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IEA President DR. Fatih Birol replied our questions

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Dr. Fatih Birol, President of International Energy Agency, answered our questions specially for Wind Energy Magazine. Dr. Birol made detailed  statements in wide spectrum and multi-perspectives, which will shed light on corporate institutions, professionals and all who are related with energy&renewable energy, for the future of energy and position of Turkey in the world in energy transition.

International Energy Agency makes a self-definition as “center of global dialog in sphere of energy”. Can you briefly talk on fields of action of your organization?

IEA provides authoritative energy analysis through a wide range of publications, looking at short-term forecasts and long-term scenario analysis. IEA is also collects and harmonises energy data and statistics globally. We are also involved in training and capacity building workshops, presentations, and resources. Overall IEA’s work focuses on:

  • Energy Security: Promoting diversity, efficiency, flexibility and reliability for all fuels and energy sources;
  • Economic Development: Supporting free markets to foster economic growth and eliminate energy poverty;
  • Environmental Awareness: Analysing policy options to offset the impact of energy production and use on the environment, especially for tackling climate change and air pollution
  • Engagement Worldwide: Working closely with partner countries, especially major emerging economies, to find solutions to shared energy and environmental concerns.

As emphasized in World Energy Outlook 2018 report, energy supply depending on fossil fuels doesn’t commit sustainability. How do you evaluate energy supply and policies worldwide?

The challenge for energy policy in a time of transitions is to accelerate and broaden investment in cleaner and more efficient energy technologies, while ensuring at the same time that all the key elements of energy supply, including electricity networks, remain reliable and robust. That is not simple to do – but this rebalancing does not mean that investment in fossil fuels disappears overnight.

It is also important to distinguish between the different fuels, coal, oil and gas, as they deliver different services and have different environmental footprints. In addition, it might be easy to find substitutes for fuels in some sectors – such as electricity generation – but much more difficult in others, for example jetfuel for plans, or fuels used in specific energy-intensive industries. So we need to be having smart conversations about energy: it’s a complex system and we’ll multiple technologies and approaches if we are to make it more secure and sustainable.

One of the most important subjects related with energy policies is energy supply security. Can you talk about your works on this subject?

Ensuring energy security has been at the centre of the IEA’s mission since its founding in 1974. Created in the context of the oil crisis, the Agency’s core mission has a particular emphasis on oil security, where every IEA Member country is obliged to hold oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of net imports and should have emergency response measures in place to be able to effectively contribute to an IEA collective response to a major oil supply disruption. In the decades since its creation, as global energy markets have evolved, the IEA has broadened its energy security mandate to include gas and electricity security, without formal obligations but based on peer learning of best practices. Moreover, as a growing share of global energy consumption takes place outside of IEA member countries, the IEA has built close ties with countries such as China, India, and key ASEAN member countries, as Association countries, to build and strengthen their emergency response capacities and ability to collaborate with the IEA to assure global supply security. 

In order to maintain an effective collective response system, the IEA conducts emergency response exercise and training sessions every two years; the latest exercises, conducted in 2018, had the participation of countries which together represented some 70% of global oil demand, compared to only 46% if the exercise had been limited to IEA Members alone. 

To help strengthen the energy security polices of individual countries, the IEA also conducts peer reviews, approximately every 5 years for each IEA member country, where a team of experts provide an assessment and key recommendations for the country to make improvements. In addition to such reviews, in the case of Association countries, the IEA also conducts studies, tailor-made workshops and training sessions focused on assisting them to build and improve their energy security policies.  Most recently, this has included workshops on emergency stockholding possibilities for India in 2018, an IEA statistics training workshop in Beijing in 2018, and the release in July 2019 of study into common energy security challenges facing the ASEAN + 6 region (10 ASEAN countries plus Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand).    

Worldwide, along with the global climate change turning to be a more crucial problem, that investments on renewables show an increase. How do you evaluate the status of renewable energy, generally?

Renewable energy technologies are consumed in three different sectors: electricity, heat in buildings and industry, and transport. For electricity, we have seen an incredible cost reduction for wind and solar PV over the last decade driven by policies in many countries. For instance, solar PV costs declined by 80% since 2010 and we expect this cost reduction to continue in the coming years. 

However, renewable capacity additions in 2018 did not increase for the first time since 2001 due to solar PV policy change in China. This stalling has shown the importance of policies for future expansion despite rapid cost reductions. On the other hand, policy efforts remain very limited in transport and heat sectors where renewable penetration remain much lower compared to electricity. These two sectors account for almost 80% of global energy demand thus require more policy attention for decarbonisation. 

Where do the countries stand according to 1.5 degrees target suggested by Paris Agreement?

Global energy consumption in 2018 increased at nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010 while the Paris agreements requires CO2 emission to peak and decline immediately. Overall, we are not on track with the Paris agreement unfortunately. Our Tracking Clean Energy Progress assessment also showed that only 7 technologies (Solar PV, Bioenergy, Storage, Electric Vehicles, Rail, Lighting and Data Centres) are on track, while other 28 technologies are either off track or needs improvement. 

