Regional News

North America

The Nature Conservancy Installs Bird-Safe Wind on Palmyra

A United States-based nonprofit, The Nature Conservancy, has completed its first phase of installation of SheerWind’s INVELOX funnel-based wind-power technology at the Palmyra Atoll, 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.

Palmyra Atoll is home to coral-reef and tropical-island ecosystems. It is co-owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It is a national wildlife refuge and hosts more than a million nesting seabirds.

Low wind speeds and the risk of bird strikes meant conventional wind turbines were deemed inappropriate. The SheerWind design is some 83 feet long (25 meters) and features a venturi section to increase wind velocity by a factor of three to six. With nets over the intake and enclosed blades, a single turbine has been installed inside the venturi.

Fundy Tidal-Monitoring Platforms Ready for Trials

In Dartmouth, Canada, Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) is completing final testing of two advanced underwater monitoring platforms in preparation for sea trials in the Bay of Fundy.

The Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) platforms are recoverable instrument platforms designed to monitor and characterize the FORCE site. Using a variety of onboard sensing equipment, the platforms enable real-time data collection from the Minas Passage. They measure currents and turbulence, seabed stability, marine life activity, and noise levels.

Tony Wright, FORCE’s general manager, said: “To harness the enormous power of the Bay of Fundy responsibly, we have to understand it. We’ve built two subsea instrument platforms that will give us a clearer, moment-by-moment picture of what’s happening under the water.”

Part of a CAN $6.8-million FAST program that has supported FORCE efforts to better understand the Minas Passage, the project has included subsea data collection, subsea data cable installation, shore-based radar, and meteorological equipment.

“Many ocean sensors were not designed to operate in the extreme high flows at the FORCE site in the Minas Passage. The platforms help take ocean monitoring to the next level,” said FORCE Platform Manager Simon Melrose.

Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) is completing final testing of this advanced underwater monitoring platform in Canada. Credit: FORCE.


European Commission Sets out ETS Reform Plans

A raft of energy-sector proposals were unveiled by the EU Commission. The commission plans to reform its flagship tool for tackling climate change — its EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

To accomplish this, the commission proposes increasing the pace of emissions cuts after 2020 and providing additional support mechanisms to help the industry and power sectors meet the challenges of the transition.

According to the commission, this is the first legislative step toward implementing the EU’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent domestically by 2030. To achieve the target, the sectors covered by the ETS have to reduce their emissions by 43 percent compared to 2005 levels.

This includes revising the system of free allocation to focus on sectors that are at highest risk of relocating their production outside the EU. In addition, more flexible rules aim to better align free allowances with production figures. It is expected that around 6.3 billion allowances will be allocated for free to companies from 2021-2030. These allowances will be worth as much as 160 billion euros. ○

Standardized Wave Power-Offtake Device Gets Funding

A 1/10-scale prototype of a marine hydrokinetic project has received $3.1 million USD in new funding from the Scottish government’s Marine Renewables Commercialization Fund (MRCF).

It is hoped the research can lead to standardized subsea units that will be able to be attached to a variety of different wave-energy machines.

The Wave Power Offtake Device (WavePOD) project run jointly by Aquamarine Power, Bosch Rexroth, and Carnegie Wave Energy is testing the prototype at the Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls at RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

When generating electrical power, the scale-prototype’s drivetrain is using real-life hydrodynamic data from Aquamarine’s Oyster 800 device, installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney in 2012.

Its backers say the new funding should enable the team to complete the scale-prototype testing and deliver the design and specification for a full-scale prototype.

These developments coincided with a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan that found the UK remains the front-runner in the development of newer tidal-energy solutions, buoyed by a good tidal resources and a supportive regulatory scenario. Canada, China and South Korea are also showing steady progress. And the United States is one of the top innovators, the report said.

Research Analyst Lekshmy Ravi said, “The success of smaller demonstration plants will propel the immediate adoption of tidal stream and tidal barrage technologies. The deployment of hybrid energy systems consisting of a combination of tidal and offshore wind energy seems probable in the long term.”

Serbian Onshore Wind Set to Soar

Total installed onshore wind installed capacity in Serbia is set to rise five-fold – from 102.5 MW in 2015 to an estimated 522 MW by 2025 – following the introduction of a new energy law.

According to new analysis by GlobalData, several new projects and the government’s new Energy Law, which came into effect in January 2015, will boost installations to an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 48 percent.

According to GlobalData Analyst Sneha Susan Elias, “Plant operators must hold Privileged Power Producer (PPP) status in order to receive the appropriate price support for electricity generation in accordance with legal requirements. Following completion of the power-purchase agreement with the plant operator, Serbia’s state-owned power utility company, Elektroprivreda Srbije, is legally obliged to purchase the total electricity produced by PPPs at an incentive price. Technologies eligible for feed-in tariffs include hydropower, biogas, biomass, geothermal energy, solar power, and wind power.”

