year contract with them!"

Gigha has now become an authority on community-owned windfarms and its conference held last June with speakers from Green Energy UK, the planning authority, the construction company and technical advisors was so well attended by communities from all over Scotland and the UK that the Gigha Heritage Trust is considering holding another one next year.

NPPD looks to increase wind-energy program

Posted on Sun, Dec. 11, 2005
NPPD looks to increase wind-energy programAssociated PressGRAND ISLAND, Neb. - The Nebraska Public Power District hopes to increase its use of wind energy as a power source through relationships with community-owned wind farms, an NPPD official says.
The Nebraska Farmers Union, the Center for Rural Affairs and the American Corn Growers Association have been working with NPPD to adopt a community-based concept that is used in Minnesota, said Douglas Mollet, NPPD water system-renewable energy manager.
The Minnesota model generates both revenue and electricity while keeping energy dollars local and not polluting the air and water, said Dan Juhl of DanMar & Associates of Pipestone, Minn., a pioneer in the community-based development approach to wind energy.
When wind energy was in its infancy, Juhl said, there were concerns that large corporate developers were draining as much as $650,000 a year out of Minnesota with each new turbine that was built.
But the community-based development strategy allows Minnesotans to generate more than $3.3 million per year in revenue from a wind-turbine operation, according to a government study on wind energy in that state.
The Minnesota model could give Nebraska the push it needs to more fully develop its wind-energy potential.
NPPD this year opened a wind energy farm outside of Ainsworth that contains 36 wind turbines. NPPD also owns two turbines at Springview. Before the Ainsworth farm opened, only about 1 percent of the total power generated in Nebraska came from wind energy.
NPPD has not been able to devote more resources to wind-energy production because, as a public entity, it is not entitled to production tax credits that have been used to spur investment in other states.
Under a community-based plan, local farmers or landowners would form a limited liability corporation and bring outside investors in to build the wind turbines, Juhl said. Those investors would be entitled to a production tax credit and other incentives.
After 10 years, complete ownership of the wind-generating facilities reverts back to the LLC group, Juhl said.
NPPD's Mollet said his company could purchase power from the community-based wind energy operations.
"It's just a matter of getting people together to invest in the wind turbines and aggregating them together instead of scattering them across the countryside," Mollet said.
John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, said it was important to have a partnership with NPPD to develop community-based wind energy projects.
"We now have a new paradigm in Nebraska in wind energy development," he said.

Vestas Wins US Wind Turbine Order,

Vestas Wins US Wind Turbine Order, Share Up


COPENHAGEN - Denmark's Vestas Wind Systems said on Tuesday it had won its biggest order in the United States with a contract with Horizon Wind Energy, sending its shares higher.
Vestas said in a statement it would deliver turbines with a capacity of 600 megawatts with an option for a further 200 megawatts.

By 0816 GMT Vestas shares were 5.2 percent higher at 95.50 crowns, outperforming the Copenhagen bourse's top-20 OMXC-index , which was 0.1 percent up.

Vestas will supply and commission the wind turbines, and the order also includes a five-year maintenance and service agreement.

Shipment of the turbines will commence in June 2006 and will continue until late 2008, with all turbines being commissioned before the end of 2008.

Last month, Vestas shares dropped more than 25 percent after the company warned of a surprise 2005 loss due to component shortage and low-margin orders in the US

The order does not affect Vestas's expectations for 2005 and 2006.

Story Date: 21/12/2005

Acquisition Agreement for Wind Energy Assets

Press Release Source: Western Wind Energy
Acquisition Agreement for Wind Energy Assets
Wednesday December 14, 3:46 am ET
Toronto Stock Exchange (Venture) Symbol: "WND" Issued and Outstanding: 18,055,603

COQUITLAM, BC, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Western Wind Energy Corporation is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with a civic government in the State of California. The agreement calls for Western Wind Energy and the civic government to jointly acquire certain producing wind energy assets within the State. The assets have an aggregate capacity of approximately 60 megawatts and the purchase will be financed by a 40% cash contribution by the City, and the remaining 60% will be secured by Western Wind Energy through a long-term debt facility.

The debt provided by Western Wind Energy will have preference to the cash contribution by the City. This is a major accomplishment in the renewable energy sector demonstrating cooperation between a publicly traded company and a civic government.

The agreement is to remain confidential until the assets are acquired and Western Wind Energy will release the details as progress is made.

During the past year, Western Wind Energy has executed over $800 million of power sales agreements totaling 159.5 megawatts from the sale of wind energy electrical generation, to three separate utilities. The Company was the first to execute a "wind" PPA in the Province of New Brunswick, Canada, the first to execute a "wind" PPA in the State of Arizona, and in California, is expanding from management's 24-year continuous operating history in the Tehachapi Pass.

Western Wind Energy Corporation is in the business of acquiring suitable land sites, capital and technology for the production of electricity from wind energy. It conducts its operations through its wholly owned subsidiaries in Arizona, California and, in Canada, in the province of New Brunswick. Management of the Company includes individuals involved in the operations and ownership of utility scale wind energy operations in California since 1981.


"Jeffrey J. Ciachurski"

Jeffrey J. Ciachurski

Telephone: (604) 839-4192
Facsimile: (604) 939-1292

China making push for wind energy

Posted on Thu, Dec. 15, 2005
China making push for wind energy

By Tim Johnson
Knight Ridder Newspapers

GUANGZHOU, China - China, already a world leader in the widespread use of solar water heaters, is starting to push hard into harnessing wind energy.

As air pollution chokes much of the country and soaring crude oil prices bite into state finances, authorities are sharply raising their targets for the use of renewable energy, particularly from wind farms.

Last month, authorities gave a massive kick-start to wind energy by raising the target for the overall share of renewable energy in the nation's power mix to 15 percent by 2020, up from 10 percent.

A significant chunk of that will come from wind farms. And as Chinese firms move in a big way to produce cheap wind turbines to satisfy domestic demand, they're forcing turbine prices down in other countries.

"With the development of wind turbine technology in China, the price is already falling worldwide. The price has come down about 20 percent," said Deng Yuanchang, deputy director of the Wind Resource Research Center at Sun Yat-sen University in this southern Guangdong Province city along the Pearl River Delta.

Some 43 wind farms now dot the Chinese countryside, producing less than 1 gigawatt of power and providing only 0.17 percent of China's energy needs. But new targets call for obtaining 6 gigawatts of power from wind energy by 2010, and 30 gigawatts by 2020, a boost that would leapfrog China to nearly twice the level of the installed capacity of the current world leader, Germany.

Experts see Guangdong province, which surrounds the southern city of Guangzhou (formerly Canton) as a good proving ground. Guangdong has high energy prices, frequent blackouts and 83 million people.

"The wind conditions are very similar to those of Germany, and you know that Germany is the biggest wind market in the world," said Yang Ailun, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace, the worldwide environmental advocacy group.

While some energy analysts dismiss China's renewable energy goals as wishful thinking, others don't discount China's ambitions.

"There are big companies that want to invest in wind farms," said Arthouros Zervos, the president of the European Renewable Energy Council, a trade group.

Once the government establishes nationwide rates at which wind energy can be sold, within the next few months, investment could pour in and progress could be made quickly.

"It's not like nuclear power, where from the time you make a decision to the point you have a plant, it can take five years. A wind farm takes one year," Zervos said.

"Wind energy is very capital intensive at the beginning," added Yang. "About 70 percent of the cost of the wind farm is purchase of the turbines."

As soon as rates are set for wind-generated energy, investors will move in to build wind farms and even possibly set some up offshore, she said.

Electricity from wind farms still costs more than energy from coal-fired power plants, but Li Junfeng, the director of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, a trade group, said he believes that wind energy will drop in price as coal becomes less abundant by 2020 and officials scramble to deal with air pollution.

"They (officials) know they need clean energies," Li said.

China already has vast experience in some renewable energy fields, particularly solar energy systems. The nation currently has 50 million solar water heaters in use, mostly on rural housetops, claiming more than half the global market for such devices.

Li said he believes that by 2020, 150 million Chinese households will have solar heaters.

"The solar water heater is very popular in my village now. You know, all my friends have bought it," said Chen Feng, an accountant from Xuzhou in coastal Jiangsu province. "We now have hot water every day unless it rains continuously."

For higher-end solar technology, such as photovoltaic cells, Li said China still has "a long way to go. We need new technology. We need more money for research."

But Li said he's certain that within several decades, "China will be a world leader in renewable energies."

Knight Ridder special correspondent Fan Linjun contributed to this report.

Wind energy company seeks public hearing

Published: December 19, 2005 11:30 pm

Wind energy company seeks public hearing

Opponents say pressure forced move by Chicago-based Invenergy

Christian Giggenbach
Register-Herald Reporter

The Chicago-based company Invenergy, which plans to build turbine wind farms in western Greenbrier County has formally requested that the West Virginia Public Service Commission hold at least one of its public hearings in Greenbrier County and promises to make available documents that have been filed with the PSC, according to its project director.

Opponents of the wind farm say pressure by their lawyers prompted both moves and believe multiple hearings should occur throughout the county.

Last Friday, Beech Ridge Energy asked the PSC to conduct a public hearing on its proposed $300 million wind energy project in Rupert. In addition, BRE offered to make all documents that are part of the public record available for public inspection in multiple locations in Greenbrier County.

