December 2019 • Volume 12 • No 10 • Published monthly • ISSN 1757-7365
THE ENERGY INDUSTRY TIMES is published by Man in Black Media • www.mibmedia.com • Editor-in-Chief: Junior Isles • For all enquiries email: enquiries@teitimes.com
A year of change
DSOs and energy communities
could be the next innovation
disruptors. Page 13
Again it has been a year of change for
the waste-to-energy sector but progress
across the globe has been fragmented.
Page 14
News In Brief
Support needed for EU
countries hit by costs of
going green
EU member states hard hit by the
costs of going green should receive
support as they make the transition
away from coal, says the European
Investment Bank.
Page 2
US rolls back coal waste
Efforts by the Trump administration
to reduce the regulatory burden on
fossil fuel red power plants has
heightened the debate in the country
around climate change.
Page 4
China still too heavily
dependent on coal
In a move that threatens to offset
coal plant closures elsewhere in the
world, China is once again ramping
up the construction of coal red
Page 5
GB should target exibility
to reach net zero
Renewable energy generators in
Great Britain say more incentives
are needed to boost investment in
exibility to enable the net zero
targets to be achieved.
Page 7
Africa report highlights
investment needs
Improved energy policies will
help Africa to expand its economy
and achieve electrication goals,
according to the International
Energy Agency.
Page 8
Wind OEMs grow in strength
The global market for wind turbine
equipment is consolidating after a
decade of fragmentation, according
to analysts.
Page 9
Technology: Building a net
zero future
With more and more companies
pledging ambitious emissions
reduction targets, energy
management in buildings has
become a key focus of operations.
Page 15
or call +44 208 523 2573
Putting electricity systems on a sustainable path will require more than just adding more
renewables, according to the recently launched World Energy Outlook. It will call for a grand
coalition of all parties committed to tackling climate change. Junior Isles
Asia at the heart of climate change challenge
Final Word
The edge is where the
action is, says
Junior Isles.
Page 16
The International Energy Agency’s
recently released ‘World Energy Out-
look (WEO) 2019’ has stressed that
“rapid and widespread changes” across
all parts of the energy system are need-
ed to put the world on a path to a secure
and sustainable energy future.
Launching the organisation’s ag-
ship publication, Dr Fatih Birol, the
IEAs Executive Director, said: “The
world urgently needs to put a laser-
like focus on bringing down global
emissions. This calls for a grand coali-
tion encompassing governments, in-
vestors, companies and everyone else
who is committed to tackling climate
change. Our Sustainable Develop-
ment Scenario is tailor-made to help
guide the members of such a coalition
in their efforts to address the massive
climate challenge that faces us all.”
The IEA says that despite rapid
transformation in some parts of the
energy sector, the momentum behind
clean energy is insufcient to offset
the effects of an expanding global
economy and growing population.
The rise in emissions slows but does
not peak before 2040.
The Stated Policies Scenario, for-
merly known as the New Policies Sce-
nario, incorporates today’s policy in-
tentions and targets in addition to
existing measures. The aim is to hold
up a mirror to today’s plans and illus-
trate their consequences. The future
outlined in this scenario is still well off
track from the aim of a secure and sus-
tainable energy future.
Putting electricity systems on a sus-
tainable path will require more than
just adding more renewables, says the
IEA, noting that the world also needs
to focus on the emissions that are
“locked in” to existing systems. Over
the past 20 years, Asia has accounted
for 90 per cent of all coal red capac-
ity built worldwide, and these plants
potentially have long operational life-
times ahead of them.
This years WEO considers three
options to bring down emissions from
the existing global coal eet: to retrot
plants with carbon capture, utilisation
and storage or biomass co-ring
equipment; to repurpose them to focus
on providing system adequacy and
exibility; or to retire them earlier.
“What comes through with crystal
clarity in this years World Energy
Outlook is there is no single or simple
solution to transforming global energy
systems,” said Dr Birol. “Many tech-
nologies and fuels have a part to play
across all sectors of the economy.”
The IEA noted that greater energy
efciency is crucial to its Sustainable
Development Scenario. A sharp pick-
up in energy efciency improvements
does more than any other energy
Continued on Page 2
China and India will have to curb their
coal use if the world is to have any
chance of making its climate goals.
According to the International En-
ergy Agency’s recent ‘World Energy
Outlook (WEO) 2019’, coal is re-
sponsible for 30 per cent of all energy-
related carbon dioxide emissions,
making it the biggest single contribu-
tor to greenhouse gas emissions.
If the world is to limit the increase in
temperature as a result of climate
change to less than 2°C (3.6°F), it is
clear that coal consumption will have
to be reduced far more dramatically
than is currently forecast.
The International Energy Agency
(IEA) said that under its Stated Poli-
cies Scenario China’s coal use goes
from 2.83 billion tonnes of coal
equivalent to 2.84 billion in 2030 and
2.57 billion by 2040, but under the
Sustainable Development Path it
would need to drop to 2.07 billion by
2030 and 1.15 billion by 2040.
India’s demand was 586 million
tonnes of coal equivalent in 2018, and
the IEA forecasts this to rise to 938
million by 2030 and 1.16 billion by
2040 under the Stated Policies Sce-
nario, but to meet the sustainable de-
velopment scenario it would need to
be 546 million.
The two countries currently account
for 60.2 per cent of global electricity
generated by coal, according to data
from the Institute for Energy Eco-
nomics and Financial Analysis
The IEA suggests that India effec-
tively has to limit its coal demand to
current levels, while China will have
to cut its consumption by some 60 per
cent by 2040.
This would require a major change
in policy direction in both countries,
something that would be difcult to
achieve, both politically and nan-
cially. For China the challenge is
harder, given the size of its coal sector
and the subsequent cost of shifting
away from the fuel.
The IEA suggests China may be
able to deploy carbon capture and
storage systems on a large scale, but
this would be costly and there is cur-
rently little political impetus to make
this happen. Replacing coal with re-
newables, hydro or nuclear will also
be expensive, especially since the sus-
tainable development path would
mean retiring many coal red power
plants well ahead of their normal
lifespan of about 50 years.
