Technology & Innovation

Dispatchable power generation capacity is shifting from flexible gas gensets to wind and solar technologies paired with energy storage. Excellent solar resources in the U.S. state of Arizona make First Solar confident that its 65MW solar farm and a 50MW/135MWh battery storage facility will outcompete gas peaking plants in terms of supplying electricity into the evening peak.

Juazeiro, a city in northeastern Brazil, will host ABB install Latin America’s first digitally-enabled substation. The new 230-kilovolt (kV) substation and connection bay at the Juazeiro II substation will deliver power from a 156-MW solar photovoltaic poewr plant, under development nearby. Arctis, a UK-based investment firm, will own and operate the Juazeiro solar project together with its renewable energy arm in Latin America, Atlas Renewable Energy.

Challenged with the rising contribution of inherently intermittent wind and solar power supply, network operators are investing billions in stabilising their power grids. To anticipate supply/demand patterns and avoid overloaded grids, GreenCom Networks has developed an “Open-innovation Lab” with live data from end-customers. The system links electric cars, PV systems, heat pumps and other energy equipment in Germany and France.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has received the first order for its pressurized power generation system, integrating solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stacks with micro gas turbines. The hybrid system is being installed in the Marunouchi building in Tokyo, owned by Mitsubishi Estate Co.

A firing test, using a 30% hydrogen fuel mix, has been successfully passed by one of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System’s (MHPS) large-scale gas turbines. Test conditions called for a turbine inlet temperature of 1,600℃, equivalent to 700-MW of output, using the premix combustor of J-Series gas turbines.

Facing disruptions on multiple fronts, Europe’s energy companies can harness artificial intelligence to adapt to smaller-scale, distributed electricity generation by active energy “prosumers.” The age of utilities simply selling kilowatt-hours is coming to an end. To remain “relevant,” Thulium CEO Tamara McCleary recommends power providers to become platforms, offering services to improve peoples' lives, as well as helping to regulate supply.

Precisely geared to the tasks of users in the control room of a power station, Siemens’ latest instrumentation and control systems SPPA-T3000 Cue is proving a “risk-free means” for operators around the world to cut costs and reduce plant downtime.Customers embrace the new system, so SPPA-T3000 was already sold to a three-digit number of power station operators within just a few months after the launch.

“Green chemistry” is what Evonik and Siemens are envisaging by using electricity from renewable sources and bacteria to convert carbon dioxide into specialty chemicals. Based on €2.8 million funding from Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the two companies just launched a 2-year research project, called ‘Rheticus’, on electrolysis and fermentation processes.

Dominion Voltage Inc. (DVI), a subsidiary of Dominion Energy and leader in Volt/VAR optimization "VVO" solutions, will work with energy companies in Ontario, Canada, to help avoid energy losses in power distribution systems in line with the government's Long-Term Energy Plan. Navigant estimates the inclusion of front of the meter conservation (IFMC) will reduce annual power demand by 185-MW and save up to 1,130 gigawatt hours (GWh), once implemented.

As the use of 690 V energy efficient motors continues to grow within industrial applications, ABB has launched its new range of EQ A44 three phase 690 V high-functionality electricity meters, which deliver outstanding performance for the reliable metering of energy usage.The new meters are suitable for use in a wide range of applications including the processing industry, decentralized energy, mining, docks and harbours, wind turbines, water and waste water management.

Rapid changes in the energy landscape also drive businesses to adapt and update their existing trading platforms and systems. “We see a huge shift in digital innovation from aggregation of renewable generation, storage and emerging supply businesses that will significantly impact energy trading,“ said Tim Rogers, Contigo's head of sales and business development.Trayport affiliate Contigo, a vendor of Energy Trading and Risk Management (ERTM) software, will demonstrate its products at E-World, Essen in early February.

Energy storage technologies like batteries create an “unusual combination of cost and revenue streams,” according to EIA analysts, given that they can serve as both energy suppliers and consumers at different times. Thanks to their versatile functionality, about 700 MW of new utility-scale batteries has been added to the US power grid over the past three years.

Fluence, the new joint venture by Siemens and AES Energy Storage, has started operations at the start of this year, backed by a dedicated financing programme from Siemens Financial Services, and a substantial contract to supply a 400MWh battery system in California.

Vortex’s hybrid fire suppression system utilizes water and nitrogen in a combined suspension to suppress fires in power plants. The suspension liquid both cools the hazard area and removes the oxygen that sustains the fire using high velocity and low pressure.

Cooperative Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, has awarded a Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract to Wärtsilä to deliver a 22.7-MW power plant based on two gas-fired 31SG engines. With an output of 11,400-kW at 60Hz, the 20-cylinder Wärtsilä 31SG gas engines are one of the most efficient in its class.

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