Baseload, Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, Offshore, Solar, Storage, Wind Power

Regional News from the July/August 2015 Digital Edition of Renewable Energy World

Issue 4 and Volume 18.

North America

Rail-Free Mounting System Now Available

EcoFasten Solar announced that it launched a new mounting “Rock-It System” that it would be displaying during Intersolar. Product compliance was determined through testing per UL Subject 2703, which reviews integrated grounding and bonding, fire classification and mechanical loading.

EcoFasten Solar’s solar roof mounts and components are designed, engineered and manufacturered in Morrisville, VT. Working closely with leading solar developers, racking system providers, roofing manufacturers and commercial installation companies, the company said that its products are fast and easy to install and “were designed with the installer in mind.”

Credit: EcoFasten Solar.

FIAMM and Northern Power Team Up To Deliver Energy Storage Solutions

Northern Power Systems is partnering with FIAMM Energy Storage Solutions to target the growing demand for energy storage systems (ESS) in the market, especially for North America. A recent Navigant report indicates the global installed energy storage capacity for the grid is expected to grow from 538.4 megawatts in 2014 to 20.8 gigawatts in 2024.

Northern Power Systems’ FlexPhase power converters complement FIAMM’s SoNick (sodium nickel chloride) storage technology, offering control features such as load shifting, low/zero voltage ride through, voltage and frequency droop control, islanding and seamless transition, and black start, and providing extremely low DC bus ripple. FIAMM SoNick batteries have a track record of safety and reliability, large energy capacity with a minimal impact on the environment due to the absence of toxic materials, and are 100 percent recyclable, according to the company.

Diego Tebaldi, senior director of global business development at Northern Power Systems, said that the integration of the company’s power converter into this particular chemistry opens up access to a global market with strong potential.

Icebreaker Offshore Wind Project To Incorporate Innovative Foundation Design

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) announced that the Icebreaker offshore wind project planned for the Ohio waters of Lake Erie will use an innovative foundation design that was developed in Europe. Mono Bucket foundations, developed by Denmark-based Universal Foundation (UF), will significantly reduce installation costs for the pilot project compared to the modified monopile concept LEEDCo developed in 2013.

The Mono Bucket foundation is an all-in-one steel structure consisting of a monopile shaft attached to a large-diameter bucket. It is installed with a suction system that requires no pile driving or dredging – eliminating noise and soil disturbance. A prototype has been supporting a 3-MW turbine in Denmark since 2002. A second prototype has been supporting a met mast at Horns Rev 2 in Denmark since 2009.

“Universal Foundation’s Mono Bucket foundation recently emerged as one of the most promising technology developments in the European offshore wind industry,” said Lorry Wagner, president of LEEDCo. According to Wagner, the Mono Bucket “is lighter than our original concept, requires significantly less time on the water during construction, and can be fabricated locally.”

UF will join LEEDCo’s team to complete the detailed design of the Mono Bucket foundations for the Icebreaker project. The team will work closely with U.S. steel fabricators to ensure the design is optimized for fabrication in the United States. The final design will be complete in early 2016.

“This is yet another innovation we are bringing to the U.S. offshore wind industry that will help meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s cost of energy targets,” Wagner said. “Not only does it move Icebreaker forward, it enables the Lake Erie region to become a central hub of the U.S. offshore wind industry.”

In addition to Icebreaker, Mono Buckets are also being considered for a number of European projects.

For more on eliminating noise during offshore wind farm construction, see our feature here.

Europe

Wave Power Device Receives Further Funding

HiWave, a wave-power system developed by CorPower Ocean and nurtured by KIC InnoEnergy’s Highway Programme, has secured in excess of €2 million in investment from the Swedish Energy Agency. The funds will be used to run tests in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Scotland.

HiWave has demonstrated promising efficiency rates in wave energy absorption, delivering five times higher energy density compared with previously developed technology, and at a third of the cost. This new investment is in addition to €6 million already invested by KIC InnoEnergy and the Swedish Energy Agency.

KIC InnoEnergy has invested a total of €3 million in the technology since its inception in 2009. The company has also provided support by connecting CorPower with Iberdrola Engineering and WavEC for collaboration, developing its supply chain, putting forward partnerships with established drive train and cylinder manufacturers, and helping to structure the company’s product verification methodology.

HIWave Concept. Credit: KIC InnoEnergy.

“CorPower has grown from a one person company with a small-scale prototype to a 12-person team with a proven device that can tap into the under-utilized power of the ocean,” said Patrik Möller, CEO, CorPower Ocean.

“The ocean has enough power to cover more than 10 percent of the world’s energy demand,” says Kenneth Johansson, CEO, KIC InnoEnergy Sweden, adding that he is proud that “the KIC InnoEnergy innovation model, based on our international network complementing national funding agencies, such as the Swedish Energy Agency, has enabled the HiWave project and the company CorPower to get to this point.”

