Tag Archive | "Electricity"

$200bn to be pumped in MENA power sector by 2020

Consumption of electricity in the MENA region is said to grow at a faster pace over the next decade, with investments worth more than $200 billion set to be pumped into the region’s power sector by 2020, according to a report.

The MENA Power 2013 report published by MEED Insight earlier this year, said that demand for electricity has grown so rapidly in the region, that in many instances utilities have struggled to keep up, resulting in investments worth billions of dollars in new power plants.

The report added that more than $100bn of investment is required by 2020 to meet the additional capacity with the same amount to be invested in the transmission and distribution sectors – representing a lucrative growth opportunity for anyone working in the power market.

This will come as good news to more than 1,200 exhibitors from 100 countries around the world that will participate in the 39th edition of Middle East Electricity, one of the world’s largest energy events focussing on the power, lighting, renewable and nuclear sectors.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai , Middle East Electricity will take place from 11-13 February 2014 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.


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REpower supplies power to more than 18 million people

Suzlon Group subsidiary REpower Systems SE has installed its 5,000th turbine, located near Buchen in the Neckar-Odenwald district, Germany.

In total, REpower has so far installed more than 9.6 GW of capacity, enough to supply more than 18 million people, or the entire population of the Netherlands, with electricity.

“We are delighted that we contribute to a clean energy supply as a reliable partner with project-specific solutions and products that meet our customer’s needs,” said Andreas Nauen, CEO, REpower Systems SE.

In the first half of 2013, REpower installed more than 200 megawatts in Germany, achieving a 21 per cent share of the German market. The company’s goal for 2013 is to achieve a stable, double-digit market share in Germany.

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World Energy Day marks the beginning of the solar park project in Dubai

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai commissioned the first phase of Dubai’s mega solar park named after him today, on World Energy Day.

The first of its kind project in the region started feeding 13MW of energy to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) network through photovoltaic technology, generating 24 million KWh of electricity per year.

The next phase of the plant was also launched today, which will produce 100MW through public-private partnership. The second phase will be completed in three years.

Upon total completion of the plant by 2030, the solar plant will have a power production capacity of 1000MW.


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Electricity for all

Energy access will be a one of the main points discussed at the WFES 2013 in Abu Dhabi, highlighting investment opportunities to provide electricity through renewable resources for rural communities.

With an estimated 1.3 billion people in the world living without electricity, finding a solution for energy poverty is an essential focal point of the conference and exhibition during the upcoming World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook report, in 2011, half of the people currently living without access to electricity live in Africa. In addition, 2.7 billion people live without clean cooking facilities and more than 25% of them also live in Africa.

Universal energy access has been an ongoing discussion of sustainability. In WFES 2012, the United Nations launched their International Year of Sustainable Energy for all programs at the WFES. This year, WFES will continue to focus on universal energy access.

According to Ernesto Marcias Galan, president of the Alliance of Rural Electrification (ARE), rural electrification projects are a practical option, due to the advancements of technology in renewable energy, and the rising cost of fuel. ARE is the only international, non-profit business association dedicated to the promotion and development of off-grid renewable energy solution for electrification in developing countries.

Galan will be a featured speaker during the “Rural Renewable Energy” session at the International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC) hosted by WFES 2013. On his agenda, he plans to discuss sustainable solutions for the survival of communities in rural and remote areas where 84% of the world’s energy poor reside. “Off- grid renewable projects are an innovative method to tackle energy poverty that is so prevalent in remote and rural communities,” Galan explains.

Galan uses the story of the Monte Trigo solar village as a successful step in overcoming the obstacles posted by energy poverty. Located in western Africa, Monte Trigo relies on fish in order to eat. “Until early this year, producing ice for storing fish was impossible, as Monte Trigo remains unconnected to any main electricity grid. Fishermen would often have to make 10 hour round trips to the nearest main island of Sao Vicente to buy ice. Their need for an energy source to sustain their village was critical,” said Galan.

According to Galan, a Multiuser Solar micro-Grid (MSG) was installed in this village, which is capable of producing approximately 90 kWhr per day, (enough to power 60 households).

The Monte Trigo project is one example of how solar energy can bring small but large changes to rural communities.  However, the IEA predicts that a $48 billion investment is required for electrification—49% of this investment is required for Africa, for communities like Monte Trigo.




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A concentrated vision

Recognising the need to diversify its economy while cutting down emissions, Abu Dhabi’s Shams 1 project shifts the spotlight from photovoltaic solar energy to its lesser-publicised but equally efficient alternative—concentrating solar power (CSP). BGreen weighs in on the importance of CSP technology in the region

The Middle East has more than twice the amount of solar energy potential than most other regions in the world, with more than 310 days of sun per year and solar irradiance of over 2,500kWh per square metre. The UAE continues to lead the way as part of the strategy to reduce its reliance on fossil fueled power generation, spearheaded by the $600m Shams 1 in Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant that is expected to be completed by August 2012. According to a recent report by GlobalData, the MENA region is tipped as the upcoming solar power investment destination for major market players, with energy experts predicting the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and Jordan to be the key countries fueling further growth.
Despite ideal conditions for CSP technology, the region seems to be the last to get on the solar bandwagon when it comes to setting up focussed plants. The Shams 1 project may change the region’s outlook on the often-overlooked technology, as BGreen has discovered in conversation with Jose Alberich, Partner at global consulting firm, AT Kearney Middle East. “CSP plants have low operating costs mostly because of their energy generating capacity. Of course, they are capital intensive, but up to 80 per cent of the investment cost is used in construction.”
CSP technology has the potential to store heat to generate electricity even at night or when the sky is overcast, which gives it a major advantage over solar photovoltaics in terms of capacity, while allowing for potentially distributable energy if grid integration is an option.
Most CSP projects currently under construction are based on parabolic trough technology, as it is the most mature technology and shows the lowest development risk. According to 2012 figures from the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA), parabolic trough plants without thermal energy storage have capital costs as low as US$4,600/kW, but low capacity factors of between 0.2 and 0.25.

The investment-side pull of CSP
In order for CSP to emerge as a market leader, the biggest barrier to entry, the initial investment cost, needs to decrease. The components that make up the technology (heat transfer fluid, mirrors, collectors) need to increase in their efficiency to make energy generation large enough to justify initial costs. If intrinsic costs of setting up CSP plants are lowered, either through policy regulations and subsidies, CSP could look more attractive to investors. “The technology is now reliable. It’s tried and tested in Spain and in Nevada (USA), where conditions are similar to what we experience in the GCC,” Alberich says.

Solar irradiation in the region
What makes CSP plants profitable is its capacity for electricity generation—a factor that is wholly dependent on direct normal irradiation (DNI). These values in a particular location can indicate the plant’s potential for generating electricity all year round, while lowering the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE).
Alberich explains, “Solar radiation levels are ideal in places like Spain, south west USA and the GCC because of many factors. The topography of these locations is mostly flat and expansive, which makes it easier to install CSP components.”
The GCC is also located squarely in the middle of the global ‘sun belt,’ the area along the earth’s surface that receives the most intense rays of light for relatively longer hours a day.

How it works
In a nutshell, CSP systems collect and concentrate solar energy in sunlight to generate electricity. In parabolic trough systems, curved, trough-like collectors reflect and focus sunlight onto a pipe running along the inside of the curved surface. The concentrated solar energy heats transfer fluid (usually synthetic oil) in the pipe; which is then used to run a conventional steam turbine for electricity production.
Multiple troughs in rows make up a collector field, normally aligned along a north-south axis, allowing the mirrors to track the sun throughout the day. Trough systems with thermal storage can also keep this thermal energy for electricity generation at night. The largest trough systems operating today generate about 80 megawatts of electricity, similar to UAE’s Shams 1 plant.

Why parabolic trough technology
When it comes to CSP plants, there are more parabolic trough systems in operation around the world than any other kind.
Parabolic trough technology is noted for its reputation as  commercially viable option, with an operational history spanning two decades. More than 12 billion kWh of electricity has been generated by this technology, with an annual plant efficiency of more than 14 per cent, measured as the net electrical output in comparison to solar radiation. Proponents of this technology also argue that it allows for greater output.

Shams 1: Powering ahead
At present, several large-scale CSP projects are under development in our region, including Egypt’s 20 MW capacity ISCC plant. UAE’s Shams 1 is a shining example of parabolic trough technology and its potential, promising 100 MW of clean energy in the not-so-distant future. Recent reports suggest that the project will be completed by the end of 2012.
Sustainability first
In September 2009, Shams 1 became the world’s first CSP plant to be registered as a CDM project eligible for carbon credits in the UN. Projected figures state that Shams 1 can generate around 175,000 carbon credits a year under CDM, which translates to displacing 175,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, or planting 1.5 million trees, or removing 30,000 cars from the road, annually.

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Metering Energy

Abu Dhabi has equipped buildings across the emirate with smart meter units as early as April 2011. With this city-wide switch in place, BGreen looks at what lies ahead for smart metering

The much-anticipated roll out of smart meters in Abu Dhabi hasn’t changed much. The Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB) confirmed that there are no plans to change the tariff structure for utilities, despite the fact that this can accommodate variable tariffs by providing the utilities company real time information about consumption.
Instead of incentivising the public to curb consumption through high energy prices, RSB’s strategy hinges on making residents aware of the real cost of utilities by publishing the true cost against the amount waived by the government. For Emirati households, at 5 fils per kilowatthour, this can mean an 84% subsidy from the government. Instead of having to invest in expanding energy generation capacity to serve increasing demand, governments and utilities are encouraging reducing the peak load as a smarter, greener and economical option in energy distribution.

“In Abu Dhabi, no consumer currently pays more than 15 fils per kilowatt-hour for electricity, and the direct subsidy paid by the government represents between 40 to 85% of the true cost,” confirmed Bruce Smith, Business Advisor at Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA).
A recently launched experiment by RSB exposed a group of volunteer households in Abu Dhabi to time-of-day pricing as
a way to raise awareness of the
cost that is otherwise absorbed by the government.
While most governments rely on economic incentives to drive public behavioural change, Abu Dhabi’s energy subsidies make it necessary for the Emirate to drive down electricity consumption through awareness campaigns on the benefits of saving.
“Meeting electricity demand during peak hours means generators working only perhaps 8 hours a day in the summer and even less in the winter. Ideally, to maximise these generators for a longer period, we need to reduce the short-term peak by making the load flatter over a 24-hour period,” Director General Nicholas Carter said, speaking on behalf of the Regulation and Supervision Bureau.
Ramiz Alaileh, the Bureau’s Powerwise Manager explained, “It is all about ‘flattening’ the peak in a voluntary way by incentivising customers to change their behaviour. We are doing this by offering a special electronic display which will inform customers of their electricity consumption at any time during the day.”

How it works
The trial introduces two indicative charge rates during a 24-hour period. Peak time (2pm – 8pm) is when electricity is most in demand, particularly in the summer months, and will be assigned a higher charge rate. Off-peak time will cover the remainder of the 24-hour period, when rates will be lower. Throughout the trial, volunteer households will continue to pay their standard published rates to Abu Dhabi Distribution Company.  At the end of the trial, the Bureau will be able to determine if price signals have changed customer behaviour or not.
The energy purchasing trial started in June, with the recruitment of 400 volunteers from villas in pre-selected gated communities, after which there will be a pre-assessment of houses for installation of the electronic display. This will be followed by familiarising volunteers with the process of reading and interpreting their display. Once comfortable with the process of monitoring and optimising energy consumption, time-of-day pricing will be introduced to assess if the knowledge of having a lower rate has an impact on electricity consumption.
“This is a very exciting trial and will enable the whole sector to think about how to use its assets in a more efficient way, once we know the results. In the end, we can only change the way people use electricity wisely when we have good data and that is what this trial and Powerwise is all about,” Ramiz added.
The trial will end in late 2013, when all displays will be collected and the two charge rates are switched off.  To reflect the performance of households during the trial, a personalised report will be sent across to volunteers at regular intervals.
Participating volunteers will still pay the standard rates (15 fils/kWh for non-nationals and 5 fils/kWh for nationals) throughout the trial. However, consumers who have managed to save under the new tariff structure will receive a refund at the end of the trial.
The display unit installed in the volunteers’ houses will show the current and historic consumption of electricity; LED demand indicators colour coordinated to identify low, medium and high demand consumption; and cost and tariff information.
The Bureau assures that there is no risk to customers participating in this trial, and if they consistently reduce and shift their consumption from peak-demand hours to off-peak hours, the Bureau agrees to monetise and reimburse the savings accumulated. Since participation is purely voluntary, households can opt out at any point in the trial, as long as they advise the Bureau in writing.

Smart meters in a subsidised model?
Smart meters are in-home meters with display units that provide real-time electrical data per appliance. “With smart meters in every home, we could help Abu Dhabi reduce peak consumption rates by 249MW-saving 1.2 billion AED,” according to ADWEA.
506,000 meters have been replaced by smart units in Abu Dhabi, and an additional 180,000 in Al Ain, which represents 90% of the metering stock, with about two-thirds being linked back to the main system. Data can be gathered from these meters by October of this year. “Are we doing anything with this data at the moment? No. Are we getting any additional value apart from billing data? Right now, none,” he adds, almost controversially.
In a cost reflective tariff market, the business case for smart meters is clearly justified. ADWEA’s Bruce Smith explains how it could just as easily work in a subsidised tariff market.
“If you look at the benefits against the cost of implementation, I would suggest that the benefits from a pure return-on-investment perspective just don’t stack up. The prime driver for the smart metering programme under ADWEA is very much around the operational benefits. We were looking to reducing the time for disconnecting and reconnecting accounts, for faster outage detection, to improve the accuracy of billing, to reduce the manual need for meter reading through automation,” Smith adds.

“Negawatt” is a theoretical measurement that takes ‘saved’ watts into account, essentially ‘paying’ customers not to consume energy as a direct form of positive reinforcement. As a means of demand management, the concept of negawatts can be incorporated into energy control systems within buildings to modify the on/off patterns of air conditioning and lighting. When HVAC systems are at around 90% of their duty cycle, they could be programmed to turn off, thereby influencing consumer behaviour by force of habit.
If energy management systems can log the hours of energy units saved, this information can then be relayed to regulators to potentially establish a negawatt tariff, where their savings can be monetarily recognised as a reward system.

Meter trend
A recently released market forecast report by the Northeast Group, predicts that the market for smart metering market will rise to 16.1 million units by 2022, with total capital expenditure of $3.9 billion. The GCC, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will see the majority of near-term activity, with 86% of homes having smart meters installed by the same year.
“Smart grid regulatory frameworks are in the early stages of development but progress is being made. Governments are realising they must incentivise energy conservation and are beginning to invest in the technologies necessary to make their grids smarter. Smart city concepts such as Masdar City in the UAE and the Pearl-Qatar in Qatar show that smart grid technologies will be a feature of Gulf infrastructure investments over the next decade, the report adds.

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Current Issue October 2013