Galway giant spins in Ireland

Galway wind farm

SSE and Coillte have started commercial operations at the 169MW Galway wind farm in Connemara, Ireland. The €281m project, which is located in the Cloosh Valley, was built in two phases and consists of 58 Siemens Gamesa 3MW turbines. The 64MW first phase is owned and was fully financed by SSE at an investment cost of around €105m.

The 105MW second phase is a 50/50 joint venture between SSE and Coillte which was funded by project finance totalling €176m. Finance was agreed in 2016 with BBVA, Coöperatieve Rabobank UA, and NORD/LB. Electricity generated by the wind farm will be provided to SSE’s retail arm SSE Airtricity. The project will also soon launch a community fund, which will operate for the lifetime of the wind farm.

More information on this article can be found at: http://renews.biz/108885/galway-giant-spins-in-ireland/

 

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Ireland rejects 125MW Maighne – Element Power’s 47-turbine plan in Kildare and Meath

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Element Power has been refused permission to build its up to 125MW Maighne wind farm in Ireland.  National planning authority An Bord Pleanala (ABP) has ruled against the developer’s 47-turbine project in Kildare and Meath.

Its officials said allowing permission would be “premature” in the absence of “any national wind energy strategy”.  ABP also said the “widely dispersed cluster-based layout” would have an “inevitable adverse” impact including a “disproportionately large visual envelope”.

Element Power initially lodged the plans in April last year. It had hoped to build turbines with 169 metre tip heights.   ABP also shot down the developer’s proposals for an up to 120MW Emlagh wind farm in Meath earlier this year.

GREEN ELECTRICITY CERTIFICATES IN NORWAY

NSP 09-08-2016

Hydropower is still the mainstay of the Norwegian power supply system, with other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar providing an important supplement. In the public debate, we often hear that Norway must become greener and make a transition to greater use of renewable energy. In fact, Norway is already leading the way in this field, since almost all our electricity production is based on renewable sources. Our power resources have been crucial for value creation, welfare and growth in Norway for over a hundred years, and will continue to play a vital role in future.

But this will require continued development of renewable energy sources. The green electricity certificates is an instrument intended to boost the renewable electricity production in Norway.  So what is an Norwegian green electricity certificate scheme?

Electricity certificates

The joint Norwegian-Swedish electricity certificate scheme is intended to boost renewable electricity production in both countries. Norway and Sweden have a common goal of increasing electricity production based on renewable energy sources by 26.4 TWh by 2020, using the joint electricity certificate market.

The electricity certificate market is a market-based support scheme. In this system, producers of renewable electricity receive one certificate per MWh of electricity they produce for a period of 15 years. All renewable production facilities that started construction after 7 September 2009, and hydropower plants with an installed capacity of up to 1 MW that started construction after 1 January 2004, will receive electricity certificates. Facilities that are put into operation after 31 December 2020 will not receive electricity certificates. The electricity certificate scheme is technology-neutral, i.e. all forms of renewable electricity are entitled to electricity certificates, including hydropower, wind power and bioenergy.

Norway and Sweden are responsible for financing half of the support scheme each, regardless of where the investments take place. The authorities have therefore obliged all electricity suppliers and certain categories of end-users to purchase electricity certificates for a specific percentage of their electricity consumption (their quota). This was 3 per cent in 2012 and will gradually be increased to approximately 18 per cent in 2020, and then reduced again towards 2035. The scheme will be terminated in 2036. A demand for electricity certificates is created by the quota obligations imposed by the government, so that electricity certificates have a value. In other words, the market determines the price of electricity certificates and which projects are developed. Producers of renewable electricity gain an income from the sale of electricity certificates, in addition to revenues from the sale of electricity. The income from the electricity certificates is intended to make it more profitable to develop new electricity production based on renewable energy sources. The end-users contribute to this through their electricity bills. In Norway, the framework for the scheme is governed by the Act relating to electricity certificates.

