American company Plug Power has announced its plans to invest approximately USD 6 billion in building three hydrogen production facilities in Finland by the end of the decade. The CEO, Andy Marsh, stated that Finland's strong commitment to renewable energy and its unique position in obtaining clean hydrogen were driving factors behind the investment decision. The facilities will contribute to Finland's goal of carbon neutrality by 2035 and are expected to create a significant number of jobs. The Kokkola facility will produce liquid hydrogen and green ammonia for export, while the Kristiinankaupunki facility will focus on green steel production. Plug Power will collaborate with electricity and gas transmission operators to develop the necessary infrastructure.
The parties in Finland negotiating the government program have agreed to increase the distribution obligation for renewable fuel to 22.5% by 2027, significantly lower than previously planned. The obligation will remain at 13.5% for the next year and gradually increase over three years. The increase in distribution obligation may lead to higher fuel prices, and the government plans to compensate consumers for this. The previous government had planned to raise the obligation to 28% next year and 34% by 2030. The compensation for consumers could pose challenges as it may require significant financial resources.
Balmy springtime weather and increased renewable energy capacity have led to multiple days of negative wholesale power prices in Europe. Factors such as favourable weather conditions, surplus production and inflexible nuclear power have contributed to this situation. Denmark, for example, exports up to 50% of its excess power to neighbouring countries due to its strong interconnections. Countries like Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden are experiencing zero or negative prices as they reach the limit of what they can use or export. The problem of excess electricity generation calls for increased energy storage capacity, with batteries being seen as an immediate solution while long-term solutions involve building more pumped hydro storage and upgrading existing facilities.
Hexicon, a Swedish project developer and technology supplier in the floating wind power sector, has entered into a financing agreement of up to EUR 45 million with Glennmont Partners. The agreement aims to accelerate Hexicon's project pipeline and facilitate early repayment of its outstanding convertible loan. The funding will support the development of various projects, including TwinHub in the UK, MunmuBaram in South Korea, AvenHexicon in Italy and Freja Offshore in Sweden. The agreement allows Hexicon to maintain its position as a global leader in floating wind power and expand its operations. Glennmont Partners sees this partnership as an opportunity to invest in the growing floating wind sector and develop promising growth markets alongside Hexicon.
Minesto, a developer in marine energy, has successfully finished the initial phase of offshore installation for Dragon 12 (1.2 MW) in Vestmanna, Faroe Islands. This milestone involved laying a 3.4 km long submarine cable on the seabed, connecting the grid on land to the installation node at sea. The cable installation was accomplished within approximately 22 hours, and the next steps will focus on the anchoring solution on the seabed and the installation of the kit. Minesto's CEO, Martin Edlund, expressed satisfaction with the progress and emphasised the successful execution of the installation plan.
Metacon, in collaboration with Pherousa Green Shipping and Pherousa Green Technologies, is advancing towards carbon-free sustainable shipping by designing and preparing an order for up to six Ultramax dry bulk carriers fueled by ammonia. The partnership involves the utilisation of ammonia-to-hydrogen reforming technology, enabling propulsion with zero emissions. Additionally, maritime technology provider HAV Group has joined as an industrialization partner. The innovative ship design, developed by Deltamarin, aims to pave the way for carbon dioxide-free ammonia-based powertrains, either through internal combustion engines or fuel cell-based powertrains, depending on specific requirements. This initiative signifies a significant step towards environmentally friendly shipping solutions.
European Energy has reported significant financial losses as a result of a quarter without major divestments. However, despite the setback, the company remains determined and has plans to connect more than 500 MW of energy in the first half of the year.
The company achieved significant milestones during the first quarter of 2023, including surpassing 1 GW of owned assets, obtaining a record number of renewable energy project permits, and securing an agreement with Novo Nordisk and the LEGO Group for the supply of e-methanol for future plastic production. They also successfully grid-connected 182 MW of projects during the quarter and are expecting to connect over 500 MW of new production capacity in the first half of the year. Despite minor divestments, European Energy achieved a revenue of EUR 43m, EBITDA of EUR 13m, and a profit before tax of EUR 1m in Q1 2023. The company remains confident in meeting its full-year guidance, projecting an EBITDA of EUR 180 million and profit before tax of EUR 140 million.
Denmark-based Faerch Group, a circular food packaging supplier, has entered into a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Better Energy. The agreement allows Faerch Group to utilise renewable energy generated from two solar parks in Poland to meet its power consumption needs in the country. Each of Better Energy's solar parks, located near Polanów and Postomino, is expected to produce 30 GWh of renewable energy annually. The PPA ensures a reliable and cost-effective source of renewable energy for Faerch Group while helping the company reduce its carbon footprint. The collaboration also contributes to Poland's renewable energy goals.
The Danish Ministry of the Environment has reached a political agreement to expand offshore wind energy and establish a marine nature fund. The agreement aims to balance the development of renewable energy with nature restoration and investment in the marine environment. The marine nature fund, supported by half a billion Danish kroner from the Green Fund, will contribute to the restoration of marine nature and biodiversity, as well as research on the environmental effects of offshore wind energy expansion. The fund may start supporting nature restoration projects as early as 2024. The Ministry of the Environment sees the marine nature fund as a crucial step towards creating a better balance in the marine environment.
Green Hydrogen Systems, a Danish company, has revised its expectations for the operating result in 2023 following modifications to its series A electrolysis plant. The company now anticipates an operating loss of DKK 240-280 million, compared to the previous estimate of DKK 210-240 million. The modifications, aimed at improving product quality and reliability, involve changes to materials, components, and production processes. Rising inflation on raw materials, components, and labour is expected to result in costs of around DKK 80 million in 2023, with approximately 50% of these costs being one-off expenses. Despite the adjustments, Green Hydrogen Systems maintains its turnover expectations of DKK 120-160 million and capital investments of DKK 270-300 million, with plans to offset rising production costs through higher sales prices from 2024 onwards.
The Nordic countries are some of the most dynamic and successful economies in the world. They are also leaders in sustainability, from renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and storage and the hydrogen economy, circular economy business models and battery development, the Nordics are pioneers in policy design, technology development and consumer uptake. Mundus Nordic Green News is covering this transition for the international community. Every day we curate the stories of most relevance to international businesspeople and policy experts from the flow of news. Mundus Nordic Green Indices summarise the meta-data from our daily coverage to enable easy tracking of trends. We supplement these with our own opinion pieces and commentary.