E.ON switches UK customers to 100% renewable energy 

German energy company E.ON will automatically switch its three million UK customers to energy from 100% renewable sources at no extra cost, in a move that has been described as “one of the UK’s biggest green energy switches to date.”

Previously, E.ON’s energy mix was 53.5% gas, 16.7% renewable, 16.2% nuclear, 10.1% coal and 3.5% from other sources. As one of the UK’s largest renewable energy generators the company’s energy will now come from wind, solar and biomass.

E.ON will have to buy renewable energy certificates from the UK government to guarantee that a group’s electricity comes from renewable energy. E.ON is also preparing to hand over its renewable energy portfolio to German company RWE by the end of the year, but has stated that UK customers will still receive renewable energy after this deal is completed.

The company tweeted: “3.3 million homes are waking up to 100% renewable electricity today at no extra cost.” 

“All our 3.3m customers’ homes now benefit from 100% renewable electricity as standard meaning millions of people are now part of the renewable journey.” 

E.ON chief executive Michael Lewis said: “First of all, this is what customers want, but we also want to send a signal to the wholesale market that we want to drive uptake of renewable energy.”

RenewableUK’s Head of External Affairs Luke Clark added: “It’s great to see major companies like E.ON providing 100% clean power for the huge number of consumers who are choosing renewables as their preferred energy source. As well as doing their bit to tackle climate change, it makes economic sense for bill payers too, as wind and solar are the cheapest forms of new power.” /


MHPS Europe to deliver gas-and-steam plant for Volkswagen

 Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe (MHPS Europe) has won a turnkey contract from Volkswagen for a new gas-and-steam power plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The contract aims to modernise MHPS Europe’s cogeneration plant, Heizkraftwerk Wolfsburg West.

Under the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract, a gas-fired double block will replace the two coal-fired blocks currently operating at Heizkraftwerk West plant.

The new gas-and-steam plant, which will have a total output of 288MW of electricity and approximately 265MW of heat, will begin commercial operation in 2022.

The contract between Volkswagen and MHPS Europe includes the construction, commissioning and delivery of two H-100 class gas turbines, two waste heat recovery boilers, two steam turbines and generators, as well as ancillary systems.

A long-term service contract is also included in the contract.

MHPS Europe chief executive officer of the subsidiary in Duisburg Thomas Bohner said: “The awarding of this order is further evidence of our outstanding expertise as an energy plant constructor and as an energy solutions provider.”

The company, as part of the Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Group (MHPS Group), has access to a suite of technologies for safe and environmentally-friendly power generation.

Power plants in the future will be capable of producing electricity that is fully CO₂-neutral.

Bohner said: “In the Netherlands, we are testing how hydrogen, derived from renewable energy sources, can be used in a gas-fired power plant.”

According to Bohner, synthetic natural gas, produced in power-to-gas plants, can also be used to generate electricity.

He said: “The know-how and the necessary technologies are already available for use.”

Headquartered in Duisburg in Germany, MHPS Europe plans and constructs power plants and offers long-term service and maintenance contracts.

It also delivers critical components such as gas turbines, steam generators, and environmental technology.

Japanese firm Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, MHPS Europe’s parent company, manufactures products such as combined-cycle power plants, gas/coal/oil-fired (steam) power plants, boilers, generators, gas and steam turbines, geothermal power plants, air quality control systems, digital solutions, and solid-oxide fuel cells. /


Perovskite firm Oxford PV raises £65m in Series D funding round

/ Solar cell manufacturer Oxford PV has raised an additional £34m in its Series D funding round, bringing the funding round total to £65m.

The company raised £31m in the first close of the Series D funding round, which was announced in March.

The first close of the Series D funding round included new investment from Goldwind, which provides integrated renewable energy solutions in China, and investment from existing shareholders such as Equinor and Legal & General Capital.

Additional funding has been made by PV equipment supplier Meyer Burger, which was announced in March and the remaining investment has been made by other new and existing investors.

Oxford PV chief executive officer Frank Averdung said: “The success of our funding round and the quality of the new investors we have attracted, validates the commercial readiness of our technology.

“We now have the funds to move into manufacturing and accelerate market introduction.“

“The production line we are installing in Germany, to manufacture perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cells, will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. This is a significant moment for Oxford PV and our perovskite photovoltaic technology.”

In March 2019, Oxford PV signed a collaboration agreement with Meyer Burger and announced plans to move into volume production.

At Oxford PV’s site in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, Meyer Burger will install a 200MW silicon heterojunction solar cell line, along with production equipment for the perovskite top cell.

The company said that the fully integrated line will begin perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cell production at the end of 2020.

Solar panels made from perovskite cell technology of Oxford PV are capable of generating more power. This is essential in delivering more affordable clean energy, accelerating the adoption rate of solar and addressing climate change. /


Landis+Gyr wins contract from E.ON for smart meters in Sweden

Smart meters company Landis+Gyr has won a contract from German electric utility E.ON to deliver the Gridstream Connect solution for one million metering points in Sweden.

