IBM Works with Ireland to Push Ocean Energy
IBM Research announced a project today to investigate the effects of wave energy devices on marine life in Ireland, host to one of the largest concentrations of wave energy in the world. With the demand for renewable energy resources particularly high in Ireland, the research is critical in determining the scope of wave energy potential.
“In 2010, Ireland imported approximately 86 percent of its energy, the vast majority of which was fossil fuels, and the European Renewable Directive has set a target for Ireland to source 16 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2020,” according to Katharine Frase, IBM's vice president of Industries Research.
The major concern is the sound pollution produced by turbines and its effects on marine life, dependent on sound to communicate and navigate. Disrupting that could potentially devastate some species. Since there is currently little understanding or exploration of wave energy effects on sea life, researchers at IBM and the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) are working together to analyze underwater device noise.
The project is the first of its kind and is expected to produce one of the largest continuous collections of underwater acoustic data ever captured. Researchers are hopeful that they will be able to develop a platform to monitor ocean energy that can be tied in with smart-grid technologies.
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Europe, especially in the UK and Ireland, is leading the way in terms of wave and tidal power technology. IBM Research's project in Ireland will help assess the value of the renewable energy for the US, taking risk out of investments until the technology is further advanced.
"Underwater noise is a global environmental issue that has to be addressed if we are to take advantage of the huge potential of ocean energy," said European Union Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn. "This project is a great example of collaboration among global companies, industry experts and government agencies, and will help us make real progress toward practical and sustainable ocean energy systems.”
Lightsource bp’s first Spanish project powers up in Zaragoza
Lightsource bp has powered up its 247MW flagship solar project Vendimia in Zaragoza, Spain.
Around 615,000 bifacial solar panels have been installed, over 650 hectares of land on multi-row tracker technology enabling the panels to follow the sun, maximising energy generation efficiency. In addition, two overhead transmission lines at 18km and 20km were constructed to efficiently deliver the solar power into the local network.
The five-project cluster was constructed safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and commercial operation recently began. The total power output will be supplied to bp’s European power trading team under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Fernando Roger, Country Head for Lightsource bp Spain, said the connection of its Vendimia project demonstrates the resilience of solar. "We had to face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but our team and trusted partners remained focussed, and now we have completed our first project in Spain. We would also like to extend a special thank you to all the landowners involved for their continued support on this project.
Felipe Arbelaez, senior vice president for zero carbon energy bp said: “It’s fantastic to see the safe start-up of this first project in Spain, and for Lightsource bp to achieve an impressive 3GW pipeline in just two years. Through disciplined investment and safe execution, we are delighted to see the next chapter of bp’s energy story in Spain come online. This project is also a great example of the power of bp’s integration capabilities as our expert power trading team will offtake the power generated, supporting the financial stability of the project and meeting bp’s strict returns threshold.”
The construction process was handled by Lightsource bp’s appointed contractor, Prodiel (an Andalusian engineering, procurement and construction company) and over 600 local jobs were created during that time. Prodiel will continue to maintain the solar cluster under an Operations & Maintenance agreement for the next two years.
At the opening ceremony, Carlos Barassa, head of country for bp Spain, said: "The Vendimia solar project that we are inaugurating today in Zaragoza is great example of the fulfillment of bp's ambition in its transition to an integrated energy company, and our contribution to building a low-carbon future."
bp will pay 7X Energy $220 million for the projects and 1GW of 'safe harbour' equipment and expects the acquisition to complete in 30 days. The projects, spread across 12 states - with the largest portfolios in Texas (ERCOT) and MidWest (PJM) - are expected to meet bp’s low carbon investment criteria, generating returns of at least 8-10%.