26 November 2014, Wednesday

NUCLEAR & RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE NEWS

South Korean NPP

To build 11 new units by 2024

South Korean NPP

South Korean NPP

In Brief

South Korea 21 November announced it will start construction on four new nuclear reactors, making a total of 11 new units planned by 2024. Nuclear power is an unavoidable choice, considering the nation’s poor natural resources, manufacturing-based economic structure, and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said in the statement.

The Secretariat at thePrime Minister’s Office said that the government agreed with Ulchin County to add Units 3 and 4 at Shin Hanul NPP. Another statement from the government said that the county of Yeongdeok had agreed to have two reactors. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), a subsidiary of state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) will implement the projects.

Six reactors are already in operation in Ulchin County, having started up between 1988 and 2005. A further two units are under construction at the nearby Shin Hanul plant and likely to begin operation by April 2018. With this agreement, KHNP can now prepare for construction of Shin Hanul Units 3 and 4, two more APR1400 reactors. For hosting the new plant, the county will receive payments totalling US$1.3 billion from KHNP over 60 years. Construction of new reactors will start in 2017 at the earliest.

Yeongdeok County in North Gyeongsang province in western Korea has also signed an agreement for the siting of a new two-unit plant. The county has been designated as a potential site for a nuclear plant comprising up to four large reactors for almost the past 13 years. For hosting the new units, KHNP will provide the county with US$250 million, mainly to be used for improving local infrastructure. Construction of the new plant could start by 2022.

South Korea, the world’s fifth largest nuclear power producer, currently has 23 operating reactors producing 20,650 MWe of electricity, accounting for about a third of the country’s total power generation. Last week South Korea’s nuclear regulator – the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) – approved the start-up of a new reactor.

Russian VVER Nuclear Plant

Yet to decide on Japanese reactor technology

Russian VVER Nuclear Plant

Russian VVER Nuclear Plant

In Brief

Vietnam has selected Rosatom’s AES-2006 Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) design for the country’s first nuclear power plant (NPP), at Ninh Thuan, increasing the planned capacity of the four unit plant from 4000 MWe to 4800 MWe. The VVER-1200 produces 1200 MWe, compared with 1000 MWe produced by VVER-1000 technology that was previously selected.

According to an agreement, the reactors are to be built over 2017-23 as a turnkey project. Russia is prepared to finance at least 85% cost of the first plant, to supply the nuclear fuel for the life of the plant and take back the used fuel. Rosatom is also training 344 students from Vietnam in Russia to support plant operation. In addition, 150 engineers are getting hands-on experience at Russia’s Rostov NPP, which has two VVER-1000 units.

Rosatom and Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (Vinatom) are jointly setting up the Centre for Nuclear Energy Science & Technology (CNEST) which will become the central coordinating agency for nuclear research and development (R&D) in Vietnam. It plans to build a new 15 MWt research reactor for operation from October 2018. It will be used for training staff for the nuclear power programme and access will be offered to other countries in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam’s second NPP will also be built in Ninh Thuan province at Vinh Hai, about 20 km northeast of Phouc Dinh with Japanese technology of a type yet to be decided. Electricity Vietnam will collaborate with the International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Company (JINED), a consortium of Japan’s Ministry of Trade and Economy (METI), nine utilities led by Chubu, Kansai & TEPCO, and three manufacturers – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Toshiba and Hitachi. Japan, too, will finance up to 85% of the total cost and train about 1000 staff for Ninh Thuan 2 NPP.

Wind Turbines

Amazon boosts renewable energy

Monday, 24 November 2014

Joins Microsoft, Google and Walmart in adopting clean energy

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines

In Brief

Amazon Web Services (AWS) division announced this week its pledge of a 100% commitment to renewable energy (RE). The global e-commerce pioneer, which powers more cloud computing technology infrastructure than another other company, has joined Walmart in adopting clean energy technology to power its servers and datacentres.

The company, highlighting its efforts in the area of energy efficiency, claims that the servers that run AWS services use about 12% of the energy that comparable data centres use. Experts, however, point out that about half of the server hardware that runs AWS is in Virginia, where the predominant local utility Dominion Energy sources just 2% of its electricity from renewable sources. They say that Amazon needs to be more precise and should now offer a plan for how it will implement its ambitious new commitment across its footprint. This lack of transparency stands in sharp contrast to competitors such as Google and Microsoft, both of which have made specific renewable power investments in the past several weeks.

Microsoft’s data centre in Wyoming uses biogas from the local wastewater treatment plant to run a 300 kW fuel cell. The facility only needs 200 kW to run, and the existing electricity will be used to offset treatment operations. The US$7.6 million project was funded by a US$1.5 million state business grant, along with money from Microsoft.