The company’s solution includes one million smart electricity meters with NB-IoT/M1 communication technology, as well as a head end system on the Gridstream Connect platform.

Work to replace the existing smart metering infrastructure will commence in July.

The new technology will enable E.ON to increase transparency and control in the distribution grid and enhance customers’ experience through reliable and precise data.

Gridstream Connect is an IoT platform that will enable the introduction of extended applications and additional services in the future.

Landis+Gyr executive vice-president of EMEA region Susanne Seitz said: “As European countries move into the second wave of smart meter rollouts, we see utilities rely on Landis+Gyr as their trusted technology partner.

“Having supplied E.ON Sweden in the country’s first smart meter deployment more than a decade ago, we are excited to continue our partnership and now provide them with our latest end-to-end offering including our Gridstream solution platform.”

Sweden is one of the front-runners in advanced energy technology. The country installed smart meters nationwide in 2009 and is now replacing all 5.4 million metering points with the latest technology.

The upgrade will allow end-consumers to improve the efficiency of energy usage. Modernisation is also crucial for the enhancement of smart grids to manage large-scale integration of renewable energy and use of e-vehicles.

E.ON Energy Networks head of next-generation smart metering Robert Tretinjak said: “We are looking forward to the new technology by Landis+Gyr, which will clearly result in improvements.

“For one, the meters are designed to manage renewable energy production from, for example, solar energy. In addition, our customers will be able to monitor the production and consumption of electricity on a close to real-time basis.” /


Renewable energy overtakes coal in US for first time ever

/ Renewable energy generation overtook coal power generation in the US for the first time in its history in April 2019, according to a report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In total, renewable energy sources made up 23% of the country’s energy generation in April, compared to coal-fired electricity at 20%. The EIA state that renewables overtook coal because less energy is used in the spring and April is also the peak month for hydroelectricity, which produced 25 million megawatt hours (MWh) of power. Wind power also reached a record monthly high of 30.2MWh of power during the month.

The EPA expects this takeover to be brief, as coal power should overtake renewable energy generation for the rest of 2019 and 2020. However coal power is in significant decline from its peak a decade ago, as there has been 47GW of coal power retirements since 2015 and a further 4.1GW of coal capacity going offline in 2019. Although it is behind coal power now, the EIA state that renewable energy will overtake nuclear power in generation capacity during 2020.

The fall in coal power has led to several company bankruptcies. On 1 July, West Virginia based coal power companies Revelation Energy LLC and Blackjewel LLC filed for bankruptcy with more than 1,000 workers losing their jobs.

American Renewable Energy tweeted: “It’s official! Renewables generated more electricity than coal in April 2019 for the first time ever. The EIA confirmed that 23% of US electricity came from renewables compared to 20% by coal, with wind power leading the way./


EY research: countdown to a ‘new energy world’ faster than expected

/ Research from London-based multinational Ernst & Young (EY), in collaboration with intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC), has indicated that renewable energy technology advancements are accelerating the pace of the global energy transition.

EY has previously worked with IDC in 2018 to identify decarbonisation, digitisation and decentralisation as key driving forces behind three tipping points in global energy transition. According to this latest research these “drivers” are progressing faster than previously estimated, bringing the tipping points for the energy industry forward by as much as two years.

IDC Energy Insights associate research director Jean-Francois Segalotto said: “This research and analysis has resulted in a multi-regional cost parity model for the energy industry that takes into account both distributed generation and storage, as well as several other enabling technologies.

“For those energy companies that are actively rethinking their business model, the results of this research provide a concrete horizon against which they can benchmark their action. For those that haven’t yet done so, the data provides one of the strongest calls to action.”

The research identifies four key forces that have contributed to the acceleration of global transition efforts: cheaper and more effective renewable technology, ambitious clean energy targets and policy revisions, corporations and consumers giving renewable energy more momentum, and stakeholder action reshaping energy investment.

EY global energy leader Benoit Laclau said: “A revolution in the power sector is driving rapid change in renewable energy supported by digital technologies, the falling cost of battery storage, and empowered consumers.

“These are quickly ushering in a new energy system, transforming our world into one where cleanly generated electricity will power almost every aspect of our lives.”

In addition to these four key forces, the research also identifies “the electrification of everything” as a major factor in accelerating changes to the global energy mix.

The research predicts that 50% of global total final energy consumption will be electricity, with electrified infrastructures in urban areas (where 70% of the world’s population is predicted to live) being a critical component to building sustainable and climate-safe cities.

Discussing decentralisation in the UK, Association for Decentralised Energy director Tim Rotheray says: “Whether through onsite generation, storage, energy efficiency, capturing waste heat or smart vehicle charging, the next stage of the energy revolution centres on the energy user.

