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Following the years of negotiations, the Baltic states and Poland signed an agreement on the separation of the Baltic power systems from Russia. The leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland signed an agreement specifying that by 2025 their power grids will be linked to the European Union, i.e. the grid of Continental Europe ENTSO-E. It also opens the way for the EU to allocate € 1 billion to implement the planned measures towards this. Such steps will release the countries from energy dependence on the Russian Federation.
The leaders of the Baltic countries consider synchronous operation with the power system of Russia to be a threat to their national security. The EU will hold negotiations with Russia to make the transition as easy as possible. In particular, Brussels intends to discuss with Moscow the question of how to maintain power supply to Kaliningrad, which is currently synchronized with mainland Russia through the Baltic states.
Under the terms of this agreement, the Baltic states will use the existing LitPol line between Lithuania and Poland, as well as a new high-voltage DC cable, which will operate under the Baltic Sea and around the territorial waters of Kaliningrad region. Construction of a new cable will cost about € 560 million. The agreement provides for the connection of Kaliningrad with two power back-to-back converters. It is expected that the Baltic states will verify their ability to operate independently of Moscow in June 2019.
On Tuesday, July 3, Azerbaijan suffered a massive disconnection of electricity – the largest outage since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Most of the country was damaged: Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, as well as almost 40 other cities and regions, were left without electricity.
According to official sources in the country, the emergency was caused by an accident at a power station in Mingechavir. President Ilham Aliyev set up a government commission to investigate the incident. The Emergencies Ministry of Azerbaijan noted that the breakdown was caused by the collapse of a transformer, which sparked a fire after it went out of order. The fire was put out in 20 minutes and did not cause any deaths.
The accident and the massive disruption of consumers occurred in the context of rising temperatures in the Caspian Sea region to 40 °C. This, in turn, significantly increased the energy consumption and load on the grid. Officials said that electricity was restored in Baku in a few hours, but several metro stations remained closed. Public utilities restored electricity in other regions throughout the day. On Tuesday evening, Baku and other regions suffered a blackout for the second time. Officials did not comment on this case. As of today, the situation has been stabilized.
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur used proteins from eggshell to develop tiny devices that can receive electric power through body movements. Proteins found in eggshells have piezoelectric properties, i.e. when they are mechanically influenced, they generate electricity. Biological piezoelectric materials are considered a great source of energy because they are not toxic and environmentally friendly.
“However, bio-based green energy is still effectively not explored to fulfil the energy demand of contemporary human mankind,” Bhanu Bhusan Khatua, a professor at IIT Kharagpur in West Bengal. “The uniqueness of our work lies in the novelty of utilizing nature driven egg shell membranes directly as efficient piezoelectric material, which are thrown in large scale to garbage in our everyday life,” he said. For example, according to researchers, the device can change the traditional ways of feeding medical devices in the future. Researchers have already shown that five egg-based devices provide enough voltage to illuminate more than 90 green LEDs.
The device is ultra-sensitive to very short-term pressure resulting from impulse, body movements in rest and walking, which allows it to be used to feed many devices, including fitness trackers, medical monitors and sensors. Such developments can undoubtedly become sources of alternative green energy in the future.
Norway will force large electricity consumers and manufacturers to pay more for upgrading the grid in line with the new regulations starting in 2019. It is reported by the country’s water resources and energy directorate (NVE). NVE decided to introduce regulation from January 1, 2019 for consumers and manufacturers who consume or produce more than 1 MW per hour. “It will motivate customers to take measures themselves that reduce the need for net investment. At the same time, it contributes to a fairer cost allocation between customers that trigger net investment and other grid users,” NVE said in a statement.
The new regulation requires large consumers and manufacturers to pay half the cost of any grid investments they need. This will encourage the construction of new energy facilities in areas where grids already operate, while reducing the total cost of connection. NVE also noted that network companies will be able to claim advance payments of up to 15 percent of construction costs, and the transition period will cover only those projects that have already received a license. Existing customers who filed requests for connection or increased capacity by July 1, 2018 will also be covered by the transition period.
“The transition period’s purpose is that projects that are already in development will not be treated unreasonably by the new regulation,” NVE’s energy regulation chief Ove Flataker said in the statement. In addition, as specified by new amendments, NVE refused to require that customers enter into a binding financial agreement with a network company or a third party. The transition period will take effect immediately as the NVE resolves all disagreements with the Norwegian power industry.
The Government of India is considering a possibility to allow neighboring countries to trade electricity at their exchanges. In particular, at the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), the largest platform for trading electricity in the country. The idea is to deepen the country’s market for the sale and purchase of electricity and increase its volumes.
“One suggestion which is on the table is to allow countries like Bhutan who are exporting power to participate in the exchanges,” said power secretary A K Bhalla. He added that the government expects an increase in the supply of registered customers at the exchange. “We should do more to deepen this (market size) so that the share of power traded at the exchanges as a percentage of the overall generation goes up from the current 4 percent to 6 percent in a short time frame,” the secretary said.
Bhalla also noted that the distribution companies (so-called Discoms) should work as legal entities and be listed on such stock exchanges as National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). He believes that discoms should be managed like corporate institutions and must have their own dividend-paying system. In general, such initiatives should revive the Indian energy market.