01 November 2014, Saturday

IN THE NEWS

Excelon/GEH contract worth millions

GEH to cover outage services and fuel contracts

Excelon/GEH contract worth millions

Excelon/GEH contract worth millions

In Brief

Exelon Generation, operator of the largest nuclear fleet in the US, has awarded an integrated outage services contract worth nearly US$300 million to GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) for the utility’s entire fleet of Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) nuclear power plants (NPPs). In addition, the contract includes a nuclear fuel services contract for six Exelon reactors.

Under the outage services agreement, GEH will provide a full portfolio of outage and inspection services to Exelon’s fleet of 14 BWR plants throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northeast. The contract runs through the completion of the spring 2018 outage season.

The agreement also includes assisting with refuel floor activities and performing under-vessel and inspection services for Exelon’s BWRs. The fuel contract extends current work at six Exelon reactors through 2018 by Global Nuclear Fuel’s – a GE-led JV – and is in addition to the four other Exelon BWRs the company also fuels.

GEH said the company looks forward to continuing to support Exelon Generation with the best technology, fuel and outage services in the industry. These contracts build on the company’s decades-long support of Exelon’s reactor fleet, said Kevin Walsh, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Services and Fuels.

Energy from Nature (photo: epSos.de)

Acer America commits to 100% renewable energy

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Buys 27 million kWh worth RECs for US operations

Energy from Nature (photo: epSos.de)

Energy from Nature (photo: epSos.de)

In Brief

Acer America Corporation, 27 October announced an initiative to provide 100 % clean energy for its US-based operations. Acer claims it purchased enough clean energy to offset its carbon emissions from electricity at all US facilities. It bought more than 27 million kWh of clean power in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs) in all.

In addition to its RE purchase, Acer America has also become a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partner and is now included in the Green Power Leadership Club, as well as listed on the 100% Green Power Users and Top 30 Tech & Telecom partner ranking lists. The Acer initiative was by welcomed by the EPA as a Green Power Partner.

Acer America is ranked 24 in the EPA’s Top 30 Tech & Telecom list of the largest green power users, said Melissa Klein, an official of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. By opting to purchase RE, Acer is helping to expand the nation’s clean energy economy and reduce harmful carbon pollution. Also its commitment to use 100% green power serves as an example of leadership for others to follow, she said.

A world leader in information and communication technology (ICT), Acer has a dedicated sustainability strategy of which its green power purchase is a part. In addition to reducing US emissions, the company is committed to conducting an annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, improving efficiency in its products, operations and data centers, and engaging its supply chain to address climate change risk through its membership in the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Programme.

RECs are used by thousands of US and Canadian organisations as a way to track and trade clean power in North America. The RECs that Acer purchased are sourced from a mix of renewables types including wind power and biomass. The move will reduce emissions from Acer’s US facilities through the end of 2015. The company has also set global emissions reduction targets of 30% by 2015 and 60% by 2020.

Internals of a VVER

Rosatom set to build 2000 MWe Ruppur nuclear plant

Internals of a VVER

Internals of a VVER

In Brief

The construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) in Ruppur by Russia is set to become a historic benchmark in bilateral relations, Bangladesh’s Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said on 27 October, in an exclusive interview with TASS. The minister hailed the nuclear agreement between Bangladesh and Russia as a great landmark treaty for the two nations and indicated on a long-term partnership.

In January 2013, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and President Vladimir Putin signed an intergovernmental agreement to provide a US$500 million Russian loan to finance engineering surveys, design and personnel training for the future Ruppur NPP. Another loan of about US$1.5 billion was discussed to fund construction.

In October 2013, AtomStroyExport, a subsidiary of Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation, Rosatom, signed a contract with the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission to design the Rooppur NPP, the first of its kind in a country plagued with electricity shortages. Scheduled for completion by 2020, Russia may also provide up to US$10 billion for the plant’s construction.

The Ruppur facility is to be built on the eastern bank of River Padma, 160 km northwest of Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. The plant will be equipped with two VVER-1000 types Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR) with a combined output of 2000 MWe. Although the total cost of the project is still not final, the price may be as high as US$10 billion.

