Sangha Systems, developers of an 82-MW cryptocurrency mining facility at a former steel mill in Hennepin, Illinois announced that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with AEP OnSite Partners to develop a 2 – 5-MW behind-the-meter solar power array to begin to migrate its electricity consumption towards clean energy.
Sangha Systems, through its subsidiary 82 River North, said it will generate additional value by using sensor technology to track and trace every kilowatt-hour flowing between the solar panels, its mining rigs, and the grid.
Sangha believes that the deal signals a shift in how cryptocurrency miners will be developing their energy resources going forward. The company said using renewable energy for cryptocurrency mining has been its goal since beginning the Hennepin project in 2018. The company has been trying to steer cryptocurrency mining towards renewable energy from its inception and, having proven its business model and reliability in the industry over three years, is now poised to pioneer the first project of its kind in North America, it said.
“We founded Sangha Systems in late 2017 while working in renewable energy law, development and public policy because we recognized that cryptocurrency mining presents a one-of-a-kind energy profile that could expedite the mainstreaming of renewable energy,” said Spencer Marr, President and Co-Founder of Sangha Systems. With its high load factor and significant interruptibility, cryptocurrency mining enables renewable energy project developers, financiers, and off-takers to structure deals that capture maximum financial returns for all stakeholders.
“We have worked for three years to build a track record of excellence and establish the business profile that would enable us to get a solar deal done in Hennepin. As market analysts and the general public have recently woken up to the energy consumption of mining and the possibility of turning all that demand for electricity into clean energy, we think our thesis has been validated. This is just the start for us.”
Leon Gerard Vandenberg, whose company Sunified has developed a blockchain-controlled sensor that allows grid and energy systems operators to track the “proof or origin” for all electricity generated by a solar array, believes “blockchain mining is an ideal behind-the-meter synthetic load. It provides a dynamic offtake that can balance revenue upside when suboptimal net metering conditions occur.” Further, “using our UNITY chip sensors & platform, mining can be a key catalyst to lay down the infrastructure to simplify green signalling, shed light on greenwashing, and bring the renewable energy credit (REC) market into the 21st century.”
Ørsted has announced its new commitment to reuse, recycle or recover all the wind turbine blades in its global portfolio of onshore and offshore wind farms upon decommissioning.
The commitment, made on the company’s Capital Markets Day, is part of Ørsted’s strategy to expand its sustainability position and work toward achieving a carbon-neutral footprint by 2040.
“We want to help create a world that runs entirely on green energy, and we want to do it in a sustainable way. That includes moving towards more circular models where we reuse resources and save energy, thereby reducing carbon emissions. That is a big challenge, but we look forward to working on this challenge together with our supply chain,” said Mads Nipper, chief executive officer of Ørsted.
According to Ørsted, between 85% and 95% of a wind turbine can be recycled, but recycling of blades remains a challenge, as they are designed to be lightweight, yet durable, making them difficult to break apart. Consequently, most decommissioned blades are landfilled.
Ørsted has committed to not make use of landfilling for decommissioned wind turbine blades but will instead temporarily store the blades until they can be recycled.
In the coming decade, wind turbines will be deployed at an unprecedented pace. GWEC Market Intelligence forecasts that an additional 470 GW of onshore and offshore wind capacity will be installed globally between 2021 and 2025.
Thus far, Ørsted has only decommissioned the offshore wind farm Vindeby in Denmark, where the blades from the 11 wind turbines were all reused.
“Our ambition is to offer our customers carbon-neutral renewable energy solutions with responsible use of resources, seen from a life cycle perspective. This requires decarbonizing our supply chain, and it involves moving to more circular models of resource use in the wind turbine supply chain,” added Nipper. “I hope that our commitment will inspire others, which will help to bring scale to the market for recycling solutions of wind turbine blades, thereby accelerating the cost-out journey of the alternatives to landfilling, and help boost the already ongoing innovation in the wind energy supply chain on how to design to avoid waste.”
Ørsted is contributing to advance the technologies that can recycle wind turbine blades in a sustainable way as a founding partner of the DecomBlades, consortium consisting of wind industry companies and research institutions. The consortium seeks to investigate and develop solutions to recycle the composite material in wind turbine blades. The consortium recently received a three-year funding from Innovation Fund Denmark for its work.
Advocates in Vermont hope a new clean energy jobs board and resume bank can help open doors and diversify a sometimes clubby, male-dominated sector.
Renewable Energy Vermont’s clean energy resume bank, launched last month, lets employers post job listings and review resumes uploaded by job seekers. The goal is to help companies fill positions as they rebound from the pandemic, and also share opportunities with underrepresented groups, particularly women.
Demand for workers in areas such as energy efficiency contracting, solar panel installation and electric vehicle development was growing before the pandemic, and those jobs began inching back toward pre-COVID levels last year after dropping in the first months of the pandemic. On top of that, states like Vermont are making serious investments in these sectors, meaning demand for workers will likely increase.
In addition to helping companies and workers rebound from pandemic disruptions, the jobs site aims to “encourage folks who might not have thought of this type of work before to think about joining the climate economy,” said Olivia Campbell Andersen, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont.
“We also saw it as a tool to help break down barriers and improve diversity in the clean energy sector,” she added. Companies often hire for new positions from within rather than seeking outside candidates, which makes it tougher for them to diversify, Campbell Andersen said. In addition to women, the resume bank could be a resource for Vermont’s large immigrant population.
Nationally, employer surveys show the energy workforce is more diverse than the U.S. workforce as a whole, but women are greatly underrepresented, filling less than a third of positions in solar, wind, efficiency, and other sectors.
Renewable Energy Vermont is working with its members and other partners to promote the jobs site in hopes of making sure companies see a diverse array of candidates.
