Repsol adds 860MW wind farm project in northern Spain
/ Spanish energy company Repsol has expanded its renewable energy portfolio with an 860MW wind farm project.
Located in the northern Spanish region of Aragon, the wind farm project is called Delta 2 and consists of 26 wind farms.
Subsidiary company Repsol Electricidad y Gas will operate the farm, which will be developed over the next three years.
The 26 wind farms will be spread across the region, in various provinces including Huesca, Zaragoza and Teruel.
Once operational, Delta 2 is expected to generate clean energy sufficient enough to provide power for 1.8 million people.
Additionally, the project is expected to offset more than 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere, in comparison to coal-based electricity.
Repsol says Delta 2 will support its goal to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050.
Delta 2 will be joining Repsol’s portfolio of renewable projects, which are located in the regions of Andalusia, Aragon, Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura.
Some of them include the 255MW PI wind farm located between Palencia and Valladolid; a 204MW photovoltaic (PV) park in Cádiz; the 264MW PV project in Badajoz and the 126.6MW Kappa photovoltaic park near Ciudad Real.
In addition, Repsol is developing the 335MW Delta wind farm project in Zaragoza and Teruel provinces.
Work on the farm – which features 89 turbines – started in December last year and is expected to be operational by the end of this year.
The company is also participating in the development of 25MW Atlantic WindFloat project located off the north coast of Portugal. Out of 25MW installed capacity of the floating wind farm, 5MW will correspond to Repsol.
In February 2016, Repsol agreed to divest its offshore wind power stakes in the UK to SDIC Power of China for €238m. /
Shanghai Electric reaches financial close for Pakistan coal project
/ Chinese power generation equipment manufacturer Shanghai Electric has reached financial close for a coal mine project out of the Thar Block-1 Integrated Coal Mine-Power project in Pakistan.
The project features two 660MW coal-fired power plants which can generate 1,320MW of electricity. The project’s energy production would be sufficient to power four million households in Pakistan.
Thar Coalfield covers an area larger than 9,000km2 in the Thar Desert in the south-eastern part of Pakistan’s Sindh Province.
The mine has the capacity to produce 7.8 million tonnes of coal per year.
Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Company – a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of Shanghai Electric in Pakistan – PR manager Qian Xiaolei said: “We are proud to help bring the country its first large-scale, local coal-based electricity project. We are also grateful to the local government for their support.”
Shanghai Electric said that the power plants would begin operations in 2022. They will have the capacity to operate with a high Acid Gas removal rate with low sulphur dioxide emissions to minimise environmental impact.
The power project is being developed as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Once completed, the electricity generated by the power plant will be supplied to the national grid.
Through this project, Pakistan’s Government aims to minimise the cost of power generation by shifting from oil to coal.
The project, which is currently under construction, is employing more than 908 local workers and will hire more employees during the peak construction period.
Shanghai Electric has also agreed to help the local Thar community by improving education, health, infrastructure and the overall lifestyle of the region. /
Dutch power consortium to produce green hydrogen through renewables
/ A consortium between Shell Netherlands, Dutch gas company Gasunie and Groningen Seaports has launched a project to produce green hydrogen using renewable energy generated by a mega offshore wind farm.
The NortH2 project will start this year with a feasibility study and is expected to produce the first hydrogen in 2027, aiming to reach a production of three to four gigawatts (GW) by 2030.
Shell Nederland president Marjan van Loon said: “Together, we are launching an ambition that puts the Netherlands at the forefront of hydrogen globally. In addition, it contributes to achieving the objectives of the Dutch Climate Agreement and accelerates the energy transition.”
In order to achieve the 2030 goal, the companies will build wind farms with a capacity of 10GW in the North Sea, to be ready in 2027.
The consortium will develop an electrolyser to convert wind energy into green hydrogen which will be built in Groningen’s port of Emmshaven, as well as a smart transport network to deliver the expected 800,000 tonnes of green hydrogen to the industrial sector.
Gasunie CEO Han Fennema said: “The Netherlands has a leading position in the shift to a hydrogen economy. We have the North Sea for the production of wind, the ports as logistical hubs, and the industrial clusters that want to make the switch to green molecules and a suitable transport network.
“This comes together perfectly in the northern Netherlands at the Groningen Seaports where the conversion to hydrogen takes place, with storage in Zuidwending and an ambitious province.”
NortH2 will save seven megatonnes of CO2 a year and is an integral part of the Dutch Climate Accord – aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 49% by 2030 – and the European Union’s Green Deal.
