For those of you who are unsure as to whether to take the plunge and buy or lease an EV, a subscription like that offered by ONTO (below) is useful. You can try a couple of cars for a month or so each and see how you go or, if you are an occasional driver just take one for the holidays.


Johnson Matthey and Plug Power partner to accelerate green hydrogen
Plug Power and Johnson Matthey (JM) announced a long-term strategic partnership to accelerate the green hydrogen economy. JM will become an important strategic supplier of MEA components, providing a substantial portion of Plug’s demand for catalysts, membranes, and catalyst coated membranes (CCM).
Importantly, JM brings security of supply of precious metals, and unique recycling capabilities.
This strategic partnership between Plug and JM will support Plug in delivering its targeted revenue of US$5 billion and US$20 billion by 2026 and 2030 respectively. To help achieve these targets, Plug and JM will co-invest in what is expected to be the largest (5GW scaling to 10GW over time) CCM manufacturing facility in the world. (greencarcongress)

National Grid completes sale of majority stake in gas transmission business
Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has changed its outlook on National Grid Gas plc to stable from negative after National Grid plc concluded the sale of a 60% majority stake to a consortium of Macquarie Asset Management and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. The £9.6 billion sale was first announced in March 2022. It includes National Gas Tranmission also had 7.6 million domestic and commercial meters, as of March 2022, through its subsidiary National Grid Metering, which provides installation and maintenance services to energy suppliers in the regulated market in Great Britain.
The Consortium also has an option agreement with National Grid for the potential acquisition of the remaining 40% stake in the business on broadly similar terms, subject to necessary adjustments. (newpower)


Onto arranges £100m credit line
Onto is an EV leasing company that offers a flexible subscription service whereby customers can pay monthly for a car with all costs, such as insurance, tax and recharging covered, and no long term contract to sign. 
Onto is now moving to scale up its operations and has recently raised a new credit funding line of £100 million from global investment group CDPQ and independent asset manager Pollen Street, boosting its mission to accelerate electric car adoption and provide a flexible alternative to the traditional car ownership model. The £100 million asset-backed facility will enable Onto to continue expanding its UK fleet with the latest electric car models. This new facility builds on the existing relationship between Onto and Pollen Street; Pollen Street has been a finance partner to Onto since July 2021. (cleantechnica)

photo: Zeekr

Report suggests UK energy market reforms after £7bn hit in 21/22
British customers overpaid on their power bills to the tune of £7bn in 2021-22 finds a study published on Tuesday in response to a consultation on reforming the power market. The analysis suggests policy measures such as utility hedging obligations for future fuel needs to reduce exposure to high gas prices, and reform to contracts for difference (CfD) agreements to lower bills.
The report, called Marginal Call estimates what Great Britain’s wholesale market electricity costs would have been if prices were calculated via a “split market” that separates the pricing of power produced by variable supply of renewables, from other sources, as opposed to the marginal pricing design the market currently operates under.
This allows for a measure of prices that are more reflective of the operating costs of technologies supplying electricity and an estimate as to the extent to which global gas market influence can skew UK electricity prices under current market design.
When calculated this way, total net power procurement expenditure over 2021-22 turns out around £7.2 billion lower, representing what could have been saved if measures had been in place to protect against gas market price spike influence on the power market.
With gas-fired power stations the marginal source of UK power generation for several years, power prices effectively mirror movement seen at the UK’s NBP gas hub, leaving consumers exposed to paying the highest prices ever for electricity during a gas-led energy supply crisis.
The study stops short of calling for a market split to be rolled out as Great Britain’s long-term power market design option, as a significant shift in design now could threaten power market net zero by 2035 goals, by introducing uncertainty over revenues of new renewable power generating technologies required to wean the market from gas power, which continued to account for close to 40% of the country’s electricity generation in 2022. (carbontracker)
Download the Marginal Call report HERE

National Express to invest £150m in UK built electric busses
National Express West Midlands has announced plans to invest £150 million in 300 electric buses to be made locally and delivered by the end of 2024.
The Birmingham-based bus operator has committed to transitioning to a completely zero-emission bus fleet by 2030. The new investment is also backed by an original UK government investment used to kick-start a nationwide electric bus transition and will ensure that over a third of National Express’ fleet is electric by the end of next year.
Additional investments will follow for charging infrastructure and maintenance of the fleet at National Express West Midlands’ network of depots. And National Express has also confirmed that the electricity to power the electric buses will be 100% renewable. (thedriven)

Photo: West Midlands Combined Authority

“We could have made a profit, but now’s not the time”
The past two years’ turmoil in world power and gas supply could yet make it ‘the last energy crisis’, Octopus Energy founder Greg Jackson hopes.
Enduring losses and commercial pain could be a price worth paying, on the way to building what Jackson today calls “a cleaner, cheaper, more resilient energy system” .
The maverick behind his privately held seven year old energy supplier, now Britain’s third biggest, commanding with over 5 million accounts following absorption of 1.5 million from Hayden Wood’s under-hedged Bulb, made the remarks as he presented full year results to last April for his privately held firm.
Octopus’ £ 141 million operating loss came about as it decided to absorb £150 million of tariff rises and cost mitigation measures, protecting its customers from the first eye-watering increases on wholesale markets. Jackson said Octopus was the only big supplier to do so. (theeenergyst)


