Ken Novak's Weblog
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Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Saturday, June 29, 2002


World Bank/GEF Ecuador Project : Nov 2001: "The Power and Communications Sectors Modernization and Rural Services Project aims at deepening reforms in the telecommunications, and electricity sectors, by strengthening regulatory institutions, and improving environmental management of the sectors' activities, fostering competition, and increasing private participation, promoting efficient use of energy, and providing new information and communication technologies (IT) to support services to micro, and small businesses."  It includes developing pilot projects in rural electrification and telecom (both grid-extension and off-grid), and developing IT access in marginal urban, and rural areas.  7:52:03 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, June 28, 2002


Bangladesh GEF-funded projects: "Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), a fully government-owned company, has signed a participation agreement (PA) with Srizony Bangladesh on implementation of the first phase of "Solar Energy Expansion Programme" under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) PDF B Grant... On April 24, 2002 and April 27, 2002, similar agreements were signed with Grameen Shakti, COAST Trust and TMSS."  A call for projects was issued April 9 for the US$ 191 million GEF/International Development Association (IDA) Rural Electrification And Renewable Energy Development Project.  Also, Bangladesh Renewable Energy Association (BREA) is pursuing policy development.  1:34:47 PM  permalink  

Eskom (South Africa) pursues electrification: Eskom targets 300,000 homes for electrication this year, in addition to 336,000 last year.  Also, they "launched a pilot project last year to find ways of reducing the cost of nongrid electrification while increasing the effect of these schemes. The project, called "a hybrid minigrid system" took place at the Hluleka Nature Reserve in Eastern Cape. It sought to integrate a number of different systems, notably energy, water purification and telecommunications. The project will make use of renewable solar energy, water heaters and liquid petroleum gas. The minister said the combination of energy carriers would result in increased energy efficiency. "This is what we expect from our nongrid operators in the whole country over time." "  1:32:37 PM  permalink  

Solar Fund makes first investment in Rural Areas of Kenya: "On March 28, 2002 Solar Development Capital disbursed its first investment, in Solagen Ltd., a photovoltaic distributor in Kenya. The company, a distributor for Solar BP, has imported, sold and installed solar (PV & thermal) equipment in Kenya since 1994, and will now use debt and equity from SDC to expand into rural markets. .. Solar Development Capital is a commercial private equity fund that invests in private companies serving the off-grid power sector in developing countries.  Solar Development Foundation funds technical and management assistance for companies that distribute PV and other renewable energy to off-grid communities in developing countries. To date, it has provided US$ 1.2 million in funding to 25 entrepreneurs. "  1:25:40 PM  permalink  

Solar Module factory opens in Namibia: "A $6.4m Namibia solar module factory, Nopasika Electronic (Pty) Ltd, was opened Thursday, 28 March 2002."  1:16:06 PM  permalink  

Energy Projects: Reports from a group of Sustainable Energy and Climate Change projects.  Most are from Europe, with 6 from Africa.  Among them is an interesting recent study of distribution networks for energy equipment in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia, which highlights the options for building on Kenya's hire-purchase stores, on gasoline/kerosine stations, and on the informal distribution of electric goods from urban workers to their extended families in rural areas.  1:07:41 PM  permalink  

AREED : United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has an African Rural Energy Enterprise Development (AREED) initiative, sponsored by the UN Foundation. AREED seeks to develop new sustainable energy enterprises, providing startup funding, training, hands-on business development assistance and other support.  Currently they have 12 projects in Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Zambia, with 42 in the pipeline.  Eighteen projects are receiving enterprise development services from E&Co and the NGO partners ENDA in Senegal, KITE in Ghana, Malifolkcenter in Mali and CEEEZ in Zambia.  

