ABB wins $85 million in orders to strengthen power grid in Canada

The upgrade will implement state-of-the-art circuit breakers, power transformers and shunt reactors, and is driven by the increasing demand for power and the need to integrate new sources of renewable energy. 

HQ operates one of the largest 800 kV networks in the world, a large part of which was originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s, and ABB has been involved in the modernization of its power infrastructure over decades. 

“We are pleased to continue supporting Hydro-Québec, in their ongoing efforts to strengthen Canada’s power infrastructure,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “ABB’s leading-edge technologies will help boost the integration of renewables, deliver additional power and enhance transfer of electricity over long distances. Ultra-high voltage transmission is a key focus area within our Next Level strategy and a key differentiator for ABB.” 

As part of the project, ABB will design, deliver and commission the state-of-the-art circuit breakers with polymeric insulators, to enhance safety and robustness. It will also design, manufacture and deliver 450 megavolt-ampere (MVA) autotransformers and 735 kV shunt reactors. 

Circuit breakers are a vital component of substations, essential for safe, reliable and efficient switching operations. ABB’s live tank breakers are the most widely deployed circuit breakers in operation around the world, providing a cost and eco-efficient, flexible and well-proven solution. 

Transformers are integral components of an electrical grid, and essential for the efficient and safe conversion of electricity between different voltage systems. ABB’s transformer portfolio includes power transformers rated up to 1,200 kilovolts, dry- and liquid-distribution transformers, traction and special application transformers as well as related services and components. 

Alstom unveils Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell powered regional train in Germany

Alstom is one of the first railway manufacturers in the world to develop a passenger train based on hydrogen fuel cell technology. To make the deployment of the Coradia iLint regional train as simple as possible for train operators, Alstom offers a complete package, consisting of the train and maintenance, as well as the necessary hydrogen infrastructure, with its network of partners.

The first train is expected to enter service on the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony starting in December 2017.

The new fuel cell powered Coradia iLint, based on Alstom’s Coradia Lint 54 diesel train, will be manufactured in Salzgitter, Germany. The Coradia iLint trains will have a performance comparable to the latest generation of Coradia Lint diesel multiple units, i.e. a maximum speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) with similar acceleration and braking performance, and a comparable passenger capacity.

During acceleration phases the fuel cell power output will be mainly used to supply traction power demand from the traction inverter and the onboard systems power demand via the auxiliary converter. During these phases power from the lithium-ion battery will be used to boost acceleration.

The level of fuel cell power depends on the amplitude and duration of high power demand; short acceleration phases with limited power demand will be mainly supplied by the battery. Only longer phases of high power demand will lead to full-power operation of the fuel cell.

During phases of lower acceleration or coasting, part of the fuel cell power will be used to recharge the battery, next to its power supply to the onboard systems, via the auxiliary converter. If the battery is sufficiently charged, the fuel cell is powered down to only supply the onboard systems and auxiliary converter, reducing hydrogen consumption.

Global LEAP competition for world’s most innovative off-grid refrigerators launched

 I2I’s partnership and support increases the total award to $600,000. The competition is now accepting nominations and will incentivize the development of low-cost and efficient refrigerator technologies appropriate for communities living off the grid in developing countries. 

I2I is the competition’s latest partner, joining the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development, and the U.S. Government’s Power Africa initiative.  

The competition will offer three innovation prizes to incentivize advancements in off-grid refrigeration technology, while also recognizing best-in-class commercially available off-grid refrigerators. With contributions from both USAID and DFID, each of the three innovation prizes in the competition are expected to be worth $200,000. Commercially available winners and finalists will also be eligible for participation in a new program designed to scale up clean energy access markets by incentivizing bulk procurement of outstanding off-grid appliances.  

“Off-grid refrigeration is one of the demand drivers for solar home systems and microgrids, and it holds unique potential to unlock economic and social progress for the 600 million people living off the grid in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the over 1 billion lacking electricity globally,” said USAID Power Africa Initiative Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz. “It can enable income-generating activities, prolong the nutritional value of food, diversify diets, and reduce the time that households spend shopping or gathering food. And as the Power Africa partnership works to expand the off-grid market, efficient refrigeration at affordable prices is a key component for future growth in solar home systems and microgrids.” 

