Ørsted signs PPA with innogy for Triton Knoll offshore wind farm 

Danish energy company Ørsted has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with German developer innogy for the £2bn Triton Knoll offshore wind farm in the UK.

As per the terms of the agreement, Ørsted will offtake 100% of the power generated by Triton Knoll offshore wind farm for a period of 15 years.

Ørsted Customer Solutions executive vice president Morten Buchgreitz said: “Ørsted acknowledges innogy as one of the most successful European energy companies. As we do ourselves, innogy relies on the expansion of renewable energy to grow its business activities and fight climate changes.

“Therefore, I’m proud that innogy and its partner companies have entrusted us to handle a 15-year power purchase agreement. I’m very much looking forward to our cooperation.”

The Triton Knoll offshore wind farm has a planned installed capacity of 860MW and the commissioning of the farm is expected in 2021. It will be installed with 90 of MHI Vestas’ V164-9.5MW turbines.

Once operational, the wind farm will generate enough clean energy to power more than 800,000 UK households annually.

In a separate development, innogy has achieved financial close to build the offshore wind farm with loans worth £1.75bn from an international consortium of 15 commercial banks.

innogy Renewables COO Hans Bünting said: “With the signing of this PPA with Ørsted and the financial closure, which we’ve reached today, we’re confident that our flagship Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm has robust, financial security at its heart.”

Last month, innogy agreed to sell 41% of its Triton Knoll offshore wind farm to two Japanese utilities, namely Electric Power Development (25%), and Kansai Electric Power (16%). /


SNC-Lavalin and ABB form new JV company Linxon

Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin has partnered with Swiss technology company ABB to form a new joint venture (JV) company called Linxon.

Linxon will focus on the execution of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects for electrical AC substation projects related to renewable and conventional power generation, as well as power transmission and transportation solutions.

The new JV will be engaged in providing project design, engineering, procurement, construction, management, commissioning and after-sales support.

ABB Power Grids division president Claudio Facchin said: “Linxon will combine ABB’s technology leadership with SNC-Lavalin’s expertise in managing infrastructure projects to deliver enhanced customer value.

“This joint venture will help capture new business opportunities for both companies and reinforces our strategy of forging new alliances and business models, as part of the ABB Power Grids ‘Power Up’ transformation program.”

The intent to form a JV company was announced last December, with SNC-Lavalin holding a majority and controlling stake in the newly formed entity.

SNC-Lavalin Clean Power president Marie-Claude Dumas said: “We are delighted to join forces with ABB and bring together our respective strengths to deliver sustainable energy solutions for substations while providing value for customers through cost efficiencies and an enhanced delivery capability.” /


Silfab Solar to invest $40m in Itek’s solar facility in Washington

/ Canadian photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Silfab Solar is set to expand its manufacturing operations in the US with a direct investment in Itek’s Bellingham, Washington facility.

Reuters reported that the Canadian firm will invest $40m in the facility as part of the company’s strategy to meet growing demand for its solar panels in the US.

As part of this initiative, Silfab also plans to integrate its automation technology into Itek’s Bellingham, Washington facility and will add a second manufacturing line to more than double its PV module production.

Silfab COO and general manager Paolo Maccario said: “This is a marriage of highly similar and very compatible visions – to produce the highest-quality PV modules that consistently outperform competing products in efficiency, endurance and long-term power performance.

“Our products are already deployed in 33 states. A US operation will now enable us to meet additional demands and customer appetite for US-made solar modules.”

The investment will see the two entities in North America come together in the solar PV module manufacturing sphere.

Itek Energy has delivered more than 100MW built solar modules for home and business owners throughout the US.

Itek president and founding principal John Flanagan said: “Itek looks forward to an exciting future with expanded capabilities and greater automation.

“Silfab is a leader in North American solar PV manufacturing. We can’t think of a better partner to accelerate expansion within the US solar market to deliver leading-edge technological innovations.” /


ABB to upgrade world’s largest digital substation in Belarus

Swiss technology company ABB is set to upgrade an air insulated substation (AIS), built for the Belarus Ministry of Energy and its transmission utility Mogilevenergo.

The substation upgrade is expected to improve controllability and reliability, as well as reduce operating costs.

ABB will deliver protection and control equipment, an ABB Ability Micro supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system and a digital process bus. This will enable interoperable communication between vendors through Ethernet cables rather than copper wires.

Additionally, ABB will also deliver digitally enabled high-voltage products such as Fiber Optics Current Sensors (FOCS-FS) and Disconnecting Circuit Breakers (DCBs) to Riko, an engineering and procurement (EPC) company.

The Swiss technology company claims that its Ability-based technology will improve safety and security in the world’s largest digital substation.

ABB Grid Automation business head Massimo Danieli said: “ABB continues to be at the forefront of digital grid technology development with a range of digital products and software, substation automation, control and protection solutions, from the field to the boardroom.

“We are pleased to support Belarus’ digital substation, reinforcing our position as a partner of choice for a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

According to the company, digitalisation allows easy integration of IT and operational technology systems, which in turn enables operators at control centres to derive important insights in real time, thereby resulting in prevention of critical failures. /


Canadian Solar and ET Energy build two solar projects in South Africa

/ Solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Canadian Solar has established a joint venture (JV) with global clean energy developer ET Energy to offer engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for two solar projects, totalling 132MWp, in South Africa.

The solar power projects are being built for BioTherm Energy, an independent African power producer.

Located in northwest South Africa, the two solar projects – Aggeneys (46MWp) and Konkoonsies II (86MWp) – cover an area of 387 hectares.

The two facilities are Round IV projects of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

ET Energy president and CEO Dennis She said: “In partnership with Canadian Solar, BioTherm Energy, and other market leaders in South Africa, we have met all the requirements of the REIPPPP.

