renewable energy

Development and key technologies of floating solar

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Solarplaza organized a conference on floating solar today. Kane Wang, Director of the System Solution Department at Sungrow, said the development path is crucial. Sungrow has completed CPIA, or high density polyethylene floating body for PV power system on water. New application of floating solar includes those at Guqiao, Yiyang and Guidang in China, along with Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.

The offshore floating solar project is worth 180MWp offshore project in 2020. For the hydropower and floating solar, Sungrow has 2.5GWp+ of floating solar and 300KWp+ of hydropower and floating solar. There are key technologies of floating solar, such as wave impact. There have been wave breaker experiments. The material is corrosion resistant for 16 years in practical environment.

Anchoring design is for wind tunnel research, which includes wind load and shelter factor. There was current load simulation conducted. They have done coupling analysis for the floating system. Offshore floating is similar to nearshore. The maximum height of waves it can maintain for offshore solar is about 1 meter. They are researching for 2-meter high waves. Floating PV in winter conditions have been applied in several projects, especially in North Japan and North China, at approximately -40 degrees C.

2nd generation floating PV
Benedikt Ortmann, Global Director Solar Projects at Baywa r.e., presented the second generation of floating PV technology and levelized cost of energy (LCoE). It has a track record of over 3,000MWp realized worldwide, and is a European market leader in floating PV. They want you to co-develop with them in your area/country.

The choice for lakes/water bodies are that there are no offshore applications, no nature or protection zones, etc. There is great potential in places such as Germany of over 20GWp, France over 15GWp, Spain over 35GWp, and Italy over 16GWp. We need a new generation of floating PV is due to the fact that the installation cost or capex is higher than on a ground-mounted plant. The opex is lower than ground-mounted plant. The longer the generator can operate, the closer the LCoE of both, ground and floating PV technologies.

BayWa.r.e floating PV solution has direct water contact footprint, stable walkaways and integrated DC cable concept for fixed and protected cabling, less impact against wind, etc. It has moved to a floating PV park. Its floating transformer station has electrical standard concept with certified floating transformer station brought on the water. Special aluminum floater with integrated cable ducts and water sensors, integration into the floating-PV system with protected cables under the walkways, etc. There is stable walkway for operations and maintenance.

The first generation of floating PV was systems with one floater for each PV module that led to impeding the circulation of water. There were no paths for maintenance and cleaning. There was also no professional cabling for long lasting operation. There was also no reliable static calculation possible.

Anchoring is a key expertise of BayWa.r.e. Concept depends on lake properties, such as surroundings, soil quality, lake requirements, water height deviation, etc. There are different concepts, such as on-shore anchoring around the system, near shore anchoring, etc.

There have been lessons learned during the project Nij Beets. The FPV park had drifted. The company uses permanent anchoring lines from day one. Proper anchoring requires proper equipment. You need to choose the right technology.

Smart impact will be huge opportunity for industry: John Kerry

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On day 2 of the CERAWeek by IHS Markit, there was a plenary session with John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, United States. The session was moderated by Dr. Ernest J. Moniz, President and CEO, Energy Futures Initiative.

US President, Joe Biden, appointed John Kerry as Special President Envoy on Climate to propel the United States back to global leadership on climate change. Global commitments are aligning. Over 125 countries have pledged or are considering commitment to net-zero CO2 emissions. Yet few have aligned climate aspirations with policies, laws, and regulations to achieve them. How will the United States lead internationally to ensure that energy demand, climate aspirations, and energy security intersect?

Dr. Ernest J. Moniz (L) and John Kerry (R). Courtesy: CERAWeek by IHS Markit 2021.

John Kerry said there are climate refugees at different locations. There are food disruptions as well. The President’s plan is to step back in, and lead a sensible, thoughtful approach. There will be about $10 trillion invested over the next 30 years. In about eight months, we will all meet in Glasgow at the UN Climate Change Conference in November 2021. We will also lead the transition to clean energy.

The United States has done well so far with the competition. Climate crisis is not something that will fall victim to the other concerns of the world. China is 30 percent of all emitters. USA is the no. 2. There is no solving this by one country alone, and you also need to have China across the table.

We can deal with this as a compartmentalized issue. We will engage with China. China can be a critical partner in this initiative. We have to get the major emitting nations back together. We are way behind right now in the initiative. Temperatures are predicted to rise. We will hopefully announce the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) at the conference in November. The Biden plan called for net-zero by 2050 and net-zero power by 2035. If we can build smart impact, it will be a huge opportunity for the industry.

India, for instance, is extremely buoyant on solar. There are future possibilities for new supply chains. The one belt, one road, in China is for Chinese-funded entities. One Belt One Road (OBOR), is the brainchild of Chinese President, Xi Jinping. It is an ambitious economic development and commercial project that focuses on improving connectivity and co-operation among multiple countries spread across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

We all need to get much more involved in development. There are companies across the world who are also embracing new technology. Carbon and methane are emerging problems. As Bill Gates said, there are three possibilities before us — storage, fusion and fission.