Google, for its part, recently made another substantial investment in wind energy in the Netherlands. Its new 10-year-long power purchase agreement (PPA) with Dutch power utility, Eneco, covers the entire output of a new wind farm, which will go toward running the Eemshaven data centre, scheduled to open in the first half of 2016.

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

Will also cooperate on lithium production

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

In Brief

Bolivia and France have signed four letters of intent (LOI) aimed at cooperating on renewable and nuclear energy and lithium production. The agreements were signed between Bolivian government officials and representatives of France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) on 18 November.

One of the LOI relates to collaboration in solar energy. Bolivia currently has just one large-scale solar power plant, a 2 MWe photovoltaic (PV) park in the state of Pando, which is being expanded to 5 MWe, with Yingli Spain already supplying the solar panels. Yingli is also providing panels for a 20 MWe solar power plant in the state of Oruro. In addition, there are several solar rural electrification projects in the country.

Another LOI focuses on lithium production. Bolivia has one of the largest lithium reserves in the world. According to the statement, the LOI foresees collaborative programmes throughout the entire lithium value chain, including batteries. The two countries also intend to work together on innovation aimed at industrial development.

In addition to solar and lithium, France and Bolivia are also looking to work together in the field of nuclear energy. The Bolivian government has plans to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, but the project is still at a nascent stage. According to a Bolivian government statement, the collaboration is intended to contribute to the integration of solar into Bolivia’s energy matrix.

Wind Turbine

Tata Power to invest in wind energy firms

Friday, 21 November 2014

Plans to add up to 300 MWe renewable energy per year

Wind Turbine

Wind Turbine

In Brief

Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL) – a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power – is in talks with wind energy firms to make investments in a sector that got a major boost after the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government assumed power six months ago. The company seeks to achieve its goal of adding as much as 300 MWe to its portfolio annually.

TPREL is currently in negotiations with three wind power companies based in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra and hopes to finalise a deal soon a target of adding 200-300 MWe of renewable energy (RE) projects into its portfolio this year, which can be done both organically and inorganically, said Rahul Shah, Chief Executive Officer of TPREL.

India’s national action plan on climate change has set a target for the country to generate 10% of its power from solar, wind, hydro and other renewable sources by 2015 and 15% by 2020. India had an installed power generation capacity of 254,049 MWe at the end of September, of which already 31,692 MWe, or about 12%, is from renewables, according to official data.

Tata Power plans to add about 800 MWe capacity over the next two years, which will comprise wind, hydro, solar and biogas generation. The company has an installed capacity of 8615 MWe, of which more than 1200 MWe is from renewable sources. TPREL is currently developing two wind projects in Maharashtra, a 126 MWe hydro project in Bhutan in a venture with the Government of Bhutan, 185 MWe of hydro power projects in Georgia and wind projects in South Africa.

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for clean energy. In April, GE Energy Financial Services invested US$24 million in a 151 MWe solar photovoltaic (PV) power project put up by Welspun Renewables in Madhya Pradesh. In July, Goldman Sachs, ADB and the South Asia Clean Energy Fund invested US$140 million into wind and solar energy firm ReNew Power.

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

Has reformed energy sector to boost investments

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

In Brief

Uganda has been ranked 10th out of the 55 countries in world and third among African nations in this year’s Climatescope assessment of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean on their potential to attract investment for clean energy companies and projects. Uganda has introduced several reforms in the electricity sector that have boosted investments.

According to the report, Uganda performed best, achieving 75% low-carbon on Value Chain Parameter III. The report notes that Uganda’s non-large hydropower sector attracted US$307 million from 2006-2013, though annual investment ranged from US$135 million in 2008 to zero last year. In Africa, Kenya and South Africa are the only two countries ahead of Uganda in the Climatescope index.

Uganda has a liberalised power sector, but its electrification rate remains modest at 14%. The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is working to connect over 500,000 new customers to the main or independent grids, or to solar photovoltaic (PV) systems over 2013-2022, the report notes. The REA recently launched a donor-funded project, the Global Energy Transfer for Feed-in-Tariff (GET-FIT) programme.

Under GET FIT, Uganda aims to implement about 20 small renewable projects a year, through an existing FIT mechanism, as well as grant funding for solar PV projects. The first two rounds of the programme have seen the licensing of close to 10 projects to supply over 100 MWe. Uganda is spearheading electricity reforms in Africa and has attracted considerable international interest. Donors such as Norway, the EU, the UK’s DFID, Germany and the World Bank have committed US$70 million as guarantees to subsidise the cost of the resulting power.