“With our South African subsidiary founded in 2016, and years of experience in project operation and EPC management, ET Energy will offer professional EPC and O&M services to utility-scale PV plants in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.”

Construction of the two solar power plants will begin next month, and the power plants will be connected to the grid by end of 2019 and early 2020.

For these projects, Canadian Solar will supply more than 400,000 1,500V high voltage modules, which will be installed on single-axis solar tracking systems.

Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Dr Shawn Qu said: “These projects are the first large-scale applications of our products in Africa’s high voltage market.

“We hope to set more benchmarks for the renewable energy market in South Africa with high-quality products, advanced PV technology, and global expertise.” /


Equinor explores floating wind farm for Gullfaks and Snorre oil fields

/ Norway-based energy company Equinor and partners at Gullfaks and Snorre oil fields in the North Sea are exploring options for drawing power from a floating offshore wind farm.

If the plan materialises, it could be the first time that an offshore wind farm is being directly linked to an oil and gas platform.

This project is expected to cut down CO2 emissions by more than 200,000t annually, equivalent to emissions from 100,000 vehicles.

Equinor carried out an extensive study to analyse which oil and gas installations on the North Sea Continental Shelf are best suited to be supplied with power from a floating offshore wind farm, with the Snorre and Gullfaks oil fields identified.

Equinor New Energy Solutions executive vice president Pål Eitrheim said: “Reducing the use of gas turbines by supplying platforms with power from floating offshore wind is a challenging and innovative project.

“It may also facilitate new industrial opportunities for Norway, Equinor and Norwegian supply industry within profitable renewable energy, while enabling oil and gas production with low CO2 emissions.

“The Hywind Tampen project is contributing to further developing floating offshore wind technology, reducing costs and making the solutions more competitive.”

The Norwegian company noted that the preliminary capital and development expenditures of the project could be around Nkr5bn ($598m).

Based on the floating offshore wind concept Hywind, Equinor is exploring the idea of building a wind farm with 11 wind turbines at 8MW each.

The wind farm is estimated to meet about 35% of the annual power requirement of the five Snorre A and B, and Gullfaks A, B and C platforms. When the wind speed is higher, this percentage will increase.

Equinor Norway Development and Production executive vice president Arne Sigve Nylund said: “In order to maintain profitable operations on the NCS [Norwegian Continental Shelf] in the long term, it is essential that we do our utmost to further reduce the carbon footprint from our activities.

“The Tampen project will make a considerable contribution to the industry’s ambition to reduce CO2 emissions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf by 2.5 million tonnes per year from 2020 to 2030.”

The industry’s NOx fund has confirmed it will offer NOK566m ($67m) investment support to the project.

Additionally, partners of the Snorre and Gullfaks oil fields are seeking project support from Enova’s programme for energy and climate measures. /


NTE Energy’s natural gas-fired power plant begins operations

/ NTE Energy’s (NTE) Kings Mountain Energy Center (KMEC), a 475MW natural gas-fired plant in Cleveland County, North Carolina, has officially commenced operations.

KMEC, which is a $500m facility, will have generation capacity to power more than 400,000 homes through long-term agreements with nine municipalities in North and South Carolina.

NTE Energy CEO Seth Shortlidge said: “We are extremely proud of this milestone, and offer our thanks and congratulations to everyone who had a hand in bringing this state-of-the-art facility to completion.

“We have enjoyed building long-lasting relationships with the City of Kings Mountain and our customers as we work to bring significant power cost savings and economic development opportunities to the Carolinas.”

During peak construction, KMEC created more than 500 jobs. The facility now employs 25 people to handle daily operations.

Earlier this year, NTE Energy’s first clean power plant began operations in Middletown, Ohio.

The natural gas-fuelled power plant was built with an investment of more than $600m and is capable of producing 475MW of electricity, sufficient to power 400,000 homes.

The Middletown facility uses natural gas to produce energy, as well as heat produced through the power-generation process, which otherwise would be wasted.

NTE’s second power plant in Rockingham County, North Carolina – Reidsville Energy Center – is currently under construction.

NTE is also planning to build its third energy centre in Anderson, South Carolina, as well as a solar energy centre in the eastern part of North Carolina. /


Huawei releases next-generation solution for smart grids in Paris

/ Chinese networking and telecomms equipment manufacturer Huawei has unveiled its next-generation universal transport solution for smart grids.

By integrating OTN, SDH, packet, PCM, and other technologies based on the MS-OTN architecture, Huawei’s next-generation universal transport solution will help electric power companies to build simple networks that can also cater to their future requirements.

According to Huawei, its new solution has been designed not only to address transmission bottlenecks in big data but also to add new vitality into optical networks.

Addressing a press conference held in conjunction with the CIGRE exhibition in Paris, Huawei Transport Network Product Line vice president Joe Zhou said: “The electric power industry has special requirements. For example, there are high transmission interface and performance requirements – including delay and jitter – associated with the transmission of relay protection signals on the power transmission and transformation network.

“After years of application, PCM devices with low-speed interfaces and SDH-based physical hard pipe technology have proven to be the most suitable technologies and cannot be replaced by other technologies. It is evident that the MS-OTN is the best solution for bandwidth acceleration and network value addition.”

Kenya Electricity Transmission chairman James Gordon Kwanya Rege, who shared technical trends and requirements for power transmission and transformation communications at the press conference, said that “electric power companies need a bandwidth solution that caters to long-term growth evolution and flexibility in capacity expansion.”

Rege added: “The OSN 1800 V, a next-generation smart grid universal transport flagship solution, not only supports immense bandwidth and MS-OTN features, but also innovatively integrates multiple functions such as the WDM, MPLS-TP, SDH, and PCM. This is a one-stop solution for complex power transmission and transformation.” /