Russian VVER Nuclear Plant

Work expected to start in 2015

Russian VVER Nuclear Plant

Russian VVER Nuclear Plant

In Brief

Turkey has published an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on plans for its first nuclear power plant (NPP), inviting comments from interested parties. The environment ministry has given 10 days for the public to examine the document and lodge any comments or objections with local authorities in Mersin on the Mediterranean coast, the proposed site of the 4800 MWe plant.

The release of the EIA marks a step forward for the project after the ministry rejected earlier drafts as incomplete. Russia’s State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom was scheduled to start construction at Akkuyu, near Mersin this year, but work is now expected in early 2015. The company is required to address any concerns raised in the consultation period and the ministry’s approval on the final report before it moves ahead.

The Akkuyu nuclear plant will have four units of 1200 MWe VVER-1200 Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR), with the first coming on line in 2020. Turkey eventually plans to construct two other nuclear plants and has agreed exclusive negotiating rights with a Japanese-French partnership for the second, planned for the Black Sea coast near Sinop. That 4400 MWe NPP is expected to be based on the Atmea1 design.

UAE power system on route to Abu Dhabi (Photo: Producer)

Will operate and maintain Baraka nuclear plant

UAE power system on route to Abu Dhabi (Photo: Producer)

UAE power system on route to Abu Dhabi (Photo: Producer)

In Brief

The first batch of around 40 Emirati nuclear engineering students have graduated and are now ready to contribute to the delivery of the UAE’s nuclear energy programme, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) announced 25 October. The fully qualified engineers will be responsible for ensuring the first nuclear plant is operated and maintained to the highest standards of safety.

The students were trained as part of Enec’s human resources development (HRD) programme, Energy Pioneers, following the completion of an 18-month specialised training programme, with 10 months conducted by Enec at facilities rented from the Institute of Applied Technology in Abu Dhabi and the other eight months in South Korea.

The graduates are now part of the team that will manage operational safety across Enec’s mechanical, electrical, instrumentations and control divisions, and oversee the day-to-day maintenance of the organisation’s first nuclear power reactor, which is nearly 60% complete and on schedule to connect to the grid in 2017.

The UAE is building the 5600 MWe-capacity nuclear plant, comprising four 1400 MWe APR-1400 Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR) designed by Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO). The NPP, to be built at a cost of US$20.4 billion at Baraka near Abu Dhabi, will be fully operational by 2023. Construction of the first unit started in July 2012, and the second in May 2013.

Arizona Solar

Need credible, consistent policies for growth

Arizona Solar

Arizona Solar

In Brief

Congressional inaction over the future of the wind production tax credit (PTC) and the solar investment tax credit (ITC) could pose a serious challenge to development in the renewable energy (RE) sector in the US. Continuing uncertainty on tax credits for RE comes even as electric utilities are moving into new green businesses that they have long shunned, promoting renewables.

Wind energy had a significant growth in 2012, with 13,128 MWe of new wind capacity installed, but has been much lower since, because of the expiry of the wind PTC last year. Wind energy developers only needed to have made minor investments by the 2013 deadline to qualify for the tax credit, so there are still a number of new installations in the works, and 2014 has so far seen a fair amount of growth in wind energy capacity. But Congress needs to act.

According to the American Wind Energy Association’s latest report, some 711 wind turbines with a total capacity of 1254 MWe were installed in the US during the first three quarters of 2014, which is more than the total in 2013. But while there are over 13,600 MWe of wind capacity currently under construction, that number is expected to drop off sharply as projects are brought online and fewer new projects take off due to the expiration of the PTC.

The solar industry’s financing model largely depends on the ITC, which allows 30% of development costs to be reimbursed. After 2016, that share is reduced to 10%, which is expected to cause turmoil in the industry, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). US solar PV installed capacity will almost double by 2016 to 9600 MWe, up from about 5100 MWe this year. After the ITC is reduced, new construction is expected to drop to about 4000 MWe in 2017 and take six years to recover, said BNEF.

Two new technology roadmap reports recently published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that the sun could be the single biggest source of energy, providing nearly 30% of the world’s total electricity needs by 2050, but warned that clear, credible and consistent signals from policy makers are required to make it happen.

Excelon/GEH contract worth millions

Seeks 5100 SREC and 250,000 REC

Bag_With_Money_Dollars_1800487In Brief

FirstEnergy announced that a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued to purchase Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for its Ohio utilities – Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating and Toledo Edison – to meet the Companies’ 2014 renewable energy (RE) obligations established under Ohio’s alternative energy law.

