Octopus pays UK customers to consume green energy

Octopus Energy is set to pay its UK customers to use electricity during the day as a result of an increase in solar and wind energy production, according to the Guardian.

Octopus customers currently on the agile tariff will earn between 0.22p and 3.3p per kWh of electricity consumed on Sunday, between 11 am and 4 pm.

These negative electricity prices – usually implemented at night, when consumption is at its lowest – were introduced due to the coronavirus lockdown and the favourable weather that led to a power surplus.

Customers reacted favourably to the company’s decision. One Twitter user said: “Our grid is so clean today that we will being paid to use electric on Octopus Energy Agile. Free fuel for the EV in our driveway.”

Another commented: “First time I’ve seen negative prices during the day from Octopus energy. Going to be making bread, doing washing and cycling battery to take advantage!”

As a result of the country-wide lockdown enforced by the UK Government to fight the global Covid-19 pandemic, demand for electricity in the UK has fallen by up to 13%.

The sunny, breezy weather meant clean energy sources produced more than half of the country’s total energy on Sunday. The Guardian reported that wind power constituted 40% of the energy produced in the UK, while solar power made up 20%. Fossil fuels produced 15% of electricity while coal made up 1.1%.

The country-wide coronavirus lockdown has also had a significant impact on markets, with electricity prices dropping to the lowest in 10 years. /


SGRE to supply turbines for 342MW Kaskasi wind power plant

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has secured a contract from German energy company innogy to supply turbines for the 342MW Kaskasi offshore wind power plant.

As per the terms of the contract, SGRE will deliver 38 of its SG 8.0-167 DD Flex turbines for the power plant. Kaskasi is located in the German North Sea, 35km north of the island of Helgoland.

Siemens Gamesa Offshore business unit CEO Andreas Nauen said: “We are thankful to innogy for placing their faith in us once again as we extend our cooperation to the Kaskasi offshore wind power project.

“Siemens Gamesa is proud to continuously contribute to and create a clean future now, and to aid countries like Germany in reaching their climate goals.”

The company noted that each of its wind turbines will feature a rotor diameter of 167m and 81m-long Siemens Gamesa B81 IntegralBlades. It will have the capacity to deliver up to 9MW using Siemens Gamesa’s Power Boost technology.

Additionally, SGRE has agreed to provide two-year maintenance services to the wind turbines as part of the order. It intends to begin turbine installation works at the site from the third quarter of 2022.

Once operational, the wind facility is expected to generate clean energy that will be sufficient to power more than 400,000 average German households.

Innogy Renewables COO Christoph Radke said: “Offshore wind is an important pillar to reach Germany’s climate protection goals by supplying green electricity from a reliable source.

“I am delighted to announce that we have paved the way for the construction of our Kaskasi offshore wind project, which will become our third offshore wind farm off the German coast. Our investment in this project underlines our ambitions to further grow in offshore wind in Europe and around the globe.” /


Energy storage growth derailed by coronavirus: Wood Mackenzie

/ Energy storage deployments could drop by 19% if the containment measures introduced to fight the Covid-19 pandemic continue through the second quarter of 2020.

According to research published by energy consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie, the drop would equate to a 3GWh reduction over a year, but would still see a record high with 12.6GWh deployed.

The data also suggests a 10% lithium-ion supply reduction caused by the work restriction measures set up in China.

Wood Mackenzie senior research analyst Le Xu said: “As this happened in China, Japanese and South Korean facilities ramped up to capitalise on the shortfall.

“As of March, restrictions have been lifted and production facilities in China are now at 60% to 70% of pre-virus levels.

“As such, the major risks to battery supply have been somewhat mitigated. A similar story has panned out for inverters where major supply risks have also, so far, been alleviated.

“However, mitigation efforts will likely see the battery supply chain accelerate. This will have far-reaching implications, not just for energy storage but for the global economy too.”

Analysts noted that the energy storage market started to slow down in 2019, hitting the UK, Canada and China the most.

Xu said: “The reality of the risk involved in energy storage revenue streams, and the general lack of revenue options, hit deployments in China, the UK and Canada.

