Regular readers will know the exasperation that each successive report from the IEA generates. Every year they have to upgrade their forecasts for renewables sales and downgrade the costs. Imagine our surprise when they finally stop playing catch-up and publish their Net-Zero roadmap (see below). Do not underestimate the significance of this. Despite their failings the IEA are still highly influential and this report knocks away another crutch for those who would drag their heels on the path to decarbonisation.

IEA Net-Zero by 2050 Report

IEA: Renewables should overtake coal ‘within five years’
In a 227-page report, titled “Net-zero by 2050: A roadmap for the global energy sector,” the IEA calls for “a total transformation of the energy systems that underpin our economies”.
The IEA report is a “how-to guide” for the world’s decision-makers, many of whom have committed their countries, cities or businesses to net-zero emissions by midcentury.
It offers a “net zero emissions by 2050” (NZE) scenario and the “concrete milestones for technology deployment, sectoral trends and choices that have to be made” to meet it.
The NZE is the IEA’s first-ever detailed pathway to reaching net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy and industry by 2050. It is described as “1.5C compatible”.
The IEA says NZE would give a 50% chance of staying below 1.5C with no “overshoot”, if paired with stringent cuts to non-CO2 greenhouse gases and emissions from forestry and land use. (carbonbrief)
Download this landmark report HERE

UK news

UK ETS: Post-Brexit carbon market opens
The UK’s carbon price has hit £50 as the nation’s post-Brexit emissions trading scheme (ETS) opened for the first time on Wednesday morning
The price is almost £5 higher than that currently trading in the EU’s ETS – the world’s largest ETS, which the UK left in December 2020 as part of the Brexit process.
It is also above the threshold that the UK Government had determined to implement as an intervention; if prices trade above £44.74 for more than a few weeks, this price will be implemented to avoid potential problems internationally and complaints from high-emitting sectors such as building materials, mining, oil and gas. The UK Government’s reserve price was notably £22 per tonne, which green groups have stated seemed low, considering that EU prices have been steadily rising since 2018 and hit a new high of €53 on 11 May. (edie)

Breathe wins energy saving contract at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Specialist energy performance contractor Breathe has been appointed, under the REFIT framework, to deliver a £24.79 million energy saving scheme for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
As part of a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, set out by the UK government the grant was awarded after a competitive bidding process for a share of £1billion, earmarked for public sector bodies by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, supporting the government’s net zero and clean growth goals.
The funds will be used to achieve more than 15% emissions reductions at the Trust’s Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospital sites. This will include an air source heat pump at Charing Cross Hospital
Both hospitals will also benefit from a range of improved energy efficiency measures, including lighting, pumping, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, alongside better energy controls. The funds will also address some of the long-standing backlog maintenance matters, replacing old boilers and steam systems with modern, energy efficient equipment. (breatheenergy)

photo: Breathe Energy

UK’s biggest co-operative solar PV farm secures funding
A loan from ethical bank Triodos is today confirmed as securing the construction of Britain’s biggest community-owned PV generator, a 19.2MWp ground mounted farm to be built in Oxfordshire’s Ray Valley near Bicester.
Oxford-based community energy activists Low Carbon Hub will develop and operate the park.  The group secured planning permission for the 95-acre site as long ago as November 2019. They raised £4.5 million from retail investors, plus a loan from Oxford City Council. (theenergyst)

Ikea and BrewDog among backers of new green pensions commitment
A string of 50 major businesses, NGOs and trade bodies have pledged to ensure their pension plans are ‘green’ this year, and are urging others to follow suit.
The Charter commits signatories to ensure that their pension schemes are “not investing in industries that harm our planet” by the time that COP26 takes place this November. Make My Money Matter’s primary focus is on fossil fuel divestment, but the Charter also covers businesses in other sectors with high environmental impact. For example, mining and extractives firms with no clear transition plans would be excluded under the Charter’s definition.
The aim of the Charter, beyond accelerating action and increasing ambition among the 50 first signatories, is to encourage a wider shift across the pensions sector. Since it launched last year, Make My Money Matter has urged individuals and businesses to press their pension schemes to improve climate commitments and enhance emissions disclosure, leading to new pledges from the likes of Smart Pension and Brunel Pensions Partnership. (edie)

