Solar PV

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.

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.

CASPA and FHE
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!!

Can CV2X deployment reduce EU transport emissions?

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The 5GAA organized a conference on CV2X. The theme was: reducing EU transport emissions: Can C-V2X deployment play a significant role?

Brian Maguire, Euractiv, said the European Commission is working on a sustainable and smart mobility. The strategy includes 90 percent reduction in emissions by 2050. Policy makers are leveraging digitization and automation, and connectivity.

There was a panel, featuring Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen, European Commission, Geert Decock, Manager, Electricity and Energy, T&E, Ms. Henna Virkkunen, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Ms. Isabel Wilmink, Senior Scientist, TNO, and Maxine Flament, CTO, 5GAA.

Environmental benefits of CV2X
Ms. Isabel Wilmink discussed the environmental benefits of CV2X and connected mobility. There are potential for environmental benefits, using traffic control/traffic signal, eco-routing, eco-driving, eco-lanes, alert systems, low emission zones, etc.

On the co-operative adaptive cruise control (CACC) compared to adaptive cruise control (ACC) on rural roads, CO2 reduction of 6 percent per km on average for seven 20-minute trip pairs. Eco-driving on motorways saw CO2 reduction per km averaged over all traffic cars during 1 hour and 20 minutes in situations with congestion.

For intelligent intersections, there was CO2 reduction of 22 percent on average for trucks driving at about 80 kmph on a 2km traject with intelligent intersection and comparing one to no stop. There were CO2 reductions of 13, 21, 18, and 14 percent, respectively, for passenger cars driving at constant speeds of 30, 50, 80, and 100kmph respectively, and comparing one stop to no stop.

With CV2X implementations, existing communications technologies can already meet the requirements of most identified promising use cases in terms of bandwidth and latency. More advanced features could address requirements of QoS guarantees and massive equipment deployment. For the V2V, V2I, and V2N use cases and combinations, there are possibilities of short- and/or long-range communication existing. Some features are currently planned, and the same applies for the deployment possibilities.

Real-world pilots, simulation studies, and driving simulator studies have shown the potential to reduce emissions. Effect sizes were found in the order of 5-20 percent. A high-reduction potential was identified for an ‘everything-to-everything’ scenario. Many services were designed for other purposes. Emission-reduction potential of these services can be optimized by tuning algorithms and parameters for emission and energy use reduction. There is additional potential in MaaS-like services. Successful implementation depends on the business cases, besides technology.

CCAM platform
Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen, thanked TNO for bringing new elements in the study. There are traffic-level impacts. This can have the highest impact on infrastructure and air quality, etc. CV2X and MaaS can also have an impact. The congestion cost is 1 percent of the EU budget, which is huge. The EC is making data availability and sharing to be the best. There are moves to collect and share data, as well as data governance. Real-time data collection is also coming up. We also need to make sure that everything is tested.

There is also the CCAM platform. The Co-operative, Connected, Automated and Autonomous Mobility (CCAM) single platform consists of an informal group of private and public stakeholders. The aim of this platform is to advise and support the EC in the area of open road testing and making the link to pre-deployment activities. The JIC lab has mobility solutions. There is an expression of interest open till December 31, 2020.

Decarbonization of transport
Ms. Henna Virkkunen, MEP, said there is a pressing need to make transport more safe and clean. Emissions have been increasing all the time in transportation. Before the pandemic, passenger transport was estimated to grow by more than 40 percent by 2050. This may change due to the pandemic. The modes of transport may not change, necessarily. The increasing need for mobility and transport will remain. The significance of smart mobility and digitalization are also increasing.

Vehicle-to-everything and CV2X are great examples. They are giving opportunities to us for making transport more safe. They will play a big part in the EU’s emission reduction. Digitalization will be key for efficient transport system.

Geert Decock, T&E, said they are working on decarbonization of transport. There are three revolutions happening: autonomous and connected vehicles, electrification of vehicles, and shared mobility and new mobility, which we are seeing with Uber, etc. A fourth is urban planning and policies. We need reduced space for cars in cities.

We need to increase the share of EVs in the fleet. We need to have more rapid charging. We need to see how we can have more batteries on wheels, and manage the growing share of wind and solar on the grid. We see three benefits with smart charging of vehicles. We don’t need to upgrade the grid at the peak times. You can reduce the use of renewables, say, mid day. You can also charge PV or renewable energy in your vehicles. You can help decarbonize the transport sector.

We also need to roll out more smart charging infrastructure. You also need smart meters. Consumers can charge their cars when the electricity is more cheap. We also need data access that is interoperable.

Clear role for connected vehicles
Maxine Flament, 5GAA, thanked the EU for their green targets, especially, the emission reductions. There is a clear role to play for the connected vehicle. Digitalization of vehicles is a tool for smarter decisions. These will lead to cleaner mobility and efficiency gains.

