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Sif, KCI and Smulders seek to revive tripod offshore wind foundation

Wind Power Monthly - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 13:21
Engineers believe tripod foundation could prove competitive as fixed-bottom wind farms move into deeper waters
Categories: Wind Power

JinkSolar building $500 million ingot and wafer facility in Vietnam

Renewable Energy News - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 13:00

JinkSolar, one the world's largest manufacturers of solar modules, has begun construction on a $500 million monocrystalline ingot and wafer manufacturing facility in Vietnam.

The facility will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 7 GW and will be operational in the first quarter of 2022. The company said the new facility will provide additional content for modules assembled in Jacksonville, Florida.

"The decision to build a facility in Vietnam is one component of our strategy to ensure the long-term stability of our global supply chain," JinkoSolar General Manager Nigel Cockroft said in a statement. "We expect demand for clean energy to continue to accelerate over the next few years and will continue to optimize our global supply chain management to ensure the steady supply of premium modules to our customers."

Both of Jacksonville, Florida's representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives cheered the announcement by JinkoSolar.

"This country needs a smart approach to energy policy, and Jacksonville-based JinkoSolar US is providing good, high-paying jobs in a state-of-the-art solar facility," said Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL).  "I congratulate them on their efforts to provide a U.S. supply chain which increases business certainty and ensures JinkoSolar US will continue to flourish in Jacksonville."

"I am proud to have a leader in renewable energy in my own backyard, employing hundreds of Floridians at its facility," said Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL). "With this new $500 million announcement, JinkoSolar US is clearly committed to a supply chain that helps realize the energy goals of the Biden Administration."

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Vestas receives 250MW wind turbine order in Russia

Wind Power Monthly - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 11:00
Danish manufacturer signs turbine supply deal for projects Fortum and Rusnano joint venture won at auction in 2017
Categories: Wind Power

Goldwind secures wind turbine orders for 600MW-plus in Ukraine

Wind Power Monthly - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 10:50
With two large Ukrainian orders for GW 155 platform, Chinese OEM's market share in the country reaches 20%
Categories: Wind Power

L’Oreal achieves carbon-neutrality across US operations

Renewable Energy News - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 09:51

French-headquartered beauty products company L’Oreal has reached carbon neutrality for scopes 1 and 2 emissions across its facilities in the US.

L’Oreal made the announcement during the Climate Week NYC that its 25 facilities including manufacturing, distribution, administrative and research, and innovation sites across 12 states in the US are now carbon neutral.

The milestone has been achieved four years ahead of schedule and is in line with the group’s strategy to achieve carbon-neutrality across its global facilities by 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

Stéphane Rinderknech, President & CEO, L’Oréal USA, said: “…more than 2 out of every 3 products we sell in the United States are manufactured here. Our customers can be proud their products are made in facilities that use 100% renewable energy. While we are proud of these achievements, we know this is not enough to meet the moment we are in today and must push ourselves ever farther to meet the climate crisis head-on.” 

The milestone has been achieved owing to a series of green projects deployed since 2005, including:

1) Energy Optimization: The company implemented a number of energy efficiency projects to reduce energy consumption at its sites, including installing LED lighting and high-efficiency air compressors and vacuum pumps. Some of the projects were implemented as part of the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings, Better Plants program, which enabled L’Oreal to utilize performance measurement tools, energy analytics, and experts to identify new opportunities for energy savings.

2) Direct Renewable Energy Projects: As a result, 70% of the company’s facilities have on-site clean energy projects. The firm built a 1.4MW solar facility at its Florence Haircare manufacturing facility by installing 4,140 solar panels. The project is the largest commercial solar array in Kentucky and the largest worldwide by tonnage produced.

3) Locally Sourced Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): RECs secured by the firm have been generated by wind, hydro, and solar power projects in the states of California, Florida, and New York. However, the RECs are attributable to local or semi-local renewable energy projects close to L’Oreal’s sites to encourage renewable energy expansion in local communities.

4) Renewable Natural Gas (RNG): L’Oreal is procuring renewable natural gas to meet its onsite gas and water heating needs from projects across Texas and New York. These projects capture and convert methane produced from the natural decomposition of organic materials into renewable natural gas.

L’Oréal uses onsite gas for space and water heating. To address the company’s gas usage, L’Oréal USA sites procure RNG from landfill gas projects in Texas and New York that capture and convert methane produced from the natural decomposition of organic materials. These projects turn an otherwise wasted resource into pipeline-quality RNG that displaces the use of fossil-based natural gas.

L’Oréal has been recognized as the only company in the world to have obtained, for the fifth year in a row, a Triple ‘A’ rating from the CDP on all three major issues: protecting the climate, managing water sustainably and the fight against deforestation.

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AltaRock clears hurdle in quest for ‘next generation’ geothermal resource

Renewable Energy News - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 09:43

AltaRock Energy, an enhanced geothermal systems firm, is showcasing results of a technical and economic feasibility study, which the company says paves the way for the development of the first SuperHot Rock geothermal resource in the U.S.