USA, China and India are three of the major players. India has plans to produce 450GW of renewable power by 2030. They are determined to lead and be an important player. There are some other countries who are prepared to help India. Also, a lot of money has been allocated to wind, power, electric transport. The marketplace is making a critical decision here.

We need a major infrastructure investment. We have a gaping hole in the middle of our country. We also need to have a smart grid. That will not only save huge amounts of money, and also reduce emissions. We have to get rid of some of our chauvinism.

People are looking for solutions today. China had joined us as their citizens were rebelling against the quality of the air and water. People are going to be buying less gas in the future. There will be 500,000 EV charging stations that are going to be built across the USA. You will also get long-haul hydrogen trucks. Europe is also moving to hydrogen vehicles and cars. There is still some resistance to this kind of transformation.

What a year, 2020! Welcome 2021!!

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Welcome, 2021! The year 2020 is gone!! It is history!!! It was the year of the Covid-19, or, coronavirus. Note: the pandemic has not yet gone. Now, a new strain is doing the rounds. Some vaccines have already started shipping. Luckily, my family, and I have survived the year 2020! We sincerely hope you and your families have survived, as well. How many of us can survive this year? Fingers crossed, we hope that everyone should! We now look forward to the new year. There are hopes for proper vaccines, and those should be available for all, hopefully, soon!

Today, I wish to speak about how 2020 turned out to be a great year for me. Till March 2020, things were slow, as usual. Thereafter, they changed, and, fast! It all started with Yole Développement, France’s rapid, point-of-care molecular tests that help fight Covid-19, last April. There was a Semtech webinar on 5G fact vs. fiction, and how LoRaWAN plays a role. Next, Messe Muenchen India, hosted a webinar titled: ‘Opportunities in Medical Electronics post Covid-19’.

These were followed by the iconic IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS) 2020 in May 2020. For 57 years, the IRPS has been premiere conference for engineers and scientists to present new and original work in the area of microelectronics reliability. I made a new lot of followers.

Next, came Nokia, with the world’s first drone tsunami evacuation alerts in Sendai City, Japan. Infineon Technologies had a session on smart buildings. The Small Cell Forum spoke about how it was driving the ecosystem of small cell mobile infrastructure. This was followed by Dassault Systèmes and Aden Group for the Akila Care hospital for Covid-19, after the Leishenshan hospital in Wuhan, China! May 2020 ended with SEMI, SEMI Foundation and The Gig Economy webinar titled: Designing the future of work!

June 2020 was an even bigger month! BloombergNEF presented on India’s clean power revolution. Next, there was the 2020 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits. It was held virtually for the first time! Following this came the IEEE 70th Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC) 2020. Again, it was virtually held, for the first time. And, again, more followers came in!

Semicon West ahoy!
In July, the Semicon West 2020 event was held virtually, for the first time. According to Al Gore, some of the innovation around new materials is immense! So was ITC India 2020! Among the many presentations, one on ‘silicon lifecycle challenges and expanding role of test’, stood out. From Canada, there was an invite to cover Zinc8 Energy Solutions that redefines long-duration energy storage! And, what readership followed! 😉

Display Week 2020.

August saw SEMI, ESD Alliance, and McKinsey present on the future mobility disruptions on semiconductor design ecosystem. There was the IoT World 2020, as well. There was focus on data exchanges as the IoT market continues growth.

Interesting Display Week!
Next came Display Week 2020, thanks to an invite from long-time friend, Sri Peruvemba. This presented an opportunity to interact with the Display Supply Chain Consortium (DSCC). Foldable displays continue to advance! OLEDs are expected to lead from 2019-2024! An interesting session was about the women in technology.

September saw the Embedded Vision Summit 2020, where, I received an invitation, courtesy, Jeff Bier. Next came the SEMI Strategic Materials Conference (SMC) 2020. One presentation talked about silicon photonics and heterogenous integration challenges. SEMI also hosted a conference with Indium Corp., titled: What’s driving automotive electronics assembly and packaging? The IFA 2020 Berlin went virtual too!

Malcolm Penn, Future Horizons, UK, has predicted that the global semiconductor industry should grow 12 percent in 2021. Yole Developpement had a session on the NAND flash memory business. The Cadence Live 2020 event also went virtual for the first time.

Next came SEMI Global Smart Manufacturing Conference 2020. One standout presentation was on Predict and prevent automotive semiconductor zero defect enablement. In October, the future potential of 5G was unlocked at the GSMA Thrive North America 2020. There was Indian PM Narendra Modi at India Energy Forum by CERAWeek.

Dr. Wally Rhines.

The Chinese American Semiconductor Professional Association (CASPA) organized its annual conference: Next Wave of Semiconductor Innovation, in the USA, last October, where Dr. Walden (Wally) Rhines presented the keynote.

For those keen, fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) has long been described as transformative for cloud security. The algorithm was developed to enable computing on encrypted data sets, keeping the underlying data secure. It is a game-changer in cloud computing. I had to be awake till 4am for this, and am grateful for a wonderful presentation. 😉

Next, BNEF London 2020 summit called for green recovery. This was followed by the SEMI and MATRADE session on the global semiconductor market. There was the 9th Americas Spectrum Management Conference, as well. SEMI organized the MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress (MSEC 2020). A standout report was tinyML, and the massive opportunity when MI meets real world of billions of sensors.

