March’s top news stories

5 April 2019 (Last Updated April 11th, 2019 12:11)

Renewable energy generation in Scotland reached record levels in 2018, according to statistics published by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and UK’s Renewable Energy Systems (RES) has acquired REG Power Management’s (RPM) asset management business and its contracts. Power-technology.com wraps up key headlines from March 2019.

March’s top news stories
Scotland’s renewable generation in 2018 was 27,708 gigawatt hours (GWh), a 6.1% increase from the previous record set in 2017. Credit: Courtesy of John R.

Scotland renewable energy generation reaches record levels

Renewable energy generation in Scotland reached record levels in 2018, according to statistics published by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The statistics show that renewable sources provided an equivalent of 74.6% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2018.

Scotland’s renewable generation in 2018 was 27,708 gigawatt hours (GWh), a 6.1% increase from the previous record set in 2017. This level of generation is equivalent to powering every household in Scotland for more than two years.


RES acquires RPM’s asset management business

The UK’s Renewable Energy Systems (RES) acquired REG Power Management’s (RPM) asset management business and contracts to manage a portfolio of 43 operational wind and solar projects.

The acquisition increases RES’ renewable energy support services portfolio to 5GW.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed by either company.


Eni develops wave-solar energy converter unit

Italian oil and gas company Eni successfully installed the Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC) production unit off the coast of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, in northern Italy. The company made the announcement at the Offshore Mediterranean Conference & Exhibition in Ravenna.

The ISWEC unit, which converts energy from waves into electricity, has been installed with the world’s first hybrid smart grid system and reached peak output of 51 kW, 103% of its normal power.

Eni says that the technology is best-suited to powering medium and large offshore assets and will enable the company to convert older offshore platforms into renewable energy generation hubs.


REBA aims 60GW of corporate renewables by 2025

More than 300 companies, including Walmart, General Motors, Google and Facebook, formed a US-based group of renewable energy buyers called the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).

REBA aims to bring more than 60GW of renewables online in the US by 2025.

Google Energy Market Strategy head and REBA’s first board chair Michael Terrell said: “Every enterprise, whether it’s a bakery, a big-box retailer or a data centre, should have an easy and direct path to buy clean energy. Ultimately, sourcing clean energy should be as simple as clicking a button.”


EDF Renewables to build 247.4MW wind project for Tucson Electric Power

EDF Renewables North America entered a build and transfer agreement (BTA) with US-based electric utility company Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to develop the 247.4MW Oso Grande Wind Project in southeastern New Mexico.

According to the agreement, EDF Renewables has agreed to build the project and manage the construction process on behalf of TEP.

EDF Renewables Grid-Scale Power executive vice-president Ryan Pfaff said: “EDF Renewables is pleased to partner with TEP to supply cost-competitive, renewable energy to its customers from the Oso Grande Wind Project.


End of UK Feed-in Tariff will impact Scottish installations

Industry body Scottish Renewables criticised the imminent end of the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme on 31 March, saying it will adversely affect small-scale renewable installations.

The Feed-in Tariff was established in 2010 to allow consumers to receive payments from their energy suppliers when they generated their own power with wind or solar.

According to Scottish Renewables, the Feed-in Tariff scheme has allowed for more than 700MW of small power schemes to be installed for homes and businesses since 2010. Under the tariff, 16 hydropower, 70 wind and 118 solar installations have been installed in Scotland. Scottish Renewables claim that ending the tariff will make financing future projects increasingly difficult.


Enel Green Power acquires Tradewind Energy’s renewable portfolio

Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA), an Enel subsidiary, secured an agreement to acquire Kansas-based renewable developer Tradewind Energy.

As part of the deal, EGPNA acquired Tradewind’s 13GW development pipeline.

EGPNA head Georgios Papadimitriou said: “Through this deal we are acquiring an experienced renewable development company to help carry out our North American growth strategy across all technologies with even greater speed and efficiency, thereby strengthening our position in the competitive US market.


AIIB approves loan for power upgrade project in Bangladesh

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved a $120m loan to support a power transmission system expansion and upgrade project in the Chittagong region of Bangladesh.

The framework enables the AIIB president to approve projects that meet the predetermined criteria agreed with the Board.

AIIB president Jin Liqun said: “This vital investment marks the first project approved under AIIB’s Accountability Framework, which clearly demarcates the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors and the President in respect of financing operations of the Bank.


GE Power turbine synchronises with national grid in Pakistan

GE Power announced that the first of two supercritical turbines have been synchronised with Pakistan’s national grid.

The synchronisation took place at China Power Hub Generation Company’s (CPHGC) power plant, three months ahead of schedule. The plant will have the capacity to generate 1,320MW of electricity.

CPHGC CEO Zhao Yonggang said: “CPHGC is the first overseas thermal power project developed by State Power Investment Corporation under the Belt & Road Initiative. The 1320MW coal-fired power project is a priority under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.


US Department of Energy announces $130m for solar projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $130m of funding for new research into advancing early-stage solar technologies.

The funding will look to target five areas of research, including concentrated solar power (CSP), innovations in manufacturing and solar systems integration.

Of the $130m, $26m will go to photovoltaic (PV) research and development, with the aim of halving the cost of solar panels by reducing material and manufacturing costs. The DOE also hope this research will help reduce the energy costs for commercial and residential buildings to be between $0.03 and $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).