October 2021 • Volume 14 • No 8 • 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
Special Supplement
Coal: an obstacle and a
TEI Times discusses why
the grid is central the global
decarbonisation effort.
China’s approach to the coal
power sector might actually drive
decarbonisation. Joseph Jacobelli
explains. Page 14
News In Brief
China’s retreat from coal
plant seen as boost for
climate talks
China’s recent promise to stop
nancing new coal power
plants overseas has been hailed
as “signicant” in light of the
upcoming COP26 climate summit.
Page 2
Brazil’s drought boosts
expansion of wind and solar
President Jair Bolsonaro has called
on Brazilians to save energy to
prevent hydroelectric plants from
shutting down.
Page 4
Australia’s Offshore
Electricity Infrastructure Bill
“not up to scratch”
Australia has introduced its rst
offshore electricity legislation in
parliament but the bill is not up to
scratch, according to some experts.
Page 5
Denmark ready to support
energy island and green
A tender will be launched next year
for Denmark’s planned 10 GW
North Sea energy island hub, after
terms for the project were conrmed
by legislators.
Page 7
EDF eyes GE French nuclear
steam turbine ops
EDF is holding exploratory
negotiations over the possible
acquisition of General Electric’s
nuclear steam power unit.
Page 9
Industry Perspective:
harnessing hydrogen’s full
With the ability to develop hydrogen
at scale and storage now part of
the equation, some argue the hype
around hydrogen is justied.
Page 13
Technology Focus: Injecting
inertia into the energy
A service to accurately measure
system inertia in real-time will
give grid operators better visibility
of network conditions as growing
renewables penetration threatens
system stability.
Page 15
or call +44 208 523 2573
Soaring gas prices and the knock-on effect on electricity prices, is causing some European
governments to intervene in the market and re-assess a proposal to extend the Emissions
Trading Scheme. Junior Isles
Gas price takes toll on UK suppliers
Final Word
Now is the time to hold
your nerve,
says Junior Isles.
Page 16
The huge rise in European gas prices
is driving a number of governments to
re-assess some of the proposals that
underpin Europe’s Green Deal.
The Green Deal comprises 13 poli-
cies designed to reduce EU emissions
by 55 per cent by 2030 compared with
1990 levels, and falling to net zero in
2050. One of those proposals is an ex-
tension of the Emissions Trading
Scheme (ETS) to consumer sectors
such as cars and heating for buildings,
including homes. Such a move would
increase the price of petrol and energy
for already hard-pressed households.
With the recent rise in prices, some
legislators in the European parliament
are now considering scrapping the
plan and replacing it with alternative
measures such as tougher regulation.
One EU ofcial told the Financial
Times: “If the ETS extension is gone,
it leaves a big hole that will need to be
lled,” said the EU ofcial. “You
can’t simply replace an instrument
like the ETS with a new target.”
Discussions on modications to the
ETS are set to continue for months as
ministers debate plans that include
emissions targets for cars, an EU car-
bon border tax and nationally binding
greenhouse gas targets.
In September, several global fac-
tors, including weather conditions
and strong gas demand in Asia fol-
lowing the pandemic, sent coal and
gas prices soaring. This sent Euro-
pean electricity costs to record highs
and saw coal demand rise as power
generators looked to avoid sky-high
gas prices. With coal plants emitting
double the amount of carbon dioxide
as gas plants, this has in turn led to
more demand and higher prices of
carbon permits.
Ministers were due to meet at the
end of September to discuss national
responses to the surge in wholesale
gas prices. A major concern is that
high gas prices, which are predicted to
continue, will jeopardise Europe’s
post-pandemic economic recovery
and undermine Brussels’ plans for
green reforms.
In a controversial move, the Spanish
government says it will recoup £3 bil-
lion over the next six months from the
prots of energy companies to fund a
nancial package to subsidise house-
hold energy bills. Energy companies
are expected to mount a legal chal-
lenge to the move.
In Spain, protests mounted against
energy companies after electricity
prices rose more than 200 per cent in
the past year and the issue has become
politically sensitive. Madrid said it
was targeting €2.6 billion in “excess
prots” from utilities that do not use
gas but have benetted from how ris-
ing gas prices have driven electricity
prices higher. This follows a similar
initiative, announced in July, to claw
back about €650 million from energy
companies whose income has in-
creased because of the rising cost of
The Association of Electric Power
Companies, Aelec, which represents
major utility companies including
Iberdrola, Endesa, Viesgo and EDP,
said in a statement that the Spanish
Continued on Page 2
Soaring gas prices has led to the fail-
ure of a number of UK energy compa-
As of late September seven small
suppliers had gone bust in a little over
six weeks. Citizens Advice, the con-
sumer charity, said 1.5 million house-
holds had been affected by the sup-
plier failures. Avro Energy, which had
2 per cent of the British energy supply
market with 580 000 domestic cus-
tomers, was notably the largest sup-
plier to have failed in at least the last
The increase in gas price has been
replicated across Europe due to low
storage stocks, competition with Asia
for LNG cargoes, and Russian supply
concerns. In the UK, the shutdown of
a key power cable between Britain
and France due to a re has caused
energy prices to soar even further,
heaping even more pressure on ener-
gy suppliers.
Kwasi Kwarteng the UK’s Business
and Energy Industry Secretary, said
he expected the nal number of failed
retail suppliers to be fewer than the 40
or so predicted by industry consul-
tants, a level that would leave the UK
with only 10 providers. “I’d be very
surprised if we got to that gure,”
Kwarteng said.
With wholesale gas prices in the UK
having risen by 250 per cent since
January, some green groups are call-
ing on the government to commit to
ending gas-red electricity generation
and give more detail on plans for re-
ducing the nation’s dependence on
gas for heating.
Energy and climate think-tank Em-
ber, said it is cheaper to generate elec-
tricity from new wind and solar than
existing gas plants.
“Generating electricity from exist-
ing UK fossil gas power plants is
three times more expensive than from
new onshore wind and almost twice
that from new solar. Even the lev-
elised cost of electricity (LCOE) from
new offshore wind is cheaper than
generating electricity from fossil
gas,” it said in a statement.
“Continued reliance on fossil gas for
power generation has caused substan-
tial increases in electricity bills when
people can least afford it. UK fossil
gas prices have skyrocketed since the
start of 2021, with the average day-
ahead price more than doubling from
45 pence per therm in December 2020
to 109 pence per therm in August
It added that fossil gas costs account
for 86 per cent of UK electricity price
increases UK power prices have
tripled year-on-year from August
2020 (£36/MWh) to August 2021
(£107/MWh) – a jump of £71/MWh.
Noting that the escalation in gas
prices looks set to continue as winter
approaches, it said the need to switch
from imported fossil gas to domestic
wind and solar generation has never
been more apparent or urgent.
It says that with US President Joe
Biden setting the path for clean elec-
tricity generation by 2035, Canada’s
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau mak-
ing it a manifesto pledge, and a change
in the German government, gas
phase-out could become a big issue at
the COP26 climate summit in
Glasgow next month.
“The soaring cost of imported fossil
gas is driving up electricity prices in
the UK. A more rapid and committed
transition to clean electricity is the
only way to avoid the volatility of fos-
sil fuels,” said Sarah Brown, Senior
Electricity Analyst at Ember.
European governments
European governments
struggle with surge in energy prices
struggle with surge in energy prices
Junior Isles
China’s recent promise to end the -
nancing of new coal power plants over-
seas has been hailed as “signicant” in
light of the upcoming COP26 climate
The pledge made by President Xi
Jinping last month in a speech to the
United Nations General Assembly was
welcomed by global leaders, who
stressed that China needed to also
phase-out the use of coal domestically.
“China will step up support for other
developing countries in developing
green and low carbon energy, and will
not build new coal red power projects
abroad,” Xi said, but he stopped short
of ending coal red projects at home.
Dozens of new coal red power and
steel plants in China announced during
the rst half of 2021, if built, would
alone add 150 million tonnes in an-
nual carbon dioxide emissions, accord-
ing to research group Global Energy
Monitor (GEM).
Ending all support for coal has be-
come a prime goal of the UN COP26
global climate summit scheduled for
Glasgow, UK, in November.
“This is an important development,
as China has been one of the biggest
nanciers of coal infrastructure in de-
veloping countries, particularly in
Asia,” said Alden Meyer, senior asso-
ciate at E3G, a climate think-tank. But
he said it was also “essential” that
China stopped building new coal red
power stations at home and moved
away from the fuel to meet its climate
Globally, emissions are still rising, at
a time when scientists warn that they
need to fall almost 50 per cent by 2030
to avoid more extreme storms, heat
waves and drought.
China was the nancial backbone for
about half of the coal projects being
planned worldwide, in countries such
as South Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia
and Bangladesh, according to a report
by E3G.
Analysts at GEM said China’s over-
seas coal power retreat could wipe out
$50 billion of investment, affecting
44 coal plants earmarked for Chinese
state nancing. The country, however,
is isolated as the last major provider of
public nance for overseas coal plants,
with over 40 GW of plant in 20 coun-
tries in the pre-construction pipeline.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank also welcomed China’s an-
nouncement, calling it “a bold and
consequential step for China, and for
the rest of the world”.
The news followed New research
published by Sustainable Energy for
All (SEforALL) and Climate Policy
Initiative (CPI) that despite environ-
mental, economic and many other
challenges facing coal, pockets of
funders continue to nance additional
coal red generation capacity in South
Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
From 2013 to 2019, $42 billion was
committed to grid-connected coal
power plants in the 18 countries stud-
ied. Among them, Bangladesh, India
and Pakistan received the majority of
nance commitments to new coal
plants, while in Africa, Madagascar,
Mozambique, Malawi, Niger and
Tanzania all host active coal plant
With many economies, including
South Korea, having pledged to stop
investing in coal projects, activists are
now turning their attention to oil and
At the end of August environmental
group Solutions For Our Climate
(SFOC) said South Korea’s public
nancial institutions have provided
more than $127 billion for global fos-
sil fuel projects over the past decade.
South Korea is the second-biggest
public nancier of oil and gas projects
worldwide, after China, according to
government’s measures go against
the efciency of the market, Euro-
pean orthodoxy and create a climate
of legal uncertainty.
Iberdrola, the Spanish renewable
energy group, said the plan would
create more problems for custom-
ers. “It will also undermine investor
condence in the country, at a criti-
cal time when Spain needs billions
of euros of private investment to
deliver the projects behind ambi-
tious climate change targets,” Iber-
drola said.
Italy was expected to follow suit,
as Energy Transition Minister Ro-
berto Cingolani said retail power
prices in Italy were set to rise by 40
per cent in the next quarter.
Discussing the surge in gas prices,
Claudio Descalzi, Chief Executive
of Italy’s Eni – one of the world’s
largest oil and gas companies – said
that while governments were right
to try to accelerate the adoption of
renewable energy, they had chosen
to tackle supply of fossil fuels be-
fore demand, contributing to tight-
ness in the market.
