Benefits of fuel cells for renewable energy over wind...
The San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant, the largest advanced wastewater-treatment facility in the Western U.S., will soon be home to a 1.4-megawatt DFC1500 power plant, designed by FuelCell Energy, Inc.
FuelCell Energy is a leader in manufacturing ultra-clean, high-efficiency power plants by utilizing renewable and other fuels. UTS Bioenergy LLC will purchase the DFC1500 unit, in which power generated, will be sold to the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant under a 20-year power purchase agreement. FuelCell Energy will be responsible for servicing the power plant under a long-term service agreement. The unit is due to begin operating at the start of 2012.
"The Environmental Protection Agency recently acknowledged our Plant as one of the nation's top facilities for producing and using renewable energy on-site -- about two-thirds of the energy used by our 11 megawatt facility comes from methane derived from digester and landfill processes. We want to operate as much as possible on clean, sustainably-produced electricity, and adding this fuel cell generated power to our energy portfolio will help us do that," stated Dale Ihrke, Plant Manager.
"We're also getting the fuel cell generated power at a reasonable, known price over the 20-year term, helping to remove uncertainty in future power costs. And because fuel cells produce clean energy with minimal air permit requirements, we've significantly reduced regulatory uncertainty compared to other power generation options."
Why fuel cells for renewable energy?
Fuels cells are renewable when operating on biogas like the methane generated by the wastewater treatment process. DFC fuel cells are different than wind and solar in that they supply baseload power around the clock, which is particularly useful to a wastewater treatment plant, and minimizes reliance on the transmission grid. Fuel cells have the capacity to achieve up to 90 percent efficiency when byproduct heat from the fuel cell electrical generation process is used. The result is lower energy costs and higher electricity per unit of fuel. The byproduct hear will be used in the wastewater treatment process from this fuel cell installation.
"Fuel cells offer reliable baseload power and their ability to operate on renewable biogas offers real value to wastewater treatment plants," stated Arun Sharma, Vice President Business Development, UTS BioEnergy LLC. "Our customer had demanding requirements to obtain clean and reliable power at competitive costs. DFC power plants are the solution for meeting challenging power generation requirements."
"Wastewater treatment plants represent an excellent application of our clean, efficient and dependable fuel cell power plants," commented Chip Bottone, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc.
Read about other successful fuel cell innovations.
USS pension fund buys 50% stake in Bruc Energy
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) private pension fund has taken a 50% stake in Bruc Energy, a Spain and Portugal renewables-focussed investment vehicle created by OPTrust and Spanish businessman, Juan Béjar.
In the transaction arranged by USS Investment Management, the wholly-owned subsidiary and principal investment manager and advisor to the Scheme, USS has invested €225M (c.£200m) in return for the stake in a major pipeline of 4,000MW of PV farms. Bruc Energy has an ambitious growth plan that goes beyond this to invest in other green energies, such as wind power.
USS, which announced two weeks ago its aim to be net zero by 2050, already has a strong relationship with both OPTrust and Juan Bejar through Globalvia, a specialist infrastructure platform focussed on managing rail and highways assets around the world.
Spain’s sun-drenched climate and national target to reach 100% renewable-based generation by 2050 make it an attractive place to invest in solar energy. In addition, the decades long lifespan of solar PV panels make them well-suited to USS in helping pay members’ pensions long into the future.
USS Investment Management CEO, Simon Pilcher, said: “We are delighted to be committing further finance to renewables and particularly to a major Spanish solar platform like this. We have already invested or committed around £1 billion to renewable energy and demand for this will only increase as more and more countries transition to lower carbon. We know that our members care very much about climate change and ESG and we are convinced that USS playing its part in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy makes good financial sense, too. This announcement closely follows on from our stated ambition to become Net Zero by 2050 so this transaction and others like it will be a key plank of our strategy going forward.”
Gavin Merchant, Co-Head of Direct Equity, said: “We have worked alongside OPTrust and Juan Béjar for many years and are delighted to be making this investment. The long-term nature of solar and the steady returns make renewables attractive to a pension scheme needing to pay pensions for years to come.”
OPTrust’s Morgan McCormick, Managing Director, Private Markets Group UK said: “We are excited to have USS join Bruc Energy building on our strong existing relationship. Their investment will help Bruc become one of the leading renewable energy platforms in Spain. At OPTrust, we believe that investing in renewable energy helps transitions the world to a more sustainable economy. In doing so, we can continue to deliver on our mission of paying pensions today and preserving pensions for tomorrow.”
Béjar said the partnership is a key step to establishing Bruc as one of the more dynamic players in the renewables industry in Spain, because it ensures access to the funds to develop our current portfolio. "All three shareholders of Bruc Energy share a long-term vision, but also the ambition and the social responsibility to counter the effects of climate change in the short-term," he said.
Following the transaction, which remains subject to conditions, including regulatory approval, Bruc Energy will be owned 50% by USS and BROP, a vehicle owned by OPTrust and Béjar. The transaction was advised by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Greenhill and Nomura. Juan Béjar will be the president of Bruc Energy and Luis Venero the CEO.