Vestas signs 101MW EPC project with India’s Continuum Wind Energy

Vestas has won a 101MW engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project in India from Continuum Wind Energy subsidiary Trinethra Wind & Hydro Power.

Located in Rajkot in the Indian state of Gujarat, the project will sell electricity generated to commercial and industrial consumers through third-party power purchase agreements (PPA).

Under the contract, Vestas will be responsible for the delivery, installation and commissioning of 46 V120-2.2MW turbines, as well as the project’s civil and electrical work.

Continuum Wind Energy CEO Arvind Bansal said: “Continuum has enjoyed its relationship with Vestas and looks forward to deploying their latest offering of V120-2.2MW turbines in India for the first phase of 101MW of the 350MW project.

“Vestas’ offering will help us provide high-quality and reliable service to our prestigious commercial and industrial customers in Gujarat. We are encouraged by the increasing interest of commercial and industrial customers in purchasing renewable energy.”

Vestas intends to deliver the turbines in the first quarter of this year and commissioning is expected to take place by the second quarter of 2019.

Once complete, the Danish firm will commence a 15-year full scope Active Output Management 5000 (AOM 5000) service agreement, as well as a Vestas Online Business SCADA solution.

Vestas Asia Pacific president Clive Turton said: “We are very excited to start the year with an EPC order in India; this showcases the confidence and trust that our customers have in our capabilities across the full range of projects.

“We will be working closely with our partners to help India meet its renewable energy needs while enhancing the Indian wind energy sector by providing long-term job opportunities as well as low-cost energy to the local community.” /


ContourGlobal to buy two CHP plants from Mexico’s Alpek

UK-based ContourGlobal has reached an agreement to acquire Mexican chemical manufacturing company Alpek’s portfolio of two natural gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

Valued at $801m, the acquisition also includes development rights and permits for a third plant.

The company will pay $724m in cash and an additional payment of $77m at closing as value-added tax (VAT), which is expected to be refunded in full within 12 months of closing.

Located on sites next to Alpek’s industrial facilities, the Cosoleacaque and Altamira cogeneration power plants have a gross installed capacity of 518MW.

ContourGlobal president and CEO Joseph Brandt said: “We are delighted to expand our cogeneration solutions business into Mexico with the acquisition of Alpek’s combined heat and power plants. We have developed our solutions business over the past decade with blue-chip clients like Alpek and look forward to powering their growth over the long-term.

“This accretive transaction fits squarely into our strategic and financial approach to acquisitions. It was highlighted during our IPO and reflects our commitment to pursue high-quality growth through operationally led strategic acquisitions and to double adjusted EBITDA without issuing new equity within five years of our listing.

“We are closer to achieving this objective with this acquisition, which we expect to add approximately $110m to our adjusted EBITDA in the first full year of operations.”

The two CHP plants will supply electricity and steam to subsidiaries of Alfa, a Mexican industrial conglomerate, and other commercial and industrial customers.

The acquisition is reported to be in line with ContourGlobal’s strategy of developing and operating power assets supported by long-term contracts.

In addition, ContourGlobal is planning to acquire the development rights and permits for a third adjacent plant with a planned capacity of 414MW. /


Enel begins construction of its largest wind farm in Texas

/ Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA), the US subsidiary of Italian gas and electricity distributor Enel, has started construction works for its largest wind farm, the 450MW High Lonesome facility in Upton and Crockett Counties, Texas.

Built with an overall investment of around $600m, the project is reported to be part of the investment outlined in Enel’s 2019-2021 strategic plan. Once complete, it will be the largest wind farm in Enel’s global renewables portfolio.

To be fully operational by the end of this year, the wind farm will be able to generate around 1.7TWh of clean energy annually, while avoiding emissions of more than 1.1 million tons of carbon per year.

EGPNA head Antonio Cammisecra said: “The start of construction of our largest wind project to-date represents a major commitment to growing our business in the US and specifically in Texas.

“The project underscores our ability to work with partners to tailor energy solutions to fit their needs and continue to manage and deliver to our customers the complex deals necessary in today’s evolving energy market.”

The project has a proxy revenue swap (PRS) for a 295MW portion of the High Lonesome wind farm. The PRS is a risk management strategy related to price and volume.

Enel entered into the PRS with insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s Alternative Risk Transfer unit (Allianz) and weather and climate risk management products provider Nephila Climate.

Under the agreement, High Lonesome will receive fixed payments based on the expected value of future energy production.

Allianz Risk Transfer managing director Karsten Berlage said: “The construction of High Lonesome is a strong testament to the popularity and success of innovative renewable energy protections.