“This is not something that is for
a limited time; it’s structural,” Des-
calzi told the FT. “You cannot cut
supply without also reducing de-
mand,” he said, warning that grow-
ing pressure from governments,
activists and investors had made it
very difcult for energy companies
to invest in gas supplies.
The IEA stressed that the recent
increases in global natural gas pric-
es are the result of multiple factors.
“It is inaccurate and misleading to
lay the responsibility at the door of
the clean energy transition,” said
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
“Today’s situation is a reminder to
governments, especially as we seek
to accelerate clean energy transi-
tions, of the importance of secure
and affordable energy supplies –
particularly for the most vulnerable
people in our societies. Well-man-
aged clean energy transitions are a
solution to the issues that we are
seeing in gas and electricity markets
today – not the cause of them.”
Kadri Simson, EU Energy Com-
missioner, commented: “The cur-
rent situation makes the case for the
Green Deal policies even stronger.
We need more change, not less, and
faster. The only real, long-term, so-
lution here is to increase the share
of renewable energy, which is al-
ready generally the cheapest energy
on the market.”
Going forward, the European gas
market could well face further stress
tests from unplanned outages and
sharp cold spells, especially if they
occur late in the winter, noted the
IEA. Gas storage levels in Europe
are well below their ve-year aver-
age but not markedly below their
previous ve-year lows, which
were reached in 2017, it said.
Continued from Page 1
Panama’s National Energy Secretary
Dr. Jorge Rivera Staff has called for a
regional approach to tackling climate
change on the road to the UN’s COP26
climate summit in November.
In the leadup to the High-Level Dia-
logue on Climate Action in the Amer-
icas, co-hosted by Panama, last month,
Dr. Rivera Staff, said Latin America
was one of the most vulnerable areas
to climate change but is one of the low-
est contributors to greenhouse gas
emissions. He explained that it was
important to voice this as a unied re-
gional message at COP26.
“The countries that contribute the
most greenhouse gases have different
responsibilities to those that are low
emitters, like us. At COP26 we want
to stress the different responsibilities
and commitments. Right now, we are
taking a regional approach to align the
strategies of the stakeholders in each
[Latin American] country in order to
put climate change at the top of our
agenda as we drive a green recovery.
The high level dialogue is seen as a
milestone in this regional approach that
we are working on,” he told TEI Times.
According to Dr. Rivera Staff, one of
the most pressing issues at COP26 will
be how to get promised nancing ow-
ing to developing countries. In the
meantime, he said Panama was ensur-
ing it has a “comprehensive and well
structured plan” for utilising those re-
sources when they are unlocked.
“We have to use those resources in
the most efcient way, so we are align-
ing our climate initiatives with the
economic recovery so we will be ready
to invest once we receive the money.
We are also exchanging best practices
with other countries.”
He added: “We are very condent
about a positive outcome at COP26.
We are seeing lot of specic steps being
taken in the run-up that we’ve not seen
in the last three or four years.”
As one of only three carbon negative
countries in the world, Panama sets a
standard for other developed nations
to layer over their economic growth
with a commitment to sustainability.
The country has established a system
of incentives to foster the production
of energy from renewable sources, all
while creating jobs, protecting natural
resources and improving the electric-
ity matrix.
Panama has an ambitious but practi-
cal plan to move its economy away
from fossil fuels and into clean energy,
which will generate 70 per cent of the
nation’s energy needs by 2050.
To achieve its 2050 goals, last year
the country approved its Energy Tran-
sition Agenda 2030 with more specic
nearer-term targets. The agenda, ap-
proved in November has ve specic
strategies for the electricity sector and
two for the hydrocarbon sector. The
inputs used for the agenda formed the
basis of Panama’s Nationally Deter-
mined Contributions submitted in
December last year.
The world will still fall “a long way
short” of achieving the 2050 net zero
emissions ambitions of the COP21
Paris Agreement even if all electricity
was ‘green’ from this day forward, says
a recent report.
According to DNV’s Energy Transi-
tion Outlook (ETO) 2021, electrica-
tion is on course to double in size
within a generation and renewables are
already the most competitive source of
new power. However, the forecast
shows global emissions will reduce
only 9 per cent by 2030, with the 1.5˚C
carbon budget agreed by global econ-
omies exhausted by then.
Remi Eriksen, Group President and
CEO of DNV, said: “We’ve seen
governments around the world take
extraordinary steps to manage the ef-
fects of the pandemic and stimulate a
recovery. However, I am deeply con-
cerned about what it will take for gov-
ernments to apply the resolution and
urgency they have shown in the face
of the pandemic to our climate. We
must now see the same sense of ur-
gency to avoid a climate catastrophe.”
The report also says the pandemic
was a “lost opportunity”, noting that
many of the pandemic recovery pack-
ages have largely focused on protect-
ing, rather than transforming, existing
“[There has been] A lot of ‘building
back’ as opposed to ‘building better
and although this is a lost oppor-
tunity, it is not the last we have for
transitioning faster to a deeply decar-
bonised energy system,” said Eriksen.
Energy efciency remains the big-
gest opportunity to tackling climate
change as the world drifts further away
from achieving Paris. Securing sig-
nicant improvement in this area is
viewed as the most signicant lever for
the transition, according to DNV. This,
it says, will see global energy demand
level off, even as the global population
and economy grows.
Reductions in the use of fossil fuels
have been remarkably quick, says the
report. These sources, however, espe-
cially gas, will still constitute 50 per
cent of the global energy mix by 2050
– making the need to invest in and scale
hydrogen, and carbon capture and
storage all the more important. Oil de-
mand looks set to halve, with coal use
reduced to a third by mid-century.
ETO 2021 also reveals that while 69
per cent of grid-connected power will
be generated by wind and solar in 2050,
and indirect electrication (hydrogen
and e-fuels) and biofuels remain criti-
cal, although none of these sources are
scaling rapidly enough.
In a separate report, Arcadis, the
global design and consultancy organ-
isation for natural and built assets, said
the global energy sector needs to halve
emissions this decade to reach net zero
and limit warming to 1.5˚C.
It said €6 trillion – approximately 7
per cent of global GDP – in investments
will be required to realise the transition.
Headline News
Panama calls for regional approach on road to COP26
Panama calls for regional approach on road to COP26
Electrication not enough to meet net zero target
Electrication not enough to meet net zero target
China’s retreat from coal seen
China’s retreat from coal seen
as boost for climate talks
as boost for climate talks
Cingolani says Italy’s retail
power prices set to rise 40 per
cent in the next quarter
Dr. Jorge Rivera Staff: “we
are aligning the strategies of
n China’s coal retreat could wipe $50 billion from global coal plant investment
n “Essential” that China stops building new domestic coal red power stations
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Asia News
Syed Ali
A Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) has been signed between Ma-
laysia’s Petronas, through its subsid-
iary Petronas Gas & New Energy Sdn
Bhd (PGNESB), and Japan’s Eneos
Corporation, which will help the two
companies reach their net zero goals
through the use of hydrogen.
The MoU will see the companies
launch a technical-commercial joint-
study of a hydrogen supply chain which
includes hydrogen production and its
transportation in methylcyclohexane
(MCH) form, where hydrogen is con-
verted from its original gaseous state
into a liquid form to enable large vol-
ume deliveries.
Petronas and Eneos will also explore
low carbon hydrogen production from
Petronas’ petrochemical facilities and
in the future, green hydrogen produced
by renewable energy.
The development of liquid organic
hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology
such as MCH is gaining momentum
due to its chemically stable nature that
allows for long-term storage and long-
distance transport. Moreover, the use
of LOHC leverages on existing con-
ventional oil and petrochemicals infra-
structure, thus heavily reducing the
need to develop new assets. This makes
it a viable option for established energy
players to implement.
“With emerging clean energy sourc-
es like hydrogen, innovation and col-
laboration with partners in techno-
logical development are key, as they
contribute towards achieving cost
competitiveness and scalability for
wider use across businesses and in-
dustries,” said Petronas Gas + New
Energy Executive Vice President and
Chief Executive Ofcer, Adnan Zain-
al Abidin.
In Malaysia, the development of a
hydrogen-based economy is set to
complement future growth as the coun-
try prepares to transition towards a low
carbon economy. Petronas already pro-
duces low carbon hydrogen from its
facilities and will soon explore the
commercial production of green hy-
drogen. Petronas is well-poised to be a
competitive hydrogen solutions pro-
vider due to its existing operations and
expanding renewables portfolio.
Eneos has applied for funding from
the Japanese government’s Green In-
novation Fund, which sponsors decar-
bonisation projects and initiatives. The
company is working towards achiev-
ing its carbon neutral ambition via its
Environmental Vision 2040.
Australia has introduced its rst off-
shore electricity legislation in parlia-
ment but the bill falls short in several
areas, according to some experts.
The bill is designed to establish a
regulatory framework for the offshore
wind industry, paving the way for more
than ten proposed projects. Academics
from Macquarie University, however,
have said “upon rst reading one is left
a little wanting”.
In a written paper, Madeline Taylor,
Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University
and Tina Soliman Hunter, Professor of
Energy and Natural Resources Law,
Macquarie University claim the bill
falls short due to several reasons.
“We nd four reasons the bill isn’t
up to scratch yet, from its inadequate
safety provisions to vague wording
around Native Title rights and inter-
ests,” they wrote.
Offshore wind is essential to help
Australia cut its greenhouse gas emis-
sions and create a sustainable and af-
fordable electricity market.
The explanatory memorandum that
accompanies the bill claims that if
passed, the legislation will establish
certainty that investors crave, poten-
tially leading to billions of dollars
worth of investment. Taylor and Hunt-
er argue, however, that the bill as it
stands does not go far enough.
“Upon closer examination of the bill,
we nd critical omissions compared to
best practice in North Sea jurisdic-
tions,” they wrote. “To protect the
environment, projects need to create a
management plan that complies with
requirements under the federal envi-
ronment law. But this won’t ensure
marine life is unharmed by enormous,
noisy turbines. The law is far too broad
to deal with the unique requirements
of offshore wind turbines, which Aus-
tralian waters have never experienced
Secondly, the paper says that offshore
energy project developers are prohib-
ited from interfering with Native Title
rights and interests. But the bill allows
interference if it’s “necessary” for the
“reasonable exercise” of project rights
and obligations.
Taylor and Hunter also pointed out
that safety provisions under the bill are
Finally, the academics say the bill
contains no explicit community ben-
et schemes, unlike in Denmark where
developers are obliged to offer at least
20 per cent of ownership shares to lo-
cal citizens.
Australia’s wind resources are
among the world but a lack of legal
framework has meant it is yet to com-
mission its rst offshore wind farm.
n The Australian Energy Market Op-
erator (AEMO) said in a recent report
that Australia’s mainland National
Electricity Market (NEM) states could
have sufcient renewable energy re-
sources available in 2025 to meet the
cumulative power demand of consum-
ers in certain periods.
