Where will the industry stumble and where will it thrive? We asked executives at major renewable energy companies to talk to us about their worries, fears and concerns as we head into 2016.
by Debra Fiakas CFA
Atlantis Resources Ltd.
LN) is among the most recent additions to the Ocean Group in Crystal
Equity Research’s Earth, Wind and Fire Index of companies using the
dynamic forces of the planet to generate energy. Atlantis is a
developer of tidal power generation technologies. Atlantis has
been working diligently for over a decade to developer underwater
turbine technologies. A project in San Remo, Australia using
the company’s Aquanator tidal current turbine was among the first in
the world to deliver ‘ocean’ power to an established electric power
grid. The Aquanator has since been replaced by a larger
Tidal and waver power is an attractive alternative to wind power
generation. Water is over 800 times denser than wind.
Consequently, underwater turbines can be substantially smaller than
wind turbines yet generate comparable or greater power. The
moon cycle is also highly predictable, a characteristic that grid
operators appreciate from a power source. Even with some
deviations due to weather conditions, consistent power generation
from waves and tides can be counted upon day-by-day and year round.
Atlantis is ready to move ahead with its tidal turbine product line.
The company is providing the tidal turbines for a demonstration
project near Daishan, Zhehiang, China. Atlantis is also
involved in pilot projects in India and Canada.
MeyGen, the world’s largest tidal stream energy project has been
under development off the coast of Scotand. It is a
distinctive location where tidal action reaches up to five meters
per second. Atlantis is will supply the underwater turbines
for the 400-megawatt project, which has received regulatory
consent. Total estimated project cost is near £51 million
The United Kingdom has been particularly supportive of tidal power
development because of the particularly dynamic ocean around the
island nation. The UK
Department of Energy & Climate Change calculated that wave
and tidal energy could supply as much as 20% of UK electricity needs
if efficient tidal turbines were in place. The UK government
has provided £10 million (US$14.5 million) in the form of a grant to
support the MeyGen project.
In 2014, Atlantis completed an initial public offering of its common
stock and listed on the London Exchange. Since then the group
has successfully raised project financing. At the end of June
2015, Atlantis reported £85.1 million in equity (US$123.4 million)
and £35.2 million in long-term debt (US$50.7 million).
While Atlantis is still a developmental stage company in many
respects, it has picked up some revenue. In the year 2014,
Atlantis reported £5.3 million in total sales (US$7.7
million). Losses have been significant with a net loss of
£16.2 million (US$23.5 million). Things have not changed much
in recent months. In the first six months of 2015, Atlantis
recorded another £$951,000 in total sales (US$1.4 million).
Cash usage was significant and is increasing as the company moves
forward with the MeyGen project. Atlantis burned up £4.3
million of its cash resources (US$6.2 million) in the year 2014 to
support operations and another £7.2 million in the first six months
of 2015 (US$10.4 million). The group had £29.2 million in the
bank at the end of June 2015, providing support for operations for
about another year at Atlantis’ recent spending rate.
Atlantis shares trade on the London Exchange under the symbol ARL,
making them accessible to most investors. The stock is
currently trading near its 52-week high even after the rout of U.S.
and European equity markets. Investors keen on getting a stake
in tidal power, will need to sharpen their trading skills. ARL
trades at low volumes near 6,700 share per day.
Neither the author of the Small Cap
Strategist web log,
Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial
interest in the companies mentioned herein.
Riversimple Rasa is the name of a new hydrogen-powered prototype that is based on an old design and wants to be on the market in 2018.
Riversimple Rasa brings hydrogen dream back to the UK originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Feb 2016 13:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Nexsan announced the next-generation Nexsan BEAST storage array. This practical, accessible, cost optimized storage workhorse has been engineered to deliver superior reliability, availability and energy efficiency, along with storage density that enables 60 drives, or 480TB, in a standard 4U rack, expandable up to 4.8PB in a 42U rack.
The latest generation of the well-known Nexsan SATABeast-branded storage array, the new Nexsan BEAST delivers up to 85% power reduction through the use of AutoMaid disk management technology. This reduces operational expenses and extends the overall life of the system, both conserving energy while optimizing performance.
Designed to accommodate 3.5 in SATA drives in a dense space, Nexsan BEAST systems don’t require the use of extended racks. Innovative mechanical design, including Cool Drive Technology and anti-vibration design, significantly reduces heat and head vibration in the unit for improved system reliability and performance. Nexsan BEAST systems are also fully redundant with hot swappable components including controllers, hard-disk drives, power supplies and fans.
GM Powertrain becomes GM Global Propulsion Systems; almost 50% of engineers involved with alt or electrified propulsion
General Motors will rename GM Powertrain to GM Global Propulsion Systems. GM’s Global Propulsion Systems is collectively the group of more than 8,600 people that design, develop and engineer all propulsion related products and controls for GM worldwide.
Nearly 50% of the Global Propulsion Systems engineering workforce is involved with alternative or electrified propulsion systems.
