Jemena takes on Western Power’s Frank Tudor for new managing director
Jemena, one of the privately owned distribution companies for Melbourne and Victoria has appointed Frank Tudor, the former CEO of Wester Power, as their new managing director. Frank Tudor has been instrumental in Western Australia (WA) in realising the benefits of DER in the electricity system. Western Power are the state-owned transmission and distribution company in WA and have been at the forefront of promoting the use of micro-grids. It will be interesting to see how Frank Tudor will integrate his expertise in using DER and decentralisation to reduce customer bills in WA to the National Energy Market, and how this will fit with Jemena who has both an urban and rural customer base.
Solar causes negative daytime prices in Queensland
Large-scale and rooftop solar has caused negative daytime prices in Queensland on a number of occasions this month. This was caused by the large amount of solar generation combined with lower temperatures which meant that air-conditioning was not required. Negative prices are expected to continue, and become more frequent, as new solar farms are due to come on line and rooftop PV is being installed at a rate of 30MW per month.
This negative pricing has been encouraging developers to think more about storage. This will enable the developers to gain extra value from the installations from the arbitrage market, time shifting and grid security. There has also been discussion around pricing to move hot water heating to the middle of the day, rather than at night, to act as a ‘solar sponge’.
US 50×30 club gains new member
New Jersey has just become a member of the US 50×30 club that includes New York, Hawaii, California, and Vermont as the only states requiring 50% renewable energy by 2030 (Colorado and Iowa may reach that mark through voluntary utility leadership). New Jersey now has America’s most ambitious offshore wind and energy storage targets, and Governor Murphy set his sights even higher through an executive order to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050.
Moody’s goes negative on regulated utilities
Moody’s Investors Service on Monday lowered its outlook on the U.S. regulated utility sector to negative from stable for the first time since it began conducting sector outlooks. The lower outlook reflects what Moody’s sees as increased financial risk due to lower cash flow and holding company leverage for regulated utilities. Morgan Stanley upgraded the utilities sector to Outperform (meaning stocks are over-rated).
NREL Review of DER Valuation Methods
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory have released a report for utility resource planners to help improve their forecasting techniques for customer-owned distributed photovoltaics. The take-away – is that learning how to value DER is non-trivial but to ignore it is more expensive.
Navigant and Public Utility Fortnightly publish State of the Utilities 2018
Navigant and Public Utility fortnightly have released their annual State of the Utilities report for 2018. The report is based on interviews and surveys with industry stakeholders. Topics covered include:
- Industry leaders perspectives
- Most disruptive trends
- Survey and a discussion about Electricity’s future.
Gas turbine giants head for restructuring
Two major producers of gas turbines, GE and Siemens, are facing choppy waters as future markets for peaking plants are looking increasingly threatened by renewable energy and battery storage cost reductions. According to recent reports from Bloomberg and Reuters, Siemens may restructure its power operations unit later this year. GE is facing major problems and has been undergoing restructuring since last year.
EU 2030 energy efficiency target agreed
Following the recent announcement of a 32% target for renewable energy last week, the European Union last week agreed on a 2030 target for energy efficiency. The target is for a saving in primary energy consumption relative to projections of 32.5% by 2030, but with the option of revising ambition upwards at a review point in 2023. This is very much seen as a compromise between a lower initial proposal from the Commission and some Member States pushing for 35%. The emissions reduction target is 40% by 2030 from 1990 baseline. Beneath last week’s headlines there are also some other interesting things going on in EU legislation. One is that the new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive comes into operation on 9 July, which has a strong emphasis on the promotion of smart technologies in buildings, with a common scheme for rating the smart readiness of buildings. Another is the recognition of energy communities and citizens in the new renewable energy directive, with a requirement on Member States to assess barriers to the development of such communities.
German Coal phase out – stakeholders jostle for position ahead of first Coal Commission meeting
Ahead of this week’s first meeting of the Coal Commission various interests in the German energy system have been vying for position. This includes Rolf Martin Schmitz, the head of RWE, suggesting that it is impossible to phase out coal-fired power production by 2030 and that ‘prematurely’ ending the use of coal would lead to job losses, increasing power prices and energy security concerns. In contrast a coalition of environmental groups has criticised the government’s slow progress on climate change with over a thousand activists demonstrating in Berlin two days before the first meeting on the coal commission. To support the coal phase out the federal government has also recently suggested that it could invest in large battery factories in former coal areas to provide new sources of employment.
German utility EnBW enters US offshore wind market
German utility EnBW is entering the offshore wind market off the coast of California through a joint venture with Trident Winds. The companies will develop the 650-1,000 MW Morro Bay project using large-scale floating wind technology. EnBW is majority owned by the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and already operates 336 MW in offshore capacity, with an additional 610 MW under construction and 900 MW under development.
VW invests $100m in electric car ‘super batteries’
Germany’s largest carmaker VW has announced that it will invest $100 million in a US company, QuantusScape, which specialises in the production of solid state battery technology for electric cars. Expectations are that solid state ‘super batteries’ could replace lithium-ion batteries in around 15 years, doubling the range of EVs.
Can Samsung stimulate a Korean push in renewable energy deployment ?
Samsung have announced that by 2020 they will source all the energy for their operations in China, Europe and the US from renewables. While laudable, this target does not apply to a major part of their manufacturing in Korea and other parts of the world. In these areas Samsung only pledged to, in the ‘medium to long term’, increase its use of renewable energy. Samsung is the fourth largest manufacturer of lithium ion batteries in the world and could potentially significantly benefit from the energy transformation
Despite, these significant advanced manufacturing capabilities Korea has only limited renewable electricity capacity and rather modest targets. It is proposed that by 2030 renewables should provide 20% of the country’s electricity. This will require a trebling of current renewable capacity, up to 58.5 GW by 2030.
In other areas of energy transformation the Government is increasingly supportive, such as blockchain technology in general, with an announcement in June that it would invest over $200 million in public and private sector initiatives. While in the energy sector the Government has begun trialling blockchain, with a partnership between KEPCO (the state owned power company) and the Restart Energy (and international blockchain energy company) that is enabling local renewable energy producers to sell their excess power direct to neighbours.
Is China slowing its renewable deployment ?
After record years for the deployment of renewables in China, including 53GW of solar pv in 2017, the Chinese Government has halted approvals for new subsidised utility-scale PV projects in 2018 and put a 10-GW annual cap on distributed generation (DG). The Government has also cut feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for solar PV and announcing that new utility-scale projects would have to compete in auctions. Furthermore, in mid-June, the Government announced that biomass and waste to energy plants would no longer be eligible for energy subsidies.