COP27 continues to debate the EU’s late arriving proposal on a loss and damage fund, so we shall have to wait on that, the most important decision at this year’s summit.

In the meantime the UK’s Autumn statement is with us, and with it the expected windfall tax on electricity generators. General consensus seems to be “fair” and at least everyone knows what the hit is. Scottish Power, who are long of renewables described it thus: ““a recession made by gas, but a recovery to be paid for by renewables”. None are complaining that much as the hurdle was set at £75 per MWh rather than the feared £60 per MWh.


BIOGEST Receives €20m Investment from Eiffel Investment Group
BIOGEST received a growth capital investment from Eiffel Gaz Vert for a 25% minority stake. Eiffel Gaz Vert will help finance the development of the BIOGEST Group and the plants to be developed, built, or operated by BIOGEST. This partnership will enable BIOGEST to commission more than a hundred biogas and biomethane units in the coming years.
The global climate crisis and the critical geopolitical situation of gas supply require a rapid action to accelerate green gas production capacity. Biomethane is one of the pillars of the global energy transition and is providing Europe’s cheapest and most scalable renewable gas today. 
The partnership between BIOGEST and Eiffel Gaz Vert will provide a critical boost to the biomethane production capacity and contribute to the decarbonization and security of energy supply in Europe and worldwide. (renewableenergymagazine)

photo: Biogest


Zenobē to invest £750m in trio of Scottish battery projects
Zenobē has announced it has begun construction on a sweeping portfolio of utility-scale battery storage projects in Scotland that could deliver a major boost to the UK’s drive to deliver a zero carbon grid.
The power storage company announced this morning it would invest £750m in the programme, and had already started construction on a storage plant in Blackhillock that is scheduled to come online in the first half of 2024.
Zenobē said the completion of the three projects, which are set to boast a combined capacity of 1GW and be capabable of storing 2GWh of electricity, would make it the largest provider of battery-based transmission solutions in Europe. (businessgreen)

Bulb Energy’s bailout cost UK taxpayers £6.5bn
Bulb Energy’s bailout has cost the taxpayer £6.5bn, nearly three times previous estimates, according to the latest estimate from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Documents released by the fiscal watchdog, accompanying the Autumn Statement, reveal that £4.6bn will be spent overseeing the company’s nationalisation in 2022-23. Earlier estimations put the cost at £2.6bn.
Bulb was put into “special administration” in November 2021, initially with a £1.7bn taxpayer loan to keep it operating after it told regulators it was no longer able to withstand rising wholesale power and gas prices.
The move amounted to the biggest taxpayer-funded rescue since the bailouts of Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS in the 2008-09 financial crash.
Bulb had around 1.6 million customers when it collapsed a year ago and the energy regulator, Ofgem, decided there were too many for them to be transferred to a new supplier under its usual procedures.
It later emerged that while energy retail firms normally buy electricity in advance at fixed prices to protect against any changes, government rules bar state-owned companies from doing this. This left the administrator and taxpayers exposed as prices shot up amid volatile gas markets. (inews)

Autumn Statement is mixed news for EV owners
The bad news: In changes announced in the Autumn Statement newly registered EV’s will become eligible for road tax from April 2025 initially at the base rte of £10 p/a for the first year followed by the standard rate, £165 for following years.  
The good news: Benefit-in-kind payments for company car owners opting for an electric car will remain at 2% and then only rise at 1% per year till 2028.


First Fisker Ocean rolls off the Magna Steyr production line
Henrik Fisker wears plenty of scars from being an early entrepreneur in electric motoring. He earned his motor industry stripes designing sports cars for BMW and others, but his first electric venture, the Fisker Karma was a luxury hybrid that failed, but he licked his wounds, learned a number of lessons and has come back with a compelling proposition called the Ocean.
The Ocean is a mid-size SUV, which is a hardly an original configuration. However it looks well proportioned, sporty and practical. It scores well on performance and sustainability, it’s seats are made from recycled fishing nets. Novelties in the premium models include a solar roof, “California Mode” where all the windows open including the rear boot window, and a infotec screen that swivels between landscape and portrait.
Most interesting, though, is the manufacturing model. Fisker, based in Annaheim, USA are responsible for design, but all manufacturing and parts sourcing is subcontracted to Magna Steyr, a big name in the field. The cars will be produced in their factory in Austria and all battery supply is under contract with world leader CATL.
These innovative arrangements should ensure that quality is good and that the company are not bedevilled by supply issues leading to endless delays, as has happened to other newcomers such as Lucid and Rivian or even Tesla. It seems to be working as the first production models rolled off the line exactly on schedule this week. It will also allow Fisker to control costs, and the company believes that when the base model called the Ocean Sport is launched next year it will retail for around £35,000. In EV land that is seriously competitive.

photo: Fisker Inc.


