Why data is key in the energy convergence

As a partner specialising in emerging energy and greentech markets at international law firm Pinsent Masons, Peter Feehan has a bird’s eye view of the changes that are sweeping the energy sector.

He and his colleagues are helping power and utility companies adapt to the blurring of lines between the traditional energy arena and an increasing number of so-called disruptors.

“We are in interesting times,” Feehan tells me. “The energy sector has never been more exciting. We are seeing a very changing landscape across all the sectors that form the energy environment.

“There is a real shift in terms of dynamics. In conventional power, it’s moved from efficiency of kit to looking at how quickly machinery can be started.

He says this need for speed has come about “as a result of the way that we are utilizing power. People are more immediate now in their power demands. It’s not about baseload now – it’s about how companies can respond to price signals.”

He says there is no “predefined shape around the usage of power” – it’s more localized.

“A lot of the power now is at a more distributed and localized level. There’s a changing landscape in how we are using power and there’s a changing landscape around where that power is generated. And there’s changing demand profiles as well. So somehow all generators, infrastructure providers and energy suppliers have got to respond to that.”

He says that how companies plan a strategy for that response depends on the size of that company.

“Each of those market segments that make up the energy sector are trying to respond in the best way that they can. What we are finding is that the pace of that change is very rapid, and the ability to respond to those market changes is difficult at times, given the size of some companies that need to maintain shareholder value and investor confidence.

“Given that some of the larger players in the power market can’t move as quickly as some of the disruptors, we are seeing a convergence in the marketplace between the energy sector and the tech sectors.”

He says it would “be imprudent from an investor profile for big energy companies to go head-first into these new markets”, so instead they are looking at joint ventures, partnerships and even acquisitions where appropriate to respond and keep ahead of the market change.

He explains that what established energy actors are trying to do is “work out where they best fit in the energy landscape. What is their play? Is it around agility in retail and commercial supply? Is it around operation of assets? Or is it asset ownership?

“In the European marketplace it is very much a sense of ‘where best do we see the future of our business’? Tech acquisition or partnership is a part of that. Utility players are considering how they best resize and reshape their business to respond to market pressure and forces.”

He says the energy sector is essentially asking itself one key question: “Is the way we have done things for the last 100 years a market that is future-ready for the next 100 years? And do we need to perfect that marketplace in order to respond to these greater challenges?

“The key to all of this is actually understanding more how we use energy – and that comes from the data. Only once we better understand how we use energy can we deploy assets at the distributed level, as well as at the transmission level, far more effectively, both in the marketplace and indeed from an energy solutions position. The use of data has increased in tandem with the need for more technical solutions and the need for an ever-smarter grid.

Peter Feehan is speaking at Electrify Europe in Vienna in June, alongside several other energy lawyers from Pinsent Masons. For more details and to register, click here

This article is an extract from a longer exclusive interview that will appear in PEi magazine later this month. Subscribe now to be sure of receiving your issue.

 

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Norway presses ahead with CCS development

The Norwegian government has announced that it will invest
an additional $34m in developing its carbon capture and storage (CCS)
capability. The funding is aimed at the country’s large-scale industrial CCS programme.

The Carbon Capture and Storage Association has welcomed the news with Dr Luke
Warren, Chief Executive of the CCSA, commenting, “ “We are encouraged to see
that the Norwegian Government has today moved a step closer to realising a
Norwegian industrial CCS cluster.”

The commitment to further studies for both the Norcem cement plant and the
Klemetsrud waste-to-energy facility is globally significant – as both of these
would represent world-first low-carbon industrial projects through CCS,
enabling these industries to contribute to clean growth.

Norwegian CCS project

“The Norwegian Government will also take forward the development of CCS
transport and storage infrastructure on the west coast of Norway. Developing
CO2 storage assets for Europe is of vital importance to meet Paris Agreement
climate targets and to decarbonise some of our most important industrial
sectors.”

The Norwegian government proposes to fund FEED studies (Front End Engineering
and Design studies) with $9.8M in 2018. The total funding for the demonstration
project in 2018 amounts to $34m, including funds transferred from 2017. The
proposed funds for 2018 will cover FEED studies of CO2 transport, storage and
up to two capture facilities.

Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and
the International Energy Agency (IEA) point to CCS as a necessary option to
reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in line with the climate goals at the
lowest possible costs.

The UK is due to publish its CCUS Deployment Pathway by the end of this year. The
CCSA asserted that Britain must ensure that this Pathway delivers a strong new
approach to CCS that places the UK alongside Norway as a global leader in this
vital technology and makes full use of the UK’s expertise and strategic CO2
storage assets.

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Doosan signs up to providing energy storage systems

Doosan has signed a contract with SK E&S, a Korean gas and power company, to deliver a power demand management energy storage system (ESS) facility.

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction will be responsible for supplying the ESS, and SK E&S will handle the investment and operation side. The company will be applying its ESS control software technology and engineering capabilities to handle the entire process starting from design to equipment and material supply and construction. The 70MWh ESS is expected to be completed by September.
Doosan logo
The Korean engineering giant will be working together with SK E&S to implement a FEMS (Factory Energy Management System) and solar power plant as part of its efforts to establish a factory-based microgrid operation, while also pursuing an energy efficiency demonstration project.

In addition, Doosan Heavy’s US-based subsidiary, Doosan GridTech, signed a contract with Consumers Energy to implement an ESS at a substation in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Doosan Heavy is also rolling out the solar power-linked ESS at the sites of its major affiliates. Following the construction of a ESS-linked solar power facility at the learning center of its Changwon headquarters last year, it started on the construction of a 3.5MW solar power plant linked to a 8MWh ESS at the main building and main entrance area at the Changwon headquarters, as well as at Doosan Infracore’s Gunsan plant.

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China’s State Power looks to expand in Brazil with $2bn deal

China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) is looking for new Brazilian acquisition targets, having already paid $2bn for a license to operate a hydroelectric power plant in the country last September.

The news comes as Spanish power giant Iberdrola pledged to invest $821m over the next five years in electricity distribution networks and wind farms located in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte.
China Brazil flags
“Brazil is one of the top regional priorities for the group’s expansion,” Adriana Waltrick, the country head for SPIC, told Reuters.

SPIC aims to expand its global capacity by 30 GW worldwide through 2020. In Brazil, the Chinese group controls 2 GW, including a hydroelectric plant in the centre-western region of Brazil as well as two wind farms in the northeast.

SPIC may acquire companies or bid for licenses to build new capacity, Waltrick added.

The company already plans to build around 280 megawatts in new windfarms, although that will depend on its ability to win competitive tenders in which Brazil’s government offers generators power purchase agreements with distribution companies. The next power auction is scheduled for August.

The Chinese firm’s largest Brazilian investment has been the acquisition of the 1.7-GW Sao Simao hydroelectric plant for $2bn. The Chinese group took over the plant management last week, after six months of operation supervised by its former owner, Cemig.

Waltrick said the company was considering potential investments to upgrade the hydroelectric plant, built in 1978, but did not elaborate on how much would be spent or potential suppliers.

Meanwhile Iberdrola has pledged to invest $821m over the next five years in electricity distribution networks and wind farms located in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte.

The announcement was made during the visit of the president of the Spanish firm, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, to the state governor, Robinson Faria.

The investment would include the construction of nine wind farms with 300 MW of power.

Iberdrola’s announcement comes in the midst of heated competition with Italy’s Enel over the control of Eletropaulo, Brazil’s largest power distributor.

Enel informed the market on Monday about adapting its takeover bid to the requirements established by the Brazilian stock market regulator for the auction, which will be held on June 4th. 

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Decarbonizing transport with EVs ‘needs more ambitious approach’

Europe will “miss its commitments made under the Paris Agreement as well as its global competitiveness” if its policymakers do not deliver “concrete and ambitious action” to speed up the development and roll-out of zero emission vehicles.

That’s the warning from Henning Hader, Manager for Energy Policy, Climate & Sustainability at European electricity trade group eurelectric.

