RECENT UPDATES

  • New England offshore wind developers submit uniform layout proposal to the U.S. Coast Guard

    Five leaseholders support a uniform 1×1 nm turbine layout across all seven lease areas in the region The five New England offshore wind leaseholders — Equinor, Mayflower Wind, Ørsted/Eversource, and Vineyard Wind — announced a uniform turbine layout proposal submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard with 1 nautical mile (nm) spacing between wind turbines. The companies issued the following joint statement: “In response to feedback from key stakeholders, we have proposed to adopt a uniform turbine layout across our adjacent New England lease areas.  This uniform layout has subsequently been proposed to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for its review. This uniform layout is consistent with the requests of the region’s fisheries industry and other maritime users.  The proposed layout specifies that turbines will be spaced 1 nautical mile (nm) apart, arranged in east-west rows and north-south columns, with the rows and columns continuous across all New ...

  • New Berkeley Lab report quantifies the drivers of wholesale power price changes

    Wholesale electricity prices have fallen dramatically in most organized markets in the United States over the last decade, largely due to a steep reduction in the price of natural gas. But growth in wind and solar generation, fairly flat trends in electrical load, and new natural-gas power plant additions have also played a role. A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab analyzes the drivers of price changes using two approaches. First, price dynamics between 2008 and 2017 are assessed using a supply curve model. Second, hourly wholesale prices at more than 60,000 pricing nodes are used to highlight the impacts of wind, solar, and other factors on geographic and temporal pricing patterns. The report, The Impact of Wind, Solar, and Other Factors on Wholesale Power Prices: An Historical Analysis—2008 through 2017, finds that falling natural gas prices were the dominant driver of overall market-wide average price drops, reducing average annual wholesale price...

  • Siemens CEO seeks to shake up conglomerate with energy spinoff

    By Oliver Sachgau and Eyk Henning, Bloomberg Siemens AG aims to shed about 75% of its struggling power and gas unit in one of the most radical moves to date by Chief Executive Joe Kaeser to untangle the sprawling conglomerate and try to boost its valuation. The Munich-based industrial giant wants to “massively deconsolidate” the division to make the parent company more manageable and less risky, Kaeser said in an interview. “I do expect a big majority from shareholders to spin off the energy business,” he said. “Over time, it could be all the way down to somewhere around 25% plus one” share. With this stake size, in what was once a flagship operation, the parent company would still be able to block major strategic decisions. Siemens unveiled a broad plan in May to list most of power and gas, and still needs investor approval. Kaeser’s comments reveal details on the move that could prove to be the cornerstone of his strategy to break apart Europe...

  • Building on hydro’s strengths to integrate solar, microgrid into a portfolio

    Southern Company has taken a unique approach to integrating its work with solar farms and microgrids into its existing generating portfolio and plant personnel, and hydro general manager Herbie Johnson shared it with POWERGEN International attendees Tuesday. During his presentation – entitled Killing Two Birds with One Stone: Saving Money, Attracting Talent by Wrapping Solar, Microgrids into the Hydro Portfolio – Johnson explained that Southern Company operates 30 hydroelectric plants, including one pumped-storage facility, with a total capacity of 2,452 MW. And the company is in the midst of a $1.8 billion capex modernization plan for Southern Company’s hydro plants. This plan is targeting more efficient runners with turbine replacements. Johnson says this will help them “manage the water smarter,” with a goal of minimizing cavitation and required O&M for the long term. Other modernization work being performed includes generator rewinds, spillway gate replacements...

  • #POWERGEN19 International puts a spotlight on hydrogen in the power industry

    On Tuesday during POWERGEN International, representatives from Clarion Energy, Ansaldo, NEL Hydrogen and MAN Energy Solutions discussed the future role of hydrogen in the power industry at a session sponsored by the Italian Trade Agency. The future is very bright, according to the speakers. Jeff Benoit with Ansaldo Energia showed the attendees how hydrogen can be used in gas turbines to produce energy, which is something that Ansaldo client Dow Chemical is doing with the left-over hydrogen it produces from its manufacturing processes. Benoit also explained the difference between green hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced with renewable energy, blue hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced from natural gas through steam reformation and black hydrogen, which is produced with synthetic gas derived from coal. Following Benoit’s focus on turbines, Steve Szymanski with Nel Hydrogen stepped up to the podium to show the audience how his company’s proton exchange membrane (PEM) electr...

