Renewable Energy News

Renewable developers are bearing the brunt of siloed transmission planning

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-03-05 13:08

Renewable project developers are bearing the burden of decades of transmission planning focused on transmission owner needs. Renewable projects are dropping out of generator interconnection queues because of the high cost of transmission upgrade costs. PJM, MISO, SPP are all dealing with the same issue – high volume of renewables projects in their interconnection queue. None of the transmission solutions proposed are anywhere close to construction in the next 5 years.

We need the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to step up to help renewable developers. We need multiple transmission projects and alternatives to transmission solutions to address this renewable need on the electric grid crossing state boundaries.

Traditional T planning is more focused on what the Transmission Owner needs, not what the RE developer wants

In normal transmission planning, the responsible planning authority is putting together a transmission line for meeting a) increased demand, b) retiring existing capacity, and c) replacing the old T line. With all of these options, it is the incumbent transmission owner who benefits. With a new capacity request, the interconnection customer’s responsibility is to pay for the transmission upgrade and the transmission owner to construct the upgrade.

At some Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), the interconnection customers can build, provided the transmission owner agrees.

PJM process and workshops

PJM started generator interconnection workshops. Out of 2,000 projects in 2020-21 in the PJM queue, only 225 have signed interconnection agreements. MISO and SPP were at the same stage PJM is currently. Both MISO and SPP have a revamped FERC process for interconnections that are still struggling to clear the backlog before the new process.

The new interconnection process at both MISO and SPP groups the studies received in a time window, then studies them together and assigns network upgrade costs to all the renewable projects based on their impact on transmission constraints. If PJM moves to this MISO and SPP process, we may expect similar delays.

An illustrative example of MISO South queue network upgrade costs

Below is an example of how capacity market prices impact project viability and why FERC should think of capacity market reform simultaneously with generator interconnection reform.

Take the case of a 150-MW solar project (J1465) in Louisiana. MISO’s study report shows only 55% of that capacity is deliverable to the market, and almost $32.5 million in transmission upgrade costs are assigned to the project. With a MISO capacity price of $7 per MW-day, it would take 85 years to recoup those upgrade costs. If the capacity price clears at the Cost Of New Entry (CONE) value of $250 per MW-day, it is less than 2 years for the payback period. We expect to know the latest capacity price for the Louisiana zone in mid-April 2021.

MISO T planning realizes this need to revamp cost allocation

Meeting MISO member TO needs is MISO T planning focus. Only 14% of the total 2020 MISO transmission expansion portfolio were driven by generator interconnection need. While it is important to plan for compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) planning standards, it is also important to look at renewable project developers’ needs.

MISO realizes this, and hence it is worth noting here that MISO and SPP have a joint study to address their generator interconnection queue projects. The specific reason why this is important for developers is because projects at the border of both RTOs could have an impact on each other’s T plans. That could lead to an additional delay in the coordination of who has to pay and what share of network upgrades could result from running a MISO load flow model versus SPP’s.

Additionally, on a 3-year plan basis, MISO has started the cost allocation process for combining the generator upgrade projects and the current transmission project cost categories such as baseline reliability, market efficiency, and multi-value projects.

Renewable developers share some of the blame

There are too many speculative projects in RTO interconnection queues. Developers share some of the blame behind the backlogs because too many project requests are at the same point of interconnection, within the same county, and multiple requests by the same developer even though there is no way someone can pay for upgrade costs at multiple locations. Hence to reduce the backlog and have a cleaner slate of grid operator queues, RE developers should do their share of cleaning up the queue.

The Feds can help

The FERC can help by holistically looking at generator interconnection reform, hybrid interconnections (solar and storage at the same substation), capacity market, and transmission planning reform. Having a technical conference on each of these topics serially, providing time for written comments after the tech conference, then releasing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), giving time for written comments to set the record, and then releasing a FERC Order takes at least 3 years. Developers don’t have that much time to tie up their capital.

It would be nice for the developers if the comment period ends with FERC Order, but it doesn’t because FERC gives RTOs time to file compliance plans and then implement them. And each RTO usually has the flexibility to implement a FERC Order because they all start from a different place. All this takes time that technology providers, states, cities, and communities don’t have to meet their renewable goals.

With new leadership at the Department of Energy (DOE) and new commissioners at FERC, all federal and state regulators need to focus on what the renewable project developers need.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Cleaning up renewable energy

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-03-05 08:24
A University of South Australia researcher is helping establish a lifetime stewardship scheme to manage renewable energy waste from solar panels.

by Sezen Bakan, The Lead, Australia

Australia has the highest proportion of household photovoltaic (PV) systems in the world, with more than 21 percent of homes — or around 2.59 million — now possessing a solar energy system.

It is estimated more than 100,000 tonnes of solar panels will enter Australia’s national waste stream by 2035.

Research Professor in Advanced Materials Peter Majewski is leading research at the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute to help establish a lifetime stewardship scheme for Australia’s PV industry, ensuring end-of-life strategies are in place to manage solar waste.

The University of South Australia team is working with researchers from Griffiths University and the University of Technology Sydney, as well as members of the renewable energy industry, in a group led by the Smart Energy Council.

The group’s work is aimed at developing a product stewardship scheme with funding from the Australian Federal Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund’.

“[We are currently researching] how to develop a product stewardship scheme, which is necessary in order to ensure that all stakeholders — manufactures, councils, consumers, recyclers — get guidance on what to do with the panels once they are not wanted, damaged or just very old,” Majewski said.

“So that the manufacturers know what to do and how to design panels that can be recycled, the recyclers know what to do when they recycle, and the consumer knows what will happen with the panels on their rooftop if they want to have new panels, or the panels are damaged through weather events like hail, storms or cyclones.”

The low value of materials currently found in solar panels is an issue when it comes to recycling.

“All in all, it’s not a lot of material [on a solar panel]. The valuable elements are one per cent of the weight, or even less,” Majewski said.

“So the value you can get out of the solar panel’s scrap metal is roughly five dollars at the moment.”

However, Majewski said recycling the solar panels could be more financially viable within the next 10 years, as most solar panels that were installed five to 10 years ago have a lifespan of roughly 25 years.

“The volume is there … they’re sitting on the rooftops.”

Some companies are already active in recycling solar panels, with Majewski naming Adelaide-based Reclaim PV Recycling as an example of a company refurbishing damaged solar panels.

Majewski said setting up a strong recycling industry for renewable materials would create more jobs, which he referred to as a “key component” of the exercise.

“It’s a lot of work to be done to collect solar panels, to transport them, to recycle them or to refurbish them,” he said.

“Jobs can be created and money can be earned, but at the moment the number of cells which can be recycled is still quite low, but it will increase.

“The correct thing to do is to establish something now because in 10 years’ time we have to have it in order to ensure the solar industry is still a viable industry.”

Majewski said one part of the solution would be that manufacturers need to look at ways to design products such as solar panels in a way that can be more easily recycled.

“The aim is not just to manage the end of life, but to also to convince the manufacturers to add materials to designs which can be easily recycled and to make it easier to dispose of the products and recycle the products.”

End-of-life management for PV isn’t the only challenge facing the renewables industry; a similar problem exists with the blades of wind turbines.

“They’re going to create quite a significant waste volume within the next 10, 15 years because the wind turbine blades are just huge structures,” Majewski said.

“Almost all of them are the size of a wing of a Boeing 747 and they are made from materials [such as glass or carbon fibre] which are very difficult to recycle.”

