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electricity production

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For another year, Acciona has revalidated its position as the “greenest” electric power generation company in the world. It has held this position since 2015 in the “New Energy Top 100 Green Utilities” ranking of Energy Intelligence, an independent consultancy that specialises in energy markets.

The ranking, which has just been published in its seventh edition, selects a hundred of the best electricity generation companies in the world and classifies them based on their CO2 emissions and installed capacity in renewable technologies (excluding hydroelectric) to determine their level of involvement in the transition to a low-carbon electric power system.

Acciona continues to be the main pure player in renewables and stands in first place in the world ranking of the US-based firm. In its report, Energy Intelligence highlights the growing role that specialised renewables companies such as Acciona play in achieving an ever cleaner energy system worldwide.

The 100 companies that make up the ranking total 3,370 gigawatts (GW) and account for around 50% of electricity generation capacity in the world. European companies figure prominently in the Top 10, with five companies, together with three from China and two from the USA. After Acciona, the greenest utilities are China General Nuclear, Iberdrola (ES), E.On (AL), NextEra Energy (US), Invenergy (US), EDP (Portugal), China Energy Investment, Orsted (DK) y State Power Investment (Ch).

An analysis of the Top 100 Green Utilities of Energy Intelligence reveals, among other things, that the companies listed had CO2 emissions below 500 kg/MWh last year (precisely 495 kg/MWh, as opposed to 565 kg/MWh in 2011).

It also highlights that, in the seven years of the study, non-hydro renewables have almost tripled in the ranking, up to 299 GW (116 GW in 2011). In this respect, Energy Intelligence emphasizes the role played by European electricity companies that have undergone greater transformations in their generation assets, adding a total of 35 GW in wind and solar in that period and divested in fossil assets to the extent of 90 GW.

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Planned and designed at European level to be an incentive to the development of renewable energies, the Guarantee of Origin system begins to gain importance with the increase of its demand and its price. According to AleaSoft, the price of certificates will tend to rise and will be important in the development of new renewable projects.

Renewable energy producers can apply to the CNMC for a certificate of the energy generated. These certificates show that those kWh were generated from renewable energy sources. There are also Guarantees of Origin for high efficiency cogeneration. These certificates can be transferred to electricity retail companies so that they can justify to their customers the renewable origin of the energy supplied.

Guarantees of Origin were conceived as a tool to provide transparency and guarantee the origin of the electricity generated, and thus encourage the development of renewable technologies. Based on the European directive that mandated the states to ensure that “the origin of electricity produced from renewable energy sources can be guaranteed as such according to objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria”, each country of the European Union has regulated the issuance and transfer of Guarantee of Origin certificates.

In 2017, the CNMC issued Guarantees of Origin for 76,683 GWh from renewable sources and 1,803 GWh for high efficiency cogeneration, 81.2% of which were transferred to marketers to cover all or part of their retailed energy.

The mix of energy sources of each retailer will depend on the fraction of their energy covered with the certificates received. With the rest of the energy produced and not covered by Guarantees of Origin, the CNMC calculates a generic mix for the rest of the retailers.

In Spain, the issuance of Guarantees of Origin by the CNMC is free of charge, but the regulation does not allow renewable facilities that receive state subsidies to profit from their transfer. Consequently, in Spain the market of Guarantees of Origin has been traditionally unattractive and with prices of few cents of euro per MWh, very low compared with other European countries where the prices were around 0.20 ‑ 0.30 €/MWh. But this has been changing as there are more renewable plants to market without economic incentives and with the affiliation of the CNMC to the AIB (Association of Issuing Bodies) that manages the trade of Guarantees of Origin in Europe. According to AleaSoft, the Guarantees of Origin will have an important role as an incentive in the new renewable projects since their price will tend to increase in the coming years.

But not everybody thinks that the Guarantees of Origin system is perfect. Its detractors denounce that it is usually used in a deceptive way to confuse the consumer about the origin of the electricity that physically arrives at its meter. Since the issuance and acquisition of certificates does not influence the pool energy mix, which will only depend on the availability of renewable resources at each moment, it is implied that it does not encourage the installation of more renewable power.

