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Masdar to build GCC’s first large scale wind farm

October 22nd, 2014

Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar today signed a deal to build a $125m large-scale wind farm in Oman – the first such project in the Gulf Co-operation Council.

The 50 MW wind farm will be built in the Dhofar governorate and the contract signed today is a joint development agreement between Masdar and the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO).Masdar Oman wind farm

Construction is due to start towards the end of next year and the project will comprise up to 25 wind turbines. Once completed it is expected to account for 7 per cent of total installed power generation capacity in the Dhofar region.

Masdar chairman Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said that the wind farm was an example of the Gulf region “rapidly adopting renewable energy as a viable solution to meet growing electricity demands and to address long-term resource security”.

RAECO chief executive Hamed al Magdheri said the project “will deliver significant economic benefits. When completed, wind power will meet half of the Dhofar region’s energy needs during the winter. It will also reduce our reliance on traditional forms of energy, such as gas, which can be redirected toward more valuable industrial uses, while also extending the life of our hydrocarbon reserves.”

Key talking points come to fore ahead of EU energy summit

October 22nd, 2014

The spectre of Russian gas, quota transfers and the fears of energy-intensive industry are the major issues ahead of the EU 2030 energy summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

The overall objectives centre on finalising targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ramping up renewable energy and improving energy efficiency across the continent.

Discussions are taking place among member states in an attempt to come up with a cohesive European plan with a clear vision for the bloc on what it will argue for at the larger UN Climate Change Summit in Paris next year.
Gunter Oettinger
Proposals are being trashed out with a view to allowing energy-rich nations within the bloc to transfer 10 per cent of CO2 emissions quotas to member states such as Poland, who are struggling to diversify their energy mix.

Under this system, countries with a diverse energy mix, like France or Germany, would only sell 90% of their quotas at auction, while Poland and other countries with a carbon-intensive economy would receive the balance for free.

The beneficiary countries would then use the money from the sale of these quotas to invest in their own low-carbon energy mix.

Meanwhile the influential Energy Intensive Industries of Germany (EID) has warned that Europe cannot expect to remain competitive in the global marketplace if its energy plan amounts to a ‘solo effort.’

Utz Tillmann, a spokesman for the Energy Intensive Industries of Germany (EID) - which includes chemicals, steelmaking, cement and others told Euractiv he supported an ambitious agreement at the Paris UN climate summit in December next year.

“But we can only produce more competitively if there are comparable burdens overseas," he stressed. "If Europe chooses a solo effort through a one-sided climate protection target of 40 per cent less emissions, it would mean billions in losses for us that our global competitors would not otherwise have gained. The damage done to competitiveness among energy-intensive companies in the EU would be considerable.”

In the UK the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) sent an email statement offering similar sentiments. Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said: “It is vital that they make bold decisions on the future of the EU’s energy package for 2030 to give business the clarity it needs to make long-term investment decisions.”

 “Competitiveness must also be at the heart of discussions, with greater support for energy-intensive industries ensuring that they can play their part in the transition to a low-carbon future. Demonstrating that Europe’s climate ambitions can go hand-in-hand with competition will be crucial as we head into next year’s negotiations in Paris.”

The threat to Europe’s energy security caused by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is also casting a shadow over proceedings.

The sides failed to reach an accord on gas supplies for the coming winter in EU-brokered talks yesterday on Tuesday but agreed to meet again in Brussels in a week, in the hope of ironing out problems over Kyiv's ability to pay.

Outgoing European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger told a news conference the three parties agreed on the price Ukraine would pay Russia's Gazprom - $385 per thousand cubic metres - as long as it paid in advance for the deliveries.

But Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow was still seeking assurances on how Kyiv, which earlier in the day asked the EU for a further €2 billion in credit, would find the money to pay Moscow for its energy.

Citing unpaid bills worth more than $5 billion (€3.9 billion), Russia cut off gas flows to Kyiv in mid-June. The move added to East-West tensions sparked by Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and conflict in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine and could have a knock-on effect on the Europe’s gas-fired power capacity as winter approaches.

Novak has ruled out Gazprom's agreeing to let EU states re-export its gas to Ukraine.

US and EU economic sanctions against Russia, plus a fall in the price of oil, have increased incentives for Moscow to resolve the dispute. State-controlled Gazprom earns around €4.7 billion a month selling gas to the EU.

"We made another step towards a possible solution and are close to an agreement on important elements. Others still need to be addressed, such as the financial gap," Oettinger said following Tuesday's talks.

Ansaldo Energia scores Abu Dhabi power plant projects

October 22nd, 2014

Abu Dhabi’s Mirfa combined cycle power plant is to benefit from works to be carried out by Ansaldo Energia.

The Italian power engineering company has won $444m (EUR350m) in contracts at the facility in the United Arab Emirates.

