The latest issue of Ukrenergo Review is rich in interesting and diverse energy news that our readership may find interesting, as well as quite surprising.
In it you will find out where and why Google is building solar power stations on fishing ponds, how reciprocating HPPs have become the basis of power generation in some US states, how China is going to change the policy of supporting renewable energy, what is happening with global renewable energy investments, and much more.
1.New cross-border 500 kV transmission line to appear between Scotland and Norway
The Scottish Government has greenlit the new cross-border high-voltage DC line (HVDC) between Scotland and Norway – North Connect with voltage class of 500 kV. Its capacity will be 1.4 GW with the total length of about 635 km, according to Compelo.com.
The line will run between Peterhead substation in Scotland and Sima substation in Norway. On the Scottish side NorthConnect will connect to a high-voltage AC (HVAC) network at a voltage of 400kV, and to a 420kV HVAC network on the Norwegian side.
Richard Blanchfield, the NorthConnect Head of Development in Scotland, said: “We expect, first of all, a significant benefit from the project implementation for consumers, above all, by helping keep prices down. Moreover, putting NorthConnect in operation will significantly enhance market competition.”
The new project will allow to export excess wind generated during periods of high wind activity from Scotland to Norway to pump water into the PSPP reservoirs, and vice versa, during periods of low wind activity electricity will be exported from Norway. The project is implemented by three Norwegian companies – Agder Energi, E-CO and Lyse, and Swedish Vattenfall AB. U.K. energy regulator Ofgem granted a license for the project in June 2016, with construction work scheduled to begin in 2019, and commissioning of the HVDC connection in 2022.
The project is part of the European programme the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI), which aims towards increased efficiency of using renewable potential and minimizing the risks of power supply disruptions of energy resources through deploying cross-border regional electricity transmission grids.
2.Google to build first floating solar power plant in Taiwan fish farms
Google will build a floating solar farm above fishing ponds in Taiwan, according to Energymanagertoday.com.
This is IT giant’s first foray into implementing their clean energy development strategy in Asia’s renewable energy market. The company will work with Diode Ventures, Taiyen Green Energy, J&V Energy and New Green Power to build the 10MW facility.
Floating solar farms have become popular in the Asia-Pacific regions because they can be built over water, and do not additional permits, as with land plots. Today Japan tops the world’s floating solar installations; in China, the world’s largest 40 MW floating solar farm was built in Guoyang over a lake that used to be a coalmine.
Floating solar farms are gaining worldwide popularity because their unique design addresses a number of energy efficiency and city planning issues. They do not occupy land in densely populated regions, and reduce the surface of water evaporation.
While floating solar farms tend to be floated directly on the water via pontoons, Google is considering a canopy system, which would see the panels installed on poles. The canopies would provide shade to the ponds, reducing evaporation – a concern for areas suffering from drought – and could also improve fishing yields while reducing algae growth. The project is expected to be completed in 2020.
The World Bank estimates a global potential of 400 gigawatts for the floating solar market. in 2018, total installed capacity was at 1.1 gigawatts, more than 100 times the capacity in 2014 of just 10 megawatts, according to a World Bank report.
3.Natural gas-fired reciprocating engines become an important element to balance renewables in the US
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) conducted statistical surveys of the regional usage of gas reciprocating units, according to the Administration’s official website.
Power plants with large reciprocating engines appear to be often located in states with significant renewable resources. Of the total installed capacity 4,642 MW almost half is located in three states – Texas, with 910 MW of natural gas-driven reciprocating engines, or 20% of the national total (4,642 MW), Kansas (564 MW) and California (398 MW).
Before 2010, reciprocating engines typically had no more than 9 MW in capacity, but in recent years, larger units that range from 16 MW to 19 MW have been installed throughout the United States. The largest of these facilities is the Denton Energy Center, which has twelve 18.8 MW natural gas-fired engines for a total plant capacity of 225 MW.
One of the main advantages of reciprocating engines is their ability to provide incremental electricity quickly. Reciprocating engines can start up even when the grid has no power, which helps electric transmission grid operators match fluctuating power requirements and restore power after major storms. Engine manufacturers have also made advances in efficiency and emission reductions, particularly emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). In addition, power plants using internal combustion engines tend to require significantly less water than similarly sized combined-cycle or simple-cycle natural gas turbine plants.
4.China renews subsidies for solar generation
China is once again planning to resume government incentives for solar energy projects requiring subsidies, as per the proposal by Chinese regulators, Bloomberg reports.
Last summer the Chinese government cut subsidies for the construction of industrial solar power stations that required subsidies. This decision shook the global market, affected the dynamic in solar material prices globally, roiling manufacturers.
The return to the previous model may boost the solar market and help it rebound from last year’s slump.
The changes will probably result in installed capacity rising from last year’s 44 gigawatts. China is likely to allocate about $443 million of fixed subsidies for solar in 2019, Citigroup Inc. said in a note. The bank estimates capacity additions of 42 gigawatts this year under its base case, with a potential for a gain to 50 gigawatts.
The Chinese government is also planning for the first time a separate subsidy limit for residential solar systems. Projects that were not eligible for state funding last year may apply for quotas in 2019, which may help address problems with the climate policy shift.
5.Global investors plan to double renewable energy allocations
A new report expects an estimated $210bn to flow into clean energy assets over the next five years, EnergyLiveNews says.
That’s according to a new report launched by Octopus, the finance firm, which surveyed global institutional investors with a collective $6.8 trillion (£5.3tn) of assets – the results show allocations to renewables are planned to increase from 4.4% to 7.1%.
More than two-fifths of investors already involved with renewables expect to increase their allocations by as much as a tenth.
About two-thirds of clean energy investors said diversification was the main driver prompting them to invest in the sector, closely followed by the pursuit of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials, with around 58% naming this is a major reason.
56% of respondents identified energy price uncertainty as a challenge. More than half of investors said the biggest factor that would cause them to increase investment in renewables would be better support and policies from government.
However, about a third of interviewed respondents cited government and regulatory barriers as something that would need to be overcome.
Meanwhile, the International Renewable Energy Agency believes that the global power sector must develop “far-sighted policy frameworks” to anticipate the needs of the future energy system.
IRENA warns decarbonising the global power sector in line with the Paris Agreement will require an 85% share of renewable energy by 2050 and argues the steps outlined are crucial for the massive scale-up of renewables power to be enabled in a cost-effective manner.
The report, published by the agency, calls for the sector to draw together innovations in technology, market design, business models and operation, as well as support learning through ongoing trials and demonstrations.
It stresses it is vital to account for changing roles and responsibilities in operating the power system as decentralised energy resources become increasingly common and new market players emerge.