I also had the pleasure of covering Dr. Roslyn Layton, Co-founder, China Tech Threat, on the report: US tightens controls on exports to SMIC, China! Is there a way out? Again, all of these events were in October. I really had a tough time covering all! 😉

In November, there was the Intel FPGA Technology Day 2020, as well as Xilnx’s Xilinx Adapt: 5G event. The 5GAA organized a conference on CV2X in Europe. Yole Développement and Teledyne had a session on glass and silicon bioMEMS components for medical devices. Yole and Chip Integration Technology Center (CITC), the Netherlands, also hosted an event on power and RF packaging. There was the Siemens AG Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog event, as well.

I was pleasantly surprised on receiving an invite from the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) to participate in their 22nd Ministerial Meeting. Since GECF does not feature India, I was curious. So, I attended, and covered! 😉

SIA sets 2030 goals.

Next, Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) examined China’s semiconductor self-sufficiency, in November. There was the IoT TechEx North America 2020, as well. Global Semiconductor and Electronics Forum 2020, presented many more opportunities to network.

Decadal plans
December, the last month of 2020, began with SEMI, USA, webinar on market data resources and equipment materials outlook for 2021. Next, Semiconductor Industry Association had a session on decadal plan for semiconductors setting 2030 goals.

Yole Développement and System Plus Consulting hosted the session on how 3D packaging was breaking new ground. Semiconductor Industry Association had another webinar on how semiconductors were driving automotives. These were followed by the 4th CIS & CEE Spectrum Management Conference, which I could not cover properly enough. This was largely due to the unfamiliar Russian dialect! There was also the RISC-V summit. Finally, my niece, Ms. Shelley Bhattacharjee, got married (see image). 🙂 We had to fly to Bangalore, followed by the mandatory quarantine, on return.

Shelley’s marriage.

Whew! That’s quite a list, and tremendous coverage! 2020 has been a year full of semiconductors. My blog has seen growing number of readers this past year. The global semiconductor industry also continued its unrelenting march, despite a very tough year gone by.

Bangalore trip
During the trip to Bangalore, the sight at the airport was amazing. Long queues for entry, preferably, mobile check-ins, and air hostesses wore PPE kits, etc. Some middle-seat passengers were in PPE kits. We all had to wear masks and head gear. In Bangalore, most of my friends did not even turn up to meet me, after promising. I understand their plight! Those who did, were grateful and thankful. As was I! Everyone lamented the plight that we all were in. They wanted the pandemic to disappear and things getting back to normal. One hopes that does happen this year.

On a personal note, virtual events are good, and probably, here to stay. However, they do not always bring the right audience, and of course, the speakers were missing the applauses. There were no master of ceremonies in many cases. In some cases, there was poor connectivity. Nevertheless, everyone provided post-event recordings. While you get to hear the very best about the latest in technology, there were hardly any demonstrations. Of course, there were the various, different background noises, in some cases, of babies crying, children and various partners screaming, and whistles of the pressure cooker. But then, this is a pandemic. Everyone is working from home! No one was ready for this situation!!

On the other side, literally driven to the corners, the world has found new resilience and adaptability. Thanks to WFH, there is now more family time. Friends long lost, have re-appeared. For me, especially, some industry events, earlier unthinkable, were easily available. Simply because: I put out their story first! 😉

There were some other events related to Industry 4.0, as well, on telecom and solar/PV. Rockwell Automation had its annual conference. As did Siemens! In telecom, there was the GSMA Thrive North America 2020 and the 9th Americas Spectrum Management Conference. Intel and IoT Solutions Alliance presented the telemetry and video analytics for Industry 4.0.

Dr. Wally Rhines featured by way of EDA adoption by IT companies. DVClub Europe (Design & Verification Club) looked at IP integration into complex SoCs. For electronic components, OTI’s ConducTorr CPM materials are now compatible with all OLED display manufacturing! Mention also needs to be made of IoT World 2020.

What’s next?
Already, there are multiple invites to cover conferences all over the world in 2021! There are semiconductors, along with Industry 4.0, medical electronics, telecom, etc. My first stop in the new year will be the Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) 2021, organized by SEMI, USA.

Next, there is the PMWC 2021, at Silicon Valley, USA. The event will honor Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House coronavirus task force member. He has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. There is a possibility of meeting him too! Let’s see how it all goes! There is also the Technology Unites by SEMI, later.

As one wise man said, true unity begins at all of our homes, with our respective families. Let us all hope and pray for a safer, better, and healthier 2021, and beyond. It is time to pat yourselves on the back. Rise, and shine! Stay safe, and prosper, dear friends!!

Energy data management and revenue reporting challenges when managing PPAs

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Solarplaza International organized a webinar titled Energy data management and revenue reporting: Challenges when managing PPAs in big portfolio.

