Our beloved Government seem to be dropping more balls than Scottish goalkeepers of the 1980’s. It has become so regular that the excuses all sound equally rediculous: “most schools won’t fall down” and “the CfD’s are enabling more projects”. Strewth.
H2 Green Steel raises €1.5b for ‘world’s first green steel plant’
In the largest private placement in Europe this year, H2 Green Steel has raised about €1.5 billion to finance the world’s first large-scale green steel plant and Europe’s first giga-scale electrolyzer.
The private placement is co-led by new investor Hy24, together with existing investors Altor, GIC and Just Climate. The transaction also includes new investors Andra AP – fonden and Temasek as well as a group of existing investors that continue to support H2 Green Steel.
The proceeds will finance the construction and development of H2 Green Steel’s flagship large-scale green steel plant in Boden, Sweden. Groundworks have been ongoing on the site in Boden since summer 2022, and through this transaction, H2 Green Steel hopes to move closer toward start of operations by the end of 2025.
According to the company, the plant will deliver steel with up to 95% less CO2 emissions compared to steel produced with traditional blast furnace technology. This is made possible by replacing coal in the production process with hydrogen, produced on-site with Europe’s largest electrolyzer, using electricity from renewable sources. (steeltimesinternational)
photo: H2 Green Steel
UK’s largest electric vehicle charging hub opens in Birmingham
The UK’s largest electric vehicle charging hub has opened at Birmingham’s NEC conference centre with the power to charge up to 180 vehicles at a time in as little as 15 minutes.
The multimillion-pound site will provide the UK’s highest concentration of super-fast chargers in one location after the biggest-ever private investment in Britain’s charging infrastructure.
The hub offers motorists in the West Midlands 150 seven-kilowatt AC charging bays and a further 30 superfast, 300kW DC charging bays which can be used to charge up a typical passenger vehicle in about 15 minutes.
Andrew Cole, a director at the NEC Group, said the conference centre’s campus, which has 7 million visitors a year, could now charge about 1,000 electric cars in every 12-hour day.
The “Gigahub” was developed between the NEC, independent charging infrastructure company EV Network and BP Pulse, which operates the site. (guardian)
National Grid readies 10GW capacity for ‘shovel-ready’ renewable projects
National Grid Electricity Distribution has unveiled plans to release 10GW of grid capacity earmarked for connecting renewable energy projects, including solar farms, onshore wind and battery storage.
This announcement comes after consultations with stakeholders, including National Grid ESO, Ofgem and the UK Government, to find innovative solutions for expediting the integration of low carbon technologies.
Under a new agreement with the electricity system operator, projects requiring additional transmission network reinforcement will have the opportunity to connect immediately under an interim, non-firm connection arrangement.
In return for early access, some projects may face curtailment during periods of excess generation, such as exceptionally windy or sunny summer days.
However, as network capacity grows, these interim arrangements will ultimately transition to firm connections.
Starting in October, National Grid Electricity Distribution will replace the current “first come, first served” connection model with a dynamic “first ready, first connected” approach. (futurenetzero)
Royal Society: UK has ‘seriously underestimated’ energy storage needs
The need for large-scale, long-term electricity storage to support Britain’s grid as it is increasingly supplied by significant levels of wind and solar power has been “seriously underestimated”, with up to 100TWh of storage capacity likely to be required by 2050, according to the Royal Society.
The influential science organisation sounded the alarm today that despite demand for electricity being expected to double over the next 30 years, and intermittent sources of power such as wind and solar set to provide the backbone of UK power generation, there remains a lack of focus on the crucial role large-scale storage assets will have to play in a net zero emission grid.
It stressed that grid scale storage capacity was essential for managing variations in wind and solar generation, calculating the UK would likely need enough storage capacity to meet around a quarter of the UK’s current annual electricity demand.
Overall, the Royal Society calculated that the UK would need between 60-100TWh of large-scale storage by 2050, which would be equivalent to more than 5,000 pumped hydroelectric dams of a similar size to the Dinorwig facility in Wales.
But a report by the organisation today warned that “storage requirements on this scale are not currently foreseen by the government”, and that the UK therefore runs the risk of missing its target to deliver a net zero emission power grid by 2035. (businessgreen)
Clearstone Energy is seeking planning for a new 400MW BESS project in Devon.
The Junction 27 project in the South West of England is the first site in a UK BESS project pipeline of 8 large-scale projects with a combined capacity of 2.2GW for which Clearstone Energy is aiming to seek planning consent over the next 12 months.