SRECs and RECs sought in this RFP must be able to be used by the companies for compliance with its 2014 Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) in accordance with rules set by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), be deliverable through PJM-EIS GATS, and generated between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2014. The RFP seeks 5100 SREC and 250,000 REC.

One SREC represents the environmental attributes of one megawatt hour (MWh) of generation from a solar renewable generating facility qualified by the PUCO. One REC represents the environmental attributes of one MWh of generation from a PUCO-qualified renewable generating facility.  The cost of the RECs is recovered from utility customers through a monthly charge filed quarterly with the PUCO.

Based on the RFP results, the Ohio utilities are expected to enter into agreements with winning suppliers to purchase the necessary quantities of REC and SREC. No energy or capacity will be purchased under the RFP. Participants in the RFP must meet and maintain specific credit and security qualifications, and must be able to prove their SREC or REC generating facilities are certified or are in the process of becoming certified by the PUCO. To participate in the RFP, potential bidders should submit credit applications and proposals by 3 December.

Large-scale Solar Plant, California

Aims to accelerate mainstream solar energy adoption

Large-scale Solar Plant, California

Large-scale Solar Plant, California

In Brief

Enphase Energy has launched a new energy management system (EMS) that delivers on the vision of enabling large-scale implementation of solar power integrated with the grid. The new system intelligently integrates the critical technologies needed to solve solar energy challenges at scale – smart grid intelligence, communications, big data analytics and storage.

The EMS offers the next-generation, smart-grid ready Enphase microinverter, plug-and-play storage, advanced control capabilities and load management. It provides a better return on investment for solar power plant owners, expands the range of profitable business models for installers, and provides broader insight into and control for utilities. The system is designed to accelerate mass penetration of solar globally and make mainstream access to clean, affordable energy a reality, says Enphase.

Enphase says the EMS will benefit all the players across the supply chain – solar PV and thermal system owners, whom Enphase is providing with more choice and control to optimise and manage their energy. For installers and distributors, it provides a tool to more easily manage the design, installation and management of solar arrays. This higher level of efficiency helps installers and distributors operate more profitably. To utilities, the Enphase EMS provides a higher level of visibility, insight and control over the energy grid.

The smart-grid ready system shares information, and in some cases control functions, with the utilities over the cloud. By making it easier for utilities to integrate and sustain solar energy on an optimized energy grid, Enphase systems help maximize their profits and their infrastructure. It has four main components – smart-grid ready solar generation; an advanced energy storage AC Battery solution with a modular, plug-and-play storage device fully integrated into the EMS; the Envoy-S revenue grade metering system and Enlighten monitoring system software, to optimise and manage the grid.

Roof-top Solar PV Panels

Wants government to give sovereign guarantee

Roof-top Solar PV Panels

Roof-top Solar PV Panels

In Brief

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is seeking a loan of US$1.3 billion from German bank KfW in order to promote rooftop solar systems to generate 1600 MWe across the country. KfW is keen to lend the amount, but the hedging cost of the loan will make it expensive for borrowers and defeat the purpose of accessing funds from abroad, an MNRE official said.

India is looking for funds from foreign sources in order to spur growth of the renewable energy (RE) sector and make clean energy affordable. The MNRE wants to make loans for rooftop solar available at an interest rate of not more than 8%, the official said. The loan, when received, will be disbursed either through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) or the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).

The ministry’s main concern is how to make these funds available at a low cost. Hedging against rupee fluctuation makes the loan expensive for domestic borrowers. Thus the MNRE wants the government to take the risk and give a sovereign guarantee so that it can get the KfW loan. However, in absence of a sovereign guarantee, the cost of funds can go up to 12%.

The MNRE had announced in September that India needs US$30 billion investment in the renewable sector every year but receives only US$6 billion. Moreover, increasing defaults by the conventional power sector have made banks averse to lending towards clean energy, contributing to the cash crunch in the renewables sector. According to experts, rooftop installations funded through a government-backed loan do not seem suitable for private consumption, because recovering money from individuals could prove difficult.