“From homes to industrial sites, we need to help energy users drive a dramatic change in our energy system. Those same users will benefit from lower bills, cleaner air and even a rebate on their power bill for helping the system. Facing the climate emergency is a challenge for everyone. Our analysis shows it can be an opportunity for everyone too.”

Laclau added: “As the countdown to a new energy world accelerates and a new distributed model emerges, energy companies must be agile and take on a proactive role in the transformation of the sector. But the challenges of the sector cannot be solved in isolation.

“When industry players, regulators, governments and companies in adjacent sectors work together, there is greater potential to unlock the innovation needed to address the most complex energy challenges.” /


 Siemens Gamesa wins largest repowering order in North America

/ Spanish engineering company Siemens Gamesa has won an order from MidAmerican Energy for the Rolling Hills wind power project. With a capacity of just over 429MW, the order will be the largest repowering order in North America.

The company will supply and install 163 SG 2.7-129 wind turbines, operating at 2.38MW, and 18 previously sold SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines to repower the project, with an option for 12 additional wind turbines.

Located in Iowa, the Rolling Hills wind power project currently features 193 SWT-2.3-101 turbines. The repowering project also includes replacement of blades, hubs and nacelles for all units, and top tower sections for the SG 2.7-129 units.

The nacelles and hubs will be brought from the company’s nacelle and hub assembly facility in Hutchinson, Kansas, while the blades will come from the blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2021.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy CEO of onshore Americas José Antonio Miranda said: “We are excited to provide upgraded equipment and technology to the Rolling Hills project in Iowa, a national leader in the wind energy industry.

“This new project is a testament to MidAmerican Energy’s confidence in us as well as Iowa, where we have supplied them with more than 2.6 GW.

“The blades will be produced right there in Iowa and the nacelles and hubs will come from neighboring Kansas, making this a truly local project.”

Siemens Gamesa has installed more than 10,000 wind turbines in the US with a total installed capacity of approximately 20GW. In Iowa, the company has installed nearly 1,400 wind turbines for a total of almost 3.5GW. /


Enel Green Power begins work on Garob windfarm in South Africa

/ Italian company Enel Green Power’s (EGP) South African subsidiary EGP RSA has commenced construction on the 140MW Garob windfarm near Copperton in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.

Garob is the group’s fifth wind project in the country and will involve an investment of more than €200m. The other projects being constructed in South Africa are the Nxuba and Oyster Bay windfarms of 140MW each.

The windfarm is expected to become operational in the first half of 2021, generating around 573GWh per year and avoiding the emission of around 600,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

EGP RSA won the Garob project during the fourth bidding window under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

EGP will take up enterprise development initiatives in the communities living in the proximity of the windfarm once Garob is operational. These initiatives include an artificial turf football field has that captures and stores rainwater. A water purification facility will treat the rainwater, addressing water shortage and providing clean drinking water.

Free Wi-Fi is also being provided to local communities to support public authorities’ plans to roll out free Wi-Fi networks in under-served communities.

Enel Green Power head Antonio Cammisecra said: “With the start of construction of Garob, we have reached yet another important milestone in South Africa just weeks after breaking ground at the Oyster Bay wind project.

“Alongside boosting renewables growth in South Africa, we are focusing our sustainability activities on scientific education, which significantly contributes to the skills needed for power industry professionals, with a view to support local expertise.” /


IAEA: Iran has breached its enriched uranium limit

/ The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has breached the limit placed on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

IAEA inspectors verified the exceeding of the 300kg cap agreed upon in a joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1 group of world leaders in 2015. Under this deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities in return for relief from US, EU and UNSC-imposed nuclear sanctions.

In June 2019, Iran announced that it would exceed the limit set on its uranium stockpile, citing President Trump pulling the US out of the deal in May 2018 and US-imposed sanctions on Iranian uranium exports as reasons for this decision.

On Monday, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country is also planning on enriching its uranium stockpiles beyond the 3.67% deemed suitable for developing nuclear energy and allowed under the JCPOA.

In a statement on the White House website, US Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said: “The Iranian regime took action today to increase its uranium enrichment.  It was a mistake under the Iran nuclear deal to allow Iran to enrich uranium at any level.

“There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms. We must restore the longstanding nonproliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran. The United States and its allies will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

“Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action. The regime must end its nuclear ambitions and its malign behavior.” 

A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC: “The deal makes the world a safer place by taking the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran firmly off the table.

“We have been consistently clear that our commitment to the JCPOA depends on Iran complying in full with the terms of the deal and we urge them to reverse this step.”

Zarif has stated that Iran has not breached the terms of the JCPOA, continuing to cite the US departure from the agreement as justification for increasing Iran’s stockpiles of uranium.

This development comes as US officials attributed an attack on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz to Iran in June 2019, escalating tensions between the two countries.

While nuclear power currently accounts for around 2% of Iran’s energy through the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the country has expressed its desire to expand its nuclear energy sector and has plans to develop a number of nuclear plants over the next few years. /