ASX-listed fuel cell technology developer Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited has revealed that it is in discussions with a number of investors regarding financing options for an investment which the company says it expects to finalise before the end of the month. While still based in Australia, Ceramic effectively moved the bulk of its business offshore last year, in the hunt for a more receptive market for its industry-leading BlueGEN technology, which converts natural gas into electricity and heat for homes and businesses.
The move, which saw the company shave down its workforce, end local production and cut commercial ties to instead focus all its efforts on Europe, has so far paid off – most notably in the UK and German markets, where the fuel cell-maker is taking advantage of various subsidy policies in place to encourage the uptake of micro combined heat and power units like the BlueGEN.
In an announcement to the AXK today, Ceramic Fuel Cells said it would reveal the outcome of the discussions and investment it has flagged, and give a further update on its finances, when talks are concluded. The news saw the company’s share price fall only slightly to 5.9c, down from 6c at open today.
Japan island plans 400MW solar plant
A remote island off Sasebo city in southern Japan has won permission to construct one of Japan’s biggest solar power plants, a 400MW solar PV facility, Bloomberg reports, quoting a local newspaper. It said Photovolt Development Partners and other partners will set up a venture in May to proceed with the project, which will have a total cost of around 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion). Electricity will be supplied to Kyushu Electric Power Co on the mainland via undersea transmission lines, the paper said.
Japan is regarded as the world’s fastest growing solar market, and is tipped by some analysts to reach up to 9GW of installed capacity in 2013. The country last week gave final approval to a recommendation to cut the tariff for solar power by 10 percent for the year started April 1 to 37.8 yen (40 cents) per kilowatt hour for 20 years.
In other news…
Zimbabwe Power Company has revealed plans to construct a 100MW solar plant in Zvishavane. A tender is soon to be issued for construction of the project. The country’s national grid has a maximum capacity of 1GW, even though peak power demand can reach 2.2GW.
And in Puerto Rico, Borrego Solar Systems plans a 20MW solar plant, the second of that size to be built in the US territory, which relies mostly on imported oil for its electricity generation. Peurto Rico offers a feed in tariff of 15ckWh over 20 years, and has signed power purchase agreements for almost 500MW of capacity.
In Israel, German-based M+W Group has won a contract for a 55MW solar PV plant. The solar facility, which is owned by Enlight Renewable Energy, will be located near Moshav Ohad and built in cooperation with M+W’s subsidaries M+W Israel and M+W Solar. And in Thailand, the Asian Development Bank has approved $82 million in loans for three solar PV projects totaling 57MW to be built by Solarco.
Australia’s federal government has released a discussion paper setting out proposals to introduce mandatory new measures for reporting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-seam gas mining. The paper proposes improving existing methods for directly measuring emissions from core CSG extraction and production activities, by drawing on the latest approaches adopted in the US. Under the proposals, it would be mandatory for CSG facilities using “fracking” technology to use direct measurement rather than alternative methods for estimating vented fugitive emissions from well completions and workovers.