“It’s great because not all women who want to get into the industry know where to go and where to look and which employers to get in touch with,” said Missy Mackin, a program manager at Vermont Works for Women. The organization provides job training and other career services for women and gender nonconforming individuals. “For us to share out the information about this resume bank is a great step forward,” Mackin said.Training is still key
Job boards like the one that Renewable Energy Vermont has launched will be important to connect newly qualified workers with jobs, said Bob Keefe, executive director of E2, an environmental advocacy group that tracks clean energy workforce trends. But their impact will be limited without more investment in training workers who don’t yet have the skills needed.
“Employers are looking for workers, but most importantly they’re looking for qualified workers,” Keefe said.
Nearly 307,000 clean energy jobs were lost in the country last year due to the pandemic, leaving the total number of Americans working in fields such as solar development and energy efficiency at about 3 million, according to E2’s latest clean jobs report.
Vermont lost 8.4% of its clean energy jobs last year, the report found. Nationally, 9.1% of clean energy jobs disappeared.
Still, E2’s data showed that these jobs made up more than 5% of Vermont’s total workforce last year, one of the highest percentages in the country. Nationally, 2.2% of the United States’ jobs are in clean energy, the report said.
Since employment began ticking back up in the second half of 2020, many employers have had a hard time filling positions, Keefe said.
“We need to do a better job in this country of, first of all, making sure people from every part of the country … and every walk of life know about the availability of jobs in clean energy,” he said. “And second of all, we need to give them some training to get into this work.”
National training programs will be important, he said. The Biden administration recently announced a $30 million investment to support organizations such as unions, trade associations and educational institutions that help train people to construct high-performance buildings.
Advocates in Vermont recognize training is an important piece to bring people into the clean energy space. Renewable Energy Vermont’s resume bank is the first phase in a larger workforce diversity and development initiative, Campbell Andersen said.
Mackin, at Vermont Works for Women, has been running a training program for two and a half years to prepare women to work in the trades. In addition to core construction and electrical skills training, the Trailblazers program offers sessions that introduce participants to clean energy concepts. For example, Mackin said, participants in the past had the chance to see a truck used for solar panel installations and to view the panels themselves.
She said the relationships the organization develops with local businesses are important. Those companies are often open to bringing on new workers with limited experience and giving them on-the-job training, she said.
A posting on the clean energy jobs board notes that Vermont Adult Learning is seeking a project coordinator to head up a new program that will train people to work in weatherization, solar installation and heat pump installation.
The position happened to open just as the jobs board went live, said Chrispin White, the organization’s regional director in Rutland County. Vermont Adult Learning specializes in helping adults obtain literacy skills and earn their GEDs and high school diplomas.
Now, leaders at the organization want to give their clients more opportunities to get high-paying jobs in their communities. The new program, which White hopes to launch this month, will serve as a stepping stone for participants to get training that leads to employment with local businesses doing weatherization, solar and heat pump work. And the program coordinator will be key to getting it off the ground.
“Our hope,” White said, “is we are able to get a number of qualified candidates from the job board that will allow us to hire somebody and will really help us get this program up and running.”
This article was first published on the Energy News Network and was reprinted with permission.
POWEGEN International, the world’s largest power generation event, is pleased to announce its 2022 theme of Destination 2050 as well as partnerships with the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA), Electrical Generating Systems Association (EGSA), Epicenter, and Green Hydrogen Coalition (GHC) for its 2022 event taking place January 26-28 in Dallas, Texas. For the first time, POWERGEN International will be co-located with DISTRIBUTECH International, the leading annual transmission and distribution event.
“It’s clear that the future electricity generation mix is changing, but exactly how it will look is still unclear. Electricity industry executives are faced with the monumental task of balancing today’s energy needs while moving to tomorrow’s goal of net zero carbon emissions. Electric utilities and power generators must keep current assets running while integrating to the future generation mix of renewables, energy storage and more,” said Teresa Hansen, VP of Content for Clarion Energy. “This year’s Destination 2050 Conference Program will feature leaders from electric utilities and power generation companies who will present their strategies on turning aspirations into reality.”
The partnership with GHC will enhance the event’s coverage of Hydrogen and Decarbonization while the partnerships with CESA and EGSA will enhance coverage of energy storage and on-site power, all coming together to strengthen the generation mix to support the future of electricity. In addition, Epicenter will support the Initiate program, which fosters innovation from energy start-ups around the world. POWERGEN will offer member companies exposure to a broad range of energy education, including participation in the event’s content program through thought leadership, speaking opportunities and peer-to-peer discussion platforms. EGSA will also host a pavilion on the show floor featuring vendors and suppliers involved in on-site power.
“Power utilities are getting it from both sides and are under no illusion that the journey to a cleaner 2050 will be easy. They must ensure power resiliency and low cost and respond to both public and government demand for carbon reduction and more intermittent renewables on the system,” said Stephanie Kolodziej, Portfolio Director at Clarion Energy. “With support from CESA, EGSA, Epicenter and GHC, this year’s POWERGEN International will encompass blue-sky ideas from leaders from electric utilities and power generation companies on what the electricity industry will look like in the future and the best way to prepare for that future.”About California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA):
CESA is the definitive voice of energy storage in California. At 100+ members strong, CESA is committed to advancing the role of energy storage in the electric power sector. CESA is a 501c(6) membership-based advocacy group. CESA is technology and business model-neutral and is supported solely by the contributions and coordinated activities of its members. Learn more at cesa.org.About Electrical Generating Systems Association (EGSA):
EGSA is the world’s largest organization exclusively dedicated to On-Site Power Generation. The Association is comprised of over 750 companies—Manufacturers, Distributor/Dealers, Contractors/Integrators, Manufacturer’s Representatives, Consulting & Specifying Engineers, Service firms, End-Users and others—throughout the U.S. and around the world that make, sell, distribute and use On-Site Power generation technology and equipment. Learn more at egsa.org.About Epicenter:
Epicenter believes in Innovation with Impact. Epicenter is all about the community consisting of more than 4000 company builders, entrepreneurs, change makers and rising stars of the tech scene. The Epicenter ecosystem prosper and members connect through its many community events and activities. Learn more at weareepicenter.com.About Green Hydrogen Coalition (GHC):
Founded in 2019, the GHC is an educational non-profit organization. The GHC focuses on building top-down momentum for scalable green hydrogen projects that leverage multi-sector opportunities to simultaneously scale supply and demand. The work of the GHC is supported by annual charitable donations. Learn more at ghcoalition.org.About POWERGEN International:
POWERGEN International is the world’s largest power generation event and the only US face to face experience to discuss in-depth the challenges faced by all energy stakeholders in this ever-changing, complex industry. Visit powergen.com for more information.