Recent research by Wood Macken-
zie provided an indicator of the cost of
decarbonisation in the region. The
organisation indicates that Asia Pa-
cic’s decarbonisation bill could hit
$3.5 trillion by 2040. This includes
investments in solar, wind, hydrogen,
nuclear, and hydropower, collectively
referred to as zero-carbon energy be-
tween now and 2040, under Wood
Mackenzie’s accelerated transition
The majority of Asia Pacic’s de-
carbonisation bill will come from the
power and transport sectors, as both
accounted for over 50 per cent of the
region’s carbon emissions last year.
This signicant shift requires invest-
ment and support from all stakehold-
ers especially China and India.
World needs
“laser-like focus”
to bridge emissions
gap, says WEO
Dr Birol says there is no single or simple solution
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FEBRUARY 11 – 13, 2020
Asia News
Syed Ali
In a move that threatens to offset coal
plant closures and associated carbon
emissions elsewhere in the world,
China is once again ramping up the
construction of coal red plants as it
seeks to stimulate slowing economic
According to a report from Global
Energy Monitor, a non-prot group
that monitors coal stations, 148 GW of
coal red plants are either being built
or are about to begin construction. This
almost equals the current capacity of
the entire EU coal eet.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Ted
Nace, Head of Global Energy Monitor,
said the new coal plants would have a
signicant impact on China’s already-
increasing carbon emissions.
“What is being built in China is sin-
gle-handedly turning what would be
the beginning of the decline of coal,
into the continued growth of coal,” he
told the FT, adding that China was
“swamping” global progress in bring-
ing down emissions.
China halted construction of hun-
dreds of coal stations in 2016 amid
concerns over air pollution and over-
investment in coal. Many have since
been restarted, as the government
looks to boost an economy that is
growing at its slowest pace since the
early 1990s.
The Global Energy Monitor report
shows the pace of new construction
starts of Chinese coal stations rose 5
per cent in the rst half of 2019, against
the same period last year. About
121GW of coal power is actively under
construction in China, slightly lower
than the same point a year ago.
The ndings follow an announce-
ment in late October that China will
overhaul its coal red electricity pric-
ing terms. Effective 2020, the new
price of coal red electricity supplied
to the grid will comprise a benchmark
price plus a variable element with a
10 per cent ceiling and a 15 per cent
oor, with the aim of having a market-
driven approach to price coal red
electricity, and to further reduce end-
use electricity tariffs to cut manufac-
turing costs and boost the economy.
Wood Mackenzie believes this move
will have a signicant impact on both
the power and coal markets. The rm
calculates the average transaction
price will fall to around RMB330/
MWh, but this will still be about
RMB15/MWh above the breakeven
The change in tariff, it argues, could
mean renewable projects will face
challenges in 2020. In a press note,
Wood Mackenzie said: “Although re-
newables pricing has shifted to com-
petitive auctions (compared to feed-in
tariff previously), the coal on-grid tar-
iff remains a key reference when eval-
uating the economics of renewables
While projects sanctioned in 2020
and earlier will largely be unaffected,
subsidy-free or low-subsidy projects
approved from 2021 onwards will face
greater uncertainty. With limited-to-no
subsidies, new projects will be highly
sensitive to coal on-grid tariffs.”
n China has developed a giant offshore
wind turbine with a 210 m rotor diam-
eter, which will be put into production
soon, according to the science and
technology bureau of southwest Chi-
na’s Chongqing Municipality. The
wind turbine, coded H210-10MW, has
a capacity of 10 MW and is China’s
rst to have a rotor diameter of more
than 200 m. It was developed by HZ
Windpower, a subsidiary of the state-
owned China Shipbuilding Industry
More than half of India’s coal red
power plants ordered to retrot equip-
ment to curb air pollution are set to
miss the deadline, according to indus-
try estimates and a Reuters analysis.
India, which has some of the worst
air pollution levels in the world has a
phased plan for plants to comply with
new emission norms, with some plants
having until end-December 2019,
while others have up to the end of 2022
to comply. A total of 440 coal red units
that produce 166.5 GW have to comply
with the regulations by December
2022. These deadlines already repre-
sent an extension to a December 2017
A Reuters analysis of Central Elec-
tricity Authority (CEA) data indicates
267 units, which produce 103.4 GW
of power, have to be compliant be-
tween December 2019 and February
2022, which is 27 months from now.
Installations of ue gas desulphurisa-
tion (FGD) units, which cut sulphur
emissions, take about 27-30 months.
The data shows that of these, 224 units,
which produce 84.8 GW of power,
have not yet awarded contracts for in-
stalling FGD units.
That means at least 51 per cent of all
coal red units, which have the emis-
sion targets could fail to comply with
the deadlines.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB)
and Gulf PD Co Ltd have signed a
Bhat5.4 billion ($180 million) agree-
ment to build and operate a 2500 MW
combined cycle gas turbine power
plant in Rojana Rayong 2 Industrial
The project will build the fourth-
largest power plant and one of the
largest combined cycle gas turbine
power plants in Thailand. ADB Dep-
uty director-general for Private Sector
Operations Christopher Thieme said
the project will be key to the Eastern
Economic Corridor [EEC] develop-
ment plan, which is “considered as
the prime economic growth driver for
the country until 2028”.
The plant will be integral to Thai-
land’s energy security, given that more
than 8500 MW of ageing power plants
– equivalent to about 20 per cent of
current national energy capacity – will
be retired between 2020 and 2025.
China still too heavily
dependent on coal
Indian coal
plants to miss
retrot deadline
ADB supports gas
red generation
China is ramping up construction of coal red plants and cutting coal red electricity tariffs in an effort to boost
economic growth. The action not only threatens global efforts to combat climate change but could also jeopardize
renewable projects.
Asia News
In late November Neoen Australia said
it would expand the Hornsdale Power
Reserve in South Australia, already the
world’s biggest battery, by 50 per cent.
Neoen said the 100 MW/129 MWh
Tesla-built battery will see a 50
MW/64.5 MWh increase which will
help back-up the record inux of re-
newable generation in South Australia.
Minister for Energy and Emissions
Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the ex-
pansion will improve response times
on the worst days when demand is at
its highest and the wind is not blowing
and the sun is not shining.
