Launch of $24m European smart grid project

A €23m smart grid project involving 20 industry partners including five European distribution companies has launched in France.

The Interflex project is coordinated by RWTH Aachen University in Germany and is focused on energy storage, electric vehicles, demand response, islanding and grid automation.

Utilities, manufacturers and research centres are involved in the project, which seeks to use smart grid technologies at an industrial scale to enable a high penetration of renewables.

Over the next three years, 20 project partners including distribution companies CEZ Distribuce, Enedis, E.ON, Enexis and Avacon will explore new ways of using various forms of flexibility to optimize the power system on a local scale in the Czech Republic, France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.

RWTH Aachen said: “Today, the vast majority of renewable energy sources are already connected to the distribution grid. Within the next few years, millions of electric vehicle charging stations all over Europe are likely to be deployed on the same grid. For this reason, the distribution grid will need to adapt to rapidly changing energy flows. Seeking to minimize the corresponding grid investments, the distributed system operators will play a major role, exploring the various means of temporarily managing the exchanged energy with the grid within a more local approach.”

Together with CEZ Distribuce as technical co-ordinator, Enedis will take the lead in co-ordinating several innovative use cases and the collaboration of distribution system operators in Europe.

In a demonstrator project in Nice in France, Enedis will investigate flexibilities to support the grid, storage systems, and islanding operation.

The German demonstrator project by Avacon will manage “a centralized platform of flexibilities and distributed energy resources to use energy where it is generated, with the aim of relieving the distribution grid”.

A first Swedish demonstrator, run by E.ON and located in Malmö, will investigate the integration of energy carriers, using the heat inertia of buildings as a source of flexibility. The goal is to achieve more optimal and sustainable distributed energy production.

Bosch and EnBW in energy storage collaboration

Bosch and EnBW are jointly developing a power storage unit which is being built at EnBW’s power plant in Heilbronn, Germany.

The technology is aimed at providing so-called primary control energy, or the capability to compensate for short-term fluctuations in the grid. The two firms have announced plans to work closely on battery solutions for the energy market and will establish a joint project company, which is responsible for the design, construction, connection and operation of the battery. The move is still subject to approval from antitrust authorities.

“The co-operation with EnBW is a further important step in establishing storage technology in the energy market and thus successfully shaping energy consumption,” said Cordelia Thielitz, managing director of Bosch Energy Storage Solutions.

The current storage in Heilbronn consists of 768 lithium-ion battery modules and has a maximum power output of around 5 MW with an installed storage capacity of 5 MW/hrs. Lithium-ion batteries can provide very short-term energy and are therefore ideally suited to provide primary control performance.

The storage unit accounts for just under a fifth of the control capacity of a large power station and can store or discharge it within seconds and accurately. Bosch is responsible for the planning and realization of the battery system, while EnBW will oversee construction work and grid connection at the site.

DONG Energy to run Lincs offshore windfarm following sale

DONG Energy has taken over the operation and maintenance of a 270 MW offshore windfarm in the UK.

It marks the first time that DONG will run a windfarm that it has not built itself.

DONG has taken on the O&M role for the Lincs Offshore Wind Farm after Centrica and Siemens Project Ventures sold their combined 75 per cent stake in the project to UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services and the UK Green Investment Bank.

Denmark-headquartered DONG already owned the remaining 25 per cent and agreed with the new majority owners to take over the operatorship of Lincs from Centrica for 15 years.

The Lincs windfarm is located off the coast of northeast Lincolnshire and has been fully operational since August 2013. It is powered by 75 Siemens 3.6 MW turbines.

Jens Jakobsson of DONG Energy Wind Power said: “We’re delighted to become O&M service provider to Lincs. It will be the first time we take over O&M of an operating wind farm which we haven’t constructed ourselves.”

He added: “We’re now looking forward to further strengthening our relationship with the Green Investment Bank, which is also our partner in the Westermost Rough Offshore Wind Farm.”

DONG Energy currently provides O&M service to 16 offshore windfarms across the UK, Germany and Denmark.

UK to get 50 MW gas engine plants after auction

Two gas-engine power plants are to be built in the UK for energy company Centrica.

At 50 MW each, the plants will be the biggest medium-speed engine facilities in the country and come following Centica winning agreements from the government for 500 MW of new projects in Britain’s recent capacity market auction.

The plants – at Brigg and Peterborough – will each run on five 34SG natural gas engines provided by Finnish energy company Wärtsilä, which is also the EPC contractor for both projects. Both projects are intended to bring balancing power to the UK grid, which is accommodating an increasing share of intermittent renewables, particularly windpower.

Wärtsilä said a key reason for its engines being chosen for the plants was because they will be able to provide “electricity for approximately 100,000 homes in less than two minutes from start to full load”.

Bent Iversen, business development manager at Wärtsilä Energy Solutions, said: “Centrica’s decision to go with our technology is a testament to the fact that our Smart Power Generation technology plays a key role in the UK power system. It shows that flexibility is needed and rewarded by the market.”