?While we have held a number of public meetings on this project, we would appreciate having the opportunity to present the facts surrounding our project in the community of Rupert,? said BRE project director Dave Groberg. ?We believe that a formal hearing is the best way to accurately present the project. The project opponents have conveyed misleading and inaccurate information on the project and we would like to correct the record.?

When reached by phone Monday, Groberg said the ?misleading and inaccurate information? had to do with several areas. He said opponents of the wind farm project are downplaying its positive aspects and overplaying any possible negative impacts.

?When they (opponents) talk about us not creating any significant amount of energy, we think creating energy for 50,000 homes is significant. They say we won?t have any real impact on jobs. We think 200 construction jobs and 20 permanent full-time jobs is significant,? Groberg said. ?Also, $400,000 a year in property taxes is significant, that?s the bigger picture and we want people to see that for themselves.

?We also want the public to review the extensive environmental and technical documents associated with our project. We hope that the community will agree that the project has been designed to compliment this very rural area,? Groberg said.

David Stroud, co-chair of the Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy said Monday that their attorney James McNealy petitioned the PSC to make the documents available to Greenbrier countians.

?They (BRE) make it sound like they are doing this out of the bigness of their heart,? he said. ?My feeling is that we have just dug out the rest of the story. They are presenting this as a clean and green project but there is plenty of evidence to show otherwise.?

Stroud believes the 15-mile stretch of windmills ? each which could be as high as 450 feet tall ? will be seen by people as far away as Lewisburg, which is nearly 15 miles away. He says the tourism industry will be hurt because no one wants to see windmills on top of mountains.

?People want to see the sunset over top of the mountains not a windmill,? Stroud said.

In regards to a future hearing in Rupert, Stroud said he welcomes it, but more hearings should be held in other places in the county as well.

?We would be very happy to have a hearing in Rupert, but of course we have to start with a hearing in Lewisburg because it is the county seat,? he said. ?It also follows that if we have a hearing in Rupert, it will be important to have hearings in Williamsburg and Renick. We are glad to see BRE moving in this direction.?

Stroud said that over 1,700 protest letters have been filed with the PSC and only nine letters have supported the project, since BRE has filed for a siting application.

BRE believes the project will have a minimal impact on the residents of Greenbrier County. They say all of the turbines, except for one, will be at least one-mile from the nearest residence, which is five times the typical zoning requirement for similar sized wind farms across the United States.

?Our application for the Beech Ridge project is one of the most comprehensive filings ever submitted to the PSC for this type of project,? Groberg said. ?And we?re convinced that the majority of the citizens of western Greenbrier County will agree that this project provides tremendous benefits for West Virginia when they review the public record being considered by the PSC.?

No dates have been set for any public hearings by the PSC.

? E-mail:

Brazilian Park to produce wind energy

12/19/2005 - 14:13]
Park to produce wind energy

Ag�ncia Brasil*

Porto Alegre - The largest wind energy park in Brazil and one of the greatest in the world, which is being built in Os�rio, city in the north coast of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, is going to place the country in the leading positions in wind energy in Latin America and add 150 megawatts (MW) to the Brazilian energy matrix. The production represents 5% of the energy consumed in the state and will be sufficient to meet the demands in a 600,000 people city or two thirds of the residential consumption in Porto Alegre, capital city of Rio Grande do Sul.

The state secretary for Energy, Mines and Communications, Valdir Andre, said that the first aero-generators are to be installed next January. The forecast is that energy generation starts on the first semester 2007. The project is part of the Alternative Energy Sources Program (Proinfa) from state-owned Eletrobras, which ensures the purchase of the energy produced for 20 years.

"Aeolian energy is a new thing in Brazil today. It is important as it is a renewable source, non-polluting and that doesn't end like the fossil fuels," stated the secretary. The contract for financing the project, of US$ 200.2 million from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), was signed in 2004. The value corresponds to 69% of the undertaking's cost, calculated in US$ 291.6 million.

About 400 people work today in the construction site and in January, another 100 workers will be employed. Six companies were hired directly and another 20 were sub hired for the construction.

France Overrides Wind Energy Foes

France Overrides Wind Energy Foes
Julio Godoy

PARIS, Dec 19 (IPS) - Only a massive immediate investment in wind energy and the installation of up to 6,000 new wind turbines around the country over the next decade will permit France to reach its target of further reducing carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new report by a state agency.

The report, prepared by high-ranking government officials at the French ministry of finance and economy, will likely serve as the basis for the Multi-Year Project for Investments in Energy (PPI, after its French name), and will be presented to the French parliament in early 2006.

According to the document, to which IPS had access, "France does not have any other choice than wind energy to significantly boost the development of renewable energy sources."

The document proposes the installation of enough wind turbines by 2010 to produce four gigawatts (GW, one billion watts), and 12.5 GW by the year 2016. That would require the installation of up to 6,000 new turbines in France by 2016.

France would then generate six percent of its energy needs from wind, for a total of 21 percent from renewable sources in 10 years time, allowing the country to meet the objectives set by the European guidelines on renewable energy sources adopted in 2001..

Today, according to the French state agency for the environment and the management of energy (ADEME, after its French name), France has an installed capacity of 632 megawatts (MW, one million watts) in wind turbines, representing barely 0.15 percent of its total energy.

By contrast, the three leading European countries in the use of wind energy -- Germany, Denmark and Spain -- already produce up to 18,000 MW, 3,100 MW, and 1,700 MW, respectively. In Germany, the installed capacity in wind energy represents six percent of the country's total energy consumption.

The French government seems ready to follow the advice of its experts. Last week, it approved seven new wind projects to be constructed next year, representing an installed capacity of 279 MW.

The policy has already prompted action at the state-owned energy provider Electricit� de France (EdF). Robert Durdilly, spokesperson at EdF, told IPS: "We are going to install some 3,300 MW by the year 2010, with an investment of 3.5 billion euros (some 4..2 billion U.S. dollars)."

But Durdilly warned that this programme would face enormous technical and administrative difficulties. "We have to find a location with enough wind to make the investment profitable, we have to convince the neighbours that the wind turbines won't damage their region, and that they will also profit from it."

This is only a first small step in overcoming the deficit created in the sector by the failure of the state so far to support wind energy, says H�l�ne Gassin, an energy analyst at the French branch of Greenpeace.

"France should already be producing up to 7,000 megawatts from wind energy, given the country's enormous wind potential," Gassin told IPS. "Instead, we are the European rearguard in the use of renewable energy sources."

Gassin regretted that the French government continues to rely on the massive use of nuclear energy, which supplies well over 80 percent of the country's power needs.

Indeed, wind energy faces enormous political challenges here, including the hostility of the conservative press and rural populations against the installation of wind turbines. According to ADEME, 36 percent of the French population opposes the installation of wind turbines in their immediate neighbourhoods, arguing that they are eyesores and do not create new jobs. This opposition has been expressed in fierce press campaigns against the development of wind energy in France. In an article last August titled "Massacre With the Wind", the influential conservative weekly newspaper Le Point denounced the nascent French wind energy policy as "a traumatic eruption � about to disfigure France".

Such arguments are refuted by environmental activists like Stephane Lhomme, of the network Sortir du nucl�aire ("Get rid of nuclear power").

"In Germany, the use of renewable energy sources such as wind is not only an environmental success, but also an economic one," Lhomme told IPS.

Lhomme said that in Germany, the use of wind energy has created some 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in investments and revenues.

"In contrast to nuclear and carbon power stations, renewable energy sources such as wind do not deplete scarce resources, such as water, for inefficient cooling systems," he said.

Administratively, wind energy in France will face several constraints, including the reduction of the price paid by EdF, the state-owned monopoly in charge of distributing electricity, for every unit of electricity produced by wind turbines.

The current guaranteed price for MW per hour of wind energy is 83.80 euros, roughly 100 dollars per MW/hour. By law, this price will drop to 75 euros per MW/hour.

However, France appears to have grasped the enormous economic potential of the international wind energy market, so far controlled by German, Danish, Spanish and U.S. companies.

Today, Vestas, a Danish corporation, controls 35 percent of the world's wind turbine and related technology market, and is the leading firm in the sector, with yearly sales of well over four billion dollars. Vestas is followed by the Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa, the German firms Enercon and Siemens, and the U.S. General Electric Wind. French firms play no role in this market.

But that situation could change, says Jean-Christophe F�raud, energy correspondent for the French financial newspaper La Tribune, if France launches its own wind energy sector.

F�raud told IPS that local French producers of wind turbines and related technology, such as Jeumont and Vergnet, only sell their products in France, and represent no challenge to the major Danish, Spanish, German, and U.S. firms in the sector.

But he believes that if France substantially increases its wind energy capacity, the main producer of wind turbines in France would be then Areva, the state-owned enterprise in charge of managing the country's 58 nuclear power stations, and which also owns Jeumont.

