The solar sector took its turn in the spotlight this week as Qcells, the solar division of South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Corp., announced a more than $2.5 billion investment to grow its manufacturing capacity in the U.S.

The company’s plans include a new facility in Georgia.

In other solar news, Ørsted reached a final investment decision (FID) on its 471-megawatt (MW) Mockingbird Solar Center in northwest Texas. The company said Jan. 13 the project will be the largest solar PV project in its portfolio.

Construction also started this week on what National Grid Renewables called South Dakota’s largest solar energy project: the 128 MW Wild Springs.

BP Plc also started construction of a 134 MW solar plant in Ohio that will sell power to tech giant Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

Here’s a look at some of this week’s renewable energy news.


Ijen Geothermal Power Plant in Indonesia Gets Funding Boost

PT Medco Cahaya Geothermal (MCG) signed a financing agreement for the development of the Ijen Geothermal Power Plant in East Java, Indonesia, with state-owned PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI), according to a Jan. 12 press release. 

As the first geothermal plant in East Java, the Ijen plant will be developed and operated by MCG. Its first development stage is expected to generate 34 MW in 2025. 

“This signing is another step to support Indonesia’s economy towards clean renewable energy and another step in Ormat’s long term plan to increase its presence in the country both as a geothermal power plant owner and as an equipment supplier,” Ormat CEO Doron Blachar said.

Ormat’s geothermal and recovered energy generation power plants are primarily based on its Ormat energy convertor, which converts low, medium and high temperature heat into electricity.

Worldwide, power plants owned or installed by Ormat generate approximately 3,200 MW of gross capacity. Medco Power owns and operates power plants in over 15 locations in Indonesia, totaling a gross capacity of 3.1 gigawatts (GW).

MCG is the jointly-owned subsidiary of U.S. geothermal power company Ormat Technologies Inc. and PT Medco Power Indonesia.

As a state-owned enterprise, SMI supports the acceleration of infrastructure development in Indonesia through financing and a public private partnership.


Plug Power Lands Contract for Liquefaction Systems

TC Energy Corp. has tapped Plug Power to deliver two 30-tons/day hydrogen liquefaction systems, the company said Jan. 10.

The two hydrogen liquefiers, scheduled for delivery in second- or third-quarter 2024, will use an H2 refrigeration cycle to improve efficiency and cost, according to a Plug Power news release.

“Liquid hydrogen has superior energy density than gaseous hydrogen, making it easier to transport and use in hard-to-decarbonize sectors,” the company said.

The systems will be used at TC Energy facilities in North America that are not yet operational.

“Securing long-lead equipment and systems gives us a head start as we move to finalizing sites for hydrogen production and distribution hubs,” Corey Hessen, TC Energy’s executive vice president and president of power and energy solutions, said in the release.

Plug entered the H2 liquefaction segment in 2022 with the acquisition of Joule Processing Inc.

“This deal validates our investment in Plug’s liquefaction capabilities as part of our vision to build an end-to-end green hydrogen solution,” Plug CEO Andy Marsh said. “We share TC Energy’s commitment to providing sustainable and secure energy, and together we look forward to accelerating the growth of the hydrogen market.”

Chevron, Hyzon, Raven Partner in Waste-to-Hydrogen Project

Chevron Corp. has entered a three-way partnership with Hyzon, a supplier of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles, and renewable fuels company Raven SR to turn green waste from a California landfill into hydrogen, the companies said Jan. 9.

Targeting the state’s hydrogen transportation fuel market, the trio plans to use Raven’s patented non-combustion steam/CO2 reforming process technology to convert up to 99 wet tons of food and green waste per day from the Republic Services-operated West Contra Costa Sanitary landfill in Richmond, Calif. 

The hydrogen facility, which will be operated by a newly formed company called Raven SR S1 LLC, is expected to produce up to 2,400 metric tons per year (mt/year) of hydrogen and come online in first-quarter 2024.

Hystar Gets Funding from Mitsubishi, Nippon Steel

Norwegian hydrogen company Hystar has secured $26 million in funding, including from Japanese industrials Mitsubishi and Nippon Steel Trading, to scale up its electrolyzer production, Hystar said Jan. 11.

Mitsubishi Corp. co-led the funding round together with London-based fund AP Ventures, an existing investor, Hystar Chief Executive Fredrik Mowill told Reuters.

Together, the two companies accounted for about half of the raised capital, he added.

“We wanted to bring along some very large international industrial investors to help to develop the business, who could not only invest cash, but that can also help grow the business,” he said.

In addition to the two Japanese firms, this included Belgium-based investment company Finindus, owned 50% by steel-maker ArcelorMittal, Mowill added.

All three firms are also potentially large customers, with ambitious plans for implementing green hydrogen, he said.

“Green hydrogen is one of the key focuses for Mitsubishi Corp. and we believe Hystar’s unique technology has the potential to significantly impact its large-scale deployment,” Toshihiro Hayashi, general manager of Mitsubishi’s mineral resources group, said in a statement.

Financial firms Hillhouse Investment and Trustbridge Partners also joined the latest funding round.

