Total’s second solar power plant in Japan begins operations

French multinational integrated oil and gas company Total has commenced commercial operations on its second solar power plant in Japan.

Located in Miyako, in Iwate Prefecture on Japan’s Honshu Island, the 25MW peak solar plant will produce enough energy to power more than 8,000 Japanese households.

Total Renewables senior vice-president Julien Pouget said: “We are proud of the successful start-up of our second solar power plant in Japan. The success of the Miyako project is fully in line with our ambition to develop low-carbon electricity worldwide.”

The Miyako plant is jointly owned by Total Solar and Japan’s electric power utility Chubu Electric Power.

Equipped with nearly 77,000 high-efficiency SunPower solar panels, the new power plant has been designed to comply with Japan’s earthquake-resistant building standards and is now integrated with the electricity distribution grid.

Total’s investments in low carbon electricity from gas and renewables range between $1.5bn and $2bn a year. The company’s installed cumulated low carbon power capacity was 2.7GW worldwide as at the end of last year. Total aims to ensure 15%-20% of its sales mix is from renewables by 2040.

It is involved in the development and operation of solar power plants and supplying solar electricity to residential, industrial and commercial buildings.

In September 2017, Total entered an agreement to purchase an indirect interest of 23% in EREN Renewable Energy (EREN RE) for €237.5m.

The new deal also offers Total an option to acquire EREN RE after a period of five years. /


Acciona to build two solar plants in Ukraine

Spanish renewable energy company Acciona has agreed to build two photovoltaic (PV) plants in the region of Odessa, south-western Ukraine.

As part of the agreement signed with Ukrainian firm UDP Renewables (UDPR), the Spanish firm will take over 75% of the projects developed by UDPR.

With an overall capacity of 43.7MW, the new PV plants will be built with an investment of nearly €30.6m. The two plants are the 26MW Gudzovka and 17.7MW Arcyz.

Both the facilities will be equipped with polycrystalline silicon panels mounted on fixed structures.

Acciona Energy Business Development director Joaquín Castillo said: “We are very pleased to continue contributing to the development of renewable energies and the sustainability of the energy system of Ukraine, a country with interesting opportunities for the sector.”

The two plants will produce around 55GWh of clean energy per year, which is sufficient to power more than 23,000 Ukrainian homes. They will also eliminate the emission of around 53,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from coal-fired power plants per year.

Construction at the site is expected to begin soon, with work expected to be completed by the end of this year. The energy generated by the power plants will be sold to the national grid and sold to the Ukrainian utility company Energorynok State Enterprise under a power purchase agreement (PPA) until the end of 2029.

UDP Renewables managing partner Sergiy Yevtushenko said: “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with one of the most experienced global industry player as Acciona. And we hope that such a cooperation will accelerate the remarkable progress of Ukrainian renewable energy market.”

With these new PV projects, Acciona intends to further strengthen its presence in Ukraine’s renewable energy sector. The 57.2MW Dymerka 2-3-4 photovoltaic complex, which is 100% owned by Acciona, was recently completed in the region of Kiev. /


Operations begin on world’s largest offshore windfarm

/ Danish wind energy company Ørsted has officially commenced operations on the Hornsea One offshore windfarm off the coast of Lincolnshire, UK. The windfarm will have a capacity of over 1GW when complete; almost double the size of the current world’s largest offshore windfarm Walney Extension off the coast of Cumbria.

The windfarm is formed of 174 7MW turbines provided by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), 50 of which are currently operational.

The installation of the turbines is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2019, with the windfarm becoming fully operational in early 2020. When finished, it will be able to power over one million homes in the UK.

Hornsea One is further from the shore than any other windfarm at 120km and will be maintained by a service operations vessel (SOV) which will be out at sea for four-week stints. The windfarm also has the first offshore reactive compensation station and the longest ever AC offshore wind export cable system.

Energy and clean growth minister Chris Skidmore said: “The start of operations at the world’s largest windfarm at Hornsea One is an important milestone and yet another example of British innovation and the UK’s leadership in offshore wind.

“We already have the largest installed offshore wind capacity in the world, and once fully up and running this wind farm will provide enough power for one million more homes, putting us well on the way to our target of a third of the UK’s electricity coming from offshore wind by 2030.”

Ørsted tweeted: “Over the weekend, operations started on Hornsea 1 in the UK. The huge scale of the project means that operations are beginning before construction is complete.”

twitter.com/Orsted /


MHPS and Magnum unveil clean energy storage project in Utah

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development have unveiled the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah, US. The ACES project is the largest project of its kind in the world and will develop 1GW of clean energy storage.

The project will focus on the deployment of four energy storage technologies at utility scale in order to ensure a decarbonised future for the power grid of the Western US. The technologies include renewable hydrogen, compressed air energy storage, large scale flow batteries and solid oxide fuel cells.

MHPS Americas president and CEO Paul Browning said: “For 20 years, we’ve been reducing carbon emissions of the US power grid using natural gas in combination with renewable power to replace retiring coal-fired power generation.

“In California and other states in the western United States, which will soon have retired all of their coal-fired power generations, we need the next step in decarbonisation. Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100% renewable storage, is that next step.

“The technologies we are deploying will store electricity on time scales from seconds to seasons of the year.”

ACES project will focus on the engineering, finance, construction, and operation of the facilities, which will be located in Millard County, Utah. Both parties will invite additional strategic and financial partners to take part in the initiative.