“Projects like this, combined with the
gas and pumped hydro projects that are
coming online, are extremely impor-
tant to the future integration of renew-
able energy to the South Australian
grid,” said Taylor.
The battery expansion will provide
additional fast response capacity to
prevent tripping of the South Austra-
lian and Victorian interconnector, and
react to sudden changes in load. This
is expected to lead to a reduction in the
cost of procuring services to manage
the grid, ultimately resulting in savings
for consumers.
The expansion will showcase the
potential for grid scale batteries to
provide ‘virtual’ inertia, which in-
volves a contribution to the capability
of the power system to resist changes
in frequency and unlock new revenue
streams and commercial pathways for
other batteries.
Neoen will work with the Australian
Energy Market Operator to test the
potential for the battery to improve grid
security sufciently to allow an easing
of the current curtailment arrange-
ments for solar PV and wind generation
in South Australia.
As Australia’s electricity system is
changing, the large inux of intermit-
tent energy sources along with thermal
generator closures means new mea-
sures are needed to support reliability
in the National Electricity Market.
The changing market continues to
attract renewables companies. Last
month French energy company Engie
said it is developing an investment
fund in Australia designed to support
2000 MW of solar and wind energy
projects over the next 10 years, Reuters
Meanwhile Risen Energy Australia
said it has completed the construction
of its 100 MW Yarranlea solar park in
Queensland and expects commercial
operations to be launched at the start
of 2020 after “continuous testing”
needed to make it grid-compliant.
Also in in Queensland, Luminous
Energy, the UK-based international
solar and energy storage developer, an-
nounced the start of connection works
for its 162 MWac (202 MWdc) solar
Still, not all projects in the state have
gone smoothly. The Kennedy Energy
Park (KEP) in North Queensland,
which combines wind, solar and en-
ergy storage technologies, is unlikely
to reach full commercial operations in
the next four to ve months even
though it has been fully installed and
Windlab Ltd, one of the two compa-
nies behind the Kennedy Energy Park
project, said in an update that the EPC
contractor has failed to deliver in time
a fully functioning, compliant genera-
tor performance standard (GPS) mod-
el and electrical plant meeting the
network standards. This has so far
prevented the registration of the proj-
ect as a generator, which is key for
launching full commercial operation.
The Kennedy Energy complex com-
bines 43.2 MW of wind, 15 MW of
solar and 2 MW/4 MWh of Tesla bat-
tery storage capacity. It started gener-
ating limited volumes of power in
August 2019.
n AGL Energy Ltd.’s Barker Inlet
power plant began operations last
month, Australia’s rst major new fos-
sil fuel power station since 2012. The
A$295 million ($204 million), 210
MW facility in South Australia will
help supplement renewables, which
regularly meet more than 50 per cent
of the state’s power demand, the com-
pany said in a statement. The plant is
capable of reaching full capacity
within 5 minutes, AGL said.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Af-
fairs plans to set a goal of developing
further 10 GW of offshore wind ca-
pacity between 2026 and 2035. This
is in addition to the existing goal of
developing 5.7 GW of offshore wind
capacity by 2025.
Wind farms to be built from 2026
onward will have a bidding price
lower than the average price of elec-
tricity sold to users in 2025, said the
Ministry. The new plan will also con-
tain local content requirements.
The announcement was made dur-
ing the inauguration of the Formosa
1, Taiwan’s rst commercial offshore
wind farm, and follows the launch of
Formosa 2.
In late October, Siemens Gamesa
Renewable Energy (SGRE) was
awarded the contract to install 47 SG
8.0-167 DD offshore wind turbines at
the 376 MW project. Construction of
the project, located in Miaoli county,
is expected to begin in 2020. The park
is situated close to the site of For-
mosa 1, which consists of a total of
22 SGRE offshore wind turbines.
The project reached nancial close
at the end of October. Total funding
for the project of TWD 62.4 billion
($2.1 billion) will be nanced by a
consortium of 20 international and
local Taiwanese nancial institutions.
The project is being led by Macqua-
rie’s Green Investment Group, the
lead project sponsor, and Swancor
Renewable Energy. UK Export Fi-
nance (UKEF) has provided a
TWD9.2 billion project nance guar-
antee to support British ompanies
involved in the construction.
Pakistan took a signicant step to-
wards its goal of generating 20 per cent
of its electricity from non-hydro re-
newable sources by 2025 after secur-
ing nancing for six wind projects.
Last month the International Finance
Corporation (IFC), a member of the
World Bank Group, issued a press re-
lease saying that it has led the nancing
of a rst-of-its-kind programme to
build six wind power projects in the
country, named the Super Six.
The IFC’s total investment in the
project is $450 million, which will help
deliver cleaner, cheaper power to meet
the country’s critical demand for en-
ergy and reduce reliance on expensive
imported fossil fuels. With this pro-
gramme, the IFC will have made in-
vestments in 11 wind power projects
in Pakistan.
The Super Six plants, with a com-
bined capacity of up to 310 MW will
be built in the Jhimpir wind corridor
in Sindh province and will generate
more than 1000 GWh hours of electric-
ity annually.
“The government is aiming to in-
crease the non-hydro renewable en-
ergy share in the overall generation mix
from 4 per cent to 20 per cent by 2025
and it is welcoming to see Pakistan’s
local private sector behind these Super
Six wind projects, supporting the gov-
ernment’s long-term objective to see
more wind and solar in the country’s
energy mix,” said Federal Minister for
Energy, Omar Ayub.
The cost of power from the Super Six
projects is expected to be more than 40
per cent lower than the current average
cost of generation.
The nancing was secured after the
Alternative Energy Development
Board (AEDB) signed Implementa-
tion Agreements with the representa-
tives of 11 wind power projects with a
capacity of around 560 MW.
S. Australia puts faith in
renewables plus batteries
Taiwan aims to add another
10 GW of offshore wind
Pakistan secures wind project nance
South Australia is continuing to demonstrate its faith in a renewables-based electricity system with announcements of
new investments in solar and battery projects. Syed Ali
Industry Perspective
eecting upon what could be
seen as a simple change, from
high-carbon centralised gen-
eration assets to low-carbon distrib-
uted assets, the energy transition
brings many technical and deep eco-
nomical and socio-cultural challeng-
es. From a eld mostly dominated
by incumbents, the energy sector
now nds other industries knocking
at its door. In Europe it is becoming
the scene of many innovative busi-
ness models and, at last, we see indi-
viduals, small organisations and
players from other sectors forming
energy communities to accelerate the
pace of change, wanting to own part
of the transition and to locally retain
benets from this revolution.
