Today is the first birthday of Ukrenergo review. We hope that you enjoyed all this time as well as we did. This Friday, we present you the newest digest of the most interesting events from the world of energy over the past seven days. This time, they come from Norway, the US, Australia and India.
1. Norwegian airports may start operating electric aircraft. Norway wants to transfer all short-haul flights to electric planes by 2040. In July 2018, Norway’s transport minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen and Dag Falk-Petersen, the head of the country’s airport company Avinor, flew around Oslo on board a two-seat plane made by the Slovenian company Pipistrel. The flight was very short and lasted only a few minutes. This is reported by Future now BBC.
This is how the officials symbolically showed the future of electric aircraft. This is one of the most ambitious plans of the Scandinavian country to reduce carbon emissions over the next decades.
However, the main obstacle to implementing these plans remains the same: there is still no full-fledged aircraft with an electric motor. The market of electric planes today consists of only small vehicles. For example, the mentioned Alpha Electro G2 barely finds enough space for two adults. Still, according to Dag Falk-Petersen, the situation should change soon. Norway believes that an airplane for 25-30 seats will be developed already in 2025.
The neighbouring countries also want to join the initiative with electric planes. Last year, the consulting firm Roland Berger found that there were over 100 electric planes projects around the world.
2. The Norwegian TSO will encourage consumers to become more energy efficient. This winter, the Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett will have to pay compensation to large electricity consumers to encourage them to consume electricity in a more efficient manner, provided that the precipitation level remains abnormally low. This was reported by Reuters agency.
The fact is that a significant share of electricity in Norway is generated by hydropower. And now, after a hot and dry summer, water reserves in storage facilities are record low: they are 12% lower compared to the figures in 2017. Stable electricity supply is crucial for many energy-intensive companies in Norway, such as fertilizer manufacturer Yara, aluminium producer Norsk Hydro and local data centres. According to Statnett, an agreement on additional payments for consumption reductions can be applied in the event of a shortage of generating capacity in the grid and requires an approval by the government.
As previously reported, Norsk Hydro, the largest power consumer in the country, can reduce electricity consumption by one hour per day without affecting production volumes. However, longer periods of restrictions can lead to a reduction in the production of aluminium. At the same time, the import of electricity from Denmark and Germany can also help mitigate the situation.
3. The Hoover Dam in California may be transformed into a pumped storage hydropower plant. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has presented a 3 billion USD plan that involves transforming the Hoover Dam into a pumped storage hydropower plant in order to effectively utilise electricity generated during peak times. This was reported by Quartz.
The idea is to use the surplus electricity generated by solar and wind power plants during the hours with the lowest consumption, to pump water back to up to Lake Mead so that it can be used for generation later. This technology, known as pumped-storage hydroelectricity, isn’t new; LADWP has already used it in several of its projects.
“I think it’s a phenomenal project because it helps solve a challenge we are currently facing”, said Reiko Kerr, senior assistant manager of power systems at LADWP. Kerr believes that this plan is optimal since most of the necessary infrastructure already exists. Still, the construction of pumps and pipelines is just one of the challenges. The plan also requires the conclusion of a contract between companies, environmental organisations, neighbouring communities and federal agencies. In addition, they must ensure that the new pumped-storage power plant does not affect the flora and fauna of the lake. If everything goes according to the plan, then the construction of the HPSPP should begin in five years.
4. Increased risk of blackout in Australia. The risks of power outage in Australia have increased since last year because the reliability of old coal-fired power plants decreased and new ones have not yet been put into operation. Such a warning was stated in a forecast prepared by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which called for increased investments in the grid over the next few years. This was reported by ET EnergyWorld.
AEMO’s latest forecast was released only a few days after the government signed a new energy policy aimed at increasing the reliability of energy supply, emission reductions and price cuts. “Close collaboration with industry in the lead up and throughout summer will be key to reducing the risks of energy supply shortfalls”, AEMO Managing Director Audrey Zibelman said in a statement.
In 2016 and 2017, the south-eastern states of Australia already witnessed the occasional interruptions of electricity, the worst of which “disrupted” the whole state of South Australia. This year, AEMO notes that in Victoria and South Australia, the risk of summer blackouts (from December to February in Australia) has become even more serious. Traditionally, electricity demand is increasing at this time of year as households and enterprises are actively using air conditioners. At the same time, energy innovations such as rechargeable batteries for energy produced from RES can help Australia to cope with this problem.
5. The World Bank to finance the development of distribution networks in India. The World Bank issued a loan of 250 million USD to the Indian state of Rajasthan to improve the electricity distribution system. This is reported by Times of India.
This is the second loan within the programme for the development of the electricity distribution sector in Rajasthan. Its key focus is to strengthen management in the distribution sector by increasing the effectiveness of cooperation between the local company DISCOM and the state government. The Indian government believes that such a cooperation will deepen the reforms launched at the end of 2015 since the government of India and DISCOM have a leading role to play.
In order to solve the problems associated with access to electricity, the loan also covers the financing of the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP), which provides for the distribution of more than 15 million LED lamps across the country.