Friday vibes. Our traditional 5-minute journey invites you to get acquainted with the latest energy news and tendencies. Every week becomes remarkable for some breakthroughs. This week will stay remarkable for:
1. French TSO RTE is to change the legal status. RTE, the largest TSO in Europe would be keen to play a part in European Union power grid consolidation and in favour of changing its legal status in order to achieve that. The largest grid operator in Europe, RTE is majority owned by French state-controlled utility EDF, but it remains a purely national player in an industry where more and more grid operators have stakes in foreign grids. “RTE is not meant to be merely an observer in the consolidation of the European power grid industry,” RTE Chief Executive Francois Brottes told reporters. It should be mentioned, RTE is one of the Independent Transmission Operators”, ITOs, which still belong to the vertically integrated companies. There are just eight ITOs among Europe’s 43 grid operators and these ITOs are not allowed to buy stakes in unbundled independent power grid operators. But Brottes said he would be in favour of changing RTE’s ITO status to be able to take part in any EU-wide power grid consolidation.
In 2016, RTE had prepared a bid for Greek grid operator ADMIE, one of the few other European grid operators with the ITO status, but it was outbid by the State Grid Corporation of China of China Corporation (SGCC), which paid 320 million euros for a 24 percent stake. SGCC also bought stakes in grid operators in Portugal and Italy in recent years. “The Chinese are already in Portugal and Italy, and in Germany they are negotiating now. … The Chinese want to buy everything that is for sale,” Brottes said. Hence, shift of the business-model is still an urgent question, which is to be solved asap.
2. Gigawatts of electricity from Earth per second. Researches from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have found a solution how to harvest energy from Earth, by turning excess infrared radiation and waste heat into electricity we can use. The concept involves the strange physics of quantum tunnelling, and key to the idea is a specially designed antenna that can detect waste or infrared heat as high-frequency electromagnetic waves, transforming these quadrillionth-of-a-second wave signals into a direct charge. Because the infrared wavelengths are so short, to harness them we need super-tiny antennas. “There is no commercial diode in the world that can operate at such high frequency,” says lead researcher Atif Shamim from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. “That’s why we turned to quantum tunnelling.” One of the examples used most often is of a ball rolling up a hill: in classical physics, the ball needs a certain amount of energy behind it to get up the hill and over to the other side. The project has just been launched however it may change the world`s energy tendency completely as it will lead to gaining the great amounts of energy right from the air.
3. Large-scope construction project in Lithuania. Lietuvos energija start construction of Vilnius CHP plant. Cost of the project amounts to 350 m €. Financed by the state-run energy holding Lietuvos Energija and the European Union, the facility should be operational by the end of 2019. This is the largest energy project currently implemented in Lithuania, informs LETA/BNS. A 190-million-euro loan for the construction has been earmarked by the European Investment Bank (EIB), with another 153 million euros provided by the European Commission. “It is a new power plant that marks a new page in the history of energy and Vilnius. It is the phase where the actual work begins, Darius Maikstenas, CEO of Lietuvos Energija, said at the symbolic capsule burial ceremony. According to calculations, the power plant will allow Vilnius residents to pay 10 million euros less for waste management every year, furthermore, will save up to 13 million euros on heating on an annual basis, while the CPH heating would be 19-20 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) or 35% lower than the 2016 price (around EUR 30 per MWh). У The facility’s waste burning and general technological equipment will be built by a consortium of Germany’s Steinmuller Babcock Environment and the Polish construction group Budimex for 178.29 million euros. Biofuel burning equipment will be installed by Polish energy object builder Rafako for 149.65 million euros.
4. Toyota will connect the batteries to the city grid. Toyota is to investigate how to make the best use of used electric and hybrid vehicle batteries, and intends to build a 10,000kW storage battery comprised of 10,000 old Prius and iQ EV batteries. That storage battery would absorb surplus electricity from the grid during times of low use, and also store energy generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar farms, which can have unpredictable generation patterns. The stored electricity would then be fed back into the grid during times of high demand. Toyota says used batteries “even with reduced performance levels” can “handle adjustments in energy supply and demand”, allowing electricity suppliers to “manage frequency and voltage fluctuations in power distribution systems.” Toyota’s new project follows a similar scheme from Nissan, whose ‘second life’ battery project has seen old Leaf batteries provide backup power to the Amsterdam Arena, home of football club AFC Ajax. The joint venture between Toyota and Chubu Electric Power will also see rare-earth metals collected from old batteries, allowing these expensive elements to be reused.
5. First offshore floating solar energy farm in the world. The consortium of the Dutch companies performs the pilot project of the world’s first offshore floating solar farm. With financial support from the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO), the consortium builds a floating solar energy power plant that can provide clean energy to locations where space on land is scarce. Large scale offshore floating solar energy systems do not yet exist. Solar at sea is a unique source of renewable energy, as it does not use scarce land space. Ideally for islands and other remote regions. On the long run, by using the space available in-between wind turbines, the energy output of offshore windparks per square kilometer can be multiplied several times. This is of great significance for the Netherlands. The consortium is receiving financial support through rvo.nl from the “Topsector Energie” of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate for the realization of the project during the next three years. “This is an important innovation project, as it has a high potential for replicability. Next to additional renewable energy production, the solution also allows oil- and gas production platforms to become more sustainable. RVO.nl is looking forward to the results, including the power yields and the system’s lifetime, in these challenging sea-conditions,”as stated by Frank Witte, Manager Energy-Innovation at RVO.nl.