PEAKapp; new app for personal energy saving tracking

A new pilot app that hopes to bring energy savings to the masses was introduced at the ELDER 2nd Occupational and Health and Safety Congress in the Turkey's electricity distribution sector on Thursday in Antalya.

Johannes Reichl from the Energy Institute at the JKU Linz, the app developers, introduced the PEAKapp – or Personal Energy Administration Kiosk Application as an "ICT-ecosystem for energy savings through behavioral change, flexible tariffs and fun."

Essentially the app is an accompaniment to smart metering and is capable of working out cheap electricity tariffs for households. The app is designed to engender a more energy efficient lifestyle, to cut down the annual electricity budget of households, which according to the pilot scheme would be in the region of €160 (753 TL), to promote the use of smart metering – an essential component for the app, and reduce energy consumption.

One function of the app can advise through notifications when the optimal time would be to avail of low tariff electricity allowing households to plan ahead to use their washing machine or binge watch their favorite TV series.

The app can monitor and detail household electricity usage per hour, per day or per week, make comparisons with other household users based on similar living environments. This can be done to ascertain if your usage is lower or higher, and for those who want to advertise how eco-friendly they are, can upload their usage to Facebook.

The European Union has provided funding for the project under HORIZON 2020 Program that will see 80 percent of EU consumers having smart metering systems by 2020. The pilot is currently taking place in Austria, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia.

However, the app cannot be merely downloaded to android or IOS systems, but needs to partner with an electricity distribution company that already has a robust smart metering infrastructure. Therefore, plans to roll out the app to Turkey would need to have this infrastructure in place, which could be in the medium rather than the short term.

Reichl explained that up to now electricity transition as in electric cars etc. has been more geared towards the upper echelons of society. This app, however, attempts to bridge this gap and make it available to all users who have access to smart phones. He envisages that apps like this are a glimpse into the future use of technology in which greater connectivity and integration to even household white goods will be possible.
To enhance the app's appeal, a fun element has been introduced through a betting game that will allow users to guesstimate electricity usage and adjust the reality by simulating energy consumption or production on their smartphones.

Source: Anadolu Agency

TurkStream on track with 48% completion

The construction of both lines of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project is 48 percent completed, according to construction company South Stream Transport B.V. on Monday.

According to South Stream Transport BV, which is responsible for the construction of the gas pipeline's offshore section, installation of the first line of the TurkStream gas pipeline from the construction vessel, the Pioneering Spirit, passed the 660 kilometer point in the Black Sea near the border of Bulgaria's Exclusive Economic Zone.

According to the statement, the previously laid section of the pipeline's offshore route is located in the pipe-laying corridor approved earlier for the South Stream gas pipeline.

"At the moment, Pioneering Spirit continues pipe lay along the new section of the route developed for TurkStream towards the Kiyikoy settlement in accordance with the permits obtained from Turkey," it said and noted that in total, 884 kilometers of both lines have been installed, representing about 48 percent of the offshore section of the pipeline.

The calculations showed that more than 70 percent of the Turkish part, also referred as the first line, of the project has already been completed. The Pioneering Spirit, the world's largest construction vessel owned by Allseas, continues to work on the construction of the two offshore pipelines.

The first line of the TurkStream natural gas project will reach the Turkish shore in May this year and will start pumping gas at the end of 2019. The TurkStream project consists of two lines, the first of which will serve Turkey with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters, while the second line is planned to serve Europe.

Source: TurkStream

EU Doubling Renewables by 2030 Positive for Economy, Key to Emission Reductions

The European Union (EU) can increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 34 per cent by 2030 – double the share in 2016 – with a net positive economic impact, finds a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), launched in Brussels.

