MN Wind Industry Shines in Profile Report

A new report demonstrates the successes and competitive advantage its clean energy industry has brought to Minnesota. The findings were released by MN Governor Mark Dayton and led by the Minnesota State Departments of Commerce and Employment and Economic Development with input from those in the clean energy industry including Wind on the Wires.

“Minnesota’s early action to embrace wind energy has created thousands of great professional jobs in our economy,” said Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt. “We applaud Minnesota’s leadership in the clean energy sector. We are enormously proud of the nearly 2,000 wind power jobs and particularly the 553% increase in wind power businesses in Minnesota since 2000.”

According toMinnesota Clean Energy Economy Profile the Minnesota Clean Energy Economy Profile report, Minnesota has seen a 288 percent increase in wind power jobs since 2000, compared to an 11 percent state employment growth during the same time period. Wages in the wind power sector are more than $10,000 higher than the average annual wage in Minnesota. The report find that for wind, the greatest number of jobs can be found in installation and maintenance, project development and financing, and supplying manufactured component parts.

“Wind on the Wires has worked side-by-side with many groups, organizations, and our members to establish the key policies that have helped drive this incredible growth and economic development for our state,” added Soholt. “We urge Governor Dayton and the legislature to ensure that Minnesota achieves at least half of its electricity from clean energy by 2030 because it’s the right thing to do to create jobs, boost economic development, and reduce carbon emissions that endanger our health and pollute Minnesota’s vast water resources.”

UNICA’s ‘Ethanol the Complete Fuel’ Is Back

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industries Association (UNICA) has launched is next phase of its advertising campaign, “Ethanol the Complete Fuel“. The multimedia campaign will primarily run in the state of São Paulo, the ads are designed to reinforce the positive impacts of ethanol on the economy and environment. The communication strategy consists of a 30 second TV commercial, sponsorship of television and radio programs, a striking jingle, online actions and presence in social networks.

“With the resumption of the campaign we want to remind consumers the advantages and benefits of biofuel. Ethanol generates environmental, social gains and promotes economic growth significantly in over a thousand Brazilian municipalities, “said Elizabeth Farina, UNICA president.

When first released in November 2012, the campaign leveraged ethanol sales in the state of São Paulo. In one month of placement sales increased 10%. Last year, the advertising action also aired three other states: Paraná, Goiás and Minas Gerais.

“Right now, the price of ethanol is more advantageous than gasoline for the consumer, ie the 70% parity has already been achieved in some states, yet the demand for the product did not react as expected. This reinforces our diagnosis that direct contact with the public should be constant, “said Farina.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has released its annual industry report detailing the impressive growth of the state’s clean energy industry and the impact it is having on jobs and economic activity across Massachusetts. The 2014 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report describes the size, scope, and growth of the Commonwealth’s clean energy industry.
  • The SunShot Initiative team recently enjoyed a day in the sun on a rooftop in Washington, D.C., where they volunteered to install a solar energy system on a Habitat for Humanity home. The install was organized by GRID Alternatives as part of a two-day event to bring solar power to underserved communities and to celebrate the launch of GRID’s new mid-Atlantic office. GRID has a decade-long track record of successful solar deployment in low-income communities in California, Colorado, New Jersey and New York.
  • A new report finds that India’s rapidly growing solar and wind programs are creating enormous economic opportunity, providing significant employment opportunities for India’s workforce, and expanding much-needed energy access for India’s citizens. In just four years, India’s solar market has grown more than a hundred fold and India is now also the world’s fifth largest wind energy producer. Together, the wind and solar industries have already created approximately 70,000 clean energy jobs in India according to new findings by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
  • Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) is hosting its Texas Renewables 2014 conference taking place Monday, November 3-6 in Dallas, Texas. The event will explore today’s energy landscape, acknowledge the significant contribution the renewable energy industry is making, and discuss the very real role it will play and challenges it will face in shaping Texas’ energy future.

Abengoa Yield’s Solana Solar Project Wins Award

Abengoa Yield has announced that Solana, its Arizona-based solar power plant, received the Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Innovation Award in the Utility-Scale category. WinnersAbengoa Yield Solana solar field were announced on October 1st, 2014, at the ESNA Innovation Awards ceremony in San Jose, California. Winners were chosen by the ESNA Advisory Board and votes on social media.

According to the company, Solana is the largest solar parabolic trough plant in the world. Located near Gila Bend, Arizona, it has a total installed capacity of 280 megawatts. With a six-hour molten-salt thermal energy storage capacity, it supplies clean energy to Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s largest utility, meeting peaks of demand before dawn and after dusk.

Intermittency issues are a signficant hurdle with renewable energy such as solar. Using solar thermal energy coupled with molten salt elimates this issue according to the company. The storage component also increases dispatchability in
the power generation process, creating systems which can operate flexibly both with and without solar radiation.