EV of the week

Electric Ford F-150 Lighning Pickup is big news in EV world
The much-anticipated battery-powered 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning pickup has finally made its debut, a moment that feels like a sea change in the U.S. auto industry. The F-Series pickup has for years been America’s bestselling passenger vehicle, and Ford’s decision to offer it as an electric vehicle sends the message with a bullhorn: The EV’s moment is upon us.
The standard-range version makes 426 horsepower, while the extended-range model boasts 563 hp; both have 775 pound-feet of torque. For the larger-battery version, Ford estimates a 0–60 time in the mid-4-second range.
Ford is estimating 230 miles of range for the base battery pack and 300 miles for the extended-range version. (autoblog)

photo: Ford


Vestas Leads Project to Make Wind Turbine Blades Fully Recyclable
A coalition of industry and academic leaders has developed a new technology to enable circularity for thermoset composites, the material used to make blades.
The new technology is said to deliver the final technological step on the journey towards a fully recyclable wind turbine value chain.
To enable the adoption of this new technology, and to advance a circular economy across the wind industry, a new initiative entitled CETEC (Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites) has been established.
Within three years, CETEC is aiming to present a fully scoped solution ready for industrial adoption, based on commercialisation of the novel circularity technology.
Partly funded by Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD), CETEC is spearheaded by Vestas, and involves both industrial and academic leaders including Olin, the world-leading producer of Epoxy, the Danish Technological Institute (DTI), and Aarhus University. (offshorewind)

Highview Power unveils $1bn plan to bolster Spain’s renewables grid
Having successfully demonstrated the world’s largest liquid air energy storage project at a site in Greater Manchester, Highview Power revealed this week that it is planning to deploy its technology as part of the net zero grid strategies being pursued by a number of Spanish regions.
Spain boasts one of the highest shares of renewable power of any European grid and is working on ambitious plans to rapidly increase its reliance on onshore wind and solar projects. Long-term energy storage capacity is widely regarded as an essential component of renewables-reliant grids, working to address the intermittency of renewable sources, enhance efficiency, and ensure grids remain reliable even during sustained periods of still or cloudy weather. Advocates of liquid air energy storage projects maintain that they are perfectly suited for providing cost-competitive long term energy storage capacity.
As such, Highview Power’s new initiative aims to deploy up to seven CRYOBattery projects in Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, and the Canary Islands. The company said it would work with a number of development partners and a consortium of investors, including engineering giant TSK and the Center for Energy, Environmental, and Technological Research (CIEMAT), which will collectively provide an estimated investment of $1bn to support the project. (businessgreen)

photo: Highview Power

Focus on: Hydrogen

Can hydrogen make steelmaking greener?
Italians have launched what they claim is the world’s first test to try a natural gas and hydrogen blend in steel manufacture, in a bid to help the decarbonisation of the industry.
Italy’s energy infrastructure firm Snam has worked with the engineering consultancy RINA and the steel manufacturer GIVA Group to try a 30% natural gas/hydrogen mix in the forging processes.
The test was run at GIVA’s steel plant in Milan.
The consortium estimates the permanent use of this blend at the three of the company’s steel forging plants would save almost €800,000 and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 15,000 tonnes a year. (energylivenews)

France’s McPhy Plans New ‘Gigafactory’ for Green Hydrogen Gear
McPhy Energy SA is set to build a “gigafactory” in eastern France to make equipment for hydrogen production — an industry at the forefront of Europe’s plans to slash carbon emissions.
The plant in Belfort will be able to produce 1 gigawatt of electrolyzers a year, McPhy said Thursday. That puts it on par with large industrial players like Siemens Energy AG and Thyssenkrupp AG, and will help to further the country’s ambitions for a massive expansion of hydrogen made from renewable energy. (Bloomberg)