  12:26:46 PM  permalink  

RESuM : "Rural Energy Supply Models: A compilation of definitions, characteristics, model-specific advantages, problems and success factors for different Rural Energy Supply models, illustrated with real-world examples."  A European study of rural energy projects in many countries, including a directory of experts.  12:15:57 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, June 27, 2002


MDI - The air car:  A car designed around compressed air, with "an engine capable of propelling a car up to 110 Km/h, that can cover a distance of 300 km with one tank refill."  Range is halved when run at top speed compared to city speeds.  Refill of the tank takes 3 minutes from a station, 4 hours from a home power outlet. The company sells the factories to make the cars.  The North American licensee plans a trial with Mexico city taxis.  Several models are offered.  62 plants have been sold so far, 10 in Italy, 6000 vehicles per year.  5:12:36 PM  permalink  

New ways to use solar thermal energy?:  A Greek firm is developing a new energy capture:  "The electrochemical thermal convertor is a revolutionary technology for the direct conversion of low  temperature heat  into  electricity based on a continuous regeneration of an electrolyte using the thermal energy of the heat source with an efficiency in the conversion of thermal to electrical energy of  75% - 85% depending on the temperature of the heat source.  (temperature ranges: 40 - 100EC)."  Claimed costs are estimated at under $200/KW (East European installation).  In the US, "Renewable Energy Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of SunPower, .. uses high intensity solar energy to produce pure hydrogen, methanol or ethanol from feed stocks such as bio-mass, CO2, low quality natural gas or coal."

  4:53:10 PM  permalink  

Marine current power: Good review of options for tapping tidal and other ocean currents -- many similarities to wind power.  "Because of the higher energy intensity in the tidal stream compared with wind, the diameter of the rotors used in a tidal turbine is much less than for a wind turbine - around 18 m versus 55 m for a nominal 1 MW rotor."  Marine Current Turbines Ltd, based in the UK, has initiated a programme of tidal turbine development with government support, including a 300 kW trial in September, 700 kW in 2003, up in stages to 300 MW in 2010.  A different £1.8m 'Stingray' prototype, powered by tidal water, has been built and will be moved this summer onto the seabed near Shetland.  4:07:11 PM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, June 26, 2002


Expanding Access To Electricity In Rural Bangladesh: "The World Bank today announced the approval of a US$191 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and a US$8 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant for the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project, that expands access to environmentally-sound energy in remote communities in Bangladesh...  [It will] extend the electricity system to nearly 700,000 remote households and small businesses"  Contact: Ricardo Castro (1-202) 458-5157 E-mail: rcastro3@worldbank.org.  9:31:46 AM  permalink  

Prototype Carbon Fund Increase In Capital: "The increase of $35 m was announced at the PCF annual meeting in Zakopane, Poland. This brings the total fund capital to $180 m, almost twice the amount originally projected, extending the PCF's carbon emissions reduction reach in the developing world. 'There was so much enthusiasm, that more capital was offered than could be absorbed, forcing the Fund to resort to an allocation system among the contributors. These companies see the PCF as a powerful tool for carbon emissions reductions as the world copes with the threat of imminent and destructive climate change,' said Ken Newcombe, the Prototype Carbon Fund Manager. "  9:29:04 AM  permalink  

Sri Lanka Renewable Energy For Rural Economic Development Project: "Date: June 20, 2002 CREDIT AMOUNT: IDA: US$75 million GRANT AMOUNT: GEF: US$8 million. This project's objectives are to: (i) Improve the rural quality of life by providing electricity access to remote communities through off-grid renewable energy technologies; and (ii) Promote private sector power generation for the main grid from renewable energy resources. For more information, please call Ricardo Castro at (202) 458.5157, or e-mail Rcastro3@worldbank.org "  9:26:26 AM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, June 25, 2002


NRECA International Programs: The National Rural Electric Coop Association "is introducing the use of zero emission renewable energy in several projects, including the use of solar photovoltaic household systems for village electrification, wind generation to offset thermal power plant generation, and the introduction of micro-hydropower. Some project examples are Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Bangladesh."  Other country projects are also profiled on their site.  1:22:27 PM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, June 19, 2002


World Bank Approves Extra Measures at Bujagali: WB is backing both sustainable and unsustainable energy in Uganda:  "The World Bank announced its approval of financial assistance totalling up to US $225 million to support the building of a large-scale dam near Bujagali Falls on the River Nile in December 2001, although the project has been criticised by environmental groups, which say the dam could cause irreversible social and environmental damage to the area The project consists of a 200-MW hydropower station.."  12:23:31 AM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, June 17, 2002


