Wednesday, December 19, 2012

RE news from abroad.

European Commission Hopes to Show Value of Pumped-Storage InvestmentsLEVALLOIS-PERRET, France The European Commission has awarded a US$21.55 grant to a consortium of renewable energy and technology companies to help upgrade Elictricite de France's 485-MW Le Cheylas pumped-storage hydropower plant.

The eStorage consortium -- which includes Alstom, Elictricite de France (EDF), Elia, Imperial College, DNV Kema and Algoe -- hopes to use Le Cheylas to prove pumped-storage projects can be a cost-effective part of Europe's renewable energy strategy.

eStorage said the use of variable-speed technologies can provide up to 10 GW of additional regulation capability at Europe's existing pumped-storage plants. Le Cheylas, which currently uses fixed-speed technologies, will generate an additional 70 MW following the introduction of variable-speed parts.

Fixed-speed pumped-storage plants can only produce energy when water flows from their upper reservoirs to their lower reservoirs. Variable-speed units, however, can also generate power while in pumping mode, effectively making them operable 24 hours per day.

eStorage said “virtually all” of the existing pumped-storage plants in Europe used fixed-speed units.

The European Commission said it hopes to prove variable-speed pumped-storage can help balance other renewable energy sources, allowing for “the integration of several hundred MW of intermittent renewable generation.”
PennWell's Hydro Group publishes Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide. Hydro Review, the magazine of the North American hydro industry, offers practical, useful information, helpful examples, and constructive guidance from experts. Each issue has an average readership of more than 50,000. HRW's mission is to share practical, technical information and expertise on hydroelectric power to the international hydro community. The magazine has circulation of more than 10,000.

China Solar Shares Soar as Government Bails Out Sector

SYDNEY -- Shares in Chinese solar companies soared after the government allocated a further 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) of subsidies for domestic installations this year, taking the year's total to 13 billion yuan ($2 billion), according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

News of further financial support came after Xinhua reported China may double its upper limit for solar power capacity to 40 GW by 2015. Elsewhere, the Shanghai Securities News said officials may double their target for solar installations, while China’s Ministry of Science and Technology confirmed subsidies for more than 100 developers with a combined capacity of 2.8 GW. The payouts, under the Golden Sun program, are the second round announced this year.

Stocks to benefit included Trina, Yingli, JA Solar and LDK, as the actions rescue the biggest solar-panel manufacturers and their suppliers after a glut of capacity depressed prices and profits worldwide. In recent weeks, the government also extended loans to the industry through China Development Bank and allowed local authorities to extend support.

"What Beijing is doing is essentially trying to replace the diminished export sales with lower price, lower margin domestic sales," Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov told Reuters. "It is a backdoor bailout."

News of the subsidies came as the China PV Industry Alliance forecast a 40% drop in export volume of PV solar products and an 80% plunge in domestic orders for manufacturing equipment for PV solar products. "Up to 90 percent of Chinese poly-silicon producers have stopped production because of the falling demand,” said Wang Bohua, secretary general of the body. Even though some large companies are trying hard to keep producing, their capacity utilization is low."

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