“One of China’s largest players exited the market and the Xinjiang government cancelled around 400MWh of projects post-procurement.”

Wood Mackenzie principal analyst Rory McCarthy added: “The UK was slowed by a saturated frequency market and a behind-the-meter business case still in disarray as the regulator resets the country’s demand charge regime.

“The Canadian market is dominated by Ontario’s Global Adjustment charge, a relatively small market, so participants have exited this market or reduced deployment ambitions.”

Despite the current global pandemic, the global energy storage industry is set to thrive, partly due to opportunities arising from the global energy transition into renewables.

McCarthy said: “The energy storage market is anything but predictable. As it continues to mature, more credible pipelines are developing.

“China, Australia and the US all have grand ambitions to deploy gigawatts’ worth of energy storage each year out to 2025. We expect these to be the key global growth markets over the outlook period.

“We also see growth returning to other key global markets, and taking off in other nascent markets, although deployment volumes will be overshadowed by the three leaders.” /


Spain and Sweden are Europe’s cheapest markets for PPA: BNEF report

Spain and Sweden have the cheapest power purchase agreement (PPA) prices in Europe for wind and solar energy, according to data from Bloomberg NEF’s (BNEF) 1H 2020 European Corporate PPA Price Survey.

Sweden, with prices set around €30.50/MWh, is the cheapest market for onshore wind corporate PPAs. In the solar market, Spain is the cheapest, with prices at €35.30/MWh.

By looking at a minimum-maximum price range for a base case PPA scenario, the report highlighted sharp differences in prices across nine European markets.

BNEF analyst and survey author Helen Dewhurst said: “The very wide range of results was particularly interesting, with the gap between the cheapest PPA you might sign in Sweden and the most expensive PPA in the U.K. being over €30/MWh.”

The survey also highlighted how PPA prices fluctuate and depend on different variables including capacity, term length and contract structure.

The data showed that changes in PPA contract terms can impact prices, as annual contracts for round-the-clock power are more expensive than pay-as-produced contracts, as the latter cost between €1.5/MWh and €3.5/MWh more.

Term lengths in European markets are typically longer than the norm at around 15 to 20 years instead of 10 to 15 in the US. The report suggests that this is the biggest difference between Europe and the US, where longer deal terms attract discounts.

BNEF corporate sustainability analyst Kyle Harrison said: “Nearly half of the world’s RE100 companies are based in Europe – we know the demand for clean energy is there. But for PPA activity to scale up to US levels, more light needs to be shined on regional nuances around contract pricing, structure and term length.” /


Innogy and Asia Cement to develop 448MW wind project offshore Taiwan

/ German energy company innogy has partnered with Asia Cement Corporation to further develop an offshore wind project off the coast of Taiwan.

The Chu Feng offshore wind project is expected to be part of the next grid allocation round in Taiwan.

Innogy Renewables Operations Offshore senior vice-president Sven Utermöhlen said: “The government has plans to considerably increase the role of offshore wind energy in Taiwan’s electricity production.

“The Chu Feng project will enable us to enter this growing market with a strong local partner at our side, whose local expertise complements our global experience and technical know-how, and who share our ambition to drive the growth of offshore wind in Taiwan.”

With a planned installed capacity of 448MW, Chu Feng offshore wind project will be developed off the northwest coast of Taiwan near Hsinchu City.

Innogy anticipates that Chu Feng offshore wind project would provide a platform to the company to further establish its presence in the field of offshore wind.

In 2018, the company opened its office in Taipei to boost its business in the country.

Chu Feng Preparatory Office CEO Henry Wu said: “We are pleased that innogy, with their extensive offshore wind experience, are on board with us in the development of the Chu Feng offshore wind project.

“The Far Eastern Group is committed to develop green energy to reduce our carbon footprint and support the government in meeting its renewable energy targets and have ambitions to grow our wind power business in Taiwan.” /


Deutsche Bank closes hedge for 589MW Taiwan offshore wind farm

/ Multinational investment bank Deutsche Bank has closed a deal contingent interest rate swap for an offshore wind farm in Taiwan.

The TWD90bn ($2.98bn) project finance is for the development of the 589MW Changfang and Xidao wind farm project on the coast of Changhua county.