Presenting the findings during a launch event, ‘Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union’ – developed at the request of the European Commission – IRENA’s Director-General Mr. Adnan Z. Amin highlighted that achieving higher shares of renewable energy is possible with today’s technology, and would trigger additional investments of around EUR 368 billion until 2030 – equal to an average annual contribution of 0.3 per cent of the GDP of the EU. The number of people employed in the sector across the EU – currently 1.2 million – would grow significantly under a revised strategy. 

Raising the share of renewable energy would help reduce emissions by a further 15 per cent by 2030 – an amount equivalent to Italy’s total emissions. These reductions would bring the EU in line with its goal to reduce emissions by 40 per cent compared to 1990 levels, and set it on a positive pathway towards longer-term decarbonization. The increase would result in savings of between EUR 44 billion and EUR 113 billion per year by 2030, when accounting for savings related to the cost of energy, and avoided environmental and health costs.  

"For decades now, through ambitious long-term targets and strong policy measures, Europe has been at the forefront of global renewable energy deployment,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “With an ambitious and achievable new renewable energy strategy, the EU can deliver market certainty to investors and developers, strengthen economic activity, grow jobs, improve health and put the EU on a stronger decarbonization pathway in line with its climate objectives.”  

Welcoming the timeliness of the report, Mr. Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action said: “The report confirms our own assessments that the costs of renewables have come down significantly in the last couple of years, and that we need to consider these new realities in our ambition levels for the upcoming negotiations to finalize Europe's renewable energy policies.” 

The report highlights that all EU Member States have additional cost-effective renewable energy potential, noting that renewable heating and cooling options account for more than one-third of the EU’s additional renewables potential. Furthermore, all renewable transport options will be needed to realize EU's long-term decarbonization objectives.

Additional key findings from the report, include:

  • Reaching a 34% renewable share by 2030 would require an estimated average investment in renewable energy of around EUR 62 billion per year.
  • The renewable energy potential identified would result in 327 GW of installed wind capacity an additional 97 GW compared to business as usual, and 270 GW of solar, an 86 GW increase on business as usual.
  • Accelerated adoption of heat pumps and electric vehicles would increase electricity to 27 per cent of total final energy consumption, up from 24 per cent in a business as usual scenario.
  • The share of renewable energy in the power sector would rise to 50 per cent by 2030, compared to 29 per cent in 2015.
  • In end-use sectors, renewable energy would account for 42 per cent of energy in buildings, 36 per cent in industry and 17 per cent in transport.
  • All renewable transport options are needed, including electric vehicles and – both advanced and conventional – biofuels to realize long-term EU decarbonization objectives.

The report is a contribution to the ongoing discussions on the European Commission’s ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package, tabled in November 2016, which proposed a framework to support renewable energy deployment. 

Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union is part of IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap, REmap, which determines the potential for countries, regions and the world to scale up renewables to ensure an affordable and sustainable energy future. The roadmap focuses on renewable technology options in power, as well as heating, cooling and transport. The REmap study for the EU is based on deep analysis of existing REmap studies for 10 EU Member States (accounting for 73 per cent of EU energy use), complemented and aggregated with high-level analyses for the other 18 EU Member States.

Source: IRENA

The carbon-capture era may finally be starting

The budget bill that President Donald Trump signed into law earlier this month provides a huge incentive for capturing and storing carbon emissions.

Energy researchers who have crunched the numbers in the days since have concluded that on many projects the boosted tax credit could finally tip the scales for a technology that’s long proved far too expensive.

The provision won’t completely offset the high cost of retrofitting power plants, though it will certainly lower the price tag. But it could make an immediate difference in cutting emissions from a source that’s otherwise very difficult to address: the industrial sector, which produces a significant portion of the greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States.

“I think we’ll see dozens of [carbon-capture] projects appear in the next couple of years that could not have happened otherwise,” says Julio Friedmann of the Energy Futures Initiative, who was previously principal deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.

Most energy researchers believe carbon capture and storage will need to be a significant piece of any realistic plan to address the growing dangers of climate change. A number of studies have found that without this technology, it’s unlikely the world can prevent temperatures from rising more than 2˚C.