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

The US can quadruple its renewable energy

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Can reach 23% target by 2030 says UCS

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

In Brief

The US can quadruple its renewable energy (RE) capacity during the next 15 years, to reach 23% by 2030, a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study has revealed. Further, the USC concluded that the cost to the average household of achieving this target would only be about 18 cents per month, so it appears to be a very attainable goal.

The UCS target is almost double the target of 12% growth in renewables generations proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the US. Already the laws in 17 states require more electricity from renewable sources than the EPA proposes, and seven states are presently surpassing the EPA’s proposed goals for 2030.

The UCS target would reduce electricity sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an extra 10% over the EPA proposal, reaching 40% below 2005 levels. However, the study says there is a need to have a greater level of ambition, worldwide, if emissions are to be cut and the pace of climate change is to be slowed down. The technologies are already commercially available today to make that possible, say the experts.

The Obama administration is aiming to cut carbon emissions from power plants 30% by 2030. A new EPA rule will set specific targets for CO2 reductions by state. The rule will limit emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants, which produce a massive 40% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under the new rule, states will be able to offset coal plant emissions by developing RE assets, and by using greater energy efficiency measures.

The US is the second largest emitter in the world behind China. The target will be to cut emissions 30% from 2005 levels, which were actually 10% higher than in 2012. US emissions dropped 10% between 2005 and 2012. The increasing use of natural gas and transition to renewables was largely responsible for the decline in emissions in that period.

To cooperate in building research reactor

Vietnam FlagIn Brief

Lightbridge and Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM) have signed an agreement for comprehensive consulting support on development of a nuclear research reactor. This agreement, between the US nuclear energy company and VINATOM, is seen as another important step towards improving the strategic relationship between Vietnam and the US.

The comprehensive nuclear cooperation between the US and Vietnam involves 24 specific activities, including consulting services related to the construction and safe operation of Vietnam’s Atomic Energy Research Centre, with a nuclear research reactor. It also includes design review and selection of nuclear research reactors, site selection, and nuclear security protocols.

The agreement is among the first commercial transactions between the two nations facilitated by the recent US-Vietnam nuclear cooperation agreement under Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act. The 123 agreement, which entered into force on 3 October, establishes terms for commercial nuclear trade, and research and technology exchanges.

Work under the five-year agreement between Lightbridge and VINATOM will support Vietnam’s nuclear science and technology centre, a planned US$500 million facility. The agreement also stipulates support for nuclear quality assurance, research reactor fuel selection, control room operations, safeguards, control and accounting of nuclear material and related training programmes.

Vietnam’s plans call for construction of four nuclear reactors at two sites beginning later in this decade, and two additional proposed reactors. The nuclear energy market in Vietnam is estimated to be worth US$10 billion, and is expected to grow to US$50 billion by 2030, according to US Department of Commerce estimates. The second largest nuclear power market in Southeast Asia after China, Vietnam intends to produce more than 10% of its national power from nuclear by 2030.

Chinese CAP1400 Reactor

China and India will be major contributors

CAP1400

Chinese CAP1400 Reactor

In Brief

Asia is ready to drive next wave of nuclear energy growth, said the International Energy Agency (IEA), which foresees substantial increases in nuclear energy growth over the next few decades, with the number of new nuclear power reactors worldwide, currently at roughly 431, perhaps doubling. The major contribution in increase in nuclear power capacity is expected to come from from China and India.

In Depth

Koeberg NPP in South Africa

Plans to build 9600 MWe nuclear capacity

Koeberg NPP in South Africa

Koeberg NPP in South Africa

In Brief

South Africa is ready to sign framework agreements with China and Japan on building nuclear power plants (NPPs), said Department of Energy in a statement. An intergovernmental agreement with China is expected to be signed during the first week of November and the one with Japan at a later stage. Pretoria has recently signed similar pacts with Russia and France, and the country already has agreements in place with the US and South Korea.

State-owned nuclear energy company Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) describes the signing of the intergovernmental agreements as an important step towards implementation of the nuclear new build plan. The programme would help in developing skills, create sustainable jobs and contribute to economic growth for the country, said Necsa.

South Africa currently has one NPP, comprising two operating reactors, at Koeberg and has been involved with nuclear research activities since the 1940s. To meet its growing electricity needs to drive economic growth and reducing carbon emissions, the country’s 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) sets out a roadmap for a sustainable energy mix including an expansion in nuclear capacity as well as an increase in renewable energy (RE).

