Archive for the ‘Energy efficiency’ category

Spain and the US to cooperate in renewable energy and energy efficiency issues

March 23, 2009

During a visit to the US last week, the Spanish Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Miguel Sebastián, held a meeting in Washington with the Energy Secretary, Steven Chu. During the meeting, both discussed various aspects related to energy dependence, security of supply, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

One of the topics discussed was the mutual interest in developing the Energy Services Companies, or ESCOs, industry. The U.S. government is actively promoting this industry and wants it to play an even more important role in energy efficiency. In addition, Miguel Sebastián detailed the plans in place for the adoption of electric vehicles in Spain, a mode of transportation also backed by President Obama, who has set a  goal of having a million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.  Spain maintained its commitment to put in circulation a million electric cars by 2014.

Sebastian stressed the Spanish position in the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) a fuel which requires no pipelines connecting producer and consumer. Spain currently receives two thirds of its natural gas supplies through LNG tankers, as a way to diversify its sources of supply.

Mnister Sebastian and Secretary Chu

For his part, U.S. Secretary of Energy showed interest in the methods of CO2 sequestration and storage that are being used in Spain. In this sense, the Spanish minister elaborated about the projects implemented in the country, such as the pilot plant to be built in Compostilla (Leon).

At the same time, Sebastian conveyed to the U.S. secretary the willingness of Spain to cooperate and reach agreements with the U.S. on renewable energy issues and to help the stability of energy supply, a cooperation that would benefit both countries. Spain already has standing agreements of this sort with Russia, Morocco and Algeria. Finally, the Spanish Minister proposed the creation of a permanent working group to explore and identify areas of energy cooperation that will be launched in the coming months.

This group will exchange experiences in three key energy areas: solar, electric vehicles and biofuels. The Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate Stephen Chu, received this proposal favorably. Finally, the Spanish Minister cordially invited his U.S. counterpart to visit Spain to see for himself some of the landmark projects developed in Spain, such as the  plants in operation using pioneering solar thermal energy storage methods.

Spain and Portugal to set up a joint Renewable Energy Research Center

February 8, 2009

Spain and Portugal will set up a joint renewable energy research center, the leaders of both nations said last Thursday in a bilateral summit. The Iberian Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CIERE, by its initials in Spanish) in the southern Spanish city of Badajoz – near the Portuguese border- will help the two nations improve their expertise in this area, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said. 

The center will be headed by Portugal’s Antonio Sa da Costa, the current vice president of the European Renewable Energy Federation. The governments of both nations have made it a priority to boost spending on training and technology to make their economies more competitive. Portugal, which is almost entirely dependent on imported energy, aims to collect 45 percent of its total power consumption from renewable sources like solar and wind power by 2010. Spain aims to triple the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources by 2020. It is already the second largest producer of wind power in the European Union.

The CIERE will work in close cooperation with the private sector on industrial and technological issues related  to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Biomass and overcoming the challenges to develop electric cars will be among its priorities.

forms - Originally uploaded by ibrotons (aka irlandainquieta)

The two governments also cited their satisfaction with the current growth of electrical interconnection projects between the two countries. Said projects will put  the interconnection power capacity at 400 MW by 2010, and add 1,300 MW more by 2013 or 2014, considering further projects down the pipeline, to reach a total of  3,000 MW.  Spain and Portugal thus become a reference in Trans-European Energy Networks, a cherished EU objective.

This step is a necessary pre-requisite for the implementation of a single Iberian electriciy market (MIBEL) agreed upon in 2004 and that will be definitively set up next June. 

Socrates also re-affirmed that both nations aim to have a high-speed rail link between Lisbon and Madrid, and another between the Portuguese capital and Vigo in northern Spain, completed by 2013.

The Spanish government plans to have 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of high-speed railway track in place by 2020, meaning 90 percent of Spain’s population will live less than 50 kilometers from a bullet train station.

EnergyLab, an international technological center for energy efficiency and sustainability

February 29, 2008

energylab.jpgA Spanish utility Union Fenosa-led consortium has launched EnergyLab, an international technological center for energy efficiency and sustainability.

The center seeks to become a standard-setter in Spain and internationally, to guide, co-ordinate and lead the way for projects which have a significant impact on society, the economy and the environment.EnergyLab’s primary goal is to encourage the use of more environmentally-friendly technologies at competitive prices and with an equal or greater level of quality and comfort for the consumer.

Founding partners include Inditex, Indra, Finsa, Philips, GOC and Union Fenosa, the Galician Foundation for an Information Society, the regional government’s Ministry for Innovation and Industry, and three universities from Galicia, a region in Northwestern Spain.

Alberto Gago, rector of the Vigo University, where EnergyLab will be located, has been nominated as the chairman.

Spain’s annual energy efficiency indices reveal significant potential for saving energy and cutting costs in homes and SMEs, simply by changing basic consumption habits and equipment.

EnergyLab represents a nexus between energy needs and demands on the one hand, and the existence of technologically-competitive companies in the field of energy systems and installations plus universities with the human and material resources required for research.

Aiming for the perfect bioclimatic building

January 15, 2008

A new building inaugurated last December at the Almeria Solar Platform is set to achieve energy savings in a range of 80 t0 90%, compared to a conventional building. What´s more, the energy that it does consume comes from renewable sources.

It is part of a research project that will run up until 2010: a myriad of sensors will check if actual conditions match the theorical predictions posited in its design and construction.

CIEMAT, the Spanish Research Center for Energy and Environmental Technologies, is behind this initiative called PSE-ARFRISOL (initials for Bioclimatic Architecture and Solar Cooling, in Spanish), with an initial budget of almost 59 million dollars. It is joined by the universities of Oviedo and Almeria and different construction (Acciona, Dragados, FCC and OHL) and solar energy companies (Atersa, Gamesa Solar, Isofoton and Unisolar).

Its main objective is to develop a total of five architectural prototypes, one for each climate area found in Spain (Cold, Warm, Hot dry and Hot wet).

arfrisol.jpg

(Photo courtesy of Ciemat)

The building just inaugurated corresponds to an area, Almeria, that fits the hot and dry conditions. The Almeria Solar Platform, where it is located, is a center from the CIEMAT network that pioneers different cutting-edge solar technologies and installations.

The building comprises active strategies like thermal solar collectors, pv panels, forced ventilation and absorption pumps, as well as passive strategies, such as solar chimneys, natural (simple and crossed) ventilation, buried pipes for cooling, etc.

Even though technology helps, so does common sense to take advantage of the climate conditions of the place regarding the orientation of the building, natural lighting and isolation treatments, to give some examples.

Iberdrola Buys its First Gas Powered Combined Cycle Plant in U.S.

August 5, 2007

Iberdrola through PPM, the North American subsidiary of Scottish Power, has reached an initial agreement to buy a combined cycle power plant in Oregon. If the deal goes through, this will be the Spanish company’s first plant to use combined cycle technology to produce electricity by burning natural gas.

Iberdrola already owns wind parks and gas storage facilities (through PPM), and with the upcoming takeover of Energy East, it will acquire coal plants and gas and power distribution networks that reach 3 million customers.

According to industry insiders, the deal to buy the combined-cycle natural gas power plant in Klamath County, Oregon is worth some €120 million (around $160 million). A spokesperson from Iberdrola said the company has reached an initial agreement to purchase the plant from Klamath County for an undisclosed amount.

The 506 MW plant was built in Klamath in 2001 and supplies power to Oregon and California, among other states.