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2 May 2019

The world of renewables this week

The World Bank has approved $224.7 million to pay for African off-grid energy using solar in West Africa and the Sahel regions. This will include $150 million in credits and grants from the International Development Association (IDA) and a $74.7 million contingent recovery grant from the Clean Technology Fund. These off grid electricity funds hope to bring electricity to 1.7 million people. So far only 3% of households in West Africa and the Sahel are served by stand-alone solar home systems, and 208 million people in the sub-region do not have access to electricity.

The Green Climate Fund is to provide €46.2 million in funding for solar-based mini-grids for rural electrification in Mali where 80% of the population in the rural areas do not have access to electricity and until now all of this power comes from diesel generators. This project will reach 28,300 households across 50 locations and the government will own the systems.

UK battery operator Gresham House is looking to raise funds of £75 million with a share placement to see it through a 182 MW pipeline of battery storage projects. It says it is expected to close on a 5MW battery storage project in Wolverhampton in the coming weeks and then begin on a 50MW battery storage facility before the end of the year. It says it also has three additional projects totaling 127 MW of storage capacity close to signature. Gresham has already raised £100 million last November.

A snippet from BP’s accounts out this week said under the heading Alternative Energy that BP has stepped up ethanol equivalent production in Q1 to 14 million liters, from 7.6 last year, and that Wind Generation capacity was 1,001MW at 31 March 2019, compared with 1,432MW a year ago due to divestments in Q4 last year. BP generated 773GWh using wind compared with 1,217GWh for the same period in 2018. Lightsource BP launched its Green Energy Equity Fund, managed by its Indian joint venture, EverSource Capital, which is partnering with the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and CDC Group to invest a total of $330 million in Ayana Renewable Power. Ayana a utility scale solar and wind generation company in India.

JinkoSolar said it has secured new solar panel orders for 10.7GW in its first four months of 2019, setting a company and industry record. This included several large agreements for projects in Vietnam, Mexico and Spain. In Q1 Chinese installations declined rapidly but JinkoSolar expects that  demand to pick up in China in the second half of 2019.

Andrew Cuomo the Governor of New York has put $280 million into incentives to attract energy storage projects to New York’s state government and wants to get to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. This should support about 1.8 gigawatt-hours of additional storage by 2025 in residential, commercial and utility-scale.

The MidAmerican Energy Company achieved a new one-day wind generation record in Iowa for generating electricity that supplied its entire retail customers’ electric usage with renewable energy, generating 111,500 MWh of energy across the state. Its previous record was 106,000 MWh.

A new report from UK consultancy Arup has tried to imagine the energy mix by 2035. It said that some new nuclear plants will became operational in the late 2020s and offshore wind will grow rapidly and will hit the 10 GW mark in the early 2020s. The combined cycle gas turbine will still be on the grid, but mostly to provide flexibility and system balancing. There will be a tripling of installed solar and wind top between 50 GW and 77 GW compared to 27 GW today.

Green Mountain Power, which serves much of Vermont state in the US wants to be 100% renewable by 2030. It has always been a leader among the US energy providers. In 2017 it offered customers an install of a Tesla Powerwall residential battery for just $30 a month and networked them as distributed grid storage. Green Mountain plans an expansion of the residential storage battery program in partnership with Tesla and offer a $10,000 rebate for drivers who buy a new Nissan LEAF electric vehicle.

Q1 in Germany was a disastrous one for win power, with just 41 turbines outputting 134 MW installed, down 87% on this time last year, according to figures from consultancy FA Wind. This is attributed to the lowering price of solar and how auctions are no oversubscribed for solar, and undersubscribed for wind, partly because it is so tough to get an onshore permit to build and when it can be done it takes a long time and comes up against legal disputes. Offshore would be the answer, but Germany does not have a lot of coastline.