Blog

Wed

17

Jul

2019

Top 5 Microgrid News – Summer 2019 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Microgrid News” features two mining microgrids, a military application, an island solution, and an investment in an innovative microgrid company. It covers two projects in Australia, one in the USA and one in Nicaragua. 

Top 1

Australian gold mine to be powered with wind, solar and battery

The Western Australian Agnew gold mine will be the first mine to be powered by a wind, solar, battery and gas microgrid. The South African mining company Gold Fields continues its sustainability efforts in Australia after a first project at Granny Smith gold mine.

The new project will consist of five wind turbines (18 MW total capacity), a 4 MW solar system, a 13 MW / 4 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) and a 16 MW gas and diesel engine power station. Energy producer EDL has signed a 10-year agreement with Gold Fields. In a first step, EDL will build the thermal and solar power plants which are due to be completed in mid-2019. The wind and battery systems will be added in a second step are expected to be commissioned in 2020. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is funding the project with AUS13.5 million. JuWi has been selected as solar EPC, Saft will provide the battery and Goldwind the wind turbines.

https://arena.gov.au/news/gold-fields-gold-mine-to-be-powered-with-wind-solar-and-battery/ 

James Harman, EDL CEO, explains: “The Agnew hybrid renewable project is the first in Australia to utilise wind generation as part of a large hybrid microgrid in the mining sector, and will enable EDL to provide Agnew gold mine with greater than 50% renewable energy over the long term, without compromising power quality or reliability. This ground-breaking project is a major step in Australia’s journey to sustainable energy, and EDL has been an active contributor in this transition through our demonstrated success in hybrid renewable projects.”

 

Top 2

Ameresco completes microgrid with an 8MWh battery at US Marine Corps Depot

The project at the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in Parris Island, South Carolina generates power with a 3.5MW combined heat and power plant and a 5.5MW solar system. The microgrid project is expected to save USD6.9 million in annual utility and operational costs, cut utility energy demand by 75%, and lower water consumption by 25%. It did not require any upfront capital from the Marine Corps depot.

https://www.energy-storage.news/news/ameresco-completes-8mw-battery-storage-system-at-us-marine-corps-recruit-de

 

Top 3

Microgrid with 2.1 MW solar and 2.4 MWh storage inaugurated on Caribbean island in Nicaragua

The microgrid is located on Big Corn Island and includes besides PV plant also a lithium-ion battery solution and diesel gensets. It will be operated by the state-owned utility ENATREL. The project was supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Nicaraguan government. The hybrid power plant provides electricity to 1.940 households. There are plans to expand the system to two other villages on the island.

https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:92081-inauguran-planta-de-energia-solar-con-sistema-hibrido-mas-grande-de-la-region-en-corn-island-

 

Top 4

Shell Ventures and Sumitomo invest in microgrid blockchain start-up LO3

In 2016, LO3 become famous with its Brooklyn Microgrid project that aggregates solar energy from several roof-tops and allows neighbors to buy and sell solar power among themselves using blockchain technology. Shell has made other investments in blockchain technology, e.g. using blockchain-based oil, derivatives and commodities trading platforms.

https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/shell-sumitomo-invest-blockchain-start-lo3

Kirk Coburn, Investment Director Shell Ventures, adds:Utilizing market principles at the grid edge can efficiently compensate customers for the value their DERs provide – both to other community-members seeking local clean energy, as well as the grid itself. A platform which allows that value to be shared within communities today, critically, engages people in new ways and establishes a market-based foundation from which to manage the grid of the future.”

 

Top 5

OZ Minerals to power their Australian mine with solar, wind and storage

Australian mining company OZ Minerals will integrate solar, wind and battery storage to power its Carrapeteena copper and gold mine, located to the north of Port Augusta. OZ Minerals will partner with SunSHIFT to deploy a pilot-scale hybrid energy system, that includes 250kW solar, 10kW wind and a 250kW lithium-ion storage solution. As part of the project, electric vehicle charging facilities for light vehicles used at the mine site will also be incorporated.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/copper-and-gold-turns-to-renewables-oz-minerals-to-power-site-with-solar-wind-and-storage-67306/

Andrew Cole, CEO OZ Minerals, comments about the potential role of microgrids in the Australian mining industry: “The ability for microgrids to be established in remote locations, often where renewable sources like wind, solar, thermal and hydro are found, also make them a potentially attractive, environmentally-friendly, reliable and cost-effective source of power for mining operations.”

 

 

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Mon

06

May

2019

Top 5 Hybrid Energy News (Solar- and Wind-Diesel-Hybrid + Microgrids) – Spring 2019 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Hybrid Energy News” features four projects and a partnership announcement. Interestingly all microgrid projects included an energy storage solution. Two projects were in mining, one in rural electrification and one in the hospitality sector.  The selected projects are located in South Africa, Argentina, the Philippines,and the Maldives. This edition features Bushveld Minerals and Energy, Millennial Lithium, Ergy Energy, ADB, ANTECO, OREEI, Four Seasons, Swimsol, ABB, Rolls Royce, and MTU Onsite Energy.