While Majewski and his fellow researchers are working to produce a product stewardship scheme regarding PV within the next two years, Majewski thinks such measures need to be thought of further in advance.

“Arrangements like product stewardship schemes and extended producer responsibility, they should be in place much earlier rather than waiting until the product creates a significant waste problem,” he said.

“We sometimes say as an example, if you would have had a product stewardship scheme in place before plastic bottles were created, then maybe we wouldn’t have plastic bottles like we do now.”

This article was first published by The Lead South Australia and was reprinted under Creative Commons.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

FedEx says it will be carbon-neutral by 2040

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-03-05 06:56
Company is going all-electric and funding a new Yale center for applied research focused on carbon-negative technologies.

FedEx Corp. announced this week that it wants to achieve carbon-neutral operations globally by 2040. The company laid out three key areas it will focus on via a $2B investment: vehicle electrification, sustainable energy, and carbon sequestration. 

This includes a pledge of $100 million to Yale University to help establish the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture, which will be focused on developing natural solutions for reducing atmospheric carbon. 

Key steps toward reaching the FedEx carbon neutral goal include:  

Vehicle Electrification. By 2040, the entire FedEx parcel pickup and delivery (PUD) fleet will be zero-emission electric vehicles. This will be accomplished through phased programs to replace existing vehicles. For example, by 2025, 50% of FedEx Express global PUD vehicle purchases will be electric, rising to 100% of all purchases by 2030.  

Fuel Conservation and Aircraft Modernization. FedEx will build on initiatives designed to reduce fuel consumption in its aircraft. Since 2012, the FedEx Fuel Sense and Aircraft Modernization programs have saved a combined 1.43 billion gallons of jet fuel and avoided over 13.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it said. 

Facilities. FedEx will continue efforts to invest in efficiency and renewables at its more than 5000 facilities worldwide.

Natural Carbon Sequestration. FedEx funding will help to establish the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture to support applied research into natural carbon sequestration solutions.  

In addition, the company said it will work with customers to help them decarbonize their supply chains and that it will invest in alternative fuels for its aircraft and vehicles.

Yale Center researchers will develop methods that build on natural carbon storage systems, including biological ecosystems and the geological carbon cycle, improving, where possible, how quickly carbon can be absorbed, how much can be contained, and how long it can be stored. Through these efforts, Yale scientists aim to create a portfolio of carbon removal strategies that have impacts on a global scale.  

Related: Carbon-negative bioenergy project underway with Chevron, Microsoft and Schlumberger

“Addressing climate change is a complex challenge that demands urgent action, and natural carbon capture strategies will be one key part of that action,” said Dr. Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke, the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean of the Yale School of the Environment. “Through the creation of the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture, we aim to develop measurable carbon capture strategies to help offset carbon emissions globally.” 

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Carbon-negative bioenergy project underway with Chevron, Microsoft and Schlumberger

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-03-05 03:32

Big name corporations Chevron and Microsoft are joining Schlumberger on a plan to develop a bioenergy project that will include carbon capture and sequestration. As a result, the energy produced would be carbon negative.

The project will be located in Mendota, California and will use an idled bioenergy plant.

The plant will convert agricultural waste biomass, such as almond trees, into a renewable synthesis gas that will be mixed with oxygen in a combustor to generate electricity. More than 99% of the carbon from the process is expected to be captured for permanent storage by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) underground into nearby deep geologic formations.

By using biomass fuel that consumes CO2 over its lifetime to produce power and then storing the produced CO2, the process is designed to result in net-negative carbon emissions, because it removes greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The plant, when completed, is expected to remove about 300,000 tons of CO2 annually.

The facility will help improve air quality in the Central Valley by using approximately 200,000 tons of agricultural waste annually, in line with the recent California Air Resources Control Board plan to begin phasing out almost all agricultural burning in the Valley by 2025, said the companies in a press release. The bioenergy technology they will use is designed to operate without routine emissions of nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and particulates from combustion produced by conventional biomass plants, they said.

The project could create up to 300 construction jobs and about 30 permanent jo bs once the facility is operating.

The companies involved expect to begin front-end engineering and design immediately, leading to a final investment decision in 2022, and will then evaluate other opportunities to scale this carbon capture and sequestration solution.

“Chevron is helping to advance a lower-carbon future,” said Bruce Niemeyer, Chevron’s vice president of strategy and sustainability. “We look forward to leveraging our experience working in California, building projects which can be repeated, and operating large-scale carbon capture and storage operations. The project is aligned with our focus on investments in low-carbontechnology to enable commercial solutions.”

“We are excited to welcome Chevron and Microsoft on this exciting opportunity, as it further demonstrates how we play an enabling role to deploy carbon capture and sequestration solutions at scale,” said Ashok Belani, Schlumberger New Energy executive vice president. “We are diversifying our portfolio of projects with partnerships in selected markets and geographies where existing policies and regulations can make projects attractive today.”

“There’s tremendous opportunity to use cloud technologies in the energy sector to help accelerate the industry’s digital transformation,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud + AI, Microsoft.

“We’re pleased to have strong partners join our efforts to address the challenges of climate change, improve air quality in the Central Valley and make a vital contribution to the local economy by restarting an idled biomass plant,” said Keith Pronske, Clean Energy Systems president and CEO.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

7.39-MW wind power plant in Japan begins operation

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-03-05 02:00

On March 2, sustainable infrastructure company Ichigo announced the completion of its 52nd power plant, Ichigo Yonezawa Itaya ECO Power Plant (Ichigo Yonezawa). Ichigo Yonezawa is the company’s first wind plant, with all of its other projects being solar.

The project is located near the border of Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures in Japan.

Ichigo Yonezawa has a capacity of 7.39 MW with the use of four 1.8475-MW Hitachi turbines. The project’s power generation is estimated to reach27,391,000kWh annually.

The construction of Ichigo Yonezawa was funded by the Shinsei Bank Green Loan program, an initiative targeted specifically to finance projects with positive environmental benefits.

Shinsei Bank recognized the Ichigo Yonezawa project for its contributions to achieving two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.

As of March 2, Ichigo has 52 plants online with a total capacity of 157.41 MW. The company projects in FY22 and onward to have 67 plants online with a total capacity of 198.93 MW.

The impact of Ichigo Yonezawa will be reflected in Ichigo’s FY22 consolidated earnings forecast, the company said.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Don’t despair about climate change, instead put your capital where it counts

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-03-04 12:49

By Gail Whiteman and Fred van Beuningen

Every major economy has an industrial zone like the Port of Rotterdam, a place where smokestacks, pipes, and tanks tell one story of climate change. Anything that can be made of crude oil is made at the Port. It is a complicated place. On the one hand, it provides jobs and the necessities of modern life. On the other, it propels us towards ecological disaster.

Depending on your perspective, the Port may cause you to feel despair and helplessness. Or, it may fill you with a sense of hope and opportunity. 

That difference brought the two of us together, as a climate scientist and an investor, to discuss how industrial zones around the world could, within a few years, tell a drastically different story about our climate. Much will depend on where financiers put their capital. 

Like Gail, you may wonder how we can possibly limit warming to +1.5° C when places reminiscent of Mordor continuously pump carbon into the atmosphere. Having presented the global risks from Arctic climate change to audiences at the World Economic Forum at Davos each year, Gail is worried. All the scientific data show the Arctic is in crisis, and this will affect lives throughout the world. 

