Snow storm blasts Moldova: UN provides essential equipment as hundreds of villages without electricity

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Apr 22, 2017

Around 400 villages in Moldova were without electricity over the weekend after a freak snowstorm pummeled the country, causing widespread disruptions and injuries and prompting the City Council to declare a state of emergency in the capital, where 3,000 trees fell between Thursday and Friday.

The United Nations – comprised of IOM, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF and UN WOMEN – moved immediately to provide $47,000 worth of electricity generators, fuel, chain saws and other equipment. This will enable authorities to provide access to electricity, ensure safety from damaged trees, and provide access to remote locations, some of them now completely isolated. The generators will be distributed in 12 affected districts and Chisinau municipality, and the chainsaws – in 10 districts and Chisinau.

The priority is to assure the safety of people from immediate hazards, such as falling trees, as well as their continued access to running water and electricity,” Dafina Gercheva, the UN Resident Coordinator said. „We are working with the authorities around the clock to make sure essential services remain in place.”

Gercheva added that the risk of flooding remains as the snow begins to melt. As the weather warms, the immediate priority will therefore be clearing the snow.

Moldova has the highest vulnerability to climate change and disaster in the Europe and Central Asia region, with average annual economic losses averaging 2 percent of GDP. These risks are affecting primarily the rural poor and women.

In 2007, the UN in Moldova coordinated a prompt response to cope with a severe drought, which compromised the harvest in over 80 per cent of Moldova’s agricultural lands. With UN Support, over 383,000 drought victims received wheat seeds, fertilizers, diesel fuel, fodder, corn seeds, and food packs.

Contact information

Laura Bohantova, Communications Analyst

Office of the Resident Coordinator

laura.bohantova@one.un.org

Tel: (+373 22) 269 112, 220 045

Cell: (+373) 68 511 883

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GE Completes Acquisition of LM Wind Power

PARIS—April 20, 2017 GE (NYSE:GE) the world’s leading Digital Industrial company, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of LM Wind Power, a Denmark-based technology developer and manufacturer of rotor blades to the wind industry. The completion of the transaction follows regulatory approval in the European Union, the United States, China, and Brazil.

GE reached an agreement with the London-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson in October 2016 to purchase the company for €1.5 billion ($1.65 billion). The transaction in-sources wind turbine blade design and manufacturing for GE’s Renewable Energy business, improving its ability to increase energy output and create value for onshore and offshore wind customers. The deal will be accretive to GE earnings in 2018.

Jérôme Pécresse, President and CEO of GE Renewable Energy, said, “The completion of the LM Wind Power acquisition provides us with the operational efficiencies necessary to support the growth of our wind turbine business, which is the fastest growing segment of power generation. With LM’s technology and blade engineering, we are now able to improve the overall performance of our wind turbines, lowering the cost of electricity and increasing the value for our customers. Together, we are set to capitalize on the expansion of renewable energy and be a growth engine for GE.”

Marc de Jong, CEO of LM Wind Power, said, “LM Wind Power has had a long-standing partnership with GE that has yielded many innovations and commercial successes, including the installation of the first-ever offshore wind farm in the United States. We see many digital and advanced manufacturing technology capabilities that will help accelerate our technology development and increase our customer reach.

LM Wind Power will be run as an individual operating unit within GE Renewable Energy, providing blades for both GE’s onshore and offshore wind business units. LM Wind Power will also continue to supply blades to the rest of the wind industry, having established protocols and safeguards to protect customers’ confidential data.

With this deal, GE continues to deepen its capabilities and ambitions in renewable energy. In the past year, GE has delivered the first offshore wind farm in the US, won its first offshore project in China, launched its onshore digital wind farm and digital hydro plant, and developed hybrid projects in wind-solar and hydro-wind.

GE’s goal is to deliver renewable energy projects locally that maximize electricity output while reducing the cost of electricity, bringing affordable, sustainable energy to the world and more value for its customers.

