New wind and solar plants are now cheaper than new coal and gas plants in countries than cover two thirds of the global population and are capable of undercutting wholesale power prices in a growing number of key markets, according to the latest Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) Update from BloombergNEF. The influential analyst firm yesterday released its twice yearly update on the cost competitiveness of different power generation and energy storage technologies, excluding subsidies. Its headline finding was that new solar and onshore wind power plants have now reached parity with average wholesale prices in California and parts of Europe, while in China levelized costs for wind and solar are now below the average regulated coal power price. The milestones were the result of continued sharp reduction in renewables costs with BNEF calculating that its global benchmark levelized cost figures for onshore wind and PV projects financed in the last six months stood at $47 and $51/MWh, down six per cent and 11 per cent respectively compared to the first half of 2019. Some critics of renewables argue that LCOE is a blunt metric that fails to fully account for the costs associated with managing the integration of high levels of variable renewables generation capacity onto the grid. However, a growing band of energy industry experts maintain that grid integration issues can be addressed and that emerging energy storage and smart grid technologies mean that renewables are increasingly cost competitive with fossil fuels by any measure.
Business Green 29th Oct 2019 read more »
Tesco and Amazon have become the latest high profile brands to beef up their green power procurement efforts, after inking major new renewables agreement. EDF Renewables today announced it has signed three corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Tesco, providing a total of 60MW of power to the supermarket giant. The renewable power will come from two onshore Scottish wind farms and 17 roof-mounted solar installations at Tesco sites, EDF said. Under the terms of the deal, it is set to install 15,000 roof-mounted solar PV panels on 17 Tesco stores across England, totalling 5MWp of installed capacity. Installation for the project is slated to be complete by the end of 2020. The news comes just days after Amazon announced three major renewable energy projects on Friday, encompassing both Europe and the US. The European project sees the tech giant supporting the development of a 50MW wind farm on Scotland’s Kintyre Penisnula, with an expected generation capacity of 168,000 MWh of clean energy annually, enough to power 46,000 UK homes.
Business Green 28th Oct 2019 read more »
EDF secures a slice of UK supermarket Tesco’s corporate solar plan. The French energy giant will provide supermarket Tesco with electricity from 17 rooftop PV installations and two wind farms for a renewables portfolio generation capacity of 59 MW. The groceries retailer has announced plans to install 187 solar rooftops. French utility EDF says its U.K. unit, EDF Renewables, has secured three renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) from British supermarket Tesco after the retailer announced plans to lease roofspace for solar installations across 187 of its British stores. The EDF deals relate to 59 MW of renewable energy generation capacity the company will deploy for the retailer – 17 rooftop PV installations in England and two onshore wind farms in Scotland. The PPA for the solar projects is related to 5 MW of rooftop generation capacity and will hold for 20 years.
PV Magazine 28th Oct 2019 read more »
Solar Power Portal 28th Oct 2019 read more »
Richard Dixon Why renewable energy may not be as ‘clean’ as you think: Last week we hosted a visit to Glasgow by Lucio Cuenca from Chile. He is the Director of the Observatory for Environmental Conflicts in Latin America and the coordinator of the organising committee for the People’s Summit in Chile, planned as a parallel event to this year’s UN Climate Conference. He was in the UK to ask questions at the AGM of mining firm BHP Billiton and came to Scotland to talk about this and the Chilean experience of organising civil society around the UN Climate Conference, just as we are beginning to do ahead of next year’s conference in Glasgow. While he was here, he met Glasgow councillors, spoke to youth activists, held a meeting with the environment, development and social groups who are gearing up for the 2020 climate conference coming to Scotland, and gave an evening lecture on BHP and more generally on the impacts of mining companies in Chile. BHP is trying to position itself as a leader in the transition to a zero-carbon world because they produce the minerals needed to boost renewable energy and make electric car batteries and motors. The chief executive has said the company is “the locomotive of the green future”. This despite the fact that BHP was the only mining company in a recent Guardian Top 20 carbon polluting companies. BHP mines copper in Chile and coal in Australia and Colombia, including a one-third share in the controversial Cerrejón coal mine, the largest in Latin America. Around the AGM, Lucio joined visitors representing communities in Brazil, Colombia and Chile meeting with BHP’s investors. Their copper mining operation in Chile uses a huge amount in a country which has been suffering a ‘mega-drought’ for a decade. Chile also has the world’s largest reserves of lithium by a considerable margin – essential for the current types of batteries powering everything from your mobile phone to electric buses. Another company’s lithium-mining operation is in the Atacama salt flats and is further depleting water resources in an area already badly short of water, with effects on local communities and protected lagoons. Lucio’s view is that mining in Chile cannot expand without violating human rights. Continued extraction is, in part, being driven by pension funds that invest in BHP and other mining companies, including £17.5m in BHP from the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Local Government pension funds. Understanding the human and environmental cost of mining means we need to get much better at reducing our need for metals and at recovering and recycling those metals. Recycling copper saves about 85 per cent of the energy of mining and refining new copper, yet only a third of copper used in new products today comes from recycling copper. Only about half of lithium-ion batteries are currently recycled. We do need to expand renewable energy very rapidly, but we need to reduce the need for energy rapidly too by making buildings and industrial processes much more efficient. We do need electric vehicles but if we just replace every single car on the road with an electric one, we will have missed the opportunity to transform our towns and cities into human-centred spaces that are safe, healthy and pleasant to be in.
Scotsman 29th Oct 2019 read more »