AMERICAS

Cost of nuclear safety could sound death knell for sector

A University of Vermont researcher has published a report that says the cost of the safety measures needed for nuclear energy will eventually make the power source economically unviable.

Mark Cooper said that the rising costs of nuclear energy could deliver a knockout punch to its future use in the US.

“The fundamental nature of nuclear suggests the future will be as clouded as the past,” he said, adding that new safety regulations enacted or being considered by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission would push the cost of nuclear energy too high to be economically competitive.

The disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in the US is currently underwritten by the federal government. Without that safeguard, Cooper said, “nuclear power is neither affordable nor worth the risk. If the owners and operators of reactors had to face the full liability of a Fukushima-style accident or go head-to-head with alternatives in a truly competitive marketplace, unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build one today, and anyone who owns a reactor would exit the business as quickly as possible.”

Judge halts work on Brazil hydro dam

A federal judge in Brazil has suspended the construction licence of the Teles Pires hydroelectric dam in the Amazon, citing violations of the rights of the Kayabi, Apiakàƒ¡ and Mundurucu indigenous peoples.

The judge ordered the immediate halt of all activities in the dam’s work.

With an estimated installed capacity of 1820 MW, the dam has been under construction since August 2011 on the Teles Pires River, a major tributary of the Tapajàƒ³s River in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. The dam is one of six large hydro projects planned for the Teles Pires River, bordering the states of Mato Grosso and Paràƒ¡.

Chile approves Grupo Ibereolica wind

Chile’s environmental service SEA has approved Spanish renewable energy company Grupo Ibereàƒ³lica’s 170 MW Cabo Leones wind farm project to be located in Chile’s northern region.

According to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) document, which was submitted for approval last September, the wind farm will have 85 turbines and cover about 94 ha, with an investment of $365m.

Construction is scheduled to commence on 30 April 2012.

South Korea wins $600m deal for Mexico cogeneration plant

South Korea has won a $600m order to build a waste fired cogeneration plant in western Mexico, as Korean companies strive to further develop renewable business in the country.

Yonhap News Agency reports that the contract was signed in Seoul between Korea Environment Corp., a state-run company in charge of eco-friendly energy projects, and the Jalisco state government of Mexico, said ministry officials.

The contract calls for Korea Environment Corp. to complete building the plant in Jalisco by 2022. Cogeneration refers to the simultaneous production of electricity and heat.

The plant is expected to help Jalisco dispose of its waste efficiently and meet a rising demand for electricity, said the ministry.

Lee Chan-hee, a senior ministry official, said the contract is meaningful in the wake of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between South Korea and Mexico.

With the contract, the ministry will also help South Korean companies make inroads into the renewable energy sector in Mexico, said Lee.

2G Group to build Florida CHP plant

2G Cenergy Power Systems Technologies has said it has received more US-based orders during the past few months than during the entire fiscal years of 2010 and 2011 combined.

As a result of this, 2G has decided to establish a US production facility in St Augustine, Florida, where it will start to produce its advanced modular CHP (combined heat & power) clean energy conversion systems for all North and South American markets.

“The US CHP cogeneration market is an important part of our group strategy and we are vigorously accessing that market,” said Michael Turwitt, president of 2G Cenergy.

Apple plans largest US private fuel cell energy project

Technology giant Apple is to install the largest private fuel cell energy project in America.

A filing with North Carolina’s Utilities Commission reveals that Apple’s 4.8 MW fuel cell farm at its North Carolina data centre will use Bloom Energy’s servers.

The hydrogen fuel is set to be produced from natural gas feedstocks, with Apple hoping to offset the use of natural gas with landfill methane gas or other biogas at its Maiden, North Carolina premises.

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Brazil: A 720 MW thermal power plant ihas postponed operations until July. Brazil’s power regulator Aneel granted the Pecem thermal plant permission to temporarily cease construction. MPX Energia, which owns 50 percent of the plant, did not give reasons for the delay.

Brazil: President Barack Obama said that the US “can co-operate closely on a whole range of energy projects” with Brazil when he met the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff, when she visited Washington.

Brazil: The International Hydropower Association has launched a new global Hydropower Sustainability Protocol, with a number of South American firms completing training to help them assess the sustainability of their projects. The training course in Foz do Iguaàƒ§u, Brazil, covered all aspects of the protocol.

Chile: Spanish renewables company Ingenostrum is to build six solar plants worth nearly $2bn in the Antofagasta region of Chile. The plants would total 688 MW and the largest would be a 160 MW project in the Sierra Gorda section of the city.

Uruguay: Uruguay is set to benefit from an increase in the sale of energy from Brazil. According to Edison Lobao, the Brazilian minister of energy, the country will increase its sale of energy from 500 MW to 800 MW as Uruguay struggles to meet its power demands.

US: NuScale Power and NuHub, an economic development initiative, are to work together to pursue a small modular reactor project in South Carolina.

US: The US Energy Department has announced up to $15m available to demonstrate biomass-based oil supplements that can be blended with petroleum. It expects to fully fund between five to ten projects this year.

US: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko has said that the agency should begin looking at how to proceed with the development of a generic repository licensing regulation to replace those tailored to a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

US: The US Department of Defense has announced a new goal to deploy 3 GW of renewable energy ” including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal ” on Army, Navy, and Air Force installations by 2025.

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