I suppose that any revolution has its casualties, but it is still sad to see electric van pioneer Arrival join BritishVolt in the intensive care ward.
Equinor and Hitachi Energy formalise collaboration
Energy company Equinor and technology company Hitachi Energy have signed a strategic collaboration agreement. It includes developing standardised base designs for transmission systems to connect offshore wind farms to the onshore grid, including high-voltage direct current (HVDC) versions.
The two companies have a longstanding collaboration. Hitachi Energy provided Equinor with power grid connections on projects such as Dogger Bank A, B and C offshore of the UK, and Troll A, the world’s first HVDC power-from-shore connection.
The scope of the agreement covers the complete spectrum of Hitachi Energy’s portfolio of power grid technologies and solutions including its digital twin for high-voltage direct current (HVDC) and power quality solutions, modular and prefabricated offshore and onshore grid connections and grid automation. (newpower)
£1 million power upgrade for electric buses in London
UK Power Networks has fast-tracked electricity infrastructure work in the London borough of Sutton to allow 84 new electric buses to charge up.
In a nine-month upgrade project, the company has made an extra 3.8 megawatts of electricity available to Go-Ahead London’s Sutton Bus Garage, including a new high voltage underground cable along a 1.5km route.
The works are part of a programme from UK Power Networks to deliver £66 million of ‘green recovery’ investment supporting low carbon energy projects to achieve the Government’s Ten Point Plan towards Net Zero by 2050.
A total of 86 schemes are being fast-tracked by the electricity company across a range of sites including EV charging hubs at motorway service stations, fleets of electric buses, community energy schemes and heat pumps. (theenergyst)
UK solar awaits Planning Inspectorate decisions on 1GW of sites at appeal stage
Adjudications made in the coming months by the UK’s Planning Inspectorate may have a profound impact on solar farm applications submitted to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in coming years.
Currently, the Planning Inspectorate is reviewing 16 appeals lodged by developers of solar farms in England that have been rejected by LPAs. This amounts to about 950MWp-dc of capacity. The solar farms in question are each in the 40-70MWp-dc range.
Solar applications being appealed is not new. Between 2012 and today, 239 refused sites in England were appealed. 106 of those were overturned by the Planning Inspectorate, essentially granting full planning approval to the developers, and leaving the LPA’s to pay legal costs to the developers also.
For now, all eyes are on the 16 English LPA sites that were refused planning and are awaiting appeal decisions by the Planning Inspectorate. Overlapping with the recent ministerial changes within the UK government, the U-turns on any Truss alarm bells hinting at a fossil fuel revival, and COP-27 – it could turn out to be a very good time to have the Planning Inspectorate make adjudications on large renewable capacity additions. (solarpowerportal)
photo: Public Domain Images
Heat pumps from as little as £2k?
Octopus Energy and Lloyds Banking Group have launched a scheme designed to slash the cost of heat pump installations.
Under the initiative, Halifax mortgage customers can have a heat pump fitted to their homes for as little as £2,000.
This will be possible as Octopus Energy will provide and install the heat pumps while Halifax will award a £1,000 grant.
The scheme, combined with a £5,000 government Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant, could mean heat pumps for some homes will cost less than many gas boilers. (energylivenews)
Green steel city? Sheffield to explore potential for hydrogen-powered steelmaking
The so-called ‘steel city’ is set to play a lead role in a new government-backed study announced this week, which aims to assess the feasibility of utilising green hydrogen generated from renewable electricity as a climate-friendly fuel for steelmakers.
Backed by £400,000 from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the initial feasibility study is focused on E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows combined heat and power (CHP) plant, which uses waste UK wood to generate 30MW of electricity and 25MW of thermal energy.
Working alongside a consortium of industry partners and experts – including Sheffield Forgemasters, Forged Solutions, Chesterfield Special Cylinders, Glass Futures and the University of Sheffield – the aim is to assess whether E.ON’s CHP facility could be used to generate green hydrogen for steelmaking. (businessgreen)
UK chemical safety is on the brink of going from world leading to substandard
There’s been a steady stream of worrying stories recently about chemicals leached from products and manufacturing processes. There’s PFAS, used in cosmetics, non-stick pans and firefighting foams, which is being found in rainwater and potentially lowering the sperm count of future generations. A cocktail of toxic substances is hitching a ride on microplastics in sewage to pollute rivers and there are fears that the industrial chemical pyridine, released from sediments around the Tees estuary, is behind the mass death of local crabs and other sea creatures.