"If France becomes a wind turbine country, you can bet that Areva and Jeumont will also play at the same level with Vestas, Gamesa, Enercon and Siemens," F�raud told IPS. (END/2005)

Cartier Wind Energy to make $2.9 million community investment

Cartier Wind Energy to make $2.9 million community investment as part of Baie-des-Sables wind power project
BAIE-DES-SABLES, QC, Dec. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Cartier Wind Energy
("Cartier") is pleased to announce that it has today signed agreements with
the municipalities of Baie-des-Sables and M�tis-sur-Mer defining the voluntary
contributions Cartier will provide to each municipality during the 20-year
operation of Baie-des-Sables wind energy project. More than $2,400,000 will be
provided to Baie-des-Sables municipality and $478 000 to M�tis-sur-Mer
municipality over the operation period. The agreements were signed during an
official ceremony showing Cartier's commitment towards its projects' host
The voluntary contribution will be spread over 20 years and will be
allocated based on installed capacity in each municipality. Cartier will
provide $1,000 per installed megawatt (MW) as of the beginning of the
construction of the wind farm and an annual contribution of $1,000 per
installed MW during the operation of the wind farm. The municipalities are
free to use the funds at their discretion. In addition, Cartier will invest
$30,000 annually into a fund to help local non-profit organizations. The
agreements also include the creation of a committee that will monitor local
economic spin-offs during the construction and operation of the wind farm.
"These agreements reflect our attentiveness to community needs and are in
line with the values of Cartier Wind Energy. We are proud to contribute to the
economic development of Baie-des-Sables and M�tis-sur-Mer," said Mr. Gilles
Lefran�ois, Chairman of the Board of Cartier Wind Energy.
Cartier Wind Energy expects to receive environmental permits for the
Baie-des-Sables wind farm in early 2006, with construction work expected to
commence in spring 2006.

Cartier Wind Energy, which is headquartered in Longueuil, is a
partnership of TransCanada Corporation and Innergex II, a fund that also has
its head office in Longueuil. Cartier Wind Energy won 740 MW in wind energy
projects in Hydro-Qu�bec's first wind energy call for tenders for projects
that will be developed from 2006 to 2012. Cartier Wind Energy's projects
represent an investment of more than $1.1 billion.

For further information: Mr. Gilles Lefran�ois, Chairman of the Board,
Cartier Wind Energy, (450) 928-2550, ext. 243,; Mr. Guy
Dufort, Vice President - Public Relations, (418) 834-6705,; TransCanada Corporation Website:;
Innergex II Website:

Kyoto Treaty Powers Up U.S. Alternative Energy Firms - Los Angeles Times

December 19, 2005
Kyoto Treaty Powers Up U.S. Alternative Energy Firms
American companies benefit from European demand for solar and wind power products.
By Evelyn Iritani, Times Staff Writer

The United States has not joined the Kyoto Protocol to cut greenhouse gases, but the pact nevertheless is boosting sales for American companies that market "clean" energy technologies.

The spread of renewable-energy standards ? particularly in Europe ? propelled by the treaty, along with a surge in oil and gas prices, has triggered a boom in business for solar and wind energy companies.

When Solar Integrated Technologies Inc. opened an office in Germany last spring, for example, the salespeople were allocated enough solar roofing material to provide one megawatt of power. In six weeks, they were sold out. Within a month, they had orders for 16 megawatts more.
Renewable energy ?An article in Monday's Business section about sales of "clean" energy products by American companies used incorrect terminology to describe the cost of electricity. Wind turbines can produce electricity for 4.5 cents to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, not per kilowatt, and a new natural gas turbine project can generate electricity for 9 cents to 9.5 cents, also per kilowatt-hour.

"It's a no-brainer to do business in solar in Europe," said Jon Slangerup, chief executive of Solar Integrated, whose 120 employees are producing about one mile of solar roofing panels a week at a plant in South Los Angeles. "The only question is: How much can you allocate and how fast can you install it?"

In Germany, the world's leading solar energy market, farmers are replacing crops with fields of solar panels, thanks to a government buyback program for renewable energy that spurred 150% growth in solar installations in 2004.

Britain, France and Spain also have introduced aggressive plans to reduce their production of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases over the next decade.

"Every available [solar] module is going to Germany," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Assn. in Washington. "It's Google-like growth."

A world leader in renewable energy less than a decade ago, the United States is now viewed as a laggard. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal this month, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin accused the U.S. of lacking a "global conscience" for refusing to sign the Kyoto treaty, which requires developed countries to slash their greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2012.

Craig Stevens, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Energy, said the Bush administration recognized that climate change was a "serious long-term issue."

But he said the best way to address that concern was by developing cleaner, more environmentally friendly forms of fossil-fuel-generated energy and nuclear power.

Stevens said renewable energy would also be an "important part" of the nation's energy mix, which was why the government was planning to invest $391 million next year in solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal energy projects.

State and local governments don't think the Bush administration is moving fast enough. Twenty states, including California, have established standards to guarantee that a certain portion of the energy they use comes from renewable-energy sources. California is the world's third-largest market for solar energy and the nation's leading producer of wind-generated power.

The state agreed last week to spend an additional $300 million in subsidies to put solar energy panels on as many as 1 million rooftops over the next 11 years.

"California clearly has been a U.S. leader," said Ron Pernick, co-founder of Clean Edge Inc., a West Coast energy consulting firm that predicts that the market for solar photovoltaics, wind power and fuel cells will reach $15 billion a year by 2014.

Unless domestic production expands quickly, Californians hoping to jump aboard the solar bandwagon could face lengthy delays, according to solar experts. They said the strong demand from Europe had taken up much of the U.S. production.

Investors are scrambling to get a piece of the renewable-energy action, sending the stocks of California companies such as Solar Integrated and Clipper Windpower Inc. of Carpinteria soaring. Both companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market, where investors have shown a strong appetite for "green" companies.

Clipper Windpower was trading Monday at 287.5 pence (about $5.10) a share, up more than 100 pence since late November. Solar Integrated was at 195 pence (about $3.46), up from 175 pence in November.

Slangerup, who had just returned from a European investment tour, said governments in Europe were betting that having a strong renewable-energy base would be a competitive advantage in the future.

Solar Integrated produces a commercial roofing material that uses photovoltaic cells to produce about four watts of electricity per square foot. Though it costs more to produce a kilowatt of electricity with this method, companies can use government subsidies to offset their capital outlays. Those include a 30% federal tax credit on the cost of installation, rebates from the state and renewable-energy credits that can be used to offset fees or fines.

"You turn a roof into a performing asset that has a guaranteed energy stream over 20 years," said Slangerup, whose customers include Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and commercial real estate developer ProLogis. "It becomes a real powerful selling proposition."

He predicted that the cost of solar systems would drop by two-thirds over the next five years, thanks to technical improvements.

Rising natural gas prices have made wind technology another increasingly attractive option. This year, wind power companies are expected to spend close to $3 billion installing 2,500 megawatts of new capacity in the U.S., a 40% increase over the previous year, according to Patrick Caramante, vice president of U.S. operations for British-based Garrad Hassan, one of the world's leading wind energy research firms.

Jim Dehlsen, founder of Clipper Technology, said, "The U.S. market has come to life," now that wind turbines can produce a kilowatt of electricity for 4.5 to 5 cents, compared with 9 to 9.5 cents for a new natural gas turbine project.

Dehlsen's first entrepreneurial venture was Zond Corp., which was sold to Enron Corp. in 1997 and eventually ended up in the hands of General Electric Co. G.E. Energy is now the country's leading wind power provider.

Clipper Technology recently opened an assembly plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Dehlsen expects to produce five of his high-power Liberty wind turbines this year and 150 in 2006. Those turbines, which are designed to operate even when wind is low, cost about $2.5 million each and can generate enough electricity over a 30-year life span to power 1,250 homes.

Some complain about the visual blight and noise created by wind turbines. But Dehlsen said wind power generation was far less damaging to the environment than fossil fuels, which produce high levels of greenhouse gases.

In addition, wind power could bring jobs to depressed farming and industrial areas. Dehlsen said. Germany, in less than six years, has installed enough wind projects to generate 14,000 megawatts of power and employ 75,000 people.

"The U.S. has a huge wind energy resource," he said. "There are four states alone ? that could supply all of the electricity needs of the country."

Though most of his sales have been in the U.S., Dehlsen sees huge opportunities in Europe and the developing world. He said he was negotiating deals in Eastern Europe, Latin America and China, with an eye on capturing 12% to 15% of the global market.

But Dehlsen and other renewable-energy advocates said the lack of government support was threatening U.S. technological leadership, pointing to reduced support for the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colo., the primary provider of government research funds.

Stepped-up interest from venture capitalists and Wall Street investors has provided seed money for entrepreneurs in the U.S. But once they have mastered the technology, many firms are shifting their manufacturing to countries where governments are providing investment incentives and an assurance of long-term demand.

The U.S. share of global production of photovoltaic cells has dropped from 45% in 1996 to 8% today, according to the Solar Energy Industries Assn.

Evergreen Solar Inc., one of the nation's leading solar firms, developed its modules at a facility in Marlboro, Mass., where it employs 250 people. But the firm sells three-quarters of its product in Germany and plans to invest more than $50 million in a production plant there that will employ 400 people.

"We will eventually build a plant here in the U.S.," said Tim Woodward, a board member of Evergreen and managing director of Nth Power, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm. "But the market demand is not great enough here for us to justify really expanding aggressively in the U.S. market."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Energy Storage - Supporting Greater Wind Energy Usage

Energy Storage - Supporting Greater Wind Energy Usage
12.16.05 Richard Baxter, Sr. Technology Analyst, Ardour Capital Investments, LLC

Coupling energy storage technologies with wind turbines can solve many of wind power?s operational issues and support the continued expansion of wind energy production. It should be noted that many types of renewable energy production already benefits from energy storage technologies. By decoupling the production and delivery of energy from renewable resources, storage technologies can make the generated energy more useful and more valuable.

