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Chile to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030

Renewable energy is expected to comprise 50% of Chile’s power mix by 2030, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

A GlobalData’s report reveals that the development of renewable energy is a high priority for Chile. 

In 2018, the share of non-hydro renewable power reached 19% of the power mix and is expected to exceed 50% of the power mix by 2030.

It is expected that with the growth of renewable energy sources in the future, the gas-based power capacity in the country will increase from 48% of the thermal power capacity in 2018 to 55% by 2030. 

Chile is now a net exporter of electricity, signifying that the increasing share of renewables and gas based power in the electricity mix will make up for the capacity vacuum resulting from the decommissioning of certain coal capacity by 2030.

Piyali Das, Power Industry Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Thermal power dominated Chile’s power mix in 2018 with a share of 52.7% of the total installed capacity, followed by hydro and renewable with a share of 28.1% and 19.1% respectively. In the renewable energy mix the major contributors are solar PV and wind with shares of 50.8% and 33.8% respectively in 2018.”

Power consumption in Chile increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% between 2010 and 2018 due to increased economic activity.

Canada invests $3 million in smart grid project

The government of Canada has announced a $2.9 million investment in a smart grid project in the town of Parry Sound, led by Bracebridge Generation and utility software engineering pioneer Opus One Solutions. 

The project aims to help the utility reduce system costs and improve the long-term flexibility and reliability of the grid by leveraging a set of grid intelligence tools that monitor and control locally connected renewable energy generation, storage and residential demand management resources.

Building on the utility’s net-zero community plan, Opus One Solutions is providing software intelligence that will give Bracebridge Generation full visibility and control of their network to help:

“- increase solar and energy storage penetration in Parry Sound

“- reduce constraints at the transmission station to improve reliability

“- increase adoption of electric vehicles

“- automate and integrate residential demand management via controllable hot water tanks, EV chargers, and battery storage

“- increase system resiliency with a feeder-level microgrid

“- defer unnecessary costly upgrades in poles and wires infrastructure

The funding announcement was made on July 23 by Parliamentary Secretary Paul Lefebvre, on behalf of Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. The investment comes from the smart grid program, which is part of the government of Canada’s more than $180 billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure plan.


Chevron’s massive carbon capture project launches safely

Chevron Australia and the Gorgon Joint Venture participants have announced the safe start-up and operation of the carbon dioxide injection system at the Chevron-led Gorgon natural gas facility on Barrow Island, off the northwest coast of Western Australia.

Chevron Australia managing director Al Williams said, “We are pleased to reach the first milestone of safely starting the operation of the Gorgon carbon dioxide injection system, one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas mitigation projects ever undertaken by industry. 

“This achievement is the result of strong collaboration across industry and governments and supports our objective of providing affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner energy essential to our modern lives. 

Williams added, “We are monitoring system performance and plan to safely ramp up injection volumes over the coming months as we bring online processing facilities.”

Once fully operational, the carbon dioxide injection facility will reduce Gorgon’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 4%, or more than 100 million tonnes over the life of the injection project.

The Gorgon facility incorporates many leading design features aimed at maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. In steady-state operations, Gorgon is anticipated to have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions intensity of any LNG project in Australia.

Sunverge raises $11 million for utility distributed energy resource controls

Sunverge, the provider of an industry leading Distributed Energy Resource (DER) control and aggregation platform, today announced an $11 million capital raise. 

The round was led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund with participation from Equinor Energy Ventures and Evergy Ventures. 

With the funding, the company will continue to expand and evolve its platform to help utilities to operationalize and integrate DERs into core utility operations.

The global energy landscape is undergoing a rapid transition and transformation. The latest FERC report shows generation from renewables outpacing nuclear and traditional generation methods, with additional momentum expected to continue throughout 2022. 

With the changing market landscape, today’s utilities require new mission critical technologies to enable them to integrate and operate DERs as reliable generation and grid assets in order to modernize their distribution grids and replace traditional fossil fuel peak and base generation with distributed clean energy resources.

The Sunverge Energy Platform provides utilities with real-time grid-edge visibility and management capabilities for this increasingly distributed and interconnected web of DERs that include solar, energy storage, EVs and EV chargers in addition to other smart devices such as smart thermostats, water heaters and more.

“Right now, customers typically own DERs, but utilities are the ideal owners of these assets due to their lower cost of capital,” said Gareth Burns, Managing Director at Equinor Energy Ventures. “Sunverge’s platform proves the value of the baseload power generated by DERs and will ultimately help utilities convince both public utilities commissions and consumers that assets like solar and energy storage are the right investment for the future of our energy markets.”

