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30 July 2020

The world of renewables this week

Of the $54 billion of approved economic stimulus funding that has been earmarked for clean energy across the globe – mostly in Europe – 19% has been set aside for hydrogen, according to BloombergNEF. Hydrogen is only behind electrified transportation in the amount of funding it is set to receive as part of the post-Covid economic recovery.                       

The Petra Nova carbon capture project has been cancelled in Texas. Capturing only a small fraction of the CO2 emissions from an oil recovery plant, low oil prices have made the process to expensive to sustain financially.

Northvolt has raised $1.6 billion to develop its lithium ion Gigafactories in Germany and Sweden, as well as investment in research industrialization and recycling. The company is currently in the construction process for its Swedish facility, which could have an annual output of up to 40 GWh, while another 20 GWh plant in Germany is in the permitting process, as part of a joint venture with Volkswagen.

Hydrogen will be a key part of meeting the UK’s net-zero target by 2050, according the country’s National Grid. “Hydrogen could be the solution to many of the hardest parts of the transition to net-zero, particularly in long-distance freight, shipping and heavy industry,” stated the ESO’s annual Future Energy Scenario’s report.

Germany’s additions for onshore wind have reached 507 MW for the first half of 2020, doubling that over the same period in 2019.

New gas-fired power is not needed in Australia, according to grid operator Aemo. In the company’s integrated system plan, it states that renewable energy may be able to supply up to 90% of power by 2035, and that the role of gas will fall rapidly as more hydropower and batteries come online.

Wind installations in China have dropped by 30% in the first half of 2020, with fingers pointed at Covid-19. 6,320 MW has been installed between January and June this year, down from 9,090 MW over the same period in 2019.

The UK’s National Grid has stated that the UK’s electricity system could be carbon negative as early as 2033, with the inclusion of 30 million electric vehicles and 8 million ground source heat pumps to replace gas boilers. Up to 2050, the ESO expects at least 3 GW of new wind power capacity as well as 1.4 GW of solar each year, although a large part of its plan has placed importance on bioenergy with speculative carbon capture technology.

Brazilian power generation company Eneva has put in a $1.44 billion bid to acquire a majority stake in utility AES Tiete.

Amazon Web Services has announced a multi-year partnership with New Zealand utility Vector, to develop its New Energy Platform (NEP). The platform initially aims to provide an IoT-based analytics solution for the country’s energy sector, to facilitate the integration of distributed energy resources and efficiency improvement in the country’s electricity system.

Entergy has published its second quarter results for 2020, with adjusted earnings rising from $420 million to $506 million compared to the same period in 2019.

The Virtual Power Plant market is set to reach a global value of $5.9 billion by 2027, according to Valuates Reports. The group has identified that the current market size for VPPs is at $1.3 billion, with growing penetration of renewable generation and changes in grid dynamics set to cause a CAGR of 21.3% over the next 7 years.

Kiwi Energy Partners has partnered with Ampion to offer community solar to Ampion’s New York customers.

The value of the concentrating solar power (CSP) market is set to rise at a CAGR of 16.4% up to 2025, according to MarketsAndMarkets. In a report released this week, research identifies the current market size at $3.5 billion, which will rise to $7.6 billion in five years’ time.

Enel has published strong financial results for the first half of 2020, with a 5.6% increase in net ordinary income compared to H1 2019, posting a net income figure of €2,405 million. The group has however seen an 18.5% dip in revenues, due to lower volumes of electricity being sold in Italy and Spain through the Covid-19 outbreak. This has caused a knock-on effect to EBITDA (down 2.9%). Net debt has risen by 11.6% as a result of the acquisition of equity interests in Enel Americas and Enel Chile.

Western Australia, a state that takes little enough interest in green energy, such that it doesn’t have a renewable energy target, will nonetheless invest $40 million into rooftop solar power for schools, buses and railway stations. Nine battery installations will be seen and ten schools will form virtual power plants.

Repsol and Grupo Ibereolica Renovables, two Spanish companies, have partnered 50-50 on a new Joint Venture in Chile, which will have 52% wind and 48% solar assets. Besides 188 MW under construction or operation, the group has 1.5 GW in advanced development for 2025, and another 1 GW planned for the end of the decade.

Ormat Technologies has acquired the 20 MW / 80 MWh Pomona battery storage facility in California, which has been operational since 2015.

The Zhangbei-Xiong 1000 kV UHV AC transmission line has been completed in China, leading 436 kilometers south from Zhangjiakou to the Xiongan New Area, one of China’s ‘millennium green cities’. The line will transmit 7,000 GWh of clean energy each year.

The Philippines’ National Irrigation Administration is considering investment into floating solar on the Casecnan and the Pantabangan dams.