A small game of join the dots: A headline suggests that the UK is the second most ready to achieve Net Zero by 2050. Our prospective leadership candidates get surprised by the big cheer they get when they mention environmental policy and third, the biggest generator of levelling up jobs has been the renewables industry. Will the successful candidate put 1, 2 & 3 together and create policy accordingly? One can but hope..
Diageo announces plans for Ireland’s first carbon neutral brewery
Diageo has announced plans to invest 200 million euros in Ireland’s first purpose-built carbon neutral brewery in Littleconnell, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, to be powered with 100 percent renewable energy.
The new facility will brew lagers and ales including Rockshore, Harp, Hop House 13, Smithwick’s, Kilkenny and Carlsberg. When fully operational with a capacity of 2 million hectolitres, it will be the second largest brewing operation in Ireland after St. James’s Gate and support the future growth of Diageo Ireland’s beer brands.
The state-of-the-art brewery will be powered with 100 percent renewable energy and will harness the latest process technology to minimise overall energy and water consumption. This will enable the brewery to avoid up to 15,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. (renewableenergymagazine)
Pivot Power Commissions Europe’s Most Powerful EV Charging Hub
Eventually, a total of 400 electric cars could charge at the new Energy Superhub Oxford at one time. At launch, there are currently spaces for 42 vehicles to use fast charging or ultra-rapid charging stations. The charging capacity at Energy Superhub Oxford is greater than at any other charging station in Europe, according to the team behind the project. There are charging facilities present from Tesla, Fastned, Pivot Power (which is part of EDF Renewables), and Wenea.
This is the first of many “Energy Superhubs” Pivot Power is developing. These projects include batteries connected to the grid as well as the charging infrastructure. In this initial case, all of the power will be coming from clean renewable energy. I expect that to be the norm across future installations as well. Energy Superhub Oxford, located at Oxford’s Redbridge Park and Ride, has 10 megawatts (MW) of power capacity installed on site. (cleantechnica)
photo: Pivot Power
Rebel Energy & partner launch blockchain-certified renewables
In a move claimed as a UK first, two debutant power partners say they’ve brought low carbon electricity certified by peer-to-peer blockchain to 3,000 UK households.
Supplier partners Rebel Energy and UrbanChain, operator of an AI-enabled blockchain platform linking microgenerators to consumers, say their model has potential to be extended nationwide, boosting Britain’s approximate 40% current share of renewables.
Led by co-operatives, some clean generators have long complained that Britain’s lack of a right of local sale of power has impeded the growth of retail-scale clean microgeneration.
Rebel Energy and UrbanChain’s route around that regulatory roadblock is a peer-to-peer exchange. Technology, in other words.
The peer-to-peer exchange guarantees every watt of power bought and sold can be certified as renewable, the pair claim, thus avoiding the much-criticised ambiguities and vagaries of renewable energy guarantees of origin (REGOs).
Industry-leading power trading platform Elexon in December published a paper with Energy Systems Catapult, which advocated a similar strategy to get around REGOs’ blemished reputation.
Fundamental to Rebel Energy’s and UrbanChain’s offering is a promise that for the first time, consumers will be able to know where the energy they use is coming from, whether local or distant. (theenergyst)
Britain smashes another flexibility record
New figures from the Energy Networks Association (ENA) reveal that Britain has broken flexibility records for four years running.
The report suggests that in the past 12 months 3.7GW of distribution network flexibility has been tendered, an increase of 31% since last year and a 76% increase since 2020.
The ENA has said freeing up almost 4GW of capacity is equivalent to supporting the connection of more than half a million 7kW electric vehicle charge points or providing electricity to more than four million homes across the UK. (energylivenews)
EV OF THE WEEK
Hyundai IONIQ 6 Electrified Streamliner gets virtual launch
Anyone who followed EV of the Week regularly will know that Hyundai (and sister company KIA) are creating well thought out and innovative EV’s. Their bespoke platform e-GMP delivers a fine combination of driving range, efficiency and very fast charging. The infotainment package is arguably the most useable in the market and even the gimmicks such as the v2L (vehicle to load, the ability to run electric items off the battery) and recliner seats have their fans.
Now that the platform is proven, it is reasonably straightforward for the companies to expand the range of vehicles on offer, so expect a slew of new launches over the next two years.
