Does the Government really want to restart fracking in their Red Wall constituencies, or is it all just a ruse, a virtual stick to poke us Woke-y’s with?


Iberdrola sells share of wind farm for €700m
Iberdrola has signed an agreement with Swiss investment firm Energy Infrastructure Partners (EIP) for the sale of a 49% stake in Wikinger offshore wind farm in Germany for €700 million.
According to the agreement, Wikinger’s total valuation amounts to approximately €1.4 billion.
The Spanish energy group will continue to control and manage the asset, leading the operations and maintenance services.
Wikinger is one of the company’s flagship operational projects and was the first offshore wind farm developed by the group. It has an installed capacity of 350MW. (energylivenews)


The Fracking Zombie comes back to haunt us
This is extracted from a piece called “Why Fracking is not the Answer” by the always excellent Carbon Brief. Link to the ful article below.
Fracking advocates tend to frame it as a way to produce cheap energy in large volumes within UK borders, but there is little evidence for these central claims.
The UK only gets 3% of its gas from Russia, far less than its European neighbours, but Russia’s actions have driven up wholesale prices as countries search for other sources of gas.
Truss herself has been careful to describe fracking, not in terms of cutting bills, but as a way to ensure energy security. As she made her announcement, Truss told parliament “it is vital we take steps to increase our domestic energy supply”.
Indeed, she added that shale gas could be flowing within “six months”.
In reality, scaling up fracking is expected to take many years, even under the most optimistic scenarios laid out by the industry.
Her argument seems to rely on data from UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the trade body representing the fracking industry. UKOOG has told MPs that if just 10% of England’s estimated shale gas resources were extracted, it would make the UK “self-sufficient in natural gas for 50 years”.
This is a commonly cited figure emanating from a 2013 British Geological Survey (BGS) study, which has since been debunked by scientists from the same institution. Their more recent analysis suggests the true “maximum” amount of shale gas available is about 10 times lower than the earlier estimate.
Finally, as the chart below shows, the impact that fracking could have in the short term on curbing gas imports is considerably lower than other measures.
Notably, focusing instead on accelerating the rollout of renewables, or encouraging people to make simple changes to their home heating systems, would both cut gas use considerably. (carbonbrief)

chart: Carbon Brief

Blue H2’s pipeline puffs to 16GW across UK and Norway
Hydrogen’s “blue” variety scrubbed from oil and gas commands a 90:10 capacity lead over its electrolysed, cleaner “green” variant, in the UK and Norway, according to new analysis out this morning.
Aberdeen-based researchers Westwood Global Energy estimate that announced projects in hydrogen production scheduled for operation by 2030  amount to 16GW total capacity in western Europe’s two biggest oil-producing economies.  Of that, 13 GW is located in the UK, researchers found, per the chart below.
That total means Britain is on track to shatter its 10GW ceiling in hydrogen production capacity, targeted by the government for the end of this decade. (theenergyst)

photo: Shell plc

ProLogium considers UK for new £6.9bn gigafactory
Taiwan-based EV battery maker is considering the UK as the site of its first overseas gigafactory.
ProLogium is seeking to expand production of next-generation solid-state batteries and is looking at potential sites in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.
The factory is expected to be built with a three-phase construction and ultimately an annual capacity target of 120GWh.
Investment will total £6.9bn over the next decade and ProLogium has appointed Accuracy, an independent consulting firm, to advise on the location of the factory. (theenergyst)

photo: Prologium

Switching to renewables could save the world more than £10tn
Making the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy could save the world more than £10 trillion.
That’s according to research from Oxford University, which claims that making the urgent switch to go green now would provide huge savings for businesses, with renewables at their lowest price and gas at its highest.
The researchers compared the extensive fiscal data on fossil fuels with the less extensive data on renewables – but still found that while fossil fuel prices have maintained a similar price, when considering inflation, renewables have seen a consistent drop of 10% each year.
The study claims this is likely to continue, using ‘probabilistic modelling’, which is where a comparison of similar technologies and investments is used to predict the market. (futurenetzero)