Air Products launches green ammonia import plans at Hamburg
Air Products and Mabanaft have set out a plan to build Germany’s first large green ammonia import terminal, at the Port of Hamburg.
The plant aims to begin operations in 2026.
The companies intend to base the terminal at Mabanaft’s existing port facility. This will allow the import of green ammonia from Air Product’s facilities around the world.
Once at the terminal, the plan is to convert the ammonia back into hydrogen. The companies will then distribute this to buyers locally and across northern Germany. (energyvoice)

World’s largest floating wind farm comes to life
Equinor, a Norwegian energy firm, announced that last weekend its first wind turbine at its Hywind Tampen floating wind farm began power production. While that sounds very green, the point is to provide electricity for the Snorre and Gullfaks oil and gas fields, which are located in the Norwegian North Sea. Equinor is known for its work in the oil and gas industry.
The wind farm is about 87 miles off the coast of Norway. Equinor plans to get seven of Hywind Tampen’s turbines spinning by the end of this year. The company aims to install four more turbines in 2023, for a total capacity of 88 megawatts.
The turbines are predicted to meet about 35% of the electricity demand for Gullfaks and Snorre. “This will cut CO2 emissions from the fields by about 200,000 tons per year,” the company said in a statement. (inhabitat)


Climate disaster aid scheme ‘Global Shield’ launched at COP27
A G7-led plan dubbed “Global Shield” to provide funding to countries suffering climate disasters has been launched at the United Nations COP27 summit, although some questioned the effectiveness of the planned scheme.
Coordinated by Group of Seven president Germany and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) group of climate-vulnerable countries, the plan launched on Monday aims to rapidly provide prearranged insurance and disaster protection funding after events such as floods, droughts and hurricanes hit.
Backed by 170 million euros ($175m) in funding from Germany and 40 million euros ($41m) from other donors including Denmark and Ireland, the Global Shield will in the next few months develop support to be deployed in countries including Pakistan, Ghana, Fiji and Senegal when events occur.
German Development Minister Svenja Schulze said the Global Shield aimed to complement, not replace, progress on loss and damage.
Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who chairs the V20 group of vulnerable countries, called the creation of the Global Shield “long overdue”. (Aljazeera)

FOCUS ON: LCOE (Levelised Cost Of Energy)

Apologies, I missed this a couple of weeks ago. Still worth publishing though:

Lazard’s annual LCOE Report
This highly respected annual report has been a barometer for the competitiveness of core renewables technologies vs the marginal costs of installed fossil fuel generating technologies. Once again, in the LCOE 15.0 report the competitiveness of renewables continues to improve, although at a reduced rate. There is greater significance attached to the cost of finance in this year’s report, which is understandable, yet on a subsidised basis solar and onshore wind remain very competitive.
Lazard produce separate reports concerning the competitiveness of energy storage and of hydrogen. The former (LCOS 7.0) notes a shift of focus towards Lithion Ion Phosphate, highlighted recently in Titbits, plus the increasing attractiveness of hybrid solutions such as storage paired with solar
The hydrogen report (LOCH 2.0) highlights the importance of the easy availability of renewable energy resources to create the hydrogen, and suggests that although hydrogen is more expensive than competitive energy solution, by how much it is more expensive depends on whether there is a requirement to transport, convert or store the hydrogen.
All  three reports can be downloaded HERE


US long-duration energy storage demos to receive $350m funding
Funding worth nearly $350 million has been announced to support emerging long-duration energy storage (LDES) demonstration projects in the US.
The Department of Energy (DOE) will provide the funding for projects that are capable of delivering electricity for 10 to 24 hours or longer to support a low cost, reliable and carbon-free electric grid.
It believes as the US moves towards a carbon-free grid that relies more on renewables, the need for reliable LDES that can supply enough energy for long periods of time and during periods when energy generation is reduced or unavailable becomes more essential.
The DOE adds energy storage technologies currently available are not sufficiently scaled or affordable to support the broad use of renewable energy on the grid.
The latest funding will support up to 11 demonstration projects that contribute to the DOE’s wider goal of reduce the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90% within the decade. (energylivenews)

New battery tech could be a ‘game changer’ for Australian communities
The head of a Swiss energy company which has been contracted to build a solar storage battery in Victoria says its technology will be a “game changer” for rural communities because it can be built anywhere – provided the locals don’t mind having a structure that is as tall as a 20-storey building.
Energy Vault has pioneered a gravity energy storage system that uses surplus energy to raise 35-tonne blocks, made out of recycled materials, to the top of the tall battery structure. Energy is released by lowering those blocks.
It was awarded a contract last month to develop a 250MW/500MWh battery alongside the proposed 350MW Meadow Creek solar farm near Wangaratta in north-east Victoria. It has also struck a deal with Korea Zinc-owned Sun Metals to build a battery to power its Townsville zinc refinery in north Queensland. (guardian)

photo: Energy Vault


The New Hydrogen Car that Travels 2,000 Kilometers with a Single Tank
Volkswagen is working on a new fuel cell that is much cheaper than the current ones and promises hydrogen cars that can travel 2,000 kilometers on a single tank.
The patent application for this new fuel cell, carried out together with the German company Kraftwerk Tubes, shows that Volkswagen does not want to lose the hydrogen train and works outside the public eye in the development of this technology.
Sasha Kuhn, CEO of Kraftwerk says that this technology resembles solid-state batteries. According to the executive, both have almost the same electrolytes and a similar material structure. The difference is that, while solid-state batteries use a compact material to store energy, in fuel cells that role is assumed by hydrogen in gas form.
In addition, the new ceramic membrane, says Kühn, does not need to be moistened, so it does not freeze in winter, dry out in summer, or attract mold. The manager also points to another advantage that will save costs in the manufacture of vehicles: the fuel cell generates heat that can be used both to replace the car’s heating and air conditioning, which would also mean greater energy savings. (hydrogencentral)

photo: Kraftwerk