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24 June 2021

The world of renewables this week

Lightsource bp has acquired a series of project pipelines in Spain from Grupo Jorge’s energy arm which amount to 703MW of projects. Grupo Jorge is an important industrial group in Spain and one of the largest in Aragon, employing over 4200 people. This takes Lightsource bp projects pipeline to over 3GW in Spain.

Canadian renewables firm Boralex says it will double its installed capacity to 4.4 GW and hit an EBITDA of $800 top $850 million in the next five years. It operates mostly wind farms in Quebec, the US and France. It says this will yield cash flows of $240m to $260m by 2025. This represents a compound annual growth rate of between 9% to15%. It will grow capacity to 10GW to 12 GW by 2030, it says.

US utility PacificCorp has said it will add 3.25 GW of clean energy resources by 2024, plus transmission to connect them, in a new plan submitted to state regulators in Oregon. PacifiCorp’s has recently repowered its existing 1 GW wind fleet and added 1.15 GW in new wind resources. The largest of the projects are 1,641 MW of wind in Wyoming and 1,243 MW of solar in Utah.

South Carolina, US regulators have rejected Duke Energy’s IRP for the State saying that it needs to apply new pricing to its models and reconsider the competitiveness of renewables. The IRPs had too many additional gas plants, officials said.

Disappointingly Japan said this week it would offer $10 billion in financial aid for decarbonization projects in Asia, but sadly included gas fired power generation as part of this aid. It talked about “realistic” transitioning across 10 ASEAN countries. The support will include lending and investments from the Japanese public and private sector. And if it includes gas, it will also include LNG projects, which will eat most of the money, such as building receiving terminals. The Japanese government will have to block this.

Bloomberg reported this week that India’s NTPC, its largest power generator, has increased its target for renewable energy capacity to 60 GW by 2032, accelerating a shift away from coal.

A Massachusetts state judge has rejected Exxon Mobil bid to dismiss the legal action from state Attorney General Maura Healey, which accuses the oil company of misleading consumers and investors about its role in climate change. At some point the world is going to want to blame someone, and sue them for climate change, and this is shaping up to be the test case.

The IKEA and Rockefeller foundations are aiming to fund more than $10 billion of small-scale energy projects across the poorest regions on earth, lifting over 1 billion people out of energy poverty. With an initial injection of $500 million of risk capital each, the additional funds will likely come from international development agencies and institutional investors, targeting countries like India, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

Rolls-Royce has joined the ever-growing list of companies with plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The company will place a short-term focus on sustainable aviation fuel, while investing in long-term decarbonization technologies for its engines. All of the company’s new products will be compatible with net zero targets by 2030, according to the plan. Research and development spending on low carbon and net zero technologies to 75% of its total budget by 2025 from about 50% today – around £1 billion per year. In the aviation sector, Rolls-Royce largest segment, it plans to make all its commercial engines compatible to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) by 2023, with a 70% reduction in net emissions compared to conventional fuels.

Nigerian power company Egbin Power is planning to raise $1.18 billion in a bid to double its power generation to 3,000 MW, as it aims to export electricity to other West African countries. The company, which sells power through the West Africa Power Pool, is hoping to start with the construction of a second phase of its 1,320 MW gas-fired power plant by 2025. Although Nigeria has 13,000 MW of installed electricity-production capacity, only around 4,500 MW of this is transmitted to the grid daily, primarily due to dilapidated electricity transmission infrastructure.

Albania has officially launched its first tender for utility-scale onshore wind, with opportunities available for between 100 MW and 150 MW total capacity. Individual projects with a capacity of between 10MW and 75MW can apply, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is running the tender alongside the Albanian Ministry for Infrastructure and Energy. Developers are invited to submit their qualification submissions by mid-June 2022. The announcement of the successful bidders is expected in the first half of 2023.

The Australian Government has rejected the initial plans for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The $36 billion wind, solar, and hydrogen project, was set to have an initial capacity of 15 GW, with the potential to rise to 26 GW with the production of green hydrogen and ammonia for exports. The government had previously awarded the project fast-track approval status last September, but concerns remain surrounding its impact on internationally recognized wetlands and migratory bird species, largely due to the project’s enlargement and pipeline proposals. AREH is being developed by privately owned InterContinental Energy, renewables developer CWP Energy Asia, Vestas and a Macquarie Group fund.

Wind turbines have become the latest front of post-Brexit tensions between the UK and the EU, after Brussels raised concerns that the British wind industry is being unfairly favored for billions of pounds worth of government contracts. This follows the UK’s recently announced target that 60% of the supply chain for domestic wind projects should use UK-manufactured goods or services, up from around 50% today. Companies at particular risk of the bias include Spain’s Siemens Gamesa, France’s Total, and Denmark’s Orsted. The UK is likely to retain its position that there are no mandatory requirements for supply chains to use UK products, or any other type of mandatory targets, and that the 60% target it simply a call-to-action for domestic suppliers.

In the wake of the SNEC exhibition in Shanghai, China’s solar manufacturers have made a common front and refused to buy polysilicon priced at over $31 per kilogram. The months-long rise of polysilicon prices has finally reached its plateau. However, this has also been enabled by a depression of demand caused by the high polysilicon prices, which have seen module prices rise by as much as 18% worldwide.

Thailand’s National Petroleum Corporation (PTT) has announced it will invest $635 million in wind and solar power plants in India, China, and other places in Asia. This will be done via its subsidiary Global Power Synergy (GPSC), which will borrow the funds from PTT. The company has a goal to reach 30% renewable energy generation, up from the current 12%.

India’s solar tariffs have risen by at least 10% from last year’s record lows of around $27 per MWh. This is driven by a combination of rising Chinese module prices and the looming new Basic Customs Duty which India will impose in April, of 40% for modules and 25% for cells.

Michigan utility Consumers Energy has announced it plans to build 8 GW of solar by 2040, with renewables to account for 60% of its capacity by 2030. The utility will be able to abandon coal in 2025, 15 years earlier than was once planned, thanks to the new strategy.