Acciona Energía to supply clean energy to Unilever in Spain

Spanish renewable energy firm Acciona Energía has renewed its clean energy supply contract with Unilever in Spain. The company will supply around 18GWh of 100% renewable energy during 2019.

The renewable energy will be supplied to Unilever’s sauce factory in Leioa, Northern Spain as well as to its offices located in Viladecans, Catalonia.

Unilever Spain sustainability director Ana Palencia said: “In five years, the company has managed to reduce CO2 emissions in the Hellmann’s sauce factory in Leioa by 38%. For us, the agreement with Acciona represents a new push in that direction.”

Acciona Energía tweeted: “Clean energy, trusted energy. We have renewed the electricity supply contract with Unilever Spain. It covers the delivery of around 18 gigawatt-hours of 100% renewable energy in 2019.”

The renewable energy supplied by Acciona to Unilever is certified 100% renewable by the Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC).

Acciona won its first contract to supply renewable electricity to Unilever in Spain in 2018.

Elsewhere in Spain, Acciona received a contract to supply 345GWh of renewable power to telecom company Telefónica in February 2019.

It is the second successive contract for Acciona from Telefónica, and the supply of renewable power is expected to see 107,000t of carbon emissions reduction. /


Apple surpasses renewable energy goals for 2020

US technology company Apple has announced that it will exceed its goal of bringing 4GW of renewable energy into its supply chain by 2020 by over 1GW.

The company also announced that is has doubled the number of suppliers that run Apple productions on 100% renewable energy to 44. In total, Apple and its suppliers generated the amount of electricity equal to powering 600,000 homes in the US in 2018.

Apple has reduced its carbon footprint for the third year in a row in 2018 due to its supplier clean energy programme. It has also created its Clean Energy Portal, an online platform to help its suppliers identify renewable energy sources. So far, over 100 of its suppliers use the portal.

The company has allocated all $2.5bn in green bonds it issued in 2016 to 2017 to contribute to 40 environmental initiatives all over the world, including solar panel schemes in Japan and an alloy made of recycled aluminium for its new products.

Apple vice-president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson said: “Every time one of our suppliers joins us in our efforts to address climate change, we move closer to a better future for the next generation.

“We’ve made it a priority to hold our suppliers accountable to the same environmental standards we observe and hope that our collaboration will show others what is possible.

While we are proud of our announcement today, we won’t stop driving change within our industry to support the clean energy transition happening globally.”

In April 2018 Apple announced that all of its facilities are powered by 100% renewable energy. /


US wind capacity grows by 8% in 2018: AWEA

/ The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has reported that US wind energy capacity has grown by 8% in 2018 to a total of 96.4GW, doubling its capacity from 2010. The amount of power produced by wind is able to power 30 million homes across the country.

The AWEA estimate that the US wind industry supports 114,000 jobs, 500 factories and $1bn in revenue for states.

The report singles out Texas as the state supplies a quarter of US wind capacity and notes that if Texas were a country it would be fifth in the world for wind energy. In jobs, the role of wind turbine service technician is the second-fastest growing job in the US after solar installer, and a total of 8,500 new jobs were added to the sector in 2018.

Wind energy now accounts for more than 20% of total energy generation in some states, including Kansas, Iowa and Maine. Wind energy accounts for 6.5% of the US’ electricity supply.

There is currently over 35GW of new wind energy capacity under construction in 31 states. Once completed, the amount of power produced will increase from enough to power 30 million homes to enough for 42 million homes.

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said: “Wind power’s record-breaking year shows our industry is leading the way to a cleaner, stronger 21st century US economy. America’s least expensive source of new electricity generation is also clean and inexhaustible, which gives our economy an edge in the global marketplace.

“We’re proud to report the wind industry employs a record number of Americans, supports a robust domestic manufacturing sector with over 500 factories, and contributes over a billion dollars a year to states and rural communities.” /


Shell to invest $300m in CO2 reduction scheme

Multinational oil company Shell has announced that it will invest $300m in CO2 emission schemes over the next three years in an effort to reduce the company’s net carbon footprint by 2% to 3%.

Shell will achieve this by switching to sustainable transport solutions, including investing in low-carbon options such as battery electric vehicle charging, liquid natural gas and hydrogen.

Through its subsidiary New Motion, 200 electric vehicle charge points will be installed in the Netherlands and a further 500 will be installed in Europe in partnership with joint venture IONITY.

