ABB to install first digital substation in Latin America

/  Swiss technology company ABB was selected by UK-based investment firm Actis to install a digitally enabled substation for its solar project in the city of Juazeiro, north-eastern Brazil. The Juazeiro project is owned and operated by Actis and its US renewable energy arm Atlas Renewable Energy.

As part of the agreement, ABB will deliver the substation equipped with a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, intelligent electronic devices (IED) and SAM600 merging units in the switchyard. In addition, the new substation will use ABB Ability technology, which has been designed to reduce installation. It will also improve the safety of the substation.

ABB’s 230KV substation and connection bay at the Juazeiro II will deliver power from a 156MW photovoltaic power plant, which is currently under development in the area.

ABB Power grid integration business head Patrick Fragman said: “ABB continues to be at the forefront of digital grid technology development with a complete range of digital substation automation, control and protection solutions, from the switchyard to the network control centre. We are pleased to support the development of a stronger, smarter grid and greener with Latin America’s first digital substation.”

Upon completion, the projects are expected to generate clean energy to power more than 350,000 households and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 1.5 million tonnes.  /


Elcogen, Convion and Lempäälän Energia to develop fuel cell energy system

/  Estonian fuel cell manufacturer Elcogen and Finnish fuel cell system developer Convion partnered to power two combined heat and power (CHP) systems at the Lemene smart

grid project. 

Led by Finland-based energy company Lempäälän Energia, the grid is one of the key projects designated by the government to help the country reach its national energy targets for de-carbonisation.

Lempäälä Energia CEO Toni Laakso said: “The Lemene system will operate mainly as part of the public electrical grid but can also operate as a supporting reserve system for the public electrical grid, or independently off-grid, on demand.

“The Lemene smart grid will feature a variety of smart technologies that will respond to changing electric demand, enabled by automation solutions adapted to the microgrid. An important part of the project is to secure energy availability as renewable energy production varies.

“In conjunction with the solar array and battery storage, the Lemene system also required a highly efficient CHP system from Convion that would convert biogas to generate electricity and heat to supply nearby businesses.”

The new smart grid will feature a 4MW solar photovoltaic array, an 8MW biogas engine and a battery to offer secure and reliable power to around 50 businesses in the industrial district of Marjamäki, south-western Finland. 

Under the agreement, Convion will build the two fuel cell co-generation systems and integrate them into the district’s smart grid. The CHP systems will be equipped with Elcogen’s next generation of solid oxide fuel cell stacks and will have the capacity to generate 116kW electrical output.

According to the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Lemene system has the potential to help Finland achieve its national targets and those set by the EU for 2030.  /


Wessex Archaeology unearths artefacts on Hornsea project one cable route

/  UK-based archaeology and heritage practice Wessex Archaeology unearthed archaeological remains in Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas during an excavation process for the onshore construction phase of the Hornsea project one offshore wind farm.

Wessex Archaeology carried out archaeological excavations works for the onshore cable route on behalf of the wind farm’s primary developer, Danish power company Ørsted.

Ørsted environment and consents manager Bronagh Byrne said: “Most people wouldn’t associate renewable energy sources with historical artefacts, but it just goes to show the variety of activities needed to build an offshore wind farm.

“We are burying our cables as we understand the sensitivity to the surrounding landscape and the importance this is to local stakeholders and residents.”

The Hornsea project one offshore wind farm will have the capacity to generate enough energy to power over one million homes upon completion. It is expected to begin commercial operations in 2020.

The wind farm will be located 120km off the Yorkshire Coast, while the onshore cable route is slated to run for approximately 40km. The route will be laid between Horseshoe Point, east of Tetney, and a new substation situated in North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.

Wessex Archaeology personnel and other staff have been working with Ørsted since August 2015. Wessex Archaeology project manager Richard O’Neill said: “Large, linear schemes like this can be challenging; we’ve had seventy people working on the scheme over two years, with some pretty inclement weather at times.

“Work has included excavation of two Iron Age settlement sites in North Killingholme, prehistoric farming activity and a Romano-British settlement in Stallingborough, Romano-British settlement sites in Tetney and Holton-le-Clay, and medieval moated sites in Harborough and South Killingholme.”  /


Arenko and GE to build grid-scale energy storage system in UK

/  UK-based energy company Arenko Group (Arenko) partnered with GE Power (GE) to build a grid-scale energy storage system in the country. As part of the deal, GE is set to deliver a 41MW, fully integrated battery storage solution to meet the consumer demand in real-time under the deal.

The grid-scale energy storage system is said to be one of the largest projects in the UK and will have the capacity to meet the power requirements of approximately 100,000 homes across the country.

GE Power Energy Storage global commercial and marketing executive Mirko Molinari said: “Energy storage will help balance supply and demand close to real-time, avoiding frequency drifts and supporting the mid-term response to grid imbalances.

“The flexibility it offers smoothes the fluctuating nature of renewable energy, provides quick reserves when needed, stores excess energy generation and much more. Energy storage will enable a more efficient system for a more reliable supply of electricity to consumers.

“Arenko are pioneers in the commercialisation of energy storage systems: this collaboration cements two years of working together towards the shared vision of creating a battery storage solution, which addresses the ever-changing needs of a modern energy system.”

