Engie chief relishing district energy future following acquisition

The chief executive of Engie has hailed the purchase of a 40 per cent stake in district energy specialist Tabreed as a 
big moment for the French company’s ambitions in the sector.
Engie, on buying the stake in the United Arab Emirates company from Mubadala, has become Tabreed’s key shareholder. Mubadala retain a 42 per stake stake, subject to regulatory approval.

Isabelle Kocher, chief executive officer of Engie, said: "Engie will support Tabreed’s growth by contributing to delivering massively and efficiently low-carbon energy, building on Engie’s 30-year experience in the GCC countries and world-class expertise in district energy.

"District energy networks are the fastest and most efficient ways to decarbonise dense areas and supply them with clean, renewable energy. As such, they can be seen as backbones of sustainable cities.”

"This acquisition is therefore a major step forward in the implementation of Engie’s strategy to become leader of the energy transition, by focusing especially on low-carbon solutions."

First UK community energy crowdfunding initiative launched

Mongoose Energy has launched ‘Mongoose Crowd’, the UK’s first dedicated crowdfunding platform for community energy.

The platform aims to connect investors with community energy projects to target better financial returns, lower environmental impacts and positive social dividends.

It will allow investors to crowdfund community energy bonds within a tax-free Individual Savings Account (ISA), which is limited at £20,000 a year.

Mongoose previously raised money for community projects on third-party systems but believes hosting its own platform will make it easier to innovate and grow.

It says it will offer a wider portfolio of projects to invest in and target “stronger and more reliable return” compared to those available from typical savings accounts.

Initial offerings will go live at the end of the month, totalling £1.5 million to support the refinancing of a portfolio of solar projects near Bath and Bristol.

Recently re-elected Sir Ed Davey MP, former UK Energy & Climate Change Secretary and Chairman of Mongoose Energy, said: “More people want a bigger say in where their power comes from, where their investments go and in improving their own communities."

Davey, who is expected to run for the new leadership of the Liberal Democrat party, added, “Mongoose innovation puts more power back into the hands of local communities. Launching our own crowdfunding platform means we can dispatch better energy, better financial returns and better social dividends to UK community investors.”

IEA chief economist says grids inadequate for new energy system

Laszlo Varro, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, has told a gathering of power professionals at the Eurelectric annual conference in Portugal, that the majority of power grid networks are ‘completely inadequate’ for the newly emerging energy system.

Varro said that technologies like residential solar and electric vehicles needed a more modern system in order to have full effect. The majority of networks are still following a regulatory regime that is “completely inadequate”, he said.

“The [EU’s] market reform package is very much moving in the right direction, but what is very much trapped in the 1970s is network regulation.”

Now of course with the new electricity system, you will have a solar panel on your rooftop, and your neighbour will charge his or her electric car, and your other neighbour will have a battery in his garage or maybe a heat pump, so you have a much broader variety of both production and also flexibility sources in the system. And with a conventional network tariff system, when you buy an electric car, you pay more for the network, because you pay for every kilowatt hour that your car will charge, despite the fact that your electric car can be a very valuable asset to the network…We think regulation of the electricity network will have to be adjusted to the emerging new technologies.”

In an interview with Euractiv, Varro added that there needs to be a regulatory regime in which the electricity network is an effective investment for private investors.

“Distribution was a neglected stepchild of the electricity system, it was seen as a passive part of the system.”

Distribution is now the most exciting part of the system, because residential solar panels come at the distribution level, electric cars come at the distribution level, even a lot of wind comes at the distribution level. So, the distribution system becomes multidimensional and more dynamic, and I think there’s still work to be done to transform the distribution system for a new clean energy structure.”

