Trends Suggest Record Low U.S. Solar Prices Will Go Lower

first_imgTrends Suggest Record Low U.S. Solar Prices Will Go Lower FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael Copley for SNL:Solar power should continue getting cheaper for utilities to buy, even after ultralow contract prices were reported in the U.S. Southwest in 2015, First Solar Inc. CEO James Hughes said.A utility subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy in July 2015 said it executed 20-year power purchase agreements in Nevada with First Solar and Total SA subsidiary SunPower Corp. for about a third of what solar deliveries averaged in 2014. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kit Konolige said the First Solar contract, with a first-year price of $38.70 per MWh, was “probably the cheapest PPA I’ve ever seen in the U.S.”Hughes said contract prices should go even lower as companies continue cutting project costs and searching for cheaper sources of capital. “I don’t think we’re at a floor level,” he said during a Feb. 23 earnings call. “There’s no reason to believe that cost road maps are not going to continue to decrease as we move forward in the future.”Solar PPAs should fall below ultralow prices in ’15, First Solar CEO sayslast_img read more

On the Blogs: Coal Power Risks Grow

first_imgOn the Blogs: Coal Power Risks Grow FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Hindustan Times:The economics of coal-fired power generation is incredibly vulnerable, much more so than is recognised. Coal is particularly at risk from competition from low cost renewables, volatile commodity prices, growing concerns about air pollution, worsening water availability for cooling, the increasing incidence of heat waves that reduce operating efficiencies and, of course, necessary action to tackle climate change. These factors in combination are driving the structural decline of coal, led by China. According to Wood MacKenzie, coal use in China has dropped by 40% in the last five years.According to Morgan Stanley, solar power in India has recently reached a tipping point, becoming more affordable than coal. Other Asian economies already seem to understand the dynamic of coal being highly risky. For example, South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-In’s is moving to phase out coal and shift into solar and wind. Taiwan is expanding its renewable energy plans whilst reducing its reliance on coal by a third, from 45% to 30% by 2025.Analysts now argue that coal usage in India will peak in the next five to 10 years. India will join China, and other East Asian economies, in halting new coal growth. No new coal plants are set to be commissioned for the coming decade, according to the Central Electricity Authority’s draft plan. And 37GW of old coal could be shut down, while Coal India is set to close 37 mines. This is the right approach and should be futher accelerated, otherwise Indian utilities focused on coal could face significant stranded assets and financial underperformance. This is what happened to European utilities that bet big on coal.While Europe and India are at different stages of development, the European experience shows how investing in coal can go badly wrong. Between 2005 and 2008, European power companies planned to build 65 new coal-fired power plants, with 49 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, but only 12 were actually built. More cancellations are expected.In Germany alone, 20 GW has been cancelled. The economics of existing plants have deteriorated too. For example, in the UK coal use fell by over half in 2016 and the country’s power system now experiences coal-free days for the first time since the 1880s.More: Why Indian power companies must dump coal and bet big on solar, windlast_img read more

Opinion: Leadership lacking from Asian banks on coal plant lending

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Asia Times:So far, 2018 has seen seven banks dominant in Southeast Asia either release or update their policies related to coal, the single-biggest source of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. This number is soon to rise, with Standard Chartered in the final stages of preparing its own coal lending policy update.The decisions of Southeast Asia’s major banks will have a huge bearing on the region’s energy future. And the energy future of Southeast Asia will have a huge bearing on the future of the global climate.Public and private banks can literally make or break an energy project when deciding what to finance. This critical role and heightened scrutiny of institutions that also handle the money of hundreds of millions of people has led to banks declaring where they stand on coal power.Sadly, though, most of the announcements we have seen this year amount to little more than window-dressing.Take Singapore’s three major banks, DBS, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB). All have produced policies that claim to exclude the most polluting coal power plants. But by setting the bar so low, their policies don’t even apply to the projects they are currently in line to finance, meaning that in effect, nothing changes.To their credit, several financial institutions have gone much further. In May, Daiichi Life Insurance announced it would not provide project financing for all new overseas coal-fired power projects. Then in July Nippon Life Insurance decided to halt funding to all new coal-fired power generation projects. Also in July, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank stated that it would stop providing project finance for new coal-fired power stations.But among banks, there is a major leadership void. Step in Standard Chartered. The bank’s new coal policy is an opportunity to set a new tone among its peers, and invest in a way that respects people’s rights to not just clean air and water, but the chance of a safe climate future.More: The power of finance to slow new coal plants Opinion: Leadership lacking from Asian banks on coal plant lendinglast_img read more