Details of the study — conducted through a collaboration between Baker Hughes and the University of Oklahoma — will be released at the World Geothermal Conference, among other events, next month. The analysis determined an engineered geothermal system in SuperHot Rockresources (>400 °C>) could cut in half the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) when compared to a conventional EGS resource target (200-300°C).

The study also determined that SuperHot Rock geothermal could produce 5-10 times higher energy density per well with 1/10 the water requirements and surface area.

“The next generation of geothermal power, SuperHot Rock geothermal, will require development of engineered reservoirs in deep basements where hotter ‘supercritical’ temperatures can yield up to 10 times more energy than a conventional geothermal well,” said Geoff Garrison, vice president of research and development at AltaRock. “Once proven in the field, SuperHot Rock geothermal resources will ultimately provide competitively priced, carbon-free power to far greater markets than can currently be reached by affordable geothermal power.”

AltaRock Energy anticipates formal demonstration of the first SHR EGS well system by 2025 at Newberry Volcano near Bend, Oregon, followed by commercial development by 2030.

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Last week, the U.S. Dept. of Energy announced $12 million in funding for seven research projects to advance the commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems as part of the Biden administration’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The selectees include:

  • Cornell University: $2.3 million
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: $1.7 million
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology: $2.3 million
  • Montana State University: $1.5 million
  • Oklahoma State University: $1.0 million
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park: $1.0 million
  • University of New Mexico: $2.0 million

“Tapping into geothermal energy — a clean and reliable energy source underneath our feet that is available in all corners of this country — is a key part of our plan to expand and diversify America’s clean energy market,” Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement. “The ground-breaking solutions we’re anticipating from the selected national laboratory and university research teams will help America achieve a clean energy economy while creating good-paying jobs and bolstering America’s energy workforce.”

DOE believes geothermal power generation could increase 26-fold, adding 60 GW of clean energy by 2050, with improved technology.

The U.S. leads the world in geothermal electricity generation with seven states producing 17 billion kWH, according to the Energy Information Agency. Geothermal electricity makes up .4% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation.

Utility-scale solar PV pushes into higher AC voltages

Renewable Energy News - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 09:00

By Allen Austin, ABB Inc.

The evolution of high-efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) string inverters is driving a shift toward higher AC voltages in utility-scale solar applications. Using string inverters in solar plants rated at 20 megawatts and below can be extremely beneficial.  With output voltages now as high as 1000VAC, the same amperages will yield higher output power levels.

Solar PV string inverters were initially used primarily in residential and commercial building applications up to 1MW in size. This was limited to traditional AC voltages of 120VAC single phase and 480VAC three phase. String inverters are well suited to rooftop solar applications due to their relatively small size and ease of installation for inverters rated 100KW and below. So, string inverters could be easily connected to standard building cabling and existing rated wiring. 

Benefits of going to higher voltage

A typical string inverter rated 100KW at 480VAC will yield approximately 208amps. New string inverters rated 100KW at 1000VAC will yield approximately 100amps. This reduction in amperage reduces heat in cabling and reduces the required diameter of the wire resulting in cost savings. Cable connectors can also be smaller for easier wiring and connection.

Because string inverters are much smaller and lighter than large 1MW+ central inverter skids, no heavy equipment is needed for installation. This is especially important in locations that cannot be accessed by the tractor trailers and cranes needed to install central inverter skids. By contrast, string inverters can be transported to site using standard utility trucks. Installations are normally performed by two technicians and can be mounted directly to the PV array structure. 

Using string inverters also allows for increased monitoring at the PV array level.

Figure 1 shows a line diagram of a typical string inverter application at utility scale, specifically highlighting the AC panels/combiners.

Figure 1: a typical utility-scale string inverter application

Challenges in using higher AC rated string inverters in utility scale solar PV applications

As illustrated in the above diagram, the outputs from string inverters are summed together in an AC panel board also known as an AC combiner or re-combiner.  In this case, all the connection components will have to be rated at or above the output voltage and current of the string inverters. In addition, the protection components such as breakers must have a high enough kiloamp interrupting capacity (KAIC) rating in order to protect the system from a short circuit condition downstream.

The AC combiner is normally connected to a step-up transformer rated 34.5 KVA on the secondary side, which implies a breaker rating of 35-45 KAIC. Higher string inverter output voltages requires higher-KAIC rated components in the AC combiner box.

In Europe, IEC-rated products are prevalent and there are several components that have the IEC required KAIC ratings at 1000VAC and 800VAC. By contrast, in the US today there are only a few UL-rated components on the market at the 1000 VAC level. Several are available at 800VAC and more at 600VAC.

Below are some of the components available to AC panel board and AC combiner OEMs working with UL systems.

Disconnect switches used for isolation and maintenance
600-1000v fused and non-fused up to 800a Molded Case Circuit Breakers used for protection, isolation and monitoring. Input from string inverters
600-800v, 250a to 400a up to 35 KAIC Air Circuit Breakers used for main circuit protection and monitoring after inverter inputs are paralleled
600v, 3,200a at 40 KAIC
800/900v, 3,200a at 40 KAIC (IEC only) Contactors used for remote switching
600v, 25a to 1350a
1000v, 60a to 1650a

AC panel and combiner box builders can rest assured that they are integrating the correct and state of the art components to meet the needs of their customers choosing to use solar PV string inverters for their utility scale solar PV plants.

