The Netherlands is known for its bicycle-friendly streets and bike paths, but even this bike leader has intersections that are excessively large and centered too much around cars. In the case of one such intersection between Eindhoven and Veldhoven, planners and designers created the Hovenring, a beautiful bicycle and pedestrian roundabout elevated above the roadway.
Hope for algae-powered future The Border Mail Finally, algae can produce a range of value-added products: ethanol, hydrogen, pigments, biopolymers and food for animals and humans. To top it off, they make great bio-fertilisers.
Think of your average supermarket -- it's a place of plenty, with piles of fresh vegetables bursting off the shelves, yard after yard of meats, cheeses, breads and every wholesome and unwholesome thing you could ever want to stuff in your face. But that illusion of abundance comes with an enormous cost.
The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that grocery stores toss out $15 billion worth of fruits and vegetables each year, and that the average supermarket dumps $2,300 worth of out-of-date products each day. (In fact, the entire U.S. food system wastes 40 percent of the goods it produces.) Then there are the hundreds of boxes the food is shipped in; the tons of plastic bags, pasteboard and cellophane the food is wrapped in; plus the paper and plastic bags customers use to carry it home.
When you take a good, hard look, a grocery store starts to seem less like a modern cornucopia and more like a national shame. At least, that's what Christian and Joseph Lane see when they look at a conventional supermarket. The brothers from Austin, who run a software-consulting firm, were kicking around ideas for a second business when they were struck by the concept of a zero-waste, packaging-free grocery store.
Fisterra Energy, a company majority owned by funds managed by Blackstone BX +0.87% , and Blackstone Energy Partners, Blackstone’s energy-focused private equity business, today announced it has reached a financial closing for Ventika, Mexico’s largest onshore wind farm upon completion and one of the largest wind farms in Latin America. Ventika will be located in the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, approximately 35 miles from the United States border, and is comprised of two 126 megawatt (MW) wind farms with total capacity of 252MW. Once completed the project will alleviate significant demands on Mexico’s existing power infrastructure, helping Mexico reduce pollution and CO2 emissions, and meet its target of achieving 35% renewable generation by 2025.
The $650 million project is being jointly developed by CEMEX, a global building materials company with presence in more than 50 countries, and Fisterra Energy. This investment funds the installation of 84 Acciona AW-3000 wind turbine generators, each with a hub height of 120 meters and a nominal output of 3MW per turbine. Construction of the project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2016, is expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs and more than 2,000 additional jobs in related industries.
“With the development and construction of Ventika, we will be able to support Mexico in meeting its green energy targets. This project exemplifies the progress and positive impact that can be achieved when private capital works in partnership with government, entrepreneurs and industry.” said Sean Klimczak, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone. “We look forward to being active in the Mexican power generation sector as the country continues to incentivize private investment through its ongoing energy reform.”
"We are delighted to reach this important milestone and are excited to begin construction on Ventika,” said Pedro Barriuso, Fisterra's Chairman and CEO. “We thank our partners, who have shown tremendous dedication to getting this project off the ground and look forward to continuing our work with them.”
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Fisterra Energy and Blackstone in this important project,” said Dr. Luis Farías, CEMEX Vice-President for Energy and Sustainability. “Ventika is an important milestone in our energy strategy as industry pioneers in the use of clean energy and alternative fuels. We look forward to find additional business opportunities in the near future.”
This past year, Blackstone, together with a management team led by Pedro Barriuso, the former Executive Chairman of Element Power and former head of Iberdrola Renewables, formed Fisterra to identify, develop, finance, construct and operate large-scale independent power projects, with a focus in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Ventika will be the first investment made by Fisterra.
About Blackstone Energy Partners:
Blackstone Energy Partners is Blackstone’s energy-focused private equity business, with a successful record built on Blackstone’s industry expertise and partnerships with exceptional management teams. Since its founding in 2012, Blackstone Energy Partners has invested more than $6.6 billion of equity across 18 transactions globally, which range from oil and gas to renewables, natural resources, and power generation.
Several hundred megawatts of PV projects currently under construction in Mexico are driving the country to third place in the world for attractiveness to investors, developers and manufacturers in the solar industry, according to analysis firm IHS.
IHS Technology has issued the first of 2014’s 'IHS Emerging Solar PV Markets Tracker' reports, surveying the global scene as the first quarter of the year comes to an end. The attractiveness of each region is judged against four key categories; macroeconomic climate, potential market size, pipeline maturity and project profitability.
Emerging solar markets are defined by IHS as countries that are yet to install more than 1GW of PV. The report assesses each country’s PV industry from utility scale to off-grid sized systems, detailing parameters that include policy incentives, regulation, electricity and system prices, pipelines held by developers, key suppliers and financing agreements.
Mexico’s estimated 300MW currently under construction has pushed the central American country into third place. IHS predicts that a total of 327MW of PV generation capacity is expected to be installed in Mexico this year. Mexico’s state-owned utility, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE),announced plans this week to form partnerships with private companies to promote renewable energy generation.
South Africa remains at number one for solar attractiveness, having been put at the top position in the IHS Emerging PV Markets Attractiveness Index in the final quarter of 2013. Number two on the list is Turkey.
Rounding out the top five are Israel in fourth place and Switzerland in fifth. Romania, which was third last year among emerging markets, now slips to number nine in the ranking, mainly due to a halving of government subsidies which was enacted in January.
Other notable conclusions reported by IHS are the inclusion of the Phillippines in this year’s top 10, with around 117MW to be added in the Southeast Asian island nation this year compared to a mere 3MW in 2013, and the revelation that while PV project development in Chile has finally begun to pick up pace, the decision by developers to sell at spot market prices instead of through more competitive power purchase agreements (PPAs) could suppress future power prices.