Greenpeace Netherlands head of climate and energy Faiza Oulahsen applauded the project: “Green hydrogen plays a key role in a fossil-free future. This project can make a huge contribution to making the whole chain greener.
“The Netherlands can become a pioneer in the field of green hydrogen but it also means that we have to subsidise it sufficiently. The Dutch Government can take up that challenge to make this project a success.”
NortH2’s partners anticipate that the project’s initial phases might require European and national subsidies available for the decarbonisation of energy.
The Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy (IEECP) said that green hydrogen will become more crucial, both on the demand and supply side, and projects like NortH2 will help the transition into renewable energy.
IEECP chairman Zsolt Lengyel told Power Technology: “On the supply side, green hydrogen, based on solar PV and wind-based electricity will have a crucial role as land/biomass-based gases have inherent limitations and a complex land-use change nexus.
“On the demand-side green hydrogen may also become a crucial part of the solution for decarbonising freight transport as heavy loads are not well suited to battery-electric solutions.
“Therefore the North Sea off-shore wind-based green hydrogen generation is a very welcome move addressing multiple challenges – from the intermittency of wind-based generation to transport GHG emissions.” /
EBRD FINANCES TWO BIOGAS CO-GENERATION UNITS IN BELARUS
/ The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has financed the construction of two biogas co-generation units in Belarus.
Commissioned at the Slonim wastewater treatment plant, the biogas facilities have an installed capacity of 136 kilowatts (kWt) each.
The units, which secured a €2.85m loan from the EBRD, have the capacity to generate nearly two gigawatts hour (GWh) of clean energy annually that will be sufficient to meet 70% of the energy consumption demand of Slonim plant.
The loan was complemented by grant funding offered by the Swedish Government and benefited from financial contributions from Austria and Finland.
The annual energy generated by the two facilities will be enough to power street lights for a municipality as well as cover the energy needs of 1,120 average Belarusian households.
Additionally, the facilities are expected to offer significant savings of hydrocarbons, while offsetting carbon emissions by more than 246,000 tonnes annually.
The project is expected to provide a new platform for similar energy-efficient solutions in other Belarusian municipalities.
Last March, EBRD agreed to provide a loan for the construction of two biogas plants in Belarus to support renewable power generation and a better energy mix in the country.
A loan of $11.3m was agreed for two special purpose companies established by the Lithuanian company Modus Group. With a total installed capacity of three megawatts (MW), the two biogas power plants will be able to generate 23.6GWh of clean energy annually.
The EBRD started its operations in Belarus in 1992, and has invested almost €2.9bn in 130 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy, since then. /
DRAX TO STOP COAL BURNING AT POWER STATION IN MARCH 2021
/ British electrical power generation company Drax Group is set to end coal-fired electricity generation at its power station in North Yorkshire from March next year.
The company’s decision comes in advance of the 2025 deadline set by the UK Government.
Drax CEO Will Gardiner said: “Ending the use of coal at Drax is a landmark in our continued efforts to transform the business and become a world-leading carbon negative company by 2030.
“Drax’s journey away from coal began some years ago and I’m proud to say we’re going to finish the job well ahead of the government’s 2025 deadline.”
The company said the decision to stop using coal at Drax’s power station in North Yorkshire comes after a comprehensive review of its operations.
However, it intends to continue to operate its two remaining coal units until September 2022, in line with its existing capacity market agreements.
Gardiner added: “Stopping using coal is the right decision for our business, our communities and the environment, but it will have an impact on some of our employees, which will be difficult for them and their families.
“In making the decision for the UK to stop using coal and to decarbonise the economy, it’s vital that the impact on people across the North is recognised and steps are taken to ensure that they have the skills needed for the new jobs of the future.”
Draw said that the decision will lead to a loss of 200 to 230 jobs at the power station from April next year.
Drax will consult with trade unions as well as employee representatives over the coming months and offer support to those affected.
In September 2017, Drax Group sought permission from the UK’s Planning Inspectorate to begin preparing the conversion of up to two coal power units to gas power plants at its Drax power station site in North Yorkshire. /
Landsvirkjun to supply 100% renewable power to Reykjavík DC
/ Iceland’s national power company Landsvirkjun has signed a green power purchase agreement (GPPA) to supply 100% certified renewable energy to computing data centre Reykjavík Data Center (Reykjavík DC).
Reykjavík DC will receive the clean energy from Landsvirkjun’s hydropower, geothermal energy and wind power facilities. In recent years, the company has increased the power generating capacities at these facilities.
Landsvirkjun CEO Hörður Arnarson said: “We are excited to welcome Reykjavík DC to our growing number of customers and to support the continued growth of the data industry in Iceland.