The Electricity Certificate Act  

An electricity certificate is a confirmation issued by the Norwegian State that one megawatt hour of renewable energy has been produced pursuant to the Electricity Certificate Act. The electricity certificate system is intended to promote investments in renewable energy. Electricity customers finance the scheme through their electricity bills. The electricity certificate market is a statutory market in that the market would not have established itself naturally, but that the need and demand has been created through the Electricity Certificate Act.

The Electricity Certificate Act has been supplemented by the regulations relating to electricity certificates of December 2011 – and will be supplemented by new regulations in 2016.

The Electricity certificate market

The electricity certificate market is based on an international agreement with Sweden, and the joint market makes use of a cooperation mechanism under the Renewables Directive. The goal is for the joint electricity certificate market to increase electricity production based on renewable energy sources in Norway and Sweden by 26.4 TWh by 2020.

To establish the joint market, it was necessary to ensure that electricity certificate obligations in Sweden can be fulfilled using Norwegian electricity certificates and vice versa.

Producers

The owner of a production facility is entitled to electricity certificates if specific conditions in Chapter 1 of the Electricity Certificate Act have been fulfilled. The production facility must produce electricity based on renewable energy sources (this is a technology-neutral requirement), be approved by the NVE and satisfy requirements for metering and reporting. Both expansion of existing facilities and new facilities may satisfy the conditions for receiving electricity certificates. Production facilities which become operational after 31 December 2020 will not be entitled to electricity certificates. Those subject to the electricity certificate obligation are primarily suppliers of electric energy to end-users. But, in certain cases, end-users themselves may themselves be subject to an electricity certificate obligation.

Producers entitled to electrical certificates must apply for approval of the facility to the NVE, which administers the electrical certificate scheme in Norway. In addition, the producer, or a registrar authorised by the producer, must apply for an account in the electronic electricity certificate registry.

Electricity certificate registry

Statnett SF is responsible for the electricity certificate registry, and has established and operates the registry. Statnett SF is responsible for registration and cancellation of electricity certificates in the registry. The electricity certificates are issued after production has taken place on the basis of actual metering data. Electricity certificates are issued by Statnett SF registering the electricity certificate in the certificate account of the entity entitled to electricity certificates. The scheme will be terminated on 1 April 2036 through the cancellation of electricity certificates for the year 2035.

Trading of the certificates

The electricity certificate scheme is based on trading of the certificates, so that the entities entitled to electricity certificates can capitalise the value represented by the certificates. Those subject to an electricity certificate obligation will have access to the electricity certificates that are necessary in order to fulfill their electricity certificate obligation.

Icelandic government invests in infrastructure for electric cars

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The Icelandic government will soon advertise special subsidies for business that want to install fast charging stations for electric cars. The state intends to put 67 million Icelandic krona per year, over the next three years, to increase the number of charging stations in Iceland.

It is not yet clear whether the first grants will go to setting up charging stations on Route 1 or Ring Road, the national road in Iceland, or to enhance electric car infrastructure for certain communities.

This is done to accelerate the energy exchange which is the government policy and reduce the use of fossil fuels. The electric cars adoption has long begun in Iceland and many think it´s rational that households’ second car is driven by electricity, but the shortage of fast charging stations prevents further development. The government will release their plan on increasing the number the charging station soon, says Ms. Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir Minister of Industry and Commerce, in an interview with the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service on 16th May. (http://www.ruv.is/frett/rikid-styrkir-fjolgun-rafhledslustodva)

“In connection with the climate summit in Paris the Icelandic government aims to achieve specific targets to reduce net emissions and one of the projects which is covered by my ministry is precisely to encourage further investment in the infrastructure for electric cars and in order to do so we set aside 67 million ikr. per year for three years ” says Ragnheiður Elín.

The grants are not just intended to set up charging stations but also for marketing and awareness campaigns. The Icelandic Energy Fund will allocate the projects but the priorities are still unclear.  “We are still looking at how it´s best do this. Whether we will begin with the Ring road or certain towns remains to be seen. But we need to start this project to encourage and perhaps assist entrepreneurs and businesses to get started “.