Serbia will reach approximately 250 MW of onshore installed capacity by 2020. This is only half of its 500-MW capacity cap for wind energy by 2020.

France’s Feed-in-Tariffs for Biogas and PV Increase

The French government is to increase its feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for biogas installations and small photovoltaic (PV) systems, according to the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy.

Part of an overall strategy for France to meet 32 percent of its energy demand by renewables by 2030, the FiT for electricity produced by combined heat and power installations running on biogas will reportedly be raised for both new and existing installations between 10 and 20 percent under the terms of a ministerial decree.

The ministry is also expected to increase the price premium given to building-integrated solar PV installations of up to 100 peak kW by 10 percent.

Middle East and Africa

Finance Deal Accomplished for Kenyan Wind

Kipeto Wind Power Project in Kajiado, Kenya is set to go ahead with the conclusion of a $233-million-USD financing deal with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

The United States government’s development finance institution committed the debt financing for construction and operation of the project as part of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.

Located south of Nairobi, the 100-MW project will be one of the first utility-scale wind projects to come online in Kenya, where over 75 percent of the population still lacks access to reliable electricity.

Kipeto is being developed in partnership with African Infrastructure Investment Managers, Kenyan independent power producer Craftskills Wind Energy International, Ltd., and International Finance Corporation (IFC).

President and CEO of OPIC Elizabeth Littlefield said: “Kipeto is a transformative project for many reasons, principally for the clean and reliable energy it will supply to Kenyan citizens. It will be one of Kenya’s first utility-scale wind projects and can contribute more than 20 percent of residential power consumption at current usage rates.”

Sudan’s Plans for 500 MW of Hydro by 2020

Plans to boost generating capacity in Sudan, including around 500 MW of new hydropower development, have been released by the Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity.

A document detailing increasing hydroelectric power generation in the country from 1,500 MW to 2,000 MW by 2020 has been approved by the technical committee of the economic-development sector at Sudan’s Council of Ministers.

Among the projects, Sudan aims to complete construction of the 320-MW Upper Atbara and Setit hydroelectric project, including Rumela Dam on Upper Atbarah River and Burdana Dam on Setit River. These locations are in the eastern region of the country.

The $1.9-billion-USD project began construction in 2011. Both dams are expected to be complete by March 2016.

Even at maximum capacity, the 1250 MW Merowe plant, Sudan’s largest hydroelectric facility, cannot fully power Khartoum. Sudan routinely faces a 5-percent deficit in electricity supply during peak hours.

Of the country’s 39 million inhabitants, only 35 percent have access to electricity.

PV Tracking System to Be Installed in South Africa

Construction has begun on a 558-kW ground-mounted solar tracking PV power plant at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Pretoria campus in South Africa.

Under turnkey development by a Capetown-based subsidiary of Germany’s juwi, the project will cover one hectare and will produce power at a lifetime levelized cost of six euro cents/kWh (according to CSIR’s lifetime-cost-of-electricity model).

The tracking system is expected to produce more than 3.5 GWh in the first three years of operation, during which juwi will also provide operations and maintenance services for the facility.

Greg Austin, managing director of juwi South Africa, said: “By pushing the market towards the lowest cost per kWh offered over the project’s full lifetime, the CSIR has demonstrated that it is possible for government and public entities to procure smaller-scale renewable-energy facilities at lifetime cost rates highly comparable to [those from] large-scale facilities such as the various larger PV power plants in the Northern Cape.”

Grid connection is scheduled for the end of August.

Solar Developments in Jordan

Four solar PV projects are under development in Jordan with a combined capacity of 57 MWp. Located near the cities of Ma’an and Mafraq, the four projects were awarded power purchase agreements under Round 1 of Jordan’s National Renewable Energy Plan.

Three of the projects, each rated at 11 MW and located near the city of Ma’an in south-central Jordan, are Al Ward Al Joury, Al Zahrat Al Salam, and Al Zanbaq. Jordan Solar One is rated at 24 MW and will be constructed near the northern town of Mafraq.

Martifer Solar, a subsidiary of Martifer SGPS, will provide the engineering, procurement and construction services for the portfolio and perform the subsequent operations and maintenance for all four solar PV projects.

The projects were also supported by the World Bank Group through Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency investment guarantees as well as part of an IFC $207-million-USD debt-financing package. IFC also acted as the lead arranger for the financing together with a syndicate of other financiers including Bahrain’s Arab Bank, the European Arab Bank, FMO, FinnFund, and OPEC’s Fund for International Development.

“Jordan currently imports 95 percent of its power… which costs approximately a fifth of the country’s GDP. The development and construction of renewable energy projects such as these will be essential for its future,” said Henrique Rodrigues, CEO of Martifer Solar.

Latin America

Peruvian Hydro Financed

Union Group has secured a $59-million-USD financing package for two hydropower plants in Peru that will generate a combined 27.4 MW.

