Finding extraordinary engineers for exceptional clients

Ratch joins Chinese nuclear JV

January 26th, 2016

Thailand’s largest power producer has joined a joint venture company formed to build the second phase of a $6bn Chinese nuclear power project.

Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (Ratch) will hold a 10 per cent share in the project, while China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) will hold 51 per cent and Guangxi Investment Group will own a 39 per cent stake.

The new firm will be called Guangxi Fangchenggang Nuclear Power (II) Co, and will develop, build and operate the 2 GW, two-unit second phase of the 6 GW Fangchenggang plant in Guangxi.

Ratch is set to invest $208m in the project, which is scheduled to come online in 2021.

The first unit at Fangchenggang (pictured during construction) was connected to the grid in October and began commercial operation this month, while unit 2 is expected to come online later this year. Both feature CGN’s CPR-1000 large pressurized water reactors, while units 3 and 4 will be based on Hualong One reactors and a planned fifth and sixth unit will be AP1000s.

Ratch CEO Rum Herabat called the project “an opportunity for Thai technical personnel in developing and enhancing their skills and experience by sharing nuclear-related knowledge and techniques with CGN”, and noted that “CGN's achievements and experience in low-carbon environment management is another area for learning because it is important for dealing with the climate change issue."

Dubai signs MoU with European energy network

January 25th, 2016

Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy has signed an energy efficiency memorandum of understanding with the European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment (FEDARENE).

The agreement was signed at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi last week and will see both sides share best practices in energy-related areas including policymaking, tDubai Supreme Council of Energyechnology development and clean energy financing.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice-chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, said that energy efficiency “has gained a lot of importance over the last few years and has become a critical competitiveness factor. Our partnership with FEDARENE will promote the implementation of innovative and effective measures, and increase awareness on energy efficiency and demand side management”.

Al Tayer also used the World Future Energy Summit to showcase Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy, which has set a target to provide 7 per cent of the emirate’s energy from clean sources by 2020, 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050.

Women in Sustainability signs renewable energy pacts with GE and Masdar

January 25th, 2016

A new initiative to bring more women into the clean energy arena has signed strategic partnerships with GE and Masdar.

Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) has also sealed similar deals with the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.

WiSER officially announced its board members at the UN General Assembly last September and held its firsDeb Frodl, global executive director at GE Ecomaginationt conference last week at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, where it unveiled the four strategic partnerships.

MASEN and WiSER will establish an internship programme for women to gain hands-on experience at the Moroccan solar agency and also develop a renewable energy conference on the sidelines of COP 22 that will address the role that women can play in post-COP 21 implementation.

MASEN project development director Nadia Taobane said: “Affording women the ability to gain hands-on professional experience is one of the most effective ways of ensuring their influence is felt in key sustainable industries.”

GE will work with WiSER on a leadership training programme in renewable energy. The GE Ecomagination Innovation Centre in Masdar City, which promotes research and training in sustainability initiatives, will serve as an anchor point for the programme and experts from GE and Masdar will provide extensive training on various aspects of the renewable energy industry.

Deb Frodl, global executive director at GE Ecomagination and a member of the WiSER Advisory Council, explained: “The training programme has a dual goal of encouraging women’s participation in the renewable energy industry and promoting their entrepreneurial skills. It will complement the UAE government’s wish to strengthen the role of women in the energy sustainability sector, as well as enhancing workplace diversity.”

Masdar chairman Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said at last week’s conference: “Women are critical to advancLana Nusseibeh, the UAE Ambassador to the United Nationsing the prosperity of modern societies. Without doubt the further empowerment and education of women will serve as one of the most important factors in realising a sustainable future. The WiSER initiative, through a platform of knowledge sharing and relationship building, ensures that women are given the necessary tools to be leaders in sustainability.”

Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability at Masdar, added: “Women can play an essential role in the future of sustainability. However, more must be done to ensure that they are represented in the decision-making process. Part of what makes WiSER important is that it seeks to give women valuable insights into what is required to succeed in industries related to sustainability.”

Members of the WiSER Advisory Council include Kathy Calvin, President of the United Nations Foundation; Rachel Kyte, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank Group; Marie-Jose Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council; and Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE Ambassador to the United Nations.