In spite of various fluctuations in implementation of European countries’ energy targets of 2030, the proceeding is hopeful. In this process, what’s IEA’s role?

The European Union and most of its member countries are part of the IEA. We are assessing and tracking their renewable energy penetration regularly as part of our “In depth energy policy reviews” and provide policy advice how to accelerate the penetration of both renewables and to improve energy efficiency. Ambitious long-term targets followed by sound policies are key to achieve higher renewable energy penetration. The previous 2020 renewable energy targets have shown the success of ambitious policies at the EU level.

At time you become IEA Executive Director, you made ascensions related with developing countries and many new members joined the association. How do you evaluate the energy vision in developing countries?

The IEA family of 30 Member countries and 8 Association countries accounts for almost 75% of global energy consumption and more than half of global energy production. Energy is key for the economic development of emerging economies and developing countries. Their energy demand growth is much faster than developed countries. Developing countries have great renewable energy resource potential. 

At the same time, access to affordable and reliable energy is very important. With recent cost reductions, renewables offer a key opportunity for developing countries to reduce their energy import bills and use local resources. However, policies are needed to tackle challenges concerning regulation, affordable financing and grid infrastructure.

Turkey, perhaps has experienced the disadvantages of not possessing fossil fuel reservoirs, however, in terms of renewable sources like solar and wind energy, the situation is reverse. How do you evaluate the current energy policy of Turkey?

Turkey’s wind and solar untapped resource potential is enormous. With the transition from feed-in tariffs to competitive auctions, Turkey has achieved one of the lowest wind and solar contract prices globally. Renewables offer a great opportunity to reduce import energy bills and reduce energy dependency. 

According to you which measures should Turkey take in order to increase the shares of renewable energy?

We officially assessed Turkey’s energy policies (including renewables) in 2016. Turkey has made a lot of progress since our latest review, however some areas of improvement still remain:

  • There are still barriers for renewable energy stemming from the long and multi-layered permitting procedures and the slow progress of the electricity grid expansion. 
  • Turkey can learn from other IEA countries on how to improve the wind mapping, forecast and system operation with higher shares of variable renewable energies, notably Ireland and Denmark. 
  • Much priority is given to renewable electricity. Turkey remains below its potential in other sectors, like biofuels or renewable heat. If the government wants to develop investment in this area, subsector renewable targets are needed for transport and heat. 

One of the articles of the agenda is energy storage systems. What do you think about this subject?

Similar to wind and solar PV, the cost of energy storage systems have declined significantly. In the coming future, storage systems (both behind-the-meter and utility scale) will play an important role to provide flexibility to power systems which is needed with the increasing share of variable renewables.

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We have surpassed the psychological threshold of 10,000 megawatts in solar energy

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As of the end of June, Turkey’s total installed capacity reached 104,800 Megawatts (MW), with solar energy accounting for 10,195 MW. Turkey is among the fastest-growing countries in the solar energy sector in Europe, with solar energy holding a 10% share in the country’s installed capacity. The goal is to increase the solar energy capacity to 52,300 MW by the year 2035.

Mehmet Doğan, a board member of the Energy Industrialists and Business People Association (ENSİA) and the General Manager of HSA Energy, highlighted the importance of establishing licensed solar power plants (GES) in areas far from city centers and lands that have completely lost their agricultural characteristics. He emphasized that energy production and food security are not alternatives to each other.

Doğan pointed out that rooftop solar installations in Turkey are currently well below their potential. He said, “As of June, our country has surpassed the psychological threshold of 10,000 MW in solar energy, and we should applaud this significant achievement. However, we must acknowledge that we still have a long way to go. The potential electricity production from rooftop solar installations alone is at the level of 55,000 MW, which is more than five times the capacity of all the solar plants built so far. We have much untapped potential in our rooftops. Our priority should definitely be rooftop solar installations. All obstacles preventing citizens with the means and capacity from becoming energy producers should be removed. Licensed solar power plants, on the other hand, should be built in areas far from residential areas and lands that have completely lost their agricultural characteristics. It is disheartening to see many power plants built in forested areas and lands used for agriculture. Additionally, we must utilize solar energy in specially designed greenhouses to prevent water waste in agricultural production.”

Mehmet Doğan stressed that solar energy has the highest potential among renewable energy sources in Turkey. According to the National Action Plan, the target is to achieve a total installed capacity of 189,700 MW by 2035, with solar energy accounting for 52,900 MW.

He further stated, “In the next 12 years, investments in solar energy will be more than five times greater than what has been done until now. By 2030, 50% of global electricity demand will be met by renewable energy sources, with solar energy making the most significant contribution. The solar energy capacity will increase by approximately 280 GW annually until 2030, with an average annual growth rate of about 12%. Turkey is preparing for this significant shift in energy with increasing investments in wind energy in recent years. Among our members, there are very strong companies making investments in this field. The least efficient solar region in Turkey has a higher potential than the most efficient region in Germany. While we are just starting to surpass 10,000 MW in solar energy, Germany, with its less efficient solar resources, generates 70,000 MW, which is seven times more than us. In solar energy alone, our potential installed capacity is over 200,000 MW. If we fully utilize this potential, we can generate enough energy to power two Turkeys. Our priority in solar investments should always be rooftop solar installations. The more citizens we attract to become energy producers, the more we will reduce our dependency on foreign energy sources and boost our development.”