Top 1

First vanadium redox flow battery project at mine announced in South Africa

Bushveld Energy has initiated the development of a microgrid project at Bushveld Minerals’ Vametco mine. It will consist of a solar power plant and a 1 MW/4 MWh vanadium redox flow battery and will feed electricity directly into the internal distribution network of the mine. The project is structured on an unsubsidized, commercial basis with project finance and aims at showcasing the commercial viability of both renewable energy and energy storage technologies. The new mini-grid will be able to deliver up to 1 MW of power to the grid-connected mine, the largest size permittable without a generation license under current regulations in South Africa.

https://im-mining.com/2019/03/28/bushvelds-vanadium-redox-flow-battery-projects-progress/

Top 2

Millennial Lithium’s exploration project in Argentina adds solar

Millennial Lithium announced that its Pastos Grandes Salar lithium project in Argentina has inaugurated a solar power plant that was provided by Ergy Solar. The exploration project includes a 60-100 person camp with dorms and other facilities, an on-site laboratory, and a first process pilot plant under construction. The power plant consists of 178.2 KWp of solar power and 500 kWh energy storage solution and still diesel generators. The solar-plus-storage solution can provide power at maximum capacity for more than 18 hours throughout the daily 24-hour cycle, with diesel generator back-up only for some peak energy consumption times and infrequent non-sun events.

http://www.mining.com/millennial-lithiums-project-center-argentina-goes-solar/

 

Top 3

ADB launches PV-plus-storage plant on Philippine island

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced the inauguration of a 50kW solar system with the 273-kW lithium-ion energy storage unit bringing uninterrupted electricity supply to a rural community living on the Malalison Island in the Philippines. The Malalison PV-plus-storage hybrid system is a pilot project carried out by a private joint venture (JV) between Philippine utility Antique Electric Cooperative (ANTECO) and One Renewable Energy Enterprise, Inc (OREEI), with the ADB providing technical assistance. Previously, the island community relied on costly diesel-fueled generators, which supplied power for only four hours a day, leaving residents in the situation of limited economic opportunities. Now the solar-plus-storage solution will generate electricity during the day while a 54-kW diesel generator will serve as support.

https://renewablesnow.com/news/adb-launches-50-kw-pv-plus-storage-plant-on-philippine-island-649560/

 

Top 4

Solar at Four Seasons Resort Maldives will replace diesel consumption

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru commissioned an 838.35kWp solar plant which is one of the Maldives' largest resort-based solar installations. The project installed by Swimsol on the roof of the staff village comprises 3,105 panels and covers 5,380m². It is estimated that the new solar plant will produce between 900,000 and 1.1 million kWh of energy every year and save between 250,000 and 300,000 liters of diesel, which corresponds to 650-800 tons of CO2.

https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4092579.html

 

Top 5

ABB and Rolls-Royce announce global microgrids cooperation

ABB and Rolls-Royce have announced a global partnership on microgrid technology and advanced automation. Together the two companies will offer microgrid solution for utilities, commercial and industrial entities.

https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/renewable-energy/global-partnership-to-advance-micro-grid-technology-with-automation/

“The partnership with Rolls-Royce combines the footprint and technology leadership of two industry leaders to extend the benefits of microgrids to various applications worldwide.”, says Markus Bruegmann, Global Product Group Manager, Grid Edge Solutions, Power Grid business, ABB. Andreas Schell, CEO, Rolls-Royce Power Systems adds: “Combining our integrated MTU diesel and gas genset system technology and our control solutions, with ABB’s modular microgrid solution, control capability, and remote service, will offer customers the combined strengths of the two world leaders in technology.”

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Mon

25

Feb

2019

Huge potential for renewables in the telecom sector

Substantial cost savings achievable and a USD 100 billion+ investment opportunity for onsite renewables

Telecom companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, BT, Euskaltel, and Telstra have signed some of the biggest corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) to date. Telecommunications giant AT&T is ranked second in corporate PPAs and BT is only one step short of being 100% renewable on paper.

A recent IRENA report reveals, however, that globally, telecommunications companies only cover around 7% of their electricity needs with renewable energy resources and only 19% of the analyzed telecom companies had renewable energy targets.

Powering telecom towers with renewables is a great opportunity – especially for towers in remote locations. Typically, these towers run on diesel gensets that require significant costs for operation and maintenance. The recent price decrease of solar and batteries allows at least for partially replacing diesel by renewable energy sources.

One industry trend is the outsourcing of telecom towers. Tower companies build, operate, and maintain these assets – often on behalf of several telecom operators. This means at the same time that the corresponding emissions are normally not attributed to the telecom companies themselves. Public pressure is considerably lower for outsourced C02 emission.

Experts estimate that globally there are more than 3 million telecom towers. It has become obvious that the potential for renewable energy solutions is therefore huge. This also applies for energy storage as telecommunication applications require extremely high availabilities. The total market is estimated at far beyond USD100 billion.

The extreme price decrease of renewables makes onsite solar and wind energy often less expensive than electricity from the grid. The approach is straightforward: when onsite power is available, it will be used for the tower, if not, electricity will be used. If there is an outage, the back-up gensets provide an emergency supply.

The business case is even more favorable for off-grid towers. In a first step, diesel gensets still run 24 hours to generate a spinning reserve in case a solar array is shaded, or the wind stops. In a second step, renewables can be integrated in a way that diesel gensets are switched off during sunny or windy periods so that the tower fully relies on solar or wind energy. When solar or wind outputs do not meet the power requirements of the tower, energy storage acts as a bridge to start the back-up diesel gensets. Finally, adding even more solar or wind power would mean that the towers are powered also during night-time or during less windy periods by renewable energy that is stored in large amounts. Back-up diesel gensets would only be required in case of very unfavorable seasonality. Innovative companies also have developed concepts of combining the renewable energy-based power generation for telecom towers and neighboring villages.

