Siemens to acquire KACO new energy

Global technology company Siemens plans to acquire the string inverter business of KACO new energy for an undisclosed price.

Based in Neckarsulm, Germany KACO new energy is one of the leading manufacturers of energy-related power electronics.

Its inverter units are designed for homes and commercial buildings to complete systems for solar parks producing megawatts of electricity.

Siemens managing board member Cedrik Neike said: “With this acquisition, Siemens gains access to the latest technology, while KACO new energy will benefit from the resources required to scale up. Together, we will be able to apply the technology in exciting growth segments.”

Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to be completed in the first half of this year. Upon completion of the proposed acquisition KACO new energy will be integrated into a new smart infrastructure operating company.

Siemens global head of future grid Jean-Christoph Heyne said: “Siemens is in a strong position to succeed in technology that supports the energy and mobility transition. The acquisition of KACO new energy enhances our portfolio in attractive growth segments at the grid edge.

“Our new Smart Infrastructure Operating Company comes into operation on April 1, 2019 where our strengths in electrification and buildings will enable us to thrive in the market and continue to expand in the areas of decentralised energy, renewables, storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”

Last December, Siemens agreed to acquire a 25% non-controlling stake in high-voltage disconnect switches producer Coelme Group, an Italian-based subsidiary of Southern States. /


Senvion secures contract for offshore wind farm in Mediterranean Sea

German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion has secured a contract for the first offshore wind farm in the Mediterranean Sea.

Senvion secured a 30MW contract from Renexia, which will see the installation of ten 3.0M122 turbines at the near-shore wind farm off the coast of Puglia, southern Italy.

Renexia managing director Riccardo Toto said: “We are glad to work with Senvion for the first offshore wind farm on the Mediterranean Sea. This project is part of a wider strategy in the wind power industry that Renexia is pursuing in the US through two important projects and also worldwide with many other projects.

“We are eager to boost the production of clean and sustainable energy in a new market and the cooperation with Senvion is a reward to our skills and capabilities.”

Senvion notes that its 3.0M122 wind turbines have the capability to adapt to the challenging offshore environment. The company has developed a customised installation procedure suitable for a near-shore wind farm.

Additionally, Senvion will provide full maintenance services for a period of five years with an extension option of up to 25 years.

Senvion Italy managing director Carlo Schiapparelli said: “We are excited to execute this wind project as it is not only the first offshore wind farm in the Mediterranean Sea, but also showcases Senvion’s capabilities to create tailor-made solutions.

“This contract underpins Renexia’s trust in our technology and in the expertise of our team to successfully and safely deliver offshore wind projects. In addition, we are pleased to further cement our position in both the onshore and offshore market in Italy.”

The installation will take place later this year. /


Ørsted and Northumbrian Water sign offshore wind PPA in UK

/ Danish renewable power company Ørsted has signed a long-term offshore wind corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) with water services company Northumbrian Water in the UK.

Under the corporate PPA, Northumbrian Water consumption sites in the northeast, Essex and Suffolk will receive nearly 100GWh per annum of renewable electricity from the offshore windfarm. This will amount to approximately 1TWh during the agreement’s term.

Northumbrian Water Group commercial director Graham Southall said: “This PPA is not only a first of its kind in the UK; more importantly, it aligns perfectly with our sustainability goals and our ambitions of creating a truly cohesive energy management strategy.

“The long-term stability this brings is fantastic for us, and great news for our customers and stakeholders, because it reduces operational costs without compromising our work.”

Northumbrian Water will receive 30% of its renewable electricity directly from Race Bank offshore windfarm, off the coast of Norfolk.

Commissioned last year, Race Bank offshore windfarm is capable of generating up to 573MW of green electricity from its 91 wind turbines.

The ten-year agreement is reported to be the first PPA of its kind in the UK. It also sees the expansion of a renewable electricity supply agreement between the companies, which began in April last year.

In addition, the deal is expected to further support Northumbrian Water’s sustainable and renewable energy strategy. It will build upon the water company’s existing solar, hydro, gas-to-grid, and advanced anaerobic digestion power generation.

Ørsted has agreed to offer an innovative balancing service of the wind output so that the electricity can be delivered to Northumbrian Water under the existing supply agreement.

