New owners for Vergnet

Vergnet was placed in receivership in August, citing severe cash flow problems, partly due to a delayed solar project in Nigeria.

Once the final details are in place, the consortium will take over the 42% stake in Vergnet held by Banque Populaire d’Investissement (BPi), giving it effective control of the company.

The consortium — comprising Arum International, GEM Capital NY, Krief Group, Luxembourg Utilities and Sun PR — will also take over Vergnet’s liabilities, which will be paid off over ten years or converted into shares.

As soon as the share transfer is completed, Patrick Werner, head of Arum International, will step in as CEO, nominate a new board and present the consortium’s business plan to the court in late January.

Although the details are not yet clear, the consortium has indicated it “believes in Vergnet’s business model and will give the company the means to achieve its objectives and to realise its commercial pipeline,” said Marc Rivard, Vergnet’s sales director. It will also retain the 140 employees.

In the meantime, as soon as a new board is in place, Vergnet will be able to resume normal activities and start signing contracts.

Among these are likely to be a 12MW wind power project in Guadeloupe, to be equipped with eight Sinovel 1.5MW turbines adapted for cyclonic conditions, under a partnership agreement signed in 2015.

Also in line is a project to design and install a cyclone-proof hybrid wind and solar system in Antigua, featuring Vergnet’s 275kW turbines.

And in Ethiopia, Vergnet plans to build a 21MW extension to the Ashegoda plant, probably also with Sinovel turbines.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now

Already registered?

Sign in

Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

UK to define 'remote island wind' for next auction

The move, subject to state-aid approval, will see onshore wind sites located on islands, such as Orkney and Shetland, compete with “less-established technologies”, such as offshore wind sites, in any forthcoming CfD round, slated to be in spring 2019.

Under the consultation, the government is also looking to determine an administrative strike price — or maximum bid price — for the island projects.

The UK government said due to the difficult logistics and transmission requirements of these projects, the costs are higher, which differentiates them from mainland onshore sites.

Currently the government proposal defines remote island wind projects as being “located in the territorial sea of the United Kingdom, other than the part adjacent to Northern Ireland” and “where all parts of its coastline are situated at least 10km from mainland Great Britain”.

To qualify as a remote island CfD candidate, the projects must include a “connection between the unit’s generation circuit and the Main Interconnected Transmission System (MITS) [that] requires at least 50km of cabling, of which 20km must be subsea cabling”.

Projects in these areas could help stimulate the local economy, by boosting employment and supply chain opportunities, the government said.

UK minister for Scotland, Lord Duncan, said: “Wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland have the potential to generate substantial amounts of electricity and cut emissions, supporting economic growth and delivering lasting benefits for communities.

“Enabling these projects to compete in future auctions will reinforce the UK’s position as a world leader in renewable generation, as well as providing Scottish jobs in any projects supported.”

The government quoted a 2013 report, which stated Scottish Islands had the potential wind capacity to provide up to 3% of the UK’s total electricity demand, due to the locations’ higher wind resources.

According to the government’s consultation, as well as the Scottish isles, other remote islands that could be included are the Isles of Scilly, off southwest England, and Holy Island, off northwest Wales. The consultation runs until 9 March 2018.

Up to £557m (€663m) has been put aside for further CfD auctions in the UK. The latest round, awarded in September 2017, supported three offshore wind projects, at an average price of £66/MWh (€75/MWh).

Onshore wind projects were excluded from the second auction, after the UK’s ruling Conservative Party barred them from competing.

However, in recent months, there have been moves to show the government is softening its stance on onshore wind.

Although development of onshore sites in England remains unlikely, projects in Scotland and Wales could be given access to the next round.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now

Already registered?

Sign in

Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Vestas and Northvolt partner on wind-storage

The seven-year project will see Vestas and the Swedish technology firm collaborate on the research and product development of a storage solution, which could either be deployed into wind turbines or integrated into a “full power plant system design”.

Using the programme, Vestas said it also wants to “develop and optimise control systems that can integrate battery storage systems with other renewable energy technologies”.

“This important collaboration with Northvolt will enable Vestas to define, challenge and improve battery storage offerings for customers that need hybrid and storage solutions,” said Vestas’ chief technology officer Anders Vedel.

“There is a strong shared purpose and strategic fit with Northvolt that will support our goal to expand our knowledge in an area that we know will only grow in importance to the renewables and overall electricity market,” Vedel added.

Northvolt signed an agreement with Swiss outfit ABB to share products and services involved in the development of battery solutions.

It is also building a lithium-ion battery factory in Sweden, with full production expected to begin in 2020.

“Batteries and solutions for energy storage are key in this transition, and Vestas will be an important strategic partner for Northvolt as we establish our product offering to the renewable energy sector,” said Peter Carlsson, co-Founder and CEO of Northvolt.

