Feature

Renewable energy project monitor


Lizzie Lunn

Our regular column, written by the Energy Industries Council, reports on project development in the renewable energy marketplace. Here we look at developments in March and April 2013.

This article excerpt is taken from the May/June issue of Renewable Energy Focus magazine. To register to receive a digital copy click here.

In March and April, 84 projects were added to EICDataStream across the global renewable energy sector, rising from 79 projects in January and February 2013, while the total potential investment value is US$28.4bn, an increase of almost 10% on the previous two months.

EICDataStream tracks over 10,000 major projects proposed or under development across the global energy industry. There are currently 1224 active renewables projects and a further 1221 projects proposed for future development in the database. [It should be noted there will always be a proportion of proposed projects that do not gain planning consent or the requisite finance to proceed.]

March winds

In March, 36 renewable energy projects with a total potential investment value of US$15.7bn were added to the database. Wind projects continue to retain the largest market share globally of all renewables technologies, accounting for two thirds of the number of new projects proposed and 59% of the total potential investment value of new projects; offshore wind represented 40% of proposed investments and onshore wind accounted for the other 19%. The hydropower sector also performed well with seven new projects accounting for 40% of the total investment value of new renewable projects.

The hotspots of activity this month were:

  • The US – accounting for six projects (926MW) totalling US$1.74bn,
  • England – seven projects (99MW) totalling US$187mn, and
  • Scotland – six projects (224MW) totalling US$445mn.

There were also two hydroelectric power plant projects with a combined capacity of 1GW added. To be built in Russia, they represent a total potential investment value of US$4.3bn.

The six US projects are all onshore wind farms. All are due to come online throughout 2014–15. Three of them are additional phases to E.ON Climate and Renewables North America's Wildcat wind project in Indiana – in total 390 turbines, with a combined capacity of 520MW will be deployed across the Grant, Howard and Tipton Counties. The 125-turbine Phase I came online earlier this year and construction of Phases II and III could begin this year if E.ON gains approval for improvement location permits in Howard County.

Meantime, the largest individual new project proposal in the US is the US$600 million 200MW Searchlight Wind Farm in Nevada. In March, the US Department of the Interior approved Duke Energy's plan to install 87 Siemens turbines at the site, 96km south-east of Las Vegas. Duke Energy is yet to agree a power purchase agreement.

Turning to the UK, activity in England is dominated by small-scale solar with five such projects totalling a potential investment of US$112mn added. The largest is the 20MW RAF North Creake Airfield Solar Farm located in Egmere, Norfolk. The smallest is the 5.5MW St. Ive Solar Power project near Liskeard in Cornwall. With planning permissions secured, both projects are now at the EPC stage.

The six Scottish projects are onshore wind farms. The largest is the 65MW Cruach An Lochan wind farm in Argyll & Bute, which is being developed by Banks Renewables. It will comprise 26, 2.5MW turbines.

Onshore wind also dominates activity in Canada, with two projects (worth a combined US$514mn) proposed by EdF Energies Nouvelles for the Quebec Province. The 150MW Lac Alfred (Phase 2) project will see 75 turbines installed. This will double the capacity of the existing wind farm to take total capacity up to 300MW – one of the largest in the country. The 74MW Clermont wind farm meanwhile will comprise 37 turbines, each 2MW.

The biggest in size and investment value

Worth a combined US$4.3bn, the two hydro projects planned for Russia are planned by En+ Group and RusHydro. En+ Group has proposed the US$3.3bn Transbaikal Hydropower Plant to be built at an unspecified location – it is widely expected to be on the Shilka River, near Russia's border with China. Initial plans call for a 736MW plant comprising four 184MW turbines. The dam will be 1100m long with a maximum height of 105m, creating a reservoir of 488.67 sq km. RusHydro's 320MW Nizhne-Bureyskaya Hydropower Plant, meanwhile, is to be located in the Amur region. This development is at the more advanced EPC stage, with commissioning expected to start in 2016.