For more information on the deal visit www.gerenewableenergy.com

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About GE Renewable Energy
GE Renewable Energy is a $10 billion start-up that brings together one of the broadest product and service portfolios of the renewable energy industry. Combining onshore and offshore wind, hydro and innovative technologies such as concentrated solar power, GE Renewable Energy has installed more than 400+ gigawatts capacity globally to make the world work better and cleaner. With more than 12,000 employees present in more than 55 countries, GE Renewable Energy is backed by the resources of the world’s first digital industrial company. Our goal is to demonstrate to the rest of the world that nobody should ever have to choose between affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy.
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World Bank Group welcomes the GSMA to Universal Financial Access Initiative

Washington, DC, April 18, 2017 — The World Bank Group today welcomed the GSMA, the global body representing nearly 800 mobile operators and 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, to its coalition of partners committed to achieve Universal Financial Access (UFA) by the year 2020. The GSMA brings to the coalition a deep knowledge of mobile financial services, a proven ability to innovate, and a commitment to financial inclusion as a core component of its mission. In this context, the GSMA has pledged to support the creation of 500 million mobile money accounts over the course of the UFA initiative.

Some 2 billion working-age adults globally do not use formal financial services and extending access to finance to them is the first building block to build a better life. The World Bank Group – the World Bank and IFC – has committed to enabling 1 billion people to gain access to a transaction account through targeted interventions and expanding their network of partners to boost financial inclusion.

The GSMA is pleased to announce its commitment to the Universal Financial Access initiative. Mobile networks are playing an essential role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, enabling new ways to address longstanding development challenges,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. „Our commitment to support the creation of 500 million mobile money accounts reflects the scale of ambition needed to successfully close the global gap in access to financial services. We look forward to working closely with the World Bank Group and its UFA partners to ensure the conditions exist so that inclusive services, such as mobile money, can reach new heights.

“It is great news that the GSMA is helping to close the gap in access to mobile phones – and mobile money accounts. This will be instrumental in bringing financial services to rural communities,” said Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer for the World Bank. “The private sector brings the kind of innovation and investment needed to connect the remaining 2 billion people currently left out of the financial system.

Speaking at an event today for private sector partners committed to the UFA goal, Martin Holtmann, Manager for IFC’s Micro Digital Group said, “Achieving universal access is an ambitious goal – and one that can only be achieved with strong partnerships. It requires traditional financial institutions, telecommunication and technology firms to work together. Digital and mobile technology can bring financial services to millions of people currently not included in the formal financial system, more easily and cheaply than traditional banking.”

The 32 UFA partners represent a cross-cutting network of banks, payment and technology companies, telecommunication firms, microfinance institutions, regulators, and industry associations. Recognizing that access points, products, and services are increasingly diverse, UFA partners deepen reach in key markets, leveraging a range of business models and expertise.    

IFC is working to boost its engagement with the private sector to add millions of new account holders through its investment and advisory work with financial intermediaries and other partners. Existing IFC and World Bank operations are projected to help reach 656 million new account holders by 2020, keeping the institution on track toward the overall goal of enabling access to those who are currently unbanked.

The UFA 2020 goal – recognizing financial access as a basic building block to managing an individual’s financial life – aims to provide all adults worldwide with access to a transaction account to store money and to send and receive payments. Access to a transaction account is a first step toward broader financial inclusion, which helps poor families escape poverty and afford such essential social services as water, electricity, housing, education and health care. Access to financing can help small firms and medium-sized enterprises reduce risks, invest for growth and expand operations.

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and development expertise for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in pursuing the World Bank Group’s mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit
www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org

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South Asia Could Potentially Benefit from Globalization Backlash

Despite possible protectionism, the fastest-growing region in the world has an opportunity to increase exports and create jobs

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2017 –Possible protectionism in advanced economies should not deter export-oriented growth in South Asia, a region that could even benefit from the backlash against globalization, a new World Bank report said today. The report also confirms that South Asia remains the fastest-growing region in the world, gradually widening its lead relative to East Asia. Regional GDP growth is expected to rise from 6.7 percent in 2016 to 6.8 percent in 2017, and 7.1 percent in 2018.

