[img:Gazprom%20-%20Pic%201_0.jpg| ]31 May 2013 - A coalition of companies in Europe are part of the recently established North Sea Power to Gas Platform which is aimed at further developing the concept of power to gas; the conversion of renewable power into gas. Power to gas is expected to play an increasingly important role in future energy systems, as it reduces temporal surpluses of renewable power by converting these surpluses into gases. As these gases can be used for different purposes such as transportation, domestic heating, as feedstock for the chemical industry, and power generation, the potential value of power to gas is considerable.
“The establishment of the North Sea Power to Gas Platform is an important step in the transition towards a sustainable energy system,” says Lukas Grond, power to gas expert at DNV KEMA and secretary of the platform. The platform is an initiative of energy consulting and testing & certification company, DNV KEMA, and includes Fluxys Belgium and Hydrogenics (Belgium); Energinet.dk and Maersk Oil (Denmark); Alliander, Gasunie and TenneT (Netherlands); ITM Power and National Grid (UK); and Open Grid Europe (Germany).
The share of electricity from renewable sources in the European electricity mix is increasing. As the power generation from wind and solar fluctuates, the match between renewable power supply and demand is becoming more challenging. At the same time, there are additional challenges to transmit the increasing volumes of renewable power from wind or solar farms to end users. The gas infrastructure can accommodate large volumes of electricity converted into gas in case that the supply of renewable power is larger than the grid capacity or than the electricity demand. As a result, power to gas enables the share of renewables in the energy mix to increase, making this innovation an important topic in achieving a carbon-neutral gas supply in 2050.
Although the fuel mix is expected to shift away from oil and coal towards renewables, mimicking the growth of nuclear power in the 1970s, renewables and other alternative sources are expected to account for less than a fifth of world energy use by 2030.
In April 2013 the country received US$5 billion in financial support from Qatar and Libya, with the former also agreeing to supply gas to Egypt as needed.
The worldwide demand for nuclear fuel marginally decreased at a negative average annual growth rate of 0.9% between 2006 and 2012, but a number of reactors expected to come online by 2020 will see the need for uranium jump significantly.
A consortium led by Saudi developer ACWA Power won the contract to build the plant in September 2012, with financing coming from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.
Reinhold Buttgereit, general secretary of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (Epia) says, “We cannot ignore the major trade conflict now underway but nor can we overlook the fact that the growth of renewables will increasingly be achieved outside Europe, driven by the Asian economies. The golden period for solar energy is not over, but we need rules.”
[img:North.thumbnail.jpg| ]15 May 2013 - The Climate Investment Fund (CIF) has given the go-ahead to north African countries Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia as well as middle eastern country Jordan to proceed with an updated version of a plan to create 1,120 MW from concentrated solar power (CSP). The plan will receive US$660 million from the CIF’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and is expected to leverage nearly US$5 billion from other donors and private financing.
[img:Suzlon%20w_0.jpg| ]By Antonio Ruffini
15 May 2013 - With South African heavy engineering group DCD having already begun construction of a wind tower factory at the Coega industrial development zone in the Eastern Cape, Suzlon, India’s largest wind-turbine maker, says its plans to build a plant in the country are also advanced.
Rob King, CEO of DCD, has said that there is room in the South African market, which plans for 8,400 MW of wind projects over the next 20 years, for a second or even third local factory. The country’s energy policy has taken a strong stance on localisation and the need for the renewable energy projects being undertaken to ensure technology transfer and create jobs in South Africa.