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Turbo Energy, to list its Artificial Intelligence-enabled solar battery technology on NASDAQ

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Today, Umbrella Solar Investment, S.A., USI, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Turbo Energy, S.A. (Turbo Energy) has applied to the SEC to file a Form F-1 prospectus for a securities offering to certain institutional investors in the United States and other countries ahead of the listing of its shares through ADRs on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) stock market in New York (USA). The SEC’s approval of the prospectus is expected to be granted in the coming weeks and the market will be informed in accordingly.

Turbo Energy, with registered offices in Valencia, designs, manufactures and markets innovative products for residential, commercial and industrial self-consumption solar PV installations featuring advanced technological solutions.By listing its shares on the main international stock market for tech firms, Turbo Energy’s goal is to implement a growth strategy based on accelerating its product roadmap and extending the features of its Artificial Intelligence algorithmic platform.Turbo Energy is committed to combating climate change by creating value-added solar products with technologies that bring together three areas of major stock market investment: solar energy, lithium-ion battery power storage and AI systems.

In the words of Enrique Selva, CEO of Turbo Energy: “Through Turbo Energy’s NASDAQ listing, we intend to drive the company’s strategic growth to capitalise on the growing market for artificial intelligence applied to renewable energy. We are backed by a 10-year track record of innovation, enabling us to deploy our flagship product SunBox, an all-in- one solar system with strong uptake in the residential, commercial and industrial markets”.

Based on the preliminary non-binding range included in the F-1 prospectus, the offering is envisaged to have a minimum pre-money valuation of USD 125 million and will be open to all types of institutional investors. The formula adopted is through trading of ADRs representing Turbo Energy shares with the support of CITIBANK as custodian bank. A minimum of USD 5 million is expected to be raised.

About Umbrella Solar Investment:

Umbrella Solar Investment leverages the full business potentials of the solar PV value chain, generating renewable electricity through the company IM2 Energía Solar, deploying electric vehicle charging points through IM2 e-mobility and developing cutting-edge equipment for residential solar self-consumption through Turbo Energy.

Umbrella provides answers to the huge challenges posed to society by the serious issues of climate crisis, energy poverty and the transition to a sustainable energy model.

LEGAL NOTICE: A registration statement relating to these Turbo Energy securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy these Turbo Energy securities, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

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Hitachi ABB Power Grids tracks Dublin’s data center surge via grid connections

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One gigawatt substation will support the city’s growing number of data centers to enable the new norm of remote working through efficient connections to electrical infrastructure

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a fully integrated, high-voltage substation close to Dublin’s digital business hub at Castlebagot, fast-tracking the standard two and a half year execution time to just 18 months, to keep the city’s growing number of large, increasingly important data centers running smoothly 24/7.

The project was commissioned by Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) to meet Dublin’s recent, unprecedented upsurge in demand for electricity, due to the proliferation of new data centers. The project is the largest privately contracted substation development in Ireland to date. To ensure reliable supply to this booming industry, Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a 220 kilovolt (kV)/110 kV substation with gas-insulated switchgear, including the protection and control SCADA system enabling an advanced power system management and monitoring of equipment status while in service. The gas insulated switchgear is a compact technology designed to minimize the substation’s foot-print, enabling space saving of up to 70 percent compared to air-insulated switchgear.

Dublin hosts some of the most important high-tech firms in Europe, in addition to a wide range of thriving tech start-up and colocation services. Planners are currently processing applications for additional, major data centers that will more than double the city’s electricity consumption in the years ahead. With its state-of-the art efficient grid solutions, Hitachi ABB Power Grids is helping to optimize power consumption while maintaining quality of supply.

“We specialize in the prompt delivery of reliable, high-voltage grid connections that respond to the ever growing use of advanced solutions continuing to support people through the challenging times of the current global pandemic.Efficient connections to electrical infrastructure are more critical than ever,” says Niklas Persson, Managing Director of Grid Integration business unit at Hitachi ABB Power Grids. “We are proud to enable the transition to the new norm of connecting people, when disruption to working patterns has increased the demand for remote and digital services, by meeting the need for a stable power supply.”

The energization of the Castlebagot substation in such a short time is even more remarkable given the current demanding situation. Hitachi ABB Power Grids and ESB were able to overcome this challenge due to their digital capabilities which made it possible to energize the substation safely and sustainably, while ensuring business continuity.
Substations are the building blocks for any power grid and facilitate the effective integration of power from conventional and renewable generation sources, to efficiently transmit and distribute it to consumption centers.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids is fast becoming the leading supplier of grid and power quality solutions for data center grid connections for both utilities and data center owners worldwide and is helping cities around the world to meet the extensive power demands of large data center projects. For this project, early collaboration with ESB ensured a design that fulfilled the utility’s availability and reliability requirements. It enabled fast project execution, leveraging our vast knowledge of utility grid codes and connection practices in different countries.

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