The just released edition of the twice-a-year South Asia Economic Focus explores whether South Asian countries should worry about mounting protectionist pressures. This report, Globalization Backlash, claims that global integration has been good for economic development and poverty reduction, but finds that the region would be resilient to higher trade barriers in advanced economies. It would even stand to gain if selective protectionism resulted in trade diversion away from established suppliers. South Asian economies also stand to gain from the observed recovery in advanced economies, which are their largest export markets.

„Simulations on the impact of hypothetical new trade barriers show that South Asia is not only resilient to a potential rise in protectionism but could possibly even gain from it in some circumstances,”
said Annette Dixon, the World Bank South Asia Region Vice President. “Advanced economies are recovering and could see faster growth that will likely increase demand for South Asian products. The region should seize this opportunity to diversify its exports and enhance its supply response. This could create a substantial number of jobs for new entrants to the labor force.

Given its weight in the region, India sets the pace for South Asia as a whole. Its GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.2 percent in 2018, after expanding by a slightly lower than expected 6.8 percent in 2016, with a temporary disruption from the withdrawal of large denomination bank notes. Based on tangible improvements in security, Pakistan continues its upward trend and growth is expected to accelerate to over 5 percent this year.  Nepal and Maldives are bouncing back from economic shocks. In Bangladesh industrial production reached a record-high recently and growth remains strong.

Analysis of different hypothetical trade scenarios finds that South Asia stands to benefit from the stall of large regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It would also gain in the hypothetical scenario of greater protectionism against major exporting countries such as China and Mexico. The research finds that South Asian growth is highly responsive to higher growth in advanced economies, which could offset potential losses from changes in trade policy.

“To make the most of this export opportunity, countries in the region should continue to focus on polices that promote economic growth,” said World Bank South Asia Region Chief Economist Martin Rama. “A survey of South Asian experts conducted for this report reveals a strong consensus on the need to promote human capital accumulation, investments in infrastructure, and a more business-friendly environment.”

Factsheet: Many South Asian Countries Have Potential to Accelerate Growth

Note: est = estimated, f = forecast

Afghanistan’s economic recovery has been slow, as insecurity continues to curtail private investment and consumer demand. Growth is projected to accelerate slightly from 1.2 percent in 2016 to 2.4 percent in 2017. However, with population growth of nearly 3 percent, such level of economic growth implies a decline in per capita income. Sustained economy growth in the long run in Afghanistan requires a structural transformation of the economy that could be realized through greater human capital investments, improved agriculture productivity and development of the country’s extractives resources.

The economy in Bangladesh has weathered global uncertainties well aided by strengthening investment and a recovery of exports. Growth will be sustained at 6.8 percent in 2017, coming slightly down from 7.1 percent in 2016 and with a decelerating information rate and a budget deficit that has narrowed. Infrastructure gaps and inadequate energy supply, combined with the high cost of doing business, remain the main obstacles to the realization of Bangladesh’s growth potential.

Economic activity in Bhutan has kept growth strong with the economy expected to grow at 6.8 percent once again in 2017. Hydropower projects, supportive fiscal and monetary policy coupled with low inflation, a stable exchange rate and accumulating international reserves have contributed to growth and poverty reduction. However, risks are emerging including possible delays in hydropower constructions and growth deceleration in India. With continued stable growth, poverty is expected to be reduced in a steady manner.

India’s economic momentum is expected to pick up speed from 6.8 percent in 2016 to 7.2 percent by 2018 after a modest setback due to weaker than expected investments and the effects of the withdrawal of large denomination bank notes. Timely and smooth implementation of the GST could prove to a significant benefit to economic activity However, India faces the challenge of further accelerating the responsiveness of poverty reduction to growth.