The presenters were Mario Schirru, Executive VP Operations and IT, Encavis, and Luca Pedretti, COO and Co-founder, Pexapark. The session was moderated by Alfonso Barrenecheam Project Manager, Solarplaza.

Mario Schirru, Encavis, discussed the energy data and revenue management challenges faced by large, renewable asset portfolios. Encavis has 192 solar parks and 86 wind parks across 10 European countries.

Challenges with multi-country portfolios
Luca Pedretti, said Pexapark is a 3-year-old company, supporting power purchase agreements (PPAs) worth 10+GW, and 3+GW assets monitored. Revenue is equal to fit-in tariff (FIT) into volume.

Luca Pedretti.

Talking about the challenges with large multi-country portfolios include no timely and granular consolidation all revenue figures, no ready access to normalized energy data series, no transparency on underlying costs, control required over revenue and energy sales performance, and there are elaborate semi-automatized, and person-dependent reporting systems.

Possible pitfalls include transparency on revenue performance derived from monthly reports without direct access to underlying commercial data, all revenue analytics are on one-off works, many ad-hoc requests from central management to local asset manager, task duplications among local asset managers, most tasks are people-based and manually-operated, no central oversight on PPA management, etc.

Get in data early enough!
Schirru added there are different agreements for an asset. There are about 500 agreements in place for Encavis. There are multiple data points and agreements. Volume is important! You also need to look at different data sources. The challenge is to get the data in early enough. It is also important to forecast what will happen. This requires lot of excel worksheets, and fully automatized processes in the background. It depends on the countries, as well. You need to wait for 5-6 days for collecting data and revenue reporting.

Mario Schirru.

The very first objective is to save time, and keep the asset managers free from for value-added activity. Forecasting is very important for Encavis. You want to know where we will be lending, how much is our asset worth, what price are we selling energy, etc.

The ability to simulate these scenarios quickly is very important. Management awareness is key. You will have increasing assets that are PPA-based. Some positions also have to be actively managed. You have to manage the top line.

Encavis is automatizing the top line of figures. It is aggregating and integrating all the systems to have a transparent flow of data. There are challenges of storing and handling the data, as well.

Pedretti added there are various data point to handle. Every country has operators, and so, it is important to get data, hourly or otherwise.

Natural gas in post-Covid-19 world: GECF

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Friends, I was pleasantly surprised on receiving an invite from the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) to participate in their 22nd Ministerial Meeting.

For those interested, the event is being held November 9-12, 2020, in Algiers, Algeria. GECF ministerial meeting and the associated events are being held virtually on Nov. 10, 2020 in Doha, Qatar.

First, I looked up the GECF site. Member countries include Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. Among the observers are Angola, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Peru, and the UAE.

Prior to Covid-19, the world has been facing a bearish natural gas market, mainly due to weakened gas demand growth and an oversupplied LNG market. The situation was boosted by the lockdown measures implemented to curb the spread of the pandemic.

This eroded global gas demand and drove oil, gas and LNG prices to multi-year lows, which significantly reduced countries gas export revenues and had adversely impacted governments’ budgets, at a critical time when they were facing a severe health crisis and a slowing-down economy.

The Ministerial Roundtable offered a timely opportunity to discuss natural gas in a post-pandemic world, in the run-up to the 22nd Ministerial Meeting of the GECF.

HE Abdelmadjid Attar.

Long route to recovery
HE Abdelmadjid Attar, Minister of Energy, Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria, said the pandemic’s impact on global livelihoods has been dramatic. This will remain till a vaccine is found.

The route to recovery is long. OPEC stands to take appropriate action. We will extend the production adjustment through to 2021. Natural gas market was already suffering from large oversupply, before Covid-19. The pandemic is likely to have long-term effect on the energy needs of GECF.

There should be more attention paid to Africa. There should be protection to the environment. Natural gas has been recognized by many economies. Policies for setting electricity prices are also important. GECF should assess the developments. Natural gas should play a more important role in the energy sector.

He added that Algeria has been a leader in liquified natural gas (LNG). It has large gas resources. More than $20 billion will be invested in the next five years. Natural gas and renewable energy, and solar, will continue to be the main drivers for development in Algeria.

HE Dr. Yury Sentyurin.

Natural gas in global energy mix
HE Dr. Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General, GECF, said that gas exporting countries have been hit by several exceptional phenomenon. They have been the lowest cost producers. There was a declaration of Malabo, stating that natural gas is must for sustainable development. Algeria is leading the way in the synergy between natural gas and renewables. Trinidad & Tobago has endorsed the continuation of work till 2025.

There are prospects for natural gas in the global energy mix. It will increase share from 23 percent to 28 percent by 2050. It will also provide 60 percent of world’s electricity supply by 2050. Asia Pacific countries are in the lead. It will become the largest gas consuming region, followed by North America. Natural gas has now become the destination fuel.

At the COP25 High-Level Segment, GECF re-affirmed the crucial importance of challenges posed by climate change, alongside the shared values and joint efforts undertaken by the international community to deal with the environmental issues.

GECF is today invited to have a say in global conversations. GECF will continue to lead the way in future. Natural gas is the way forward toward sustainability. Our member countries will emerge stronger and agile, post the pandemic.