The company explains that Solana’s parabolic trough collectors track the sun and concentrate sunlight onto receiver tubes located at a focal point of each collector. A heat transfer fluid (HTF) is heated as it circulates inside the tubes and is then circulated back to a central power plant. The HTF then passes through a series of heat exchangers to produce superheated steam that is used to generate clean electricity in a conventional steam turbine generator.

Clean Tech Will Provide Jobs in Emerging Countries

According to a new report from World Bank Group, there are significant clean tech opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries. The new report, “Building Competitive Green Industries: the Climate and Clean Technology Opportunity for Developing Countries,” frames responding to climate change as an extraordinary economic opportunity, particularly in developing countries. The report, published by infoDev, recommends actions by the public and private sectors to foster the growing market for SMEs in the clean technology sector.

World Food Bank Clean Tech report“Fostering home-grown clean-tech industries in developing countries can create a sustainable and wealth-producing sector of the economy,” said Anabel Gonzalez, senior director for the World Bank’s Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, “While simultaneously addressing such urgent development priorities as access to clean and affordable energy, clean water and climate-resilient agriculture.”

In just the last decade, clean technology has emerged as a major global market. Over the next 10 years, an estimated $6.4 trillion will be invested in developing countries. Of the total market in developing countries, some $1.6 trillion will be accessible to SMEs, according to the report. China, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are the top three markets in the developing world for SMEs in clean technology, with expected markets of $415 billion, $349 billion and $235 billion, respectively for sectors such as wastewater treatment, onshore wind, solar panels, electric vehicles, bioenergy, and small hydro.

More can be done to support green entrepreneurship. As sited in the report, clean technology SMEs face daunting challenges, particularly in accessing early and growth stage financing. Countries can help by creating targeted policy incentives to encourage their own clean technology sectors. The report provides policymakers with a range of practical instruments that help support SMEs in clean technology sectors such as innovative finance, entrepreneurship and business acceleration, market development, technology development, and the legal and regulatory framework.

Martifer Solar Closes Contracts

Martifer Solar, a subsidiary of Martifer SGPS, has added close to 90 MW of new third party O&M contracts throughout Italy. According to the company, they have been able to distinguish its O&M Service capabilities in Italy by leveraging a resourceful and qualified local O&M staff, the company´s high quality processes and systems integration, such as its award-winning Operation Management System, and its global industry expertise.

Henrique Rodrigues, CEO of Martifer Solar, said, “We are proud when Clients such as DIF and Eland rely on our O&M team to complement their Asset Management services as it demonstrates that the market is recognizing our strength and reliability as a global O&M Service provider.”

MTS_OM_Italy_PR_1With this recent achievement from the Italian team, Martifer Solar´s global solar O&M portfolio has grown to more than 550 MW of plants under supervision across Europe, Asia and the Americas. The portfolio is comprised of both plants completed by third parties and those built by Martifer Solar.

David Lau, Associate Director of DIF who has contracted with Martifer Solar, said, “As our strategy is focused on targeting investments that generate predictable, long-term and stable cash flows, we need to count on a credible and trusted partner like Martifer Solar to provide operation and maintenance services for our assets.”

The recent addition to the Italian portfolio will strengthen Martifer Solar´s pace as the third largest vertically-integrated O&M player in Europe, as named by recognized research firm, Greentech Media Research. “As we have done here in Italy, as well as other European markets such as Spain, France and the UK, we expect to double the capacity of our O&M portfolio in the near future,” added Rodrigues.

USDA Launches Ag Industrial Reports Program

usda-logoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has relaunched the formerly defunct Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR) survey program. NASS will collect and publish vital statistics for the dry and wet alcohol milling and flour milling sectors. Beginning this year, NASS will collect data and publish the industrial reports. In addition to the flour milling, and dry and wet alcohol milling sectors, CAIR surveys will also result in reports on the cotton, and fats and oilseeds industries. This information may be valuable to ethanol and biodiesel producers.

“As soon as the Census Bureau announced they were discontinuing the Current Industrial Reports, we began hearing from agriculture stakeholders around the country about the impact this decision had on the industry,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “These reports are such an important element of sound economic policy planning and are used for market analysis, forecasting, and decision making that we knew we had to provide the data and I’m glad that beginning this year NASS is able to do just that.”

To prepare for the program launch, NASS conducted extensive work building up baseline profiles for the industries. On the ethanol production side, the agency will work with 200 facilities, with a reported nameplate capacity of 14.792 billion gallons per year. On the flour milling side, NASS plans to survey 183 facilities, which have a reported 24-hour milling capacity of 1,594,755 hundredweight.

NASS has a long history of collecting and publishing agriculture data. As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential.

Brazil’s GranBio Begins Producing Cellulosic Ethanol

GranBio has begun producing cellulosic ethanol at its first commercial-scale plant for second-generation (2G) ethanol in Brazil. The Bioflex 1 unit located in São Miguel dos Campos, Alagoas, has an initial production capacity of 82 million liters of ethanol per year.

