Just in time before the ROC

ROC may mean a lot of things, but in the UK's energy industry, it means Rnewable Obligations Certificate. Basically, the Reneabke Obligation in the UK has been developed to promote and encourage electricity generation from renewable sources. Since its conception, the scheme has drastically boosted renewables in the UK.

As for the RO certificates, being certificates, these usually have deadlines. Luckily for British energy efficiency solutions provider (Anesco), the company was able to complete 28 solar parks before last month's 1.2 ROC deadline.

The 28 solar parks have an average capacity of 5 megawatts each and is installed in different sites in the country. Overall capacity of the 28 completed solar parks will amount to 130 MW. This amazing accomplishment brings Anesco's total solar capacity in the UK to 480 megawatts - coming from 101 PV plants. It is also worth noting that company also provides operational and maintenance services to these plants. This portfolio does not include the company's 20 operational energy storage sites (UK's energy storage market is another venture to which the company is also actively engaged in).

Anesco's executive chairman has this to say -- “As the latest sites were completed ahead of the ROC deadline, we were able to secure the maximum yield for our customers, and will now be maintaining them to ensure they continue to operate effectively for the lifetime of the projects,”



Wait? What! – A 3D Printed Motorcycle?!?!

The concept of 3D printing has been around for decades. However, recent advancements has garnered significant attention and wide application usage for 3D printing. One newsworthy application is Italian Volt's Lacama. This particular electric motorbike has many unique features - especially its frame, swing arm, and bodywork are all produced via 3D printing. Being as such, the Lacama is quite customizable thereby allowing customers to modify these three components upon ordering. Of course, this only follows that all twelve components found or that builds up the Lacama's bodywork are also modifiable - from shape to preferred color.

Basically, because of its cutomizable features, the customer has total control regarding their wanted driving needs and preferences. The ability to tailor fit bikes about the way it rides, handles, even torque and brake settings is not available on other models. Needless to say, this makes Lacama a cut above the rest.

Aside from its physical customizations, below are other technical specs of the Lacama:

  • Can achieve a top speed of 110 mph with its 540 weight
  • Equipped with 95 horsepower that can shoot to 60 mph under 5 seconds
  • Can cover a distance of 124 miles with its stock 15 kWh battery (time it takes for a full charge is reported to be in hours)
  • Comes with a smartphone connectivity as well as GPS console.
  • Equipped with a TFT touchscreen that informs the rider of  battery status, current location, etc... The

Lastly, various reports indicate that Italian Volt is slated to accept orders of the Lacama electric motorbike by fall of this year.



Two for Brazil

Finally, some movement is happening in Brazil's first two large scale solar project auctions. The auctions which were held last 2014 and 2015 was for two PV projects of 31 megawatts each. The projects were awarded by Brazilian authorities to Nordic Power Partners - a JV composed of Rio Alto Energia (a Brazilian energy firm), the Danish KIF (a climate investments fund), and Denmark renewable energy developer European Energy A/S.

The two projects are named Coremas I and Coremas II and will be constructed in the northeastern state of Paraiba. A local Brazilian solar contractor (WEG) will serve as the project's EPC. According to WEG, a third project (also with a capacity of 31 MW), is already being planned. If materialized, investment cost for all three projects would be around $136 million and is aimed to be connected to the grid any time between this year and 2018.



What happened to the Super Battery Sakti3

Sakti3 is a highly secretive battery company conceptualized from the University of Michigan. As can be remembered a few years back, the battery company boasted that it was able to develop a solid state based lithium battery with extrmely high density, least costly, and not prone to explosion (a problem that is plaguing traditional lithium ion batteries). Because of it claims, the company attracted and was eventually bought by Dyson for a whopping amount of $90 million. For those who are not aware, Dyson is technology firm from Britain that designs and manufacturers several equipment such as hand dryers, vacuum cleaners, heaters, bladeless fans, etc... Since Sakti3 was able to secure patents on hundreds of pages with regard to battery tech to backup its claims, Dyson acquired Sakti3 believing that the super battery has the potential, and some day, might even worth more than Dyson itself. With this belief, Dyson even went so far as to state that it will construct a $1 billion manufacturing facility to produce the super batteries.

Interestingly, all the hype and big talk happened a few years ago - and up to now, no one has seen evidence of the super battery's existence. Although asking for physical evidence might be too much, the thing is, asking for proof, updates, or hints of progress also remains elusive as either Dyson nor Sakti3 founder (Ann Katie Sastry) have not responded for questions or request for information. Obviously, this make people appear skeptical and even doubt the so called super battery. Some say that new battery technology improvements have rendered Sakti3's patents to be obsolete. While others have speculates that Sakti3's failure to document their solid state battery breakthroughs (either publicly or privately) questions if there is actually one.