India’s energy future in a world of change: PM Narendra Modi @ India Energy Forum by CERAWeek

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The India Energy Forum by CERAWeek commenced today. Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman, IHS Markit, welcomed the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel Government of India.

Dr. Daniel Yergin. Courtesy: India Energy Forum by CERAWeek.

He said that even in the face of the pandemic, there is the move to make the 2020 conference a reality. Now is the right time for India to create new pathways in the energy world. There are new relationships being drawn in the energy sector. This forum will cover the story of India and its impact in the energy transition.

Hon. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Minister of Steel Government of India said that this move has happened due to the growing partnership with the USA and Saudi Arabia.

Dharmendra Pradhan. Courtesy: India Energy Forum by CERAWeek.

It is due to our commitment to meet the challenges despite the global pandemic. He added that the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek has progressed as an annual event on India’s energy journey.

H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Minister of Energy Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said that the global energy market is facing challenges of security and stability due to Covid-19.

Hon. Dan Brouillette, Secretary of Energy United States Department of Energy added that the USA and India are working together to address the common challenges. It will lead to prosperity for all of us.

India’s energy future
Hon. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, noted India’s energy future in a world of change. He said that India is full of energy! Its energy future is very bright!! We are seeing vibrancy in many areas. Eg., in aviation. India is the third largest and fastest growing aviation market. Indian carriers are projected to increase their fleet size from 600 to 1200 by 2024. We also feel that socio-economic transformation can take place even in the energy sector.

India Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Courtesy: India Energy Forum by CERAWeek.

India has achieved 100 percent electrification. LPG coverage increased, and also helped the rural areas. For the middle class and women of India, we are moving towards achieving energy justice. More energy will be given to improve the lives of Indians, with smaller carbon footprint.

India is among the most active nations in furthering renewable energy. In the last six years, many LED bulbs were distributed. Over 11 million smart LED streetlights were installed. These have enabled an estimated energy savings of 60 billion units per year. The estimated green-house gas emission reduction with this program is over 4.5 crore or 45 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. The estimated greenhouse gas emission was reduced significantly. We saved around Rs. 24,000 crores. India is now the most attractive emerging market for clean energy investment.

India is well on track to make the commitment we had made to the global community. From the goal of renewable energy installed capacity of 175 GW by 2022, we have now extended the goal to 450GW by 2030. We will continue to make efforts to meet the challenge of climate change . India’s reforms journey has continued for the last six years. The energy sector has seen many path-breaking reforms. The focus has shifted from revenue to production maximization. We also plan to grow the refining capacity from 250 to 400 metric tons per annum by 2025. Increasing domestic gas production is yet another commitment.

For too long, the world has seen crude oil prices on a roller coaster. We need to have flexible market for oil and gas. We have announced natural gas marketing reforms earlier this month. (India’s first national-level gas trading platform, or the India Gas Exchange (IGX) was launched in June 2020. It will help in increasing the share of natural gas in the energy mix from 6 percent to 15 percent by 2030.) We are moving forward with the vision of an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Energy security is at the core of our efforts.

In these difficult times, we have witnessed investment in the oil and gas value chain. We are seeing similar signs in the other sectors too. We are driving strategic and comprehensive energy engagement with key global players. We are developing energy corridors along with our neighboring countries.

India’s energy map will have seven key growth drivers. These are:

  • Accelerating our efforts to move towards a gas-based economy.
  • Cleaner use of fossil fuels, particularly petroleum and coal.
  • Greater reliance on domestic sources to drive bio-fuels.
  • Achieving the renewables target of 450 GW by 2030.
  • Increasing the contribution of electricity to de-carbonize mobility.
  • Moving into the emerging fuels, including hydrogen.
  • Digital innovation across all the energy systems.

The India Energy Forum by CERAWeek will have fruitful deliberations. India’s energy will energize the world.

Earlier, welcoming the delegates, Atul Arya, Senior VP and Chief Energy Strategist, IHS Markit, took everyone through the program. There will be dialogs with industry and political leaders, etc. There will be an inaugural keynote by PM Narendra Modi, as well. This is a forum to exchange ideas, connect, and reconnect with old friends.

BNEF London 2020 summit calls for green recovery

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The BloombergNEF London 2020 Summit commenced today. Ms. Dana Perkins, Head of EMEA, BloombergNEF, was the summit anchor.

Jon Moore.

Delivering the opening keynote, Jon Moore, CEO, BloombergNEF dwelt on: how did the idea of modern art relate to the idea of energy transition? There are announcements that California is to ban new gasoline cars by 2035. China has vowed carbon neutrality by 2060. The majority of many national populations thinks that the global climate change is a major threat.

There was the Tesla electric motor. It has become a household name now. We are moving to a new era of clean, green energy. Renewable power generation additions will increase. Passenger electric vehicle sales will rise 3 percent soon. Li-ion battery demand will increase in the next decade.

