2014: The year’s biggest Power Technology stories

4 January 2015 (Last Updated July 15th, 2020 23:01)

Researchers have found a newly discovered property of carbon graphite that could lead to the development of new hydrogen-based fuel cell technologies, and installed wind power capacity could grow 530% to reach 2,000GW by 2030, supplying 17-19% of global electricity. Power-Technology.com wraps up the headlines from 2014.

2014: The year’s biggest Power Technology stories

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Carbon graphite could lead to development of new hydrogen-based fuel cell technologies

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Researchers found a newly discovered property of carbon graphite that could lead to the development of new hydrogen-based fuel cell technologies.

For several years, carbon graphite, a one-atom thick material that is used in pencil lead, has been considered as a possible replacement for the silicon chips used in computers.

This is due to the fact that that the material can quickly conduct electrons.

Researchers found protons, which are hydrogen atoms minus their electrons, can also pass through the carbon graphite.

This is despite the fact that graphene is not permeable to other gases and liquids.

Wind energy to support almost 20% of global power supply: Report

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Installed wind power capacity could grow 530% to reach 2,000GW by 2030, supplying 17-19% of global electricity, according to a report published in 2014 edition of the Global Wind Energy Outlook by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace International.

By 2050, the capacity can swell up to supply 25-30% of global electricity, the report reveals.

In 2013, the total wind energy capacity was at 318GW, which is likely to increase by another 45GW in 2014.

Beside the capacity increase, the industry is also expected to open up 2 million new job opportunities worldwide and reduce more than 3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions annually by 2030.

ScottishPower Renewables and Dong Energy open €2bn West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm

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ScottishPower Renewables, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, and Dong Energy opened the 389MW West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm, which is a major renewable project for the UK.

The new facility is located in the Irish Sea.

UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey cut the ribbon for the €2bn facility, which is equipped with 108 of Siemens' 3.6MW wind turbines and has more than 200km of undersea cable installations.

Standing almost 20km away from the Barrow-in-Furness coastline in North West England, the now-operational wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 280,000 UK households.

MIT's new liquid battery system could make renewable power more competitive

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers created a new liquid battery system, which can enable wind and solar facilities to compete with traditional power plants.

John F Elliott material chemistry professor Donald Sadoway and his colleagues developed a new formula that enables the battery to work at a temperature of more than 200°C, lower than the earlier formulation created by them.

In addition to this, the team has simplified the battery's design and extended its working life and is less costly to manufacture.

This battery system has two layers of molten metal that are separated by a layer of molten salt, which serves as the battery's electrolyte.

Safi Energy secures $2.6bn loan for coal-fired power plant in Morocco

Safi Energy Company received sum of $2.6bn for construction of a 1,386MW coal-fired power plant in Morocco.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank, the Moroccan banks Attijari Wafabank and Banque Central Populaire, and several other commercial banks wills serve as lenders for the project.

Safi Energy is a joint venture between Morocco's Nareva, France's GDF Suez and Japan's Mitsui.

The project will be constructed in the coastal city of Safi. Once it is operational, it is expected to become the second biggest coal-fired power plant in the country.

Japan to proceed with Sendai nuclear plant restart despite volcanic eruption risks

The Government of Japan intends to push with its plans to restart two nuclear reactors, depite the sudden volcanic eruption in its central region.

The two nuclear reactors scheduled for revival are located near active volcanoes.

Public concerns are high over the restart of the nuclear plants following the Fakushima disaster in 2011.

Located 200km from Tokyo, Mount Ontake erupted on 27 September, killing ten people.

UK gets EU backing for proposed £16bn Hinkley Point power plant

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The UK received the support of European Union regulators for its proposed £16bn Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, following the end of a nine-month EU-state aided probe.

The backing came as a huge boost for the nuclear industry, which has been facing high costs and safety concerns in western Europe following Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, reports The Wall Street Journal.

French nuclear firm Électricité de France, which plans to construct new two reactors at Hinkley Point in south-west England, has welcomed the EU's decision and termed it as "another positive step forward" for the project.

The approval from the EU also serves as a huge boost for the UK, which intends to shift away from coal-fired plants to nuclear plants for power generation in order to avoid future power shortages as old facilities are retired.

Taqa pulls out of $1.6bn deal to acquire two Indian hydropower plants

United Arab Emirates-based Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) reportedly withdrew from a $1.6bn agreement to acquire two hydropower plants from India's Jaiprakash Power Ventures, a part of the Jaypee Group.

In March 2014, Taqa-led consortium has agreed to purchase the Baspa Stage II and Karcham Wangtoo hydroelectric plants in Himachal Pradesh, India from Jaiprakash Power Ventures.

Hindu Business Line quoted Jaypee Group senior official as saying that Taqa has pulled out of the acquisition deal as a result of a change in business strategy and priorities and will now pay a penalty of $9m to Jaiprakash Power.

US DOE provides $6.5bn loan guarantee for two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced it will approve approximately $6.5bn in loan guarantees for the construction of two new Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle electric generating station, also known as Plant Vogtle, in Georgia.

Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and the City of Dalton in Georgia are the partners in the Vogtle project that is being constructed by a consortium led by Southern.

In 2010, the DOE made conditional commitments for a total of $8.33bn in loan guarantees for Plant Vogtle.

The DOE, on 20 February 2014, issued loans of approximately $6.5bn to Georgia Power and Oglethorpe Power, while it continues to work on the remaining conditional commitments for a $1.8bn loan guarantee to MEAG.

Scrapping renewable energy target will put more than 10,000 jobs at risk in Australia: report

Australia would loose thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in potential investment if it scraps its renewable energy target, global finance giant Bloomberg warned the federal government.

A report released by the media and financial data company's renewable energy research division suggest that renewable energy target scrapping would also put more than 10,000 jobs at risk.

An expert panel is reviewed the country's aim to use renewable energy sources to produce 20% of its power by 2020.

Any changes in the planned target would have a devastating impact on the clean energy industry, the Bloomberg report lead author Kobad Bhavnagri said.

Hyundai E&C awards contract to Yokogawa for combined cycle power project in Uruguay

Hyundai Engineering & Construction (Hyundai E&C) awarded a contract to Yokogawa Electric Korea to supply a control system for the Punta del Tigre combined cycle power plant (CCPP) project, which is claimed to be the first combined cycle power project in Uruguay.

As per the contract, Yokogawa will supply a Centum VP integrated production control system to monitor and control all plant facilities, including gas turbines, exhaust-heat-recovery boilers and steam turbines.

The company will also deliver an Exaquantum plant information management system and DPharp EJA/EJX differential pressure/pressure transmitters for the power project.

BBE Hydro wins contract to build 695MW Keeyask generating station in Canada

BBE Hydro Constructors Limited Partnership received a contract to build the 695MW Keeyask generating station on the lower Nelson River in northern Manitoba, Canada.

The contract, which is valued around CAD1.4bn (€909.9m), was awarded by Manitoba Hydro.

The consortium, which includes Bechtel, Barnard Construction and EllisDon, commenced the project construction in the last quarter of 2014, following the regulatory approvals.