POWER Digest (October 2022)

Saft Installs Batteries on Italian Islands. Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, has installed seven maintenance-free Flex’ion lithium-ion battery systems supporting a microgrid with solar plants on the Italian island of Favignana, part of Sicily. The systems are expected to be fully operational by the end of this year. In addition, Saft Flex’ion batteries will support a microgrid powered by hydroelectric and solar plants, as well as diesel generation, on the island of Ustica. The batteries will be connected to the distribution network and integrated into a smart grid. The installations are the first pieces of the “I-Sole project,” which involves local utilities as well as scientific expertise from the University of Palermo and the Italian National Research Council. The project is supported financially by the European Union and the Region of Sicily, under the technical lead of Layer Electronics, a local power electronics company. The I-Sole project aims to develop innovative technical solutions for monitoring and control of power generation and distribution, with a focus on increasing the use of renewable sources and storage systems on small Sicilian islands while supporting the security of power supply. Flex’ion batteries are assembled in Saft’s Raskovice factory, in the Czech Republic, using lithium-ion cells manufactured in Saft’s Nersac factory in France.

Financing Closed on Polish Solar Plant. An agreement was reached at the end of August among ib vogt, BayernLB, and Siemens Financial Services for a solar farm already under construction in Poland. The facility is expected to come online early next year. The three groups together are financing the $90 million project, which will have 135 MW of generation capacity. The plant is located near the towns of Zamosc and Szczebrzeszyn in the Lublin voivodeship, or regional area, in the southeast of Poland. Officials said the project is sited in an area with high solar irradiation and low-quality soil, and will feature more than 250,000 solar panels. CMS Poland provided legal advice for construction of the project. Wind Prospect Polska provided technical advice, and Marsh Poland served as insurance adviser. ib vogt, which is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, is the engineering, procurement, and construction lead for the solar farm, and will continue to provide operations and maintenance services after the plant is commissioned. The project has an agreement with Next Kraftwerke to the trading of the project’s electricity on the Polish exchange.

‘Hydrogen-Ready’ Gas Plant Announced for Singapore. Keppel, an infrastructure conglomerate working in the energy sector, in early September said it has made a final investment decision to build a 600-MW “hydrogen-ready” natural gas-fired facility in Singapore. Keppel officials said the plant would initially be powered by natural gas, but would be designed to eventually run on 100% hydrogen. The Keppel Sakra Cogeneration Plant, scheduled to come online in 2026, would be a combined cycle plant “designed to operate on fuels with 30% hydrogen content and has the capability of shifting to run entirely on hydrogen,” according to officials with the Singapore-based company. Keppel said the plant would utilize Mitsubishi Power JAC-series gas turbines, which at present can only accommodate a fuel mix of up to 30% hydrogen. Keppel officials had not addressed whether the original turbines would be replaced at a future time to burn a higher percentage of hydrogen.

British Group Will Produce Green Hydrogen in Egypt. Globeleq, a British independent power producer, has received approval from Egyptian officials to produce green hydrogen and derivatives in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Globeleq said it is looking at a 3.6-GW electrolysis plant. Globeleq signed the agreement with the New and Renewable Energy Authority, the Suez Canal Economic Zone General Authority, the Egyptian Sovereign Wealth Fund for Investment and Development, and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co. Globeleq under the terms of the agreement would develop, finance, build, and operate the electrolysis plant, which will produce hydrogen from electricity generated from wind and solar farms. Globeleq said the project will be built in several phases. An initial pilot phase will have an electrolysis capacity of 100 MW. The hydrogen produced will be converted into green ammonia, a needed ingredient for the production of fertilizer. Globeleq also said it plans to produce other hydrogen-derived fuels, including e-methanol, obtained by mixing carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

Rolls-Royce Will Develop SMR Technology in the Netherlands. The nuclear power group Rolls-Royce SMR in August announced an agreement with ULC-Energy BV, a Dutch nuclear energy development company, to collaborate on the deployment of Rolls-Royce small modular reactor (SMR) power plants in the Netherlands. ULC-Energy is based in Amsterdam. The company is a newcomer to the energy sector—it was established in 2021—and has quickly taken the lead in nuclear power development in the Netherlands. ULC-Energy has said nuclear is important to support decarbonization. It plans to develop projects that would use nuclear power to support industrial and residential energy networks. The Netherlands’ new coalition government late last year said nuclear power would be paramount in its energy policy with regard to combating climate change. Officials outlined a multi-year plan, committing $50 million to the program in 2023, $200 million in 2024, and $250 million in 2025. The government said it expects cumulative financial support for nuclear will hit $5 billion by the end of the decade. Rolls-Royce SMR’s current design is a 470-MWe unit based on pressurized water reactor technology.

Norway-Based Group Obtains Permit for South African Solar Project. Magnora, a Norwegian energy company, in August said it had received an environmental permit for a solar project the group is developing in South Africa. The 260-MW project is being designed to include a battery energy storage system. Oslo-based Magnora in a statement said, “The environmental clearance means that the project has the majority of the most important permits.” Magnora said the solar farm, whose specific location was not disclosed, is being built “in an area with extremely good solar radiation,” with an expected annual production of more than 600 GWh.

—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER.

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