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 May and June 2013

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

In May and June, 64 projects were added to EICDataStream across the global renewable energy sector, decreasing from 84 projects in March and April 2013, while the total potential investment value was US$49bn, an impressive 73% increase on the previous two months.

EICDataStream tracks nearly 10,000 major projects proposed or under development across the global energy industry. There are currently 1233 active renewables projects and a further 1187 projects proposed for future development in the database. [It should be noted that there will always be a proportion of proposed projects that do not gain planning consent and the requisite finance.]

Hydro leaps

In May, 36 renewable energy projects with a total potential investment value of US$21.5bn were added to the database. Planned investment in hydropower developments leapt ahead of other renewables technologies this month, accounting for 69% of the total potential investment value of new projects with an US$14.8bn estimated project spend. The onshore wind sector also performed well with 23 projects proposed, worth a total potential investment of US$4.5bn.

The hotspots of activity this month were Canada where two projects (1.7GW) were added totalling US$10.4bn, China with three projects (2.4GW) added totalling US$2.8bn, and the US with two projects (1.2GW) added totalling US$2.2bn. There were also eight onshore wind projects (261MW) added in the UK, worth a total potential investment value of US$524mn.

Canada was home to the largest proposed renewable project this month, the US$10.2bn Conawapa Hydropower Generating Station in the south-eastern Manitoba Province. The project, proposed by operator Manitoba Hydro, would be the largest project of its kind in the province with a 1.5GW generating capacity. The plant will be located on the Lower Nelson River in the Fox Lake Resource Management Area of northern Manitoba, reusing water already stored in the Stephens Lake reservoir. If the plant gets environmental approval, it is expected to take over eight years to bring the first ten units online.

The largest project by capacity this month was the proposed 2GW Shuangjiangkou Hydropower Plant in China, worth a total potential investment of US$2bn. It is understood that China's Ministry of Environmental Protection has approved the plans to build the plant on the Dadu River in China's south-eastern Sichuan Province. The plant is expected to take over ten years to build and will include the construction of a 1030-ft tall dam.

Like its neighbour Japan, China is also looking to the development of offshore wind and developer China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co (CGNPC) has submitted plans to build a 300MW wind farm off the coast of Dalian Island, near Pingtan in the Fujian Province. CGNPC is currently conducting a feasibility study for the estimated US$730mn project.

In the US, developer MidAmerican Energy plans to invest US$1.9bn in onshore wind farms in Iowa. A number of wind farms are expected to be constructed, but their locations are yet to be determined. The wind farms will have a planned capacity of 1.1GW from around 656 turbines and, based on the size of the project, multiple vendors are likely to be used to supply turbines and towers.

The one-year extension to federal Production Tax Credits is likely to be the motivator for the projects, but construction on the projects must start before the end of the year to qualify.

South American winds

There are a number of onshore wind farms planned across South American countries where two projects (200MW) have been added in Brazil, totalling US$300mn investment, two projects added in Argentina (76MW) totalling US$170mn investment and one project in Uruguay (65MW) valued at an estimated US$150mn.

In Brazil, developer Voltalia is planning two wind power complexes in the Rio Grande do Norte State in eastern Brazil. The US$170mn São Miguel do Gostoso complex will comprise of four wind farms with a total capacity of 114MW, and the US$130mn Areia Branco complex will comprise of three wind farms with a total capacity of 86MW. A contract has been awarded to Acciona to supply 41 and 29 turbines respectively for the projects and construction on both is scheduled for the third quarter of 2013.

Brazil is also involved in the US$150mn Rosendo Mendoza wind farm in the Colonia Department of Uruguay, which is being jointly developed by Eletrobras and UTE as part of an agreement between Brazil and Uruguay to strengthen energy ties. The proposed project will have a capacity of 65MW from 31 Suzlon turbines.

Staying with onshore wind, two projects have been proposed in Sweden where activity in the sector has been fairly subdued in the last year. Developer Nordisk Vindkraft is planning to build the US$289mn Sidensjö wind farm in Västernorrland County, which will generate a total capacity of 144MW from 48 Siemens 3MW turbines. Further south in Stockholm County, Holmen and Eurofideme 2 are teaming up to build the US$98mn Varsvik wind farm at Norrtalje. The 51MW project has secured an environmental permit and Vestas has been awarded the contract for 17 3MW turbines.

New activity in the UK is largely dominated by onshore wind with two projects in England totalling a potential investment of US$48mn, and six projects in Scotland with a combined total potential investment of US$476mn. The largest is the US$161mn Balliemeanoch wind farm in the craggy uplands besides Loch Awe, 7km north-west of Inveraray, Argyll. Developer Inazin plans to build 27 turbines to generate a total capacity of 81MW.

June announcements

In June, 28 renewable energy projects were added to EICDataStream with a total potential investment value of US$27.5bn. Again, the hydropower sector dominated the scene with three projects added totalling a potential US$20.9bn – that's 76% of the total potential investment value of new projects this month. The solar sector also saw significant activity with ten projects added to the database, worth a total potential investment of US$2.9bn.

There were a number of individual high-value projects added this month with a broad geographical spread: a US$17bn hydropower project (7GW) in Indonesia, a US$3.2bn hydropower project (3.1GW) in Nigeria, and a US$1bn offshore wind farm (330MW) in the US. There were also six solar power projects (138MW) in England but these were relatively low capital investments with a combined total of US$469mn.

The largest project in terms of planned investment in June was the US$17bn Kayan River hydropower project in Indonesia. The 7GW development will be located on the Kayan River in the North Kalimantan province of Borneo Island. Operator China Power Investment Corporation has secured government approval for the multi-phase project, which is expected to start construction in 2014.

Other significant hydropower projects have been added in Africa and South America: the US$3.2bn Mambilla project in Mambilla, Nigeria and the US$733 mn Porvenir II project in the Antioquia Department, Colombia. In Nigeria, the Ministry of Power plans to build a 3.1GW hydropower plant, while in Colombia, Celsia will construct a 352MW hydropower plant, featuring a 140-metre high roller-compacted concrete gravity dam, on the Samaná Norte River in the north of the country.

The solar power sector fared well this month and a high-capital solar project was added in Israel. Negev Energy, a joint venture between Shikun & Binui and Abengoa, has won a tender to build and operate the US$1.1bn Ashalim concentrating solar plant in the Negev Desert. The plant has a proposed capacity of 110MW and will be able to store 4.5 hours of thermal energy using Siemens technology.

There was also a substantial investment proposed in Algeria where CEEG set out plans for a concentrated solar power programme in the country. CEEG has invited companies to prequalify for the programme to build a 300MW concentrated solar plant by 2015, as part of a wider programme to develop 2GW solar power capacity in Algeria by 2021.

The US continues to take strides towards establishing an offshore wind industry with Fishermen's Energy's proposed 330MW wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The wind farm will be a utility-scale project in the Mid-Atlantic wind energy area, and follows on from the near-shore Atlantic City demonstration project. Fishermen's Energy has relocated a Wind Sentinel buoy, housing a LIDAR wind measurement device, to the site to feed data that will be used to support the wind farm design and development.

Summary

In May and June, there was growing investment activity across the global renewables industry, with overall figures showing a significant rise in total estimated investment on the previous two months. The hydropower sector continues to perform with a number of high value investments proposed, and again the offshore wind sector has seen little activity. There are certainly causes for optimism in the solar industry as well with some large programmes announced, along with a steady stream of small solar farms being planned for the UK.

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

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