“This contract confirms the ongoing demand for renewable energy from Landsvirkjun, as well as Iceland’s contribution to the data centre and renewable energy industries.”
The agreement will also enable Reykjavík DC to issue green bonds to finance further expansions as part of its green focus.
Following the agreement, Reykjavík DC has become Landsvirkjun’s fourth customer in the data centre industry, one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.
Reykjavík DC board chairman Gísli Valur Guðjónsson said: “This data centre meets the highest customer standards and is strategically located to ensure power security from the grid, offer efficient transport routes, and lower any risk of the natural disaster.
“Our agreement with Landsvirkjun is a milestone for the industry and a crucial response to the ongoing demand for a high-tech data centre in the capital area.
“The companies behind the data centre are well-established in the Icelandic market, and with this project becoming a reality, we are now in a strong position to attract new customers both in Iceland and abroad.”
Reykjavík DC offers bespoke server density options and hosting environments to its clients. /
Panasonic and Tesla end solar manufacturing partnership in Buffalo
/ Panasonic is to end its partnership with Tesla to manufacture solar cells and modules at the company’s Gigafactory New York in Buffalo.
Manufacturing operations in the US will cease in May this year and the company is expected to exit the facilities by September, according to a press statement.
The decision is part of Panasonic’s broader streamlining of its global solar operations, aiming to optimise the development and production capability of its photovoltaic business. The company’s offer will still include photovoltaic modules, storage batteries and electric vehicle (EV) chargers among others, and it will continue to sell its products through its own distribution network.
Panasonic’s energy system strategic business Shinichiro Nakajima said: “We are proud of what Panasonic has accomplished as a pioneer in the solar space and the significant role Panasonic employees in Buffalo have played in that success.”
“The decision to transition away from US solar manufacturing in Buffalo aligns with our global solar strategy, our efforts to optimise development and production, and supports Tesla’s long-term plans to continue and expand its operations.”
Tesla said that Panasonic’s decision does not impact its future solar growth business plans and its ongoing partnership with the Japanese company in Nevada, where the two will continue to develop electric vehicle battery work.
Panasonic assured that its employees will be supported in the transition, as Tesla plans to hire a significant number of them for its solar and manufacturing operations in Buffalo.
Panasonic’s share prices have gone down by 3.90% to JPY1,083 ($9.84).
Power Technology has approached Tesla for comment. /
Mercury profits drop by NZD21m in last half-year
/ New Zealand renewable electricity company Mercury has recorded near-record low half-year profits due to a combination of below-average generation and divestment of smart metering business.
According to Mercury CEO Fraser Whineray, the company’s half-year earnings to December 2019 dropped from NZD302m ($190.4m) in 2019 half-year (HY) to NZD258m in HY 2020, while net profits dropped by NZD21m from NZD104m to NZD83m.
Mercury’s share prices hit their lowest point in 20 days at NZD5.12.
Whineray said: “While hydro generation was below the mid-point forecast we had at the start of the financial year, our portfolio strategy has captured opportunities in this dynamic environment.”
The company blames drier weather conditions that impacted the Waikato River, leading to below-average power generation. The river, which runs through New Zealand’s North Island for 425km, hosts nine of Mercury’s hydroelectric plants.
Mercury has also attributed the fall in revenue to maintenance works that affected its geothermal stations.
Hydroelectric generation was down by 306 gigawatt hours (GWh), from 2,448 GWh in 2019 to 2,142 GWh, while geothermal power fell by 71 GWh to 1,286 GWh.
The company said that the sale of its smart metering business Metrix to utilities Intellihub Group in December 2018 was also a factor in the fall. Whineray said: “When adjusted for lower generation and the sale of Metrix the result reflected strong execution across Mercury’s business.”
Despite losing 16,000 customers with a new approach that focuses on customer value rather than number, the company registered a 1.8% increase in its investments.
“We have been able to better apply insights to digital initiatives that reward loyalty and value. Mercury’s focus on customer value rather than growing customer numbers at all costs saw mass-market customer numbers down 16,000, however, we achieved a 1.8% uplift in yield across our mass-market segment through disciplined portfolio management,” added Whineray.
Whineray – expected to step down as CEO in March – has assured that the company’s portfolio is well positioned, despite future challenges due to national thermal fuel and competition in retail.
He said: “Intense competition in retail and strained retail margins will continue to be a feature. I also anticipate further competitor decisions on new generation development and retirement.
“Mercury is well-positioned for the full year as a result of our portfolio and channel management, reinvestment activities in generation, digital and our people, and new investment decisions.” /