Connected vehicles are already deployed today. There are approximately 180 million units deployed globally. There is some kind of connectivity to the mobile networks. With 5G, we need to ensure that we are using connectivity for the benefit of the environment. We also need to ensure that connected mobility is contributing to the environment. It is all about the traffic flow management. For MaaS, connectivity is very important.

The global trends today are connectivity, automation, shared mobility and electrification. These are together very important to achieve the eventual goals of the EU. Connectivity brings seamless transport for everyone. The combination, in general, comes with more intelligence.

Data framework and connectivity
Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen, EC, said that there is need to ensure a framework to allow data to be shared. Geert Decock, T&E, said that the state of charge of an EV is very important. That is under discussion. There is the need for the implementation of the market design rules. There needs to be time-sensitive electricity pricing, flexible tariffs, etc. You should be able to charge your car when it is most beneficial for the grid.

Ms. Isabel Wilmink, TNO, felt that EVs can also be programmed to drive more efficiently. We also need to optimize traffic flows. Vehicles should be able to adapt when they approach the intersections.

Ms. Henna Virkkunen, MEP, added that we can achieve targets. We need to create an innovation-friendly regulation framework. We also have to set the legislation for access to data. We need to boost the investments for fast connections. Good and fast connections are required all over Europe. We need good infrastructure, as well. Access to data is very important for innovation. Governance regulation will play a major part.

Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen said we should use green bonus to incentivize. Member states can share their resilience and recovery plans. We need to study the contribution of connectivity further.

Maxine Flament added that connectivity is coming to the vehicles. It will be used for exchanging the relevant data. Manufacturers should bring right connectivity to the vehicles. Mobile network operators need to bring the coverage. Different authorities have to design the right interfaces with the right data. Here, collaboration will be really needed.

There are already many incentives for customers to buy cars that are more efficient. Connectivity brings a whole new light to the intelligence of the vehicle and transport. We need to ensure that things are connected within the vehicles.

Ms. Charlotte Norlund-Matthiessen added there is need for the revision of real-time data information. We need to ensure the right types of data sets that are needed. Next year, we will also consider access to car data. These are frameworks that will help to incentivize.

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.

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.

India driving clean power revolution!

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BloombergNEF recently presented on India’s clean power revolution. Ambitious targets, comprehensive government policies and economics have placed India among the most vibrant clean energy markets in the world. As the energy transition accelerates, this decade brings new challenges and opportunities for all the actors in India’s clean power revolution.

In 2015, India announced a target of building 175GW of clean energy by 2022, a more-than-fourfold increase in installed capacity in just seven years. By 2030, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants India to reach a new goal of 450GW of renewables.

Integrating such volumes of variable generation will require a flexible power system. Apart from battery storage and peaker gas plants, lessons from around the world highlight the importance of demand-side measures, grid investments and market reforms for India. It is the world’s largest and most competitive clean energy auction market, allowing it to procure some of the cheapest renewable power. New auction designs now allow the replacement of fossil fuels through better integration.

Transformation of power sector
The transformation of India’s power sector in this decade brings a $633 billion investment opportunity. Capital is needed to build more power plants, and also to replace and expand grid infrastructure. Public and private finance will need to mobilize to deliver these investments.

Accelerating deployment calls for better co-ordination on land issues to ensure that grid availability matches the commissioning of new power projects. Simplifying land acquisition procedures and digitizing land records would remove a bottleneck affecting the sector today.

The financial health and resiliency of power distribution companies will also need to be improved to give investors’ confidence that they will not face payment delays and retroactive contract negotiation. Procurement of clean energy by corporates looking to reduce their costs provides an opportunity to offer alternative bankable offtakers for clean energy project developers.

The continuation of India’s clean power revolution is critical to global climate efforts. Coal’s role in the mix will continue to drop despite rising power demand. Retiring older coal plants will improve utilization rates for the coal fleet and significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

New clean power generation will help India avoid more than 499 million tons of CO2 emissions a year by 2030, and bring peak emissions within reach in the next decade. The 2030 target brings momentum to the goal of capturing more value from the transition domestically, spelled out in the ‘Make in India’ strategy. The wind sector has already seen leading equipment manufacturers open factories to supply the national and international markets.

Largest renewables auction market
Shantanu Jaiswal, BNEF said that India has adapted rapidly to the changes. There are findings relevant to the developed and developing countries. India’s power demand grew by 50 percent on the last decade. Coal was the dominant fuel. Annual renewables additions surpassed coal, and are increasing their share in the generation mix. Coal power is also losing share to renewables. There are record volumes of auctions and competition, that has driven down tariffs. India has also emerged as the world’s largest renewables auction market, cumulatively, till 2019.

