The World's First Hybrid Solar Geothermal Power Plant
Hybrid solar power plants have become a hot new addition to the energy generation landscape this year. Several natural gas solar hybrids have been coming online across the globe, providing consistent energy generation powered by solar during daylight hours, and natural gas during the night or on cloudy days. Enel Green Power North America has now announced its plan to take this same principle and apply it to geothermal energy, developing the world’s first solar geothermal hybrid power plant.
The 24-megawatt plant will utilize 80,000 polycrystalline photovoltaic (PV) panels in conjunction with traditional hydrothermal technology. The plant is going to be constructed in Churchill County, northern Nevada.
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The announcement of the new plant came at the fourth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Senator Harry Reid, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Enel Green Power North America President Francesco Venturini all attended the Summit and commented on the plan.
“All these things are going to be necessary as we move into renewables,” says Energy Secretary Chu. “This is an incredible new technology that can be used across the country… We have the opportunity to lead the world in this market.”
Senator Reid states, “This is a debate we can win publicly. This is an energy revolution that other countries have embraced with arms wide open.”
Construction on the solar geothermal hybrid plant is expected to take a full year to complete and the project will employ roughly 250 Nevada residents. The site has already installed the first of a reported 7,000 support poles to hold the solar PV panels in place.
The energy generated by the plant will be sold to local utility NV Energy, and Enel President Venturini believes this plant will be the first of many to be built across the U.S. Enel is also in the early stages of developing a concentrating solar thermal geothermal hybrid test plant in the same location.
ScottishPower submits plans for UK's largest electrolyser
ScottishPower has submitted a planning application to deliver the UK’s largest electrolyser which will be the key component of a green hydrogen facility located close to its Whitelee windfarm.
Alongside the 20MW electrolyser, the application also includes proposals for a combined solar and battery energy storage scheme - up to 40MW and 50MW respectively - to power the electrolyser. They will be installed about 5km west of Lochgoin Reservoir and next to the existing Whitelee Extension substation.
The submission marks an important step for Green Hydrogen for Scotland, a partnership between ScottishPower, BOC and ITM Power, to create green hydrogen production facilities with clusters of refuelling stations across Scotland.
The proposed green hydrogen project will be engineered and operated by BOC, using wind and solar power produced by ScottishPower Renewables, and the electrolyser will be delivered by ITM Power. The project aims to supply hydrogen to the commercial market before 2023.
Green Hydrogen for Glasgow aims to provide carbon-free transport and clean air for communities across Glasgow as well as helping support industrial hydrogen demand in the region. The city, set to host the United Nations 26th Climate Change Conference, COP26, later this year, aims to become the first net zero city in the UK by 2030.
Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s Hydrogen Director, said: “With all eyes set to be on Glasgow later this year as the city hosts the UN’s 26th climate change conference, COP26, it’s fantastic to be making this next important step towards delivering green hydrogen for Glasgow.
“Whitelee keeps breaking barriers, first the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, and soon to be home to the UK’s largest electrolyser. The site has played a vital role in helping the UK to decarbonise and we look forward to delivering another vital form of zero carbon energy generation at the site to help Glasgow and Scotland achieve their net zero goals.”
He added green hydrogen has a vital role to play in Scotland and the wider UK’s journey to Net Zero emissions, providing a sustainable energy source that can provide clean, renewable energy for industries, heavy transport and companies for future decades.
Green hydrogen is a zero carbon energy source which can be used by industries and companies that cannot fully electrify their operations to help them lower their emissions, for example, heavy duty transport like buses and bin lorries.
The technology gets its name from the green power source, normally wind or solar, used to power an electrolyser to split water into its core elements; hydrogen and oxygen gas. The hydrogen can then be stored and transported for use as needed.
The green hydrogen facility at Whitelee, the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, will house a 20MW electrolyser and would be able to produce up to 8 tonnes of green hydrogen per day, roughly equivalent to fuelling over 550 buses to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back again each day.
Graham Cooley, CEO ITM Power, said it marks an exciting milestone based on market development for green hydrogen for the city of Glasgow, that will see the UK’s largest electrolyser deployment to date being realised in Scotland.
Mark Griffin, Hydrogen Market Development Manager for Clean Fuels at BOC said: “The scale of this project demonstrates the growing demand for clean hydrogen and as a member of the Green Hydrogen for Scotland partnership, we’re delighted to bring our hydrogen mobility and refuelling project expertise to help deliver a ground-breaking facility in Glasgow.”
The hydrogen production facility could support Glasgow City Council as well as surrounding local authorities and industries in their ambitions to create a zero emissions vehicle fleet, using only electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles by the end of 2029.
ScottishPower expects a decision on the planning application in autumn.
The UK recently announced a £3 million investment to develop the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub (click here).