WTO Rules Against India in Solar Power Dispute. A mandate that certain types of solar cells and modules used for India’s ambitious state-backed solar initiative must be domestically manufactured violate trade agreements, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel ruled in February. The panel found for the U.S., which had complained that domestic content requirements concerning the 2010-launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) violate India’s national treatment obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures. JNNSM aims to ultimately generate 100 GW of grid-connected solar power capacity by 2022. India had argued that domestic content requirements for the first phases of the initiative were justified because they would help avoid supply risks and avoid disruption in imports of foreign-made equipment.
Siemens Chosen to Supply H-Class Flex-Plant to Ohio Facility. A new 940-MW natural gas–fired combined cycle power plant in Lordstown, Ohio, developed by Clean Energy Future will include two gas turbines, one steam turbine, three generators, and a SPPA-T3000 control system from Siemens, which will provide engineering, procurement, and construction services. In addition, Siemens has signed a long-term service agreement covering the units at the Lordstown Energy Center. The service will include Siemens advanced remote monitoring and diagnostics. Siemens Financial Services co-funded the development loan and will provide a 27% equity investment, with Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III providing 73%. The plant is slated for operation in summer 2018.
Uniper Hastens to Complete Coal Plant in Germany. E.ON spinoff Uniper plans to restart construction of the coal-fired Datteln 4 power plant in Germany’s Ruhr area. The 1.1-GW plant, which promises a net efficiency of more than 45%, is “largely finished,” Uniper said on March 9, but it has been bogged down by permitting problems. The company got the Münster district government’s permission to restart the project in March and said it is confident that the project will get approval under Germany’s emission control law, which governs industrial impacts on the environment and public health. Uniper said it wants to put the power plant into operation “as soon as possible” to ensure reliable long-term security of supply and heat for the district heating system. Completion could take about two years.
E.ON, Germany’s largest power company, split its business in January and combined its portfolio of large-scale power generation and supply chains under Uniper. In early March, however, it reported its biggest-ever annual loss of $7.7 billion after writing down the value of its coal and gas-fired power plants. German power firms RWE AG and Energie Baden-Württemberg AG have also been financially bruised by Germany’s shift to renewables.
Australia Launches Clean Energy Fund. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government is setting up a new $1 billion clean energy fund to lend to or take an equity state in new technology. The Clean Energy Innovation Fund will receive the funds over 10 years from the A$10 billion already allocated to the existing Clean Energy Finance Corp., which former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had sought to abolish (efforts which the Senate twice rejected).
Norwegian Firms Team Up for Giant Onshore Wind Farm. Statkraft, TrønderEnergi and the European investor consortium Nordic Wind Power in late February announced plans to build a 1-GW onshore wind project in Central Norway. Construction of the €1.1 billion project, comprising six wind farms to be built on the Fosen peninsula, the island of Hitra, and in Snillfjord, is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2016 and be completed in 2020. The Fosen Vind project portfolio includes the Harbaksfjellet, Roan, Storheia, and Kvenndalsfjellet wind farms north of the Trondheim Fjord (about 750 MW), as well as the Geitfjellet and Hitra 2 wind farms south of the Trondheim Fjord (about 250 MW). The project will use 278 wind turbines of 3.6 MW capacity ( Vestas V117-3.45 MW and V112-3.45 MW turbines with power optimized mode to 3.6 MW). Joint venture company Fosen Vind DA will be the owner of the wind farms.
BHEL Starts Up 700-MW Coal Unit in Karnataka. India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) has commissioned a 700-MW supercritical thermal power unit at the Bellary coal-fired power plant in Karnataka. The plant operated by the Karnataka Power Corp. and built by BHEL as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor has two existing 500-MW coal units built in 2007 and 2012.
Lightbridge and AREVA to Jointly Develop Metallic Nuclear Fuel. U.S. nuclear fuel technology company Lightbridge and French nuclear firm AREVA have agreed to jointly develop, manufacture, and commercialize fuel assemblies based on Lightbridge’s next-generation metallic nuclear fuel technology. The parties agreed to share the cost of the work scope to be performed under the agreement. AREVA will contribute in-kind for its share of the costs. Lightbridge’s Nuclear Utility Fuel Advisory Board—which includes experts from Dominion Resources, Southern Nuclear Operating Co., Duke Energy, and Exelon Generation —has called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to prepare to review a license application for the patented metallic fuel design in 2017. ■
—Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.