India’s renewables are among the cheapest in the world. Policies have helped renewables become cost competitive, created demand and attracted investors. India has also become the most attractive emerging market for clean energy investment. India now has 65GW has new renewables capacity built. It has $50 billion in asset financing for clean energy.

India’s power demand continues to rise, due to an expanding economy and growing population. In 2019, the country consumed 1,285TWh, up from 851TWh per year at the beginning of the decade. India has become the world’s third-largest power consumer, behind China and the United States.

Even as power demand was expanding, the supply deficit narrowed from 79TWh in 2010 to 6TWh in 2019. This was a result of rapid expansion of generation capacity, fast rollout of transmission and distribution infrastructure, and the connection of millions of people to the grid. India’s power demand grew by 50 percent in the last decade. Households and industries are the top power users.

The domestic and industrial consumers together constitute 56 percent of power demand, followed closely by agriculture. In March 2019, the government achieved 100 percent household electrification. The next goal is to deliver uninterrupted, 24×7 power for all. In June 2015, the federal government had set target to have 175GW of renewable generation capacity installed by 2022. Of these, solar PV’s target was 100GW, followed by 60GW wind, 10GW biomass and 5GW small hydro. Looking further ahead, the Prime Minister envisions 450GW of renewables by 2030.

India’s power demand rising
Rohit Gadre, BNEF, added that India’s power demand is expected to grow by 80 percent in the next 10 years. Covid-19 slowed the power demand growth by 36 percent, but not the energy transition. Share of the renewables went up, post the lockdown.

New auction designs force renewables to compete against dispatchable coal. There are IPP strategies to keep tariffs low at the new types of auction. India’s power sector presents a $633 billion opportunity over the next 10 years. Development of the grid and renewables projects calls for co-ordination on land issues.

There is need for co-ordination among the stakeholders for the transmission grid and renewables. Economics and sustainability have made a case for the early coal retirements. A clean energy future is an opportunity to step up the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The next generation of India’s power sector transformation is $410 billion investment opportunity.

Looking back over 2010-2019
In the last decade, India’s power demand has grown by 50% and installed capacity has more-than-doubled. Although coal plants remain the top supplier of electricity, their utilization and share in the generation mix is declining. Since 2017, annual additions of renewables have outstripped coal. Three factors explain this shift.

  • A focus on cost made India the world’s largest renewables auction market at the end of 2019. The massive auction programs have allowed Indian developers to optimize their projects, and have attracted private sector investment. Levelized auction tariffs in India are among the lowest in the world.
  • Solar and wind have been the cheapest sources of bulk power generation in India since 2018. The success of auctions, and falling equipment prices globally, have made wind and solar cheaper than new coal plants on a levelized cost of energy basis.
  • The government complemented its goal for 175GW of renewables by 2022 and its auction programs with policies that have given a wide group of investors, national and international, private and public, the confidence to commit for the long term.

Next decade
Now, India plans to reach 450GW by 2030. India’s auctions are taking renewables closer to 24×7 power. The newer types of auctions will force the renewables to match coal plants on dispatchability.

  • The 450GW renewables future will need a flexible power system to manage daily and seasonal variation. Global best practices serve as a useful guide in achieving this.
  • The power sector’s growth offers a $633 billion investment opportunity across generation and grid networks. Different sources of capital need to be mobilized to finance these needs.
  • The acceleration of renewables will be aided by reforms that address two issues – improving the financial health of discoms and better coordination between stakeholders on land acquisition.
  • Economics and sustainability make a strong case for early coal plant retirements, but this will need the government to play a proactive role.
  • India’s strong demand for renewables equipment provides a reason for ramping up domestic production, in tune with the Prime Minister’s Make in India initiative.

India’s power demand is expected to grow by 80 percent in 10 years. Demand projections in NEO and CEA follow similar trajectory. There are eight areas of focus to get to the 450GW of renewables. These are: the evolution of auctions, increasing system flexibility, scaling up investments, preparing the grid, co-ordinating land acquisition, addressing discom finances, managing coal retirements and stepping up manufacturing.

India can draw on the global best practices to ramp up its system flexibility. Corporate PPAs are emerging as a new source of clean energy supply.

Evolution of and future trends in semiconductors and electronics

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The National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL)-IIT Madras has launched a Special Lecture Series online for the benefit of students affected by the nation-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Jaswinder S. Ahuja, Corporate VP and India MD, Cadence Design Systems India Pvt Ltd, presented on the evolution of and future trends in semiconductors and electronics.

Jaswinder Ahuja
Jaswinder Ahuja

Cadence Design Systems is in the EDA and IP business for chips, packages and bolts. It has over 1,500 patents as a company. IP has nothing to do with patents. Moore’s Law is driving the industry. It has been driving the semiconductor and EDA roadmap for the last 50 years. The cost of implementing any functionality in silicon halves every two years. In reality, it is doubling in every 18 months. A multi-million dollar military flight simulators of the 1980s are sold for $250 today.