To date, the wind power industry has made great strides in enhancing the capability of wind turbines and how they are integrated into the overall power market. Although the direct production cost may now be competitive with other power generation resource at certain locations, its effective usage cost is sometimes still higher due to inherent qualities of the wind resource. Storage technologies can provide additional flexibility to mitigate these issues.

Small Grids: Provide system stability (frequency and voltage).
Large Grids: Provide local system stability and enhance transmission deliverability.
Storage Technologies

A number of energy storage technologies are currently in use or being evaluated for use in conjunction with renewable energy resources. Some of these technologies include:

Flywheels: Flywheels store energy in a rotating mass of either steel of composite material. Through the use of a motor/generator, energy can be cycled (absorbed and then discharged) a great many times without reducing the life-span of the device. By increasing the surface speed of the flywheel, the energy storage capacity (kWh) of the unit can be increased; by increasing the size of the motor/generator, the power (kW) of the unit can be increased.
Flow Batteries: Flow batteries store energy in charged electrolytes and utilize proton exchange membranes similar to fuel cells. By flowing the (charged or uncharged) electrolytes through the cell, energy can be cycled through the unit. By adding additional electrolyte, the energy storage capacity (kWh) of the unit can be increased; by increasing the number of cells, the power (kW) of the unit can be increased.
Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES): CAES facilities store energy in compressed air held in underground chambers. These facilities charge (compress the air) the cavern at night with low cost system power; this air is then used as input for a gas turbine during peak price periods during the day, allowing all of the energy output to generate energy instead of compressing air in pre-combustion. By increasing the volume of air in the underground chamber, the energy storage capacity (kWh) of the unit can be increased; by increasing size of the compressor and turbine, the power (kW) of the unit can be increased.

Remote Power ? Island Grids

Small, remote power grids, many times referred to as (or actually exist as) island grids rely heavily on diesel reciprocating engines for their power. Although reliable, these units must respond to significant changes in daily or hourly load, with peak power levels many times far above average load levels. For these reasons operating costs on these systems can be extremely high due to transportation cost of the fuel and mandatory minimum run-times of the diesel engines. In many locations, wind turbines are being added to compliment and hopefully supplement these power sources. To assist this wind energy to integrate further and in a more meaningful way, many developers are looking to energy storage facilities to balance out the constantly changing power supply and demand levels into a far more effective operating regime.

The benefits of using wind energy can be quite high. A number of studies by US Government Laboratories (NREL, LLNL, etc.) have shown that adding wind to a diesel-powered local grid can reduce fuel consumption by 40%-50% and total costs by 30% to 50% for areas with plentiful wind resources.(1) However, because of the small size of these power grids (lack of system inertia, etc.) simply adding wind turbines to small power grids cannot be done haphazardly?a systematic review of the load and potential additional wind turbines must be undertaken to ascertain potential benefits, and to determine what level of wind penetration is best. For many of these power grids, the opportunity exists to have wind resources well in excess of 50% of the peak load.

The same studies that showed that increasing the wind penetration can lower the diesel fuel costs on these systems also showed that adding a storage component can gain an additional 10%-20% in system cost reductions. Although wind turbines provide power with no fuel cost, they bring with them operational characteristics that cause the overall system to operate at sub-optimal conditions many times due to the variability of the wind energy, the non-dispatchability of the wind energy, and the additional system stabilization requirements (frequency and voltage) required. By alleviating some of the stress on the system by operating as a dynamic source and sink for power (a shock absorber), energy storage can be a beneficial additional to these island grids for three general reasons: reducing diesel starts/runtime, providing system stability, and improving the reliability of supply from increasing the level of wind penetration for the system.

The value of energy storage to the system increases as the wind penetration increases, as there will be an increasing amount of time that the available wind power exceeds the total system loads. According to one NREL study(2), at 50% wind penetration, storage can provide 20% greater fuel saving and 20% fewer diesel run-tine than non-storage wind/diesel systems alone.

Example?Dogo Island, Japan(3)

The installation on Dogo Island, a small island just off the coast of Japan, is an example of how a flywheel energy storage system can provide the stabilizing capability lacking on many island power grids. In 2003, Fuji Electric installed a 200-kW UPT KESS from Urenco Power Technology in conjunction with a 3x600kW installation of De-Wind D4 wind turbines to evaluate how wind generators can be a viable source of power on remote islands with weak links to the mainland power grid by smoothing their irregular power output. Through incorporating the flywheel-based energy storage unit into the installation of the wind turbines, Fuji Electric sought four goals: to stabilize the frequency variations stemming from the turbines, to capture excess energy from short-term wind gusts, to optimize the operation of (or eliminate the need for) diesel generators on the island, and eliminate the need for additional spinning reserve due to the introduction of the wind turbines.

Results to date have been promising; by acting as both a dynamic sink and source of energy, the UPT KESS improved the island?s power grid efficiency and increased the penetration rate of the wind turbines. The flywheel unit?s ability to provide a stabilizing capability to the highly variable wind turbine power was found to be essential in allowing Fuji Electric to connect the wind turbines to the island's relatively weak electrical transmission system. Because of this successful outcome, Fuji Electric is now looking for further deployment opportunities of the UPT KESS technology to provide reliable wind-generated energy as a viable supply alternative in other locations.

Example?King Island, Australia(4)

King Island, located off the Australian coast has been installing wind turbines to complement and hopefully supplement the existing four 1.5-MW diesel generators. However, by the time the fifth wind turbine was installed (the wind turbines ranged in size from 250-kW to 850-kW) the balancing of the island?s grid was becoming problematic. To assist with system balancing, the local utility?Hydro Tasmania?subsequently installed a 200-kW/800-kWh VRB-ESS flow battery system from Pinnacle VRB Ltd., (a subsidiary of VRB Power Systems at the time).The VRB-ESS has provided three benefits to the power grid since its start-up in November of 2003: load-shifting off-peak wind-energy to on-peak demand, improved the operation of diesel units (reduce frequent startups with minimal run-time), and provided frequency regulation and voltage control to assist with higher wind energy integration.

Capacity Firming

If energy storage technologies are to play a significant role in conjunction with wind power in general, it will be through firming the delivery of wind power from large grid-integrated wind farms. Rather than cycling all of the output from the wind turbines through the storage facility, the capacity firming strategy focuses on providing sufficient support to the output of the wind-farm to ensure a guaranteed minimum of on-peak energy sales to reduce additional ancillary service requirements or energy reserves support and thus improve the total economics of the wind farm. Determining the needed power rating for energy storage unit to support a wind farm for this strategy requires knowing and understanding such issues as the size of the wind-farm, the variability of the local wind resource, the local power transmission capability, and the average load profile of that local power system. Many times this can require sizing the power rating of the unit at only 20% (or less, depending upon the strategy followed) of the size of the wind-farm.

More important to the strategy of the ensuing combined wind/storage combination is the determination of the how much energy storage (MWh) is required. For areas of constant wind-speed variability, high cycling energy storage facilities with only a small storage capacity may be useful?akin to the frequency regulation service provided on small island grids. By constantly absorbing and discharging any excess wind energy, you can improve the delivery and provide a more stable power output from the facility, benefiting the power flow on the grid; this would be of especially benefit in areas or weak transmission systems.

On a more common basis and for larger wind projects, wind energy could be stored during off-peak periods or during any time when the transmission of the output is constrained. This energy could then be delivered later to supplement existing wind generation during on-peak periods to ensure a minimum (for contractual delivery) but hopefully a maximum (for greater profit) energy sales, depending upon the transmission availability at the time.

Example?McCamey, TX(5)

McCamey, TX remains one of the State?s centers for much wind power development activity due to its preferential wind resource potential in the area. Unfortunately because of its remoteness in West Texas, developers can easily build out more wind generation than the transmission grid can easily handle, causing congestion problems. Although plans exist for additional transmission upgrades, new wind farm development is expected to match or even surpass these upgrades for many years to come. To alleviate this near-term transmission constraint problem and provide room for additional wind generation in the area, the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) commissioned a study (led by the Colorado River Authority) to determine what benefits a large-scale energy storage facility would have for transmission. To support this expected continued mismatch between wind power and transmission capacity, SECO chose a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) facility with 400-MW compression, 270-MW generation, and an extremely large 10,000 MWh storage capacity (at full power, 25 hours capacity for compression / 37 hour capacity for generation). The facility would be used to store power during periods when congestion on the transmission lines constrained-off the growing wind resources.

Unfortunately, because of the wind pattern in the area?there are times when the wind blows strongly and continuously for days at a time, the modeling of the project showed that the CAES facility could become full, and the CAES plant becomes unavailable to provide additional energy storage. Finding an alternative to an additional transmission construction was the single specified desire for the study. Therefore, it was found that the CAES facility could not precluding the facility from alleviating 100% of the transmission constraint, and thus it did not substitute for transmission lines on a in this instance.