The biggest hurdle is the high investment requirements for renewables. However, more and more independent power producers (IPPs) are entering the market and are willing to invest in renewable energy and storage assets. They would then sell back the electricity to the tower operators – i.e., either the tower company or the telecom operator.

Thu

21

Feb

2019

Top 5 Hybrid Energy News (Solar- and Wind-Diesel-Hybrid + Microgrids) – Winter 2018/19 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Hybrid Energy News” features several applications in the commercial and industrial microgrid segment: two projects in mining and one in banking. We have also selected an island microgrid and rural electrification approach. The selected projects are in Mali, the Netherlands Antilles, Nigeria, Oman, and Niger. This edition features Resolute Mining, Ignite Energy, Wärtsilä, ContourGlobal, Unity Bank, Daystar Power, Nama Holding, Tanweer, GoviEx, and Windiga.

Top 1

Resolute Mining procures 40 MW solar hybrid power plant for its Syama mine in Mali

The Australian mining company Resolute has signed a joint development agreement with Ignite Energy for the development of a 40 MW independent solar hybrid power plant at its Syama gold mine in Mali. The microgrid will combine solar, battery and heavy fuel oil technologies and will replace the existing 28 MW diesel-fired power station at the mine. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2020.

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/resolute-procures-40-mw-solar-hybrid-power-plant-for-syama-2018-11-26

John Welborn, CEO of Resolute Mining Limited explains: “The Syama Gold Mine in the South of Mali is one of the most advanced underground mines in the world. Resolute is building the world’s first fully automated underground mine and we will power this mine with the largest off-grid hybrid power plant ever implemented for operating a mine.  The combination of leading solar, HFO, and battery technology will provide Syama with sustainable low-cost power for future expansion, and the potential to provide electricity to the local community.” “The potential of hybrid projects to remote mines in Africa is significant and is expected to grow through a combination of cost reductions and increased efficiencies of renewable technologies, creative financing solutions, and forward-thinking and open-minded mine owners”, adds Grant Berndsen, Managing Director of Ignite Energy Projects.

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1098666788366229506

 

Top 2

Caribbean island Bonaire combines solar, wind, diesel, and storage

Bonaire is part of the Netherlands Antilles. The Caribbean island will soon have a state-of-the-art microgrid that combines 11 MW wind, 6 MW new energy storage, a pre-existing 3 MW battery bank, and a small solar array. ContourGlobal has awarded Wärtsilä with the integrated 6 MW energy storage project contract for Bonaire. The renewable energy and storage assets will be used to limit the use of the 17 MW of diesel generators.

https://renewableenergycaribbean.com/2019/01/25/bonaire-awards-6-mw-energy-storage-project/

“The Caribbean will benefit greatly from hybrid projects. Primarily batteries will allow higher utilization rates for intermittent renewable energy. As an additional benefit, batteries can provide vital frequency support during any disturbances in a small grid keeping the lights on everywhere”, adds Sampo Suvisaari, Regional Director, Latin America North and Caribbean, Wärtsilä Energy Business.

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1098627662883500034

 

Top 3

Nigeria’s Unity Bank to move the branch network to solar power

Unity Bank and Daystar Power have announced to move the power supply of the bank’s branches across Nigeria from diesel generation to cleaner and more efficient solar-powered solutions. Unity Bank is a Nigerian retail banks with 240 branches across the country and the eighth largest bank in Nigeria by business locations. The hybrid solutions include lead-acid battery storage systems that will act as a buffer for the evening and the early hours of the morning.

http://www.africanreview.com/energy-a-power/renewables/nigeria-s-unity-bank-to-move-branch-network-to-solar-power

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1098586482753880065

 

Top 4

Oman to install solar-diesel hybrid plants totaling 160 MW across 11 sites

State-owned Nama Holding’s subsidiary Tanweer – Oman’s Rural Areas Electricity Company – has launched the plan to build 160MW of hybrid solar-diesel power generation capacity in non-interconnected areas. The hybrid plants will be developed as independent power producer (IPP) projects at 11 off-grid sites. The final bid evaluation is planned for June, while contracts for the projects’ realization should be awarded in August.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/01/22/oman-to-install-hybrid-pv-diesel-plants-totaling-160-mw-across-11-sites/

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1098565869188407296

 

Top 5

GoviEx and Windiga working on hybrid solar power solution for Madaouela in Niger

GoviEx has requested that Windiga develops a concept to power the Madaouela project and the surrounding local community through a hybrid power plant combining solar panels and diesel generators, with a total installed capacity of at least 20 MW.  GoviEx targets a power purchase agreement for the priority supply of electricity for an initial term of 21 years, extendable at the request of GoviEx.

https://im-mining.com/2019/02/01/goviex-uranium-windiga-sizing-hybrid-solar-power-solution-madaouela/

“It’s a tremendous time for the integration of renewables in the mining sector. The cost of energy using pure thermal solutions is becoming an issue for many operational mines and projects at the feasibility stage looking for financing. Contracted hybrid energy systems to an independent power producer can remove a significant part of the CAPEX while still offering great savings and predictability for the OPEX. Solar-diesel power plants are now unavoidable for this industry”, comments Benoit La Salle, CEO of Windiga.

