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Emerging Economies Must Leapfrog to Renewables

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Emerging Economies Must Leapfrog to Renewables – and They Already Are per Roya Sabri in this TRIPLEPUNDIT’s article.


Emerging Economies Must Leapfrog to Renewables – and They Already Are

20 July 2021

Renewables like solar and wind are quickly becoming more affordable and accessible. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that the cost of electricity coming from utility-scale solar power fell 82 percent between 2010 and 2019, and clean power technologies such as solar and wind are undercutting even the cheapest coal-fired power plants. Further, a 2020 analysis from BloombergNEF found that wind and solar have overtaken fossil fuels as the most cost-effective form of new sources of electricity in most of the world.

This trend has made “energy leapfrogging” – i.e., the ability to reap a nation’s power needs from renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal at a rapid pace, bypassing heavy investments in fossil fuels and the infrastructure needed for them – ever more possible in emerging markets.

Economies, including several examples in Africa and Latin America, have been transitioning straight from what for many of their communities had been traditional sources of energy like wood, charcoal, agricultural waste and animal dung; these countries are also able to shift rapidly toward renewables as they have not invested in massive infrastructure that supports a national power grid, as was the case with what more industrialized nations in Europe and North America had done during the 20th century.

The result is that more communities within these emerging markets are forgoing conventional energy sources like fossil fuels; the same goes for other forms of energy like nuclear, biofuels and even natural gas.

A recent report from the think tank Carbon Tracker and India’s Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) highlights progress emerging nations are making in embracing renewables. The report also comes with a warning: If more nations do not leapfrog to these cleaner sources of energy, a worldwide low-carbon economy will not occur.

As the demand for energy grows, leapfrogging to renewables becomes necessary

The International Energy Agency estimates a surge in power generation in emerging nations will boom over the next decade, accounting for the majority of electricity demand by 2030. Thus, a world aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has an incentive to ensure countries like India and China continue their developing infrastructure that is more conducive for renewables.

The authors of this Carbon Tracker and CEEW study find that emerging markets are already stepping away from fossil fuels. “Given the continued rapid growth rate of solar and wind, it is highly likely that emerging markets ex-China have already plateaued or reached peak demand for fossil fuels for electricity. China is likely to peak before 2025,” they write. China may still be a major coal consumer, but its solar sector is growing fast. Countries like Morocco, Nicaragua and Kenya have already made great leaps toward increased reliance on renewables.

Some nations are already leapfrogging to renewables

The Climate Reality Project details how Morocco, Nicaragua and Kenya have been able to turn their power generation sectors into ones that are more sustainable and resilient. Morocco, for one, has set a target of 42 percent renewable energy production by 2021 and 52 percent by 2030. It has stayed on track by building up its solar and wind power infrastructure. The North Africa country, in fact, now hosts one of the largest solar farms in the world.

After experiencing rolling blackouts due to energy insecurity a decade ago, Nicaragua is now on its way to sourcing 80 percent of its electricity from sources of renewables. By late 2020, Nicaragua’s burgeoning geothermal industry had brought the nation to 72 percent reliance on renewable energy sources.

Energy accessibility has been expanding in Kenya as decentralized solar has spread across the nation. The country is also making use of its geothermal power, which may reach 50 percent of its energy mix by 2040.

Clean energy can support a more resilient and healthy economy

These cases show that a dramatic shift to renewable energy can increase energy accessibility and stability. The economic case is significant. IRENA reported in 2016 that a doubling of renewables by 2030 could mean global GDP increases by over one percent, boosts social welfare investments by almost four percent and can add more than 24 million jobs.

While some nations have proved leapfrogging possible and beneficial, the authors of the Carbon Tracker and CEEW study note that there are serious barriers to building renewable energy reliance. Such hurdles include the intermittency of renewable sources, system costs, policies and deeply vested interests — but international actors can make a difference. The report recommends that international policymakers should focus their attention on countries currently dependent on fossil fuel imports that also have governments more amenable to policy solutions.

