Not sure which way to look this week. Canada ratifies tar sands pipeline whilst declaring climate emergency. UK Government refuses to help fast fashion circular economy, yet produces great numbers on carbon intensity in energy generation. Australia gives go ahead to Andana mine
Second life battery firm Connected Energy lands £5m investment
Connected Energy, the company that uses second-life electric vehicle batteries to provide energy storage solutions, has received further investment from Engie, Macquarie and Japanese trading giant, Sumitomo Corporation.
The cash injection is Connected’s second in two years. Engie and Macquarie invested £3m last year in the Newcastle-on-Tyne-based firm, which takes second hand battery packs from Renault electric vehicles, to create storage systems ranging from 60kWs to megawatts.
CEO Matthew Lumsden told delegates at The Energyst event last year that the systems can be used more extensively than allowed under warranties for some new batteries, which means operators can push them harder to maximise revenues. He suggested that could deliver higher yields even if it meant replacing cells earlier. (theenergyst)
UK records greenest ever winter as batteries used to sidestep Triads
The UK recorded its greenest ever winter in 2018/19, as mild conditions, high renewable output and system flexibility combined to send carbon intensity tumbling.
National Grid ESO’s Winter Outlook document, published yesterday, revealed that the average carbon intensity of power generation over the period established a new record low of 242.8g CO2/kWh, almost half the figure witnessed just five years ago. But while supply margins remained healthy throughout last winter, National Grid confirmed system management was not without its challenges.
High renewables output sent inertia from conventional plants falling, and managing significant quantities of wind power raised its own difficulties, the ESO said. More prominent whole system interaction was triggered by higher quantities of renewables, which meant that gas demand varied wildly over the winter period.
And there was also some interesting detail surrounding Triad avoidance, which National Grid noted was higher than anticipated. Triad periods are the three periods of highest demand throughout the winter, usually occurring during weekday peaks, which are hit with Triad charges.
While the future of Triads remains uncertain, National Grid ESO said that this year was the first that the system witnessed high frequency deviations around all three Triad periods, indicating that battery storage systems were switching from charging to discharging as part of Triad avoidance routines. (current-news)
Ministers reject charge of 1p an item to clean up fast fashion
Ministers have rejected recommendations from MPs to clean up the huge environmental impact of fast fashion, which sees 300,000 tonnes of clothing burned or buried in the UK every year.
MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said a charge of 1p for each garment was urgently needed to raise £35m a year for better clothing collection and sorting, a move supported by many in the industry. But the government’s response, published on Tuesday, failed to commit to this, stating only that it could be considered by 2025.
The MPs report, Fixing Fashion, was published in February and revealed that UK shoppers buy more new clothes than any other European country, and roughly twice as many as in Germany and Italy. It also said textile production contributes more emissions to the climate crisis than international aviation and shipping combined, consumes lake-sized volumes of fresh water and creates chemical and microplastic pollution. (guardian)
Statkraft strikes gigawatt VPP deal with Statera
Statkraft has stuck an agreement with Statera Energy to bring a gigawatt of gas and battery storage into its virtual power plant (VPP).
It is expected that Statera will amass that portfolio over the next three to four years. The firm already operates some large storage facilities, such as the 49.9MW Pelham battery near Bishop’s Stortford, and a similar unit at Creyke Beck, co-located alongside a 49.9MW gas peaker. Under the plan, Statera will add new storage and gas assets to Statkraft’s VPP as they come online, and Statkraft will optimise and trade their flexibility.
