UK regulator Ofgem launches decarbonisation plan

The UK Government’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has set out its plan to bring the country’s emissions to net zero.

The Decarbonisation Action Plan details nine steps the agency will take to achieve the UK’s target of net zero emissions by 2050. These include setting up a regulatory fund and creating a more flexible electricity system to ensure consumers benefit from the transition.

Ofgem’s plan focusses on working around the potentially inconsistent electricity supply brought by the shift to renewables. It also reacts to increased power demand from electric vehicles and the uptake of smart meters.

The plan says network companies must invest in transmission and anticipate needs ahead of time. Ofgem expects some network capacity will be “ultimately not needed”, but recognises “some investment ahead of need will be necessary”.

The regulator also enforces price controls, which allow for uncertainty in some infrastructure investments by letting energy companies propose adjustments to the controls.

This “reopener” clause will be included in future controls, allowing adjustments to price controls to be made at any time. There would also be a network innovation fund, as well as other investment mechanisms.

Electric vehicles are expected to drive a greater need for power, but the plan says the energy storage capability of their batteries also presents opportunities for smart charging.

This would supply energy to the grid at peak times, helping to reduce spikes of demand. It could also allow cars to be charged at periods of low demand.

Ofgem also wants to use energy data to better track usage and spare capacity. Currently, it is running a £1.9m competition to improve use of data.

One of the plan’s nine points promises better collaboration and planning in offshore energy transmission. It says current usage of individual power connections for offshore windfarms are unlikely to be “economical, sensible or acceptable for consumers and local communities”.

With upcoming windfarms planned further offshore than current ones, a better connected undersea network is expected to be more efficient. Ofgem says it will work with other bodies to remove barriers to collaboration and consider integrating international connection cables.

The agency also plans to make the transition net-zero a consumer choice, encouraging different products to allow consumers to choose more flexible services.

The plan says Ofgem “will undertake work to ensure that consumers are not misled” by “greenwashing”, where consumers are told a tariff is more environmentally friendly than it is.

Ofgem plans to use behavioural insights and tests to nudge consumers toward more economical tariffs. It also intends to use b data to inform a greater part of its strategy going forward, as the plan outlines changes in how the regulator itself will work.

UK Government statistics show domestic heating to be responsible for 18% of national greenhouse gas emissions. Ofgem plans to examine the national gas piping network, but says in the report it will review the gas network “once there is more certainty around the future of heat generation and transmission.”

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said in his foreword to the report: “As low-carbon renewable energy grows and more transport goes electric, the energy system needs to be more flexible to respond to peaks and troughs in both supply and demand.

“Our new price controls for network companies will clear the path for this, providing the incentives for investment for the future.” /



Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has secured a five-year contract extension to continue as architect-engineer for the international fusion energy project ITER.

ITER project aims to develop a magnetic fusion device that can produce 500MW of fusion power from 50MW of input heating power. 35 countries are collaborating to build the fusion device in southern France.

SNC-Lavalin Nuclear president Sandy Taylor said: “We are honoured to continue to be a key contributor to one of the most ambitious carbon-free, sustainable energy projects in the world.

“This contract renewal demonstrates our client’s trust in our proven abilities on the project. Thirty-five nations are collaborating at ITER to build the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy, and based on the same principle that powers our sun and stars.”

According to the contract, Atkins will design and construct all the site’s buildings and offer services, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical supplies, commercial and industrial (C&I), fire safety and mechanical handling.

The company will also be responsible for infrastructure works at the site, including roads, networks and galleries.

Atkins will manage project works as part of Engage consortium, which consists of French companies Assystem and Egis and Spanish groups, including Empresarios Agrupados. It will be working on the project until 2025.

Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the EU’s Joint Undertaking for ITER.

Atkins Nuclear New Build market director Christophe Junillon said: “As part of the Engage consortium, Atkins has been working for the last ten years on ITER.

“The five-year extension and contract renewal from F4E is a testament to the hard work and the collaborative effort of the teams involved in this genuinely groundbreaking project and we are thrilled to continue our significant involvement.” /



/ GE Renewable Energy has secured a contract from Swedish wind power company OX2 to supply Cypress onshore wind turbines.

The 132MW Metsälamminkangas onshore wind farm in Finland will be equipped with 24 Cypress turbines.

GE Europe Onshore Wind CEO Peter Wells said: “OX2 is one of the biggest developers of wind farms in the Nordic region, and we are thrilled they have selected our brand-new Cypress platform.

“Our goal is to help our customers drive energy costs down every day, and Cypress is ideally suited to make the best use of the country’s wind speed and landscape.”

Located in North Ostrobothnia, the Metsälamminkangas project was acquired by OX2 Finnish company LähiTuuli in July 2019.