Ansaldo Energia, working in a consortium with HDEC (Hyundai Engineering & Construction), will supply to the project company “Mirfa International Power and Water Company” three AE94.3A  gas turbines, two MT20 steam turbines, five air-cooled turbogenerators and all the relevant auxiliary systems.
Al Mirfa
Ansaldo has also been awarded a twenty five-year Long Term Maintenance Contract (LTMA) to service the gas turbines.

Ansaldo Thomassen, the Ansaldo Energia company based in the Netherlands and specialised in service activities on third-party gas turbines, signed a contract with HDEC for the refurbishment, conversion and commissioning of four GE Frame 9E gas turbines already existing at the site.

Finally, Ansaldo Thomassen also signed a Long Term Service Agreement (LTSA) with the project company to maintain the aforementioned gas turbines for twelve years.


China wind sector to post record growth

October 22nd, 2014

China’s wind sector is set to post record growth this year despite persistent challenges, new analysis has found.

Over 20 GW of newly installed wind power capacity is expected for the sector in 2014 according to a new report from renewables consultancy Make, and this strong growth is set to persist in the long term.

Record public tenders and new project approvals in the first half of 2014 indicate that, by the end of the year, the sector will have fully recovered from almost three years of minimal growth, the report said. Make predicts that new onshore and offshore wind installations will exceed 230 GW by 2023, with onshore growth driving the near-term market and offshore growth increasing after 2018.

During the first half of 2014, Goldwind, one of China’s biggest wind power companies, posted revenues of over 250 per cent higher than in the same period last year.  Vice-president Ma Jinru commented that Goldwind “has continued to adhere to a prudent management style. Within the context of a broad industry recovery, the group will take actions to maintain its competitive advantages, pursue innovative and lean management and strengthen its research and development capabilities.”

However, despite the recovery, the report found that Chinese wind projects have persistent problems with grid connection and curtailment. It also warned of the effects of an upcoming reduction in the nation's onshore wind feed-in tariffs, expected within the next few months in conjunction with the release of a Renewable Portfolio Standard under the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan.  Despite its strong growth, the wind industry could prove “very sensitive to … changes in policy support,” Make said.

China aims to align its prices for wind and solar power with thermal power prices by 2020.

Wind PPA for Chile gold and silver mine

October 21st, 2014

Seawind Holdings SpA has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Compañia Minera Cerro Bayo Limitada to supply power to the isolated electrical grid system of the Cerro Bayo mining project in Chile.

Seawind, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rame Energy plc, will provide the power from its own wind farm with an installed capacity of up to 1.8 MW, to be located on the Cerro Bayo property (pictured). It is expected that the wind farm will contribute approximately 6250 MWh of electricity per year to the power supply of the mine and the project will work in parallel with Cerro Bayo’s existing diesel generating system, located a few hundred metres away from the proposed site for the turbines. The project requires no environmental permitting studies and Rame will carry out the entire construction of the project to minimise build costs and execution of risk.

Owned by Mandalay Resources Limited, the Cerro Bayo gold and silver mine is located in Southern Chile, 130 km south of Coyhaique, the capital of Region XI. The PPA means Rame will provide power at an agreed price per MWh for a minimum of five years and thereafter on a rolling one year contract. Commercial operations are expected to start by April 2015.

Rame CEO, Tim Adams, commented: ‘Under the agreement, Rame will provide not just cheaper and cleaner power but also better energy security and reduced price volatility to the Cerro Bayo Mine.’

Amber Rudd confirmed as keynote speaker for Heat 2014

October 21st, 2014

The UK’S energy minister Amber Rudd will address the vital issue of heat in the nation's energy economy at the Heat 2014 conference on 5 November.Amber Rudd
Heat accounts for almost one half of UK energy use and the cost of heat continues to rise.

Themes to be discussed at the conference include the development of energy and heat policy - whether globally, nationally or locally; how we can cut waste from heat generation – delivering lean heat and bringing cost and carbon savings to our homes and businesses and how different energy technologies – from individual boilers, to heat pumps, to district heating systems – can integrate to bring affordable, efficient heat to users.

The event, which will also hear contributions from Matthew Pencharz, Senior Adviser on Environment and Energy to the Mayor of London, Ian Marchant FEI, President of the Energy Institute, Dr Tim Rotheray, Director of the CHPA and Grant Bourhill, Heat Project Director, Energy Technologies Institute will also examine how UK communities and businesses are leading the way in developing and deploying lean heat technologies.

Industry speakers representing SAV Systems, Cofely, Mitsubishi and more will also be present.

Book online at Significant discounts are available for public sector organisations, academics, charities and SMEs.

Global energy efficiency market worth at least $310bn a year

October 21st, 2014

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) sees energy efficiency as a market worth at least US$310 billion a year and growing.