Malaysia and Japan
Malaysia and Japan
sign hydrogen MoU
sign hydrogen MoU
Australia Offshore
Electricity Infrastructure
Bill “not up to scratch”
n Petronas and Eneos to launch hydrogen supply chain study
n Companies will explore hydrogen production from petrochemical
facilities initially
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Asia News
Syed Ali
South Korea is set to more than double
its solar and wind energy production
facilities within four years as part of
the government’s new carbon neutral-
ity policy.
In early September President Moon
Jae-in reiterated the government’s plan
to increase the country’s combined
capacity of solar and wind energy pro-
duction facilities, which reached 17.6
GW in 2020, to 42.7 GW by 2025.
President Moon underlined the need
to achieve a big transition in the South
Korea’s economic structure and ex-
plained that achieving carbon neutral-
ity is the goal of its Green New Deal
initiative. He also said that driving
carbon neutrality could provide growth
opportunities for companies in the
elds of batteries and hydrogen.
South Korea has been gradually ac-
celerating its domestic renewables
programme, while at the same time
exploring overseas opportunities.
At the start of September a new joint
venture called MunmuBaram was set
up by Shell Overseas Investment (80
per cent) and CoensHexicon (20 per
cent) to develop and operate a 1.4 GW
oating wind project off the South
Korean coast. The facility, which will
cover an area of around 240 km
, is
currently at feasibility study stage.
The multi-phase project is expected
to generate up to 4.65TWh of electric-
ity annually.
Meanwhile ODE, an international
renewables engineering and project
management company, part of the
DORIS Group, announced that it has
entered into a Memorandum of Un-
derstanding with Korean engineering
company DongYang Engineering
(DYE) to pursue offshore wind and
other prospects across Korea and the
global market.
ODE and DYE will collaborate
across business development activities
and the execution of engineering ser-
vices including the joint-development
of an offshore substation design spe-
cically targeted to Korean offshore
wind farms.
Jinho Paik, ODE’s Korea Country
Manager, commented: “This is a sig-
nicant step in ODE’s development in
Korea. DYE has an established and
respected presence in the Korean en-
ergy market; this memorandum will
bring important opportunities to both
David Robertson, Head of Renew-
ables for ODE, added: “From our Seoul
ofce, we are looking forward to draw-
ing on our global technical expertise in
offshore wind and energy transition
whilst further expanding our experi-
ence in the wider APAC region.”
Syed Ali
The United Kingdom will invest $1.2
billion through public and private in-
vestments to support India’s target of
450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala
Sitharaman and UK Chancellor of the
Exchequer Rishi Sunak also launched
the Climate Finance Leader Initiative
(CFLI) India Partnership to mobilise
private capital into sustainable infra-
structure in India, including solar,
wind, and other green technologies.
The UN Special Envoy on Climate
Ambition and Solutions, Michael
Bloomberg, will chair the CFLI India
Partnership, and several leading glob-
al nancial institutions will lead the
As a part of the package, CDC Group,
the UK’s development nance institu-
tion and impact investor, will invest $1
billion in Indian green projects be-
tween 2022-2026. With this, CDC’s
existing investment portfolio in the
Indian private sector stands at $1.99
Both governments will make a joint
investment to support companies pro-
viding innovative green tech solutions
and a $200 million private and multi-
lateral investment into the joint UK-
India Green Growth Equity Fund,
which invests in the Indian renewable
energy sector.
The announcement came as a new
report warned that proposals for new
coal plant in India amounting to 27
GW could potentially become super-
uous to the overall country electric-
ity requirements by 2030.
The report published by UK-based
renewable think-tank Ember and Cli-
mate Risk Horizons said the current
proposals could jeopardise the pros-
pect of the country’s ambitious
renewable energy target of achieving
450 GW by 2030.
These surplus “zombie” plants are
projected to lie idle or operate at un-
economic capacity factors due to sur-
plus generation capacity in the system.
Signicantly, they require $33 billion
of investment.
Even with a 5 per cent annual growth
in power demand projection, the anal-
ysis shows that coal red generation in
FY 2030 will be lower than in FY 2020,
as India achieves its renewable and
other non-coal targets.
Furthermore, it says India can meet
peak demand in FY 2030 even if it
retires its old coal plants and stops
building new coal beyond those under
construction. By FY 2030, India will
have a total rm capacity of about 346
GW in addition to 420 GW of variable
renewables capacity to meet an esti-
mated peak demand of 301 GW.
South Korea to scale-up
South Korea to scale-up
wind and solar
wind and solar
India taps UK in effort to grow renewables
n Wind and solar production set to more than double
n New joint venture to build 1.4 GW oating wind project
Virtual conference with high-level
keynote sessions, panel discussions,
technical papers, virtual expo
and networking platform
ETN’s 10
International Gas Turbine Conference
11-15 October 2021
ETN IGTC AD 120x160mm.indd 1ETN IGTC AD 120x160mm.indd 1 24/09/2021 16:2924/09/2021 16:29
Special Technology Supplement
Paving the way towards a
decarbonised grid
The power grid is
central to the energy
transition and cutting
global greenhouse
gas emissions.
Siemens Energy
discusses how the
use of technologies
such as HVDC
enables the
integration of
renewables on a
large scale, and
outlines its plans
to develop a high
voltage equipment
portfolio that emits
zero greenhouse
gases. Junior Isles
power from the west to the south.
Such developments will see Sie-
mens Energy also work on “multi-
vendor approaches”. Jürgensen said:
“At the moment systems from differ-
ent manufacturers don’t have to talk
to each other because we only have
point-to-point connections but in the
future with multi-terminal connec-
tions with, say, three or more con-
verter stations connected to each other,
you will have to connect systems
from different suppliers. This will re-
quire new elements in the grid code,
new software solutions, new control
and protection solutions, etc. We are
currently working with the various
partners on these, together with insti-
tutions such as Cigré.”
He adds that TSOs are also looking
to use “multi-purpose” interconnec-
tions to not only trade energy, but to
also increase efciency and use cases.
“This would mean that an intercon-
nector between the UK and France
could, for example, trade wind power
in both directions and therefore in-
crease the possibilities for energy
trading,” said Jürgensen.
The planned energy hubs in the
North Sea and the Baltic are a good
example, where islands that integrate
wind energy with hydrogen produc-
tion will be made possible with multi-
terminal, multi-purpose connectors.
Looking at challenges and trends
elsewhere, Jürgensen notes that in
Asia in countries with ample coast-
lines, such as Vietnam, China, Japan
and India, offshore wind could be a
While some of these markets will
largely use domestic suppliers, Jür-
gensen believes India offers oppor-
tunities for international players like
Siemens Energy. The country has set
an ambitious target of 5 GW of
offshore wind by 2022 and 30 GW
by 2030 and will need HVDC con-
nections as these wind projects
he recent report on climate
change published by the
Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) gives cause
for great concern. Prepared by 234
scientists from 66 countries, the
report highlights that human in-
uence has warmed the climate at a
rate that is unprecedented in at least
the last 2000 years.
Worryingly, it shows that emissions
of greenhouse gases from human
activities are responsible for ap-
proximately 1.1°C of warming since
1850-1900 and nds that, averaged
over the next 20 years, global tem-
perature is expected to reach or ex-
ceed 1.5°C of warming.
As the COP26 climate talks ap-
proach, the report is a stark reminder
of the need to accelerate global efforts
to shift to a cleaner, greener economy.
But while much of the public focus
is often on generation and the uptake
of wind and solar, the grid that under-
pins the entire electricity system is
equally important – a fact that is being
increasingly recognised, partly due to
the often remote location of renew-
able generating sources from the
point of consumption.
Commenting on the importance of
the grid in combatting climate change,
Hauke Jürgensen, Senior Vice Presi-
dent High Voltage Grids, Siemens
Energy, said: “It’s one thing to build
wind and solar plants but they are
typically in remote locations – e.g.
solar in a desert, wind power offshore
at sea. You need the grid to connect
those plants; it goes hand-in-hand. So
increasing just the generation from
renewables alone will not solve the
problem. The exact same focus has to
be on the transmission grid.”
Siemens Energy has certainly been
playing its part in developing and
deploying transmission system equip-
ment to enable the green transition,
while reducing the global warming
impact of that equipment.
Jürgensen added: “Replacing fossil
fuelled power plants and rotating
mass in the grid with renewables also
means you lose a lot of inertia and
therefore grid stability. This means
we have also been installing, and will
continue to provide, equipment such
as FACTS (Flexible AC Transmission
System) products, synchronous con-
densers, Statcoms, SVCs, etc. to
maintain stability.”
The growth in renewables genera-
tion is clearly being reected in terms
of transmission system market growth
and investment.
“In the past decades there were only
a handful – maybe six to eight large
HVDC connections planned to be
awarded per year. Today, that’s prob-
ably more like the number we see in
Europe alone, so the market is really
expanding,” said Jürgensen. “If you
look at UK offshore wind and the
ambitious growth plans of all Euro-
pean TSOs (Transmission System
Operators), including future articial
power islands, it’s quite signicant.
And some of these projects have been
brought forward from 2033/35 to
2030. The EU plans to spend about
€80 billion by 2030 on the transmis-
sion grid; the funds are available so
it’s just a question of how fast we can
implement the projects. Meanwhile in
the US, the new Administration has
ambitious plans to build-out renew-
ables, especially offshore wind on the
east coast as well.”
Building new networks and upgrad-
ing existing circuits to demanding
deadlines is, however, not without its
challenges – the main one being ap-
proval processes.
“There are constraints around re-
sources – particularly engineering
resources – but this is solvable. There
are a lot of young people wanting to
work in the eld and do something for
climate change,” noted Jürgensen.
“But when we talk to the TSOs, their
biggest challenge is political approval
He cited Germany as an example,
where the company is currently
building its seventh offshore HVDC
connection platform for TenneT in
the North Sea and high voltage
connectors to transport wind power
from the North Sea to the industrial
south of the country.
“To make it all possible, we need
HV connectors or corridors to trans-
mit the power from the north to the
load centres in the south. Siemens
Energy recently won awards for the
converter stations for two of these
connectors in the SuedOstLink and
SuedLink electricity highway.
“The locations for the converter
stations that we will build are nal-
ised, but there are still uncertainties
regarding the detailed cable routes.
Everyone wants to have electricity…
but ‘not in my backyard’. And it’s
not just Germany; it’s the same
across Europe and places like North
America, where there is limited
space on the east coast, for example,
for AC connections.”
According to Jürgensen, the chal-
lenges facing transmission grids de-
pend on the region or country, and this
is driving technology trends. Cur-
rently projects take the form of point-
to-point HVDC interconnectors be-
tween countries, or national high
voltage corridors that could be DC or
AC links. But this is changing.
Jürgensen explained: “These con-
nectors are great; they enable energy
trading, improve network stability
and better load management but
there’s a trend towards meshed DC
grids. So we will work on multi-ter-
minal solutions, more than we have
done in the past.”