MG4 – The disruptor
A little scene setting for readers who still associate the brand MG with British sports cars of the last century. MG was reborn in 2005 as a sub-brand of Chinese battery & EV giant SAIC. They relaunched MG selling low cost saloons and SUV’s with an EV variant tagged onto each range. Their sales have grown steadily and they now sell more cars in the UK than Mini, Land Rover or Skoda.
With the launch of the MG4 SAIC take it to another level, and the European motor industry should take serious notice: They have clearly benchmarked the VW ID.3 as the MG4 has very similar dimensions rides on a bespoke slim battery platform, has rear wheel drive, offers or 280mile range variants and even switch on when you sit in them like the ID.3.
However, in two killer respects the MG4 is different: SAIC, like BYD (see Titbits a couple of weeks ago) are fully vertically integrated and fully control their supply chain. They will be able to deliver without one year waiting times and the MG4 will go on sale a full £10,000 cheaper than the similarly specified VW model.
Just to add a cherry to the cake, reviewers suggest that the build quality of the MG4 is excellent. As I have repeatedly said, the European industry has had enough warnings.
As the MG4 review in the Sun said “OH MG!”

photos: MG UK


Germany Working on Historic Takeover of Three Gas Companies
Germany is in advanced talks to take over Uniper SE and two other large gas importers in a historic step to avoid a collapse of its energy market, according to people familiar with the matter.
State ownership of Uniper, VNG AG and Securing Energy for Europe GmbH, formerly Gazprom Germania GmbH, is the main solution under discussion, the people said. The government is considering buying Fortum Oyj’s controlling stake in Uniper for a nominal price and would then inject billions of euros into the company through a capital increase, according to some of the people.
With Russia’s main pipeline to Germany cut off, Uniper is having to source alternative supplies and it’s racking up losses of as much as 100 million euros ($100 million) a day, according to its CEO.  (Bloomberg)

EU slammed over failure to protect marine life from ‘destructive’ fishing
The waters of the EU are in a “dismal” state, with only a third of fish populations studied in the north-east Atlantic considered to be in good condition, according to more than 200 scientists and conservationists.
The analysis, issued on Monday, follows a scathing report from the European court of auditors two years ago, which warned that the EU had failed to halt marine biodiversity loss in Europe’s waters and to restore fishing to sustainable levels.
The EU has left 99% of continental waters unprotected from “high-impact activities” including bottom trawling and industrial-scale extraction, the scientists say, with only 1% set up as “true” marine protected areas (MPAs), By 2017, only 10.8% of the surface of Europe’s seas had been designated as MPAs.
In a declaration – published before a meeting in Brussels next week at which countries will agree common positions on December’s Cop15 global biodiversity conference – they urged member states to “raise the bar” of ocean conservation away from the “disastrous status quo”. (guardian)


A virtual power plant is just what it says: Residents in a designated zone contribute power back to the grid through any of their domestic renewables, battery storage or their EV. The idea is great, but adoption has been slow as there are issues relating to income generation, especially in lower income regions where properties are often multi-owner and rented. EV adoption still needs to increase in order to play a significant role. However some projects show promise, and, of course, if a new thing is happening Elon Musk will not be far away from the action.

Richmond, California shows the way
As described by MCE, the new virtual power plant is part of the city of Richmond, California’s “Advanced Energy Community project,” funded with a $3 million assist from the California Energy Commission. In addition to the new VPP, the program includes energy-efficient rehabs for abandoned homes.
The new VPP “will provide bill savings and increase local grid reliability, safety, and efficiency for low-income residents,” MCE explains.
If all goes according to plan, there will be a significant load shift out of the 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. peak hours, resulting in significant cuts to utility bills for as those participating in the VPP are rewarded for their contribution of valuable grid services.
The overall project is a soup-to-nuts energy equity and affordability program. (cleantechnica)

Tesla’s virtual power plant had its first event helping the grid
Tesla’s virtual power plant in California had its first emergency response event helping the grid by pooling power from Powerwall owners around the state. The event appears to have been a success as the distributed power plant looks like the future.
A virtual power plant (VPP) consists of distributed energy storage systems, like Tesla Powerwalls, used in concert to provide grid services and avoid the use of polluting and expensive peaker power plants.
Last year, Tesla launched a VPP pilot program in California, where Powerwall owners would join in voluntarily without compensation to let the VPP pull power from their battery packs when the grid needed it.
This new version of the Tesla Virtual Power Plant actually compensates Powerwall owners $2 per kWh that they contribute to the grid during emergency load reduction events. Homeowners are expected to get between $10 and $60 per event.
Just days later, the Tesla VPP had its first emergency response event. Tesla reached out to Powerwall owners who opted in the program through its app yesterday to warn them of the event and give them the option to opt-out if they needed all the power from their Powerwalls today:
It looks like 2,342 Powerwall owners participated in the event on the PG&E network and 268 homes on the SCE grid.
For PG&E, Tesla’s VPP was outputting as much as 16 MW of power at one point during the event – acting as a small distributed power plant. (electrek)

