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Siemens Finland has created a new business to expand its virtual power plant activity: Vibeco (Virtual Buildings Ecosystem) is an innovative approach to increase the benefits of increasingly decentralized energy systems. The heart of the virtual power plant is a software platform, operated by Siemens, that intelligently balances electrical loads from buildings that have been connected in a microgrid,
incorporating renewable energy and energy storage.

The new virtual power plant (VPP) service platform – a digitized demand-response system – makes it possible for the first time to combine the small electrical loads of buildings or industrial sites, so that building operators can sell energy back to the reserve market, with the ultimate goal to increase the flexibility of the electricity market as a whole.

We are shaping a new market at the grid edge with this technology,” explained Cedrik Neike, Chief Executive Officer Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “Together with the State of Finland, we are pioneering a model for decentralized energy systems to benefit utilities, business and society. The complexity of balancing loads across buildings, the grid and even with eMobility infrastructure requires deep domain expertise in the demand and supply areas.

The VPP service helps balance power consumption, to decrease the need for reserve power and, consequently, cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The Finnish national grid operator, Fingrid, compensates property owners when the VPP feeds energy into the public grid. Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is providing a grant of 8.4 million euros for the required technology investments.

Siemens already has two pilot customers for its VPP approach: Finnish Railways will connect the iconic Helsinki Central Station as well as two train depots in a microgrid to create a virtual power plant.

Renewable energy is challenging the entire energy system. We want to prepare for these changes now,” says Juha Antti Juutinen, Director of Real Estate at Finnish Railways.

Lappeenranta, a city of 75,000 inhabitants close to the Russian border, will kick off with nine public buildings, scaling up to connect 50 more buildings to a city microgrid.

The virtual power plant service decreases the environmental impact of the city and provides additional income,” says Markku Mäki-Hokkonen, development manager of the City of Lappeenranta.

Siemens’ VPP platform leverages the company’s successful energy optimization project at Sello shopping mall, a property of 100.000 m2 space located in the suburbs of Helsinki. Sello’s microgrid combines energy efficiency, storage, optimization of peak loads, and its own electricity production. In addition, supplying extra energy to the reserve market has led to annual income of around 650,000 euros annually for the Sello property owners.

Source: Siemens

The vision to set new standards for cost-competitive renewable heat and power production has became a reality with the official opening of a revolutionary green energy facility in Denmark. Inaugurated by the Danish Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate, Mr. Lars Christian Lilleholt, the 45 million € investment is now ready to produce both sustainable power and heat with the help of an advanced solar energy system from Danish renewable energy specialist, Aalborg CSP A/S.

Replacing natural gas with renewable energy sources is a natural step in Denmark’s green energy transition where most district heating plants typically switch to solar or biomass. However, combining several energy technologies to produce both heat and power is certainly a proof of innovative thinking which recently led to the realization of an ambitious green energy project in the town of Brønderslev.

The system is the first combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Denmark, but also in the whole world to integrate concentrated solar power (CSP) and a biomass boiler while also using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) to turn the energy into district heating and electricity. Utilizing benefits of these innovative technologies enables the Brønderslev Forsyning district heating plant to achieve record energy efficiency, lower energy prices and a future-proof solution that is no longer dependent on fluctuating fossil fuel prices. Clean energy also means the reduction of more than 25,000 CO2 annually.

CSP, a flexible energy technology

Part of the new, sustainable CHP facility is an advanced, 26,929 m2 solar energy plant from Aalborg CSP. This solar-thermal system is based on the concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that has already been producing heat since the end of 2016. With the ORC and biomass units also going online, it is now ready to contribute to electricity production as well.

The CSP technology consists of 40 rows x 125m U-shaped mirrors that collect the sunrays throughout the day and reflect them onto a receiver pipe. This receiver pipe is surrounded by a special glass vacuum tube and inside this runs – only heated by the sun – thermal oil with temperatures up to 330 °C. This high temperature is able to drive an electric turbine to produce electricity, but the flexibility of the system also allows production of lower temperatures for district heating purposes. The solar heating system can thus alternate between providing combined heat and power at peak price periods, or exclusively deliver heat. On sunny days, the solar-thermal system in Brønderslev is set to reach 16.6 MWth capacity.

