Everyone has a view on Elon Musk, he’s hard to ignore. But I do like the description of him by Charlie Munger as “gifted but weird”. Charlie has earned the right to his views as it was him who suggested to Warren Buffet that he invest in $232m in a then unknown Chinese battery company called BYD. That investment has increased in value 30 fold in fifteen years. Not bad advice. Charlie Munger is 99 years old.


Green light for geothermal power plant in Cornwall
Geothermal Engineering has been granted planning permission by Cornwall Council to drill and construct a geothermal power plant.
The Manhay project will become the company’s third site in the area – it is set to begin in late 2023 subject to all agreements and funding being in place.
It is estimated to take approximately thirty-six months to complete, from site preparation to producing electricity.
The site at Manhay is predicted to generate up to 5MW of electrical energy and 20MW of thermal energy – this is believed to be enough to power more than 11,000 homes. (energylivenews)

photo: Geothermal Engineering

Number of green jobs in UK reached record high in 2021
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest annual survey of the green economy, including data for the full year of 2021. The ONS covers employment in 17 sectors relating to low-carbon and renewable energy, including nuclear power generation, renewable power generation, energy flexibility, energy efficiency and electric vehicles.
The headline figure is that the UK hosted some 247,400 full-time equivalent roles in 2021, up from 207,800 in 2020.
The manufacturing of products that improve energy efficiency is the largest sector in terms of jobs, accounting for almost 56% of full-time equivalent roles.
However, the ONS has also recorded a steep increase in employment year-on-year in the low-emission vehicles and related infrastructure space, of 71%. Almost 40,000 people now work in this field. (edie)

Wrightbus to build hydrogen production facility
Wrightbus plans to build a green hydrogen production facility at its headquarters in Ballymena that will initially produce enough clean energy to power 300 hydrogen powered buses a day in Northern Ireland.
The new multi-million pound facility, which is being delivered by Wrightbus in partnership with Hygen Energy, is currently subject to planning approval.
In 2020 the company launched a hydrogen-powered double-decker bus which is now in operation in cities across the UK.
It is intended that a planning application will be submitted to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in April 2023, and is hoped a planning decision will be issued in winter 2023, meaning the facility will become operational in summer 2024. (theenergyst)

photo: Wrightbus

UK T-1 Capacity Market battery storage contract awards up 63%
Battery storage projects totalling 627MW were awarded contracts in the UK’s 2023-24 Capacity Market auction which concluded this week, nearly a two-thirds jump on last year’s.
The T-1 2023-24 auction cleared at its second highest price ever, with 5,782.777MW procured at a clearing price of £60/kW/y, split between 269 Capacity Market Units (CMUs) from 103 companies. Of the 6,124.249MW of capacity that entered the auction, 94.42% was awarded an agreement.
Battery storage was awarded 10.9% of the total with 627MW of projects winning out of a total 1GW of projects that qualify. A total of 74 battery storage CMUs won contracts. (energy-storagenews)

‘Scotland’s largest’ wind farm on its way to receive last jackets
The construction of ‘Scotland‘s largest’ offshore wind farm has entered the final phases of work as the last of wind turbine foundations have left the Port of Nigg.
Seagreen, a £3 billion joint venture between SSE and TotalEnergies, is expected to become the deepest fixed-bottom wind farm in the world when it is complete.
Located 27 kilometres off the coast of Angus in the North Sea, the Seagreen Wind Farm is also predicted to provide enough power for around two-thirds of all Scottish homes. (energylivenews)

Photo: Glenn Wallace/Flickr

Highest home solar instals for seven years
Domestic installations of on-roof solar electricity systems boomed last year to their highest peak since 2015, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has reported.
Just over 130,000 home solar installations were registered with the MCS in 2022, up 114% on 2021, the MCS reports. (theenergyst)


RAM enters the electric pickup race
RAM, which is the truck division of Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) showed off an electric pickup truck at the CES show in Las Vegas, which looked “swoopy” and garnered thumbs up from many who saw it. Mere weeks later and the production ready version is shown and it is considerably more conservative in looks than the show car. However, maybe that is what the market is looking for, it is, after all, a utility vehicle. More importantly it is now clear that the electric pickup market will, after a slow start, become a major battleground for the manufacturers. By next year buyers will be able to choose anything from the basic (Maxus etc) to the very exotic (Cybertruck). I hope sales do justice to this emerging market.

photo: Stellantis


Amazon Finances First-Ever Seaweed Farm Located Between Offshore Wind Turbines
The North Sea Farm 1 will be located in a wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands, designed to test and improve methods of seaweed farming, while researching the potential of seaweed to sequester carbon.
By locating the farm in previously empty space between turbines, the project is able to expand seaweed cultivation in the otherwise heavily used North Sea, Amazon said.
If seaweed farming were to expand to occupy the entire space occupied by wind farms, expected to be approximately 1 million hectares by 2040, it could reduce millions of tonnes of CO2 annually. (offshorewind)

photo: Amazon


California Reservoirs Refilled by Winter Deluges
In the wake of a series of destructive storms in late December and early January, California’s long-ailing mountain reservoirs have risen, satellite images from NASA show.
Lake Oroville, which sits in the northern reaches of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, was at just 28 percent of capacity in late November and is now at 69 percent capacity, following the winter deluge. Long depleted by drought, the reservoir is now close to its historical winter level. Lake Shasta (below), in far northern California, was at just 31 percent of capacity in late November and is now at 58 percent capacity, bringing it in line with the historical average. (yale360)

photo: NASA

India annouced its first Lithium Reserve
India announced that 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves have been found for the first time in the country in Jammu and Kashmir.
The country’s first lithium reserve, found in Jammu and Kashmir, is of the best quality, a senior government official said here on Saturday, as upbeat villagers expressed hope the discovery will bring them a bright future.
India joined a select group of countries* at the global level after this finding and it will fulfil the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) (energycollective)

*According to NS Energy these are the six countries with the largest lithium reserves:
Bolivia – 21 million tonnes
Argentina – 17 million tonnes
Chile – 9 Million tonnes
USA – 6.8 million tonnes
Australia – 4.5 million tonnes
China – 4.5 million tonnes (China controls 75% of the raw materials refining capacity for batteries)

photo: Flickr


Microgrid In A Box Is Opening New Possibilities In Utilities, Disaster Relief, Defense
In a back lot behind a building at Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, are a number of standard looking shipping containers, linked by a network of chunky looking cables.
There is more going on here than meets the eye.
This collection of mobile trailers and containers is a fully functional microgrid. Dubbed the Microgrid in a Box, it includes 320 kilowatt-hours of battery storage, and can tie seamlessly into a modern electrical grid and coordinate the distribution of electricity for a small village, military base, or, in the event of a disaster, a hospital, transportation depot, or other critical infrastructure building.
The project is a collaboration with private industry and government customers. An early version of the Microgrid in a Box has already been deployed for military use in Kuwait.
While researchers have built microgrids with similar capabilities in the past, this is the first portable system at this scale with all its advanced control features and specifications. The microgrid can manage about 250 kilowatts of electricity and work in both U.S. and U.K. standard electrical systems.
But what makes the Microgrid in a Box truly unique is its flexibility to manage and coordinate electricity generation from any number of sources including solar, wind, nuclear, or a diesel generator while also playing nice with the electrical grid, offering grid services options.
Most microgrids are focused on either the needs of the end user (say, powering a hospital) or working seamlessly for a utility on their side of customer meters. The Microgrid in a Box employs several technologies that enable it to play both roles. (cleantechnica)