Siemens Energy is currently build-
ing Ultranet, the rst multi-terminal
application in Germany – a new 2
GW, 340 km, HVDC link between
North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-
Württemberg that is targeted for
completion in 2024. The project,
which is being built for Amprion and
TransnetBW, allows the transmission
of wind power from the north to the
south, solar power from the south to
the west and conventionally generated
Borwin 3: Siemens Energy is currently building its seventh offshore HVDC connection platform
for TenneT in the North Sea
Jürgensen: The focus is often on generation from renewables
but the exact same focus has to be on the transmission grid
insulation function and vacuum in-
terrupters for the arc extinguishing.
So there will be no F-gases at all in
our grid equipment.”
The move to eliminate SF
spreading among a number of major
equipment manufacturers, with some
using clean air with zero global
warming potential (GWP) and others
opting for different F-gas mixtures
with a GWP still above zero. Siemens
Energy believes, however, that when
taking the serious climate situation
into consideration, zero greenhouse
gas emissions has to be the goal to
ensure CO
“Some are replacing SF
with other
uorinated gases that are better than
in terms of global warming po-
tential but are still worse than natural
clean air,” Katschinski noted. “Our
approach is zero global warming po-
tential; we believe this is the only
long-term alternative. It is essential to
save our planet. Clean air as a natural
gas and vacuum switching technology
has zero toxicity, zero impact on
health and the environment. It offers
highest switching capability without
degradation and is completely main-
tenance free. Another advantage is
that it can be used in places that expe-
rience very low temperatures in win-
ter. In places like Canada and Russia
where you can get temperatures of
-60°C, you can use SF
or clean air,
but other F-gases are not suitable.”
Clean air is a form of processed or
puried air, where the humidity is
removed along with some noble
gases. “Humidity and the presence
of noble gases reduce voltage with-
stand capability,” noted Katschinski.
“Since the voltage withstand capa-
bility is not as good as SF
, you need
a larger volume of clean air to handle
the same voltage levels.
He said, however that it is possible to
compensate for the size increase. With
innovative technologies like digital
low-power instrument transformers,
the switchgear can be similar to the F-
gas-insulated version with conven-
tional instrument transformers.
“By replacing some of the conven-
tional switchgear components with
new digital technology, we can even
reduce the size of the switchgear
compared to conventional switch-
gear. The overall functionality of the
switchgear is the same but some of
the functions, i.e. current and voltage
measurements are performed by
digital devices instead of inductive
Siemens Energy has been working
on its Blue technology for a number
of years, initially focusing on low
voltage levels, i.e. 72.5 kV. “The basic
research on the vacuum interrupters
took a pretty long time. They have
been used for decades in the medium
voltages,” said Katschinski. “Within
the last few years we introduced
products with vacuum interrupters
for voltage levels of 72.5 kV and
higher. The technology is now mature
up to 170 kV.”
The technology is currently being
rolled out across Siemens Energy’s
entire HV switching equipment port-
folio up to the highest transmission
level of 420 kV. “In urban areas,
where distances are shorter, say 10-
100 km, voltages of about 110 kV are
used but longer distances need higher
voltage to transmit the energy. For
long distance transmission, voltages
of up to 420 kV or 550 kV are typi-
cally used,” said Katschinski.
“This means we have to develop
products for different applications,
voltage levels and according to differ-
ent product standards. For example,
in Europe all equipment is designed
according to IEC standards, while in
some other regions such as North
America, the standard is IEEE. This
means we have to replace a family of
-based equipment operating at
lower voltage is being replaced rst,
as products are already available up to
145 kV for different standards and
various applications. Such applica-
tions include indoor gas insulated
switchgear (GIS) and outdoor air in-
sulated switchgear (AIS) equipment.
“We already have more than 6 mil-
lion operating hours for this equip-
ment. Air insulated substations using
clean air at 145 kV have been in the
eld since December 2017 and the
rst Blue GIS for 145 kV was ener-
gised already in April 2020,” said
The company also emphasized that
switchgear with Blue technology are
already being installed in wind tow-
ers. Siemens Energy sees it as a great
opportunity to make a signicant
More notably, however, India has
now begun using the technology to
help improve power quality and grid
stability. In March this year, it con-
nected its rst HVDC link featuring
voltage-sourced converter (VSC) and
DC-XLPE cable technology.
The 2 GW transmission system
consists of two converter stations
supplied by Siemens Energy for the
±320 kV HVDC system, which are
connected via two links comprising a
DC-XLPE cable and overhead trans-
mission line. The link enables power
exchange between Pugalur in the
southern state of Tamil Nadu and
Trichur in Kerala State in southwest
India and supports transmission op-
erator Power Grid Corporation of In-
dia (PGCIL) to counter power de-
cits in India’s southern region and
improve grid stability.
Not so far east, power from shore is
expected to drive the call for HVDC
technology in the Middle East for
companies like ADNOC and Scandi-
navian players such as Equinor.
“To reduce emissions, it can make
much more sense to transmit electric-
ity from onshore power stations to
power the oil platforms rather than
using diesel engines on the platform,”
said Jürgensen.
Just last month [September], Sie-
mens Energy received a contract from
Aker Solutions to supply the complete
packages for the electrical transmis-
sion, distribution, and power manage-
ment system for Equinors Troll West
electrication project in the North
Sea. A key objective of the project is
to reduce NO
and CO
emissions by
replacing existing gas turbine-driven
generators and compressors on the
Troll B and C facilities with power
from shore.
According to Equinor, reducing the
power from the gas turbines on the
Troll facilities will reduce annual
carbon emissions by approximately
500 000 tonnes – an amount equiva-
lent to about 1 per cent of all emis-
sions from Norway. In addition, NO
emissions from the eld will be re-
duced by an estimated 1700 tonnes
per year.
Looking at future developments
and needs for HVDC technology,
Jürgensen cited recent near blackouts
and issues in the European grid, not-
ing that interconnectors also play a
role in achieving grid stability.
“We are still working on shortening
the fault clearance time, so they can
contribute to avoiding blackouts. And
with the possibility to exibly and
quickly adjust the transmitted power
in either direction, which you can
only do with DC, they can play a big
role in securing grid stability when
there’s a danger of a blackout. So we
are also working to improve the con-
trol and protection to avoid blackouts.
On the DC side, these are the main
things in addition to the multi-terminal
applications and DC meshed grids.”
Using HVDC to facilitate the inte-
gration of wind and solar, while
maintaining grid reliability and stabil-
ity is crucial. But with the increasing
pressure to achieve zero emissions,
Siemens Energy is determined to
eliminate greenhouse gas emissions
right across its high voltage transmis-
sion equipment portfolio.
Ulf Katschinski, Senior Vice Presi-
dent, High Voltage Switching Prod-
ucts & Systems, Siemens Energy,
explained: “There is a growing focus
on the transmission grid because for
switchgear in high voltage transmis-
sion grids, the whole industry is based
on the use of a special insulation gas.
Gas insulated circuit breakers, instru-
ment transformers and, for more
compact applications, complete gas
insulated switchgear including dis-
connector and earthing switches, all
use sulphur hexauoride (SF
). But
although this is the ideal gas for insu-
lating high voltages and interrupting
fault currents, it’s an extremely potent
greenhouse gas. It has 23 500 times
the global warming potential of CO
Indeed uorinated, or F-gases, such
as SF
, have come under the micro-
scope of the EU. Under the current
F-gas Regulation, in force since 2014,
the EU is limiting the total amount of
the most potent F-gases that can be
sold in the EU from 2014 onwards
and steadily phasing them out with
each revision. Currently the next revi-
sion is in progress.
The EU’s objective was clearly
communicated in a stakeholder meet-
ing May 2021 to meet the ambition of
the EU Green Deal. The main objec-
tive is “prohibiting F-gases in prod-
ucts or equipment, where these gases
are no longer needed” and more
comprehensive monitoring for all F-
In line with this EU drive and its
own commitment to tackling climate
change, Siemens Energy has launched
what it calls its ‘Blue portfolio’. The
technology is available for gas-insu-
lated switchgear (GIS), circuit break-
ers and instrument transformers all
with absolutely zero CO
emissions over the lifetime of the
Explaining the technology, Katsch-
inski said: “Unfortunately, there is
no gas that insulates high voltages
and interrupts fault currents as ef-
ciently as SF
. So our solution is to
replace SF
in the switchgear tanks
with clean air for the [high voltage]
Special Technology Supplement
Katschinski: Our solution is to replace SF
in the switchgear
tanks with clean air
NemoLink converter station:
HVDC is crucial to facilitate
the integration of wind while
maintaining grid reliability and
With innovative technologies
like digital low-power
instrument transformers, the
switchgear can be built even
smaller than F-gas-insulated
with conventional instrument
decomposition products occur for
humans or the environment. On the
other hand, there are other challenges
compared to SF
technology. The
dielectric strength between the con-
tacts does not increase proportionally
to a larger contact distance and is
determined not only by the design but
also by the production processes. On
one hand, from today’s point of view,
for voltages above 245 kV, two vacu-
um tubes have to be connected in
series for economical operation. On
the other hand, the production pro-
cesses for higher voltages have to be
realised with corresponding manu-
facturing and testing equipment for
larger designs.”
Looking at the voltage roadmap,
Siemens Energy says it is working on
switchgear with a rated voltage of 245
kV. The task is to develop active
components such as circuit breakers
and vacuum interrupters.
“But as an interim solution the pas-
sive components – those that are not
active in interrupting the current –
contribution to reducing CO
sions not only in terms of power
generation but also transmission.
“Big offshore wind farms currently
use 72.5 kV. So we developed switch-
gear especially for wind tower appli-
cation, and rst installation started in
2017. This has a lot of advantages
when operating offshore. Special
equipment is required on the towers to
prepare SF
and other F-gases for the
switchgear. But with clean air it is
quite simple. We have already sold
more than 900 of such switchgear for
wind towers,” said Katschinski.
But going to higher voltages has a
few challenges.
Katschinski explained: “It is known
that the dielectric strength of the vac-
uum medium is considerably higher
than that of SF
. Vacuum switches
have a very high mechanical reliabil-
ity and compared to SF
switchgear, a
longer electrical life and therefore al-
low signicantly higher switching
“Another advantage is that no toxic
such as bus ducts that only carry cur-
rent, are already available at up to 420
kV,” said Katschinski. “Some cus-
tomers are already asking for clean air
to be used in place of SF
for passive
components. By doing this, they can
reduce the use of harmful SF
by about 60 per cent.”
Siemens Energy notes that when
aiming for a zero emissions grid, it is
important to take a look at the prod-
ucts’ effects on the climate over its
complete life cycle taking the impacts
of electricity losses in the factory,
transportation, material and gas pro-
duction, recycling at the products
end-of-life and many other factors
into consideration.