Among 18 countries evaluated in the report, total final energy consumption was down 5% between 2001 and 2011 primarily as a result of investments in energy efficiency. Cumulative avoided energy consumption over the decade from energy efficiency in IEA countries was 1732 million tonnes of oil equivalent – larger than the energy demand of the US and Germany combined in 2012, the report finds. Furthermore, over the last four decades, energy efficiency investments over the past have avoided more energy consumption than the total final consumption of the EU in 2011.

According to the IEA, some 40% of the global energy efficiency market is financed with debt and equity, meaning that the financial market for energy efficiency is in the range of $76,120 billion per year. The number of products and the volume of finance have greatly expanded in recent years, with green bonds, corporate green bonds, energy performance contracts, private commitments, carbon and climate finance, and multilateral development banks and bilateral banks all offering expanded sources of finance for energy efficiency improvements. Bilateral and multilateral lending alone amounted to more than $22 billion in 2012.

With energy efficiency finance becoming an established market segment in its own right, the analysis confirms innovative new products and standards are helping to overcome risks and bringing stability and confidence to the market.

‘Energy efficiency is the invisible powerhouse in IEA countries and beyond, working behind the scenes to improve our energy security, lower our energy bills and move us closer to reaching our climate goals,’ IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven explained.

‘Energy efficiency is moving from a niche interest to an established market segment with increasing interest from institutional lenders and investors,’ she continued, adding: ‘As energy efficiency is essential to meeting our climate goals while supporting economic growth, the increasing use of finance is a welcome development. To fully expand this market, initiatives to continue to reduce barriers will need to strengthen.’

The report also reveals that huge potential for energy efficiency exists in emerging economies outside the OECD.

Vestas plans new inroads in Chinese wind market

October 21st, 2014

Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas is strategizing to increase its market penetration in China, where it currently lags behind domestic producers.

The world’s biggest wind turbine maker plans to use more component contents from Chinese suppliers while also bringing models suited for varying wind conditions to the country.

Vestas will “look at much more tailored service offerings toward different customers with different needs,” Chief Executive Officer Anders Runevad said in an interview in Beijing.
Vestas V100
China is “a very attractive and interesting market” where the company sees a shift from focusing on initial capital costs to looking at the lifetime cost of energy, Runevad said, adding that Vestas will seek to use local manufacturers and suppliers for some component content.

Foreign wind turbine manufacturers only account for between 1 and 5 per cent of the Chinese market at the present time, with Vestas the 11th biggest supplier, behind ten domestic firms.

To make up the ground the Aarhus-based company plans to make its V110 and V100 models for low- and medium-wind sites at its Tianjin plant, Runevad said. The company will also closely monitor offshore market developments.

China’s wind market is facing a wave of consolidation that may cut the number of turbine producers by two-thirds in the next five years as oversupply pressures increase, according to the Chinese Wind Energy Equipment Association. Supply outstripped demand by 40 percent at the end of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China may install about 20 gigawatts of wind power this year and more in 2015, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.

Areva chief Oursel steps down

October 21st, 2014

The chief executive of Areva has stepped down ahead of a management reorganisation at the nuclear group.

Luc Oursel has been at the helm since 2011 but has taken the decision, citing a health condition. He said he had “no choice but to hand over my responsibilities at the head of the company and have chosen to take a leave of absence in order to pursue treatment”.
Areva has struggled to cope with the changed circumstances for nuclear power post-Fukushima with notable difficulties for the group in Finland and West Africa.

Earlier this year the French group reported a first-half loss, dropped a target to sell 10 nuclear reactors by 2016 and exited its solar business. It pledged cost cuts to avoid a ratings downgrade, but shares are still down 44 per cent this year.

Mr Oursel’s contract was already due for renewal at the end of this month, with the government adopting a new management structure for Areva. Sources close to the situation said he may not have survived the reorganisation, according to Bloomberg.

Tidal lagoon could generate 8 per cent of UK’s electricity

October 20th, 2014

One of Britain’s largest insurers has announced its intention to invest over £1bn ($1.6bn) in the construction of a tidal lagoon power plant in Swansea Bay, Wales.

Prudential Plc (PRU), the largest UK insurer by market value, believes that the 320 MW plant could generate as much as 8 per cent of the country’s electricity.

Prudential expects to invest as much as £600m in the project with other investors to generate the remaining capital.
Swansea tidal power project
“Such investments provide our customers with strong and sustainable returns, create good jobs and increase productivity and economic competitiveness,” Prudential Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam said in a statement.

Tidal lagoons are areas of water separated from the rest of the sea. In a tidal-power plant, water is trapped and released from the lagoon through turbines, considered to be less damaging to the environment than tidal barrages.

Construction of the project should begin next year and it’s expected to start working in 2018, when it will produce more than 495 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually for 120 years. Good Energy Group Plc, a British renewable-power supplier, in May invested 500,000 pounds in Tidal Lagoon.

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