Europe’s housing stock is in need for efficiency. ACs will be a significant efficiency opportunity. Sector electrifications will improve hard-to-use segments. Efficiency gains and natural gas are powering China. Hydrogen will be a multi-decade growth sector. Rising petrochemical demand is also an opportunity for recycling.

Focus on hydrogen
Thomas Bohner, CEO, Mitsubishi Power Europe GmbH, added that this year has been difficult. The impact of Covid-19 is yet to be fully understood. The share of renewable energy has been increasing. Hydrogen availability is also very important.

Thomas Bohner.

As the International Energy Agency has said, there is momentum building. We are pushing for carbon capture technology. We are testing CO2 capture for marine. We did some studies. On waste heat recovery, there should be five years for profitability.

The energy prices are changing. The biggest opportunities are in converting to hydrogen. There are fuels that can go into chemicals. All gas turbines remain great assets. They are also hydrogen ready. Hydrogen is a clean energy source that does not emit CO2 upon combustion.

The accelerated introduction of IT, continued economic development in emerging nations, and a forecast for increased demand, plus reliable technology for control of the highly flammable element, make hydrogen power generation—clean and abundant—a viable alternative.

Delivering green recovery
There was a a panel discussion on delivering green recovery: What will it take to build back better?

Ms. Nancy Saich, Chief Climate Change Expert, EIB, said that we have remained focused on our goals. We are facing a critical decade. We need to try and solve the problems. In a green recovery, we need to address a lot of what will solve the issues. You also need private finance. We are also working on taxonomy, etc. We have set up a target by 2025. It is a signal to other players. We will also be making sure we will be funding many other objectives. We will be publishing our climate roadmap soon.

Panel discussion at BNEF London 2020.

Ms. Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation added that it was worrying to see so much turmoil. There was delay in moving to green transition. It was better to encourage the green transition. China has vowed to go carbon neutral by 2060. The support of the European citizens has seen a push for green recovery.

Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO, ACWA, said that they had to quickly re-organize due to Covid-19. There was an enormous amount of convergence on what we need to do. We need to come up with carbon neutrality, and resilience of resources, etc. This requires decisive action.

Adair Turner, Chair, Energy Transitions Commission noted that we need to decarbonize the electricity system by 2035-40. We should also decarbonize some parts of our economies. There may also be a role for hydrogen, such as synthetic fuels, etc. We need to think about deep decarbonization, electrification, and hydrogen.

The EU’s focus is on green hydrogen. There is need for hydrogen electrolysis. It will make hydrogen an economic policy. On electrification, there is support program for the automotive industry. The subsidies for new cars are electricity focused. New sales of internal combustion engines (ICE) should be prohibited. Electrification of our economies are so deep. We need to electrify the economies.

The BNEF London 2020 Summit continues tomorrow.

Zinc is new oil, as Zinc8 redefines long-duration energy storage!

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Zinc8 Energy Solutions recently won a contract and project collaboration with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), USA and private sector deployment agreement with Digital Energy, supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Nyserda). It will deploy a 100kW / 1.5MWh zinc-air system capable of storing energy for 15 hours.

Low-cost energy storage
Ron MacDonald, President, CEO and Director, Zinc8, said that it has not been an easy trip so far. We made a decision before the lockdown that our employees should not be working in closed spaces. They were WFH before the order was in. We have had all the projects that we have got. We have expanded our lab base and re-equipped all of our offices to respect social distancing. The company has gone through transformations over the last year. The media sees what we have got as transformative technology! We have lot of interest from the investors. We have three exciting projects. We are also in different stage negotiations with large global companies.

Ron MacDonald.

He said: “Zinc8 is going to accelerate to full production by late 2022. In fact, we are now looking to make that to early 2022. We are probably going to double commercialization. We are trying to get different levels of support from the government and the investors. We are set to meet our production targets in 2022.”

Low-cost energy storage has been sought after for a number of years. The big thing is: how do you provide long-term economic storage for the marketplace? The marketplace is segmented into three: utilities, a gigantic marketplace. We are also seeing the iron behind the meter. It is developing. Another is microgrids, which have been around for some time. We think we can play, and lead across all of these markets. Example, for an 8-hour system, the cost per kWh is $250. The bigger your system, the more capacity you can add to the system.

Doing a comparison of the different technologies, by decoupling the linkage between the power and energy, and using low-cost abundant materials, our system is capable of reducing its capital cost dramatically for longer-duration apps. As we go forward from 8 hours storage to 30 hours storage, that is a $110 per kWh difference. That is a massive market! This is why we are exploring partnerships.

How it works?
Dr. Simon Fan, CTO, Zinc8, added that power from the grid or renewable source is used to generate zinc particles in the zinc regenerator. Oxygen is released to the atmosphere as a by-product. The zinc particles are flowed to the storage tank and maintained by potassium hydroxide electrolyte, until required.

Dr. Simon Fan.

Whenever power is needed, the zinc particles are delivered to the power stack, recombining them with the oxygen to generate electricity. The zinc oxide by-product is returned to the storage tank for regeneration later.