Uganda currently has an installed electricity capacity of 890 MWe, but only 493 MWe are available, due to restrictions on water release, wear and tear of some power dams and the least cost merit dispatch policy, which favours the use of cheap hydropower over expensive thermal power. Uganda needs to generate 42,000 MWe of electricity from all hydro, petroleum and gas sources, geothermal and nuclear power, to become an upper-middle income country, according the nation’s Vision 2040 master plan.

Flamenville NPP

EDF blames Areva for delay

Flamenville NPP

Flamenville NPP

In Brief

The European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) under construction at the flagship Flamanville nuclear power plant (NPP) in northern France is now expected to begin operating in 2017. EDF has blamed Areva for postponement of the startup by an additional year, attributing the further delay to the late delivery of certain components, and regulatory issues related with equipment.

The French EPR project, earlier planned for a 2016 start, is now being pushed out to 2017, due to the failure of its partner to deliver a number of parts, including the lid and internal structure of the reactor vessel, EDF said on 18 November. The first-of-a-kind 1650 MWe, third-generation reactor was initially slated to begin commercial operation in 2013.

According to EDF, preparatory work in connection with the project review at the end of November with all suppliers has shown slippages in the construction schedule. Areva has had problems delivering the reactor vessel head and the internal structures of the vessel. Areva has also provided details of an analysis of welding defects in the steam generators, on quality tests of the pressuriser valves, and on a metallurgical study of the vessel head material.

Construction work began on the EPR in December 2007. EDF is the architect engineer of the project, while Areva is contributing the nuclear steam generating system. The dome of the reactor building was installed in mid-July 2013, while the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) was installed in January. However, the construction has been plagued by multiple delays and cost overruns.

EPRs are also under construction at Olkiluoto 3 in Finland and Taishan 1 and 2 in China. Olkiluoto 3 has been under construction since 2005 and has seen several revisions to its start-up date, which is now expected by 2018. Taishan 1, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to start up in 2016, while Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin operating a year later. Recently, two EPR units have been contracted for Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, UK.

Acquires assets of First Wind

In BriefWindmills_D1-D4_(Thornton_Bank)

SunEdison, the St. Louis-based solar power company, said 17 November that it would acquire First Wind, one of the largest wind power developers in the US, for US$2.4 billion. The acquisition of Boston-based First Wind will make SunEdison the leading diversified renewable energy (RE) plant developer in the world. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2015.

Two buyers are sharing out the assets of First Wind, which is owned by two private-equity firms. TerraForm is taking the wind farms that are in operation, for a price of US$862 million, while Sun Edison is taking the portfolio of development projects for US$1bn, and committing up to US$510 million for an earn-out.

TerraForm Power is an indirect subsidiary of SunEdison, which owns and operates renewable projects acquired from SunEdison. It is a Yieldco – a new type of investment vehicle launched in 2013 – that has become increasingly popular for renewable power developers. It offers a stable return from diversified lower-risk high-quality assets that are producing electricity, sold on long-term contracts. Yieldco companies like TerraForm Power are similar to Master Ltd Partnerships (MLPs), but do not possess assets that qualify for pass-through tax treatment. Like MLPs, Yieldco companies are designed to appeal to investors seeking stable and growing dividend income from a diversified portfolio.

The US wind energy market is in the middle of an investment boom because of the rush of projects that were launched by the end of last year to meet the deadline for receiving a production tax credit that expired on 31 December, 2013. However, uncertainty of political support for reinstating the contract has led to RE developers increasingly looking for growth to markets in emerging economies.

PMs Abbott and Modi

Administrative arrangements to be finalised soon

PMs Abbott and Modi

PMs Abbott and Modi

In Brief

The trial shipment of uranium to India is expected to start next year, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi discussed the supply of Australian uranium for India’s nuclear power plants (NPPs). It follows their signing of a safeguards agreement in New Delhi in October, overturning a long-standing ban on uranium exports to the subcontinent.

In Depth

Renewable Energy (photo: epSos.de)

Fort Hood launches renewable energy project

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Will help US army to secure energy supply for installations

Renewable Energy (photo: epSos.de)

Renewable Energy (photo: epSos.de)

In Brief

The Defense Logistics Agency, Energy, in coordination with the Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI) and Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works (DPW) is leading the effort to procure clean, secure and affordable energy. Fort Hood, as part of this initiative, is implementing a large-scale renewable energy (RE) project that will save money and leverage sun and wind power for the post’s energy needs.

The OEI looks across all Army installations and energy markets for renewable sector opportunities and also serves as the central management office for collaboration with Army installations to develop and execute renewable projects of 10 MWe or larger capacity, leveraging private financing. Two years ago, it entered into a partnership with the DPW to have solar as a part of Army’s energy strategy to provide installations with a predictable and reliable electricity supply.