The battery storage system will be located at a strategic location in the Midlands and is expected to commence operations later this year. The site will integrate GE and Arenko’s advanced control technologies and will be commercially operated though Arenko’s software once operational.

Arenko anticipates that the new system will help manage increasing renewable energy production and meet consumers’ changing energy demands, as well as help create a more secure energy network in the future.

Arenko Group chief executive Rupert Newland said: “Arenko’s new battery system will provide much-needed flexibility to the UK grid, reducing waste and helping to make energy bills cheaper for households and businesses. This project is very significant in addressing the UK’s long-term energy security concerns, enabling the transition to a low-carbon energy future.”  /


Capital Dynamics agrees to acquire 8point3 Energy Partners in US

/  Swiss asset management firm Capital Dynamics agreed to acquire US-based yieldco 8point3 Energy Partners through its clean energy infrastructure (CEI) team. Completion of the deal is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close later this year.

Established as a joint venture (JV) company of First Solar and SunPower, 8point3 operates solar energy generation projects in the US and has ownership interests in nine utility-scale solar projects.

With the acquisition, Capital Dynamics intends to expand its global footprint of solar, wind, biomass and waste gas-fuelled power generation technology investments.

Capital Dynamics Clean Energy Infrastructure business head John Breckenridge said: “Capital Dynamics is very proud to propose the addition of the 8point3 assets to its broad portfolio of renewable assets.

“With our extensive asset management capabilities and financing expertise, we have been able to achieve terms that we expect to be received positively by shareholders, while meeting our long-term investment objectives.”

Last year, Capital Dynamics’ CEI team is reported to have invested in 1.1GW of solar projects. “This acquisition continues the team’s strong track record as a leading provider of long-term, reliable, yield-producing capital to the renewable energy market,” Breckenridge added.  /


Wärtsilä secures €100m contract from AGL in Australia

/  Finnish power equipment manufacturer Wärtsilä secured a €100m contract from AGL Energy to supply a smart power generation plant. Known as Barker Inlet Power Station, the new plant will be delivered to AGL under an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) scheme at the site located near Adelaide in South Australia.

Wärtsilä Energy Solutions president Javier Cavada said: “The flexibility of the Wärtsilä solution is a key enabler for utilities to manage large amounts of solar and wind energy being introduced into the power system.

“It provides reliability of supply through its fast-starting and rapid response capability, and it is both fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. We congratulate AGL on its commitment to a sustainable electricity supply, and we are delighted to be contributing to the success of this vision.”

With 211MW capacity, the Smart Power Generation plant will include 12 Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines, which will respond to the rapid fluctuations that are inherent to

renewable generation.

The Wärtsilä engines will run primarily on natural gas, but will have the option to run on liquid fuel if necessary. AGL operates a large portfolio of renewable sources, which also includes wind and solar farms.

AGL Group Operations executive general manager Doug Jackson said: “The new power plant will improve the reliability and security of supply in South Australia. Wärtsilä’s reciprocating engines operate with a lower heat rate than other forms of fast-start plants currently available.”  /


South Australia partners with Tesla to power 50,000 households

/  The Government of South Australia and Tesla have launched a plan to install home solar and battery systems across the state as part of efforts to create a virtual power plant.

The plan is expected to cover a network of at least 50,000 households across South Australia over the next four years. The government expects to finance the scheme through the sale of electricity.

In the initial phase, the plan will be trialled by installing 5kW solar panel systems and 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries at 1,100 Housing SA properties free of cost.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said: “More renewable energy means cheaper power for all South Australians. We will use people’s homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefitting with significant savings in their energy bills.

“Our energy plan means that we are leading the world in renewable energy and now we are making it easier for more homes to become


Once the trial phase is completed, systems will be installed at an additional 24,000 Housing Trust properties and the deal will be extended to all South Australian households. 

Based on analysis by Frontier Economics, participating households are expected to witness a 30% reduction in energy bills. In addition, the plant will offer increased generation and increased energy stability.

The government is providing a $2m grant and $30m loan for the project from the Renewable Technology Fund.  /


AFDB plans electricity for 29.3 million Africans by 2020

/  The African Development Bank (AFDB) unveiled plans to provide 29.3 million people in Africa with electricity by 2020. As part of the new plan, the bank intends to work with partners to develop 10,000MW of solar power systems across the Sahel region through its Desert to Power initiative.

The bank intends to provide electricity to 250 million people through the initiative, with 90 million of these achieved through

off-grid systems.

AFDB president Akinwumi Adesina said: “The African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The share of renewable energy in the bank’s energy portfolio increased from 14% when I became president in 2015 to 1­00% last year.

“Our support last year alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. With adequate financing, we expect to reach 29.3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020.”

AFDB also urged the UN Secretary-General to extend support for the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, as well as to offer financial assistance to co-pay for climate risk insurance for vulnerable African countries.

The bank is reported to have come forward with an insurance option to help and safeguard against natural calamities that displace public expenditures.

AFBD is planning to provide $76m this year towards the payment of insurance premiums, while other participating countries provide $31.5m and the African Risk Capacity Agency provides $16m.

More than 20 countries are currently reported to have expressed their interest in participating the initiative.  /