Concurrently with the conclusion of the agreements, the department is planning to hold workshops with all vendor countries to provide them a platform to “showcase and demonstrate” their capabilities and how they would contribute in developing South Africa’s nuclear programme towards an additional 9600 MWe of nuclear capacity. The first of the series of workshops will be held with Russia this month.

Carbon Footprints (Work: Notnarayan)

16% decline in carbon emissions

Carbon Footprints (Work: Notnarayan)

Carbon Footprints (Work: Notnarayan)

In Brief

Carbon emissions in the US have seen a consistent drop in since 2007, because of improved energy efficiency measures and an increase in renewable energy (RE), according to a new report published by the Greenpeace group, Energydesk, on 20 October. The drop has been due to the growth of renewables and not shale gas fracking, as claimed by many, says the report.

According to the report, the US has seen a dramatic 21% reduction in coal consumption in the last six years, which was accompanied by a 16% decline in total carbon emissions. In the same period, US renewable energy grew by 48.1%, which was spurred mainly by tax credits in the wind energy sector.

However, many observers believe that the decline can be attributed to the switch from coal to natural gas, as natural gas usage has spiked over 23% since 2007, due to the shale-gas boom. In contrast, according to Greenpeace analysts, the switch to natural gas contributed to about 30% of the decline in carbon emissions, but it was not the main driver.

The larger contributors were the growth of renewables – particularly wind power – which contributed to 40% of the fall in emissions, and the rising use of energy-efficient solutions, which accounted for 30% of the total decline. Analysis shows that it was the clean technology boom, not the fracking rush, that slashed the bulk of carbon emissions from the US power sector.

Turks and Caicos Islands

To work with Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge

Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands

In Brief

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) signed a MoU on 16 October with the Carbon War Room – a global non-profit organisation – t0 strengthen their commitment to advancing renewable energy (RE). Caribbean Premier Rufus Ewing, and Justin Locke, Director of Carbon War Room’s Operations, inked the deal that will allow the two to work together to reduce the islands’ dependence on fossil fuels through increased RE production and improved energy efficiency.

The Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge provides the government with the platform to define and realise its own vision of a clean economy. In order to achieve this vision, the Carbon War Room, the non-profit organisation founded by Sir Richard Branson and the Rocky Mountain Institute, will provide a range of technical, project management, communications, and business advisory support services.

The Ten Island Challenge works to accelerate the transition of Caribbean island economies from a heavy dependence on fossil fuels to renewable resources. The islands have some of the highest electricity prices in the world, draining their economies and slowing development. Despite an abundance of sun and wind, the Caribbean islands have exploited relatively low levels of renewables to date.

Members of the Carbon War Room, a global non-profit organisation, hope to get ten Caribbean countries to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. The organisation focuses on solutions that can be realised using proven technologies under current policy frameworks. The other countries that have committed to the challenge are Aruba, St Lucia, St Kitts, The British Virgin Islands and San Andres Province, Colombia.

In 2013, Branson committed his home of Necker Island, British Virgin Islands to serve as a ‘demo’ island in the challenge and, in February of this year, US energy company NRG Energy was awarded the contract to transition the island to renewables.

Yucca Mountain

Nevada State vows to oppose the plan

Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain

In Brief

The proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site has been given clearance by a key safety evaluation published 16 October by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The report says that the proposed site, as described in a 2008 application by the US Department of Energy (DoE), includes “multiple barriers to isolate radioactivity from the environment” for hundreds of thousands of years. That should allow it to comply with standards to protect ground water and people in the distant future.

The Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada desert would theoretically hold up to 77,000 tons of high level radioactive waste (HLW) for up to one million years after being sealed. The report systematically analyses the geology of the site and nearby aquifer, the method of packaging and storage, and the outcome of the “drip shield” that is intended to protect the packaged waste from ground water.

The Yucca project has faced political opposition ever since it was designated a nuclear waste repository site in 1987. In 2008, the DoE submitted a license application to open the facility, but withdrew it two years later. In response, both the states of Washington and South Carolina, and others filed a law suit. Last year, a court ordered the NRC to move ahead with its review and licensing process.

The Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington, DC, has said the NRC’s new technical evaluation report provides strong credence to the proposal that the Yucca Mountain site is suitable for an underground repository for used nuclear fuel. But there are still numerous hurdles ahead before Yucca can open, said an expert, adding that NRC commissioners themselves must rule on the license application.

Meanwhile, the state of Nevada vowed to continue its long-standing fight against the Yucca project, citing the safety and environmental impacts of the proposed repository. Nevada seems prepared to aggressively prosecute these challenges.

President Obama and Prime Minister Modi

Shows India’s flexibility on nuclear liability issue

India-US push for nuclear deal implementation

President Obama and Prime Minister Modi

In Brief

Private nuclear firms from India and the US will for the first time take part in diplomatic talks on the controversial liability law, signaling New Delhi’s new flexibility on resolving a dispute critical to the operationalisation of the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement. The decision on the issue was taken during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Washington, said senior officials from both countries.

The inclusion of Indian manufacturers in the talks with the US indicates a significant departure from previous India’s stance, in that its is indicating that its liability law may need amending, because it affects not just foreign suppliers but domestic firms, too. The government has so far refused to even consider tweaking India’s laws, fearing political opposition.

Indian and foreign firms involved in manufacturing nuclear reactors and components have been critical of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act, 2010, which is seen as being far more stringent on suppliers than any other international nuclear safety law. Nuclear suppliers from the US, France and Russia, have all raised their concerns over the liability provisions, which effectively expose them to unlimited damages in the event of an accident.

The expert panel to be set up this month will include officials from the ministry of external affairs, the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and private Indian firms, like Larsen and Toubro (L&T). The US side will be represented by officials from the state department, the Department of Energy, and Westinghouse and General Electric – the two US firms tipped to build nuclear plants in India.

Any move by the Modi government to agree to amend the controversial liability law will however require Parliament’s approval – seen as an uphill task. Opposition parties are likely to depict any such move as the Indian government’s wilting under foreign pressure. However, the formulations by an “expert group” will appear bipartisan, raising their political acceptability, and could be a way forward, said an expert.

Masdar and Etisalat sign MoU

To provide smarter clean energy solutions for telecom company

signing

Masdar and Etisalat sign MoU

In Brief

In the UAE, Masdar and Etisalat have signed a MoU to collaborate on renewable energy (RE) and efficiency solutions. The two-year MoU between RE specialist, Masdar, and Etisalat, the region’s leading telecommunication service provider, was signed on the sidelines of GITEX Technology Week 2014.

The MoU outlines key areas of collaboration, including the identification and analysis of RE solutions, the opportunity to audit telecommunications networks, advise on energy optimisation projects and lead workshops about the value of sustainable practices. The collaboration will help Etisalat to integrate sustainable energy solutions into its operations.

Located in Abu Dhabi’s fastest growing corridor, Masdar has played a leading role in advancing sustainable energy solutions through research, education and investment in support of the UAE’s efforts towards energy diversification. Its collaboration with Etisalat underlines the growing commitment by UAE companies towards climate control and implementing cleaner, more sustainable operations.

Masdar said it will work closely with Etisalat to identify smarter, cleaner energy solutions that will deliver long-term business benefits and increase the Emirates’ economic resilience, as well as provide a sustainability model for the global telecommunications industry.

Backed by the government of Abu Dhabi, Masdar is dedicated to the Emirate’s long-term vision for the future of energy. The company is advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of clean energy technologies and solutions and is helping in the transition from today’s fossil-fuel economy to the energy economy of the future.

Cernavoda NPP

Romania and CGN sign nuclear LOI

Monday, 20 October 2014

China to build two units at Cernavoda nuclear power plant

Cernavoda NPP

Cernavoda NPP

In Brief

Romania and CGN – China General Nuclear Power Corporation – on 17 October signed a joint letter of intent (LOI) to construct Units 3 and 4 in Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear power plant (NPP) of which the Chinese company has been designated an investor, Romanian state-owned Nuclearelectrica announced on 17 October. The Chinese company was the only one that submitted qualifying documents.

In the next step, the two sides will now negotiate a MoU on joint implementation of projects. The cost of two reactors is currently estimated to be worth US$8.25 billion and will be possibly reviewed after the feasibility study. They will create a new company, in which the Chinese will have at least 51% of the shares and Nuclearelectrica will be minority shareholder.