Three projects underway
Ron MacDonald added there are three projects underway. They are on schedule. The team is very focused on the market. The company has been developing zinc-air batteries. There is lot of new stuff that the team has developed. We have been issued 20 USA patents and 4 more are pending. The certifications in process are UL1 973, UL 9540, UL 9540A, NFPA 855, and EN-61000 series. Zinc is like a capital for us.

Dr. Simon Fan said that the three projects are running, at Surrey, British Columbia, Brooklyn, New York, and New York. The Surrey project has system size 40 kWh / 160 kWh battery (4-hour duration). HES is the partner. The battery should be ready by the end of this year and get commissioned by 2021.

The Brooklyn project has system size 100 kWh / 1.5 MWh battery (15-hour duration). The objective is to connect the battery with the existing co-generation system. The efficiency will increase, and the owners will get cost saving. Digital energy allowed us to validate our battery. Nyserda is the partner. DE or the Digital Energy Group operates 100+ CHP sites for future pipeline in California and New York.

The New York project has system size 100 kWh / 1 MWh battery. Urban Future Lab and NY Power Authority are the collaborators. It is the largest state public utility in the USA. It leads the state in accelerating new technologies. It helped us validate the long-duration aspect of our battery. It is a 24-hour operation plan.

Accelerated push
Ron MacDonald said all the projects are very important. Surrey project is closer to home in British Columbia. We are a Canadian company that won USA projects. We are really pleased to be working with the power authority. However, getting the sales force for a project that will be later launched globally is an overwhelming experience. We are now doing it through collaborations with large companies having robust pipelines. We have also set up a US subsidiary in Brooklyn. The US is an early mover in all major projects. We are engaging with the US Department of Defense. They like what we got, and we are also close to commercialization.

New York is looking at 1GW of storage by 2030. That is a very aggressive target! They have also set a target of 2035 to get off all greenhouse gas generation. Hence, there is a massive push for storage and renewables in New York state. There are other states as well. There will be an accelerated push to develop even more renewables, post-Covid-19.

Having a utility as a partner, is also your best partner. Utilities don’t shut down in pandemic. They don’t let people off. They are publicly regulated and people need power. A utility can be used as a driver by states and provinces during a pandemic. They help move the projects along, help in recovery, and getting people back into the workforce. We are going to be constantly re-imagining our batteries. The market that we build is not going to be one unit at a time. This battery is for the big markets. Its for the grids, and the microgrids. We want to develop the low-cost energy storage market.

He concluded: “We are talking to people in the USA, in South Asia, in Australia, etc. We are also looking at different locations for manufacturing facility and fabrication facility. The team has identified suppliers from across the world. When we are ready, we will announce partnerships for manufacturing individual components. We also have our proprietary cathode that we will continue developing and manufacturing. We will develop the right partnerships over the next six months to a year. We will also be announcing a commissioning date.”

David Hodge, President, Zimtu and Director, Zinc8: The coming on board of New York Power Authority has really changed the game for Zinc8. Today, the world is interested in what Zinc8 has to offer.

Chris Grove, Director, Zimtu said that the shareholders have participated in a new, private placement with us. We are in the process of closing an overseas private financing worth $1.2 million. This financing will be transformative, allowing us to complete the impurity suppresion of our asset grey floor sample for the industry. We have also applied for a US Department of Energy program worth $10 million.

Solar market parity in Portugal

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Portugal is on the brink of holding its first solar auctions. There was a webinar on Solar Market Parity in Portugal: Status, Challenges & Opportunities held recently.

Marco Alves

Marco Alves, co-founder and GM, MTX Solar said that among renewable energy sources (RES) in Portugal, solar installed capacity reached more than 800 MW in 2018. Portugal is one of the countries in Europe with higher availability of solar radiation. It has between 2,200 and 3,000 average number of sun hours.

For example, in Germany, it varies between 1,200 and 1,700 hours. Portugal also ranks high for political stability, regulatory quality and rule of law among the top 30 countries.

However, the electricity prices are one of the most expensive in all Europe.In 2018, Portugal has come out as the second costliest country in the EU. Electricity prices are only beaten for those charged in Germany.

PNEC 2030 is the Portugal national plan for energy and climate in 2030. Forecasts include 47 percent RES rise in energy consumption, 20 percent RES in transportation sector, -45 percent to 55 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions (GEE), +15 GW in new RES capacity, among others. By 2030, Portugal electricity sector should reach 28.6-31.7 GW, with solar reaching 8.1-9.9 GW. Solar would grow 22-27 percent by 2030.

Portugal and Spain defined the increase of total installed capacity in interconnection from 8 percent to 15 percent until 2030. The predicted interconnection between Portugal and Morocco is also meant to increase the reliability and the export capacity of the electrical grid.

As of 2018 July, Portugal had 800 MW of solar installed capacity. The utility scale is still close to 600 MW. 31 percent of all power generation is likely to be from renewable sources by 2027. There should be 7 GW of solar energy.

Let’s get a general overview about solar projects in Portugal, licenced, submitted, on a waiting list and under-development. As of now, 1,240 MW projects are already licensed. About +5 GW projects are under development. The actual available grid capacity is +3 GW. The expected new grid capacity is +1.7 GW.