Other notable systems include award-winning products such as the all-new 3.6L V6 with cylinder deactivation available in the Cadillac CT6. GM has more vehicles on the road with this fuel-saving technology than any other manufacturer. Other recent recognized achievements include the award-winning second-generation Voltec propulsion system in the Chevrolet Volt and the drivetrain for the Opel Astra.
The new name is another step on our journey to redefine transportation and mobility. Global Propulsion Systems better conveys what we are developing and offering to our customers: an incredibly broad, diverse lineup—ranging from high-tech 3-cylinder gasoline engines to fuel cells, V8 diesel engines to battery electric systems, and 6-, 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-speed to continuously variable transmissions.—Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development
Gone are the days when a gasoline engine and a transmission designed independently meet a customer’s expectations. Today’s customer is demanding unprecedented technology integration that requires unprecedented engineering and supplier partnerships. The diversity of our propulsion systems requires a name that reflects what we are already working on and delivering to our customers. I believe this will establish an industry trend.—Dan Nicholson, vice president, GM Global Propulsion Systems
GM Global Propulsion Systems is responsible for all GM vehicle propulsion systems’ design, development and validation, including engines, transmissions, electrification systems, fuel cell development and all associated control systems.
The Pontiac, Mich. Global Propulsion Systems Engineering Center is the flagship of GM’s eight global powertrain engineering centers, which also include Brazil, Germany, Italy, India, China, Korea and Australia, collectively representing $1.5 billion in global investments in recent years, including joint ventures.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has been recognized for his unwavering support of ethanol as the recipient of the RFA 2016 Industry Award. The Industry Award is bestowed annually to individuals that demonstrate great dedication and innovation within the industry.
Since the governor had a conflict and was unable to attend the National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans this week, Absolute Energy president Rick Schwarck presented his award earlier this month in Des Moines. “Governor Branstad, you have been one of the most passionate, articulate, and effective advocates for value-added agriculture, farmers, and ethanol,” said Schwarck in a video of the presentation shown at the NEC.
Gov. Branstad is the longest-serving governor in American history, and is currently serving his sixth non-consecutive term after first being elected to office in 1983. Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO, noted that the governor has been a stalwart champion of the Renewable Fuel Standard since its inception.
“Governor Branstad was a founding member of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, and throughout his career he has worked tirelessly on behalf of our nation’s ethanol producers and farmers,” said Dinneen. “I can think of no better recipient for this year’s RFA Industry Award. The people of Iowa are lucky to have a man of such vision and character leading their state.”
Dinneen noted that Gov. Branstad attended the very first National Ethanol Conference held in Des Moines in 1996, during his first stint as Iowa’s governor, and was presented with an award at that time as well.
We have a very wide spectrum in our results this week. It looks like most people attend around 2 to 5 farm shows or conferences each year. As you can guess, those on the AgWired Team would fit into the 5 plus category. I think a future poll should ask the impact farm shows have on making purchases or decisions on the farm.
Here are the poll results:
- 1-2 – 17%
- 2-5 – 30%
- 5+ – 27%
- None- 26%
Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What is your favorite social media outlet for agriculture?
It is rare to find someone who isn’t using social media for personal reasons, but when I find that person I respect their reasons. However, if you aren’t using social media to market yourself, business or social issue you are missing out and getting left behind. Social media is one of the greatest places to promote our agricultural community. Do you have a favorite platform?
As part of GEV’s quality-assurance mapping process, all turbine generators will also be inspected after construction.
With over 90% of turbine blades being damaged to some degree in transit, GEV Wind Power has identified a gap in the market and developed an innovative factory-to-site Quality Assurance Programme to offer clients peace of mind during the transit of wind turbine blades and generators.
The new scheme assists in maintaining the industry’s exacting installation schedules, which are often hindered due to unexpected repairs being undertaken.
“The process involves carrying out QA inspections on newly fabricated blades, which once inspected and signed off are transferred to site,” explained Steve Ross, Managing Director of GEV Wind Power. “On arrival, our technicians will inspect for transportation damage, which if evident, can be repaired instantly onsite. The blades will then be certified and given the quality assurance all clear.”
As part of the quality-assurance mapping process after construction, all wind-turbine generators will all also be inspected using the GEV Wind Power Panoblade camera system.
“This is a very exciting innovation for the industry and ensures that at every stage of the process from blade manufacture to installation and commissioning, rigorous quality checks are undertaken and opportunities to rectify damage are factored in,” Ross added. “This new service also provides clients with accurate and detailed information should they need to seek recourse for damage or repairs.”
GEV Wind Power
Nevs signs framework agreement for 50% stake in transport vehicle manufacturing company in China; electric minivan to portfolio
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) has signed a framework agreement on taking a 50% stake in Chinese transport vehicle manufacturing company New Long Ma (NLM). NLM is part of the Fujian Motors Group, owned by the Fujian provincial government. The company has during the last three years invested three billion RMB (US$459 million) in a new plant that today has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year.