Finally, the authors contend that such nations are more receptive to a transition than countries that are more politically fragile. They are also in a stronger position than countries with economies largely driven by coal and gas exports. The result is that these countries that have found success with energy leapfrogging can become examples for their neighbors and help to bring more emerging nations closer toward a clean energy future.

Image credit: Antonio Garcia/Unsplash  

Saudi Arabia says focus on renewable energy will save them $200 billion

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Industry Leaders published a point of view narrated by Anna Domanska that Saudi Arabia says focus on renewable energy will save them $200 billion. Do you believe it?

Saudi Arabia says focus on renewable energy will save them $200 billion

Saudi Arabia, which is actively looking to expand its economy beyond its dependence on fossil fuels, believes it can save over $200 billion over the next decade by replacing liquid fuel used for domestic consumption with gas and renewable energy sources, according to its finance minister.

The top oil exporter is modernizing its economy and create new jobs for its citizenry by venturing into new modern industries beyond oil. Hit by the volatile oil prices and the economic downturn due to the pandemic, the desert kingdom has ventured into a multi-trillion-dollar spending push led by state oil company Aramco and the powerful $400 billion sovereign fund, Public Investment Fund.

“One initiative we’re about to finalize is the displacement of liquids,” said Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan. “This program would represent savings for the government of about 800 billion riyals ($213.34 billion) over the next 10 years which can be utilized for investment.”

Earlier this month, the government signed seven new solar power purchase agreements to optimize the energy mix used for electricity production. “Instead of buying fuel from the international markets at $60 and then selling it at $6 for Saudi utilities, or using some of our quota in OPEC to sell at $6, we’re going to actually displace at least 1 million barrels a day of oil equivalent in the next 10 years and replace it with gas and renewables,” said Jadaan.

“Between now and 2025, and possibly until 2030, fiscal sustainability is a priority for us. We believe that until we achieve all the targets that Vision 2030 has set, we need to maintain fiscal sustainability and control government expenditure,” said Jadaan.

The whole shift in outlook in Saudi Arabia is led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, envisaged as a mega plan to wean the economy off oil and invest in other industries such as infrastructure and technology, all with private participation and create jobs for the people.

The Kingdom is facing unprecedented unemployment, with figures running up to 15 percent last year. It has been pushed down to 12.3 percent this year. The aim is to bring it down to 7 percent by 2030. ”We are maintaining our unemployment target for 2030 but because we are not out of the woods yet it is very difficult to say what the unemployment rate is going to be for 2021,” said Jadaan.

“Our aim is to reduce the number so we will end up the year below where we ended up in 2019, pre-COVID, but I can’t tell you this is going to happen for certain.”

The Vision 2030 launch has seen renewed interest in the country from foreign investors. Foreign investment in Saudi Arabia passed the SR2 trillion ($0.53 trillion) mark for the first time at the end of 2020, despite the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total value of investments from overseas rose 9 percent year-on-year, or SR173.3 billion, in 2020, from SR1.833 trillion at the end of 2019, according to the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).

According to an analyst, the increase in capital flowing into the country was due to an improvement in the investment environment and some relaxation in investment laws in the Kingdom.

Anna Domanska is an Industry Leaders Magazine author possessing a wide range of knowledge for Business News. She is an avid reader and writer of Business and CEO Magazines and a rigorous follower of Business Leaders.

Solar, wind power to drive renewable energy growth this year

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SUNBIZ informs that solar, wind power to drive renewable energy growth this year, as everyone the world over is finding out. The highly spoken of Energy Transition is happening before our very eyes. The highly expressed Energy Transition is happening before our very eyes, and this story is an illustration of it happening.

PETALING JAYA: Renewable installations in solar, wind and storage facilities are set to rise by 40% year on year to another record 190GW globally this year, accelerating from a 30% on-year expansion in 2020 despite project delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, predominantly driven by solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions, followed by offshore wind installations, according to Rystad Energy’s “Renewable Energy Trends” presentation.