The credit will apply equally to scrubbing technologies, which capture carbon dioxide from power plants and factories, and startups working on ways to pull the greenhouse gas straight from the sky, like Carbon Engineering and Climeworks.

Captured carbon dioxide can be stored under geological formations or injected into drilling sites to draw up the last bits of oil. Researchers and startups are also exploring ways to use carbon dioxide to produce alternative fuels, building materials, and other products. The tax credit is likely to stimulate significant investment in these emerging technologies, Friedmann says.

The measure was sponsored by an unlikely coalition of climate deniers and hawks—notably Senators John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, and Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island—and supported by unions, environmental groups, and coal companies.

Here are the basics: The measure provides a tax credit of $50 for every metric ton of carbon dioxide buried underground and $35 for every ton put to work in other ways. Companies will have six years to begin qualifying projects, and a dozen from the time they begin operations to claim the credits.

An earlier version of the tax credit stood at $20 and $10, respectively, and was capped at 75 million tons, which simply didn’t provide enough long-term certainty to spur many projects.

The estimated cost of carbon capture is about $60 per metric ton for coal-fired plants and around $70 for natural-gas plants, according to a 2015 report from the Office of Fossil Energy. Another $11 goes to transporting and storing the carbon dioxide. So, the tax credit still can’t, in and of itself, offset the costs for the electricity sector today.

But it could make the financial difference for some plants tapping into other sources of subsidies, particularly as the price of carbon capture falls over the next few years, says Matt Lucas, associate director at the Center for Carbon Removal, a nonprofit in Oakland, California.

Moreover, the new tax credit should already be enough to offset the cost of carbon-capture systems at facilities producing things like ethanol, fertilizer, ethylene oxide, and other processed fuels. Those costs range from $9 to $30 per ton, according to an earlier report from the Office of Fossil Energy. In these cases, carbon capture isn’t as expensive because the processes result in higher concentrations of the gas.

Making carbon capture affordable for the industrial sector is critical since there are few affordable ways to clean up many of these businesses, largely because the gas is a by-product of production itself. They’re also major contributors to total greenhouse emissions: ethanol production alone accounts for 2 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide, while fertilizer production accounts for 1 percent.

Source: MIT Technology Review

2018 Renewable Outlook Stable: Renewables Can Now Self-Sustain

Renewables have been growing in developed and developing markets over the last decade. Why? Falling costs thanks to advancements in technology, first with wind power and evolving with solar in recent years. In fact, more efficient technology has made renewables competitive to the point that the phasing out of incentives has begun. Over the past decade, investors have gained confidence in how these sources of energy can be predicted. And the more costs continue to decline for renewables, the more they will take market share away from the traditional energy markets.

Proof of the sector’s staying power, and solar in particular, rests with the very ratings Fitch assigns to these projects and how stable they have performed over time. Whereas the somewhat uneven rating performance of wind projects belies a market very much in its infancy and trying to find its footing, Fitch-rated solar projects have been upgraded over the last year and are emblematic of a renewable energy source that has ironed out the proverbial kinks in recent years.

So with renewable energy undoubtedly entrenching itself as a global industry over the last decade, what will the next 10 years bring? The short answer is “more growth” and notably, “self-sustaining growth.” As the market evolves, growth will this time be supported by advancements in battery storage technology. While developing markets will see demand for power continue to grow, the same trend will likely flatten out for developed markets, though the expected roll-out of electric vehicles could add to demand.

Power consumption will also become more dynamic over the next decade. The roll-out of smart meters in developed markets will allow for better real-time demand and price signaling, with digital integration within households likely to accelerate this process. Self-generation may culminate in a move toward local distributed systems in some locations, though self-generation is not universally achievable. Gas-fired generation is still very important and may in fact increase thanks to the abundance and flexibility of global liquefied natural gas. Even coal, deemed by many to be a globally obsolete form of energy generation, will remain in countries with domestic coal resources, though its slow and inevitable decline is continuing in developed markets.

