The Big List: 2010's Biggest Renewable Energy
Jan 10, 2011 - Renewable Energy World
New Hampshire and Oklahoma, USA -- Renewable energy
development continued at a good pace this year, with
record-breaking projects announced almost as often
as once per week. The editors of the renewable energy
world network put our heads together to compile a
list of the biggest renewable energy projects installed
or completed this year as our year-end wrap-up report.
The editors of Hydroworld.com offered the following
project reports for 2010. The largest project that
began operation in 2010 also holds the record as
Southeast Asia's largest hydroelectric power station.
The first of six turbines at Vietnam’s Son
La station was connected to the national power grid
in late December. Officials said that the two-billion-dollar
plant with a capacity of 2,400 MW is expected to
be fully operational in 2012, three years ahead of
a target set by the National Assembly.
The second largest project that went online in 2010
took place in Laos and is that country’s largest
plant in history. Laos officially inaugurated the
1,070-MW Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric power project
in December. The $1.45 billion project is co-owned
by Electricite de France, the Lao government, the
Electricity Generating Public Co. of Thailand and
Italian-Thai Development. After five years of construction,
the plant began supplying neighboring Thailand with
power in March of this year.
Next in line was Brazil's 855-MW Foz do Chapeco
hydropower plant, which launched commercial operations
at its second of four generating unit in November
2010. The first unit began commercial operation in
October. ??The plant is 51 percent owned by utility
group CPFL Energia and sits on the border of southern
states Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Alstom
supplied the turbines for this project.
Another large project that went online in 2010 is
the 460-MW Beles plant in Ethiopia. The project is
owned by Ethiopia Electric Power Corporation. It
is worth noting that the 300 MW Tekeze Hydropower
plant, which also went online in 2010 in Ethiopia,
was Power Engineering’s Renewable Project of
The largest hydro project in North America that
went online in 2010 was the Toba Montrose project
in British Columbia. After three years of construction,
Plutonic Power completed the $663 million Toba-Montrose
run-of-river project, the largest source of privately
generated renewable power in British Columbia. The
196-MW Toba-Montrose project began selling power
to BC Hydro in August. The project includes a 73-MW
run-of-river facility on Montrose Creek and a 123-MW
facility on the East Toba River. The 123-MW plant
on the East Toba River is the largest run-of-river
facility in British Columbia.
The largest offshore wind projects that were completed
in 2010 were located around the UK. Seven miles off
the coast of Kent at its closet point, the $1.2 billion
Thanet Offshore Wind Farm officially began powering
the UK grid with 300 MW of new renewable energy capacity
in the last quarter of the year. For the time being,
the wind farm is the largest offshore wind farm in
Next in line is Rødsand II, a 207-MW extension
of an existing wind farm in Denmark that was installed
by E.ON in 2010.
Finally, construction of the 180-MW Robin Rigg Wind
Farm, Scotland's first offshore wind farm, was completed
by E.ON in April 2010.
Lastly, the Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm, a
172-MW wind farm 7 km off the Clacton-on-Sea and
Holland Essex coast in the Northern Thames Estuary,
was commissioned in June 2010.
Many of the largest operational onshore wind farms
are located in the USA. As of November 2010, the
Roscoe Wind Farm is the largest onshore wind farm
in the world at 781.5 MW, followed by the Horse Hollow
Wind Energy Center at 735.5 MW. The largest wind
farm under construction is the 800 MW Alta Wind Energy
Center in the USA. The largest proposed project is
the 10,000 MW Gansu Wind Farm in China.
In 2010 the following very large projects came online
in the U.S. If readers know of larger wind power
projects that went online in 2010 in other regions
of the world, please let us know if the comments
The 600-MW Fowler Ridge Wind Farm currently consists
of two completed phases with the possibility of a
third phase some time in the near future. The wind
farm is in Benton County, Indiana, near the city
of Fowler, IN. The planned total capacity of the
project when all phases have been completed is 750MW.
Developers are BP Alternative Energy North America
Inc and Dominion Resources.
The 404-MW Penascal Wind Farm, located in Kenedy
County, Texas was completed in April 2010. The developer
Iberdrola also developed the third biggest wind
farm that went online in the US in 2010. The 300-MW
Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm, located near
Streator, Illinois, officially started generating
power in May 2010.
Europe dominated much of the very large solar PV
project announcements this year. However Ontario
Canada’s expanded Sarnia PV plant with a 97-MW
capacity was the largest PV power plant commissioned
this year. The second through 8th biggest plants
were built in Italy, Germany and Spain with a U.S.
plant coming in at number 9.
||First Solar and Enbridge
|Montalto di Castro
||SunRay Renewable, acquired by SunPower in Feb.
|Solarpark Finsterwalde I,II,III
It’s also worth noting that Sarnia’s
Ontario plant won one of RenewableEnergyWorld.com’s
Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards last year.
