September’s top stories: Google makes wind purchase as Pembroke station opens

1 October 2012 (Last Updated July 28th, 2020 11:22)

September saw the £1bn Pembroke Power Station open in the UK, while Google made a pact to buy 48MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind project in the US. Power-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from September 2012.

September’s top stories: Google makes wind purchase as Pembroke station opens

Hitachi-led consortium to invest $1.53bn in offshore wind

Hitachi

A seven-member consortium led by Hitachi Zosen said it is planning to construct offshore wind farms in Japan for an estimated cost of JPY120bn ($1.53bn).

Toshiba, JFE Holdings, Japan Weather Association, Toa, Sumitomo Electric Industries and Toyo Construction form the remaining six members of the consortium.

Hitachi spokesman Tomomitsu Yamamoto told Bloomberg that the group, which plans to build the wind farms with a combined capacity of 300MW during a decade, will initially complete 7.5MW of pilot plants by 2016.

EU carbon scheme to save Australian firms $2.5bn

Carbon

Also in September, the Australian Government said it will link its carbon pricing schemes with the European Union's, in a deal that could save Australian companies $2.5bn during five years.

According to projections put forward by carbon analytics firm RepuTex, European and international carbon units are expected to trade between 2016-2020 at an average of A$11.50 ($11.77) per ton - much lower than the A$15 ($15.3) floor price.

The report shows that power generators will be the major benefiters from the EU link, with the sector expected to register a net gain of up to $1.5bn over five years.

UK to make nuclear batteries for European spacecraft

UK

Meanwhile in the UK, chemists from the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) announced plans to make batteries using waste plutonium from Sellafield, a nuclear processing site located in Cumbria, to power the European Space Agency's (ESA) spacecraft.

The project is expected to create up to 50 jobs at Sellafield, which could accrue significant UK multimillion pound exports.

Tim Tinsley, NNL programme manager, said his team is more than half way through the £1m pilot project, which is aimed at proving the viability of extracting the isotope from the civil plutonium stockpiles.

RWE nPower opens 2000MW Pembroke Power Station

RWE

RWE nPower officially opened the £1bn Pembroke Power Station, one of Europe's largest combined cycle gas turbine plants, on 19 September.

A ceremony, held in Wales to mark the opening of the 2,000MW plant, was attended by members of parliament, including Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change John Hayes.

The plant was granted a permit by the Environment Agency last November and took three years to build.

EPA regulations may close 200 US coal power units

ACCCE

Supporters of the 'Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012' were left deflated this month when the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), said that more than 200 coal-fired power generating units are scheduled to be closed down due, at least in part, to regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The 204 coal units that may be shutdown are spread across 25 states of the US and represent 31,000MW of electric generating capacity.

In a new report, ACCCE notes that the total number of retirements nationwide is triple the amount of retirements that the EPA had predicted would be caused by its regulations.

Ukraine begins major power line construction

EBRD

Ukraine started the construction of a 353km-long power line, which would stabilise electricity supply to central Ukraine, Kyiv and Odesa.

The new line, with an electricity transmission capacity of 750kV, will be the fourth in of its kind in Europe with such capacity - the other three are in Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland.

Construction of the transmission line will cost up to €400m, of which €300m is being secured by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the remaining €100m by Ukraine's state firm, NPC Ukrenergo.

Google and GRDA sign PPA for 48MW of wind energy

Grand River Dam Authority

Internet giant Google topped off a month of good news for renewables when it agreed to purchase 48MW of wind energy from the 298MW Canadian Hills Wind project in Oklahoma, US, under an agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA).

The company plans to use the power from the wind project, expected to go online later this year, for its data centre located in Mayes County, Oklahoma.

The purchase brings the total amount of renewable energy Google has contracted to more than 260 MW, enough to power 260,000 homes.

GE-Hitachi wins US approval for laser-tech uranium facility

Uranium

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a licence to GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) to build a laser enrichment facility in North Carolina.

The license, which came after three years of safety and environmental reviews, allows GLE to construct a uranium enrichment plant using laser technology conceived by Australian firm SILEX and developed by GLE experts.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the technology has the potential to produce half the amount of enriched uranium required each year for nuclear reactors in the US.