Solar Farm Commissioned In East Malaysia

One of East Malaysia’s first solar power plants has been commissioned. The 1 MW solar farm in located in the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. The project was developed by Cahaya Metro Sdn. Bhd. (Cahaya Metro), a solar energy company in East Malaysia.

Yingli Solar logo“We are pleased to have selected Yingli as our panel supplier for Sabah’s first solar power plant with interconnection facilities and license to export power and we believe that Yingli is undoubtedly our best solar panel provider,” Sean Tay, project director of Cahaya Metro. “We selected Yingli because their track record for product quality is validated by independent testing and assessments – and that gave us the strong assurance in Yingli Solar panels’ long-term reliability.”

The solar farm spans an area of approximately four acres in in Kg. Nyaris Nyaris, Bongawan, Sabah, Malaysia. It utilizes nearly 4,000 multicrystalline YGE 60 Cell Series panels that are estimated to generate approximately 1.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity per year. The opening ceremony of the project was officiated by Y.B Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water of Malaysia.

Angie Koh, managing director of Yingli Singapore, added, “We are witnessing sustainable growth on the island of Borneo, particularly in Sabah where there are plans to make PV a pillar of the state’s energy mix. We anticipate continued solar power plant development across the region.”

Atlantic Biodiesel to Re-Open Ontario Plant

canadaflagA Canadian biodiesel plant has officially been taken over by a New Hampshire maker of the green fuel. This story from the Pelham News says Atlantic Biodiesel, a new subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Heridge SARL, which won Great Lakes Biodesel’s assets in a recent bankruptcy auction, has begun managerial operations of the $50-million facility.

Michael Paszti has assumed the role of chief operating officer of the subsidiary struck to operate the Welland plant.

“We are strongly committed to the facility’s success and Michael will be an integral, on-the-ground team member whose priority will be to quickly get operations up and running to full capacity,” the company said in a news release issued Wednesday.

“Welland is our home, and Atlantic Biodiesel is focused on continued engagement with local elected and community officials as we work to renew discussions with the federal government. With the support of the community and various levels of government, Atlantic Biodiesel will fulfil its goal of becoming a world-class producer of biodiesel fuel targeting the unique needs of the Canadian fuels complex, and play a critical part in provincial and federal greenhouse gas reduction efforts.”

The plant is capable of producing about 40 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Local officials plan to pressure the federal Canadian government to reinstate some funding that helps keep the refinery afloat.

GreenLight Planet Lights Up Developing World

Greenlight Planet has raised $10 million in financing with the aid of Fidelity Growth Partners India and with the money the company has been able to provide solar energy products for off-grid homes in the developing world, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa and India. The company sells rooftop solar lighting and phone charging devices. GreenLight Planet says the devices will generate 55 million kilowatt-hours of energy, offset 1.5 million tons of CO2 and save their users over $340 million in fuel costs over their lifetime.

Greenlight Planet solar product“As a result of this financing, we’re building the world’s largest rooftop solar consumer base in the developing world, and we’re investing especially to expand distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Anish Thakkar, Greenlight Planet CEO and co-founder.

According to reports published by the International Finance Coporation (IFC), over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live off the electric grid, spending $11 billion annually on kerosene, batteries and candles for light. GreenLight Planet expects to reach 100 million off-grid households by 2020.

“We see tremendous potential to provide affordable solar energy solutions for consumers in the developing world,” explained Kabir Narang, Managing Director of Fidelity Growth Partners India. “Greenlight Planet has established itself as a product leader with a strong brand in the fast-growing off-grid energy segment. We are excited to partner with Greenlight Planet and its exceptional management team as the company embarks on its next phase of growth.”  Following the closing of the financing, Kabir Narang has joined Greenlight Planet’s Board of Directors.

Neutral Fuels to Supply Biodiesel for Dubai

Neutral-Fuels-logoWaste oil-to-biodiesel maker Neutral Fuels will supply Dubai with locally produced biodiesel. This Neutral Fuels news release says the agreement makes Dubai the first city in the world to adopt biodiesel made 100 percent locally from 100 percent waste cooking oil for use in municipality vehicles.