“In the end, the global warming
potential of the products over the
complete life cycle strongly depend
on the electricity mix. In a completely
-neutral economy, the global
warming potential of Siemens Ener-
gy’s Blue switchgear will be zero
over its complete life cycle,” said
In Berlin, where Siemens Energy
switchgear factory is powered 100
per cent by renewable energy, the
company produces its 145 kV F-gas-
free switchgear, with a life cycle
global warming potential reduced by
more than three-quarters in compari-
son with the F-gas-insulated version.
Apart from the number one priority
of bringing the global warming po-
tential of their operations to zero, the
other key concern for its customers
going forward is reducing life cycle
Katschinski said: “This was always
a focus of our development because
clean air is really easy to handle,
with no preparation needed as with
F-gases. Our customers have to re-
port on F-gas because it is harmful to
the environment. They have to report
how much they consume to the au-
thorities, the leakage, etc. Equipment
with F-gases has to be checked fre-
quently, so there is a lot of work that
has to be done over its lifetime. All
of this is not necessary with our
clean air equipment. Therefore, the
life cycle costs is much lower than
with SF
and other F-gas solutions.
“Further, whereas gas mixtures de-
grade over time, vacuum switching
technology enables a large number of
switching processes with no wear to
the contacts, making it almost main-
Although Siemens Energy’s cus-
tomers continue to push for low cost,
zero emissions products, it will be
some time before equipment is avail-
able at all voltage levels.
“Customers are asking for solu-
tions,” said Katschinski. “The big
transmission system operators in Eu-
rope, especially, are all approaching
us for equipment that has zero global
warming potential, is environmentally
friendly and has reasonable life cycle
costs. But they recognise it will take
time, as do EU regulators. The ongo-
ing discussion by the regulators will
see the restriction in the use of SF
and maybe even its ban after 2028. So
everyone has to get prepared, and
transmission system operators are
therefore pushing for solutions for all
voltage levels.”
With work in progress on 245 kV, he
believes products will be available in
2-3 years, and estimates it will take
6-8 years to have the complete portfo-
lio of products for all applications and
standards at all the necessary voltage
The path to zero emissions is a long
and challenging road but Siemens
Energy believes that it has the tech-
nology to help asset owners on their
journey to what it calls “Day Zero” –
where transmission systems not only
have zero global warming impact, but
are central to an energy system that is
dominated by renewables.
Special Technology Supplement
Blue technology is well suited
for offshore wind towers.
Unlike SF
and other F-gases
no special equipment is
required on the towers to
prepare clean air for use in
Life cycle assessment (LCA) according to ISO 14040
Electricity CO
impact, Germany example.
Reduction by use of more renewables
Electricity impact for
switchgear factory, Berlin
LCA carbon
footprint for a
145 kV GIS
(conventional IT)
Its Day Zero
for Bergen Port
Cruise ships used to power up in the harbour using their diesel engines.
Now, thanks to BKK Nett and Blue switchgear technology from Siemens
Energy, they use only clean power. Zero greenhouse gas emissions,
zero F-gases and zero health impact. It’s their Day Zero. Let’s plan yours.
Siemens Energy is a trademark licensed by Siemens AG.
The Karapinar solar power plant is
part of the rst Turkish solar YEKA
tender launched in 2017 by the
Ministry of Energy. It will help Tur-
key commission 10 GW of solar ca-
pacity between 2017-27.
Wärtsilä and Gabon Power Company
(GPC) have signed an agreement with
the government of Gabon for the de-
velopment, supply, construction, op-
eration and maintenance of a 120 MW
gas red power plant. Wärtsilä will
build the plant under a full EPC con-
tract and will then operate and main-
tain the plant under a 15-year O&M
The plant will be located at the in-
dustrial site of Owendo, close to Li-
breville, the capital of Gabon.
When commissioned, the plant will
supply electricity to Société
d’Energie et d’Eau du Gabon
(SEEG) under a 15-year PPA.
The project is being developed un-
der a Public Private Partnership
framework, with the asset to be
transferred to the Gabonese authori-
ties at the end of the concession
The government of Uzbekistan has
announced that Saudi Arabia’s ACWA
Power has won a contract to develop
a 100 MW wind farm in the Karakal-
pakstan region of Uzbekistan. It is
expected that the wind farm will gen-
erate around 350 GWh per year.
The wind farm is scheduled to be
operating commercially within two
Sherzod Khodjaev, Uzbekistan’s
Deputy Minister of Energy, said:
“Uzbekistan is making huge strides
towards producing and providing
green energy for its economy, de-
creasing the country’s dependence
on fossil fuels and reducing overall
emissions. This project is a key
component of our ambitious, wider
energy strategy to develop environ-
mentally friendly renewable sources
of energy to meet growing electrici-
ty demand.”
Contractors have submitted bids for a
900 km 500 kV overhead transmission
line (OHTL) connecting Saudi Arabia
and Egypt. The OHTL will pass
through Medina and Tabuk to the Gulf
of Aqaba.
The project is valued at $1.6 bil-
lion, with Egypt set to fund $600
million of the total cost. The inter-
connection is expected to be able to
deliver up to 3000 MW daily.
The lowest bid of $446.8 million
was submitted by South Korea’s
Hyundai E&C. The local National
Contracting Company submitted the
second lowest bid of $449.4 mil-
lion, with Saudi Services for Elec-
tromechanical Works submitting a
bid of $463.5 million, the only oth-
er bid of under $500 million.
China-based Sungrow has secured a
contract from juwi to supply equip-
ment for a 36 MW off-grid solar-plus-
storage project in Egypt. Under the
contract, Sungrow will provide a 1.5
kV, 6.25 MW photovoltaic inverter
and a 7.5 MW battery energy storage
system for the facility, which will be
located at the Centamin-operated Su-
kari Gold mine.
The project is scheduled to be op-
eration in the rst half of 2022.
benets during the three-year con-
struction period. We look forward
to working with Siemens Energy
and Sumitomo Electric towards
successful commissioning in 2024.”
Siemens Energy will be responsi-
ble for the overall system design
and construction of two converter
stations located in County Wexford
(Ireland) and the Pembroke trans-
mission substation in Pem-
brokeshire (Wales). Both converter
stations will use Siemens Energy’s
HVDC Plus technology with modu-
lar multi-level arrangement (VSC-
MMC) to convert AC to DC and
vice versa. Linked via an HVDC
XLPE (crosslinked polyethylene)
cable system by Sumitomo, the sta-
tions will enable transport of energy
at 320 kV. Siemens Energy’s scope
of supply also includes a Service
and Maintenance Agreement with
an initial duration of seven years.
Under a supply deal, Green Hydrogen
Systems (GHS) will provide three Hy-
Provide A90 alkaline electrolysers for
a green hydrogen manufacturing plant
in Bremerhaven, Germany. This proj-
ect is led by Wenger Engineering and
will be powered by onsite wind tur-
bines. The electrolysers have a total
capacity of around 1.3 MW.
GHS will provide remote monitor-
ing and support, as well as on-site
maintenance under a three-year ser-
vice deal.
The complete test eld will con-
sist of GHS’ pressurised alkaline
electrolysis equipment, compres-
sion unit, a PEM electrolyser, fuel
cells and storage system for system-
atic comparison of PEM and alka-
line electrolysis.
A consortium of Prysmian Group and
Asso.subsea has signed a contract with
RTE, Réseau de Transport d’Électricité
for the development of an export sub-
marine power cable system for the
Gruissan oating offshore wind farm
located in Southern France.
Under the terms of the €30 million
contract, Prysmian will design, sup-
ply, test and commission a 66 kV
three-core 25 km export submarine
cable with EPR insulation, and an-
other 66 kV submarine dynamic ca-
ble to connect a oating substation
to the shore.
Asso.subsea will undertake the in-
stallation services of the project.
The company will design and per-
form all marine works required for
the project, such as cable loading,
route preparatory works, cable in-
stallation and protection and HDD
works at landfall.
Kalyon has selected GE Renewable
Energy to deliver its FlexInverter solar
power station technology for the 270
MW Karapinar phase II-A and the 810
MW Karapinar phase II-B solar plant
in Turkey. The scope of work includes
design, engineering, project manage-
ment, site management, and commis-
sioning. The project is located in Tur-
key’s Konya Karapinar province and
is scheduled to start commercial op-
eration by December 2022.
GE Renewable Energy has already
completed the commissioning of
the FlexInverter solar power station
technology for the 267 MW Karapi-
nar phase I solar plant.
Vitol Wind has awarded Vestas Wind
Systems a contract to repower the
240 MW Big Sky wind farm in Illi-
nois, USA. Vestas will supply and
commission 104 units of V120-2.2
MW turbines and ve units of V110-
2.0 MW turbines in 2.2 MW operating
mode for the project.
The turbines will replace 109 Su-
zlon turbines.
Turbine delivery is due to begin in
Q1 2021, with commissioning
scheduled for Q2 2022.
MAN Energy Solutions will provide
six 18V51/60G engines, along with
the major balance of plant equipment,
to the City of Lakeland, Florida, USA,
for its municipal utility Lakeland Elec-
tric. Lakeland Electric and MAN En-
ergy Solutions will build a new 120
MW RICE (Reciprocating Internal
Combustion Engine) plant on a brown-
eld site in the city.
The new facility will run on natu-
ral gas and replace a recently re-
tired, coal red plant.
All equipment is scheduled to be
delivered to site by July 2022.
MAN Energy Solutions will main-
tain the plant for 10 years.
Doosan Heavy Industries and Con-
struction has signed a deal with US
SMR maker X-energy to design a
small modular reactor (SMR) based
on high-temperature gas-cooled reac-
tor (HTGR) technology.
Under the terms of the deal, Doo-
san Heavy will design an 80 MW
SMR known as the Xe-100, and
construct a prototype of it, for X-
X-energy said it plans to build a
320 MW nuclear power plant con-
sisting of four Xe-100s.
Vestas has secured a 50 MW order with
the German developer and operator of
renewable energy projects, wpd, for
three projects, Chuangwei 2, Leadway
2 and Hsinyuan wind farms in Taiwan.
The Hsinyuan wind farm includes
six V136-4.2MW wind turbines with
112 m towers, featuring the largest
onshore turbine rotors in Taiwan.
Chuangwei 2 and Leadway 2 wind
farms will be installed with four
and two V117-4.2MW turbines with
91.5 m towers, respectively.
The order includes a long-term
Active Output Management 4000
(AOM 4000) service agreement for
the wind farms.
Deliveries are expected to begin in
the second quarter of 2022, while
commissioning is planned for the
fourth quarter of the same year.
Toshiba Hydro Power (Hangzhou), a
Chinese subsidiary of Toshiba Energy
Systems and Solutions, and PT Toshi-
ba Asia Pacic Indonesia (TAPI), an
Indonesian subsidiary of Toshiba En-
ergy Systems and Solutions, have won
an order to manufacture four 105 MW
hydro turbines for the Kerinci Meran-
gin Hydro Electroc Power Plant on
Sumatra Island, Indonesia.
Delivery of the equipment will
start from September 2023.
The Kerinci hydropower plant has
a head greater than 400 m, therefore
requiring special technology to
meet the high head and rotating
speed for the turbines.