Government’s clean energy drive invests £35 million in innovative projects

A £35 million investment in energy innovation projects was announced today by the Government, to help deliver clean growth and affordable energy as part of the Industrial Strategy. 
Speaking today (Tuesday 20 June) at the Rushlight Showcase, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Claire Perry announced funding for two innovative clean energy projects which will create local investment opportunities across the country.
Rushlight, a leading provider of clean technology events in the UK, hosts the Summer Showcase which is sponsored by BEIS and Innovate UK. At the event, Claire Perry announced that £35 million funding, from the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme, will go towards smart heating systems and innovation in using hydrogen as a potential heat source.

Under the new investment, £10 million will sponsor the second phase of work by the Energy Systems Catapult on its Smart Systems and Heat Programme. The programme will help develop local energy plans alongside Local Authorities, and bring down the cost of energy bills, while supporting the development of the UK’s low carbon heating projects.
A further £25 million will be invested in potential uses of hydrogen gas for heating, testing the possibility of domestic gas pipes for hydrogen and developing a range of innovative hydrogen appliances such as boilers and cookers.
Ms Perry said: "The UK Government is committed to leading the world in delivering clean energy technology and today’s investment shows that we are prepared to support innovation in this critical area.

"Our aim is for the UK to be a global leader in innovation, science and research and our Industrial Strategy will help us to deliver our ambitious CO2 reduction targets while, creating jobs and opportunities for people across the country."
This investment follows the Government’s commitment to double energy innovation investments set out in the Industrial Strategy Green Paper, to £400 million per year by 2021.
Philip New, Chief Executive of the Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Phase Two will see our team working with others, building the foundations for innovative energy service business models, encouraging a new generation of energy service providers and testing new offers for British households.”

Briggs & Stratton aims for bigger leagues

Wisconsin-based Briggs & Stratton have recently launched a new standby generator, moving out of their comfort zone to deliver larger engines.

Product Manager Brian Northway spoke to Decentralized Energy about their hopes for the new release.
The new lines mentioned are for the 80kW1 – 200kW1 standby generator space. The company’s strength to now has been smaller engines, up to 60Kw and can fulfill the needs of a variety of clients, whether office complexes, gas stations and even large scale residences.

“We launched this line in late December so we’re relatively new to the market space. We are really focused in on driving our business into this space and have taken a lot based on the last six months of sales and information we are getting back from our dealer base. It’s an adventure for us,” says Northway.

The decision to go with a larger engine has been driven in the main by the company’s loyal dealership base, who confident in the company’s service qualities, challenged them to see what could be achieved with bigger equipment.

“For many years our dealers that have been using us up to the 60kW level have been very happy with our customer service and the way we build our generators and the quality but they were having to go to other manufacturers that manufacture these larger pieces of equipment because we didn’t have them. This was a project based on demand from our customer dealer base. They wanted us to get in this space because they love doing business with Briggs and Stratton.”

“Really, it was a team effort between us and our customers to get up to the 200 KW level.”

It’s a natural development for the company who had initially started out with smaller residential brand up to the 20Kw mark, before growing engine size to accommodate larger generators. The company specializes in air cooled engines so partnered with different engine manufacturers to make those larger engines.

Customer service is seen as a real lever of strength, and it’s a strength Northway says Briggs & Stratton are focused on continuing to play to, in growing awareness about their new offerings.

“First and foremost we see an advantage in our ability to service our dealership or their customer with them – that’s our main push.”

“Yes, it’s got to be a quality product with one of the best warranties in the industry but the main thing we see is the service and serviceability of the equipment to the point where we have not only developed a new school for technicians to take; we are also developing a tool right now that we launch in July. It’s an internet based service tool which we call Linear Logic.”

A 360 troubleshooting tool, Linear Logic provides dealers with a step by step guide that aids their confidence when dealing with customer issues.

“If something were to happen to the piece of equipment we realise that time is of the essence in getting it back up and running – and the guide facilitates the dealer in getting the machine up and running rapidly. So if it’s not something they are working on in terms of the 200Kw every day, which can be quite common, it gives them the knowledge and confidence to go out there a service that piece of equipment with the factory knowledge.”