Explaining the situation in Chile, Josefin Berg, senior analyst at IHS, and one of the report’s two authors, said: “IHS is flagging it as risky that a too-high concentration of PV projects under merchant schemes will suppress future power prices. Close to 1GW of PV projects is looking for financing in Chile, and revenues could face risks even if only a third of those are connected to the same nodes and linked to spot prices.”
IHS also pointed out that emerging markets still carry an element of risk in the ability of transmission grids to reliably add increased renewable energy generation capacity as well as the unpredictable nature of regulatory support schemes. As regulatory support has been cut suddenly and drastically in countries in the west, the IHS report argues there is a risk this could also happen in emerging markets in the near future.
The other author of the report, IHS senior director Ash Sharma, wrote a blog for PV Tech at the end of last year entitled 'Why 2014 PV installation forecasts are all likely to be wrong', after 2014 installation predictions Sharma made were at odds with global forecasts made by rival analysis firm Solarbuzz and Deutsche Bank.
Consultancy firm Ernst & Young on Tuesday released the latest edition of its quarterly Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) report. Ernst & Young predicts that new markets will boost investment in clean energy this year, citing Uruguay, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya and Ethiopia among countries to watch for.
Private sector sourcing commitments from companies including Ikea, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot and Unilever are driving major market growth for sustainable commodities, according to the State of Sustainability Initiatives Review 2014.
Enel Green Power has begun construction works on the new Dominica I wind farm in Mexico.
The plant, located in the municipality of Charcas and owned by Dominica Energía Limpia S. de R.L., a subsidiary of Enel Green Power Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. (formerly known as Impulsora Nacional de Electricidad S. de R.L. de C.V.) is the first wind farm located in the state of San Luis Potosí and will be composed of 50 turbines (2 MW each) for a total installed capacity of 100 MW.
Once up and running, the Dominica I plant, which will be completed and enter operation in the second half of 2014, will be able to generate up to 260 GWh per year.
The construction of the wind farm, in line with the growth targets set out in Enel Green Power’s 2013-2017 business plan, requires a total investment of approximately 196 million US dollars, financed through the Enel Green Power Group’s own sources.
The project is supported by two long-term agreements to supply energy, or PPAs, for a total value of around 485 million US dollars.
Enel Green Power currently has an installed capacity of about 197 MW in Mexico, 144 MW of which from wind power and 53 MW from hydroelectric sources.
Enel Green Power is the Enel Group company fully dedicated to the development and management of renewable energy sources at the international level, with operations in Europe and the Americas. The company generated more than 25 billion kWh in 2012 from water, sun, wind and the Earth’s heat – enough to meet the energy needs of approx. 10 million households and avoid the emission of over 18 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Enel Green Power is a world leader in the sector thanks to its well-balanced generation mix, providing generation volumes well over the sector average. The company has an installed capacity of approximately 8,700 MW from a mix of sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. Currently, the company has approximately 740 plants operating in 16 countries in Europe and the Americas.
In Latin America, Enel Green Power currently runs renewable energy plants in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Chile and Brazil, with a total installed capacity of 990 MW as of today. Specifically, in the wind sector the company has 24 MW of installed wind capacity in Costa Rica, 144 MW in Mexico and 90 MW in Chile. Enel Green Power is also constructing 9 wind farms of which 2 in Mexico for more than 200 MW, 2 in Chile for an overall 189 MW and 5 in Brazil for a total of 283 MW. With its century-long experience in the field of geothermal energy, Enel Green Power is also developing new opportunities in this sector. In Chile, in particular, the company is exploring several concessions with a potential capacity exceeding 100 MW.
Additionally, in Latin America, operating through Endesa and its subsidiaries in five countries, the Enel Group is the largest private-sector operator, with approx. 16 GW of installed capacity and serving some 14 million customers.
Nissan plans to expand a green energy program that provides wind power and landfill gas to help run its Aguascalientes, Mexico, assembly plant.
The program, which for a year has used a wind farm in southern Mexico and methane from the Aguascalientes city dump, has cut the plant's utility costs by between 10 and 13 percent, said Marco Antonio Rivera, senior manager for energy and environment at Nissan Mexico.
Nissan's renewable energy program supplies half of the Aguascalientes plant's power. The automaker plans to expand the program to its assembly plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and to a second Aguascalientes plant that is to open this year, Rivera says.
"We've had good success with renewable energy, and it has the potential to do more," he says.
Nissan's program requires it to contract for 75 percent of the output of Mexico's largest wind farm, consisting of 35 large wind turbines in Oaxaca state, some 600 miles away. The effort replaces about 5.3 million gallons of fuel oil.
But the wind dies to stillness in Oaxaca each year from June through September, Rivera says, leaving Nissan potentially without 45 percent of its energy needs for four months.
For those months, Nissan builds up power credits that allow it to be supplied through Mexico's centralized national utility grid.
Nissan also hopes to get 8 to 9 percent of its power from generators that run on methane from the Aguascalientes city landfill. Because of some leakage and inefficiency in the system, Nissan is getting only about 5 percent. But Rivera believes the system can yield more.
He said Nissan also is investigating the potential of local hydroelectric power.
"We are looking at other renewable sources," Rivera says. "There is a challenge to balancing the mix of sources that are necessary to do this. There are many variables that are impossible to control, like the wind.
Enel Green Power (EGP), through its subsidiary Inelec, has concluded an agreement with Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Bancomer for a $100 million loan aimed at partially covering its planned investments in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
The five-year loan will be disbursed by year-end at an interest rate in line with the market benchmark and will be backed by a parent company guarantee released by EGP. Enel says it currently has around 197 MW of installed capacity in Mexico, 144 MW of which is wind power.