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June 30, 2015

June’s top stories: SoftBank-Foxconn $20bn JV, UK cuts onshore wind subsidies

SoftBank and Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group teamed-up with Bharti Enterprises for a $20bn renewable venture in India, UK to close renewables obligation (RO) subsidies for new onshore wind energy projects from April 2016, while Adani Group signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with the government of Rajasthan in India to set-up a 10GW solar park. wraps-up the key headlines from June 2015.


Dong Energy to commence construction on 580MW Race Bank offshore wind project in UK

Denmark-based Dong Energy opted to begin construction on the 580MW Race Bank offshore wind project in the UK, following a final investment decision.

The wind facility is planned to be built in the Greater Wash area, nearly 27km away from the east coast. It will be developed and operated under the 1.8 Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme offered by the UK Government.

It is expected that the wind power facility will be fully operational from 2018. The wind power facility will be able to meet the energy requirements of more than 400,000 households.

The offshore facility will be equipped with 91 Siemens wind turbines, each of which will have a generation capacity of 6MW.

Lutheran World Federation to refrain from fossil fuel investments


The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a communion of Lutheran churches, decided not to invest in fossil fuels any further and has called on its members in Switzerland to do the same in order to meet its climate commitment.

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As a part of its long-standing pledge to preserve environment, the federation urged its members and associated institutions ‘to support energy efficiency and renewable energy companies’ instead.

The council intends to turn carbon neutral by 2050.

LWF said: "Through this decision, we seek coherence and wish to send a strong moral signal that the world needs to operate a transformational change towards a low-carbon economy, phasing out fossil fuels and phasing in renewable energies by the middle of this century."

Scientists develop owl feather-inspired coating to minimise wind turbines sound

Oul tech

Scientists from the UK’s University of Cambridge developed a coating material inspired by owl wings to make wind turbines quieter at increased speeds, in collaboration with researchers at three US institutions.

Researchers developed the prototype by studying owls, which fly silently.

The prototype imitates the intricate structures of owl wings, which are claimed to reduce the amount of noise produced by wind turbines.

Scientists claimed that the application of the coating material will allow the wind turbines to run at faster speed, generating more energy without causing noise.

Mitsubishi and partners complete turbine assembly of Fukushima floating offshore wind project

Floating Wind

A Japanese consortium unveiled a 7MW oil pressure drive-type wind turbine for the experimental Fukushima floating offshore wind project following the completion of its assembly works.

The project is sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the University of Tokyo, Marubeni, Japan Marine United, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, Hitachi, Furukawa Electric, Shimizu, and Mizuho Information & Research have formed a consortium to work on the project since March 2012.

Turbine installation for the project was performed at Onahama port on a three column semi-sub floater, which will be moved to the testing area soon.

SoftBank-Foxconn in $20bn Indian renewables joint venture with Bharti

Japan-based green energy developer SoftBank and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group teamed-up with Bharti Enterprises for a $20bn renewable venture in India.

The new joint venture (JV) will be known as SBG Cleantech, with the partners planning to set-up solar and wind power projects totalling 20GW in the country.

SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said: "With this partnership, our goal is to create a market-leading clean energy company, to fuel India’s growth with clean and renewable sources of energy."

US researchers develop material that can store solar energy for weeks

Solar Cell

Chemists at University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) discovered a new technology that can store energy from the sun for up to several weeks.

The technology, created through research conducted at the university, has produced findings that were published in the Journal Science.

The innovation was inspired by the way plants generate energy through photosynthesis.

Unlike conventional rooftop solar cells that use expensive silicon, the new technology utilises plastics. Apart from being cost-effective, this enables with well-defined structures similar to those in plants.

UK to end subsidies for onshore wind power projects from 2016

The UK intends to close renewables obligation (RO) subsidies for new onshore wind energy projects from April 2016.

UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) informed that the government is expected to bring a primary legislation to implement the change in subsidy regime.

The government had previously scheduled the end of subsidies from 2017.

However, the ruling will allow a grace period to wind projects with less than 5.2GW capacity.

Nigeria selects sites for 4,800MW nuclear power plants

The Nigerian Government selected Geregu in Kogi State and Itu in Akwa Ibom State to build two nuclear power plants, which will each have a capacity of 2400MW.

The sites have been finalised after the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) selected the sites for the plants, which will involve an investment of $20bn.

NAEC Chairman Erepamo Osaisai was cited by Daily Trust as saying: "Detailed evaluation and characterisation to be conducted on preferred sites on the approval of the government in Geregu, Ajaokuta Local Government Area of kogi State and Itu in Itu LGA of Akwa Ibom State."

Adani forms JV agreement to set up 10GW solar park in Rajasthan, India

The Adani Group signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with the government of Rajasthan in India to set up a 10GW solar park in the state.

The proposed solar park is likely to receive investments of more than Rs 600bn ($9.34bn).

This deal is line with the Indian conglomerate’s plan to generate 10GW of solar energy by 2022.

Adani Renewable Energy Park, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, and the Rajasthan State Government will hold a 50:50 stake in the new JV, which will be called as Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan.

Japan unveils revised roadmap Fukushima nuclear plant cleanup


Japan gave its consent to revised plans for decommissioning Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, which suffered a severe meltdown following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The roadmap extends over a 30 to 40 year period, and delays removal of spent fuel in storage pools at the melted reactors by nearly three years, reports the Associated Press.

As per the revised plan, the spent fuel rod assemblies must be removed from the pools above reactor Nos. 1, 2 and 3 before the fuel is extracted, which melts inside the reactors during the disaster.

The fuel assembly removal process from the No. 3 cooling pool will not start until 2017 while the process on units 1 and 2 will start in 2020, reported Japan Times.

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