The CSP technology is capable of supporting the production of pretty much any energy outputs, be it heat, electricity, cooling, process steam or even desalinated water.

The achievement of the world’s first CSP system combined with a biomass-ORC plant was supported by the Danish Government’s Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP).

Source: Aalborg CSP A/S

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Corporations signed a record volume of power purchase agreements, or PPAs, for green energy in 2017. The increase in activity was driven by sustainability initiatives and the increasing cost-competitiveness of renewables, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) finds in a comprehensive new report on corporate procurement activity globally.

A total of 5.4 GW of clean energy contracts were signed by 43 corporations in 10 different countries in 2017, according to BNEF in its inaugural Corporate Energy Market Outlook. This was up from 4.3 GW in 2016 and a previous record of 4.4 GW in 2015, and came despite question marks about how evolving policy could affect corporate procurement in the U.S. and Europe, the two largest markets.

Corporations have signed contracts to purchase nearly 19 GW of clean power since 2008, an amount comparable to the generation capacity of Portugal, with 76% of this activity coming since 2015.

Most of this activity in 2017 occurred in the United States, where 2.8 GW of power purchase agreements were signed by corporations, up 19% from 2016. The most notable of these deals was Apple’s 200 MW PPA with NV Energy to purchase electricity from the Techren Solar project, the largest agreement ever signed in the U.S. between a corporation and a utility.

Europe also experienced a near-record year, with over 1 GW signed, some 95% of this volume coming from projects in the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. In those countries, policy mechanisms allow developers to secure subsidies, while also giving corporations the ability to receive certificates to meet sustainability targets. The largest deal was aluminum producer Norsk Hydro’s commitment to purchase most of the electricity from the 650 MW Markbygden Ett wind farm in Sweden, from 2021 to 2039. Emerging markets also saw newfound activity, with the first onsite corporate PPAs being signed in Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Egypt, Ghana, Namibia, Panama and Thailand.

Activity in the United States persists despite a tumultuous political climate and cheap wholesale power. A yet-to-be-determined tariff is expected to be placed on the import of PV modules, which could increase the cost of solar generation. The lack of clarity on the severity of this tariff means developers cannot accurately price PPAs with corporations and other offtakers in the meantime.

In Europe, the EU Winter Package is expected to make it so developers that receive renewable energy subsidies will no longer be eligible to receive certificates, and instead will have to acquire them through a mandatory auction. These policies on both sides of the Atlantic, if enforced, could affect the economic calculations for corporations interested in purchasing clean energy.

BNEF expects volumes to grow further in 2018, surpassing 2017’s record level of activity. Commitments on the part of companies to use renewable electricity, including those made via the RE100 campaign, remain the most promising source of demand.

Some 35 new companies signed onto the RE100 in 2017 – with several headquartered in markets less developed for corporate procurement, such as Japan and Singapore. RE100 brings together corporations pledging to source 100% of their electricity from renewables at some date in the future. The total number of members of RE100 reached 119 at the end of last year. In 2016, these companies consumed 159 TWh of electricity globally, nearly equivalent to the electricity consumption of Sweden.

Latin America and Asia are two historically sluggish corporate procurement markets that are expected to attract major activity in 2018 and the coming years. In Mexico, private companies can now sign bilateral PPAs with developers, and major power buyers will also be expected to comply with clean energy mandates, once a new certificate market kicks off in 2018. Large consumers in Argentina are now eligible to purchase clean energy directly from developers, rather than just the national utility.

In Asia, most of the 3.2 GW of offsite PPA contracts signed since 2008 have been in India. Cheap renewable energy resulting from competitive auctions, coupled with an unreliable grid, has prompted numerous Indian and multinational corporates to sign PPAs, despite only three Indian firms formally being a part of the RE100 campaign.

In Australia, where corporations signed power purchase agreements for over 400 MW in 2017, expensive wholesale power and the availability of renewable energy certificates have increased the economic incentive for locking into relatively cheap renewable electricity prices long-term.