Forecast shows continued decline for coal

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its Short Term Energy Outlook for 2019 and we have summarized the key highlights for you below.  

Electricity, coal, renewables and emissions

EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will rise from 34% in 2018 to 37% in 2019 and then decline slightly in 2020. 

The share of U.S. generation from coal will average 24% in 2019 and in 2020, down from 28% in 2018. The forecast nuclear share of U.S. generation remains at about 20% in 2019 and in 2020. Hydropower averages a 7% share of total U.S. generation in the forecast for 2019 and 2020, similar to 2018. Wind, solar, and other nonhydropower renewables together provided 10% of U.S. total utility-scale generation in 2018. EIA expects they will provide 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

EIA expects electric power sector demand for coal to fall by 2% in 2020, compared with an expected decline of 15% in 2019. However, planned coal plant retirements will continue to put downward pressure on overall electricity demand for the fuel. Almost 13 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation capacity has retired this year or is scheduled to retire by the end of 2020, accounting for 5% of the capacity existing at the end of 2018.

EIA forecasts that renewable fuels, including wind, solar, and hydropower, will collectively produce 18% of U.S. electricity in 2019 and 19% in 2020. EIA expects that annual generation from wind will surpass hydropower generation for the first time in 2019 to become the leading source of renewable electricity generation and maintain that position in 2020.

Results in an EIA forecast that electricity generation from wind power will average 295 billion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2019 and 335 billion kWh in 2020, estimates that are 4% and 7% lower, respectively, than forecast in the July STEO. In addition, the application of hourly dispatch that better models solar incidence lowers the solar electric production forecast by 1.1% in 2019 and by 2.8% in 2020.

EIA forecasts that, after rising by 2.7% in 2018, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decline by 2.3% in 2019 and by 0.5% in 2020. In 2019, EIA forecasts that space cooling demand (as measured in cooling degree days) will be lower than in 2018, when it was 13% higher than the previous 10-year (2008–17) average. In addition, in 2019, EIA expects U.S. CO2 emissions to decline because the forecast share of electricity generated from natural gas and renewables is increasing while the forecast share generated from coal, which is a more carbon-intensive energy source, is decreasing. 

Ofgem prioritizes consumer protection

The British Office of Gas and Electricity Markets has published an open letter seeking views on its proposed approach for regulating the electricity distribution networks in the next price control (RIIO-ED2) to protect consumers today and in the future.

The electricity distribution networks are fundamental to the transition to a low carbon economy and to hitting the target of net zero emissions in the UK by 2050.

Ofgem’s proposed approach will build on the significant progress made so far by supporting further decarbonisation of power generation, transport and potentially how we heat our homes and businesses at the lowest possible cost to consumers.

These networks will be required to play a greater role in managing the energy system as the capacity of distributed, or locally connected, intermittent renewable generation continues to grow along with new sources of demand, such as electric vehicles.

Ofgem is seeking initial views from all stakeholders on issues such as the length of the price control, the approach to setting the cost of capital and the role of electricity distribution networks in enabling the low carbon transition more generally.

The next price control for electricity distribution networks begins in 2023. Ofgem’s next price controls for electricity transmission, gas transmission and distribution begin in 2021 and as such plans are further advanced.

Jonathan Brearley, executive director for systems and networks at Ofgem, said: “Electricity distribution networks have a fundamental role to play in the UK’s journey to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“Ofgem will strike a tough, fair settlement with companies which enables them to go further in decarbonising the economy and ensures that costs are kept as low as possible for consumers paying for the required investment.

 “All our network price controls will pave the way for an affordable, reliable and more sustainable energy system which protects consumers both today and in the future, including those who are in vulnerable situations.”

Ofgem will publish a formal consultation in the first half of next year on its proposed regulatory framework for the electricity distribution networks.

Nevada approves NV Energy customer rate reductions

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Residential electricity customers in northern Nevada could see their bills decrease by a little more than $2 a month under a rate reduction approved by state regulators.

NV Energy said Monday that in southern Nevada, a typical single-family residential customer could save about 80 cents a month, or about half a percent.

The announcements came after the state Public Utilities Commission last week approved a $15.7 million rate decrease for southern Nevada and a $21.9 million reduction for the north.

In the north, the savings of about $2.12 a month in an average residential customer monthly bill represents nearly 2.5%.