The company will also offer low-carbon biofuels and introduce carbon credits, which it buys from nature-based projects like the GreenTrees Reforestation Project in the US. Shell also plans to invest in reforesting by planting five million trees in the next 12 years in the Netherlands and a further 300,000 trees in central Spain.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said: “There is no single solution to tackling climate change. A transformation of the global energy system is needed, from electricity generation to industry and transport.

“Shell will play its part. Our focus on natural ecosystems is one step we are taking today to support the transition towards a low-carbon future. This comes in addition to our existing efforts, from reducing the carbon intensity of oil and gas operations to investments in renewable sources of energy.”

US charitable environmental organisation The Nature Conservancy CEO Mark Tercek added: “Shell’s announcement signals that one of the world’s biggest energy companies is pursuing a decarbonisation strategy with a broad set of solutions, including by investing in nature. By doing so, it is helping to curb global deforestation, restore vital ecosystems, and help communities develop sustainably.

“Shell is the first in the industry to set near-term targets for the emissions of both its operations and its products; this is clear progress, but it also illustrates how much work remains to achieve Paris climate targets. We look forward to seeing further investment from Shell in these areas.” /


Amazon to buy energy from new windfarms in Ireland, Sweden and US

/ US firm Amazon has revealed plans to buy energy from three new wind farms in Ireland, Sweden and the US. The energy produced will be used to power its Amazon Web Services (AWS) global infrastructure.

The three wind farms are expected to generate more than 670,000MWh of renewable energy on an annual basis and will help the company with its goal of powering its global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy.

Amazon Web Services Global Infrastructure and Customer Support vice-president Peter DeSantis said: “Each of these projects brings us closer to our long-term commitment to use 100% renewable energy to power our global AWS infrastructure.

“These projects are well-positioned to serve AWS data centres in Ireland, Sweden, and the US. We expect more projects in 2019 as we continue toward our goal of powering all AWS global infrastructure with renewable energy.”

The e-commerce company has committed to purchase energy from a new 91.2MW wind farm in Donegal, Ireland, which is expected to deliver energy by 2021.

In Sweden the company will buy 91MW of power from a new wind farm, which is located in Bäckhammar. It is expected to supply renewable energy by the end of next year.

Amazon expects to source 47MW of renewable energy from the wind farm project in Tehachapi Mountains, California by the end of the year.

These three projects will join AWS’s existing nine renewable energy projects to generate more than 2,700,000MWh of renewable energy yearly.

According to Amazon, a total of 53 wind and solar projects have been enabled by the company across the globe so far. These projects produce more than 1,016MW. /


Enel Green Power brings Colombia’s largest PV plant online

/ Italian multinational renewable energy company Enel Green Power (EGP) has brought the El Paso PV facility in Colombia online.

With an annual production capacity of 176GWh, the facility is the largest solar facility in the country. It is located in the Cesar Department in northern Colombia.

Enel Green Power South America head Antonio Scala said: “Enel Green Power’s first solar PV plant in Colombia represents a major milestone for the group and for the country’s energy sector as a whole.

“This country represents an ideal market for green energy projects, as it boasts strong winds and high solar irradiation levels, in addition to its already advanced hydro sector.

“By building El Paso Solar and working towards a diversified portfolio of renewable projects throughout Colombia, we are strengthening our commitment to the country’s energy transition and sustainable development while further expanding our sizeable renewable footprint in South America.”

El Paso alone is said to account for 80% of the country’s installed solar capacity and is capable of meeting the energy requirements of nearly 102,000 Colombian households, equivalent to about 400,000 people.

EGP invested $70m in the project, which features 250,000 solar panels. To maximise energy production, the solar tracking technology used in the project allows the panels to follow the sun.

Colombia Minister of Mines and Energy María Fernanda Suárez said: “We are making a reality Colombia’s dream to diversify, complement and improve the competitiveness of our energy mix, with alternative sources such as the sun and wind.

“The Caribbean Coast, in particular, represents a unique opportunity thanks to the potential in solar and wind power that will boost Colombia’s energy transformation.

