Microsoft set to purchase all the wind power generated in GE’s Irish site

Last Monday, Microsoft and GE (General Electric) announced that they have just signed off on a power purchase agreement that binds them together for the next 15 years. The energy in question will come from GE’s Irish site in County Kerry.


This deal means that the brand new 37 megawatt (MW) Tullahennel wind farm will exclusively sell its wind power to Microsoft. And, this will be the case for the next 15 years.


Addressing the new deal, the chief commercial officer of GE Renewable Energy, Andres Isaza, said that by creating this new partnership with Microsoft, GE will be able to expand its presence in Ireland. Currently, the company employs around 1,500 individuals in Ireland with sights to increasing this in the near future. He added that there was a notable emphasis on the renewable energy sector among those employees.


Isaza continued his statement by saying that wind is now “one of the most competitive sources of electricity on the market today.” And, GE plans to capitalise on this. The company has said that each of the wind turbines on the new site will be equipped with a battery that has been integrated into the machine. This battery will be able to generate data that will give technicians details regarding energy storage.


The hope for the batteries is that technicians will be able to use the information to “capture and store” any excess energy. They will then be able to send this energy back to the grid as and when it is needed.


This news has been received in the wake of a statement from Parkwind that it sees no problems with becoming a strategic partner in the Oriel Wind Farm. This wind farm would be located in the northwest section of the Irish sea. Parkwind is a Belgian company that specialises in offshore wind farm development.


The project in question is set to include 55 wind turbines and will be built around 22km from the coast of Dundalk, Ireland. Oriel Wind Farm Ltd expect the output of this project to be enough to provide green energy to approximately 250,000 homes in Ireland.


Ocean Power Generation

OC_GenerationSocieties have long harnessed the power of water for many needs from milling to power generation. The feature that most of these projects have in common, however, is that they are usually found in inland waters including rivers and streams.

Rivers and streams offer something that the ocean cannot; a steady flow. Water in rivers and streams is predictable and as long as there is a water source upstream (rainfall) it is easy to predict the flow of water and manage power generation.

The ocean holds a great amount of power, however harnessing it has not been easy. The ocean has only relatively recently become a source of energy for humans because the technology has been developed to be cost effective to harness this power.

A major source of difficulty in harnessing the power of the sea is the fact that the sea is so unpredictable. The only really predictable movement of water in the ocean comes from the tides, but unfortunately, there are only very few places on earth where the tidal flow is strong enough to effectively harness the power.

Using the ocean’s power generating capabilities also has to take place close to shore. Going too far offshore where the strongest currents are has the disadvantage that bringing the power back to land will be too costly. Closer to shore, there are also other economic considerations such as shipping and fisheries that cannot be impeded by generation.

Striking the perfect balance of cost and functionality has been difficult for those wishing to harness the power of the ocean. However, with more efficient means of production, the coming decades are sure to see major increases in the scale of ocean power generation.

Run-of-the-River versus Hydropower Dams

ice-harbor-dam-credit-David-G-Rigg-usace-Many of us are familiar with the towering earth and concrete structures holding back large reservoirs of water, and this is the association that we have with hydroelectric power. Large dams with heavy water flows driving the turbines. Harnessing electricity from the flow of water, though, may not require this infrastructure.

When a dam is built it can serve many purposes, but a feature of the dam is that it holds back a large amount of water. This usually creates a reservoir and will flood large portions of land which may or may not be inhabited. The abandoned towns and villages may lie largely intact underwater and have become part of the marine environment.

Of course, with a structure holding back so much water, you have to be careful and certain to make sure that it can withstand the forces. A failure can mean the catastrophic release of water from the reservoir and give the population living downstream from the dam very little warning about the impending flood.

Though there are risks as described above, dams continue to be built and there is very little to worry about when it comes to their safety. However, because of these drawbacks, when looking at a way to use the flow of water to generate electricity, a run-of-the-river plant design may be more acceptable and feasible.

Using minimal invasive infrastructure, a run-of-the-river plant literally uses the existing flow of the river to drive the turbines. A drawback here is that the plant is dependent on how fast the river is flowing, which can vary by season. A dam with reservoir can more precisely control the flow of water through the dam, therefore it may have a higher capacity factor.