Ørsted PPAs corporate head Alana Kühne said: “Northumbrian Water shares our ambitions towards a greener future and is able to benefit from this journey through signing a corporate PPA from Race Bank. For Ørsted, this agreement is an important step towards building long-term green partnerships with corporate power customers.”

Last month, Ørsted announced that the first turbine was installed at Hornsea 1 offshore windfarm and is now producing electricity. /


GC extends deal with GE for servicing gas turbines in Thailand

Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical Public Company (GC) has signed a ten-year extension agreement to service six GE 6B and three Frame 5 gas turbines at Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate power plant in Rayong.

GE has also agreed to provide its asset performance management (APM) software as part of its digital energy portfolio, alongside its total plant solution offerings.

GC upstream petrochemical business COO Dr Kongkrapan Intarajang said: “As a leader in the chemicals business, we are dedicated to combining environmentally friendly innovations with advanced technologies to develop products that improve lives.

“GC has a long-standing relationship with GE. We have decided to extend the service agreement by ten years to enhance our operations and digitise the power plant.”

GE said that it will be the first installation of its Predix APM software in Thailand. The software uses advanced predictive analytics to analyse data, helping detect and diagnose equipment problems before they occur.

GC currently owns a total of 29 GE gas turbines. GE’s total plant services solutions are intended to help GC reduce operating costs, achieve higher availability by extending the inspection intervals from every three years to four years, and increase reliability and efficiency.

GE Power APAC president Ramesh Singaram said: “In this day and age, reliability and efficiency are crucial elements of power plant operations. Our platform of total plant solutions provides a full spectrum of digital offerings and plant improvement services that we are implementing to help GC increase the reliability of its plant and ultimately will support Thailand’s target to reduce electricity costs.

“Our long-term working relationship with GC, along with a good cooperation, has led GC to extend the MYA by ten additional years.” /


General Electric reports 4% revenue growth in renewable energy

/ US-based General Electric (GE) has released its 2018 annual report on all of its businesses from aviation to healthcare on Tuesday. The company reported revenue growth of 4% in its renewable energy sector in 2018 but also announced that profitability in renewables fell.

GE’s renewable revenue stood at $9.5bn for the year, with $7bn from equipment and $2.5bn in services. Of the $9.5bn, $4.3bn came from the US market and $5.2bn from the rest of the world, with Europe being the second largest market at $1.9bn. Onshore wind turbines contributed $8.3bn of revenue, with an additional $400m from offshore and $800m from hydropower.

Total orders for 2018 stood at $10.9bn with $7.9bn in equipment and $3bn in services. GE also reported its backlog of orders was over $17bn, with $8.5bn in equipment and $8.7bn in services.

GE’s profit from renewables was $300m in 2018, a 50% reduction on 2017. The company stated that the reason for the decline in profit was due to ‘pricing pressure’ and an ‘unfavourable business mix as well as liquidated damages related to partner execution and project delays’.

In a letter to GE shareholders, CEO Lawrence Culp said: “The energy mix continues to shift dramatically, with roughly two-thirds of global capacity additions through 2040 projected to be in renewables.

“GE is determined to lead this transition. We’re making bold bets in clean energy while our turbines and technology allow customers to quickly dispatch more reliable, affordable fuels such as natural gas when they are needed. Across our product portfolio, we are using a combination of hardware and software to grow our service offerings and help utilities maintain and extend the life of their equipment.”

GE has installed over 400GW of wind capacity worldwide. A recent report from Bloomberg NEF found the company was third largest in wind turbine installation in 2018, with nearly 5GW installed. /


Cubico raises £272m to refinance wind and solar portfolio in UK

/ Global investment firm Cubico Sustainable Investments has completed the refinancing for 200MW onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the UK.

The total amount of non-recourse, long-term project finance debt raised by the company includes £258m with a £14m debt service reserve facility.

The company noted that all 17 wind and solar projects started operations between 2013 and 2016. The portfolio is comprised of a mixture of ROC accredited and feed-in-tariff projects.

Cubico EMEA head David Swindin said: “This will be one of the largest portfolio financings closed in the UK market this year and we are very pleased with the great level of interest shown from our banking group.”

