Warren Buffett invests CA$200mn in Alberta wind farm
A subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy will invest CA$200mn in a new wind power plant near Medicine Hat, Alberta that will generate 117.6MW of renewable power by 2020.
The project is funded by BHE Canada, an investment firm linked with US investor Warren Buffet.
The Rattlesnake Ridge Wind project will be located southwest of Medicine Hat in Alberta and will be able to produce power for up to 79,000 homes, according to a release from BHE Canada, the aforementioned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
"We felt that it was time to make an investment here in Alberta," said Bill Christensen, Vice President of Corporate Development for BHE Canada, in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener. The structure of the markets here in Alberta make it so that we can invest, and do it at a profit that works for us, and at a price that works for the off-taker," Christensen explained.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy is set to increase its already significant 85% stake in energy production and supply for homes in the Alberta area.
The corporate partner working with BHE Canada has yet to be named but it has been confirmed that it has already signed a long-term power purchase agreement for the majority of the potential energy output generated by the 28 turbines at the Rattlesnake Ridge site.
"If you look at just the raw power price that power is going for in Alberta right now, it's averaged around $55 a megawatt hour, or 5.5 cents a kilowatt hour. And we're selling the wind power to this customer at substantially less than that, and there's been no subsidies," Christensen said.
Christensen has stated that he has high expectations for the area’s renewable energy prospects; not just in wind but in solar power as well, particularly in the southeastern region of Alberta. Although there are hopes for the renewable energy industry’s growth, BHE Canada has also expressed interest in more traditional power solutions in the area.
"It's not a choice of one or the other. I think there is still opportunity to make investments in oil and gas," he said. "We're really excited about having this project and hope to be able to make other investments here in Alberta to help support the economy here."
UK-based Renewable Energy Systems (RES) will be overseeing the construction of the project and is currently working on two other wind plants in Alberta. The projects already in development are set to generate 134.6MW this year, which RES can add to its pre-existing portfolio of 750MW installed or under construction across Canada. BHE Canada and RES are still looking for further potential investment from energy buyers and are toting the project’s final capacity of 398.5MW to be one of the largest wind power projects in the country.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.