The two new reactors of the Cernavoda NPP are planned to have an installed capacity of 740 MWe each and will be based on EC6, an advanced version of the Candu Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR). The Cernavoda plant already has two operating Candu nuclear reactors, which came into service in 1996 and 2007. Combined, they provide some 20% of the country’s electricity generation capacity.

Romania currently produces more energy than it requires and the surplus goes to export. The project to build two new nuclear reactors needs to be backed up by new export markets for electricity and by a state aid scheme to ensure a minimum sale price for the energy produced by the new company, which also needs to be approved by the European Commission.

Renewable Energy

Germany’s EEG surcharge begins to drop

Monday, 20 October 2014

Will see a modest decline in electricity prices

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

In Brief

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has reduced Germany’s EEG Surcharge, which was originally added to electricity bills in 2000 to support subsidies provided to developers of renewable energy (RE) as part of “Energiewende.” The controversial surcharge, which had been added to consumers’ electricity bills to achieve energy transformation has fallen for the first time in 14 years.

Under this extensive energy transformation programme, Germany has invested more in renewable power generation than any other European country. In 2012, renewable sources generated 22% of Germany’s total electric power supply. With the current rate of growth, Germany will exceed its 35% renewable power target by 2020.

Germany’s EEG Surcharge has been providing the subsidies needed to drive its ambitious deployment of renewables. In 2012, RE developers in Germany received US$18 billion totalling 0.5% of the German GDP in subsidies, compared to only US$2.56 billion in France and the UK – less than 0.1% of their GDPs, according to industry estimates. Over the past five years, the subsidies have resulted in power bills in Germany becoming the second-highest in the EU.

After a nearly 50% increase in the EEG surcharge between 2012 and 2013, the government has tried to stabilise the costs of expanding wind, solar and biomass. Now, there will be a very modest decline in the surcharge – from about US$0.8 per kWh to about US$0.78 per kWh – to electricity bills in 2015. Germany urgently needs to lower energy costs to increase the competitiveness of its industry.

Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station (Photo: Richard Baker)

F4N programme to help 300 SMEs across the country

Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station (Photo: Richard Baker)

Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station (Photo: Richard Baker)

In Brief

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has announced it will collaborate with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) to help Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) manufacturers in the South West access the UK’s fast-developing US$97 billion nuclear new build programme. The move follows the European Commission’s go ahead for the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

In total, more than 300 SMEs across the country are set to benefit from specialist support as MAS and the Nuclear AMRC launch the “Fit For Nuclear (F4N)” programme. The initiative allows companies to assess their capabilities against industry standards, implement new processes, secure necessary accreditations and provide supplier matching opportunities. It also offers participating SMEs to seek matching funding for business improvement or R&D projects.

EDF Energy, along with Areva, which is set to build the 3300 MWe nuclear power plant (NPP), is lending its support to the F4N initiative. The new US$28 billion nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C will comprise two European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) of 1650 MWe capacity each. The plant is expected to be online in 2023 but orders for the bulk of plant and services are expected to start from next year.

To date, around 150 nuclear SMEs have completed the online F4N assessment, with the majority receiving ongoing support and development from the Nuclear AMRC. Funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund Sharing programme and bringing in MAS have opened the initiative to another 300 SMEs, with the focus on engaging the wider manufacturing supply chain, including instrumentation and control, electrical and other sub-contractors.

The UK is set to build 16 GWe of nuclear power capacity by 2030 to meet its energy requirement due to the retirement of old coal-fired and nuclear plants. This offers great potential for advanced manufacturing SMEs in the region to develop business in the nuclear energy sector. Following approval for Hinkley Point C, nuclear SMEs can expect opportunities to increase in new build, as well as in decommissioning and existing plant maintenance.

Will help in optimising energy mix

 In Brief

transmissionIn a new study titled “MIXOPTIM: A tool for the evaluation and the optimisation of the electricity mix in a territory,” published in The European Journal Plus (EPJ Plus), French scientists report having developed an open source simulation method to calculate the actual cost of relying on a combination of electricity-generating sources.

The team, led by Bernard Bonin from the Atomic Energy Research Centre (CEA) at Saclay, France, demonstrates that energy cost is not directly proportional to the demand level. This method, though recognised by its creator as being still rudimentary, can be adapted to account for the public’s interest and not solely economic performance, when optimising the energy mix.