The increase of distributed energy
resources (DERs) such as in the
Nordics where installed capacity in-
creased by approximately 46 per
cent between 2005 and 2017 is
changing the nature of interactions
between buildings, districts, cities,
and the overarching energy system.
The impact and control level of dis-
tributed assets on the grid varies de-
pending on their nature and connec-
tion type. On the medium-voltage,
assets such as CHP and wind tur-
bines can be seen, whereas at low-
voltage levels, there is the emer-
gence of residential assets such as
heat pumps, solar PV and electric
vehicles (EVs).
While the higher penetration of
DERs may have positive impacts on
the grid with energy loss reduction
and possible reduction of voltage
uctuations, it can also create new
congestion problems. We have seen
such an issue in the Netherlands,
when after a successful campaign to
incentivise the uptake of solar PV,
the grid did not have enough capac-
ity to cope with the extra electricity
generation. Now, while Dutch oper-
ators struggle to connect new gener-
ation assets, grid reinforcement
deferral (copper in the ground) is
seen as a temporary solution. By us-
ing the platform GOPACS, exibili-
ty providers can place orders on an
energy trading platform.
The platform GOPACS was found-
ed by the Dutch network operators
including the Transmission System
Operator (TSO) Tennet, all the
Dutch Distribution System Opera-
tors (DSOs), and the spot market ex-
change ETPA in order to provide
exibility for DSOs. This gives
DSOs a way of managing congestion
whilst maintaining TSO system re-
quirements, and gives providers an
additional revenue stream option. By
including their location data,
GOPACS checks if an order can
solve DSO congestion requirements.
The platform uses existing intraday
energy markets, and coordinates
with the TSO to reduce congestion
The pace of change to solve the de-
carbonisation of Europe creates new
problems of network management
for system operators. As we saw
with the example of the GOPACS
platform, amongst proactive solu-
tions is the development of new
ways of using demand-response with
a trend toward a bottom-up approach
of procuring exibility. We see the
emergence of three levels of de-
mand-side exibility (DSF) – turn-
ing down demand loads, using bat-
teries for example to provide
short-term power boosts, dispatching
local generators, etc. – to manage the
grid; at the transmission level with
voltage and frequency management,
at the distribution level with conges-
tion management, and at the local
level with local grid management
and support to the distribution net-
work. Indeed, we see a trend towards
DERs becoming increasingly man-
aged within local energy systems
(LES). The use of DSF at these three
levels will necessitate better TSO-
DSO coordination and better DSO-
LES coordination. This clearly puts
DSOs at a central pivotal point, us-
ing DSF as a strategy to decrease
network management costs, invest-
ment costs, and working in coordina-
tion with LES to minimise the cre-
ation of new congestions, ideally
using them as one exible asset.
At Delta-EE, whilst exploring the
uptake of DSOs procuring commer-
cial solutions for DSF across differ-
ent countries in Europe, it became
clear that the competitive dynamics
of exibility markets are being re-
drawn. The new EU ‘Clean Energy
for All Europeans’ legislative pack-
age sets new rules for DSOs, encour-
aging them to procure exibility as
one of the cost-effective solutions to
solving grid issues. The Member
States must translate this into a regu-
latory framework.
The nal national regulation and
the pace of implementation are key
drivers, which can provide commer-
cial advantages and opportunities.
DSOs and other exibility stake-
holders such as aggregators and
suppliers, by being ahead of the
learning curve in their home mar-
ket, could seize interesting market
shares from this new value stream
and be ready to penetrate other mar-
ket with the strong advantage of be-
ing established. Meanwhile, smaller
and less innovative DSOs may not
rest on their laurels operating busi-
On the one hand, there are already
many lessons to be learnt from early
movers. On the other hand, DSOs
may be accountable to new stake-
holder types who could threaten con-
cession renewals for those like in
Germany who are typically granted
concession contracts to operate the
grids, while local authorities keep
the grid’s ownership. We have seen
such a case when back in 2013 in
Berlin, the cooperative BuergerEner-
gie Berlin (Citizen Energy Berlin),
unsatised with the Vattenfall sub-
sidiary Stromnetz Berlin and criti-
cised for not embracing the transi-
tion fast enough, decided to compete
against the DSO for control of the
grid. Finally, in 2019, Stromnetz lost
the grid concession rights to the Ger-
man city of Berlin for a period of 20
From our study on DSO exibility,
it seems clear that DSOs are on
board to embark on the innovative
journey of delivering DSF solutions
commercially, and have unique op-
portunities to develop new exibility
markets, ensure better margins, and
secure concession renewals.
Coming back to LES, it is a term
that encompasses many types of lo-
cal systems, including, for example,
systems with energy generation
owned and managed by energy com-
munities, systems functioning under
specic models such as the Collec-
tive Self-Consumption model in
France, Belgium or Spain, the Miet-
erstrom model in Germany, but as
well including some smart-grids sys-
tems, local energy market systems,
and microgrids with islanding capac-
ity, to name some of the varied local
systems developing in Europe.
The soaring number of DERs con-
nected on networks is accompanied
by a growth in LES creation with
several drivers: lower capex with im-
proved performance and falling costs
of assets; innovative platforms for
balancing and optimising LES; inno-
vating trading platforms; multiplica-
tion of investment sources such as
crowdfunding platforms; the ‘Clean
Energy Package’ providing a posi-
tive legal framework for energy
communities, which is being trans-
lated into national regulation.
Depending on the nature of the
projects, other factors may inuence
the creation of a LES. For instance,
some industrial players may struggle
with high electricity grid connection
costs and mitigate it by requesting a
lower capacity grid connection and
integrate DERs onsite, and some de-
velopers may mitigate the time it
takes to get grid connection approval
by creating a microgrid.
