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electricity generation

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Despite a drop in its share, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, with its large population base and strong requirement for electricity generation capacity, will continue to influence the global solar PV module market over the period 2018-2022, according to a new report from GlobalData.

The report, ‘Solar PV Module, Update 2018’, reveals that market saturation, reduction in subsidies and declining costs of technologies are the major factors impacting the global solar PV module market. It states that the global market volume is estimated to decline at a negative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8% from 87.5 GW in 2018 to 78.13GW in 2022.

The large markets of China, India, Japan and the US are likely to decline, due to changes in their energy markets. In 2017, APAC constituted 73.6% of the market value due to the significant movements in the Chinese market.

The declining prices of PV modules and other auxiliary technologies such as inverters have translated into lower project costs; benefitting project developers and enabling proliferation within price sensitive markets. The declining price trend will be critical in driving the global market value down to $23.7bn in 2022.

The various levels of economic progress exhibited by countries within APAC will help sustain the market for PV modules, despite a dip in the Chinese market. China, the largest market for solar PV is likely to see a decline in its market value, at a negative CAGR of 14.8% over the forecast period. In order to counter the redundant capacity deployment of solar, which has transformed into a cost burden, the government proposed removing subsidies for utility scale projects and moving towards a competitive bidding market. Other countries in APAC, in particular in the Southeast, would drive the market, which is estimated to be $13.4bn in 2022.

Over the forecast period, the EMEA region is estimated to have the highest solar PV installation growth rate of 7.5%. The European market is projected to hold steady over the forecast period, with Germany, France and Turkey contributing to the capacity addition.

Source: Global Data

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Siemens has received the first order for its new high-efficiency, low-emissions E-series 2 MW gas engines for a power plant in the United Kingdom. The company’s new business division, Siemens Engine Business, has signed a contract with the company Hartree Partners, an international energy specialist, for the supply of a plant to its client Knitting Wife Beck in Yorkshire, UK.

It is a turnkey project of supply a 12 MW of installed power for the application “peak shaving” where Siemens Engines Business – from its factory in Zumaia (Spain) -, will supply six SGE-86EM container generatos in its containerized version. This installation is scheduled to be commissioned this year.

Faye Bowser, Business Development Manager for Siemens Distributed Energy Systems, says:: “With the combination of the new 2 MW engines and the experience of Hartree Partners in the energy market, this flexible plant will provide a balanced supply of critical power for the National Grid, improving the integration of renewable energy in the electricity system.

This new series of Siemens engines offers, among its many advantages, its particular design for an improved performance, for power plants, as well as for combined applications with heat recovery. In addition, this unique solution for gas engines provides the flexibility and speed in start-up and in-load demanded in this application of “peak shaving”.

The new plant will benefit from improved performance in terms of energy efficiency, with lower operating costs and emissions thanks to the best generation technology on the market. The engines use state-of-the-art turbocharging and fuel injection technologies, which boost output, reduce fuel consumption and optimise maintenance costs.


According to Adam Lewis, Head of European Power for Hartree Partners: “Power plants form an important part of our growth strategy and this project shows we are on the right track. The market is as competitive as it has ever been, meaning our creativity, collaboration and efficiency in delivering the engines will be key to success.

Siemens has owned the Zumaia factory since its acquisition of Guascor engines in 2015, together with the range of Dresser-Rand products. For over 50 years, these engines have been regarded as the toughest on the market on account of their ability to generate heat and power and their reliability for critical, demanding applications. A total of 4,700 engines from the plant in the Basque Country are currently in operation in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

Siemens has developed the engines as part of the new area of its Power and Gas division, Siemens Engine Business, which is focused on overcoming many of the obstacles currently facing the industry. This, together with the company’s significant investments in R&D&I and 50 years of experience, make Siemens Engine Business a world-leading technology supplier for liquid and gas fuel engines for a wide range of applications and sectors. Siemens Engine Business provide gas engines/generators between 150 and 2,065 kW and diesel engines/generators between 184 and 1,324 kW.

Source: Siemens

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Solar energy dominated global investment in new power generation like never before in 2017. The world installed a record 98 GW of new solar capacity, far more than the net additions of any other technology – renewable, fossil fuel or nuclear.

Solar power also attracted far more investment, at $160.8 billion, up 18 per cent, than any other technology. It made up 57 per cent of last year’s total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of $279.8 billion, and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, at an estimated $103 billion.

A driving power behind last year’s surge in solar was China, where an unprecedented boom saw some 53 GW added – more than half the global total – and $86.5 billion invested, up 58 per cent.

