Ramboll wind turbine anti-corrosion innovation wins award

A newly-developed method to protect the steel foundations of offshore wind turbines from corrosion has won an innovation award.

The under-construction offshore windfarm Arkona in the German Baltic Sea received the German Renewables Innovation Product of the Year award from the Clusteragentur Erneuerbare Energien, based in Hamburg.

Ramboll developed the anti-corrosion method for E.ON and Statoil to reduce the environmental impact and lower the construction costs of offshore wind farms.

During the 25-year operating life of an offshore wind farm, metal-dissolving corrosion is significantly reduced by the new method, and emissions to the sea are reduced by several hundred tonnes. The method is called TSA (thermally sprayed aluminium) and fully replaces the use of sacrificial anodes applied to the monopiles.

Andreas Willecke from Ramboll’s Wind & Towers division explained the fabrication process: “In the coating process, a robot sprays molten aluminium onto the up to 81 metre-long, 1200 tonnes-heavy monopile foundations using two arc burners. The surface is then sealed with synthetic resin.”

TSA has so far been used primarily as corrosion protection for smaller steel components under water or for larger components above water, such as offshore substations. Arkona is the first project to install all monopiles of an offshore wind farm using this corrosion protection technology.

According to E.ON, this set new standards for the construction and operation of offshore wind power plants.

The Arkona project is located 35 kilometres northeast of the island of Rügen and will have a capacity of 385 MW once it becomes operational in 2019. It will install 60 six-megawatt turbines based on monopile foundations designed by Ramboll.

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Poyry wins hydropower deal in Armenia

Pöyry has been awarded an engineering services and consultancy services contract for a feasibility study for a hydroelectric project in Armenia.

The Shnogh project is located along the Debed river in northern Armenia close to the border with Georgia border. 

Shnogh is a run-of-river plant which harnesses the water from the Debed and Martsiget rivers, which will be dammed behind a 25m high concrete weir, and conveyed to the powerhouse along a 19 km-long free-flow tunnel, a 230 metre pressure shaft, and a high pressure tunnel.

Two turbines with a capacity of 70 MW will be housed in a surface powerhouse located on the bank of the Debed River, in the vicinity of Neghots village. 

Pöyry’s assignment includes the review of existing documents and the basic studies, feasibility design of the selected alternatives, construction schedule, bill of quantities, cost estimate, economic evaluation and executive summary.  

The contract has been awarded by Debed Hydro, a new subsidiary of Energy Invest Holding CJSC, which will construct and operate the plant.

The Investors Club of Armenia will co-invest 15 per cent of the required finance.  

Richard Pinnock, president of Pöyry’s Energy Business Group, said: "Delivering clean, renewable energy projects in this region further strengthens Pöyry’s position as one of the world’s leading hydropower engineering consultancies. Armenia is an important country for hydropower development and we look forward to sharing our expertise in future projects."

The deal marks Poyry’s second hydropower award in Armenia in less than a year. Last year it was awarded an engineering and consultancy contract by Energy Invest Holding for the headworks rehabilitation project at the Dzora hydropower plant. 

The plant on the Dzoraget river has been operating since 1932. Pöyry prepared an inventory of the observed damages to the concrete structures and hydromechanical equipment. It also assessed the reduced operability or the expectable durability of the hydro-scheme based on a risk analysis and clarify the geological/geotechnical potential causes for the damages in view of designing proper countermeasures. 

Energy Invest Holding has four hydropower assets in Armenia as well as ArevEk, the first solar power plant in Armenia. With up to 1 MW capacity it being built at the highest elevation near the Makravan district of Hrazdan city. 

POYRY INDUSTRY INSIGHT: What will be the true impact of electric vehicles?

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IEA welcomes Mexico and praises Australia

Mexico has become the first Latin American member of the International Energy Agency.

The country became the IEA’s 30th member at the weekend, when Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Energy Secretary, said: "With this final step, Mexico enters the most important energy forum in the world. We will take our part in setting the world’s energy policies, receive experienced advisory in best international practices, and participate in emergency response exercises."

IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol called it "an historic day”.

He said that “with more than 120 million inhabitants, an important oil producer, and a weighty voice in global energy, the ambitious and successful energy reforms of recent years have put Mexico firmly on the global energy policy map." 

Mexico is the world’s 15th-largest economy and 12th-largest oil producer, and has some of the world’s best renewable energy resources.

Meanwhile, the IEA has praised the “impressive” efforts that Australia has made to “ensure energy security and move ahead with market reform”.

Birol said: “Australia can develop its vast renewable resources and remain a cornerstone of global energy markets as a leading supplier of coal, uranium and liquefied natural gas, securing the energy for growing Asian markets."

Presenting an IEA report into the Australia energy sector in Canberra, he added: "A comprehensive national energy and climate strategy is needed for Australia to have a cleaner and more secure energy future. The National Energy Guarantee is a promising opportunity for Australia to integrate climate and energy policy."