The Junction 27 Energy Hub is on low-grade agricultural land near existing transport infrastructure on the M5 corridor in Devon. The project will “help balance electricity supply and demand across Devon and Cornwall and reduce reliance on gas-fired power stations,” according to Clearstone. (solarpowerportal)
photo: Clearstone Energy
UK tyre recycling plant gets green light
Wastefront has obtained an environmental permit for its flagship tyre recycling site situated at the Port of Sunderland.
The Sunderland plant is expected to produce recovered carbon black (rCB) from around 20% of the UK’s annual supply of end-of-life tyres.
Utilising commercial technologies, Wastefront will convert discarded tyres into other resources, including biofuels and rCB, which can be used in various industries, including alternative fuel and tyre manufacturing.
The project aims to address the environmental issues posed by end-of-life tyres, which generate an estimated 31 million metric tonnes of waste and emissions annually.
Wastefront expects to achieve full operational status for the Sunderland site by 2026. (futurenetzero)
EV OF THE WEEK
BMW ‘s Neue Klasse suggests a radical reinvention
It is sometimes difficult to work out BMW’s strategic thinking. They have bursts of radical creative thinking, then revert to doubling down on their tried and tested routine. Their first steps into electric motoring with the i3 & i8 were examples of the former. Rolling out cars with ever more extreme (and ugly to some) kidney shaped grills fall into the latter category. Now they have started to electrify their more conservative designs, with cars like the i4 and iX1. This, then, seemed to be their route of travel.
However, at this week’s Munich Auto show they did a flip and showed a concept that is meant to presage a new, electric design language, which they are calling the Neue Klasse. The look is very much more stripped down, you could call it classy rather than brassy. The lines are crisp, the grill, lights and rear demonstrate clean, uncluttered looks, but still distinctively BMW. There are suggestions of the old 1970’s 2002 in the shape, a good thing to us who grew up on them.
BMW is talking about a 20% improvement in battery density and about launching the range as soon as 2025. This suggests that the concept is likely not far from what they plan to launch.
Kyoto Group advance thermal energy storage projects in Denmark
Kyoto Group announced the official inauguration of its Heatcube thermal energy storage system at the Norbis Park in Denmark, a power plant complex currently comprising the coal and gas-fired Nordjylland Power Station, but seeking to shift to renewables.
The company’s Heatcube technology uses electricity to store thermal energy by heating molten salt to 415°C and then creating steam. It can be used for industrial processes that require lots of heating but the Norbis project will allow Aalborg Forsyning, the local utility that owns the complex, to provide greener heat energy to the local district heating network.
Camilla Nilsson, Kyoto Group CEO, said: “This installation marks the first application of molten salt energy storage technology in a new market segment, despite its long-standing use in concentrated solar power facilities. This is a significant milestone, advancing the efforts to decarbonise heat through electrification.” (energy-storagenews)
Photo: Kyoto Group
FOCUS ON: UK CfD OFFSHORE WIND FIASCO
UK Wind Auction Fails, Deepening Offshore Industry Troubles
The fifth UK government auction for offshore wind failed to attract any bids, the latest sign of trouble in an industry that’s crucial to meeting net zero goals.
Offshore wind developers had repeatedly warned the government that they were unlikely to bid in this year’s auction round while they are facing rising financing and supply chain costs. The government-set electricity prices in the auction were always likely to be too low to make building projects worth it.
The UK aims to have 50 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, but is expected to fall short of the goal by nearly a third, according to BloombergNEF.
Under the UK’s clean energy auctions, companies compete for contracts based on how cheaply they can build a project to supply power. These are know as Contracts for Difference or CfD’s. The government sets a baseline price, which no one can bid above. Companies have to pay anything in excess of that level back to the Treasury, while they get compensated the difference if electricity prices fall below. Investors said the price floor set this year was untenable, as it failed to take account of inflation.
or years, offshore wind has been the country’s most successful alternative source of energy to fossil fuels. Last year, the technology won the bulk of new capacity, almost 7 gigawatts, at record-low prices. But that success is fading as projects struggle with cost pressures. (bloomberg)
What bids did get accepted?
A total of 95 clean energy projects have had their bids accepted, with onshore wind and solar accounting for the majority of the funding allocation. A record number of tidal energy schemes were accepted as well as – for the first time – three geothermal projects totaling 12MW.
In total 3.7GW were bid against an expected 11GW. Last yer 10.7GW were bid of which 7GW was offshore wind. (edie)
Photo: SSE Renewables
Some industry reactions:
RenewableUK CEO Dan McGrail said: “Industry has warned that rising costs should have been properly priced into this auction. If the UK isn’t offering prices that allow investors to make a return, they will simply invest elsewhere…”
Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, Richard Sandford, said: “…“It’s clear that this year’s auction represents a missed opportunity to strengthen Britain’s energy security and provide low-cost power for consumers. If all the offshore wind projects eligible to bid into this auction had done so, we could have powered the equivalent of more than five million British homes a year. So, lessons must be learned…”
Jess Ralston, Energy Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “…But the elephant in the room is the renewables that weren’t secured. We’ve potentially missed out on bill savings worth over £1bn from no offshore wind bids, which again would be far cheaper than the alternative gas. That’s bad news for households, the industry and the Government – not a good look for outdated Treasury rules to be blocking cheaper bills ahead of the next Election.