In fact, the Arctic is warming at two times the global average. In 2020, the Arctic as a whole had its warmest year on record since data collection began in 1979. Record temperatures were reached in Siberia over the summer (+100° Fahrenheit / 38° C), resulting in wildfires that, in turn, released a never-before-seen amount of emissions.

Fred, who for 23 years has commuted along the Botlek terminal highway with its sweeping views of the Port, sees something different. An industrialist turned venture investor, Fred knows that the Port is becoming one of the world’s most sustainable industrial clusters. Good-faith efforts to reuse carbon, heat and steam are underway with a target to reduce the Port’s emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2025. 

Where Gail sees despair, Fred sees opportunity.

Where Gail sees despair, Fred sees opportunity. The EU’s climate commitments mean that we will replace those smokestacks with clean technologies, sooner or later. Scientists say we must. Governments say we should. The innovators say we can. Investors say…well…not much, with some exceptions.

Thus, our message to financial institutions is as follows: now is the time to act with your dollars, euros, francs, pesos, pounds, riyals, rupees, yen, yuan, and won. Now is the time to put your capital where it counts.

What does that mean?

The value of ESG assets surpassed $40.5 trillion in 2020. That’s outstanding. However, too many ESG funds merely invest in low-carbon tech companies from Silicon Valley, not in the startups developing essential climate technologies. They invest in less bad instead of different and better. 

We want to direct your attention—and resources—to companies that can make a difference. Those that can restore natural carbon sinks through soil sequestration, ecosystem recovery, and regenerative agriculture. Those that can create artificial sinks with technological carbon capture, utilization, and storage. And those that can transform the Port of Rotterdam into the clean, circular cluster of the future. 

This economic transformation is coming, and it will affect your balance sheets. Countries, cities and regions representing over 50 percent of world GDP have net-zero targets in place, as do more than 1,500 companies with combined revenues of $12.5 trillion USD. 

Solar and wind energy, electric vehicles, and plant-based meats are outcompeting their subsidized, carbon-intensive predecessors. Exxon Mobil, the most valuable U.S. company a mere seven years ago, is out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Tesla, a pioneer in electric vehicles and battery technology, is now part of the S&P 500.

Mitigating climate change will require more than just updated stock indices. We advocate for the approach outlined in “A System Change Compass”, co-authored by Systemiq and The Club of Rome. It aligns scientific research, policymaking, business ecosystems, venture capital and international cooperation towards a post-COVID economic revitalization strategy that can hold climate change to no more than +1.5° C of warming. For that outcome to occur, worldwide emissions must reach net-zero by 2050 at latest. 

The roadmap may be complex, but the financial math isn’t. Moody’s Analytics predicts that +2°C of warming would cost the global economy $69 trillion USD by 2100, not including the incalculable losses borne by communities that face rising sea levels, crop failure, devastating heatwaves and displacement from their homes. The cost of inaction is too high.

We want financiers to commit $1 trillion USD annually to decarbonization and negative emissions technologies. That is likely enough capital to mitigate emissions from seven sectors: cement, chemicals, electric power, mining, steel, transport, and oil and gas. These account for about 40% of global emissions but remain integral to modern standards of living.

With access to a portfolio of decarbonization technologies, the Port of Rotterdam could look radically different in 10 years. North Sea wind installations could produce enough clean electricity and hydrogen to replace the coal-fired smokestacks. The Port’s circular economy could recycle waste carbon into the biochemical feedstocks and clean products of the future. 

Imagine if industrial complexes on six continents followed the Port’s lead. The returns to investors would be immense. More importantly, though, these investments could help to regenerate the world economy, creating an abundance of new jobs. The Arctic sea ice, a driver of climate stability and biodiversity on this planet, might be preserved for future generations. 

We joined together, one climate scientist and one investor, to share our sense of despair and hope. Scientists have a responsibility to share the truth, no matter how difficult it is to hear. In return, financiers have a fiduciary and moral responsibility to invest in the future as it will be. 

So put your capital where it counts. Those smokestacks, pipes and tanks won’t replace themselves.

About the Authors

Gail Whiteman is Professor of Sustainability at the University of Exeter Business School (UK), and Founder of Arctic Basecamp, a not for profit science outreach platform. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Frontier Risk, keynote speaker in person at Davos in 2020, “What’s at Stake: The Arctic,” alongside Sanna Marin (Prime Minister, Finland) and Al Gore.  In 2021, she organised and participated in a High Level Panel with TIME Magazine as part of WEF’s media programme for the online Davos Agenda, together with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Robert Downey Jr., Baroness Bryony Worthington, Rainn Wilson, and Eric Rondolat.  She is the Professor-in-Residence at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and a social science expert on global risk from climate change.

 Fred van Beuningen is Managing Partner at Chrysalix Venture Capital. Educated at Erasmus University in Rotterdam and INSEAD, France, Fred has worked as Executive Board member and CEO  for international companies in Oil & Gas, Packaging, Industrial Gas and Chemicals. Most recently, Fred served as Corporate Director of Innovation at global chemicals & coatings company AkzoNobel and worked on the integration of sustainability in the company’s strategy. Fred serves as Board member of different public – private organizations aimed at energy transition and circular economy.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

More US wind power capacity was installed in 2020 than in any other year

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-03-04 10:13

According to recent data released from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in both 2019 and 2020, project developers in the United States installed more wind power capacity than any other generating technology.

In its Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, annual wind turbine capacity additions in the United States set a record in 2020, totaling 14.2 gigawatts (GW) and surpassing the previous record of 13.2 GW added in 2012. After this record year for wind turbine capacity additions, total wind turbine capacity in the United States is now 118 GW.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

The impending phaseout of the full value of the U.S. production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2020 primarily drove investments in wind turbine capacity that year, just as previous tax credit reductions led to significant wind capacity additions in 2012 and 2019. In December 2020, Congress extended the PTC for another year.

Texas has the most wind turbine capacity among states: 30.2 GW were installed as of December 2020. In 2020, Texas generated more electricity from wind than the next three highest states (Iowa, Oklahoma, and Kansas) combined. However, Texas generates and consumes more total electricity than any other state, and wind remains slightly less than 20% of the state’s electricity generation mix.

In two other states—Iowa and Kansas—wind is the most prevalent source of in-state electricity generation. In both states, wind surpassed coal as the state’s top electricity generation source in 2019.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

Nationally, 8.4% of utility-scale electricity generation in 2020 came from wind turbines. Many of the turbines added in late 2020 will contribute to increases in wind-powered electricity generation in 2021. EIA expects wind’s share of electricity generation to increase to 10% in 2021, according to forecasts in EIA’s most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Principal contributors to this report: Richard Bowers, Owen Comstock

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Oceanus and EDF advance pumped hydro and reverse osmosis system in Latin America

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-03-04 08:00

Oceanus Power & Water LLC, through its subsidiary Oceanus Energia y Agua de Sudamerica SpA, announces a cooperation agreement with EDF to explore various possibilities and conditions for the implementation of the world’s first Integrated Pump Hydro Reverse Osmosis Clean Energy System (IPHROCES) in Latin America, with primary focus in the Andean Region.

IPHROCES technology aims to deliver energy storage services and desalinated water from the same facility.