National Grid Building South Dakota’s Biggest Solar Project

National Grid Renewables (NGR) has started construction on what could become South Dakota’s largest solar energy project—the 128 MW Wild Springs.

Located in Pennington County, the project will utilize First Solar Inc.-produced solar modules. Ames Construction has been named as the project’s engineering, procurement and construction partner.

“Wild Springs represents a continuation of our leadership in renewable energy and economic development in the state of South Dakota,” said National Grid Renewables President Blake Nixon. “Our Crocker Wind Farm located in Clark County began operation in 2019, and now with Wild Springs, we will have nearly 330 MW of clean energy projects in the state, all of which contribute significantly to the tax base, as well as the local communities that host the projects.”

The project is expected to avoid 190,000 mt of CO2 emissions annually once fully operational. NGR said it has secured a 114 MW power purchase agreement with Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Engie Acqusition Strengthens US Solar Portfolio

ENGIE has added to its utility-scale solar energy and storage portfolio in the U.S., with the acquisition of all shares in two renewables companies, the company said Jan. 11.

ENGIE purchased all of the share of Revolve Renewable AZ LLC and Revolve Parker Solar LLC on a cash and debt free basis, according to a Jan. 11 news release.

The deal includes the 1,000 MW Bouse solar and battery storage project and the 250 MW Parker project—both in Arizona. The transaction included an upfront payment of $2 million, which was paid on the completion of the transaction, Revolve Renewable Power Corp. said. The upfront payment was inclusive of the reimbursement of development costs.

Revolve CEO Steve Dalton called the transaction “significant.” The projects are Revolve’s first utility-scale projects in the U.S. “It successfully demonstrates our development approach, as well as our strategy in working with experienced utility partners to deliver significant returns for our shareholders,” he said, adding the sale also gives the company more resources to advance other projects in its portfolio.

The deal also includes an option that allows Engie to sell the projects back to Revolve after getting results of upcoming interconnection studies for each project, according to the release. If Engie decides to pursue the option, Revolve said it will repurchase the projects and refund Engie development expenses.

Agentis Capital served as Revolve’s financial adviser, while Baker Botts served as its U.S. legal counsel and Miller Thomson LLP acted as its Canadian legal counsel.

EVLO Partners for Solar, Storage Project in Western Canada

Hydro-Québec subsidiary EVLO Energy Storage Inc. said Jan. 12 the company will provide its battery storage technology for Western Canada’s Summerland solar project, according to a news release.

The project will include 0.4 MW solar array, four EVLO 1000 battery energy storage units and the company’s EMS control system that will provide 4 MWh of storage capacity, the company said in the release.

EVLO has partnered with Wildstone Construction Group and Skyfire Energy on the project, it said. The project is EVLO’s first solar-plus-storage facility in Western Canada and the first such project for the town Summerland, the release said.


RWE Selects Siemens’ Turbines for Massive Danish Offshore Wind Farm

RWE Siemens Thor
RWE Offshore Wind CEO Sven Utermöhlen (left) and Marc Becker, CEO of Siemens Gamesa’s offshore business (right), at the Danish National Test Center for Large Wind Turbines in Østerild, Denmark. (Source: Siemens Gamesa)

Siemens Gamesa has been selected by Germany’s RWE as the preferred supplier for the 1,000 MW Thor, Denmark’s largest offshore wind project to date, according to a Jan. 12 news release.

Plans call for Siemens to install 72 of its SG 14-236 DD offshore wind turbines at Thor, located in the Danish North Sea. With a capacity of nearly 15 MW and each blade 115 m in length, the turbines have a 236-m diameter rotor with a swept area of 43,500 sq m, Siemens said.

Installation is scheduled to begin in 2026, with work being carried out from the Port of Esbjerg.

Siemens Gamesa’s Offshore Business CEO Marc Becker said he was thrilled to collaborate with RWE again. “Our partnership already encompasses 12 offshore wind projects in both operation and development, totaling over 5.1 GW of capacity in several countries,” he said. Connecting in Denmark today is a testament to our commitment to the country, and to the benefits we all gain from the Østerild test center.”

The Thor wind project is expected to produce enough clean electricity to supply the equivalent of more than 1 million Danish households when it becomes fully operational by year-end 2027, the release said.

“With Thor, we will massively contribute towards Denmark’s ambitious climate targets,” RWE Offshore Wind CEO Sven Utermöhlen said.

Siemens-led Consortium Receives $4.3 billion Wind Power Grid Contract

Siemens Energy and Spain’s Dragados Offshore have been awarded a contract worth more than $4.29 billion to build two converter systems for offshore wind energy grid connections in Germany, Siemens said Jan. 10.

Siemens Energy said the contract, which was awarded to the consortium of both companies by German transmission system operator Amprion, is the largest offshore grid connection order it has received to date.

Siemens Energy’s share of the contract is around half of the total value, or around 2 billion euros, according to an industry source.

Up to 4 GW of green electricity from offshore wind farms in Germany can be transported in total, said the statement, enough to meet the needs of about 4 million people.

Hart Energy staff and Reuters contributed to this article.