Zeekr show the X, which will come to Europe
If you can name all of the brands in Chinese giant Geely’s stable it probably means you, like me spend too much time reading the EV press*. Zeekr is their upmarket brand which has launched a couple of high performance saloons in China, well appointed and with oversized batteries, so offering very impressive range. Their third launch is to be called the X and is an “urban SUV” which will launch imminently in China and then come to “EV friendly” markets in Europe.
The X has punchy looks and promises a luxury interior, superior performance and range that is the brand’s hallmark. Not many more details as yet.
* Volvo, Lotus, Polestar, Proton, Smart, Lynk & Co and LEVC (the taxi maker) are Geely’s brands that have cars selling in Europe.

photo: Zeekr


France’s ‘agrivoltaic’ PV aims to improve animal health and crop yields
Iberdrola will build four so-called ‘agrivoltaic’ PV projects in France totalling 12MW, after a renewable energy innovation tender launched by the French Ministry for the Energy Transition.
The 20-year contracts for difference (CfDs) awarded were priced above the market value to compensate for the prioritisation of caring for agriculture and livestock farming, rather than maximising the plant’s production.
Iberdrola’s won their bid and obtained the maximum capacity of 3 MW. Framed within the ground-mounted category, they contemplate two different solutions. The first of these, called Kirch, is aimed at improving animal welfare and the pastures used to feed the cattle where the panels are located, in order to increase the quality of dairy products from organic farming. The panels are placed at a minimum height of 1.5m so cows can shelter under them, and each panel is equipped with an intelligent system that allows rainwater to be collected during the winter period, stored in a tank and filtered, and then used in the hot season to irrigate the pasture. This will alleviate heat stress in cattle and pastures, which affects milk production and quality. The system is able to predict the water needs of the pasture and activate the smart irrigation system when necessary.
The other three projects, Maubec, Lapenche and Solomiac, aim to maximise crop production on the land. Instead of tracking the sun to maximise electricity production. (newpower)

photo: Wikimedia


I have always rather dreaded the annual BP Energy Outlook. Whilst it is full of interesting energy facts, the outlook was very much through the eyes of an oil company. This year things get more interesting: the headline claim that we are past peak oil is startling when it comes form an oil company.  

BP Energy Outlook call Peak Oil in 2019 – 4 key conclusions
1. Fossil fuel and oil demand have peaked under all scenarios in 2019. The peak of the fossil era is behind us. For an oil company to make the argument is important. First the think tanks, then the IEA, now an oil company. Consensus is shifting, and fast.
2. Putin’s war has sped up change because of lower GDP, more domestic renewables and higher efficiency. Like the 1970s. So more renewables, less fossil fuels and faster change.
3. China is at peak fossil fuel demand under virtually all scenarios. This matters because China has been the main driver of the growth in fossil fuel demand. 
4. Efficiency gains will increase in the future (by about 1 percentage point extra pa) as the result of electrification and new energy technologies.
BP modelled their research under three scenarios; Net Zero (to hit Paris 1.5C target), Accelerated (to hit 2C by 2050) and New Momentum, which is BP’s own forecast. This latter suggests that there will be significant adoption of renewables, yet still suggests a much more pessimistic roll out of solar than other forecasts, which seems strangely contradictory. Unsurprisingly BP foresee demand for gas continuing at higher levels for a while. Where the report is interesting is in it’s modelling of efficiency savings and how energy security concerns will drive adoption of renewables. BP strongly support investment in renewable hydrogen but do not believe that CCS will scale adequately to play a significant role. (adapted from a post by Kingsmill Bond of the RMI on LinkedIn)
Download the BP Energy Outlook 2023 HERE


RWE and Hyphen explore offtake of green ammonia from Namibia
RWE and Hyphen Hydrogen Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding that could see RWE offtake up to 300,000 tons of green ammonia per year from Namibia.
Hyphen was appointed preferred bidder by the Namibian government to develop the first green hydrogen project in Namibia for export. By 2027 the project aims to annually produce 1 million tons of green ammonia – a hydrogen derivative that is particularly suitable for transport by ship. German renewable energy project developer Enertrag is a joint venture partner of Hyphen. (rwe)

US reinstates protections of Alaskan National Forest
President Joe Biden has reinstated a protective law for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, which Donald Trump rescinded in 2020. The law prohibits logging and road-building on nine million acres of land within the forest.
Local tribes have campaigned ever since to have it brought back, with fear of the impact on the nature and animals that they need for their survival.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has answered their protestations, reinstating the law.
Tongass stores a staggering 44% of the carbon dioxide held in national forests across the US, according to the Alaska Conservation Foundation – spanning close to 17 million acres.
In addition to its role as a carbon sink, the trees in the forest are home to more than 400 species of life – which means the national park has an impact not only on climate mitigation but biodiversity. (futurenetzero)

photo: Unsplash


Green hydrogen produced with near 100% efficiency using seawater
It’s not quite splitting the Red Sea, but new research into splitting seawater to produce hydrogen may be a scientific miracle that puts us on a path to replacing fossil fuels with the environmentally-friendly alternative.
“We have split natural seawater into oxygen and hydrogen with nearly 100 percent efficiency, to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis, using a non-precious and cheap catalyst in a commercial electrolyser,” says project leader Professor Shi-Zhang Qiao from the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering.
Typical non-precious catalysts are transition metal oxide catalysts, for example cobalt oxide coated with chromium oxide.
While using cheaper materials, the process is shown to be very effective, closely matching the efficiency of platinum/iridium catalysts running in a feedstock of highly purified deionised water. (cosmos)