If we talk about the semiconductor processes, it used to be measured in microns. Now, it is measured in nm. The current leading edge is 7nm. The next will be 5nm, 3nm, 1.5nm, and then, nobody knows. Semiconductor scaling may end in some point of time. The economics are the key driver to advanced process technologies.

Trends driving semicon
Let us now look at the global trends driving semiconductors. The most profound trend is data. There is the IoT, data centers, servers, in-memory and Big Data, HDDs, DRAM and NAND, as well as the wireless and the wired infrastructures. There is data creation, processing, transmission and storage. There could be over 50 billion IoT devices by 2025. It can also be a trillion! For every living person on this planet, there will be at least seven to eight IoT devices generating streams of data. A lot of different applications and devices are coming up! Its creating momentum as well behind AI/ML. We are creating a virtual cycle of data.

Industrial, automotive and mobile will be driving edge computing. There is the Industry 4.0 as well. You have autonomous vehicles moving around, and a lot of technologies that you can experiment with. The large quantities of data being generated is also driving 5G and antennae. There are huge investments being made in the cloud and datacenters as well. A lot of decision making are also becoming very timing sensitive. Example, if a car gets a signal regarding an obstacle, you have to make a decision in milliseconds.

Some of the other key industry trends include, 5G, automotive, Industry 4.0 driven by ML, AI/OT, and cloud and data centers. These are driving the growth around electronics and semiconductors. With the advent of ML, and the need to process specific streams of data, there are a large number of startups coming up with normal architectures targeted to meet these challenges. Example, there are about 150 startups doing unique process architectures for different kinds of apps.

Moore’s Law is alive and well. It was earlier driven by lithography, novel architectures, device architectures, FinFETs, etc. In the future, it will be the co-optimization of the design and the underlying process technologies. Even further ahead, it will be co-optimization of system and the underlying technologies. There will be heterogeneous system integration.

More than Moore is also scaling over the last 5-10 years. If the digital portion of the chip can benefit from the scaling, and this can be done at 7nm or 5nm, and the analog chip is at 28nm, we can put some MEMS and sensors into a single package and create all kinds of new and interesting apps. Lab-on-chip is an example.

Focus on pervasive intelligence
Pervasive intelligence is a key driver for the industry. It is about autonomous vehicles and systems, intelligent edge and cloud compute, and intelligent networks and mobile devices. You can have autonomous cars, trucks, mining equipment, drones, robots, and personal assistants, etc. These can do predictive maintenance, embedded electronics, video surveillance, medical diagnostics coupled with AR, consumer data analytics, and provide business intelligence. These tasks can be performed over 5G self-organizing networks (SONs), smartphones, industrial Internet (4.0) and data center interconnect (DCI).

There are design elements in the intelligent systems. It involves data processing — Big Data, computer vision, and speech processing, decision and control — in planning, control and safety, and connectivity — in wireless, networking and security. All have ML as a common element. These are all driving the explosion of data and AI computational needs.

There are drivers of convergence in computational software. These are around system design such as algorithms, hardware, software and multi-physics, AI/ML such as data analytics and EDA, such as ICs, packages and PCBs. There is an explosion of data and AI computational needs, leading to exponentially growing cost and complexity of silicon design, and CPU and software performance scaling. We also need to address the thermal heating, so that the system does not break down. EMI is another area that needs to be addressed. Each one of the process nodes has an implication on the complexities and the cost of design.

Lot of opportunities
Cadence is leading the convergence of intelligent system design, with EDA, AI and system design. It is fueled by pervasive intelligence. There are a lot of opportunities for students as there are several global semiconductor companies in India. Several incubators and accelerators have also been set up. There is the Electropreneur Park, FabCi (Fabless Chip Design Incubator), SFAL, KLE Center for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Incubation Center at IIT Patna. In India, we have many unsolved problems. The challenge is to find the right problem to solve!

There are several projects going on. More needs to be done in the areas such as clean, drinking water, energy conservation, renewable energy and smart energy, waste management, security, education, urban mobility and EV, EV charging and solar, healthcare and medical electronics. Eg., water ATM for clean, affordable water. There is also the Doorastha Analytics at the Electropreneur Park, New Delhi. It is working to optimize the efficiency of solar micro and mini grids. There are interesting problems that require interesting solutions. We need to solve real-world problems with innovative solutions.

Business leaders of tomorrow will be those who can solve the real-world problems in a scalable, profitable and sustainable manner. India is among the fastest-growing electronics market in the world. We have a huge opportunity. There is a huge potential in  the bottom-of-the-pyramid solutions.

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.

DEVELOPING SOUND INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE TAKES LOT OF EFFORT AND TIME! BUT, IT’S ALL WORTH IT!

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.