Rosatom launches first floating nuclear plant 

Russian state nuclear company Rosatom is prepared to launch the world’s first floating nuclear plant in the Arctic Ocean, which it describes as being ‘based on the application of advanced nuclear technology.’

Rosatom’s fleet includes two nuclear icebreakers with twin-reactor nuclear power plants and two with a single reactor, the most notable of these being the Akademik Lomonosov. The fleet, which is known as Rosatomflot had previously worked on navigating through the northern sea route (NSR) and transporting hydrocarbon.

However, it will now travel to the Arctic port of Pevek to provide energy for the Chukotka region and support mining and drilling operations in the area. Each reactor has a capacity of 70MW, which Rosatom states will be able to power 100,000 homes in the region. The company has also described the ship as “virtually unsinkable” as it is able to withstand icebergs and waves of up to seven metres.

Rosatom has also said the ship will allow for the retirement of a coal-burning power station and a nuclear plant, but fears have been raised about the project.

Greenpeace Russia has described the ships as a “nuclear Titanic” and a “Chernobyl on ice,” whilst neighbouring Norway has previously raised concerns about the project, successfully lobbying the Russian government in July 2017 to ensure that the ships will travel past Norway without having nuclear fuel on board.

Arctic environmental group The Bellona Foundation also warned of the possibility of a tsunami detaching the ship from its water source onshore and causing a significant nuclear accident.

Responding to criticism, Vladimir Irminku, one of the chief engineers on the Akademik Lomonosov ship said: “This and a ‘Chernobyl on ice’ is just night and day, we’re talking about totally different systems. There should always be scepticism but they’re going overboard. If they say there is a possibility of an accident with the reactor then they have to present evidence.”

In response to Bellona’s criticisms, platform deputy head of construction Dmitry Alekseyenko added: “We studied the experience of Fukushima closely. According to our tests, a tsunami caused by a nine-point earthquake will not dislocate it from its base.”

If successful, Rosatom hopes to sell floating nuclear plants to other countries, having had initial discussions with Sudan. /


Enel Green Power begins construction on two new windfarms in the US

Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA) has commenced construction on two new wind farms in the US states of Illinois and Missouri.

The two wind farms are the 66MW Whitney Hill windfarm located in Logan County, Illinois and 236.5MW White Cloud windfarm in Nodaway County, Missouri.

Enel Green Power North America head Georgios Papadimitriou said: “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to continued growth throughout the country.

“These projects will enable us to further capitalise on the abundant wind resource in the central US as we continue to expand our footprint in this region and increase the geographical diversification of our portfolio.”

With an annual generating capacity of 950GWh of clean energy, the White Cloud wind farm is expected to commence its operations by the second half of next year. It is expected to offset nearly 643,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission per year.

Upon completion, White Cloud will be Enel Green Power’s second wind farm in the Missouri region. The first plant, Rock Creek, commenced operations in 2017.

Expected to come online by the end of 2019, Whitney Hill will generate approximately 246GWh of green energy per year. Developed by Swift Current Energy, it will offset around 167,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

The addition of these new projects will increase EGP’s total capacity from both wind and solar power in the US to approximately 1250MW. Additionally, the two projects will raise EGP-branded power plants in the country to four. /


Reactive Technologies to support National Grid’s 2025 zero-carbon goals

UK-based energy technology company Reactive Technologies has signed an agreement with National Grid ESO to support its 2025 zero-carbon goals.

National Grid ESO will implement Reactive Technologies GridMetrix inertia measurement and analytics service across the UK, to obtain a real-time view of the operability of the power grid stability into the control room.

Reactive Technologies CEO and co-founder Marc Borrett said: “Signing this agreement is hugely important to Reactive Technologies and the energy sector as a whole. It is a testament to the quality and expertise of our team.

“Our previous collaboration with National Grid ESO successfully demonstrated the technological advantage of our GridMetrix platform and we are now excited to deliver it as a full commercial service.

“This agreement will lead to the commercial deployment of an accurate inertia measurement on a nationwide scale, supporting National Grid ESO’s and the UK’s overall decarbonisation ambitions.

