The traditional digest from Ukrenergo will mark the end of this working week. Before plunging into the extended weekends, you have an opportunity to look through the selection of the most interesting news in the world of energy. In a laconic and substantiated manner.
1. Brexit poses risk to the construction of new power cables. Britain’s exit from the European Union can carry the risk of suspension of construction of new interconnections by UK companies that are traditionally active in this field. This was stated by Norwegian national transmission system operator Statnett. Such situation was caused by the fact that Statnett and the British National Grid concluded an agreement before the vote on Brexit concerning the construction of the first interconnector between the two countries by 2021 – NorthConnect. At present, implementation of the project is questioned. In addition, a separate consortium of Norwegian energy companies and Swedish Vattenfall also plans to build a second cable by 2022-2023 worth almost 2 billion euros. If Brexit is launched in full, the UK will not be able to participate in the European spot and intraday markets, which will complicate implementation of trade agreements and similar projects. “In this case, Britain will be treated in the same way as Switzerland,” Statnett informed. Brexit can also mean that the UK will no longer be linked to the EU competition rules, and therefore there is a risk that the British Government may introduce a border tariff. However, the company expressed an optimistic approach and hope that in the long term the UK and the EU will find a compromise.
2. World Bank provides Tanzania with USD 455 mln for power projects. Tanzania will receive a loan of USD 455 million from the World Bank under the International Development Assistance Program (IDA) to support the financing of power projects. The loan will finance the construction of a critical infrastructure for high voltage transmission, which will support the electrification of the southern and north-western regions of Tanzania. This infrastructure will also link Tanzania with other electricity markets in southern and eastern Africa. It is worth noting that despite the large number of power sources, access to electricity remains one of the main problems in Tanzania. According to Reuters, the Tanzanian government plans to attract 2 trillion Tanzanian shillings (USD 880 million) of preferential loans and grants to finance power development projects. Last year, Tanzanian President John Magufuli said the country needed about USD 46.2 billion for the next 20 years to rebuild its power infrastructure and meet the growing demand for electricity in the country. According to the World Bank, 36.8 percent of Tanzanians had access to electricity in 2016. For comparison, in Kenya, this indicator was equal to 56 percent. At the same time, in Rwanda – 29.4 percent, in Uganda – 26.7 percent and in Burundi – 7.6 percent.
3. Germany decides on the issue of storing excessive RES energy. German transmission system operators and operators of gas pipeline networks will work together to implement joint plans to create high-tech power facilities by 2030. Thus, the major German energy and gas companies, namely Amprion and Open Grid Europe (OGE), have announced plans to jointly build power-to-gas (PTG) plants, seeking to use new technology to help store and transport excessive energy from RES. PTG technology offers a solution to the problem of storing wind and solar electricity by means of passing it through water to divide it into oxygen and hydrogen, which can be used as transport fuels. The companies said they had already submitted a proposal to the German energy regulator and the Federal Network Agency to obtain permissions. “We are looking at 50 to 100 megawatt (MW) size ptg plants, potentially in Lower Saxony or northern North-Rhine Westphalia state,” Amprion board member Hans-Juergen Brick said by phone after a press conference in Berlin. By then, PTG facilities are no larger than 6 MW and are used in non-commercial test locations. Amprion and Open Grid Europe are hoping to build the first plants in 2022 or early 2023. Such steps and new strategies developed by German energy players go in line with the Government’s plans to achieve 65 percent of the share of wind and solar power by 2030.
4. Lithuania plans to use 100 percent of RES in 2050. The Lithuanian Seimas has approved a new National Energy Independence Strategy. The strategy includes four main directions of Lithuania’s energy policy: energy security, green energy development, energy efficiency, competitiveness and innovation. “We now have clearly defined targets that we are moving towards and striving to achieve. Our main aspirations are to end Lithuania’s energy dependence on Russia once and for all, and no longer be either an energy island or peninsula. Also, to expand clean, climate-friendly energy, and to develop and introduce innovations that will allow the consumer to save and the economy to grow,” said Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas. The document received widespread support not only in the Seimas but also from other stakeholders and the public. The revised Strategy contains the country’s main energy targets by 2030 and defines the guidelines for energy development until the middle of the century. Lithuania’s energy security will be strengthened to integrate national power grids and markets into the grid of the European Union. For this purpose, the country developed two large projects: synchronization of the Lithuanian power grid with the European grid ENTSO-E through Poland (by 2025) and interconnection of the gas pipeline between Lithuania and Poland (by 2021). The revised Strategy also foresees that by 2030, 45 percent of electricity and about 90 percent of thermal energy will be generated from renewable sources. In addition, all electricity and heat consumed in
Lithuania will be generated by renewable and other clean energy sources already in 2050.
5. RES provoke negative prices for electricity in Australia. The deployment of large-scale solar projects – from power plants to home-based installations in the Australian Queensland – started to influence prices for electricity in Australia, sometimes lowering them to a negative mark. This is what happened on June 19, when wholesale electricity prices in the country dropped below zero. Extremely rare phenomena are expected to become more frequent in the coming years. According to Paul McArdle of Watt Clarity, the cost was dropping below zero repeatedly due to a change in the form of the energy market, especially due to the introduction of solar power capacities. Today, about 20 percent of electricity for Queensland comes from the Sun: from about 128 MW of large solar power stations and 1270 MW of solar rooftop panels. “You will see this happening more and more,” McArdle says. He also noted that the form of energy consumption is also changing from the traditional demand load in the morning and in the evening. This will become more apparent, and it is expected that the number of negative prices in the coming months and years will increase substantially as more solar energy is supplied to the grid. For example, solar farms in Longreach (15 MW), Sun Metals (124 MW) and Clare (100 MW) have been connected to the grid in recent weeks. The number of rooftop solar panels also continues to grow by about 30 MW per month.