Solar Power Becomes More Attractive

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					                                                                                                         Iran Daily                    October 9, 2005                8


          Solar Power
           Becomes
         More Attractive
       olar-energy advo-          To encourage converts,       have reached 34 percent          scale made computers

S      cates have been
       arguing since the
1970s energy crunch that
                                they will open their homes
                                Saturday for the eighth
                                annual Pikes Peak-area
                                                               conversion rates, and the
                                                               price per watt for the aver-
                                                               age photovoltaic setup has
                                                                                                affordable enough for
                                                                                                everyone to have. The
                                                                                                same is happening with
it's time for America to see    Solar Homes Tour, which        dropped to $4 a watt.            solar."
the light: Solar is nonpol-     features six structures in       One shadow clouding the          Plus, for the next two
luting, it's sustainable and    configurations including a     use of solar is the upfront      years, anyone installing a
it has the potential to wean    custom-built earth ship        cost: The average single-        solar system can get a 30
us off those tricky rela-       and a retrofitted Victorian.   home solar system costs          percent federal tax credit
tionships with other oil-         They say now is one of       about $14,000, several           under the new energy bill.
producing nations.              the best times to turn to      times what energy from           Colorado energy compa-
  The only light most of        sun power.                     coal or natural gas costs,       nies may start offering
the country sees, however,        "Efficiency is going up;     and it can take more than        incentives to individuals
is produced by burning oil,     cost is coming down.           10 years to pay for itself.      for going solar.
coal and natural gas. Solar     Solar is just becoming         But the initial price contin-      Another incentive: Solar
power accounts for less         more and more practical,"      ues to get cheaper.              is getting more stylish. In
than one-tenth of 1 percent     said Tom Cannarella,             Cannerella said the price      many cases, those big,
                                                                                                                                  Solar power accounts for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of America's energy portfolio.
of America's energy port-       organizer of the Solar         per watt of solar power          clunky panels can be
folio.                          Homes Tour.                    will continue to fall, even      replaced with low profile         provide practical advice          will find the $5 entry fee         down on waste. A solar           Taking steps to conserve
  But solar's local support-      In 1980, photovoltaic        as other energy prices rise.     solar shingles nailed onto        about the best new solar          worthwhile because the             house adage states that a      energy should be especial-
ers look on the sunny side:     cells--the electricity-pro-    He compares solar power          roofs like traditional shin-      products on the market            homes are filled with effi-        dollar spent on efficiency     ly attractive this year
Solar makes so much             ducing stuff that solar pan-   to the home computer:            gles. Eventually, new nan-        and how to navigate feder-        cient lights and appliances        saves $10 on creating          because natural gas prices
sense, they say--especially     els are made of--at best       Once it was a prohibitive-       otechnologies may allow           al and state tax breaks.          that can save energy               power. In other words,         are expected to rise as
with energy prices on the       converted 10 percent of        ly expensive hobby pur-          solar power to be slipped           But the tour isn't just for     whether it comes from the          buying an energy-efficient     much as 38 percent this
rise--that it's only a matter   the sun's energy to usable     sued by a few zealots.           into clear, plastic coatings      those anxious to get off the      sun or the local utility.          water heater is a lot cheap-   fall for local customers,
of time before more peo-        electricity and cost about     "But the price slowly            that can be painted on any        grid. People looking for            It's all part of the overall     er than buying enough          and electricity prices will
ple look to the sun, redno-     $20 per watt of power.         came down and came               surface.                          more than one way to pare         approach to designing a            solar panels to power an       probably continue to
va.com reported.                Newly developed cells          down until economy of              The local solar tour can        their monthly utility bill        solar home and cutting             inefficient one.               climb as well.


                   Oil Prices Plunge                                                                                                              Wind Energy Alluring Canada
               Despite Refinery Concerns                                                                                          W
                                                                                                                                             ind power may only be a drop in the bucket of and plentiful in Canada and there are no fossil fuel emis-
                                                                                                                                             electricity production, but in comparison to sions.
                                                                                                                                             nuclear and fossil fuels, it’s clean, efficient and   Huron Wind has no staff. The turbines are monitored by
           orld oil prices plummeted Tuesday as specula-       States approaches winter.                                          pays for itself.                                               Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and

