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14 September 2022

The world of renewables this week

France sent an emergence plea to the UK and Spain this week, after a huge trading error that has put the country’s electricity supply under threat. One of France’s regional energy providers has oversold its power over a two-day period this week, compounding issues caused by a number of outages at France’s nuclear reactors. The country has asked its neighbors to be ready to send as much electricity as possible.

India has finally submitted its updated nationally determined contribution to the Paris Agreement, pledging to redude the emissions intensity of its GDP to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. To date, there is no globally agreed benchmark to measure this type of target. This marks an increase from the target set out in 2015 of between 33% and 35% over the same timeframe and comes as part of plans to reach net zero emissions by 2070. The use of the GDP-related metric is unique, however, and does not guarantee that India will see absolute emissions fall at any point in the near-term future.

Vertical axis wind turbine maker SeaTwirl has signed a letter of intent with Westcon Yards to build and install 1 MW S2x prototype for testing at the company’s former North Sea fish farm site in 2023.

Member nations of the North Sea Energy Cooperation have set a target to have 260 GW of offshore wind capacity installed in their waters by 260 GW. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway, have said that 76 GW should be in operation by 2030, and 193 GW by 2040, with the North Sea providing 85% of the capacity towards the EU’s goal of having 300 GW of capacity installed by 2050.

Sweden’s Vattenfall has been forced to delay the restart of its 1,130 MW Ringhals 4 nuclear reactor by two months, further exacerbating the shortfall of power supply in the Nordic and Baltic region. The company has cited damage to the reactor’s pressure vessel during testing, which means that a full-size mock-up of the 12-meter structure will need to be built for training before repairs can take place.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has unveiled plans to build another massive hydrogen project – this time in Egypt. The 9.2 GW project will produce green hydrogen and ammonia, harnessing the country’s strong wind and solar resources, as well as its ideal location for becoming a hydrogen hub for Europe and the MENA region. It is expected that the project will house between 4.5 GW and 6.5 GW of electrolysis capacity once fully developed.

HydrogenPro, a provider of solutions for producing, storing, and distributing hydrogen from renewable energy sources, has received what is said to be the world’s largest electrolyzer at its test facility in Herøya, Norway. The electrolyzer, which was manufactured at HydrogenPro’s factory in Tianjin, China, is expected to have an output of 100 kg of green hydrogen per hour, which will set a new standard for the industry, the company claims.

World’s largest green hydrogen project has been announced in Texas, by local start-up Green Hydrogen International. The 60GW plant will be powered by wind and solar and use an on-site salt cavern for hydrogen storage. The aim of the company is to produce clean rocket fuel for Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The project will output 2.5 million tons of green hydrogen per year upon completion. Pipelines to the port cities of Corpus Christi and Brownsville on the Mexico border will carry the fuel to SpaceX’s Starbase.

The UK’s onshore wind pipeline has reached 37 GW in capacity – up 4 GW from this time last year – according to a report published by RenewableUK. While only 0.34 GW of capacity has come online over the past 12 month, the figures highlight a resurgence in the country’s onshore wind sector, with the pipeline including projects which are under construction, consented or in planning stages. The vast majority of projects are located in Scotland, accounting for 78% of the total pipeline. If all projects are built, the UK could have 34 GW of onshore wind capacity installed by the end of 2031.

Global wind turbine order intake has reached record levels in Q2 2022, according to Wood Mackenzie, citing a strong boost in Chinese activity. In total, 45 GW of orders were made, marking an increase of 36% against Q2 2021, and an estimated value of $18 billion. China is estimated to have accounted for 35 GW of the new orders, dwarfing the 3.8 GW of orders in Europe. Seven Chinese turbine companies made it into the top 10 OEMs for the quarter, with Envision, Mingyang, and Goldwind taking up the top three spots.

The Irish government will tax any excess profits of wind power generators, either as part of an EU-wide scheme expected for non-gas generators or as a “domestic mechanism.”

Japan’s 13th solar auction has resulted in only 14.3 MW awarded across 10 projects, out of a total 175 MW on offer. This was blamed on some general hindrances such as land availability and high module prices, but also on the specifics of the auction system – both the value of the Feed-in tariff payments, and the clarity of regulations. Japanese solar installs are stagnant, with other arrangements such as fixed-price PPAs picking up the slack left by the auction system.

India’s state owned SECI has launched a tender for 2,250 MW of renewable energy. However, this energy must be round-the-clock (RTC) and can be complemented with any other power source, not necessarily battery storage. SECI will enter a 25-year PPA with the winners.

Several renewable gigaprojects are under way in China, including a 10 GW pumped hydro storage base which has passed its feasibility study in Guanxi Province, the “Green Power to Beijing” 10 GW wind, solar, CSP and battery complex in Inner Mongolia which has had its framework agreement signed by Jingneng and local authorities, and lastly a 3 GW, $2.2 billion photovoltaic project has begun construction in Shapotou District, Ningxia.

TeraWatt Infrastructure in the US said this week it has secured $1 billion of institutional capital to support the buildout of its fleet-focused charging centers and operations. Funds managed by Vision Ridge Partners have invested in TeraWatt alongside existing investors Keyframe Capital and Cyrus Capital, both of which have increased their commitments to the company.

First Solar’s Vice-President and Managing Director for India, Sujoy Ghosh, has stated that the company will have more than 20 GW of production capacity by the end of 2025, with 10 GW already operational in Vietnam, Malaysia and the US to be joined by a new Indian factory, two new US factories, and expansion of an existing US facility.