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Poland Quadruples Solar Energy Output, Becomes 5th Largest Producer in Europe

The European Union increased its solar energy market by more than 100% making 2019 the most successful year so far. Being one of the five countries contributing to this growth the most, Poland has almost quadrupled its solar capacities in one year to reach 784MW. The leading solar developer in the region, Sun Investment Group, credits the self-consumption model and government efforts for unprecedented growth.  

Last year was the most fortunate year for the European Union in the solar energy sector. In 2019, the EU added 16.7 GW solar energy installations to its portfolio, increasing the number by 104% since 2018. The sharp rise marked the biggest growth in solar energy generation since 2010. So far, five member countries have contributed the most, including Spain (4.7 GW), Germany (4 GW), the Netherlands (2.5 GW), France (1.1 GW), and Poland (784 MW).

Although the other 18 member states are lagging behind to meet the EU’s energy plans, the majority of the members are contributing to the progress, including a significant Poland’s achievement. The country quadrupled its solar power installations from 203 MW connected to the grid in 2018 to 784 MW in 2019. In 2020, Poland is planning to almost double its installations to 1.3 GW. These changes are important for the EU and Poland, as the country is the biggest coal producer in the Union.

Previously, the country has been struggling to meet the Union’s renewable energy plans, but in 2019, Poland had a sharp rise in solar energy generation. Although the biggest renewable source is wind power, Poland is turning its focus on expanding the solar energy sector.

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With many new projects on the way in Poland, Sun Investment Group - the leading solar plant developer in Central Europe - shares their take on it. The organization has been working with the Polish market for years, and they have already developed 109 MW solar power capacity in the country. And with the rapid increase in the solar energy market, the organization is expanding further. They have 500+ MW of projects under the advanced development stage in different regions around.

Deividas Varabauskas, CEO and managing partner at Sun Investment Group, comments on aspects contributing to the transition to renewables and the sector’s further growth. “We are excited that Poland is now turning to be one of the fastest-growing solar power producers in the European Union. We believe that the progress was only possible due to source-specific auctions organized by the state (for PV projects of less than 1MWp), which will soon be boosted even further by big PV projects that will replace wind projects in technology-neutral auctions as there are very few new wind projects that comply with new regulations. This is a win-win approach, as current price bids are very close to the market price, giving a predictable revenue for 15 years to the PV generator and very soon an additional revenue for the Polish state treasury.”

Mr Varabauskas adds that the transition to solar energy will benefit not only air quality and environment but also the Polish state treasury and energy system. “Due to the rising CO2 certificate prices, the state will soon start generating income from the difference between auction price awarded to the generator and a market price of electricity, that in a few years will become higher than auction price awarded to PV (photovoltaics) generators. The impact of CO2 European Emission Allowances price increases will severely affect power prices in Poland, as coal is the most CO2 intensive source of energy, and Poland is mostly dependent on coal for its power and heat generation. Obviously, this is an enormous motivation for Poland to transition from coal to renewables as soon as possible, however, it will still take a very significant time to fully transform its energy infrastructure, which means PV is going to help save money to Poland and its citizens and businesses.”

According to Mr Varabauskas, these changes would be impossible without the country’s government’s significant dedication to establishing the solar power production market in Poland. It is also very important that auction system is prolonged beyond 2021 to ensure the uninterrupted investments in new PV projects, as relying on purely market solutions is just wishful thinking, especially in the current economic recession environment. “Although the solar energy market in Poland is in its early stage, the 2019 Global Infrastructure Index ranked the country as one of the top markets for clean energy production, which makes it very attractive to investments in solar energy and renewables.”

The European Union is growing its renewable energy market and breaking new records each year. The progress would be impossible without countries like Poland joining the train and expediting the transition. With many new projects on the way, the EU can expect even more prominent growth.

ABOUT SUN INVESTMENT GROUP

Sun Investment Group (SIG) was founded in 2011 as an investment management and development company focused on solar energy assets within investment-grade markets. It has extensive experience in developing solar power projects across Central Europe and the Baltic region. SIG has a track record of 158 separate projects delivering a total of 131 MW capacity. 500+ MW of projects are currently under the advanced development phase.

