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5.23.08

GCBL staff  |  05/29/08 @ 11:46am

  • What lessons can the U.S.?and Cleveland?take from the offshore wind power sector in Europe? This article in North American Clean Energy notes that, despite growth and 1 gigawatts of installed capacity, the European offshore wind market is "seen largely as the domain of strong balance sheet utilities who could handle the significant construction and operational issues." Issues for off-shore wind include high capital costs, high construction risk and grid interconnection. Why, then, chase after offshore wind? Because capacity can be greater than on shore most notably because you have fewer obstructions. As wind turbine producer Vestas found: Better wind data and siting selection can make an offshore wind farm financially successful, even though it has a greater capital cost burden.
  • An article in the same issue of NACE explores the possible development of algae farms in the Midwest to supply biofuels. The strength of our agriculture-based economy and a recent breathrough called a closed-loop bioreactor system makes it possible to grow algae year round, even in cold Midwestern winters. "When commercial-scale algae production becomes viable, its success in the Midwest will likely depend on agricultural entrepreneurs working with capital investors to finance algae production systems that maximize the benefits of existing infrastructure. In the future, the idea of 'Midwestern biofuel' may evoke images of percolating algae in addition to images of swaying corn and soy." 
  • "Advanced energy advocates would have preferred no price cap provision (on Ohio's Renewable Portfolio Standard), or one that was worded more definitively," Richard Stuebi, Cleveland Foundation's energy projects manager, writes in Crain's Cleveland Business this week. "Still, if the 3% price test is applied fairly, the advanced energy industry can succeed in Ohio regardless." Advanced energy interests will need a strong presence in the months ahead, Stuebi adds, as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio creates the rules and procedures that will enable the advanced energy industry in Ohio actually to come into being.

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