This is the second installment in my series of 10 New Developments in Renewable Energy This Week detailing all the important events of the last week or so.
- Barack H. Obama was sworn in as President of the USA with a mandate to transform the renewable energy industry. That program, as Obama has outlined it, includes doubling the country’s renewable energy production and spending at least $150 billion to develop cleaner energy technologies.
- Abu Dhabi hosted its second World Future Energy Summit earlier this week, where roughly 16,000 business leaders, green-tech researchers and politicians engaged in a three-day fiesta of deal-making and bold renewable energy announcements. This event could have been given over to a top ten on it’s own (look for a separate article on this later).
- Two major points to emerge from the summit were GE announcing plans for its Ecomagination Centre, an R&D showcase of wind, solar, water purification, and energy efficiency technologies. It will be built in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s car-free, carbon-neutral metropolis powered completely by renewable energy. The capital of the United Arab Emirates used the summit to show off the $22 billion Masdar project, which is under construction. Masdar City’s renewable-energy research center opened last year with support from M.I.T. and continues to establish itself. It should help the UAE close its R&D and human capital gap with other innovation centers.
- Taiwan based Digitimes reported that the Chinese government plans to give 2 billion yuan ($291 million) to each of the leading solar wafer makers to consolidate small players in the industry. Wafer makers include LDK solar (LDK) and Renesola (SOL); while PV panel makers include Suntech Power (STP), Yinglin Green (YGE), China Sunergy (CSUN), Trina Solar (TSL), Canadia Solar (CSIQ), JA Solar (JASO) etc.
- Over the weekend, Sina.com news reported that a 30% workforce cut is coming to Suntech power. The report also said CEO Shi predicts very low gross margins for Q4. The company is expected to report on Q4 in Feb. 2009.
- Suntech Power Holdings has reached capacity to produce 1 gigawatt of solar panels a year. However, company CEO Shi also said an oversupply of panels in the world market would likely lead to a 25 percent to 30 percent drop in Suntech panel prices in 2009.
- A-power (APWR) energy generation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its largest wind turbine facility in China. The wind turbine facility, strategically located in the city of Shenyang, is the largest in China, with total annual production capacity of over 1,125MW of wind turbines. The company is also expected to announce a new CFO in the coming weeks.
- Solar and wind industries said last Friday that tax credits passed just three months ago to increase investment in renewable energy have lost much of their effectiveness amid a global economic downturn and should be reworked in Congress.
- Evergreen Solar (ESLR) closed its Marlboro facility and will incur up to $30.4 million in related costs.
- Castle & Cooke Inc. of Hawaii has officially finished building Hawaii’s largest single-site solar farm on Lanai. The $19 million, 1.2-megawatt La Ola Solar Farm is expected to supply up to 30 percent of Lanai’s electricity.
image of Masdar Headquarters by Norman Foster Architects