However, despite the technology’s commercial and development promise, the market for off-grid refrigeration is nascent, and the prevalence of refrigerators in developing countries, particularly in rural areas, remains low. Improvements in efficiency, design, and cost are needed for the off-grid refrigeration market to reach its full potential.  

“Highly energy-efficient, appropriately designed, and cost-effective refrigerators are essential to off-grid market growth and to positive impacts related to nutrition, health, and economic growth,” said Rose Mutiso, the U.S. coordinator for the Global LEAP initiative. 

Through this partnership, DFID expects to incentivize innovators to come forward, and apply and refine their technologies to drive down the price and increase the efficiency of off-grid refrigeration. This is one of many investments DFID and other Global LEAP partners are making to support innovation in low-cost, high-quality, efficient off-grid appliances. 

This call for nominations is part of the 2016–2017 Global LEAP Awards Program, an international competition that identifies and promotes the world’s best, most energy-efficient, and most innovative off-grid appliances, and is also the first investment focused on stimulating innovation under the new $36 million Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development initiative

Designers, developers, manufacturers, and distributors of off-grid refrigerators are encouraged to nominate eligible products at The deadline for nominations is 20 January 2017. 

MAKE Consulting release Q3/2016 Global Wind Power Market Outlook Update

The company reports that policy clarity in several key global markets since June has impacted growth projections both positively and negatively in those markets, but the adjustments balance out over the 10-year outlook, with a net upgrade of less than 600MW.

MAKE upgrades the 2016 to 2018 global outlook by 1%, due largely to a 23% upgrade in the outlook for India and a 9% upgrade in the outlook for Germany over this period. Project timeline adjustments in developing markets temper the overall upgrade.

A 2GW downgrade from 2019 to 2025 is primarily attributed to policy announcements in the UK and in Poland. The downgrade, however, does not have a significant impact on the global outlook as the 10-year CAGR is maintained from the outlook in Q2.

There was minimal change to the outlook for the Americas from the Q2 analysis, with adjustments exclusively caused by dynamics in Latin America, representing a downgrade of less than 1%. Wind power in Latin America’s top markets–Brazil and Mexico–faces increasingly strong competition from solar, putting pressure on winning in upcoming auctions. In North America, new offshore policy in the US state of Massachusetts provides greater certainty and results in an upgrade to the offshore outlook.

Europe had a high concentration of adjustments in the Q3 analysis, led by policy-driven downgrades in the UK and in Poland. Despite the negative impact and lingering uncertainty in the UK caused by Brexit, upgrades in Northern Europe (+4% QoQ over the outlook period) offset the overall impact of downgrades across markets in Europe. Markets in Scandinavia continue to surge, as policy clarity and subsequent development efforts in Norway and Sweden lead to positive adjustments.

Troubling policies from Poland’s PiS government result in an 11% downgrade in Eastern Europe compared to the Q2 analysis. Positive developments in smaller markets in the sub-region (e.g., Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia) do not carry enough weight to have a significant impact.

Downward adjustments in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia yield a 1% downgrade QoQ in MEA. However, increasing long-term confidence in Iran helps to offset the long-term impact. The near-term impact is more significant (-8%), as Egypt’s FIT program is still maturing and Iran continues to recover economically. 

MAKE keeps the outlook in China consistent with the Q2 analysis. China’s central government introduced a mechanism to encourage more rational investment in wind projects. This has motivated developers in heavily curtailed regions in the north to pursue opportunities in southern regions, which will offset a near-term decline in growth in northern regions.

Growth prospects in India continue to be a focal point for the industry, with the latest policy announcements triggering a 6% upgrade to the Q2 analysis. A short-term boost in India is dampened modestly by project adjustments in the rest of the sub-region, but overall the outlook for Asia Pacific excluding China is upgraded by 3% QoQ over the 10-year period. 