The term ‘local energy systems’
covers a wide diversity of local sys-
tems in terms of architectures, own-
ership and business models, at both
local and national levels. This holis-
tic approach allows us to draw com-
parisons and provide analysis on
market dynamics. From our research
across different types of LES, we see
three general trends in Europe:
n a rise in energy communities and
their inuence as European
n a race amongst industry
stakeholders to nd protable and
replicable LES business models.
This comes after the withdrawal of
support mechanisms in Europe such
as the Feed-in-Tariffs;
n and a rise of industry stakeholders
seeking to shift their business
models to new paradigms involving
energy communities.
Navigating and succeeding in the
complex world of LES requires an
understanding of the many challeng-
es and opportunities paving the way.
These include the relationship with
network operators, the legal aspects,
such as in France with the overly
complex creation of an entity (Per-
sonne Morale Organisatrice PMO)
to create a Collective Self-Consump-
tion project, but also the different
stakeholders’ motivations.
Regarding the latter, industry
stakeholders should not underesti-
mate the importance of grasping and
adapting new driver types, not nec-
essarily based on what might seem
like ‘logical thinking’. Energy com-
munities can be composed of indi-
viduals, SMEs and local authorities
including municipalities. Within one
community, conicting motivations
may be found. While the point of
one participant could be to inter-
nalise environmental and climate
change costs, for another the motive
would be to source their energy lo-
cally and hence retain the benets
The fragmented nature of LES and
their stakeholders explains why nd-
ing replicable and protable business
models proves to be such a difcult
task. However, this represents a fan-
tastic eld of opportunities, for ex-
ample energy communities procur-
ing exibility at the DSO level, but
moreover for all stakeholders includ-
ing DSOs, utilities, aggregators and
communities to create un-siloed ap-
proaches for effective and fair busi-
ness models.
Rita Desmyter is Research Analyst,
Local Energy Systems at Delta-EE.
There is a trend towards distributed energy resources becoming increasingly managed within local energy systems.
This clearly puts Distribution System Operators at a central pivotal point, using demand side exibility as a strategy
to decrease network management costs, investment costs, and working in coordination with local energy systems to
minimise the creation of new congestion, ideally using them as one exible asset, says Delta-EE’s
Rita Desmyter.
Desmyter: the competitive dynamics of exibility markets are
being re-drawn
Energy communities and DSOs:
the next innovation disruptors?
production waste into an SRF.
Co-processing facilities are not the
only innovators of course, nor are all
innovators large in size. But they do
often attract a signicant share of the
spotlight. And awareness plays an
important part in inspiring others to
think differently when it comes to
External factors will continue to
encourage further WtE change across
the globe too. China’s ban on plastic
waste imports has rocked the waste
industry – not just in the USA but
worldwide – so many operators are
going back to the drawing board
when it comes to their preferred treat-
ment methods and routes to market.
This will see progress accelerate in
Public perception is another extra-
neous variable that requires careful
management. While consumers are
generally becoming more vocal
about their passion for the planet,
many still don’t want to live in close
proximity to a WtE plant. In the
USA, this is perhaps because some
mass burn facilities built in the 1980s
don’t really represent what modern
WtE technologies are truly capable
of. They haven’t always taken ad-
vantage of the latest pre-treatment
methodologies, which ensure that
WtE operations are scientic, so-
phisticated and incredibly clean.
This has left communities worrying
about the atmospheric implications
of RDF/SRF sites, so there’s a huge
educational task to tackle, in banish-
ing present-day misconceptions.
Armed with incentives such as a
carbon credit – as is being offered in
Canada – more businesses in the USA
may sit up and pay attention to the
potential that exists surrounding fuels
such as RDF, SRF and biomass. There
is denitely untapped potential and
2020 could be the year this starts to be
unlocked. We’re bolstering our team
with the addition of more RDF/SRF
specialists to reect our condence in
the market.
Bernhard Martinz is President of
waste shredding specialist, UNTHA
America; Gary Moore is Director of
Global Business Development.
he utilisation of waste as an
energy source is not a new con-
cept. Think about wood for
example – as one of the world’s oldest
materials, it has been used to generate
heat for thousands of years. But, as
environmental thinking has evolved,
so too have efforts to prioritise the re-
use and recycling of wood, before it
is burned. And when it does come to
incineration, rened processing meth-
ods mean that a specied biomass fuel
can now be created for maximum heat
efciency and therefore optimum en-
vironmental gain.
However, even the use of wood – a
widely acknowledged energy source
– varies from country to country. In
places like Kenya and Nigeria, it re-
mains a primary source of raw do-
mestic energy, and the simplest of
scraps can help generate much needed
heat. In European nations such as
Germany, Sweden and Latvia, market
demand centres upon the consump-
tion of a comparatively sophisticated
biomass fuel, with these countries
reported to be consuming around 74
per cent of the world’s pellets.
There’s a mixed picture back in
North America. Pre-consumer wood
waste has been virtually eliminated,
but the level of wood debris in MSW
(Municipal Solid Waste) and C&D
(construction and demolition)
streams, shows there’s still room for
improvement, with millions of tons
of such recoverable material still
available, per year.
Some people – perhaps those out-
side of the industry – will be surprised
to read this of such a developed
country. But here lies a key point. The
global waste landscape is extremely
fragmented, particularly when it
comes to waste-to-energy. This
doesn’t just apply to the USA and
Canada. And it can’t just be said for
European countries like Germany,
Denmark and Austria have been har-
nessing the potential of alternative
fuels such as Refuse Derived Fuel
(RDF) and Solid Recovered Fuel
(SRF), for decades. Their waste infra-
structures are therefore unsurprisingly
advanced. Investment has been sig-
nicant and WtE plants are often even
considered something for the com-
munity to be proud of. Elsewhere in
Europe there is a very different picture
entirely, with countries such as Ro-
mania, Bulgaria and areas within the
Baltic states having a long way to go.
In Asia, Singapore has arguably led
the way in waste being recognised as
a national resource. Conversely in
other developing economies such as
Vietnam – where a waste collection
system barely exists – there is much
more work to be done.
This goes to show that it isn’t pos-
sible to paint a generic WtE picture
for one continent – or even a nation.
In the USA, attitudes towards WtE
are equally divided.
