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25 May 2022

The world of renewables this week

UK energy regulator Ofgem has announced plans to increase the energy price cap for consumer bills by 42%. The cap currently sits at £1,971 per month, and will rise to around £2,800 from October, marking the largest increase since the cap’s outset in 2014. Ofgem also announced that it hopes to review the cap once every three months, rather than the six month frequency that is currently followed.

Siemens Energy has launched its long-awaited bid of $4.3 billion to take full control of its wind turbine venture Siemens Gamesa, building on its current 67% stake. Like its competitors, Siemens Gamesa has struggled to turn a profit over recent quarters, struggling with sharp increases in the cost of steel and other turbine materials, which it is often unable to pass on to customers due to long-term contracts signed when prices were cheaper.

The USA has installed a record amount of renewable energy for the first quarter of the year, adding 6.62 GW of onshore wind, solar and storage – an 11.5% increase from last year. New battery storage, up 173% to 758 MW, as well as new solar power, up 11% to 3 GW, was able to offset a 3% dip in onshore wind installations, which fell to 2.86 GW.

GWEC has released a report highlighting that 104 GW of wind power capacity was installed in 2021. The report found that 30 turbine makers installed 29,234, with Vestas taking a leading 17.7% of the new turbine capacity.

The cost of blue hydrogen production is now 36% higher than the UK Government estimated in 2021, according to research from IEEFA. The report highlights that continued investment in blue hydrogen, made using natural gas and carbon capture technologies, would deepen the country’s dependency on gas, leaving it exposed to gas price volatility and supply uncertainty.

 

TotalEnergies has acquired 50% of the Clearway Energy Group (CEG) for $1.6 billion in cash plus a minority interest in the part of TotalEnergies which owns over half of US residential solar firm SunPower. It says this is the 5th US renewable energy player, from Global Infrastructure Partners. CEG is a developer of renewables projects and owns 42 % of subsidiary, Clearway Energy into which projects are dropped when they reach commercial operation which has 7.7 GW of renewables assets in operation and a 25 GW pipeline. This takes TotalEnergies’ US renewable portfolio beyond 25 GW.

Commodity trader Singapore’s Trafigura has partnered Palantir Technologies to build a technology services platform to help automate carbon emissions calculations and reporting, and collaboration across supply chains. The idea is make emissions transparent across an entire supply chain. Palantir will configure its Foundry operating system to provide an accurate calculation of carbon intensity beginning with crude oil and refined products, and concentrates and refined metals.

Southern California Edison (SCE) has approved five new energy storage contracts – totaling some 497 MW of capacity which it will trade through CAISO, California’s grid.  The California Public Utilities Commission has specified some 2,000 MW of energy storage by 2023, 6,000 MW more

by 2024, then 1,500 MW more in 2025, and 2,000 MW in 2026. SCE was to provide 3,948 MW of that with 687 MW online by August  next year.

The two largest go to Tenaska/Falcon Energy, with the Condor project bringing 200 MW online, and the Peregrine project bringing a further 100 MW, with 82 MW from AES (Alamitos BESS II) and 75 from LS Power’s Gateway project. Finally the Calpine Santa Ana III projects adds 40 MW. They are al for four hours and contracted for upwards of ten years.

There is an increasingly likelihood that the EU will not ban Russian oil, because of its own regulations that demand a unanimous vote for such a move. This is because Hungary’s promise to veto the plan, but also other countries still unsure if they can survive on what oil they can buy from other sources, given that the EU has not put up any money to help it or other East European countries.

The Bank of England has warned than UK banks may incur £340 billion in climate-related losses by 2050, after it applied stress tests to UK’s 7 biggest lenders finances. It said the companies will suffer a surge in loan and mortgage defaults, investment losses and climate-related lawsuits, equivalent to 10% to 15% of their annual profits. Last week a high ranking HSBC executive Stuart Kirk was outed by a UK newspaper for openly downplaying climate risks.

