TransAlta Corporation (TSE: TA.TO) (NYSE: TAC), Canada’s largest wind power company, confirmed Monday it will build a CDN$205-million 66-megawatt (MW) wind power project on the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec at New Richmond. Output is contracted under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec and is expected to begin in Q4 2012.
The potential for vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) to be “the next big thing” that will enable economical storage of wind and solar energy needs several more years to be proven -- or not. However, that has not deterred a flock of mostly Canadian junior mining companies -- backed by enthusiastic investors -- from exploring for vanadium-bearing ores in Canada, the U.S. and around the world which can be processed into electrolyte for VRFBs.
Although vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) have the potential to be “the next big thing” that would enable economical storage of wind and solar energy, there are no existing or planned utility-scale installations after more than 25 years of development. One small venture capital-funded private company, Prudent Energy Corporation, is leading development.
Proponents of the metal vanadium believe it will improve the economics of wind and solar power enough to make them cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Batteries using vanadium have the right combination of scaleability, power and discharge/recharge characteristics to store wind and solar power until it can used during peak demands when prices are highest.
Australia has the fastest growing liquified natural gas (LNG) industry in the world and is on track to eclipse Qatar as the world’s largest producer by the end of the decade. It is, therefore, ideally positioned to fill much of the energy void in Japan if that country reduces its use of nuclear energy in the aftermath of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rebounded to close up 5.7% Wednesday, as hedge funds rushed to cover short positions after the worst two-day fall since the great crash of 1987. Western markets were down today as they learned that a second reactor unit at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may have ruptured and vented radioactive steam.
The Japanese nuclear nightmare prompted more selling on the world’s stock markets today, after the Nikkei 225 index on the Tokyo exchange closed down 10.56% today (Tuesday). In Germany, the government announced today it will shut down seven of the country's oldest nuclear reactors for three months as part of a safety review.
Power technology company American Superconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: AMSC) said today it will acquire The Switch Engineering OY, based in Finland, for €190 million in cash and AMSC shares ($265.43 million at today’s 1.00 EUR = 1.40 USD).
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