Firm order intake decreased 15% YoY in Q2/2016 to nearly 12GW, primarily due to a pause in orders placed for projects in the US market as developers re-evaluated project timelines following IRS guidance on PTC qualification. Order volume in APAC stayed consistent YoY, as developers in India rushed to capitalize on full incentive levels in 2016 and developers in China direct focus to southern regions.

Siemens to supply high-voltage switchgear for hydropower plant in Tajikistan

The power plant is part of the Rogun Dam project. At a height of 335 meters, the dam taking shape here will be the highest in the world. The 8DQ1 switchgear, covering a voltage range of up to 550 kilovolts (kV) with 21 circuit breakers, and the 8DN9, covering up to 220 kV with four circuit breakers, will protect the power generation and transmission systems in the hydropower station against short circuits and overloading. The switchgear should be fully installed and ready for operation by 2018.

The Rogun Dam will stand on the river Vakhsh, about 100 kilometers north-east of Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. It will be upriver from the Nurek Dam, which is currently the world’s highest at 300 meters. A hydropower station with a generating capacity of 3600 megawatts (MW) is planned for the Rogun Dam, with generation provided by six 600 MW turbines. This will enable 13.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity to be generated annually, supplying power to large areas of Central Asia. It will be one of the largest hydropower stations in the world.

The gas-insulated switchgear covering ranges up to 220 kV and 550 kV are fitted with online monitoring devices to enable automatic remote diagnosis and self-monitoring and have been developed for an estimated total service life of more than 50 years, and are almost maintenance-free once in operation. 

Global battery energy storage system installed capacity will exceed 14 Gigawatts by 2020, says GlobalData

The company’s latest report states that the introduction of BESS in the power sector covers a vast range of applications, resolving concerns such as energy time shift (energy storage when electricity prices are low and energy discharge when prices are high), load following and frequency regulation (balancing electric supply and end-user demand), renewable capacity continuity, transmission congestions relief, and energy tariff cost management.

Swati Gupta, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, explains: “Climate change concerns, government initiatives including renewable portfolio standards, and consumer efforts are resulting in increased deployment of solar and wind resources. However, the variability of solar and wind power makes it hard for electricity providers to integrate them into the electricity grid. To achieve this, BESS are being installed into electricity grids to make the power supply from renewable energy sources smoother and more reliable.”

Technological innovation, improvement in manufacturing processes, and growing competitiveness have already driven down BESS prices, which are expected to fall by almost half from 2015 to 2020. The component costs for BESS have also witnessed significant decline, mainly due to technological advancements.

In terms of regional BESS markets, the US has the largest market, valued at more than $750 million in 2015. The US is expected to continue to lead the BESS market over the next five years, reaching a market value of approximately $1.7 billion by 2020.

Gupta adds: “The US market for energy storage has so far been focused on frequency regulation – in other words, storage to balance out swift, short-term variation in power output. The country’s BESS market will expand as renewables continue to penetrate the power market.”

Mainstream Renewable Power wins seven government contracts in Chile

The projects, awarded via twenty year term contracts, are located throughout Chile and are scheduled to begin supplying low-cost, clean energy into the grid from January 2021.

Mainstream was one of the leading beneficiaries in what was the most competitive and biggest electricity tender in the country’s history. Eighty-four companies submitted 85,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of bids for just over 12,000 GWh of available power – nearly seven times more power bid than could be awarded. This round also marks the first time Mainstream has participated independently in a Chilean bid and all projects are 100% Mainstream owned.

Commenting on the awards, Mainstream’s Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said: “Today’s win underpins Mainstream’s standing as the leading independent renewable energy company in high-growth emerging energy markets. We had the industry foresight to take early positions in Chile and South Africa and we are rolling-out similar plans across Africa, Central America and Asia. We look forward to developing these projects to the highest standard to deliver competitive priced energy into the Chilean system from 2021. I will be meeting with the CEOs of the main wind turbine manufacturers in the coming months to discuss the next generation of turbines required for these projects.”

SMA takes over operational management of the largest PV farm in Scandinavia

 The PV farm near Lerchenborg has been on the utility grid since December 2015, with an output of around 60 megawatts. SMA has supplied the power plant with 1,750 Sunny Tripower 25000TL inverters.