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1098540171035885574

 

 

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Wed

28

Nov

2018

Survey: Commercial and Industrial Applications for Renewables and Energy Storage in Africa

Commercial and industrial off-takers might become a main driver for the energy transition in Africa. THEnergy is at the moment conducting a survey in this attractive market segment to provide detailed insights.

Around the world, more and more commercial and industrial off-takers integrate renewable energy solutions for powering their sites. Different business models can be observed: onsite renewable energy generation or supply through the grid. Companies often have the choice of investing their own capital or buying the electricity from an independent power producer. In hybrid projects, renewables will reduce the consumption of diesel or heavy fuel oil. We see renewable energy projects in numerous sectors such as mining, cement, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), food and beverages, telecommunications / telecom, agribusiness / agriculture, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics and rubber, wood processing, textile and garments, refineries, banking (such as ATMs), petrol service stations / filling stations, data centers, real estate, shopping centers, and hospitality such as hotels, island resorts, restaurants, or safari lodges.

In Africa, the potential for renewables in the commercial and industrial segment is huge. Some of the flagship renewable energy projects in Africa rely on commercial or industrial off-take:

  • Iamgold (Burkina Faso)
  • Nevsun (Eritrea)
  • B2Gold (Namibia)
  • Ohorongo Cement (Namibia)
  • Namibia Breweries (Namibia)
  • London Distillers (Kenya)
  • Northern Noodles Ltd. (Nigeria)
  • Orange (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • Ecobank ATMs (Ghana)
  • Garden City Mall (Kenya)
  • Mall of Africa (South Africa)
  • Unilever (Kenya)
  • Coca Cola (South Africa)

just to name a few.

 

The objective of the study is to enquire about the drivers of renewable energy adoption in the commercial and industrial segment in Africa. What are the bottlenecks? What could speeding up the development? What are regulatory requirements? We will also have a look beyond renewables and analyse energy storage solutions.

 

We are still looking for commercial and industrial offtakers to participate in the survey. As an incentive, we will share the results with those we select for the survey. You will even have the opportunity to ask questions in an exclusive conference call. Are you interested in which direction your industry is developing? Participating in our study is also an easy way of supporting renewable energy deployment in Africa! Contact us under info@th-energy.net to participate. The phone interview will only take 15-20 minutes.

 

Are you interested in the results of the study? Please subscribe to our newsletter and we will keep you updated: https://www.th-energy.net/newsletter/.

2 Comments

Wed

31

Oct

2018

Top 5 Hybrid Energy News (Solar- and Wind-Diesel-Hybrid + Microgrids) – September / October 2018 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Hybrid Energy News” is about a strategic investment and several applications in the commercial and industrial microgrid segment: another project in mining, a large shopping mall, an agricultural solution and a microgrid at a corporate headquarter. This edition features Zenith Energy, Independence Group, Atterbury Property, Attacq, Solareff, Rolls-Royce, MTU Onsite Energy, Qinous, Cubbie, VivoPower, Aevitas Group, and Siemens.

Top 1

Solar-diesel hybrid plant with 6 MW PV at Independence Group’s Nova nickel-copper mine in Australia

Independence Group has chosen Zenith Energy to add a solar plant to its existing diesel power station at its Nova nickel mine. Zenith will build the 6 MW solar plant under an amendment to its existing power purchase agreement. The plant is expected to be commissioned by September 2020 with an initial supply period of six years and an option for Independence to extend for another two years. A conventional 20 MW diesel-powered plant currently powers the Nova operation in Western Australia.

https://thewest.com.au/business/energy/zenith-to-add-hybrid-solar-diesel-plant-to-independence-groups-novo-nickel-mine-ng-b88999783z

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1059479623623356416

 

Top 2

Mall of Africa inaugurates the world’s largest rooftop solar-diesel hybrid solution in South Africa

The Mall of Africa, in Waterfall City in Midrand, South Africa uses solar energy. Solareff was responsible for the installation of the 4,8 MW PV solution that covers about 45 000m² of roof space. The shopping center’s developer Atterbury Property, which owns 20 percent of the mall with the majority 80 percent owned by listed property company Attacq, pointed out that they will use integrated rooftop solar-diesel hybrid solution at more of their properties in the future.

https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/companies/mall-of-africa-covered-in-r50m-rooftop-solar-system-glory-17255606

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1059366666956627968

 

Top 3

Rolls-Royce invests in energy storage company to expand microgrid offering

Rolls-Royce announced that it is investing in Berlin-based start-up company Qinous GmbH, a provider of energy storage solutions and control systems. With the investment, Rolls-Royce will now focus amongst others on the global hotel, hospital and emergency shelter market segments for microgrids.

https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2018/10/rollsroyce-invests-plugandplay-energy-storage-company-to-expand-microgrid-offering.html

Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems adds: “In addition to the diesel and gas gensets supplied by MTU Onsite Energy, together with our partners such as Qinous we will now offer battery containers, include renewable power generation plants, and combine that with intelligent control. This strengthens our position as a provider of innovative power solutions who is able to supply customers with microgrid systems tailored to their specific requirements.”

