Mar/Apr preview: Renewable energy project monitor

Ian Stokes

Our regular column, written by the Energy Industries Council, reports on project development in the renewable energy marketplace...the latest instalment covers developments in January and February.

This article excerpt is taken from the forthcoming issue of Renewable Energy Focus magazine (March/April issue). To register to receive a digital copy click here.

The renewable energy sector continues to show steady activity and a positive start to the year. In January and February 103 renewable energy projects were added to EIC DataStream representing a total potential investment value of US$50 billion.

EIC DataStream tracks over 9000 of the most significant projects across the global energy industry. There are currently 943 active renewables projects and a further 1065 projects are proposed for future development. It should be noted that there will always be a proportion of proposed projects that do not gain planning consent and the requisite finance.

Key January developments

In January, 60 renewable energy projects were added to EIC DataStream representing a total potential investment value of US$31.9bn. Just under half of this value came from wind projects with 40 onshore and offshore wind farms added to the database, while similarly, just under half of the value came from solar projects.

The largest project announcement in January was the US$10.4bn TuNur concentrating solar power project in Tunisia with a total capacity of 2 GW. The project will be built in 10 construction phases, each with a capacity of 200 MW, using solar tower power plants instead of parabolic trough technology.

The TuNur project is being developed by Nur Energie in cooperation with Top Oilfield Services with the first 200 MW phase due to begin construction in 2014, and the first electricity exports expected to reach Europe by 2016. The project has been designed to reduce water requirements to a bare minimum by using a dry, air-based cooling system. Terna S.p.A. has offered the project a grid connection to central Italy for the complete capacity.

In Oman Terra Nex Financial Engineering AG announced plans for the construction of a US$2bn, 400 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the Middle East Best Select (MEBS) Group of Funds, which has launched the Solar Energy-Photovoltaik in Oman private investment fund with an initial investment of US$200 million. The fund will finance the first solar PV plant within the project, with further financing expected to be covered by loans from European financiers.

In Germany, there has been a lot of activity, with developments being made at four offshore wind farms with a total value of just under US$7bn.

In the German North Sea developer WPD AG has applied to build the US$2.1bn Kaikas offshore wind farm comprising of 83 turbines with a total capacity of 415 MW. The project will be located 110 km off the coast in waters up to 41 m deep. The submission, along with an environmental impact study and a maritime traffic risk assessment, have been sent to the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency BSH. Construction works not likely to start until after 2014.

In the hydro-electric sector, the largest project development was made in Indonesia with the US$1bn PLTA Karama hydropower plant in West Sulawesi inviting bids for the 2 GW hydropower tender. The tender is to be held in the second half of this year with an estimated construction timeline of 7 years, scheduled to start in 2014. The feasibility study is being prepared by the regional administration of West Sulawesi in cooperation with the Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co Ltd of China.

Overall, January saw a solid start to the new year with plenty of renewable energy projects seeing developments.

For the rest of the article, subscribe to Renewable Energy Focus magazine - the March/April issue will be published in a few weeks.

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