The company has, instead of a book manual format, opted for question-based tool, which drills down to where the failure is based. It provides an educational aspect for the dealer as well as solving the problem. The resource was a year in development and involved bringing in an infographic specialist.

“It is an extra piece of competence that they don’t have from anyone else to go out there and service equipment and minimize costly interruptions to power.”

Marketing Manager Christin Wam, says the company is keen to show that the reputation Briggs has in the small engine space is equally valid for its newer larger offerings.

“Our biggest challenge is establishing our credibility within that new channel so we are working really hard to make sure that potential customers out in the field understand what our value proposition is and see us as just as reliable in the 80kw to200kw space as we are in the up to 60kw category.”

“It takes a lot to capture influencers and direct purchasers to make sure that they are aware that we are now available. We have significant brand recognition and are excited about potentially growing our platform and credibility in this new commercial space.”


$347m Russian-Chinese CHP plant nears start date

A 450 MW combined heat and power plant, hailed as a pilot in Russia-China cooperation, is finally set to be brought on online, after six years of delays.

Russia’s TGK-2 have confirmed a 20th June start for the Huadian-Teninskaya CHP plant in Yaroslavl Oblast. The project is a joint venture between TGK-2 and China Huadian.

A ceremony marking the start of construction work was held in September 2011, with the plant originally scheduled to start operations in 2013. Its launch has been repeatedly postponed since then because of cost overruns and issues with contractors.

The project was implemented under a capacity supply agreement (CSA), which provides plant operators with a guaranteed return on investment, but also penalises them for delays. In January, it was revealed that regulators would charge TGK-2 and China Huadian 78 million rubles ($1.3 million) for every month that the plant’s launch was postponed by this year. It is unclear whether the companies will also incur penalties for delays in previous years.

The CHP plant was listed as a priority project in 2014 by Yaroslavl authorities, which are eager to tackle local power shortages, according to Newsbase.

“In [Yaroslavl], the shortage of electricity is at a level of 40-50%. We have bought energy from the Tver and Kostroma regions,” TGK-2’s managing director for the Upper Volga region, Andrei Satalov, told Russia’s Regnum news agency earlier this week. “Thanks to the commissioning of the new CHP plant, we will reduce the power deficit to 5-15%, and in warmer months, [Yaroslavl] will be fully covered, and even able to sell electricity to other regions,” he said.

The station will feature two GTE-160 gas turbines, two turbine generators, one steam turbine, three transformers and two waste heat boilers. Its primary fuel is natural gas. Around 75% of the project’s cost has been sourced from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

Large-scale temporary power for Australian state

A large-scale temporary power solution is being considered, as South Australia struggles to ensure its energy security.

A 250 MW ship-based power station is under consideration as a solution to the crisis for the Australian state, which has seen a lot of investment in renewable power over recent years, while old fossil stations were retired.

The Turkish ship could be operational by the end of the year for less than the $360m budgeted for a new state-owned gas-fired power plant of the same capacity.

The ship-based plant would plug into the high-voltage grid near the 479 MW Pelican Point power station, which returns to full capacity on July 1.

A second option would be for a 125 MW Powership at Outer Harbor and another of the same size anchored off Port Augusta, plugging into the grid near the site of the defunct Northern power station.

The Powership fleet can operate on natural gas, liquid natural gas or heavy fuel oil and it is likely the ship would be leased until a permanent plant was built.

The Istanbul-based firm, Karpowership, has installed the barge or ship-mounted power plants in Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Indonesia, Zambia, and Mozambique.

A national electricity market operator report released this week reveals a government-backed battery, temporary generators and every power station in the state must be up and running in tandem to prevent blackouts in the state this summer.

Adelaide Now online reports that opposition politicians are critical of the move, saying that using such ships, typically sent to war ravaged regions, shows the government’s poor decision making on power policy, linking it to the increase in residential electricity bills.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said “Had (the government) invested just A$8m a year in keeping the Northern Power Station open South Australians would have been shielded from these shocking electricity price rises.” 

