This week both the Queen and Greta Thunberg (the oldest and youngest activist?) called out the leaders of the developed nations for lack of concrete action on climate change. Greta called it “decades of blah blah blah”, whilst her majesty was irritated by those “who talk but don’t do”.
Falck family to sell 60% ownership stake in Falck Renewables to IIF
Falck Renewables’ main shareholder agreed to sell its controlling stake in the Italian energy group to Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), the company said on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, IIF, which is advised by JP Morgan Investment Management, will pay 8.81 euros per share to buy a 60% stake in Falck Renewables, the statement said.
The price offers a premium of 29.2% to the three-month weighted average share price, it added.
Shares in Falck Renewables closed at 7.64 euros on the Milan bourse on Tuesday. Shares were up 14.1% at 8.73 euros in early trade.
Falck Renewables has an installed capacity of 1,320 megawatts in the United Kingdom, Italy, United States, Spain, France, Norway and Sweden.
IIF will launch a mandatory takeover on the remaining capital of the group after the closing of the deal, expected in the first quarter of 2022, with the final aim of delisting the group from the Milan market, the statement added. (Nasdaq)
Two north of England sites selected for multibillion-pound carbon capture plan
The UK government has selected two sites in the north of England to develop multibillion-pound carbon capture projects by the middle of the decade as part of its fast-track scheme to cut 20-30m tonnes of CO2 a year from heavy industry by 2030.
Ministers gave the green light to the East Coast Cluster, which plans to capture and store emissions produced across the Humber and Teesside, and the HyNet North West project in Liverpool Bay, which will also produce low carbon hydrogen from fossil gas.
The East Coast Cluster is backed by the oil companies BP and Equinor, together with the energy firms Drax and SSE, and hopes to cut up to 27m tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030. The HyNet project, backed by the Italian oil company Eni and Progressive Energy, plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 10m tonnes a year by the end of the decade. (guardian)
Manchester switches on “Tower of Light”
Manchester has switched on the so-called 40-metre high ‘Tower of Light’ which is part of a massive heat network that promises to cut the city’s emissions.
The ‘Civic Quarter Heat’ network, which will go live early next year, will provide electricity and heating to some of Manchester’s iconic buildings, including Manchester Town Hall and Manchester Art Gallery to help them reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.
Built by Vital Energy and owned by the council that has set a net zero goal by 2038, the network has a combined heat and power engine which captures and re-uses heat created as a by-product of producing electricity. (energylivenews)
Gore Street Energy Storage Fund makes hay in September
The recent volatile prices in the GB energy market nearly doubled expected revenues for some assets owned by energy storage investor Gore Street Energy Storage Fund (GSF) in September.
In a trading update the company said September saw record power prices recorded in both the UK and Europe, driven by rising natural gas prices, limited gas storage capacity, low wind conditions, colder temperatures and increasing demand. The company said its “technologically advanced and responsive” storage assets “are well placed and capable of both filling needs in the UK and Irish markets and benefitting from the increased volatility”.
When prices in the UK Balancing Mechanism hit a record high of £4,038/MWh in early September several of the company’s storage projects began trading in the GB’s Balancing Market, with the result that September revenues for those projects were nearly twice forecast, had they relied on revenues from the Dynamic Containment service. (newpower)
New £17.5m fund launched to promote sustainable farming
The government’s ‘Farming Innovation Programme’ has been launched, providing £17.5 million to make the UK’s agriculture and horticultural sectors more sustainable.
The funding is the first round of three funds that make up the programme and is being made available through a partnership between the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).
Farmers, growers and businesses will be able to bid for the first round of funding – to develop new technologies to help them make their process more sustainable. This includes the use of AI, low carbon machinery and climate-resilient crops to stop waste.
Some of the ideas looking to win the money include fruit-scouting robots, that monitor the ripeness of fruit and optimal time for picking and the use of flies to create animal feed from farm waste and promote circular farming.
The second and third sets of funding will be launched by Defra throughout 2022, in a bid to take the country’s agricultural sector closer to net zero. (futurenetzero)
Pivot hooks UK’s first tertiary battery to Grid
The sophistication of battery innovations now hooked to the grid took a leap forward this week, with two major announcements.
In a UK network first, EDF-owned Pivot Power has connected its 50 MW / 50 MWh storage unit in Cowley, Oxford for ‘tertiary’ export to the high voltage backbone grid.
Engineers define a ‘tertiary’ connection as a way of plugging storage directly into the National Grid’s high voltage national transmission backbone. Such connections come with a maximum 57 MW demand or generation capacity.
The connection runs on the BESS software of Energy SuperHub Oxford, Pivot’s consortium with five partners (below). Due for completion next year, the hub aggregates low carbon storage and generation sources across the city, such as EV chargers, heat pumps and batteries.
