Africa’s largest wind farm and other renewable energy news

Posted by Laura Grant on October 14, 2008
Posted in Renewable energy

  • Ethiopia has signed a $300-million deal with French wind turbine manufacturer Vergnet to build the largest wind farm in Arica. The 120MW project, to be built near Mekele in the northern Tigray region, is expected to be up and running by 2012. [AFP, Reuters
  • The US Army reportedly intends to build a 500MW concentrating solar power plant at Fort Irwin in California’s Mojave Desert. The project is five times bigger than South African electricity utility Eskom’s proposed 100MW plant in Upington. [Treehugger]
  • Twenty-four schools in the German city of Berlin have been turned into “mini power plants” in a scheme that allows private individuals to rent roof space on school and public buildings for photovoltaic panels. Berlin reportedly has ambitions to become a solar power house. The city already has 10,000 jobs in the solar sector and that is expected to increase tenfold in the next decade. Germany produces about half of the world’s solar electricity and, according to Reuters, last year alone it installed enough capacity to power a million homes. [Reuters]
  • US researchers have found a way to make silicon-based solar cells that are “flexible enough to be rolled around a pencil and transparent enough to be used to tint windows on buildings or cars”. Using a special etching technique, brittle wafers of silicon are sliced off a bulk silicon wafer into ultrathin bits and “printed” onto a flexible surface. The slices can be adapted to suit the application, say the researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The technology has been licensed to a US company called Semprius Inc. [Reuters]
  • Japan plans to subsidise households that install solar power systems in a bid to stimulate the mass production of the systems and bring down costs. The subsidy will cover about 10 percent of the total cost of the system. Home solar systems apparently generate about 1.4-million kilowatts of electricity in Japan, but the government wants this to increase tenfold by 2020. [Reuters]
  • And, finally, to South Africa, where the country’s first clean technology fund was launched recently. The Evolution One fund has reportedly already raised R400-million and has a target to increase that to R1-billion by the middle of next year. The fund plans to make 10 to 15 investments over a period of three to five years in Southern Africa. According to the Engineering News, among the projects the fund is looking at becoming involved with were thin-film solar manufacturing, retail goods from recycled industrial waste, co-generation, and electric vehicles. [Engineering News]

Pic of wind farm in Illinois by Dual Freq licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License


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