Statkraft plans 1GW virtual power plant in U.K.

first_imgStatkraft plans 1GW virtual power plant in U.K. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Global hydropower and European renewable energy giant Statkraft announced Tuesday plans to build what it is calling the United Kingdom’s first virtual power plant to integrate wind, solar, battery storage, and gas which will have over 1 GW of power.Statkraft explained on Tuesday that the new virtual power plant will monitor the operations of over 1GW worth of wind power, solar power, battery storage, and flexible gas engines and will compare it with the constantly updating Day Ahead, On-the-Day, and cashout price forecasts. This will allow for real-time optimisation of power trading in the British energy market.Statkraft is further planning to double the capacity of the virtual power plant by the middle of the year. The increased flexibility provided by the virtual power plant will help facilitate the integration of intermittent power generation – such as that from wind and solar power – into the British electricity system, and subsequently help expand the UK’s renewable energy capacity.“Our business model in the UK to producers of renewable power involves marketing renewable assets with maximum efficiency – for our partners, but also towards the power market,” explained Duncan Dale, Vice President Sales & New Products of Statkraft in the UK. “The idea is to match renewable power production with market demand within seconds. The increasing share of renewable energy in the UK will require a maximum of flexibility in the British power grid. By integrating batteries and engines into the virtual power plant and optimising their operations we can provide this flexibility reliably.”Statkraft is already involved in Europe’s largest virtual power plant, interconnecting more than 1,400 wind and solar installations with an installed capacity of approximately 12 GW.More: Statkraft plans 1GW solar, wind, storage “virtual power plant” in U.K.last_img read more

Citigroup warns that the boom in U.S. LNG exports could be headed for a 2020 bust

first_imgCitigroup warns that the boom in U.S. LNG exports could be headed for a 2020 bust FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:A global glut of natural gas has gotten so massive that U.S. exporters could soon face their worst-case scenario: Halting shipments to get supply and demand back in balance.Prices for the heating and power-plant fuel may collapse in Europe and Asia next year to levels that would force U.S. liquefied natural gas suppliers to curb output, Citigroup Inc. said in a note to clients last week. Morgan Stanley sees as much as 2.7 billion cubic feet a day of American exports curtailed around the second or third quarter, assuming normal weather. That’s about half the volume now being sent abroad.China’s demand for U.S. LNG has plunged amid the trade war, while Europe’s gas storage is almost full and tankers carrying the fuel are taking unusually long journeys in search of better prices. That’s created a “toxic witch’s brew” that’s making it harder to find a home for American exports, according to Madeline Jowdy, senior director of global gas and LNG for S&P Global Platts in New York.“It’s also a harbinger of bigger troubles ahead for U.S. exporters in the second quarter of next year, when global demand is at its weakest point and the U.S. will have even more volumes to place” as new export terminals start up, Jowdy said in an email.Capping LNG production is an extreme measure, but the idea is gaining traction as new terminals from the U.S. to Australia unleash exports faster than demand can catch up. Gas for near-term delivery in Asia has lost half its value in the past 14 months, with the Dutch benchmark nearly matching that decline. A mild winter would make the glut even worse — bad news for U.S. suppliers like Cheniere Energy Inc. and Sempra Energy.In the past three years, soaring gas output from shale basins has vaulted the U.S. into the ranks of the world’s largest LNG producers. The nation is widely seen as a so-called swing supplier because its exports can respond quickly to a volatile market.More: Gas ‘witch’s brew’ has U.S. exporters facing worst-case scenariolast_img read more