What is certain is that the Guarantees of Origin provide transparency for the consumers that allows them to know the environmental impact associated with the energy consumed, and provides more resources to choose the retailer. In addition, for the market, it represents an indication of the demand that exists among consumers to be supplied with renewable energy. And we are not only talking about domestic consumers who are aware of climate change. Since major consumers of electricity such as Google, Facebook and Apple began to announce that they would work to make their electricity consumption 100% from renewable sources, a “green wave” worldwide is leading large companies to also propose a total green electricity consumption. And this “green wave” will continue to spread in cascade as these companies begin to also ask for green certifications to their suppliers. All this has already made the demand for Guarantees of Origin to grow and, consequently, also their price, which, according to AleaSoft, will continue to rise in the medium and long term.

For AleaSoft, the current scenario presents a future where Guarantees of Origin are going to play an important role in the Energy Transition, thanks to the new renewable projects to meet the emission reduction objectives and the increasingly widespread awareness of consumers and retailers about the environmental impact of electricity production.

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In line with its strong commitment to tackling the effects of climate change, Iberdrola has decided to complete the process of phasing out all its coal-fired power generation capacity worldwide. The technology represents 1.8% of the group’s total installed capacity of 48,062 megawatts (MW) and 1.5% of its electricity production for the first nine months of the year (1,596 GWh out of 102,494 GWh).To this end, the company has filed a permit application with the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Strategy to close the coal-fired power plants in Lada (Asturias) and Velilla (Palencia). Both of the assets are situated in Spain and represent a combined capacity 874 MW. With this decision the company ratifies its commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions intensity by 50% in 2030 and become carbon neutral in 2050.

Iberdrola group operates 28,778 MW clean capacity through renewable energy generation sources, mainly onshore and offshore wind (15,902 MW) and hydroelectric power (12,756 MW).

Last week, Iberdrola, together with other leading Energy companies, called upon European policy makers to embrace higher and more ambitious binding renewable energy targets for 2030 by raising the share of renewables in the final energy demand on the continent from the current target of 27% to 35%.

Once the remaining coal-fired plants are closed the company’s emissions-free capacity will stand at 68%. This figure rises to 76% in Spain, where the security of supply will not be impacted by this initiative thanks to the 5,695 MW back-up capacity in combined gas cycles the company operates.

Closure of the plants will not impact the company’s strong commitment to job stability since all the affected employees (90 at Lada and 80 at Velilla) will either be relocated to other facilities or will be engaged in their respective decommissioning process which will last for four years after approval of the closure by the Ministry of Energy, with an investment of €35 million.

Since 2001, the company has phased out 7,500 MW of thermal power capacity (see chart below) worldwide. In 2013 and 2016, Cockenzie and Longannet, two large power plants in the United Kingdom with a combined capacity of 3,600 MW, were closed. Also, between 2001 and 2012 over 3,200 MW of fuel-oil-fired plants were decommissioned in Spain.

Thanks to the progressive decarbonisation of its electricity generation mix, over the past 15 years Iberdrola has become a reference point in the global fight against climate change, having invested €90 billion in the process.

Today, it has become a global leader in onshore wind while bringing down emissions to 70% below its European peers, representing an improvement of 75% since the year 2000.

Commitment to fighting climate change

In 2009, Iberdrola approved its Policy to Fight Climate Change undertaking, among other measures, to support an ambitious global emissions reduction target; to promote the development of efficient technologies to bring down greenhouse-gas emissions; to advocate for an integrated and fair global emissions market while fostering the efficient and responsible use of energy involving all company stakeholders.

Also, and in order to reduce emissions, it is essential for Iberdrola that a strong signal on CO2 prices is given to markets, affecting all sectors of the economy. In addition, the company understands that with the right climate policies the fight to mitigate emissions and adapt to global warming are opportunities for economic growth.

Lastly, the company has been working as a key partner with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has an active presence at COP23 which takes place in Bonn until 17 November.

Source: Iberdrola

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Since the beginning of the year, two Rolls-Royce CHP plants have been supplying energy to a new tomato greenhouse operated by Maxburg BVBA in Meer in Belgium. The two gas-powered gensets have reliably supplied over 20 MWh of heat and power to date. Maxburg is now the 30th greenhouse for which Rolls-Royce has delivered CHP plants. Since 2005, no less than 52 CHP plants manufactured by Rolls-Royce have generated a total electrical output of 270 MW in greenhouses in Holland, Belgium, Russia and the UK.