NLM’s product portfolio includes an electric commercial distribution minivan which is a part of the agreement. Currently, the product is the third-most sold electric commercial minivan in China, with more than 12,000 units sold during its first production year 2015, according to Nevs.
This deal broadens our product portfolio with an additional vehicle type which contribute to our vision of sustainable transport solutions. The deal is of significant strategic importance to implement our business plan and this will speed up our time to market.—Kai Johan Jiang, Chairman of Nevs
The cooperation will also play an active role in fulfilling Nevs’ offer to Panda New Energy with 50,000 electric logistic vans and 50,000 electric mini-buses.
The framework agreement was signed by the Fujian Motors Group, Long Ma Industrial Co.,Ltd, Nevs AB and Nevs’ part-owner State Research Information Technology, SRIT. According to the agreement, Nevs will acquire 50% of the shares of New Long Ma and SRIT 15%. Fujian Motors Group remains as a 20% owner and Long Ma and others 15%.
Fujian New Long Ma Motor Co., Ltd. was established in April 1997 and is affiliated to Fujian Motors Group Co., Ltd., which owns Fujian Benz—a commercial vehicle manufacturing base through cooperation with Daimler, a China-listed vehicle company King Long Motor Group, and a JV between China Motor and Mitsubishi Motors called South East Motor.
The electric grid in the United States suffers from multiple issues, including inefficiency and high cost. Smart technologies have been touted to solve these and other operational difficulties. Yet, a shift can bring its own problems as well. Mixing power delivery with digital technologies opens up the possibility of disruptions caused by malicious entities. This threat must be seriously considered and mitigated with a carefully crafted strategy.
To learn more, checkout the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Masters in Electrical Engineering program.
Electric grid facts
What most people do not know is that a large part of the U.S. electric grid was actually built post-World War II. The early designs were based on Thomas Edison’s work, which underscores just how old they really are. The entire system is made up of over 7,000 power plants that are responsible for generating energy and ending this out through 450,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines and 2.5 million miles of feeder lines. 3,300 utility companies, that serve the needs of 150 million customers in different states, manage this massive network. The estimated value of the system is at $876B.
The cost of power disturbances
Homes and business both need an uninterrupted supply of electricity. Any disturbance can cause major problems. It is disconcerting to note that power outages in the US have shot up 285% since 1984. What’s more, the country lags behind other industrialized nations in terms of the average length of outages.
The result is up to $96B in losses for the economy, with as much as $70B coming from weather-generated outages. To put things in perspective, just one hour of power interruption can wipe out $2M from semiconductor manufacturing, $2.5M in credit card operations, and $6.5M in brokerage operations.
The smart grid: Cost and applicability
So, what actually is a “smart grid”? It is the infusion of advanced communications and control strategies to the electricity delivery systems using modern technologies with the aim of improving efficiency, security and reliability. Proponents do not hide the fact that this shift will require a large investment but they argue that the resulting savings make it a worthwhile endeavor.
The Electric Power Research Institute estimates the cost to be between $338 and $476B over a 20-year period. The change is already happening with almost 2 million advanced metering infrastructure installed in 2013 and about 65 million smart meters to be installed nationwide throughout 2015.
The benefits of modern technologies
The foremost benefit of the shift is increased energy efficiency. This happens in two ways: a reduction in energy use and a decrease in transmission losses. More of the power generated in the plants will be able to reach the end users.
Next is the boon to the environment. Using advanced technologies is projected to lower overall carbon dioxide emissions by 58%. There will be a significant reduction not only in greenhouse gases but also in other pollutants. What’s more, there is stronger support for renewable energy sources. Gasoline-powered vehicles will also be more readily replaced with plug-in electric vehicles.
As for the direct financial benefits, the improved resilience to power disturbance will save the U.S. economy roughly $49B every year. Customers will collectively enjoy as much as $2T in benefit over the next 20 years.
Potential risks of smart grids
On the other hand, everyone needs to watch out for the potential risks. These include increased exposure to attackers, network vulnerabilities, compromised hardware, more opportunities for denial of service attacks and breaches of customer privacy. The top vulnerabilities are related to privacy and cyber security.
For privacy, understand that 5 million smart meters read once every 15 minutes will produce 14 petabytes of personally identifiable information. Regulatory requirements could demand that this information be kept for a minimum of 7 years. The gargantuan network is at least 100× bigger than the Internet making management and monitoring quite difficult.
For cyber security, experts warn that a major cyber attack on the electric grid could have devastating consequences on the US economy. The damage can reach $1T in losses and a further $71B in insurance claims. This fear has real basis with 15 suspected cyber attacks on the US grid since 2000.
Keeping things safe
Personally identifiable information needs to be protected to gain consumer trust. The system should have solid host-based defenses against outside and inside attacks. There must be an annual assessment to spot vulnerabilities and deal with them. There should be virtual private network support, a robust authentication protocol and third-party review to plug all the gaps.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology