Weekly Intelligence Brief: August 4 - 11

Enel Green Power, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office; European Investment Bank, Eskom, African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement, Development Bank of Southern Africa; Areva.


Enel Green Power to assess integration of geothermal and CSP

Enel Green Power, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office have signed an agreement to assess the combination of geothermal and CSP systems at a site in the U. S. The entities signed a cooperative research and development agreement last week.

The plan is to use empirical data from the 2MW Stillwater project, which is under construction in Fallon, Nevada. Upon completion, it will run in conjunction with the existing 33MW Stillwater geothermal power plant, which is already paired with a 26MW PV facility. Enel stated that this is the first hybrid plant to feature continuous generating capacity of binary-cycle, medium-enthalpy geothermal power with solar photovoltaic and solar thermodynamic at the same site.

As per the pact, the integration of geothermal and CSP to generate power will be evaluated over the next 12 months.

The construction phase at the Stillwater CSP plant is expected to get over by the third quarter of 2014.


EIB continue to support CSP projects in South Africa

Europe’s long-term lending institution, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and state power utility Eskom have decided to go ahead with a EUR75 million finance contract. The two entities have agreed upon a new EUR75 million (R1.1 billion) loan for the utility’s 100MW CSP plant close to Upington in the Northern Cape.

This project is being co-financed by the African Development Bank, the Agence Française de Développement, the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), KfW and the World Bank.

Just a day before this contract was finalised, it also emerged that the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) signed a R1,4 billion or USD$130 million finance contract with the EIB to support the development of the Ka Xu 100MW concentrated solar power in the Northern Cape, South Africa.


Suspense builds over Reliance’s CSP project in India

Areva’s decision to discontinue its entire CSP operation has raised concerns over the future of Reliance Power’s key project in India.

As highlighted by CSP Today in its recent report, the development has emerged as a major setback for a CSP plant in Rajasthan. The group had achieved the first steam production at its 125 MW CSP plant by the end of 2013. However, the project is yet to be commissioned.

As per the information available, Areva has chosen to discontinue loss-making operations, such as concentrated solar power, as it reported a net loss of EUR694 million in the first six months of 2014. The group is planning to cut 100 jobs in the U. S. and India.

Ten states lead solar electricity installation in the U.S.

Ten states in the U.S. including Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware and Nevada, account for 87% of the nation’s total installed solar electricity capacity, according to a report released by Los Angeles, California-based Environment California Research & Policy Center.

Other states in the top 10 list are Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina.

The report, Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013, mentioned that the states with the most solar electricity installed per capita have worked out solid solar energy goals, supported by favourable policies.

The centre emphasises that the federal government needs to persist with main tax credits for solar energy, support reliable development of prime solar resources on public lands in the American West, and sustain research, development and deployment initiatives meant to curtail the cost of solar energy and pave way for integration of solar energy into the electric grid.

Solar energy contributed 74% of all the new electric generation capacity installed in the first three months of this year.