Not to scare anyone, but the truth is that scientists have been producing research along these lines for decades. The more we look for manmade chemicals in the environment, and the potential for them to affect the health of humans and wildlife, the more we find. The chemicals sector undoubtedly makes an enormous contribution to modern life, providing cleaning products, plastics, paints, fertilisers and much more. But it needs to be trusted by the public too, and that comes from being transparent and showing that its products are safe.
The EU’s REACH regulatory system asked those selling substances to first prove they were safe and couldn’t accumulate in humans or the environment. It also introduced a list of substances of high concern, liable to face future controls, to signal to companies when they should start looking for alternatives and more ways of managing the use of the chemicals. Despite some trade bodies’ protestations that this would, in effect, ‘de-industrialise Europe’, the EU chemicals industry has increased its sales by more than 35 per cent.
The UK chemicals industry recognised the value of REACH and, along with NGOs, lobbied for the UK to remain part of the EU’s system after Brexit. That bid failed and we now have a UK system simultaneously under both existential threat and a more subtle death by a thousand cuts.
The dire threat comes from the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REUL) which could see legislation derived from the EU, including REACH, wiped from the statute book by the end of 2023, unless hard pressed regulators can make a case for either a stay of execution for a few more years or to create a replica in UK law. (greenallainceblog)
EV OF THE WEEK
Zeekr to launch in Europe in 2023
Geely are a Chinese motor company that are highly active in the EV space on a bewildering number of fronts. They have been collecting international motoring brands, including well known names like Volvo, Lotus, Proton and LEVC. They also own stakes in Aston Martin, Mercedes and Smart. Not content with that lot they also have that least three brands of their own: Polestar who will be well known to regulars of this newsletter, Lynk & Co who make a range of Hybrids and EV’s that are sold exclusively on subscription and are already on sale on the continent. Finally they have their upscale brand called Zeekr which launched a high end “liftback” last year called the Zeekr 001 boasting a 450 mile range and very high performance. This car, it has been announced, will be launched in Europe next year. It is selling well in China now.
Not content with this, the hyperactive Geely announced a second Zeekr, the 009 which is a minivan shape with seating for 6 and a spectacular grill filled with LED’s. It will be the first car to run on CATL’s third generation cell-to-pack battery. The 140kWh lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt unit is claimed to provide the 009 with a range of up to 511 miles and shoot this bus to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, guaranteed to leave the five passengers feely a little queazy.
France to require all large car parks to be covered by solar panels
All large car parks in France will be covered by solar panels under new legislation approved as part of president Emmanuel Macron’s renewable energy drive.
Legislation approved by the French Senate this week requires existing and new car parks with space for at least 80 vehicles to be covered by solar panels.
The owners of car parks with between 80 and 400 spaces have five years to comply with the measures, while operators of those with more than 400 will have just three years. At least half of the area of the larger sites must be covered by solar panels.
The French government believes the measure could generate up to 11 gigawatts of power. (guardian)
Mobilize Fast Charge: the new ultrafast charging network in Europe
To make long drives in electric vehicles simpler, Mobilize and Renault dealerships are launching Mobilize Fast Charge, an ultrafast charging network. Most of the stations will be at Renault dealerships less than 5 minutes from a motorway or expressway exit. The network will encompass 200 stations in Europe by mid-2024, In France, Mobilize will install 90 stations – or one ultrafast station ever 150 km on France’s trunk roads.
Drivers will be able to charge their vehicles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each station will have 6 ultrafast charging points, supplying up to 400 kW, making this network one of the most powerful in Europe. They also promise that each station will have a lounge for recharging motorists (mobilize)
Dozens of ships carrying LNG linger around Europe’s coast
More than 30 tankers holding liquefied natural gas (LNG) are idling just off Europe’s shoreline, the Financial Times reported, as traders are holding out for higher market prices.
According to shipping analytics company Vortexa, the ships are carrying a combined worth of $2bn of LNG, and are sailing slowly around Northwest Europe and the Iberian Peninsula.
Prices for natural gas in Europe have fallen back from their August highs, when they topped €346 per megawatt-hour.
But traders keeping their tankers offshore are counting on prices to increase in the months ahead, as colder weather sets in and lifts heating demand, releasing gas from storage.
This has led to the market being in a state of “contango”, where prices for delivery in the future are trading higher than for immediate delivery, the FT said. (aljazeera)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
FOCUS ON: COP27
John Kerry’s bold pitch
Wednesday was “Finance Day” at COP27 and U.S. climate ambassador John Kerry took the opportunity to make a bold pitch. To help developing economies transition from coal to clean energy, Kerry proposed creating a new carbon market — a way for corporations to fund efforts to decommission coal plants and build wind and solar projects in exchange for carbon credits that can be used to bolster their green image.
