Tag Archives: renewable energy

Snam Italia sets a target of 2040 carbon in the clean energy drive | Instant News

FILE PHOTO: Italian gas group Snam logo seen outside their office in Rome, Italy, 4 June 2020. REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane

MILAN (Reuters) – The Italian gas group Snam aims to become carbon neutral by 2040 and will increase spending on preparing its grid for hydrogen and the transition to cleaner energy sources.

Europe’s biggest gas pipeline company said Wednesday that it would invest 7.4 billion euros through 2024, half of which would prepare its infrastructure to receive hydrogen.

It said the net zero-carbon target does not include emissions beyond its control, but works with suppliers to address the so-called Scope 3 emissions that are generated by the provision and use of its products.

He said his party aimed to reduce direct and indirect carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 from the previous target of 40%.

“Snam will be one of the first energy companies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and make a broad contribution to system decarbonization through developing green gases and, in particular, hydrogen,” said Snam CEO Marco Alvera.

The company, which is also interested in getting involved in the water sector, said it aspires to fully transport decarbonized gas on its network by 2050 to make Italy a European hydrogen hub.

Snam, which derives most of its revenue from gas transportation in Italy, wants to expand the use of hydrogen in pipelines and has achieved a 10% hydrogen mix in a pilot study.

Net profit in the 2020-2024 period is expected to grow 2.5% per year while core income will increase by an average of 3.3%, the company said, emphasizing dividend growth of 5% per year until 2022.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Agnieszka Flak and Barbara Lewis


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The study measures Switzerland’s potential geothermal heating capacity | Instant News

An EPFL PhD student has calculated the maximum amount of geothermal energy that can theoretically be extracted using a ground source heat pump in the Canton of Vaud and Geneva. In a study that combined data on the area available for the system with computer modeling techniques, he found a stark difference between the potential for geothermal energy in urban versus rural areas.

Switzerland is one of the countries in Europe that most relies on geothermal energy for residential heating. A study conducted by the Swiss Federal Energy Office in 2019 found that the country has one 101,600 ground source heat pumps (GSHP) – “the highest concentration per square kilometer in the world”. Many of these pumps are installed in residential yards up to 400 meters deep and use a vertical closed loop system to transmit heat to the surface.

The advantage of GSHP is that it has little impact on the environment. They can heat homes and buildings all year round because geothermal energy is a stable source of heat. And they offer a promising alternative to decarbonizing the heating sector. In Switzerland, building heating and cooling systems account for a third of total energy demand, and 75% of the country’s energy comes from fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas.

Operation of the vertical ground source heat pump. © ADEME

Limited energy sources

In 2017, Doris Leuthard, then president of the Swiss Confederation, called geothermal energy a “tremendous source of energy” but warned that it was unlimited; it needs to be extracted according to special rules. For example, the borehole heat exchangers used in the GSHP must be spaced to prevent thermal disturbance – the heat exchanger equivalent of a short circuit – and prevent the ground from cooling. “Heat transfer fluids absorb heat that’s in the soil,” says Alina Walch, a PhD student at EPFL’s Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory. “If too many of these exchangers are packed into a small space, the ground will cool off, which is something we have to avoid.”

Thermal interference is one factor that the team of scientists, including Walch, considered a study published in Renewable Energy on November 18th. They calculated the technical potential of the GSHP at the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva. “The technical potential is the maximum amount of geothermal energy that can be extracted by a heat pump using all available areas in the two cantons, assuming they are operating at least 80% of their rated power,” he said.

The research team estimated the available area using existing topographic data in Switzerland, excluding built environments and natural habitats such as forests from their study. They then simulated the GSHP installed across the area based on factors such as ground temperature, thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity. “We combined various technical constraints and estimated the optimal borehole spacing that would meet installation standards and maximize the heat that could be extracted,” said Walch.

Regional variations in field data in the case study areas. a) Restriction zone for geothermal installations, b) Ground surface temperature at a depth of 1m, c) Thermal conductivity, d) Thermal diffusivity originating from the geothermal cadastre. The gray zone is outside the study area. © LESO-PB

Insufficient capacity in the city center

They are the first study of its scale in Switzerland to consider not only the earth’s geothermal capacity but also the technical limitations of GSHP. The scientists estimate that the annual technical potential of the area they studied is 4.6 TWh, which is equivalent to about a third of total heating demand. They also calculated a maximum energy density of 15.5 kWh / m2. “Geothermal energy only has limited potential to be the only source in this region. This could cover demand in many suburban and rural areas, but very little in the city center, ”said Walch. City planners can use this information in the technical and economic feasibility studies of implementing the GSHP system.

The research team also found that the cumulative depth of the borehole should not exceed 2 km per hectare to avoid overexploitation of the soil’s heat capacity.

Walch emphasized that their findings are only theoretical for now; this study did not take into account local phenomena such as the phreatic zone and groundwater flow, which can affect the time it takes for the soil to cool down. It is important to drill the test holes before installing the borehole heat exchanger.