On 6 November, representatives of the energy industry and officials from DPW, DLA Energy and OEI met to explore opportunities to build a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility at West Fort Hood. The Army has launched a request for proposal (RFP) to outline Fort Hood’s requirement for an on-post large-scale solar and off-post wind turbine facility.

The Army will lease 265 acres at Fort Hood to a developer to build an onsite 40 MWe solar PV facility, which will be financed, owned and operated by a third-party developer from the private sector. The Army will purchase the energy that is produced from the onsite solar PV facility along with offsite renewable wind energy for a price at or below projected utility rates.

This project will save the Army more than US$50 million in energy costs over the next 30 years, while also increasing its energy security, making the posts less reliant on grid power. A letter of intent to award the project is expected to be announced in 2015. A groundbreaking at the installation is scheduled to take place in 2016, and the facility will be operational by 2017.

Hinkley Point NPP

EDF holds 50% while China will get 30%to 40% stakes

Hinkley Point NPP

Hinkley Point NPP

In Brief

A leading Saudi Arabian utility, Saudi Electric, is vying to buy a minority stake in Hinkley Point C, the US$26 billion nuclear power project in Somerset that is expected to begin generating power in 2023, Sky News said. The Saudi company is among a few prospective investors in discussions about investing billions of dollars into the vast nuclear power project.

A deal has yet to be finalised with EDF, but talks with Saudi Electric are understood to have been ongoing for some time. Sources said that Saudi Electric could own between 10% and 15% of the venture if the talks are successful, but added that the ultimate size of any stake acquired would depend upon the relative holdings of other shareholders.

EDF, the French group spearheading the project, and one of the UK’s biggest residential energy suppliers, will own up to 50% of Hinkley Point, with Areva, a French nuclear company, holding 10% of the shares. Two state-owned Chinese groups, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), will collectively hold 30% to 40% of the equity.

The 3300 MWe Hinkley plant, having two Areva-designed 1650 MWe European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), is expected to supply 7% of the UK’s electricity needs. The project was cleared by the European Commission last month of a possible violation of state-aid rules. The commission warned, however, that the total cost could exceed US$38 billion, against a US$26 billion as estimated by EDF.

Under the 35-year agreement with the British government, EDF is guaranteed to receive a ‘strike price’ of US$152 per MWh for Hinkley Point C, which is nearly twice the current wholesale market price of power. But the agreement has a clause for the government to recoup any unexpectedly high returns from the operation of the plant, or from substantial savings on the cost of constructing it.

Narendra Modi, India's PM

Urges collective R&D efforts at G20 meet

Narendra Modi, India's PM

Narendra Modi, India’s PM

In Brief

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 16 November proposed to G20 nations that a global virtual centre be set up for clean energy research and development (R&D). Modi also pushed for rapid expansion of renewable energy (RE) in rural areas and urged for collective R&D efforts and collaboration and ensure dissemination of research to all countries.

Modi suggested setting up a global virtual centre for clean energy R&D, with adequate public funding, which will provide finance to collaborative projects in diverse sources of clean energy, smart grids, and energy efficiency. Modi said India and the US have built an excellent virtual centre on a bilateral basis, with matching public and private funding

“We can select a team of outstanding experts to evaluate and judge research projects. The results should be available to all countries,” it said. “We should also discuss innovative funding models to ensure rapid expansion of renewable energy in a decentralised manner in rural areas.” “In countries like India, there are vast opportunities for those wishing to invest in clean coal technology, since our dependence will not reduce very soon,” Modi added.

“Nuclear energy can still be a safe, reliable and clean source of energy. It will be an important part of India’s energy mix. Further, energy efficiency is the best source of clean energy,” Modi said, adding that building energy efficiency in areas such as buildings, household appliances and industrial goods in receiving considerable attention in India.

“G20 can be effective in promoting an integrated natural gas market, ensuring freer trade in gas and ensuring that the markets operate more efficiently. Increased access to affordable, assured and clean energy supply for all should be the group’s primary goal. Let us make an ambitious and innovative effort to make renewable, especially solar energy, competitive with conventional energy,” Modi added.

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

To be UK’s most advanced and largest utility-scale solar PV plant

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

In Brief

First Solar and Belectric have announced a plan to develop a new 46 MWe utility-scale solar power plant, in Oxfordshire, Southern England. When commissioned, the facility will generate 45 million kWh of clean electricity per year, sufficient to power around 14,000 homes or approximately 25% of the estimated 55,400 households in the city of Oxford, UK.