The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, released on April, 5, by UN Environment, Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that falling costs for solar electricity, and to some extent wind power, is continuing to drive deployment. Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables (1) exceeded $200 billion – and since 2004, the world has invested $2.9 trillion in these green energy sources.

Overall, China was by far the world’s largest investing country in renewables, at a record $126.6 billion, up 31 per cent on 2016.

There were also sharp increases in investment in Australia (up 147 per cent to $8.5 billion), Mexico (up 810 per cent to $6 billion), and in Sweden (up 127 per cent to $3.7 billion).

A record 157 GW of renewable power were commissioned last year, up from 143 GW in 2016 and far out-stripping the net 70 GW of fossil-fuel generating capacity added (after adjusting for the closure of some existing plants) over the same period.

Some big markets, however, saw declines in investment in renewables. In the United States, investment dropped 6 per cent, coming in at $40.5 billion. In Europe there was a fall of 36 per cent, to $40.9 billion, with big drops in the United Kingdom (down 65 per cent to $7.6 billion) and Germany (down 35 per cent to $10.4 billion). Investment in Japan slipped 28 per cent to $13.4 billion.

Global investments in renewable energy of $2.7 trillion from 2007 to 2017 (11 years inclusive) have increased the proportion of world electricity generated by wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, marine and small hydro from 5.2 per cent to 12.1 per cent.

The current level of electricity generated by renewables corresponds to about 1.8 Gt of carbon dioxide emissions avoided – roughly equivalent to those produced by the entire U.S. transport system.

(1) All renewable energy investment totals exclude large hydro (more than 50 MW), which falls outside the scope of the report.

Source: UN Environment

Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. and Toyota Motor Corporation announce that the two companies have concluded a basic agreement with the aim of commencing a verification project that entails construction of a large-capacity storage battery system (Storage Battery System) that reuses electrified vehicle batteries (batteries), as well as examination of the recycling of used batteries.

Chubu Electric Power recognizes the importance of accurate management of fluctuations in its energy supply-demand balance caused by the recent large-scale introduction of renewable energy, and is promoting efforts toward further improving the operation of its electric power system.

Toyota is actively promoting the use of electrified vehicles, as per “Toyota’s Challenge to Promote Widespread Use of Electrified Vehicles” announced in December 2017, and is also pursuing the effective use of batteries and the development of social infrastructure that will support the widespread adoption of electrified vehicles.

  1. Reuse of Batteries

Pursuant to the basic agreement concluded today, the two companies aim to reuse batteries collected from electrified vehicles manufactured by Toyota as a storage battery system for utilization in meeting various challenges posed by the electric power system.

When combined in large numbers, used batteries, even with reduced performance levels, can be repurposed for energy supply-demand adjustments, frequency fluctuation management, and voltage fluctuation management in distribution systems, all factors that accompany the widespread introduction of renewable energy.

Not only can these efforts serve as a solution to address the challenges within the electric power system, Chubu Electric Power and Toyota expect these efforts to have positive effects in the operation of thermal power plants.

Examples of using the Storage Battery System to solve challenges in the electric power system (illustration)

  1. Utilization for energy supply-demand adjustment
Utilization for energy supply-demand adjustment
  1. Utilization to counter frequency fluctuations
Utilization to counter frequency fluctuations
  1. Utilization to counter voltage fluctuations in distribution systems
Utilization to counter voltage fluctuations in distribution systems

In FY 2018, Chubu Electric Power and Toyota will commence verification of the Storage Battery System. Based on the results of the verification test, the two companies aim to introduce power generation capacity of approximately 10,000 kW, equivalent to 10,000 batteries, in FY 2020.

The initial stage will involve nickel-metal hydride batteries, which are currently being used in large quantities, mainly in hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). By around 2030, the plan is to include lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

  1. Recycling of Batteries

The two companies will consider establishing a mechanism to recycle reused batteries by collecting materials such as rare-earth metals and re-utilizing them.

Flow of reusing/recycling (illustration)

Flow of reusing/recycling (illustration)

Both companies will continue to contribute to the further development of the region with an aim of achieving both a resource recycling society and a low-carbon society through initiatives such as the commercialization of battery reuse and recycling.

The cost of generating power from onshore wind has fallen by around a quarter since 2010, with solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity costs falling by 73 per cent in that time, according to new cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The report also highlights that solar PV costs are expected to halve by 2020. The best onshore wind and solar PV projects could be delivering electricity for an equivalent of USD 3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), or less within the next two years.

Global weighted average costs over the last 12 months for onshore wind and solar PV now stand at USD 6 cents and USD 10 cents per kWh respectively, with recent auction results suggesting future projects will significantly undercut these averages. The report highlights that onshore wind is now routinely commissioned for USD 4 cents per kWh. The current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation ranges from USD 5-17 cents per kWh.