The team hopes that by measuring the heat generation capacity of shallow geothermal energy, and by pinpointing areas where additional energy sources will be needed, their work will inform a decarbonization strategy for the Swiss heating sector. “Our ultimate goal is to conduct a national study and combine these findings with similar findings for other types of renewable energy,” said Walch, also working on a study to evaluate The potential for Swiss solar power capacity. “It is important to estimate the technical potential that does not depend on heat demand. We wanted to evaluate the capacity of a hybrid system combining geothermal and solar power, using data on these two renewables. “


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Australia must stop whingeing and make decisions about national energy markets, operators say Australian News | Instant News

The Australian government needs to make decisions about whether they want a national electricity market, or five state markets, rather than “nagging” each other about not making decisions, according to systems operator Audrey Zibelman.

Zibelman, Australia’s chief executive Energy Market operators, however, said at an energy summit on Monday that the energy market has reached a “turning point”.

“The decisions and actions we take this year and next year will really inform the results of this industry over the coming decades and they will have a profound effect on the health of our energy economy and the economy as a whole,” he said.

Zibelman said it was time for the government to make a decision on the reform of the system being championed by Energy Security Council. “What we can’t do anymore is not make decisions and keep complaining about each other about not making decisions.”

He said the energy market needed “the right kind of market signal” to ensure investors would build the infrastructure needed to supply adequate deliverable or compacted power. “The most important thing is we have a mechanism that everyone agrees on and then people can rely on it.”

“It would be very helpful to have one mechanism that we can use in the national energy market, otherwise we have to make decisions like I said, we won’t have a national market, we will have five states. the market, “said Zibelman.

“One way or another we have to make a decision”.

Zibelman’s emphatic intervention followed New South Wales Energy Secretary Matt Kean shrugged off criticism from his federal counterpart, Angus Taylor, about a $ 32 billion renewable energy roadmap, saying state policies had been modeled extensively and would not encourage early coal closure.

On Monday, Taylor said at an energy summit hosted by the Australian Financial Review that he would like to see the modeling behind it state road map, which aims to support 12 gigawatts of wind and solar power as well as 2 gigawatts of energy storage.

Taylor argues that participants in the energy market need to avoid “reactionary schemes that appease self-interest and ignore customer interests” – adding that “the triumph of hope over reality and reason must be avoided”.

But Kean said at the same forum that the prospects for the Australian energy market have fundamentally changed. A decade ago, he said, Australia risked reducing national economic growth if it moved too fast to embrace low emissions technologies. But now, if Australia fails to reduce emissions “we will lose the opportunity to ensure our prosperity”.

The country scheme involves awarding long-term government contracts for three types of technology: wind and solar power plants to be built in three regional renewable energy zones; long-term storage that can provide back-up power for eight hours or more, most likely from pumped hydro or batteries; and the generation of fast-starting “buckling” that ensures grid stability in an increasingly varied network of renewable energies, most likely from batteries or gas.

Kean said he had worked “very constructively with minister Taylor” when he signed a bilateral agreement with Canberra early 2020, “$ 3 billion Memorandum of Understanding that will allow us to achieve the goal that Angus and I have set – reliable energy cheaper, reliable energy cheaper here in New South Wales ”.

The next state roadmap, released this month, which has cross-party support, is designed to ensure there is an orderly transition as aging coal assets leave the system, rather than risk outages and price spikes, he said.

“We know that four out of our five coal-fired power plants are about to expire and we need to ensure that high price risks, unreliable system risks, are not borne by consumers like when Hazelwood and Northern closed unexpectedly,” said Kean, Monday.

“We need to make sure we have the right regulatory settings and the right investment signals to ensure that the private sector will provide the infrastructure we need to keep the lights on and lower prices – and that’s what our road map does.”

The NSW minister said Taylor was “right” concerned about maintaining network reliability and affordable prices. He will work with federal partners to provide both.

The country roadmap has been modeled extensively and “it will not lead to an earlier closure of coal, in fact the most important thing is to ensure that we have infrastructure replacement before the existing infrastructure closes”.

Energy company AGL has raised some objections to the scheme, and the business community is concerned that the lack of transparent national policies is pushing states to go their own way. But Kean replied: “I’m not here to support self-interest, I’m here to support community interests, and that’s what this policy is doing.”

The clash between Kean and Taylor arose when Scott Morrison used contributions to the virtual G20 summit over the weekend to declare guarding the planet is a “collective, long-term and sustainable responsibility” and the country “must pursue an economic model that supports growth and sustainability”.

Separately, the Commonwealth and Victoria have reached a $ 200 million deal for transmission infrastructure. The two governments have agreed to jointly secure initial work to advance Victoria’s western interconnector project to NSW – on a preferred route known as KerangLink – so that it can be delivered by 2027.

It is estimated that the project will generate an additional 1,800 megawatts of capacity during peak demand periods and allow Victoria to export 1,930 megawatts to NSW.