Writing for the forthcoming issue of PEi magazine, Hader says that the increase in countries introducing targets to phase out diesel and petrol has “triggered an avalanche of announcements from car companies about their intention to produce more EVs”.Proposed EU 2030 CO2 standards for cars and vans are soft on car makers and hard on climate, writes Henning Hader

“Considering that EVs are getting ready for mass deployment, policymakers and industry players must ensure that these technologies live up to their potential.”

In November last year the European Commission published its proposals for emission standards proposals for new cars and vans until 2030.

These targets suggest a 30 per cent emission reduction compared to 2021 levels. But Hader argues that they “fail to include a mandate for the sales of low-and zero-emission that has proven very effective in other markets. If adopted, the Commission’s plans will certainly bring more electric vehicles onto European roads, but the lack of ambition would mean that Europe will continue to lag behind other markets such as China.”

And he adds that the proposals lack the ambition required to reduce the European transport sector’s emissions by 60 per cent in 2050 compared to 1990 levels. “This is a serious problem, as any solution to limit global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, requires sharp emission reductions in the transport sector. With clean technologies for aviation and maritime transport only emerging slowly and being relatively expensive, road transport will have to deliver the major part of these emission reductions, at least in the short to medium term.”

Hader says that for many EU Member States, the low level of ambition in the European Commission’s proposal might prove to be a serious a problem.

“The emission reductions from cars and vans constitute an important contribution to their national Effort Sharing Regulation targets. These national targets legally oblige Member States to reduce emissions from those sectors not falling under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, the EU ETS, including transport, agriculture and building sectors.

“Road transport has significant potential to reduce emissions, usually at lower costs than other sectors like agriculture and buildings. Having vehicle manufacturers produce less emitting vehicles is also one of the cheapest options for Member States to reach their emission reduction goals.”

This article is an extract from a longer exclusive interview that will appear in PEi magazine later this month. Subscribe now to be sure of receiving your issue.

Emobility is a key topic of the conference programme at Electrify Europe in Vienna in June. For more details click here.

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ChargePoint and Fulcrum in EV charging pact for UK

An electric vehicle infrastructure partnership is underway in the UK to roll out more EV charging stations.

The companies involved are Fulcrum, a utility infrastructure and services provider, and ChargePoint, the world’s leading charging network. They plan to deliver an end-to-end service for commercial and residential customers.

Fulcrum chief executive Martin Harrison said: “We are at the beginning of what is a rapid expansion in the uptake of electric vehicles, with car manufacturers and governments across the world placing an emphasis on developing the technology and associated infrastructure.

“The installation and management of EV charging points is a natural development for Fulcrum, building on our utility infrastructure expertise to enter this exciting new market that has the potential to change the face of transport. Thanks to our partnership with ChargePoint, Fulcrum will be at the forefront of this growing technology.”

ChargePoint already has a 70 per cent share of the North American EV charging solutions market, and it expanded into Europe last year. Fulcrum has already installed electrical connections for several EV charging projects across the UK.

Now the two firms are coming together in a partnership which Harrison says “will help overcome the existing challenges of installing EV charging stations, such as dealing with multiple parties. ChargePoint’s decade of industry expertise, combined with Fulcrum’s capabilities and licence to own and adopt electrical infrastructure, will speed up the installation process.”

The electric vehicle market, and the associated supply chain, is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years as the UK government and public are expected to embrace the technology.

Last year in the government’s Budget, Chancellor Phillip Hammond pledged to create a £400m fund for a national charging network and subsidies for vehicle purchases.

Harrison explained: “The UK is quickly becoming a mobility leader in Europe as the government moves to implement policies to support the adoption of EV’s, businesses act to deploy charging, and customer demand reaches new heights. Fulcrum’s position as a leading independent utility infrastructure and services businesses coupled with ChargePoint’s technology leadership and deep expertise in the category, will help usher in a new era of electrified mobility in the UK.

“ChargePoint is already a market leader in North America, providing innovative technology and payment options for the public and businesses, taking electric vehicles from being a rarity into a widely-available and truly practical and eco-friendly transport solution. We are very much looking forward to working closely with ChargePoint to help drive forward this transport revolution.”

