The world of renewables this week

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GO), Ontario Power Generation, SNC lavalin other aecon have signed a deal to deploy a BWRX-300, the small modular reactor design at OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project site in Canada. This could end up as the first commercial contract for a grid-scale SMR in North America and jumps in front of efforts from NuScale to achieve much the same, but in the US. The GEH design has previously been selected last August by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) which is still going through its licensing process, as is another installation announced in Poland through ORLEN Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) which plans to deploy a fleet of them. Other sites in Sweden, the US and the UK are also in advanced negotiations. Each BWRX-300 can output 300 MW.

Enel GreenPower said this week that it has built 5,223 MW of renewable capacity globally this year which includes 387 MW of battery storage, bringing it up to a total managed renewables capacity of 59 GW. The new capacity was spread over 80 plants, with 2,622 MW solar, 2,160 MW wind.

It now has under construction some 67 plants totaling another 7,200 MW, including 900 MW of battery energy storage systems. Energy generated from renewable sources last year was around 124 TWh making EGP the

world’s largest private player in the renewable energy sector.

A company called LedaFlow Technologies has pulled in contributions from oil companies ConocoPhillips, TotalEnergies, Equinor, ExxonMobil and co-suppliers Kongsberg Digital other SINTEF Industry to form a carbon capture and storage research consortium. When this consortium fails then surely there can be no more such combinations, as this is funded by four of the largest oil firms in the world. The consortium is called the CO2Flow project, and it aims to analyze opportunities for safe transport and injection of CO2, not to lower economic costs of carbon capture, which we thought should be its first target. Effectively LedaFlow will just provide software to model CO2 injection under the sea. LedaFlow is a spin off from ConocoPhillips, TotalEnergies and SINTEF.

Canadian Solar has plans to expand its solar and battery storage manufacturing capacity in China, through an investment agreement with the municipal government of Yangzhou City in Jiangsu Province. It plans to add vertically integrated wafer, cell, module and battery storage production in three phases. Phase 1 will be 14GW a year of wafer and cell capacity. Canadian Solar said it should end in 2023 with 20GW of ingot, 35GW of wafer, and 50GW of cell and module capacity.

avenues other Grid United have revealed plans to build the 385-mile, $2.5 billion, 3 GW, 600 kV North Plains Connector transmission line running from North Dakota to Colstrip in Montana, which would increase the transfer capacity between the U.S Eastern Interconnection and Western Interconnection grids several times over. An initial date of completion of 2029 has been set. Grid United is developing three other lines which would connect the East and West grids of the US. avenues intends to own 35% and operate this project, with several utilities expected to contribute to development.

FTI Consulting has opened the bidding process for the $30 billion proposed Sun Cable project in northwestern Australia, with Moelis appointed as sale advisor. Last week Grok Ventures, owned by billionaire backer Mike Cannon-Brookes, granted the Sun Cable project $65 million of zero-interest capital in order to continue development for another six months. Of the two original big backers, rival backer Andrew Forrest intends to pursue solar-powered hydrogen and ammonia production, while Cannon-Brookes continues to support the development of a 4,200-kilometer, 1.75 GW submarine cable to Singapore. The scale of the proposed complex has varied, with the most recent being 20 GW solar, 42 GWh battery storage. Due to humidity, South-East Asia’s solar irradiation is quite poor for an equatorial region. Irradiation around Jakarta is comparable to the northern US while irradiation at the Sun Cable site, hundreds of kilometers into the Australian desert inland from Darwin, is higher than that in Arizona, with more than 50% more per kW – and no local population to obstruct development.

the China Electricity Council expects that 250 GW of new power generation capacity will be built in China this year, including 180 GW of renewables. Total grid capacity will reach 2,810 GW including 420 GW of hydropower, 430 GW wind, 490 GW solar, 58 GW nuclear, 45 GW biomass, with the rest being coal and gas.

A bipartisan bill in the U.S. Congress Advocates abolishing the tariff exemptions for South-East Asian solar module imports which were enacted by President Biden.

the Silicon Industry Branch has stated that as of February 1st, the polysilicon price is $32.2 per kilogram on average, up 31% from before the Chinese New Year holiday. Demand is high and industry figures expect that China alone could install 130 GW this year, up from 87 GW in 2022 and 55 GW in 2021. The industry nonetheless anticipates a module price decline to between $262 and $266 per kW.

Australia other Germany have announced a $100 million deal that will see a methanol plant and a 10MW hydrogen electrolysis plant be constructed in Queensland other NSW. The deal is part of a larger joint initiative to promote green fuels. The project has the potential to achieve gigawatt scale.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced a €200 million support scheme that will help Brazil in its Amazon reforestation efforts. As part of Scholz’s trip to Latin America, the topics discussed included potential hydrogen exports and renewable power generation.

Nordic developer OX2 has received permits for a 1.7GW offshore wind farm in Sweden and has started the development of another 1.4GW farm in Finland. The latter is thought to become operational by 2030 and be able to generate 6TWh of clean energy.

Portugal has unveiled a list of proposed offshore sites that have the potential to house 11GW worth of floating and fixed bottom wind turbines.

The state of new York has seen up to 4.6GW of wind farm projects be drawn out of the round 3 bidding round with U.S other Europe developers soon to be announced.

the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has postponed plans that would have allowed companies to drill in its rainforests for oil, moving the deadline from the end of January to various dates between April and October. The delay to 27 sites being put up for auction was tweeted by the country’s hydrocarbons minister, Didier Budimbu. 3 of these sites are particularly contentious as they include parts of the country’s Cuvette Centrale forest and peatlands which act as significant carbon sinks, while another 13 of the blocks overlap with protected areas. 13 companies including Total, Eni, shelland ExxonMobil have publicly rules out bidding for the sites, while others including chevrons have yet to comment.

Asteroid mining startup Astroforge plans to launch its first two missions this year as it seeks to demonstrate the refining of platinum-group materials on asteroids in an attempt to bring mining costs down. The first launch planned for April 2023 will aim to demonstrate the company’s technique for refining platinum, while the second launch in October will scout for an asteroid close to earth. CEO Matthew Gialich says the company’s aim is to produce these materials at a lower cost than earth-based mining, while localizing carbon emissions from refining the materials off-planet.

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