Karl W Feilder, CEO & Chairman of Neutral Fuels, said: “This is a fantastic day for the UAE, for Dubai and for biodiesel. In adopting biodiesel – which doesn’t even require any engine modifications on diesel vehicles – the Municipality is creating a sustainability benchmark which the rest of the world should note.

“We are proud to be part of the UAE’s bold vision for a sustainable future, and applaud the Municipality for making such a strategic move.”

Today, VIPs, Dubai Municipality staff and a host of media gathered at the Municipality Headquarters in Al Rigga, Dubai, to celebrate the agreement, but also to witness another world first: a life-sized demonstration of how a biorefinery works.

“Neutral Fuels is keen for everyone to see for themselves exactly how Dubai’s used vegetable cooking oil is chemically converted into pure, clean biodiesel – so we recreated our Dubai production facility in the Municipality car park!” said Feilder.

Neutral Fuels has been producing biodiesel in the UAE since 2010, when it became the first biodiesel manufacturer ever to be licensed in Dubai.

Gigawatt Global Grid Connects Solar Project

The Rwanda field, a $23.7 million, 8,5 MW solar energy plant has been connected to the power grid. Developed by Gigawatt Global, this is the first utility-scale project to reach financial close and come online under the Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) program that is part of the Power Africa Initiative. The Rwanda field – constructed in the shape of the African continent – brought together an international consortium of financing partners.

Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. James Musoni, and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), John Morton, led a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) near where the solar plant is located.

“Top quality developers like Gigawatt Global are the keys to success for President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, president and CEO of OPIC. “After OPIC provided critical early-stage support through the ACEF program, Gigawatt smoothly and swiftly brought the project online to give Rwanda enough grid-connected power to supply 15,000 homes. Gigawatt Global in Rwanda is a clear demonstration that solar will be a key part of Africa’s energy solution.” The project was completed in one year.

Rwanda Gigawatt Project Drone  Gigawatt Project Rwanda DroneChaim Motzen, Gigawatt Global Co-Founder and Managing Director, and the main force behind the development of the project, noted, “Our project proves the viability of financing and building large-scale solar fields in sub-Saharan Africa, and we hope that this solar field serves as a catalyst for many more sustainable energy projects in the region. The speed with which this project was completed is a tribute to the strength of the Rwandan government’s institutions and their laser-focus on increasing Rwanda’s generation capacity as well as to the nimbleness of our team and partners which spanned eight countries.”

The Rwandan project is built on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide. The Village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village’s charitable expenses. Gigawatt Global will also be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquidnet High School on the grounds of the Youth Village.

“This utility-scale solar field at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is a symbol of hope for sub-Saharan Africa’s tens of millions of orphans and 600 million people without power, ushering in a new era of impact investing that we will hopefully be replicating throughout Africa,” added Yosef Abramowitz, president of Gigawatt Global. “We want to thank President Obama and Secretary Kerry, along with our other financial partners, for the opportunity to celebrate this landmark electricity-generating project under Power Africa.”

Greenergy Buys Harvest Biodiesel Assets

greenergy-logoGreenergy has bought the assets of a major biodiesel maker in the United Kingdom. The company acquired Harvest Biofuels’ biodiesel manufacturing facility at Seal Sands on Teesside, England, giving Greenergy additional biodiesel production capacity to meet its own biofuel blending obligations in the UK.

As part of the agreement reached with Harvest:

Greenergy has taken on Harvest Biofuels’ biodiesel storage contract at Dordrecht in the Netherlands.
Harvest Energy will become an ex-rack customer of Greenergy for petrol and diesel for its customers in the South East of England, Teesside and in Scotland.

Andrew Owens, Greenergy Chief Executive, said:

“The acquisition of the Harvest biodiesel plant will help bring our own production and blend requirements into balance. Most of the biodiesel that we blend into diesel in the UK will now be manufactured and quality assured in our own facilities.