To a certain degree, legislation – or
the lack of it – has a part to play in
this. The EU Waste Directive – and
more specically the waste hierarchy
– guides environmental conscience in
much of Europe and encourages ev-
eryone to think about the prioritised
actions for ‘waste’ handling.
In parts of the same continent, the
ban of certain high-caloric ‘wastes’
from landll, has also driven signi-
cant environmental progress. The fear
of regulatory non-compliance – and
the scal penalties associated with
this – has almost forced those in the
waste industry to think differently
about what to do with materials that
still contain a vast amount of resource
In North America, on the other
hand, standpoints vary from state to
state due to the absence of a federal
law. Some momentum is gathering in
Canada and certain US states, but
waste contractors – and businesses in
general – are not obligated to do
anything, which remains a fundamen-
tal reason why much depends on the
initiative and commitment of indi-
vidual organisations.
This is not to say legislation is the
only factor that drives innovation, al-
though it undeniably plays a crucial
part, certainly in motivating the
Commercial factors naturally come
into play too. Linked to the above
point, the introduction of a landll tax
was a huge catalyst for the UK better
committing to the aforementioned
waste hierarchy. The hike in the levy
– which rose to £80 per ton in 2013
and now stands in excess of £90 –
meant that disposing of waste wasn’t
nancially feasible anymore.
In the USA, landll charges are
typically low. An UNTHA client in
Texas, for example, could dispose of
trash for as little as $30-35 per ton.
The incentive to invest in waste
treatment technologies that would
enable landll to be avoided, is
therefore limited – irrespective of
environmental gain.
But this client identied rising
global demand for WtE fuels, not to
mention mounting societal pressures
to be kinder to the planet. They’ve
therefore worked hard to design an
intelligent yet economical SRF pro-
duction plant able to manufacture a
renewable energy source for a limited
cost per ton.
The commercial viability of an RDF
or SRF manufacturing plant is height-
ened when there is a guaranteed off-
taker of the fuel. This goes some way
to explaining why co-processing fa-
cilities are growing in number in parts
of the world, including the USA.
Energy-intensive operations such as
cement kilns are increasingly moving
towards the production of their own
SRF for example, to reduce their reli-
ance on the world’s depleting fossil
fuels, secure their energy feedstock,
lower the clinker factor in their n-
ished cement and contribute to a more
circular economy. This therefore sees
them source, process and transform
waste themselves – sometimes with
the help of a local partner – to produce
their own RDF/SRF either on site or
at an adjacent facility.
The global nature of many such
operations then promotes more wide-
spread deployment of this co-pro-
cessing approach, almost irrespective
of local WtE attitudes.
It is perhaps inevitable that co-pro-
cessing facilities will become increas-
ingly popular in 2020 and beyond,
regardless of environmental legisla-
tion in the countries concerned.
Larger organisations often have more
dened ‘green’ agendas and are com-
monly looked to as the pioneers for
change within industries such as WtE.
Their appreciation for the WtE po-
tential of different input materials is
also inspiring. While MSW and C&I
waste is probably still the most com-
mon RDF/SRF application – on the
whole – the potential doesn’t end
there. The transformation of ‘waste’
textiles, carpets and mattresses into
an energy source, is becoming in-
creasingly common, for instance.
And not just in the Western world. In
Vietnam, UNTHA has been involved
in a project to convert footwear
Energy Outlook
It has once again
been a year of
change for the waste-
to-energy sector, but
it would be naïve to
think that – when it
comes to alternative
fuel production –
there has been
unied progress
across the globe.
Here, UNTHA’s
Bernhard Martinz
and Gary Moore
reect on the evolving
WtE landscape
in the USA and
further aeld, before
predicting what 2020
may have in store.
A year in WtE and what
lies ahead
Martinz: The global waste landscape is extremely fragmented,
particularly when it comes to waste-to-energy
Moore: There is denitely untapped potential and 2020 could be
the year this starts to be unlocked
With more and more companies pledging ambitious emissions reduction targets to support climate change goals,
energy management in buildings has become a key focus of operations. Siân Crampsie
n July 2019, 28 companies from
around the world with a com-
bined market capitalisation of
$1.3 trillion stepped up to a new
level of climate ambition in re-
sponse to a call-to-action campaign
led by the UN.
Just two months later, at the UN
Climate Summit in New York, that
number had grown to 87 companies
with a combined market capitalisa-
tion of over $2.3 trillion and annual
direct emissions equivalent to 73
coal red power plants.
The initiative – known as Business
Ambition for 1.5°C – is backed by
the United Nations Global Compact,
the Science Based Targets initiative
(SBTi) and the We Mean Business
coalition, and commits signatories to
setting climate targets across their
operations aligned with limiting
global temperature rise to 1.5°C
above pre-industrial levels and
reaching net-zero emissions by no
later than 2050.
The initiative is a sign of the grow-
ing movement towards socially re-
sponsible corporate culture and the
realisation that sustainable practises
make good business sense – provid-
ing opportunities to both save money
and grow revenues.
“There is a new attitude towards
climate and sustainability,” said
Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and
CEO of Schneider Electric, one of
the initiative’s signatories, speaking
at the company’s own Innovation
Summit in Spain in October. “We
will look for efciencies throughout
our value chain… It will make us
more competitive by reducing
Like other signatories to the pact,
which include Deutsche Telekom,
EDP, Ørsted, Suez, Enel and Accio-
na, Schneider will work to ensure
that all parts of its business value
chain – and those of its suppliers –
are aligned with the 1.5°C target.
The company has already achieved
net zero status in 13 of its own build-
ings, and says that digital technolo-
gies will make the transformation
needed possible. “Our sites deliver
energy efciency year on year; a
number of them enjoy on-site pro-
duction of renewable electricity, and
in some cases microgrids and energy
storage. Net-zero carbon innovation
is technologically possible today and
makes economic sense,” said Xavier
Houot, Schneider Electric’s Senior
Vice President Global Safety, Envi-
ronment, Real Estate.
According to the World Green
Building Council (WorldGBC), the
building and construction sector is
responsible for around 30 per cent of
global energy consumption and
GHG emissions. Meanwhile Archi-
tecture 2030, a non-prot group,
states that approximately two-thirds
of the building area that exists today
will still exist in 2050, but building
renovations affect only 0.5-1 per
cent of the building stock annually.
