COP26 achieved some good (see focus, below) and we now have a properly Green influenced German Government. Are we setting ourselves up for major disappointment?
Good Energy puts its power generation portfolio up for sale
Good Energy has put its 47.5MW power generation portfolio up for sale, confirming its intention to transition away from a being a renewables utility and towards becoming a green energy services provider.
It said its plan to sell its generation portfolio and hone its focus on the development of decentralised, digitised clean energy and transport services had received strong shareholder support, after the company fought off a series of hostile takeover bids from rival green energy company Ecotricity this autumn.
It said its clean energy portfolio had been valued at £56.8m in June 2021, after Good Energy undertook a “formal re-evaluation exercise” because their historic carrying value was not fully reflective of their open market value. (businessgreen)
Cows ‘could bring clean heat to 750,000 UK homes’
Data from Energy Networks Association (ENA) shows that enough biomethane green gas is now being produced to supply 770,654 homes.
ENA suggests nearly 109 biomethane green gas production sites are now connected to Britain’s gas grid, with developers having a further 23 sites in the pipeline.
That compares to just one that was connected to the gas grid in 2011.
The analysis also estimates that food waste is providing enough biomethane to heat more than 211,000 homes – that is almost the same number of homes as in Edinburgh. (futurenetzero)
Yorkshire village Boston Spa selected for smart meter trial
A small village near Leeds, West Yorkshire with a population of around 4,000 people could potentially help the UK save up to two million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
Northern Powergrid has launched a trial that will see the small village use smart-meter-led technology to lower energy bills and reduce emissions of local homes.
The electricity distribution network operator plans to collect data from local smart meters and will assess them to optimise the network voltage.
This optimisation could help local customers reduce their energy consumption.
If the systems could be deployed nationally, an estimated £500 million could be saved on customers’ energy bills, the company estimated. (energylivenews)
Vodafone dials up plans for UK rollout of self-powered mobile masts
New ‘Eco-Towers’ boast built-in wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries, allowing Vodafone to extend coverage to remote, off-grid locations
Vodafone is hoping to deploy mobile communications masts across the UK which power themselves using built-in wind, solar, and battery technologies, the telecoms giant revealed today.
The firm has developed the new ‘Eco-Towers’ to be entirely self-reliant on their own renewable energy systems, enabling them to bring mobile communications to the UK’s most remote locations without facing the challenges and costs of connecting to the electricity grid, it explained.
Vodafone said it had been working for the past two years with Crossflow Energy on the development of “unique and innovative” wind turbine technology, which combined with the latest solar and battery technologies, has enabled the firms to create a self-powered mobile network tower.
The final design has yet to be fully deployed, but working in collaboration with network partner Cornerstone, the firms now plan to run a proof of concept with a view to then installing the Crossflow Turbine technology at rural mobile sites across the UK, they said. (businessgreen)
photo: Crossflow Energy
Entire Output of World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Sold Out
15-year offtake Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) have been signed for the third phase of the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, SSE Renewables and Equinor said.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be constructed over 130 kilometres out to sea off the north-east coast of England and is expected to be fully commissioned by March 2026.
Due to its size and scale, Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being built in three consecutive 1.2 GW phases: Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, and Dogger Bank C.
Each phase is expected to generate around 6 TWh of electricity annually, totalling 18 TWh annually across all three phases, enough renewable electricity to supply five per cent of the UK’s demand and equivalent to powering six million UK homes.
Separate PPAs for a total of 1.2 GW for Dogger Bank C have now been concluded with sponsor offtakers Danske Commodities (40 per cent share) on behalf of Equinor and SSE Energy Supply Limited (20 per cent share) on behalf of SSE Renewables, and also with external offtakers Centrica Energy Marketing and Trading (20 per cent share) and Shell Energy Europe Limited (20 per cent share). The agreements are subject to Financial Close on Dogger Bank C, which is expected by the end of 2021. (offshorewind)
Baxi wants to accelerate hydrogen home heating
The managing director of Baxi UK & Ireland has called for swifter measures to speed up the introduction of hydrogen in order to decarbonise home heating. Karen Boswell OBE, said more ambition needed to be shown to ensure hydrogen can take the place of natural gas in UK homes.
