One beneficiary of the change in views on energy costs and energy security has been sentiment towards nuclear power. My “focus” today may serve as a reminder that nuclear is a far from perfect solution especially as regards costs

Company news

5MW gigastack project awarded £9.3m in UK Government funding
ITM Power announced it had won £9.3m of UK Government funding towards its 5MW gigastack of PEM electrolysers, as part of the UK’s latest push towards low-carbon hydrogen.
The funding from for the Department Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply Competition, will take ITM’s gigastack through testing and validation.
ITM hope that the manufacturing process, targeted at large-scale commercialisation of the gigastack will follow. With ITM anticipating a final investment decision to be made in the second quarter of 2023.
Development of ITM’s platform began in 2019, with the completion of a feasibility study also funded by the BEIS. (h2-view)

UK news

Ørsted reveals plans to help ‘rewild’ North Sea
The partnership between green energy giant Ørsted and Netherlands-based rewilding charity ARK Nature aims to find ways for nature restoration and renewable energy infrastructure to co-exist as governments look to accelerate the global green energy transition.
The scheme will specifically test the potential of applying rewilding principles around renewables project, with the first initiative attempting restore shellfish reefs via a new Marine FieldLab.
Currently, there are very few places remaining in the North Sea where shellfish larvae can attach and create new reefs. But insights gained from the project aim to help develop the best ways to scale up work globally to ensure an overall net-positive impact on nature when building offshore wind farms. (businessgreen)

New carbon capture project at Peterhead power station
SSE Thermal and Equinor are developing a power station with carbon capture technology in Peterhead, which could bring £1.2 billion to the UK economy in its lifetime.
That’s according to a new report by BiGGAR Economics that delves into the social and economic benefits that this facility will bring.
The analysis shows that the project is expected to provide the Aberdeen economy with £60 million alone, then £25 million every year it is operational after that, supporting 240 jobs.
Around £475 million would be added to the UK economy through development and construction, with £50 million each year and the support of 560 jobs.
Projected to be one of the country’s first power stations that is equipped with carbon capture, the facility would transport carbon into Scotland’s cluster and help underpin the net zero transition. (futurenetzero)

Scotland’s biggest ultra-rapid EV charging hub powers up
The site, operated by Fastned, is Scotland’s largest ultra-rapid charging site – offering up 300kW charging for eight vehicles at a time – and is powered by renewable energy.
Located in the Palace Grounds Retail Park in Hamilton, the new site is close to the A72 and M74 and offers the growing number of EV owners the ability to add up to 180 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
The site is Dutch firm Fastned’s second location in Scotland and its 10th in the UK.
The site provides 300kW charging for up to eight vehicles at a time (scotsman)

photo: Fastned

EV of the week

Ford F150 Lightning is a big deal
This is the brand-new Ford F150 Lightning, and it’s a pick-up truck that can fit an entire adult under the bonnet.
This is an all-electric version of America’s best-selling truck for the last 45 years and it has a Mega Power Frunk instead of pistons under the hood. In a good year Ford sells close to a million of its F-Series trucks and turns over around $40bn in the process. It is an absolute titan and crucial not just to Ford’s balance sheet, but the US economy as a whole. All of which means messing with the formula like this, is kind of a big deal.
This is a car with a shot at changing opinions on EVs across America. If it does, the floodgates could open, for Ford and other manufacturers of electric vehicles. Ford is calling this the most important car it’s launched since the Model T. They might be right.
There are two models to choose from, the entry-level version with a 98kWh battery, 446bhp and a 230-mile range. Or the extended range model with a mammoth 131kWh battery (removable from below with just eight bolts), 572bhp and a 320-mile range.
Both models produce 775lb ft of torque, and the faster one will do 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds. That’s just bonkers, sports car pace from something the size of a small planet. Make no mistake, this is an enormous vehicle – the length of a long wheelbase Mercedes S-Class… plus another 60cm, and it weighs the best part of three tonnes. Driving one of these in the UK would feel like a double decker bus, but in Texas, where everything is supersized, it just fits.
Ford have managed to price this at only a small premium to the petrol equivalent, which is great, except that the first year’s production of 200,000 is already sold. Top Gear describe it as:
“It looks familiar, goes like a muscle car and it’s full of brilliant practical touches”
No doubt this is the car that, more than any other, could convert the EV sceptics, whilst also establishing Ford a place at the top table in the emerging EV world. (topgear)