This means that to meet Paris cli-
mate targets, existing buildings must
be renovated at an accelerated rate
and to net zero carbon standards, so
that all buildings operate at net zero
carbon by 2050.
Schneider itself has calculated that
50 per cent of global CO
could be eliminated by 2040 if digi-
tally enabled energy saving mea-
sures were implemented in just half
of existing buildings. Achieving net
zero in 13 of its own sites – includ-
ing a factory in Wuhan, China, and a
logistics centre in Spain – helped the
company to a 22 per cent reduction
in CO
emissions in 2018 over 2017.
Overall, Schneider has achieved
over 30 per cent energy savings
globally in its operations over the
last ten years. Some 45 per cent of
its operations are powered by renew-
able energy.
Digital energy management sys-
tems are well-placed to enable the
energy transformation in the build-
ings sector, Schneider says. Plat-
forms with open, interoperable archi-
tectures and internet-of-things (IoT)
ability can deliver safe, reliable and
sustainable solutions for companies
seeking energy savings measures.
Schneiders EcoStruxure platform
uses advancements in IoT, sensing,
cloud, analytics and cybersecurity to
connect devices including meters,
drives and PV systems with soft-
ware, apps and analytics to make
buildings ‘smarter and greener.
Schneider Electric has deployed its
EcoStruxure digital energy manage-
ment solutions to help it achieve
emission reductions in its buildings,
and can point to other examples of
success stories in the buildings sec-
tor. At Swansea University in Wales,
digital energy management solutions
have reduced energy consumption as
well as given operators improved in-
sight into carbon footprints, cyberse-
curity and costs.
Swansea University began its
transformation in 2013 with plans
for a £500 million campus transfor-
mation programme. The programme
involved the renovation of the exist-
ing Singleton Park Campus, along-
side development of the new Bay
Campus, with work scheduled to be
completed in 2020.
With a mix of old and new assets,
Swansea University faced the chal-
lenge of tying together the opera-
tions of the two campuses, while
modernising its existing systems. It
identied Schneiders EcoStruxure
Building architecture as an ideal
EcoStruxure Building combines
Schneider Electric’s building man-
agement software and connected
hardware to connect everything in a
facility, from sensors to services,
through a single smart building IoT
platform. By facilitating data ex-
change between energy, HVAC and
re safety systems, the system
serves as a comprehensive solution
for building automation, control and
Other capabilities identied by the
team at Swansea University include
EcoStruxure’s open integration
across buildings, systems and tech-
nologies. The data, outputs, and in-
sights provided fed directly into
plans for the next phase of develop-
ment. This gradual upgrade saved
the University the cost of having to
perform a complete upgrade, avoid-
ing the disruption caused by switch-
ing from one integrated solution to
another. This ensured the new
system’s compatibility with the ex-
isting Singleton Campus and al-
lowed for the development of the
Bay Campus.
The project gave the University
greater visibility over its carbon
footprint, building and third-party
system performance. By ensuring
that the new EcoStruxure Building
Operation system continued to com-
municate with the legacy infrastruc-
ture, building managers can see and
control all their systems and infor-
mation through a single interface.
With the integration of EcoStruxure
Energy Expert and EcoStruxure
Building Operation, the University
has also been able to use its existing
network architecture to collect pow-
er monitoring information without
causing disruption or major replace-
ment works.
EcoStruxure Energy Expert also
provided the team with a better over-
all view of the University’s energy
usage and electrical network health,
whilst providing basic power quality
information. “The wealth of informa-
tion obtained from EcoStruxure En-
ergy Expert helped us recognise the
need for more granularity in our criti-
cal power applications,” said Christo-
pher Lewis, BMS Manager at Swan-
sea University. “Therefore, we are
now investing in Schneider Electric’s
EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Ex-
pert solution for our datacentres.”
Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure
Building solution is currently being
used to oversee the University’s
BMS and to control district heating
systems, ensuring energy efciency.
It is enabling the monitoring of sys-
tem alerts ranging from critical re
and safety alarms through to pump
failures. It is also playing a pivotal
role in reducing energy consumption,
and will enable departments to better
understand their energy costs and
carbon footprint through onsite dash-
The EcoStruxure Building solution
has facilitated the combined opera-
tions of the two campuses. The lega-
cy Schneider Vista system, which
continues to be a crucial part of the
older Singleton Campus, is fully inte-
grated with the upgraded EcoStruxu-
re Building Operation platform on
the Singleton and Bay Campuses.
Given the high levels of compatibili-
ty and the bespoke, modular nature
of EcoStruxure, the upgrade or com-
plete replacement of the Vista infra-
structure can be done incrementally,
whilst aligned with budget and plan-
ning cycles, as opposed to a one-off,
costly investment.
Lewis continued: “The EcoStruxu-
re architecture has been very success-
ful in bringing the campuses together
into one front end. It has dramatically
improved on-site engineering ef-
ciency, ensured point-to-point cyber-
security and opened the door to the
Internet of Things.”
Swansea University is now expand-
ing the EcoStruxure Building system
to monitor additional room condi-
tions, including HVAC and lighting.
The upgrade of the Singleton Cam-
pus will continue for the next two
years to bring its smaller metering-
only installations onto the central
Net zero: building a future
Tricoire says “there is a new
attitude” towards climate and
Final Word
s the move towards renewables
and decentralisation gathers
momentum in an increasingly
decarbonised world, there is a real fo-
cus around exibility and how it can
be facilitated. That much was clear at
this years European Utility Week.
Speaking on the sidelines of the
conference, Andy Bradley, Director of
the global energy research and consul-
tancy services organisation, Delta-EE,
said: “The hot topics we are seeing
around exibility include demand re-
sponse – both for energy companies
and network system operators. We are
also seeing a lot of activity around
energy communities and e-mobility.”
The need for exibility, he says,
provides threats and opportunities.
“The network operators see the threat
of a less stable energy system in future
because of the increasing amount of
renewables on the system and rapid
change in demand proles through
electrication of heat or transport. But
the energy suppliers and commercial
companies see the opportunity of
commercialising new technologies for
their customers, and maybe therefore
creating the problem, but also solving
the problem by creating platforms
such as aggregation platforms, and
peer-to-peer trading models that actu-
ally provide service to the energy
system to keep it in balance.”