Siemens Energy has announced that it
has won a contract for the region’s rst
HL-class gas turbine. In conjunction
with its consortium partner CTCI Cor-
poration, which will build the Sun Ba
Power Phase II combined cycle pow-
er plant for the IPP Sun Ba Power
Corporation. The 1100 MW Sun Ba II
project will be built in Tainan, south-
western Taiwan, and will be red with
regasied LNG. Siemens Energy will
also provide long-term service for the
plant’s core components.
Sun Ba II will be a multi-shaft
combined cycle power plant, with
two gas turbines and one steam tur-
bine each driving its own electrical
generator. Siemens Energy’s scope
of supply includes the plant’s power
island, consisting of two SGT6-
9000HL gas turbines, one SST-5000
steam turbine, three SGen6-2000P
generators, two HRSGs, and the
SPPA-T3000 control system.
The contract includes long-term
service over 25 years for both gas
turbines, the steam turbine, the gen-
erators, and the HRSGs. It also in-
cludes an option for digital service
solutions. CTCI is responsible for
construction and installation, and
the EPC work for the balance of
Rewa Ultra Mega Solar has awarded
a contract to Tata Powers unit TP
Saurya for the construction of a 330
MW solar project in the Indian state
of Madhya Pradesh.
The facility will be constructed in
Neemuch Solar Park, and will con-
sist of two units, one of 160 MW
and one of 170 MW. Output from
the facility will be supplied to the
Indian Railways and the Madhya
Pradesh Power Management Com-
pany under a 25-year PPA. The
project is scheduled to be commis-
sioned within 19 months from the
date of execution of the PPA.
The Nordex Group has received an
order from KGAL Investment Man-
agement for nine N131/3000 wind
turbines for the 27 MW Rywald wind
farm in Poland. The 3 MW units will
be mounted on 134 m tall towers. In
addition to installation and commis-
sioning, the order also includes a 15-
year service and maintenance con-
tract with a double extension option
for a further ve years.
The Rywald wind farm will be
built around 200 km northwest of
Warsaw. Construction is scheduled
to start in mid-2022.
Siemens Energy and Sumitomo Elec-
tric have signed a contract with Green-
link Interconnector Limited to deliver
HVDC converter technology for the
190 km Greenlink interconnector. The
500 MW HVDC link will connect the
power grids of Ireland and Great Brit-
ain. Work will begin at the start of
2022 following nancial close.
James O’Reilly, CEO of Green-
link, commented: “We will be look-
ing to maximise local supply chain
Vestas wins 240 MW
repowering project
Gas engine plant for City
of Lakeland
Doosan Heavy to design
X-energy’s SMRs
Vestas secures 50 MW
Taiwan order
Toshiba to supply hydro
turbines to Indonesia
Siemens Energy to supply
HL-class GTs to Taiwan
Nordex turbines for
Rywald wind farm
HVDC to link Ireland and
Great Britain
GHS electrolysers for
green hydrogen project
RTE awards Gruissan
oating wind farm contract
Kaylon selects GE solar
Wärtsilä to supply
120 MW plant to Gabon
ACWA Power wins
Uzbekistan wind farm
Bids received for Saudi-
Egypt grid interconnection
Sungrow equipment for
Egypt solar/storage project
Indian solar contract for
Tata Power
Tenders, Bids & Contracts
ydrogen has been used by hu-
mans for more than a century
and its potential as a clean
energy source has been recognised
for many years. But historically it
has always disappointed expecta-
tions, most recently in the early
2000s. This has fundamentally
changed in the last ve years, how-
ever, as technology has developed to
the point where hydrogen can now
be developed, at scale, not only as a
carbon-free energy carrier but also as
a storage vector.
This was the missing factor. Now
that storage is part of the equation,
we can unleash the full potential of
this versatile gas to achieve over
time – a complete decarbonisation of
our energy system and our hard-to-
abate industrial and transport sectors.
That is why the current wave of “hy-
drogen hype” is justied and why I
truly believe it will be possible for
the world to achieve net zero carbon
emissions by 2050.
The challenges remain consider-
able, of course. But now that the po-
litical will exists over 30 countries
have released hydrogen roadmaps,
$70 billion of public funding has
been committed and the industry has
announced over 200 projects to in-
vest some $300 billion through
2030, notes McKinsey the road-
map we need to follow is relatively
The rst step is to build demand
through new applications. Today’s
annual global hydrogen production
of around 80 million tons – just 4 per
cent of the energy mix, according to
the International Energy Agency
(IEA) is mostly used in a few in-
dustrial processes, such as rening
and petrochemicals. The IEAs mod-
els suggest that global consumption
will have to more than double to
over 200 million tons by 2030 if the
world is to attain its climate change
goals. It would then have to more
than double again to reach 530 mil-
lion tons globally by the time 2050
We must therefore greatly expand
hydrogen’s utilisation, for example
by replacing natural gas in steel
making; building fuel-cell trucks,
buses and trains for long-distance
transport; blending it into the gas
pipelines and boilers that heat build-
ings; and using it to store renewable
At the same time, we must replace
‘grey’ hydrogen which contributes to
carbon emissions because it is pro-
duced from natural gas and which
constitutes the bulk of today’s pro-
duction, with carbon-free versions:
either ‘blue’ (or ‘turquoise’) hydro-
gen, where these emissions are cap-
tured at source; or ‘green’ hydrogen,
which is produced via electrolysis
powered by renewable power.
Cleaning up today’s hydrogen output
is low-hanging fruit.
More difcult and capital inten-
sive will be building a complete hy-
drogen value chain, but this is
something we must tackle in the
coming decade. We can start with
large projects, such as the Hamburg
Hydrogen Hub in which Mitsubishi
Heavy Industries (MHI) Group is
involved, that plans to decarbonise
the city’s port, shipping infrastruc-
ture and local gas pipelines with
green hydrogen.
Such clusters can be supplied ei-
ther by onsite hydrogen production
or be connected to pipeline net-
works, say from the North Sea or
North Africa in the case of Europe.
Alternatively, hydrogen can be
shipped in from low-cost produc-
tion centres like Australia or the
Middle East, perhaps in the form of
ammonia, via ‘zero-carbon’ carriers
powered by synthetic fuels.
Meanwhile, the rapid deployment
of solar and wind power means
some countries now have a surplus
of renewable energy currently being
curtailed in most cases, which can be
stored as green hydrogen, for exam-
ple in salt caverns, as MHI Group is
planning to do in Utah in the US.
Hydrogen allows much longer-term
storage than batteries, so the electric-
ity can be fed back into the grid
when needed. It is true that the con-
version (or ‘round tripping’) of elec-
tricity into hydrogen and back again
results in substantial energy losses.
But critics forget that this surplus en-
ergy that renewables produce inter-
mittently would otherwise be simply
It is also true that carbon-free hy-
drogen is still too expensive and re-
ducing the cost from the $4-5/kg that
it currently costs to produce it in Eu-
rope to a competitive $1.50/kg will
be hard. Supportive regulation and
perhaps even subsidies can take us
some of the way, but we cannot ex-
pect the extensive nancial incen-
tives that fostered the development
of renewable energy.
For a start, it would be just too
costly to replicate that for hydrogen,
particularly on the relatively short-
term time scale that policymakers
have in mind. And we also have to
take care not to create affordability
issues for end consumers, whose
utility bills in many countries, in-
cluding much of Europe and Japan,
already today include a surcharge for
developing cleaner energy sources.
Instead, we should turn to market
mechanisms, like contracts for dif-
ferences, as well as encouraging
open competition between hydro-
gen and other energy sources. The
development of carbon pricing and
trading markets, which are starting
to set a realistic price for carbon
emissions will also encourage utili-
ties and industrial companies to
wean themselves off thermal energy
and switch to newer fuels, including
But the main and most obvious so-
lution to the cost problem is scale.
We must scale up – and massively so
every part of the hydrogen value
chain described above, from produc-
tion to transport to storage. This is
the important lesson from the suc-
cessful expansion of the renewables
industry and it is what will bring
prices down most effectively.
This is why MHI Group welcomes
the UK’s recent pragmatic and mar-
ket-based hydrogen policy, which
we have been watching with great
interest – and this is certainly a pub-
lic debate in which we intend to
One aspect where MHI can help is
that we already have available tools
to quantify the true carbon footprint
of all the various so-called ‘carbon
free’ energies, across their entire life
cycle. It is something we have al-
ready done for biomass and we think
it will be a valuable contribution to
the conversation.
On the basis of these calculations,
blue hydrogen has a place in the en-
ergy mix. The precise colour does
not matter: right now we need every
kilogram of carbon-free hydrogen
that we can produce at competitive
prices. So, prioritising cheaper blue
hydrogen makes a lot of sense, as
long as it is coupled with coherent
management of the resulting carbon
dioxide. Again, I would point to the
UK, as well as the US, Norway and
some others as countries where the
storage and/or industrial use of CO
is being actively promoted.
Well-thought-out public policy not
only provides a framework within
which energy providers and industri-
al companies can plan and act; it also
gives condence to investors and
their money is needed to develop
new applications and reach markets
and achieve the scale we are talking
about. After all, production capacity
and infrastructure will only be built
when there is documented and com-
mitted hydrogen consumption that it
can supply.
MHI is working on both carbon-
based products, such as synthetic
carbon-free fuels, for use in shipping
and aviation as well as carbon black,
which can be used to strengthen rub-
ber tyres and in a range of plastics
and coatings. The advantage of the
latter is that, as a solid, it can sus-
tainably store large volumes of CO
very efciently and even store them
permanently with a minimum foot-
print if no other use is found.
We are also seeking to improve the
efciency of converting hydrogen
into other carriers, such as ammonia
and seeing if we can improve the
yield from the ‘round trip efciency’
of hydrogen back to electricity. This
would require an increase in the ef-
ciency of electrolysers from 65-70
per cent into the 80s or 90s in per-
centage terms, which would also
help to rapidly bring down the cost
of hydrogen.
As someone who has conducted re-
search and lectures on mechanical
engineering, I feel privileged to wit-
ness research results turning to prac-
tice at a great speed. I am excited
that we are able to attract bright
young engineers and motivate them
to use modern skills in electro-chem-
istry and articial intelligence for the
new energy business. It gives me
real hope that we will achieve the
100 per cent decarbonisation that the
world so badly needs.
Emmanouil Kakaras is Executive
Vice President NEXT Energy Busi-
ness, Head of Duisburg Branch at
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries EMEA.
With the ability to develop hydrogen at scale and storage now part of the equation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’
Emmanouil Kakaras believes the hype around hydrogen is justied.
Store, scale and apply:
Store, scale and apply:
harnessing hydrogen’s full
harnessing hydrogen’s full
Industry Perspective
Kakaras is watching the UK’s
recent hydrogen policy with
great interest
total. The combined capacity and
output of wind plus solar was 24.3 per
cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively.