photo: Tesla


The DOE is looking to boost enhanced geothermal
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new Energy Earthshot aimed at cutting the cost of geothermal energy systems.
It is part of the department’s new goal to make enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) “a widespread renewable energy option” in the US by reducing its cost by 90% to $45 per megawatt hour by 2035.
According to the DOE, more than five terawatts of heat resources – enough to meet the electricity needs of the entire world – exist in the US and capturing even a small fraction of this could affordably power more than 40 million US homes.
It is investing in research and development that is expected to help the country access its full geothermal potential and reach the Enhanced Geothermal Shot goals.
Recent investments include $44 million to help spur EGS innovations for DOE’s Frontier Observatory for Geothermal Energy Research (FORGE) field laboratory and up to $165 million to transfer best practices from oil and gas to advance both EGS and conventional geothermal. (futurenetzero)

photo: Wikimedia Commons

Gold Standard explores how to offer carbon credits on the blockchain
Carbon credit certification platform Gold Standard has announced it is launching a consultation to assess how carbon offset credits could be digitised and managed as digital tokens or crypto-currencies using blockchain technology.
Gold Standard – which specialises in quantifying and certifying emissions savings from carbon offset projects – said it was launching the consultation to seek views on the conditions that would have to be met by companies looking to create digital carbon credits.
Earlier this year, Gold Standard updated its terms of use to clarify that the creation of tokens, crypto-currencies, or other digital instruments to represent Gold Standard carbon credits was not permitted without express written consent.
Following the launch of the new consultation yesterday, Gold Standard said it intends to introduce a new process to provide consent to organisations seeking to create digital tokens for their carbon credits. (businessgreen)

Private equity still investing billions in dirty energy
Private equity firms pumping billions of dollars into dirty energy projects are exposing investors, including pensioners, to unknown financial risks as the planet burns and governments face escalating pressure to act, new research finds.
The first-of-its-kind climate risks scorecard ranks Carlyle, Warburg Pincus and KKR as the worst offenders among eight major private equity companies with significant fossil fuel portfolios.
All three continue investing heavily in greenhouse-gas-emitting projects with no adequate plan on transitioning away from oil and gas, according to the analysis by two financial watchdog non-profits of publicly available information. The firms also have scant transparency on political and climate lobbying, the report finds. (guardian)
Read the report HERE


Producing hydrogen from seawater
Dr. Marta Cerruti has worked for years with graphene, a single sheet of carbon atoms with incredible properties—electrical conductivity and the ability to support tremendous weight. Now, her quest to improve its qualities has opened the door to a possible solution to one of the challenges of producing hydrogen from seawater.
Searching for a way to make an easy-to-handle structure, Cerruti’s Ph.D. student Yiwen Chen combined graphene with oxygen in a suspension with water to create reduced graphene oxide (GO), a porous, three-dimensional, electrically conductive scaffold.
When she canvassed her team for suggestions on how best to test the new scaffold, Gabriele Capilli, a post-doctoral fellow in her lab, suggested seawater electrolysis, a process similar to others he worked on while doing his Ph.D. It turns out the new GO “selective scaffold” has the potential to improve the process of producing hydrogen from the ocean. The team’s findings were published recently in the journal ACS Nano.
In conventional electrolysis, chloride ions in seawater penetrate the electrode and interact with the catalyst, creating hypochlorite ions, an unwanted byproduct that poisons the catalyst, Cerruti explained. Using X-ray phase contrast imaging at the Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan, Chen confirmed the GO scaffold had the right structure, with closed GO pores enclosing cobalt oxide nanoparticles as the catalyst. “We saw what we wanted to see.” Electrochemical tests performed in the laboratory of collaborator Thomas Szkopek (electrical engineering, McGill) confirmed the scaffold worked as expected to block unwanted ions.
The next challenge, she said, will be scaling up to mass produce the GO membrane. (