photo: Ford


EU plans ‘massive’ increase in green energy
The EU plans a “massive” increase in solar and wind power, and a short-term boost for coal, to end its reliance on Russian oil and gas as fast as possible.
In a plan outlined on Wednesday, the European Commission said the EU needed to find an extra €210bn over the next five years to pay for phasing out Russian fossil fuels and speeding up the switch to green energy.
Senior officials conceded that in the short term, the race to get off Russian gas would mean burning more coal and nuclear energy. The plan, drawn up in response to the Kremlin-ordered invasion of Ukraine and subsequent soul-searching about Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, proposes upgrades to the EU green deal, the bloc’s flagship policy to confront the climate crisis.
The Commission proposed that 45% of the EU’s energy mix should come from renewables by 2030, an advance on the current 40% target suggested less than a year ago. Officials also want to cut energy consumption by 13% by 2030 (compared with 2020), in comparison with the current proposal of a 9% saving.
To help speed up renewable energy, the EU wants to make it easier for companies to build wind and solar farms. Officials said it could take up to nine years to get a permit for a windfarm and four for solar. “And this is time we do not have,” said one. Any change in planning laws would require action from national and local authorities. (guardian)

“World’s Largest” Electrolyser Order for Danish Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Project
US-headquartered Plug Power Inc. has received an electrolyser order from H2 Energy Europe for the 1 GW offshore wind-to-hydrogen project in Denmark. According to Plug Power, this is the world’s largest electrolyser order to date.
Plug’s 1 GW electrolyser technology will enable the production of up to 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, supplying the fuel needed for the equivalent of approximately 15,000 heavy duty vehicles per day, the New York-based company said.
The company will manufacture the electrolyser technology at its Gigafactory in Rochester, New York, and will deliver it in 2024 for deployment at H2 Energy’s plant, where the green hydrogen production is planned to start in 2025. (offshorewind)

Netherlands set to ban fossil fuel boilers from 2026
The Netherlands becomes latest country to confirm plans to phase out fossil gas boilers, as UK MPs lament failure to beef up heat pump policies
The Dutch government has announced that heat pumps are set to become the standard option for heating homes from 2026, making it the latest European nation to confirm plans to phase out the use of fossil gas boilers.
Under new proposals unveiled yesterday, householders replacing central heating systems after 2026 will need to choose a sustainable alternative, such as a hybrid heat pump, a fully-electric heat pump or connection to a district heat network.
The news – announced via a press release following a cabinet meeting of the Dutch government – makes the Netherlands one of a growing number of countries to set similar mandatory deadlines for ending the sale and installation of new gas boilers. For example, the German coalition government last month announced plans to phase out gas boilers from 2024 and incentivise a mass switch to heat pumps. (businessgreen)

Focus on: Nuclear power in the UK

UK nuclear power stations’ decommissioning cost soars to £23.5bn
The cost of decommissioning the UK’s seven ageing nuclear power stations has nearly doubled to £23.5bn and is likely to rise further, the public accounts committee has said.
The soaring costs of safely decommissioning the advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs), including Dungeness B, Hunstanton B and Hinkley B, are being loaded on to the taxpayer, their report said.
Failures in the government’s investment strategy for the fund, which was set up to pay for the decommissioning, have led to the taxpayer topping it up by an additional £10.7bn in just two years.
The nuclear power stations are owned by EDF Energy and provide much of the UK’s nuclear power-generated electricity, which makes up 16% of the energy mix. But the stations are nearing the end of their lives and are scheduled to stop generating electricity during this decade.
The government has recently agreed that once the stations have been defuelled by EDF, which involves the removal of all the spent fuel from the reactor core and cooling ponds, ownership of the stations will be transferred to the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to complete decommissioning. (guardian)

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station delayed again and at further £3bn cost
Completion of the Hinkley Point C power station, the UK’s first new nuclear plant in decades, has been delayed again by around another year, meaning it will now be a decade behind its original schedule.
EDF Energy, the company behind the project, said it was pushing back the date for generation to start to June 2027.
It estimated the projected cost would now be in the range of £25bn-£26bn.
The France-based company blamed further effects of the COVID pandemic, arguing it had severely constrained people, resources and supply chains.
It highlighted limits to the number of people allowed on site during the height of the public health emergency.
It did not rule out further delay.
The Somerset plant was originally supposed to have started producing electricity – enough to power 7% of the country’s needs – from 2017 at a cost of £18bn but it has endured years of headwinds. (skynews)