In Latin America, the power generation sector is going through a rapid transition toward the decarbonization of the grid. Moreover, Latin America is one of the most affected regions by climate change and its countries are increasingly concerned about the decreasing resilience and security of water supplies.

The IPHROCES concept integrates seawater pumped hydro energy storage and reverse osmosis desalination. IPHROCES has the potential to provide low-cost, long-duration energy storage to aid the region’s transition to clean energy by storing excess wind and solar energy for delivery during peak demand periods. In addition, the solution will provide a local, resilient supply of potable, desalinated water.

The integration of these technologies results in material economic and environmental benefits that cannot be cost effectively achieved independently, according to a press release. The IPHROCES concept is well-suited to help regions and countries proactively address some of the growing challenges of our changing climate at the utility scale.

“We are excited to team up with EDF. The synergies between Oceanus and EDF rely on both companies impressive track record in power and water projects across the globe,” said Joan Leal, president of Oceanus South America. “I always envisioned to implement IPHROCES in Latin America, to alleviate the severe water crisis that the region is facing and to contribute to its goal [to be] carbon-neutral based on renewable energy. IPHROCES can significantly benefit the region by providing low-cost clean water and renewable energy as well as helping to reactive the local economy and job creation.”

During our November HYDROVISION Exchange, Leal gave a technical presentation in the Energy Storage session on the Oceanus technology. Click here to access that session.

Neal Aronson, president of Oceanus, commented “Oceanus is thrilled to partner with one of the world’s leaders in low-carbon energy, and more specifically pumped hydro energy storage, on this exciting opportunity. EDF and Oceanus share values on how to contribute to solve the challenges of our climate crisis using existing technologies and to deliver low cost, clean energy and fresh water. Oceanus looks forward to working with EDF to explore opportunities for the development of IPHROCES facilities, wherever large populations reside in semiarid coastal regions.”

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Retail electricity provider Peninsula Clean Energy now offering 100% emission-free power

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-03-03 08:51

Peninsula Clean Energy said it has begun providing 100 percent carbon-free electricity to all of its nearly 300,000 customers, which is ahead of California’s 2045 zero-emission power generation mandate and a step in helping the agency achieve its ultimate goal of providing all customers 100 percent renewable power on a 24/7 basis.

Since large hydropower is emission-free but not counted as renewable in California, the agency said all customers are receiving at least 50 percent renewable power generated by solar, wind, biomass and small hydropower projects. 

 The remainder of the emission-free power will be provided from large hydropower. None of that generation in 2021 will stem from nuclear power. The agency’s 2020 power mix was 95 percent carbon-free. 

Peninsula Clean Energy customers will continue to receive this clean power at rates lower than those charged by PG&E, it said.

ECO-100 customers will continue to receive all electricity from wind and solar power.  

“Congratulations to Peninsula Clean Energy for moving to carbon-free electricity,” said State Senator Josh Becker (D-Peninsula), vice chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies. “California needs to speed its transition to 100 percent clean energy. That’s why I introduced legislation calling for a 24/7 Clean Energy Standard to provide California with a stronger, swifter pathway to success. Peninsula Clean Energy’s leadership is critical for the community it serves and our area, and provides me with a good case study I can take to Sacramento.”  

“Community-based providers are proving that we all can, and must, provide affordable and reliable emission-free power to our customers before it is too late to successfully mitigate climate change,” Peninsula Clean Energy CEO Jan Pepper said. “We hope our experience can serve as a model for other power providers to follow here in California and beyond.”

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Categories: Renewable Energy

2020 tipped the balance for British renewable energy

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-03-03 08:27
Annual figures show that renewable supply outpaced fossil fuels for the first time.

New research by Drax Electric Insights shows that the UK broke all records last year for renewable energy consumption.

42% of all energy used across the country through 2020 came from wind, solar, tidal and hydro. Conversely, energy produced by fossil fuels fell to just 39.6%, marking the first time that clean energy has consistently outperformed legacy sources.

The authors of the report also showed that carbon emissions fell by 16% compared to figures from 2019.

Covid19 created a fall in generation demand

At a first glance, the figures might not be too surprising.

Consistent reports from last year demonstrated that 2020 was going to be an incredible year for energy/environmental figures. By late Spring, we were receiving reports that the UK’s coal-powered energy had fallen to ‘pre-industrial revolution levels’, and by the summer, that pollution levels had dropped by half.

Naturally, energy demand declined as office blocks fell dark and leisure activities were suspended, but these latest Drax figures indicate something else.

These figures aren’t just about incredibly low consumption, but about a dramatic uplift in renewables.

Why that might be the case has been sketched out by the IEA in their latest Global Energy Review. According to their findings, renewables are resilient to falls in electricity demand because “they are generally dispatched before other electricity sources due to their low operating costs or regulations that give them priority.”

With countries deliberately in energy transition, such as the UK, this is certainly the case.

Covid19 appears to have met the headwind of increased Government focus on renewables, to fuel a bumper year for renewables output.

Ruth Chapman of Dulas agrees, saying that, “We’ve seen an enormous and concerted effort to move the dial over the past ten years. Back in 2011, the UK was hovering at just 12% renewable generation, but energy policy and an appetite for change is rapidly accelerating our developments. This latest data set tangibly demonstrates that prioritisation policy has an enormous impact.”

The greatest successes

By viewing the year behind us as a test case, it’s obvious that Westminster needs to heavily fund and support two particular technologies: wind and solar.

These two technologies delivered a third of all of Britain’s energy last year, in a clear demonstration that both have matured into reliable and compelling sources of energy.

This is excellent news from an environmental perspective and indicates that green solutions have finally gone fully mainstream.

Full steam ahead

Despite these paradigm-shifting results, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned that Britain will have to double its total of clean energy generation by 2025, to stay on course to meet its climate goals.

By investing heavily in existing ‘tried and tested’ technologies and by adopting new carbon capture, hydrogen and storage developments, it’s hoped that the UK will hit its self-set deadline and secure its ambition to be a global leader in green tech.

Lead author of the Drax report Iain Staffell said that: “2020 saw Britain edge closer to the power system of the future with renewables generating more power than fossil fuels.”

“The next steps we must take towards a net zero power system will be more challenging – driving out the last sources of fossil carbon will require us to go beyond just having more wind and solar power.”

“New business models, backed by policy and investment, will be needed to bring advanced-but-proven technologies into the mainstream. This means that the electricity used in homes, hospitals, offices and factories could even be carbon negative – sourced from a range of low, zero carbon and negative emissions technologies.”

The broader picture

Figures for global energy consumption are due out later in the summer, but it is anticipated that we will see a big leap from 2019’s data set.

According to the IEA, “Renewable energy has been the energy source most resilient to Covid‑19 lockdown measures. Renewable electricity has been largely unaffected while demand has fallen for other uses of renewable energy.”

The IEA’s modelling anticipates that despite “Despite supply chain disruptions that have paused or delayed activity in several key regions, the expansion of solar, wind and hydro power is expected to help renewable electricity generation to rise by nearly 5%.”

Given what’s happened in the UK over the past year, 5% might well prove to be an incredibly conservative estimate.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

CSI and Pineapple Energy merging to focus on residential DER market and VPPs

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-03-03 07:05

Communications Systems, Inc. (CSI), an IoT intelligent edge products and services company, announced that it entered into a definitive merger agreement with privately held Pineapple Energy, an operator and consolidator of residential solar, battery storage, and grid services solutions.