Hong Kong power company CLP Holdings to stop building coal-fired generation

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Hong Kong-based power company CLP Holdings said on Tuesday it does not plan to invest in any additional coal-fired generation capacity and will instead aim to progressively phase out remaining coal assets by 2050.The switch will be part of the company’s efforts to ‘decarbonise’ in line with Paris Agreement climate commitments, CLP said in a statement. In a separate report, it said 20% of its revenue currently comes from coal-based power generation.As of December, last year, CLP Group had 11,997 megawatts of coal-fired equity generation capacity, a spokesman from the company told Reuters. CLP Holdings is the holding company for CLP Group.The spokesman added that for CLP, phasing out coal-fired generation capacity will mean retirement and closure of coal-fired power assets, moving away from build-operate-transfer coal-fired projects before the end of the contract term, or divestment from a coal-fired asset.It currently operates in various Asian regions including India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China, as well as Australia.CLP is building Hong Kong’s first offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal as Hong Kong undertakes a massive shift to use more natural gas to fuel its electric power generation rather than coal.[Jessica Jaganathan]More: Hong Kong’s CLP Holdings to end investing in new coal-fired power Hong Kong power company CLP Holdings to stop building coal-fired generationlast_img read more

IHS Markit says green hydrogen will be cost competitive by 2030

first_imgIHS Markit says green hydrogen will be cost competitive by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The price penalty the industry pays on green hydrogen is set to fall over the next decade, according to a new study on hydrogen economics by IHS Markit.This year will likely be remembered as a turning point for hydrogen. Policymakers have prioritized a range of project announcements, reports, and legislative packages to give impetus to the development of this new energy carrier. Rapidly falling costs for hydrogen are also driving this wave of announcements.“Costs for producing green hydrogen have fallen 50% since 2015 and could be reduced by an additional 30% by 2025 due to the benefits of increased scale and more standardized manufacturing, among other factors,” said Simon Blakey, a senior adviser for global gas at IHS Markit.Green hydrogen produced via renewables-powered electrolysis is the preferred hydrogen fuel, as the splitting of water does not release any carbon into the atmosphere. The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that 1 kilogram of green hydrogen, containing about 33.3 kWh, comes in at €3.50 to €5, which is anywhere between €0.10/kWh and 0.15/kWh.Reforming methane from natural gas, meanwhile, releases carbon into the atmosphere, but is considerably cheaper. The IEA says that the natural gas-based form of hydrogen, grey hydrogen, costs €1.5/kg or €0.045/kWh. According to IHS Markit’s analysts that price delta is set to close over the next 10 years, due to economies of scale and renewable energy deployment.The rapidly falling costs of wind and solar have already had a considerable impact on the price development of green hydrogen. With mammoth projects underway or in development, additional price reductions in all required technologies can be expected. Australian renewable energy producer Austrom Hydrogen announced plans just a few weeks ago for a 3.6 GW solar-powered hydrogen facility in Queensland.[Marian Willuhn]More: Green hydrogen to reach price parity with grey hydrogen in 2030last_img read more

Equinor taps new CEO, sets sights on quicker green energy transition

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Equinor ASA appointed its head of technology and projects, Anders Opedal, to lead the company as Eldar Saetre retires after running the Norwegian state-controlled oil major for six years.Opedal, 52, will take over in November with a mandate to accelerate Equinor’s transformation into a broader energy company as pressure grows on the industry to act on climate change. Saetre already oversaw a step-change in focus on emissions and cleaner energy, and even changed its name from Statoil to articulate the promise of a more sustainable course.“Equinor is entering a phase of significant change as the world needs to take more forceful action to combat climate change,” Chairman Jon Erik Reinhardsen said Monday in a statement. “Anders is the right person to further develop Equinor as a force in the green shift.”Opedal’s promotion comes at a challenging time for the industry, which is struggling with the immediate impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the longer-term uncertainty weighing on energy. He will also need to address criticism at home over investments in U.S. shale oil by Saetre’s predecessor Helge Lund, which have led to impairments of more than $10 billion.Equinor earlier this year boosted its climate ambitions, saying it will cut the net carbon intensity of the energy it produces by at least half by 2050, through a sharp increase in renewables output and changes in its oil and gas portfolio. Since then, rival BP Plc has upped the ante, indicating pressure on oil companies from investors and society isn’t about to abate.“We have a great starting point for what will be a massive transition,” Opedal said. “Together, we will accelerate the development of Equinor as a broad energy company and our growth within renewables.”[Mikael Holter and Lars Erik Taraldsen]More: Equinor promotes technology chief to CEO to lead clean-energy push Equinor taps new CEO, sets sights on quicker green energy transitionlast_img read more

