When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Amanda Gorman said it all at the inauguration.

Despite all the piss and wind of the Trump years the energy transition emerges reasonably intact. As I said 4 years ago he was locking the door after the horse had bolted.

Company news

Anesco and Gresham House join forces for £100M solar farm rollout
Anesco and Gresham House are embarking on a £100M solar rollout that is expected to see 200MW of ground-mounted projects installed over the next three years. Asset manager Gresham House will fund the portfolio, which will comprise sites ranging in size from 20MW to 50MW generation capacity.
All engineering, procurement and construction will be handled by Anesco, with the company also providing long term operations and maintenance. Construction of the first site is expected to commence later this year.
The agreement forms part of a long-standing relationship between the two companies. (newpower)

Gulf Oil shifts gears with investment in EV mobility specialist Indra
Gulf Oil has joined the Clean Growth Fund (CGF) in investing £6m in fast-growing electric vehicle (EV) and smart energy technology specialist Indra, making it the latest oil major to look to expand its presence in the global EV market.
Founded in Worcestershire in 2013, Indra manufactures a range of smart energy products including its Smart Pro EV charger and bi-directional “Vehicle to Grid” (V2G) charging system. Designed for residential and light commercial use, Indra’s V2G chargers allow vehicles to charge their vehicles during off-peak times, when grid carbon intensity is at its lowest, and deliver power back to the grid when required during peak periods to support grid balancing as more intermittent renewable energy comes onto the system.
The investment will see CGF and Gulf Oil become shareholders in Indra, alongside Ovo Group, which provided seed capital and technical support to Indra via its technology subsidiary Kaluza. (businessgreen)

photo: Indra Technology

UK news

Heat pumps and EVs could become central to London life
Research published by UK Power Networks suggests that by 2030 there could be over 700,000 electric heat pumps across London, the East and South East, as well as up to 4.5 million EVs.
These are among 1.6 million forecast data points published by the company, in its 2021 Distribution Future Energy Scenarios research about how low carbon technologies could be taken up in future. It maps four different potential ‘scenario worlds’ up to 2050 with bespoke regional modelling and data analysis provided by energy consultancy Element Energy. (theenergyst)
Download the report HERE

Lightsource BP acquires 1GW Spanish PV pipeline
Lightsource BP has acquired a 1000MW solar photovoltaic project portfolio distributed across Spain from developer RIC Energy.
Lightsource BP and RIC Energy will work in partnership to develop the 14 sites across Madrid, Andalucia, and Castilla y Leon.
The first projects are expected to be construction-ready by the end of 2021, with the installations expected to enter operation in stages from 2022 to 2025.
Lightsource BP will work to bring the project portfolio to financial close and secure the construction contract with an EPC company. (renews)

photo: Lightsource BP

Road freight heading for the green fast lane, new report suggests
The road freight sector is nearing a decarbonisation tipping point, with hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric vehicles likely to become commercially viable at scale within the next five to 10 years.
hat is the heartening outlook offered by more than 150 global road freight leaders, surveyed for a new report published today by Shell and Deloitte that sets out a detailed ten-year roadmap for decarbonising road freight.
The report also found that decarbonisation is considered a key challenge for the sector, with more than 70 per cent of the 158 interviewees labelling it as the leading or top three priority for their organisation. (businessgreen)

Smulders buys Wallsend yard
Smulders Group has bought its fabrication site on the River Tyne for an undisclosed fee in a move that aims to consolidate the offshore wind construction outfit’s long-term presence in the UK.
The company previously held the site on a short-term lease that was due to expire soon, but acquired the yard after its previous owners, Hadrian Industrial Holdings, listed it for sale with a £15m price tag.
The Wallsend yard includes 42,840 square metres of industrial, warehouse and accommodation buildings as well as a kilometre of waterfront.
It was recently used by Smulders for the partial construction and final assembly of 55 jackets (pictured) for Ocean Winds’ 950MW Moray East offshore wind farm off Scotland. (renews)