This new dynamic signals a significant shift in the energy paradigm,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “These cost declines across technologies are unprecendented and representative of the degree to which renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system.

Released on the first day of IRENA’s Eighth Assembly in Abu Dhabi, ‘Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017’ highlights that other forms of renewable power generation, such as bioenergy, geothermal and hydropower projects in the last 12 months have competed head-to-head on costs, with power from fossil fuels. The findings note that by 2019, the best onshore wind and solar PV projects will be delivering electricity for a USD 3 cents per kWh, significantly below the current cost of power from fossil fuels.

Competitive procurement practices together with the emergence of a large base of experienced medium-to-large project developers competing for global market opportunities, are cited as new drivers of recent cost reductions, in addition to continued technology advancements.

Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one,” continued Mr. Amin. “Governments around the world are recognizing this potential and forging ahead with low-carbon economic agendas underpinned by renewables-based energy systems. We expect the transition to gather further momentum, supporting jobs, growth, improved health, national resilience and climate mitigation around the world in 2018 and beyond.”

The report also highlights that auction results are signaling that offshore wind and concentrating solar power projects commissioned in the period between 2020-22 will cost in the range of USD 6-10 cents per kWh, supporting accelerated deployment globally. IRENA projects that all renewable energy technologies will compete with fossils on price by 2020.

The report highlights that:

• The global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of utility-scale solar PV has fallen by 73% between 2010 and 2017 to USD 10 cents/kWh.
• The average cost of electricity from onshore wind fell by 23% between 2010 and 2017. Projects are now routinely commissioned at USD 4 cents/kWh and the global weighted average is around USD 6 cents/kWh.
• By 2019, the best onshore wind and solar PV projects will be delivering electricity for an equivalent of USD 3 cents/kWh, or less.
• New bioenergy and geothermal projects commissioned in 2017 had global weighted average costs of around USD 7 cents/kWh.
• Record low prices for solar PV in Abu Dhabi, Chile, Dubai, Mexico, Peru and Saudi Arabia have made USD 3 cents kWh (and below) the new benchmark.
• By 2020, project and auction data suggest that all currently commercialised renewable power generation technologies will be competing, and even undercutting, fossil fuels by generating in the range USD 3-10 cents/kWh range.

The report was launched during the eighth IRENA Assembly, which welcomes more than 1,100 representatives of governments from 150 countries. As the world’s principal platform for international cooperation on renewable energy, the Assembly provides strategic guidance to the work of the Agency for the next four years and positions it to play a key role in driving the global energy transformation.

Source: IRENA

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The technology group Wärtsilä will deliver a 22.7 MW Smart Power Generation plant under a full Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract to Cooperative Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The project will consist of two gas-fired Wärtsilä 31SG engines. The plant located in Benndale will provide valuable grid support for renewable integration for the Cooperative Energy system as well as reliability during potential transmission outages caused by hurricanes or other severe weather conditions. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in December 2017.

The selection of the Smart Power Generation solution is advantageous as Cooperative Energy is in the process of installing increasing levels of renewable generation, notably new solar generation into their network. The new Wärtsilä 31SG engine solution will provide the required flexibility for renewable integration. The plant will replace an existing gas turbine power plant.

“As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, our mission is to provide our members with electricity that is both reliable and economical,” said Jim Compton, Cooperative Energy president/CEO. “Wärtsilä’s Smart Power Generation plant, which is a great complement to our current generation sources, enables us to achieve this mission and as a result, we are proud to partner with Wärtsilä on this project.”

“Our track record in being a technology leader in power generation in 177 countries around the world, and in all types of climates and operating conditions, represents a clear indication of the value proposition Wärtsilä can deliver to the market. Cooperative Energy is a forerunner in delivering a modern and flexible electricity supply to its members. Wärtsilä is proud to be a partner in this,” said Mikael Backman, Regional Director, US & Canada, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.

The equipment will be delivered to the site in 2018, and commercial operations are expected to commence in 2019.

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Greensmith Energy, a part of the technology group Wärtsilä, will deliver an integrated energy management system based on its Greensmith Energy Management System (GEMS) software for Graciolica Lda’s microgrid power facility in the Azores. When completed, Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant will enable 1 MW of solar and 4.5 MW of wind power to be supplied to the local electricity grid, reducing the islands’ reliance on imported fossil fuels and significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The order, placed by Portuguese project company Graciolica Lda and supported by its majority shareholder, Denmark based Recharge A/S was booked in December 2017.

The Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant, located on the island of Graciosa in the northern part of the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, will combine solar and wind generation, together with energy storage using lithium-ion batteries supplied by Leclanché SA.

