Power Generation & Energy News, August 2016

Power Generation & Energy News, August 2016

Tidal energy company Nova Innovation has deployed the world’s first fully-operational, commercial, grid-connected offshore tidal array in Shetland.

 

The second in a series of three 100kW turbines was deployed alongside the first turbine in August 2016, making it the first offshore tidal array in the world to deliver electricity to the grid.  The Scottish tidal energy specialist installed the first Nova M-100 turbine in the Bluemull Sound, Shetland in March 2016. The company said the device has been generating to full power across all tidal conditions.

 

Nova Innovation partnered with Belgian renewable energy leader ELSA to deliver the project and is the first company to secure financial close on a commercial tidal array. Nova Innovation plans on deploying more turbines in the near future. The UK Carbon Trust estimates a global tidal energy market of £126 billion could be developed by 2050.

 

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Tidal energy company Nova Innovation has deployed the world’s first fully-operational, commercial, grid-connected offshore tidal array in Shetland.

 

The second in a series of three 100kW turbines was deployed alongside the first turbine in August 2016, making it the first offshore tidal array in the world to deliver electricity to the grid.  The Scottish tidal energy specialist installed the first Nova M-100 turbine in the Bluemull Sound, Shetland in March 2016. The company said the device has been generating to full power across all tidal conditions.

 

Nova Innovation partnered with Belgian renewable energy leader ELSA to deliver the project and is the first company to secure financial close on a commercial tidal array. Nova Innovation plans on deploying more turbines in the near future. The UK Carbon Trust estimates a global tidal energy market of £126 billion could be developed by 2050.

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A “smart energy” revolution could help ensure that the UK does not suffer blackouts, according to National Grid’s new UK chief.  Nicola Shaw, its executive director, said technological advances will reduce the need to build new conventional power stations in the UK.

 

Some commentators say the UK needs more gas-fired power to prevent blackouts. Ms Shaw agreed that more investment in gas-fired power was needed, but argued that between 30% and % of fluctuations on the electricity grid could be smoothed by households and businesses adjusting their demand at peak times.  “We are at a moment of real change in the energy industry. From an historic perspective we created energy in big generating organisations that sent power to houses and their businesses.  Now we are producing energy in those places – mostly with solar power,”

 

Ms Shaw commented. More and more people and companies were adjusting their energy consumption to use more when power was at its cheapest, Ms Shaw said.  “All of that is a real revolution … a smart energy revolution that’s changing the way we think about energy across the country,” she said

 

The move toward flexible energy use is supported by the National Infrastructure Commission. And the advances in energy software are described by the World Energy Council as the biggest change in 21st Century energy – along with solar power.

 

Already some firms benefit from using extra power when it is cheaper off-peak.  The challenge for National Grid is to attract more companies to adopt what is known as “demand-side response”, or DSR. Some firms are nervous, others have not heard of it – and business models are changing at breakneck speed.

 

Aggregate Industries – which makes road materials – is helping to smooth spikes in the grid even though it generates no power at all. The bitumen in giant containers stored near Heathrow airport can be stored at temperatures of between 130 and 185C. If a rise in demand is predicted for later in the day, the company is advised by a computer to heat the bitumen to the maximum temperature, and then turn off the power until the demand – and price – subsides. Aggregate is also rewarded for gobbling up extra energy when there is a glut of wind power on the grid.

Head of sustainability, Donna Hunt said: “I think this is a no-brainer for us because we’re saving energy. We’re not generating carbon whilst the power is off, and we’re making an income for allowing our assets to be used flexibly.”

 

Deepa Venkateswaran, from Bernstein energy analysts, said “The smart grid revolution is going to be exciting. However, there’s a time frame – we need some time to get wired up and respond dynamically, but in the short term we need new gas stations to replace some of our ageing coal stations which are going to close.”  Ms Shaw agrees with the need for new gas power, but is wary of committing to new power stations while technology is producing unexpected improvements at a sharp pace.  The issue is central to the UK’s laws on cutting greenhouse gases. Under Ms Venkateswaran’s scenario, the UK will be locked into generating gas-fired electricity until well into the 2030’s. This would wreck the government’s target of ending gas-fired generation in the early years of that decade.

 

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An auction for billions of pounds worth of offshore wind farm subsidy contracts has been delayed until next year. The delay follows the decision by Theresa May to abolish the energy department and fold it into a new Business Energy and Industrial Strategy department when she became prime minister.

 

The delay means there will be a gap of about two years since the last auction for the subsidy contracts needed to financially underpin the offshore wind farms that dot the UK’s coast. The auctions replace a system in which renewable energy companies received a set level of subsidies for building approved projects. Now companies must bid against each other in a type of reverse auction, with the cheapest proposed project winning contracts that guarantee a price for the electricity generated.

 

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The world’s largest offshore windfarm, Hornsea Project Two has received development consent from Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.

 

When complete, the windfarm will deliver up to 1,800 megawatts of low carbon electricity to around 1.8 million UK homes. The windfarm would create up to 1,960 construction jobs and 580 operational and maintenance jobs. If built to the full capacity, the investment would total around £6bn providing a great opportunity for economic growth in the Humber region and beyond.

 

Located approximately 89km off the Yorkshire coast, the windfarm will comprise up to 300 wind turbines and will connect to the grid at North Killingholme in North Lincolnshire.

 

The Government is making £730m of financial support available for renewable electricity generation this Parliament, sending a clear signal that the UK is open for business. The Government expect 10GW of offshore wind installed by the end of this decade and could see up to 10GW of new offshore wind in the 2020s as costs come down.

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Work is set to start on a new combined heat and power plant in Kent that will convert household waste into steam and electricity.  The new £340m facility will divert 550,000t of waste a year from Kent and the South East of England.

 

The waste would otherwise have been sent to landfill sites or have been exported to Europe for treatment. The facility has also been designed to provide steam for a neighbouring peppermill and will generate 43MW of electricity at full capacity.

 

“As an industry we are increasingly acknowledging how valuable waste is as a resource for generating energy but also the treatment of waste, through an Energy from Waste plant reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” said Arup associate director and energy and waste buildings business leader Ben Glover.

 

Facilities like these are shining examples of how great engineering can produce both environmental and economic benefits.”  The Wheelabrator Kemsley facility is scheduled to begin operations in 2019.

 

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