Mixed Greens: 8MW wind turbines chosen for offshore project

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Vestas next-gen offshore wind turbines tapped for Dong Energy Burbo Bank extension; Iceland and Japan join forces on geothermal; more Alcoa fallout.

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Dong Energy has chosen Vestas’ “next generation” 8MW offshore wind turbines as the preferred technology for its planned extension of the Burbo Bank Project in Liverpool Bay at the entrance to the River Mersey. Dong wants to all-but quadruple the size of the existing 90MW offshore wind farm to a total of 348MW of capacity – a move that remains dependent on government support through the new Contract for Difference regime launched late last year. If approved, Dong hopes to begin construction in mid-late 2016.

As BusinessGreen notes, Dong’s decision to use the Vestas next-gen turbines underlines how far offshore wind technology has developed since the completion of the original Burbo Bank project in 2007. “While the first project used 25 turbines to create 90MW of capacity, the extension project is expected to use 32 machines to create the additional 258MW of capacity.” It is also an unsurprising choice, as the two Danish companies have worked together on testing a prototype of the new giant machine to speed up commercialisation.

Spreading the word on geothermal

Iceland’s environment minister has revealed plans to collaborate with Japan to promote the use of renewable geothermal power, particularly in developing countries. “We can cooperate both in Japan and Iceland,” Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson said in an interview in Tokyo. “It is the know-how we have for how to utilize geothermal in many ways” such as power generation, heating, and fish farming, he said of the two countries, which are ranked seventh and eighth in the world in terms of installed geothermal capacity.

In Iceland, geothermal capacity grew to 951MW in 2013 from 65MW in 2000. And while Japan’s capacity has plateaued at 537MW, more than 90 per cent of the turbines used in Iceland are Japanese built. In 2010, Mitsubishi Heavy signed a MOU with Reykjavik Energy, an Icelandic geothermal power utility, to cooperate on the global development of geothermal energy, according to Mitsubishi Heavy’s website.

More Alcoa fallout

The decision of US aluminium giant Alcoa to withdraw from Australia will prove a “disaster” for recycling and resource recovery, according to the CEO of Australia’s peak body for the industry, Grant Musgrove. Musgrove says that the closure of the company’s Port Henry smelter and two rolling mills will mean aluminium cans sent for recycling by Australian households will now either be baled and transported to China or go into landfill. With Alcoa gone, he said, the remaining recycling capacity would be unable to keep up with demand.

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