GEMS embodies intelligent energy applications that focus on monitoring and operating energy storage power plants and hybrid power plants formed by energy storage, thermal generation, wind and solar. GEMS, approved by Graciolica’s end client EDA, will balance the Graciosa power system to accommodate the inevitable fluctuations in output that are inherent to energy supplied from renewable sources, such as solar and wind.

“Our investment will help create a renewable energy asset that will deliver both economic and environmental benefits. This project represents the future direction of the global energy sector with an integrated power system combining renewables and energy storage. We appreciate Greensmith’s professionalism in providing the software needed to expand the functionality of the microgrid to create overall system reliability and performance,” said Scott Macaw, Director, Graciolica Lda and Recharge A/S.

“We are delighted to partner with Graciolica and Recharge on this important project in the Azores to enable the successful transition to renewable resources on an island grid,” said John Jung, President and CEO of Greensmith Energy. “Beyond the advanced energy storage technology we are known for, we help a growing number of power companies and developers integrate and maximize a diverse mix of grid resources using our industry-leading GEMS software platform.”

Greensmith will also provide software maintenance services under a five-year agreement. The plant is expected to become fully operational in mid-2018.

Source: Greensmith

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Siemens has expanded its high efficiency and low emissions engines business with the global launch of its new E-series gas engine with a 2 MW output. This new engine series from Siemens, with improved cylinder capacity, will be manufactured at the company’s Zumaia plant in the Basque Country and is particularly designed to improve efficiency in electricity generation, industrial generation and CHP.

The German multinational has chosen the town of Miñano, in Spain’s Vizcaya region, for the global client launch of this new range of engines, complementing its product portfolio and expanding its offer of distributed energy generation. It additionally adds an extensive range of efficient and environmentally friendly products and solutions, as well as significantly saving distributed energy production resources.


By choosing the town of Miñano to present this range to clients around the world, Siemens has demonstrated its commitment to Spain and to Basque industry. These engines will be exported around the globe from the Zumaia plant, while the Miñano R&D centre has established itself as a global reference for research in this field for Siemens.

New business line

This new line of gas engines will be called Siemens Engines and forms part of the company’s Power & Gas division, the specialists in high efficiency and low emissions engines. Siemens has been using the Zumaia factory since 2015 when it acquired Guascor engines and gensets as part of the Dresser-Rand product portfolio. For over 50 years, these engines have been considered as being the most robust on the market, capable of delivering heat and power as well as reliably performing in critical and demanding applications. A total of 4,700 engines manufactured in this Basque factory are currently in operation in over 50 countries around the world.

These engines use latest generation combustion and supercharging technologies, which increase the engine’s capacity, reduce fuel consumption and optimise maintenance costs. They can be driven by a wide range of gases including natural gas, biogas, landfill gas, water treatment gas, syngas and sewerage gas.

New gas engine with a 2 MW output

With this new E-series 2 MW gas engine, Siemens has expanded its portfolio range that covers from 300 kW to 2 MW for gas engines; from 4 to 66 MW for industrial and aeroderivative turbines; and up to 400 MW for heavy duty gas turbines.

The new E-series gas engine is based on the thermodynamic Miller cycle combustion technology that guarantees high efficiency and minimal emissions. With a mechanical efficiency of around 47%, the engine offers a high level of efficiency for both prime power generation and cogeneration applications. This engine has been tested at Siemens’ R&D centre in Miñano and has demonstrated a high level of reliability and efficiency.

The new engine series is the result of in-depth market research to identify key product benefits. In turn, this new gas engine series offers the lowest emissions solution on the market with the smallest footprint at 34.4m<sup>3<sup>.

By generating electricity on site and recovering heat that is typically wasted in a conventional power plant, CHP technology reduces energy costs and carbon emissions. CHP is an application commonly used by large building complexes, such as the one planned for the Siemens Campus in Erlangen, Germany. The Erlangen Campus will create a new urban district and debut as Siemens’ first CO<sub>2<sub>-neutral premises worldwide. In collaboration with Erlangen’s public utility, the campus will operate on a CO<sub>2<sub>-neutral basis, thanks to a state-of-the-art building and its energy technology. It comprises a decentralised energy system that uses a separate cogeneration system based on four new SGE-86EM engines to provide the campus with heating and cooling.

Cutting edge R&D centre in Miñano

Siemens Engines has its own R&D+i centre in Miñano dedicated to the research, innovation and development of new technologies. This is a centre of excellence and an international reference in its sphere of activity, the only one in Spain and one of the most advanced in the world. In addition, this business line employs over 300 people, of which almost 70 are dedicated to R&D. For Siemens, the only way to achieve and maintain its leadership in products and applications is to continuously focus its efforts on research, hence the pioneering R&D centre in Miñano.