In addition to the higher voltage levels, PV systems are also being fully integrated with cloud-based measuring and monitoring tools. Including components that support this level of functionality (e.g., the ABB Ability™ platform) as part of system design will ensure better efficiency and durability.

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Minneapolis battery pilot will test vision for sharing solar power with neighbors

Renewable Energy News - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 09:00

Contributed by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

Four batteries are being installed at a North Minneapolis green jobs training center in one of the country’s first “virtual power plant” pilot projects. Each battery will simulate a household buying and selling power with neighbors.

An energy storage pilot project in Minneapolis will help test a vision for how homeowners might someday share solar power directly with neighbors.

Each of the four batteries being installed at the Regional Apprenticeship Training Center in North Minneapolis will represent a household — two with solar panels and two without. The batteries will continuously buy and sell power from each other based on a predetermined set of rules.

It’s one of the country’s first “virtual power plant” pilot projects, according to Jamez Staples, founder of solar developer Renewable Energy Partners and the green jobs training center that hosts the project.

Today residential solar customers either consume the power they generate on site or sell the excess generation to their utilities through net metering programs. Staples’ research battery pilot will study how a market could develop where households or businesses share power without going through a utility. It will also provide backup to the training center.

The North Minneapolis training center. Credit: Nate Broadbridge / Courtesy

Staples sees batteries as the next evolution of clean energy, and one that will create jobs. “Battery storage will create further integration of the clean energy revolution that is taking place,” he said. “People are becoming more and more aware of these technologies. Solar is the first element, battery storage is the second, and electric vehicles are the third.”

Renewable Energy Partners’ operations manager Nate Broadbridge said the pilot “will showcase how your neighbors can share their energy between each other that can actually be measured and tracked, and based on your household consumption, battery storage, the solar energy you have.”

The pilot is one of three battery projects sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and paid for by a $550,000 grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Red Lake Nation and the University of Minnesota Morris will also install battery storage systems using money from the trust fund.

The other two projects are waiting for delivery of Chinese-made “flow” batteries that have been held up by supply chain issues. Staples opted for lithium-ion batteries instead because the German firm Sonnen’s battery package offered the ability to create a virtual power plant.

Staples and his staff say the Sonnen came highly recommended from a local electric company it works with on projects. Renewable Energy Partners felt more comfortable with lithium-ion batteries that underlies most electricity storage projects today, although flow technology has gained a small slice of the market. Xcel engineers agreed to help design the batteries’ installation, which will be the first Sonnen models on the utility’s grid, he said.

The lithium-ion batteries from German firm Sonnen offere the ability to create a virtual power plant. Credit: Nate Broadbridge / Courtesy

The initiative joins a growing list of battery projects underway in Minnesota. Great River Energy and Form Energy will debut in 2023 an “iron air” battery that has captured national attention. Connexus Energy, a cooperative, has operated a solar-storage project since 2019. Several nature centers installed small battery projects, and on a larger scale, Xcel Energy’s integrated resource plan calls for hundreds of megawatts of storage.

Michael Krause, a consultant who works with Renewable Energy Partners, worked with a local electric company to select Eco batteries manufactured by the German firm Sonnen. The four batteries will store a total of 20 kilowatts. A section of the rooftop’s solar array connects directly to the batteries and draws electricity from individual panels.

“It’s as if this was a neighborhood with four separate battery facilities,” Krause said. “The idea is that we’re going to test out the virtual power plant model, the kind of peer-to-peer sales model. … It’s really what the energy grid is going to very likely look like in the next five to 10 years.”

Every fictional home will have battery storage, but only two have solar panels producing energy. One solar-owning home — the generous neighbor — shares abundant energy production. The other solar producer — the selfish neighbor — only shares after the load is covered and battery charged.

“What we’re trying to prove is that it is possible to program your system to buy and sell energy based on things like time of day and your neighbors’ preferences on how they want to consume their electricity, whether from solar or a battery or the grid,” Broadbridge said.

Shree Pandey and Nate Broadbridge. Credit: Nate Broadbridge / Courtesy

Shree Pandey, a master electrician with Sundial Energy, is installing the batteries. “It’s been challenging because this is a commercial building and the battery is set up for residential PV [photovoltaic] solar storage,” he said. “It’s been hard to make it work.”

Outside of the experiment of trading stored electricity, the battery has other functions. The pilot will help inform a proposal to build a substantial microgrid in the neighborhood, one of the largest in the Twin Cities. Renewable Energy Partners will install a 1.3-megawatt solar project on three schools in the community in partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools.

Xcel Energy has agreed to own and operate a 500-kilowatt battery connected to the solar installations to create a microgrid designed to serve as a “community resiliency hub,” Krause said. “It’ll be capable of operating at a certain level, even if there’s a major and extended grid emergency.”

Staples see education as another critical aspect of the storage project. North Minneapolis residents taking classes for jobs in the construction industry and clean energy economy will learn how to install batteries and how they function within homes and businesses, Staples said. “Our goal for this building is to make sure that the training necessary for this population, the residents of this neighborhood and surrounding areas have the assets they need to find jobs,” he said.