“System operators globally are starting to see value in basing their operational procurement and strategic planning decisions on real-time measurements, to drive material operational benefits and better management of system risk, as the adoption of GridMetrix has proven.”

National Grid ESO is said to be the first system operator to incorporate inertia measurement, which is claimed to be an important application for companies looking for a transition to a renewable energy mix.

The six-year agreement includes two phases. The first phase consists of the construction and delivery of hardware and software, while the second five-year phase will entail the provision of inertia measurement services.

Hardware that will be used in the project includes ultra-capacitors, which will be used to ‘inject power’ into the grid, while Reactive Technologies’ proprietary measurement units directly measure the response.

To meet its 2025 zero-carbon goals, National Grid ESO will have to incorporate new technologies to keep ahead of rapid changes in the energy sector. /


Amazon invests in renewable energy projects in Ireland and the US

/ US-headquartered multinational technology company Amazon has announced two renewable energy projects in the Republic of Ireland and the US.

The projects will bring the number of Amazon’s renewable energy projects to 66 as part of its goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy worldwide.

The first of these is a windfarm located in Cork in Ireland. It will have a capacity of 23.2MW and will be able to produce 68,000-megawatt hours (MWh) of energy per year. This will be Amazon’s second windfarm in the country, the first being a 91MW windfarm in Donegal which will begin delivering energy in 2021.

The second project is a solar farm in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the US, which will have a capacity of 45MW and provide 100,000 MWh of energy every year. This is the seventh Amazon solar farm in Virginia alone and the 51st Amazon solar project.

Both projects are expected to come online in 2020 and will increase Amazon’s renewable energy capacity to 1,342MW, producing over 3.9 million MWh of energy a year.

Amazon's reaction

Amazon director of sustainability Kara Hurst said: “Playing a significant role in helping to reduce the sources of human-induced climate change is an important commitment for Amazon.

“Major investments in renewable energy are a critical step to address our carbon footprint globally. We will continue to invest in these projects, and look forward to additional investments this year and beyond.”

Irish Wind Energy Association CEO David Connolly said: “This is fantastic news and a terrific vote of confidence in our industry which will also help Ireland achieve our 2020 renewable energy targets.

“Wind is the cheapest renewable energy on the market and increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. In the coming years, we hope policymakers and industry will work together to ensure we can offer the best possible electricity prices to deliver more deals like this.”

Virginia Senator Mark Warner added: “I applaud Amazon for their continued investment in clean and renewable energy projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“This solar energy project in Pittsylvania County will lead to a cleaner environment and more jobs in the community.” /


Nova Scotia and Canadian government partner to lower greenhouse gas emissions

/ The Government of Canada has entered a federal-provincial agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). As part of the agreement, federally owned facilities in Nova Scotia will be powered by renewable electricity.

Through this initiative, Nova Scotia aims to reduce the levels of GHG from electricity used in federal buildings in the province including the national defence buildings such as Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax and CFB Greenwood.

The federal buildings currently account for nearly 70% of the federal government’s electrical consumption in the province. The agreement will help in ensuring all federal buildings in Nova Scotia use 100% clean electricity by 2025.

Province of Nova Scotia Minister of Energy and Mines Derek Mombourquette said: “Nova Scotia is a national leader in fighting climate change.

“This investment will mean we can add more clean energy to our grid, support jobs, create opportunities for businesses to grow, and protect the environment for future generations.”

With this new agreement in place, renewable energy projects will be established through an open, transparent and fair procurement process. This will help generate additional clean electricity for federally owned facilities in Nova Scotia.

The Canadian Government has committed to using 100% clean electricity in all federal buildings by 2025.

Canada Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility Carla Qualtrough said: “Our government’s collaboration with the Province of Nova Scotia is a great example of how we can work together to achieve goals that help make our environment cleaner and healthier for all Canadians while building a greener economy.

“This partnership will ensure a fair rate for the long-term supply of clean electricity for federal buildings, set the stage for a sustainable clean energy model for the future, and leverage partnerships with Indigenous Peoples on clean electricity solutions.”