Leading European hydro player Statkraft has signed terms with FREYR the European battery maker to supply renewable energy to its planned battery manufacturing in Mo i Rana, Norway from 2024-2031. Statkraft commits to providing up to 23 MW consistent baseload with an accumulated delivery of 1.4 TWh over the contract period.

Vistra the owner of the largest battery installation in the world at Moss Landing, still has an appetite for more energy storage, and has placed its

DeCordova Energy Storage Facility in Granbury, Texas online, releasing its 260 MW of energy into the ERCOT Texas grid. It is the sconed of new zero-carbon projects Vistra is bringing online in Texas over the next few years spending over $1 billion.

 

King Kong Glass has shipped its first 700W+ heterojunction solar modules, destined for a power generation comparison project with Mono PERC modules at a site in Jiuquan, Gansu Province, China. The company claims an average cell efficiency of 24.9% from the output of its 1.2 GW production line which was fully commissioned in March.

China’s National Photovoltaic and Energy Storage Demonstration Experimental Platform is bidding for cadmium-telluride thin-film manufacturing equipment. As things stand First Solar in the US is the only significant CdTe manufacturer, with the minor CdTe companies all also being located in the West. Multiple Chinese companies are interested in the alternative photovoltaic semiconductor, but are still in the stage of building pilot lines.

French hydropower utility Compagnie national du Rhone has launched a solar development subsidiary, Solarhona, which is intended to develop 1 GW by 2030. This will consist of up to 4 MW size floating, ground-mounted, and C&I rooftop projects.

Ireland has awarded 1.5 GW of solar capacity in its second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction – the first was held in 2020, awarding 796 MW of solar. Compared to the first auction, strike prices have risen from $73 per MWh to $104 per MWh. Most of the awarded projects are in the 4 MW to 10 MW size, with the largest being 100 MW.

The Municipal People’s Government of Guangyuan City, in China’s mountainous Sichuan province, has stated that “hybrid water-solar” capacity will reach 2 GW by 2025. It’s unclear how much of this will be floating and how much on platforms above the water. Most of China’s solar capacity on water is built on platforms a meter or two above the shallow lakes of the eastern flatlands in “solar-fisheries” but in Sichuan the location will be hydropower reservoirs. Guanyuan is populated by only 2.3 million people, and the prefecture-level city also has a 1 GW rooftop solar target for 2025

A US Department of Energy report on perovskites states that existing solar module test regimens may be unsuited for the new photovoltaic semiconductor – needlessly harsh in some aspect while failing to fully address potential failure modes in other aspects – and that this is just one barrier to widespread commercialization. Other challenges include cost-effective deposition methods that can scale beyond the laboratory, securing finance with low interest rates, and the cost declines which will return to existing silicon PV once the polysilicon shortage has eased.

 

TotalEnergies has acquired 50% of the Clearway Energy Group (CEG) for $1.6 billion in cash plus a minority interest in the part of TotalEnergies which owns over half of US residential solar firm SunPower. It says this is the 5th US renewable energy player, from Global Infrastructure Partners. CEG is a developer of renewables projects and owns 42 % of subsidiary, Clearway Energy into which projects are dropped when they reach commercial operation which has 7.7 GW of renewables assets in operation and a 25 GW pipeline. This takes TotalEnergies’ US renewable portfolio beyond 25 GW.

Commodity trader Singapore’s Trafigura has partnered Palantir Technologies to build a technology services platform to help automate carbon emissions calculations and reporting, and collaboration across supply chains. The idea is make emissions transparent across an entire supply chain. Palantir will configure its Foundry operating system to provide an accurate calculation of carbon intensity beginning with crude oil and refined products, and concentrates and refined metals.

Southern California Edison (SCE) has approved five new energy storage contracts – totaling some 497 MW of capacity which it will trade through CAISO, California’s grid.  The California Public Utilities Commission has specified some 2,000 MW of energy storage by 2023, 6,000 MW more

by 2024, then 1,500 MW more in 2025, and 2,000 MW in 2026. SCE was to provide 3,948 MW of that with 687 MW online by August  next year.