‘Europe must wake up to undervalued CHP says industry’

Combined heat and power (CHP) is set to be an essential contributor to Europe’s energy transition but has thus far been overlooked and undervalued by policymakers.
That was the unanimous conclusion of the non-policymaker speakers at this week’s ‘CHP as a sustainable enabler for renewable energy’ event in Brussels, part of Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW17).

Organised by the Belgian cogeneration association Cogen Vlaanderen, the event brought together energy sector professionals and policymakers for a day of presentations and spirited discussion. 
Jean Pierre Boydens, Cogen Vlaanderen’s managing director, perhaps summed up the prevailing mood best, telling Decentralized Energy that the ideal outcome of the day’s event would be to make it “clear to the European community” that with the transition to an energy mix that includes increasing numbers of intermittent renewable energy sources comes “a high need to develop a system of how we will provide the complementary energy”.
“The problem is that, at the moment, people think the way [more renewables] could be realised is with demand-side management or batteries, but unfortunately this is not the solution we need for the ‘problem’ we want to tackle, because the ‘problem’ is a question of much longer periods of time,” he explained.
“In real life, these periods of low renewable output are between 10 hours to 10 days, and you cannot stop using your washing machine for 10 days. Over the whole year we have this fluctuation in the average availability of renewable energy, and then periods of no availability at all, and sometimes high availability for quite long periods. That means we have to look for other solutions.
“Of course in Germany, exercises are being done in power-to-gas and power-to-heat to tackle moments of high renewable electricity production – that’s an important point – but we also have to find a solution for the much more important periods when there is no production.
“You cannot solve a multi-day period of low renewable production with demand-side management,” he added. “Cogeneration is the most efficient way of using a fuel, and the best complementary technology to renewable energy.” 
But Augustijn Van Haasteren, senior policy officer for wholesale electricity and gas markets at the European Commission, said he wanted to “make sure you understand” that “markets and market design do not come in isolation, but are in fact part of a larger package of how the energy sector will develop and how we will achieve those goals”.
On how Europe’s proposed electricity market reform would treat CHP, he said, “of course we are moving to a world where technologies which have been around for some time and are suitable for our objectives have to find a place, but they have to find a place in a market context. The Commission doesn’t say ‘Now we will have 50 per cent micro-CHP’; instead we have to create an environment where investors have the best chance to do so.”
In terms of Europe’s binding energy efficiency target of 30 per cent by 2030, Van Haasteren said the Commission would “focus on the building sector first of all” in terms of energy consumption and eco-design. Recent revisions to the Renewable Energy Directive aim to create confidence for energy efficiency investors, tap into the potential for heating and cooling, encourage cost-effective deployment and strengthen the sustainability of bioenergy.
In addition, he said the recast legislation would “take away regulatory exemptions for specific technologies so we are making sure that if somebody invests, it’s done within the context of a project – this applies to renewables, CHP and domestic resources.”
He added that the Commission would “build secondary legislation to improve the balancing markets, to make sure they reflect the actual value of electricity”. It also aims to “provide an incentive for those assets which can be flexible through an incentive mechanism for them to make the investment to do so”. 
Demand response “has been developing in the past few years,” he noted, but the legislative framework “for that to develop is not perfect”. He said the Commission aims to “create a business case for aggregators to sell to the community”. 
“In our predictions, these measures mean the investability of the market will strongly improve, and under normal conditions the market will be able to support these investments,” he concluded.
Other presenters offered country-based case studies, such as Dan McGrail of the UK’s Association for Decentralised Energy, who said CHP “can and should be considered as a backbone of an advanced energy economy” and that it “adds value from a system-wide point of view”.  According to McGrail, the UK needs 25 GW of new dispatchable capacity by 2030 and the ADE has identified the potential for 15 GWe of CHP by 2025.
He said CHP, which currently meets 6 per cent of the UK’s energy needs, is “an undervalued part of the energy system” given its potential. And he noted that business energy costs in the UK have risen by 119 per cent, creating “an opportunity – and almost a requirement – for CHP”.
And Adi Golbach of Germany’s KWKKommt said his country’s target of installing 120 TWh of CHP by 2025 “doesn’t look like it will be reached now”, despite the inclusion of a tender process for projects between 1 and 50 MWe in the new CHP law. He said the planned annual CHP tender volumes (50 MW in 2018 growing to 65 MW in 2021) are “much too low to reach the target”.
Like McGrail, Golbach concluded that “the role of CHP has been devalued” in Germany, with targets reduced to “significantly below its economic potential” and the outcome of the tender process “doubtful”.
“Wind and solar do not provide security of supply,” he added, and “battery storage will not contribute a significant share”.


