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Netherlands solar park to create carbon-neutral village

A solar park is to be built in The Netherlands to support an energy co-operative in its bid to create a carbon neutral village.

The park in Koudekerke, Zeeland, will comprise around 10,000 solar panels and is being developed by UK solar engineering, procurement and construction firm BSR EPC for the Zeeuwind Co-operative. It will be built on a brownfield site which was used for landfill until the mid-1980s. Construction is due to start in July and once complete the park will power more than 900 homes.

“The solar market is expanding rapidly in the Netherlands and there is still opportunity for further growth,” said Tim Humpage, BSR EPC director, who added that the deal marks the company’s entry into the Dutch market.

Amsterdam set for $455m district heating boost

Construction begins on 151-MW E.On wind farm in south Texas

Work is under way on the Peyton Creek Wind Farm in Texas and should be in operation before the end of the year, E.ON announced Thursday.

The 151-MW Peyton Creek in Matagorda County, Texas, will be E.ON’s 24th wind power project in the U.S. It will be powered by 48 3.15-MW turbines supplied by the Nordex Group and will generate enough electricity to power more than 45,000 homes.

“We welcome Peyton Creek Windfarm to the community,” said Mike Ferdinand, Matagorda County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director. “This project brings diversification to our local energy sector and creates new investment that will enhance our tax base. We wish them well as they begin construction and operation in our great county.”

With the addition of Peyton Creek, E.ON will have a total capacity of more than 4,000 MW online in the U.S. The company recently completed another South Texas onshore windfarm, Stella, a 201 MW project in Kenedy County, Texas, at the end of 2018.


Vogtle nuclear project getting Trump lifeline with $3.7B loan guarantee

Owners of the long troubled Vogtle nuclear plant expansion in Georgia have struggled to keep their project alive, but made a commitment late last year to see it through.

They may get some much needed good news later this week. A Bloomberg story indicates that Energy Secretary Rick Perry will visit the site near Waynesboro, GA., and should be announcing about $3.7 billion in loan guarantees.

As noted in the story, this would a critical lifeline for the long-delayed project to build Vogtle reactor units 3 and 4. The costs are running upwards of $25 billion, while its partners Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, Municipal Electric Cooperatives of Georgia and Dalton Power gave their conflicted blessings to forge ahead, despite fierce opposition from environmental and some utility quarters, as well as contractor Westinghouse’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Trump Administration has argued for years that the U.S. needs to help struggling coal and nuclear plants, being closed for economics under pressure of falling costs for renewables and natural gas-fired generation. This may be the administration’s first tangible move in that direction.

Click here for more on the Bloomberg story about the Trump Administration’s loan guarantees for Vogtle.




NuScale, energy company to explore small modular nuclear reactors for Romania

NuScale Power announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA (SNN SA), a Romanian energy company, to exchange business and technical information on NuScale’s nuclear power technology. 

The goal of the agreement is to evaluate the development, licensing and construction of NuScale small modular reactors (SMRs) for a potential similar long-term solution in Romania. 

Nuclear power currently provides 20 percent of domestic energy in Romania. Since its founding in 1998, SNN SA has operated the only nuclear power plants in Romania.

NuScale says its technology is the world’s first and only SMR to undergo design certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC is scheduled to complete its review of NuScale’s design in September 2020. NuScale has also signed MOUs to explore the deployment of its SMR technology in Canada and Jordan.

Electrification and renewables boom across Europe will require huge grid resilience

Grid companies will need to deliver around 90 GW of new transmission lines across Europe by 2040 to cope with a boom in renewables generation and a significant surge in the electrification of transport and heating.

And this huge grid upgrade will need to be complemented by a range of flexible power sources, including gas engines, storage, and demand flexibility.

That’s the conclusion of new research published today that claims that renewables will provide over 60 per cent of Europe’s total power supply by 2040, representing a 400 GW, à¢â€š¬400bn investment opportunity into clean energy capacity.

And the study adds that by 2050, total European power demand could rise by as much as 85 per cent, mainly due to the electrification of heating and transportation.

The findings by energy market analysis firm Aurora Energy Research highlight a rapid shift towards electric vehicles and renewable generation in a highly-interconnected European grid.

“The European power system is set to change dramatically in the coming decades as a result of the drive to reduce our carbon emissions, as well as the electrification of transportation and possibly heating,” said Richard Howard, research director at Aurora.

He added that of the anticipated 400 GW of renewables generation capacity to be deployed across Europe between now and 2040, “much of this will be delivered without government subsidies, as the falling cost of renewables brings them to grid parity”.

“Making this a reality will require significant investment in grid infrastructure and flexible capacity, as well as ongoing policy and regulatory reforms to ensure that this is delivered at the lowest cost to consumers.”

The report was unveiled today at Aurora Energy Research’s Spring Forum event in Oxford, England, and it states that taking “Ëœmerchant risk’ on renewables projects has become a necessity in most European countries as subsidies are being withdrawn.

It adds that this puts significant value at risk for developers and Europe as a whole, but adds that major corporate energy users could play a crucial role in carrying some of this market risk through the provision of long term power purchase agreements (PPAs).

“In Germany alone we estimate that PPAs with major industrial power users could bring forward 12 GWs of new renewable capacity,” states Aurora. “For renewables developers and utility companies, understanding industry off-takers and building products and relationships fit for their needs will be a key competitive advantage in the next five years.”

Alongside the growth in renewables supply, Aurora also predicts a significant increase in power demand due to the electrification and digitalisation of many aspects of economies and society.

In particular, the analysis shows that electric cars are rapidly entering the mainstream, with more than 25 per cent of new cars launched in Europe this year being battery electric or hybrids. Aurora predicts that almost full electrification of personal and light commercial transportation could be achieved by 2050, increasing power demand across Europe by approximately 20-25 per cent above current levels.

Electrifying heating is also anticipated to see significant growth, but the report warns that this “would place even more significant demands on the power system, both in terms of the amount of electricity required, and due to the fact that heating demand is concentrated on colder days during the winter months”.

“Taken together, the electrification of heating and transport could result in as much as an 85 per cent increase in power demand across Europe.”

Wind generated more than one-third of electricity last week in the UK

RenewableUK highlighted last week that Great Britain’s onshore and offshore wind farms generated more electricity than any other source of power last week.

35.6 percent of the country’s electricity was provided by wind, compared to 31.2 percent by gas, 21.3 percent by nuclear, 6.7 percent by biomass, 2.6 percent by coal, 1.8 percent by hydro and 0.8 percent from other sources, between Friday 8th and Thursday 14th March, according to data supplied by independent analysts Aurora Energy Research. Offshore wind alone generated 21.4 percent of electricity last week – more than nuclear.

The new generation figures come in the week following the agreement of an Offshore Wind Sector Deal between the Government and industry which will see the current 7,899 megawatts of offshore wind capacity in the UK grow to over 30,000MW by 2030.   

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck said: “We’ve had a very blustery week, and that’s good news because wind has outstripped every other power source. It’s further proof that wind is playing a central role in keeping Britain powered up at a chilly time of the year.”

“It’s also interesting to see that offshore wind outperformed nuclear this week – showing the way our modern energy mix is changing, with low-cost wind energy becoming the backbone of our clean energy system,” she added.

As a result of the high levels of power generated by clean wind energy, Electric Insights, a website which provides live data and analysis on Britain’s electricity, noted that carbon emissions from the power sector over the last week were lower than usual for this time of year, at 157g CO2 per kilowatt hour.

FERC chair bothered by speed of move away from coal, nuclear

The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the idea goes against his political beliefs, but wonders if FERC might need to intervene in the power generation sector’s accelerating shift away from coal and nuclear.

Neil Chatterjee, interviewed by the Houston Chronicle before his speech at CERAWeek, said the power market is vexing. The man who appointed Chatterjee, President Donald Trump, has vowed to save coal but more coal-fired plants were retired last year than in most of the entire Obama Administration.

Trumps Energy Department previously tried to compel FERC to make rules financially rewarding the on-site fuel security of coal and nuclear, but the commission declined. Chatterjee was part of the unanimous reponse, but now he fears what the future of power generation might hold.

Click here to read the Houston Chronicle story.


Hanergy targets solar boom in Malaysia

The world’s largest thin-film solar power solution company, Hanergy, has taken a major strategic step into Malaysia’s growing solar market.

It has signed a deal with Tenaga Switchgear (TSG), the holding subsidiary of Malaysian utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad, to make TSG the exclusive distributor in Malaysia for the HanTile, a thin-film solar roofing tile.Hanergy's HanTile

We see great potential in Malaysia, which is a strategic market for Hanergy,” said Lv Yuan, vice-president of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, who added that he was confident that the deal would “pump-up the demand” for solar in the country.

Hong-Kong-headquartered Hanergy and TSG have also pledged to open talks around the possibility of setting-up a thin-film solar industrial park in Malaysia.

TSG president Datuk Hisham said the deal with Hanergy would help to “revolutionise Malaysia’s photovoltaic market”

He said the HanTile would be used in the construction of “high-end villas to help build Malaysia’s smart cities and smart home project”.

It is expected that in this year’s finance budget, the Malaysia government will allocate $480m to aid the development of renewables technology. The government has set a target of developing 20 per cent of total energy consumption from renewables (excluding hydropower) by 2025 – today renewables account for 2 per cent of the total energy mix. To deliver that plan, Malaysia will need to add 4 GW of renewables over the next seven years.
Malaysia’s considerable solar potential will be highlighted at SolarVision, which takes place in Kuala Lumpur later this year. Click here for details.

Netherlands gets biggest solar park

Construction will start this month on the largest solar park in The Netherlands.

The 34 MW Almere project in the Dutch province of Flevoland is being built by German EPC firm PFALZSOLAR for waste management company HVC Group.

“This project is a special one for us,” said Lars Josten, PFALZSOLAR managing director. “It is not only our largest project to date, but also another milestone in our cooperation with HVC.”

In recent months, PFALZSOLAR has built three solar parks with a total capacity of 9 MWp on disused landfills for HVC.

As well as solar parks, HVC operates wind farms and geothermal power plants.

The Almere solar park is being built on a 25 hectare industrial zone with an east-west solar mounting system, and once operational it will power around 10,000 homes.

EnerNex modernize Public Utilities Commission of Ohio power grid

EnerNex, a CESI company, today announced it has been selected by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) as the technical consultant to advise the PUCO staff and to facilitate the Data & Modern Grid Workgroup (DWG) and the Distribution System Planning Workgroup (PWG).

These two workgroups will address specific tasks articulated in the PowerForward Roadmap and will build upon the collaborative process of the PowerForward initiative.

The DWG will focus on the technologies that will allow customers to obtain real-time or near real-time access to energy data through the connection of qualified home area network devices and the customers’ smart meter. This workgroup will also seek to define a secure methodology that would extend this data to competitive retail energy service providers and other third-party providers.

The PWG is charged with exploring issues surrounding an integrated distribution system planning process. This includes the beneficial siting of energy storage, the mechanisms and technologies required for conducting hosting capacity analysis, interconnection standards, and functionalities for advanced inverters. It will also explore the proper approach to the consideration and procurement of non-wires alternatives, and necessary portals to communicate key market and distribution grid planning information to customers.