The two largest go to Tenaska/Falcon Energy, with the Condor project bringing 200 MW online, and the Peregrine project bringing a further 100 MW, with 82 MW from AES (Alamitos BESS II) and 75 from LS Power’s Gateway project. Finally the Calpine Santa Ana III projects adds 40 MW. They are al for four hours and contracted for upwards of ten years.

There is an increasingly likelihood that the EU will not ban Russian oil, because of its own regulations that demand a unanimous vote for such a move. This is because Hungary’s promise to veto the plan, but also other countries still unsure if they can survive on what oil they can buy from other sources, given that the EU has not put up any money to help it or other East European countries.

The Bank of England has warned than UK banks may incur £340 billion in climate-related losses by 2050, after it applied stress tests to UK’s 7 biggest lenders finances. It said the companies will suffer a surge in loan and mortgage defaults, investment losses and climate-related lawsuits, equivalent to 10% to 15% of their annual profits. Last week a high ranking HSBC executive Stuart Kirk was outed by a UK newspaper for openly downplaying climate risks.

Leading European hydro player Statkraft has signed terms with FREYR the European battery maker to supply renewable energy to its planned battery manufacturing in Mo i Rana, Norway from 2024-2031. Statkraft commits to providing up to 23 MW consistent baseload with an accumulated delivery of 1.4 TWh over the contract period.

Vistra the owner of the largest battery installation in the world at Moss Landing, still has an appetite for more energy storage, and has placed its

DeCordova Energy Storage Facility in Granbury, Texas online, releasing its 260 MW of energy into the ERCOT Texas grid. It is the sconed of new zero-carbon projects Vistra is bringing online in Texas over the next few years spending over $1 billion.

King Kong Glass has shipped its first 700W+ heterojunction solar modules, destined for a power generation comparison project with Mono PERC modules at a site in Jiuquan, Gansu Province, China. The company claims an average cell efficiency of 24.9% from the output of its 1.2 GW production line which was fully commissioned in March.

China’s National Photovoltaic and Energy Storage Demonstration Experimental Platform is bidding for cadmium-telluride thin-film manufacturing equipment. As things stand First Solar in the US is the only significant CdTe manufacturer, with the minor CdTe companies all also being located in the West. Multiple Chinese companies are interested in the alternative photovoltaic semiconductor, but are still in the stage of building pilot lines.

French hydropower utility Compagnie national du Rhone has launched a solar development subsidiary, Solarhona, which is intended to develop 1 GW by 2030. This will consist of up to 4 MW size floating, ground-mounted, and C&I rooftop projects.

Ireland has awarded 1.5 GW of solar capacity in its second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction – the first was held in 2020, awarding 796 MW of solar. Compared to the first auction, strike prices have risen from $73 per MWh to $104 per MWh. Most of the awarded projects are in the 4 MW to 10 MW size, with the largest being 100 MW.

The Municipal People’s Government of Guangyuan City, in China’s mountainous Sichuan province, has stated that “hybrid water-solar” capacity will reach 2 GW by 2025. It’s unclear how much of this will be floating and how much on platforms above the water. Most of China’s solar capacity on water is built on platforms a meter or two above the shallow lakes of the eastern flatlands in “solar-fisheries” but in Sichuan the location will be hydropower reservoirs. Guanyuan is populated by only 2.3 million people, and the prefecture-level city also has a 1 GW rooftop solar target for 2025

A US Department of Energy report on perovskites states that existing solar module test regimens may be unsuited for the new photovoltaic semiconductor – needlessly harsh in some aspect while failing to fully address potential failure modes in other aspects – and that this is just one barrier to widespread commercialization. Other challenges include cost-effective deposition methods that can scale beyond the laboratory, securing finance with low interest rates, and the cost declines which will return to existing silicon PV once the polysilicon shortage has eased.