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US, China commit to phase down climate-warming HFCs from refrigerators and air conditioners – but what will replace them this time?

Renewable Energy News - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 14:40

Scott Denning, Colorado State University

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to start eliminating a class of climate-warming chemicals that are widely used as coolants in refrigerators, air conditioners and heat pumps.

If that plan feels like déjà vu, it should.

These chemicals, called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, were commercialized in the 1990s as a replacement for earlier refrigerants that were based on chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. CFCs were destroying the ozone layer high in the Earth’s atmosphere, which is essential for protecting life from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

HFCs are less harmful than CFCs, but they create another problem – they have a strong heat-trapping effect that is contributing to global warming.

Several states have announced plans over the past few years for phasing out HFCs. Now the EPA, following a vote in Congress in 2020, has established federal regulations to cut HFC production and imports starting in 2022, and aims to reduce their production and use by 85% within 15 years.

If HFCs can be phased down globally – as many countries have agreed to do under the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol – that would avoid about half a degree Celsius of temperature rise compared to preindustrial times. China, a major producer of these chemicals, ratified the amendment effective Sept. 15, 2021.

Let’s take a closer look at what HFCs are and what might replace them next.

How HFCs keep rooms and food cool

Refrigerators and air conditioning use a technology known as a heat pump. It sounds almost miraculous – heat pumps use energy to take heat out of a cold place and dump it in a warm place.

Here’s how a refrigerator works: A fluid – CFCs back in the old days, and now HFCs – circulates in the walls of the refrigerator, absorbing the ambient heat to keep the fridge cooled down. As that liquid absorbs the heat, it evaporates. The resulting vapor is pumped to the coils on the back of the refrigerator, where it is condensed back to a liquid under pressure. In the process, the heat that was absorbed from inside the fridge is released into the surrounding room. Air conditioners and home heat pumps do precisely the same thing: they use electric-powered compressors and evaporators to move heat into or out of a house. https://www.youtube.com/embed/viM36llqxCU?wmode=transparent&start=0 How a refrigerator works.

Choosing the right fluid for a refrigerator means finding a substance that can be evaporated and condensed at the right temperatures by changing the pressure on the fluid.

CFCs seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They didn’t react with the tubing or compressors to corrode the equipment, and they weren’t toxic or flammable.

Unfortunately, the chemical stability of CFCs turned out to be a problem that threatened the whole world, as scientists discovered in the 1980s. Leaking CFCs, mostly from discarded equipment, remain in the atmosphere for a long time. Eventually they make their way to the stratosphere, where they are finally destroyed by UV radiation from the sun. But when they break down, they create chlorine that reacts with the protective ozone, letting dangerous radiation through to the Earth’s surface.

When production of CFCs was eliminated in the 1990s to protect the ozone layer, new refrigerants were developed and the industry shifted to HFCs.

Why HFCs are a climate problem

HFCs are like CFCs but much more reactive in air, so they never reach the stratosphere where they could harm Earth’s protective radiation shield. They largely saved the world from impending ozone disaster, and they are now found in refrigerators and heat pumps everywhere.

But while HFCs’ chemical reactivity prevents them from depleting the ozone layer, their molecular structure allows them to absorb a lot of thermal radiation, making them a greenhouse gas. Like carbon dioxide on steroids, HFCs are extremely good at capturing infrared photons emitted by the Earth. Some of this radiant energy warms the climate.

Unlike CO2, reactive HFCs are consumed by chemistry in the air, so they only warm the climate for a decade or two. But a little bit goes a long way – each HFC molecule absorbs thousands of times as much heat as a CO2 molecule, making them powerful climate pollutants.

HFC emissions are increasing. The chart shows their anticipated growth without control measures in place. Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment

HFCs leaking from discarded cooling equipment are estimated to contribute about 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions – about twice as much as aviation.

This is why it’s time to retire HFCs and swap them out for alternative refrigerants. They’ve done their job saving the ozone layer, but now HFCs are a major contributor to short-term global warming, and their use has been increasing as demand for cooling increases around the world.

What can replace HFCs?

Because they are so powerful and short-lived, stopping the production and use of HFCs can have a significant cooling effect on the climate over the next couple of decades, buying time as the world converts its energy supply from fossil fuels to cleaner sources.

The good news is that there are alternative refrigerants.

Ammonia and hydrocarbons like butane evaporate at room temperature and have been used as refrigerants since the early 20th century. These gases are short-lived, but they have a downside. Their greater reactivity means their compressors and plumbing have to be more corrosion-resistant and leak-proof to be safe.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to start eliminating a class of climate-warming chemicals that are widely used as coolants in refrigerators, air conditioners and heat pumps. (Courtesy: Justin Sanchez/Unsplash)

The chemical industry has been developing newer alternatives intended to be safer for both people and climate, but as we saw with CFCs and HFCs, inert chemicals can have unintended consequences. Several industry leaders have supported efforts to phase out HFCs.