In Maldives, GDP growth rebounded to an estimated 4.1 percent in 2016 and is expected to grow at 4.5 percent in 2017 through substantial investments and construction activity. It is important that Maldives preserves its tax base and efficient tax system, as it prepares to develop Special Economic Zones offering tax concessions. There are opportunities for the country to promote economic activities in line with the aspirations of Maldivian youth and provide employment, improve the quality of public services such as health and education, and make the country more resilient to climate change.

Nepal is seeing a broad economic recovery after a number of setbacks including the earthquakes of 2015. Its economic activity is recovering with growth expected to rebound to 6.0 percent in 2017 on the back of increased agriculture output, increased availability of electricity, and greater investment as the earthquake reconstruction gathers speed, compared 0.6 percent growth in 2016.

In Pakistan, economic activity expanded by 4.7 percent in 2016 and is expected to continue to grow at 5.2 percent in 2017 with growth prospects continuing to improve and inflation remaining contained. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects have supported construction activity, which is expected to stimulate industrial sector growth. These projects should help accelerating growth in the domestic construction industry and increase electricity generation. Sustainable and inclusive growth and poverty reduction, will require greater private sector investment and the longer term development of infrastructure.

Sri Lanka’s economic growth is projected to grow at 4.7 percent in 2017, up from 4.4 percent 2016 which reflecting significant contributions from construction, trade, and financial services as well the as negative impacts of floods and droughts. Recent policy measures supporting fiscal consolidation and monetary tightening has contributed to an improved outlook. It is critical for Sri Lanka to expedite structural reforms to promote competitiveness and governance, and continue on fiscal consolidation in order to ensure sustained growth and development.

System to Turn Deadly Chemicals into Harmless Dirt Makes Advances

A DARPA program that is developing a field-deployable system for onsite neutralization of bulk stores of chemical warfare agents (CWA) has successfully demonstrated a novel waterless soil-scrubbing technology that safely neutralized toxic chemicals simulating sarin, soman, and mustard agents. Created under the Agency’s Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents (ACDC) program, the technology demonstrated greater than 99.9999% removal of the simulants, without creating any hazardous waste by-products.

The soil-scrubbing technology was tested in conjunction with the Tactical Plasma Arc Chemical Warfare Agents Destruction System (PACWADS), a thermal treatment system already under development for use by U.S. military Services. That system uses a high-temperature plasma torch to convert highly toxic chemicals into relatively benign components, and then uses a water-based capture process to eliminate the last traces of contaminants.

For the ACDC experiment, the PACWADS was modified to eliminate the water scrubber and connect instead to DARPA’s soil-based scrubber system, which captured and converted the toxic CWA decomposition products and resulting acid gases into non-hazardous salts. An ability to use local soil from the site where CWA stores have been discovered eliminates the logistical burden of supplying water to such sites, which are anticipated to be remote, and then having to transport resulting liquid wastes to a treatment facility. The soil used in the DARPA process remains non-hazardous and could be safely returned to the environment.

We were very impressed with fast work by DARPA-supported researchers to develop the soil-based scrubber to test with the PACWADS,” said Tyler McQuade, DARPA program manager. “These successful tests validated a critical component of the ACDC concept—a water-free, non-hazardous, soil-based process for onsite destruction of deadly chemicals. We now look forward to testing the ACDC scrubber with the PACWADS against actual chemical warfare agents in the coming months.”

Following testing of the soil scrubber against actual CWA, which is anticipated for this spring or summer, DARPA plans to continue to develop a novel approach for the initial destruction process that would be simpler and more economical than the PACWADS torch. That system aims to use an internal combustion “reforming engine.” The engine is designed such that, as part of the destruction process, the organic molecules act as a fuel and efficiently generate recoverable energy that can be converted to electricity, eliminating the need for power sources in remote locations.

Ultimately, ACDC envisions the complete CWA destruction and soil-scrubbing system to fit in the back of a standard military vehicle.

The ACDC soil-scrubber was developed for DARPA by the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas. The PACWADS was developed by PyroGenesis Canada, Inc., Montreal, Canada. The effectiveness of the ACDC soil scrubber and PACWADS was independently verified and validated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, and NRT Methodologies, Tooele, Utah.