The banks that were mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) include National Australia Bank, Siemens Financial Services through its in-house bank Siemens Bank, ING Bank and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba).

In order to enable further inclusion of renewable energy assets, the financing was structured as an open-ended portfolio and is intended to provide an efficient method to finance future projects. The new facility matures in 2035.

Headquartered in London, Cubico invests in the renewable energy sector and its portfolio spans nine countries, with an installed gross capacity of nearly 2.6GW.

The company has a presence in different geographic locations, including the US, UK, France, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay.

Last month, Cubico agreed to acquire five solar projects totalling 580MW from Cypress Creek Renewables (CCR). These projects are in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas. Financial details of the deal have not been revealed. /


Kyocera and LO3 Energy to test blockchain-managed virtual power plant

/ Japan’s Kyocera and New York-based LO3 Energy will begin a joint project to test the feasibility of a blockchain-managed virtual power plant (VPP), using a peer-to-peer distributed consensus network.

The demonstration VPP will combine the companies’ technology and renewable energy products for improved distribution.

Kyocera R&D Group deputy general manager Hironao Kudo said: “Kyocera is committed to developing low-carbon solutions that maximise renewable energy resources. We are excited to be the company in the area of grid management in Japan to collaborate with LO3 Energy, which has consistently proven its blockchain technologies all around the world.”

The test will be carried out at Kyocera’s Yokohama Nakayama Office in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

For this project, a small VPP will be installed using the company’s solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and batteries. Power will be controlled through LO3’s distributed ledger technology to log and manage energy flow.

LO3’s blockchain technology will be used to verify and record transactions, enabling consumer ‘sharing’ of energy they produce with their own solar panels via a microgrid, reducing the load on the larger grid.

LO3 Energy CEO Lawrence Orsini said: “The need to reduce carbon emissions is exerting a profound impact on energy providers worldwide. Using distributed ledger technologies, our networks enable the micro energy transactions needed to meet this challenge. We believe the synergies between Kyocera and LO3 Energy will produce a new generation of virtual power plants that can accelerate Japan’s transition to a low-carbon society.”

By combining Kyocera’s capabilities with LO3 Energy’s blockchain technologies, the companies will evaluate VPPs that promote a low-carbon society without fuels or carbon emissions. /


Costa Rica announces national decarbonisation plan

/ Costa Rica has announced a plan to decarbonise the country’s economy at a ceremony at the Costa Rican Museum of Art in February.

‘The National Decarbonisation Plan 2018-2050’ was presented at the ceremony by President Carlos Alvarado Quesada and minister of environment and energy Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Echandi, among others.

It sets out ten specific short and long-term goals, including a public transport system in which 100% of buses and taxis will be zero emissions by 2050; Costa Rica’s electricity mix being entirely generated by renewables by 2030; and increasing the country’s forest coverage from 52% to 60% by 2030.

It will be used as the basis for initiatives like the National Plan for Development and Public Investments, which will look to modernise the Costa Rican economy and create jobs.

Summarising the plan, Quesada stated that climate change was a reality: “This is the reason why our generation faces the great challenge of moving towards a decarbonised world. Costa Rica is ready to lead this commitment to the planet.”

Executive secretary of United Nations (UN) climate change Patricia Espinosa tweeted: “Congrats to Costa Rica for its ambitious #Decarbonisation Plan to move away from #FossilEnergies towards #CleanDevelopment. The world is far from achieving its goals against #ClimateChange but with Costa Rica’s example, I’m optimistic that together we can do it. @PresidenciaCR.”

Former US vice president and climate activist Al Gore said: “Decarbonising the global economy to drastically reduce global warming is absolutely essential to ensure that our civilisation can survive and thrive, and that is one of the reasons why I am so excited to see that Costa Rica continues its role as world leader to help solve the climate crisis with the rapid deployment of the strategic plan to completely decarbonise its economy.

“Congratulations to Costa Rica, because you are showing the rest of the world that it is definitely possible to make the transition to a low carbon economy today. Keep going with this great work. Their efforts give me and many others a lot of hope that we not only can, but we will also be able to solve the climate crisis.” /