Given limited visibility of future revenues, the 15-year agreement with a state-backed utility provides Statera and its investors with additional confidence to build out the portfolio. Providing route-to -market services is one of the ways in which Statkraft aims to build a multi gigawatt VPP in the UK. Its German VPP currently stands at around 12GW. (theenergyst)
EV of the week
Electric-powered X Shore boats with luxury Scandinavian design
Promising minimal maintenance, lower operating costs and a gorgeous modern design, Swedish company X Shore is making waves in the marine industry with their 100 percent electric-powered yachts. Created as an environmentally friendly alternative to gas-powered boats, X Shore’s pure electric vessels not only offer a shift away from fossil fuels, but also a seductively silent ride that eliminates noise pollution and toxic fumes. Marketed with the tagline “Power of Silence,” the X Shore yachts can reach top speeds of 40 knots and even up to 100 nautical miles on a single charge. (inhabitat)
Siemens Gamesa Unveils World First Electrothermal Energy Storage System
Last week the company announced the beginning of operations of its electric thermal energy storage system (ETES), claimed by the company as a world first. The opening ceremony for the pilot plant in Hamburg-Altenwerder was held last week to celebrate the beginning of operations.
The newly-opened electric thermal energy storage system is billed by Siemens Gamesa as “The Future Energy Solution” and as costing “significantly” less than classic energy storage solutions. Specifically, according to the company, even at the gigawatt-hour (GWh) pilot scale, ETES “would be highly competitive compared to other available storage technologies.”
The heat storage facility consists of around 1,000 tonnes of volcanic rock which is used as the storage medium. The rock is fed with electrical energy which is then converted into hot air by means of a resistance heater and a blower that, in turn, heats the rock to 750°C. When demand requires the stored energy, ETES uses a steam turbine to re-electrify the stored energy and feeds it back into the grid.
The new ETES facility in Hamburg-Altenwerder can store up to 130MWh of thermal energy for a week, and storage capacity remains constant throughout the charging cycles. (cleantechnica)
Oslo plans to recharge electric taxis on the fly
If ever there were an argument for wireless charging, taxis may be it. And as with most things in electric cars, if there’s a way to demonstrate the technology in action, Norway may find it.
That’s the impetus behind the country’s latest effort to equip all of Oslo’s taxi stands with wireless chargers. The city announced the plan in March, according to a Reuters report. The chargers will be installed by Finnish utility Fortum. Taxis need to charge every chance they get. And while cabbies can’t afford to stop for 45 minutes to charge, they often stop at airports or outside hotels to wait their turn for passengers.
In November, Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrated a 120-kilowatt wireless charger that could give an Oslo taxi a significant 90 miles of range in a 15-minute wait. With wireless chargers at all the taxi stands, drivers wouldn’t need to charge up completely, but pick up a few additional miles every few runs. (greencarreports)
Ireland to unveil bold plan to tackle climate emergency
The government published a long-awaited report on Monday outlining more than 180 measures to curb the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and set a path for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The report also commits Ireland to 2030 EU goals – to avert fines estimated at €6bn, it must slash emissions from 60 million to 33 million tonnes – by planting more trees and buying carbon credits from other countries.
Other goals include:
– Boost the use of renewable sources for power generation from 30 per cent to 70 per cent of electricity.
– Pave the way for 950,000 electric vehicles by expanding charging networks and banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
– Retrofit 500,000 homes and 400,000 heat pumps to make buildings more energy-efficient, offering householders “easy payback methods”. Oil and gas boilers will be prohibited in new homes by 2025.
– Eliminate non-recyclable plastic (businessgreen)
Focus on: Bloomberg New Energy Outlook
Yet another upgrade to global renewables sector
The flurry of reports showing global greenhouse gas emissions are rising once again may have sparked widespread fears the goals of the Paris Agreement will be missed, but according to one of the world’s most influential analyst firms at least one critical industry is moving towards decarbonising at a rate that could keep temperature increases below 2C.
Releasing its annual New Energy Outlook (NEO) report yesterday, BloombergNEF revealed its projections for the global renewables sector have been upgraded once again thanks to “deep declines” in wind, solar, and battery costs. As such, it argues that rather than peaking in 2027, as previously estimated, power sector emissions may have peaked last year and are now on track to fall 36 per cent by 2050.
The report concludes that wind and solar is on track to provide nearly half of grid power globally by mid-century, even as overall demand for electricity soars thanks to rapid acceleration in the roll out of electric vehicles (EVs) and heating systems.