Pivot intends developing 2GW of storage nationwide. Its site at Kemsley in Kent is expected for imminent connection. Two further projects in the West Midlands promise a further 100MW of power and 200 MWh of capacity. (theenergyst)
Rolls Royce to offer 100% hydrogen gas engines from 2023
Rolls-Royce has said it will launch versions of its gas engines that will run on 100% hydrogen in 2023, along with conversion kits for existing engines.
The company referred to its ‘mtu’ gas engine portfolio, sized between 128kWe and 2.5MWe and used for power generation and cogeneration.
It said gensets powered by mtu Series 500 and Series 4000 (below) gas engines can already be operated with a gas blending of 10% hydrogen and from 2022, operation with a hydrogen content of 25% will be possible.
The company is also investigating hydrogen-fuelled fuel cells and has installed a 250kW demonstrator at its Friedrichshafen headquarters. (newpower)
photo: Rolls Royce
EV of the week
Foxconn unveils 3 new electric vehicles as it is about to build EVs for other brands
The manufacturing giant appears to be flexing its muscles ahead of becoming a manufacturer for other EV brands.
The company has been making a lot of moves in the EV space lately.
Last year, it had developed a platform of open-source hardware and software for EV manufacturing and was working to develop a solid-state battery by 2024.
Earlier this month, Foxconn even purchased most of Lordstown’s factory in Ohio to produce electric vehicles.
Furthermore, the manufacturing giant is also building a big factory in Wisconsin and it is expected to produce electric vehicles there.
Now at its Hon Hai Tech Day 2021 (HHTD21) event today, Foxconn unveiled three new electric vehicles as part of its new “commitment to become a global next-generation automotive manufacturer”: a sleek SUV called Model C (below), a luxury sedan, jointly designed with Pininfarina, Model E and a bus Model T
It seems unlikely that Foxconn really plan to sell the cars under its own name, although it might make sense for the bus. Instead this looks like they are offering and end to end solution for an existing brand to access the market with a ready-made collection. Foxconn will likely be a major player in the future EV game as it unfolds. (elekrek)
INEOS to invest £2bn in hydrogen production
Global chemical giant INEOS has unveiled plans to invest €2 billion (£1.6bn) into electrolysis projects.
The company said the first green hydrogen plants will be built in Norway, Germany, Belgium with more to come in the UK and France.
Through the firm’s subsidiary INOVYN, the projects will produce green hydrogen for power generation, transportation, and industrial use.
The first plant to be built will be a 20MW electrolyser which is forecast to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 22,000 tonnes every year by shrinking the carbon footprint of INEOS’s operations at Rafnes.
INEOS also plans to build a larger scale electrolyser with a capacity of 100MW to produce green hydrogen at its Koln petrochemical site in Cologne.
Hydrogen from this unit will be used in the production of green ammonia. (energylivenews)
Focus on: COP26 Climate Action (UK & USA)
The UK Government published its Net Zero Strategy this week and the USA tried to pass its Clean Electricity Performance Plan. Whilst it is easy to criticise the UK plan for being short of detail, it is very much in the image and style of our prime minister as James Murray, editor of Business Green explains in his blog HERE. I also suggest you take a look at Carbon Brief’s Q&A HERE. However I have chosen to Titbit the positive aspects as described by Mr Murray. As he says, at least we now have a plan…
Net Zero Strategy: We have a plan
“…it is a remarkable achievement that is testament to the staggering pace at which the concept of a net zero emission economy has gone from an environmentalist pipe dream to the defining political, economic, and technological trend of the century. If you had told the diplomats and journalists gathered at the Paris Summit in 2015 that within six years the Paris Agreement’s deliberately vague goal to balance anthropogenic emissions during the second half of the century would have turned into a near universal acceptance of the need to build a net zero emission economy by 2050, they would have struggled to believe you. If you’d told them two thirds of the global economy, including the US, China, and EU, had net zero targets in place they would have asked what you were smoking.
And now one of the world’s pre-eminent industrialised economies – the crucible of the first industrial revolution – has a detailed plan to fully decarbonise within 30 years. It is a flawed and incomplete plan, but it is a plan. On the eve of COP26 it does provide a workable template for the rest of the world to learn from.
Secondly, the plan contains both an internal logic and a clear opportunity for it to be strengthened over time. It is a strategy made in Boris Johnson’s electorally savvy, impulsively optimistic, worryingly detail-lite, but often under-estimated image.
The vision is simple: catalyse the exciting new clean technologies and help them bring down costs; then let the market, the engineers, and the entrepreneurs do the heavy lifting; in the interim talk up the opportunities and the upsides and don’t do anything to scare the horses. It is a centre-right, vaguely populist plan from a centre-right vaguely populist government, produced within the confines imposed by a fiscally conservative Tory Chancellor….”
On the other side of the Atlantic Joe Biden has a major struggle on his hands to get any kind of meaningful plan through a hostile Congress, including one recalcitrant Democrat
The US seems to have lost missed its chance to pass a real climate policy
Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like President Joe Biden was on track to accomplish what previous administrations have attempted and failed to achieve: writing an emissions-reduction policy into federal law. That policy, the $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program, is a system of carrots and sticks that would have pushed America’s electric utilities to go green between 2023 and 2030. The power these companies supply to your home would become progressively cleaner over that timeframe, putting the U.S. electricity sector, currently the second-most polluting sector in this country, on track to producing 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.