Upon closing, CSI will commence doing business as Pineapple Energy, with a business model focused on the rapidly growing home solar industry, it said.

Founded in November 2020 by private equity firm Northern Pacific Group and seasoned industry executives, Pineapple provides solar, battery storage and other energy services to homeowners. Through its unique “battery-first” business model, Pineapple will offer compelling residential solar power systems, with longer-term plans to aggregate its customer fleet into regional virtual power plants.

Commenting on Pineapple’s vision for the future of energy, Pineapple’s Chief Executive Officer Kyle Udseth said, “We see the energy system of tomorrow as a decentralized network grown from the grass roots of individual homeowners and their solar-plus-battery systems. Our vision is for Pineapple to become a champion for homeowners in this energy transition by delivering the best customer experience in a consultative manner. We will offer the full range of financing options and a broad selection of hardware from leading manufacturers, all with the purpose of empowering homeowners and giving them choice. We want to always stay aligned with our customers’ interests, including as we share future grid-services revenues.”

Pineapple recently signed definitive agreements to acquire Hawaii Energy Connection (HEC) and E-GEAR, both Hawaii-based sustainable energy solution providers. These follow on Pineapple’s acquisitions of Horizon Solar Power and certain assets of Sungevity in December 2020.

Udseth noted, “The anticipated addition of HEC and E-GEAR to the Pineapple family will solidify our foundation and expand our geographic footprint. We intend to leverage HEC’s experience in storage design, installation and support, as well as E-GEAR’s proprietary distributed aggregation, control and grid service technology. These advantages will enhance our product offering through the mainland US, including in underpenetrated markets such as Florida and Texas.

CSI putting some assets up for sale

Members of both CSI’s and Pineapple’s management teams will assume leadership roles in the combined company. Roger H.D. Lacey, Executive Chairman of CSI, and Mark Fandrich, CSI’s Chief Financial Officer, are expected to remain in these same roles. The Company expects to remain in its current headquarters near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Lacey commented, “Over the last three years, CSI’s Special Committee oversaw a series of initiatives designed to drive shareholder value. In 2020, we completed a reorganization of our business. While pleased with our progress, we have concluded that our two current operating segments would provide more substantial long-term growth opportunities to organizations that can unlock additional synergies, expand into adjacent markets, add scale, and broaden their existing product lines. We are committed to finding new owners for these businesses that can continue their long tradition of quality products and services but remain committed to supporting these businesses and their current operations and customers during this process. Meanwhile, by re-inventing CSI through this proposed merger, we will set the stage to become a fast-growing and profitable company, with a focus on delivering immediate value to our shareholders while retaining an opportunity for long-term appreciation.”

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Evolugen and Gazifère announce hydrogen injection projects to be powered by hydro

Renewable Energy - Tue, 2021-03-02 09:21

Evolugen, the Canadian operating business of Brookfield Renewable, and Gazifère Inc., an Enbridge company, announced a green hydrogen project for injection into a natural gas distribution network in Quebec, Canada, to be powered by hydro.

The Quebec-based companies, as part of a collaboration formed to advance the development and use of green hydrogen, announced plans to build and operate an about 20-MW water electrolysis hydrogen production plant in the Outaouais region. The facility will result in significant reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and generate considerable benefits regionally, provincially and nationally, a press release said.

The plant will be built in the Masson sector of the City of Gatineau, adjacent to Evolugen’s hydroelectric facilities, which will power the electrolyzer. An estimated capacity of about 425,000 GJ of green hydrogen will be produced for injection into Gazifère’s natural gas distribution network, making this the first project of its kind in Canada.

The project will remove about 15,000 metric tons in GHG emissions per year, in addition to generating significant local economic benefits, including new jobs and additional property tax revenue.

This project represents the first phase in the creation of a regional green economy ecosystem centered around the production, distribution and use of green hydrogen. With support from the municipal, provincial and federal governments, Evolugen and Gazifère are well-positioned to leverage numerous strategic assets, including access to natural resources and the expertise of the local workforce.

“As an experienced renewable energy generation developer, owner and operator, Evolugen sees green hydrogen as a natural progression and fit in its portfolio of clean energy solutions. This project aligns with and furthers Evolugen’s objectives to put its capital, expertise and resources to work to support governments, businesses and communities in reaching their energy transition and decarbonization goals,” said Josée Guibord, Evolugen chief executive officer.

“Green hydrogen can play a major role in Quebec’s energy transition by offering a sustainable, low-carbon energy solution. With the production, transportation and distribution of green hydrogen, Gazifère has the ambition to provide its customers with an increasingly diversified portfolio of renewable natural gas options. This is another important example of Enbridge’s multi-market approach to green the natural gas grid while continuing to meet the demand for safe, reliable and affordable energy,” said Cynthia Hansen, executive vice president and president, gas distribution and storage, Enbridge.

Evolugen owns and operates 61 renewable energy facilities in Canada — including 33 hydroelectric facilities, four wind farms, and 24 solar sites — with a total installed capacity of 1,912 MW.

Gazifère is a private corporation employing 110 people. Established in the Outaouais region since 1959, it is one of two distributors of natural gas in Quebec. The company serves more than 43,500 residential, commercial, institutional and industrial customers and owns and operates a 1,000-km gas supply system. Gazifère holds a franchise for the Outaouais region and supplies the city of Gatineau as well as the municipality of Chelsea.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

What is driving record rooftop solar volumes in Australia?

Renewable Energy - Tue, 2021-03-02 07:13

Despite the challenges of 2020, the solar market has continued to grow and has posted record high installation figures for the year. Across Australia just under 3GW of solar capacity was added from homeowners and small businesses (projects under 100kW in capacity) installing solar panels to tackle their rising energy costs, up 43% from 2.1GW in 2019 (Sunwiz Annual Report).

Three drivers of recent growth in the Australian rooftop solar industry

The number of solar installations in Australia has passed 2.5 million in 2020. Solar power has become a mass market product and is driven by a strong financial and environmental return. The exceptional growth in 2020 has been bolstered by the below 3 drivers.

  1. Greater time to focus on home improvements

As the working population shifted to less hours and flexible working situations, many Australians took the opportunity to tackle home improvements. Evidence of this can be seen as Australia’s largest retailer of home improvement products and building supplies announced a 14% increase revenue during 2020 to $15b in their latest annual report. Data from the Commonwealth Bank (Australia’s largest retail bank) showed that consumer spending on household furnishings and equipment was up 53% in April 2020 year on year. The rooftop solar industry realised similar growth with consumers finding time to progress solar projects that had previously been too time-consuming.

  • Flexible working means larger home energy bills

The rise in flexible workers energy bills presented another key driver for the uptake of residential solar systems. Research from Roy Morgan showed that over 4.3 million people (or almost a third of working Australians) were working from home by mid-2020. Working from home often means greater daytime electrical usage with greater use of Air Conditioning to keep workspaces warm and other lights and kitchen appliances. For houses that were left empty during the day under usual working circumstances, this meant a significant increase in electrical usage. Solar is one of the most cost-effective ways of tackling home energy prices.