Extending the evaluation of the CAES facility past purely transmission replacement role, however, it was found that there are a number of benefits that the facility could provide. First, the CAES facility would allow more wind generation (up to 400-MW) to be built out in the area with only minimal curtailment, and would provide significantly better capacity firming of the wind farms for the area?allowing and providing assurance for far more power to be delivered during peak demand periods. Combining wind with storage also ensures that wind can claim credit for operating reserves (equal to the amount of CAES generation). Although this was not a significant payment, having this capability does add to the total value of the facility (the value of any facilities stems from not just one revenue stream, but many), and it provides additional firm capacity for the system operator to call upon, something expected to be needed in the near-future especially as the amount of wind generation continues to grow.

By operating the CAES facility to support wind generation in the area, wind energy curtailment reduction totaling over 600 GWh annually was achieved (compared to the area without the storage facility) in the modeling study, and provided several million dollars profit annually above and beyond what would be required for a positive return on the CAES facility investment. Because of this outcome, work continues on siting a CAES facility for this role in the area.


(1) Remote Power Systems with Advanced Storage Technologies for Remote Alaskan Villages, Isherwood, W., Smith, R., Aceves, S., Berry, G, Clark, W., Johnson, R., Das, D., Goering, D., and Seifert, R., December 1997. (UCRL-ID-129289)

(2) An Analysis of the Performance Benefits of Short Term Energy Storage in Wind Diesel Hybrid Power Systems, Shirazi, Mariko, and Drouilhet, Stephen, ASME Wind Energy Symposium, 1997. (NREL/CP-440-22108)

(3)Urenco Power Technology website,

(4) The Multiple Benefits of Integrating the VRB-ESS with Wind Energy Producers?A Case Study in MWH Applications, Hennessey, Timothy D.J., AWEA Conference 2004.

(5) Study of Electric Transmission in Conjunction with Energy Storage Technology, Lower Colorado River Authority, August 2003.

For information on purchasing reprints of this article, contact
Copyright 2005 CyberTech, Inc.

Huge wind farm ready to make power

Huge wind farm ready to make power
Sunday, December 18, 2005
By Tim Knauss
Staff writer
Five years ago, the construction of seven windmills in Madison County was such a big deal that the U.S. secretary of energy, Bill Richardson, flew in for the groundbreaking.

At the time, Madison Windpower Project was the only large-scale wind plant in New York, and the biggest of its kind east of the Mississippi River.

Now, it seems puny.

To see why, travel 70 miles north from Madison County to a ridge overlooking the Black River valley, just west of Lowville in Lewis County. There you'll find Maple Ridge Wind Farm, where 117 towering wind turbines have been erected since May amid hayfields, farmhouses and snowmobile trails.

Three more turbines are scheduled to go up by the end of the year, for a total of 120.

Soon, perhaps this weekend, the wind farm operators will begin powering up the electronic controls in the machines so they can start producing electricity, said Patrick Doyle, director of development for Horizon Wind Energy, which owns 50 percent of the project.

Laced together by 75 miles of underground cable, the windmills will send power to a new substation, and from there down a new 10-mile-long transmission line connecting the wind farm to the statewide power grid.

Maple Ridge will generate more power in a year than is used by all 10,000 households in Lewis County plus all 40,000 households in nearby Jefferson County.

Friday, December 16, 2005

BLM to speed wind energy development

BLM to speed wind energy development
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON ? Interior Secretary Gale Norton on Thursday announced a new review process for proposed wind farms that she said could result in a six-fold increase in wind energy production on Western public lands.

The move sets broad guidelines for the Bureau of Land Management's wind energy development program, and should decrease the time to get approval for a wind energy project from two or more years to less than one year, Norton said.

The interest in clean, renewable energy sources has increased as oil prices have risen. President Bush and Congress have recommended increasing the development of renewable energy on public lands.

As a part of the process announced Thursday, the BLM is amending 52 land-use plans in nine Western states, which Norton said will generate 3,200 megawatts of wind energy ? enough to provide electricity for about 1 million homes.

The BLM now has 22 wind energy development sites that produce about 500 megawatt hours of power.

"Public lands offer enormous opportunities for environmentally sound renewable energy production," Norton said. "We expect to see many new wind energy sites in coming years."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Wind could be our best weapon against global warming - 07 Dec 2005 - Technology & Science

07.12.05 1.00pm
By Andrew Buncombe

Wind power has far greater potential than previously thought for providing countries in the developing world with access to cheap and clean energy, new data suggests.

Already China, environmentally, probably the most important country in the developing world, has enlarged its target for wind energy as a result of the findings.

The information is based on satellite measurements and computer models that provide a more detailed assessment of a country's potential for harnessing wind power.

This assessment found that 40 per cent of the land in countries such as Nicaragua and Vietnam was sufficiently windy to generate electricity.

"The new information suggests that wind power is much more viable," Tom Hamlin of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said.

Speaking from Paris, he added: "This gives us a much broader picture of thewind resources in the areas.

"The modelling is able to identify where the wind will speed up going through valleys, for example."Campaigners believe such studies should be required reading for delegates to the UN climate change conference inMontreal this week, when representatives from 189 countries will meet to discuss futurecommitments to dealing withclimate change.

One of the key issues for delegates is how to persuade developing countries such as China to try to ensure their burgeoning economic growth does not follow the example of industrialised nations in terms of their emission of greenhouse gases.

China accounts for 16 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions but this is expected to grow as the country's economy expands.

This year alone, its economy is expected to increase by more than 8 per cent.

It was previously thought that only 1 per cent of the land area in developing countries wassuitable for harnessing wind power and providing an alternative to burning oil, gas, and in the case of China, coal.

Experts believe this estimate was based on information from meteorological stations sometimes built too close to trees or buildings that blocked winds.

In Nicaragua, it was estimated during the 1980s that the nation's wind power potential stood at just 200 megawatts.

The new wind map estimates its potential may be as high as 40,000 megawatts - the equivalent of 40 nuclear power plants.

Indeed, the new data suggests that about 13 per cent of the land in the developing world could have potential.

The study defines suitable areas as those that could generate 300 watts per square metre, needing winds of at least 6.4 to 7 metres per second at 50 metres above the ground.

The UNEP's $9.3m ((pounds sterling)5.3m) Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment focused on 14 developing countries - Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hondurasand Nicaragua.

Not all were found to be suitable.

In Bangladesh, for instance, the study identified that just 0.2 per cent of the land would besuitable for windmills.

But in Nicaragua, Mongolia and Vietnam, the figure was as high as 40 per cent.

The UNEP, which released some of its initial results earlier this year, said the new information was already having an impact on various nations' energy policies.

Nicaragua's National Assembly has decreed thatwind-generated electricity should have "first dispatch", which gives it priority over other options when fed into electricity grids.

Mr Hamlin said China had used the data to increase its target for wind-generated power.

China now aims to produce 20 gigawatts of power from wind energy by 2020.

In some countries these targets are helped being met by organisations such as the World Bank which have seized on the data to support the development of alternative energy sources.

U.N. climate talks near Kyoto renewal roadmap

U.N. climate talks near Kyoto renewal roadmap

Thursday, December 08, 2005 7:19 p.m. ET

By Mary Milliken and David Fogarty

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Industrialized nations neared accord on a vague road map to extend the Kyoto Protocol at U.N. climate talks on Thursday but Washington showed no sign of budging from plans to pursue its own strategy on global warming.

Negotiators at the November 28-December 9 talks also agreed to speed investments in clean-energy projects in the Third World and set rules to ensure compliance with Kyoto, meant as a first step to prevent catastrophic climate changes from rising temperatures.

Delegates said ministers from more than 90 nations were close to agreeing on a negotiating plan -- without a firm timetable -- to extend Kyoto beyond 2012. The pact now obliges about 40 rich nations to cut emissions from burning fossil fuels.

"Under the (Kyoto) Protocol, the European Union and the G-77 have agreed on procedures to negotiate developed countries' undertakings in post-2012," French Environment Minister Nelly Olin said. The Group of 77 represents developing countries.

"It will be formally agreed tomorrow," Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell told Reuters.

The United States, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and Australia attend meetings of the 157-member Kyoto pact only as observers. They pulled out, saying it would be too costly for their economies.

Kyoto is a tiny first step in a drive to brake a warming most scientists say will lead to wrenching changes such as more powerful storms, desertification, extinction of species and rising sea levels.

A draft text of the Kyoto plan seen by Reuters omitted any timetable for negotiations. Environmentalists and businesses have called for an end to talks by 2008 to give them time to plan investments in clean energy like solar or wind power.


The text said rich nations "shall aim" to agree "as early as possible and in time to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods." Kyoto's first period demands emissions cuts of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Other delegates said the Kyoto parties would hold off from formally agreeing to the text in hopes other nations -- including the United States -- would agree to a parallel set of two-year talks on new ways to fight climate change.

"Virtually all countries, including China and India, are prepared to start these wider discussions," said Elliot Diringer, a director of the Pew Center, a Washington think tank. He said the United States was the main opponent.

U.S. President George W. Bush has denounced Kyoto as an economic straitjacket and is promoting big investments in new technologies like hydrogen and a plan to cooperate with China, India, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, whose administration negotiated Kyoto in 1997 but never submitted it to a skeptical Senate for ratification, was scheduled to visit Montreal on Friday to address environmentalists.

Canada circulated a new text suggesting two years of U.N.-led discussions among all countries including the United States about new ways to fight global warming.