From the outset, it was clear that Senators Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, centrist Democrats, were going to oppose the Clean Electricity Performance Program. The Biden administration thought it could convert Manchin, who represents a coal state and has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, to the cause by tweaking the program to allow electricity generated by gas- and coal-fired power plants to count as “clean” as long as those plants prevent their emissions from going into the atmosphere by using carbon capture and sequestration technology. On Friday, the New York Times reported that those conversion efforts had failed and that the White House was rewriting the budget reconciliation bill to exclude the Clean Electricity Performance Program.
It’s unclear what happens now that Manchin has put the kibosh on the centerpiece of Biden’s climate agenda. Democrats are discussing digging up an old chestnut, putting a price on carbon pollution, to bring down emissions. The Washington Post reported that a voluntary emissions-trading program among aluminum, steel, concrete and chemicals manufacturers is also one of the ideas being bandied about on Capitol Hill. Biden might even end up at COP26, the U.N. climate conference, without an emissions policy in hand. Anything is possible, except, perhaps, averting catastrophic planetary warming. (Zoya Tierstein/Grist)
Eco – Sustainable building (Africa)
African urbanization is being transformed by 3D printing initiative
U.K.-based CDC Group and the multinational materials distributor LafargeHolcim, have formed a joint venture called 14Trees to help meet increasing demands via sustainable building solutions.
The project utilizes 3D printing technology to provide rapidly-built yet sturdy infrastructure that reduces construction costs, building time and carbon emissions. Through the use of 3D printers, the walls and vertical structures are extruded. Meanwhile, the local building team can focus its efforts on the installation of doors and windows, as well as interior finishes. 14Trees has already printed a house and a school in Malawi and has plans to expand its reach into other East African countries, beginning with Kenya and Zimbabwe.
14Trees’ 3D printed prototype house is located in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital, and cost less than $10,000 to build. The walls were fabricated within 12 hours, a fraction of the time of traditional construction, which could take up to four days for a house of the same size. (inhabitat)
Amazon, Unilever, and Ikea back new zero emission shipping initiative
Nine leading multinationals have become the first companies to sign a new 2040 Ambition Statement and commit to transitioning their ocean freight vessels to zero carbon fuels by 2040, the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) this week announced.
CoZEV is a coalition of cargo owners, initiated by the not-for-profit Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program, that brings together cargo owners and shipping operators to work to accelerate the decarbonisation of the shipping industry and deliver on corporates’ net zero emission supply chain commitments.
This week, Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, IKEA, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo, and Unilever became the first to sign the 2040 Ambition Statement, sending a message to bunker fuel producers and the shipping industry that freight customers want to see zero-carbon shipping services delivered. (businessgreen)
Rampant solar’s 100GW Texas grid queue puts wind power in the shade
As of 30 September developers had 100.3GW of solar capacity in the queue, 42.4GW of utility-scale battery storage, 22.5GW of wind, 13.5GW of natural gas and minor amounts of other technologies such as biomass.
There was no coal, which had been the dominant fuel for electricity generation since the 1960s but started losing market share in 2010 to cheaper and cleaner natural gas and wind. Last year, coal supplied 17.9% power within Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) system, versus natural gas (45.5%) and wind (22.8%).
Utility-scale solar, a relatively new entrant, provided about 2.3%. That is about to change – and fast. Texas, already the leading wind power state, installed 2.5GW of solar capacity in 2020. The EIA forecasts 4.6GW and 5.4GW of additions this year and in 2022, respectively, versus 3.2GW in California over that two-year period.
EIA, the statistics arm of the Department of Energy, also estimates that Texas will install one-third of new utility-scale solar capacity in the US through 2022. Texas, by then, will have 14.9GW in place versus about 17GW in California. (rechargenews)
Autonomous Flying Wind Turbines Can Generate Energy at Nearly Half the Cost
German startup Kitekraft is developing flying wind turbines that require 10 times less materials to develop than traditional wind turbines. The company just announced successful flight tests, which it describes as a “major milestone towards our first 100kW product.”
On its website, Kitekraft explains that the reduced requirement for materials for its flying turbine — which uses a tether instead of a huge tower — means it can reduce the costs of its energy to almost half of that produced by traditional wind farms at megawatt scale. Its carbon footprint is also lower than that of standard wind turbines, the company says, partially due to the fact that large wind turbine towers are typically transported by road.
To begin with, Kitefraft aims to deploy its machines on microgrids of remote islands, where transporting massive wind farm infrastructure and other renewable energy systems is not feasible. Its machines are also less of an eyesore — they are barely visible from a distance — meaning they could also be tested in communities that have pushed back against large wind farm proposals. (interesting engineering)