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1058987259003879424

 

Top 4

Australia’s largest cotton producer reduces diesel consumption with a 3.6-MW solar solution

The project will be owned by a subsidiary of Cubbie Ag, the largest cotton producer in Australia, and will produce electricity to help power Cubbie Station, the largest irrigation property in the southern hemisphere. It will generate enough electricity to supply 40% of Cubbie’s energy needs at Cubbie Station during the peak cotton ginning season, running from April to September. VivoPower International’s wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, Aevitas Group Limited has been awarded the EPC contract. The project is the first phase of a longer-term plan to expand to 7.2 MW, and will also include battery storage.

https://www.irrigationaustralia.com.au/news/vivopower-lands-epc-contract-for-australian-project

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1058685087116607488

 

Top 5

Siemens launches microgrid with 1 MW solar and 140 kWh energy storage in South Africa

The system is located at Siemens’s South Africa headquarters in Midrand. The microgrid is built around a 1 MW PV plant strategically positioned throughout the Siemens Park campus that takes full advantage of the high solar irradiation.  Excess energy is stored in a 140KWh lithium-ion storage system.

http://sweetcrudereports.com/2018/07/04/ge-commissions-hybrid-distributed-power-unit-for-digo-village/

Sabine Dall’Omo, Siemens CEO for Southern and Eastern Africa explains: “This system will drive down our organization's energy costs and cut carbon emissions. We have already reduced the energy demand from the national grid by approximately 40% compared to previous years and more savings are expected with further optimization.”

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1058263439762771968

 

Please also have a look at the survey that we are conducting at the moment in the African commercial and industrial renewable energy and energy storage segment: https://www.th-energy.net/2018/10/09/insights-commercial-and-industrial-applications-for-renewables-and-energy-storage-in-africa/

 

 

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Fri

12

Oct

2018

Renewables for commercial and industrial solutions give hope for Africa’s energy transition – takeaways from the BNEF Future of Energy Summit

Corporate PPA-based renewable energy solutions could play an important role in markets that build up new capacity

The main topics at this year’s BNEF Future of Energy Summit, which took place last week in London, were related to challenges in the shift to a more decentralized energy system, flexibility and market design requirements in a low carbon economy, the role of utilities and oil&gas companies in the energy transition, e-mobility, digitalization, renewables beyond subsidies and emerging markets.

 

BloombergNEF’s Tom Rowlands-Rees illustrated impressively that grids were centralized mainly because traditional power plants could offer immense economies of scale. This is not the case for wind and solar energy. The problem is that the market design has often not been adapted and incumbents try to defend their ground. In an optimized low emission energy system, power generation can be generated closer by off-takers and grid capacity can be partly replaced by energy storage.

 

This is a point that was also covered by the session “Powering Business in Africa and the Middle East” in which responsAbility, Greenwish, CrossBoundry, Aggreko, and Oxygen Africa participated. In many African countries, the power system is not mature. Significant generation and grid capacity is missing. Building up the system allows for an optimized approach. Additional generation capacity can be built on-site.

 

In Africa, we have seen renewable energy solutions from large mining companies such as IAMGOLD (Burkina Faso), Nevsun (Eritrea), or B2Gold (Namibia). Similar systems are applied in many other sectors such as cement (Ohorongo Cement - Namibia), food & beverages (Coca Cola Bottling Partners in South Africa and Ghana, Unilever in Kenya), telecommunications (Orange in DRC), shopping malls (Garden City Mall in Kenya and Mall of Africa in South Africa), and banking (Ecobank ATMs in Ghana). Commercial and industrial off-takers do not have to invest their own capital, but more and more IPPs build on-site solar or wind power plants and sell back the electricity to off-takers.

Picture credit: Bloomberg
Picture credit: Bloomberg

CrossBoundry’s Kathleen Jean-Pierre made clear that though corporate PPAs look good on paper, in reality, severe challenges must be accepted. These challenges have several roots and range from the complexity of contracts and regulatory issues, to the general risks of doing business in Africa.

 

There is a huge un-tapped potential for on-site renewable energy solutions in Africa. Even if it does not constitute a significant share of their current business, several oil&gas companies are entering the electricity market, certain with a renewable energy focus as the following overview from BloombergNEF shows:

Picture credit: Bloomberg
Picture credit: Bloomberg

Our experience at THEnergy is that many oil&gas players have a special interest in African markets. This can be explained to some extent by the fact that many of them are already active with their downstream or upstream business in Africa and are more experienced in doing business in this challenging environment. Through their downstream business, oil&gas companies often have long customer relationships with commercial and industrial off-takers. This could give them a strong advantage in the field of corporate PPAs and onsite renewables.

Thu

23

Aug

2018

Top 5 Hybrid Energy News (Solar- and Wind-Diesel-Hybrid + Microgrids) – July / August 2018 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Hybrid Energy News” is mainly about projects in rural electrification. It covers projects in Australia, Gabon, Alaska, Great Britain, and Ethiopia.  The new edition features Aggreko, Younicos, Gold Fields, ENGIE, Ausar Energy, SAFT, Moixa Energy, Hitachi, and General Electric.

Top 1

Aggreko and Younicos to power Gold Fields mine in Australia with a solar-gas-battery hybrid solution

In Western Australia, solar is combined with gas. Aggreko won the contract to build and operate the 21MW power station in 2016, and has since worked with Gold Fields on plans to provide 7.3MW of solar power generation, as well as a 2MW/1MWh battery system, to be integrated with the existing gas supply as a hybrid power station. The system will be provided under a ‘microgrid-as-a-service’ business model.

https://www.miningmagazine.com/power-remote-power/news/1341271/aggreko-to-introduce-renewables-at-granny-smith

Karim Wazni, Managing Director – Aggreko Microgrids and Storage Solutions, adds: “We are delighted to be working with Gold Fields on their Granny Smith power supply. The combination of solar, battery and gas that we can offer in our portfolio is probably the most competitive, reliable and cleanest way to supply power to remote locations in Australia.”