  • Solar prices continue to fall to record lows

The cost to install solar has continued to fall through-out the year with residential solar prices dropping 13.2% in 2020 following a decade long trend as tracked by the Solar Choice Price Index. This is despite the number of certificates in Australia’s federal solar rebate declining each year, effectively applying around a 5% increase in the net price paid by customers. At current prices a most homeowners can expect an appropriately sized solar system to pay for itself in 2 to 4 years. Small businesses with most of their electrical usage during the day can typically expect a system to cover its cost in less than 3 years and in some cases less than 12 months. The trend of falling prices has forecast by Dr Martin Green to continue (Smart Energy Conf 2020), with his estimates that underlying solar panel costs may reach US$0.10 per watt in the next 2-3 years.

With zero daily community transmitted COVID-19 cases across most Australian states, a vaccination roadmap starting to be formed and economic activity rapidly returning to normal in the early parts of 2021, it appears the Australian rooftop solar industry is in a healthy position going forward.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

New ‘decade that matters’ report shows shifting attitudes about renewables and climate change

Renewable Energy - Tue, 2021-03-02 02:00
Over the past ten years, vocabulary moved from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ to ‘climate crisis.’

On March 1, BayWa r.e. launched its new “Decade That Matters” report, a deep dive into online climate discussions over the past 10 years and what these may tell us about where we are heading over the next 10 years. The report highlights how attitudes to the environment have shifted, how discourse was becoming more urgent and how Covid-19 has affected the global online climate conversation.    

 Report authors curated and analyzed 10-years of data across social media, news and blogging platforms, including Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and Google, drawing on 1.3 trillion public documents. To get a clearer view of the recent rapidity of change, the report includes a more specific investigation into the conversations from 2018 to 2020.

The overall volume of conversations around the topic of ‘climate change’ grew by 110% in 2019 when compared to 2018. But the report also shows a decade-long international shift in public awareness and an evolution in vocabulary as our discussions have moved from ‘global warming’, to ‘climate change’ and, most recently, the use of more urgent language and the beginnings of a further shift towards the more immediate ‘climate crisis’.

Carbon-related conversations (zero, neutral, etc.) are also growing – up 133% year on year in 2019 compared to 2018, and up a further 26% in 2020. Similarly, mentions of ‘clean energy’ and ‘renewable energy’ have grown from under one million per month in 2010, to as many as six million per month in 2019.

Covid-19 takes over

Not surprisingly, the climate discussion was stunted when Covid-19 hit in 2020. In the face of the pandemic, the volume of discussions around both the climate and renewable energy solutions decreased. Looking at all online platforms as a whole, mention volumes of climate topics fell more than a million per month from a peak in January 2020, falling 41% on Twitter and 24% across news publications. 

With offices shutting down globally due to the virus, ‘Working from Home’-related conversations in 2020 were five times higher over the course of March, April and May, than they were in January and February, while searches for the term jumped by several orders of magnitude. 

Shifting workplaces shows the adaptability of humans

This ability to adapt to change provides a source of inspiration, said BayWa.r.e. Indeed, through the conversations that have taken place, we see the pandemic has proved our ability to respond and react to threats on a global scale – through societal reengineering, governmental adaptability and industry-wide reorganisation.  

We are also seeing unimaginable sums of money diverted to address the short-term impacts and longer-term recovery.  And it is here that we may find hope. It is this kind of systemic transformation that BayWa r.e. is hoping can be replicated for the good of the environment.

Matthias Taft, BayWa r.e. CEO commented: “Ten years ago, when BayWa r.e. was founded, we were all already keenly aware that the world had entered a state of profound change. Now, ten years on, we are at a unique point in time. Covid-19 has shown us that when we listen and act on what the science tells us, we have the capacity to pull together and achieve incredible things. We must now see that same sense of urgency applied to addressing the climate crisis. 

 “This report aims to separate the signal from the noise. The decade of debate, supposition and speculation has ended: for us at BayWa r.e., the ‘Decade That Matters’ is the decade in which we must finally make actions speak louder than words. Where those conversations go next – and what we as business leaders, governments and society decide to do next – will determine our direction of travel for the rest of this decade.”

 View the full report here

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Should big utilities pay for their bad choices?

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-03-01 23:35

Originally published at ILSR.org

An advocacy group in Boulder, Colo. has made the case for why utilities, not customers, should be responsible for the cost of retiring fossil fuel assets.

For this episode of the Local Energy Rules podcast, host John Farrell speaks with Leslie Glustrom, an advocate with Clean Energy Action in Boulder. They discussed Clean Energy Action’s white paper on utility accountability and how we can equitably transition to a clean energy future for a recent episode of ILSR’s Building Local Power podcast, republished here for Local Energy Rules.

Listen to the full episode and explore more resources below — including a transcript and summary of the conversation.

Podcast (localenergyrules): Play in new window | Download | Embed

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | RSSEpisode Transcript

Securitization: One Tool for Early Fossil Fuel Retirement

Leslie Glustrom, a biochemist-turned-clean energy advocate, was a founding member of Clean Energy Action. She has been volunteering in support of carbon-free, local energy for 20 years. For her, accelerating the transition to clean energy means helping other energy industry outsiders grapple with complex concepts – one being securitization.

Farrell compares securitization to refinancing a house. Essentially, it allows utilities to refinance their debt owed on aging power plants. When a coal plant is retired before the end of its useful life, the remainder of that plant’s useful life must be paid off. Securitization can lower the rates on these payments from seven percent to three percent.

Securitization is a cheaper way to retire fossil fuel plants early. However, securitization leaves utility customers on the hook for paying “ratepayer obligation charge bonds.” A large share of the burden will fall on small businesses and low-income customers, who are less likely to have solar power or other insulation from utility charges.

The endgame is to have ratepayers pay off the utility problem… I’m just not fully on board with assuming that rate payers should pay off utility’s mistakes. Privatizing the Risks and Not Just the Profits

Glustrom is critical of a Rocky Mountain Institute report on coal plant retirement, which essentially assumes that utility customers will bear the burden. Instead, she wants to reframe the conversation. Communities are already burdened by the pollution and climate impacts of fossil fuel plants, so why should they carry the financial burden of retiring them early?

In most businesses, if you’re caught carrying the fashions from five years ago and you can’t sell them, that’s your problem.

The new white paper by Clean Energy Action explores how many tools, including securitization, can be properly implemented to “retire coal plants and fossil fuel assets early and more equitably.”

Like all tools, there’s a time to use it at a time to not use it.

Ultimately, responsibility for fossil fuel debt will be decided by public utility commissions. Commissions are unlikely to shift responsibility entirely to the utility, but Glustrom hopes they will be open to splitting the burden between the utility and ratepayers.

Read John Farrell’s testimony in support of an improved securitization bill advancing in the Minnesota House.

How Long Have Utilities Known the Costs of Climate Change?

Electric utilities are granted monopolies in the interest of customer service, but making investments in fossil fuel infrastructure has been contrary to the public interest for some time.

Thanks to Eunice Foote, says Glustrom, climate science has been clear since the 1850s. At that time, utilities had few cost-effective alternatives to coal and gas-fired generation. Now, solar plus storage is the cheapest way to generate electricity – and it curbs greenhouse gas emissions. At what point should utilities have realized that fossil fuels were a bad bet?

Read the Energy And Policy Institute report Utilities Knew: Documenting Electric Utilities’ Early Knowledge and Ongoing Deception on Climate Change From 1968-2017

To hold utilities accountable for poor investment decisions, public utility commissions could determine what utilities should have known at the time of their fossil fuel investment. If a utility built a coal plant in 2010, for example, the commission could hold the utility responsible for retiring the plant early. The utility should have known better and it had other options.

