China Steps Up as a Major Solar Player
China's renewable energy division recently put out word that the country will boost its target for solar energy installation to 21 gigawatts (GW) by 2015 under the current five-year plan—quadrupling original plans of reaching 5 GW.
That takes a little more pressure off the global solar manufacturing sector, devastated by the country's overcapacity in recent years. Ground-mount utility-scale projects in desert regions and new commercial installations in the country will increase in market share by 13 percent in 2012, according to industry analyst IMS Research.
“A more diverse range of system types will emerge in 2012, largely driven by China approving 1.7GW of projects under the Golden Sun Scheme,” said Frank Xie, IMS senior PV market analyst and author of the report.
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Although China has become the world leader in terms of wind power capacity, solar deployment has fallen behind. Under the new, aggressive plan, however, China will become one of the world's biggest solar markets.
“In Q4’12, China is set to dominate both PV (photovoltaic) module supply and market demand for the first time ever,” industry watcher Solarbuzz said. Other Asia-Pacific regions are expected to see growth as well, including India, Australia and Japan, where a generous feed-in-tariff is expected to grow the market significantly.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.