Looking back at the festive days in Ukraine, Ukrenergo review wishes our readers harmony and welfare. We hope you will find a few minutes to look through the fresh digest of the most interesting news from the world of energy.
1. Bosnia to build a coal-fired power unit using $ 700 million Chinese loan. The Bosnian regional government agreed a $ 700 million loan from China’s Exim Bank to help the national company EPBiH to build a new generating unit at the coal-fired power plant in the city of Tuzla. According to Reuters, this amount covers 85 percent of the total value of the contract signed in November last year for the largest investments in the energy infrastructure of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 2014, EPBiH chose a consortium of the Chinese group of companies Gezhouba Group and Guangyong Electric Power Design to finance the construction of a new 450 MW TPP unit. However, this project was delayed due to bureaucracy and lingering negotiations. Under the terms of the new loan agreement, the loan repayment period equals 20 years, with a 5-year preference period. In addition, the agreement provides for a one-time payment by EPBiH of $ 27.7 million.
At the same time, ecologists protest against the specified coal projects because they believe that they do not meet the recent EU emission directives and may cause significant air pollution. Despite this, the Balkan states are increasingly turning to China to finance projects since the EU, the World Bank and other institutions are cutting back coal generation funding. Only in Bosnia alone, Chinese companies are considering energy and infrastructure projects worth over € 3 billion.
2. German RWE lowered electricity prices for the next three years. RWE, one of the most powerful German companies, has sold the bulk of the electricity it will produce at NPPs and TPPs in 2018 and the next three years at the prices that are significantly lower than current ones. This is reported by Energyworld.
Over 90 percent of the products for 2018-2019 was sold at € 28 per MWh. In addition, more than 90 percent of electricity for 2020 and more than 40 percent for 2021 was sold at € 29 per MWh.
By comparison, wholesale electricity prices in Germany for 2019 are now at their record high of € 46.35 per MWh. According to Thomson Reuters, contract prices for 2020 and 2021 are equal to € 43.30 and € 42.15 respectively. Thanks to forward contracts and well-considered hedging, RWE managed to beat the market. It is also worth noting that the RWE is heavily dependent on the impact of the European carbon emissions prices since it has a relatively large carbon-intensive portfolio with high CO2 emissions. However, the company also said that its position on CO2 was also financially hedged by the end of 2022. For RWE, the expected emission price varies from € 5 to € 6 per tonne of CO2 for 2018-2021, while the current CO2 price has risen to € 18.09 by the end of December 2018. Thus, the financial situation of the coming years for RWE is positive. Let us remind you that RWE produces electricity at coal and gas fired power plants of the EU countries and should become a major player in renewable energy through the exchange of assets with E.ON.
3. The American Chemical Society presented batteries from paper and bacteria. The next time you need a rechargeable battery to turn on the device while traveling, instead of looking for Duracell, you can use a new type of disposable battery with two unlikely components, namely paper and bacteria. As stated by Robert Glatter, MD, at the Forbes website, these components are used as the raw material for a new bio-battery.
This invention can be quite useful in remote areas of the world or in regions with limited resources. The principle of such a “bio-battery” is to create an energy-saving device, which is charged by the enzymatic breakdown of glucose (sugar), during which the energy is released in the form of electrons. In this case, the researchers used bacteria to create a microbial fuel battery, relying on a specialised type of bacteria for generating electric current. Such portable batteries can be useful for rural settlements, where commercial batteries are often out of reach or too expensive. “Paper has unique advantages as a material for biosensors,” said Seokheun (Sean) Choi, Ph.D., who represented his group’s work at the ACS event, in a press release. The concept of using electrical bacteria integrated into the paper environment is a new promising energy approach for the future development of electricity.
4. South Australia to transit to 100 percent RES by 2025. South Australia, the state known for its energy innovations and experiments, plans to generate 100 percent of electricity from renewables in seven years (by 2025). Such indicators were estimated by the Australian energy market operator. This is reported by Renew Economy.
There is also another forecast, namely ESB modelling, which states that South Australia will reach 75 percent of RES generation in 2020 and 80 percent in 2022. It should be noted that the high rates of renewable energy growth are also observed in the Australian state of Victoria. Australia is among the world’s three leaders in developing solid minerals and has significant reserves of coal and brown coal. In addition, this country is the third largest in the world (after Kazakhstan and Canada) in terms of uranium mining. Until recently, about 80 percent of the country’s energy was produced from coal. However, starting from 2015, the situation is dramatically changing in favour of green energy.
5. China invests in wind energy in foreign markets. China is changing its global renewable energy policy. Its investments in wind energy in foreign markets in Europe and Australia alone has exceeded $ 12 billion. Private and state-owned Chinese companies are quite aggressive to take advantage of the rapidly growing green energy markets. This is summarised in a brief survey published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). “China is now the driving force behind the European energy transformation, while its international leadership in low-emission sectors goes fully in line with the efforts to increase the global economic influence of China,” said Simon Nicholas, Energy Finance Analyst of IEEFA in Sydney.
Chinese state-owned independent power generators purchased large wind power facilities in nine European countries. These investments are aimed, in particular, at diversifying the foreign portfolios of Chinese companies and gaining expertise in the field of offshore wind technology. In recent years, given the Chinese leadership in terms of developing the technology in low-emission energy sectors, Chinese energy companies started to invest in alternative energy sources, as opposed to traditional coal and hydropower.