Electricity demand is set to increase 62 per cent, resulting in global generating capacity almost tripling between 2018 and 2050, BNEF said. It predicted meeting growing demand will require $13.3tr in new investment through to 2050, calculating that renewables are extremely well placed to command the lion’s share of new investment. (businessgreen)
Read the report HERE
Sustainable social housing of the week
Timber prototype champions sustainable modular housing
Mexico City-based architectural firm Dellekamp Schleich designed a modular timber home as an inspiring prototype for affordable and eco-friendly housing in Mexico. Originally created as one of 84 experimental proposals for the 2017 “From the Territory to the Dweller” showcase in Morelos, Dellekamp Schleich’s housing prototype is currently on show at INFONAVIT’s Laboratorio de Vivienda (Housing Laboratory) in Apan. (inhabitat)
New York to pass most progressive climate crisis plan in US
New York state would launch the most progressive policy in the US to combat the climate crisis and one of the most ambitious in the world under a new plan devised by state legislators. The program projects that the state would produce 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050.
The proposed legislation, agreed by the state’s Democrat-run senate, faces a vote by the other house of the state legislature, the assembly, in New York’s capital Albany on Wednesday. New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo who negotiated the proposal with top lawmakers and would have final word over any approved legislation, said it would give New York the nation’s best plan to address the causes of the climate crisis. (guardian)
UK commits £8.5m to help tackle climate change in Colombia
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Colombian Environment Minister Ricardo Lozanzo have signed an agreement and committed to accelerating the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Colombia has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030 and 30% by 2030 if it receives international financial support.
Deforestation and change in land use account for a significant amount of the emissions in the country and it is facing new challenges to protect the Amazon.
Around £3.5 million of the funding will protect Colombia’s ecosystem, with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to build a public database of useful plants and help entrepreneurs make money sustainably from their domestic plant species. The rest of the investment – £5 million – will be used to help Colombia’s finance industry become green, sharing the City of London’s expertise and introducing low emission vehicles into major cities. (energylivenews)
Surfing trip leads to 4Ocean cleaning coastlines around the world
Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper took a surfing trip to Bali that would change their lives. While attempting to enjoy the beach and waves, Alex and Andrew found themselves literally wading through plastic. A local lifeguard told them that the plastic washes ashore each and every day.
The lightbulb went off when the duo saw some local fisherman dragging their boats through mounds of plastic as they headed out to work. With capable boat captains and deckhands already heading into the water each day, Alex and Andrew decided to find a way to give them a new job to do. So, they began paying the crews to retrieve plastic instead of fish. As before, the boats went out each morning, but when they returned, the nets had hauled in a different load— plastic.
As the movement continued to grow, more locals joined the crews and 4Ocean was officially born. This business plan is not only effective in cleaning up the beaches and ocean, but is also providing sustainable jobs for the local community. What began as a focus on Bali has now evolved with the company’s direct involvement in cleaning up the coastlines of 27 countries so far.
With boats and payroll expenses growing around the globe, the founders needed a way to fund the business and they found it in the creation of the 4Ocean bracelet, made from recycled waste materials pulled directly from the ocean. The bracelets are hand assembled on the island of Bali, providing additional work in the community. (inhabitat)
Could carbon dioxide feed the fish?
Drax has teamed up with a biotech start-up to explore whether its captured carbon dioxide emissions can be used to make proteins for sustainable animal and fish feed products.
Working with Nottingham University-based Deep Branch Biotechnology, it will install a pilot plant its Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) Incubation Area at its North Yorkshire power station – this area aims to help scientists and researchers develop new approaches to CCUS. Chimney gases from biomass generation will be fed to microbes, which it says can in turn be used to make single-cell proteins for use in fish food and a range of other products.
A dedicated Incubation Area has been created at the power station to give other technology companies the opportunity to test their processes on its carbon dioxide. If initial efforts are successful, Deep Branch Biotechnology hopes to build a larger production facility by 2020. (energylivenews)