In a note, AmInvestment Bank Research (AmResearch) said Asia is expected to be the main driver of renewable capacity increase with an addition of 80GW this year, followed by the United States at 55GW and Europe at 25GW. Asia, represented by China, will account for the largest cumulative renewable capacity of 630MW in 2021, twice Europe’s 320MW and 2.3 times North America’s 280MW.

Zooming in on the local scene, the research house pointed out that the shift towards renewable energy (RE) in Malaysia has been in progress over the past three years with Petronas’ investment in AmPlus, which operates over 600MW of solar capacity in India and Southeast Asia.

“Amongst local service providers, only Yinson has an operational RE division from its US$30 million investment for a 95% equity stake in Rising Son Energy, which has a 140MW solar farm in Bhadla Solar Park Phase II, Rajasthan, India. Yinson also recently signed an agreement with listed NTPC to develop a 190MW plant in nearby nearby Nokh Solar Park.

“As Uzma has just secured a 50MW solar project which will only be operational by end-2023, we expect the momentum to gather steam for renewable projects by local O&G providers as gearing concerns are being alleviated by an improving oil price environment,” it said.

Overall, AmResearch still holds an “overweight” call on the oil & gas sector, recommending Yinson for its strong earnings growth momentum from the full-year contributions of FPSO vessels Helang, off Sarawak, Abigail-Joseph in Nigeria and Anna Nery in Brazil, together with multiple charter opportunities in Brazil and Africa.

“We also like Dialog Group and Serba Dinamik Holdings due to their resilient non-cyclical tank terminal and maintenance-based operations.

“Our other ‘buy’ calls are Sapura Energy, which will complete its RM10 billion debt restructuring package soon and position the formidable EPCIC group to secure fresh global orders; and Petronas Gas, which offers highly compelling dividend yields from its optimal capital structure strategy and resilient earnings base.”

Meanwhile, AmResearch noted that the tariffs of power purchase agreements (PPA) for PV facilities are projected to drop in Asia Pacific (Apac), Middle East North Africa, Americas and Europe due to open bidding competition, falling material prices, increasing project sizes and economies of scale.

Apac’s solar PPA prices, currently above US$50/MWh, are the highest globally, compared with below US$50/MWh and US$30/MWh in Europe and Americas respectively. Over the longer term, Apac’s tariffs may be squeezed due to rising competition amid rising interest in India’s multiple plants.

However, the PPA prices for Apac wind utilities, currently below US$50/MWh, are expected to rise to US$75/MWh in 2022, driven by the extension of Vietnam’s feed-in tariff mechanism to 2023. Additionally, utility wind capex has remained steady over the past three years at US$1.5/W in 2020.

Together with the growth in renewable energy, global utility scale battery operations are expected to expand in tandem given the periods of unavailability in solar and wind electricity generation.

For 2021, global utility scale battery installations are projected to double to 12.5GW, then grow by 60% to 20GW in 2022 and 50% to 30GW in 2023.

Smooth Integration of Renewable Energy

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Hybrid technology trial aims for smooth integration of renewable energy by Professional Engineering is an eye opener into what is currently going on behind the scene.

4 December 2020

A new hybrid system will inject or absorb energy from the transmission network to maintain voltage levels as renewable power levels fluctuate.

Stock image. The hybrid system could aid the smooth transition to renewable power by compensating for variable sources such as wind and solar (Credit: Shutterstock)

The technology, being tested in a new year-long trial at Hitachi ABB Power Grids, could aid the smooth transition from conventional energy generation to renewable power by compensating for variable sources such as wind and solar. SP Energy Networks, the University of Strathclyde and the Technical University of Denmark are also involved in the trial.

The system combines a static compensator (statcom) with a synchronous condenser. The result can deliver a combination of fast reaction, spinning capacity and short circuit control, injecting or absorbing energy to keep voltage levels within the required limits. It will provide a spinning reserve over a few seconds until other resources, such as batteries or reserve generators, can be brought online.  

Electricity regulator Ofgem funded the Phoenix project, which started in 2018. The outcome of the project, including the new trial, is expected to contribute cumulative savings of over 62,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to the electricity use of over 6,000 homes. 