Earlier, negotiators agreed to streamline a plan that might channel $100 billion to projects such as hydropower in Honduras or wind energy in China to help cut the use of fossil fuels blamed for warming the planet.

Under the program, rich nations can invest in clean energy projects, such as generating electricity by burning the waste from sugar cane in Brazil, and claim credits back home for reducing world emissions of greenhouse gases.

Under the rules approved to ensure Kyoto compliance, any country that overshoots its targets will have to make up the shortfall, and an extra 30 percent penalty, in the next period.

A group of protesters sang revised versions of hits by former Beatle and peace activist John Lennon on the 25th anniversary of his murder in New York to urge wider action.

"We all live in a carbon-intensive world," they chanted to the tune of the Beatles hit "Yellow Submarine."

Copyright � 2005 Reuters Limited.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wind Farmers Network's Expert Q&A Session #4: Small Wind Turbines

Wind Farmers Network's Expert Q&A Session #4: Small Wind Turbines

The Wind Farmers Network hosts a series of Expert Question and Answer sessions. This is your opportunity to to have your questions answered by wind energy experts from various branches of the wind industry. So go wild ask away.

Our current topic:
To kick off Windustry's new Small Wind Program we have an expert on small wind turbine technology, testing, and distributed wind policy/markets to answer your questions about small wind energy systems.

Meet Trudy Forsyth:
Trudy Forsyth has been working for National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a Senior Project Leader in Small Wind Energy Research and Development since 1994. She has a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Colorado and over the past 11 years has worked with several small wind turbine manufacturers on advanced small turbine design, building of and testing new prototypes. She has been the Department of Energy Golden Field Office liaison and coordinator of National Renewable Energy Laboratory technical support for the Small Wind Turbine Field Verification Project where she has been involved in testing small wind turbines against International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. Ms. Forsyth has helped write various publications on small wind turbines, from IEC technical standards to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Industry Roadmap and has presented, under the Wind Powering America program, small wind turbine technical and state policy/market information to wind audiences throughout the US.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. Established in 1974, NREL has wind energy facilities testing turbine gear boxes, blades, and performance as well as 8 research turbines in the field. For more information about NREL link to: .

Trudy looks forward to answering your questions about small wind technology, small wind testing, and distributed wind policy and markets. In the event a question is presented she can not answer, she will utilize her colleagues within the NREL Wind Technology Center to provide you with a comprehensive answer.

Please submit your questions to Trudy using this link: .

The deadline for submitting questions is Wednesday, December 14th, 2005. Answers will be posted on the Wind Farmers Network around December 20th, 2005.

Brian Antonich
Small Wind Program Analyst
2105 1st Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
612.870.3465 (phone)
612.813.5612 (fax)

Friday, November 25, 2005 | Turbine Shortage Slows Wind Power Industry

Turbine Shortage Slows Wind Power Industry
October 5, 2005

On again, off again support from the U.S. government has put tight manufacturing constraints on the wind turbine business in this country, leading to overall worldwide shortages.

La Quinta, California [] The U.S. wind energy market suffers from a shortage of wind turbines, and that situation looks likely to continue through 2007, according to the American Wind Energy Association, which summarized the proceedings of its recent Wind Energy Fall Symposium held last week in La Quinta, California.

"You'll hear what U.S. demand should be, and what [manufacturers] should do to meet it, but I plead with you to keep in mind what the global needs are. As the global demand for same resources and manufactured goods is felt throughout the world, the U.S. is going to feel pressure in getting its share of global [turbine] production."

-- Rashid Abdul, Mitsubishi Power Systems The tight market, caused in large part by the on-off cycle of the federal production tax credit (PTC) incentive for wind, occupied much of the discussion at the Symposium's Large Wind Turbine Vendor Forum. The session, moderated by Adam Umanoff of the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, featured panelists from five wind turbine manufacturers: Rashid Abdul of Mitsubishi Power Systems, Leif Anderson of Suzlon Wind Energy Corp., Bob Gates of GE Energy, Scott Kringen of Vestas Americas and Peter Stricker of Clipper Windpower, Inc.

Suzlon's Andersen summed up the feelings of the panel when he commented, in response to a question about the "biggest challenge facing the industry," that "The biggest hurdle is the stop-go policy situation in the U.S. -- you can't build a sustainable industry based on that type of policy. Creating a long-term, stable market is the biggest challenge. At the end of 2007 [when the PTC is scheduled to expire], we don't know what happens. Are we looking at 100 MW in 2008? How are we going to share that with five or six manufacturers?"

The viewpoints offered by other participants made it clear that the boom and bust portions of the PTC cycle each have their own frustrations. In the current boom time, every turbine that is made can be sold, but only so many can be made. Noted Gates, "Turbine suppliers have pushed to the physical limits, but demand has surged past them. At GE Wind, we'll manufacture 1,000 turbines in 2005. The previous record year was 600 turbines, and the record before that was 300. So that's a growth rate of almost 100% per year, and it's a huge stretch to make more, just with the physical reality of making the parts you need for the turbines."

Looking ahead, Mitsubishi's Abdul said he foresees similar constraints affecting the market in the future: "You'll hear what U.S. demand should be, and what [manufacturers] should do to meet it, but I plead with you to keep in mind what the global needs are. As the global demand for same resources and manufactured goods is felt throughout the world, the U.S. is going to feel pressure in getting its share of global [turbine] production. We have to be realistic in looking at global demand, and U.S. demand, and how it all works out."

Manufacturers are looking at a variety of strategies to deal with what Gates called the "consistent inconsistency" of the U.S. market, the panelists said. Among them: modifying turbine designs to reduce the scale of large parts such as castings that are current choke points in the manufacturing supply chain; finding customers with the capability to place advance orders for large numbers of turbines, thereby reducing the manufacturer's inventory risk; and simply declining to "flood the market" during boom times and aiming instead for slow, steady increases in production.

Approximately 400 people attended the first-ever Fall Symposium, designed as an educational and networking event and held at the La Quinta Resort & Club. The Symposium offered 12 distinct, in-depth half-day sessions in three concurrent tracks on a range of topics of current interest, and also included two networking receptions.

Information courtesy of the American Wind Energy Association

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

American Superconductor products: windEnergy

Wind energy has emerged as the fastest growing source of energy, with over 48,000 MW installed throughout the world today.� With the recent extension of the Production Tax Credit under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, wind power is expected to see continued strong growth in the immediate future. It is projected to provide a total cumulative world-wide capacity of 117,000 MW (roughly 1.25% of the world?s electricity generation) by 2009 according to BTM Consult ApS. As the total base of installed wind capacity continues to grow with the installation of additional wind turbines and new wind farms, compliance with interconnection criteria becomes increasingly important. In many cases, dynamic voltage regulation and continuous power factor correction are required to keep wind turbine generators online, assuring that the business interests and reliability expectations of both wind developers and utilities are met.

Technical challenges

Developers, operators, and utilities face many challenges when interconnecting large, distributed sources of generation with fluctuating output, such as wind energy. These challenges come in many forms.

Many of today?s wind turbines are induction type generators that absorb large amounts of VARs (Volt-Amperes Reactive) from the grid. For such machines, VAR flow fluctuates with the power output of the turbines. Uncompensated, these variations in VAR flow can cause severe voltage fluctuations, affecting overall power quality and the reliability of the local transmission grid. Traditionally, switched capacitors have been used to compensate for fluctuating VAR requirements. However, a typical wind farm can experience 50-100 capacitor switching events on a given day.� Such frequent switching can cause stresses, effectively reducing life-cycle times of the capacitor switches. In addition, some wind generator gearboxes are sensitive to large step changes in voltage associated with normal capacitor switching, which can overstress the gearbox - one of the costliest and most maintenance intensive components of a wind turbine.

Keeping wind turbines online under low voltage conditions is also a potential trouble spot that developers and operators need to consider. Transient voltage events that drop voltage below turbine tolerance levels can cause generators to trip offline.� Most interconnection standards today require wind farms to have the ability to ride through faults (Low Voltage Ride Through). This can be accomplished either by the wind turbine manufacturer or with a centralized solution in the wind farm substation.

AMSC solutions for wind farms

D-VAR systems

American Superconductor?s D-VAR system is ideally suited to help meet wind farm interconnection standards.� The D-VAR system is a fully integrated, inverter-based reactive compensation system (STATCOM). It can be seamlessly integrated with low cost capacitor banks in an extremely cost-effective solution that provides steady-state voltage regulation, power factor correction, and low voltage ride through capability for the entire wind farm. The D-VAR system can also ?soft-switch? capacitors, thereby eliminating the voltage step changes seen by the wind farm and the utility.

PowerModule Power Electronic Converters

The AMSC PowerModule PM1000 is a power converter designed with a building block approach that can be placed right in the wind turbine. The PM1000 inverter can provide power flow control and low voltage ride through (LVRT) capability, similar to the external D-VAR solution, and is cost effective for smaller wind farms. It is a highly power dense (130 W/ in3), fully programmable, flexible and modular system and can be applied to various wind turbine makes and models.

SuperVAR Dynamic Synchronous Condenser

AMSC?s SuperVAR Dynamic Synchronous Condenser is a new breakthrough product. Similar to D-VAR systems, SuperVAR machines can be applied at strategic locations to stabilize grid voltage, increase reliability, and maximize transmission capacity.