Another major consideration in determining how to harness the river’s power is whether or not the river needs to remain navigable. A dam is literally a wall built to block the river, so when a river is vital for transportation of goods and persons, a large dam may not be feasible.

As technology develops so to do we adapt to our own capabilities, but also draw inspiration for new designs because of our limitations. Run-of-the-river plants are an excellent example of engineering ingenuity.

Utility Automation


Parallel to the development of new grid technology, research and development of maximising the current grid infrastructure has also taken priority. To maintain the reliability of the grid as individual components wear down, operators need to utilise better management techniques of the grid. The largest component of this is utility automation and this sector of T&D has taken off in recent years.

Utility Automation primarily uses systems and IT engineering expertise to automate the monitoring, and management of T&D networks, instrumentation and control. In the ten years between 2010, when the global market for utility automation products came in at nearly US$11 billion, and 2020 the market is set to grow by nearly 40%.

The growth in this industry has its roots primarily in the under-investment that has taken place in infrastructure in the last 10-20 years. With many new technologies being implemented not only in grid management, and smart-grid technologies; but also microgrids and distributed generation technologies, the grid infrastructure is limited in its capacity to adapt.

Utility automation takes a lot of the human element out of the grid management and allows for more tasks to be performed at a higher level. This has taken away some of the tasks of engineers and grid technicians, freeing up the human capital as a resource to allow for the adoption of new technologies.

With automation come new vulnerabilities, and the risks of cyber-attack on the grid are real. Securing the grid requires yet more technology, and a new IT-branch has developed on the coattails of grid modernization.

Of course, utility automation technology also comes at a price. Therefore, it is focused on increasing grid efficiency of the existing grid as budgets and resources are allocated for replacement of outdated technology; while also being future-proof. New infrastructure can easily be built integrating the newest systems, and utility automation also allows for this backward-compatibility.

The New 2017 T&D Report and Database

NRG Expert has just released its 7th edition of its annual Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Report and Database. For those who are unsure of the significance of these documents, the report and database are essential resources for businesses on the brink of making important decisions in the electricity T&D market. A huge wealth of information is contained within the report and database – information that has been meticulously gathered by the analysts at NRG Expert from a vast range of reliable and credible sources.


The industry analysis that NRG Expert has compiled in the report and database forecasts data all the way up until 2021. This works to give companies an accurate idea of how certain key sectors of the industry will develop over the next four years. The valuable information is contained within the database, which is the main focus of the product on offer.


Contained within the database is a Global Data Summary that consists of three tabs: Annual Demand, Line Lengths and Capex. Briefly, the Annual Demand tab gives an overview of actual demand in 2016 by region and by country and forecasts from 2017-2021. Line Lengths offers a global overview of the total line length that was installed in both the transmission and distribution categories. Once again it shows actual figures for 2016 and a forecast from 2017-2021. Finally, Capex is the same as the previous tabs but shows capital expenditure in the T&D industry.


Moving on in the database and we have the Regional Files. NRG Expert has compiled information on 180 different countries, which are grouped into nine regions. Each region file has a tab for company listings within the T&D sector in that region and a breakdown of the Annual Demand and Capex figures for each of the countries within the region. These are then followed by an individual tab for each of the countries in the region, which contain detailed information about its national T&D industry.


There are 180 different country profiles in total and they all contain seven different sections of data. These are as follows:


  • Transmission2 and Distribution line-length (installed KMs) data:
  • Capex (2016 actuals forecast to 2021 in 2016USD) data:
  • Annual Demand (2016 actuals forecast to 2021 in 2016 USD) data:
  • Generation Capacity (Installed MW Capacity) data:
  • Voltage Breakdown and Overhead Underground Analysis
  • Network Maps
  • Listings of Grid Interconnections


All of the figures are in US dollars and are crucial to understand the Electricity T&D market, which consequently aids businesses to form strategies and improve the standing of their company.


The database is where the facts and figures can be found and this document works in tandem with the report. The report serves the purpose of giving a background and historical overview of the Electrical Supply Industry. It examines the present state of the industry and casts its gaze to the future to form an idea of what will happen within the market in the next few years. The report also includes explanations of the different sectors covered in the database. Finally, the report includes a full breakdown of the NRG Expert methodology for acquiring the data that can be found in the Transmission and Distribution Database and Report.