“There are great opportunities to improve further the performance of both manufacturing sites by making best use of feedstock, through technology transfer and the sharing of best practice.”

Greenergy already has a waste-based biodiesel in England, but that plant doesn’t produce enough biodiesel to meet the company’s biodiesel blending. This deal allows Greenergy to stop importing biodiesel to meet those requirements.

Harworth Opens Wind Turbine Project

UK-based Harworth Estates has completed the installation of a 500 kW wind turbine located at the former Arkwright surface mine, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. The project was completed in partnership with Energy Prospects Co-operative. The site forms part of the former Arkwright open cast mining operation, which has been reclaimed and restored to agricultural land. Energy Prospects Co-operative raised money to fund the development of the turbine through a public share offer, giving priority to those who live locally.

Harworth Estates' installation of a 500KW wind turbine at the former Arkwright surface mine, close to the village of Duckmanton. The site forms part of the former Arkwright open cast mining operation, which has been reclaimed and restored to agricultural land.

Harworth Estates’ installation of a 500KW wind turbine at the former Arkwright surface mine, close to the village of Duckmanton. The site forms part of the former Arkwright open cast mining operation, which has been reclaimed and restored to agricultural land. Photo: Harworth Estates

According to Harworth Estates, the operating wind turbine generates sufficient energy to power around 1,000 local homes. Energy is fed into the National Grid, utilizing the grid connection adjacent to the turbine site.

Harworth is also working with Energy Prospects Co-operative to develop a second 500 kW turbine at the former Shafton Two Gates colliery site in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Work have already begun and the turbine is expected to be operating by summer of 2015. Harworth Estates and Energy Prospects Co-operative are also currently working on planning applications for two further single turbine projects. One is near Edlington, Doncaster, and another near Selby, North Yorkshire.

Hannah Moxon, assistant management surveyor, of Harworth Estates’ Natural Resources division, said, “These two projects demonstrate our expertise at transforming previously-developed land to support low-carbon energy projects. Funding through the share offer created a lot of local interest and support for the project. These wind turbines are an important part of Harworth’s commitment to the community and the environment. We also look forward to continuing to work with Energy Prospects on single turbine schemes on our other sites.”

Pioneering Solar-Powered H2O Desalination Plant

misc logosAbengoa has been selected by Advanced Water Technology (AWT) to jointly develop a large-scale desalination plant powered by solar energy. The plant will be located in Saudi Arabia and the according to AWT, when complete will the first and largest of its kind in the world. It will produce 60,000 m3 of water each day to supply Al Khafji City in North Eastern Saudi Arabia, ensuring a constant water supply throughout the year.

According to Abengoa, the photovoltaic plant will be capable of supplying the power required by the desalination process, significantly reducing the operational costs. It will also have a system to optimize power consumption and a pre-treatment phase to reduce the high level of salinity and the oils and fats that are present in the region’s seawater.

The Al Khafji desalination plant will ensure the stable supply of drinking water, contributing to the country’s socio-economic development. As in other cities in Saudi Arabia, water is a scarce resource. Abengoa and AWT will supply the local population with water needs in a sustainable and reliable way.

POET Fights Pollution in Haiti with Ethanol Stoves

ethanolstove1An American ethanol company is fighting fighting pollution and deforestation in Haiti with ethanol-fueled cook stoves. This news release from POET says the company has partnered with with Project Gaia to replace wood-burning stoves with the clean-burning, ethanol-fueled ones.

Today, most Haitians rely on charcoal and firewood to cook their daily meals. Consequentially, the nation has experienced extreme deforestation over the years, and now less than 2 percent of Haiti’s forest cover remains. Additionally, the United Nations estimates that the average lifespan in Haiti is shortened by 6.6 years due to illnesses caused by household air pollution, which results from burning wood and charcoal indoors.