  • Germany could face power shortages if onshore wind grows too slow

    By Brian Parkin and William Wilkes, Bloomberg Germany’s onshore wind crisis, which is already cutting into company profits and costing jobs, may also begin to weaken defenses against blackouts. That’s the conclusion of analysts who see electricity risks mounting in Europe’s biggest economy, where construction of new onshore wind parks has dropped to a standstill because of a flood of environmental complaints. German industry will need new power sources in coming years to ensure security of supply as coal and nuclear stations are decommissioned. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is trying to coordinate the shutdown of thermal plants with a build-up of clean power to avoid potential supply shortages, said McKinsey & Co. Senior Partner Thomas Vahlenkamp. But that “entails pushing ahead with reaching clean energy targets — especially turning around stalled onshore wind,” he said. Coal power will start to come offline next year and Germany for...

  • New policy could slow solar and wind power development in Mexico

    By Justin Villamil, Bloomberg Mexico’s president is upending a system to encourage renewable-power development, dealing another blow to efforts to attract private investment to the nation’s energy sector. The government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is changing rules for clean-energy credits, allowing aging hydroelectric dams operated by Mexico’s state-owned utility to qualify. The move, critics say, dilutes the value of credits initially intended for new wind and solar farms. It’s the latest step by the leftist Lopez Obrador administration creating uncertainty for investors pushing to do business in Mexico. In February, the government canceled a power auction expected to draw energy titans including Italy’s Enel SpA and France’s Engie SA. And for months, the administration locked horns with billionaire Carlos Slim’s company over natural gas pipelines. The changes to clean-energy credits are “a blow to prospects for private investment in what had been ...

  • World Energy Outlook ’19 paints bleak picture for global energy future

    The World Energy Outlook 2019, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) flagship publication, has identified deep disparities in today’s energy world. The report delves into the dissonance between well-supplied oil markets and growing geopolitical tensions and uncertainties, the gap between increased emissions and the insufficiency of stated policies to curb those emissions in line with international climate targets, as well as the gap between the promise of energy for all and the lack of electricity access for 850 million people around the world. As ever, decisions made by governments remain critical for the future of the energy system. This is evident in the divergences between World Energy Outlook (WEO) scenarios that map out different routes the world could follow over the coming decades, depending on the policies, investments, technologies and other choices that decision makers pursue today. Together, these scenarios seek to address a fundamental issue – how to get ...

  • End of the Residential FIT in Japan. Post FIT RECs go to RE100 Companies

    Prior to launching a nationwide Feed-in tariff (FIT) program in 2019, Japan implemented various solar incentive schemes, including a Surplus PV generation Purchase program from residential solar photovoltaic (PV) owners. The Japanese government launched this program in fall 2009 and required the nation’s large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to purchase excess electricity from PV systems (below 10 kW) owned by homeowners at a fixed, premium rate of 48 yen/kWh (~54 US cents/kWh) for the duration of 10 years. 2019 marks the end for those who enrolled in this program 10 years ago. According to the nation’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), by the end of this year, the IOUs will stop purchasing excess electricity from 2 GW worth of PV systems owned by 530,000 homes in Japan. And that number will increase to over 1.65 million homes (or 6.7 GW of PV systems) by 2023. Image: Japan Post-FIT Residential Systems (Cumulative), Source: METI Post-FIT Programs b...

  • Top 5 takeaways from POWERGEN Europe

    In a strange twist of events, POWERGEN Europe (PGE) took place in Paris the week just prior to POWERGEN International. Normally, the events would be separated by at least a month but this year they fell back-to-back. While the timing could be better for exhibitors and attendees who normally go to both events, on the other hand, putting them side by side allows for a nice compare and contrast of the two large energy markets. So here are some key takeaways that we observed at POWERGEN Europe. Europe is embracing the energy transition. At PGE the conversation is all about the “energy transition.” It seems that all of Europe embraces the fact that the world is indeed transitioning from a system that was powered by large centralized fossil-fuel based energy plants to smaller, decentralized renewable energy power plants. Educational sessions focused on how to get to 100 percent renewables without destabilizing the energy supply, monetizing flexible energy solutions and where gas...

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