Sales of Solar Cells Take Off: Solar cell production has averaged 35% annual growth for the last five years with 2002 on the same track.  2001 saw 375 MW built, for a total of 1800 MW installed. "More than a million homes worldwide, mainly in villages in developing countries, now get their electricity from solar cells.. Solar cells currently cost around $3.50 per watt for crystalline cells, and $2 per watt for thin-film wafers, which are less efficient but can be integrated into building materials. Industry analysts note that between 1976 and 2000, each doubling of cumulative production resulted in a price drop of 20 percent. "  35% annual growth translates to cumulative doubling every 2.5 years, or halving costs every 8 years.  4:26:56 PM  permalink  
enclosure

Power trading fiascos:  "Perot Systems Corp [allegedly] coached energy companies on how to manipulate the systems it helped build to run the state’s energy market" for California's ISO.   Also, the country is facing electricity oversupply:  "Now, according to a report by Standard & Poor’s, the industry is facing a supply glut in generation capacity that demand in some regions may not catch up to supply until sometime in 2009. "  12:38:38 AM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, June 12, 2002


Solar Energy 2002: "The solar photovoltaics industry grew at an annual rate of over 20 percent worldwide in the past decade and 40 percent in the past two years, reaching an annual photovoltaic module production of 100 megawatts (MW) in the United States and about 400 MW globally. Worldwide in 2001, photovoltaics was a $2 billion business"  2:34:38 PM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, June 11, 2002


Chinese to Build Solar Plant: "Shenzhen Topway Solar Company Limited, plans a $500,000 (897.5m) solar assembling plant in Uganda. Shenzhen, is the leading manufacturer and exporter of full range solar products in China,", 10 old, supplying solar products to 15 African countries.  5:49:39 PM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, June 10, 2002


WorldWater Corp. Ships First AquaCard - Smart Card - Systems to Philippines to Begin Rural Water Utility Service: "WorldWater established the "smart card" as a financing solution for community water production as well as a method to remove problems associated with the payment collection process .. "After fully establishing this Water Utility Program, we will alter the microchip on the AquaCard(TM) to make it a PowerCard(TM) and supply the same service for rural electricity to be generated by our solar systems.."  10:30:09 AM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, June 09, 2002


SEEN: "World Bank Fossil Fuel Projects (current through Sept. 30, 2001):
  • Fossil fuel financing, World Bank Group, since 1992: $20.8 billion
  • Estimated lifetime carbon dioxide emissions from these projects: 40.6 billion tons
  • Worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from consumption/flaring of fossil fuels, 1999: 22.3 billion tons
  • Renewable energy/energy efficiency financing, World Bank Group, since 1992: $900 million
  • Number of World Bank Group renewable energy/energy efficiency projects, since 1992: 30
  • Number of World Bank Group fossil fuel projects, since 1992: 212 "
  1:01:22 AM  permalink  

SEEN: "The Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies (Washington, DC) and the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam), works in partnership with citizens groups nationally and globally on environment, human rights and development issues with a particular focus on energy, climate change, environmental justice, gender equity, and economic issues, particularly as these play out in North/South relations."  Site contains research papers and a database of selected intl projects, both renewable and fossil fuel.  12:45:38 AM  permalink  

Accelerating Grid-Based Renewable Energy Power Generation for a Clean Environment:  Papers and participants in a conference in March 2000 describing many developing country programs and GEF and World Bank roles.  12:17:54 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, June 07, 2002


Windpower for Islands (WIND): In the mid-90s in Indonesia, "Winrock installed 10 medium sized (1.5kW & 10kW) wind systems to demonstrate renewable energy technology. These systems pump water for irrigation and household use, operate refrigeration for ice production (fisheries) and agricultural processing centers, and power mills. As a result, the amount of labor required to carry water was reduced by 90 percent, farm incomes rose by 50 percent because additional land could be cultivated, and small enterprises were established. Furthermore Winrock identified 35 communities with wind power potential and organized 10 out of 16 pilot site communities to assume ownership of the wind systems"  11:08:47 PM  permalink  

