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Paris deal pushes power sector towards decarbonisation
31 December, 2015
Implications for the power industry of the Paris climate change summit in December.

Tesla drives towards domestic battery storage
08 October, 2015
The US electric car manufacturer Tesla Energy has launched a range of rechargeable lithium-ion storage batteries scaled for homes and businesses. It can, says Tesla, also be scaled to much larger sizes for use by utilities. The basic packs are intended to enable owners to store cheap rate electricity or renewable energy to manage power demand, provide backup power and increase grid resilience.

Seeing the light: my conversion from fossil to PV
08 October, 2015
Maarten van der Burgt has had a distinguished career in the fossil fuel business, including over 30 years with Shell, and remains a world authority on gasification. However, he believes that the future belongs to solar PV, with electricity (via DC lines) and hydrogen (produced by electrolysis) the main energy carriers. A key influence on the evolution of his thinking has been his son Jaap van der Burgt, also an engineer, who worked for many years in solar cell manufacturing.

European solar survives its darkest hour
07 October, 2015
The solar eclipse of 20 March placed unprecedented stress on the European electricity grid. The pre-event analysis and the lessons learned during the eclipse have provided unique data that suggest how to deal with future events when a far greater proportion of solar generation will be on the grid.

Waiting for the fog to lift over Hinkley Point
07 October, 2015
It is now about two years since loan guarantee arrangements were agreed between EDF and the UK government for the planned Hinkley Point C (2 x 1670 MW EPR) nuclear power project and around 18 months since initial agreement was reached on what some would see as a reasonably generous “investment contract” for the plant, which includes a 35-year “contract-for-difference” with a strike price (essentially guaranteed income) of 9.25p/kWh (or 8.95p/kWh if the follow on twin- reactor plant, Sizewell C, also gets built).

How upgraded chimney design can enhance coal-fired power station efficiency and flexibility
01 September, 2015
These are challenging times for coal and lignite fired power plants, requiring them to explore all possibilities for increased efficiency, flexibility and optimisation. Rethinking the flue gas exit path, in particular the deployment of borosilicate linings, can prove beneficial, as three case studies, briefly summarised below, demonstrate.

IT solutions for cloud-based virtual power plants
01 September, 2015
Siemens has developed a cloud-based service for the managing of virtual power plants based on its DEMS distributed energy management system.

Making the most of Turkish lignite
01 September, 2015
Profile of the Soma 2 x 255 MWe circulating fluidised bed power plant.

Retrofitting for greater flexibility
02 August, 2015
Operational flexibility has become a key requirement, especially in markets like Europe and USA. For operators with plants originally designed for baseload operation, this can be a challenge. However, hardware and software upgrades are being developed that can be incorporated into existing plants to help operators respond to market requirements without impacting plant lifetime.

Building Bouchain: lead project for GE’s new 9HA gas turbine
02 August, 2015
On 29 June, the 9HA.01 gas turbine to be deployed at EDF’s 575 MWe Bouchain combined cycle plant left GE’s manufacturing facility in Belfort, and was expected to reach the site (in the Nord Pas-de-Calais region) around 13 July, with first firing scheduled for December and commercial operation expected in summer 2016.

Upgraded Siemens gas turbine portfolio for the distributed power market
01 August, 2015
Siemens has announced a performance upgrade to its SGT-800 industrial gas turbine, taking the power output up to 53 MW with an electrical efficiency of 39% in simple cycle.

10 MW oil-free steam turbine demonstrated at Jänschwalde
01 August, 2015
Siemens has reported successful handover of what is believed to be the world’s first industrial-scale oil- free, or very nearly oil-free, steam turbine.

Germany sets course for 2 GW of new offshore capacity in 2015
01 June, 2015
Not surprisingly German offshore wind has had no shortage of teething problems, but 2015 seems to be proving productive for projects in the German North Sea, with seven large (300-400 MW range) wind farms in various stages of start up/commissioning. These, when fully commercial, will add some 2071 MW to Germany’s North Sea offshore wind installed capacity, taking the total from about 856 MW (including Blackstone-financed Meerwind Sud/Ost (288), the troubled Bard Offshore One (400 MW), Riffgat (108 MW) and Alpha Ventus (60 MW test facility)) to nearly 3 GW (the current stated goal for offshore wind installed capacity being 6.5 GW by 2020 and 15 GW by 2030).

Asia's LNG conundrum
29 April, 2015
"An ... aggressive price stance by Asian importers ... could lead to more LNG cargoes being diverted from Asia to Europe with the ... potential for a squeeze on Russian natural gas pipeline imports"

Living with the changing wind
26 April, 2015
The successful integration of increasing levels of variable renewable energy is one of the most significant challenges facing modern power systems. A study by Mott MacDonald shows that a range of new policy tools will be needed.

Capacity payments are coming
23 April, 2015
A review of the inexorable drive towards capacity markets in Europe and the lessons to be drawn from the UK's recent auction.

EC focuses on interconnection
23 April, 2015
The European Commission has unveiled a new energy strategy, proposing thecreation of an 'Energy Union', with its own electricity regulator.

Modernising Loviisa, learning from LARA
01 January, 2015
Loviisa’s first attempt at a full upgrade of its I&C systems, a project called LARA, proved unsuccessful because of the complexity and sheer scale of the undertaking. Building on the painful lessons of that experience a new project, ELSA, with new contractors, is underway. The scope is somewhat reduced, but the project remains ambitious and the schedule tight, with completion by 2018.

Alstom enters the DC CB lists with a hybrid 120 kV prototype
01 January, 2015
An ultra-fast ‘mechatronic’ circuit breaker has been developed by Alstom specifically for duty in HVDC networks. The successful development at an economic cost of a high speed DC breaker, a critical component for protection of the grid, would pave the way for continental-scale, meshed DC networks.

MILENA and OLGA get together for high efficiency and low tar
01 January, 2015
MILENA is an “indirect” gasification concept, combining CFB (circulating fluidised bed) pyrolysis and BFB (bubbling fluidised bed) combustion in the same vessel, while OLGA addresses what has been seen as the Achilles heel of waste gasification, namely tar. The combined technologies mean that high quality syngas can be produced from waste, and promise a considerable increase in the efficiency of waste-to-energy (WtE) plants, enabling them to employ IGCC technology.

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