So, it’s time for another generation of cooling equipment. Just as our TVs and audio equipment and light bulbs have evolved over past decades, our refrigerators and air conditioners will be replaced by a new wave of improved products. New refrigerators will look and work just like the ones we’re used to, but they will be much gentler on the climate system.

This article was updated Sept. 23, 2021, with EPA formalizing the new rule and China ratifying the Kigali Amendment.

[Over 100,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Scott Denning, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

City mayors around the globe pledge to ramp up renewables transition

Renewable Energy News - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 14:27

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, USA, has launched the C40 Renewable Energy Declaration to help cities around the world accelerate the transition to clean energy resources in an equitable manner.

Some 15 mayors have signed the declaration to increase the pace at which their cities are deploying renewable energy resources to create healthier communities, improve air quality, create green jobs and protect their most vulnerable residents from the impacts of climate change.

The declaration outlines three pathways that can also enable the cities to provide residents with clean and affordable electricity:

  • PATHWAY #1: Use 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2035; Ensure residents have access to fully decarbonised energy to cook, as well as heat and cool buildings no later than 2050.
  • PATHWAY #2: Achieve universal access to reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity and clean cooking fuels and technologies by 2030; use 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2050.
  • PATHWAY #3: Deploy clean energy systems for electricity, heating, cooling and cooking to achieve 50% of the assessed feasible potential within the city by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

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Mayors that have signed the declaration include those of London, Copenhagen (which plans to achieve carbon-neutral by 2025), Lisbon, Melbourne (Australia’s first capital city council to be powered by renewables), San Francisco, Tokyo, Tswane, Vancouver and Seoul.

The need to establish the declaration is the result of global cities struggling to reduce emissions from buildings, electricity, and heating use, which account for more than two-thirds of global energy consumption, according to a statement.

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, said: “Cities drive the global economy, which means they produce much of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. But cities are also leading the fight against climate change and for cleaner air – and in the process, they are creating good jobs and healthier communities.

“The more mayors around the world who commit to powering their cities with 100% clean energy, and the more concrete actions they take to achieve it, the faster we can create a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable global economy.”

With cities playing a leading role, the transition to powering and heating buildings with green energy is likely to increase, said a statement. The declaration is expected to push cities into seeking partnerships with governments, communities, technology firms and utilities in deploying renewable energy solutions.

By doing so, not only do they accelerate the energy transition and climate mitigation, but also leverage the distributed energy resources to increase electrification and address energy poverty.

Today, some 760 million people around the world lack access to electricity, according to the statement. By deploying distributed solar and district heating systems, the cities are expected to create 5.5 million green jobs annually by 2030.

Projects set to be deployed by cities that have pledged with the C40 Renewable Energy Declaration are expected to help ensure a green recovery from the pandemic.

Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, added: “Nearly half of Los Angeles’ power supply is fueled by renewable energy, and we’ve committed to achieving a 100% clean energy grid by 2035 – 10 years ahead of schedule. Through this declaration, C40 cities are showing the world that relying on renewable energy is not only possible, but more affordable, equitable, and sustainable.”

​​Chief of Government of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, reiterated: “In Buenos Aires, we know that the transition to renewable energy sources and their efficient use is one of the main ways to achieve our ambitious emissions reductions. This is why we work to promote energy efficiency: in 2019 we became the first city in Latin America to have 100% LED public lighting.”

Siemens Gamesa starts installing first 14MW offshore wind turbine prototype in Denmark

Wind Power Monthly - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 11:59
European turbine manufacturer installs 150-metre-plus tower for SG 14-222 DD at test site in Østerild
Categories: Wind Power

Biden’s solar plan presents big opportunity for asset management firms

Renewable Energy News - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 11:41

The Biden administration's Solar Futures Study calls for 45% of the U.S. electricity supply to come from solar by 2050. That means bigger (and more efficient) solar farms -- a massive opportunity for companies that inspect and optimize utility-scale arrays.

Mark Culpepper, general manager of solar solutions for DroneBase, a renewable energy asset ariel imaging firm, foresees significant growth in demand for monitoring at scale to follow federal ambitions.

DroneBase specializes in manned and unmanned ariel analysis of solar photovoltaic arrays using thermal imagining by identifying performance loss in modules that overheat. The company's platform then prioritizes fixes that offer the highest return for the asset owner before dispatching crews.

The company once identified 10,000 defects on a 200 MW portfolio for a client in North Carolina and was able to prioritize just 200 projects for repair that would recover most of the asset owner's losses.

"I think we're still early days in a lot of ways for this sector," Culpepper told Renewable Energy World in an interview, estimating that about 30-40% of utility-scale solar systems in the U.S. have been thermally inspected. "We have this huge challenge in front of us (climate change), but a huge opportunity, too. By the time we're done, the planet will be better off."

Raptor Maps serial number scanning software

The Solar Futures Study calls for the U.S. to install an average of 30 GW of solar capacity per year between now and 2025, then 60 GW per year from 2025.

Solar data analytics and monitoring firm Raptor Maps recently used its smartphone software to scan nearly 1 million module serial numbers at a 300 MW solar PV system in California. The technology is being used to track and mitigate degradation. The company also releases guides to solar PV inspections using manned and unmanned aircraft.