With these new plants Wärtsilä’s installed capacity in the UK will be more than 250 MW.

GE modernizes Paks nuclear power plant

GE Power Services has announced the successful modernization of the 2000 MW Paks nuclear power plant, which generates around half of Hungary’s power.

The generator refurbishment of the nation’s only nuclear power station is expected to extend the asset’s life and help increase the reliability of the plant.

The generator refurbishment is part of GE’s agreement to service eight generators – one per year through to 2021. The generators were commissioned between 1982 and 1987.

High-speed balancing of the generators is performed at GE’s services facility in Wroclaw, Poland, underscoring the company’s regional supply chain capabilities and expertise.

The Paks Nuclear Power Plant, owned and operated by MVM Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned MVM Hungarian Electricity, consists of four Russian-supplied VVER-440 type pressurized water reactors.

In 2012, Paks Unit 1’s operating life was extended to 2032 and Unit 2’s operation was later extended to 2034. Units 3 and 4 are expected to be granted similar operating extensions.

Areva completes Bavaria nuclear plant refuelling work

French nuclear company AREVA has carried out an upgrade to the refuelling machine at the Isar 2 power plant in Germany.

Areva also optimized the control system during the annual planned outage at the pressurized water reactor plant in Bavaria, which is operated by PreussenElektra and has been operating since 1988. “This project is another milestone in the partnership with PreussenElektra,” said Areva project manager Oswald Bieber.

“The new refueling machine control system will noticeably improve our processes during future outages and make them safer.”

The refuelling machine of a nuclear power plant is a mobile lifting device which is of special importance during the yearly outage. Loading, unloading and shuffling of fuel assemblies takes a considerable amount of time and effort, therefore, refuelling directly influences the outage time.

Jamaica set for its biggest solar plant

One of the largest solar projects in the Caribbean is to be built in Jamaica.

The 37 MW scheme will be the island’s largest solar project and is being delivered by renewable energy developer Eight Rivers Energy Company and its project partners Neoen, MPC, Ferrostaal and Rekamniar Frontier Ventures.

Independent engineering consultancy OST Energy has been appointed as owner’s engineer for the project in Westmoreland Parish.

The plant is due for completion in December 2018 and OST will provide support for the three main phases of development, construction, and commissioning.

Combined-cycle gas plant to boost Jordan power supply

A $485m combined-cycle plant is to replace an aging oil-fired power station in Jordan.

The gas-fired plant is being developed by ACWA Power and has secured backing from the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, both part of the World Bank Group. The IFC is investing up to $75 million and mobilizing $200 million of debt, while MIGA is providing a guarantee for 20 years, covering up to $215.6 million in commercial debt. The plant will be located in the Zarqa Industrial Zone and is being built at a cost of about $485 million.

“This will be a climate-friendly addition to Jordan’s power supply, with the use of combined-cycle gas turbine technology helping to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly compared to the plant it replaces,” said Rajit Nanda, ACWA Power’s chief investment officer.

The Zarqa plant is expected to generate a gross average of 3200 GW/hrs of electricity per year, serving approximately 620,000 individual residential customers and adding about 150 MW to the national grid.

The IFC’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, Mouayed Makhlouf, said: “IFC is a long-term partner for Jordan. We invested in the power generation sector in 2011 to, among other things, modernize older power plants using existing infrastructure, where possible. We are excited to see our long-term goal fulfilled, as the Zarqa plant will use the same site as the Hussein thermal power station, benefiting from existing infrastructure and a prime location near Amman and Zarqa.”

Sarvesh Suri, director of operations at MIGA, said that “the demand for power in Jordan is rising rapidly and among the best ways to meet this demand is modernizing Jordan’s power generation infrastructure.”

The IFC says its priority in Jordan is to help the government “restore the energy sector’s sustainability, and diversify the energy mix away from oil-based generation towards renewable and clean energy”.

Marine energy firm Atlantis in floating windfarm project

Marine energy company Atlantis Resources is to work on developing a floating offshore wind project in the UK with French wind technology company Ideol.

The ultimate aim is to develop a floating offshore windfarm of up to 1.5 GW, with a pre-commercial phase of up to 100 MW commissioned by 2021.

Ideol is a developer of offshore wind floating foundation solutions and already has two full-scale demonstration projects under construction in France and in Japan.

For Atlantis – which has tidal energy projects in the UK – the move into windpower follows its decision earlier this year to establish Atlantis Energy, a new division set up to expand into non-tidal stream project development. The new arm has, says Atlantis, “generated much interest from potential investors, developers and industrial partners”.

Under a MoU signed between the two firms, Atlantis will lead the review, selection and consenting of UK sites and attract third-party funding, while Ideol will design the technical concepts and be the exclusive provider for the floating foundation systems.