The report says Australia should rely on long-term policy and energy market responses to strengthen energy security, foster competition, and make the power sector more resilient.  

In line with global trends, Australia’s energy system is undergoing a profound transformation, putting its energy markets under pressure. Concerns about affordable and secure energy supplies have grown in recent years, following several power outages, a tightening gas market in the east coast and rising energy prices.

Besides assessing progress since the IEA review of 2012, the Australian government requested the IEA to focus on how Australia can use global best practices in transitioning to a lower-carbon energy system. This question points to safeguarding electricity supply when ageing coal capacity retires, increased variable renewable energy comes on line and natural gas markets are tight.

Along with the US, Australia is leading the next wave of growth in liquefied natural gas. As a major exporter of coal, Australia is also a strong supporter of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies. The report commends Australia’s efforts which can be critical globally to meeting long-term climate goals.

The IEA’s review points out that the sustainable development of new gas resources is critical for natural gas to play a growing role in the energy transition, “satisfying a growing domestic gas demand in power generation and industry and to honour export contracts at the same time”.

The report calls on Australia to continue efforts to improve transparency of gas pricing, boost market integration and facilitate access to transportation capacity.

International Energy Agency unveils first in-depth study into digitalization in the energy sector

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Russia outlines potential $620bn spend in power infrastructure upgrade

The Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation has presented its financial estimates for modernization and greenfield development in the power generation sector until 2035.

During a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich, the ministry’s officials announced an estimated $620bn (3,5 trillion rubles) will need to be released by 2035 for the purposes of investing in construction and modernization of the country’s power facilities.
Russia flag
The amount of money refers to financial resources to originate after the accomplishment of a CDA program (Capacity Delivery Agreement).

Initially, the ministry had stated that financial resources needed for modernization of thermal generation capacities would equal 1,5 trillion rubles. Updated calculations have now been made taking into consideration the development perspectives of power companies. 

Meanwhile RIA Novosti reports that Siemens expects to supply equipment to Russian energy companies under the modernization programme. The pledge was made by Dietrich Möller, the President of Siemens Russia and Central Asia, on the sidelines of the Russian Investment Forum held in Sochi.

Möller added that it is an ambitious programme that requires serious capital investments and equipment supply. Siemens hopes to give a full load to its local production in Russia (there are 10 Siemens manufacturing facilities operating in Russia).

Möller added that Siemens is not planning to expand localization of its production, as for gas turbines the localization level is about 55%, and they are considered to be Russian-manufactured.

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Man and BWSC to build gas-fired plant in Benin

A consortium featuring MAN Diesel & Turbo and Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) has won a contract to build a 127 MW gas-fired power plant in Benin.

The Maria Gleta plant, which will be located near the major port city of Cotonou, will use seven of MAN’s 51/60 DF gas gensets, which will be delivered this year.

The plant is planned to run on natural gas as soon as a supply is available, MAN said, but will run on heavy fuel oil in the meantime.

MAN’s service business PrimeServ will supply spare parts and support of major maintenance under a long-term service agreement with BWSC, which will operate the plant.

Operation is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2019 and expansion to a total capacity of 400 MW is planned for the future.

The project is part of Benin’s scheme titled ‘Revealing Benin’, which centres around 45 flagship projects aimed at strengthening macroeconomic development, consolidating democracy and improving the living environment for the country’s citizens.  

Waldemar Wiesner, Head of Region MEA for MAN’s power plants business, said the plant’s fuel flexibility was “essential to ensure the immediate production of electrical energy, once the construction has been finalized.

“To date, only 30 per cent of the people of Benin have access to electricity, which is why the project is of great importance to increase national prosperity and to support the country’s growing economy,” he added.


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Another Brazilian solar installation for Enel

Enel’s subsidiary Enel Green Power Brasil Participações (EGPB) has started operations of its 103 MW Horizonte solar power plant, located in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia.

Enel invested approximately $110m in the construction of Horizonte, as part of the investments foreseen in the company’s current strategic plan, and is financed through Enel Group’s own resources, as well as long-term financing provided by Banco do Nordeste.

The solar park is supported by a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Brazilian Chamber of Commercialisation of Electric Energy (Câmara de Comercialização da Energia Elétrica, CCEE).

The Horizonte solar facility is comprised of almost 330,000 solar panels and will be able to produce more than 220 GWh per year once fully operational.

Enel Green Power head Antonio Cammisecra said: “The entry into service of Horizonte marks a new milestone for the Group’s presence in the Brazilian solar market, where in just over eight months we added four projects for a total capacity of 807 MW, which include South America’s largest PV facility currently in operation, Nova Olinda.

In line with the Enel Group’s Creating Shared Value (CSV) model, which aims to combine business development and local community needs, EGPB has carried out initiatives to enable income generation for the communities neighbouring the plant, such as creative workshops for the manufacturing of furniture from recycled materials used in construction works.