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Italy drafts guidelines for a national hydrogen strategy, the document shows | Instant News

MILAN, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Italy has set guidelines for a national hydrogen strategy to help decarbonize the economy as it gradually phases out coal and increases production of renewable energy to meet long-term climate targets.

In a draft document called the National Hydrogen Strategy Preliminary Guide, seen by Reuters, the Ministry of Industry said it was targeting investment in the sector at around 10 billion euros ($ 12 billion) by 2030, with half of that coming from European funds and private investment. .

To help increase “green” hydrogen production, about 5 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity to extract gas from water will be introduced during the period, the document says.

Electrolysis can be a carbon-free process if the power used is generated from renewable energy. Hydrogen is now mostly produced from fossil fuels or other carbon emission processes, because electrolysis is too expensive because of the large power required.

By 2030, hydrogen could account for 2% of Italy’s final energy demand and help remove up to 8 million tonnes of CO2, the document said. As the scale of the industry goes up and costs fall, this could reach up to 20% by 2050, he said.

The document, when published, will form the basis of consultations before a final hydrogen strategy is approved, possibly early next year.

Brussels mapped out plans this year to promote hydrogen as it strives to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. France, Germany and Spain have set their own targets.

Hydrogen is currently too expensive to be widely used but as costs go down, governments around the world see it as a substitute for fossil fuels in areas where electrification is not an easy solution.

The ministry document, which says the plan could create more than 200,000 jobs and generate up to 27 billion euros in Italy’s gross domestic product, said hydrogen could be used in transportation, heavy industry and natural gas pipelines.

Italian gas group Snam has been experimenting with a 10% hydrogen mixture in part of its natural gas network, while power company Enel and energy company Eni both have hydrogen plans.

$ 1 = 0.8458 euros Reported by Stephen Jewkes; Edited by Edmund Blair


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Australia shows that the reality of renewable energy trumps gas expectations: Russell | Instant News

(Opinions expressed here are those of the author, columnist for Reuters.)

FILE PHOTOS: The Fortescue Metals Group logo adorns their headquarters in Perth, Australia, 11 November 2015. REUTERS / David Gray

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – Australia is turning into an example of what happens when markets leave policymakers, with renewables attracting investment dollars even as a conservative government clings to its vision of a natural gas future.

Two recent announcements underlined that Australia is moving towards an energy future where renewable energy plays the biggest role, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s proposed gas-based recovery may turn into a white elephant.

Fortescue Metal Group FMG.AXThe world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner built from scratch by billionaire Andrew Forrest outlined his plans on Wednesday to become a global renewable energy giant.

Forrest said his company has so far committed A $ 1 billion ($ 731 million) to build a portfolio of renewable energy assets, including green hydrogen and ammonia, and has a target of having an installed energy capacity of 225 gigawatts (GW).

“With scale and innovation, we will be able to increase the supply of green hydrogen and green ammonia to deliver low-cost energy reliably on an industrial scale to customers around the world,” he said at the Fortescue annual meeting.

A second example is the attempt by the state government in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state and home to Melbourne, to build a 300 megawatt battery as part of an effort to build electricity capacity.

“With climate change resulting in hotter summers, peak electricity demand is increasing. At the same time, the aging coal fired generators in Victoria are becoming increasingly unreliable, resulting in the need for additional capacity to ensure the state’s electricity supply, “the state government said in a statement on its website.

“This additional capacity will lower electricity prices for all Victorians and provide significant net benefits for Victoria, far exceeding project costs,” the government said.

There are two key messages to unlock in that statement.

The first is that coal-fired power plants, which have long been a mainstay of the Victorian, and even Australian electrical systems, are now considered old and unreliable.

Second, installing the battery, which will be the largest in Australia, will result in lower and profitable electricity prices.


This cuts the argument from Morrison, who heads the federal-Liberal-National coalition government, and proponents of the gas-fired recovery that renewable energy cannot provide adequate reliability and will be costly.

The federal government’s gas-fired recovery plan rests on subsidizing the transport of natural gas from remote areas where it is found to major urban centers on Australia’s east coast.

This may also involve the government building its own gas-fired power plant near Sydney’s largest city, given that no private sector generator currently has plans to build such a plant, mainly citing the absence of a lucrative business case.

What Morrison hasn’t elaborated on is the extent to which subsidies are needed to make natural gas “cheap” enough to compete with renewables in the Australian power market.

Given that most natural gas is located in remote basins thousands of kilometers (miles) from major cities on the east coast, it is likely that these subsidies will need to be large, and long-lasting, for the fuel to be competitive.

There’s an old saying that anything can be made to work if there is enough taxpayer subsidies to do it, and it seems like this is the path Morrison is looking to follow.

It is likely to be expensive for taxpayers and worse than if the same money was invested in increasing use of renewable energy, powered by battery storage or pumped hydro, or even powered by gas-fired peak power plants.

But the most damning reaction to Morrison’s gas-based recovery plan has been how markets ignore it and move on.

Edited by Richard Pullin


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