João Garrido

PPA trends in Portugal
Talking about power purchase agreement (PPA) trends in Portugal, João Garrido, founder, Caparica Solaris, said Portugal is new-born market and has few players. The energy trading market (future contracts) has low liquidity and maturity. Portugal is also waiting for ‘push’ effect of the Green Energy certificates.

Solar PPA market utility scale has been established between IPP and energy traders/retailers. There are new market entrants and players are trying to increase the share. The game is just beginning.

As an example, Alcoutim solar plant has 218,8 MWp, with WELink being the independent power producer (IPP). The offtaker is Audax. It has 20 years PPA. Evora Solar Plant has 28,8 MWp, with Dynavolt/Mirova/Hiperyon being the IPP. Axpo Iberia is the offtaker. It has 10 years PPA.

As for the commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, an excellent market driver is the high power prices (>100 EUR/MWh). There are very interesting project returns. There are also many legal barriers. It is better to be behind the meter focused.

The market needs new and innovative ideas. The market forces are still tied up to a ‘monopoly mindset’ and subsidy dependency. Liberalization process has got a long way to follow. There is need of more specific regulation to unleash this market. The Green energy certificates will help developing PPA. There is a great opportunity for developing this huge market.

PS: Today, May 6, happens to be the 25th death anniversary of my mother, late Mrs Bina Chakraborty. Love you very much Mom! Miss you!!

Building up industry knowledge! For good!!

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This is an old post from 2007. I am re-posting it, as per some requests. I have made minor changes. It is actually very useful to anyone who cares to read.

Fate has been most kind to me. Fate has also been most kind to me in terms of bringing me in touch with several good folks who appreciate whatever little talent I possess.

That’s me, in front of the JFK Memorial, in Boston, USA, Sept. 2015.

One of my good friends, Alfred Cheng, in Hong Kong, suggested that I speak to the sales team at Global Sources regarding building up the industry knowledge. It was an idea, floated later, by Claudius Chan too. I actually ended up taking a session with the team! 😉

May I also add that two of my very, very dear friends, Kevin Ho Lau Fai and Jo Yashan Kuo, felt great pride after reading my presentation, and later, thanked me profusely.

Well, it’s all worth it when you have friends such as these four, who take the time to appreciate all of your efforts. They make my day, my life! Thanks guys!!

Here’s what I have to say regarding building up industry knowledge.

‘Speaking’ the supplier’s language

  • From experience, suppliers open up to those who can share information on their (suppliers’) industries/verticals.
  • From experience, suppliers open up to those who can share information on other markets.
  • From experience, suppliers open up to those who provide good, useful, suggestions.
  • Suppliers DO NOT open up easily, if you cannot provide insights about specific verticals of their interest.
  • Suppliers would respect you even more, if you could provide meaningful suggestions.
  • Suppliers always look for leads; so, develop a habit of providing those.
  • Suppliers also look for trust; provide that by exchanging relevant information, when possible.
  • If covering electronic components, try and get an insight on the industry. It certainly helps!
  • If covering electronics, computer or telecom, know the industry background a bit; see how a supplier laps up all the information that you may have.
  • Convert the supplier into a trusted ally. How do you do that?
  • Suppliers always look for leads; develop a habit of providing those.
  • Suppliers look for trust; provide that by exchanging relevant information, when possible.
  • Try and understand what the buyers need; it helps in understanding the suppliers needs.
  • From experience, suppliers are keen to know what’s happening in India and China? Can you provide that information?
  • Do not provide statistical information, as suppliers already have access to that! Instead, give them information you may have gathered from other sources.
  • China and India markets are very strong cases. Develop yourself and know more about those.

Most of all, keep learning all the time.

Educate yourself!
No one can say, “I’ve a good knowledge about an industry.” Absolutely, no one! There is no end to learning!

Everyday, new things are happening. How do we keep pace with so many new things happening in the verticals? The best way is to educate yourself at work!

Education-at-work programs
Follow these religiously:

  • Bookmark relevant Web sites – visit them often.
  • Sign up for newsletters and news – at least, read the headlines.
  • Flip through technology and other magazines you may get your hands on – there’s always something to learn.
  • Build your network and get help.
  • Visit Web sites of leading research firms, there’s lot of information out there.
  • Visit Web sites of industry associations.
  • Visit Web sites of industry events, look at the live coverage.
  • Browse presentations of industry events; that’s an excellent way to track trends.
  • Read relevant articles in print/on Web.
  • If you don’t understand a technical term, do search on the Web/dictionary. You don’t need an expert, nor do you need one to tell you what the term means.
  • Listen to what the suppliers say – you can pick up lots of points.
  • Make it a point to talk to your seniors, especially in sales and editorial – they actually have a lot of information to share.
  • Look up competitor Web sites and magazines – they always have relevant stuff.
  • Read flyers and memos from sales and marketing departments.


PS: A leading manufacturer has launched next-gen ultracapacitors. While I won’t divulge who, it certainly took me back to my earlier posts. Again, if interested, read here.