This is the fourth project to be built in the UK under a First Solar and Belectric joint venture (JV), announced in 2013. The JV has already executed solar projects in Wiltshire and East Anglia and is expecting to reach a total capacity of 80 MWe across the country. The farms will generate almost 80 million kWh of clean energy per year, while cutting down some 35,000 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year.

The Oxfordshire solar PV plant will be UK’s largest and most technologically advanced solar energy facility, incorporating the latest innovations from both companies. The facility will use over 483,000 First Solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, while Belectric will provide balance of system. The project will comply with stringent environmental standards and will support biodiversity initiatives. The land on which the solar farm is to be constructed will be available for grazing by sheep.

First Solar and Belectric have been collaborating in the clean energy sector for more than a decade. In 2013, they constructed Europe’s largest thin film PV power plant in Templin, Germany. By bringing together advanced sector leading capabilities and technologies, the two groups have established a JV to realise selected utility-scale PV projects in Europe, North Africa and the US.

Remotely-located Solar Source (Photo: RSteen)

Plans to incentivise renewable industry

Remotely-located Solar Source (Photo: RSteen)

Remotely-located Solar Source (Photo: RSteen)

In Brief

The Federal Government of Nigeria plans to install 7.2 GWe of renewable energy (RE) out of a 40 GWe target of new capacity to be added by 2020. In case the plan is implemented successfully, Nigeria could reach 18% share of energy from renewable sources, including large hydro, solar and wind power plants. The plan was unveiled by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on 14 November in Lagos.

The NERC believes the country has a large solar energy potential that is not being significantly exploited. The plan includes effectively harnessing solar power resources and integrating them with other energy infrastructure. It also aims to promote the use of efficient solar energy conversion technologies, such as the use of PV and concentrated solar panels (CSP) for power generation.

The document says that access to electricity in rural area will reduce the rural-urban drift and enhance the development of rural economies. Grid supplies are usually the cheapest option in areas with high-load densities, as well as in areas near the grid. However, a number of challenges stand in the way of grid-connected solar-generated electricity supply.

The Commission says connecting small, isolated villages to a grid can be expensive because of the high costs or transmission lines, poles, transformers and other infrastructure. Solar photovoltaic (PV) power comes in relatively small size, and is best connected to low voltage lines, whereas Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trader buys power only at transmission voltage, the NERC said.

In order to incentivise solar energy, NERC plans to implement a feed-in tariff (FIT), guaranteed market, priority grid connection and off-take, a simplified licensing and permit process, subsidised tariff rates and facilitated land acquisition and site access. Furthermore, some tax and import duty exemptions, alongside with investment tax credits would help installation of the planned renewable facilities.

A NPP

Needs right incentives for growth

Limerick NPP

A NPP

In Brief

Global nuclear power generation is projected to increase by 60% by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2014 report. In terms of total electricity from nuclear sources, capacity will increase from 392 GWe in 2013 to 624 GWe in 2040. New reactors are expected to add 380 GWe, while retirements of old plants will subtract 148 GWe.

On the other hand, the costs of decommissioning ageing nuclear plants in developed economies will increase. Closure of nearly 50% the current operating reactors by 2040 will cost over US$100 billion. Out of the 434 nuclear reactors operational in 2013, close to 200 units will be closed by 2040. Of these, most plants to be closed by 2040 would be from Europe, the US, Russia and Japan, the IEA said.

The WEO 2014 also forecasts that most of the increase in nuclear generation until 2040 will be concentrated heavily in just four countries – China, India, Korea and Russia. China,with more than 100 GWe, accounts for 45%, while the other three collectively make up a further 30%. Asia will lead the way in constructing nuclear power plants (NPPs) while the EU will see a significant decline in nuclear generating capacity, the report said. It also noted that 7200 GWe of new generation capacity will be required to meet the growing power demand and replace current plants, compared to 5683 GWe in 2012.

Nuclear power is one of the few options available at scale to reduce CO2 emissions while providing or displacing other forms of baseload generation, the IEA said. Nuclear power has helped reduce around 56 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions since 1971. Nuclear’s share in the global power generation has, however, increased by just 1 point to 12%.

Growth in nuclear energy would require the right incentives, the agency said. The IEA says correct price signals are required to ensure timely investments in new thermal power capacity, which is necessary, alongside investment in renewables, to maintain the reliability of electricity supply. This will require reforms to market design or electricity pricing in some cases. The report stated that public concern about nuclear safety must be first addressed.

Will help India’s entry to the NSG

euro_logoIn Brief

In what could be landmark in realising its nuclear energy ambitions, India is engaged in talks with the EU to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement. The agreement, between India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the joint research centre of the EU, is expected to be signed by next year. It will focus mostly on the areas of atomic research and energy.

