VW received 10,000 reservations for the ID.3 in the first 24 hours (see story below). Not quite up to the 113,000 Tesla managed with the Model 3, but better that expected. The VW Golf has never needed Elon Musk fairy dust, so hopefully nor will the ID.3

Company news

Siemens sells off power division

Siemens cheered investors on Wednesday by saying it would spin off its faltering 30 billion euro (25.8 billion pounds) gas-turbines business and posting better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
The German engineering company said it would hand over to existing investors shares in the Gas and Power unit that has suffered from collapsing demand and cut-throat price competition as customers abandon fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy.
The separation is the latest overhaul by Siemens Chief Executive Joe Kaeser who floated Siemens’s Healthineers business last year and its wind power business in 2017.
Following the overhaul Siemens’s industrial core would be its Digital Industries unit, which offers industrial software and automation solutions for factories, and Smart Infrastructure, which makes fire safety and security products, grid control or energy storage systems for buildings. (yahoo)

UK news   

Michael Gove calls for crack down on food waste

The plea comes ahead of the ‘Step up to the Plate’ symposium next week, hosted by the government’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot.
Attendees at the event will be asked to adopt the IDG’s Food Waste Reduction Road Map and halve food waste by 2030, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. They will also be asked to use their voice and profile to empower and encourage citizens to curb waste, including the younger generation.
Gove said he had already committed to the pledge, which will also require a shift in personal buying habits to make sure no food goes to waste at home.
The news comes just a few days after the Scottish government launched its Food Waste Reduction Action Plan (FWRAP) in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, with the aim of reducing Scotland’s food waste by one third by 2025.
To tackle the issue, the Scottish government plans to expand local food waste collection facilities, which in turn deliver food waste to Anaerobic Digestion facilities where it is converted into green energy in the form of biogas. (businessgreen)

Legal & General enlists HBS New Energies for solar housing scheme

HBS New Energies has been selected to deliver roof integrated solar PV as part of Legal & General’s sustainable housing development.
Around 128.4kWp of rooftop solar will be installed by HBS across 37 homes in the Buckler’s Park development in Berkshire.
An estimated 120,244kWh will be generated per year, with a carbon reduction of 62.4 tonnes.
The scheme will help to meet Legal & General’s energy targets of achieving a 19% saving in CO2 emissions through on-site renewable generation. (solarpowerportal)

UK injects £52m into solar power plant in Kenya

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has welcomed funding totalling £52 million that has been raised for a solar power plant in Kenya.
The project, run by British-headquartered power company Globeleq and funded by CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, is due to come online in 2020.
It will provide clean electricity to the Malindi region in South East Kenya, which currently struggles with regular power shortages and relies largely on expensive thermal plants.
Power will be supplied to the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). (energylivenews)

Anger as UK gov’t proposes 15% tax rise for solar, storage purchases

The national Renewable Energy Association has taken aim at a British government proposal to hike up tax rates attached to some energy saving equipment purchases, including solar and battery storage.
A consultation launched by the government department responsible for tax, HM Revenue & Customs closed late last week, proposing an increase in the VAT (value-added tax, the UK’s sales tax mechanism) attached to these energy saving materials from 5% to 20%, essentially eliminating a discount that had been applied to those products.
It is not the first time that solar PV has been threatened with a higher rate of VAT. In 2015 the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK’s application of a discounted rate was illegal and, despite attempting to fight it, the government eventually conceded that the increase could not be averted.
The new consultation seeks to amend the discounted rate so that a full 20% rate of VAT is applied to the machinery costs should they be above 60% of a total installation fee. Labour costs will still benefit from the reduce rate.
There is also a carve out for homeowners who are aged 60 or above and those receiving particular benefits, and housing associations will also be eligible for the reduced rate still. The new rates are proposed to come into effect from 1 October 2019. (energy-storagenews)

EV of the week 

Beetle – Golf – ID.3. VW’s path to redemption

VW held a press conference and livestream yesterday to talk about the forthcoming launch of their mid-size EV now to be called ID.3. Think of it as the Golf equivalent, so therefore likely to be the most important cornerstone in VW’s electric transition.
What was the point of the early announcement? This not how car companies usually do this, but Apple and Tesla and other Tech titans do, so VW decided to go that route.
The presentation showed the car in psychedelic disguise, through which very Golf like proportions seem to be evident. Three sizes of battery will be on offer: 35kWh, 58kWh and 77kWh with rough ranges of up to 205, 260 and 342 miles. The base model should retail at under £30k and be available in 2020 which is encouraging.
This launch is hugely important for VW, and probably for the automotive industry. They will launch in 29 European countries next year and hope to achieve a run rate of 100,000 units per year sales by 2021.
VW are now taking pre-order bookings. (cleantechnica)
Watch the Livecast HERE


Addidas develops 100% recyclable trainer

It’s not everyday a household name brand in the performance footwear industry announces a 100 percent recyclable shoe, fortunately for conscientious consumers and the planet, adidas has developed the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP performance running shoe, designed to tackle the daily pavement beatings like other shoes across the brand. However, the difference is that instead of heading to landfills with hundreds of thousands of other shoes, the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP can be returned to Adidas where it is broken down and reused to create new performance running shoes.
The process was developed after nearly a decade of research and development focused on changing age-old performance-shoe manufacturing practices. The end goal was to create a shoe that was not only sourced from recycled materials, but was also able to be turned back into another pair, creating a full-loop of manufacturing responsibility. The process involves zero waste. (inhabitat)