According to GranBio, its 2G ethanol is the cleanest fuel produced on a commercial scale in the world in carbon intensity – 7.55 gCO2/MJ, as confirmed by theGranBio 2G cellulosic ethanol plant in Brazil California Air Resources Board (CARB). The calculation takes into account factors starting with the harvest of the raw material, through inputs and energy consumption, transportation and distribution through a port in California.

“When we announced the construction of the plant in Alagoas, in mid-2012, we took the risk of an innovator and pioneer in a project with transformative potential for the biofuels and biochemicals industries,” said GranBio’s president, Bernardo Gradin. “Beyond the inauguration of a plant, this project is proof that Brazil can lead the global biotech industry based on its agricultural potential.”

GranBio cites its 2G ethanol makes it possible to increase Brazilian production capacity per acre by 50 percent using agricultural waste – straw and bagasse, without need of expanding the cane fields. The company developed a system to harvest, store and process 400,000 metric tons of straw per year for Bioflex 1, which places it among the world’s largest and most competitive. GranBio’s facility uses the PROESA pre-treatment technology from the Italian company BetaRenewables enzymes from Novozymes in Denmark and yeast from DSM in Holland.

In addition, GranBio and Caeté created a partnership for the integrated production of steam and electricity. Installed next to Bioflex 1, the cogeneration system is fed by sugarcane bagasse and lignin – a byproduct of producing second-generation ethanol. The boiler of the cogeneration system will remain in operation for eleven months of the year, or eight thousand hours, in the harvest and inter-harvest period at the Caeté plant. As such, beyond meeting the needs of the two plants, the boiler will generate excess electricity on order of 135,000 MWh/year – enough to power a city of 300,000 inhabitants – which will be sold and become a source of revenue for the companies.

UK Supports Ocean Energy Development

Leaders in Europe (UK) are supporting ocean renewable energy and announced their commitment to accelerate the development during the Ocean Energy Europe 2014 that took place in Paris, France this week. Ministers from France, the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Greece all highlighted European collaboration as the key to commercialization. Industrial heavyweights such as DCNS, GDF SUEZ, Alstom and Siemens also fielded senior representatives to outline their plans for ocean energy deployments.

Speaking at the event, Dr Sian George, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, said: “Ocean energy will play a big role in decarbonising and securing Europe’s energy supply. Today showed that European political and industrial leaders will do whatever it takes to turn ocean energy into a fully-fledged commercial sector. The industry will work with the EU and its Member States to get as much kit in the water as possible before 2020, with full commercial roll-out following after.”

Ocean waves crash along an icy winter shoreline Photo @RedkingScottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing added of the effort: “Scotland is blessed with a wealth of natural resources and is at the forefront of developing marine energy technology thanks to an abundance of ocean resource and world-leading test facilities at the European Marine Energy Centre. However, to make wave and tidal stream technologies viable and cost effective is going to take the best engineers and the best brains from across Europe. We see a collaborative model as the way forward and the time has come for this industry to unite. The Scottish Government is committed to working with its partners from across the European Union to support the development and commercialisation of the ocean energy industry and allow Europe’s ocean energy sector to stay ahead in the race.”

Next year’s event will be held in Dublin, Ireland as announced by the Irish Energy Minister Alex White. “I very much welcome the opportunity that this Ocean Energy Annual Conference has given for so many key stakeholders to come together. International collaboration is key to understanding and overcoming the challenges the ocean energy sector faces to realising its commercial potential. To that end I am delighted to announce that Ireland will be hosting the 2015 Annual Ocean Energy Europe Conference in Dublin.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFGenescape has released a free white paper about the status of cellulosic biofuels and the availability of, and the policy surrounding, cellulosic Renewable Identification Number (RINs) in 2014 and the near future. The paper highlights history and progress of cellulosic liquids and presents projections for the new cellulosic biogas pathways.
  • Dyadic International, Inc. has announced the receipt of a $500,000 licensing payment from Abengoa Bioenergy for commercial scale production of Abengoa’s proprietary cellulase enzymes, used for converting biomass into ethanol, developed under Abengoa’s license agreement with Dyadic.
  • GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association (ESA) are entering into a partnership to develop a series of quarterly reports offering analysis on energy storage markets, policy, and technology. This collaboration will combine GTM Research’s experience in developing impactful market intelligence reports for the renewable energy sector with ESA’s depth of knowledge and expertise in the ever-evolving energy storage industry. These reports will provide energy industry professionals, policymakers, government agencies and financiers with consistent, actionable insight into the burgeoning U.S. energy storage market.
  • The European Wind Energy Association has elected Dr. Markus Tacke, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Wind Power, as its new chairman. Tacke took the helm at Siemens Wind Power, a division that specialises in turbine manufacturing, on 1 August, 2013. He will succeed current EWEA President Dr. Andrew Garrad, who has served in the post in 2013 and 2014.