W          tors bailed out on signs the United States might
           release more emergency stockpiles of crude,
traders said.
                                                                 Apart from two million barrels of heating fuel, the US
                                                               strategic reserve consists largely of crude oil.
                                                                 Analysts said the United States and other oil-consuming
                                                                                                                                    In recent years the public has looked to alternative ener- receive regular visits from three service technicians who
                                                                                                                                  gies like wind power to deliver Canada’s energy-depen- look after many other wind turbines across Ontario.
                                                                                                                                  dent society from non-renewable resources. However, it           Technical specifics Each turbine stands 117 metres
  But analysts said the price falls were overdone as the       nations need refined products more than they need crude.           is being shown that wind power can only compliment from the ground to the peak of the blades.
market still faces a serious supply crunch with a sizeable       "What Bodman really wants to control is gasoline and             existing technologies, it can’t replace them.                    Unlike traditional windmills, the turbines need electric-
portion of US refining capacity shut down by hurricanes        diesel retail prices, and it's difficult to do that with lots of     According to Rob Liddle, Bruce Power’s communica- ity to spin. An electro-magnet keeps the blades spinning
Katrina and Rita.                                              crude and too few barrels of heating oil," Hornsell said.          tions consultant for Huron Wind, it would take 5,000 at 15 revolutions per minute.
  New York's main contract, light sweet crude for deliv-         With refineries struggling, concerns are mounting over           wind turbines to replace the electricity produced by             The magnet uses less than one percent of the energy it
ery in November, fell 1.57 dollars to close at 63.90 dol-      heating fuel. Investec analyst Bruce Evers said the arrival        Bruce Power’s nuclear reactors. There are currently five produces to spin the blade. It never spins faster or slower
lars a barrel, AFP reported.                                   of the northern hemisphere winter "could be a wake-up              large turbines and one smaller turbine at the Huron Wind with the wind speed, but instead switches gears inside the
  In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for            call for the market".                                              site, Shoreline Beacon.com reported.                           massive gearbox to adjust for the increase and decrease
November delivery sank 1.58 dollars to 61.22 dollars a           Kleinman added that Wednesday's publication of week-               “No one in the nuclear industry should feel threatened of wind conditions, Liddle said.
barrel.                                                        ly data for US oil stockpiles would give "a bad surprise"          because it’s such a small percentage of (energy) produc-         But Liddle said the turbines only reach their maximum
  "The worst has occurred, what more can happen?" said         to the markets, laying bare the impact of last month's twin        tion,” Liddle said. “But wind
Fimat analyst Mike Fitzpatrick, referring to the aftermath     hurricanes.                                                        power has its place.”
of the powerful hurricanes.                                      US government figures released Tuesday showed 90                   Huron Wind can produce
  "The effect has been priced in, and speculative interests    percent of oil production and 72 percent of natural gas            enough electricity to power
are beginning to cash out of positions," he said.              production in the Gulf of Mexico remains shut down.                around 2,000 homes, or the equiv-
  Nevertheless, brokers said the sharp declines were exag-       Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 109 oil platforms          alent of nine megawatts. In com-
gerated.                                                       and five drilling rigs in the Gulf, but only a small portion       parison, Bruce Power reactors
  "This is too much of an over-reaction to the bearish         of production will be lost for good, US Interior Secretary         produce 20 percent of Ontario’s
view that there is going to be demand destruction" due to      Gale Norton said.                                                  power, or 4,700 megawatt.
high prices, said Paul Hornsell, head of energy research at      The storms also caused extensive damage to another 50              The government has had a sig-
Barclays Capital.                                              platforms and 19 rigs.                                             nificant impact on the number of
  "We just don't see the evidence for that."                     But Norton stressed that only one of the damaged plat-           wind farms in Ontario since the
  US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said that three            forms was built after federal construction standards were          site was constructed in 2003.
million barrels a day of refining capacity remains offline     tightened in 1988.                                                   There are proposals from close
because of the hurricanes, and could take two to four            The ones that were destroyed were nearing the end of             to a dozen different companies in
weeks to get fully back up.                                    their lives. "As a result, only a very small percentage of         Ontaro hoping to set up wind
  Bodman said Monday the United States was "prepared           production is expected to be permanently lost," she said           farms from Sault St. Marie to
to do what is necessary with strategic reserves", after the    in a statement.                                                    Manitoulin Island.
government tapped its Strategic Petroleum Reserve in             Elsewhere, French oil giant Total's Gonfreville plant              Regional proposals include ones
early September after Katrina struck.                          near the northern port of Le Havre--France's biggest               for the towns of Ripley and
  "The market thinks all will be OK with the SPR, which        refinery—remained closed due to a strike.                          Amberly and studies are still in
is not the case," PFC analyst Seth Kleinman said.                But Total said there was no risk of fuel shortages, say-         the works for a massive 230
  "People don't realize how small the reserves for heating     ing the market can be supplied by other refineries in              megawatt farm to be built In recent years the public has looked to alternative energies like wind power to deliver
oil are," he said, highlighting a key concern as the United    Europe.                                                            between Kincardine and Port Canada’s energy-dependent society from non-renewable resources.
                                                                                                                                  Elgin by the Leader Wind Group.                                output one-quarter to one-third of the time; the equivalent
                  Fuel Cell Companies                                                                                               “The government is eliminating coal-fired plants, which to about 70 days out of the year.
                                                                                                                                  supply 17 percent of the electricity in Ontario,” Liddle         When production is low or ceased, Huron Wind has an
                                                                                                                                  said. “To do this, they have to come up with something agreement with the manufacturer which will compensate
            Mark First-Ever Drop in Revenues                                                                                      to replace it.”                                                them for loss of productivity. This plan works along with
                                                                                                                                    The McGuinty government plans to replace the energy Huron Wind’s 10-year contract with the federal govern-
       uel cell companies worldwide       the past year or two," Webster said.       structure.                                   from coal-fired plants with the possible restart of Bruce ment, which pays 1.2 cents per kilowatt hour for the elec-