The EU’s ambassador to India, Joao Cravinho, told PTI at the sidelines of an event last week that talks between the two sides are on, and that the agreement should be signed next year. There were concerns raised by a few countries about signing an agreement because India is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but there is a consensus on this now, he said.

India and the EU have been cooperating on various aspects, such as the environment, sustainable development, renewable energy and clean technology. Considering the influence the EU has in the global nuclear body, the nuclear cooperation deal would provide a major boost to India’s efforts in getting entry to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

After the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal, India has signed nuclear deals with Argentina, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, South Korea, and the UK. It also signed a civil nuclear agreement with Australia in September, paving way to import uranium for its reactors. The technology transfer in different areas related to the nuclear sector, especially in the health sector, would benefit India, sources said.

Kawasaki City

Demonstration project will be set up in Kawasaki Port

Kawasaki City

Kawasaki City

In Brief

Toshiba Corporation 13 November announced that it has agreed with Kawasaki City to collaborate on demonstrating an independent energy supply system utilising renewable energy (RE) and hydrogen. This system will be set up in the Kawasaki Marien, Higashi-Ogishima-Naka Park in the Kawasaki Port, a designated emergency evacuation area. The experiment will be conducted from April next year until the end of 2020.

The independent energy supply system combines photovoltaic (PV) installations, a storage battery, hydrogen-producing water electrolysis equipment, hydrogen and water tanks, and fuel cells. Electricity generated from the PV installations will be used to electrolyze water and produce hydrogen, which will then be stored in hydrogen tank and used in the fuel cells to provide electricity and hot water.

Since the system can operate on only sunlight and water, it will be able to independently provide electricity and hot water in times of emergency, even when lifelines are cut. It will also be possible to transport the system to disaster-hit areas on trailers. In the event of disaster, the installed system will be able to provide an estimated 300 evacuees with electricity and hot water for about one week.

Under the agreement, Kawasaki City will supply the demonstration test environment, and Toshiba is responsible for the design, manufacture and maintenance of the equipment. The results obtained will be jointly used by Kawasaki City and Toshiba. Meanwhile, Toshiba will continue to advance the development of residential fuel cells and hydrogen-related technology, such as hydrogen generators.

Kawasaki City and Toshiba signed cooperation agreements in October 2013 to work toward the setting-up of a “Smart Community.” Using Toshiba’s Smart Community Center next to Kawasaki Station as a base of operations, the two parties have so far promoted measures that include energy management for buildings around the station area, commercial revitalisation and electric bus operation.

Biomass Power Plant

Developing economies to lead the growth

Biomass Power Plant

Biomass Power Plant

In Brief

Brazil will surpass the US as the world’s top market for bioenergy, research firm GlobalData reported. The US remains the world’s top global bioenergy producer as of now, but Brazil is expected to increase its countrywide bioenergy installed capacity from 11.51 GWe in 2013 to an estimated 17.1 GWe by 2018, to become the world’s leading market.

Bioenergy, also called biomass power, is the use of any organic material to generate electricity. The US has long been the global leader, but the report suggests outdated energy infrastructure and a bloated existing capacity, which has saturated the electricity market will lead to Americans being overtaken in four years’ time.

Brazil’s emerging renewables market is being driven by aggressive government policies that have made it necessary for local utility service providers to procure at least 2 GWe of installed biomass capacity through auctions annually, for 10 years from 2007. GlobalData added it estimates Brazil will up its installed renewable energy (RE) capacity to 25.22 GWe by 2025.

Biomass energy accounts for 10.2% of global primary energy consumption, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. According to its most recent survey in 2011, bioenergy provided 5.7% of total US renewable electricity, which is greater than the contribution of solar power but still less than wind or hydropower.

Emerging nations are expanding renewable power capacities at nearly twice the rate of developed countries. A survey of 55 countries, including China, Brazil and South Africa, found combined renewables capacity grew by 143% from 2008 to 2013, representing a total of 142 GWe. However, developed nations, by comparison, saw renewables grow by 84% to 213 GWe.

Solar Film Wndow

Produce power 50 times more than conventional photovoltaic

Solar Film Wndow

Solar Film Wndow

In Brief

Solar window coatings developer New Energy Technologies is developing first-of-a-kind solar window coatings touching an important technical milestone towards commercially marketable products. The innovation has crossed a number of technical hurdles in order to improve the performance for both the power production and the aesthetics of see-through organic PV, said John Conklin, President and CEO.