photo: Smulders

EV of the week

Mercedes EQA
Last year was about watching whether the car companies were going to enter the EV market, this year is already shaping to be about how they do so. Two distinct strategies are appearing: some, such as VW, Renault, Ford and Honda are designing EV’s from the ground up whilst others are shoehorning EV running gear into existing models. Mercedes have adopted the latter approach, and the EQA launched this week is clearly a GLA in EV form. I am sure it will be a nice car to drive and the tech is good, but it misses out on the advantages that Tesla, VW and Honda have to utilise the freed up space for example. The EQA is a front wheel drive small EV with no frunk, just about OK range. It will compete against the much admired Hyundai Kona although at a higher price point. I suspect this is a stop gap whilst Mercedes develop their full EV strategy, and that they have failed to anticipate how fast the electric revolution would appear. The problem for Mercedes is that they find themselves in the unusual position of being market follower rather than leader. Others are already into their full EV strategy and Tesla and Chinese makers such as Nio and Xpeng are redefining the luxury EV story, and will be selling here within a year.

photo: Mercedes


Largest solar-plus-storage plant in Europe announced
French energy giant Engie and France-based independent power producer Neoen have announced a plan to build Europe’s largest solar-plus-storage plant near Saucats, a municipality in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.
The €1 billion project, called Horizeo, will also include a green hydrogen production unit, an agrivoltaic plant, and a data center, will be developed outside the tender scheme for solar managed by the French energy regulator CRE. (pv-magazine)

photo: Neoen

First biomethane PPA in Spain
Global service provider, Ferrovial Services, has commissioned what it claims to be the first biomethane PPA; choosing renewable over natural gas.
It has selected French company, Waga Energy to turn landfill gas, at the Can Mata landfill site, into a renewable alternative.
The company claims this will be the first gas injection project in Europe to be financed by a long-term power purchase agreement.
It will be done using Waga Energy’s new technology called the WAGABOX, which will inject 70 GWh of biomethane per year into Spanish operator Nedgira’s gas network (futurenetzero)

Focus on: Battery Technology

Cobalt-free batteries will make EVs more affordable
Panasonicannounced at CES that it is working on making new, cobalt-free batteries that will bring down costs and make Tesla vehicles more environmentally friendly.
Cobalt is used in the cathode of lithium-ion batteries. While cobalt now accounts for only 5% of the cathode, the material still has a high cost, both in dollars and human suffering. Much of cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and there are questions still over employment practises at the mines. (inhabitat)

Solving the Li-ion Battery Waste Menace – An Indian solution for Li-ion Battery Waste
As India gears up for its ambitious plan of becoming an all-electric vehicle (EV) nation, Rohan Singh Bais is simultaneously devising solutions to deal with the humongous battery waste problem that lies at the heart of the EV movement.
In December 2016, the BITS-Pilani alumnus along with Sonia Singh—business partners from a previous ventureBloodportHealthtech—co-founded Ziptrax Technologies with the aim to repurpose discarded Li-ion batteries to eliminate battery waste and reduce environmental damage.
The company is achieving this through two application prototypes for the batteries.
One, following the closed-loop recycling process, Ziptrax dismantles Li-ion cells and extracts metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, and manganese to use for manufacturing batteries for consumer electronics and powering EV storages, renewable energy grids.
Two, it repurposes discarded Li-ion batteries for the second use in EVs and Energy Storage Systems (ESSs). Ziptrax claims to extend the life of Li-ion batteries by up to 40 per cent longer by combining it with its patent artificial intelligence engine and IoT enabled hardware. Further, the company’s tech also reduces the battery costs significantly, benefitting not just manufacturers and distributors but also end-users. (entrepreneur.com)

Electric car batteries with five-minute charging times produced
Batteries capable of fully charging in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time, marking a significant step towards electric cars becoming as fast to charge as filling up petrol or diesel vehicles.
Electric vehicles are a vital part of action to tackle the climate crisis but running out of charge during a journey is a worry for drivers. The new lithium-ion batteries were developed by the Israeli company StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China on standard production lines.
StoreDot has already demonstrated its “extreme fast-charging” battery in phones, drones and scooters and the 1,000 batteries it has now produced are to showcase its technology to carmakers and other companies. Daimler, BP, Samsung and TDK have all invested in StoreDot, which has raised $130m to date and was named a Bloomberg New Energy Finance Pioneer in 2020.
The batteries can be fully charged in five minutes but this would require much higher-powered chargers than used today. Using available charging infrastructure, StoreDot is aiming to deliver 100 miles of charge to a car battery in five minutes in 2025. (guardian)

