POWER Digest [April 2020]

Group Readies Hydrogen Production Plant in Japan. A consortium including Toshiba, Tohoku Electric Power, and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in March said it has completed what the group calls the world’s largest facility for green hydrogen production from renewables. The project is located near Fukushima, Japan, near the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster. The Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) uses a 20-MW solar array, supported by renewable power from the grid, to run a 10-MW electrolyzer at the site in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture. The group said the FH2R system can produce as much as 100 kilograms of hydrogen per hour. The project will be used as a test bed for mass production of green hydrogen, with output initially earmarked to fuel hydrogen-powered buses and cars in Japan, including some of the vehicles expected to be used to move passengers at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who toured the facility in early March, said the location is symbolic, as Japan tries to turn the Fukushima area into a region focused on clean energy.

UAE Floating Solar Plant Enters Service. The first floating solar power plant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began producing electricity in February. The plant is located off the resort island of Nurai in the Persian Gulf and will help power the Zaya Nurai resort. The plant, with a small generation capacity of 80 kW, is designed as a test project that could lead to more similar facilities in the region. The resort currently receives power from a rooftop solar array and ground-mounted solar that has about 1 MW of generation capacity. The government has said that the UAE’s man-made islands and parts of the Maldives could benefit from floating solar power as a way to generate low-carbon electricity without sacrificing precious beach land, according to Stefan Muckstein, the COO of Enerwhere, the company that built the project. Muckstein said installing and maintaining floating solar power panels in an open water setting costs as much as three times more than land-based projects. Feras Shadid, head of the off-grid division at Enerwhere, told Gulf News, “We wanted to build solar systems on the island without jeopardizing the beach space that many tourists enjoy. Our solution was utilizing the sea, which we have in abundance. Floating solar plants are complex as there are many integral factors such as the dimensions of the structure and the availability of a connection point. [The capital] Abu Dhabi has around 150 islands that could benefit from floating renewable energy solutions. We need to cater to the needs of those islands.” UAE state-run energy agencies have expressed interest in developing floating solar technology, and a consultant contract was awarded last year to Germany’s Fichtner Group for a planned floating solar project at an unspecified location. Masdar, a clean-energy developer owned by the government, is currently building Indonesia’s first floating solar project.

New CCGT Plant Being Developed in Western Canada. Kineticor Resource Corp. is set to begin construction of a $1.12 billion combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Alberta, Canada. The 900-MW Cascade project will include natural gas and steam turbines. Kineticor’s partners in the project include OPTrust and Macquarie Capital. The power plant has secured gas supply agreements with Peyto Exploration and Development, and Cutbank Dawson Gas Resources, a Mitsubishi subsidiary. The plant will be connected to gas processing facilities in the area, reducing the cost associated with gas transportation. Construction will occur in two phases, with the first phase completed by October 2022, and the second phase finished by year-end 2022. Each phase will include installation of a gas turbine, a heat recovery steam generator, a steam turbine, and a generator in a one-on-one configuration, using a common rotating shaft between the gas and steam turbines to produce power. The plant will supply power to the Alberta grid. The project includes construction of three new 240-kV transmission lines of 1 kilometer each to connect AltaLink’s existing Bickerdike substation to the Whisky Jack substation within the project site.

Chinese Company Applies to Build Large Hydropower Project in Uganda. Ugandan authorities in February said a Chinese company wants to develop a hydropower project on the River Nile that could potentially increase the country’s power generation capacity by as much as 40%. The Ayago Hydroelectric Power Station would be a $1.4 billion project on the Nile between lakes Kyoga and Albert, according to the license application from POWERCHINA International Group Ltd. Uganda’s state-run power regulator, the Electricity Regulatory Authority, has said it will solicit public comments on the project as it considers approval. Ayago would have a generation capacity of 840 MW, and if completed, would be Uganda’s largest power facility. The Karuma hydropower plant, upstream of Ayago’s proposed location, is in the final completion stages. The 600-MW project, being built by China’s Synohydro Corp., is at present the country’s largest power project.

Solar Project Taking Shape in the Philippines. Modern Energy Management (MEM), a company with offices in Singapore and Thailand, and a specialist in developing, building, and operating investment-grade renewable energy projects in emerging markets, in March announced it is starting a new 60-MW solar project for AC Energy in the Philippines. MEM’s scope of work includes the project’s lead for engineering, design review, and construction quality management services. AC Energy is a Philippines-based company with a growing renewable energy footprint in Southeast Asia. The company has a goal to develop as much as 5 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2025, including 2 GW in the Philippines. MEM at present is working on multiple solar projects across Southeast Asia for AC Energy, designed to generate more than 250 MW of solar power.

Vattenfall Expanding Investments in Renewable Energy. Swedish energy giant Vattenfall in March issued its second €500 million ($571 million) green senior bond, as the company continues to expand its offerings in renewable energy and related infrastructure. Vattenfall, which issued its first green bond in June 2019, is increasingly involved in energy efficiency, electrification of the heating and transportation sectors, and industrial projects. Those three categories, along with renewable energy, are the four areas specified to receive investments from Vattenfall’s Green Bond Framework. The company this year agreed on a 10-year power purchase agreement with Deutsche Telekom, which will take electricity from a 60-MW solar plant in Germany expected to come online in mid-2021. Vattenfall is building a hybrid solar-plus-wind-plus-storage project in the Netherlands, in addition to a 1.2-MW floating solar plant. The hybrid project in Haringvliet, near Rotterdam, includes a 38-MW solar installation, adjacent to a 22-MW wind farm, connected to a 12-MWh battery energy storage system. The project is expected to be online in September. The floating solar installation in Gendrigen is expected to be operational in May.

Wartsila Will Deliver Energy Storage to UK Sites. Wartsila in late February announced it will support and deliver 100 MW of battery energy storage to Pivot Power, an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure company. The deal at present is Wartsila’s largest energy storage deal in Europe, and the company’s first in the UK. Wartsila said it will support two 50-MW lithium-ion batteries under a 10-year service agreement with flexible performance guarantees. The deal is Pivot Power’s first since it was acquired by EDF Renewables in November 2019. The batteries will serve a location in Oxford and a site at Sittingbourne in north Kent. Pivot Power has said it is looking to develop, own, and operate as much as 2 GW of grid-scale energy storage and high-volume power connections, directly connected to the UK high-voltage transmission system to support rapid EV charging. The systems operate on Wartsila’s advanced energy management software platform GEMS, which was developed by Greensmith before that company was acquired by Wartsila in 2017.

Canadian Solar Adds Another Plant in Mexico. Canadian Solar in March announced it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a 103-MW solar power project in the Ojocaliente municipality, in Zacatecas state in Mexico. Canadian Solar signed the deal with Techgen SA de CV, which owns and operates a combined cycle power plant that produces electricity for manufacturing plants serving steelmaker Ternium SA and steel tube maker Tenaris SA. The 15-year PPA paves the way for Canadian Solar to finance and build the solar plant, which is expected to come online next year. Canadian Solar has four solar projects in Mexico with combined generation capacity of 438 MW. ■

Darrell Proctor is associate editor for POWER (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine). 

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