For more information, visit www.suninvestmentgroup.com

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Nidec ASI supplies battery energy storage solutions for next-generation Norwegian electric ferries, for tourism with zero environmental impact in the fjords

The partnership continues with Brødrene Aa for Seasight IV, the third vessel equipped with BESS solutions by Nidec ASI designed to offer fully green sailing that respects nature

Nidec ASI, the Nidec Industrial Solutions platform belonging to the Nidec Group, has supplied battery energy storage systems (BESS) for the latest vessel developed by Brødrene Aa, a Norwegian company that builds cutting-edge ships. Nidec has implemented a BESS solution which allows the Seasight IV ship to sail electrically and silently, without producing any polluting emissions, guaranteeing maximum respect for the entire marine ecosystem, while at the same time ensuring completely safe sailing. The project is in response to the need to comply with a decision of the Norwegian Parliament that, by 2026, will restrict the movement of vessels within the fjords to electric ferries only, creating zero-emission waterways, that will benefit the health and wellbeing of the local population. This is a Norwegian direction which the whole of Europe should be following: in fact, it has been calculated that in just 10 hours a cruise ship docked at a quay produces approximately the same amount of CO2 as 25 medium-sized cars in a year.

Seasight is a catamaran characterized by an unusual design, inspired by the Norwegian paths that zig-zag up the steep mountain slopes. The vessel gives passengers a chance to admire the breathtaking scenery of the Norwegian fjords on the external decks that surround the internal lounge.

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This new vessel represents the third testament to the successful collaboration between Nidec ASI and Brødrene Aa. Together they have already designed and launched two other catamarans: one hybrid (the "Vision of the Fjords") and one fully electric ("Future of the Fjords", which won the 2018 Ship of the Year award), which carry tourists along the splendid coast of Norway, silently, safely and reliably, providing a new and more sustainable approach to tourism.

Specifically, as with the 2 previous Seasight vessels Nidec ASI worked on, the company provided the BESS solutions with two 1200kW-1009kWh systems for a total of 2018kWh (2.4MW), symmetrically located on the port and starboard. However, what makes the Seasight IV's system unique is the rack modules set-up, greater than that on the sister ships and significantly improved on a technical level. Nidec also supplied the data recording equipment, the battery management system and a closed circuit air cooling system that works thanks to an air-water heat exchanger.

This important project confirms our commitment to supporting innovation in an increasingly green viewpoint in the nautical sector, strategic for the promotion of more sustainable mobility. The projects we have pursued over the years, starting with the Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian Navy's training ship, up to the Wider yachts and the other vessels for Brødrene Aa, demonstrate yet again the validity and adaptability of our energy storage and management solutions. The continuation of our partnership with Brødrene Aa is a new and exciting recognition of the seriousness and professionalism of all our colleagues."  Dominique Llonch, CEO of Nidec ASI and Chairman of Nidec Industrial Solutions, declared. "Seasight IV truly represents the future of sailing: a very low impact vessel that fits in with the landscape and respects the ecosystem in which it operates. I am therefore delighted that it incorporates customized solutions by Nidec."

This new project, together with the Nidec branded batteries presented at the latest Electric & Hybrid Expo in Amsterdam, and important projects such as the electrification of the quays in the port of Genoa, make Nidec ASI a real leader in energy transition for the maritime sector as it moves towards the affirmation of increasingly green and sustainable sailing.

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ib vogt first development project sale of their Australian portfolio

ib vogt GmbH (ib vogt) is pleased to announce the sale of the Sebastopol Solar Farm to Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV). ib vogt, a successful global Solar PV developer and EPC contractor first entered the Australian solar market in 2016 when it constructed the 11.1 MWp  Williamsdale project in the ACT.  Since then the company has identified and progressed to the advanced stages of development over 450 MWp of Solar PV projects throughout NSW and VIC.  The most advanced of project of this portfolio is the Sebastopol Solar Farm.