Given what the utilities knew, or should have known, should they have invested in a billion dollar coal plant that they thought would operate until 2070? The Need for Broader Grid Reform

Farrell and Glustrom also discuss problems with the energy system more broadly. The top-down electric grid, which transmits electricity hundreds of miles from large generators, is not adaptive to our present circumstances. While customer-sited generation and storage is becoming more popular, storms and natural disasters are becoming more destructive and frequent.

When we rely on the big grid, we end up with big problems.

Glustrom hopes that as coal and gas plants retire and we transition to a cleaner grid, we can also envision a decentralized electric grid – but it’s going to take a revolution, she says.

The first thing we have to do is to not accept that the 20th century structure is the proper structure for the 21st century. Episode Notes

See these resources for more behind the story:

For concrete examples of how cities can take action toward gaining more control over their clean energy future, explore ILSR’s Community Power Toolkit.

Explore local and state policies and programs that help advance clean energy goals across the country, using ILSR’s interactive Community Power Map.

This is episode 123 of Local Energy Rules, an ILSR podcast with Energy Democracy Director John Farrell, which shares powerful stories of successful local renewable energy and exposes the policy and practical barriers to its expansion.

Local Energy Rules is Produced by ILSR’s John Farrell and Maria McCoy. Audio engineering for this episode by Drew Birschbach.

This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter, our energy work on Facebook, or sign up to get the Energy Democracy weekly update

Featured Photo Credit:  Alan Stark via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Mitsubishi gas turbine being developed to burn ammonia commercially by 2025

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-03-01 08:30

Mitsubishi Power is developing a 40-MW gas turbine that would be fueled 100 percent by ammonia.

The Japan-based power equipment giant, which already is hard at work adapting its natural gas-fired turbines to burn hydrogen, now is aiming at another potential carbon-free power resource. The company hopes to guide the ammonia-fired technology toward commercialization by 2025.

If and when achieved, Mitsubishi Power says it would be world’s first commercialized gas turbine to make exclusive use of ammonia as a fuel. The effort was started in response to the ever increasing global move toward carbon-free power generation. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Decarbonization and Hydrogen will be two of the content tracks at POWERGEN International Jan. 26-28 in Dallas. The call for speakers is going out soon).

Ammonia, which is a compound consisting of hydrogen and nitrogen, is a highly efficient hydrogen carrier, and it can also be directly combusted as fuel. In recent years, attention has begun to focus on ammonia from two perspectives: achieving carbon neutrality through transition to a hydrogen society, and minimizing environmental impact caused by existing energy modes.

“Expectations are held that early introduction of ammonia-based power generation equipment at power companies and independent power providers (IPPs) will promote ammonia’s future use as a carbon-free fuel,” the company said in its press release announcing the development project.

A challenge needing to be addressed with direct combustion of ammonia is the production of nitrogen oxide (NOx) caused by oxidation resulting from the combustion of the nitrogen component of the fuel. Mitsubishi Power is aiming to resolve this issue through commercialization of a gas turbine system that combines selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with a newly developed combustor that reduces NOx emissions, for installation in the Company’s H-25 Series gas turbines.

Mitsubishi Power already is underway on projects with utilities such as Entergy and Intermountain Power Agency on hydrogen-fueled power generation projects.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

2020 was a record-setting year for global offshore wind investment

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-03-01 07:48

Global financial investment for offshore wind capacity set records in 2020, according to new research released last month. Data from the Renewables Consulting Group’s (RCG’s) Global Renewable Infrastructure Projects (GRIP) database shows that the total capacity financed for offshore wind last year reached 8,370 megawatts (MW) across the European, Americas and Asia Pacific (excl. China) regions, eclipsing the previous total of 6,438 MW financed in 2018. Global investment for offshore wind also set new highs last year as investment reached USD 30 billion, surpassing the previous high of USD 22 billion set in 2018.

“Global offshore wind continues its extraordinary growth,” explains Maxwell Clarke, an Associate in RCG’s market intelligence team. “Despite the pandemic, 2020 saw more offshore wind capacity financed than any year before. Across global markets, record capacity investments were not only seen in firm commitments to build projects, but also in capacity acquired through mergers and acquisitions.”

Several notable offshore wind projects, such as Dogger Bank A&B, the world’s largest offshore wind project, reached their final investment decisions (FID) in 2020. The FID – the point where major equipment orders are placed, and contracts executed for the engineering, procurement and construction stage – signifies that developers and owners/operators have made a firm commitment to move forward with the project.

Route to market

Each country where offshore wind projects attained the FID milestone – the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Germany and Taiwan – utilized some type of framework agreement such as the UK’s contracts for differences or the feed-in-tariff model used in Taiwan and China.

“Our analysis demonstrates the importance of markets having a proper route-to-market to push offshore wind projects to completion” notes RCG’s Clarke. “The build out of commercial-scale offshore wind globally remains centered on markets with structured route to market mechanisms reducing investment risk.”

The UK saw more than 3,658 MW in capacity secure investment with 2,950 MW supported by the contracts for difference (CFD) mechanism. In the Netherlands, the centrally planned and developed Hollandse Kust Zuid and Hollandse Kust Noord sites were advanced through the subsidy-free tendering mechanism allocating a combined 2,299 MW in capacity.

In Taiwan, the Changfang and Xaido projects reached FID having signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with an associated feed-in-tariff (FiT) as part of the Zonal Application planning process, allowing 589 MW to move to the pre-construction phase.

In France, the Saint Brieuc and Fecamp projects both reached FID after being awarded FiTs in 2018 (after revisions to the FiT rates previously awarded in 2012). In Germany, Innogy (as part of RWE Renewables) committed to the Kaskasi 2 project in April, after winning the second interim tender for offshore wind in Germany.

The UK led the way with both CfD subsidy secured and merchant supported projects from the third allocation round (AR3) in 2019 committing to firm investments. The Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo project, initially developed by SSE Renewables, notably reached FID in June with oil and gas major Total partnering them on the project. The CfD awarded for the Seagreen project covers 454 MW of the combined 1,140 MW site, or 39% of the combined capacity for site A and site B.

Seagreen will therefore be the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in Europe to be majority-funded without subsidy support. Total’s partnership on the project both raised the necessary capital for the investment decision and de-risked the investment for the project. The French oil major acquired a 51% interest in the project as part of the acquisition.

Elsewhere in the UK, having also secured a route to market in the AR3 CfD auction the Dogger Bank A&B projects reached FID in November. While the project partners Equinor, SSE and Eni have only progressed the first two phases of the three-phase project in 2020, it remains the largest offshore wind capacity investment commitment in the industry’s history. Upon completion of the two sites, forecast for 2025, the A&B development will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world. Eni was announced as a project partner following the FID on the projects, securing a 10% interest from Equinor and SSE respectively.

China’s offshore wind market – which is slated to surpass the UK as the leading global market in operational capacity by the end of this year – experienced unprecedented growth and project deployment last year. In 2019 the Chinese market introduced price-based offshore wind tenders and announced that the FiT rate for projects consented in future tenders would be phased out for 2022, requiring bid prices to compete with wholesale market rates from then on. In order to qualify for the soon-to-expire FiT, projects successful in lease auctions since 2019 must commission the site by the end of 2021 resulting in a massive development rush that has seen over 5 GW of new capacity come online in 2020, with over 10 GW at various stages of construction.