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1033972263299809281

 

Top 2

Hybrid systems with a combined capacity of 2.2 MWp to be built in Gabon

French utility ENGIE’s regional subsidiary, Ausar Energy, will deploy eight hybrid solar systems in Gabon after an agreement was signed with CDC, the Gabonese financial institution Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. The solar systems have a combined capacity of 2.2 MWp.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2018/08/08/engie-to-deploy-hybrid-solar-in-gabon/

“With construction set to begin in a few weeks, this project will contribute to the Gabonese Republic's proactive policy of using renewable energy – solar and hydropower – to increase the country's energy capacities. The solar energy will be used in eight locations that are currently supplied by oil-fired thermal power stations, and will save 2,600 tons of CO2 per year and reduce generation costs by 30%,” comments Raphael Tilot, the Chief Customer Solutions Officer of ENGIE’s Africa Business Unit.

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1033802979042840576

 

Top 3

950 kWh energy storage for Alaskan microgrid with 2.9 MW wind capacity

The Alaskan city of Kotzebue has integrated a SAFT lithium-ion (Li-ion) energy storage system (ESS) into its off-grid microgrid. The ESS enables the hybrid wind-diesel power system to achieve its full potential, providing cleaner, more reliable and less expensive power to a remote community of 3,700 people.

https://www.altenergymag.com/article/2018/08/energy-storage-for-alaskan-microgrid/29042/

“The logistical challenges of transporting diesel fuel to small communities in the far north of Canada and Alaska result in very high costs for electricity, which can be mitigated by the addition of wind generation. Combining energy storage as part of these deployments allows curtailments to be minimized and fuel savings to be maximized, particularly when diesel-off operation is enabled”, explains Jim McDowall, Business Development Manager at SAFT.

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1033743120356261894

 

Top 4

$14m storage and renewables model to be tested on UK islands

British battery company Moixa is installing smart batteries on Scilly as part of the £10.8m ($14m) Smart Energy Islands project, which is being led by Hitachi Europe. Scilly is an archipelago off the Cornish coast in southwest England. The project is part financed by £8.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund, will lay the foundations for the wider Smart Islands program, which aims to cut electricity bills by 40 per cent by 2025.

https://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2018/07/uk-islands-used-to-test-14m-storage-and-renewables-model.html

Simon Daniel, CEO at Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd, points out: “The Isles of Scilly serves as a global test-bed for solar and batteries in an isolated environment, showing how they can save money for households, enable more clean renewable power, and support efficient, cost-effective energy systems, reducing the reliance on the grid. It helps inform how the UK can deliver as a Smart Energy island, and leverage batteries for flexibility as solar, wind and EV adoption grows, and show-cases the value of such technologies for communities and for international markets.”

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1033643931987263488

 

Top 5

GE commissions hybrid distributed power unit for Digo village

General Electric (GE) has commissioned a scalable microgrid system powered by solar-diesel plus battery storage unit for Digo Village in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The system which was implemented in partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the Oromia Region Energy bureau as well as Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) will provide power to 1,500 inhabitants of Digo. The offtakers are a health clinic, school, administrative offices, and homes.

http://sweetcrudereports.com/2018/07/04/ge-commissions-hybrid-distributed-power-unit-for-digo-village/

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1033325507583127552

 

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Sun

08

Jul

2018

DiscoverHydropower: A visit to four hydropower plants in Portugal, Scotland, and Iceland

While falling costs of solar and wind power plants have sparked a boom all over the world, hydropower is marginalized in many regions. A recent visit by four energy experts to four hydropower plants in Portugal, Scotland, and Iceland raises the question of whether hydropower can play a role in the energy transition toward renewables.

 

Hydropower is cheap

Hydropower is an extremely inexpensive energy source. Harvesting water means significant competitive advantages for countries with hydropower resources. For example, Iceland’s economy largely profits from the fact that hydropower is the cheapest source of energy. The small island country between the European and American continents managed to attract three large aluminum smelters – despite high labor costs. Other applications that are energy intensive have followed. Verne Global, Advania Data, and Vodafone have built up data centers in Iceland with low electricity costs and low ambient temperatures being the main differentiators in global competition.

 

The lifetime of hydropower plants is extremely long. Hydropower plants require mainly investment costs while operating costs are marginal. During the tour, the expert team visited amongst other plants, Budarhals, a run-of-river power plant in the Icelandic Highlands operated by Landsvirkjun, the national power company for wholesale markets in Iceland. The 95 MW power plant located on the Tungnaá River and inaugurated in 2014 consists of two Kaplan turbines with an environmental friendly design such as water filled runner hubs. It helped Landsvirkjun to increase its capacity and cater for higher power demand from booming tourism and new commercial offtakers such as data centers.