Currently, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is engaged in finding clean electricity solutions for federal buildings in the Atlantic Region. /


ABB to deliver automation solution for Urat solar project in China

/ Swiss technology company ABB has won a contract to supply an integrated automation solution for a 100MW Urat solar energy project in China.

Located in Inner Mongolia province, the plant will save around 90,000 tonnes of coal each year. It is one of the largest capacity solar parabolic projects in China’s 20 pilot concentrated solar power (CSP) plant programme.

The contract will support the Chinese government’s efforts to produce emissions-free electricity. The country reported over 174GW solar power generation capacity in 2018.

ABB Energy Industries managing director Kevin Kosisko said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a second project to deliver our digital solutions as part of the 20 pilot CSP solar program, aimed at boosting China’s efforts to meet the 2030 target of producing 20% of its overall electricity from renewable sources.

“As a digital leader in the energy transition, ABB offers innovative digital solutions that are future-focused. This is complemented by our customer focus and heritage in intelligent project delivery, ensuring confidence in ABB as an automation provider.”

The project, which is worth more than $368m, is led by China Shipbuilding New Power. Under the contract, ABB will be responsible for deploying its Ability Symphony Plus distributed control system (DCS) at the plant.

The DCS, which will bring together the plant’s production processes into a single system, will integrate a power island, heat storage and transfer, auxiliary controls, and coordination control of solar fields.

Last year, the company supplied its solution for the first 50MW CSP in Delingha with China General Nuclear Power Group. /


European Investment Bank and others finance solar plants in Senegal

/ The European Investment Bank (EIB), Proparco and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have provided financing for the construction of two solar power plants in Senegal. Part of the IFC’s contribution towards the €38m loan is funded by the Finland-IFC Blended Finance for Climate Programme.

The projects are sponsored by Engie, Meridiam and Senegalese Sovereign Wealth Fund for Strategic Investments (FONSIS).

With a combined installed capacity of nearly 80MW, the two solar plants will be located in the rural regions of Kahone and Touba in central Senegal.

Upon completion, the two solar facilities are expected to provide renewable electricity access for around 600,000 people. The development will support the nation’s objective of increasing the share of renewable energy in its energy mix.

The projects are expected to provide more than 2,300 direct and indirect local jobs opportunities in the region, as well as remove 2.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions over the installations’ lifetime.

Commenting on the bank’s support, EIB vice-president Ambroise Fayolle said: “It is supporting the internationalisation of renewable energies and is happy to support this global project in Senegal with Proparco and IFC.

“New investment in renewable energies is key to economic development and social progress in Africa, and with this ambitious project, Senegal is demonstrating the advantages of investing in clean energies and the impact on electricity access and costs.”

Additionally, the two solar facilities are part of the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme. /


Aberthaw B power station given proposed closing date

/ Aberthaw B coal-fired power station in Wales has been given a proposed closing date of 31 March 2020, according to a statement published by German energy company RWE, which owns the plant.

RWE wrote in its statement that the decision has been taken because “It has been clear for some time that the market conditions for coal-fired power generation in the UK have been challenging.”

The company also noted that Aberthaw B has played a ‘critical part’ in the UK’s power generation mix since it began operating in 1971. It has worked in recent years to reduce CO2 emissions, which have fallen by 60 million tonnes a year since 2012. RWE is currently consulting with the plant’s 170 employees.

Aberthaw B was one of the seven remaining coal plants in the UK at the start of 2019, but this number has fallen to four with closure announcements from Aberthaw B, Cottam and Fiddlers Ferry.

RWE Generation CEO Roger Meisen said: “This is a difficult time for everyone at Aberthaw Power Station. However, market conditions made this decision necessary. I would like to thank all of our staff, past and present, who have contributed to the success of the station for so many years. Over the coming months, we will complete the consultation process.”

Carbon Brief deputy editor Dr Simon Evans tweeted: “Another UK coal plant is closing. 1,500MW Aberthaw B in Wales to close 31 March 2020, citing “challenging” market conditions. Just FOUR plants remain in the UK: Drax, West Burton, Kilroot and Ratcliffe.”

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: “This is an uncertain time for employees and their families and we remain in regular contact with the company.”

When approached for comment, Aberthaw B said it would not be making one at this time. /