SuperVAR machines use standard synchronous condenser frames and stator coils paired with advanced power-dense rotor coils made from AMSC's superconductor wire. The result is a synchronous condenser that is more efficient than conventional rotating machines - without the high rotor maintenance costs typical of older, conventional synchronous condensers. SuperVAR machines are specifically designed for continuous, steady-state dynamic VAR support, with lower standby losses, higher output, and greater reliability than conventional synchronous condensers.

Both D-VAR systems and SuperVAR machines are cost effective solutions that can provide tight voltage regulation and power factor correction to alleviate fluctuating voltage and VAR demands at wind farms.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

D-VAR(R) for Connection of Pacific Northwest Wind Farm to Electric Transmission Grid To Be Supplied By American Superconductor and GE Energy

D-VAR(R) for Connection of Pacific Northwest Wind Farm to Electric Transmission Grid To Be Supplied By American Superconductor and GE Energy
Voltage regulation system to serve 229 megawatt zero-emission energy source
WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American Superconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: AMSC), a leading electricity solutions company, and GE Energy, a business of the General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), received an order for two D-VAR(R) systems for the Wild Horse Wind Farm project located near Puget Sound in Washington. This solution will help meet the grid interconnection requirements of the wind farm. GE Energy is responsible for installation of the D-VAR systems into the wind farm project.

When completed in the summer of 2006, the Wild Horse wind farm will include 127 Vestas V80 wind turbines and will generate up to 229 megawatts (MW) of zero-emission electricity, enough to serve 114,500 homes.

"The recently passed Energy Policy Act of 2005 called for a two year extension on the Wind Farm production tax credit for electricity generated by wind facilities. We believe it has created a more stable environment for the development and financing of new wind farms and ancillary facilities in the U.S. which require solutions to comply with recent FERC grid interconnection standards," said Chuck Stankiewicz, vice president and general manager of AMSC's Power Electronic Systems business. "Our D-VAR-based voltage regulation system has become the industry product of choice for helping wind facilities meet these new grid interconnection standards."

Overall, this is the tenth wind farm in North America and the eleventh
worldwide to incorporate AMSC's advanced D-VAR dynamic voltage control
technologies. These projects bring the total wind-generated electric power
served by AMSC's D-VAR systems to more than 906 MW. To learn more about AMSC's
D-VAR solutions, see: For more
information on AMSC's wind energy solutions, see:

About American Superconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: AMSC)

AMSC is the world's principal vendor of high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire and large rotating superconductor machinery, and it is a world- leading supplier of dynamic reactive power grid stabilization products. AMSC's HTS wire and power electronic converters are at the core of a broad range of new electricity transmission and distribution, transportation, medical and industrial processing applications, including dynamic reactive power grid stabilization solutions, large ship propulsion motors and generators, smart, controllable, superconductor power cables and advanced defense systems.

The company's products are supported by hundreds of patents and licenses covering technologies fundamental to Revolutionizing the Way the World Uses Electricity(TM). More information is available at

American Superconductor and design, AMSC, POWERED BY AMSC, Revolutionizing the Way the World Uses Electricity, and PowerModule are trademarks and D-VAR and SuperVAR are registered trademarks of American Superconductor Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Illinois Launches Community-based Wind Power Loan Program

Illinois Launches Community-based Wind Power Loan Program
November 10, 2005

Illinois' new loan program is particularly well suited to promote small wind power projects for farms in the state.

Chicago, Illinois [] Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced the launch of a $4 million Renewable Energy Development (RED) Fund that will support community-scale wind-energy projects throughout Illinois. The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) will work with community banks and lenders to provide loans and loan guarantees to qualified farmers and farmer co-operatives who construct wind turbine projects less than 20 MW in capacity.

"Governor Blagojevich understands wind turbines help farmers and co-ops diversify their income stream which, in turn, helps strengthen the economic environment throughout Illinois. Through long-standing relationships in the agricultural community, we've identified tremendous interest for assistance in financing these types of projects, and now we have the resources to do it."

-- Jill Rendleman, interim executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority The program begins immediately with a goal to launch community-scale projects by the end of 2006 that will generate new wind-to-energy market capacity across the state. This aggressive effort to promote the use of wind energy in Illinois is part of the Governor's Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive strategy to promote economic growth throughout the state.

"Relying more on our homegrown energy sources will not only make our air cleaner to breathe, but will also provide consumers some relief from high gas prices, help make the energy grid more reliable and bring much-needed jobs and economic growth to our rural communities. This partnership with the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation will help increase our use of one of Illinois' untapped renewable natural resources and provide an important economic boost to our farmers," Gov. Blagojevich said.

In the State of the State Speech earlier this year, Gov. Blagojevich announced his commitment to a Renewable Energy Standard for Illinois with a plan for the state to get 8 percent of its total electricity supply from renewable energy resources like wind by 2012 -- up from less than 1 percent today. A recent study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that Gov. Blagojevich's plan also would create 7,800 jobs by 2012.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) and the IFA worked together to develop the RED Fund to support a primary mission of both organizations: to encourage and support development of renewable energy resources. With the Foundation providing the financial resources, the Authority will use its financing expertise and community banking relationships to help Illinois farming operations obtain access to capital for wind-to-energy projects.

"Governor Blagojevich understands wind turbines help farmers and co-ops diversify their income stream which, in turn, helps strengthen the economic environment throughout Illinois," said Jill Rendleman, interim executive director of the IFA. "Through long-standing relationships in the agricultural community, we've identified tremendous interest for assistance in financing these types of projects, and now we have the resources to do it."

Within the next six months, the IFA will host at least three informational seminars across Illinois to educate farmers, landowners, developers and agricultural lenders about the RED Fund and its requirements. Community banks will be encouraged to lend funds for the development of wind projects that meet the Authority's qualifying parameters. The same evaluation and approval process currently in use for existing IFA loans and guarantees will be used.

Under the general provisions of the RED Fund, borrowers must contribute a minimum of 10 percent equity and are limited to community-scale projects that are under 20 MW. Projects must be located in Illinois and will be required to meet the specific requirements of the participation loan or loan guarantee being requested.

GE Energy head eyes wind energy to power growth

GE Energy head eyes wind energy to power growth
Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:51 PM ET
By Timothy Gardner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wind power and other energy alternatives present significant growth opportunities for General Electric Co.'s (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) energy unit in the face of high oil and gas prices, the head of GE Energy said on Thursday.

GE Energy, a $17 billion unit of the industrial, finance and media conglomerate, forecasts revenue from wind energy to grow by 50 percent to $3 billion in 2006.

The wind business has already grown ten-fold since GE bought the business from Enron in 2002.

"Right now we're pretty shocked by demand for wind," John Krenicki, president and CEO of GE Energy, told Reuters in an interview. In 2007, GE targets sales to grow to $4 billion and increase at a rate of more than 10 percent annually through the end of the decade, he said.

The wind segment represents one of the fastest-growing pockets of GE's energy business, which has seen profits finally rebound after a 2-1/2-year earnings slide triggered by a downturn in the wholesale electricity market.

GE forecasts operating profit at the energy unit -- which accounts for more than 10 percent of GE's total revenue -- to grow by 10 to 15 percent in 2006 from an estimated $2.7 billion this year.

It targets revenue to rise more than 10 percent next year.

GE Energy builds wind turbines at its plant in South Carolina where it used to concentrate on making gas turbines. As a result, it can increase wind manufacturing throughout the decade with little or no added capital costs, Krenicki said.

The U.S. wind energy business is enjoying the benefits of federal energy legislation passed this summer which extended a production tax credit for two years.

Krenicki, who engineered a drastic earnings turnaround in his previous job as the head of GE's plastics business, forecasts that by the end of the decade wind power may be able to compete on its own without tax incentives, thanks to lower costs from manufacturing improvements.

In gusty parts of the country, such as West Texas, wind power has become competitive and sometimes cheaper than power from natural gas.

Globally, GE Energy is also positioned to take advantage of the interest in a clean energy that releases virtually no greenhouse gases. GE recently signed the biggest wind turbine contract in China.


Krenicki said that given the volatility of energy prices, GE's customers want a broad portfolio of generating assets, including nuclear, natural gas turbines and clean coal units called integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC).

"Really our strategy is to be a leader in each one of those," said Krenicki, who sees the Middle East and Africa as huge markets for natural gas turbines.

GE is now selling 20 percent of its turbines to Nigeria, while Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia need turbines for electricity and, increasingly, for desalinating sea water into drinking water.

About two-thirds of turbine demand in the Middle East should come from electricity needs and the rest going to desalinization.

GE Energy expects sales of IGCC, which offers utilities a cheaper way to capture and sequester greenhouse gases than traditional pulverized coal units, could be a $75 billion opportunity from 2010 to 2020.

That market could grow even larger to over $100 billion if the United States, which dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol, ever requires carbon constraints, he said. U.S. firms American Electric Power (AEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Cinergy (CIN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are planning IGCC units, but are not installing carbon capturing until required to do so.

As GE aims to diversify and expand its energy portfolio, Krenicki sees ample opportunity to drive profitability gains by shaving costs with more efficient use of materials and leveraging its size to lower expenses.

"There is so much more we can extract from them," said Krenicki. "There is infinite room for improvement."

