Engie to buy on-site solar firm Fenix International

In a move aimed at accelerating its momentum in the off-grid energy market, Engie is to buy Ugandan solar home system company Fenix International.

The company’s lease-to-own PV system (pictured) provides lighting, phone charging and power for televisions and radios. Off-grid customers can finance their power system through micro-instalments over mobile money, Fenix said.
In addition, the company offers power upgrades such as expanded battery capacity, additional solar panels and appliances such as radios and lanterns.
Fenix recently expanded its business into Zambia and plans further rollouts in other African countries.
Bruno Bensasson, CEO of Engie Africa, said: “We believe that combining the strengths of Engie, a global energy player and Fenix, a successful company with very strong customer focus, high-quality products and an experienced team anchored in the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, will enable faster deployment of solar home systems (SHS) to the large African population still lacking access to electricity.
“Fenix will be the agile growth engine for ENGIE’s SHS business in Africa and enable us to become a leading profitable off-grid energy services company on the continent, reaching millions of customers by 2020.
“We do believe that universal access is now reachable in a foreseeable future by the combination of national grids extension, local microgrids and solar home systems, depending on the local characteristics of the energy demand.”

Toronto district to be transformed into smart city community

Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs, the Google parent’s company focused on smart city technologies, is to build a “mixed-use, complete community in Toronto on its eastern waterfront, with the aim of building a livable space from the ground up using innovations in construction techniques, self-driving, climate friendly energy systems and more to build a community that’s affordable and accessible with a focus on connected tech.

The development, to be called Sidewalk, Toronto, will also pioneer new approaches to energy, including a thermal grid and on-site generation, and tech-enabled primary healthcare that will be integrated with social services.

The ambitious project aims to deliver unprecedented levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.

It is likely to feature fast wi-fi availability, millions of sensors, various sustainable energy projects and autonomous cars.

Technology companies are touting their hardware and software to cities, as urban planners tackle issues such as congestion, pollution and overcrowding.

"This will create a test bed for new technologies in Quayside," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “Technologies that will help us build smarter, greener, more inclusive cities – which we hope to see scale across Toronto’s eastern waterfront and eventually in other parts of Canada and around the world."

Former New York Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, who is chief executive of Sidewalk Labs, said: "We believe Sidewalk Toronto can demonstrate to the world how to make living in cities cheaper, more convenient, healthier, greener, fairer, and even maybe more exciting."

SeeNews reports that Google will move its Canadian headquarters to the redeveloped area, and Sidewalk Labs has committed $50m (£37m) to kick off the project.

The Quayside area in Toronto – some 800 acres (3.2 sq km) in total – is one of the largest underdeveloped urban areas in North America.

In its proposal, Sidewalk also said that Toronto would need to waive or exempt many existing regulations in areas like building codes, transportation, and energy in order to build the city it envisioned. The project may need “substantial forbearances from existing laws and regulations,” the group said.

A series of underground utility tunnels will house utilities like electrical wires and water pipes, and also provide pathways for freight-delivering robots. 

US sports stadium to run on solar

A US sports stadium is set to run on solar power after installation of over 4000 PV panels.

The solar project at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the southern city of Atlanta, Georgia is expected to generate 1.6 MWh in its first year of operation.
According to utility Georgia Power, which installed the system, the PV panels are part of a larger energy efficiency drive on the part of the stadium. 
The project was developed in three phases, with PV panels installed on rooftops, in car parks and atop the stadium’s entry gates. Georgia Power said it worked with local installers to complete the project over 3.5 years.
The solar installations feature a variety of technologies including bifacial panels that can capture both sunlight from above and reflected light from below, clear-backed panels that are translucent, and a modular racking system developed through a partnership with Georgia Tech university.
The stadium will use the Renewable Energy Credits (REC) produced by the solar installations in the project’s pursuit of LEED Platinum certification, Georgia Power said.
"The renewable energy and solar program at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a great example of our commitment to lead the sports industry in terms of sustainability and environmental responsibility," said Scott Jenkins, the stadium’s general manager.
"Our goal is to collect enough renewable energy each year to power more than nine Atlanta Falcons home games and 13 Atlanta United home matches and with the solar programme we have in place we feel confident we’ll achieve this and more." 

Telecom Italia’s new IoT network to benefit decentralized energy

Italian mobile operator Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) has launched its new narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network in 5,000 municipalities across Italy and the technology is set to facilitate advances in decentralized energy.

The technology, which will be available to 75 percent of its 4G LTE network by the end of October, and fully rolled out by January 2018, will enable the commercial development of smart meters, the remote management of gas, water and electricity transmission and distribution networks, and also district heating and environmental management.