The operational management contract includes continuous remote monitoring, regular maintenance, repairs and upkeep of the ground-based PV system. “We are delighted that WIRCON GmbH has increased its cooperation with SMA and placed us in charge of the operational management of the largest PV farm in Scandinavia. We possess the experience and skills to supervise the plant operation smoothly and reliably and to quickly identify and remedy any irregularities. As a result, we can ensure that the PV power plant is functioning perfectly at all times and generating the best possible yield,” says Bernd Lamskemper, Head of Service EMEA at SMA.

SMA is also planning to collaborate with WIRCON GmbH on other projects, thereby continuing to support the project developer and energy service provider as an expert partner. “The company’s long-standing expertise in inverters and experience in the operational management of large PV power plants in the megawatt range motivated us to intensify our cooperation with SMA Solar Technology AG,” said Dr. Peter Vest, Managing Director of WIRCON GmbH, on conclusion of the contract. 

On the Baltic coast west of Copenhagen, WIRCON GmbH has installed 248,730 PV modules and 1,750 SMA string inverters in an area covering over 80 hectares, thereby having constructed the largest PV farm in Scandinavia. The Lerchenborg PV farm generates approximately 60 million kWh of electric current per year, which is enough energy to supply around 30,000 private households with solar power.

GE’s Digital Wind Farm technology to unlock higher production for two aging wind plants in Japan

Kinden Corporation’s 30 MW Shirama wind farm, a seven-year-old project near Osaka, expects the digital solution will increase the site’s annual energy production (AEP) by up to five percent. A second contract, signed with Kandenko, is expected to deliver up to two percent higher AEP for the 22 MW Chosi project, a twelve-year-old wind farm near Tokyo.

Anne McEntee, President CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind business said, “Our Digital Wind Farm concept is starting to gain traction all over the world. These two projects in Japan are great examples of our lifecycle approach to services—we are using data and analytics to create new value from older machines.”

Originally commissioned in 2004, the Chosi wind farm consists of 15 units of GE’s 1.5s product. Using GE’s Prognostics and PowerUp* Services software applications, the site will implement a turbine performance enhancement strategy that involves, among other adjustments, fine tuning the pitch angle according to the site’s real-world operating conditions. The resulting data will help the team analyze current and historical performance, plus it will help predict the remaining useful life of key components in the aging machines. The Kandenko team expects the new technology to boost revenue by up to $650,000 over the remaining lifetime of the project. 

Kinden Corporation’s 30 MW Shirama project near Osaka is made up of 20 units of GE’s 1.5sle wind turbines. First commissioned in 2009, the site will also receive GE’s Prognostics and PowerUp* Services applications, implementing software and hardware enhancements that utilize a new blade clearance operation mode which will help the turbines run more efficiently and increase overall plant production by up to five percent. 

GE’s Digital Wind Farm concept extends to a wide variety of existing turbine models, and the apps are also compatible with the company’s new 2 MW and 3 MW wind turbines. In May, the company unveiled a new suite of Digital Wind Farm applications that were developed to enhance production and improve wind farm profitability. The programs are built on the Predix software platform, the foundation for all GE’s Industrial Internet applications, and include its specialized cyber security protection for operational technology. 

E.ON combines battery and solar technologies for major customer in the US

The battery will be charged by an associated solar park with a two megawatt capacity. E.ON will construct, own and operate the solar park.

This partnership with Tucson Electric Power is set to run for a period of ten years and is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2017. In the meantime, E.ON, in collaboration with Greensmith Power, a provider of storage solutions, will prepare a technical design and incorporate the battery, named the “Iron Horse”, into the net. The battery will be located at the Science and Technology Park of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The battery is based on lithium titanate technology, rendering it capable of handling rapid charging and discharging. In contrast to a conventional solution based on coal or gas, the battery offers the advantage of being able to react quickly to fluctuations in the network. In windy and sunny Arizona, this means that this E.ON system is able to provide the customer with even greater value.