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19 April 2019

The world of renewables this week

International regulators got together this week to establish a forum for sharing information on offshore wind. Regulators from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, the United Kingdom and the US met in New York. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) hosted the first meeting and is currently gearing up to allow multiple floating wind farms in California. It will now meet annually and the next meeting is in Denmark in 2020.

French energy company Engie and Japanese company Tokyo Gas have agreed to form a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to develop renewable energy projects in Mexico called Heolios EnTG and it will develop, finance, construct, own, operate and maintain six renewable energy projects there with a total of

898.7MW capacity, with four based on solar and two onshore wind, which will collectively power as many as 1.3 million Mexican households. The projects are located in Abril, Villa Ahumada, Tres Mesas 3, Tres Mesas 4, Trompezon and Calpulalpan.

Zambia has conducted a solar power auction and granted 3 consortiums a total of 120 MW capacity under its GET FiT program – none of them the largest international firms. Building Energy-Pele Energy, Globeleq-Aurora Power Solutions, and Innovent-CEC will each develop 2 separate 20 MW systems. Some will use bifacial panels and all will uses trackers. Two additional consortiums have named as reserves. The tariffs are between $0.03999 per kW and $0.048. Enel Green Power, Engie and Scatec Solar were among the bigger bidders that did not win out.

The UK Financial Times reports that fracking enthusiast Ineos said this week that unless the UK government relaxes its limit on earth tremors staying below 0.5 on the Richter scale it may pull out of fracking in the UK.

BayWa AG plans to put more cash into BayWa r.e. its renewable energy subsidiary through a capital increase. BayWa r.e. has built and marketed solar, wind power and biogas plants and produced €72 million in EBITDA, a large chunk of the Group’s €173 million. It said that it has a pipeline of orders of 10 gigawatts, with 660 MW scheduled for 2019.

Armin Ossola which operates the Baggersee Maiwald flooded gravel pit in Germany has built a 750 kW floating solar plant in Renchen, Baden-Württemberg. Armin Ossola uses most of the electricitym but about a third of it will be fed into the public grid and distributed directly by project partner Erdgas Südwest.

Mercom Capital Group’s Quarterly Solar Funding reports show funding,  including VC, public market, and debt in solar in Q1 2019 was $2.8 billion about 10% more than 2018. A year ago the industry was hit with tariffs, subsidy and installation cuts in China, and module oversupply. Global VC funding totaled $176 million compared to $161 million in 2018 and most of the money came as debt at $2.35 billion in 19 deals compared to $2.3 billion in 18 deals in 2018.

India’s Avaada Energy has secured $143 million in funding from various development banks to expand in India, Africa and Vietnam in solar where it hopes to build a total of 5 GW of energy.

Green Mountain Power in Vermont, US says it will push towards 100% carbon-free electricity by 2025 and to 100% renewables by 2030.

Sterling and Wilson Solar in India said it plans to take the company public raising $648 million at IPO. The firm is owned by its chairman and Shapoorji Pallonji and the company will get no proceeds from the listing. Not sure we’d want to invest that way, with all the money in and out.

Ethiopia plans to install 500 MW of solar, funded by the World Bank and the first 250MW round is approaching the final proposal stage with paperwork going out this week to potential bidders. RFPs go out in May to pre-qualified bidders.

UK-based solar specialist Solarcentury has sold a majority stake in a 200 MW solar project in Spain to an unnamed buyer. The project was made up of four 50-MW projects in Alcala de Guadaira in the Spanish region of Seville. Solarcentury Spain will start work building them this Summer and operate, manage and part own them. The UK company says it has a 5 GW pipeline of solar projects, including 500 MW in Spain.

In Estonia the government says it will not issue a building permit to the developer of a 600MW offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea. It seems that Russian financial links have been found in the project, so it cites national security concerns as its reason for refusal. The company that had the contract is Saare Wind Energy OU and it planned 100 turbines off the west coast of Saaremaa Island.

ChargeWheel in San Francisco plans to have 100 Energy Trailers by the end of 2019, to charge EV cars and bikes with fast DC charging. It has just landed $1 million in seed funding from Right Side Capital to get started and will borrow more money next year. ChargeWheel’s Energy Trailers are equipped with solar panels and 550KWh of energy storage.

US, Colorado based Solid Power said this week that Ford will take another investment in it as it tries to develop a solid state inorganic battery 2 to 3 times more dense than Lithium Ion. Solid is a spin-out of the University of Colorado and says it will be making first products this Summer. Solid took $20 million last year in a Series A round including Ford, Volta Energy Technologies, Hyundai, Samsung, Sanoh Industrial, Solvay Ventures and A123 Systems.

Aker Solutions has delivered a carbon capture to Twence’s waste to energy plant in Hengelo in the Netherlands, called Just Catch, part of a modular low cost range. Twence converts 1 million tons of waste to energy every year, and ran a public procurement process to find a carbon capture provider to eliminate CO2 from the output. The system has a capacity of 100,000 tons of CO2 a year and will be in operation by 2021. The CO2 is captured liquefied and then sold to CO2 users.