THE FRIDAY NOTE: UK trims PV, onshore wind support and the rest of the week's top picks
Dec 6, 2013 - This week Britain announces lower strike prices for onshore wind and large solar projects, Quercus unveils a 254-MW solar buy in the UK and the 600-MW Gemini wind project off the Netherlands clears a final hurdle, while the 100-MW offshore wind test centre in Scotland’s Aberdeen Bay gets delayed by two years.
On Wednesday, the UK government said it had lifted the strike prices until 2019 for electricity from offshore wind, hydropower and geothermal power plants, but it also reduced the rates for onshore wind and large-scale photovoltaics (PV). The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) expects GBP 40 billion (USD 65.4bn/EUR 48bn) in additional renewables investment by the end of the decade. Britain already has 20 GW of working renewable energy capacity and that figure could double by 2020 as a result of the government’s reforms, the department added.
DEVELOPERS PUT OFF 100-MW EOWDC, TYPHOON OFFSHORE HAS GOOD NEWS
Just a day after the government’s announcement of increased offshore wind support, Swedish utility Vattenfall said that the grid connection date for the 100-MW European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) project in Aberdeen Bay, Scotland, had been postponed by two years to 2017. The delay is intended to give the project developers more time to seek potential investment partners and to solve ongoing onshore planning issues. They also need to deal in court with Donald Trump, who wants to have the Scottish government's approval for the project overturned.
In contrast to Vattenfall and the other EOWDC project partners, Dutch firm Typhoon Offshore got a reason to cheer after the fishing associations in the north of the Netherlands withdrew an appeal against the 600-MW Gemini wind project in the North Sea. This was the only ongoing appeal against the scheme so the permits for it are now irrevocable, Typhoon Offshore said.
On the solar power front, Luxembourg-based infrastructure investor Quercus Asset Selection said Monday it had agreed to acquire 254 MW of solar projects in the UK, valued at more than GBP 300 million. It will buy the 21 solar schemes from UK engineering firm Progressum. The projects will be developed in the south-centre of the UK next year. Spanish contractor Bester Generacion will be in charge of construction.
INDIAN DVC EYES WORLD BANK BACKING FOR 1-GW SOLAR PLAN, INSTITUTE WORKS TO CUT COSTS
In India, The Financial Chronicle said Tuesday that state-run power firm Damodar Valley Corp (DVC) was planning to have 1GW of solar power capacity by 2022. The daily said, citing an official, that the thermal and hydropower plants operator would need to spend some INR 85 billion (USD 1.4bn/EUR 1bn) to reach the solar goal. It is seeking a 30-year loan from the World Bank.
The investment can actually be far less if an ongoing research project by the Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI) achieves success. The institute has already slashed the cost of solar energy to INR 35 million (USD 568,000) per MW in the lab and is now turning to industrial-scale experiments. GERMI director, T Harinarayana, said at an energy event at the close of the week that India needed to put more effort into solar research and development in order to cut the cost of solar energy.
ENEL TO BACK ROMANIAN WIND FARM WITH EUR-200M EIB LOAN
Back to Europe, but eastern Europe this time, Italy's Enel Green Power (BIT:EGPW) on Monday said it had entered a EUR-200-million (USD 273m) loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to partially cover investments in some wind farms in Romania. The projects are located in the southeastern region of Dobrogea and western region of Banat.