Friday November 24, 2017
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Australia commits to wind energy after Paris deal

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Wind energy

Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday overturned a decision by his predecessor to ban government investment in wind power.

Earlier this year, the former prime minister announced a controversial ban on wind farm investment, in what was labelled a war on clean energy in favor of dirtier forms of power such as coal, Xinhua news agency reported.

But on Monday, a cabinet spokesperson said a decision to allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) the right to invest in wind power reflected the Turnbull government’s “strong support for renewable and innovation”.

“The mandate puts the CEFC’s focus on new and emerging renewable technologies, rather than supporting well-established technologies that are financially viable without government support,” the spokesperson said.

The news comes on the back of the widely successful climate talk in Paris, where Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop agreed to Australia becoming one of nearly 200 countries committed to ending the era of fossil fuels.

Last week, Turnbull also revealed his government’s commitment to encouraging innovation and small business, and according to a statement released on Monday, noting that clean energy such as the wind is crucial to the future of innovation in Australia.

Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, also praised the decision, telling The Guardian that Abbott’s “war on wind” was a step back, whereas the talks in Paris and Turnbull’s support for innovation was a giant leap forward for clean energy in Australia. (IANS)

(Photo: cleantechnica.com)

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Belgium is set to use wind energy to power trains

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Brussels: Belgium has launched an ambitious project to power 170 trains by wind energy — and the first seven of the planned 25 turbines entered service on Saturday, local media reported on Sunday.

Sudpresse newspaper group said turbines will be built along the main rail line from Leuven to Liege, generating enough power for every high-speed and local train using the line.

The number of trains to be covered by the wind energy project represents about five percent of the country’s total rail traffic, Belgian rail-track operator Infrabel said.

Belgian broadcaster RTL reported that once all 25 turbines are operating, they are expected to produce 35,000 megawatt hours — enough energy to power 10,000 homes. About two-thirds of the produced electricity is needed for the rail line and the surplus will be added to the domestic electricity supply grid.

Philippe Van Troeye, production director at Belgian energy firm Electrabel, told reporters on Saturday: “Wind energy, like solar power, is intermittent, but it will play a more and more important role in our energy provision in the future.”

(IANS)

(Photo: openrtn.wordpress.com)

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New windmills will increase the production of electricity, says IWTMA chairman

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tamil nadu windmill

Coimbatore: Tamil Nadu has over 15-year-old windmills that have a cumulative generation capacity of around 1,000 MW which can be replaced with higher capacity machines if sufficient grid facilities are available, a top industry official said Saturday.

“Windmills with a cumulative generation capacity of around 1,000 MW in Tamil Nadu are over 15 years old. Individually, they are small-capacity machines ranging between 200 kw and going up to sub 1 MW,” Madhusudan Khemka, chairman, Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA) told reporters here.

He said the old windmills are located in suitable places where there are good wind speeds.

“These machines can be replaced with higher capacity ones -1 MW to 3 MW – so that the wind harvest and power generation would be higher,” Khemka said.

Khemka said there is potential to add around 2,000 MW in the old sites, taking the generation to around 3,000 MW.

While most of the wind turbine owners are willing to replace their old machines with newer ones, what is preventing them is the lack of grid infrastructure to evacuate the higher power from the new machines. Apart from this are the existing power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with the power utility, Khemka said.

He said there should be a policy initiative to take into account the new technologies and capacities so that the investors do not lose money due to the lower rates of the old PPAs.

Madhusudan Khemka

Khemka said windmill owners in Tamil Nadu face the challenge of non-availability of grid for evacuation of power or grid back down on wind power and delayed payments by the state utility.

“However the situation has improved in the recent times,” Khemka said.

According to Khemka, investors are now looking at Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for setting up windmills.

Tamil Nadu has an installed capacity of around 7,446 MW of wind power.

Khemka said corporates are now looking at windmills as an asset for investments rather than as a vehicle for claiming accelerated depreciation.

“Big and medium-sized industrial groups have invested in windmills as an asset, earning returns. One can get around 14-15 per cent returns,” Khemka said.

Industry officials said that there are rich fathers who give gifts to their daughters at the time of their marriage which provides them the needed financial security and also income.

According to Khemka, with the availability of hybrid technology-wind and solar windmill sites can be used to set up small solar power plants.

He said the wind turbine manufacturers have a combined production capacity of around 9,500 MW per annum.

With 85 per cent localisation levels, the wind mill industry is a classic example for Prime Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign.

(IANS)