“The majority of today’s stakeholders champion the continued growth of renewables and that is why Allianz is committed to flexible strategies such as the PRS that mitigate those risks – long term.”

Currently, Enel operates the 63MW Snyder wind farm, which is located in Scurry County, Texas. EGPNA also operates the first solar-geothermal hybrid plant in Nevada, and the 200MW Goodwell wind farm in Oklahoma, among others. /


Canadian Solar and Signal Energy partner for Australian solar farm

Solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturer Canadian Solar will partner with US-based Signal Energy for the delivery of a 175MWp Australian solar farm, located in Finley, in New South Wales (NSW).

Developed by ESCO Pacific, the partnership will provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and supply solar modules for the solar farm.

The Australian solar farm will be built on nearly 1,000 acres of grazing, crop and irrigated lands near Finley.

For this solar plant, Canadian Solar will be supplying more than 490,000 of 1500V KuMax modules (CS3U-P), which will be installed on single-axis solar tracking systems.

Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Dr Shawn Qu said: “We are delighted to be selected by ESCO Pacific to provide EPC services together with Signal Energy, and to supply our 1500V crystalline module to this large-scale solar power plant.

“This partnership further expands our presence and solidifies our competitive position in Australia. We are committed to providing customers in Australia and around the world with access to clean, affordable and reliable solar energy.”

Upon completion, the solar plant will generate enough clean energy that will be sufficient to power more than 90,000 NSW homes, while displacing over 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Construction works at the site have already begun and is expected to be completed by October this year.

Signal Energy president Greg Pawson said: “We are excited about establishing ourselves in the Australian renewable energy market.

“Signal Energy has had great success in the US by creating value for our customers through optimisation and execution of their solar projects, and leveraging our experience internationally has proven to make a lot of sense.

“The Australian market has been very receptive to our arrival, and we appreciate the confidence that ESCO Pacific has placed in Signal Energy Australia.” /


Premier Inn and E.ON trial UK’s first battery-powered hotel

/ Premier Inn, in collaboration with project partner E.ON, has installed the UK’s first battery-powered hotel, located in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In an increased effort to make its hotels more energy efficient and reduce costs, the Whitbread-owned Premier Inn chain has begun trialing a 100kW lithium-ion battery at The Gyle at Edinburgh Park.

The 3m3 five-tonne battery works by storing power from the National Grid during off-peak times when electricity prices are lower, saving the energy for periods of high consumption. There is enough energy stored in the battery to run the entire hotel and provide power to the restaurant for up to three hours.

E.ON customer accounts director Richard Oakley said: “By adding the flexibility of battery storage we can also help Whitbread to upgrade to the full-board option of drawing electricity from the grid when prices are low, storing that energy for use at peak times and having the ability to sell it back to the grid to help balance supply and demand on the network.

“Premier Inn is showing how hotel chains and large power users can further save money, reduce their carbon footprint and support the development of a lower-carbon, smarter energy grid in the UK.”

The battery takes two hours to charge and will be employed for around two to three hours per day. E.ON and Whitbread chose the Edinburgh site specifically because Scotland has a large influx of renewable power coming in from its wind assets, which can be volatile. The battery will benefit the National Grid by reducing electricity demand at times of low energy generation, i.e. when the wind isn’t blowing.

E.ON, which supplied and installed the battery, said that the battery will knock £20,000 per year off of the hotel’s energy bill. E.ON will continue to manage and provide maintenance for the battery system.

Whitbread head of energy and environment Cian Hatton added: “Batteries are of course everyday items, more commonly associated with powering small household goods, like the TV remote control, so it’s incredibly excited to launch the UK’s first battery-powered hotel – an innovation which will save money, ensure security of supply and support the transition to a more flexible grid”.

Premier Inn is already the UK’s leading hotel chain in terms of solar panels, with 169 assets installed across its hotels. /


Ørsted announces delays on 900MW Taiwanese offshore wind projects

/ Danish offshore wind company Ørsted has announced the delay of an establishment permit and 2018 power purchase agreement (PPA) on its 900MW Taiwanese offshore wind farm projects.

In April, Ørsted secured a contract from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs to connect the 605MW Changhua 1 and the 295MW Changhua 2 to the grid in 2021.

Ørsted Offshore CEO Martin Neubert said: “We’re disappointed with the process and the delay of the establishment permit and PPA. We will now pause and revisit all our project activities, the timeline of the projects, and our supply chain commitments and contracts as we had assumed signing of the PPA in 2018.

“We’re very concerned about the suggested feed-in-tariff level for 2019, as well as the newly proposed cap on annual full-load hours. We will need to see significant changes to these proposals before we can progress any further towards a final investment decision on the projects.”