Below are five notable trends worth keeping an eye on over the next 12 months:

Renewables Will Become More Self-Sustaining: Subsidies and tax incentives enabled renewables to gain traction with investors while capital cost decreases are making renewables competitive on their own. Tax policy changes in the U.S. would likely reduce benefits for renewables projects, though overall costs for renewables are likely to continue declining as global demand increases. The overall cost of electricity for renewables will be even more competitive with or without their own subsidies especially if carbon emissions become taxable and increase the cost of thermal power generation relative to renewables.

Technology Will Be Key: Advances in technology are a main driver behind cost decreases for renewables. Increased wind turbine capacity from the same footprint and better efficiency of PV systems are reducing the cost per unit energy generated. Manufacturing cost decreases driven by higher demand and competitive pressures are also helping to cut equipment costs. Similarly, operating costs are falling for renewables as the number of qualified operators and technicians grows. Battery technologies, in early stage development, are likely to mirror the same cost reduction curve as solar panels as cheaper and more reliable battery systems are developed. This will make battery technologies alongside solar generation a viable and economic alternative to grid-based power.

Slow Power Demand Growth: Demand for power has stagnated in developed markets and is growing in developing markets. Advances in energy efficiency and consumption management have effectively offset organic growth in energy demand in the largest markets, and those trends are not likely to change. Market forces are replacing the oldest and most costly utility scale thermal plants with gas-fired and renewables capacity in greater numbers. Sustained economic growth may allow energy demand to outpace efficiency-driven demand reduction, but the vulnerability of the currently favorable phase of the economic cycle increases with time.

EV Charging Infrastructure Will Need Investment: Electric vehicles are a potentially disruptive technology that could dramatically increase demand for electricity. Not only will massive EV fleets require power to charge their batteries, those same batteries can be leveraged while plugged into smart networks to help act as distributed resources to balance supply and demand. The main impediments are infrastructure (which is not yet built) and the considerable investment needed ahead of the expected onslaught of EVs. While growing rapidly, the EV market has still not materialized to levels predicted by earliest investors; rapid growth may follow the introduction of exciting and affordable new vehicles promised by cutting edge manufacturers.

Power Prices Remain Stagnant: Many competitive power markets are saturated with oversupply. As a result, they have some of the lowest real electricity prices in history, with some markets regularly exposed to negative wholesale power prices. Modern gas-fired plants are helping to keep prices low even when renewable resources are not available. And markets or regions with relatively higher prices will attract those same competitors and technologies, likely leading to similar price pressure. Power prices are vulnerable to many potential shocks be it new emissions regulations, changes to tax codes, technology disruptions, political turbulence or environmental activism, though any pricing jolt may only be temporary.

The Trump administration’s rejection of the Paris Accord is not likely to stop the growth of the renewables market in the U.S. The tax incentives rolled out during the Obama administration have served their purpose and the lion is now out of its cage. Renewable energy is here to stay. And with much of the buildout in renewables coming from state government incentives that far supersede any efforts at the Federal level, renewables are in a position to self-sustain growth over the next decade.

Source: Renewable Energy World
South Korea Strengthens Grid to Take On More Renewables

South Korea took action this month to strengthen its grid in preparation for a major boost in renewable energy generation. At the beginning of the month, the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) picked U.S. infrastructure provider GE Power to build a 4-gigawatt high-voltage DC (HVDC) transmission link from the east of the country to the capital, Seoul, in the northwest.

The $320 million contract “will increase the stability and reliability of the Korean electrical transmission grid by adding new routes for power supply,” said GE Power in a press release. The project will be delivered through KAPES, a joint venture that Kepco set up with GE in 2012 to carry out HVDC and flexible AC transmission system work in South Korea and beyond.