Finning delivers CHP unit to Boston Scientific

nning has supplied a combined heat and power (CHP) solution to the Boston Scientific manufacturing facility in Cork, Ireland, delivering energy-saving efficiencies of up to 23,328kWh of primary energy per day.

The site, which manufactures more than 5.6 million life-saving devices for the company’s cardiology, rhythm management and vascular group, endoscopy, and urology and pelvic health divisions, has invested in an 800kW gas fired CHP unit to help cut energy costs, improve Operational efficiencies and increase sustainability.

CHP system generates electricity on-site while alsocapturing the usable heat that is produced during this process. In contrast with conventional means of generating electricity, which are typically only 40 per cent fuel-efficient with all the potential heat energy simply going to waste, CHP technology can increase a site’s energy efficiency dramatically, with Boston Scientific now achieving a total efficiency rating of 87.7 per cent when compared with conventional electricity generation.

Featuring a containerised, highly efficient Cat® CG132-16 natural gas-fired generator set with an electrical output of 800kWe at 400 volts, the system will also generate up to 406kWt from the engine’s water jacket circuit and 450kWt from the exhaust, providing low temperature hot water that can be used for the site’s utility building services and manufacturing processes.

Offering a payback period of less than three years, Niall Ahern, Facilities Engineer at Boston Scientific, explains: “We began the process of looking to improve our operational efficiencies more than two years ago, with CHP offering the best all-round investment for us in terms of cost, efficiency and sustainability.”

The 800kW unit is a fuel-efficient energy technology, capable of providing for 80-90 per cent of the facility’s electrical requirements at weekends and 60-70 per cent of electrical requirements during the week, depending on demands. It helps power a range of utility equipment, humidifiers, air handling units and compressed air systems, as well as Controlled Environment equipment and lighting.

“The integration of the CHP plant was one of the largest, most complex projects to be delivered at our site in Cork last year, and we expect it will continue to provide a good return on investment,” added Ahern.he 


ElectraTherm generating power from Maryland chicken manure

US-based ElectraTherm, a leader in distributed, waste heat to power generation, has delivered a Power+ Generator™ 4400 to Maryland, where it will utilize waste heat from chicken manure to generate emission-free electricity.

This is the first application of its kind to cleanly burn chicken manure to generate clean energy, and one of eight Power+ Generators commissioned in 2017 to date. The site will use a combination of waste biomass and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology to generate clean energy and offset site power loads.

ElectraTherm utilizes Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and proprietary technologies to generate power from low temperature heat ranging from 170-252°F. At the site, chicken manure is burned to fire a fluidized bed combustion system producing useful thermal heat. The addition of the Power+ allows the site to act as a CHP system, producing both heat and power. The heat fuels the Power+ Generator to generate clean electricity that will offset onsite power consumption at the farm, and excess heat is also used to heat chicken coops.

This machine represents the first of four (three in the UK and one in the US) machines commissioned for BHSL in 2017. In addition, ElectraTherm recently commissioned four more Power+ Generators in the United Kingdom, all on biomass applications.