F      saw a slight aggregate drop in
       revenues to 234 million US
dollars in 2004, according to a new
                                          "Companies are wrestling with the
                                          dearth of funds and the markets for
                                          their products have been slow to
                                                                                       This year, the annual survey
                                                                                     included four new companies:
                                                                                     Ceres Power Holdings Plc (United
                                                                                                                                  A Units 1 and 2, combined with a variety of natural gas tricity produced for the Ontario power grid.
                                                                                                                                  and biogas technologies, and by pushing for localized
                                                                                                                                  wind farms throughout Ontario.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Environmental Impact Like any major project, Huron
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Wind was constructed after an environmental assess-
Canadian study, highlighting the          develop."                                  Kingdom), ITM Power Plc (United                As an incentive, wind farm companies are negotiating ment.
first ebb in the sector.                    Their combined market capitaliza-        Kingdom), Ceramic Fuel Cells                 contracts with the government that guarantee earnings in         Little said the results showed the wind farm would have
  Their total revenues were down          tion also fell 11 percent to 3.2 bil-      Limited (Australia), and QuestAir            exchange for energy. Competition is driving a flood of virtually no impact on the environment, except for dust,
four percent from 244 million US          lion US dollars as the sector sig-         Technologies Inc. (Canada).                  bids to build farms, pending government approval and increased traffic during construction.
dollars            in           2003,     naled further delays in the launch of        None of the fuel cell divisions of         environmental assessment of the proposed areas, Liddle           On the 100-acre property, the majority of the area is
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)              oft-touted fuel cell vehicles and          the world's largest automobile com-          said.                                                          available for agriculture or industrial projects.
said in its Fuel Cell Industry Survey     focused on new applications such as        panies were included in the study,             Maintenance Wind turbines, like any other mechanical           The closest neighbor is 500 meters away and Little said
Tuesday, while research and devel-        powering cell phones and laptop            however.                                     device, are susceptible to wear and tear from the envi- there have been no complaints about the facility so far.
opment expenditures climbed two           computers, and portable fuel cell            Industry leader Ballard Power              ronment and the force of their own weight.                       The structures have warning beacons to alert aviators,
percent to 221 million US dollars.        generators.                                Systems and FuelCell Energy raked              Liddle said the life span of a turbine is 20 years. but because of its close proximity to Bruce Power, Little
  "It's unique in our experience. The       The PwC survey looked at the             in the most revenues in 2004: 81             Meaning by 2023, the parts and mechanics of Huron said planes haven’t been a concern.
sector has always shown reasonably        world's 20 publicly-traded compa-          million US dollars and 31 million            Wind’s turbines would be recycled and replaced with              Shadow-flicker, caused by the casting of shadow from
healthy increases in revenues," the       nies whose primary business is in          US dollars respectively.                     more advanced technology.                                      the blades, would be an issue if the turbines were closer
report's co-author John Webster           the areas of fuel cell production,           Distributed Energy Systems, the              Huron Wind installed the five main turbines in a “pack- to residential areas. The only impact in that area is on
told AFP.                                 system integration, and related            parent company of Proton Energy              age deal” for $15 million, which included the construc- staff of the Bruce Power Visitors Centre, which have
  None of the companies surveyed          fuelling infrastructure.                   and Northern Power Systems, made             tion of roads, fences and the infrastructure needed for the reported glare on computer monitors.
are profitable. Net losses grew to          Thirteen of the 20 companies are         the biggest gains with a 450 percent         turbines to go up.                                               Future Currently there are no plans for expansion to
465 million US dollars in 2004            focused on developing proton               spike in revenues to 22 million US             It took a shipment across the Atlantic from Denmark’s Huron Wind but Liddle said data from their turbines will
from 387 million US dollars in the        exchange membrane fuel cell tech-          dollars.                                     Vestas, which produced the parts, along with 45 over- be used to help integrate more wind power operations
previous year as each continued to        nology, the leading fuel cell tech-          Employment in public fuel cell             sized shipments of parts, to get the turbines to the site.     into the Ontario Power grid, helping to increase the per-
burn money.                               nology for mobile applications and         companies fell slightly to 2,789               With nuclear power, the capital cost is significantly centage of renewable energy from five to 10 percent by
  "It's been a tough environment in       related hydrogen fuelling infra-           people.                                      more, but the output is far higher. Uranium is inexpensive 2012.