Organized by Clarion Energy, which is part of Clarion Events. With over 30 events that cover the oil, gas, power and energy sectors, Clarion Energy is one of Clarion’s largest portfolios. Learn more here: clarion-energy.com
A hydroelectric power purchase agreement (PPA) has been signed between Primeo Energie France, Eureden and aventron.
Primeo Energie France is committed to supplying Eureden with electricity production from two small hydroelectric facilities operated by the aventron group through its French subsidiary Birseck Hydro, from 2023 to 2025. The plants are the 5.2-MW Oche power station in Hautes-Alpes and the 4.5-MW Trébas power station in the Tarn.
Primeo Energie France will deliver to the Eureden group enough to provide the equivalent of 10% of its annual electricity consumption in France.
“This partnership is part of Eureden’s desire to reduce its environmental impact. By entering into this contract with Primeo Energie, we are acting in line with our objectives of decarbonizing our energy mix,” said Cédric Martin, energy and general costs lead buyer at Eureden.
“This partnership highlights the green electricity produced by our power plants,” said Anne Pénalba, managing director of Birseck Hydro.
The Breton cooperative group Eureden brings together 20,000 farmer-cooperators and 9,000 employees around a common ambition: good food for all, with the constant concern to meet the expectations of consumers and society. The group has more than 60 industrial sites and 300 stores.
Primeo Energie France offers its customers not only green energy but also structured market access solutions to support them in a competitive and sustainable supply policy.
aventron is a green energy producer based in Switzerland. The company acquires and operates photovoltaic solar power plants, wind farms and small hydropower plants in Switzerland and certain European countries. The group operates a portfolio of green electricity production assets with a total installed capacity of 600 MW.
Dallas-based Leeward Renewable Energy is acquiring Indiana wind and solar projects from the original developer.
Tri Global Energy is selling close to 2,000 MW of renewable generating capacity to Leeward. Both projects are based in Blackford County, Indiana, and were developed by Tri Global beginning in 2019.
Blackford Wind will be capable of delivering up to 200 MW, and Blackford Solar will be capable of up to 150 MW. The projects combined are expected to produce enough energy to power more than 80,000 homes.
TGE and Leeward Renewable Energy will work with the county, state, and federal authorities to secure the requisite permits and bring the two projects into construction, with operations projected to commence as early as 2023.
“Projects of this scope demand world-class expertise and resources, and that’s why we consider Leeward Renewable Energy an outstanding partner going forward,” Tri Global Energy CEO John Billingsley said.
This is the second deal between Tri Global Energy and Leeward Renewable Energy. The two companies announced a transaction involving two of Tri Global Energy’s original Indiana projects in White County (180 MW Hoosier Line Wind and 400 MW Honey Creek Solar) in April.
“The acquisition of these quality projects is a great complement to Leeward’s growing portfolio of high-quality wind and solar assets. Leeward is dedicated to responsible energy development, while also providing economic benefits and clean, affordable power to the local community,” said Andrew Flanagan, Chief Development Officer of Leeward. “Tri Global Energy is a great partner and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship in the future.”
Great Bay Renewables, a joint venture company between certain funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, Inc. and Altius Renewable Royalties Corp, is providing royalty financing in support of Tri Global Energy completing and funding this project development through the start of construction.
— — — — —
Utility-scale wind and solar projects will be part of the live POWERGEN International event when it co-locates with DISTRIBUTECH Jan. 26-28, 2022, in Dallas. Contact content director Rod Walton at 918-831-9177 or email@example.com if you have ideas for sessions around renewables.
Yesterday, Nokia announced it has collaborated with systems integrator, NetNordic, to enter into a frame agreement with Equinor, one of the world’s leading producers of oil, gas and wind power, to deliver a private 4G and 5G-ready solution for Equinor’s international operations.
The eight-year frame agreement includes hardware, software, design, radio planning, implementation and support. Under the agreement, the private LTE network will be installed this summer at the 402-MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm and the 316-MW Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm, located in the UK and both operated by Equinor.
According to Equinor, its Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm currently is the wind farm furthest away from the UK shoreline and operating it has required the company to employ innovative technologies and devise new working methodology.
Jarl Øverby, NetNordic Group CEO: “Working with Nokia we are able to deliver the secure, smart, offshore wireless digital fabric that Equinor can use to support its communication and maintenance activities and safety objectives. This includes the flexibility to employ a wide range of integrated applications, including Nokia DAC teams comms and Nokia Drone Networks, and the capability to deploy them to the edge. This is a secure and resilient solution that will easily scale and evolve to 5G to meet their future needs.”
Nokia’s DAC solution comprises the Nokia 4.9G LTE and 5G Radio Access Network technology and devices as well as a large range of access points both for indoor and outdoor coverage, and an edge solution with complete packet core and application framework for edge computing.
Nokia says it has deployed mission-critical networks to over 1,550 customers in the energy, transportation, large enterprise, manufacturing, webscale, and public sector segments around the globe.
This week, ACCIONA said it has received the go-ahead to construct its first Kentucky solar farm from the state’s siting board. The 188-MW Fleming County project is one of four in Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois that were part of a power purchase agreement with Amazon announced last year.
The project is a significant step forward for solar energy in Kentucky, and has the opportunity to more than double the installed solar capacity in Kentucky, according to data from the Solar Energy Industry Association and recently approved Kentucky projects.
The project was the first to go through the public hearing process now required for projects in the state.