With the world launch of this new series of low output engines in Miñano, Siemens has reinforced its support of the Basque Country as one of the autonomous regions that is the most committed to innovation, thanks to the Basque Government’s stimulus of R&D via financial aid and initiatives that foster investment. Unsurprisingly the industry sector in the Basque Country carries important weight in Spain and is positioned as one of the key locations for industry in which to invest and develop. In addition, the Basque County is an attractive region for productive investments, given its easy access to the markets, its quality workforce and good transport connections abroad.

Geothermal power showed strong, sustained growth through 2016 according to a report, published last October by the US Geothermal Energy Association (GEA). Projects now under development when completed would increase international capacity outside the USA by 25% according to the GEA. The report finds that between March and September 2016, a total of 44 new geothermal power projects began development spanning 23 countries, adding 1,562.5 MW. This brings the total new geothermal power now actively under development worldwide to 2,277.5 MW with 72 new projects covering 23 countries.

The growth rate in that period exceeds annual development over the previous two years. If this rate is sustained, global geothermal power production could
grow from 13.8 GW today to over 23 GW in 2021.

According to the GEA, the projects under development represent an investment of around US$9bn. The report’s estimates only includes projects outside the USA and as such, offer a conservative estimate. Notably, 70 countries have identified geothermal power potential with 26 countries already producing power from their geothermal resources, a figure that would increase to 30 once the projects identified come online. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2017

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Instalaciones fotovoltaicas en EE.UU. 2010-2022 (MWcc). Fuente: U.S. Solar Market Insight Report de GTM Research - SEIA / U.S. PV Installations, 2010-2022E (MWdc). Source: GTM Research - SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight report

The U.S. solar market had its biggest year ever in 2016 adding more electric generating capacity than any other source of energy for the first time ever. In a record-breaking year for solar, the U.S. market installed 14,762 MW of solar PV in 2016 — nearly doubling the capacity installed in 2015. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced these historic figures with the publication of the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year in Review report.

Growth was primarily driven by the utility-scale PV segment, which installed more solar in 2016 than the entire market in 2015. At 19%, residential PV saw its growth slow in 2016 from record growth in 2015 due to second-half slowdowns in a handful of established state markets, offset somewhat by the emergence of several new state markets. The once-nascent community solar market quadrupled in 2016 due to major installations in Minnesota and Massachusetts and playing a key role in supporting the largest year ever for the non-residential PV market.


For the first time ever, solar ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity, accounting for 39% of new capacity additions in 2016. On average, 1 new MW of solar PV capacity came on-line every 36 minutes in 2016.

In 2016, a record 22 states each added more than 100 MW of solar PV, up from just two states in 2010, including states that are not known for their solar market as Georgia, Minnesota, South Carolina and Utah. The fourth quarter of 2016 was the second consecutive quarter that California added more than 1 GW of utility PV and the largest single quarter ever in one state.

On average, U.S. solar PV system pricing fell by nearly 20% in 2016. This is the largest average year-over-year price decline since GTM Research began modeling pricing in this report series.

The report forecasts that an impressive 13.2 GW of solar PV will be installed in the U.S. in 2017 — a 10% drop from 2016, but still up 75% over 2015. The dip will occur solely in the utility-scale market, following the unprecedented number of utility-scale projects that came on-line in the latter half of 2016, most originally scheduled for completion before the expected expiration of the federal Investment Tax Credit, which has since been extended. By 2019, the utility-scale segment is expected to rebound.

Distributed solar is largely expected to continue to grow over the next few years due to rapid system-cost declines and a growing number of states reaching grid parity. However, ongoing net metering and rate design battles — in conjunction with a declining incentive environment for non-residential PV — will continue to present risks to distributed solar growth

GTM Research expects the residential segment to grow 9% in 2017. California, which has historically accounted for nearly half of the U.S. residential market, is expected to decline in 2017; however, 36 of the 40 tracked states will grow year-over-year. The non-residential market is expected to grow 11% year-over-year and install a record 1,756 MW, and community solar is anticipated to represent 30% of the non-residential market in 2018.

By 2019, the U.S. solar market is expected to resume year-over-year growth across all market segments. And by 2022, 24 states will be home to more than 1 GW of operating solar PV, up from nine today.

Over the next five years, the cumulative U.S. solar market is expected to nearly triple in size, despite a slight dip expected in 2017. By 2022, more than 18 GW of solar PV capacity will be installed annually.

Source: GTM Research