POWER Digest [July 2020]

Germany Adopts National Strategies for Energy, Climate, Hydrogen. Twenty days before Germany commandeers the European Union Council presidency, Germany on June 12 adopted two national strategies that could further reshape its energy industry: a national energy and climate plan (NCEP) through 2030, and a national hydrogen strategy. The NCEP, which seeks a greenhouse gas reduction by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, sets a renewable power target of 65%. The country will now seek to further expand its installed onshore wind capacity from the current 53 GW to up 71 GW, and its offshore capacity to 20 GW by 2030. The hydrogen strategy bolsters the country’s renewable energy commitments, designating €7 billion to ramp up domestic production of renewable hydrogen, produced via electrolysis from renewables, as a sustainable long-term solution. It also includes €2 billion to establish international partnerships for hydrogen production and import. “Direct electrification will be the main driver of energy decarbonisation. But for hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy-duty transport and some heavy industries hydrogen will play a key role,” explained WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson in a June 12 statement.

New Contract for 2.1-GW Hydropower Project in Tanzania. China’s Dongfang Electric Corp. announced on June 11 it had recently signed a supply contract with a consortium of two Egyptian companies—Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric—to provide hydroelectric generating sets and related equipment for the Julius Nyerere hydropower project in the Rufiji River basin. The project, which is being developed by the Tanzanian government, is expected to have nine units, each 235 MW. When completed, it could more than double the East African country’s current power generation capacity. Dongfang recently inked similar agreements with entities in Brazil for the 3.3-GW Jirau hydropower plant, and in Ethiopia for the 1.9-GW Gilgel Give III facility.

Brazil Green Lights Completion of Angra 3 Nuclear Project. Brazil’s Investment Partnership Programme (PPI) council on June 11 approved an Eletronuclear plan to complete the 1.2-GW Angra 3 nuclear plant with or without a partner. Eletronuclear is a subsidiary of Eletrobras, but the subsidiary is excluded from a planned privatization of the company by the Brazilian government. First concrete for Angra 3, a pressurized water reactor, was poured in 2010, resuming a project that was first begun in the 1980s, according to the World Nuclear Association. The project was suspended again in mid-2015 amid corruption probes. Brazil has two nuclear reactors—Angra 1, a 609-MW two-loop Westinghouse reactor, and Angra 2, a 1.2-GW Konvoi reactor—which supply about 3% of Brazil’s electricity. In February, Brazilian entities, including Eletronuclear and the Brazilian Association for the Development of Nuclear Activities signed agreements with the American groups Westinghouse and the Nuclear Energy Institute to extend the operation and generating capacity of Angra 1, and to cooperate on new technologies.

Work Begins on Australia-Singapore Power Link. Singapore firm Sun Cable on May 27 awarded a key contract to Australian energy services provider Guardian Geomatics to conduct a route survey for a submarine 3,800-kilometer-long high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable stretching between Darwin, in Northern Australia, and Singapore, through Indonesian waters. Sun Cable said the $20 billion project is important because Singapore relies on imported liquefied natural gas for 95% of its power. If built, the project will allow the country to source nearly a fifth of its power from a mammoth 15,000-hectare 10-GW solar array and 22 GWh of battery storage near Tennant Creek in the Australian desert. So far, Sun Cable has received about AU$50 million ($33 million) in financial support from two Australian billionaires. It expects to reach financial closure for the entire project by 2023. Commercial operation is expected to begin by 2027.

ČEZ Shutters 440-MW Coal Plant. ČEZ, the Czech state-owned power group, on June 5 shut down the 440-MW Prunéřov 1 coal-fired power plant. While it celebrated the 1967-commissioned power plant’s rich history, ČEZ noted that the shut down was inevitable after assessments showed it would no longer be viable. “Not only due to the ever-more-stringent emission limits, but also in view of the fact that the clearly determined recoverable coal reserves would only be enough for the [modernized] Tušimice and Prunéřov II power plants,” the company said. Since June 2019, ČEZ has shuttered the 500 MW of coal capacity, including two 220-MW units at the Ledvice Power Plant, and a single 200-MW unit at the Dětmarovice Power Plant. ČEZ, which has embarked on a strategy of a gradual transition to low- or zero-emission production of electricity, based on renewable sources and nuclear power (along with steam-gas sources industry heating) said it may repurpose the Prunéřov site. It is considering building a steam-gas cycle at the Prunéřov site, similar to one it built in Počerady, or a conventional gas boiler room like the one operated by ČEZ Teplárenská on the premises of the Ledvice Power Plant; or a solar park.

Positive Signal for New South Wales Coal Seam Gas Project. An independent planning commission in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) on June 12 recommended approval of the Narrabri Gas Project coal seam gas project. The A$3.6 billion (US$2.45 billion) project comprises development of a coal seam gas field and supporting infrastructure by oil and gas firm Santos in the Gunnedah Basin over two decades. According to Santos, gas from the Narrabri Gas Project is fully committed to the domestic market, and it could potentially supply enough natural gas to meet up to half of NSW’s domestic natural gas demand. With the commercial and industrial sector currently making up almost 50 per cent of total gas consumption in NSW, reliable and competitively-priced natural gas is essential for a strong NSW economy. The news follows the May 20 unveiling of a 1-GW green hydrogen project by Infinite Blue Energy.

Sonal Patel is a POWER senior associate editor.

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