Atlantis said that “abundant offshore wind resources, governmental incentives and support frameworks – combined with extensive oil and gas, maritime and fixed offshore wind experience – will position the UK as one of the market leaders for floating wind projects”.

“Atlantis and Ideol intend to deliver the pathfinder project that will catalyze a boom in future floating offshore wind development.”

Atlantis chief executive Tim Cornelius said the MoU was “a significant step in our diversification strategy and leverages our existing skillset accumulated during the progression of our tidal portfolio”.

“To now be seeking to develop a large floating offshore wind project alongside the UK’s largest tidal stream project is truly exciting. We want to leverage Ideol’s expertise in designing, engineering, building and installing floating offshore wind substructures to bring UK consumers affordable, sustainable and secure power.”

Paul de la Guérivière, Ideol’s chief executive, said: “Our strategic goal is now focusing on the development of large commercial-scale windfarm projects with several opportunities currently under review in and outside of Europe. We are very excited by our partnership with an ambitious organization such as Atlantis which has demonstrated its unique ability to develop innovative projects and to catalyze financing from strategic investors, in particular in a key market for Ideol such as the UK.”

MAN Diesel in China CHP deal to replace coal plant

MAN Diesel & Turbo is supplying a compact gas turbine package for a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in China which will replace a coal-fired power station.

The company will collaborate with Chinese firm Guangdong Liyu New Energy Science & Technology to deliver the plant for ENN Ubiquitous Energy Network Technology, a subsidiary of the ENN Group, one of the largest private energy companies in China.

The plant will run on a MAN MGT-series gas turbine, which will produce approximately 6 MW of power and 12 MW of heat for an industrial zone in Huai’an in Jiangsu province.

“This order from China for the MGT series emphasizes how the energy production market is developing,” said Armin Haller, senior vice-president at MAN Diesel’s Sales & Contracts Industries Division. “There is an increased focus in the People’s Republic on emissions reduction and maximum efficiency in heat and power installations.”

MAN Diesel said that by replacing an existing coal-fired installation, the project “is a further contribution to the Chinese government’s aim of lowering emissions significantly by producing energy through highly efficient, gas-powered installations”.

Technology Update

Siemens in 3D printing gas turbine breakthrough

 

Siemens has successfully run a full load test of gas turbine blades made using 3D printing.

The breakthrough has prompted Willi Meixner, chief executive of Siemens Power and Gas Division, to say that 3D printing “is changing the way we manufacture by reducing the lead time for prototype development up to 90 per cent”.

The turbine blades are of a conventional design and were tested at full engine conditions at 13,000 revolutions per minute and at temperatures beyond 1250°C.

Siemens also tested a new blade design with a completely revised and improved internal cooling geometry, which was also manufactured using 3D printing.

The blades were made by Materials Solutions in the UK, a company which Siemens acquired last year, and the full load test was carried out at Siemens’ industrial gas turbine factory in Lincoln in England.

Willi Meixner, chief executive of Siemens’ Power and Gas Division, said the test was a breakthrough for the use of additive manufacturing in the power generation field, which he added was one of the most challenging applications for 3D printing.

“Additive Manufacturing is one of our main pillars in our digitalization strategy,” added Meixner.

“The successful tests were the result of a dedicated international project team with contributions from Siemens engineers in Finspång, Lincoln and Berlin together with experts from Materials Solutions.”

He said that “in just 18 months they completed the entire chain from component design and additive manufacturing material development to new methods for simulations and quality controls”.

The blades were installed in a Siemens 13 MW SGT-400 industrial gas turbine and are made out of a powder of high performing polycrystalline nickel superalloy, allowing them to endure high pressure, hot temperatures and the rotational forces of the turbine’s high-speed operation.

At full load, each of these turbine blades is travelling at over 1600 km/h and carrying 11 tonnes – the equivalent to a fully-loaded London bus – and is surrounded by gas at 1250°C and cooled by air at over 400°C.

RES deploys new windfarm data technology

Renewables company RES Group is to utilize a windpower data solution at one of its windfarms in France.

The Windfit solution has been developed by French company Sereema to help operators optimize energy production and maintenance strategies for wind farms.

Using embedded sensors, Windfit boxes are able to measure wind turbine activity and automatically transmit the information to a cloud platform. Using dedicated algorithms, it then processes the data in real time with the aim of providing a better understanding of the conditions of operation and allowing for a more effective diagnosis of the settings necessary for optimal yield on any windfarm.

RES will deploy Windfit group at the Claves windfarm in the south of France, which is equipped with six 1.75 MW turbines.

Renaud Chevallaz-Perrier, operations manager for RES in France, said: “The Windfit solution should help us more clearly identify the behaviour of the wind turbines and their interaction with the wind on this farm. The solution is simple to implement and should help us maximize production of each available kWh at the lowest price possible.”

The Claves windfarm has been operating since 2005 and supplies around 6000 homes.