Deutsche Bank Global TIE origination co-head Dominik Thumfart said: “Deutsche Bank is pleased to provide finance and a sophisticated structuring solution to support Copenhagen Infrastructure Project’s participation in the rapid development of Taiwan’s renewable energy industry.

“Collaboration across geographies and product groups between teams in Asia and Europe enabled Deutsche Bank to offer integrated risk management and financing solutions through our global credit trading-infrastructure and energy, structured export finance and risk solutions.”

The contingent interest rate swap transaction is reported to be the second deal carried out by Deutsche Bank for the project.

Deutsche Bank sustainability and special situations group Asia head Rahul Jain said: “Seamless teamwork across our corporate and investment banks, across both product groups and geographies, enabled the successful delivery of this comprehensive and innovative risk solution for our client.”

In February this year, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has, through its funds Copenhagen Infrastructure II (CI II) and Copenhagen Infrastructure III (CI III), reached financial close on the project.

The project will be installed with Vestas V174-9.5MW turbines and the electricity will be sold to Taiwan Power Company. /


Gravitricity to explore South African mines’ energy storage potential

/ Energy storage company Gravitricity has received a £300,000 grant from Innovate UK’s Catalyst programme to explore South Africa’s mine storage potential.

Partnering with South African energy consultancy RESA, the UK company claims its energy batteries could help solve the country’s energy problem.

Gravitricity managing director Charlie Blair said: “South Africa has an energy crisis – with insufficient grid capacity to meet demand.

“The country has ambitious plans to develop more renewable energy, but at the same time there is a lack of supply and robust grid infrastructure to carry power to factories and people’s homes – particularly at peak times.”

Gravitricity’s energy batteries function by raising weights totalling 12,000 tonnes in a deep mineshaft and releasing them when energy is required, storing gravitational energy at half the lifetime cost of lithium-ion batteries.

These features make Gravitricity’s technology suitable for the South African context, where mines are as deep as three kilometres.

Blair added: “Our technology uses repurposed mine shafts to store excess energy and then release it when required – either in very rapid, short bursts or over a long period of time. This takes the pressure off the grid and helps smooth supply at vital times.

“And because South African mines are so deep, this means we can store even greater quantities of power.”

RESA research analyst Melani De Lima said: “Gravitricity offers a solution that addresses the problem of intermittency by storing large amounts of energy and also addresses grid imbalances through super-fast response times.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gravitricity and RESA will start field trips next year.

Innovate UK’s Catalyst programme supports UK businesses when developing new technologies for energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. /


Tesvolt starts operations at Europe’s biggest battery system factory

/ German battery storage company Tesvolt has today started operation at Europe’s first gigafactory for commercial battery systems.

Located in the German city of Wittenberg, the factory has a production area of 12,000m2, storing battery systems of different capacities – from 9.6kWh to megawatts of capacity.

Tesvolt aims to reach a daily capacity of 1MWh and an annual of 255MWh, using a new semi-automated full-cycling production process.

Not only are battery modules charged, discharged and checked for anomalies but they are also certified by a final automated end-of-line inspection.

“Every battery cell is checked and modules that do not meet high-performance standards are automatically removed from the process,” said Tesvolt.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the German company has achieved positive financial results in this year’s first quarter.

Tesvolt managing director and co-founder Daniel Hannemann said: “The coronavirus crisis is a major concern for us as a manufacturer as well as on a human level. We’re very grateful that we were able to close the first quarter with strong turnover figures.”

Despite the good results, Tesvolt doesn’t know if demand – which rose for storage systems with emergency power and off-grid systems – will fluctuate as a result of the pandemic.

Hannemann said: “We don’t know how demand will change in light of the coronavirus crisis. We want to work closely with our customers to overcome these new challenges in a spirit of solidarity, creativity, flexibility and ingenuity.”

Tesvolt’s co-founder Simon Schandert said that production will continue with employees enforcing safety measures.

“Three weeks ago we asked all staff who can do so to work from home — including production planning staff. In production itself, meanwhile, employees are still at work but isolated from one another.

“We’re lucky that production is continuing at our battery cell supplier Samsung SDI in Korea.” /