Report finds Queensland’s newest coal plants are among least reliable in Australia

first_imgReport finds Queensland’s newest coal plants are among least reliable in Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Queensland’s newest and most ‘modern’ coal-fired generators have ranked amongst some of Australia’s least reliable, in a new assessment that raises yet more questions around the judgement of the Morrison government, which is pushing for a new coal plant in Queensland’s north.The Australia Institute says in a new report that there were 93 unplanned outages across Queensland gas and coal generators across 2018 and 2019, which accounted for more than 40 per cent of all unplanned outages across the entire National Electricity Market.The report, the latest in a series of assessments that track outages at Australia’s thermal generators, found that Queensland’s worst performer in terms of reliability was the modern ‘high efficiency, low emission’ (HELE) plant at Kogan Creek, with 13 unplanned outages over the period at its single generating unit, which is the largest unit in the country.The ageing Gladstone and Stanwell power stations recorded higher overall outages during the two year period; the Gladstone power station recorded 19 unplanned outages across its six generator units, and Stanwell recorded 18 outages across its four generator units.Three additional ‘supercritical’ black coal generators that were all built within the last 20 years – the 850MW Millmeran power station which was completed in 2002, the 810MW Callide power station built in 2001 and the 443MW Tarong North power station, which was commissioned in 2003 – rounded out the top ten in terms of Queensland’s least reliable thermal generators, recording 17 outages between them. The report found that while Queensland is host to around one-third of the National Electricity Market’s fossil-fueled generation capacity, it suffered 41 per cent of all outages.“It comes as no surprise that Queensland’s newest coal power stations are also its more unreliable, the Australia Institute’s climate and energy program director Richie Merzian said. “These new so-called ‘high-efficiency, low-emissions’ coal power stations in Queensland are all hype and spin. Our research shows that in reality, they ought to be dubbed ‘high emissions, low reliability’ stations for their high pollution levels and high breakdown numbers.”[Michael Mazengarb]More: Newest coal generators rank amongst Australia’s worst for reliabilitylast_img read more

Norway’s Statkraft buys Solarcentury and company’s 6GW project portfolio

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Norwegian renewables giant Statkraft is to acquire UK-headquartered solar developer Solarcentury, taking on a 6GW global portfolio in doing so.The deal, struck at a purchase price of £117.7 million, will see Statkraft take on a pipeline of utility-scale solar projects in markets including Spain, Chile, Italy, Greece, France, the Netherlands and the UK.Statkraft has maintained a target of developing at least 8GW of wind and solar by 2025, and the company said the acquisition – which also marked the renewables giant’s “renewed commitment to solar power” – will also play a major role in reaching that target.The company also added that Solarcentury’s geographical footprint matched that of Statkraft’s existing development portfolio and market operations. Furthermore, Statkraft said the deal would make the company a leading developer within Europe’s solar market, with the potential to become world-leading.Under the terms of the deal, Statkraft is to acquire 100% of shares in Solarcentury Holdings and its subsidiaries, buying out existing shareholders including Scottish Equity Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Zouk Capital and Grupo Ecos. The deal remains subject to regulatory and competition approvals but is expected to be completed by the end of the year.[Liam Stoker]More: Statkraft to acquire Solarcentury, adding 6GW to global solar portfolio Norway’s Statkraft buys Solarcentury and company’s 6GW project portfoliolast_img read more