Image Caption: The ACDC soil-scrubber (left) was recently connected to the Tactical Plasma Arc Chemical Warfare Agents Destruction System (right), successfully demonstrating a greater than 99.9999% removal of chemical warfare agent simulants, without creating any hazardous waste by-products. Click on image below for high-resolution.

Navy Suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) on Ships, Subs, Aircraft

NORFOLK, Va (NNS) — Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) released a joint message April 14 that suspends the use, possession, storage, and charging of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) aboard ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment. The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units.

The Fleet commanders implemented this policy to protect the safety and welfare of Sailors and to protect the ships, submarines, aircraft and equipment.

The prohibition will be effective 30 days from the release of the policy, May 14, and will remain in effect until a final determination can be made following a thorough analysis.

This new policy is in response to continued reports of explosions of ENDS due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries. Multiple Sailors have suffered serious injuries from these devices, to include first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement. In these cases, injuries resulted from battery explosions during ENDS use, charging, replacement, or inadvertent contact with a metal object while transporting.

Deployed units may request extensions on device removal until their next port visit. Supervisors should ensure that removable lithium-ion batteries are removed from the units and stored according to the ENDS manufacturer instructions, in plastic wrap, in a plastic bag, or any other non-conductive storage container.

Sailors on shore will still be allowed to use ENDS on base, but must do so in designated smoking areas ashore while on military installations.

Sailors are encouraged to use available tobacco cessation resources and programs offered through Navy medical services and Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) programs.

For more information, please see ALFLTFORCOM/ALPACFLT 141300Z APR 17.

NRELs New Perovskite Ink Opens Window for Quality Cells

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April 14, 2017

Samples of solar cells grown using a new perovskite ink. Photo by Dennis Schroeder.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed a new perovskite ink with a long processing window that allows the scalable production of perovskite thin films for high-efficiency solar cells.

Proven highly efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, perovskite solar cells have yet to move beyond the laboratory. The crystalline structure of perovskites must be carefully grown upon a substrate, which is normally done by laboratory-scale spin coating – a technology that can’t be scaled to large-scale manufacturing. The best devices fabricated using scalable deposition methods, which are suitable for future module production, still lag behind state-of-the-art spin-coated devices.

How the NREL scientists overcame this obstacle is spelled out in a new paper published in Nature Energy, Perovskite ink with wide processing window for scalable high-efficiency solar cells. Kai Zhu, a senior scientist in NREL’s Chemistry and Nanoscience Center, is lead author. The co-authors are Mengjin Yang, Zhen Li, Matthew Reese, Obadiah Reid, Dong Hoe Kim, Sebastian Siol, Talysa Klein, Joseph Berry, and Michael van Hest from NREL, and Yanfa Yan from the University of Toledo.

To create a perovskite film, a coating of chemicals is deposited on a substrate and heated to fully crystalize the material. The various steps involved often overlap with each other and complicate the process. One extremely critical stage requires the addition of an antisolvent that extracts the precursor chemicals, and thus create crystals of good quality. The window for this step opens and closes within seconds, which is detrimental for manufacturing due to the precision required to make this time window.

NREL researchers were able to keep that window open as long as 8 minutes.

The formula for the precursor perovskite ink included a chlorine-containing methylammonium lead iodide precursor along with solvent tuning, coupled with an antisolvent, which could be deposited onto the substrate by either spin-coating or blade-coating methods. Both methods were tested and produced indistinguishable film morphology and device performance. Blade-coating is more attractive to manufacturers because it can easily be scaled up.

The researchers tested one precursor ink containing excess methylammonium iodide (MAI) and a second containing added methylammonium chloride (MACI). The MACI proved most effective in reducing the length of heat treatment the perovskites require, cutting the time to about a minute compared to 10 minutes for the MAI solution. The shorter time also should make the process more attractive to manufacturers.