This is because the utilisation rates
are lower than for coal. Put simply,
based on existing wind and solar
utilisation rates, which themselves of
course vary depending on location, in
2020 about 6.35 times of the solar and
wind capacity would have been re-
quired to offset that of coal. That’s a
mind-boggling 3747 GW or so. And
that would be for just 2020!
Of course, wind and solar are not the
only forms of zero-carbon emission
generation. There are other main
forms of generation, including hydro,
pump storage, and nuclear. A massive
expansion in the generation capacity
of these also faces massive challenges.
For hydro there are resources limita-
tions given that the easier to access,
and thus cheaper, resources have
largely been exploited already. For
pumped storage the challenge is that
it cannot be built everywhere; it is
topology specic. There is indeed an
enormous amount of upside for nu-
clear (see TEI Times, June 2021, page
14) but China rst needs to identify
newer generation reactors, which it
feels are safe and reliable. Something
which is most likely to happen but
will be a decade or more out, these
issues and more are discussed and
evaluated in greater detail in the book
‘Asia’s Energy Revolution’.
The likely scenario is that in the
2020s VRE additions, especially off-
shore wind, will be higher than ex-
pected. The speed will depend on cost
i Jinping, the President of the
People’s Republic of China,
announced net zero targets
(NZT) in 2020. The nation targets to
peak CO
emissions before 2030 and
achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
President Xi then announced in Sep-
tember 2021, that the country will no
longer build new coal red power
projects abroad. When the words
‘China’ and ‘decarbonisation’ hit
headlines, the focus is often on the na-
tion’s massive coal red installed ca-
pacity and the emissions it produces.
The NZT drive must address overcom-
ing the coal power obstacle, but China
is likely to beat the NZT it set given
its strong execution track record. This
will probably take the form of more
clean energy generation than current-
ly planned, plus newer zero-carbon
For the last three decades thermal
coal generation has powered the
Chinese economy. In the past, coal
was the logical and easy choice to
power the astonishing economic
growth for several reasons. The fuel is
plentiful domestically. Highly ef-
cient supply channels exist. Equip-
ment suppliers built a know-how in
manufacturing high quality and cost
competitive boilers and turbines.
Plant owners have become procient
and effective in plant construction.
These factors have meant a low pro-
duction cost per kWh versus other
fuels; the national average coal power
tariff was approximately Yuan370–
380 ($57–59) per MWh in 2020.
These factors drove coal capacity to
leap to a massive 1080 GW, about 49
per cent of the nation’s total, in 2020.
Beijing’s NZT for CO
to peak be-
fore 2030 and achieve net zero carbon
before 2060 is known domestically as
the ‘30-60 Target’. After the 30-60
Target was broadcasted, the scarce
action points disappointed many ob-
servers abroad. Even the shorter-term
14th Five Year Plan (2021–2025) was
light on specics. This is because of
the under-promise-but-overdeliver
culture. An example of this is when
witnessing the stupendous growth in
variable renewable energy (VRE)
construction in the past decade, for
example. Apart from the cultural fac-
tor, it is likely planners felt they
needed more time to evaluate all
available options. What is certain is
that when it comes to clean energy the
nation has consistently beaten targets
in the past decade. In fact, clean en-
ergy goals were raised several times
in the past decade, which led to over
535 GW of solar and wind generation
by the end of 2020 and over 570 GW
as of August 2021, mostly commis-
sioned in the past decade.
Coal generation is an obstacle to
China’s NZT but this obstacle is also
a motivation factor for the planners to
aggressively address what to do about
it. The challenge with China’s coal
red generation is one of time and
timing. Electric power demand
growth is still very robust and addi-
tional generation capacity will be
needed in the coming decades. The
demand should grow at 2 per cent to
4 per cent per annum in the next 20
years. By 2050, it should rise to be-
tween 14 000 and 22 000 TWh based
on estimates from various domestic
and overseas institutions, from about
7600 TWh; the higher end of the
forecast range is more likely. Shutting
down almost 50 per cent of the na-
tions’ total capacity overnight is no
viable option.
While details are lacking for now,
domestic experts’ consensus is that
coal generation will peak within the
next ve years. It will then progres-
sively decline as a percentage of the
total energy mix. The number bandied
around is that by 2025 the amount of
coal generation capacity will be close
to what it is now – about 1100 GW by
2025 versus about 1080 GW today –
despite the fact that some plants are
still being built. It is highly likely that
once the nation has a clearer picture
of which other clean energy it can
quickly ramp up in the short to me-
dium term, only then will it aggres-
sively address the existing coal red
capacity. Early coal plant closures are
To illustrate the size of the problem
we can look at output. Looking at the
composition of China’s electric power
capacity and generation in 2020, one
can easily conclude that in order to
offset all of the nation’s coal red
generation, enormous amounts of
clean energy capacity will be needed.
Coal capacity and output accounted
for 49 per cent and 60.7 per cent of the
reductions which can be achieved
with energy storage systems. The is-
sue on China’s next clean energy
surge is not one of ‘if but one of
‘when’. There are a variety of fore-
casts as to the percentage of non-fossil
fuel in the generation mix by 2050.
One is from think-tank Global Energy
Interconnection Development and Co-
operation Organization (GEIDCO). It
puts coal at 403 GW out of 6010 GW
total by 2050. This may prove to be
far too high.
Apart from more VRE, the amount
of nuclear could be at least 70 per cent
higher than GEIDCO’s expectations,
or about 300 GW, for example. Also,
solar and wind should easily surpass
the 2248 GW and 1967 GW expected
by GEIDCO. It will be in part driven
by signicant additions in energy
storage systems, as they get cheaper,
as well as the massive investments in
digitalisation, which will help man-
age VRE, the integration of battery-
powered electric vehicles into the
grids through bi-directional charging,
newer clean energy technologies in-
cluding oating solar and oating
wind, and carbon capture and storage.
Joseph Jacobelli is a well-respected
clean energy business executive, ana-
lyst and author, with over 30 years’
experience in Asia. He runs a direct
investments advisory rm Asia Clean
Tech Energy Investments. He is author
of the recently published: ‘Asia’s En-
ergy Revolution: China’s Role and
New Opportunities as Markets Trans-
form and Digitalise’.
Climate Countdown
China’s electric power capacity and output in 2020
Source: Author calculations, September 2021. Data sourced from: ‘China Electricity Council issued the annual
development report of China’s power industry 2021’, China Electricity Council, 8 July 2021. Accessed at http://www.
China’s recent
announcement that
it will no longer build
overseas coal plants
is seen as signicant
in the run-up to
Joseph Jacobelli
looks at the country’s
approach to the coal
power sector and
explores how its
continued domestic
use might actually
drive other forms of
clean generation.
Coal: an obstacle and a key
Coal: an obstacle and a key
driver to China’s decarbonisation
driver to China’s decarbonisation
ith COP26 fast approach-
ing, governments and in-
dustries across the globe
have been ramping up their an-
nouncement of ambitious decarboni-
sation commitments and invest-
ments. However, whilst clean energy
capacity continues to grow at record
pace, there is a growing acknowl-
edgement of the signicant challenge
facing the electricity system on
which these key energy transition
milestones must be underpinned by.
For many grids, replacing heavy
spinning coal and gas red power
stations with the wind and solar ca-
pacity needed to meet their decar-
bonisation ambitions will require
signicant investment and advanced
changes to grid infrastructure and
blackout events in Texas and the
United Kingdom over the last few
years are a stark reminder of the
challenges faced by grids as they
struggle to keep pace with the speed
of the renewable energy rollout.
With Europe in the midst of an en-
ergy supply crisis exacerbated by
soaring gas and power prices, many
countries are already looking to
boost their renewables capacity as a
means of protecting security of sup-
ply going forward. It is therefore
more vital than ever for grid opera-
tors to prioritise grid infrastructure to
enable clean energy to be delivered
reliably and cheaply to customers.
Inertia is dened as an object’s ten-
dency to continue in its existing state
of rest or motion. This is a key con-
cept in the functioning of power
grids. Many generators producing
electricity have spinning parts which
rotate at the same frequency, keeping
the grid stable and protecting power
plants and equipment from tripping.
Inertia provides resistance to uctua-
tions in grid frequency caused by
power supply and demand, leading
to a lower rate of change of frequen-
cy (RoCoF).
Systems that rely primarily on fos-
sil fuels, nuclear or hydro plants
have traditionally benetted from
high and predictable levels of iner-
tia. The inertia provided by the
spinning turbines of those plants
connected to the grid slows changes
to their rotation speed and as a re-
sult stabilises the frequency of the
grid. However, the introduction of
renewable energy generation has
complicated the picture signicant-
ly. Solar and wind plants, two of the
most prevalent forms of clean ener-
gy generation, are typically con-
nected to the grid through inverters
and hence have control loops which
‘follow’ the frequency of the grid
rather than contributing any inertia.
The rapid dissemination of inter-
mittent renewable capacity is posing
new challenges for transmission
system operators (TSOs), whose
primary role is ensuring the stability
of frequency of the power grid.
TSOs do have a number of tools to
combat this, such as curtailing re-
newable generation or bring con-
ventional power plants online on
demand. In the longer term, the de-
velopment of rapid balancing ser-
vices and the installation of syn-
chronous condensers or ywheels to
the grid will also help support these
efforts. However, whilst these are
all technically viable options, they
often come at a higher cost which is
only increasing as the complexity of
the grid demands more management
with every passing day.
In a traditional power system, there
is limited need for TSOs to know ex-
actly what is going on across the
grid. Previously, operators would
simply monitor the input and output
of electricity and balance it by mo-
bilising large, centralised plants. This
management model is based on the
idea that the operator is already in
full control of what goes in and out
of the system. However, this be-
comes obsolete once you begin in-
troducing forms of distributed gener-
ation such as rooftop solar, batteries
and EVs that are generally “hidden”
and out of the operators control.
While we see transmission-con-
nected inertia decrease, inertia in the
distribution network from pumps,
fans and motors remains. This dis-
tributed inertia is around 10-30 per
cent of the total in most power sys-
tems. Estimates and models which
ignore this distributed inertia and
make assumptions of transmission
connected inertia can lead to system
operators walking blind towards a
cliff edge as they try to manage the
grid. It is therefore crucial to gain
better visibility of network condi-
tions to enable TSOs to “see the edge
of the cliff” and walk as closely to it
as is safely possible as they attempt
to increase renewables penetration
without disrupting system stability.
Reactive’s GridMetrix service is
the rst and only service to accurate-
ly measure system inertia in real-
time. The technology was developed
in Finland by Reactive’s team of
ex-Nokia engineers, who re-deployed
their telecommunications expertise
to successfully enable the transmis-
sion of signals through a power grid
for the rst time anywhere in the
world, allowing for inertia to be di-
rectly measured for the rst time.
