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electrical grid

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Alstom has been awarded a contract worth over €300 million by TERNA Rete Italia, a company fully owned by TERNA, the Italian electricity transmission system operator, and Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE), its French counterpart, to build two High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter stations for the transmission link between France and Italy.
Alstom will design, manufacture and commission two converter stations (2×600 MW, +/- 320 kV) containing Alstom’s VSC MaxSineTM Voltage Source Converter technology. Alternating Current (AC) will be converted from each country’s electrical network into Direct Current (DC) for transmission and vice versa. Key equipment will be manufactured in Alstom’s facilities in the UK, Germany, France and Italy and the contract also includes maintenance for the converter station in France.
“Alstom is pleased to be working with TERNA and RTE on this project. Alstom’s VSC technology is both compact and versatile. As such, it will optimise the existing infrastructure, and preserve the Alps fragile eco system”, said Patrick Plas, Senior Vice President, Power Electronics and Automation, Alstom Grid.
Alstom has over 50 years of HVDC expertise and has delivered more than 40 HVDC projects worldwide. This is Alstom’s third VSC project in the last three years, following on from Sweden’s South West Link, a multi-terminal HVDC grid connecting central and southern networks in the country and the Dolwin3 project, connecting 900 MW offshore wind energy from the North sea to the German grid. Alstom is also in the process of executing large scale HVDC projects such as India’s Champa 1 & 2 (800 kV) and Brazil’s 600 kV Rio Madeira, which at almost 2400km, is the world’s longest transmission line.

Microgrid professionals and researchers from around the world will gather in Barcelona, Spain, September 16-17, 2015, for the Microgrid Global Innovation Forum (www.microgridinnovation.com) – an examination of the business models, technology advances, and success strategies for operating hybrid renewable energy systems in remote, off-grid, island, and grid-tied environments.

Worldwide investment in microgrid enabling technologies is expected to total more than $155 billion from 2014 through 2023, according to research firm Navigant Research.* Additionally, the company estimates that total identified microgrid capacity has grown from 4,393 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter of 2014 to more than 12,000 MW today.

“This is a rapidly expanding market opportunity, especially since the commercial business model for microgrids in grid-connected environments is taking shape,” says Daniel Coran, editor of the Smart Grid Observer (SGO) and program manager for the Forum. “Our goal is to provide an industry-open, technology-neutral event in which project managers and planners can benefit from each other’s expertise and advance the potential of microgrids worldwide.”

Presenting organizations include ČEZ Distribuce, ERDF, SunEdison, Trama TecnoAmbiental, Gommyr Power Networks, HSB Engineering Insurance, CENER-CIEMAT, Gildemeister Energy Solutions, Aalborg University, ABB, the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), SMA Ibérica Tecnología Solar, QiDO Energy Development GmbH, Smart Hydro Power, RVE.SOL, Aquion Energy, Boeing Research & Technology Europe, Tecnalia Research & Innovation, and others.

Organized by SGO, the two-day event will delve into such topics as:

• Refining the microgrid business model for grid-tied and off-grid environments
• System design, modeling, forecasting, and implementation
• Energy storage innovation and advances for microgrid applications
• Investor perspectives on hybrid renewable energy microgrids
• Developing world case studies
• Optimal power planning, control and management in microgrid systems
• Stabilizing small isolated grids: creating a compelling business case
• Application of energy storage and wind to power remote mine microgrids
• PV integration in large genset grids

Organizational supporters of the Forum include the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), EUROBAT, EUREC, Grid4EU, Svensk Solenergi, Swissolar, CanaleEnergia, APESF, the Romanian Photovoltaic Industry Association (RPIA), GTM Research, Microgrid Knowledge, Electric Energy T&D Magazine, Navigant Research, FuturENERGY, Utility Horizons International, FierceEnergy, the World Alliance for Distributed Energy (WADE), SmartGridNews.com, and others.

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PVCROPS is the acronym for Europe’s benchmark project on the enhanced integration of PV energy into the continent’s electrical grids. This project is headed up by the PV Systems Group at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’s Solar Power Institute and brings together 11 institutions from 7 different countries. The project has a budget of more than 6 M€ and is coordinated by ETSIST professor Luis Narvarte who has received the Madri+d award for its achievement.

The project has a dual objective. On one hand, it aims to reduce the cost of PV electricity by 30% to make it competitive, not only its commercialisation cost for the utilities (that is already competitive) but also as regards the generation cost, bringing it down to 0.07c€/kWh. The electricity generation price based on conventional sources has oscillated over the past decade between 0.035€/kWh and 0.07€/kWh.

For PV electricity to achieve this price range, PVCROPS is developing tools to optimise the design of photovoltaic systems during their preparation phase; technical specifications and quality control procedures for the installation phase; and automatic fault detection procedures for the operational phase. These developments will all maximise its efficiency and productivity, with an expected increase in the efficiency of photovoltaic systems of 10%. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY May 2015

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Azerbaijan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a $1 billion investment program to rehabilitate and expand the country’s power distribution network. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of ADB’s Annual Meeting taking place in Baku from 2-5 May.

“Azerbaijan’s power sector plays a leading role in the country’s economy and the proposed program will further improve electricity delivery to customers,” said Mr. Zhang, ADB Vice President. “The program will deliver more reliable power supplies, reduced distribution losses, and higher quality customer service.”

ADB is supporting the program through a $750 million multitranche financing facility with a $250 million loan earmarked for the first phase. The funds will be used to upgrade and expand the power distribution lines, substations, and customer service lines, and to replace the existing electric meter devices with digital electric meters. Capacity building support will also be given to Azerishig Open Joint Stock Company to enhance its operational and financial performance.

Among several interesting data points released by the EPIA (European Photovoltaic Industry Association) in its Global Market Outlook 2013–2017, there is one fact that gives a very good explanation of what is going on in the energy market.For the third time in history, non-predictable renewable energy sources (NPRES) represented the main source of electricity across the EU in terms of aggregate installed capacity while many traditional power plants are being closed.

But what does this really mean? The energy market is evolving and the age of renewables is already a reality. As the turning point in energy transition has already been reached, challenges have been created as regards the need for a new regulatory framework to address issues on the grid.

Indeed, the energy market is changing very quickly due to globalisation. Importing countries are turning into exporters and the main drivers of growth in the demand for energy. China and India together are building almost 40% of the world’s new capacity, whereas 60% of the new constructed capacity in OECD countries is only replacing retired plants.

Article published in: FuturENERGY October 2014

The electric vehicle offers some very significant advantages compared to the conventional combustion engine. The most important of which is the improvement in overall energy efficiency. As such, from the extraction of primary energy to the wheels of the vehicle – From Well to Wheel – the battery-run electric vehicle makes use of up to 77% of the energy (if charging takes place using renewable energy sources) and 28% (if charging takes place using the electrical grid), compared to a current use of 15% by the combustion engine vehicle.

Moreover, the maintenance cost is greatly reduced and cannot compare with the maintenance or wear and tear of the vehicle with a combustion engine. Furthermore, CO2 emissions are considerably diminished and, if in addition, battery charging takes place via the use of renewable energy, it is almost possible to reach a level of zero emissions.

Within the framework of the project “Efficient Electric Mobility” being carried out by the Endesa Red-UIB Research Chair in Energy Innovation at the Universitat de les Illes Balears, electric consumption models are being developed for vehicles that are already in the market. These models provide instant power values, on the basis of certain physical and environmental variables plus driving habits that calculate the electric consumption of a vehicle under specific conditions.

Article published in: FuturENERGY October 2014

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