ACCIONA will invest almost $200 million to build the Fleming County Solar Farm. The project will create up to 300 jobs during construction and add revenue to the local tax base to support the county and local school districts. In addition, the project will be part of ACCIONA’s Social Impact Management program, which reinvests a portion of the project’s annual revenue into community efforts to improve education, wellness and environmental stewardship.
In December, ACCIONA announced an agreement with Amazon to provide 641 MW of clean energy to the corporation from projects in Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. ACCIONA plans to break ground on a 100-MW Illinois project that is part of that agreement next month. Two additional projects remain in review with state permitting authorities.
ACCIONA said it plans to build nearly 1,200 MW of new solar capacity by the end of 2023.
“We are incredibly excited to receive this approval from the Kentucky Siting Board, and thank The Board for this order,” said Joaquín Castillo, CEO of ACCIONA Energy in the US. “We believe the Fleming County Solar Farm can be a key piece of post-pandemic economic recovery for the County, and will be a model for future solar development in Kentucky.”
Ørsted has announced that the first wind turbine for the Hornsea Two offshore wind farm has been installed, a significant construction milestone for the project.
Located 89km off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea and adjacent to Hornsea One, the sister site is expected to be completed in 2022.
The first load out of turbines left the port of Hull earlier this week via the installation vessel Sea Challenger, owned by DEME Offshore. Equipped with components for Four individual turbines, including the new 81 meter long blades which have been manufactured at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy’s blade factory in Hull.
Patrick Harnett, senior programme director for Hornsea Two at Ørsted said: “I am incredibly proud of the way our teams have worked collaboratively during this difficult time to ensure that our plans for installation we’re able to go ahead as planned.
Have you read?
Iberdrola and 50Hertz sign construction agreement for Baltic Eagle offshore substation
800-MW Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm to be first commercial-scale project in the US
Ocergy’s offshore floating wind solutions attract Series A equity funding
“Hornsea Two will be the world’s largest and offshore wind farm and is already paving the way for future renewable energy projects which will have a significant impact on our mission to reach Net Zero.”
The completed array will see 165 8-MW Siemens turbines installed offshore, each standing 200 meters above sea level, with a swept diameter of 167 meters. One turbine alone would provide enough energy for 160,000 hour-long video conferences.
The project will have a capacity of 1.4GW and will provide power to over 1.3 million homes in the UK.
After a successful recruitment campaign last year, wind turbine technicians will be arriving to begin work at the site. Their accommodation will be provided in the form of a new service operations vessel (SOV). The Wind of Hope, which has been built in Turkey on behalf of vessel owners Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, is expected to arrive at the port in Grimsby over the coming months.
There are multiple opportunities for transmission buildout at MISO but limited prospects for independent transmission companies. Opportunities in favor of transmission include policy planning projects to interconnect renewable projects, the need for reliability in the MISO South region, and additional proactive planning approaches to address the capacity needs of local resource zones at MISO.
However, when we dig into the details and assess the opportunities to build transmission, we find limited openings from an independent transmission company perspective. State Right of First Refusal (ROFR) laws in the North and seams issues in the South are reasons for limited opportunities. If MISO and MISO states are serious about building the next wave of transmission, lowering the voltage threshold for bidding out competitive projects and removing ROFR laws must be implemented.
MISO put out a competitive transmission project for bid for the first time in 2016. The new Duff-Coleman 345-kV line connects Southern Indiana to Western Kentucky. Republic Transmission, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LS Power, won that bid.
The second project MISO put out for competitive bid in 2018 was the Hartbug-Sabine 500-kV line that connects East Texas to the rest of the MISO via Entergy Texas substation. NextEra Energy Transmission Midwest, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra, won this bid.
The MISO Board approved the third project in 2016 called Huntley-Wilmarth 345 kV, which addresses transmission congestion in the south Minnesota-north Iowa area, called a Market Efficiency Project.
These are the only three projects to date that MISO has solicited competitive bids for the 40 plus qualified transmission developers.
MISO North region comprises Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The wind-rich Buffalo Ridge area in the southwest corner of Minnesota and most MISO state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) were the main drivers for the Multi-Value Project (MVP) $5.2 billion transmission portfolio in 2011. So, MISO North has plenty of renewables to interconnect, translating into transmission buildout prospects but only for incumbent transmission utilities. For instance, Minnesota has CAPX 2020 utilities in a partnership (their new name is Grid North Partners), and Minnesota is also one of those states that do not allow independent transmission companies due to the state ROFR laws.
LS Power petitioned the Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) to overturn Minnesota ROFR laws, but SCOTUS refused to hear the case. Similarly, a Judge in Austin, Texas, dismissed NextEra’s challenge to Texas ROFR law enacted in 2019 after NextEra won the bid in 2018 MISO competitive process.
Similarly, North and South Dakota have ROFR laws that provide incumbent transmission utility the right to build a project.
If we move to Wisconsin, the transmission-dependent utilities in Wisconsin gave the keys for transmission to the American Transmission Company (ATC). While ATC is an independent transmission company, it also has a monopoly, building baseline reliability projects in Wisconsin as the incumbent transmission owner.
Moving east to Michigan, the independent transmission company ITC has a monopoly, building baseline reliability projects in Michigan. Yes, there are two transmission companies on paper in Michigan, but ITC owns them. ITC also owns the transmission system in parts of Iowa (called ITC Midwest), when Alliant sold their transmission system.
So far, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan (5 states) are basically out of pocket for a new independent transmission company to enter the 15-state MISO transmission market. That leaves the MISO South portion and MISO central Indiana region. To be fair, an independent company could partner with the incumbent transmission owner (TO).
In 4-state MISO South, Entergy is a big elephant in the transmission utility room. Michigan’s ITC tried to acquire Entergy’s transmission assets in 2013, but Mississippi declined that transaction.