To conclude on a practical note, NRG Expert’s Transmission and Distribution Database and Report is a sound investment as an energy resource. It can take a business to the next level and help to increase profits through better developed strategies. The price of the product is £4,995 but can also be purchased in Euros or US Dollars (please enquire with NRG Expert for the prices in these currencies). The report and database can be purchased in electronic format, or can be bought as a hard copy. If you opt for a hard copy then please be aware that a delivery charge will apply.

NRG Expert OneSource

nrg-logo (1).gif

When people want to get serious about energy they come to NRG Expert. Known as one of the leaders in the field of energy market research, the company compiles millions of lines of data from hundreds of different sources. This data is then put into reports, which can be purchased by companies looking to delve deeper in the energy world. But, NRG Expert offers its customers a lot more than just the option of buying individual reports. NRG Expert OneSource takes your energy data acquisition to a whole new level.


If you are serious about using energy market research to influence your business decisions and strategies then you are going to want as much information as possible. NRG Expert OneSource gives you access to the entire portfolio of NRG Expert reports. This allows you to peruse information from current and historic databases, giving you as broad a spectrum as possible. The information is constantly being refreshed by NRG Expert’s intelligence unit, so you never need to feel like you’re out of the loop.


Obtaining this much data and having it all in one place makes your life much easier when it comes to analysing and interpreting it all en masse for the good of your company. Of course, NRG Expert has made it even easier for you by offering a simple browsing system to navigate the data. Instead of trawling through analytics and charts, customers can simply pull up exactly what they want, saving both time and stress.


So, what make NRG Expert OneSource worth investing in? Well aside from the obvious benefits of having reliable industry intelligence at your disposal, this system can bring a lot more to the table. The entire almanac of data will be instantly available after purchase and you won’t need to download any software to access it. Furthermore, you will be able to examine data that has otherwise remained unpublished – a valuable feature in today’s competitive marketplace.


Need some more convincing? NR Expert OneSource also allows its users to download and print anything they need from the reports and databases. It also offers the ability of downloading from our system directly into your own spreadsheet so you don’t waste valuable time and money on data inputting. It will also save you a considerable amount of money when compared to buying numerous individual reports from NRG Expert.


All in all, it is safe to say that becoming a member of NRG Expert OneSource is a good investment and a smart business decision. If you’re ready to get involved then check out the website for information on how to purchase:

3 Types of Renewable Energy


For decades, and even today the vast majority of energy is produced using non-renewable sources. Generally, to generate electricity fossil fuels are burned. These sources such as coal, oil, and gas are considered non-renewable because there is a finite amount of these commodities. Once they are burned or consumed, the fuels cannot be reclaimed. One feature of many non-renewable sources of energy is that they are also highly polluting. The burning of the fuels releases gasses into the atmosphere. Nuclear, too, is a non-renewable source, though it does not emit any gasses into the atmosphere and is, in essence, carbon-neutral. Though nuclear has its own set of risks and concerns.

So what sources are renewable and what is actually the definition of renewable energy? Renewable energy is energy that is generated from a source that is not depleted, or naturally replenished on a human timescale.


Wind is perhaps one of the most commonly known renewable energy sources. Wind turbines are installed in locations where they can harness power generated by the wind as it flows over the specially engineered blades. Best located in areas with near constant winds, many wind farms are close to coastlines and even located offshore, though inland locations are also highly suitable for development for wind.


Along with wind, solar is perhaps also the best-known renewable energy source. A common misconception is that it always needs to be sunny for solar panels to generate energy. And while bright, direct sunlight certainly increases the output, and has panels operating at their most efficient, even on cloudy days solar installations are productive.


One of the most reliable sources of renewable energy and one of the most prevalent, hydroelectricity uses the flow of water stemmed by dams through turbines to generate electricity. Hydroelectric plants cannot be built just anywhere and require specific geographical features. Though once built, there are few external factors that influence the production of electricity, which is why this renewable source has been a staple of renewable energy production for many years and in many countries.