Construction begins on Japanese floating solar power plant

January 22nd, 2016

Kyocera Corporation has announced the beginning of construction on what they say will be the largest floating solar power plant in the world in terms of energy output.Kyocera Corporation floating solar power plant model

The announcement on Thursday stated that the 13.7 MW power plant will float on the waters of the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Japan. The plant is being constructed by Kyocera TCL Solar, a subsidiary of the Kyocera Corporation.

This is the Japanese electronics manufacturer’s fourth floating solar power plant in Japan and the latest in a series of innovative solar plants, such as India's solar powered airport and ambitious plan to cover canals with sun-harvesting panels. The Yamakura Dam solar plant is scheduled for launch at the end of March 2018.

Once it is complete, the 50,904 270-watt modules spread out over 180,000 square meters should pump out 16,170 megawatt hours (MWh) per year.


German utility plans investments after gas stake sale

January 21st, 2016

Germany's fifth-largest utility by sales, says the sale of its stake in gas firm VNG late last year, will enable new and substantial investments from this year.

"We are currently studying options in our energy business," said Matthias Brueckmann, CEO of EWE, adding the firm was also looking outside its core region in northwestern Germany.
The company sold its stake in VNG to larger peer EnBW in a deal worth 1.43 billion euros ($1.56bn) in October and is now looking at wind energy projects in Turkey, where it has been in the gas supply market since 2007.

The group last month also announced plans to form a joint venture with German wind turbine maker Enercon, which also has a rotor factory in Turkey.

EWE is currently putting together a restructuring plan to be presented to its supervisory board in April, but Brueckmann said a break-up similar to those being undertaken by rivals E.ON and RWE was not being considered.


Finland will not intervene in Areva–TVO dispute

January 21st, 2016

Finland’s government will not be intervening in a dispute involving TVO and Areva, contradicting a statement made by a French minister on Wednesday.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said he had agreed with his Finnish counterpart Olli Rehn to give the companies and shareholders one month to find the conditions for an agreement on ending the dispute which centres around substantial costs accrued in the development of the Olkiluoto nuclear power project.
French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron
Costs have ballooned to more than EUR9bn and the project is well over a decade behind schedule.

However Finland appears to be distancing itself from any prospect of government intervention.

"In Finland, it is not possible for the state to instruct private companies. Olkiluoto 3 is purely a matter for the two companies," an unnamed Finnish government source said, adding that no timetable on the process had been planned either and that the government will not intervene in the arbitration in any way.

TVO has a EUR2.6bn ($2.8bn) claim against the Areva-Siemens consortium at the International Chamber of Commerce's (ICC) arbitration court, while Areva-Siemens have a EUR3.4bn euro counter-claim.

TVO's claim is holding up a planned takeover of Areva's reactor building unit by fellow state-owned utility EDF, which does not want to take responsibility for it.


Power sector has ‘misunderstood’ energy storage says report

January 21st, 2016

The value of energy storage may be widely misunderstood by the power sector, according to new analysis from the World Energy Council (WEC).

In a report (E-storage: Shifting from cost to value 2016) released this week in Abu Dhabi, the WEC said estimates of storage systems’ “true value” must focus on both cost and revenue benefits, rather than “a narrow focus on cost alone”. Looking only at the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), it said, fails to allow for differences in application cases and takes only limited account of the resulting revenues.

However, it noted that these revenue streams will vary over time and between countries due to variations in markets, policies and competing resources.  

Christoph Frei, WEC secretary general, said: “Too often the industry only talks about one half of the profit formula, namely cost. …

“With the cost of capturing and storing wind and solar energy coming down, [storage] deployment across the world will increase,” he added. “The market is right to be enthusiastic about storage of energy, not just because of the cost reductions that it brings, but also because of additional revenue and other benefits that specific technologies in specific contexts can deliver.”

The report also predicts that, with many new technologies in the pipeline, the cost of storing energy will fall by as much as 70 per cent by 2030.

The full report is available here.

Masdar in deal for 200 MW solar PV plant in Jordan

January 20th, 2016

Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar is to develop a 200 MW solar photovoltaic in Jordan.

The deal was announced today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and comes less than a month after Masdar inaugurated the 117 MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan.