NV Energy says the rate cuts were made possible by increased efficiency and a reduction in the projected costs of providing renewable energy.

US wind farm activity by Fortune 500 breaks records

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has released data for Q2, indicating activity rose to new heights in the wind development sector.

Strong consumer demand from Fortune 500 businesses and utilities, as well as calls from multiple states for offshore projects added to wind power’s growing development pipeline. At the same time, wind turbine manufacturers saw an increasing number of factory orders for more powerful wind turbines, capable of powering almost twice the number of homes as an average wind turbine installed in the past few years.

These findings and the latest industry data are highlighted in AWEA’s newly released U.S. Wind Industry Second Quarter 2019 Market Report.

“American wind power’s record growth continues to accelerate with over 200 wind farm projects underway in 33 states,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan. “Our industry’s success strengthens the U.S. economy because access to affordable, clean American wind power is a competitive advantage in the eyes of business leaders. And when those businesses invest in U.S. wind energy, it directly benefits the people living and working in our country’s farm, factory, and port communities.”

The record 41,801 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity currently under construction or in advanced stages of development represents a 10% increase over the level of activity this time last year. The wind project pipeline grew 7% in the second quarter with 7,290MW in new construction and advanced development activity announced.

Wind power is expanding rapidly in many regions of the U.S. Over 200 wind projects are underway across 33 states, and 15 of those states have over 1,000MW of wind capacity that will come online in the near term. 

Texas currently hosts the most activity (9,015MW), followed by Wyoming (4,831MW), New Mexico (2,774MW), Iowa (2,623MW), and South Dakota (2,183MW). Notably, half of all U.S. states have enough projects underway to grow their installed wind capacity by 25%or more.

 Offshore wind also saw significant activity in the second quarter with bold new offshore wind targets legislated in Maryland (1,200MW), Connecticut (2,000MW), and New York (9,000MW). 

New Jersey granted its first offshore renewable energy certificate (OREC) award to àƒËœrsted’s 1,100MW Ocean Wind project—the largest offshore project planned in the U.S. so far. And the activity hasn’t slowed; early in the third quarter, New York Governor Cuomo announced Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind as winners of the state’s first call for offshore wind project proposals.

The U.S. grid now includes an additional 736MW of wind power as developers commissioned four new wind farms in the second quarter. This brings total U.S. wind capacity to 97,960MW, with more than 57,000 wind turbines operating in 41 states and two U.S. territories. American wind farms now produce enough electricity to power over 30 million average homes and reliably supply more than 20% of the electricity in six states.

Businesses and utilities continue to purchase more wind energy to power their operations. Wind power customers announced new long-term contracts, called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), totaling 1,962MW in the second quarter. Non-utility corporate customers signed up for 52% of second quarter PPA capacity. Hormel Foods, Smithfield Foods, Crown Holdings, and Ernst & Young were first-time customers of wind energy in the second quarter, along with repeat customers like General Mills, Walmart, and Target. Strong demand from utilities accounted for the remaining 48% (949MW) of second quarter PPAs. So far this year, 35 customers have announced wind power purchases totaling 4,799MW.

As wind power’s customer base evolves, so too does the technology. Wind turbine manufacturers have introduced new models at a rapid pace over the past few years in pursuit of lowering costs and achieving even stronger performance. As a result, the number of projects selecting wind turbines with a capacity of 3.5MW or more is growing significantly. In the second quarter alone, wind turbine manufacturers publicly reported nine orders totaling 2,049MW for turbines ranging in capacity from 4.2 to 4.5MW.

“We’re seeing a growing number of wind farms select turbines capable of powering nearly twice as many homes as the average U.S. wind turbine,” Kiernan said. “Wind technology innovation is keeping pace with demand, but we can’t afford to neglect the power grid infrastructure that delivers electricity from where it’s made to consumers. We continue to urge the Administration, Congress, FERC, and grid operators to ensure well-designed transmission lines can be planned, permitted, and built in a timely fashion.”

Earlier this year, AWEA’s 2018 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report highlighted the significant economic benefits that grow along with wind power capacity. Wind farms pay more than $1 billion a year through state and local taxes plus lease payments to landowners, helping preserve the rural way of life in farming and ranching communities across the country. The wind industry also supports a record number of U.S. jobs, over 114,000, with substantial room to grow as the industry continues to scale up in the heartland and offshore. Roughly a quarter of those careers are found at over 500 U.S. factories manufacturing or assembling wind turbine components.

