Monday, May 31, 2010

Indian Solar PV Module Capacity to touch 1250 MW

A recent report by India Semiconductor Association (ISA) has said that photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules capacity in the country is expected to touch 750MW and 1250MW by the end of 2010.

The report titled ‘Solar PV Industry 2010: Contemporary Scenario and Emerging Trends’ was released by the principal scientific adviser, government of India Mr. R Chidambaram along with professor Juzer Vasi, IIT Bombay and head core committee and BV Naidu, advisor, ISA.

The repot aims to be useful to various stakeholders in the solar PV industry in India. The technology provides an alternative power source to the fossils and is expected to be big in the future. It is an important technology in the context of the climate change.

The industry receives help from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) which is an important component in the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

The current capacity in India is at 400MW for cells and about 1,000 MW for modules. The manufacturing facilities in the industry in India mainly comprises of cell and module with most of the Value addition happening abroad.

The report provides an overview of the global trends in PV industry, position of Indian solar PV industry the Indian government initiatives aimed at this industry. The report outlines some strengths and challenges of the industry in India.

The main strength of the industry is that the production is very cost effective despite the fact that the industry is small. This makes the components produces here preferable by clients in countries like Germany and Spain where the costs are very high.

The government initiatives including those under the JNNSM are fostering growth in the industry. The country however lacks the local producers of basic raw material that is silicon wafers hence making firms reply on foreign made silicon wafers. The fluctuations and availability of the raw material is also a challenge for the industry in India.

The major challenge before the solar energy components worldwide is its costs and the reductions will help it greatly in the future.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Larger integration of Wind and Solar Power into the Grid is possible according to NREL study

I was fortunate to attend a recent International workshop on "Smart Grid and Renewables", organised by the Power & Energy Society of the IEEE, Bangalore Chapter, held at the beautiful Infosys Campus. There were lot of questions and discussions about the impact of pumping more Renewable Energy into the existing Grid. It was a tough time for the Smart Grid Experts from the U.S to answer the questions raised by the Engineers from the Indian utility companies. Engineers from the Indian Utility companies were sceptical about the consequences of mixing more RE power into the Indian Grid because of their experience in Tamilnadu (A southern Indian State where the Wind Generation is substantial) I hope that this study by the National Renewable Energy Labarotary (NREL) will be beneficial for the Smart Grid Researchers and technologists who wants to inject more Renewable Power into the Grid. N.R.E.L recently released an intial study assessing the operational impacts and economics of increased contributions from wind and solar energy producers on the power grid. The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study examines the benefits and challenges of integrating enough wind and solar energy capacity into the grid to produce 35 percent of its electricity by 2017. The study finds that this target is technically feasible and does not necessitate extensive additional infrastructure, but does require key changes to current operational practice. The results offer a first look at the issue of adding significant amount of variable renewable energy into the grid and will help utilities across the region plan how to ramp up their production of renewable energy as they incorporate more wind and solar energy plants into the power grid.

“If key changes can be made to standard operating procedures, our research shows that large amounts of wind and solar can be incorporated onto the grid without a lot of backup generation,” said Dr. Debra Lew, NREL project manager for the study. “When you coordinate the operations between utilities across a large geographic area, you decrease the effect of the variability of wind and solar energy sources, mitigating the unpredictability of Mother Nature.”

The study focuses on the operational impacts of wind, photovoltaics, and concentrating solar power on the power system operated by the WestConnect group of utilities in the mountain and southwest states of the United States of America. Though wind and solar output vary over time, the technical analysis performed in this study shows that it is operationally possible to accommodate 30 percent wind and 5 percent solar energy penetration. To accomplish such an increase, utilities will have to substantially increase their coordination of operations over wider geographic areas and schedule their generation deliveries, or sales, on a more frequent basis. Currently generators provide a schedule for a specific amount of power they will provide in the next hour. More frequent scheduling would allow generators to adjust that amount of power based on changes in system conditions such as increases or decreases in wind or solar generation.

The study also finds that if utilities generate 27 percent of their electricity from wind and solar energy across the Western Interconnection grid, it would lower carbon emissions by 25 to 45 percent, depending on the future price of natural gas. It would also decrease fuel and emissions costs by 40 percent.

Other key findings from the study include:

•Existing transmission capacity can be more fully utilized to reduce the amount of new transmission that needs to be built.

•To facilitate the integration of wind and solar energy, coordinating the operations of utilities can provide substantial savings by reducing the need for additional back-up generation, such as natural gas-burning plants.

•Use of wind and solar forecasts in utility operations to predict when and where it will be windy and sunny is essential for cost-effectively integrating these renewable energy sources.

The study was undertaken by a team of wind, solar and power systems experts across both the private and public sectors. The study complements the recently released Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study, which examines the feasibility of integrating up to 30 percent wind in the eastern states.

The report released today is an important first step in assessing the impact of solar and wind energy on the electrical grid. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of Energy is investing more than $26 million to further study the Western transmission interconnection, which will help states, utilities, and grid operators prepare for future growth in energy demand, renewable energy resources, and Smart Grid technologies.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Global Wind power boom continues despite economic woes in 2009

The expectations for 2009 were dire for all industry sectors, and wind power was no exception. Both the economic and even more so the financial crisis hit the sector hard, and even GWEC’s forecast of a 12.5% annual market growth seemed overly optimistic to many in March 2009.

In fact, the annual market grew a staggering 41.5% compared to 2008. More than 38 GW of new wind power capacity was installed around the world in 2009, bringing the total installed capacity up to 158.5 GW. This represents a year-on-year growth of 31.7%. A third of these additions were made in China, which doubled its installed capacity yet again.

Wind energy is now an important player in the world’s energy markets. The 2009 market for turbine installations was worth about 45 bn € or 63 bn US$ and GWEC estimates that about half a million people are now employed by the wind industry around the world.

The main markets driving this growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10 GW of new capacity in 2009. Asia’s development driven by booming Chinese marketFor the first time, Asia was the world’s largest regional market for wind energy, with capacity additions amounting to 15.4 GW.

China was the world’s largest market in 2009, more than doubling its capacity from 12.1 GW in 2008 to 25.8 GW, adding a staggering 13.8 GW of capacity, and slipped past Germany to become the world’s second largest wind power market by a very narrow margin.

The growing wind power market in China has encouraged domestic production of wind turbines and components, and the Chinese manufacturing industry is becoming increasingly mature, stretching over the whole supply chain. According to the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA), the supply is starting to not only satisfy domestic demand, but also meet international needs, especially for components. Two Chinese companies, Sinovel and Goldwind, are now among the world’s top five turbine manufacturers, and there are first moves by Chinese manufacturers to enter the international markets.The planning and development for the ‘Wind Base’ programme, which aims to build 127.5 GW of wind capacity in six Chinese provinces, is well underway, and construction has started on some projects. Given the current size of the market, it is expected that the even the unofficial target of 150 GW will be met well ahead of 2020.

India also continued growing its wind market with 1.3 GW of new installed capacity, bringing its total up to 10.9 GW. The leading wind power state remains Tamil Nadu with 4.3 GW installed, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka. With the introduction of a national Generation Based Incentive at the end of 2009, and a real push by the government to support renewable energy development, substantial growth is expected in the near future, and the industry forecasts additions of at least 2.2 GW for 2010.Other Asian countries with new capacity additions in 2009 include Japan (178 MW, taking the total to 2.1 GW), South Korea (112 MW for a total of 348 MW) and Taiwan (78 MW for a total of 436 MW).
Ref: Global Wind Energy Council

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