Even after the five-year (2013-18) transition period between MISO North and South when no project costs were shared, there is no transmission project yet to speak of at MISO that brings renewable energy from North to South. Ideally, it makes sense for South to support North in the winter and MISO North to support South in the summer season. Being in one market provides value to both North and South regions at MISO. This market is how regional planning should work.MISO North to South has transmission needs, but SPP seams is an issue
Building transmission lines from Minnesota to Oklahoma is not that simple because MISO also has ties to SPP and ERCOT. To put together an independent transmission project proposal that addresses the North-South interface, a transmission company must go through states including Nebraska, parts of Missouri, and Oklahoma because MISO has seams with SPP.
There are no cross-border projects to speak of around the MISO-SPP seams so far. MISO and SPP started a generator interconnection joint study, but there are no projects to date yet.
So, if an out-of-state independent transmission company cannot enter the Dakotas and Minnesota (due to ROFR laws); cannot participate in Wisconsin, Michigan, or the South region (due to incumbent transmission owners); and cannot put together a project in Missouri due to the seams issue with SPP, then which state is left? Indiana and Illinois are the only 2 states left out of the 15 states in the MISO region. Like SPP seams, Illinois has MISO-PJM seams, which means that for transmission projects to be cost allocated, they must be cross border project cost allocated.
Five states in MISO north and east, four states in MISO south, and four seams states of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Kentucky add up to 14 out of the 15-state MISO region, which leaves only Indiana.So, what is the solution? State ROFR laws must go, and lower voltage projects should be competitively bid!
MISO should realize that the incumbent transmission owners have a vested interest in keeping the transmission projects at a lower voltage to avoid competition. So, if MISO wants transmission built, then lower voltage projects should be competitively bid. This change requires FERC action. Lower the current 345 kV voltage threshold to 100 kV. All transmission projects above 100 kV should be competitively bid.
Another possible solution is MISO, and state regulators inside MISO, should understand that now is the time to go big on voltage to build transmission infrastructure. This need means independent transmission companies with the capital and the technical know-how to deploy High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) would be ideally suited for that purpose. This high voltage transmission need also means that to level the playing field for independent transmission companies to compete with incumbent transmission owners, the state ROFR laws must go in MISO states.
Last week, the Biden-Harris administration submitted to congress the budget for fiscal year 2022. The Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) 2022 budget proposal totals $17.6 billion — an increase of $2.5 billion, or 17 percent, from the 2021 enacted level. The significant investment will help DOI address the climate crisis while creating good-paying union jobs and investing in healthy lands, waters, and economies in communities across the country, said the Whitehouse in a press release.
The 2022 budget proposal includes the two plans the President has already put forward — the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan — and reinvests in education, research, public health, and other foundations of our country’s strength.
The 2022 budget proposal includes more than $1.9 billion in new climate-related investments to conserve and manage natural resources, increase understanding of how natural resources are changing and what that means, build resilience to protect communities and lands from significant impacts, and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Specifically, the request includes more than $900 million in funding for Interior and the Department of Agriculture for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and also contains funding for wildland fire management, drought mitigation, and science-based investments that will help the Department and communities prepare for and address the aftermath of natural hazard events.
In addition, the 2022 budget proposal includes $4.2 billion, an increase of $727.8 million from the 2021 enacted level, across all Indian Affairs programs to support a new Indian Land Consolidation Program, which will address the problem of fractionated lands and enhance the ability of Tribal governments to plan for and adapt to climate change and to build stronger Tribal communities. The budget will also provide increases to strengthen Tribal natural resource programs, Tribal public safety, and efforts to provide leadership and direction for cross-departmental and interagency work involving missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.
Lastly as related to the DOE, the 2022 budget proposal includes an increase of $300 million to support jobs plugging orphan oil and gas wells, cleaning up abandoned mines, and decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure. As part of this proposal, the budget includes $169 million for a new Energy Community Revitalization Program, which will help accelerate this remediation and reclamation work on Interior-managed lands and support work on non-federal lands through grants to states and Tribes.
The budget proposal also contains $86 million for the Civilian Climate Corps, an initiative to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters. It also includes $249 million in funding to increase renewable energy production on public lands and in offshore waters, which will create jobs and help transition the country to a clean energy future.
By jointly pressing a “digital button,” German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg commissioned NordLink on May 27.
The “green cable” will exchange German wind energy with Norwegian hydropower and connect two optimally complementary systems, according to transmission system operator TenneT. “NordLink is a lighthouse project and an enormously important component of the European energy transition in order to compensate for dark doldrums and at the same time make green energy available in the EU in a safe and affordable way,” TenneT said.
NordLink is a direct current point-to-point connection between the AC grids in Germany and Norway. Due to the length of the route (more than 620 km) and the large transmission capacity, direct current is used for low-loss transmission. The two cables are connected to converter stations at each end, in Wilster (Schleswig-Holstein) and Tonstad (southern Norway). At these sites, electricity is converted from DC to AC (or vice versa, depending on the direction of transmission) and fed into the German and Norwegian AC transmission grids, respectively, to supply green electricity to households and businesses.
“With NordLink, Germany and Norway are moving even closer together. The first direct electricity bridge not only helps to stabilize energy prices in both countries. NordLink is a milestone for sustainable energy supply and climate protection in Europe because the focus is on exchanging renewable energy,” Merkel said.
Solberg said: “NordLink will be of great benefit to both Germany and Norway. It will contribute to a more efficient use of power resources and lay the foundations for further investments in renewable production. It will also contribute to our joint efforts in lowering emissions. As Germany is phasing out coal power, NordLink will ease the transition from fossil to renewable power production. At the same time, it will provide access to energy when Norway needs it.”
The NordLink project was realized by a consortium in which the Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett and DC Nordseekabel GmbH & Co.KG each hold 50%. TenneT and KfW each hold 50% of the shares in DC Nordseekabel, which is responsible for construction and permitting on the German side.
Global efforts to curb the use of fossil fuels are being made by all of the world’s leading nations, but occasionally, despite the genuine momentum, it can still feel like everything is moving a bit too slowly.
