Sunrise brief: IKEA and Rockefeller foundations pledge $1bn for distributed energy push


The IKEA Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation will jointly set up a $1 billion global platform to fight climate change and energy poverty.

The platform aims to reduce 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and to empower 1 billion people with distributed renewable energy.

In mid-June, the International Finance Corp., the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Rockefeller Foundation announced a partnership to deploy $150 million of capital in blended finance to leverage up to $2 billion of private sector investment in distributed renewable energy. The two said they will prioritize countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions, where both organizations have identified immediate opportunities.

The new global platform aims to deliver power to the 800 million people worldwide who lack electricity.
The new global platform being launched by IKEA and Rockefeller will oversee the organizations’ combined matching funds, and aims to deliver power to the 800 million people worldwide who lack electricity, and a further 2.8 billion who have unreliable access. It will be run as a public charity to channel development funds to projects.

The Rockefeller Foundation will incubate the platform in RF Catalytic Capital Inc., which the foundation launched in 2020. This offers a way for impact investors and governments to combine their resources and expand their global philanthropic reach.

Solar + storage = more

Researchers from North Carolina State University and North Carolina Central University said in a new paper that when a power system combines energy storage and solar power generation, the end result is greater than the sum of its parts in terms of the system’s ability to handle peak energy demand.

“Our work suggests that solar power can offer greater benefits to reliability than sustainable energy skeptics suggest,” said Jeremiah Johnson, one of the researchers and an associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State.

For their work, the researchers looked at the power system in North and South Carolina. With data on power demand and the mix of power generation sources, they built computational models to assess how much power a system could expect from different sources during periods of peak energy demand.

The models allowed them to vary the size of solar farms in the system and the amount of energy storage in the system to determine how those changes might affect the overall reliability benefits during periods of peak demand.

A system that combines solar and energy storage can be relied on to provide up to 40% more power.
They found that when a system combines solar and energy storage, that combination can be relied upon to provide up to 40% more power during peak demand than output from each source was added alone.

“We found that solar power generation reduces the peak load that would need to be met with stored energy, and reduces the duration of that peak demand,” Johnson said. He said that, in effect, a symbiotic relationship exists between the technologies.

The paper, “The Symbiotic Relationship of Solar Power and Energy Storage in Providing Capacity Value,” appears in the journal Renewable Energy.

Solar array rollout at ISS

Two astronauts completed the delayed deployment of a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) at the International Space Station.

In a second effort at deployment in June 20, astronauts unfolded the solar array, bolted it into place, and connected cables to the station’s power supply to complete deployment. They also removed and stowed hardware in preparation for releasing a second iROSA from the flight support structure for installation. The pair will work toward the second solar array upgrade during another spacewalk, tentatively scheduled for June 25.

NASA is augmenting six of the eight existing power channels of the space station with new solar arrays to ensure a sufficient power supply is maintained for NASA’s exploration technology demonstrations for Artemis and beyond as well as utilization and commercialization.

Fully deployment of the array required two space walks after one of the astronauts experienced errors with his suit’s status display. After resetting the suit, the data stabilized, but the delay caused the two astronauts to return for the second spacewalk on June 20 to complete the deployment.

Contract for HVDC cable

SOO Green HVDC Link selected Prysmian Group in a tenative $900 million contract to supply high-voltage direct current cable systems for a planned 2,100 MW transmission project to be installed underground along existing railroad rights of way.

The project would connect the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) serving the central U.S., to the eastern PJM Interconnection, and deliver renewable energy to loadcenters from Chicago to the mid-Atlantic region.

Prysmian Group would provide ±525 kV class HVDC cable. Award is subject to the finalization of contract. The construction part of the project, currently under finalization, would be performed by Jingoli Power and will be added to the overall contract value. Prysmian will be responsible for the full turnkey contact.

The 350-mile-long project will require 700 miles of paired ±525 kV cross-linked polyethylene class cables installed underground primarily along existing railroad rights-of-way. The line is planned to connect SOO Green’s converter station in northern Iowa to a converter station west of Chicago. Cable production is expected to start in 2023 at Prysmian’s South Carolina facility, which will be upgraded to supply the high-voltage cable.

SOO Green HVDC Link is owned by investment funds managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Siemens Energy, and Jingoli Power, and is being developed by Minneapolis-based Direct Connect Development Co.

JinkoSolar expands stake in polysilicon suplier

JinkoSolar Holding Co. said that its Shangrao JinkoSolar Industry Development Co. subsidiary plans to increase capital and shares in Inner Mongolia Xinte Silicon Materials Co. a unit of Xinte Energy Co. The investment will be used to construct a high-purity polysilicon production line with an annual capacity of 100,000 tons. After the capital increase is completed, JinkoSolar will hold a 9% stake in Inner Mongolia Xinte.

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