In September, Vestas confirmed it was collaborating with battery firm Tesla, and other specialised companies, on developing storage solutions.

Since 2012, Vestas has developed a number of pilot hybrid or storage projects. It has previously said it is planning to bring a product to market by 2019.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now

Already registered?

Sign in

Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Prices tumble in Alberta auction

Bid prices for the four projects ranged from C$30.90/MWh-$43.30/MWh, prompting the province to up its purchase to nearly 600MW of wind instead of the 400MW originally targeted in the auction.

Even with the added power, the government said, the entire auction still came in under the original budget.

“I think you could say the results of this round exceeded even our most optimistic expectations,” said the province’s energy minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd during a news conference announcing the auction results.

Alberta’s new wind projects will be “cheaper than a new gas plant, even with current all-time-low gas prices,” noted Binnu Jeyakumar, program director for electricity at the Pembina Institute, as sustainable energy think-tank.

EDP Renewables Canada’s 248.4MW Sharp Hills project and Capital Power’s 201.6MW Whitla project, both located in southeastern Alberta and both slated to use Vestas turbines, are the two largest projects selected.

Enel Green Power Canada will build the 115MW Riverview and 30.6MW Castle Rock Ridge Phase 2 projects in southwestern Alberta, which are expected to use Siemens and Enercon turbines respectively.

The companies will sign 20-year agreements with the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) based on a contract for difference (CfD) structure that will see developers receive a top-up payment when wholesale electricity prices fall below their bid price, and pay the government back the difference when power prices are higher.

With wholesale power prices averaging C$22/MWh so far this year, Make analyst Anthony Logan says the provincial government should be “breathing a sigh of relief” over the low prices.

“A higher winning bid with sustained low pool prices could have yielded a price spread that was unpleasantly large, creating an unwelcome political football ahead of the 2019 elections,” Logan said.

The price will challenge equipment manufacturers, however, putting “a lot of pressure on logistics costs and the wider supply chain,” Logan says. “There aren’t many suppliers who can make a profit at these prices.”

The auction is the first step in Alberta’s plan to add up to 5GW of renewable energy to its grid by 2030.

The results provide a much-need shot in the arm for Canada’s wind sector, which is being buffeted by low demand growth and electricity surpluses in Ontario and Quebec, which have been the engines of the industry’s growth over the past decade.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now

Already registered?

Sign in

Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Vestas rearranges European sales team

Following the move, which takes affect from 1 January 2018, Vestas’ current president of central Europe, Nils de Baar, will lead the new merged unit from its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.

The president of northern Europe, Klaus Steen Mortensen, will leave Vestas by “mutual consent”, the manufacturer said, but the Malmo office will “remain an important location in Vestas’ sales efforts”, the company said.

Vestas said the move was part of its strategy “to ensure an agile organisation that adapts to market and customer needs.

“Among other things, reorganising the SBUs intends to create simpler and more agile SBUs with faster and clearer decision-making,” Vestas said.

In February 2017, Vestas reorganised its Asia-Pacific sales units, splitting it in two, with one for China, and one for the rest of the region.

Vestas’ chief sales officer Juan Araluce said: “With mature markets moving to auctions and competitive tenders, it is imperative that our business model reflects and supports our customers’ needs in being successful in the market.

“Since joining Vestas, Nils de Baar has increased sales and strengthened project execution across Central European markets. He is the right person to lead the merger and position Vestas strongly going forward.”

Mortensen has been Vestas’ president of northern Europe since 2007, including a six-month spell also as interim president of central Europe in 2014.

Under his leadership in February 2016, Vestas secured the 1GW order from Statkraft-led consortium for the Fosen project in Norway.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now

Already registered?

Sign in

Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly

Thai order for GE's tallest turbines outside of Europe

The 3.0-137 models with 156.5-metre hybrid towers will be the tallest turbines the manufacturer has installed outside of Europe, GE stated, with an expected tip height of roughly 230-metres. 

Wind Energy Holding’s 270MW Theparak wind farm will be built in three 90MW phases, and is scheduled to begin commercial operations next year.

The order is GE’s largest renewable energy order in Thailand, the company stated.

GE’s onshore CEO Pete McCabe, said: “Our 3.0-137 wind turbine with its 156.5-metre tower is ideal for the very specific wind conditions in central Thailand and has the potential to contribute to reaching grid parity for onshore wind in the country.”

Theparak is owned by Thai corporation KPN Group’s subsidiary Wind Energy Holding. The project’s total capacity of 270MW is slightly less than the 293MW of capacity installed across the whole of Thailand as of 1 December, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

The south-east Asian country has approximately 756MW of other projects currently in development and a renewable energy target of 40% by 2036.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now

Already registered?

Sign in

Source: Test from Wind Power Monthly