The Columbia-based company’s electricity generating coatings now produce power 50-times greater than conventional photovoltaic (PV) solar modules and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of over 10-times greater CO2 offsets over conventional PV solar modules when modeled for installation on tall towers. The coatings generate electricity on see-through glass, enhancing the performance of today’s insulated commercial windows compared with conventional PV that cannot generate electricity on window glass in this way.

New Energy also claims that the coatings are capable of producing power from natural and artificial light sources in direct, shaded, diffused, and reflected light conditions, unlike conventional solar PV which requires direct sunlight and suffers reduced performance in cloudy weather or in shaded areas. The coatings are also able to produce electricity from artificial light typically found in offices, hotels, and other buildings. The product is also available in a range of attractive colour choices.

The coatings, manufactured using mostly polymers, can be dissolved into liquid form and applied to a variety of surfaces. Conventional PV solar uses complex materials that cannot be easily dissolved into a low-cost liquid form for manufacturing. The coatings can be produced for high-speed and high-volume manufacturing processes, such as roll-to-roll (R2R) or large area sheet-to-sheet (S2S) equipment.

Offshore Wind Turbines

389 MWe wind farm built using advanced construction methods

In Brief

Offshore Wind Turbines

Offshore Wind Turbines

Iberdrola USA, the second-largest wind producer in the US, has announced that its sister company, ScottishPower Renewables, in conjunction with Dong Energy of Denmark has opened the consortium’s first offshore wind farm. The 389 MWe facility is located in the Irish Sea West of Duddon Sands, approximately 20 km off the seaport of Barrow-in-Furness in North West England.

The US$2.6 billion project was inaugurated on 30 October at a ceremony hosted by Ed Davey, the UK Secretary for Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC); Ignacio Galan, Iberdrola chairman; and Samuel Leupold, DONG Energy EVP for wind power. Pioneering technology for the project in Irish Sea could help reduce costs of future offshore wind projects worldwide.

The Irish wind project was completed more than two months ahead of schedule, mainly due to a new US$80 million, custom-designed offshore wind terminal built at Belfast Harbor. The project employed advanced construction methods, employing up to 300 workers for around-the-clock delivery of turbine and foundation components to the farm. In addition, the combination of two state-of-the-art installation vessels working in tandem, and the support of the fabrication facilities at Belfast, Northern Ireland, made this one of the most efficient offshore projects ever delivered in the UK.

The 389 MWe project has 108 Siemens turbines of 3.6 MWe output, connected through a 200 km network of undersea cable in a 64 km2 patch of the Irish Sea. Energy generated by the project connects to an offshore substation that boosts the voltage, and then routes it through two export cables to the onshore substation at Heysham, where it enters the UK national grid. The wind farm has enough capacity to meet the electricity demands of approximately 280,000 homes.

Wave energy generator (Photo: Peter Church)

Has 500 GWe potential by 2050

Wave energy generator (Photo: Peter Church)

Wave energy generator (Photo: Peter Church)

In Brief

The Australian Maritime College in Launceston, University of Tasmania and a West Australian company, Bombora Wave Power has joined forces to test the commercial viability of a wave energy convertor. The team of researchers is testing equipment designed to capture an infinite supply of clean energy generated by waves.

In Depth

Renewable Energy

TVA supports renewable energy growth

Friday, 14 November 2014

To add 130 MWe capacity in 2015

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

In Brief

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), as part of its long-term energy strategy and its commitment to low-cost and clean energy, will offer a total of 130 MWe of renewable energy (RE) capacity in 2015 through a variety of power purchase agreements (PPA) for home, business, industrial and wholesale installations. This will raise the total amount of renewables TVA has in its portfolio since 2011 to more than 500 MWe.

The renewables capacity addition by TVA is in consonance with the 2011 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which calls for building capacity with the most cost-effective and reliable programmes, said officials. TVA is updating the IRP in consultation with customers and other stakeholders. This revised IRP, which will serve as TVA’s energy roadmap for the future, is expected to be completed in late 2015.

Patty West, director of TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions, said that TVA recognises the changes occurring in the RE marketplace as popularity grows and generating costs decline. TVA must continue to work with all stakeholders to determine the true value of RE and balance that value with what is best for the nine million energy consumers in the Tennessee Valley, added West.

Commitment to RE remains a key component of TVA’s mission, because, in addition to creating industries and more jobs, it contributes to a cleaner environment for the Valley. TVA currently has 217 MWe of operating or committed solar power projects under contract at more than 2000 locations across the region. TVA’s RE portfolio also includes 1542 MWe from wind and 64 MWe from biomass projects.