The gensets are based on the medium-speed B35:40 V12 AG2 engines from Rolls-Royce, each of which is able to generate an electrical output of 5,650 kW and a thermal output of 6,545 kW. They achieve an efficiency level of more than 96 per cent. The electric power is used primarily for the greenhouse lamps and, if required, is fed into the public grid.

 

The greenhouse, which extends over an area of 10.2 hectares, is heated using the heat extracted from the exhaust gas and the engine’s cooling system. The cleaned exhaust gases from the engines are also injected into the greenhouses to increase the level of CO2 and boost plant growth. The owner expects to achieve an annual production of 7.5 million kilogrammes of tomatoes at the Maxburg greenhouse.

Rolls-Royce has delivered the complete CHP plants, consisting of the power generator sets, the exhaust gas systems, including the SCR systems and the heat exchangers. The electronic control systems are also included in the scope of supply. Operator John Vermeiren and Rolls-Royce have concluded a long-term service agreement for the combined heat and power plants covering approximately 4,500 hours of operation per year over the next 10 years.

Source: Rolls-Royce

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Energy company EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG has commissioned MAN Diesel & Turbo to build a 30 MW gas-engine combined heat and power (CHP) plant at its Stuttgart-Gaisburg site. The plant will be powered by three MAN 20V35/44G gas engines and in addition to its electrical output will also provide up to 30 MW of district heating. With up to 90% overall efficiency, the plant will have a particularly high fuel utilisation rating.

The power station project is part of the comprehensive modernisation of the Stuttgart-Gaisburg site. Alongside the CHP plant, EnBW will be building a heat storage facility and a boiler system with a thermal output of up to 210 MW to enable peak and reserve shaving. The existing coal power station is to be decommissioned. The new installations will be operational by the end of 2018.

 

This recent investment decision to build a new power plant is an important contribution to the urban energy transition. The modernisation will reduce local CO2 emissions by up to 60,000 tonnes per annum”, says Diana van den Bergh, Project Manager at EnBW.

EnBW had commissioned MAN Diesel & Turbo to plan the engine cogeneration plant as early as July 2016. However, the final decision to go ahead with the project was only made after approval and clearance by the German government and the European Commission with regard to CHP legislation. “With the new German CHP Act passing into law, there is finally legal certainty again for power-plant investors in Germany. The development of CHP is vital not just for the energy transition but also for Germany’s climate protection goals”, says Dr Tilman Tütken, Vice President MAN Diesel & Turbo and European Head of Sales Power Plants.

Large-scale gas engine power plants are a relatively new technology for the German market but one that has significant benefits for operators, especially in energy systems handling large quantities of fluctuating renewable energy”, affirms Tütken. “The Gaisburg project is using our modular power plant concept for CHP facilities. The modular design can be scaled up from 7 MW as required.”

The reaction speed and operational flexibility of the system is another advantage for power plant operators. MAN gas engines can reach maximum output in considerably less than five minutes and can also cope with rapid load changes without any problem.

The heart of the CHP solution is the MAN 35/44G, a four-stroke gas engine with options for single or two-stage turbocharging. In two-stage (TS) versions, a low-pressure and high-pressure compressor are arranged in series, thus boosting engine efficiency. The 20-cylinder version has a mechanical output of 10 MW in the single-stage design and 12.4 MW in the two-stage variant. The TS version is also available as a 12-cylinder V-type with a mechanical output of 7.4 MW.

In the last few decades wind power has been consolidated as a key driver in the changing energy model the world is going through. Good evidence of this can be seen in the spectacular growth of the wind sector, both in Europe and worldwide. According to European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) figures, installed wind capacity in Europe grew from 4.8 to 94 GW between 1997 and 2011, which accounts for 6.3% of Europe’s entire current energy demand.

This growing trend will undoubtedly continue over the next few years, with forecasts indicating 230 GW by 2020 and 400 GW by 2030, which would mean between 15 and 30% of Europe’s electricity production and in economic terms represent 1% of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product. In this context it is easy to understand the industry’s increasing interest in improving its analysis, operations and management of the wind resource, both in offshore environments and onshore.

At on-shore farms the wind resource can vary substantially from one point to another depending on local orographic effects and land features. On the other hand, wind turbines disturb the wind field, generating a wake which affects the performance of other wind turbines located downwind and which, in off-shore surroundings, can take on considerable sizes.

Article published in: FuturENERGY December 2013

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