Green housing idea of the week

How Ailing Strip Malls Could Be a Green Fix for U.S. Housing Crisis
The U.S. housing shortage is so severe that demand outstrips supply by a stunning 3.8 million homes⁠, according to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage dealer. The shortage exacerbates homelessness, income inequality, and even climate destabilization, as greenhouse gas emissions increase while workers drive longer and longer distances between jobs and residences.
Peter Calthorpe, the heralded California-based urban planner, believes he knows how to lessen the housing and environmental crises at the same time. For decades, he has campaigned for more densely populated cities, rapid public transit, and an end to sprawl and reliance on cars, all tenets of the movement he cofounded, called New Urbanism.
Now Calthorpe sees an opportunity in the economic wreckage left behind by the 2008 Great Recession. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he notes that for most working families the pop of the housing bubble marked the end of “the American dream of the single-family home in a cul-de-sac and a couple of cars.” Since then, many tens of thousands⁠ of acres of commercial strip malls have fallen vacant or underutilized as consumers have relied increasingly on online purchases. As Calthorpe sees it, that’s land that could be occupied by millions of units of workforce housing, bringing workers close to their jobs, revitalizing streets and cities, and cutting carbon emissions in half.
YE360 asked to what extent this might solve the housing shortage?
Calthorpe: It is estimated that California has a housing deficit of around 2.5 million units. If the strip commercial land in just the Bay Area and Los Angeles County were 100 percent redeveloped, that could provide 2.6 million units. But that is largely multi-family housing, which is typically less than half the market. So it’s clear that it could satisfy 100 percent of multi-family needs. (yale360)

Global stuff

BP and Linde to develop major CCS project in Texas
Energy giant bp and chemicals company Linde have announced plans for a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project to advance decarbonisation efforts across the Texas Gulf Coast.
The project, which will include low carbon hydrogen production at Linde’s existing facilities, will support the storage of CO2 captured from other industrial facilities.
The overall development is expected to be operational as early as 2026 and could store up to 15 million metric tons of CO2 per year across multiple onshore geologic storage sites – the equivalent of taking around three million cars off the road each year. (energylivenews)

photo: Linde

XCHARGE launches battery-integrated charger in cooperation with BYD
Chinese EV charging company XCHARGE unveiled their latest product line, the Net Zero Series, which is aimed to drive the adoption of fast charging and energy storage solutions.
In response to the growing demand of electricity during peak times, XCHARGE collaborated with BYD to combine advanced battery technology with intelligent charging creating the next generation of EV infrastructure. The two companies agreed to collaborate on the new product based on their commitment to a carbon-free, sustainable transportation and a shared vision to foster a greener future.
The Net Zero Series enables 210kW maximum output power, supports up to 2 vehicles simultaneously charging, and features a 19-inch HD touchscreen. It is equipped with liquid cooled Lithium-ion battery modules which come in two storage capacities, 233kWh in the base configuration and 466kWh in the Plus model. In addition, the net zero series is designed with a Battery2Grid function where applicable, so that in peak hours, the charger can sell energy back to the grid, if the battery is relatively full. (electriccarsreport)

photo: XCHARGE

Raizen Invests $390 Million to Turn Waste Into Fuel
The world’s biggest sugar-cane processor is making a bold new bet on turning waste into biofuel, just as demand for clean-energy supplies is surging.
Raizen SA, the Brazilian biofuel company owned by Royal Dutch Shell and Cosan SA, will invest 2 billion reais ($390 million) to build two “second-generation” ethanol plants, with operations expected to start in 2024, Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Mussa said in an interview. The facilities are unique because they’ll take waste from turning cane into sweetener and use those leftovers to produce the fuel.
The move is part of a broader push by the company to deliver 20 second-generation ethanol plants by 2031. Demand for the fuel made from waste is strong. The company has already locked-in sales for about 80% of the expected output from the new plants in long-term contracts of as much as 10 years, Mussa said. (bloomberg)

Chevron and Pertamina team up for lower carbon opportunities in Indonesia
Chevron Corporation has announced a partnership with PT Pertamina to explore potential lower carbon opportunities in Indonesia.
The two companies plan to consider novel geothermal technologies, carbon offsets through nature-based solutions, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), as well as hydrogen development, production, storage and transport.
The project will support the Government of Indonesia’s target for 23% renewable energy by 2025 and 2060 net zero emission goal.
Pertamina’s commitment to increase its renewable energy mix from 9.2% in 2019 to 17.7% in 2030.
The company, through its Subholding Power & NRE, has a total installed geothermal capacity of 1,877MW originating from 13 geothermal work areas and is also developing a green hydrogen pilot project in the Ulubelu Area. (futurenetzero)

photo: PT Pertamina

Techie corner

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Partners with Another Dutch Floating Wind Tech Developer
Dutch floating wind technology developer TouchWind and Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) have joined forces on the development of TouchWind’s floating wind technology.
The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which they will collaborate on developing TouchWind’s floating wind turbine with a tilting angled one-piece rotor which, according to the Dutch technology developer, has an estimated cost of 30 per cent compared to current turbines.
The company explains how: TouchWind’s rotor pulls the mast, which results in less conflicting forces within the construction. This makes it possible to make the windmill lighter and more elegant, but most important: a mast that is estimated to be 50% cheaper than that of any current model of wind turbines. (offshorewind)

photo: Touchwind