Next up is the IONIQ 6 which is a saloon car squarely aimed at the Tesla Model 3. Whilst it has styling cues from the IONIQ 5 hatch/SUV such as the pixel lights its design looks to me like a stretched four door Porsche 911 and is highly aerodynamic, further helping driving range (there is talk of 370miles). The car is launched with a video, HERE which is clearly targeting millennials (older viewers, you have been warned!) Expect deliveries to start later this year.
Shell chemical plant could hit net zero by 2032
Shell’s Chemical Park in Moerdijk could reach net zero by 2032 – using hydrogen and carbon capture technology.
That’s according to Shell, which is currently working on its production of pyrolysis oil, which is a liquid made from hard-to-recycle plastic waste used as a chemical feedstock.
It has stated it will invest billions into the Moerdijk facility in the next decade to ensure it’s on track for net zero.
Last year, it was announced this figure would be somewhere within the region of €4 billion.
Bio-based feedstocks and applying the use of green hydrogen and carbon capture to power the chemical park is the main way Shell is looking to slash emissions to zero.
Its new pyrolysis oil machine will create 50,000 tonnes each year, which it claims is the same in weight to almost 8 million plastic bags – part of its aim to recycle one million tonnes of plastic waste in its chemical plants by 2025. (futurenetzero)
Vattenfall starts filling up 200MW thermal storage tower in Berlin
Swedish public utility Vattenfall is about to start filling a 45m-high, 200MW-rated thermal energy storage facility with water in Berlin, Germany.
The heat storage tank can hold 56 million litres of water which will be heated at 98 degrees celsius and will be combined with the existing power-to-heat system of Vattenfall’s adjoining Reuter West power plant.
The water will be fed directly into the district heating network to supply customers’ heating needs in their homes, a company spokesperson told Energy-Storage.news. The filling is expected to take two months, followed by a period of testing before commercial operation begins in April 2023.
Jornt Spijksma, project manager at Vattenfall, said that the combination of Reuter West and the storage tank forms an “optimal, fossil-free and future-proof component to supply our Berlin customers with heat.”
He explained that when there is a surplus of wind energy, the power-to-heat system can convert that surplus into heat to be stored in the tank, reducing any need to curtail wind production. The storage tank can also integrate heat from other industrial processes such as the city’s cleaning department or waste heat from waste water.
The spokesperson added that it could potentially also connect with other renewable heat sources such as a large-scale heat pump.
The tank has a maximum thermal output of 200MW which it can discharge for 13 hours, making it a 2,600MWh system. (energystoragenews)
FOCUS ON: GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
Green infrastructure is economic infrastructure
Amongst everything else the country is struggling with at the moment, the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) is a beacon of hope. Launched just over a year ago, its dual mission is to support net zero and levelling up. The government has committed £22 billion for it to start driving positive change for communities, the economy and the environment.
The bank already has a portfolio of seven deals worth £610 million and has mobilised £4.2 billion of capital. But it doesn’t yet have a statutory footing. Introduced into parliament in May, the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill’s main aim is to secure the bank’s long term future and give it full powers and independence.
Although the bill provides for the bank to have a climate change objective, it currently lacks a broader mission to support nature’s recovery. And, worryingly, there are no safeguards or steers to prevent it investing in activities that run directly counter to the government’s environmental aims.
A stronger bill would design and equip the bank to play a powerful, catalytic role in environmental investment, earning a financial return while solidifying the government’s ambitions for climate, nature and the regions.
As chancellor, Rishi Sunak said the UKIB would help provide once in a generation investment to “build back better” across UK regions. Embedding robust future economy focused aims, like nature restoration and a circular economy, into the bank’s founding legislation will be critical to making sure this happens, creating good jobs, positive financial returns and regional growth.
Disappointingly, the first strategy of the bank states that it “does not currently see a pipeline of investable projects” in green infrastructure. It lays out the need to prioritise economic infrastructure, viewing green investments as an added benefit rather than a core activity. But this fails to recognise that green infrastructure is economic infrastructure. The bank could establish the precedent and shine in doing so. Establishing this pipeline would help to set new standards for green infrastructure and investment. The bank can enter the market where the private sector might be reluctant, with the luxury of being able to take more risks, drawing more private investment into the space as it goes. (Zoe Toone for the Green Alliance Blog)
ECO: PREFAB WOOD BUILDING
Prefabricated building in Amsterdam is made entirely of wood
This building in Amsterdam might be easy to drive past. It’s a simple and elegant design with lots of windows but doesn’t look all that spectacular. Take another look because actually this is a marvel of sustainable design and ambition.