UK Solar Could Rival Fossil Fuel Electricity by 2020

The Solar Trade Association (STA) published its “Solar Independence Plan for Britain,” setting out how the new government could steer rooftop solar-generated electricity to parity with retail electricity prices and utility-scale solar farms to parity with new gas CCGT power station prices, both by 2020.

In the report the STA looks at several different scenarios, and recommends the government adopt a scenario with a target of 25 GW by 2020. If adopted, the Plan could see 2.1 million solar homes, 24,000 commercial rooftop and community schemes, 2,300 good quality solar farms and almost 57,000 jobs in solar and its supply chains. Achieving this breakthrough would in 2020 cost households around £13 per year. Experts from Imperial College London have independently verified the STA modeling behind the plan. The Centre for Economics and Business Research provided job estimates.

The report outlines six changes to existing policy that would double the amount of solar-generated electricity in 2020 – from 10 TWh under DECC’s Solar PV Strategy to 21 TWh under the STA’s Higher Ambition scenario. This would bring solar to a total of 6.9 percent of U.K. electricity demand in 2020 as opposed to the 3.4 percent as per the government’s current plan with little extra cost.

The STA’s recommended policy steps include adjusting the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) in the forthcoming review to allow more growth and gradually bring tariffs for new installations down to zero by 2020. The STA is also seeking to ensure the Renewables Obligation is safeguarded for big rooftops and smaller solar farms until March 2017, and that barriers to the grid are addressed decisively.

The Plan also explains the importance of backing the U.K.’s domestic industry today with stable and predictable policy support rather than waiting for international module prices to fall, since modules form an increasingly small fraction of the cost of installed solar.

Middle East and Africa

Latest SE4All Initiative To Encompass Bioenergy

The Sustainable Bioenergy High-Impact Opportunity (HIO) was launched in May at the 2nd UN SE4All Forum to facilitate the development and deployment of sustainable bioenergy solutions.

At the event, partners for Euro-African Green Energy (PANGEA) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) presented a paper with information about how to implement business models that utilize bioenergy for electrification and provided policy recommendations to encourage the uptake of biomass as part of decentralized energy production.

Due to the sheer abundance of biomass often available in developing countries, the paper aims to encourage interested stakeholders from public and private sectors to work towards developing bioenergy technologies for electrification in areas where there is no conflict with nutrition and other issues. The paper looks at modern uses for solid biomass, liquid biofuels and biogas along with practical examples and best practices of the various bioenergy-based business models currently being implemented for rural energy access as well as opportunities for further expansion.

“Power from sustainably produced biomass can contribute in meaningful ways to increasing the energy access essential for rural economic development. The ARE-PANGEA report highlights nicely the potential for biopower production in different ecological and developmental contexts,” said Gerard Ostheimer, Global Lead, Sustainable Bioenergy UN SE4All Initiative

Solar PV Costs on Par with Fossil Fuels in Emirates

The UAE’s solar energy pricing has now reached parity with fossil fuel models, making it economically attractive and commercially viable for the first time ever in the nation’s history, according to a recent “REmap 2030” report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in conjunction with Masdar Institute and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate of Energy and Climate Change. Solar PV is on par with gas at prices of US $4.50-8.00 / MBtu, which currently makes solar PV economically viable in the UAE.

Credit: Masdar.

The REmap 2030 puts solar as a critical resource for the UAE, with different forms of solar energy accounting for more than 90 percent of renewable energy use in the region. Additionally, the IRENA report highlights policy as a key enabling factor for renewable energy adoption and urges government agencies to take holistic, comparative views of energy costs and act on them.

Solar power, together with other renewable energy sources, could save the country billions of dirhams annually while introducing innumerable health and environmental benefits, while also acting to preserve precious existing fossil fuel resources.

“We believe that, for the UAE and wider Arabian Gulf, solar power is perhaps the most promising of all renewable energy sources – creating jobs while preserving existing energy reserves,” said Naji El Haddad, Group Event Director of the annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) hosted by Masdar and part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. In 2016, the event will launch the “WFES Solar Expo,” a dedicated area on the show floor for showcasing solar technology and innovation. More than 150 exhibitors have already confirmed their participation, with global companies from the wind and solar industries to take part in the exhibition and discussion proceedings. The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2016 will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre 18-21 January 2016.

Asia Pacific

More Solar for Japan with 92-MW Solar Project Announced

Kyocera, Kyudenko and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation announced a joint investment in Kanoya Osaki Solar Hills LLC, a solar power operating company, to construct and operate a 92-MW solar power plant on a site stretching across Kanoya City and Osaki Town in Kagoshima Prefecture. Once complete, the project will be one of the largest solar installations in Japan.

The project, which is sited on a never-built golf course, will accommodate 340,740 Kyocera solar modules, and is expected to generate roughly 99,230 MWh annually – enough electricity to power approximately 30,500 typical households.