The proposal was light on details but made several suggestions to ensure the integrity of the program. For one, credits could be created and sold by governments rather than individual energy developers. The idea is that this so-called “jurisdictional approach” would enable governments to use the market to achieve strategic energy transition plans, “incentivizing system-wide transformation” while also directing money to discrete projects.
Kerry’s plan also suggests limits on who can buy credits and what the credits can be used for. For example, fossil fuel companies would not be allowed to participate, nor would companies that don’t have science-backed plans to cut their emissions to net-zero by 2050. Qualifying companies would only be able to use credits to support climate action “above and beyond” their targets, or to “contribute to climate finance or other voluntary goals” — meaning they wouldn’t be able to buy them in place of cutting emissions.
It’s unclear whether companies would actually want to buy credits for any of these purposes. As if anticipating that issue, the proposal includes another “approach to be explored” — potentially allowing companies to use the credits to offset emissions that they don’t directly control, like those from their supply chains. For many companies, this is the source of 80 to 90 percent of their emissions. (grist)
Swinburne lands grant to develop Australia’s first hydrogen powered drone
Swinburne University has been awarded a $1.3 million grant by the Australian government to develop and trial the country’s first hydrogen propelled drone.
The hydrogen powered drone will be developed by Swinburne University of Technology’s Aerostructures Innovation Research Hub (AIR Hub). The Hydrogen to the Skies (H22S) project will design and integrate a new hydrogen propulsion system into a large-scale drone.
The $1.3 million grant comes from the Australian government’s Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships program, and Swinburne’s Air Hub hopes to spearhead the commercial development of zero-emission uncrewed air systems.
Swinburne expects that hydrogen propulsion will be particularly valuable in Australia. The technology’s significantly extended range and payload options will make much easier work of the unpopulated expanses of the country as compared to pure battery electric propulsion systems. (reneweconomy)
Could Bison help the US plains deal with Climate Change
Bison have had a turbulent history: once, tens of millions roamed the American continent, disturbed only by the native hunters. However, by the late 1800’s as the white man expanded across the continent, the population was hunted down to just a few hundred in the wild. Now it sits at around 400,000 mostly on tribal lands and in Yellowstone National Park.
Since bison once lived across such a wide range of conditions, ecologists think they may be well suited for some of the challenges brought on by climate change. That’s in stark contrast to cattle, which were brought to North America by the Spanish in the 1500s. Cattle have since replaced bison’s dominance on the landscape, with an estimated 30 million living in the U.S. today. Cattle seek shade and water at much lower temperatures than bison. They tend to find a good spot to eat and stay put, mowing the grass down to a nub. Bison, which evolved on the treeless plains, are much more comfortable at high temperatures. When they cool off, they prefer to catch a hilltop breeze. They’re not inclined to overgraze because they’re always moving. As a result, they do much less damage to plants and delicate streams and rivers.
Given all these advantages, researchers believe bison could support ecosystems and communities well into the future — even one defined by a volatile climate. (grist)
Archimedes Waveswing shows promising test results
A Scottish marine energy company has tested a novel wave energy conversion technology device called “Archimedes Waveswing,” in Orkney, northeastern coast of Scotland.
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), a testing facility, observed “encouraging” results from the current phase of sea trials of the wave energy technology, according to a press statement issued by the firm AWS Ocean Energy on Tuesday.
During the tests, the 50 metric ton, Waveswing wave energy converter recorded average power above 10kW and peaks over 80kW during a period of moderate wave conditions, constituting a significant high point of the scientific testing program so far.
These numbers were 20 percent higher than AWS’s expectations, claims the company.
The equipment, which has been dubbed a “submerged wave power buoy,” is 7 meters tall and has a diameter of 4 meters.
The Waveswing differs fundamentally from existing wave power concepts and has a much higher potential for power capture than floating objects of comparable size.
Waveswing can withstand challenging conditions in an offshore setting because of its sub-sea position and capacity to winch deep below storm waves. The device could function in more extreme circumstances, including Force 10 gales, claims the company.
The onboard winch and quick-connect anchor attachment enable self-installation, while the single-point tension tether minimizes mooring spread.
The innovative operational concept and clever algorithms generate industry-leading power capture per ton of structure, reducing expenses.
The testing phase is expected to be finished before the end of the year, and additional testing is anticipated to begin in 2023. (interestingengineering)