Ember report: renewable generation “on target” for 1.5°C

30 MARCH | Climate

The pace of the energy transition could sustain a “best case” 1.5°C global warming target, a report by think tank Ember has said.

However, the report states that wind and solar growth “need to sustain high compound growth rates of 20% every year to 2030” in order to remain sufficient. This would match the average growth rate of the last decade.

In 2021, solar generation rose by 23% while wind generation rose by 14%. This pushed their combined generation above 10% of global generation for the first time, according to Ember.

A total of 50 countries now generate more than 10% of their power from wind and solar. Of these, Australia, the Netherlands and Vietnam have all transitioned more than 8% of their electricity generation from fossil fuels to renewables over the past two years.

The report highlighted Australia’s 12% solar generation, while noting that African and West Asian countries have disproportionately small solar generation capacities. While India has some of the world’s largest solar farms, last year saw the smallest annual growth since 2016.

African and West Asian countries similarly lag behind in wind generation, while China generated 65% of all wind-powered electricity in 2021. While EU wind generation fell last year due to low wind levels, wind capacity installations reached a new record.

Some of this transition will have been assisted by suppressed electricity demand as a result of Covid-19 recovery. Over the course of the last year, global electricity demand grew by 5.4%. China’s energy demand grew more than any other country, with 13% growth between 2019 and 2021.

30 March | DEALS

GE Renewable Energy receives wind turbine contract from OX2

France-based wind turbine manufacturer GE Renewable Energy has secured a wind turbine supply contract from Swedish renewable project developer OX2 for the Klevberget wind farm.

Located in Ånge, Sweden, the 146MW wind facility will be equipped with 24 of GE’s Cypress onshore wind turbine units.

GE’s Cypress range includes wind turbines with rotor diameters of 158m and 164m, whose capacities range from 4.8MW to 6.1MW.

The Klevberget wind farm will operate the Cypress turbines at 6.1MW. Each turbine will have a rotor diameter of 158m.

Installation works are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of next year, with the wind turbines due to be commissioned in the second half of 2023. In addition, GE has signed a 35-year full-service contract with OX2.

The deal builds on earlier work done by GE. Last October, the company received a wind turbine order from Energie Eolienne du Maroc, a subsidiary of Nareva Holding.

Under the contract, GE agreed to deliver 40 of its Cypress onshore wind turbines for the 200MW Aftissat onshore wind farm.

GE Onshore Wind International chief commercial officer Gilan Sabatier said: “OX2 is one of the biggest developers of wind farms in the Nordic region, and we are thrilled they’ve selected our most powerful onshore wind turbine for this fifth wind farm."

28 March | NUclear

India plans to build ten nuclear plants over next three years

The Indian Government is reportedly planning to build ten nuclear power plants in ‘fleet mode’ in the country over the next three years.

Citing the Press Trust of India, NDTV reported that the nuclear power facility will be developed over a period of five years from the first pour of concrete (FPC). The FPC is planned for next year at the 700MW Kaiga atomic power station, which is located in the Indian state of Karnataka.

The FPC process marks the start of nuclear power reactor construction from the pre-project stage, comprising excavation activities at the nuclear facility site.

Procurement for these projects is understood to have begun, with orders being placed for SS 304L lattice tubes and plates for end shields, Incoloy 800 tubes for 40 steam generators, forgings for steam generators, reactor headers pressuriser and bleed condensers forgings.

India currently operates a total of 22 nuclear reactors, with more than 6.7GW of combined capacity.

Department of Atomic Energy officials notified the Parliamentary panel on science and technology saying: “The FPC of Kaiga units V and VI is expected in 2023; FPC of Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Praiyonjan units III and IV and Mahi Banswara Rajasthan Atomic Power Projects units I to IV is expected in 2024; and that of Chutka Madhya Pradesh Atomic Power Project units I and II in 2025.”

28 March | DEALS

Macquarie to purchase controlling stake in UK gas grid

Australian mining company Macquarie has agreed a deal to purchase control of the UK’s gas infrastructure for $5.5bn.

The sale will see UK-based National Grid sell a 60% stake in the country’s gas transmission network and metering services.

Macquarie, alongside Canadian investment firm British Columbia Investment, will also have an option to purchase the remaining 40% stake next year. Until then, new company GasT TopCo will hold the remaining stake.

Of the $5.5bn, Macquarie will immediately pay $2.9bn in cash, with the rest of the payment funded by debt financing.

The sale implies an enterprise value of $12.6bn for the entire network. Subject to regulatory approval, the companies expect the deal to close in the second half of 2022.

The purchased high-pressure transmission network will deliver gas to eight regional distribution networks.

Four of these were purchased by Cadent in 2017 for $7.1bn.

Macquarie Asset Management’s team lead in EMEA Martin Bradley said: “Backed by our significant investment, the transmission system will play a leading role in making the network ready for [the energy] transition."

28 March | Offshore Wind

US BOEM to hold auction for offshore wind development areas

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plans to hold an auction for two lease areas, with 1.3GW of total capacity, offshore from North and South Carolina.

Covering a 110,091-acre area in the Carolina Long Bay, the leased areas can generate enough clean energy to power around 500,000 homes.

During the auction, which is due to take place on 11 May, offshore wind developers will have the option to bid for one or both regions as described in BOEM’s Final Sale Notice (FSN).

The FSN includes several lease conditions to promote the development of a domestic US supply chain, advance flexibility in transmission planning and encourage project labour agreements.

