Enjoy a few minutes of politics free reading


Lloyds is UK’s first bank to shun fossil fuels
Lloyds Banking Group has become the first full-service British bank to walk away from directly financing coal, oil and gas projects.
New North Sea greenfield oil and gas developments permitted after 2021 now fall outside the banking group’s criteria for support either in lending against client assets or in project-finance, its updated sustainability policy declares.
This week’s revision of Lloyds’ new ESG – environmental, sustainable and governmental –  policy goes deeper and further detail than February’s last declaration.
Now no longer fundable by Lloyds, the new policy makes clear, are upstream exploration by clients for hydrocarbons, and development or production activities in the Arctic and Antarctic, both climate super-sensitive zones and at the forefront of the manmade climate emergency.
Specific to oil and gas, the document promises: “Lloyds will not provide financing to new clients in the oil and gas sector unless it is for viable projects into renewable energies and transition technologies, and clients have credible transition plans”. (theenergyst)


Scotland set to reform planning rules to incentivise rooftop solar installations
Scotland is set to reform its planning rules for solar energy to incentivise rooftop installations across the nation.
The Scottish Government stated that it has pledged to consult on lifting the need to obtain planning permission for larger solar installations on non-domestic buildings early next year, bringing it in line with planning rules in England.
This will be welcome news to the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) who last month argued that unused roofs on warehouses total 18,500 acres of land meaning the UK is missing out on 15GW of solar energy.
By implementing policy that does not require planning permission for non-domestic solar installations, this could make the process simpler and could rapidly scale the Scottish solar industry much like the rest of the UK. (solarpowerportal)

photo: Assetsphere

Statkraft signs battery optimisation deals with Gresham House
Statkraft has announced the signing of two optimisation agreements with Gresham House Energy Storage Fund (GRID), covering two new battery energy storage projects in Scotland.
The new agreements will see the renewable energy giant provide services to optimise charging, discharging and energy trading from the 35MW Arbroath and 40MW Coupar battery storage projects.
Both plants have transmission connections and are set to begin delivering energy later this year. (energyvoice)

Barclays and Oxford University announce agri-climate partnership
Barclays has announced a major new three-year partnership with Oxford University’s Sustainable Finance Group (OxSFG) and the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) designed to help reduce emissions across the British agricultural industry.
The first of its kind project aims to provide better emissions data from the farming industry and establish decarbonisation pathways that would allow financial institutions to better support the agriculture sectors transition towards lower emissions and more sustainable practices.
Methods developed under the partnership will underpin the setting of medium-term environmental targets by Barclays to reduce emissions resulting from financing activities to agriculture clients, which the bank described as key to meeting its commitment to align its financing with the goals of the Paris Agreement. (businessgreen)

Report claims only 3% of England’s nature is protected
A mere 3% of English land and 8% of British seas are under nature protection.
That’s according to Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL), which claims that the government is currently far off its plan to protect 30% of the country’s nature by 2030.
This plan has been implemented to protect biodiversity, however, the report claims that “little progress” has been made in England.
Known as the 30×30 pledge, more than 100 countries have agreed to hit the 30% figure by the end of the decade.
The difference between protection levels in 2021 and 2022 is pretty much non-existent – a 0.22% increase, the WCL claims. (futurenetzero)


Renault re-imagines the R4 at Paris
Renault is reaching back, again, into the nostalgia cupboard as it moves forward into the electric era.
The original Renault 4 (often affectionately referred to as the ‘R4’) was Renault’s answer to the  Citroen 2CV. Whilst the R4 was arguably the world’s first mass-produced front-drive hatchback, it was marketed at the time as a small wagon.
Sold as a basic, go anywhere, do anything car for the masses, the R4 sold by the millions. You still see plenty on the roads and every French barn has a gently rusting example in the corner.
So it is hardly surprising that, given the excitement around Renault’s re-imagining of the R5 as an electric super-mini, they announced at the Paris Show that they are doing a similar job with the R4. The show car, called the R4EVER, has been imagined as an all-road, Tonka-tuff mini-SUV. There are a few styling cue’s from the original; the flat front panel and the shape of the rear quarterlight. I am guessing that a production version would likely be stripped of all the plastic accessories, so could be a worthy successor.

Photo: Renault


New study outlines a transition plan for Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant
The Belchatow power station today plays a vital role in the central European energy grid and is the sixth largest coal-fired power plant on Earth. BNEF finds that deploying 11GW of wind and solar in the region to replace 80 percent of Belchatow’s ‘brown’ coal generation is possible from a land-use perspective. Alternatively, some 6GW of wind and solar paired with a gas, biomass or waste-to-energy plant could achieve similar output. Its analysis examines the feasibility of deploying lower-carbon technologies and offers a possible transition roadmap to do so. The report was released today by Bloomberg Philanthropies and BNEF in partnership with Forum Energii at an event in the Polish region of Łódź where the Belchatow plant stands. (renewableenergymagazine)
Download the report HERE

