POWER Digest [November 2020]

UK Expands Offshore Wind Targets, Sets 1 GW Target for Floating Wind. The UK on Oct. 6 raised its target for offshore wind power capacity by 2030 from 30 GW to 40 GW. To help the nation meet its commitments toward net-zero emissions by 2050, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also created a 1 GW new target for floating offshore wind by 2030. “Building on the strengths of our North Sea, this brand new technology allows wind farms to be built further out to sea in deeper waters, boosting capacity even further where winds are strongest and ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of the next generation of clean energy,” his office said. Finally, the UK also set a target to back up to two times the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021. The UK also plans to invest£160 million to upgrade ports and infrastructure in Teesside and Humber in Northern England, Scotland, and Wales to boost the country’s uptake of offshore wind, which currently makes up 10% of its power generation.

Total Developing Integrated Electricity Business Model, Expands Renewable Targets. Under a new strategy unveiled by Total on Sept. 30, the company will transform itself into a broad energy company by expanding its stronghold in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and electricity markets, which it said are “the two fastest growing energy markets.” In the next decade, the company plans to expand production and double sales of LNG. “Cash-flow from integrated LNG business shall grow by 40% to more than $4 billion in 2025 at $50 per barrel,” it said. Total also plans to invest heavily in natural gas decarbonization via biogas and hydrogen, as well as continuing to reduce its methane emissions. It also plans to develop an integrated electricity business model that incorporates generation to sales through storage and trading. “Total is targeting 50 TWh of net production and 80 TWh of sales to 9 million customers by 2025,” it said. The bulk of its generation investments will be renewables. The company expanded targets to own 35 GW from the previous 25 GW by 2025, and it said 70% is already in its portfolio. “Renewables and electricity are expected to deliver a predictable cash flow of more than $1.5 billion per year by 2025,” it said.

U.S. Strikes Nuclear Deals in Romania and Brazil. U.S. exports of nuclear technology gained on two deals signed over the past month. On Oct. 9, the U.S. Department of Energy signed a draft intergovernmental agreement with its Romanian counterpart. Once formally executed, the agreement will lay the foundation for Romania to use U.S. expertise and technology with a multinational team building reactor Units 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant and refurbishing reactor Unit 1. On Oct. 5, Westinghouse Electric Co. signed a contract with Eletronuclear to conduct engineering analyses critical to the safety, reliability, and long-term life of the Angra 1 nuclear power plant. The contract supports Eletronuclear’s Long-Term Operations (LTO) program designed to enable continued operations at Angra Unit 1 through the end of 2044. The current operating license is valid through December 2024.

Swedish Town Approves Used Nuclear Fuel Repository. The municipal council of Östhammar in Uppsala County, Sweden, on Oct. 13 voted to approve construction of a spent fuel repository proposed by Sweden’s radioactive waste management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB) in nearby Forsmark, the village where Vattenfall’s 3.7-GW Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant is also sited. SKB now only requires the government’s green light, as well as stipulations from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, and the Land and Environment Court, before it can begin construction on the facility, which will be the country’s first nuclear fuel repository. If approved, the $2.1 billion final repository for radioactive waste will be one of the largest infrastructure projects carried out in Sweden. It will also be one of the country’s largest environmental protection projects. SKB expects construction, which could begin in the mid-2020s, could take 10 years to complete.

Indian Captive Plant Orders Semi-Dry FGD System. Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) licensee Isgec Heavy Industries Ltd. was recently awarded its first order in India for a semi-dry flue gas desulfurization (FGD) circulating fluidized bed scrubber system. The project was won through a competitive bidding process for Hindalco Industries Ltd.’s 150-MW unit at Mahan Aluminium at Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, India. The scope of the project includes design, engineering, manufacturing, supply, civil works, construction, commissioning, and performance guarantee testing for the complete system package.

Joint Policy Proposal Promotes Biomass Co-firing at Thermal Power Plants in Indonesia. Mitsubishi Power Ltd., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Indonesia’s state-owned electricity provider PT. PLN (Persero) and two of its subsidiaries (PT. Indonesia Power and PT. Pembangkitan Jawa-Bali), and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) on joint formulation of a policy proposal to promote the adoption of biomass co-firing at Indonesia’s thermal power plants. The industry-academia collaborative team will undertake studies mainly on selection of appropriate biomass fuel and their combustion evaluations, and equipment modification plans, in a quest to make effective use of Indonesia’s abundant biomass resources. Economic evaluations will be carried out in cooperation with PLN Group, which operates numerous thermal power plants in the country. After conclusion of the MOU, the focus will be to make a roadmap for promoting biomass co-firing in Indonesia, including selection of the optimal biomass fuel and pilot facility from among PLN Group’s power plants. This will be based on the results of technical feasibility tests conducted by Mitsubishi Power in Japan together with policy analysis and market research performed in Indonesia under ITB’s leadership.

Optimized Bifacial Solution Selected for Australia’s Largest Solar Power Plant. Nextracker, a Flex company, said that its solar tracker technology, NX Horizon, has been chosen for Australia’s largest solar farm, a 460-MW-peak installation in Queensland’s Western Downs. Independent power producer Neoen and the project’s engineering, procurement, and construction contractor Sterling and Wilson selected Nextracker’s solution with the expectation that it will deliver significant energy yield gains. Nextracker technology has been installed at some of the largest power plants in the world including an 838-MW plant in Villanueva, Mexico, and the first utility-scale plant in Australia—the Moree solar farm in New South Wales.

New Wind Farms Expected to Ease Power Shortages in Pakistan. Siemens Gamesa has secured a series of orders for eight new wind farms in Pakistan, totaling 410 MW. These projects will position the company as one of the leading players in Pakistan’s nascent wind energy market. The central Asian country is rigorously building out electricity generating capacity, battling power blackouts. Siemens Gamesa will supply, install, and commission a total of 205 units. Two of the eight wind farm projects have already started construction, with commissioning expected in November 2020 and February 2021, respectively. All eight sites are expected to be fully operational at the end of 2021, significantly alleviating the power shortage in Pakistan, where 40 million residents still have no access to electricity.

Sonal Patel is senior associate editor for POWER, and Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor.

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