KAPES and GE are due to design and supply a 500-kilovolt HVDC bipole with two converter stations, including valves, cooling, converter transformers, filters, switchyards and control systems. It is GE’s fourth major HVDC contract in South Korea. In the late 1990s, GE built a 300-megawatt, 101-kilometer (63-mile) point-to-point submarine HVDC interconnection linking South Korea’s Jeju Island with the mainland. In 2009, the company supplied converter stations for a 400-megawatt HVDC scheme.

In 2014, through KAPES, GE built a 1.5-gigawatt, 35-kilometer HVDC connection to transmit energy from South Korea’s coal-fired Dangjin power plant to the city of Pyeongtaek and the Seoul metropolitan area. The project is due to be completed at the end of 2019. GE said South Korea’s energy demand has grown by almost 35 percent in the last decade.

The latest HVDC project follows the December publication of a power supply plan that will see gas and renewables gradually replacing coal and nuclear in South Korea's generation mix between 2017 and 2031. Coal and nuclear account for more than 70 percent of the country's electricity supply, with renewables making up just 6 percent. Wind and solar each contribute about 1 percent to the power mix today.

Under the new plan, South Korea aims to meet 20 percent of its total electricity consumption with renewable energy resources by 2030, Reuters reported. The transition will see the coal total falling to deliver 36.1 percent of electricity supply by 2030, and nuclear covering a further 23.9 percent.

“To achieve that goal, Asia’s fourth-largest economy aims to increase its installed capacity of renewable power to 58.5 gigawatts by 2030, from 11.3 gigawatts this year,” said Reuters. The country plans to add 30.8 gigawatts of solar to its generation portfolio, along with 16.5 gigawatts of wind.

“As South Korea plans to increase the renewable power generation to 20 percent under the 8th National Electricity Plan, the grid infrastructure needs to be upgraded," said Rishab Shrestha, an analyst at GTM Research. Large projects, generally not close to load centers, will account for around 60 percent of the capacity expansion plan. “That's a considerable addition of variable generation to the existing grid, which is dominated by coal and nuclear at the moment,” said Shrestha.

Although it is unclear if this month’s announcement relates to the same initiative, in March last year Kepco and GE signed a memorandum of understanding on an HVDC build-out in Bitgaram Energy Valley, Naju City, near Gwangju, and South Jeolla Province, in the southwest. “The Bitgaram Energy Valley in that region has several industrial complexes and Kepco's headquarters around it, and is intended to be an innovative ecosystem for research,” Shrestha said.

The region also has plans to install around 1.8 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2020 and to build up to 5 gigawatts of onshore and offshore wind by 2030. “There would be synergies with electricity production and transmission to the load center in Seoul,” Shrestha observed.

Beyond keeping the lights on at home, it is likely Kepco’s interest in HVDC is driven by the potential for business overseas. The company is involved in plans to create an Asian supergrid stretching from Vladivostok and Tokyo in the east to New Delhi and Mumbai in the west. Kepco is also a member of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization, based in Beijing, China, which is dedicated to promoting the sustainable development of energy worldwide. 

Source: Greentech Media


At the request of the European Commission, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has prepared a report titled 'Renewable energy prospects for the European Union', to support discussion of the regulatory framework to support renewable energy deployment proposed as part of the Commission's 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package. It also contributes to IRENA’s global REmap analysis, which sets out a practical roadmap for doubling renewables in the global energy mix by 2030.

The report identifies cost-effective renewable energy options across all EU countries, sectors, and technologies, in order to meet – and even exceed – the proposed 27% renewables target for 2030. It also provides an open platform for EU countries to assess the impacts of their national renewable energy plans at an EU level, provides insights into the environmental and economic impacts of further deployment of renewables in the EU, and highlights the role that renewables could play in the long-term decarbonization of the European energy system.

At this event, a presentation of the report will be followed by a panel discussion of its recommendation with high-profile speakers, including Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, and Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA.

Please click here to read the full report.