Review of China's plans to clean up its energy sector: Efficiency, shifting fuel supply towards gas, and expanding renwables are part of the next 5 year plan.  "Wind power offers considerable potential in China where installed wind power capacity stood at 375.2MW at the end of 2000 compared with the countryâ019s estimated 160GW potential. China plans to install 1,192MW of wind power in the tenth FYP, a target some observers consider too ambitious due to the small size of wind power units and the large number that need to be installed to achieve the target. .. Solar energy also offers large potential in China. Currently most opportunities to develop solar power involve supplying remote communities that lie far from any electricity grid and lack other sources of power generation. Shell, for example, recently signed an agreement with Sun Oasis Co. of Beijing to supply solar home system for up to 78,000 households over the next five years in Xinjiang Province in western China. Funded by a $15 million Dutch Government grant"  10:26:45 PM  permalink  

GM mosquito new weapon in fight against malaria: "Malaria is caused by a tiny parasite that is transmitted by the bite of the female mosquito. It causes fever, muscle stiffness, sweating and shaking. The synthetic gene blocks the parasite from passing from the gut to the saliva of the mosquito, which prevents the insect from infecting humans. "  2:58:19 PM  permalink  

Half Gas, Half Electric, Total California Cool (washingtonpost.com): "Hollywood Gets a Charge Out of Hybrid Cars:  Larry David first got a hybrid because his wife, Laurie, has strong views about big, gas-guzzling SUVs, which are hugely popular in Los Angeles and hugely annoying to her.  "Those cars should just have 'pig' spray-painted on them," says Laurie David, apparently not one for understatement. The Prius, she says, is the antidote. "I got involved because of global warming, but hello! It's national security now. Shouldn't we be reducing our dependence on foreign oil?""  2:21:24 PM  permalink  

Monkey see, monkey do in brain experiment: "Monkeys implanted with special electrodes moved a cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about it, and learned how to do it better with practice, scientists reported on Thursday. The experiment could eventually lead to the development of better prosthetic limbs for amputees and might even offer a way for paralyzed patients to move again. "  12:32:05 PM  permalink  

E Ink demos screens can never be too thin:  "Prototypes of the new displays are 0.3 millimeters thick, or about half the thickness of a credit card. Traditional active-matrix displays are about 2mm thick.. Electronic ink technology tends to consume less power than LCDs, the company said. Unlike LCDs, they don't require a continuous supply of power to render images: Once the microcapsules are electrically charged, they can hold the image without more power. .. E Ink plans to license its technology to manufacturers and expects consumers to have the displays in hand by 2005. "   12:04:55 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, June 06, 2002


Uganda Power Sector Gets More Attractive: "The African Development Bank (ADB) has committed a grant of US$2m (about sh3.6b) on a study to evaluate the country's potential in renewable and sustainable sources of energy for rural areas. This comes hardly a month after parliament approved a US$375m credit from the World Bank for lending out on concessional terms to investors in rural electrification."  The Uganda Photovoltaic Pilot Project for Rural Electrification is a frequently cited existing program.  3:01:41 PM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, June 03, 2002


Programmers working on improved Radio news aggregators:  Marc Paschal outlines ideas that might make it into his Kit, and mentions others: 

  2:53:07 PM  permalink  

Wild About Wi-Fi: breezy, pleasant intro to 802.11 networks.  12:28:30 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, June 02, 2002


Personal RSS Aggregators: Good review of aggregators, weblogs, and their effects:  Radio's  "built-in RSS aggregator has changed how I process information in a dramatic way. At first, my list of channels was biased towards the RSS channels published by newspapers, magazines, and web sites. Increasingly, though, I now rely on other people who are active in these areas, and who are publishing weblogs to which I can subscribe by way of RSS. There is a deep principle at work here. The relevance engine that powers the emerging RSS network is, very much like Google's relevance engine, decentralized and ultimately social in nature. The links that Google counts are, as Cory Doctorow has said in a beautiful essay, "made by human beings, doing what they do best, link by link, drip by drip." Similarly, the raw output of the online news collective is filtered for me by people doing what they do best: spotting patterns, alerting the tribe"

  10:39:35 PM  permalink  

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