European Investment Bank provides £500 million for grid connector in the Highlands of Scotland

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A view across the Moray Firth to Caithness, the stretch of water where the cables will be laid.

Since the March 11th blog post on the need for grid connection to Scottish Islands the European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide £500 million (€618 million) of investment to improve the transmission network in northern Scotland.

The €618 million represents the largest investment in the electricity network in the north of Scotland for 60 years and includes a new 1200 MW subsea cable between Spittal in Caithness and Blackhillock in Moray. The laying of the subsea cable and associated onshore infrastructure works are expected to support 600 jobs during the construction phase.

The EIB Vice President Jonathan Taylor described infrastructure investment such as this as “essential to harness the full potential of new and future renewable energy schemes”, and went on to say that the “investment will ensure more efficient transmission of green energy, enable increased use of renewable power in Scotland and secure energy supply to the Highlands and Scotland’s cities.”

This will be important if Scotland is to realise its target of generating the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. Scotland is currently on track to achieve this, having provided the equivalent to 57% of its electricity demand from renewable sources in 2015, according to the most recent Department of Energy and Climate Change figures. However, recent government cuts to renewable subsidy are likely to make further progress more challenging.

Whilst the investment in a subsea cable is a good news story for future renewable development in the UK, it is worth remembering that the UK is holding a referendum in June over whether to stay in the EU. The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank and is 16.1% owned by the UK government but if the UK was to leave it would no longer have a share. This would of course mean the EIB would not invest in the UK at anything like this scale, if at all, in the future.

The UK has received notable investment from the EIB over the years, particularly when it comes to energy; this is summarised in the table below.

Power Challenges in Icelands Westfjords

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Icelands Minister of Industries and Innovation, Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir

One of the biggest challenges faced by the communities of the Westfjords of Iceland is to secure electricity. The region is not self-sufficient with electricity and needs to “import” electricity from other parts of Iceland.  Only one power line drives electricity to the region and it lies over high mountains. As the northerly location of the region implies it often faces severe weather conditions and the mountaintops can be hazardous during winter storms. 

This is an ongoing challenge which was recently addressed at a conference attended by most of the major stakeholders both local and national.  The Minister of Industries and Innovation, Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, responsible for energy affairs in Iceland on behalf of the government, was among speakers at the conference. In her speech she expressed an interest on behalf of the national government to solve the issues pertaining to creating a more sustainable energy production in the Westfjords.

Other speakers came from the public energy institutions, Landsnet which operate Iceland’s electricity transmission grid, National Energy Authority, Orkubú Vestfjarða (Westfjord Power Company) and energy entrepreneurs in the region.

All evidence points towards increasing demand for electricity in the region. Speakers at the conference agreed that it´s possible to harness more hydro energy. Really good options are available in hydro electricity production in the region but the problem is that they are far away from the main grid. This distance is among the main issues the national government and local actors need to solve. The conference was a small milestone where the stakeholders had a successful discussion on the topic and how it is possible to overcome that barrier.

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XRG Power in Iceland

XRG Landinn013

XRG – Power is an entrepreneur company in Iceland focusing on innovation and development of generators that produce electricity from low heat geothermal energy (70°C – 85°C).

XRG Power has already developed a prototype  which has already been tested successfully on the floor. XRG generator, a modified and augmented scroll expander, is based on a new approach where the working fluid is optimized for very low temperatures, working in highly concentrated system where use of magnetic materials in generators is optimized.

There are various marketing opportunities for the XRG generators; the possibility to produce electricity in areas where the water is below boiling temperature in the ground, another implementation of the XRG technology will enable electricity production from waste heat. XRG power aims to develop generators that produce electricity from thermal sources for the world market, starting in Iceland.

For more information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRAPlK64t7w

http://www.xrgpower.com/