The proposed Sebastopol Solar Farm is located near Temora in the Riverina region of NSW and once operational, will supply up to 90MW (AC) of renewable energy to the grid. ib vogt Initially identified the project in 2017 and has fully developed the project to the final stages of development with the project having full planning consent, all land rights secured and grid ‘Committed’ status with AEMO for the project to commence into generator registration.

ibvogt logoThroughout the development process ib vogt has strived to build strong and collaborative relationships with both Temora Shire Council and Junee Shire Council and the local community to ensure that the Sebastopol Solar Farm was suitably developed to address any concerns or adverse impacts.  This resulted in the project receiving no formal objections to the Development Application and a very supportive community towards the project.

The project will connect into a 132kV line adjacent to the site, which is owned and operated by Essential Energy. Ib vogt also enjoyed a great working relationship with Essential Energy throughout the grid connection process.

Carsten Stang, Chief Commercial Officer of ib vogt stated:” The proposed Sebastopol Solar Farm is a world class solar PV project and highlights our expertise in successfully developing solar projects in a challenging solar market. This is our first development project in our attractive Australian portfolio and we look forward to progressing our next projects to a similar stage shortly’

‘We are grateful to the local Council and broader community in Temora for the warm welcome and support they have shown our team throughout the development process over the past 3 years and wish FRV all the best in the next stages of development for the Sebastopol Solar Farm’
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Valmet to supply a flue gas condensing plant to Helen’s Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant in Helsinki, Finland

Valmet will supply a flue gas condensing plant to Helen Ltd’s Vuosaari C bioenergy heating plant in Helsinki, Finland. The new bioenergy heating plant will feature very high energy efficiency, as the heat from flue gases will be recovered to increase district heat production by 69 megawatts (MW) with Valmet’s advanced environmental technology.

The order is included in Valmet’s orders received of the first quarter 2020. The value of these types of orders is approximately between EUR 20–30 million. The flue gas condensing plant will be handed over to Helen in December 2022.

2014 11 26 075437 valmet logo“Our company’s target is to be carbon neutral by 2035. As the flue gases after combustion are led to the condensing plant, it is possible to utilize the fuel to its fullest. The heat recovery at the Vuosaari plant will increase plant efficiency to about 122 percent based on the fuel’s effective heating value,” says Antti Saikkonen, Project Director, Helen Ltd.

“The exceptionally high heat recovery is achieved by using absorption heat pumps to cool down the scrubber water and by cooling the flue gas going into the stack to below 12 Celsius. The absorption heat pumps use low-pressure steam as the driving media instead of electricity,” says Risto Hämäläinen, Director, Environmental Systems, Pulp and Energy, Valmet.

Information about Valmet’s delivery

Valmet’s delivery consists of a flue gas condensing plant and condensate treatment equipment, including a boiler make-up water production system.

Flue gas from the bioenergy heating plant’s circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler is recovered by condensing flue gas moisture in a wet scrubber. Flue gas moisture is increased by moisturizing the combustion air going into the boiler. Heat recovery increases district heat production by an additional 69 MW, which is over 30 percent of the fuel heat input based on the effective heating value.

Flue gas condensate from the process is treated and utilized as raw water at the boiler plant and as boiler make-up water after demineralizing.

Information about the customer Helen Ltd.

Helen Ltd. is one of the largest energy companies in Finland with more than 500,000 customers. The company produces and sells electricity, district heating and district cooling. Furthermore, it offers solutions for regional and renewable energy, smart housing and electric mobility. Helen’s target is to achieve 100% carbon neutrality in its energy production in 2035.

For further information, please contact:
Risto Hämäläinen, Director, Environmental Systems, Pulp and Energy, Valmet, tel. +358 40 505 2001

Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. We aim to become the global champion in serving our customers.

Valmet's strong technology offering includes pulp mills, tissue, board and paper production lines, as well as power plants for bioenergy production. Our advanced services and automation solutions improve the reliability and performance of our customers' processes and enhance the effective utilization of raw materials and energy.