However, a new eye-catching report put together by London-based think tank Carbon Tracker, shows that we might’ve finally left fossil fuels in the ground for good by 2035.
Their research reveals that by 2035, we could be generating over 100 times the amount of electricity that we need to meet global demand, purely from wind and solar. Furthermore, with the cost of renewables declining so rapidly, fossil fuels could naturally be forced out of the market altogether.
If Carbon Tracker’s findings are mirrored in reality, we could be on the threshold of rapid acceleration towards global Net Zero. To illustrate just how feasible their conclusions are, Carbon Tracker points out that the world’s current electricity demand stands at 27 PWh, but by relying on wind and solar, we could generate thousands of petawatts – practically an unlimited supply.
Additionally, this scenario modelling is sensible and isn’t based on ridiculous amounts of land use for renewables installations. If powered by solar alone, they write, we’d need just 450,000 km2 – just 0.3% of the world’s total land area. Saliently, this is a lot less than is currently used by the fossil fuel industry. So not only would we gain a cleaner world, but we’d also gain more of it.“The fossil fuel era is over”
If renewables prices continue to tumble at their current rate, we’ll see coal, gas and oil priced out of the market by the mid 2030s. There simply won’t be a reason, by that point, to ever turn back to the bad old days of Big Oil. When this transition happens, we could see some startling reversals in fortunes, with oil becoming the poor relation of the industry.
To many, this seems like an unlikely and utopian vision, but Carbon Tracker insists that the hour is nigh.
“We are entering a new epoch, comparable to the industrial revolution,” writes Kingsmill Bond, Carbon Tracker’s lead strategist and the report’s author.
“Energy will tumble in price and become available to millions more, particularly in low-income countries. Geopolitics will be transformed as nations are freed from expensive imports of coal, oil and gas. Clean renewables will fight catastrophic climate change and free the planet from deadly pollution.”Looking forwards, looking back
Of course, a key determinant of what might happen in the future is what has already come to pass. We now know, courtesy of the International Energy Agency, that solar power has indeed become the cheapest form of electricity in history for most countries.
In fact, the cost of electricity from photovoltaics has fallen 82% over just the past decade. Similarly, the cost of online and offshore wind had dramatically fallen too, by 39% and 29% respectively. And as we continue to scale up, those costs are likely going to go one way. This revolution simply isn’t comparable to the oil boom in which monopolies were formed and prices driven up.
Ruth Chapman, MD of renewables firm Dulas writes that, “it’s going to be an exciting and transformative decade for those in the energy industry. We are in the middle of the process of transitioning but over the next ten years, changes will be much more noticeable and impactful.”
“We are currently only using a fraction of the renewable energy that’s available to us — the report calculates that less than 0.16% of wind energy potential is being exploited for example. Unleashing the power that’s there is going to change everything and give us a fairer, cleaner world. It’s the change that we all hope for and it’s looking likely that we’ll see it come to fruition before the decade is out.”
Harry Benham, co-author of the report and chairman of the climate think-tank Ember, said: “The world does not need to exploit its entire renewable resource — just 1% is enough to replace all fossil fuel usage. Each year we are fuelling the climate crisis by burning three million years of fossilised sunshine in coal, oil and gas while we use just 0.01% of daily sunshine.”
It’s also interesting to note the flipside. Between 2012 and 2020, fossil fuel companies have lost £123bn of their value, demonstrating that they are losing their footing as a dominant market force.
Nobody knows precisely what will happen over the next few decades but a great many reports are now coalescing in their position that renewables are going to surpass fossil fuels at a rate of knots.
Whatever happens, this next period is sure to go down in history as a paradigm shift, ushering in the truly modern era.
You can download Carbon Tracker’s report ‘The Sky’s the limit’ here.
DISTRIBUTECH International, the leading annual transmission and distribution event, is pleased to announce its Host Utility Oncor, as well as partnerships with the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA), Forth, Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) and Vehicle-Grid Integration Council (VGIC), for its 2022 event taking place Jan. 26-28 in Dallas, Texas. DISTRIBUTECH will be co-located for the first time with POWERGEN International, the world’s largest power generation event.
The partnership with CESA will enhance coverage of energy storage, allowing for great penetration into the renewables sector, while the partnerships with Forth, SECC, and VGIC will enhance coverage of smart energy, electric vehicles and other grid-edge technologies. DISTRIBUTECH will offer member companies exposure to a broad range of energy education, including participation in the event’s content program through thought leadership, speaking opportunities and peer-to-peer discussion platforms. SECC will also host a co-located event around Smart Energy and Consumers.
Forth’s International Marketing Manager Ashley Duplanty said, “I am excited about the opportunities ahead with the Clarion North America Energy events. Going hand in hand with our innovative initiatives around electric, smart, and shared mobility, DISTRIBUTECH International’s conference program will offer insightful sessions around topics such as Smart Cities, DERMS, and Grid Modernization Technologies. The transmission and distribution industry’s leadership is essential to advancing clean transportation and clean energy globally, and Forth is excited about the impactful progress we can make together.”
“We are committed to designing an event experience to help energy professionals navigate the complex energy transition,” said Stephanie Kolodziej, portfolio director for Clarion Events, North American Energy. “Part of how we intend to deliver on this promise is by partnering with world class industry organizations like CESA, Forth, SECC and VGIC who are experts in their respective market sectors. Plus, with Host Utility support from Oncor, we are positioned to deliver a strong event for our customers after a long-awaited return to live events.”
“As the largest energy delivery company in Texas, we are pleased to be a part of DISTRIBUTECH International, a breeding ground for innovation and education in the transmission & distribution sector,” said Mark Carpenter, senior vice president of T&D Operations at Oncor. “With reliable energy and great service as top initiatives for us, the January event will allow us to come together not only as an organization, but as an industry, to ensure just that.”
CESA is the definitive voice of energy storage in California. At 100+ members strong, CESA is committed to advancing the role of energy storage in the electric power sector. CESA is a 501c(6) membership-based advocacy group. CESA is technology and business model-neutral and is supported solely by the contributions and coordinated activities of its members.
