Hybrid Power

POWER Digest [April 2024]

GA Drilling, ZeroGeo Energy Collaborate on Deep Geothermal Power Project. Geothermal drilling technology company GA Drilling and ZeroGeo Energy GmbH in February announced the companies have a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in developing a 12-MW Hot Dry Rock Geothermal Power Plant, known as Projekt THERMO, in Lower Saxony, Germany. The groups said it would be the first of several deep geothermal and geothermal energy storage projects in Europe jointly developed by the two companies. “We are delighted to be working with GA Drilling to develop and deliver Projekt THERMO, an endeavor primed to be successful and profitable,” said John Ashbridge, CEO of ZeroGeo. GA Drilling will provide the drilling technology for Projekt THERMO. ZeroGeo will operate the project. The groups said the installation will focus on the ability to access geothermal energy anywhere in the world via deep drilling technology, regardless of location. “ZeroGeo is a group with a focus and momentum that has attracted a strong network and partners to really get geothermal projects off the ground,” said Dusan Kocis, COO and co-founder of GA Drilling. “The need for clean baseload power is real, and geothermal has the highest potential to deliver that safely and securely. We’re excited to be collaborating with ZeroGeo to help address the power needs in Europe.”

Campus in Germany Features Unique Microgrid Design. Global renewable energy company BayWa r.e. and Ampt, a manufacturer of direct-current (DC) optimizers for large-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems, in February announced the companies had successfully deployed a combination of wind and solar generation together with battery storage within the microgrid at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) campus in Pfinztal, Germany. BayWa r.e. installed three new rooftop arrays and one new ground-mounted system to expand renewable energy utilization onsite. These PV systems, with a total capacity of 690 kWp, are now connected to the power grid without their own inverters, but via an existing 2-MW wind turbine. A 10-MWh flow battery energy storage system completes the installation. The companies said the combination of wind, solar, and battery storage is unique in Europe. The different technologies, leveraging Ampt string optimizers, are integrated through a shared DC bus, known as a “DC-coupled” architecture. The process enables generation variability across the PV systems to be managed, and the different systems united, at a high and fixed voltage to increase system efficiency. The main campus of the Fraunhofer ICT has more than 100 laboratories, as well as several pilot plants and three test centers. Officials said the project supports the institute’s increasingly climate-neutral operation.

Groups Building Natural Gas-Fired CHP Plant in Kazakhstan. AKSA Energy and Doosan Skoda Power in late January announced a partnership for construction of a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan. The companies expect the facility will be online in the next year. The groups said the plant is designed to advance sustainable energy solutions and support increasing demand for electricity and heat in Kyzylorda. The facility will feature a 95-MW DST-S10 model steam turbine from Doosan Skoda. The plant when complete will have total installed generation capacity of 240 MW. The project is called “a critical step in Kazakhstan’s transition from coal-fired baseload power plants to natural gas,” according to the companies. The groups said the CHP facility aligns “with [Kazakhstan’s] sustainability and environmental conservation goals such as reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.” Algan Saracoglu, project manager of AKSA Energy, said, “AKSA Energy is proud to announce its partnership with Doosan Skoda Power to accelerate the completion of the Kyzylorda natural gas combined heat and power plant by 2025. As Kazakhstan’s first foreign direct investor in the energy sector, we prioritize our contribution to the country’s energy supply security as well as energy efficiency with the state-of-the-art technology we will use at our 240-MW Kyzylorda natural gas combined heat and power plant. We will maximize efficiency by providing resource optimization through generating both heat and energy at our power plant.” Kazakhstan’s energy system has historically been dependent on coal-fired power plants, but the country is moving to find more sustainable energy options. Delivery of the steam turbine is planned for late summer this year.