Irish wind power gets a 23 MW boost from Amazon

Amazon has announced the company’s 65th and 66th renewable energy projects. Amazon’s newest renewable energy project in the EU will be located in Cork, Ireland, and will be the second Amazon Wind Farm in the Republic of Ireland. 

Once complete, the new Amazon Wind Farm will provide 23.2MW of renewable capacity, with expected generation of 68,000MWh of clean energy annually. 

“Playing a significant role in helping to reduce the sources of human-induced climate change is an important commitment for Amazon,” said Kara Hurst, Director of Sustainability, Amazon. “Major investments in renewable energy are a critical step to address our carbon footprint globally. We will continue to invest in these projects, and look forward to additional investments this year and beyond.”

“Under the Climate Action Plan, we are committing that 70% of Ireland’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030. Industry leadership is key to helping us reach this target,” said Richard Bruton, Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. 

“This project is another example of AWS’s commitment to renewable projects in Ireland, adding clean energy to the grid, and supporting Ireland’s climate commitments. Construction will begin on this project this year and will start contributing to Ireland’s renewable energy capacity by 2020. We look forward to continuing to work with AWS as we strive to make Ireland a leader in the renewable energy space.”

Amazon’s sustainability projects

Amazon’s newest renewable energy project in the U.S. will be located in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and will be the seventh Amazon Solar Farm in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Once complete, the new Amazon Solar Farm will provide 45MW of renewable capacity and is expected to generate 100,000MWh of clean energy annually. Both projects are expected to begin producing clean energy in 2020 and will supply clean energy to the company’s Amazon Web Services data centers, which power Amazon and millions of AWS customers globally.

Additionally, Amazon’s investments in renewable energy were recently recognized in the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) 2018 Solar Means Business Report, which ranked Amazon #1 in the U.S. for amount of corporate on-site solar installed in 2018, and #2 for total amount of solar installed to date. Amazon’s solar projects in the U.S. have offset the CO2 equivalent of more than 200 million miles of truck deliveries. 

Globally, Amazon has 66 renewable energy projects – including 51 solar rooftops – that are expected to generate 1,342MW of renewable capacity and deliver more than 3.9 million MWh of clean energy annually.

Beyond investments in wind and solar, Amazon has a long history of commitment to sustainability through innovative programs such as Shipment Zero, Frustration-Free Packaging, Ships in Own Container, as well as investments in the circular economy with the Closed Loop Fund. 


Madison Gas & Electric, We Energies acquiring 150 MW of in-state solar

Two Wisconsin utilities are teaming up to acquire 150 MW of solar power in their state.

Madison Gas & Electric and We Energies announced the new partnership to acquire the remaining 150 MW of the planned Badger Hollow Solar Farm in Iowa County in southwestern Wisconsin. Invenergy is the developer for the total 300-MW project.

Under the deal, We Energies will own 100 MW of the solar output at Badger Hollow, while MGE will possess 50 MW of the capacity.

“This is another significant step in our transition to a clean energy future,” said Kevin Fletcher, CEO of  WEC Energy Group, the parent corporation of We Energies. “Along with the environmental benefits of solar energy, this purchase will lower costs to customers over the life of the project.”

MGE has a goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050, its CEO Jeff Keebler pointed out.

 “This is yet another step in our active transition toward greater use of cleaner energy sources to serve our community,” he said in a statement.

The agreement still needs regulator approval. If and when approved, this phase of the Badger Hollow solar project would begin generating in 2021.The initial phase of the project should begin operation next year.

Madison Gas & Electric has already finalized a similar agreement with Wisconsin Public Service, another subsidiary of WEC, on splitting ownership of the first 150-MW bloc at Badger Hollow. MGE will own 50 MW and WPS 100 MW under that deal, as well.

An earlier report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that Wisconsin had the potential for 16.3 GW of rooftop solar potential on small buildings alone. Another 7 GW potential capacity might be available via larger buildings, according to the NREL.

Wisconsin currently ranks in the bottom 10 of states with installed solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. We Energies, however, has had a rooftop solar inclusion program for some time, and the utility is reported to be investing at least $130 million in the Badger Hollow project.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering and POWERGEN International, happening Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and rod.walton@clarionevents.com).

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Solar energy will be front and center in the Wind and Solar Knowledge Hub on the POWERGEN exhibition floor this summer. The event also includes numerous sessions on conventional power, and We Energies-Wisconsin Public Service is one of the utilities sending experts to speak at the event in New Orleans. Registration is now open at power-gen.com.