Baxi is currently demonstrating a hydrogen boiler as part of the UK government’s Hy4Heat programme in Low Thornley near Gateshead. The boiler produces no greenhouse gases at the point of use.
The UK government currently foresees a potential rollout of hydrogen ready boilers from 2026. Hydrogen ready boilers initially use natural gas but can be easily converted to use hydrogen as a fuel.
Under current plans, the first hydrogen town could be supported with a hydrogen grid by 2030.
Karen Boswell said, “The infrastructure, in our view, will need to move even more quickly in order to get this market going.
Baxi said that it would support the reskilling of installers who will help customers to make the right decisions about low-carbon technology as it is rolled out. (theenergyst)
Motorways to get energy storage boost
To make charging electric vehicles on motorways easier, National Highways is investing in new energy storage systems for service stations.
These systems will be in place for when the grid supply is not sufficient for rapid charging infrastructure – so drivers can still charge up their cars on long journeys without the fear of ‘range anxiety’.
The energy storage systems are essentially large battery packs that will provide extra electricity than what is currently in place.
The move is the next step in the government’s plans to have more than 6,000 high powered chargers on the motorway network by 2035. (energylivenews)
EV of the week
Maeving launch electric urban motorbike
British start up Maeving is looking to fill a niche in the electric motorbike market for a high quality, well designed commuter electric motorbike. The company raised two seed rounds during lockdown, with a bit of help from us at Lancea, and are now ready to launch their first model, the RM1. The look is “naked bike retro” whilst clearly being electric powered and runs on either one or two removable batteries, each of which is good for 40 miles of range. The company is targeting urban professionals “Max & Maxine” who will enjoy a stylish zero carbon way of hopping about town. Having attended the launch this week I can testify to the fact that the bikes look magnificent. The company are starting to take orders for 2022 delivery. Sign up HERE
New German coalition aims for 80% renewable power by 2030
On Wednesday, the German Greens entered a so-called “traffic light” coalition alongside the social democrat SPD and the business-friendly liberal FDP.
The parties’ coalition agreement enshrines an 80% renewable electricity and 50% renewable heating target for 2030, while keeping the country’s planned nuclear exit on track and “ideally” phasing out coal by 2030.
These targets amount to a massive challenge for Germany, which has struggled to expand renewable energy in the past.
To achieve this target, the incoming minister of energy, economy and climate Robert Habeck aims to reserve 2% of land for onshore wind power, more than triple offshore wind capacity (to 30GW) and quadruple solar PV installations (to 200 GW). (edie)
Kia and Audi invest to expand Ionity charging network
Kia and Audi have made an additional investment in Ionity that will increase the number of ultra-fast 350kW charge points in the pan-European EV charging network from 1,500 to 7,000 by 2025.
As part of the €700 million network expansion, the two manufacturers, as shareholders along with BlackRock Global Renewable Power, will expand the number of ultra-fast charging stations in the network from 400 to 1,000.
Ionity currently operates in 24 countries and is a joint venture between BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Group (including Kia), Mercedes Benz and the Volkswagen Group with its brands Audi and Porsche.
The chargers will be placed along the European motorway network and installed along trunk roads and near major cities.
Also, existing charging sites located in areas that have high traffic levels will be upgraded with new charge points.
Ionity will also look to acquire more of its own properties and build and operate its own service stations. (theenergyst)
BASF to set up renewables arm
German chemicals giant BASF is bundling its activities in clean power under the umbrella of BASF Renewable Energy from 1 January next year.
The wholly-owned subsidiary’s business activities will focus on supplying the BASF Group in Europe with electricity from renewable energies, electricity trading activities in Europe and global consulting for BASF and its group companies in the field of clean power.
The company is based in Ludwigshafen and will be managed by Horatio Evers, who was previously responsible for the development of renewable energies at BASF.
BASF expects that by gradually replacing electricity from fossil generation, from own production as well as purchase agreements, and scaling innovative, climate-friendly technologies to an industrial scale, its electricity consumption in Europe will increase from 9 terawatt-hours a year from fossil fuels to at least three to four times as much from renewable sources to reach its 2050 net zero goal.
