In October 2019, one of Poland’s richest businessmen, Michał Sołowow, owner of Synthos SA, a chemical manufacturing company, released information about the signing of a memorandum with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy on the possibility of building a 300 MW nuclear power plant unit on GEH’s BWRX-300 SMRs technology in southern Poland near its chemical plant. According to international experts, such project might be implemented by 2027 provided that certification in the USA of small modular reactors technology, developed by Hitachi, is successful by 2024.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a short forecast of development of renewable energy in 2019. According to the IEA, the increase in new RES capacity, following stagnation in 2018, reached figures of 2015, and was driven by changes in China’s green generation support policy. The increase is observed, first of all, in the segment of solar generation, which by the end of the year may increase by 115 GWt, becoming an absolute record for the whole period of development of RES in the world.
On September 19-20, 2019, the 7th Vienna Forum on European Energy Law was held in Vienna under the organizational support of the Secretariat of the Energy Community and the Florence School of Regulation. This event has a private reception, which discusses the most topical issues of energy law between representatives of the EU institutions and European business. The main topics discussed at this year’s forum were global climate and decarbonization issues, geopolitical issues, renewable energy support mechanisms and innovations that are reforming the electricity market: new players, capacities and processes.
The Swiss Energy Vault pilot project successfully tested the prototype of its so-called gravity power plant and received additional funding from Japan’s venture capital project SoftBank Vision Fund in the amount of USD 110 million to launch a demonstration industrial project in northern Italy.
National Grid ESO, the UK electricity transmission system operator, in its previous report on the results of investigation of causes of a systemic crash in the UK energy grid on August 9, 2019, stated that the possible cause of the accident could have been a thunderbolt hitting one of the energy grid elements followed by frequency unbalance throughout the energy system.
According to the operator’s estimation, the pulse surge protection system (lightning protection) reacted in 0.1 second and after 20 seconds the power system returned to its normal mode of operation. In this case, about 500 MWt of distributed generation was disconnected from the distribution network, although the operator considers this situation normal in case of lightning strike.
On August 9, 2019, energy system accident occurred in the UK, which cut off electricity supply to about one million consumers and caused major transport problems, especially in the rail industry. The weaknesses in the efficiency of the backup energy supply of certain critical infrastructure objects, such as hospitals, subway, as well as technical shortcomings in the electric traction of the locomotive passenger transportation fleet were identified.
The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2019, an international professional conference, organized by the German government (federal ministries of economy, energy, and foreign affairs) which was held in Berlin on April 9-10, 2019, jointly with the Bundestag profile committee, announced the acceleration of the development of electricity transmission grids.
On May 14, 2019, the operator of the future Gas Interconnector “Greece-Bulgaria” (ICGB) – the international company “ICGB AD” announced the completion of a tender for the construction of a 182 km gas pipeline between Greece and Bulgaria with the capacity of 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
On April 2, 2019, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) representative, Michael Mobilia, said that during March 2019, when prices for liquefied gas in China and other Asian markets fell to a historically low level, the countries of the European Union became the main export market for American LNG.