Last April, TIM carried out a field test on the first smart water meter capable of automatically sending meter readings via the live NB-IoT network. This test was carried out by Olivetti and SMAT (Società Metropolitana Acque Torino), the water authority for the northern city of Turin.

The operator said that the network would help in contributing to the “development of a complete and evolved ecosystem, testing the chipsets and smart objects of the main players to guarantee the market full interoperability with its network and making the Open Lab in Turin available to all partners in the sector to integrate these devices and make Internet of Things objects smart”.

The NB-IoT Open Lab, which opened last November, has to date s involved 110 companies with 39 active collaborations, of which 12 validation activities have already been completed.

TIM said that it would work alongside Olevetti to develop a portfolio of IoT products and services that will be able to “fully exploit the speed and low latency of the LTE/5G networks, such as industrial automation or interconnection between cars and infrastructure, to enable the evolution towards autonomous driving scenarios”.

Swedish capital launches data centre district heating initiative

Stockholm plans to heat 10 per cent of its homes using waste heat from data centres, according to an initiative launched this week.

It’s part of a larger initiative to make the city fossil fuel free by 2040 with the city government working with district heating and district cooling provider Fortum Värme, power grid operator Ellevio and fibre-optic cable provider Stokab.

The Stockholm Data Parks scheme pipes in cold water to chill server banks, then distributes the warmed water for use elsewhere.

GCR News reports that the plan is to turn the city into a hub for large data centres, and to offer all the infrastructure elements necessary for heat recovery at greenfield sites.

Almost 90% of buildings in Stockholm are already connected to district heating networks, making it one of the few cities in the world where large-scale heat reuse from data centres is possible.

Firms using the initiative will get free water for cooling by Fortum Värme and will also be able to sell their waste heat.

A new data centre for retailer H&M is designed to handle a 1 MW IT load and could heat as many as 2,500 apartments. A planned data centre project by IT and telecom firm Borderlight will run at more than 5 MW and can provide heat to 10,000 units.

It was announced earlier this year that what will be the world’s largest data centre is planned for the Arctic Circle in Norway, where the cold climate and hydro power will providing natural cooling and energy for its servers.

Stockholm data centre to feature integrated heat recovery

Veolia to operate wastewater treatment plant with biogas cogen

Veolia has won a contract to operate a French wastewater treatment plant that runs on biogas-fired cogeneration.

Under the five-year, €40m contract, Veolia subsidiary OTV Exploitation will operate the city of Lille’s Ovilléo plant, which came online in 2015. The plant has a treatment capacity of 620,000 population equivalent and is the largest new-generation wastewater treatment plant in northern France.
Ovilléo produces biogas from sludge and features three digesters and two thermal hydrolysis treatment systems which boost biogas production.
The biogas produced by the plant covers around 94 per cent of its heat needs through an on-site cogeneration plant, with the remaining 6 per cent supplied by natural gas.
The cogeneration plant produces power equivalent to the annual demand from 800 households.
Frédéric Van Heems, water CEO for Veolia in France, called the plant “truly a 21st-century plant” and “an extraordinary concentration of environmental and technological innovation”.  

Dutch dairy co-op to install PV on 310 farm rooftops

A Dutch dairy co-operative has partnered with an energy company to install 400,000 rooftop solar PV panels on the farms of its members.
Under the scheme, 310 farms that are members of the FrieslandCampina dairy co-operative and have roof surfaces larger than 1000 square metres will rent the solar panels from energy provider Energiebedrijf GroenLeven, which will handle the systems’ connection, monitoring, financing, guarantees and maintenance.
The farmers will receive a payment of €3-4 ($3.50-4.70) per PV panel per year. In addition, they will be offered a yearly opportunity to purchase the PV panels and a €10 bonus for each tonne of CO2 emissions they eliminate.   
Once fully implemented, the scheme is expected to produce 115 GWh per year. In addition to powering the dairy farms, some of the power will supply FrieslandCampina’s own facilities. 
The first rooftop PV installation under the scheme came online this month.
FrieslandCampina said 1600 of its members had already installed rooftop solar systems independently. For the new scheme, it said 1500 farmers expressed interest, but an initial €200m grant from the ministry of economic affairs could only cover 310.
Roelof Joosten, FrieslandCampina CEO, said: “The ambition of FrieslandCampina is to generate sufficient green electricity at the farm yards of our member farmers to fully cover the use of electricity. With this we will contribute to the reduction objective for the year 2020 as agreed within the dairy sector.
“The agricultural sector already represents half of the national green energy production. Large-scale installation of solar panels thanks to the ‘roof-rent solution’ can help us reach this objective. With this the agricultural sector can play an even more important role in the energy transition.”