“The data clearly demonstrates the importance of markets that feature a clear mechanism to market,” Clarke says. While emerging markets have seen unprecedented growth in 2020, in terms of new project announcements and portfolio development, firm investment to take projects forward still requires a reduction in relative asset risk.

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“The importance of risk-free project development was further highlighted this week with the announcement of winners in the UK’s Round 4 offshore wind lease auction. Although not a firm commitment to construct projects, winning bids submitted by consortium partners of BP and EnBW of £231m per project site illustrates the value of securing a lease area for project development in a low-risk environment with an established route-to-market framework.

“With offshore wind and renewable energy touted by many as a global success story in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and a pillar of future energy generation and economic growth, emerging markets must formalize secure route-to-market mechanisms for real project investment to be realized.”

In 2020 and early 2021, this need for project de-risking has been recognized in Greece, Sweden, Brazil, Romania and Bulgaria, with respective governments openly exploring offshore wind frameworks and incentivizing forward market growth.

Note on China: Comprehensive project detail for offshore wind farms in China has been added to RCG’s proprietary GRIP database in 2020, after expanding its market intelligence capabilities in the sector. Despite signs that China is gradually opening up to international developers and supply chain players, the market remains very isolationist and project details are not made public in a structured format that reciprocates development phases of offshore wind markets in Europe, the Americas and elsewhere in the APAC region.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Granholm sworn in as 16th Secretary at U.S. Department of Energy

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-02-26 08:19

Jennifer M. Granholm was sworn in Feb. 25 as the 16th Secretary of Energy by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, after a confirmation vote of 64-35 in the U.S. Senate.

Secretary Granholm is only the second woman to lead the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

“I am humbled by the faith President Biden has placed in me to lead this incredible team at the Department of Energy,” said Secretary Granholm. “DOE is powered by brilliant scientists, engineers, and energy policy experts who are the very best for the job we’ve been tasked with: to develop and deploy new clean energy technologies that will achieve the Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and secure our nation’s future. I am so ready to work alongside them as we kickstart America’s clean energy revolution, create millions of good-paying union jobs, and deliver benefits to American workers and communities across the nation.”

After her swearing-in ceremony, Secretary Granholm released a video message and blog post explaining how DOE will tackle climate change by deploying clean energy solutions that deliver cheap, abundant and clean power to fuel America’s clean energy revolution.

Previously, Granholm was the first woman elected Governor of Michigan, serving two terms from 2003 to 2011. Facing economic downturns caused by the Great Recession and the meltdown in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, Granholm responded by leading efforts to diversify the state’s economy, strengthen its auto industry, preserve the manufacturing sector, and add emerging sectors — such as clean energy — to Michigan’s economic portfolio. Today, one-third of all North American electric vehicle battery production takes place in Michigan, it is one of the top five states for clean energy patents, and 126,000 Michiganders were employed in the clean energy sector before COVID-19.

After her time as governor, Granholm joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley as a Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Goldman School of Public Policy, focusing on the intersection of law, clean energy, manufacturing, policy and industry. She also served as an advisor to the Clean Energy Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Granholm was also the first woman elected Attorney General of Michigan, serving from 1998 to 2002. She began her career in public service as a judicial clerk for Michigan’s 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, became a federal prosecutor in Detroit in 1990, and was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel in 1994.

Granholm, an immigrant from Canada, is an honors graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School.

DOE is tasked with overseeing the U.S. energy supply, maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation, carrying out the environmental clean-up from the Cold War nuclear mission, and running the 17 National Laboratories.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Clothing retailer signs 13-year renewable energy supply deal with AEP Energy

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-02-26 08:16

The competitive retail wing of American Electric Power has signed a clean energy supply deal with apparel firm Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

AEP Energy will supply the retailer’s corporate headquarters and two distribution centers in New Albany, Ohio with clean energy through an Integrated Renewable Energy (IRE) solution – a long-term, fixed price retail energy option that supports new, locally-sourced wind and solar – for 13 years beginning in 2023.

“We’re proud to partner with Abercrombie & Fitch Co. as they work to reduce their carbon footprint. An integrated renewable energy solution will help them achieve their sustainability goals with energy from regional assets. AEP Energy is honored to support A&F Co.’s ongoing efforts as part of the retailer’s commitment to invest in renewable energy and reduce emissions,” said AEP Energy President Greg Hall.

“The shift to renewable electricity in our New Albany corporate operations will contribute to our recently stated goal of reducing Total Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030,” said Kim Harr, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s senior director of Sustainability. “This also supports our continued commitment to the environmental principles of the UN Global Compact. Our mission goals align with limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #7 Affordable and Clean Energy and # 13 Climate Action. We thank Worthington Energy Consultants and AEP Energy for their collaboration on this innovative energy solution.”

AEP is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio as are its Energy and Renewables units. AEP Renewables owns wind farms in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, Texas, Kansas and Colorado.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Australian brewery reduces carbon footprint with rooftop solar

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-02-26 06:47

Moon Dog Brewing, an independent Australian craft brewery based out of Melbourne, is exploring ways to reduce its carbon footprint and drive environmental sustainability.

To this end, the Moon Dog team selected Energis, a residential and commercial energy solutions company, to design a solar system that would reduce their reliance on using energy from the grid and lower their energy costs. Energis designed, installed and commissioned a 99.85 kW rooftop mounted solar system utilising 317 solar panels powered by FIMER’s PVS-100 inverter.

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Energis selected FIMER’s PVS-100 as they were especially suited for the string sizing and other site-specific requirements for this project.

This follows a general trend spanning the beer industry worldwide, with smaller independent brew pubs and large international beer companies seeing the potential that solar power holds when it comes to offsetting the energy-intensive process of beer-making.

Related: New Twist on Green Beer as Anheuser Busch Commits to 100 Percent Renewables

Budweiser owned by AB InBev, signed the largest ever pan-European solar power deal for its 14 breweries spread across Europe in 2020, along with Heineken’s Sol brand committing to brewing with only 100% solar energy in the same year.

Moon Dog’s solar system inspired them to release a limited-edition beer named “the future is bright”, a solar-powered IPA (India Pale Ale). Credit: Moon Dog

Hot spots such as Australia, Italy, Germany, Singapore, Belgium, the Netherlands and the US are leading the charge when it comes to solarized breweries, and China is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing markets for beer consumption.

“We are proud to have played a key role in helping this brewery reduce their carbon emissions and lower operating costs for years to come,” said Jason Venning, country manager for FIMER, Australia and New Zealand.

“This is a great example of how FIMER’s PVS-100 high-powered string inverter, through its dual-stage topology, enables greater energy production and saves businesses more money over the lifetime of the system, thus enabling a faster return on investment.”

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The addition of Aurora Vision, FIMER’s monitoring solution, allows Karl Van Buuren, Moon Dog co-founder and the rest of the team to monitor the breweries entire solar plant remotely. Van Buuren said: “Our site, like many other food and beverage sites, is power-hungry, we have boilers, chill units, and big packaging lines. Using FIMER’s monitoring solution allows us to see how much our solar is producing, which helps offset the large energy-using equipment on site. We can see what time of day we are generating the most solar energy, together with how much we are producing and consuming on a month-to-month basis.”

Since installation and commissioning, Moon Dog Brewing has generated over 110 MWh, saving approximately 20 tonnes of CO2 emissions each month.

The post Australian brewery reduces carbon footprint with rooftop solar appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

Categories: Renewable Energy

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