SGRE Signs Deal for O&M on Wind Turbines. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has secured a long-term, 20-year contract to provide full-scope operation and maintenance (O&M) services for a 135-MW Senvion wind farm in Victoria, Australia. SGRE will provide remote monitoring, supply chain access, specialty tooling, design and engineering support, and software updates. Existing hardware and infrastructure on the site will be utilized to support the performance and reliability of the wind turbines. SGRE also has invested in a stock of Senvion parts in Australia to provide better service to Senvion’s turbines across the country. SGRE completed the acquisition of several assets from Senvion in January this year, increasing the company’s multibrand footprint to about 10 GW. The addition of these service assets helps to diversify SGRE’s business mix and geographical exposure, supported by contracts with long-term visibility and traditionally high rates of renewal.

Three Solar Parks Come Online in Japan. Tokyo-based Japan Asia Investment Co. Ltd. in mid-April said the company completed three solar photovoltaic plants with a combined capacity of 20.4 MW in Hokkaido and Fukushima prefectures. The solar parks were put into operation during the first quarter of 2020. Together, they are able to generate more than 24,500 MWh of electricity per year. Two of the three projects were implemented under a partnership with Japanese company Smart Solar Corp. The three plants are the 15.7-MW Monbetsu Kodo Solar Power Plant in Hokkaido; the 2.7-MW Hirono Solar Park in Fukushima; and the 2-MW Yokotsunooka Solar Power Plant in Hokkaido. The Monbetsu Kodo plant also has an 8.3-MWh lithium-ion battery storage system.

Last Remaining Coal Plant in Sweden Retired. Sweden has closed its last coal-fired power plant two years ahead of schedule. The country is the third in Europe to completely transition away from coal, following Belgium and Austria. The Värtaverket plant, located in eastern Stockholm and run by Stockholm Exergi, has been partly owned by the city. Stockholm Exergi said closing the plant, which began operating in 1989, will cut the company’s carbon dioxide emissions by half. Stockholm’s urban area is moving toward using all renewable, or recyclable, energy to produce its district heating. “This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time… we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we [did] so several years before the original plan,” Anders Egelrud, chief executive of Stockholm Exergi, said in a statement. Stockholm Exergi had been on track to end coal operations at the plant by 2022, after significantly scaling down coal output last year. According to Europe Beyond Coal, six more countries are expected to follow suit by 2025 or earlier, including France (2022), Slovakia and Portugal (2023), the UK (2024), and Ireland and Italy (2025). Five more will drop coal by 2030 or earlier, which is the necessary end date for coal generation in Europe for the continent to be in line with the Paris Agreement. Those countries are Greece (2028), the Netherlands and Finland (2029), and Hungary and Denmark (2030).

Fund Extends Loan for Geothermal Plant. The Clean Technology Fund (CTF), a global agency managed by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) group, has extended a $10 million concessional senior loan for development of the 50-MW Tulu Moyo Geothermal Power Plant project in Ethiopia. The CTF approved the loan in April, noting the geothermal plant is seen as critical to Ethiopia’s drive to deploy sustainable and resilient energy resources to support its economy. CTF with this investment becomes the first progressive geothermal independent power producer (IPP) in Ethiopia. The project entails the design, construction, commissioning, and operation of the plant under a build, own, operate, and transfer (BOOT) scheme, and marks the first phase of the Ethiopian government’s plan to build cumulative generation capacity of 150 MW by 2024. The project will include a substation and an 11-kilometer transmission line. Antony Karembu, principal investment officer and renewable energy specialist at the African Development Bank, noted that as the first progressive geothermal IPP in Ethiopia, CTF will leverage climate finance options in mobilizing private sector operators for the project. Through its Clean Technology Fund, CIF is globally investing more than $5.4 billion to build and scale-up low-carbon technologies that help developing countries prevent long-term greenhouse gas emissions.

Wind Power Projects Commissioned in Turkey. ENERCON, a global multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental firm, has completed two wind projects in Turkey, with a total generation capacity of 564.1 MW. The Soma and Karaburun wind farms, commissioned in May, bring Turkey’s generation capacity from wind to 1,760 MW. “We are proud of the fact we were able to wrap up installation of both of these large-scale projects in April despite the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mustafa Sünbül, regional head of PLM ENERCON Turkey. The 312.1-MW Soma wind farm includes 181 wind energy conversion (WEC) systems, which include a wind turbine, a generator, interconnection apparatus, and control systems, all from ENERCON. The company Polat Enerji is the customer in the Soma IV project. ENERCON installed 83 WECs at the 252-MW Karaburun wind farm, with components mainly manufactured in Germany and Portugal. ■

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