Japan and China, however, continue to have few corporate procurement opportunities due to regulatory barriers, though both are undergoing power market reforms that will change things rapidly. In China, firms have built an estimated 7 GW of solar projects for onsite self-consumption since 2010, taking advantage of low costs and generous net-metering subsidies. Most of these projects are owned by a third-party, and have a long-term power purchase agreement with an offtaker.

Most companies in Asia currently are unfamiliar with the concept of corporate procurement – of the 119 RE100 members, only eight are headquartered in this region,” said Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific for BNEF. “But this is all about to change as multinational corporations extend their sustainability pledges to their Asia-based supply chains and their Asian competitors begin to see the need to follow suit. It won’t be long before Asian companies try to take advantage of the large amounts of renewable energy already deployed in their home markets.”

Google, Norsk Hydro and Facebook are leading the growing trend of major companies looking to secure reliable and competitive power from renewable energy and reduce the risks associated with fossil fuel-based power supply. 100 top companies including leading industrial players are already committing to procure 100% renewable power in the short term through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

The chemicals industry has also emerged as an actor in renewable energy PPAs. Earlier this year, AkzoNobel led a consortium to procure power from the Bouwdokken Wind Park in the Netherlands as part of a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.

PPAs are currently concentrated in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland. Expanding this potential will require clarifying the legal framework for PPAs and empowering renewable electricity generators to make use of Guarantees of Origin. This should be tackled head on as part of the post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive.

WindEurope and SolarPower Europe will lead this effort, in collaboration with RE100 and supported by CEFIC, by hosting the first in a series of annual renewable energy PPA events, RE-Source 2017 on 11 October 2017 in Brussels. Large energy consumers including chemical companies, Google and renewable energy players Engie, EDF Energies Nouvelles, ENEL Green Power, Envision and Vestas will come together with policymakers to ensure Europe can fully reap the benefits of a competitive and reliable renewable energy supply to power its economy.

Marco Mensink, Director General of CEFIC, said: “Corporate PPAs are a win-win: whilst enabling long-term contracts, they provide financial certainty for utilities and developers and they allow the chemical industry to contribute to sustainability goals. Corporate PPAs show that renewables are maturing into market based solutions.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson added: “Wind energy producers can supply cheap power today thanks to a significant reduction in technology and operating costs in recent years. But they need stable revenues to sustain their investments. Corporate PPAs will play an increasing role in supplying corporates with power below the industrial retail price, while ensuring a stable revenue for wind energy generators. The new Renewable Energy Directive should help unlock this potential.

Dr James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, explains: “Renewable energy capacity covered by PPAs tripled in 2016 compared to 2015 confirming the rising appetite of corporates to procure green power. Last year, 1.5 GW of renewable energy capacity in Europe supplied power to corporates under PPAs – up from 74 MW just 4 years ago.

Source: WindEurope

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The first European fuel cell CHP power plant of megawatt size is now operating in Mannheim. Contrary to conventional power plants, this energy solution delivers heat and electricity virtually absent of pollutants, making it a milestone for the green energy of the future. The innovative plant has been jointly installed by E.ON and FuelCell Energy Solutions at Friatec AG. Over the course of at least ten years, it will provide clean energy for the production processes of materials specialist Friatec.

With a capacity of 1.4 MW, this fuel cell power plant is the only one of its kind in Europe to date. In terms of technology and environmental protection, fuel cells represent a promising alternative to conventional combined heat and power plants. In comparison with other decentralized technologies such as gas turbines, they use fuel sources far more efficiently. In addition, they generate power in a non-combustion process which is virtually absent of pollutants. By using this fuel cell, Friatec will be able to reduce its CO2 emissions by approximately 3,000 t/year.

The fuel cell power plant was installed in only nine months as a joint project by E.ON Connecting Energies, E.ON’s subsidiary for commercial and industrial energy solutions, and FuelCell Energy Solutions, a joint venture by Fraunhofer IKTS and FuelCell Energy Inc. E.ON and FuelCell Energy Solutions have entered into a long-term energy partnership to offer high-performing clean fuel cell technology to customers in energy-intensive sectors.