Anyhow, for the sake of the industry and for the future of battery storage, one hopes that Dyson and Sakti3 (or any battery storage company for that matter) would be able to come up with a truly super battery.



Mexican local industrial business to enjoy solar energy soon

In 2018, wholesale market private customers of Mexico can expect to receive solar renewable energy courtesy of the Iberdrola. For those who are not aware, Iberdrola is a public multinational electric company from Spain. Representatives of this Spain based energy company has entered talks with the Mexican local government in the representation of State Governor Claudia Pavlovich. Details seems to have been acceptable for both parties since Iberdrola has already began construction of a $135 million project in the municipality of Hermosillo. The Sonora regional government also indicated that module installation will begin in August and that the plant's completion is expected to be next year.

The Hermosillo solar plant is quite significant since It is The country's first solar plant (actually first renewable system) to sell electricity to private clients (mostly industrial businesses). A second one is apparently on the way since Iberdrola announced another project with a similar purpose - a 157 megawatt PV project at San Luis de Potosí slated for October.

Although the two solar plants from Iberdrola may be the first of its purpose (kind), the idea has been around from for the past few months already. For instance, in the latter part of last month,  Lenova (a local Mexican power and gas provider) made an announcement of its 20-year PPA (power purchase agreement) with Deacero (also a local steel manufactuter). Another example would be Acciona, also a Spain based energy company. A few months back, Acciona announced that 112 megawatts of its 339 MW solar project would be allocated for an industrial client.



Renewables Going Strong in EU

According to EEA’s (European Environment Agency) report for this week, “the Renewable energy in Europe 2017: recent growth and knock-on effects” – EU’s renewable industry has some hits and a few miss. One notable success story is the continuous and stable increase of clean and green sources to the Union’s energy mix. For instance, starting 2013, renewables have grown by 15%. The next year (2014), the industry has increased by sixteen percent – and this growth continued to the year after at 16.7%. If this upward trend continues, it is projected that EU will already meet twenty percent of its total renewable target come 2020. Another positive aspect worth mentioning in the EEA’s report is that 77% of newly installed electricity generating sources last 2015 are renewables.

However, the report also pointed out the noticeable variation in terms of renewable energy shares between member states of the European Union. This basically means that some member states have huge renewable energy shares (Finland, Sweden, and Latvia at over 30% each) while others only have less than five percent (Malta, Luxembourg, etc…). Additionally, the report also emphasize that it is important for EU to quickly decommission fossil fuel capacity to evade assets being stranded and avoid lock-in of carbon-intensive power plants.

As concluded by the authors of the report -- “As the EU strives to become a sustainable, lowcarbon economy by 2050, developing a competitive edge in renewables is essential, Given the situation where more than 150 non-EU countries have set national RES targets intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and where most of these countries have also adopted policies to catalyse national RES investments (IRENA, 2017), the EU and its Member States must find solutions to focus and coordinate their efforts and to learn from each other, in order to remain leaders in low-carbon energy transitions.”



A look at Under2 MoU

When talking about climate change and global warming, one may encounter the term Under2 MoU. Under2 MoU is actually a memorandum of understanding among subnational governments whose goal is mitigate and curb emissions of greenhouse gases. A common agreement to governments who signed in the coalition is to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions below 80 to 95 percent of their 1990 levels. There are 12 jurisdictions who signed in the coalition upon its formation last 2015. In less than two year, this number grew to 165.

Since the number of jurisdictions grew tenfold in less than two years, this shows the seriousness of these governments’ commitment to combat climate change. And if that is not enough, this week, a joint agreement was signed by the government of Scotland and the local government of California. Representing Scotland in the signature is First Minister Nicola Sturgeon while the counterpart is California Governor Edmund G. Brown. The agreement was signed in Sacramento and initial discussions include how the two administrations can better cooperate to attain the goals of Under2 MoU.

Another important aspect discussed is the crucial role of offshore wind in battling issues related to climate change issues. Some readers may already know this, but for those who don’t, despite California’s advance and participation in clean and green tech, offshore wind seems to be an elusive renewable energy source in the state. Since Scotland, is one of the foremost leaders in offshore wind, the two administrations agreed to share knowledge and best practices in improving this technology.