BASF Renewable Energy is tasked with supplying the European sites with these additional volumes in line with demand. (renews)
Focus on: Thoughts post COP26
Traditionally, the environmental industries spend our time worrying that the world is heading towards disaster whilst the rest get on with their lives. On the subject of COP26 there seems to have been a role reversal. The others moan that it was, as expected, an expensive waste of time whilst the environmentalists seem to be encouraged by what was achieved. Here are excerpts from a couple of fine articles by senior players in the environmental world:
By Myles Allen, Director of Oxford Net Zero, University of Oxford
It must be painful for Boris Johnson to be a footnote, especially a footnote in French, but at the end of a very long two weeks, there were always only two outcomes possible at the UN climate summit in Glasgow. A Copenhagen-style meltdown, putting the implementation of the Paris Agreement on hold for years. Or a footnote.
A meltdown was never in anyone’s interest, so we have ended up with a footnote. A long footnote, an important footnote, but a footnote nonetheless. The Glasgow Climate Pact saw rules clarified (sort of), more finance, especially for adaptation (but still not enough), greater clarity on long-term goals and the treatment of climate-related loss and damage, and some (still inadequate) progress on short-term commitments…
… But if (and it’s a big if) countries manage to honour the pledges they’ve made since Paris, most importantly China’s declaration of carbon neutrality by 2060 and India’s net zero by 2070, even if serious global reductions don’t start until after 2030, we would (just) save the trillionth tonne of carbon.
This would give us, depending on what happens to other emissions, reasonable odds of limiting global warming to 2°C. Talking at COP18 in Doha in 2012, I would not have expected to be able to write that in 2021.
Of course, it’s not enough, because while global temperatures have responded to emissions pretty much as expected, the climate impacts associated with even today’s level of warming, as we pass 1.2°C, have proved much worse than we would have predicted back in 2005.
We have made progress in acknowledging where we want to get to, not how we’re going to get there, still less actual evidence we have started. Nations could only agree to “phase down”, not “phase out”, the use of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. That’s an agreement to slow, not stop. (theconversation)
By Ian Simm, founder & CEO of Impax Investments
With the UN COP26 climate summit now behind us, it’s time to assess what has changed and, crucially, what should happen next.
There were certainly disappointments in the final conference text, particularly the deferral of commitments on strengthening nationally determined contributions (NDCs), the last-minute compromise on coal, and the failure to substantiate the US$100 billion of capital flows promised to developing countries.
Nevertheless, the emergence of coalitions of key actors around single issues like coal power, deforestation and methane emissions was a standout success, in my view, with business and finance driving ambitious commitments alongside governments….
…To realise the ambition of COP26, I believe policymakers need to focus their activity in five areas – and without delay.
First, there’s an urgent need for clear sector-by-sector roadmaps that lay out how national governments plan to meet their net-zero targets.
Secondly, we need appropriate economic instruments. Effective roadmaps will require some government intervention to ensure that price and other market signals incentivise investment.
The third area is innovation. The availability and/or cost of key technologies to get us to net zero is a major problem, particularly in shipping and aviation as well as in the steel and cement sectors.
Fourthly, we need more international collaboration, particularly to ensure that market design leads to business opportunities at scale.
Finally, governments must get the public on board. Much of the sustainable transition hinges on millions of decisions taken by individual consumers….
… As we emerge from COP26, the direction of travel towards achieving global net zero is clear and irreversible. Identifying the corporate winners and losers will, however, require expertise and investment discipline. For those of us focused on investing in the opportunities arising from the sustainable transition, it seems as though we are only at the end of the beginning. (linkedin)
Construction begins at geothermal lithium extraction pilot in California
Developer Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) said on Monday that it has commenced drilling at the Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power project. The Salton Sea, a landlocked body of highly-saline water, already hosts about 450MW of geothermal power plants, but Hell’s Kitchen would be the first new one built in a decade.