Source: E.ON

 

Axpo Iberia has signed an electric power supply agreement with Fluidra, a publicly traded multinational group from Spain and one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of solutions for swimming pools and wellness, water treatment, fluid irrigation and conduction. It is currently present in 44 countries through 150 delegations and production centres, distributing products to over 170 countries thanks to an extensive commercial network and a workforce of around 4,100 employees.

The supply agreement signed with Axpo Iberia shall apply to 55 supply sites located in 18 of the Group’s companies throughout Spain, amounting to a total annual demand of 27 GWh. As of now, the electric demand from all of its centres shall be solely provided by 100% renewable sources, with the subsequent reduction of their environmental impact.

Fluidra’s decision results from its Environmental Policy and adhesion to the United Nations Global Compact as a responsible company that builds its business model following approaches based on innovation and sustainability.

Aware of the necessity to commit to an effective environmental management, Fluidra has deployed in its production centres the ISO9001, ISO14001, and EMAS quality and environmental certification standards.

Within its commitment to optimise the natural resources used in production processes, the use of renewable energies perfectly fits as one of the cornerstones for a sustainable development in the future.Fluidra-(2)-baja

There are several benefits to contracting an environmentally certified supply: on one hand, it assists in complying with required environmental protocols and directives such as ISO 14001 or the EMAS Certification; additionally, it brings unquestionable benefits to corporate image as environmental aspects are increasingly valued by clients; and finally, this type of energy contributes to reduce the carbon footprint that is generated throughout the life cycle of many products.

The renewable energy supplied by Axpo is certified by CNMC, who issues a certificate per KW/h generated as it verifies its provenance from renewable sources, and guaranteed by RECS (Renewable Energy Certificate System) certificates.  “For many years now, companies have made great efforts to devise improvements throughout their product life cycles. In that sense, contracting “green” energy from renewable sources is a simple, no added-cost initiative with a very important image value for companies and organisations”, stated Ignacio Soneira, CEO Axpo Iberia, after signing the agreement.

Since its entry into the Iberian market in 2002, Axpo Iberia has gradually expanded its lines of business in Spain and Portugal, now covering a wide range of services: marketing of electricity and gas; energy management for special regime producers; power generation control and load dispatching center (CECOGEL); structured products and trading in electricity, biomass, and CO2.

Interior-Catedral-Palma-Mallorca-low

Axpo Iberia S.L. has signed an agreement with Palma Cathedral for the supply of green energy to the various installations in the most iconic building in the Balearic capital. Popularly known as ‘La Seu’, the building was declared an Artistic Historical Monument in 1931 and its rose window is the largest in Europe. The second largest Gothic cathedral in Europe, it is also known as ‘the cathedral of light’ and welcomes nearly 900,000 visitors annually. In addition, to promote efficient use and energy savings at the installations, the consumption of green energy has become a key principle for the prudent and sensible use of energy. “Axpo manages the largest portfolio of renewable plants in Spain, which allows us to offer 100% renewable energy to all our customers, and to help them meet their sustainability commitments,” said Ignacio Soneira, Managing Director of Axpo Iberia.

The decision taken by the management of Palma Cathedral is consistent with their commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their activities, by means of sustainable solutions which contribute to the conservation of the planet. “Palma Cathedral has an established power-management policy, in line with the concern over environmental issues and the consequences of climate change recently expressed by Pope Francis I in his encyclical Laudato Si” , commented Jose E. Capote, head of Palma Cathedral Council. “In order to contribute to the mitigation of this concern, an Energy Management System has been implemented based on the standard ISO 50001:2011 so as to continuously improve the management of energy consumption and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, he added.

Palma Cathedral has chosen one of the indexed contract types offered by Axpo, enabling more efficient management of its consumption by paying the real hour by hour market price of electricity, benefiting from consumption at times of lowest energy cost.

Since its entry into the Iberian market in 2002, Axpo Iberia has gradually expanded its lines of business in Spain and Portugal, now covering a wide range of services: marketing of electricity and gas; energy management for special regime producers; power generation control and load dispatching center (CECOGEL); structured products and trading in electricity, biomass, and CO2.

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