With a total capacity of approximately 150MW, the facility will have the capacity to generate 400GW/h of clean energy annually, which will be sufficient to power more than 80,000 homes in the region.

The Metsälamminkangas project is considered to be one of the largest wind power projects in Finland and the first to feature GE Renewable Energy’s Cypress platform in the region.

Following the completion, end-user and owner Lundin Petroleum will operate the wind farm.

According to the contract, GE Renewable Energy has agreed to provide multi-year service to the turbines, featuring two-piece blade design provided by LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business.

In addition, the wind facility will be equipped with GE’s Ice Mitigation System to withstand icing conditions for substantial parts of the year.

The wind turbine installation will begin in Q2 2021 and the wind farm will be fully operational by the end of 2021.

In December 2019, GE Renewable Energy secured a contract to deliver 26 Cypress platform onshore wind turbines for the upcoming Blåbergsliden wind farm project in Sweden. /


Öresundskraft implement smart cable technology in Swedish grid

Swedish energy company Öresundskraft has partnered with DNV GL, a Norway-based classification and technical services provider, to monitor sections of its power grid using smart cable technology.

DNV GL’s Smart Cable Guard (SCG) is an online system that can remotely monitor large sections of an electricity grid in real time and pinpoint faults and weak spots in cables to an accuracy of 1%, providing an alternative to on-site identification methods.

Öresundskraft’s installation of the SCG system marks the technology’s first use in the Swedish electricity grid. The company has expanded its roll-out of the SCG to a total of 28 installations following successful trials using 12 monitoring systems.

The smart cable technology consists of sensors capable of monitoring up to five kilometres of cable including intermediate power stations.

DNV GL says the SCG monitoring system aims to decrease downtime resulting from faults in medium voltage cables and secondary substations. According to DNV GL, 70% of electricity outages are caused by problems in underground medium voltage cable networks.

The system is also able to provide insights into the health of a power grid, which can be useful when planning maintenance or investment.

Öresundskraft Technical Manager Magnus Sjunnesson said: “Efficient monitoring of infrastructure such as cables and accessories is vital to ensure power grids are better prepared to deal with the dynamic impact of our changing energy landscape.

“Getting the information early and in real time is a big step forward in our proactive work both to be a reliable electricity grid supplier and in our ambition to be involved in and drive the development of the future’s smart grid.”

In 2019, DNV GL announced their SCG system had been adopted by Dutch grid company Alliander, and SCG is also used by SBS Transit, a public transport operator in Singapore, for their rail network.

Power Technology has approached DNV GL for comment on the effectiveness of SCG technology in pre-emptively identifying faults in power cables. /


Evergy to expand wind energy portfolio by 660MW

/ US-based investor-owned utility Evergy has announced plans to add 660MW of wind energy to its portfolio and reduce carbon emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.

The new wind energy projects will extend direct access to renewable energy for Evergy customers.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said: “Without question, we are uniquely positioned to be a regional and national leader in the development and expansion of renewable energy.

“Renewable energy is about far more than a cleaner future. It is about jobs. It is about adapting to the economy. It is about innovation and business growth. We need an energy market that is affordable, efficient and meets the needs of our businesses and communities.”

With the addition of 660MW to its portfolio, Evergy is expected to become one of the top five wind energy companies in the US to serve 4,535MW of clean energy to customers.

Through its Direct Renewables Programme, Evergy will be offering clean energy generated by its wind facilities to Kansas-based companies and help them to become more sustainable while reducing their overall energy expenditure.

The clean energy will be supplied from four new wind projects, including the 199MW Expedition wind project being developed by National Renewable Solutions in Marion County, Florida, and Flat Ridge 3, an additional 128MW wind generation project being developed by AEP Renewables near Kingman, Arizona.

The other two wind projects are Jayhawk Wind, a 193MW wind project being developed by Apex Clean Energy, and Ponderosa Wind. Evergy will purchase 178MW of wind energy from Ponderosa Wind’s site being developed by NextEra Resources’ subsidiary in the south of Liberal, Kansas, Oklahoma.

The wind projects are expected to generate $180m in revenue through construction and green energy jobs.

Evergy president and CEO Terry Bassham said: “With the abundant wind energy in Kansas, Evergy is a natural partner for businesses that want to use affordable renewable energy. Our innovative wind energy programmes attract businesses and boost the local economy.

“Our ongoing transformation to cleaner energy sources reduces carbon emissions and provides our customers with sustainable, affordable, reliable electricity.”

As part of a carbon reduction plan, Evergy announced that it will be retiring all of its coal power plants at the end of their life cycle and continue to invest in renewable energy projects.