District heating market to reach $280bn by 2024

research performed by MarketStudyReport.com indicates significant growth for
global district heating projects, reaching an overall market value of $280bn by

Rising concerns toward greenhouse gas emissions coupled with strong demand for
efficient and cost effective systems will drive the District
Heating market size, according to the

ntroduction of emissions reduction target by countries including China, UK,
Denmark, Germany, and Russia under their climate action plans will complement
the business outlook. Denmark, in its National Energy Policy and National
Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) has setup a target to completely phase
out the usage of oil from heating applications across the building structure by

Growing industrialization and urbanization with introduction of building
standards code towards energy efficiency will further foster the district
heating market. As per the World bank, in 2014 over 54% of the world’s
population have shifted their base from rural to urban areas and the proportion
is anticipated to rise to 66% by 2050.

Germany district heating market size is set to exceed 300 PJ by 2024. Growing
investment toward replacement of conventional heat and electricity generating
systems with sustainable technologies including CHP and solar thermal will
stimulate the business landscape. Regulators are planning to increase CHP
electricity generation share from 18% in 2013 to 25% by 2020 through the
introduction of incentives on adoption of these technologies.

Economic viability, affordable price, reliable source, high quality service and
low carbon footprints are some of the key features that will propel the
district heating market share. European Union aim towards zero emission
building by 2020, will further complement the industry outlook.

Growing measures toward energy security coupled with rising demand for
renewable and cogeneration system will also drive the Japan district heating
market size. Government and financial institutions are making significant
investments towards the development of gas fired district heating systems to
cater their 2030 target of delivering 15% of total power from CHP technology.

Breton biogas plant to be extended by 500 kW

Together with its French partner WELTEC Agripower, German biogas plant manufacturer WELTEC BIOPOWER is currently working on an extension AD project in Iffendic, Brittany, France.

The biogas plant in Iffendic had already been built back in 2014, and now its capacity is being doubled. The biogas plant currently generates 500 kW a day, enough to supply almost 1,000 households.

Apart from the needs-oriented planning and the high quality of the AD plant, the smooth rollout of the initial construction project was a key reason why the operator Samuel Morand decided to entrust WELTEC with this follow-up project.

“Our great experience and the close coordination of all processes with our project partner WELTEC Agripower played a key role in this achievement “, says Alain Priser, who oversees the business in France at WELTEC. Thus, the expanded plant went online after a building time of only a few months.

Samuel Morand already had the idea of extending the plant when the original biogas plant was being built. However, as he only had a limited amount of cattle manure, pig manure, whole crop silage, cereal debris and apple pulp at his disposal, he initially decided to implement just one 2,625-m3 stainless-steel digester and a 250-kW CHP. Nevertheless, WELTEC proactively designed the other plant components, such as the dosing feeder and the pumps, for the double plant size. The robust input system MULTIMix was also implemented in such a way that it can now easily supply a second digester. The MULTIMix ensures efficient shredding of long-fibre and sticky substrates such as cattle manure and whole crop silage, thereby enabling use of the full energy potential.

Over the past years, the operator has successfully enlarged his agricultural business and now has a greater amount of cattle and pig manure at his disposal. Moreover, an apple juice manufacturer is now able to supply Morand with more waste from his production. This increase in the available substrate forms the basis for the plant extension by an additional 2,625-m3 digester and an additional 250-kW CHP.

E.ON announces partnership with decentralized energy start-up

E.ON has announced a new partnership with the purchase of a stake in Cuculus, a software start-up based in Ilmenau, Germany.

With the deal, the partners expect to develop solutions for the intelligent house of the future. The technical basis for this is the Internet of Things or IoT, in which different devices and systems can communicate and control each other via the Internet.

In a statement E.ON noted that in the new energy world, solar systems, battery storage systems – including virtual ones such as the E.ON SolarCloud – and electric vehicles and charging systems are all part of the home.

All these systems must be continuously automated and coordinated in order to use energy as efficiently as possible. Smart meters and IoT technology provide the communication necessary for coordination.

With ZONOS, Cuculus has an IoT platform designed to meet this need. At the same time, the system is already being used by numerous customers worldwide for the management of smart meters. The solution, which has been continuously improved since 2007, is characterised by its high security standard, scalability and flexibility.

Philipp Ulbrich, Head of Innovation Scouting and Strategic Co-Investment at E.ON, said, "Cuculus sets itself apart from the competition with its easily expandable and powerful platform. Together with Cuculus, we are developing products that will form the core of the decentralized energy system of the future."