1. EC clears offshore wind Joint Venture for 492 MW of Belgian projects
Dutch utility Eneco and French peer Engie SA have secured approval by the European Commission (EC) to take stakes in the 246-MW Mermaid and 246-MW Seastar wind projects in Belgian waters. The partners will form a joint venture between Otary RS NV of Belgium, Eneco Wind Belgium NV and Electrabel NV, Engie’s Belgian unit.
The Mermaid and Seastar projects are part of a portfolio of 716 MW, for which the Belgian government in 2017 announced a negotiated price of EUR 79 (USD 92.7) per MWh. Both offshore projects are expected to be commissioned by 2020.
2. Ontario government cancels hundreds of renewables contracts
Ontario’s new conservative government has cancelled hundreds of renewable-energy contracts for as-yet-unbuilt projects, including three large-scale wind projects backed by developers RES, Invenergy and Boralex that won contracts in the Canadian province’s landmark competitive renewables procurement in 2016.
Having already singled out German developer Wpd’s under-construction White Plains wind project for cancellation, Greg Rickford’s government delivered another blow to the industry at the end of last week, announcing it will “cancel and wind down” more than 750 existing renewables contracts, including a number of winners from the province’s Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) concluded in March 2016. The new government claims that renewables have been pushed at the cost of higher prices on Hydro consumers and that the move will save the province $750 million. A number that the industry disputes, predicting instead pain in the form of job losses.
3. Taxi drivers ignore Ross’s electric car incentive
There are more than 20,000 taxis in Ireland.
The Minister for Transport, Shane Ross announced in February €500,000 funding to jump-start the electrification of the country’s taxi fleet and said it would play “a significant role” in making Ireland “cleaner and greener”. But figures released from the National Transport Agency (NTA) show just €43,000 of the money – less than 10 per cent – has been allocated.
In total, there have been 92 applications for the grants of up to €7,000 towards the cost of switching away from petrol and diesel. Seven grants have been awarded to date, from among 34 provisional offers as Range anxiety remains a problem with electric vehicles. It’s a common issue worldwide, and clearly, it is going to take a lot more than one-time incentives to shift intensive users to electric yet. In fact, we wish we knew why the 35 people who applied did, it will at least open up a new angle for stories around the shift to electric and managing range anxiety!
4. UPS commits to 950 electric vehicles from Workhorse,
UPS ordered 950 electric delivery trucks from Workhorse Group last month, marking one of the largest electric van orders in the United States, as part of its strategy to operate a quarter of its vehicles with alternative fuel by 2020. Currently, the company is operating 300 electric and 700 hybrid electric vehicles in the U.S. and Europe.
One of the largest logistics providers in the world has also pre-ordered 125 electric trucks from Tesla and Daimler AG’s battery-powered light-duty trucks as part of its alternative fuel strategy.