"Raptor Maps is excited about the Solar Futures Study as it validates the need for the industry to find solutions to help it scale," Raptor Maps CEO Nikhil Vadhavkar said. "Because our software strengthens asset efficiency, boosts staff effectiveness and ultimately lifts financial return of PV assets, we’re helping to make solar more bankable, playing an integral role in fueling the industry’s rapid growth."

10 largest solar projects completed in the U.S. so far in 2021

Renewable Energy News - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 11:25

The U.S. added 4.8 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity in the first half of 2021, a 15% increase from the first half of 2020 and nearly halfway to the total capacity added in 2020, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The U.S. now has 53.7 GW of total solar capacity (including distributed generation). A pipeline of 17.4 GW of utility-scale capacity is under construction.

The Biden administration released a blueprint earlier this month that details a goal of generating 45% of the U.S. electricity supply from solar by 2050. That would require the U.S. to install an average of 30 GW of solar capacity per year between now and 2025, then 60 GW per year from 2025.

The following is a list of the 10 largest utility-scale solar projects completed in the first half of 2021 (through May 31) based on S&P analysis.

Robins Air Force Base Solar Project - Bibb, GA Robins Air Force Base Solar Project (Courtesy: E Light Electric)

The 128 MW Robins Air Force Base Solar Project is owned by Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, and is located adjacent to the Robins Air Force Base. The project was Georgia power's sixth working with the U.S. Military and Georgia PSC. When it was first announced, the Robins Air Force Base Solar Project was expected to feature 500,000 solar panels.

Georgia Power owns an additional 120 MW of utility-scale solar projects at Georgia military bases, located at Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart, and SUBASE Kings Bay.

9. Hardin Solar Energy Center Facility - Hardin, OH

Acquired by Dominion Energy in January, the 150 MW Hardin Solar Energy Center Facility was developed by Invenery, and is located on 1,100 acres in Hardin, Ohio.

Facebook will take the electricity generated at the facility as well as the renewable energy credits, under a long-term agreement signed prior to the project’s construction.

This marks Dominion Energy’s first solar energy investment in Ohio, where the company owns and operates a Cleveland-based natural gas local distribution company serving 1.2 million customer accounts in northeastern Ohio. Dominion owns solar arrays in nine other states, including in North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah, where the company also owns and operates gas utilities.

8. Rancho Seco Solar II Project - Sacramento, CA Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station

D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments purchased the 160 MW Rancho Seco Solar II Project in Sacramento, California from Lendlease, an international property and infrastructure group. The project has a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement in place with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and was built on the site of a decommissioned nuclear power plant.

7. Impact Solar Project (G.S.E. Twelve) - Lamar, TX Impact Solar Project (Courtesy: Lightsource bp)

The S&P classifies the Impact Solar Project as a 199 MW facility, though the project's owner, Lightsource bp, says the facility has 260 MW of capacity. Most of the energy generated by the project goes to bp through a power purchase agreement.

6. Anson Solar Center - Jones, TX Anson Solar Project (Courtesy: Engie)

The 200 MW Anson Solar Center is located on 2,200 acres in Jones, Texas and is owned by Engie. Microsoft announced in 2019 that it would purchase 85 MW from the Anson Solar Center through a power purchase agreement.

5. RE Maplewood Solar Project Phase 1 and 2 - Pecos, TX Maplewood Solar Project (Courtesy: Recurrent Energy)

An undisclosed annuity and life insurance company purchased the 250 MW Maplewood 1 and 2 Solar Projects in July from Recurrent Energy. Anheuser-Busch and Energy Transfer Partners have signed 15-year power purchase agreements with the project.

4. Copper Mountain Solar V - Clark, NV Copper Mountain Solar V (Courtesy: Sukut Construction)

The 250 MW Copper Mountain Solar V project in Clark, Nevada is owned by Consolidated Edison Inc.

3. Taygete Energy Project - Pecos, TX Taygete Energy Project (Courtesy: 7x Energy)

7X Energy developed and owns the 255 MW Taygete Energy Project. The project is sited on approximately 2,000 acres in Pecos, Texas and features 856,000 solar modules. Energy from the project will be sold under a multi-year power purchase agreement to an undisclosed buyer.

2.  Greasewood Solar Project - Pecos, TX

The 255 MW Greasewood Solar Project, owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, was the second-largest utility-scale solar project completed in the first half of 2021 in the U.S. The Greasewood Solar Project has long-term power purchase agreements with the City of Garland, New Braunfels Utilities, and the Kerrville Public Utility Board in Texas.

1. Eunice Solar Project (Permian Energy Center) - Andrews, Texas Ørsted brought the largest solar power project online in Q2 2021 -- the 420 MW Eunice Solar Project in Andrews, Texas. (Courtesy: Ørsted)

Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted owns the 420 MW Eunice Solar Project in Andrew, Texas, the largest utility-scale solar project completed in the first half of 2021 in the U.S. The Permian Energy Center features 40 MW of battery storage located alongside existing oil and gas infrastructure.

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U.S. utility-scale solar pipeline

Global supply chain pressures led to a year-over-year decline in new solar power capacity additions in the second quarter of 2021 in the U.S., according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence. But, researchers wrote, demand is strong with 17.4 gigawatts of capacity under construction.