Schneider Electric in Virtual PPA with Biopharma Group. Schneider Electric in late February announced a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) between global biopharma company GSK and IGNIS, a Spanish integrated renewable energy group. The agreement supports the supply of 200 GWh of renewable electricity certificates annually from new solar energy sites at GSK locations across mainland Europe. GSK said the VPPA will fulfill about half of the company’s total electricity demand in mainland Europe for 12 years, beginning in mid-2026. GSK’s footprint in mainland Europe includes 11 manufacturing sites, six research and development locations, and its commercial operations. Two solar projects in central Spain will be constructed by IGNIS specifically for this VPPA, bringing additional renewable energy generation to the mainland European grid. Schneider Electric Sustainability Business managed the go-to-market strategy, conducted project evaluation of the bids received, and advised during the PPA negotiation phase. GSK officials have said the company is committed to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across all scopes by 2030, and a 90% reduction by 2045, from a 2020 baseline.

Renewable Hydrogen Group Announces UK Plant. Global green and renewable hydrogen pioneer Lhyfe in February unveiled plans for its first UK-based plant to support that country’s net-zero ambitions. The company’s proposed facility, called Lhyfe Wallsend and sited in the northeastern region of England, is receiving support from Shepherd Offshore, a maritime and energy service provider, after the signing of a land deal. If plans are approved, Lhyfe’s facility on the brownfield site of the historic Neptune Bank Power Station in Wallsend, North Tyneside, would have an initial capacity of 20 MW. It would be capable of producing up to eight tonnes of green hydrogen per day. The plant is being designed to supply hydrogen to several organizations seeking to decarbonize their manufacturing and transport operations. Lhyfe is considered a pioneer in the production of green and renewable hydrogen through water electrolysis, with its units being powered by green electricity. The France-based multinational’s first plant in Pays de la Loire, in western France, has been operational since 2021, with two more sites inaugurated in the Occitanie and Brittany regions in December 2023. The recent announcement comes 18 months after Lhyfe launched its UK subsidiary, headquartered in Newcastle, to meet the increasing demand from companies aiming to reduce their reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels.

Groups Begin Building Two Onshore Wind Farms in Sweden. Renewable Power Capital (RPC) has started construction of two onshore wind farms in Sweden. The installations have 230 MW of total generation capacity. LyondellBasell has two 10-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the electricity from the farms. Swedish officials have said the project highlights the push for Sweden’s onshore wind industry to provide renewable energy for the chemical industry. RPC’s Storhöjden and Knäsjöberget wind farms form part of its 553-MW cluster of four wind farms in the Kramfors and Solleftea municipalities. RPC in January of this year announced it had ordered 80 Nordex turbines for the cluster. Nordex will start delivering and installing the turbines in the spring of 2025; the two wind farms are expected to start operations at the beginning of 2026. The two PPAs are expected to benefit from about 720,000 MWh of wind power annually. The deals, which are the largest PPAs completed by LyondellBasell to date, support the company’s target to procure a minimum of 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Separately, in January 2024, RPC signed a 10-year PPA with Ardagh Glass Packaging-Europe for the electricity produced by the 161-MW Vitberget onshore wind farm, which is also part of the cluster in Sweden.

Wärtsilä Will Deliver Large ESS to Scottish Group. Technology group Wärtsilä will supply a 300-MW/600-MWh energy storage system (ESS) under an engineered equipment delivery contract to Zenobe, an electric vehicle fleet and battery storage specialist, in Kilmarnock, Scotland. The Kilmarnock South installation is the second ESS Wärtsilä is delivering to Zenobe. The ESS will be one of the largest in Scotland to date. It will be the first facility built with Wärtsilä’s Quantum High Energy (QuantumHE), a next-generation ESS. QuantumHE provides increased energy density for Zenobe and is fitted with state-of-the-art features to ensure the highest level of safety for the surrounding community. The ESS is expected to be operational by the end of 2025. The project will be delivered under National Grid’s Network Options Assessment (NOA) Stability Pathfinder program, which aims to cost-effectively address stability issues in the electricity system created by the increased adoption of intermittent renewable generation. The ESS will help grid operators better balance supply and demand, and support integration of the UK’s abundant wind generation to the grid. Wärtsilä and Zenobe also are nearing completion of a 200-MW/400-MWh ESS in Blackhillock, Scotland, which is expected to be operational later this year. ■

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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