The world of renewables this week

A new report from GWEC Market Intelligence shows that the offshore wind sector has grown 21% on average every year since 2013, taking its total installed capacity to 23 GW globally. GWEC sees potential for the sector to add between 190 GW and 200 GW by 2030. China is expected to become the largest offshore region globally.


Ocean Power Technologies has been awarded another US patent for its Power Take-Off System which part of the mechanical PB3 PowerBuoy. The Buoy floats and move independently from the whole spar, and that converts into a circular movement via a ball-screw which drives a generator. Really, something that simple has to be pre-existing surely. Wave power needs more than patent trolls, it needs some companies which actually create cheap renewable energy, or it will cease to remain interesting. The OPT system claims to have a mechanical efficiency of over 90, with 3 years between services and this takes its patent portfolio to 66 in the US of which 47 are active.

The Indian Railway system has issued a solar hybrid tender for 140 MW of solar-wind hybrid capacity. The project is to be spread across three states feeding electricity to three different zones of the Indian Railways. About 105 MW of the energy will be wind and the rest from solar. The Indian Railways want to have zero emissions by 2030.

Econet Global in Africa is planning to use 520 Tesla Powerwall 2 Lithium Ion batteries to cope with power outages at its telecom tower sites, following a 12 month trial. Each pair of Powerwalls hold 27 kWh of energy which will provide over 8 hours of backup power. Distributed Power Africa, a subsidiary of Econet Global will handle the installations in Kenya and Zimbabwe and it will use Tesla’s GridLogic aggregation, remote monitoring, and control platform.

Genera Electric has notified the California Energy Commission that it plans to shut down the Inland Empire natural gas generating facility in Riverside, California. It was only built ten years ago and should have had a 30 year life, which means that GE is writing off someone close to 66% of the $1 billion it cost to build the site. The problem seems to be that this design of turbine, the Series H, take too long to get up to power and to power down, which loses its biggest advantage over wind and solar. Last week was a record one for orders coming into its GE Aviation business, but the optimism around GE stock this caused, does not take into account its renewable energy and gas divisions, which are both shrinking fast.

Dubai likes to do things in style, and is now embarking on its 5 phase of the giant Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, adding 900 MW. Some 64 companies are thought to have bid on the project according to Gulf Today. The project is to be owned jointly with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and will start building in Q2 2021.

Ørsted is selling off its 40% ownership in the Kalundborg Bioenergi plant to Bigadan, who is now its sole owner. Ørsted has decided to drop biogas projects from its mostly renewables strategy going forwards. The deal also includes two upgrading nearby plants, which upgrade biogas to renewable natural gas.

The UK has a strange idea of how to conduct a climate emergency, it has ratified plans to build another airport at Heathrow, and now it has upped the VAT on home solar and batteries to a full 20% from 5%. There are exemptions for housing associations and people over 60. The European Commission was apparently instrumental in forcing the UK government’s hand on the VAT issue.

GreenTech Media offers a story of how a 375 MW solar farm is planned to pump water from the Ubangi River up four large 5 meter pipes a distance of 128 kilometers to the crest of the Chad basin where the water would flow by gravity for 1,000 kilometers down the Fala/Chari Rivers into Lake Chad, this reversing the slow drying up of this lake for the past 50 years, a source of bitter warfare and human suffering. Furthermore a 1000 MWh Lithium Ion battery would pump a smaller flow when the sun did not shine. It would take less than 5% of the Ubangi river and cost just $275 million. Money is now being raised.

Some 20 Democrats in the US Senate have called for an extension to the clean energy tax incentives, as expected. This includes the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the residential renewable energy tax credit. Now the Senate Finance Committee and Congress will decide if they go ahead or expire as previously planned.

Indian state Maharashtra, is planning to set up floating solar power plants on the reservoirs of four dams to bring 500 MW of new generating capacity. They are planned at Wardha, Bebala, Khadakpurna and Pentakli dams. Any company with a plan of how to go about this cheaply is encouraged to apply. There are often droughts in Maharashtra and the project is as much to reduce water losses as it is create energy, since 17% of the water is lost every year to evaporation.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said this week it has an 8 MW order for offshore wind turbines for Ørsted’s 900 MW Greater Changhua 1 & 2a Offshore Wind Farm In Taiwan. It will establish a nacelle assembly facility at Taichung Harbor, in Changhua County, to be operational by 2021.

Netherlands based clean energy developer Bluerise has been declared bankrupt by a court in Den-Haag. It has been operating in thermal energy conversion from the ocean, and has a long term project in Sri Lanka. The delays raising investment for this and other projects has meant it has run out of cash.

A survey of US voters show 80% of Americans believe that more should be done to protect the environment, and 76% want to cut home energy use to help, according to a report published this week from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC). The “Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation – Wave 7 report  takes in the proliferation of smart meters, the development of smart home technology and the increased importance of climate change in the national debate on leadership. Some 74% of consumers are interested in receiving bill credits for reducing home energy usage during peak demand.

According to a report out this week by GlobalData the global power generation projects pipeline is worth $4.46 trillion and Asia-Pacific dominates it with a project pipeline of $1.99 trillion, followed by the Middle East and Africa with projects valuing $960 billion. The Americas has power generation projects with a value of US$852.3 billion, while the pipeline for Europe is valued at US$739.5 billion. All of these projects together will provide an additional 2,450 GW of power capacity globally. As a single country China has the largest pipeline valued at $473.9 billion, followed by India with US$433.2 billion and the US at $365.5 billion. Asia-Pacific accounts for 77% of the pipeline of coal power projects.

NextEra Energy Partners has priced a $700 million of 4.25% senior unsecured notes due 2024 closed by the time you read this.