The U.S. added 1,968 MW of utility-scale solar power capacity in the second quarter of 2021, 31% less than the amount installed in the first quarter.

"Typically, the second and third quarters are the slowest for solar power capacity additions. But the second quarter of 2021 saw fewer capacity additions than the year-ago period when 2,104 MW was connected to U.S. power grids," the researchers wrote.

The U.S. now has 53.8 GW of total solar power capacity, including distributed generation. Ørsted brought the largest solar power project online in Q2 2021 -- the 420 MW Eunice Solar Project in Andrews, Texas.

S&P Global Market Intelligence found that Texas leads the nation in solar projects in advanced development or under construction with 7.4 GW of capacity in late-project phases, significantly ahead of North Carolina (2.6 GW) and California (2.2 GW). Researchers note that demand for utility-scale solar power capacity remains high from corporations and governments.

"Attracted by the cheap costs of solar power, fossil fuel companies are helping drive demand in West Texas. In April, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected Texas will add a record 10 GW of utility-scale solar power capacity by the end of 2022, with 30% of the additions in the sun-soaked Permian Basin," researchers wrote.

NextEra Energy has the largest solar power project pipeline with 11.3 GW of capacity in all stages of development, followed by Invenergy, EDF Group, SunChase Power, Macquarie Group, and AES Corp.

Chinese OEM MingYang ‘plans wind turbine plant’ in southern Germany

Wind Power Monthly - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 09:34
Planned factory would be first major wind manufacturing facility in Europe built by a Chinese company
Categories: Wind Power

Enel Green Power taps ESS to deliver battery systems for solar+storage project in Spain

Renewable Energy News - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 09:18

Oregon-based energy storage firm ESS Tech has been commissioned to deliver 17 of its long-duration Warehouse iron flow battery systems for a hybrid project in Spain.

The order with Enel Green Power Espana contracts ESS to supply the energy storage complement to support a solar farm in Spain. The ESS system will offer a combined capacity of 8 MWh to provide resilience for the local power grid.

“We are 100% committed to energy storage as an essential complement to our expanding portfolio of renewable energy projects,” said Pasquale Salza, Head of Long-Duration Storage and Hybrid Systems for Enel Green Power. “With this project, we’re going to assess and validate the ESS flow batteries, which we selected due to their right combination of long-duration capacity, long-life performance, environmental sustainability, and safe operation.”

ESS is collaborating on the project with global systems firm Loccioni and engineering firm Enertis.

The ESS iron flow systems utilize iron, salt and water for the electrolyte. This combination eliminates fire and explosion risks, according to the company.

ESS has previously contracted to deliver its energy storage systems for projects in Pennsylvania, Patagonia, and Germany, among others.

Earlier this month, special purpose acquisition company ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. announced it was merging with ESS to create a publicly-traded company. The deal still requires shareholder and regulatory approvals.

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Investigation into Texas freeze highlights natural gas failures, frequency of cold weather events

Renewable Energy News - Thu, 09/23/2021 - 17:32

Preliminary findings of a joint investigation into the freeze that left millions in Texas without power for days last February highlighted an increasing frequency of extreme cold weather events, as well as the devastation caused by the failure of natural gas-fired plants.

The joint report issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) cited freezing and natural gas fuel supply issues, including the failure to identify natural gas production and processing facilities as critical load, as the two largest causes for the disaster.

"Of the 1,823 unplanned outages, derates, and failures to start caused by freezing issues, 1,244 were in ERCOT, 473 were in SPP, and 106 were in MISO South," the report reads. "The most common sub-causes of generation outages and derates due to freezing issues were frozen instrumentation (sensing lines, transmitters) and icing on wind turbine generator blades."

Across ERCOT, SPP and MISO South regions, 55% of natural gas generating units (by MW of capacity) experienced unplanned outages and derates, compared to 22% of wind and 1% of solar.

Sean Gallagher, vice president of state and regulatory affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, commended the reliability of solar following the release of the FERC/NERC report.

“Even during record-breaking low temperatures in Texas, solar assets performed as expected during the February 2021 Texas blackout," Gallagher said in a statement. “Solar and storage will be a big part of the solution in Texas, and we look forward to working with state and federal leaders to continue to make it easier and faster to get solar projects online.” 

FERC and NERC issued 28 preliminary recommendations in response to February's extreme weather event, calling for reliability standards that require winterization for new and existing infrastructure and the protection of natural gas infrastructure from manual and automatic load shedding.

The report recommended further study of additional ERCOT connections, noting that SPP and MISO South benefited from connections with other regions.

Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel for the Advanced Energy Economy association, provided a live tweet summary of FERC/NERC's presentation of the report, noting FERC Chair Richard Glick's opposition to political rhetoric that renewables were the source of the problems.

"Today’s FERC/NERC Staff report to the Commission made a clear case that these cold weather-driven outages of generating resources are not 'black swan' events, but increasingly regular occurrences and that they have interconnected impacts on both the electricity and natural gas fuel supplies," Dennis said in an email to Renewable Energy World. "FERC and NERC appear poised to implement mandatory reliability standards to ensure that generators are prepared for these events and that planners and operators anticipate them better in the future."