“The industry says our offshore wind market, the second largest in the world, is ready to deliver. Will the government rerun this auction with sensible strike prices?” (edie)
Kenya Wants Africa to Sell Green Solutions at COP, Not Seek Aid
As leaders convened in Nairobi for Africa’s first climate summit, Kenya’s president William Ruto made it clear how he wants the world’s least developed continent to approach this year’s crucial United Nations climate summit.
While African nations still rightfully bemoan the fact they contribute very little greenhouse gas emissions and disproportionately suffer the consequences of global warming, Ruto wants the continent to put itself forward as a potential source of green energy.
The Kenyan president has been increasingly presenting himself as Africa’s climate champion. In addition to convening the inaugural summit, Ruto, 56, has spent his first year in office extolling Kenya’s green credentials — 92% of its power comes from renewable sources — and urging other African leaders to forsake fossil fuels. He’s also called for reform of the global financial system to provide the money needed to fund climate resilience and low-carbon development, and this year has begun campaigning for Africa to get more money from carbon markets. (bloomberg)
ERCOT forced to declare emergency conditions as extreme heat hits Texas
Experts say battery resources may have kept the grid operator from declaring rolling blackouts amid low renewables output and high thermal outages.
The Texas grid narrowly avoided blackouts Wednesday evening as cooling demand from extreme heat combined with thermal outages and low solar and wind output to force the state’s grid operator into emergency operating conditions.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas declared an Energy Emergency Alert 2 around 7:30 p.m. local time, allowing it to bring all available generation online, utilize reserve power and call on demand response. The EEA 2 was lifted after a little more than an hour.
The EEA was likely triggered by a large power plant tripping offline, Texas energy market analyst and Stoic Energy President Doug Lewin tweeted. “Storage set an all-time record when it was needed most, almost certainly preventing rolling outages,” he added. (utilitydive)
The Australian solar tech that may have found a low cost solution to deep storage
Australian startup Raygen have come up with an interesting solution for how to deliver concentrated solar energy with overnight/long term storage, and they have done it by keeping things simple.
How have they done it? For a start it has gone for modularity, and deploys 1MW units rather than vast 100MW arrays. That means that instead of using towers that are 200 metres high, it uses towers that are 45 metres high, and each 1MW unit needs fewer and smaller heliostats than conventional “tower power”.
These require smaller footings and, in RayGen’s case, no cables as each heliostat has its own (solar powered) controls that automatically follow the sun.
The storage is also deceptively simple. Instead of using fluids such as molten salt with temperatures of 600°C or more, RayGen has borrowed from conventional district heating and geothermal technologies, and uses hot and cold ponds, low temperatures (90°C) and Organic Rankin Cycle engines, which have been around for years. You can see the storage pits at the bottom of the picture.
Is it efficient? Because the components are all off the shelf, all the components are cheap, the only energy that is used is to cool the cold storage. The heat is free and the round trip efficiency is 70% according to RayGen’s CEO Richard Payne.
Finally, are others impressed? The The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has supported five funding rounds and shareholders now include Chevron, Schlumberger, Equinor and Australian utility AGL. (reneweconomy)
A spoonful of sugar helps the flow battery
Flow batteries haven’t gone mainstream, yet, but they are slowly edging into the market. To provide full day, utility scale energy storage as more wind and solar power enter the grid, a flow battery fits the bill.
Today’s flow battery designs represent a 50-year process of improvement that began to take shape in the 1970s.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s contribution is the first ever use of β-cyclodextrin, a simple sugar derived from starch, in a flow battery formula. The PNNL team focused on β-cyclodextrin because they were looking for a straightforward way to introduce more fluorenol into their flow battery.
Apparently the idea behind the new research was to encapsulate fluorenol in β-cyclodextrin molecules, which would dissolve when introduced to a flow battery solution. That turned out to be not a very efficient way to deliver more fluorenol, but it did result in a fair amount of β-cyclodextrin making its way into the PNNL flow battery.
The β-cyclodextrin made an unexpected difference, acting as an agent that motivates more activity in other chemicals in the solution.
In a followup press release dated July 10, PNNL noted that the team tweaked their new formula until the flow battery achieved 60% more peak power than earlier versions. They ran it through continuous charge-discharge cycles for more than a year with only a minimal loss in capacity. (cleantechnica)