“The El Paso solar plant will contribute to the development of an efficient, reliable and sustainable energy system. In addition, projects like this represent new opportunities for employment, investment and development for the country and its regions.”  /


US nuclear research programme potentially 40% over budget

/ The US Department of Energy estimates the nuclear versatile test reactor (VTR) research programme could cost between £3.9bn and $6bn, potentially 40% more than the original $3.5bn estimate given by Idaho National Laboratory head Kemal Pasamehmetoglu. The new estimate comes via a freedom of information request placed by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The VTR was originally announced by Energy Secretary Rick Perry in February 2018 as part of the Trump administration’s policy to revitalise the US nuclear industry. The facility is expected to be built by 2025 and would be the first nuclear test reactor built by the Department of Energy (DOE) for decades.

It would be the first of a number of fast reactors, which breed their own fuel and increase the amount of energy produced from uranium compared with light water reactors.

Research for the VTR will be led by Idaho National Laboratory, with General Electric (GE) and Hitachi forming a partnership called GE Hitachi Nuclear to provide support for design and safety of the plant.

UCS also estimate that the VTR would cost between $550m-$850m per year for the next seven years compared to the $740m in the 2019 budget for the DOE’s entire nuclear technology development, $65m of which was allocated to VTR.

UCS senior scientist Ed Lyman said: “UCS received documents from a Freedom of Information Act request that contained the DOE’s current “rough order-of-magnitude” cost estimate for the Versatile Test Reactor project of $3.9bn-$6.0bn.

“These values assume different cost escalation factors over a roughly seven-year period. I estimate the corresponding unescalated cost to be as much as $5bn. The reactor isn’t really “over budget” yet, because there was no official cost estimate prior to this.

“UCS has many concerns about this project. First, we don’t generally support the development of fast reactors because of their proliferation and nuclear terrorism risks, so we question the rationale for building this facility. Second, we believe this reactor will not be a reliable test reactor because the design is experimental. Third, there are much cheaper options that the DOE has not adequately explored to provide a source of fast neutrons to reactor developers.

“Given the likelihood that any DOE first-of-a-kind nuclear construction project will experience major delays and cost overruns, the project may well end up costing $10bn or more. That money could be far better spent on working to improve the safety and security of light-water reactors.”

The DOE has also been approached for comment. /


General Electric to provide energy access solutions in West Africa

/ General Electric’s (GE) Renewable Power division has announced that it has signed deals to build new energy systems in Benin and upgrade three substations in Ivory Coast.

In Benin GE Renewables will design and supply the country’s first Advanced Distribution and Management System (ADMS) for the Société Béninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) to manage Benin’s electricity supply, 85% of which is imported from other countries.

The ADMS will use algorithms and predictive analysis to help operate the grid efficiently and use automation. It will also predict issues that may arise and identify faults on Benin’s grid.

GE will also repair substations and telecommunication infrastructure at the national distribution control centre in the coastal city of Cotonou.

Benin is particularly focused on improving its energy network, and the government has set up the Millennium Challenge Account-Benin II (MCA Benin II) department, established to manage the US Millennium Challenge Corporation grant given to the country.

MCA Benin II national coordinator Gabriel Dégbègni said: “The ADMS will help optimise energy distribution, reduce electricity losses and minimise shortages.

“This project is aligned with the government’s ambition to efficiently manage the generation from power plants, microgrids and other grid infrastructure to improve the quality, efficiency and availability of power to our customers.”

In Ivory Coast GE will repair and expand three 225kv substations, firstly in the north of the country, at Ferke, in the east at Man and also in Taabo in the centre of Ivory Coast, to improve the electricity supply in these areas.

State-owned energy company CI-Energies secretary general Bile Tanoe said: “With about 90% of the country’s population having access to electricity and the growing demand for energy, limited distribution systems cause a total energy loss of approximately 20% annually. There is a need to rehabilitate and strengthen the country’s grid infrastructure.

“This project will improve the power capacities of Ferke, Man and Taabo substations to help mitigate total energy losses and provide the reliability needed to limit the total unavailability of these critical substations.”

GE Renewable Energy CEO of grid solutions business in Sub-Saharan Africa Lazarus Angbazo added: “Energy is a key component for on-going development in Sub-Saharan Africa. With only 45% of electrification rates in many countries in the region, it is critical to develop an end-to-end solution to increase energy access and foster economic development.

“These projects reinforce GE’s involvement in implementing key infrastructure for energy transmission and interconnection development in Africa through smart solutions and turnkey project expertise.” /