The authors consider wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, coal and gas as potential energy sources. In their model, the energy demand and availability are cast as random variables. The authors simulate the behaviour of the mix for a large number of tests of such variables, using so-called Monte-Carlo simulations. As renewable energies are still only available intermittently and cannot be stored easily, most countries aim to combine several energy sources.

For a given energy mix, the cost presents a minimum as a function of the installed power. This means that if it is too large, the fixed costs dominate the total and become overwhelming. In contrast, if it is too small, expensive energy sources need to be frequently solicited. The MIXOPTIM cost evaluation method is applied to the multi-criteria optimisation of the mix according to three selected criteria – economy, environment and supply security.

The ongoing debate about energy in Europe has created the need for tools providing a performance estimate of the various energy options under consideration. The simulation tested on the basis of energy mix in France, using 2011 data, shows that an optimal mix is 2.4 times the average demand in this territory. This mix contains a large amount of nuclear power and a small amount of wind and solar.

Covers peaceful use of nuclear energy and waste management

handshakeIn Brief

India and Finland on 15 October signed a number of agreements, including one for the peaceful use of nuclear energy as well as management of radioactive waste from atomic power plants as President Pranab Mukherjee began his two-day visit to the key Scandinavian country. Mukherjee had a one-to-one meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinisto, which was followed by delegation-level talks.

The pact between the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) of India and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland for nuclear cooperation was signed by Indian ambassador to Finland, Ashok Kumar, and director general of Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland Petteri Tiippana in the presence of Mukherjee and Niinisto.

The agreement between India and Finland will ensure cooperation in the field of nuclear and radiation safety regulation; exchange of information and personnel related to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and radiation related to nuclear facilities; nuclear safety, including radioactive waste management; safety related issues; and research. It will also cover emergency preparedness and radioactive waste management associated with the operation of civil nuclear plants.

Noting that India and Norway have a rewarding trade partnership, including oil exploration and scientific research, Mukherjee said that both the sides are keen to expand the scope of their collaborative efforts in earth sciences, biotechnology, clean energy, fishing and health care. India and Finland also agreed to double the trade from the existing US$1.5 billion to US$3 billion in the next three years.

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

Funds to be used for two solar power projects at Ouarzazate

Morocco to build utility-scale solar plant

Utility-scale Solar PV Plant

In Brief

The World Bank announced 15 October that it has given a US$519 million loan for Morocco to partly finance two solar power plants, with a combined capacity of up to 350 MWe, the second phase of the 500 MWe Ouarzazate project. The World Bank is providing US$400 million directly, while its Clean Technology Fund (CTF) will grant US$119 million.

The cost to build the two utility-scale Morocco solar power plants is estimated at US$2.2 billion. German state-owned bank KFW would be the largest lender for the two projects, as it has granted Morocco US$824 million. The African Development Bank, the European Commission and European Investment Bank are financing the remaining amount.

The authorities said consortiums led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s International Power and ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia had been shortlisted for the 200 MWe Noor II tender. The three groups are also prequalified for the 100 MWe Noor III tender, along with another consortium led by Electricite de France (EDF).

Moroccan Solar Energy Agency Masen has selected parabolic mirror technology for the 200 MWe concentrated solar plant at an estimated cost of US$1.3 billion, while the 100 MWe plant, expected to cost US$900 million, will be built as a solar power tower. Results of tenders for construction of the two Morocco Solar plants near the southern city of Ouarzazate are expected in the next few days, sources said.

Morocco is spending heavily to subsidise power production. It currently imports power from Spain, with demand growing by around 7% per year. The government has set a target to produce 2 GWe of solar power by 2020, which is equivalent to about 38% of Morocco’s current installed generation capacity. ACWA Power is already building the first 160 MWe plant in the Ouarzazate area.

Large-scale Solar Plant, California

Need to broaden role to include financing and licensing

Large-scale Solar Plant, California

Large-scale Solar Plant, California

In Brief

Companies dealing with engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) will need to adapt to the new economic realities of the renewable energy (RE) industry or face jaded returns, according to a new report titled “The Evolving Landscape for EPCs in US Renewables,” published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and commissioned by CohnReznick.

In Depth

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