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Octopus Energy and Nexta to develop renewable assets in Italy
The UK-based Octopus Energy Group has entered Italy’s green power market by partnering with Italian renewable developer Nexta Capital Partners.
The two companies will create a joint venture that will aim to install 1.1GW of new onshore wind, solar and energy capacity in the south of Italy by 2025.
Octopus Energy Development Partnership (OEDP), a €220m fund launched by the Octopus Energy Group, will invest in the development of these new renewable assets.
Nexta will use OEDP’s investment to obtain land and grid connections for the projects, as well as planning permission to get them to the ready-to-build stage. (power-technology)

photo: Octopus Energy


Sweden is becoming a Silicon Valley for sustainable solutions
Just below the Arctic Circle, a vast factory owned by Northvolt AB churns out electric-vehicle batteries for Europe’s biggest automakers. On Sweden’s west coast, four-year-old Heart Aerospace AB is building an electric plane ordered by United Airlines and Air Canada. And in Stockholm, startup X Shore AB has developed a $99,000 battery-powered vessel it says heralds a “Tesla moment” for leisure boating.
These companies and dozens more make Sweden a thriving hub for innovations in greener transportation, with the most tech investment per capita in Europe. A skilled workforce, abundant investment capital for climate projects, and ample supplies of renewable energy have helped the country of 10 million become a leader in clean-technology startups.
Other significant startups include H2 Green Steel in July won a permit to build a $4 billion mill using renewable electricity in the northern city of Boden, part of a push to decarbonize one of the most energy-intensive industries. Einride AB is developing electric trucks near Gothenburg for vegan milk producer Oatly . In June, Einride—backed by Soros Fund Management—got regulatory approval to test a driverless delivery vehicle on public roads in the US. 
Startups are benefiting from a vibrant ecosystem of successful entrepreneurs and industrialists betting on cleantech. Retailer Ikea has invested in Northvolt. Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify Technology SA, is backing Northvolt, steelmaker H2, and several other companies. And the billionaire Wallenberg family, which has shaped Swedish business life for 150 years, has stakes in Einride, Heart Aerospace, and more via various investment funds. (bloomberg)

photo: Einride


An organic Italian winery is updated with sustainable style
The winery is called Cascine Elena in Rochetta Belbo. To create a new building for the winery, the architects, BRH+ built it horizontally along the contour of the hill to create a sort of natural terracing. The building reinterprets vernacular architecture that avoids decoration by focusing on simple geometric shapes.
the architects selected locally sourced and sustainable products that also reduced the need for maintenance of the building. Many materials can also be recycled if the building is demolished in the future
A clay cladding with high density creates thermal lag while the ground around the cellar reduces air conditioning needs. Solar radiation heat is then dissipated through a ventilated wall system on the facade and roof.
The insulation is all made of natural materials, including cork panels, hemp and wood fiber.
Energy is produced by renewable sources from photovoltaic panels on the roof. Rainwater is also recycled. Attention was paid to workers as well, who use a space that is ventilated and naturally lit to stay comfortable. The space reduces energy use, too. (inhabitat)

photo: BRH+


Electrify America unveils its first application of megawatt-level energy storage
The megawatt-level energy storage system combined with a solar canopy goes a step further than Electrify America’s existing BESS in managing energy costs and reducing stress on the grid by acting as a buffer to supplement power to charging stations when local utilities limit the amount of power a station can draw from the grid. This application leverages energy storage and solar as a ‘non-wires alternative’ in lieu of relying on additional utility ‘wired’ infrastructure (i.e. power lines) that may not be feasible. Such innovative approaches become critical to expand EV charging into more remote areas to reach more consumers where utilities may not be able to deliver the capacity needed to install or expand charging infrastructure.
lectrify America selected the Baker station for the first deployment of the megawatt-level energy storage system because of its remote location and its utility capacity constraints. The integration of the roughly 1.5 MW/3 MWh energy storage system with 66 kW of generation potential from the solar canopy, coupled with sophisticated control technology, is Electrify America’s comprehensive solution for adding additional power to the station. (renewableenergymagazine)

photo: Electrify America

China continues to make progress in renewable energy
In the prairies of China’s vast Inner Mongolia region, panels for PV modules and turbines for wind farms jostle for space and attention in what was once a barren land. Electricity is generated continuously from the sun and the wind in the region for onward transmission across the country, marking another feather in China’s ongoing efforts to cut carbon emissions. Ten years ago, renewable energy accounted for just 2.7% of the total electricity output. However, by the end of 2021, the same had risen to 18.5%. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, total renewable energy installation capacity in the country exceeded 11,000 GW by the end of last year. (cgtn)


ProLogium solid state battery tech closes in on 1000km range
The partner of Mercedes in solid-state battery development, ProLogium, has showcased the fruit of its multi-year research in silicon electrodes at the ongoing Paris Auto Show which it said will be in prototypes as soon as next quarter.
ProLogium’s “world premiere of 100% silicon oxide anode” brings with it solid-state battery energy density increase to the 295-330 Wh/Kg range, alongside other virtues of the technology like lower costs of production and much higher safety than the current flammable EV batteries with liquid electrolyte. By way of contrast the CATL M3P phosphate packs for the base Tesla Model Y are rated at 160 Wh/kg.
Silicon usually doesn’t take more than 10% of the anode components in current batteries due to swelling concerns, but ProLogium’s proprietary chemistry makes the 100% silicon electrode a reality. 100% silicon allows for a reduction in the amounts of expensive lithium used and creates a very stable electrolyte that prevents thermal runaway and can accommodate higher energy density.
For context, a ProLogium battery in a mid-size SUV like the Tesla MOdel Y or VW ID.4 would offer a range of close to 1,000km/625 miles.
The rate at which companies are announcing breakthroughs in this area suggests that CATL’s prediction that solid state batteries wouldn’t be ready for automotive use till the 2030’s might prove too cautious. (notebookcheck)