Saudi Arabia targets 9.5 GW renewables; US to exchange project data

Saudi Arabia aims for 9.5 GW of renewables by 2030

Image credit: Airubon

Saudi Arabia has set a target of 9.5 GW of solar and wind power by 2030, according to the Kingdom's Vision 2030 plan announced on April 25.

"Even though we have an impressive natural potential for solar and wind power, and our local energy consumption will increase three fold by 2030, we still lack a competitive renewable energy sector at present," the Vision 2030 plan stated.

"To build up the sector, we have set ourselves an initial target of generating 9.5 [GW] of renewable energy," it said.

Saudi Arabia is to review the legal and regulatory framework for private-sector investment in renewable energy, and encourage public-private partnerships.

The Kingdom also intends to retain a "significant portion" of the solar and wind energy value chain for domestic companies, including research and development and manufacturing, it said.

The Vision 2030 plan, ununveiled by the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sets out Saudi Arabia's long-term economic and social objectives.

The plan will see the transformation of Aramco from an oil producing company into a "global industrial conglomerate" and transform Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund into the "world's largest sovereign wealth fund," it said.

US standardizes solar data sets to lower cost of capital

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sunshot Initiative has launched a project to standardize data sets for solar projects so that state governments, customers, utilities, financiers, solar companies, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders can exchange quality data.

The Orange Button scheme will standardize data on project origination, grid integration, operations, and retirement, the DOE said in a statement.

"Establishing data standards and sharing key datasets throughout the industry will reduce the cost of capital for new solar energy projects by making information about the potential performance of solar projects more readily available and easy to understand," it said.

"After the Orange Button data standards are created and launched, data producers like solar companies and utilities can embed a graphic showing an orange button into their app, software, or onto their website to show data users like consumers or financial professionals that a given dataset can be downloaded in the established Orange Button format."

The DOE is to provide $4 million to the project, which will be developed with four partners: kWh Analytics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Smart Grid Interoperability Panel and SunSpec Alliance.

SunEdison files for bankruptcy

SunEdison filed for Chapter 11 protection April 21, following a nine-month share price slide due to mounting debt.

The world's largest developer of renewable energy projects has accrued $16.1 billion of liabilities following a $3.1 billion spending plan, according to Bloomberg.

As part of its bankruptcy filing, SunEdison has secured commitments for new capital totalling up to $300 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from a consortium of first and second lien lenders.

These funds will allow the continuation of current projects, in US and abroad, allow the company to pay its staff and provide services to customers.

SunEdison's publicly-traded yieldcos, TerraForm Power and TerraForm Global are not part of the Chapter 11 filing.

The SunEdison group will now look to shed non-core assets and maximize value from technological and intellectual property, it said.

"The court process will allow us to right-size our balance sheet and reduce our debt, providing the opportunity to support the business going forward while focusing on our core strengths," the company said.

Many companies will be reviewing SunEdison's portfolio for purchase opportunities.

Within hours of the bankruptcy filing, Ecotricity, the U.K.'s leading renewable energy company, announced it had acquired SunEdison's U.K. household rooftop solar business.