And the opportunities are there not
just for energy companies but also for
those outside of the sector. Car
companies are a good example. EVs
are likely to play a big role in provid-
ing exibility in the future. Being the
company that has control over those
assets, and having access to cars that
are parked for most of the day, is
potentially a big prize. This could see
car companies become a different
type of company in the future if they
choose to.
“If you’re going to sell an EV, then
why not be the company that controls
that EV and provides exibility ser-
vices to the energy system?” said
Bradley. “It’s what makes this such a
fascinating space right now. There’s
this convergence of industries, in a
way. There are organisations that have
never been in energy, and never
wanted to be in energy, that now have
the option of engaging in the energy
sector because of connectivity and
There was one such move earlier this
year when Japanese car manufacturer
Honda announced that it would build
a portfolio of energy management
products and services to offer a com-
prehensive solution for EV customers
and service operators throughout Eu-
rope, starting with agreements with
two companies in particular; battery
storage rm Moixa and EV charging
solutions provider Ubitricity.
Moixa’s GridShare software enables
aggregation and smart charging of
batteries in response to grid signals.
This provides additional value from
aggregating battery eets to provide
GWh scale virtual power plants to help
balance the grid.
Simon Daniel, CEO of Moixa said:
“Japan is growing at 10 MWh per
month and will probably get to about
0.25 GWh in the next 18 months, and
that’s before we start working with
additional EVs and other types of
technology in the market. Honda has
asked us to be its smart charging
partner for Europe and we will be
doing a lot more projects with EV
charging. “
The need for exibility and grid
balancing also brings opportunities for
everyday household consumers who
are now able to take part in commu-
nity energy schemes. Energy com-
munities could help to enable the
exibility potential of customers and
therefore more effectively integrate
renewables and technologies such as
EVs into the grid. With its “Clean
Energy for all Europeans” package
(CEP) initially published on 30 No-
vember 2016, the European Commis-
sion proposed for the rst time to
formally recognise community energy
projects in European legislation.
Denmark and Germany probably
provide the two best practice examples
for community energy generation.
Denmark focuses on wind power
plants, while Germany also invests in
solar projects.
The most recent of these projects is
the Brunnthal scheme near Munich
currently being executed by Green-
Com Networks. GreenCom says it
expects to signup its rst customers
before the end of this year. “The long
term goal of the project is to have the
whole community CO
neutral,” said
Klaus Müller, GreenCom’s Marketing
Manager. “In order to push that, we
want to motivate people to use electric-
ity that is generated in the community,
so we will incentivise local production
and consumption.”
Residents of Brunnthal will get a
bonus of 1 eurocent/kWh on top of
the feed-in tariff if they consume less
than they produce, and a discount of
3 eurocents/kWh for what they con-
sume during periods of oversupply.
“The goal of this project is not to
make money but to show that a
community [energy scheme] can
actually work,” explained Müller.
“Going forward we will license the
connectivity, optimisation, visuali-
sation and billing of our product. We
hope to help other utilities, communi-
ties and municipalities to establish
such communities.”
Community energy schemes, where
consumers can take advantage of
rooftop solar PV and smart meter
technology, could be a real contributor
to a decarbonised future, especially in
developing countries.
Linda Jackman, Vice President of
Strategy EMEA, Oracle Utilities,
noted: “They are doing a lot of this,
especially in Africa and India, where
they are looking at this idea of doing
distributed grids and the whole con-
cept of microgrids. It means you’re not
building massive transmission towers.
Transmission losses in India are as
much as 50 per cent; so you are build-
ing twice as much generation as you
actually need.
“So if there’s one single investment
the rest of the world needs to make,
it’s to help developing nations build
networks where you are not reliant on
massive transmission and centralised
generation. You then have greater
control over that localised generation,
where the fuel mix could solar PV,
run-of-river hydro, batteries or a
number of technologies that ensure a
lower carbon future.”
Siemens sees the decentralisation
space as an interesting one. Speaking
at the EUW keynote and later at a
media roundtable, Cedrik Neike
Member of the Management Board of
Siemens AG and responsible for the
Smart Infrastructure business, noted
that the company was restructuring to
focus on the energy transition.
“We think that most of the innovation
will be in the decentralised energy
space… there will be much more
electricity, that will be much more
intermittent, and needs to be balanced.
This means the grids will need to be
much more intelligent,” he said. “The
prosumer also has to be much more
intelligent, and these two meet at what
we call the grid edge.”
Neike was speaking as the company
unveiled a new Grid Diagnostic Suite,
which includes cloud-based applica-
tions that collect data from new or
existing eld devices for protection,
distribution automation and power
quality. This data is then stored and
analysed in the cloud.
Dr Michael Weinhold, Chief Tech-
nology Ofcer (CTO) of Siemens
Smart Infrastructure commented:
“The load side, or grid edge is becom-
ing more and more active. It’s not like
in former days where, like in Ger-
many for example, there were a
couple hundred centralised power
stations and the load was passive.
Today in Germany there are more
than 1 million solar PV rooftops that
interact with the grid.”
This increasing activity at the grid
edge is seeing a proliferation of solu-
tions aimed at unlocking new value for
utilities. EUW 2019 saw Landis+Gyr
introduce its Gridstream Connect IoT
platform to help utilities “master their
present and future challenges in pro-
viding grid exibility resiliency and
Landis+Gyr says the platform lever-
ages intelligence at the grid edge and
across distribution systems for more
efcient management of energy ca-
pacity, the integration of renewables
and enhanced consumer engagement.
Igeneia Stefanidou Head of Prod-
uct Management Grid Edge at
Landis+Gyr, said: “With decarbonisa-
tion we see the production shift from
higher voltage levels to lower voltage
levels as solar panels are connected to
low voltage grids. This creates the
need for more digitalisation – utilities
need to digitalise their low voltage
systems in the same way they have for
their high voltage systems.”
Digitalisation will not only be a fa-
cilitator of the energy transition but
will be an accelerator. And as the en-
ergy sector is on the edge of massive
change, all eyes will be focused on
what is happening at the grid edge.
Living on the edge
Junior Isles
Cartoon: jemsoar.com