Valmet's net sales in 2019 were approximately EUR 3.5 billion. Our more than 13,000 professionals around the world work close to our customers and are committed to moving our customers' performance forward – every day. Valmet's head office is in Espoo, Finland, and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

Read more www.valmet.com

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Renewable Energy Outpace Coal: What Can Be Done to Accelerate Positive Changes?

For the first time in history, in 2019, the EU countries generated more energy using renewable sources than coal. According to the recent report, it was the sharpest reduction in the European power sector’s carbon emission in three decades. A solar plant developer Sun Investment Group explains what could be done to increase renewable energy production within the region and expedite the transition. 

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2019 was the first year when European Union member countries generated more energy using renewable sources than from coal production. Europe is getting closer to phasing out coal production and replacing it with sustainable sources. Currently, the EU generates around 30% of its energy from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, and biomass. For comparison, this number was only 12% in 2000. With new milestones, by 2030, the EU is planning to generate 50% of its energy using renewables sources.  

Deividas Varabauskas, CEO and Managing Partner at Sun Investment Group, explains the reasons behind these changes, “There are many factors determining energy generation within the European Union. This sharp decrease in hard coal production happened due to increased taxation on CO2, and the growth of renewable sources. Of course, there’s still a long way to go. Only five countries including Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, UK, and Italy were responsible for 79% of this decrease. If other member countries would follow, we could see much more prominent results.”

In 2019, coal production dropped by 24%, which quicken the coal phasing out process. Gas filled half of the difference, solar and wind replaced the other half of the gap. As more Union’s countries agree on reducing coal usage, soon the renewables will take the wheel of energy generation in the EU.

Slow Transition to Sustainable Energy Sources

Although 2019 was the first year since the First Industrial Revolution when clean energy sources outran coal, with time these changes should accelerate. With more member countries joining sustainable energy initiatives to reduce coal production and replace it with sustainable sources, the transition becomes faster and more feasible.

Additionally, a decrease in energy consumption in both western and eastern Europe had a major impact on the sharp decline in coal production. Not only consumers used less energy, but also industrial usage dropped.

Renewable energy is getting more affordable, which increases its availability for individual consumers. In 2019, Portugal broke the solar energy price record by selling for 14.76 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), while the same year the lowest price was still at 16.7 euros MWh in India. 

Deividas Varabauskas adds that governments play a significant role in promoting and developing renewable energy plans, “After many years of working in the renewable energy sector, we noticed that if a country seeks to switch to renewables, it’s necessary to focus not only on power purchase agreements but also energy auctions. Yet many countries do the same mistake - they start with auctions and stop further development expecting that the market itself would do the rest. But auctions with a fixed price is a surefire way to stable renewables growth. It ensures that investors, buyers, and banks understand the market price and can assess risks.”

Organizations in Europe are working on introducing alternative energy sources and educating consumers about sustainable energy benefits. The Sun Investment Group is a solar energy development and investment management company. Currently, they have plans on growing solar power usage in Poland, which is the biggest coal producer in the Union. 

When asked about the countries they target, Mr. Varabauskas explained that it’s crucial to focus not only on expansion, but also legal regulations and social attitudes towards renewables, “Our focus is on plants in regions whose political stability, legal framework, and existing energy and environmental policies guarantee a stable source of revenue in the long term.” He also agrees that renewable usage can only grow if not only governments but also people join forces and embrace the transition.

With a significant rise in renewable energy production in the EU, we can only expect it to continue growing in the upcoming years. Changing consumer habits, declining mass consumption, and more sustainable energy availability open doors for European countries to meet their energy generation goals and more rapidly than ever phase-out coal production.

ABOUT SUN INVESTMENT GROUP

Sun Investment Group (SIG) was founded in 2011 as an investment management and development company focused on solar energy assets within investment-grade markets. It has extensive experience in developing solar power projects across Central Europe and the Baltic region. SIG has a track record of 158 separate projects delivering a total of 131 MW capacity. 500+ MW of projects are currently under the advanced development phase. For more information, visit www.suninvestmentgroup.com