Exporting Renewable Energy Featured Pattern: P1200 April 2018

Author: Cassandra Harris (Send us feedback.)

Becoming an energy exporter provides strategic advantages for countries with abundant renewable resources.

Abstracts in this Pattern:

The use of power-to-gas (P2G) technology, which can use renewable electricity to produce hydrogen, is an attractive solution for balancing renewable-electricity generation with electricity demand and for generating clean hydrogen that has many end uses. Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Canberra, Australia) has launched a $10 million development program that aims to transform Australia into a leading exporter of solar-generated hydrogen. Part of the funding will see use for the development of P2G technology that uses electricity from solar panels to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

As the cost of renewable electricity continues to fall, the development of large-scale renewable-generation plants that leverage optimum climate conditions and are farther away from the point of power use will make increasing sense from economic and energy-efficiency perspectives. For example, a consortium comprising Vestas Wind Systems (Aarhus, Denmark) and two other companies has announced plans for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (http://asianrehub.com) project. The aim of this project is to export electricity generated by a 6-gigawatt hybrid wind-and-solar-power plant in Australia to Indonesia via subsea electrical cables.

Like Australia, the Sahara has very high insolation and an expansive amount of usable real estate; therefore, exporting power could become a revenue source for countries in the region. Nur Energie (London, England), Glory Clean Energy (Chauny, France), and Zammit Group of Companies (Mriehel, Malta) are collaborating on the TuNur (www.nurenergie.com/tunur) solar-energy-export project and recently requested permission from the government of Tunisia to begin construction of a 4.5-gigawatt concentrated-solar-power (CSP) plant in an area of the Sahara in southwest Tunisia. The companies plan to export electricity generated by the Tunisian plant to the European grid via underground and subsea cables. The CSP plant will use parabolic mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays onto tower-top boilers that heat molten salt, which then generates steam to drive turbines. CSP technology can see use in only locations that receive high levels of direct sunlight, and the proposed location of the TuNur CSP plant receives as much as 12 hours of sunlight per day in the summer.