The project will concentrate on developing storage for energy in the initial phases, which will be enough to meet the requirements of 150,000 households for 12 months. /


Department of Energy ‘molecules of freedom’ statement condemned

/ A statement by the US Department of Energy (DOE) has drawn criticism and ridicule from scientists for its use of the terms ‘freedom gas’ and ‘molecules of US freedom’ to describe liquid natural gas (LNG).

The expressions featured in a DOE press release ‘DOE Authorises Additional LNG Exports from Freeport LNG’, which reported from the Tenth Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada.

The US will release further exports from Freeport LNG terminal on Quintana Island, Texas. The facility will now be able to export up to 0.72 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day via a fourth liquefaction train, which was authorised on 17 May and will be built at the terminal.

This expansion forms part of the US’ policy of doubling its LNG export capacity from five billion cubic feet per day by the end of 2020.

US undersecretary of energy Mark Menezes who was quoted as using the term ‘freedom gas’, saying: “Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy.”

Assistant secretary for fossil energy Steven Winberg used ‘molecules of US freedom’, saying: “I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world.”

The comments were much mocked online. Esteemed climate scientist Michael Mann branded solar energy ‘photons of freedom’ whilst Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson tweeted: “They sure are freedom molecules. Freedom from clean air, freedom from clean water, freedom from clean land, freedom from a healthy climate and freedom from energy security and low costs.”



Geologist David Bressan parodied Braveheart with an image that said: “You can take my fossil fuels, but you never take my freedom gas.”

twitter.com/David_Bressan  /


Minesto receives EU funding grant from Welsh Government

/ Swedish marine energy developer Minesto has been awarded €14.9m European Regional Development Fund grant through the Welsh Government for the next phase of Minesto’s tidal energy scheme in Wales.

Minesto CEO Dr Martin Edlund said: “This is a key contribution to the commercialisation of our technology and a strong sign of commitment from the Welsh Government.

“We are pleased to see that we share an agenda to industrialise tidal energy in Wales, to enable large-scale local clean energy production from Welsh tidal streams. By doing so we will enable long-term industrial development in North Wales.”

The funding will enable Minesto to continue its site development and operations at Holyhead Deep site, which is located six kilometres off the coast of Anglesey.

In addition, it will allow the company to install and operate an additional, uprated unit in Holyhead Deep. The funding will allow the marine energy developer to strengthen its manufacturing and assembling capability, obtain permits and consents for site expansion for a commercial 80MW tidal energy farm.

Minesto also noted that the grant will help support the design of subsea infrastructure for the 80MW site development.

Wales Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles said: “Generating energy from renewable sources is not only vital in creating a low-carbon economy and contributing to the global challenge of climate change, but it also provides Wales with a real opportunity to be at the forefront of a major emerging industry.”

The company was the recipient of a €13m EU funding in May 2015, which was granted to support the commercial rollout of Deep Green.

Last August, Minesto announced the completion of the initial commissioning sea trials of its subsea kite technology called Deep Green off the coast of Holyhead, North West Wales. /


Sonnedix closes financing for Atacama solar PV plant in Chile

/ Global solar independent power producer Sonnedix has closed financing for a solar photovoltaic plant in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

About $99m non-recourse project financing has been secured with CAF. The Development Bank of Latin America is the lead arranger, administrative agent and senior lender while Banco BICE and Banco Security are senior lenders.

Located in the Pica district, Atacama Solar PV plant will be the second largest solar project in the country on completion. The plant will have the capacity to produce nearly 470GWh of clean electricity on an annual basis.

Based on International Energy Agency (IEA) methodology and emissions factor for Chile, the plant will help avoid around 200,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year when compared with thermal generation.

Sonnedix CEO Axel Thiemann said: “Closing this new project financing for our Atacama solar plant represents an important milestone for Sonnedix, and for Chile’s position as a clean energy leader, as we continue to expand our PV footprint to help the country achieve its renewable energy goals.

“It reflects the scale, and pace, of growth across our platform as we develop, build and operate assets across OECD countries.”

Pan American Finance, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Claro & Cia (Legal), and DNV GL (Technical) advised Sonnedix in relation to the deal.

Sonnedix, which is present in the Chilean energy market since 2015, has more than 400MW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in the Latin American country.

In January this year, Sonnedix acquired two PV portfolios with a total capacity of 32MWp in Chile from Canadian Solar and Imelsa. /


Asian Development Bank to fund solar project in Afghanistan

/ The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to issue a loan of $4m to energy company Barakat Kandahar Solar Energy to develop solar energy projects in Afghanistan.

Based in the Philippines, the bank specialises in loans to promote economic development in Asia and the Pacific.

Barakat Kandahar Solar Energy is a subsidiary of the 77 Group, an international civil works scheme based in Turkey that will help build the plant.

The loan will help to establish the Kandahar solar power project, a 15.1MW solar plant that will generate 27.5GWh of electricity and avoid 8,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Kandahar solar power project is part of the Afghanistan government’s goal of producing 5GW of solar power by 2032, around 40% of the country’s total energy generation. It has been estimated that Afghanistan has the potential to generate 22GW of solar power, but it currently forms just 1% of the country’s energy supply.

ADB senior public-private partnership specialist Mohammed Hashimi said: “Having a stable, sustainable, and reliable energy source is important for the growth and development prospects of Afghanistan, where power generation and access is one of the lowest in the world.

“ADB’s support for this important project will help provide long-term financing that is not available locally to build and operate a state-of-the-art solar power plant in Afghanistan.”

The bank has made several loans and grants to projects in Afghanistan in recent years. In November 2017 it provided nearly $45m for a 20MW solar plant in Kabul and $1.2bn in December 2015 for energy supply for power efficiency all over the country.” /