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EGEB: UK wind drives electricity, Enel renewables, solar in Spain and Zambia, more

Today in EGEB, wind generated more electricity than any other source in the U.K. in a recent week. And that still doesn’t measure up to Germany. Italy’s Enel acquires more than a quarter-billion dollars in renewables from one of its own joint ventures. The largest solar farm being constructed in Europe breaks ground in Spain. And Zambia’s first large-scale solar project has been commissioned.

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Recently, more than 35 percent of Great Britain’s electricity was generated by wind power over the span of a week, according to RenewableUK. That’s more than any other power source during that time.

From March 8-14, 35.6 percent of electricity was provided by wind. This compares to 31.2 percent from gas, 21.3 percent from nuclear, and 6.7 percent from biomass, with coal, hydro, and other sources making up the rest. Offshore wind energy alone bested nuclear during that timeframe.

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck noted it was a windy week. Pinchbeck said,

“We’ve had a very blustery week, and that’s good news because wind has outstripped every other power source. It’s further proof that wind is playing a central role in keeping Britain powered up at a chilly time of the year.”

If only for a week, this exceeds the U.K.’s expectation of wind generating a third of electricity by 2030. It’s a good sign for a region that recently announced a massive offshore wind deal.

And In Germany…

The renewable electricity share was even higher in Germany in the past week, hitting a new high. Half of all electricity in Germany came from wind power during the week.

Enel Acquisition

Italian company Enel has acquired 650 MW of renewable energy facilities from a joint venture between its Enel Green Power North America Renewable Energy Partners and GE Capital’s Energy Financial Services. The transaction cost $256 million dollars.

All of the assets in the transaction are based in the U.S. They are:

  • Cove Fort geothermal plant in Utah (25 MW)
  • Salt Wells geothermal plant in Nevada (13.4 MW)
  • Stillwater geothermal-solar facility in Nevada (59.5 MW)
  • Cimarron Bend wind farm in Kansas (400 MW)
  • Lindahl wind farm in North Dakota (150 MW)
  • Sheldon Springs solar PV facility in Vermont (2.4 MW)

The company now clearly senses the timing is right to fully own more renewable assets. Enel claims the transaction is in line with their strategic plan, which “aims to increase Enel’s consolidated capacity in the key U.S. market, extracting more value through full ownership of assets that use strategic renewable technologies.”

Spanish Solar

Spanish utility company Iberdrola has started construction of a 500 MW solar farm in Spain. The company says it’s the largest PV project under construction in Europe. It will generate enough power for 250,000 people by 2020.

The Núñez de Balboa plant will be comprised of 1.5 million panels across a 1000-hectare site. Iberdrola will invest €8 billion in clean energy between 2018 and 2022. It plans to commission up to 10,000 MW by 2030. Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galán said,

“This renewable mega-facility will become the spearhead that will consolidate the leadership position of Extremadura, Spain and the European Union in the transition to a more sustainable energy system.”

Zambia Solar

The first large-scale solar project in Zambia is 54 MW and will power 30,000 homes.

Solar power seems poised to boom in Africa in the coming years. There are already current projects like Morocco’s Noor Ouarzazate, the world’s largest solar farm. African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina recently spoke about the continent’s potential, saying Africa has the potential for 11 terawatts of solar power. His bank has committed $25 billion to climate-related financing — including renewable energy — between 2020 and 2025.

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