A consortium of development banks have invested in senior debt in Union Group’s El Carmen and 8 de Ogosto hydropower plants. These plants will be linked to the national power grid by a 60-km transmission line.

El Carmen, which will generate 8.4 MW, and 8 de Agosto, which will generate 19 MW, are anticipated to produce up to 215 GWh per year.

The $88-million-USD project marks the first stage of a plan to build nine hydropower plants with 125 MW of capacity in the country’s mountainous Huanuco region in central Peru.

Union Group subsidiary Generación Andina is building the plants backed by two 20-year power purchase agreements with the Peruvian government under its under Renewable Energy Resource Program.

Within Peru, Union Group is developing a hydropower portfolio of close to 1,000 MW, including two plants in the district of Monzón, Huamalies, which are due to enter service in January 2016. Union Group also recently acquired Empresa de Generación Eléctrica Canchayllo S.A.C, a subsidiary of Rurelec. The $14.3-million-USD deal includes a 5.2 MW run-of-river hydro power plant in Junin, Peru.

According to Peru’s General Directorate of Electricity of the Ministry of Energy, national electricity consumption rose on average by close to 5 percent a year between 2004 and 2014.

Uruguay Strikes a Wind Turbine Deal

Spain’s wind turbine manufacturing company Gamesa signed a new contract with developer Smartener for the supply of 50 MW of machines to the Maldonado II wind farm in Uruguay.

The agreement reached with Smartener encompasses the supply, installation and commissioning of 25 of its G114-2.0 MW turbines at the wind farm, located in Maldonado and Lavalleja in southeastern Uruguay.

This is Gamesa’s first contract in Uruguay for the installation of the G114-2.0 MW, a new model designed for low- and medium-wind-speed sites.

Gamesa will also provide the facility’s operations and maintenance services under a five-year agreement. Delivery of the turbines is expected to begin in November and the wind farm’s construction should be completed by Q2 2016.

This new order is an extension of the operational first phase of Maldonado wind farm, also developed by Smartener in 2013.

To date, Gamesa has installed 150 MW in Uruguay.

Seawater Air-Conditioning Economically Viable in Caribbean

Eight locations in the Caribbean have been analyzed for seawater air conditioning development in a study which suggests that district cooling is economically viable for at least two sites.

In a study commissioned by the Development Bank of Latin America with co-financing from the Agence Française de Développement, Makai’s district cooling modelling software was used to assess the sites. The feasibility study also produced two conceptual designs and cost estimates at the most economically attractive locations: Montego Bay in Jamaica and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

The technology uses deep seawater, which even in the tropics can be as cold as 5°C (41°F) for district cooling. It replaces conventional A/C systems is large buildings such as hotels, reducing electricity consumption.

Asia Pacific

Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub Project Begins

Work is scheduled to begin on the Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub, off the southern coast of Australia. The hub will integrate wind and solar generation with existing diesel power-station technology.

Project Director Simon Gamble said, “Like many remote or island locations, Flinders Island is currently heavily reliant on expensive diesel fuel to supply its electricity needs. Diesel fuel remains the single largest expense in these remote energy systems. Using renewable energy makes good economic sense.”

Within two years, the $12.88 million Australian dollars ($9.5 million USD) Flinders Island project will be capable of displacing up to 60 percent of the annual diesel fuel used on the island to generate electricity. The go-ahead came after Hydro Tasmania signed contracts totaling nearly $4 million Australian dollars ($3 million USD). The Australian Renewable Energy Agency also supported the project with $5.5 million Australian dollars ($4 million USD) of funding.

Development of the Hybrid Energy Hub follows the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project, which plans that the nearby island’s energy needs will be supplied solely from renewables when conditions allow. The Flinders Island project will use similar technology.

Hydro Tasmania’s has worked with Tasmanian manufacturers to develop a series of modular units to house and ship the technologies essential for this energy solution. The technology will be developed and tested for the first time through the Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub project.

“These modular enabling units will provide a lower-cost and scalable solution that will allow easy and rapid transport and installation for renewable-energy projects and which could also serve temporary uses such as in disaster relief or in the mining industry,” Gamble said.

The project is due to be completed in November 2016.

3 GW of Solar Projects Slated for China’s Shanxi

Plans for up to 3 GW of new solar power in China’s Shanxi province have moved ahead after Hong Kong-based United Photovoltaics Group, Ltd. said it had won exclusive rights to develop and construct a 100-MW demonstration project there.

Located at the Datong Demonstration Base, Datong City, installed capacity at the site is anticipated to reach 3 GW by 2017.

Credit: United PV.

The deal forms part of National Advanced Photovoltaic Technology Demonstration Base in coal-mining subsidence areas in Datong.

According to the overall planning, the target aggregate capacity of the base in 2015 is 1000 MW, including seven power plant projects with an aggregate capacity of 100 MW for each project and five projects with an aggregate capacity of 50 MW each. A further 50 MW will be community-based. ○


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Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

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