After drilling to 8,000ft depth to create the power plant’s first two wells, the next step would be to test brine to prepare for scaling up the power plant’s generation output and lithium recovery potential, Colwell added. The extracted lithium will be converted into lithium hydroxide.
Investors in the pilot project include Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which put in US$20 million and the California Energy Commission (CEC) has described geothermal brine extraction as an opportunity to create a “world-class lithium industry” in the state. The CEC provided some financial assistance to the project. (energy-storagenews)
photo: Controlled Thermal Resources
Why do so few car parks have a solar canopy?
Yale 360 asks a very relevant question. Why is solar development ignoring urban locations, especially car parks. They point out that there is not an inexhaustible supply of rural land to build utility scale solar, and that solar must be careful not to encroach on other land uses. They give this particular car park example:
A typical Walmart supercenter, for instance, has a five-acre parking lot, and it’s a wasteland, especially if you have to sweat your way across it under an asphalt-bubbling sun. Put a canopy over it, though, and it could support a three-megawatt solar array, according to a recent study co-authored by Joshua Pearce of Western University in Ontario. In addition to providing power to the store, the neighboring community, or the cars sheltered underneath, says Pearce, the canopy would shade customers — and keep them shopping longer, as their car batteries top up. If Walmart did that at all 3,571 of its U.S. super centers, the total capacity would be 11.1 gigawatts of solar power — roughly equivalent to a dozen large coal-fired power plants. Taking account of the part-time nature of solar power, Pearce figures that would be enough to permanently shut down four of those power plants. (Yale360)
An 8MW car park array at Rutgers University, New Jersey
A 28-Year-Old Aims to Build Southeast Asia’s Biggest Solar Farm
The Ivy League-educated son of a prominent Philippine congresswoman wants to build the largest solar power plant in Southeast Asia using proceeds from an initial public offering next month.
Leandro Leviste, 28, will seek to raise as much as 2.7 billion pesos ($54 million) by selling shares in Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corp., a unit of his Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings Inc.
The funds will go toward constructing the first phase of a 500-megawatt plant in a province about 130 kilometers north of Manila. That would increase the country’s solar capacity by almost 50% and be able to power about 800,000 homes when completed. The offering comes as the Philippines haltingly moves away from fossil fuels. (bloomberg)
Shell to construct and operate battery swapping stations with Nio
China-based EV maker NIO has entered into a strategic partnership with Shell to further its involvement in electric vehicle and energy industries globally. As part of this new strategic cooperation agreement, NIO and Shell will construct and operate battery charging and swapping facilities. This includes a plan to install 100 battery swapping stations in China by 2025 and construct and operate pilot stations in Europe from 2022.
Shell’s charging network in Europe will also become available to NIO users.
In the meantime, NIO and Shell will continue to explore further collaboration opportunities in battery asset management, fleet management, membership systems, home charging services, advanced battery charging and swapping technology development, and the construction of charging facilities in China. (greencarcongress)
Innovative i-Mesh fabric takes shape at Expo 2020 Dubai
The construction and textiles industries are two of the most targeted industries for creating waste, toxins and carbon emissions. Innovation in both industries move towards a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable focus. Recently unveiled at Expo 2020 Dubai, i-Mesh is an artistic and creative approach to dealing with hot climates like in the Middle East.
i-Mesh is a lightweight, breathable material made in Italy. The new fabric is a product of a start-up company by the same name. For the Dubai Expo, designer Werner Sobek used the material to build an eye-catching and functional canopy that creates a screen between the ground and the sky in the primary walkways of the Expo.
Although a textile, it’s being dubbed with the moniker of soft architecture. Stronger than typical fabrics, it will stand up to sun, wind and even sandstorms. The structure at Expo 2020 Dubai is the largest retractable canopy ever built thanks to the innovative i-Mesh material.
Developed as an architectural material designed to meet a variety of weather-related conditions, i-Mesh’s mission is to provide customizability and minimal waste. The production method limits cutoff waste to 3% compared to the standard textile waste of 25%. The company reports i-Mesh can be removed, stored and reinstalled endlessly, for an advantage over disposable materials. At the end of the life, however, the material is recyclable. According to the website (inhabitat)