Focus on: Targeted Charging Review

Aurora: Ofgem’s TCR will favour gas, hamstring renewables

Energy Consultancy Aurora is alarmed by the implications of Ofgem’s proposed Targeted Charging Review in terms of its effect of the viability of subsidy free renewables.
Ofgem is trying to reduce distortions in network charging regimes which it believes are being exploited by generators to the detriment of other system users.
Under its charging review proposals, generators connected to the distribution network will lose certain financial benefits, while others will flip from benefits to charges.
The proposed changes will remove significant chunks of existing generators’ revenues, damaging investor confidence, said Aurora. They also make investment cases for new distributed generation less compelling.
If the capacity market (CM) is reinstated without major changes, following the European Commission’s investigation, Aurora predicts CM prices will have to annually rise by £6-£12/kW in order to make up the revenue shortfall resulting from the TCR.
By definition, the capacity market pays for capacity – which has to be dispatchable when required. Wind and solar assets are currently unable to bid for capacity agreements. That means they cannot make up revenue via the CM.
Meanwhile shorter duration batteries have been de-rated so that they receive only a fraction of the headline price. Some parts of the industry are also pushing for demand-side response to be de-rated within the five-year review of the policy, though appetite may diminish given the ongoing investigation was triggered by DSR company Tempus Energy.
The upshot, according to Aurora’s models, is that the build out of subsidy-free renewables will be delayed by 2-5 years if the TCR implemented as currently envisaged under Ofgem’s ‘preferred options’. (energyst)  
Download the report HERE

NYC eco-park of the week

NYC’s new “eco-park” and urban beach

New York City has just welcomed yet another gem to its growing number of waterfront parks — Pier 35, the long-awaited East River Waterfront project designed by Manhattan-based firm SHoP Architects in partnership with Ken Smith Workshop. Built to anchor the north side of the East River esplanade, Pier 35 consists of a new eco-park that not only offers a passive recreational space for the local community but also an innovative habitat restoration section, called Mussel Beach, that will encourage the growth of water-filtering mussels. The park also features a massive folded wall of mesh metal that will be covered in climbing vines to create a “green” billboard visible from afar.Opened this month, the 28,000-square-foot park stretches two miles along the waterfront between the Battery Maritime Building and Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side. Created in collaboration with the local community, Pier 35 revitalizes an often-overlooked section of the East River esplanade with a landscaped lawn and dunes; a raised porch with custom swings overlooking the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges; and an inclined, folded green screen that rises to 35 feet in height and over 300 feet in length and will be overlaid with vines. Built of metal and weathered steel wall panels as a nod to the East River’s industrial history, the screen wall was installed to hide views of the adjacent Sanitation Department shed at Pier 36. (inhabitat)


Solar-plus-storage system for humanitarian ops in South Sudan

Norwegian firm Scatec Solar has linked up with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to provide a solar-plus-storage system to one of its humanitarian operations in South Sudan, while it plans to expand into other emergency zones in the region.
A 700kW hybrid PV project linked with 1.6MWh of lithium-ion battery storage will be installed at the IOM-managed Humanitarian Hub in Malakal, which houses close to 300 humanitarian workers that provide services to nearly 30,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the nearby Protection of Civilians (PoC) site
The system, which is equity financed by Scatec Solar and supported by the United Nations, will provide around 80-90% of the round-the-clock power demand of the site, with the remaining 10% filled with diesel generation. It will reduce cost and carbon emissions for the UN entities and the solar systems can be easily scaled up to supply power to local communities or to other off-takers at a later stage. (energy-storagenews)

Google and Carbon Tracker to use AI to track emissions from world’s power plants

A $1.7m Google grant will see satellite imagery used to track emissions from the world’s largest power plants
A new project is set to ensure anyone with an internet connection can track carbon emissions from the world’s largest power plants, monitoring in real-time their contribution to a warming planet.
On Monday leading sustainable investment Carbon Tracker revealed plans to use satellite imagery to quantify carbon emissions from all large power plants worldwide, thanks to $1.7m in grant funding from Google AI Impact Challenge.
The scheme aims to hold power plants accountable to environmental standards and boost the effectiveness of advanced emissions reduction technologies.
The project will be run in collaboration with tech non-profit Watt Time and the World Resources Institute (WRI), which maintains the world’s most comprehensive Global Database of Power Plants. (businessgreen)

Techie corner

University of Bath research brings solar-powered hydrogen fuels a step closer

A cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable way of making hydrogen fuel from water using sunlight is step closer thanks to new research from the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies.Hydrogencan be made by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, however the process requires large amounts of electricity. Most electricity is made by burning methane so researchers at the University of Bath are developing new solar cells that use light energy directly to split water.Most solar cells currently on the market are made of silicon, however they are expensive to make and require a lot of very pure silicon to manufacture.
Perovskite solar cells, using materials with the same 3D structure as calcium titanium oxide, are cheaper to make, thinner and can be easily printed onto surfaces. They also work in low light conditions and can produce a higher voltage than silicon cells, meaning they could be used indoors to power devices without the need to plug into the mains. The downside is they are unstable in water which presents a huge obstacle in their development and also limits their use for the direct generation of clean hydrogen fuels.
The team of scientists and chemical engineers, from the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, has solved this problem by using a waterproof coating from graphite, the material used in pencil leads. They tested the waterproofing by submerging the coated perovskite cells in water and using the harvested solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The coated cells worked underwater for 30 hours – ten hours longer than the previous record. (renewableenergymagazine)

Have a great long weekend