Any North American renewable energy project that
was completed in 2010 can be nominated for an award
this year at this link.
A number of large geothermal projects came online
this year and even though the U.S. continues to lead
in overall development, the top three biggest projects
of 2010 were all outside the country.
The biggest plant in 2010 was developed at the Rotokawa
field in New Zealand. The 132-MW Nga Awa Purua plant
is the largest single-turbine project ever developed.
The turbine was manufactured by Fuji Electric and
the power plant is owned and operated by Mighty River
The second-largest plant was in Italy at the Larderello
field, a resource-rich area that has been delivering
energy since 1930. The Nuova Radicondoli 2 and Chiusdino
1, both 20-MW, came online this year. The turbines
were manufactured by GE and the project is owned
and operated by Enel Green Power.
Finally, the third biggest project fully completed
in 2010 was in Kenya, with the 35-MW expansion of
the Olkaria II power plant. The addition brings the
project to 105 MW and makes it the largest in Africa.
The turbine was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric
Corporation and operated by the Kenya Electricity
Transportation Fuels -- Ethanol
The U.S. and Brazil were the most favorable locations
for new ethanol plants this year, with most of the
industry’s top 8 projects coming online in
either of those two countries. Below is a table that
shows the biggest biofuel facilities that began operation
in 2010. Hart’s Global Biofuels Center compiled
the data. Tammy Klein, Assistant Vice President of
the organization noted that there is another large
facility in the U.S. -- the Aventine plant in Aurora,
IL – that is almost complete but “the
113 million gallon plant won’t actually start
producing until spring 2011.”
|Capacity (Million Gallons/Year)
|Ethanol Acquisition LLC / Panda Energy
|ETH Bioenergia SA
|ETH Bioenergia SA
||Mato Grasso, Brazil
Transportation Fuels -- Renewable Diesel and Biofuel
In the renewable diesel space, there were two interesting
announcements this year. Dynmic Fuels came online
in 2010 with a 75 MGPY sythentic diesel plant that
produces renewable fuels from non-food grade animal
fats produced or procured by Tyson Foods, such as
beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat and greases.
In addition, Neste Oil started operation in 2010
of the largest renewable diesel plant in the world
in Singapore with a capacity of 240 MGPY. Its NExBTL
renewable diesel is produced from a mix of palm oil,
rapeseed oil, and waste fat from the food industry.
In 2011, look for announcements from two waste-to-fuel
companies. Enerkem, expects to have a 10 MGPY plant
that produces ethanol from non-recyclable and non-compostable
municipal solid waste (MSW) in Edmonton, Alberta
CAN. Construction began on the facility in Jun 2010.
Fiberight has a 6 MGPY plant that is set to begin
operation in 2011 in Blairstown OH. The plant will
use MSW as a feedstock.
A list of the biggest biomass to electricity plants
that went online in the U.S. is below. Unfortunately
tracking down the largest biomass to electricity
plants that came online globally proved to be beyond
the scope of this article. If any readers know of
larger biomass to electricity plants that went online
in 2010 in other regions, please let us know in the
comments section below.
Amanda Hamsley Lang, Operations Manager at Forisk
Consulting and Managing Editor of Wood Bioenergy
US, provided the information on the U.S. plants,
below. Download past and future summaries here.
|Marlboro Paper Mill
||Bennettsville, SC, USA
|EJ Stoneman Plant
||Cassville, WI, USA
Dairyland Power Cooperative
|Multitrade Rabun Gap
||Multitrade Biomass Holdings
||Rabun Gap, GA, USA
||Green Power EMC (a group of state electric
Note that these plants may not be operating at full
capacity just yet, although full capacity is listed
in the above table. Lang said to keep your eye out
for the 50-MW Aspen Power plant in Lufkin, TX, which
is expected to go online in the spring of 2011. The
plant began testing its facility this month.
Sidebar: Largest Energy Storage Installations
Research and development is underway on energy storage
solutions, what some experts call the holy grail
of renewable energy growth. If we can figure out
a way to store all of the renewable energy that we
can generate, the story goes, then dealing with the
intermittency of wind and solar energy won’t
be such a big issue.
The largest lead-acid energy storage system in operation
is a 10-MW system in Chino, California, built in
1988. The first commercial compressed-air energy
storage system is a 290-MW unit built in Hundorf,
Germany in 1978, and it remains the world’s
largest CAES install. The largest sodium sulfur (NaS)
battery installation is a 34-MW unit for wind stabilization
in Northern Japan. The largest pumped-hydro operation
in the world in Lewiston (Niagara) with 2880-MW,
which went online in 1961. That’s followed
by an operation in Bath County in Virginia, (USA)
with 2700 MW of storage, which went online in 1985.
The third largest operation in the world is in Guangzhu,
China. This 2400-MW facility went online in 2000.