Kanoya Osaki Solar Hills LLC will operate the site, and a joint venture established by Kyudenko and Gaia Power will undertake the design, construction and maintenance of the solar installation. Kyocera will supply the modules and Century Tokyo Leasing will arrange financing for the 35 billion yen (approx. US $290 million) project.

Rendering of the Proposed Plant. Credit: Kyocera.

Construction is set to begin in late 2015 or 2016 and should take about 18 months.

EV Market Set for Big Gains As Asian Manufacturers Drive Down Li-ion Prices

The electric vehicle opportunity is set to expand, as battery developers like Panasonic drive down prices of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery packs by 35 percent to US $172/kWh in 2025, according to Lux Research. However, only the best-in-class players will achieve that cost threshold, while others lag at US $229/kWh.

The estimate is based on a new bottom-up cost model built by Lux Research in an industry known for being highly secretive about its costs. The model accounts for differences in battery chemistry, form factor, production scale, location and other nuances.

“High battery prices have led to some huge missed opportunities in the electric vehicle market. Now if developers can drive down prices to $200/kWh or less at the pack level, they have a chance of selling millions of EVs by the mid- to late-2020s, and reap great revenues,” said Cosmin Laslau, Lux Research Senior Analyst and lead author.

Lux Research analysts used interviews and research to build out a cost model for Li-ion batteries and evaluate the new opportunities emerging for developers and OEMs. Among their findings:

  • Competitive gap is widening. Technological innovation and scale are helping leaders like Panasonic, in partnership with Tesla, widen their competitive advantage. While Panasonic-Tesla and China’s BYD will achieve $172/kWh and $211/kWh at the pack levels, respectively, the Nissan-AESC partnership risks falling behind at $261/kWh unless it changes technologies and production strategies.
  • Disruptive Li-rich NMC will deliver more gains. In 2025, a disruptive Li-rich NMC would bring in cost gains of $17/kWh over conventional NMC/graphite cells. While scale-up efficiencies like Tesla’s “Gigafactory” remain a key strategy, geographical location and technology like high-voltage cathodes are also key factors.
  • Some benefits will reach stationary storage market, too. Li-ion cost reduction will positively impact the stationary storage market as well. However, it will not address added costs like the power conditioning system, land, construction and integration. Therefore, installed stationary systems spanning from residential to grid-scale will range from $655/kWh to $498/kWh in 2025, respectively.

The report, titled “Crossing the Line: Li-ion Battery Cost Reduction and Its Effect on Vehicles and Stationary Storage,” is part of the Lux Research Energy Storage Intelligence service.

Latin America

Companies Eye Chilean Renewables Mkt

Chile holds significant potential for renewable energy development, with a long-term shortage of power and industries that consume large amounts of power, like mining. The wind and solar resources in Chile are plentiful, creating many opportunities for the growth of renewables.

To harness this potential, renewable energy company SgurrEnergy formed partnerships with two South American energy companies to develop renewables opportunities in the Chilean market. SgurrEnergy, a Wood Group company, will combine its global renewable energy expertise with the local knowledge and experience of new partners, Coener and Mankuk, to drive forward the renewable energy market in Chile.

Coener and Mankuk both provide engineering solutions to clients on projects in Chile.

SgurrEnergy has a wealth of experience working in Chile including performing the role of lender’s engineer for an onshore wind farm, which required that the company perform an independent energy yield forecast, review of financial models, site visits and contract reviews.

Brazil and Chile To Install More than 15 GW of Renewables by 2017

Brazil will spearhead renewable energy additions in South America to 2017, with the country’s cumulative installed capacity expanding from 19.8 GW in 2013 to over 32.9 GW by 2017 according to GlobalData. The company’s latest report also states that Chile will see the fastest increase in renewables over the forecast period, with cumulative installed capacity rising from 1.06 GW in 2013 to 5.37 GW by 2017, at an impressive CAGR of 50 percent

GlobalData’s Ankit Mathur said “Brazil is looking to increase power generation from renewable energy sources and is aiming for 10 percent of its annual generation to come from these sources by 2020. In order to achieve this target, the Brazilian government introduced the Program of Incentives for Alternative Electricity Sources (Programa de Incentivo a Fontes Alternativas de Energia Elétrica; PROINFA) in 2002 to boost renewable energy adoption.

“The first phase awarded auctions for 3.3 GW of wind, biomass and small and medium-sized hydropower plants.”

While biomass accounted for the largest share of Brazil’s renewable energy mix with 50.1 percent in 2014, wind power capacity is expected to become the new leading sector with a 41.4 percent share in 2017, up from 27.3 percent in 2014.

Meanwhile, renewables are expected to see the largest growth in Chile’s overall power sector, with the country beginning to harness its significant potential in solar, wind and geothermal power.