Glick hits back on political rhetoric that renewables were a problem here. Notes all generation types were impacted, focuses on natural gas.

— Jeff Dennis (@EnergyLawJeff) September 23, 2021

Renewable energy advocates are closely watching the Texas Public Utility Commission's grid redesign to see if the renewables are unfairly burdened with resiliency costs.

In August, the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance – made up of a coalition of corporations that includes Google, Amazon Web Services, and Goldman Sachs – sent a letter urging Texas leaders to scrap anti-renewable energy proposals crafted in response to the storm.

The letter addressed to Gov. Greg Abbott, Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman Peter Lake, and leaders in the state legislature, said current policy proposals are built on the false premise that renewable energy sources – like wind and solar – were to blame for the outages.

In July, Abbott directed the PUC to “allocate reliability costs to generation resources that cannot guarantee their own availability, such as wind or solar power” and to “streamline incentives within the ERCOT market to foster the development and maintenance of adequate and reliable sources of power, like natural gas, coal, and nuclear power.”

A helpful graphic from @SEIA: pic.twitter.com/poM5H5u9P9

— John Engel (@EngelsAngle) September 23, 2021

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GE selected to supply solar power stations for 1.3 GW of projects in Turkey

Renewable Energy News - Thu, 09/23/2021 - 15:03

GE Renewable Energy has been selected by Kaylon to deliver solar power stations for 1.3 GW of projects in Turkey, the company announced Thursday.

GE will supply its FLEXINVERTER* solar power stations to the 270 MW Karapinar phase II-A and 810 MW Karapinar phase II-B solar plants, in addition to the power stations already commissioned at the 267 MW Karapinar phase I solar plant.

The agreement represents the first time GE has supplied its FLEXINVERTER* technology outside the US.

“There is tremendous potential for solar energy in Turkey which can be addressed through smart solutions that will help integrate this natural energy source into the grid in a reliable way and at utility scale," said Prakash Chandra, CEO Renewable Hybrids at GE Renewable Energy. "We are thrilled to be partnering with Kalyon on these projects and look forward to more opportunities to increase the penetration of renewable energy in Turkey.”

GE's FLEXINVERTER* solar power station combines a solar inverter, medium voltage power transformer, and an optional MV Ring Main Unit, integrated in a 20-feet ISO high cube container.

The project in Turkey's Konya Karapinar province is expected to reach commercial operations by December 2022.

U.S. hydropower generation to decline 14% in 2021 amid drought, EIA reports

Renewable Energy News - Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:44

In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that electricity generation from U.S. hydropower plants will be 14% lower in 2021 than it was in 2020.

This is a result of “extreme and exceptional” drought conditions that have been affecting much of the western U.S., especially California and states in the Pacific Northwest, which are home to the majority of U.S. hydropower capacity. The Pacific Northwest’s Columbia River is the fourth-largest river in the U.S. by volume. Its watershed, the Columbia River Basin, covers large parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. In 2020, hydropower plants in these states generated 136 billion kWh of electricity, representing 54% of U.S. hydropower generation that year.

After dry conditions and a record-breaking heat wave affected large parts of the Columbia River Basin this summer, drought emergencies were declared in counties across Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The dry conditions have reduced reservoir storage levels in some Columbia River Basin states. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Water and Climate Center (NWCC), reservoir storage in Montana and Washington is at or above average. However, as of the end of August 2021, reservoir storage in Oregon measured 17% of capacity, less than half its historical average capacity of 47%. Idaho reported reservoir storage at 34% of capacity, lower than its historical average capacity of 51%.

In March and April of 2021, hydropower generation in Washington and Oregon was 10% below the 10-year (2011 to 2020) range. Over the summer, hydropower generation in these states moved back within the 10-year range.

California contains 13% of the U.S.’ hydropower capacity. In 2020, hydropower plants in California produced 7% of the country’s hydro generation. However, the state is experiencing intense and widespread drought this year, which has reduced water supply and hydropower generation. The reservoir at Lake Oroville, the second-largest reservoir in California, hit a historic low of 35% in August 2021, prompting the Edward Hyatt Power Plant to go offline for the first time since 1967. So far this year, hydropower generation in California has been on the lower end of its 10-year range.

In the STEO, EIA forecast electricity generation for electricity market regions instead of state geographical boundaries. The latest STEO expects hydropower generation in the Northwest electricity region, which includes the Columbia River Basin and parts of other Rocky Mountain states, to total 120 billion kWh in 2021, a 12% decline from 2020. EIA expects hydropower generation in the California electricity region to be 49% lower in 2021 than in 2020, at 8.5 billion kWh.

Tesla battery operator sued in Australia over alleged service failures

Wind Power Monthly - Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:19
Australian Energy Market Operator claims Hornsdale Power Reserve did not provide power services as promised
Categories: Wind Power

Colbun to build one of Latin America’s largest wind farms

Wind Power Monthly - Thu, 09/23/2021 - 13:01
Developer set to build 778MW wind farm in Chile, which is due to supply power to a local copper mine
Categories: Wind Power