In the state of Bahia, EGPB already operates 706 MW of wind capacity and 515 MW of solar capacity, which include, in addition to Horizonte, the 254 MW Ituverava and the 158 MW Lapa solar parks.

Energy Business Review reports that the Enel Group, through its subsidiaries EGPB and Enel Brasil, has a total installed renewable capacity of nearly 2.9 GW in Brazil, of which 842 MW comes from wind power, 819 MW from solar PV and 1270 MW from hydro.


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National Grid to develop ‘superfast’ car charging network

UK utility, National Grid, has identified 50 motorway sites where it would offer rapid recharging facilities for electric vehicles.

FT reports that the company is planning to install a fleet of superfast charging points along Britain’s motorways that would feed directly off the electricity transmission network. The FTSE 100 utility company operates the country’s high-voltage power grid.

The plan would go some way to allaying range anxiety, the fear EV owners have of running out of charge on a motorway.

National Grid has mapped Britain’s motorways and transmission networks and identified 50 strategic sites, said Graeme Cooper, project director of electric vehicles at the group.

Those locations mean that more than 90 per cent of drivers would be able to drive in any direction from any location in the UK and be within 50 miles of an ultra-rapid charger. The chargers would provide up to 350KW of power and would allow a driver to charge their car in five to 12 minutes, a big improvement on the 20 to 40 minutes it currently takes. That would make electric charging comparable to the seven minutes it currently takes on average to fill up a petrol car. If 100 chargers were installed on each of the chosen motorway sites, it would equate to about 35 MW of electricity — enough to power 14,000 homes.

“It’s the critical infrastructure that’s key,” said Mr Cooper. “It’s about future-proofing the network so it has the capacity to charge cars as quickly and efficiently as possible. Range anxiety is listed at the top of [drivers’] reasons for not buying an electric car.”

National Grid, he added, was “engaging with various parts of government” and was offering this “scenario planning” as “a potential answer” to show “what’s possible”.

The grid infrastructure would cost between £500m and £1bn, or about 60p per driver per year if all motorists shouldered the cost, according to National Grid estimates.

Analysts also believe superfast chargers connected to the transmission network could also help prevent local power shortages.


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UK firm wins $2m for nuclear decommissioning solution

A consortium led by engineering firm Wood has won £1.5m ($2.1m) in UK government funding to develop a new nuclear decommissioning solution.  

The company’s project and four others were selected as finalists by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) after a competition produced a shortlist of 15 proposals. Each finalist has received a £1.5m award.

According to Wood, its project aims to combine robotics with data and control systems to design a demonstrator system for cleaning and dismantling radioactive rooms at the UK’s Sellafield nuclear site, which is scheduled to be shut down by 2020.  

The company said it plans to apply new technologies developed in space exploration, automotive production and medicine for the project.

These technologies include new material handling solutions to reduce the risks of working at height, mixed reality headsets, a multi-fingered gripper allowing robots to grasp different objects, and a navigation system designed for missions to Mars that enables autonomous mapping where human access is impossible. 

Among the aims of the project are to provide rapid, real-time characterization of nuclear waste by bringing the laboratory to the disposal site; to reduce operations at height and remove the need for temporary platforms, scaffolds and man entry; and to create a suite of modular waste handling and processing tools to characterize, size-reduce, sort and decontaminate waste.

Also working on the project will be research partners Airbus Defence and Space Ltd, Clicks and Links Ltd, Damavan Imaging SAS, Digital Concepts Engineering Ltd, IS-Instruments Ltd, I3D Robotics Ltd, the University of Lancaster, the University of Salford, Kawasaki UK Ltd and TWI.

The X-2 ROV, designed by project partner Digital Concepts Engineering, is pictured here. The company said it can climb stairs when heavily loaded and turn on the spot. 

The competition was launched last year by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and innovation funding agency Innovate UK. It aims to find a solution for decommissioning Sellafield’s Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant and Magnox Reprocessing Plant, which are both due to close by 2020.

A first series of trials is set to take place over the next 18 months. Projects deemed to be viable will then progress to more rigorous trials in a radioactive environment and ultimately to approval for use by the nuclear regulator.

Bob MacDonald, CEO of Wood’s Specialist Technical Solutions business, said the company’s proposal for “a fully remote solution removes the operator from a hazardous environment and is adaptable enough to tackle different tasks, many of which present unique challenges”.

He added that Wood will function as an “innovation integrator, bringing together ingenious ideas from industry and academia to define a new approach to the nuclear decommissioning challenge”.

Melanie Brownridge, the NDA’s head of technology, said responses to the competition had been so promising that the total amount available to the five chosen projects was increased from £3m to £8.5m.

She added: “We’re hopeful that a number may be successful, and could be used in various different situations at our sites as well as in other hazardous scenarios, both here and overseas.”


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