(Additional reporting by Daisuke Wakabayashi in Boston)

India's wind energy output touches 4,228 MW- The Economic Times

India's wind energy output touches 4,228 MW

NRI Special Offer!
NEW DELHI: Power generation from windmills in India, the world's fourth largest producer of wind energy, has increased fourfold in the past three years, according to a government statement.

The country produces 4,228 megawatts of power from windmills, including 632 megawatts added in April-September, the first half of the fiscal year.

"In addition, the ministry of non-conventional energy sources has prepared master plans for 97 potential sites aggregating to 15,062 MW wind power potential," the statement said.

India is encouraging power generation from new sources to reduce dependence on imported crude oil, which accounts for 70 percent of domestic oil consumption.

It is also promoting research in plant-based fuels such as bio-diesel and ethanol.

The country's crude oil import bill, which stood at $27 billion in 2004/05, is expected to rise this year.

U.S. crude prices hit a record $70.85 at the end of August, but have since fallen by more than $11 and were steady below $50 on Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

SkyBuilt Power

SkyBuilt Power: "SkyBuilt Aims to be the Dell of Renewable Energy Systems

SkyBuilt Aims to be the Dell of Renewable Energy Systems

If you have a unique power need that is off grid, and you want something that can deploy quickly, is rugged, and will last for a long time, SkyBuilt is who you call. The CIA shouldn't be the only one to benefit. By Sterling D. Allan and Mary-Sue Haliburton, Pure Energy Systems News - Exclusive Interview. Copyright � 2005.

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, USA ? SkyBuilt Power recently captured the world's imagination with news that the CIA's venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, has invested in their company and has a development agreement with them. SkyBuilt is an energy solutions company that makes innovative renewable energy systems. One product on the drawing board is a wind-solar hybrid power unit that can be parachuted to a rugged location and deployed within a few hours by two people.

In fact, a steerable wing-type of parachute can be guided by remote control to get it to an otherwise inaccessible location.

20' x 8.5' x 8'-foot wide Mobile Power Station? (MPS?) unit designed for rapid deployment of a fuel-less power system on display in Arlington, Virginia.
Photo credit: SkyBuilt Power Inc; Rich Clabaugh, staff
The units can be configured to deliver anywhere from 3.5 to 150 kilowatts of electricity, depending on how many options are included.

Though there have been many solar and wind technologies developed, what?s new here is the ability to combine them in a tidy package. Using the heavy and rugged steel container as a base means that it is not necessary to pour heavy footings and install towers and guy wires to support the turbine, or hold solar panels steady against wind pressure.

The modular setup allows off-the-shelf components of many types to be added, including combustion-based generators and alternators, solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries.

I was able to interview the company's president and CEO, Dave Muchow, to learn more about what they do and why and for whom. Very fascinating.

He said that because of the recent coverage of their company, he received some 100 calls yesterday ranging from church groups inquiring about getting a unit, to inventors with ideas to pass along. I caught him at a good time and was able to get a lot of great information.

He didn't much care for the "plop and go" slogan I offered. He prefers "drop and operate." Among themselves they call it the "clean, green power machine".

Muchow said that his inspiration and model in forming the company was the laptop computer, with its plug-and-play versatility of components, from the chips to the hardware and the peripherals. The open architecture enables a mixing and matching of components to suit the individual user so that they don't have more than they need, and they can just add on what they might be missing.

Apply that now to renewable energy systems. That is what SkyBuilt is all about, and has been tackling since 2002 when they started. That is the essence of the 140 claims they have filed in their patent applications.

They want to be the Dell of renewable energy systems.

"We are the world's first plug-and-play, open architecture, mobile, and expandable renewable power system," said Muchow.

Call them up, tell them your needs, and they pull together a package based on their wide experience and network of experts that they can call upon to make an ideal system, providing the highest value, at the lowest price possible.

Is your climate cloudy but windy? Is it extra cold? Is your cabin is larger than usual, and you have chemical sensitivities? SkyBuilt will weigh all those factors, look at the energy requirement, then recommend the combination of technologies that will best suit your situation. The system could also integrate diesel, propane, natural gas or gasoline-powered generators. "However, the supply-line for fuel can be problematic in many of the emergency-response applications we handle", said Muchow. Additionally, he points out that in addition to being clean, the 5-10 kilowatt renewable energy systems, for example, can be 50% more cost-effective than diesel gensets -- sometimes as much as 90% more efficient.

A team of professionals can do far better than one person can do by himself. Think of what is involved. You have to research all the various possible vendors for all the various components of the system, weigh the pros and cons, and then make a determination of the most inexpensive, compatible match of components for the proposed system. That task can be daunting for an individual who has other things they need to be doing with their time. It can be handled much more efficiently by people who have made their lifetime careers out of energy technology and all its various facets, and who specialize in this matching of suitable systems.

Muchow served as a General Counsel for thirty years in the energy industry, representing 300 natural gas and electric utilities before he launched SkyBuilt, so he himself has a wealth of knowledge on the subject, and he knows how to network with companies.

The company has contracts with leading renewable energy suppliers, and can access systems from pretty much any manufacturer. "We use off-the-shelf components and adapt them to be plug-and-play so you don't have to replace the operating system when an individual component changes," said Muchow.

"What you find in the industry is that nuclear people don't talk much to solar people. They specialize in their own focused area of research and development," he said. Meanwhile, the customer might only need a portion of this, a smattering of that, but the specialists only know about their own product.

"We think sideways, across the many companies, rather than focused on any one. The customer wants a cross section that represents the best solution for their particular needs".

While the direct personnel staffing at SkyBuilt is lean, by networking with those who have the skills they need, they are able to respond to whatever scenario is presented to them. They have independent contractor relations with numerous electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, stress engineers, as well as access to business and legal expertise required. They farm out the construction of the systems they build, similar to the Ferrari model of business operation.

"We try not to turn anyone away," said Muchow. The home market is one they are interested in tackling, but that won?t come for a while. Up until now they have specialized in government contracts. Their forte is in situations where there is a need for rapid deployment of a system, such as in disasters or in developing countries. But the Dell model for renewable energy systems is a principle that can be applied much more broadly.

"We could haul a solar-powered water pumping system into a remote area by donkey, install it in a day, and it will last for decades," said Muchow. "The first solar panels installed in the 1950's are still working," he noted.

Part of SkyBuilt's patent claims has to do with the idea of using shipping containers to package and deliver the systems, with easy-to-follow instructions for assembly and disassembly. "We made this as dummy-proof and reliable as possible. Red piece lines up with red piece."

I make the suggestion that while the home installation doesn't require the permanent location of a shipping container along with it, the shipping container could be used to deliver the system, then be sent back to the company to ship another system to a different customer.

The advantages of the shipping container are many, among which is ease of shipping. These containers are used worldwide in trucking, trains, shipping and air freight. They are like the tower that houses the PC. They all look alike on the outside, but can be very different on the inside, though the inside is really just a particular combination of reoccurring themes.

"Think of all the uses for the container once the components are out of it and assembled," said Muchow. "It can be turned into a medical clinic, a fire house, a birthing clinic, a police station, civic building, or even a school." The website itemizes yet further uses of the interior of the Mobile Power Station: "air-conditioned office space, telecommunications, medical center, emergency operations/command center or storage."

In disaster response, which is one of their primary applications, having a clean, sturdy, enclosable small building can be as helpful as the power system that comes packaged in it. According to the company website, "The container can be heated and cooled for climate-controlled and lighted storage, office, medical clinic, border patrol facility, telecom, operations centers, or other secure, self-powered space in any environment from the desert to the artic".

"And it floats," said Muchow, noting that sometimes shipping containers will fall off ships en route to their destination. A floating container can also be a crucial component in a hurricane or flood. Maybe you could even drop it into the water, row it to where you need it, and deploy. There is no absence of wind in hurricane response.

The ruggedizing is in the container itself, and the patented connectors. Designed to avoid the problem of jerry-rigged exposed wiring that can be nibbled by animals and corroded by natural processes, these rugged modular connections will enable the portable station to withstand degradation caused by temperature extremes and other factors.

The MPS can even be left unmanned for extended periods, and operated by remote control, This would have many uses, such as a border-monitoring station in difficult terrain.

A chief benefit from the military point of view is that the solar power generation is silent, and lacks the heat signature of a fuel-burning generator that could give away its location. A small wind turbine such as that depicted on the site can be low-noise as well, storing extra energy to high-capacity batteries. With such obvious advantages for covert work, you can see why the In-Q-tel has invested in it.

Hopefully, the technology will not find its most frequent application in facilitating war, or even make it easier to set up martial law in a disaster zone.

While SkyBuilt is poised to obtain patent protection for the container deployment concept, the Dell concept is one that can be mirrored by many companies, in addition to SkyBuilt. Hopefully such competition will speed the time when home and small business customers can enter into a buying revolution akin to the computer revolution when personal computers began to start showing up in most every home and office.

Other recent press releases:

In-Q-Tel Announces Strategic Investment in Skybuilt Power to Develop Mobile, Renewable Energy Power Stations

SkyBuilt Power and the Research Institute of Kazakhstan Sign Cooperation Agreement for Renewable Energy in Remote Areas

SkyBuilt Power?s� Mobile Power Stations are Ideal for Tsunami and Other Disaster Relief Needs

SkyBuilt and the University of District of Columbia Invited by Ethopia's President Girma to Assess Ethiopian Renewable Power Needs

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