The solar PV plant will be built for Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and will help the country edge towards its ambitions to generate 15 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Currently, Jordan imports around 96 per cent of its energy needs at a cost equivalent to 20 per cent of the country's GDP.
Jordanian flag

Masdar chief executive Dr Ahmad Belhoul said: “Jordan is a key market for Masdar in the MENA region. With regional energy demand set to double by 2030, we believe the majority of that growth will be met from renewable energy. This growth represents a strong business case for renewables, not just in Jordan, but also across the wider MENA region.”

Jordan’s Energy Minister Dr Ibrahim Saif added that the solar project was “an investment in Jordan’s future energy security. It reflects the vision to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on imported energy and limit our carbon footprint.”

He added that it was hoped that the PV plant would “stimulate the investment climate for similar renewable energy projects in Jordan and will strengthen out status as a new and important destination for renewable energy investments in the region".


Solar boomtime forecast for Saudi Arabia

January 20th, 2016

Which country in the Middle East and North Africa has the greatest and most realistic solar potential in the next five years?

That was the question posed to a panel of renewable experts at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi this morning and the answer was resounding – Saudi Arabia.

Sunlit DubaiAs Imtiaz Mahtab of the Middle East Solar Industry Association said: “Saudi will be the icing on the cake” for the MENA region’s renewable ambitions.”

Mohammed Atif of DNV-GL Energy told the audience that there had been “a sea-change” in Saudi over plans for solar projects. While the prospects may not be “visible to the public… much progress is going on within Saudi companies, and that is a good sign. I can see Saudi expanding significantly.”

He said he had “high hopes” for the kingdom and added that the wider MENA is “up for very exciting times. We are involved in the policy and for us, we can see that the solar boom is really beginning to take off in the whole region – we are struggling to keep up.”

He cited Kuwait as another growth area, where the government has set a target of generating 20 per cent of its electricity from renewables.

Amer M. Al Swaha of cleantech advisory Apricum said that Saudi’s focus on solar was driven by its need to wean itself of oil for energy production. “Oil is used to generate 60 per cent of electricity in Saudi.” He said that the kingdom has set a target to save 1.5m barrels of oil by switching to solar generation, and stressed that “if we leave things as they are, we will use all the oil that we generate and there will be nothing left to export”.

Nour Mousa, chief executive of Saudi Arabia-based investment and EPC company Desert Technologies, singled out Egypt as another growth area in the MENA region.

“Egypt is moving at a fast pace – we are very bullish on its market.”


How renewables could boost GCC jobs and slash oil and water use

January 20th, 2016

The power sectors of GCC countries could save 400 million barrels of oil if they ramped up their use of renewables, according to a new report released today.

The potential decrease would mark a 25 per cent drop in the oil currently used by the countries to generate electricity.

The study from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was launched this morning at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and also states that if GCC renewable targets were hit, the region could also save 11 trillion litres of water withdrawal, create more than 200,000 direct jobs and reduce their per capita carbon footprint by 8 per cent in 2030.

The report finds that increasing renewables to meet national plans and targets would cut fuel use in the power and water sectors by 50 per cent in the United Arab Emirates, 23 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 21 per cent in Kuwait.

Given the arid climate of the countries, employing more renewables would perhaps have the greatest impact on water: hitting renewable energy targets would decrease water withdrawals in the energy sector by 16 per cent, as solar photovoltaics in particular can be less water intensive than fossil fuel technologies.

Desalination now accounts for a hefty share of total energy consumption in most GCC countries and switching to solar desalination could, according to IRENA, “offer a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally-sustainable way to address the rising demand for water in the long-term”. 

The report also finds that achieving renewable targets in the region would create nearly 210,000 direct jobs in the power sector by 2030.

“Research indicates that the renewable-energy sector creates more jobs than the conventional energy sector on the basis of units of energy produced and dollars invested,” it states. “Most jobs created will be in solar PV, with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia representing the largest employers.”

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z Amin said that the report demonstrated that “the economic and social rationale for the energy transition in the GCC region has never been stronger”.

“By maintaining their leadership in the energy sector and embracing their region’s abundance of renewable energy resources, GCC countries can ensure their own long-term economic and social prosperity through a clean energy future.”


Follow us: