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Green Globe: Suniva prepares for trade case; Irish grid operator hacked

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Essential Energy Insights - October 2021


Green Globe: Suniva prepares for trade case; Irish grid operator hacked

Suniva Inc.'s lawyers at Mayer Brown issued a report arguing that placing tariffs and price controls on imported solar materials would create up to 144,000 new domestic jobs. The report was released ahead of the U.S. International Trade Commission's hearings for the Georgia-based solar panel manufacturer's Section 201 petition seeking tariffs on imported solar components. The U.S. solar industry has been slammed by low-priced imports after companies in China and Taiwan shifted their operations to other countries to avoid earlier U.S. import tariffs.

"This conservative analysis, using well-established Department of Commerce formulas, shows that this safeguard action can create huge impact in the manufacturing sector, even as we continue to see tremendous growth in solar installations," Matt Card, Suniva's executive vice president of commercial operations, said in a news release.

Industry organizations and American solar companies, however, disagree vehemently with Suniva's claim that import tariffs would lift the solar market. The Solar Energy Industries Association has warned that the U.S. would lose about 88,000 jobs if the petition goes through and make it less competitive to other energy sources.

Renewable energy company Zuma Energía, meanwhile, secured $600 million in financing to build Mexico's largest wind farm. The Financial Times reports that Zuma received funding from Santander, Danish export credit agency EKF and Mexican development banks, plus another $125 million from its owners, U.K.-based private equity firm Actis and Mesoamerica Investments.

Mexico's renewable energy sector is expected to attract $70 billion in foreign investment between 2015 and 2029, according to a government estimate. Barry Lynch, director and head of operations in the energy business at Actis told FT that the country could be "very aggressive" in the renewables space. Auction prices have also scaled down, making it more attractive.

The Reynosa wind farm will have a total capacity of 424 MW and generate enough power for 1 million homes. It is expected to be in operation by the end of 2018.

In Ireland, electricity transmission system operator EirGrid may still be vulnerable to malicious software that could cause power outages across the country after hackers gained access to its system. Sources told The Irish Independent that the hackers, who used IP addresses sourced in Ghana and Bulgaria, gained access to a Vodafone network that the company uses in the U.K. Hackers then compromised some of EirGrid's routers, allowing them to wire-tap unencrypted communications.

The breach occurred in April but EirGrid discovered it just last month. It is not clear if the malware was placed on the company's control systems, sources said.

EirGrid told the newspaper its computer systems have not been compromised. A Vodafone spokesperson declined to comment.

Elsewhere

Nuclear power still has big long-term potential, but its global expansion is expected to slow down, according to a July 28 report from the International Atomic Energy Agency. While its low projections show no net growth in installed capacity, at least 320 GW of new capacity is projected to be added by 2050 to make up the loss from retiring reactors. A full report will be released in September.

A proposed concentrated solar farm in Tunisia could provide about 4,500 MW of power for the European Union via cables under the Mediterranean, according to Popular Mechanics.

Innergex Inc. plans to expand into U.S. wind and solar markets after success in its native Canada and France.

Malaysia's request for proposals for its 460-MW large-scale solar auction has been oversubscribed after it received 1,632 MW of submissions, according to PV Tech.

In Canada, Ontario's energy Minister Glenn Thibeault denies reports about the province making a deal with Quebec to receive 8 TWh of hydropower a year, The Toronto Star reports.