Using blade-coated absorbers, NREL scientists made a four-cell perovskite module measuring about 12.6-square centimeters. Of that, 11.1-square centimeters were active in converting sunlight to energy and did so with a stabilized efficiency of 13.3 percent.

This research is supported by the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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Scientists Pull Water Out of Thin Air

Taking a page out of science fiction playbooks, scientists have demonstrated breakthrough technology capable of generating water out of dry air using the power of the sun.

Omar Yaghi, pictured with models of metal-organic frameworks, porous crystalline sponges into which water in dry air can be trapped, concentrated, and condensed out to deliver clean water. Yaghi invented these new compounds in the mid-1990s. (Credit: Michael Barnes/UC Berkeley)

Luke Skywalker and his fellow moisture farmers on Tatooine would be proud.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology built the solar-powered harvester using a metal-organic framework (MOF), a material invented in the 1990s by study senior author Omar Yaghi, senior faculty scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley.

MOFs combine metals with organic molecules, or ligands, to form rigid, porous structures that can store gases and liquids. Yaghi and his research team synthesized a large-pore MOF made of zirconium metal and adipic acid to bind water vapor. While the material has a high affinity for water molecules, it easily releases the concentrated water with a slight change in temperature.

The harvester sitting atop a roof at MIT. The MOF is just below the glass plate on top, which lets sunlight in to heat the MOF and drive off the absorbed water. The yellow and red condenser sitting at the bottom is covered with water droplets. (Credit: Hyunho Kim/MIT)

They published a proof-of-concept paper in 2014, but to demonstrate this in a real-world environment, he teamed up with Evelyn Wang, a mechanical engineer at MIT.

Using 1 kilogram of the MOF, they created a solar-powered prototype that is capable of generating 2.8 liters of water from ambient air after 12 hours. The humidity during that period ranged from 20-30 percent, conditions as arid as a desert.

The researchers describe their solar-powered harvester in the April 14 issue of the journal Science.

“This is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity, and it’s also a significant step towards commercialization,” said Yaghi. “Current dehumidifiers are powered by electricity, so creating that extra water ends up costing extra energy. My vision for the future direction of this technology is to have water off-grid, where you have a ‘personalized water device’ at home running on ambient sunlight for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household.”

This work was supported in part by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Click here to read the full UC Berkeley press release.

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

Toshiba H2One Hydrogen Based Autonomous Energy Supply System Now Providing Power to Tohoku Electric Power Co.,

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TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) has supplied its H2One™, hydrogen-based autonomous energy supply system, to Tohoku Electric Power Co., for a two-year study of how a hydrogen-based system can contribute to overcoming frequency fluctuation in power supply.

The H2One™ was installed at Tohoku Electric Power’s R&D Center in Sendai, in northeast Japan, on March 23.

It is an autonomous system with components for solar power generation, battery storage, hydrogen electrolysis and storage, and fuel cells to produce CO2-free, environmentally friendly, stable electricity. Its integrated operation is controlled by Toshiba’s advanced EMS (Energy Management System), which ensure that intermittent power generation satisfies energy demand and provides data on renewable energy supply-and-demand which can be used to stabilize electricity output.

Growing interest in bringing renewable power sources into the electricity grid is accompanied by concerns for the quality and variability of the supply; renewables are subject to fluctuations in output that can impact on grid frequencies. The study at Tohoku Electric Power will use H2One™ as a solution to this problem.

We are very excited to see our products being investigated as a way to help achieve a low-carbon society,” said Mr. Hiroyuki Ota, General Manager of Toshiba’s Energy Systems & Solutions Company, “Our H2One™ offers an innovative approach to emission-free clean energy, and we want to promote much wider adoption of hydrogen solutions.”

Toshiba will continue to channel its diverse technologies into developing total hydrogen energy solutions, from generation through to utilization, that contribute to early realization of an environmentally friendly hydrogen economy.