According to Scotland’s First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) -- “Scotland is making huge progress in delivering our climate change ambitions, but we are not complacent and there is still much to achieve, Today’s meeting strengthened our relationship with the Government of California and I’m confident we can work together to achieve the targets set out by the Under2 MoU. We have also offered to help the Under2 Coalition, representing over 1 billion people, to prepare for a major summit in 2018 which will bring together the public and private sectors, alongside NGOs, to build support and action aimed at persuading national governments to increase their efforts to tackle climate change, in what will be an important year for taking stock against progress of the Paris Agreement.”



Almost a billion dollar plant

Are billion dollar plants the norm these days? Ever since news of Tesla’s gigafactory billion dollar cost spread in different media outlets, it seems that companies are also aiming to reach that particular margin. Just recently, China based clean and green energy company, GCL-Poly, has  been reported to spend as much as $826 million for the creation of a new poly facility in the Xinjian province. Although the cost of the plant did not reach the 1-billion mark, it still equally impressive with its 60,000 tons of poly producing capability.

Reports has it that GCL Poly will be closing down its existing poly production facility at Xuzhou and will relocate its 20,000 ton capacity to Xinjiang. The 20,000 relocated capacity will be augmented by an additional 40k ton capacity which the new plant is capable of. In terms of construction phases, 20,000 tons is aimed to be completed by Q2 of next year (first phase), the remaining 20k tons is expected to be completed by year end of 2018 (second phase), with the third phase comprising of the capacity relocation from the old to the new (projected completion is by end of 2020). When everything falls into place, the company is boasting that the new Xinjiang facility would be able to produce anywhere between 70,000 MT to 115,000 MT of polysilicon every year.

To cover expenses, GCL-Poly explained that one third of financing will come from internal resources while the remainder will come from debt finance. The company has also been reported to be in talks with potential investors although no formal agreements or signatories has been established.



Read! Scotland’s Massive March Record

Many energy analysts and enthusiasts knows that Scotland is a world leader when it comes to wind energy. Sure some may argue or contest this particular title, but after reading the news below, it is likely that they will incline to agree that Scotland is a wind energy superpower.

Last month (March), wind power data provided by WeatherEnergy to WWF Scotland for analysis yielded that the country’s wind turbines delivered 1,240,095 MWh (megawatt-hours) of electricity to the National Grid. Any reader not grasping the significance of this figure must note that with this amount of energy, it is like wind energy provided 136% of the electrical needs of Scottish homes. This also means that Scotland’s wind energy sector contributed 58% of the country’s overall energy mix for March. It is also worth noting that this figure is an 81% increase from last year’s same period (which is only at 684,632 MWh).

 Lang Banks (Director of WWF Scotland) has said -- “Given this March wasn’t as windy as it has been in some previous years, this year’s record output shows the importance of continuing increase capacity by building new wind farms, As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and continues to play an important role in Scotland’s efforts to address global climate change by avoiding millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year.”

WeatherEnergy’s Karen Robinson also chimed in -- “It’s massively impressive how Scotland has steadily grown its wind power output of the years, The total output from turbines this March was up more than four-fifths compared to the same period last year. This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of over three million homes. More importantly, it meant the equivalent of almost three-fifths of Scotland total electricity needs during March were met by onshore wind power.”



A JV of Four

In the business world, a joint venture is usually defined as an arrangement between two or more entities who agree to combine their resources to realize a common goal. Although the entities agree to pool their resources, each one retains their individual / distinct identities. Joint ventures are common in the corporate world especially if a company’s assets are not enough to accomplish a target. Usually, the company will look and enter negotiations (JV) with other companies who are in a similar situation. A good example of such ventures are four leading Taiwanese cell manufacturers. Some people may not know this, but JV is a common practice between Taiwan’s solar companies. These firms understands the importance of collaboration to ensure the industry’s survival.

Anyway, as reported by DigiTimes, the four Taiwan solar cell makers are planning to setup a 1.5GWp module manufacturing facility in the country.

The consortium is spearheaded by Motech while the three remaining firms chose not to be named. However, each company will invest an initial paid-in capital of $13.2 million which will be used for the initial production of 500 megawatts. Naturally, since there is a rising demand for solar in Taiwan, this capacity would eventually be increased.

Not much details has been divulged regarding the JV – but the ones that have are bulleted below:

  • Chang Peng-heng (Motech chairman and CEO) will be the one to coordinate with the three other solar makers regarding the consortium.
  • The 1.5 GW fabrication facility is targeted to meet half of the country’s demand for solar.\
  • Share for each company are divided equally (each will own 25%)
  • Cells produced in the site will be supplied and sold.



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