While the Russian Hydro projects are near the top of the scale in terms of investment potential, the largest individual project announced in March – by both value and capacity – is the US$3.9bn 1.9GW West Estonia offshore wind farm planned for a site between the Hiiumaa and Saaremaa islands in western Estonia. Developer Baltic Blue Energy initially applied to build a 2.7GW wind farm at the site but will limit the project to 1.9GW while it carries out further wind studies. Construction of the project, however, is some way off with no such work expected to take place for five years.

April announcements

In April, 48 renewable energy projects were added to EICDataStream with a total potential investment value of US$12.7bn. Onshore and offshore wind projects combined represent the largest share of renewable projects this month, accounting for more than half of the total number of projects added to the database.

There were five new offshore wind projects with a total potential investment value of US$3.3bn, and 21 new onshore wind projects with a total potential investment value of US$2.5bn this month. However, hydro accounted for the highest value of projects this month with eight projects totalling a potential investment of US$4bn.

April's hotspots were:

  • Uganda – with three projects (930MW) totalling US$3.6bn,
  • Germany – three projects (664MW) totalling US$3.3bn, and
  • Scotland – six projects (403MW) totalling US$801mn.

There was also a high volume of projects in England with 11 projects (155MW) added. However these were relatively low capital investments with a combined total of US$537mn.

Ugandan plans

The three projects in Uganda include the largest project by value in April, the US$1.9bn proposed 600MW Ayago Hydropower Plant in the Amuru district. The project, to be developed by the Ugandan Government, is expected to be built in two phases – Ayago North with an expected capacity of 350MW, and Ayago South with an expected capacity of 250MW. The project is scheduled for completion in 2018. The Ugandan Government is also planning to build the 180MW Isimba Hydropower Plant in the Kamuli district of Uganda in an effort to boost the country's power generation.

Activity in Germany is dominated by RWE Innogy's plans for the Innogy-2 and Innogy-3 offshore wind farms, located approximately 40km north of the island of Juist in the North Sea. RWE Innogy is building a total of three wind farms at the site totalling 1GW, with plans for Innogy-1 already underway following regulatory approvals received in April 2013. The wind farms will be in water depths of 26–34 metres, with 48 turbines planned for Innogy-2 and a further 60 machines for Innogy-3. RWE Innogy plans to use 6.15MW turbines with a maximum tip height of 162m, and foundation jackets with corner piles.

As in March, all of the projects in Scotland are onshore wind farms due to come online throughout 2015–16. The largest project is the 68MW Shepherd's Rig wind farm in Dumfries & Galloway where developer Infinergy plans to install 45 (2–3MW) turbines. The smallest project is the 25MW Altercannoch wind farm in South Ayrshire where PNE Wind plans to install ten turbines.

Offshore floaters

In England, project activity was again dominated by solar with seven projects (85.6MW) totalling a potential investment of US$372mn. One notable exception this month is the PelaStar Floating Offshore Wind Demonstrator to be installed at the Wave Hub site off the Cornish coast. Funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), the organisation has selected Glosten Associates and Alstom to provide the front-end engineering and design for the project utilising Alstom's 6MW Haliade 150 turbine, while Harland & Wolff have been chosen to build the foundation. The ETI will review the plan in 2014, but the installation could be in place by 2015.

A joint venture between Nass & Wind and DCNS is also planning a 1MW floating offshore wind turbine demonstration project, this time off the Atlantic coast of France. The partners plan to use a Winflow turbine installed on a semi-submersible platform, which will use an anchoring system that can be deployed in water depths in excess of 50 metres. The demonstration project will be installed for 12–18 months of testing at the SemRev marine experimentation site off the coast of Le Croisic, followed by a pilot project deploying four to six 5MW turbines off the coast of Ile de Groix.

Summary

The global renewables industry has continued to thrive throughout March and April, with a steady increase in both the project volumes and values. The hydropower sector has had a particularly buoyant couple of months with a relatively high level of investment, while the offshore wind sector has been quieter than of past months. The move towards offshore floating wind demonstration projects is, however, an indication of the innovation to come for the industry. The wind sector as a whole continues to dominate global renewables activity and this trend is expected to continue throughout the year.

About: Lizzie Lunn is Business Information Officer (Renewables) of the Energy Industries Council (EIC)

 

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