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GE & HEI Fire Up & Synchronize Second HA Gas Turbine at Bhikki Power Plant

Bhikki, Pakistan; April 12, 2017: GE and Harbin Electric International Company Limited (HEI) have achieved an important milestone with the first fire and synchronization of the second GE 9HA gas turbine installed at the Bhikki Power Plant. This significant accomplishment was achieved less than 18 months after the large turnkey project was first announced. First fire is a critical test where the gas turbine is switched on and run on fuel at the site, and synchronization refers to when the unit is first connected to the national grid. The turbine can generate up to 385 megawatts (MW) of reliable power that is expected to be distributed for residential and commercial use within a few days.

The Honourable Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif stated, “The speed with which the Government of Punjab, HEI and GE’s teams have been setting up the Bhikki Power Plant is to be commended. This is the fastest construction of a gas power plant of its size in Pakistan’s history and was only possible because of the commitment of all involved. The project is a critical component of our strategy to expand access to electricity to over 90 percent of the country’s population and will benefit millions of Pakistanis.”

The first 9HA unit achieved first fire on 13th February, 2017, less than 17 months after the project’s announcement.

“We made a commitment to address the country’s energy deficit and are leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of that goal,” stated the Honourable Chief Minister of Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. “GE’s HA gas turbines have set industry efficiency benchmarks in the conversion of fuel to electricity. I am happy to note that adopting this technology through a transparent procurement process has helped save billions of rupees, while enabling us to generate efficient, reliable power at low lifecycle costs.”

The Bhikki facility will be the country’s first power plant to run on imported supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is projected to generate up to 1,180 MW – the equivalent power needed to supply approximately 2.5 million Pakistani homes – once it starts combined cycle operations later this year.

“GE is committed to powering Pakistan, and we are proud to work with our customers there to swiftly meet the increasing demand for power with the world’s most advanced gas turbine technology,” said Mohamad Ali, President & CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems – Projects, in the Middle East, North Africa and India. “Our HA technology is expected to help the Bhikki Power Plant become Pakistan’s most efficient combined cycle power plant, and we look forward to following this exciting milestone with full commercial operation later this year.”

The HA is the result of almost US$2 billion in research and development and is GE’s largest and most efficient heavy duty gas turbine. In June 2016, GE set a world record for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant in France with its HA technology. Pakistan is the first country in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and South Asia region to use this record-setting technology.

From steam turbines for K-Electric back in the 1960s to advanced F-class gas turbines for the Guddu Power Plant a few years ago, and now, these record-setting 9HA units at the Bhikki Power Plant, GE remains committed to pushing the boundary of possibilities by bringing advanced solutions to the country,” added Sarim Sheikh, President & CEO of GE Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

GE entered an agreement to provide two high-efficiency 9HA.01 gas turbines and associated equipment to HEI for the Bhikki Combined Cycle Power Plant in September 2015. HEI is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the facility.

GE has supported the development of energy, transportation and healthcare infrastructure in Pakistan for more than 50 years. Today, GE-built technologies can generate the equivalent power needed to supply up to 25 percent of the country’s electricity.

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Note to Editors

About Harbin Electric International:

Harbin Electric International Company Limited (HEI) is an important member of the Harbin Electric Corporation, and is China’s leading large-scale enterprise in power project contracting and the export of power equipment. Established in 1983, HEI is primarily engaged in the engineering, procurement and construction of thermal, hydro and combined-cycle power plants, and the supply of complete sets of equipment; moreover, the company can be contracted to build large-scale transmission facilities and public utilities, and provides professional comprehensive after-sales service. Since 2014, HEI has expanded its business in power investment to help resolve a global shortage of electric power. http://www.china-hei.com

About GE:

GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the „GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.ge.com

About GE Power:

GE Power is a world leader in power generation with deep domain expertise to help customers deliver electricity from a wide spectrum of fuel sources. We are transforming the electricity industry with the digital power plant, the world’s largest and most efficient gas turbine, full balance of plant, upgrade and service solutions as well as our data-leveraging software. Our innovative technologies and digital offerings help make power more affordable, reliable, accessible and sustainable. www.gepower.com.