Forth’s mission is to accelerate the use of smart transportation to move people and goods in more efficient, clean, and equitable ways. Through innovation, demonstration projects, advocacy, and engagement, Forth is advancing electric, smart, and shared mobility to transform how we get around.
As the largest energy delivery company in Texas, Oncor has a long tradition of serving the people of the Lone Star State. From its founding in 1912 to its role as a 21st century energy innovator, Oncor’s commitment to make life better for everyone has remained constant. The people who make up Oncor are advocates for reliable energy and great service.
SECC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to learn the wants and needs of energy consumers in North America, encourages the collaborative sharing of best practices in consumer engagement among industry stakeholders, and educates the public about the benefits of smart energy and energy technology.
VGIC is a national 501(c)(6) membership-based advocacy group committed to advancing the role of electric vehicles and smart EV charging through policy development, education, outreach, and research.
DISTRIBUTECH International is the leading annual transmission and distribution event that addresses technologies used to move electricity from the power plant through the transmission and distribution systems to the meter and inside the home. Visit distributech.com for more information.
Organized by Clarion Energy, which is part of Clarion Events. With over 30 events that cover the oil, gas, power and energy sectors, Clarion Energy is one of Clarion’s largest portfolios. Learn more here: clarion-energy.com
The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) in Southern California is working toward achieving its sustainability goals by adding solar canopies at 21 of its schools. The projects are being developed by Standard Solar, which is also funding the project and will be its long-term owner and operator.
The project was developed in partnership with EMCOR Services Mesa Energy Systems.
Of the 21 school sites, 14 of them are now operational. The remaining will be completed by October.
“Standard Solar applauds the Long Beach Unified School District for taking this important step to reduce its impact on the environment,” said Shaun Laughlin, Standard Solar’s head of US Strategic Development, Partnerships, Project Finance and Acquisitions. “Adding these projects to our ownership portfolio directly supports our efforts to increase our deployed capital in the West.”
The solar canopy systems will help LBUSD achieve its sustainability goals. In the first year of operation, it will offset the CO2 equivalent of approximately six million pounds of coal burned. Additionally, the canopy systems will help reduce the urban heat island (UHI) effect often generated in dense, urban areas such as those in the district.
“Clean energy is an essential part of our district-wide sustainability efforts. Our partnership with Standard Solar will help reduce our carbon footprint while saving the district millions of dollars over the 25-year agreement,” said Long Beach Unified School District Business Services Administrator Alan Reising.
“EMCOR Services Mesa Energy Systems is thrilled to be part of the 21 solar projects for the Long Beach Unified School District as the installing contractor,” said Robert Lake, President, EMCOR Services Mesa Energy Systems. “The overall project is in excess of four megawatts and consists of multiple solar canopies throughout LBUSD’s elementary school portfolio. In addition to generating power from a sustainable renewable energy source, the canopies will provide shaded areas for the students. We applaud LBUSD for their vision in implementing this aggressive project that will provide lower-cost, clean power for years to come.”
A UHI is an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities. The solar canopies can minimize summertime peak energy demand, air-conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions.
The 40-MWac Khoumagueli Solar IPP project in Guinea has marked a significant milestone with the signing of a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between InfraCo Africa and Electricité de Guinée (EDG).
A Concession Agreement for the project was signed in February 2019.
The Khoumagueli Solar project will be Guinea’s first grid-connected solar photovoltaic plant. The project is designed to complement power generation at the nearby 75-MW Garafiri hydroelectric plant. The facilities will combine to maximize delivery of renewable energy to the national grid, with Khoumagueli Solar expected to mitigate against the impact of fluctuating rainfall on hydropower generation at Garafiri.
“The PPA signing is a key milestone for the Khoumagueli Solar project, which will deliver reliable, affordable power to Guinea’s homes and businesses. During these uncertain times, it is admirable that the teams involved have continued their work to achieve the signing of this important agreement,” said InfraCo Africa’s Chief Executive Officer Gilles Vaes. “The signing demonstrates the ongoing commitment of EDG and the Government of Guinea to developing the country’s clean energy sector.”
The project is being developed by InfraCo Africa – which is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) — and Solveo Energie, a subsidiary of Solvéo Company, with the support of Aldwych Africa Developments.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) named Khoumaguéli Solar S.A has been established under Guinean law, with the purpose of developing and constructing the power plant.
“The Khoumagueli Solar project contributes to the energy transition on the African continent. It combines photovoltaic solar energy with hydroelectricity produced in Guinea, reduces the need for thermal energy and reduces the cost of electricity,” said Jean-Marc Mateos, president of the Solveo Group.
EPC procurement is at a mature stage, and initial discussions with lenders have begun.
Guinea’s energy plan
Guinea has a national electrification rate of 35.4%. Guinea’s electricity supply is largely derived from hydropower, which can be susceptible to seasonal fluctuations in rainfall: 84% of businesses report power outages causing financial losses equivalent to about 4.7% of annual sales.
Demand for power is expected to rise sharply due to a forecast expansion of the country’s mining industry and economic growth. The government of Guinea has therefore prioritized the development of the energy sector as part of the country’s National Development Plan Economic and Social Council. The government is specifically seeking to exploit Guinea’s solar power potential to diversify the country’s energy mix and increase the availability and reliability of power.
As one of Guinea’s earliest renewable IPP initiatives, Khoumagueli has used grant funding secured from PIDG’s Technical Assistance and from ADEME (Agence De l’Environnement et de la Maitrise de l’Energie) to support work to build government capacity to undertake renewable energy projects with the private sector.
The Koehler Group has announced plans to fully convert its power plant at its Oberkirch location in Germany to a combined heat and power plant using biomass as a fuel.
At its Oberkirch location, Koehler operates three paper machines, including the associated auxiliary systems. The paper processing and drying processes require enormous amounts of energy, which is why the company originally built its own power plant in 1943. In 1986 a new power plant was built, which now operates on bituminous coal and refuse-derived fuels such as paper sludge.