 

https://goo.gl/5L3JSG

Hydropower is flexible

 

Intermittencies from new renewable energy sources such as solar and wind pose a significant challenge for grid operators all over the world. Both pumped hydro and run-of-river plants incorporate flexibility and can be used for balancing these fluctuations. Several flexibility innovations could be observed during the DiscoverHydropower Tour at EDP’s pumped storage plant Frades II in Northern Portugal, one of the most modern hydropower plants in the world and the largest variable speed pumped storage plant in Europe commissioned last year.

 

Two variable speed pump turbines have a rated output of 390 MW each. The key to this power plant are two asynchronous generators whose speed is not tied to line frequency and so can vary - unlike conventional asynchronous generators. The innovative solution at Frades II offers five main advantages:

 

 

  1. The plant can respond faster and more flexibly to the active and reactive demand from the power grid;

     

  2. It offers additional stability in the event of a drop in voltage, reducing the likelihood of a power failure;
  3. It enables a fast restart if a power outage does occur;
  4. It increases the total number of operating hours of the plant;
  5. It increases overall operational efficiency. 

 

https://goo.gl/SV1SrM

Pumped hydro energy storage solutions can play an important role – especially in countries like Portugal that have added huge wind and solar power capacities in recent years. A 390 MW unit at Frades II can add 40 MW capacity within a second. In the case of Frades II, this allows the operator EDP to actively participate in the control reserve / frequency control markets.

 

https://goo.gl/pmNssb

Hydropower has become intelligent and digital

The main hydropower technologies have been proven for centuries. In recent years, competition from other types of renewable energy such as wind and solar energy has increased the pressure on hydro manufacturers. Modern hydropower plants enter the era of digital factories. Remote monitoring and control solutions allow operators to run hydropower plants from central control rooms. Even at plants in the higher triple digit MW-size range, no onsite personnel are needed during normal operation. Digitalization also allows for remote preventive maintenance. All these measures will even further decrease direct costs of hydropower and most of them will also contribute to prolong the lifetime of the plants.

 

At all four stops of the DiscoverHydropower Tour, it was obvious that digitalization is driving innovation in hydropower forward. This was also visible at two 2MW units from the Voith Hydro subsidiary Kössler that we have seen in Scotland. Green Highland is operating Coiltie and Lock Eilde Mor, two small-scale run-of-river power plants in the Scottish Highlands. It is especially crucial for small-scale hydro that no onsite personnel are needed. In comparison to large-scale hydro, the annual electricity generated is relatively low and even a single salary would increase operational costs significantly. Similarly, it is important to have a remote maintenance concept that reduces the number of required site visits.

 

https://goo.gl/fHzHb8

Hydropower is communicable

 

As with other renewable sources, such a wind, solar, and geothermal, hydropower is attractive for end-consumers. There is a huge untapped potential for using hydro-power in end-consumer communication. Diversified utilities with conventional and unconventional power plants in their generation mix might try to form end-consumer products based on different energy sources. Power producers that focus on hydro or renewables in general will be in an even better position to use hydropower toward end-consumers as they enjoy far higher customer credibility. An additional aspect in end-consumer communication is whether or not these renewable energy assets are newly built or if a provider relies on a portfolio of existing plants. In many cases, even surplus cost for renewables might be recovered from the end-customers through a higher willingness-to-pay.

(based on discussions with the DiscoverHydropower participant Fridrik Larsen who runs a great conference about branding energy: https://goo.gl/s8oirj)

Climate change makes the pendulum swing toward hydropower

 

Hydropower – like many other large infrastructure projects - has negative consequences on the environment as it changes landscapes and endangers animals and human beings alike. There is always a trade-off between these disadvantages and the fact that hydropower is a competitive source of power generation suited for providing electricity in a flexible way. In the end, politics must strive for the right balance between local adverse effects and the manifold advantages of hydropower. As global warming is progressing, the pendulum is swinging toward hydropower The „not in my backyard” attitude is becoming more prevalent and the value of hydroelectricity for individual economies is increasing. In times when the “not in my backyard” attitude assumes momentum for all kinds of large-scale projects quickly, it is important to put also the advantages of hydropower more in focus so that well-balanced decisions can be made.

The author was invited by Voith Hydro to visit four hydropower plants in Portugal, Scotland and Iceland together with three other energy experts, Claudia Kemfert, Fridrik Larsen, and Kevin O’Donovan. Voith Hydro sponsored the six-day journey, selected the plants that were visited during the trip and provided the experts with information via discussions. This article, however, fully reflects the opinion of the author – independent of any official positions of Voith Hydro.

 

https://goo.gl/5rVgnt

 

Thu

07

Jun

2018

Top 5 Hybrid Energy News (Solar- and Wind-Diesel-Hybrid + Microgrids) – May/June 2018 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Hybrid Energy News” is mainly about projects in rural electrification. It covers projects in Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Morocco, and Cook Islands. It features Akuo Energy, Millennium Challenge Account Indonesia (MCA), WEnergy Global, Gigawatt Power Inc., Vivant Corp., ABB, IBC SOLAR, SEWT, and Entura.