Hitachi ABB Power Grids installed the hybrid solution, a strategic 275 kilovolt (kV) substation on SP Energy Networks’ transmission network near Glasgow. The project partners will evaluate the installation’s performance over the year-long trial.  

“While power stations produce a steady and constant flow of energy, renewable energy generators like wind and solar can fluctuate as they respond to different weather conditions,” said Niklas Persson, managing director of Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ grid integration.

“This pioneering hybrid solution combines existing technology with an innovative control system that will enable a reliable and stable energy supply, while accelerating the UK towards a carbon neutral future.” 

Colin Taylor, director of processes and technology at SP Energy Networks, said: “I’m very proud that we have been able to drive forward with the Phoenix project this year, despite the recent pandemic and its challenges.

“This world-first innovative project has just reached a key milestone following the commencement of its live trial. Technology like this allows us to accommodate even more renewable generation on our electricity system while maintaining levels of system stability and resilience.”  


Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 

Commercial Operation Of Shobak Wind Farm In Jordan

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WINDINSIDER informs that Alcazar Energy Proclaims Commercial Operation Of Shobak Wind Farm In Jordan

By Samah Rumani -25th November 2020

Photo by Laura Penwell on Pexels.com

Alcazar Energy and its partner, Hecate Energy, a leading developer, owner and operator of renewable power projects and storage solutions in North America and select international markets, have announced the commercial operation of their Shobak wind farm situated in the Ma’an Governorate of Jordan. With the granting of its Commercial Operation Date (COD) Certificate, Alcazar Energy now has seven operational wind and solar assets across the META region.

The project, which will facilitate the supply of electricity to the Jordanian grid in line with established tariffs, directly supports the Kingdom’s National Energy Strategy to achieve 20 per cent of its required energy from renewable resources by 2025. The wind farm is projected to displace (on average) over 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and save in excess of 130,000 cubic metres of water annually over its 35-year lifespan.

Vestas, Danish manufacturer was contracted to construct the project which included the installation of 13 V136-3.45 MW wind turbines across an area of 14.5 square kilometres (km2) near the village of Al Shobak. Vestas commentd that it will continue to support the Alcazar Energy Delivery and Operations team by providing operation and maintenance (O&M) services for the wind farm in compliance with international best practice.

Commenting on the occasion, Daniel Calderon, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alcazar Energy, said: “The completion of the Shobak wind farm, while navigating the challenges of COVID-19, is a real testament to Alcazar Energy’s resolve, expertise and unwavering commitment to all our public and private partners. The achievement of commercial operations demonstrates our credentials as a responsible market leader that operates with the highest levels of safety, discipline, compliance and integrity in our work.”

“This project also reaffirms Alcazar Energy’s role in supporting the Kingdom of Jordan not only to meet its rising demand for electricity in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner, but also to create jobs and empower local communities.”

The Shobak wind farm has a generation capacity of 45 megawatts (MW), which is enough to power over 30,000 Jordanian households every year.

“The Shobak wind farm is a great example of how a public-private partnership can work for the benefit of all stakeholders. The resilience shown amid disruptions caused by COVID-19 is further proof of the project’s viability and Alcazar Energy’s commitment to the communities where it operates. We are delighted to have been able to support this further addition of renewable generating capacity to Jordan’s remarkable green transition.”Harry Boyd-Carpenter, Head of Energy, Europe, Middle East and Africa, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) added.

The development and construction of the Shobak wind farm has been accomplished in line with world-class quality, health, safety, environmental and social standards and has been commissioned following rigorous technical tests.

Participation of local employees reached 30 per cent of the total workforce, higher than comparable projects in the wind industry, bringing significant social and economic benefits to the region. The on-the-ground team had a workforce of 350 employees. In total, the project required over 350,000 man-hours for the civil works, the specialised assembly of wind turbines and the construction of the substation.  

The wind farm is jointly financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Europe Arab Bank. Shobak represents Alcazar Energy’s third fully operational renewable energy project in Jordan, which together will make an important contribution to the Kingdom’s energy transition for decades to come.


Wind farm by Jordan Times