The 60 million euro ($73 million) conversion will ensure the plant operates on CO2-neutral energy produced using wood chips, green waste, and mill residue.
Koehler Group CEO, Kai Furler, said: “By switching from bituminous coal to biomass as the primary fuel for our location here in Oberkirch, we will be cutting more than 150,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions a year.”
Today, the power plant delivers a total of about 100,000 MW/h of electric power and 330,000 metric tons
of steam per year. In addition, the resulting waste heat is used for the open-air public swimming pool in Oberkirch.
Changing the power plant to operate completely on biomass reflects Koehler’s aim of producing more energy from renewable sources than is required for its paper production operations by 2030. Furthermore, the German government’s Fuel Emissions Trading Act makes it more difficult to use fossil fuels, another reason why Koehler will be implementing its plans for the conversion three years earlier than originally planned.
The plant will be commissioned at the end of 2024.
Pattern Energy Group LP and international energy company Uniper this week announced they have signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for up to 219,000 MWh per year of wind energy generated in New Mexico. The power will be delivered from Pattern Energy’s 1,050-MW Western Spirit Wind project, which is currently under construction in New Mexico and represents the largest single-phase renewable power build out in U.S. history.
Western Spirit Wind is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
“A large part of our business is about helping communities, municipalities, cooperatives, utility companies, and commercial and industrial loads achieve their energy decarbonization objectives in a cost-effective manner,” said Marc Merrill, President & CEO, Uniper North America. “We provide customized energy solutions that collectively address both reliability-of-supply and environmental concerns, which is why we’re happy to be working with Pattern Energy to bring additional renewable generation benefits to New Mexico and other western states.”
Western Spirit Wind will be constructed in conjunction with the Western Spirit Transmission Line, an approximately 150-mile 345kV AC transmission line that will add much-needed accessibility for New Mexico’s powerful wind resources to reach the electricity grid in the state and the broader western markets. The Western Spirit Transmission line is being developed jointly between Pattern Energy and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) and will interconnect directly into the Public Service Company of New Mexico system (PNM). PNM will acquire and operate the transmission line upon its commissioning.
“We welcome this partnership with Uniper and look forward to providing New Mexico wind power to New Mexico consumers from our new Western Spirit Wind project,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. “Construction on Western Spirit Wind – the largest wind project in North America – is on schedule with 1,000 workers on site. The wind resource at Western Spirit Wind is one of the strongest in the country and has an evening ramp that creates
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the New York Power Authority’s Board of Trustees has approved three low-cost hydropower allocations that will create 102 jobs across Western New York and spur $145 million in private capital investments.
The approved awards of 3.58 MW of hydropower from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project in Lewiston are to Americold Real Estate in Chautauqua County, SGS Recovery in Niagara County and Sumitomo Rubber USA in Erie County.
“Protecting our environment and supporting our economy aren’t mutually exclusive, and the Niagara Power Project provides clean, renewable energy that directly supports economic development throughout Western New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “These three power allocations will create more than 100 jobs and spur investment in the region while assisting New York in its transition to a clean energy economy. Our state is committed to a renewable energy future that benefits all New Yorkers, and these awards are an important part of our strategy to foster new investment and job creation while using renewable sources of energy.”
Americold Real Estate L.P.—which is based in Georgia and owns and operates 238 temperature-controlled warehouses for the storage of perishable goods—was awarded 830 kW of hydropower to establish a new cold storage facility in Dunkirk that will create 60 jobs.
SGS Recovery LLC in Niagara Falls, a sustainable waste management and recycling company, was awarded a 750-kW hydropower allocation for its planned lease of a new 30,000-square-foot building in Niagara Falls for the conversion of recycled materials into process engineered fuel, which is used as a substitute for fossil and petroleum-based fuels in the cement industry.
Sumitomo Rubber USA LLC in Tonawanda — a manufacturer of automotive tires for trucks, cars, buses and motorcycles — was awarded 2 MW of hydropower for a planned expansion to double its daily tire production.
“Today’s NYPA board action to award three companies with hydropower allocations will help create more than 100 jobs in Western New York. The Power Authority is committed to help economic recovery in the region as we press forward to rebound smartly and safely from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones.
Low-cost Niagara hydropower is available for companies within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara Power Project or businesses in Chautauqua County.
Governor Cuomo’s climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the U.S., NYPA said, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the U.S., operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower.
Vale S.A., one of the largest mining companies in the world, said this week that it selected Nextracker to supply its bifacially optimized smart solar trackers for the Sol de Cerrado solar project in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The 766-MWp solar complex, which will be one of the largest in Brazil, will help power Vale’s mining operations in the Jaíba area of Minas Gerais and will be interconnected to the regional transmission grid.
Initial construction will begin later this year, with the project scheduled for completion in 2022.
The project will play a major role in Vale’s efforts to achieve its corporate sustainability goals, said the company. Once operational, the Sol de Cerrado solar project will provide 13 percent of the company’s total energy needs in Brazil and offset GHG Protocol Scope 2 emissions by up to 136,407 tons of CO2/ year. The company plans to produce 100 percent of the energy needed for its Brazilian operations by 2025 and reach carbon neutrality across its global footprint by 2050.
Nextracker’s regional office in Brazil will support the project with engineering, commissioning, and asset management services as well as advanced data analytics for preventive maintenance. Installation crews will attend Nextracker’s PowerworX Academy installer trainingprogram to learn best practices on site and at the company’s training center in Sorocaba, São Paulo.
“Vale’s Sol de Cerrado project is yet another example of how the mining industry is embracing renewables as a reliable source of generation to power operations and offset greenhouse gas emissions,” said Alejo Lopez, Nextracker vice president of sales for Latin America. “We look forward to working closely with Vale and deploying our smart solar trackers and software to maximize plant performance while minimizing operational costs for the 30-year-plus lifetime of the plant.”