Comprised of both a hardware and
cloud software element, GridMetrix
utilises an ultracapacitor to send
pulses of power through the grid –
like the underwater sound waves
used in sonar. These pulses are mea-
sured by a series of ‘XMU’ measure-
ment units recording at extremely
high levels of granularity placed at
various points at the edge of the grid
network and processed by the Grid-
Metrix cloud computing platform.
In August 2019, Reactive Technol-
ogies signed an agreement with sys-
tem operator National Grid ESO
(NGESO) to deploy GridMetrix in
Great Britain. The implementation
process involved the creation of the
world’s largest grid-connected ultra-
capacitor (5 MW). The device is cur-
rently under construction and will al-
low, once completed, for information
to travel directly into the NGESO
control room. This will be a world’s
rst, providing National Grid with
the data required to accurately map
any deviations in level of inertia and
electrical frequency to respond in-
stantaneously and balance the gird in
The ultracapacitor is being built at
Wilton International on Teesside, a
major industrial site managed by
Sembcorp Energy UK and right at
the heart of one of the UK’s emerg-
ing low carbon hubs, across the wa-
ter from Dogger Bank, the world’s
largest offshore wind development
project. Once implemented, the proj-
ect will help to further the UK’s am-
bitions to become an environmental
leader globally, enabling National
Grid to deploy more renewable ener-
gy safely and cost-effectively as it
works towards its goal of operating a
net zero carbon energy system by
The United Kingdom has under-
taken a signicant decarbonisation
drive over the past 10 years, outpac-
ing most of its G20 peers and pro-
viding an important case study for
the challenges and hurdles other na-
tions embarking on their energy tran-
sition journey. The window of op-
portunity for global power systems
to implement the technological de-
velopments needed to manage this
change is shortening as the pace of
renewables deployment continues at
speed. However, there is also an in-
creasing acknowledgment of the in-
vestments needed to support these
advancements. According to the
IEAs ‘Net Zero 2050’ report, the an-
nual spend on electricity grids will
need to total $820 billion and whilst
a signicant amount of this will
come from governments, the private
sector is increasingly aware of the
role it will play in catalysing invest-
ment in the sector.
Reactive Technologies is a recent
recipient of this interest having re-
cently concluded a $15 million fund-
ing round which included Bill Gates’
clean energy venture fund, Break-
through Energy Ventures. The fund’s
impact-focused screen criteria mean
it only invests in technologies with
the potential, at scale, to reduce
greenhouse gases by at least half a
gigaton every year (about 1 per cent
of global emissions), a key valida-
tion of Reactive Technologies’ ap-
proach to furthering the energy tran-
sition through innovation grid
The backing of Background and
Reactive’s other strategic investors
will enable the company to export its
world-rst technology beyond the
UK into other markets facing similar
challenges on their decarbonisation
journey. Given the high costs of ret-
rotting energy infrastructure, such
technologies will play an important
role, especially for countries such as
the US or Australia where diffused
grid models are more likely to
emerge as a result of their vast geo-
graphical areas.
The eyes of the world will be on
Glasgow as global leaders come to-
gether for COP26 to announce the
high-level actions they will be pledg-
ing to take to tackle climate change.
However, the decarbonisation of the
global energy system can only be
achieved through investment in the
grid technologies that will unblock
existing challenges to grid exibility
and renewables penetration, enabling
us to accelerate the push to a 100 per
cent renewable energy power system
as fast as is possible.
Marc Borrett is Co-Founder and
CEO, Reactive Technologies Limited.
Technology Focus
As grid operators
attempt to increase
penetration without
disrupting system
stability, it is crucial
for them to gain
better visibility of
network conditions.
Reactive’s GridMetrix
service is claimed to
be the rst and only
service to accurately
measure system
inertia in real-time.
Marc Borrett
Injecting inertia into the
Injecting inertia into the
energy transition
energy transition
GridMetrix utilises an ultracapacitor to send pulses of power through the grid
Borrett: While we see
inertia decrease, inertia in
the distribution network from
pumps, fans and motors
Final Word
here is a saying: “Burn not your
house to rid it of the mouse.”
In times of crisis a knee-jerk
reaction can create a bigger problem.
As several European countries strug-
gle with the effects of astronomical
increases in energy prices, there is a
danger governments will be swayed
by arguments that might ultimately
jeopardise climate goals that are al-
ready hard to meet.
Last month saw natural gas import
prices for the EU skyrocket – up by
more than 440 per cent compared to
a year ago. The reasons for the current
high prices are several. As economies
bounce back from the worst effects
of the Covid pandemic, demand has
risen sharply while supply has tight-
ened. At the same time, weather-re-
lated factors including a particularly
cold and long heating season in Eu-
rope last winter and lower than usual
availability of wind energy, have
compounded the problem.
The International Energy Agency,
noted that European prices also reect
broader global gas market dynamics.
There were strong cold spells in East
Asia and North America in the rst
quarter of 2021. These were followed
by heatwaves in Asia and drought in
various regions, including Brazil. This
all added to the upward trend in gas
demand. In Asia, gas demand has re-
mained strong throughout the year,
and increased demand and prices in
the region resulted in liqueed natural
gas (LNG) shipments being delivered
there rather than to Europe. On the
supply side, LNG production world-
wide has been lower than expected due
to a series of unplanned outages and
delays across the globe and delayed
maintenance from 2020.
Some blame has also been levelled
at Russia. Think-tank Ember noted
that fossil gas imports from Russia via
Ukraine “have not stepped up to meet
the increase in European demand”. In
a proposal for the EU to centralise
natural gas purchases to counteract
vendors’ market power and build up
strategic reserves, the Spanish govern-
ment said: “Gas producers are behav-
ing strategically to maximise their
prots. We should act together to
avoid being at their mercy.”
The IEA offered a more measured
response, pointing out that “based on
the available information, Russia is
fullling its long-term contracts with
European counterparts” but also noted
that exports to Europe are down from
their 2019 level. In a press statement,
the Paris-based organisation said:
“The IEA believes that Russia could
do more to increase gas availability to
Europe and ensure storage is lled to
adequate levels in preparation for the
coming winter heating season. This is
also an opportunity for Russia to un-
derscore its credentials as a reliable
supplier to the European market.”
Meanwhile, Gazprom, Russia’s
state-backed monopoly gas exporter
said it fullled all of its long-term
contracts to customers but has not
made additional top-up sales available
through Ukraine this year, while al-
lowing its own storage facilities in
Europe to fall to low levels.
Whatever the reasons, the result has
seen European electricity prices climb
to their highest levels in over a decade
in recent weeks, rising above €100/
MWh in many markets. In Germany
and Spain, for example, prices in
September were around three or four
times the averages seen in 2019 and
2020, according to the IEA.
Since the gas price rises across Eu-
rope and the knock-on effect on
electricity prices, the propaganda
machines and spin-doctors of the
various fuel/technology proponents
and political/environmental lobby
groups have certainly gone into
UKOOG seized the opportunity to
once again call on the British govern-
ment to increase domestic gas produc-
tion to reduce reliance on imports.
Specically, it asked the government
to reassess its position on high volume
hydraulic fracturing in England.
Meanwhile the Nuclear Industry
Association claimed new nuclear is
“the only reliable, low-carbon and
British form of power generation” that
can stabilise the UK’s energy system
over the long-term.
This is all heaping pressure on
governments to act, fearing a backlash
from struggling households.
The EU is now reconsidering plans
proposed under the Green Deal to
strengthen the European Emissions
Trading Scheme (ETS). Pascal Cann,
a French MEP and Head of the Euro-
pean Parliament’s Environment Com-
mittee, which must approve the com-
mission’s green package, said his
Renew Europe group was working on
plans to “recalibrate” the ETS.
“I’m not convinced by the need to
extend the ETS,” said Cann.
Yet taking action to protect the end
consumer and at the same time curry
favour with voters, politicians are in
danger of threatening energy transi-
tion goals. Spain, Italy and France
have all announced support packages
for households, with Spain also saying
it will divert a portion of utilities’
prots to consumers.
Europe’s politicians generally ac-
cept the need to move away from
fossil fuels but that acceptance is
likely to be balanced against the cost
of losing votes and this balance often
results in unintended consequences.
The actions of the Spanish government
could stymie the incentive for utility
companies to invest in green energy.
Its plans to suspend taxes tacked on to
consumer electricity bills, which
partly help to pay for Spain’s energy
transition will also not help the al-
ready difcult path to net zero.
In a crisis, governments are always
tempted to intervene in the operation
of energy markets. In the UK, there is
even talk of temporarily nationalising
failing energy companies to stop them
collapsing as a result of the surging
gas prices.
Kwasi Kwarteng, Business, Energy
and Industrial Strategy Secretary indi-
cated he would be prepared to appoint
a “special administrator” that would
see the rms taken under government
control, effectively nationalising them
on a temporary basis.
While this is unlikely to have any
signicant permanence, the issue of
high gas prices is expected to continue
for some time, and it will be interesting
to see how the UK and other govern-
ments handle what could be a drawn-
out crisis.
Pressed on whether he saw more gas
storage as a solution, Kwarteng said
storage is “a bit of a red herring”. He
stressed that no amount of storage
would mitigate the effect of the qua-
drupling of the gas price in the last six
months. Instead he said “the answer to
this is to get more diverse sources of
supply, more diverse sources of elec-
tricity through non-carbon sources.”
Giving evidence at a Parliamentary
Members Committee meeting on the
UK gas market, Kwarteng, stressed the
importance of nuclear but admitted it
would not help the situation now.
“When I say that nuclear is the an-
swer, clearly it’s not the answer next
week because it takes time to get nu-
clear facilities up and running. But as
far as 2050 is concerned all of the
modelling I’ve seen suggests quite a
large degree of nuclear… I’d guess
something like 15 per cent of capacity
could come from nuclear.”
Green lobbyists and others, how-
ever, are convinced that the crisis
should not be used as a reason to un-
dermine the energy transition efforts
that are gaining momentum. Com-
menting on Kwarteng’s remarks, Re-
becca Newsom, Head of Politics at
Greenpeace UK, said: “The only way
to protect against volatile gas prices is
to reduce our reliance on gas alto-
gether. But the Energy Secretary only
has half a plan for making this happen.
“He’s right about the vital role of
renewables but his emphasis on nucle-
ar is completely out-dated given
continual cost escalation and project
delays. His failure to mention energy
efciency is the major oversight,
given this is one of the fastest and
cheapest ways to reduce gas demand
and boost job opportunities across the
This was echoed in Brussels. “The
current situation makes the case for
the Green Deal policies even stronger.
We need more change, not less, and
faster,” Kadri Simson, EU Energy
Commissioner, told the FT. “The only
real, long-term solution here is to in-
crease the share of renewable energy,
which is already generally the cheap-
est energy on the market.”
This is encouraging. There will be
some tough decisions in the coming
months but with the climate at risk,
politicians will need to hold their
nerve; take the long term view rather
than roll-out temporary xes that will
be regretted later.
As my mother used to say: “Act in
haste, repent at leisure.”
Time to hold your nerve
Junior Isles
Cartoon: jemsoar.com