To help remedy this problem, POET is teaming up with Project Gaia to supply the ethanol needed to power clean-burning stoves. Dometic, another partner in the project, is supplying the stoves, which will eventually be made locally, and Novogaz is organizing local distribution in Haiti. POET has selected POET Biorefining – Jewell to produce the ethanol needed to fuel the cook stoves. Project partners gathered in Haiti this past April to develop and discuss a plan to bring U.S. ethanol to Haiti for home cooking.

“The vision for this project is clear: to bring clean-burning ethanol fuel to the homes in third-world countries in order to improve the standard of living and drive positive socio-economic change,” said [POET Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board Jeff ]Broin. “For decades, we’ve known ethanol to be a clean, renewable fuel for our automobiles, and I look forward to bringing this same clean, renewable fuel to homes across the globe. With the help of our partners at Project Gaia, Dometic and Novogaz, I know we will be successful in our journey to bring clean cookstoves and clean energy to the world.”

POET is donating about 12,000 gallons of ethanol to jumpstart the project.

Project Gaia officials say that if every home in Africa, Developing Asia, Latin America and the Middle East currently using traditional solid fuels (charcoal, wood and other biomass substrates) would switch to ethanol fuel for cooking, it would save between 250 and 550 million forest acres per year.

EPA Response on RFS and CARBIO Plan

EPA_LOGOI just received the following response information from the EPA attributed to Byron Bunker, Director, Compliance Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality. The EPA representative I spoke with says the agency knows of the biodiesel industry concerns and wanted to provide a response to those concerns. The response is in the form of eight bullet points:

1. EPA is committed to getting the RFS program back on track.

We understand industry’s desire for certainty. EPA is committed to getting the RFS program back on track. We expect to take action on 2014, 2015 and 2016 this spring. We look forward to talking with all stakeholders throughout the process.

2. The CARBIO plan DOES NOT lower the RFS sustainability standards for Argentinian biodiesel producers.

Any claim that the CARBIO plan decreases environmental oversight is flatly wrong. The sustainability standards are exactly the same for all parties. This Alternate Biomass Tracking plan is simply one mechanism by which Argentinian producers can meet the record keeping requirements of the program.

The sustainability standards were defined in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Namely, in order to qualify for the RFS program, planted crop and crop residue used as feedstock for biofuels must be harvested from agricultural land cleared or cultivated prior to December 2007 (the date of EISA’s enactment).

The RFS regulations Congress established in 2007 apply to both foreign and domestic producers. Any foreign or domestic renewable fuel producer or renewable identification number (RIN) generating importer may meet the recordkeeping requirements for tracking feedstock from qualified lands with an alternative biomass tracking program that has been approved by the EPA. In fact, several countries already import biofuel under the existing regulations.

3. The CARBIO program actually provides for more rigorous oversight of Argentinian producers who choose to participate in this program.

For example:

· The plan is intended to ensure that qualifying fuel can be traced to pre-identified and pre-approved lands from which “renewable biomass” may be harvested consistent with regulatory definition of that term. The alternate biomass tracking program is a robust program that covers the whole soybean biodiesel supply chain, from soybean production through intermediate processing, to biodiesel production.

· CARBIO’s method for tracking chain of custody relies on a product transfer document called a cartas de porte, or waybill that has been mandatory in Argentina since 1998. In addition CARBIO will use land cover data from satellite imagery to identify land that was cleared or cultivated prior December 19, 2007 and actively managed or fallow and non forested on December 19, 2007.

· Any volumes that would qualify under this plan would need to have all steps verified by the approved third-party auditor before a RIN can be generated.

· Any and all other necessary RFS regulatory requirements also apply per the regulations.

4. Why would Argentine producers appeal to EPA for more stringent requirements?

It’s like someone asking a professional tax preparer to do your taxes. They know the codes, the regulation and how to manage the documentation. People want certainty and protection that they are complying with the extensive laws, which most common people don’t know or understand, and so they want the protection of the professional tax preparer. This is no different for the parties in Argentina.
Continue reading