As the Block Island Wind Farm ramps up to commercial operations, it’s not as simple as pressing a button or flipping a switch.
Instead, after Deepwater Wind managers determine the time is right, an engineer in the company’s Providence offices will give the go-ahead to a counterpart with turbine manufacturer General Electric who, from a remote location, will execute software to fully activate the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
Or actually not quite full activation. Because of an equipment mishap, one of the five six-megawatt turbines is down for repairs and isn’t set to go online again until the end of this month at the earliest.
Whether the four remaining turbines that were installed this fall in the waters off Block Island spin at full power is, of course, dependent on the wind and how strong it’s blowing.
But, with Deepwater on Monday receiving the all-clear from the operator of the regional power grid, it now has permission to remove any constraints on the generating potential of the 30-megawatt wind farm and begin selling all the electricity pumped out by the towering wind turbines.
Apple’s latest deal in China doesn’t have anything to do with smartphones.
The tech giant is investing in the Chinese wind power industry, turning to the world’s most populous country to help it achieve its goal of getting 100% of its energy from renewable sources.
The iPhone maker struck a deal this week to buy a 30% stake in three subsidiaries of Goldwind, China’s biggest wind-turbine manufacturer.
The companies aren’t saying how much money is involved. But it’s Apple’s largest clean energy project to date and the first of its kind in the wind power sector, Lisa Jackson, vice president of Apple’s environment initiatives, told state-run newspaper China Daily.
Every January, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Chief Editor Angus McCrone and I don our Nostradamus hats and try to predict what the coming year will bring. Then, each December, to keep ourselves honest, we revisit our predictions and mark our homework. Frankly, if all pundits did the same, they might be respected more. Anyway, welcome to our December VIP briefing – it’s time to see how we fared.
Overall, at the start of the year, we predicted that 2016 would be “sunny, with a hint of Götterdämmerung”. We described the clean energy sector as being “in the best health of any time in its history”. It was, we said, “a third-of-a-trillion-dollar industry, with a strong cadre of competitive suppliers, enjoying a generally supportive policy environment – now underpinned by the commitments made in Paris.”
So why the Götterdämmerung? “There is certainly more than a whiff of sulfur in the air,” we said, pointing to China’s economic slowdown and South China Sea adventurism; the end of quantitative easing; turmoil in the financial and currency markets; almost daily terrorist outrages around the world; tragic levels of refugees; the rise of the far right in Europe and Donald Trump in the U.S.; Saudi Arabia and Iran squaring off in the Gulf; the eminent bankruptcy of Venezuela and other oil producing nations; North Korea’s saber-rattling; the continuing failure of the EU to address its systemic problems, and the attendant risk of a British exit. “If you want to be scared about what 2016 might bring,” we concluded, “there is ample cause.”
While the world is still heavily reliant on fossil fuel sources such as coal, oil and natural gas, a tremendous amount of money and research has poured into alternative energy in recent decades. Investors and casual observers are well aware of wind energy and solar energy as two renewable, clean energy sources that could help shoulder the global energy burden in an environmentally responsible way.
However, while solar and wind energy seem to get the majority of the media headlines, an entire segment of the alternative energy sector is looking away from the sun and skies and focusing its attention on the power of the world’s oceans.
Any sailor that has ever endured a storm at sea can certainly recognize the awe-inspiring power that ocean waves produce. In fact, the idea of harnessing the ocean’s energy was originally inspired by the rise and fall of massive ships. The first ocean power-related patent was filed way back in 1799