Wind Farm

Greenhouse gas emissions cut by 15%

Wind Farm

Wind Farm

In Brief

The US General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced that it is on schedule to achieve the Obama Administration’s 2020 renewable energy (RE) goals, after awarding a competitive power supply contract to purchase 140 MWe of wind-generated electricity from the Walnut Ridge Farm currently in development in northwest Illinois, according to a GSA news release.

The ten-year power supply contract is the largest wind energy purchase from a single source in federal government contracting history, according to federal government agency GSA, responsible for procuring the goods and services including energy. It will add over 500 GWh of carbon-free electricity per year to the PJM power grid and also gives a big boost to the Obama administration’s efforts to promote clean energy resource development and its use among Native American communities.

In the Presidential Memorandum on 5 February 2013, President Barack Obama set a goal for the federal government agencies to get 20% of the electricity they use annually from renewable resources by 2020. Federal agencies, as of December 2013, had cut annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over 15%, by 7.8 million tonnes. The purchase of 140 MWe of wind power from Walnut Ridge will reduce additional 0.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

The GSA has estimated that it needs to procure 500 to 550 GWe of renewable power per year in order to achieve the federal government’s 2020 RE goal. The GSA meets this annual requirement with the award of the 10-year power supply contract with MG2 Tribal Energy and its Walnut Creek wind farm. The wind power supply contract will also help the federal government achieve the RE and GHG emissions reduction goals set out in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Executive Orders.

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organisation (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. Those states include all or most of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, parts of Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Candu NPP, Qinshan Phase III

Canada, China enter nuclear energy cooperation

Thursday, 13 November 2014

To build Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR)

Candu NPP, Qinshan Phase III

Candu NPP, Qinshan Phase III

In Brief

Natural Resources Canada and the China National Energy Administration 8 November signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to advance collaboration between the two countries in the field of civilian nuclear energy including development of advanced fuel reactors and exports to third markets. Candu Energy welcomed the Canada-China collaboration in the field of nuclear energy.

The same day, Candu, a division of SNC-Lavalin, signed a framework JV agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR) projects in China and develop global market opportunities. A Chinese expert panel review on AFCR technology earlier this week made a positive recommendation to pursue the development of AFCR to utilise its various advantages.

The framework JV was signed in Beijing in the presence of Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, and Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China. At a potential cost of US$5.5 billion to US$7 billion each, the Chinese reactors would generate substantial revenues for Candu and both Canada and China stand to benefit enormously from the creation of high-skilled jobs, services and advanced manufacturing opportunities in nuclear energy sector.

China operates 22 nuclear power reactors, including two Candu 6 reactors at Qinshan that have been in commercial operation for more than a decade. The country has 26 reactors under construction and hopes to have 300 reactors in service by 2040. Each AFCR can use the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from four Light Water Reactors (LWRs) creating a large potential market, Candu said, 10 November.

However, the first reactor would likely not be in service for 8 to 10 years, but would require years of initial design and development. Testing in China and Canada has confirmed the Candu reactors will burn both spent uranium and thorium, a more widely abundant radioactive material. The new AFCR technology using recycled uranium opens huge opportunities in markets such as Britain, France, Japan and Russia, where thousands of tonnes of SNF are in storage.

Bushehr NPP (IAEA)

Plans to build eight more nuclear reactors

Bushehr NPP (IAEA)

Bushehr NPP (IAEA)

In Brief

Russia and Iran signed a series of agreements in Moscow on 11 November to build two nuclear reactors, and announced plans for a total of nine units in Iran. Russia will also produce nuclear fuel for Iranian nuclear power plants (NPPs) during the whole service life of the eight new power units. Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) will be also returned to Russia for reprocessing and storage.

The contracts include construction of the second line of Bushehr nuclear plants, envisages the construction of two reactors with a possible expansion to four power units, all to be built by Russian firms. The two countries plan in the agreements to build four more nuclear power units at other sites that are yet to be determined.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi has left for Moscow to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Director General of Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom, Sergey Kiriyenko, Iranian news agency ISNA said on 11 November.

Construction of the two reactors will be financed by Iran, said Kiriyenko. No value for the contract was disclosed. Another agreement foresees eventually expanding the number of Russian-built reactors to nine. In addition to the contract for the two VVER type Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR) at Bushehr NPP under Phase II of the project, another two could be built at the site, taking the total there to five.

According to a media report, the MoU envisions cooperation in building two new units with the capacity of 1000 MWe, and two desalination systems at the platform of Bushehr NPP. In March 2014, AEOI and Rosatom reached a principled agreement on the construction of two new units. The construction of new NPPs is planned to start by March 2015. Iran has said it wants to produce 20,000 MWe of electricity from nuclear power, which would necessitate building twenty 1000 MWe reactors.