Ørsted to build first renewable hydrogen project
Ørsted has announced the construction of its first renewable hydrogen project.
The H2RES project will be constructed in Copenhagen, have a capacity of 2MW and utilise Ørsted’s two 3.6MW offshore wind turbines for power.
It is forecast to produce approximately 1,000 kilograms of renewable hydrogen per day, which will be used to power zero-emission road transport.
H2RES is set to start producing hydrogen later this year. (energylivenews)

Global stuff

As Banks Shun Coal, Vietnam Emerges an Unlikely Solar Champion
Even countries with weak climate goals are getting swept up in the global clean energy transition.
Vietnam has been host to an extraordinary 100 fold increase in solar power over the last two years.
The Southeast Asian nation now ranks seventh in the world in terms of capacity, according to BloombergNEF, and in 2020 the only countries that installed more solar panels than Vietnam’s 13GW were the U.S. and China.
The solar surge didn’t come from a government push to cut carbon pollution. In fact, Vietnam isn’t among the more than 100 countries with a net-zero target in the decades ahead. Instead, the embrace of solar is being driven by global forces. Foreign banks are limiting funding to fossil fuels projects, meaning Vietnamese utilities have struggled to get loans for new coal plants. At the same time, the plunging price of solar panels, many of which are assembled domestically, has created a cheap and convenient alternative. (Bloomberg)

Twenty firms produce 55% of world’s plastic waste, report reveals
Twenty companies are responsible for producing more than half of all the single-use plastic waste in the world, fuelling the climate crisis and creating an environmental catastrophe, new research reveals.
Among the global businesses responsible for 55% of the world’s plastic packaging waste are both state-owned and multinational corporations, including oil and gas giants and chemical companies, according to a comprehensive new analysis.
The Plastic Waste Makers index reveals for the first time the companies who produce the polymers that become throwaway plastic items, from face masks to plastic bags and bottles, which at the end of their short life pollute the oceans or are burned or thrown into landfill.
It also reveals Australia leads a list of countries for generating the most single-use plastic waste on a per capita basis, ahead of the United States, South Korea and Britain.
ExxonMobil is the greatest single-use plastic waste polluter in the world, contributing 5.9m tonnes to the global waste mountain, concludes the analysis by the Minderoo Foundation of Australia with partners including Wood Mackenzie, the London School of Economics and Stockholm Environment Institute. The largest chemicals company in the world, Dow, which is based in the US, created 5.5m tonnes of plastic waste, while China’s oil and gas enterprise, Sinopec, created 5.3m tonnes. (guardian)
You can find the report HERE

Techie corner

Harvard show off a working lithium-metal battery
Lithium-ion batteries are the backbone of most of today’s electronic devices. But for all of their game-changing benefits, the batteries still have an inherent flaw: dendrites. These thin tree-like pieces of lithium form sharp points and end up piercing the battery, causing short circuits and other problems. This ultimately shortens the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries, and leaves major room for improvement.
Harvard University researchers say they have the answer: a lithium-metal battery made of a solid-state metal material rather than lithium-ion, eliminating the pesky dendrites and offering more structural stability than a battery consisting of liquid or graphite materials.
The Harvard scientists tested their battery over 10,000 charge cycles—competitive with the lifetime of a conventional fossil fuel car and a huge step forward. They found their design still held 82 percent of its charge after 10,000 cycles.
What does this all mean for the future of batteries and electric vehicles? If the design works as planned, it could singlehandedly open the door for lithium-metal batteries in the marketplace. For electric vehicles, the cost of batteries alone is thousands of dollars, and reducing the failure rate, as well as the weight of the batteries, could create a huge savings. (popularmechanics)