Global stuff

Renewables PPA prices rise through 2020
Solar PPA prices rose 11.5% over the course of 2020, according to the Q4 2020 PPA Price Index from LevelTen Energy — the first increase in solar prices since the LevelTen price report began. Wind prices saw a 24.3% increase over the same time period.
While COVID-19 played a role in the increase — 26% of developers told LevelTen they raised their prices to cover costs incurred by COVID—demand in excess of supply appears to be the main driver. “Many of the most economically competitive projects have already contracted with offtakers, leaving higher-priced projects available in the market,” according to Rob Collier, vice president of developer relations for LevelTen Energy.
Demand will likely continue to exceed supply in 2021, according to Collier, potentially creating a sellers market in the renewable energy space, which remains competitive against conventional forms of energy. “Organizations should not wait to act on their sustainability commitments,” Collier said. “If climate and right-to-operate risks weren’t already lighting fires under executive teams, the financial incentives for locking in the best projects now should be the catalyst for action.” (utilitydive)

88-megawatt Canadian hydro-to-hydrogen plant to open in 2023
Government-owned power company Hydro-Quebec, the biggest energy producer in the country, has commissioned a CAD200 million (US$159 million) electrolysis plant in Varennes, near Montreal, which will use hydroelectricity to power a giant electrolyzer, converting water into 11,100 metric tons of green hydrogen and 88,000 metric tons of oxygen a year.
This will not initially be for export; the 88-MW plant’s output will supply clean energy and oxygen to a nearby recycling plant, where it’ll be used to convert non-recyclable waste into biofuels instead of sending it to landfill.
But eventually, Canada hopes plants like this can convert its enormous hydro potential into a clean energy export business, powering tomorrow’s fuel cell vehicles and aircraft, feeding into more integrated hydrogen economies and industrial use cases, and selling as a feed stock from which carbon-neutral synthetic fuels can be manufactured. (newatlas)

Photo: TransAlta Renewables

Too Many Companies Are Banking on Carbon Capture
The UN Principles for Responsible Investment estimates that some 42 companies announced net-zero targets in 2019 and 2020. More than half of those plan to plant trees, preserve forests or capture CO₂ in order to get there, even as their own businesses continue to warm the atmosphere.
These measures, and other technologies to capture greenhouse gases, are collectively known as carbon dioxide removal (CDR).
As net-zero plans proliferate, some companies assume they can rely disproportionately on CDR to offset their own emissions. It’s not just about planting trees. There are even plans to create “negative emissions” by generating energy from burning biomass, then capturing the emissions produced, a little-used process that also requires large amounts of land.
In a new report, Greenpeace UK points out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates between 500 and 3,600 million metric tons of CO₂ could be removed annually through planting new forests by 2050. British Airways operator International Airlines Group and Italian oil company Eni each claim they’ll offset 30 million metric tons per year by then. That could be as much as 12% of the IPCC’s projection, Greenpeace warns.
The IPCC also estimates that there’s only about 500 million hectares of land left that can be dedicated to new forests for carbon capture.
In a way, this is a problem of the scientific community’s own making. CDR features in virtually every pathway laid out in IPCC reports to keeping global warming to well below 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius. Some of the roadmaps assume amounts of negative emissions that vastly exceed the best estimates of what’s economically feasible. (Bloomberg)
Download the report HERE

Techie corner

Electron-producing microbes power sustainable wastewater treatment
WSU researchers have developed a sustainable wastewater treatment system that relies on electron-producing microbial communities to clean the water.
In wastewater treatment, aeration is an energy intensive and necessary procedure to remove contaminants. Pumps work continuously to mix air into water, adding oxygen that bacteria then use to oxidize organic matter and contaminants. In their work, the researchers used a unique microbial fuel cell system they developed as a substitute for external aeration.
Microbial fuel cells work by having microbes convert chemical energy to electricity in a manner that is similar to a battery. They don’t generate a lot of electricity, so they have been used in low-power applications especially in remote areas where batteries are not feasible.
In the case of wastewater treatment, the microbial fuel cell can fill the role that aeration and oxygen plays — accepting electrons that bacteria generate as a product of their metabolic work. (sciencedaily)