In June, the Danish company secured the right to build an additional 920MW Taiwanese offshore wind capacity from its Greater Changhua sites, which were to be built in 2025, subject to its final investment decision.

In November 2018, the Taiwanese government proposed a 2019 feed-in-tariff of TWD5,106 (€145) per MWh and suggested a production cap of 3,600 annual full-load hours.

Neubert further added: “The proposed retrospective changes would jeopardise the creation of a local offshore wind supply chain, harm the planned transition to renewable energy and cause significant uncertainty among international investors looking to Taiwan.

“Only with a stable and predictable policy framework, Taiwan has the potential for developing large-scale clean power production while creating thousands of local jobs and becoming a hub for offshore wind in Asia-Pacific.” /


UK caps prices for loyal energy customers in 2019

/ Loyal energy customers from 11 million households, who have continued to purchase electricity from suppliers with poor value energy tariffs, will now be subject to a government price cap from 1 January 2019.

According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the cap aims to reduce overpayments to energy companies, including the Big Six (British Gas, EDF, E.On, Npower, ScottishPower, SSE) by around £1bn per year, beginning this winter.

The price cap will remain in place until at least next year, while government and industry continue to work with energy regulator Ofgem to create a more efficient energy market.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Our energy price cap will cut bills for millions of families and people across the UK who have been ripped off by energy companies for far too long. From today, money will go straight back into the pockets of loyal consumers, including the elderly and those on lower incomes who feel the pinch more acutely.

“But work to tackle this issue doesn’t stop there. We’re working with regulators and industry to ensure that consumers are not unfairly overcharged in the future – whether on their phone bills or their insurance premiums.”

In the UK, consumers pay for the amount of energy they use. The new price cap restricts energy suppliers from overcharging per unit of gas and electricity, but not overall energy bills.

Ofgem set the price cap at £1,137 per year for the average dual fuel user paying by direct debit. It will also protect one million homes which receive subsidised energy under the Warm Home Discount, and four million metered consumers enrolled on Ofgem’s safeguard tariff.

Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: “Consumers can have confidence that any rise in prices in the future will only be down to genuine increases in energy costs rather than supplier profiteering while falls in energy costs will always be passed on to them.

“Households who are protected by the cap will be able to save even more money by shopping around for a better deal. In the meantime, Ofgem will continue with reforms, which aim to deliver a smarter, more competitive energy market which, combined with protection for those who need it, works for all consumers.”

The energy regulator will review the cap for loyal energy customers every six months, with the first review planned for early February to come into effect on 1 April 2019.

According to a survey by energy auto-switching service Weflip, many consumers have been left confused as to how the energy price cap will benefit them.

Weflip’s research, published on Utility Week, found that 23% of respondents to the survey had never heard of the price cap, while 37% said they felt that the measure did not affect them and 14% could not figure out how it would work exactly.

Only 5% of respondents said they understood the exact levels of savings that they would receive via the cap.

Around 81% of respondents said they wanted to see a reduction in energy bills while the remainder felt happy that they are paying the reasonable amount for their energy. /


Southern Company sells Gulf Power to NextEra Energy

/ US-based gas and electric utility firm Southern Company has completed the sale of Gulf Power Company to NextEra Energy.

The sale marks the closure of sale of Gulf Power, Florida City Gas and the entities holding Southern Power’s interests in Plant Oleander and Plant Stanton.

Last May, Southern Company signed agreements to sell its Florida assets to NextEra Energy for approximately $6.4bn. The proceeds from these transactions will be used to reduce debt and improve its balance sheet.

Southern Company chairman, president and CEO Thomas Fanning said: “These sales deliver substantial value to Southern Company and our stockholders. By strengthening our financial position and allowing us to fund our business without raising significant additional capital, the value proposition of this deal is clear.

“Our Florida teams have contributed significantly to the economies of south and north-west Florida and improved the communities we served. Southern Company will continue to honour the accomplishments of our distinguished past, while working to optimise the long-term success of our business.”

Under the deal, Gulf Power and Florida City Gas will carry on operations with their customer-focused business models.

Headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida, NextEra is a clean energy company that operates approximately 46,790MW of net generating capacity.

NextEra Energy chairman and CEO Jim Robo said: “We are excited to welcome our new colleagues from Gulf Power to the NextEra Energy family. The last few months have been among the most challenging periods in Gulf Power’s rich history as the team worked tirelessly to restore power to those impacted by Hurricane Michael.

“We couldn’t be more pleased by Gulf Power’s performance and commitment to getting the lights back on during what were extremely dangerous and difficult conditions. As we turn to the future, we look forward to extending to Gulf Power’s customers our best-in-class value proposition of low bills, clean energy, high reliability and outstanding.” /