The Nautical Coordination Centre designed by WRK Architects in Amsterdam is made entirely out of wood. The walls, the roofs, the floors… Everything was created with a product from Metsa Wood, an engineered Kerto LVL wood.
When you walk inside, you’re greeted with an open working environment with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural lighting and overlooks a river. Belgian timber manufacturer Dupac prefabricated all the building elements and delivered them ready to assemble. It’s all Kerto LVL wood, a highly sustainable material that is incredibly strong and lightweight. The walls do not need to be thick to be supportive. Glued joints hold it all together. The wood is built on top of a concrete foundation and reinforced with steel.
Moreover, sustainable construction is just the beginning. The building was also designed for minimal energy consumption. There are solar panels on the roof that provide for all the building’s energy needs. Meanwhile, a closed ground heat pump provides more energy.
Additionally, greywater circuits were integrated into the design. Rainwater is collected in a tank underground, water that is reused for flushing toilets and watering the plants on the roof terrace.
Down to every detail, this building was made for sustainability and it was made to exist without taking away from nature. It provides all its own energy with a circular design where water is recycled and reused. This is a beautiful example of how humans can lie without harming the planet, something that is becoming more important by the day. So take another look at this building in Amsterdam. Hopefully, designers and manufacturers all over the world will be taking a pretty close look at it, too. (inhabitat)
Western investors backing Africa renewables developers
Norway’s Norfund and KLP has made a $40 million equity investment in CrossBoundary Energy, to support renewable energy projects in Africa.
CrossBoundary Energy currently has $188mn of projects, for 30 companies in 14 countries. This has 150 MWp of solar photovoltaic, 50 MWh of battery storage and 12 MW of wind assets.
ARCH Emerging Markets invested a similar sum, via its Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF), in CrossBoundary in 2020.
Kenya’s Persistent Energy Capital also announced this week that it had received a $10mn equity investment. Kyuden International Corp. and FSD Africa Investments provided the backing, in a Series C round.
Kyuden is the overseas arm of Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power. FSD is the investment arm of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) development arm, FSD Africa. (energyvoice)
Amazon invests in green hydrogen companies
Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund has invested into two green hydrogen companies, looking to decarbonise transport and steel production.
The beneficiaries are Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire, American and European builders of electrolysers – the technology required to make green hydrogen using both water and renewable electricity.
Amazon set up the Climate Pledge in 2019 – and it has had more than 300 signatories since, including PepsiCo, Siemens and Microsoft.
The company has stated that more than 95% of hydrogen today is made using fossil fuels – mostly from natural gas – and these new investments are aimed at changing the landscape; making hydrogen a clean alternative for the energy industry. (futurenetzero)
South Sudan President Suspends Dredging of Sudd Wetland
Responding to opposition from activists and his own government, South Sudanese President Sava Kiir Mayardiit has said he is suspending dredging in the Sudd wetland until the environment ministry undertakes needed impact assessments.
In May, Egypt delivered equipment to dredge 20 miles of waterways in the north of the Sudd, sparking backlash from environmentalists, who said the project would destroy the wetland and damage water supplies.
While the stated aim of the project is to relieve flooding in the region, the dredging would also increase the volume of water flowing down the Nile River to Egypt, Yale Environment 360 recently reported. South Sudan’s environment ministry has opposed the dredging and a related plan to complete the 240-mile Jonglei Canal, which would divert water away from the Sudd and send it to Egypt. (yale360)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
House bill a ‘gut punch’ to US offshore wind
The House of Representatives has passed a measure that would alter rules for manning vessels in US waters, which would be a “gut punch” to the US offshore wind industry, according to the American Clean Power Association (ACP).
ACP chief executive Heather Zichal said that amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will delay offshore wind development.
The provision would mean crews on specialised offshore international construction vessels match the flag of the vessel or be US mariners as a condition of working on the US. (renewsbiz)