The utility company said that it will continue to operate its Wolf Creek Nuclear Station until its license expires in 2045 and will also add a small amount of natural gas generation capacity in the absence of carbon-free generation within the plant’s life cycle. /



/ The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has approved R$1bn ($235m) funding for the construction of six wind farms and an associated substation by EDP Renewables in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

With a total installed capacity of 319.2MW, the project will include the installation of 76 wind turbines across six wind facilities. Following the completion, the project is expected to generate sufficient clean energy to power 800 homes in the region.

BNDES funding provided will cover approximately 70% of the total investment required for the project.

The wind farms will be built across three municipalities, including Jandaíra, Lajes and Pedro Avelino, with the construction works scheduled to begin in January next year.

During the construction phase, the project is expected to create approximately 700 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the region.

Following the completion, each wind facility will operate as a special purpose company (SPE) and will be managed by MV Holdings, a company controlled by EDP Renováveis Brasil (EDPR BR), which is part of EDP Renewables group.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the Brazilian electricity network, the new wind facilities are expected to increase the country’s power generating capacity with clean and renewable resources.

The project is expected to strengthen the supply chain in the wind turbine sector in the country.

In January 2017, Enel signed a R$373m ($115m) loan agreement with BNDES to cover a portion of the investment required to develop the 102MW Apiacas hydropower cluster in Brazil.

The cluster included 45MW Salto Apiacás, 30MW Cabeça de Boi and 27MW Fazenda power plants that are located in the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil’s Central-West Region. /


Xcel Energy, eSmart and EDM use AI for transmission grid inspection

/ Xcel Energy, eSmart Systems and EDM International have announced an artificial intelligence (AI)-based collaborative intelligence project to transform the inspection of the transmission grid and asset management.

During the first phase of the project, 3,300 miles of Xcel’s electricity transmission lines will be inspected to enhance asset information, reduce operational costs and failure rates and extend the life of the company’s assets.

Xcel Energy executive vice-president and operations group president Kent Larson said: “Xcel Energy’s work on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with our numerous partners demonstrates that collaboration benefits customers, the economy and the environment.

“Our company is an industry leader in using UAS technologies for transmission and distribution line inspections. We look forward to working with eSmart Systems and EDM to improve the safety and reliability of the energy grid.”

As part of the collaborative intelligence approach, Xcel will implement eSmart’s AI-based analytics system in its business processes to analyse imagery data of transmission assets collected by its UAS and manned helicopters.

EDM’s subject matter experts will then validate the data to prioritise transmission line operations, identify defects and update the information in Xcel’s asset management systems.

The companies expect the project to serve as an alternative to manual grid inspection practices.

eSmart Systems founder and CEO Knut HH Johansen said: “We see this project as helping utilities to practically bridge the gap in the transition from today’s largely manual processes to the world that leverages digital technology such as AI and UAS images for grid inspection and asset management.”

In September 2019, Xcel Energy entered an agreement with Itron to secure smart meters for installation across its system.

The agreement created a new partnership with Itron to develop smart technology for the energy grid and provide customers with more insight into their energy use while improving grid reliability and outage response time. /


EBRD to finance Turkish wind farm expansion

/ The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to provide a $37m loan for the extension of Kiyikoy wind farm in Turkey.

In addition to the EBRD, ICBC Turkey will also grant a loan of the same amount for a 72MW extension to the 28MW wind farm on the west coast of the Black Sea in the Kirklareli province.

Additionally, the loan granted by the two financial institutions will refinance the leasing facility provided by a local leasing company to the original wind farm.

EBRD Eurasia Energy director Aida Sitdikova said: “Renewables in Turkey represent not only a viable but also a financially attractive investment opportunity.

“We are proud to have been a frontrunner in the sector, both as an investor and as a partner of the authorities in policy reform.

“To date, we have financed a significant share of Turkey’s total installed renewable energy generation capacity and are delighted that in Borusan EnBW Enerji we have found a like-minded partner who shares our ambitions.”

The Kiyikoy wind farm is being developed by Alenka Enerji Uretim ve Yatirim, which was created by Borusan EnBW Enerji, a joint venture (JV) company of the German utility Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW) and the Turkish conglomerate Borusan Holding.

Once completed, the expanded wind facility is expected to offset approximately 99,700t of carbon emissions annually.

The wind farm expansion will support the Turkish Government’s goal of installing 27GW of renewable energy capacity in addition to hydropower by 2023. Of the total capacity, 20GW is expected to be wind energy.

In December 2019, EBRD provided a $100m loan to Turkish utility company Enerjisa Enerji to finance its ongoing investment programme and improve electricity distribution network in the country. /