BOEM said that it will provide 20% credit to bidders who agree to invest in programmes to help advance the US offshore wind energy workforce training or supply chain development.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said: “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to supporting a robust clean energy economy, and the upcoming Carolina Long Bay offshore wind energy auction provides yet another excellent opportunity to strengthen the clean energy industry while creating good-paying union jobs."

28 March | Nuclear

UK Government to buy 20% stake in Sizewell C nuclear plant

The UK Government is planning to acquire a 20% stake in the $26bn Sizewell C nuclear power station, according to a BBC report.

French multinational electric utility company EDF will also purchase an equal stake in the nuclear facility. The UK Government anticipates that the two investments in the nuclear facility could encourage more investments from private investors and pension funds to acquire the remaining 60% stake in the Sizewell C power station.

By acquiring a 20% stake in the nuclear facility, the government’s investment in the project is expected to increase by between $2bn and $2.6bn.

In addition, the government plans to include solar and wind power generating facilities in its energy strategy. The UK Government is also focusing on expediting the development of smaller reactors.

Hinkley Point C is currently the UK’s only nuclear facility under construction and is expected to come online in 2026. Nuclear power plants provided around 16% of the UK’s electricity in 2020, according to government records.

Once operational, the nuclear power plant will have the capacity to produce 7% of the country’s current power requirements.

Ukraine latest

Russian forces destroy laboratory at Chornobyl nuclear plant

The Russian military has reportedly destroyed a laboratory that manages radioactive waste at the Chornobyl nuclear power facility in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian state agency responsible for the Chornobyl exclusion zone said that the laboratory contained “highly active samples and samples of radionuclides, which are now in the hands of the enemy, which we hope will harm itself and not the civilised world".

Ukraine’s power system synchronised with Continental European Grid

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity has announced that the power grids of Ukraine and Moldova have been synchronised with the Continental European Grid on a trial basis.

The successful synchronisation ends Ukraine’s dependence on the Russian power grid system and will allow Ukraine to have a stable electricity system in place.

EU bans investments in Russian energy sector

The EU has announced a ban on new investments across the Russian energy sector as part of its fourth package of sanctions on the country over its invasion of Ukraine.

Reuters reported that the ban will apply to the whole energy sector, excluding nuclear energy because some nations in the EU depend on technology from Moscow for their Russian nuclear reactors.

25 March | Investment

Terna announces $11bn investment plan for energy transition

Italy-based transmission system operator Terna has announced an $11bn investment in Italy’s energy transition, energy independence and decarbonisation efforts.

The company’s board approved the investment as part of its 2021-25 ‘Driving Energy’ industrial plan.

Terna aims to bolster its role in driving the Italian electricity system in line with the targets set by the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan and the EU’s Green Deal, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

Its strategy will primarily focus on the development of electricity infrastructure, integration of renewable sources and energy storage systems, as well as cross-border interconnections.

Terna plans to invest $10.5bn to develop, upgrade and strengthen the national transmission grid.

It will also invest $2.9bn to reorganise Italy’s existing infrastructure and replace its overhead lines with underground cables.

In addition, Terna plans to make a $1.4bn investment in the Defence Plan to boost the system’s technical and technological capabilities.

Terna CEO Stefano Donnarumma said: “Our capital expenditure, which has a key role to play in enabling Italy and Europe to meet the goals that have been set, will allow us to integrate renewable sources and electrify consumption."

25 March | Deals

Mitsui to purchase 27.5% stake in Mainstream Renewable Power

Japanese general trading firm Mitsui & Co has agreed to acquire a 27.5% stake in Aker Horizons subsidiary Mainstream Renewable Power for a $633m consideration.

The deal will value Mainstream Renewable Power at almost $2.3bn.

Mitsui aims to support Mainstream Renewable Power’s growth alongside Aker Horizons, which will hold a 54.4% stake in Mainstream once the deal is completed.

The deal is expected to strengthen the partnership between Aker and Mitsui, with the two companies aiming to create maximum value for Mainstream.

Aker and Mitsui also intend to extend their collaboration beyond renewable energy and focus on electricity trading, energy management and battery projects.

Mitsui chief operating officer Kazumasa Nakai said: “We are delighted to participate in Mainstream jointly with Aker Horizons to boost the growth and expansion of the development and construction and operation activities of Mainstream.

"[This will be achieved] by leveraging our global business networks with customers across industries and its wide-ranged industrial capabilities, including deep expertise in the global power sector.

“We are convinced that the participation in Mainstream will further strengthen the strategic partnership between the Aker Group and Mitsui, driving forward our renewable energy transition and greenhouse gas reduction in response to global climate change.”

Ukraine latest

Leeward Renewable Energy secures funding for Colorado wind farm

Leeward Renewable Energy has secured financing of around $190m for the construction of its 145MW Panorama Wind Farm in Weld County, Colorado. The financing includes a construction loan, a back leverage term loan commitment and a tax equity bridge loan.

Vestas recovers from cyber attack and data breach

IIntegrated wind company Vestas has started recovering data after a cyber security breach of internal systems. In order to minimise the issue, the company shut down its IT systems “across multiple business units and locations”.

Shell to acquire 51% stake in floating wind project in Ireland

Shell has signed an agreement with Irish renewable energy developer Simply Blue Group to acquire a 51% stake in the Western Star venture. The 1.3GW floating wind project will be developed by Simply Blue Group and Shell personnel in two phases.

UKCI and Norfund to support wind portfolio in South Africa

Norfund and the UK Climate Investments (UKCI) have agreed to invest in a joint venture to fund its 40% participation in the development of a 700MW onshore wind portfolio in South Africa. The joint venture belongs to two local companies, H1 Holdings and Pele Green Energy.