Christopher Burghardt, Managing Director for Europe at ChargePoint, said: “With more than a decade of experience in the electric vehicle space and a quickly expanding presence in Europe, we are excited to partner with a forward-thinking company like Fulcrum to help accelerate the adoption of EV’s in the UK and beyond.”

EV infrastructure is a key topic of the conference programme at Electrify Europe in Vienna in June. For more details click here.

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Exergy wins Thailand waste heat recovery deal

Italian company EXERGY has secured a contract for waste heat recovery from gas turbines in Thailand.

The Milan-headquartered firm won the deal in partnership with GE company Baker Hughes.

The order from EPC contractor Samsung Engineering will see the two companies engineer, design and build a 5 MW organic rankine cycle unit for waste heat recovery from gas turbines in an LNG plant operated by PPT LNG in Rayong.

EXERGY’s organic rankine cycle solution, which is equipped with the company’s Radial Outflow Turbine technology, recovers the exhaust heat downstream generated from the two Solar Mars 100 gas turbines installed in the plant, to generate 5 MW of electricity.

The cooling system uses cold water coming from the LNG regasification cycle as heat sink, in a temperature range between 5-38 °C, with no water consumption. The heat recovery plant exploits a large amount of the residual heat, which would otherwise be discharged by the turbine into atmosphere.

EXERGY says this will result in “increasing the efficiency of power production and reducing the environmental footprint of the power plant”.  

The organic rankine cycle will start commercial operation in the first half of 2019.

EXERGY said the contract would set “a new standard for higher efficiency and profitability in the LNG regasification terminals market”.  

Head of sales Luca Xodo said: “This first reference with PTT opens up a new target market for EXERGY, where we see many opportunities to innovate the existent ORC offer, leveraging the flexibility of its application and the higher efficiency of conversion of our Radial Outflow Turbine technology.

“We are glad to take the first step in this market with market leaders such as GE and Samsung Engineering, and we hope this will be the first of many future projects to execute together.”

EXERGY’s project portfolio today counts approximatively 400 MWe capacity with an installed capacity that has reached 331 MWe. The heat recovery application contributes with 17 plants for total 27.8 MWe.

WATCH OUR EXERGY VIDEO CASE STUDY

 

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Energy storage firm Anesco targets 380 MW boom

UK utility scale energy storage company Anesco says it is on track to more than quadruple its operational battery portfolio by 2020, as demand for its services has seen its order book grow to 380 MW.

The renewables developer currently claims to command a 22 per cent share of all operational utility scale storage units in the UK and 47 per cent of the non-enhanced frequency response capacity.Anesco solar power with battery energy stoarge

This figure is set to increase as Anesco gears up to add 380 MW more capacity over the next three years, with several projects currently under construction, including a 50 MW installation in England due for completion later this year.

Anesco executive chairman Steve Shine said: “We have long recognised the potential and importance of battery storage for the UK’s energy mix and have invested heavily in making sure it is a commercially viable option for investors and commercial organisations alike.

“Having the ability to show how the figures stack up is crucial and has been a key differentiator for us. As the largest and most established provider in the country, we are in a unique position to analyse data from all our existing battery sites which we’ve combined with a comprehensive data set.

“This has enabled us to create the most accurate modelling tool available, meaning we can predict whole life cost, IRR and long term revenue streams – the numbers that really count. Our batteries are performing above specification and are delivering a strong economic return for our customers”.

Anesco now has 29 operational sites, comprising 76 individual battery units, providing a combined capacity of 87 MW.

Shine added: “Since introducing the country’s first utility scale unit, we’ve not only focused on making the technology a commercially-viable proposition, but have invested in research and development which looks towards the evolution of the sector.”

The company opened the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm in September 2017 and its solar farm portfolio now exceeds 101 sites, while its O&M service, AnescoMeter, is monitoring over 21,500 sites.

Energy storage is a key topic of the conference programme at Electrify Europe in Vienna in June. For more details click here.

 

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