Top 1

1,2 MWp solar / 2,1 MWh storage for hybrid plants at three villages in rural Indonesia

In Indonesia, Akuo Energy and Millennium Challenge Account Indonesia (MCA) have commissioned three solar plus battery power plants with a combined solar capacity of 1,2 MWp and storage capacity of 2,1 MWh. The off-grid plants will provide 24-hours access to electricity for 400 households and 41 public facilities in the villages of Merabu (311 kWp), Long Beliu (518 kWp), and Teluk Sumbang (414 kWp) in Berau Regency of East Kalimantan Province. The renewable energy penetration reaches 100% during the first years of operation until the load growth in the villages requires the use of small diesel gensets a few hours a day. Over the lifetime of the project, 80% of the energy will come from solar. The off-grid systems are in possession of the village-owned company BUMDes and operated with the help of Akuo Energy. Pre-paid meters have been installed in each building and the generated electricity is sold at a price on par with the unsubsidized tariff of the national utility PLN.

http://kaltim.prokal.co/read/news/329703-wabup-resmikan-plts-di-tiga-kampung.html (in Bahasa Indonesia)

Eric Scotto, Chairman of Akuo Energy, adds: “We are very proud to bring hybrid minigrids to some of the remotest villages of Indonesia and help foster the local economy with the supply of clean energy as well as the implementation of social impact programs. The financial support from MCA has been a key enabler as these rural electrification projects still require some level of development financing."

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1004960306832044034

 

Top 2

Large-scale solar-diesel hybrid in the Philippines

The Sabang Renewable Energy Corporation (SREC) will break ground in Palawan its first hybrid power plant with a micro-grid to provide power to Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan. The hybrid power plant consists of a 1.4-megawatt peak (MWp) solar photovoltaics (PV) with a 2.3-megawatt (MW) battery storage system, and a 1.2-MW diesel generator.

https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/04/23/hybrid-energy-project-breaks-ground-tuesday-in-puerto-princesa/

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1004839088149745664

 

Top 3

India’s first industrial solar microgrid commissioned in Gujarat

ABB announced it has commissioned India’s first industrial solar microgrid at its Vadodara manufacturing facility in Gujarat. The containerized microgrid installation in Vadodara includes a 600 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) field and a battery energy storage system (BESS). The Vadodara factory is ABB’s largest facility in India with over 3,000 employees and among its biggest manufacturing hubs in the world.

https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/indias-first-industrial-solar-microgrid-commissioned-in-gujarat/63925974

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1004823456150642695

 

Top 4

SEWT and IBC have installed a solar-diesel hybrid plant with battery storage in Morocco

IBC SOLAR and its Moroccan partner company SEWT (Sun Energy and Water Technologies) have announced delivered and installed an off-grid PV hybrid system with a capacity of 126 kWp ordered by the National Moroccan Fishery Office (Office National des Pêches – ONP). The system consists also consists of batteries and diesel generators and is located in Aftissat, a fisher’s village in the province of Boujdour (Southern Morocco). With an annual production of 233,000 kWh, the system is able to cover the daily energy needs of the fisher’s village every day of the year. Refrigeration, cold storage units, shops and domestic infrastructure constantly consume around 600 kWh electricity per day. The PV hybrid system has been designed for autonomous self-consumption and helps to reduce diesel costs by 95 percent and CO2 emissions by 99 percent. The whole system is PV centralised, therefore diesel generators are still part of the system but only needed as a back-up in times of low irradiation or low batteries.
http://www.sunwindenergy.com/photovoltaics-press-releases/ibc-solar-pv-system-improves-living-conditions-fishermens-village

Udo Möhrstedt, CEO and founder of IBC SOLAR AG, explains: “Solar energy plays a key part in Morocco’s national energy strategy aiming to achieve a 50% contribution of renewable energy to the country’s energy mix by 2030. More than 2000 MW of solar capacity will be built as part of several programs including CSP and PV systems. The potential of hybrid solar PV-diesel systems is immense for a large part of the country in remote areas not connected to the national electric grid.
Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1004772146625859584

Top 5
Cook Islands to be fully powered by solar plus battery by 2020
The first solar plant has been completed on Mitiaro Island. It was designed to supply all the power needs of the island. These new solar plus battery projects in the Cook Islands demonstrate how off-grid regions can escape reliance on diesel generators. All inhabited Cook Islands are the target of renewable energy projects. The Australian company Entura has been instrumental in making this happen for the Cook Islands.

https://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/powered-new-solar-plus-battery/

Vote by liking and retweeting: https://twitter.com/THEnergyNet/status/1004756014988759040

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 NEWSLETTER!
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THEnergy is supporting Energy and Mines Australia Summit. Get 20% discount:

Thomas Hillig to present at the 10th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum - EMEA: "Dynamics of C&I Microgrids in Africa"

THEnergy to speak at Charge Energy Branding conference in Iceland.

Wed

17

Jul

2019

Top 5 Microgrid News – Summer 2019 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Microgrid News” features two mining microgrids, a military application, an island solution, and an investment in an innovative microgrid company. It covers two projects in Australia, one in the USA and one in Nicaragua. 

Read More

Mon

06

May

2019

Top 5 Hybrid Energy News (Solar- and Wind-Diesel-Hybrid + Microgrids) – Spring 2019 by THEnergy

The new edition of our “Top 5 Hybrid Energy News” features four projects and a partnership announcement. Interestingly all microgrid projects included an energy storage solution. Two projects were in mining, one in rural electrification and one in the hospitality sector.  The selected projects are located in South Africa, Argentina, the Philippines,and the Maldives. This edition features Bushveld Minerals and Energy, Millennial Lithium, Ergy Energy, ADB, ANTECO, OREEI, Four Seasons, Swimsol, ABB, Rolls Royce, and MTU Onsite Energy.

Read More

Dr. Thomas Hillig Energy Consulting
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