Life in the UK can hardly get more exciting: a coronation one weekend, the Eurovision the next! In the spirit of the current weirdly camp national mood I would draw your attention to an entertaining video produced by Vattenfall to promote the only by-product from the manufacture of Green Hydrogen, namely water. They enlist supermodel and activist Clara Delevigne to create a spoof advert for an imaginary face mist called Industrial Emissions “so pure you can spray it on your face”. Watch the video HERE
First Solar acquires European thin film company Evolar
First Solar has announced that it has acquired Evolar AB, a European leader in perovskite technology, in order to accelerate the development of next-generation PV technology, including high-efficiency tandem devices.
The acquisition will integrate Evolar’s know-how with First Solar’s existing research and development streams, intellectual property portfolio, and expertise in developing and commercially scaling thin film PV.
Under the agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed, Evolar’s laboratory in Uppsala, Sweden, will continue to conduct research activity, marking the first time that First Solar will have an R&D facility in Europe. Upon closing of the transaction, approximately 30 of Evolar’s R&D staff will transition to First Solar, working in close collaboration with the company’s team of about 60 scientists at its advanced research technology centre in Santa Clara, California, and the development teams in Perrysburg, Ohio. (renewableenergymagazine)
Masdar chooses Octopus’s Kraken to run £1 billion UK storage deal
Global green power developer Masdar has chosen Octopus Energy’s Kraken platform to manage its £1 billion investment in grid-scale batteries in the UK.
The deal will enable Masdar to optimise and expand its energy trading capabilities in Britain, helping to accelerate the rollout of renewables across the country.
In October Masdar bought London-based renewables investors Arlington Energy, and announced its commitment to invest £1 billion in UK battery storage.
Its generation assets here already included the 402MW Dudgeon wind farm off the coast of Norfolk, and the 630 MW London Array, one of the world’s largest wind farms. They are part of Masdar’s 20GW portfolio of renewable projects, spread across more than 40 countries.
Kraken is the core of Octopus’s management of generation and power trades. It is contracted to manage 38,000 green energy assets and 5GW of capacity across in ten countries,
By the end of this year, the company intends Kraken to manage 100,000 devices and 6 GW of capacity. (theenergyst)
Scotland considers annual laser scan to monitor health of forest and peatlands
Scotland may conduct an annual airborne laser scan of the country’s landscapes to monitor the health of its forest, peatlands and natural ecosystems, the Guardian can reveal.
The Scottish government is weighing up the benefits of annual 3D imaging flights to provide regular data on nature restoration across the temperate rainforests of the west coast to the peaks of the Cairngorms, akin to an annual CT scan for biodiversity.
The laser scans – known as lidar (light detection and ranging) – would generate a three-dimensional map of Scotland every year. The data could be used to assess progress on climate and biodiversity targets, provide higher quality data for its carbon market by monitoring changes in forests and peatlands, and study how ecosystems change as the world warms. (guardian)
Grid celebrates 1.6 million flex players
As many as 1.6 million homes and businesses took part in Britain’s biggest exercise to date in flexibility shifting of peak power load, the National Grid has confirmed. 3.3TWh were saved across 22 events.
That’s according to data by National Grid ESO, which ran a scheme last year that saw people and firms paid to reduce demand on the grid by moving their energy use to non-peak hours.
This was after there were fears that the UK could face energy blackouts in light of the energy crisis.
The number that shifted their energy habits during the period – such as running dishwashers at night instead of in the day – helped generate as much energy as three hours of power from the Sizewell B nuclear plant.
Energy companies paid large amounts to customers who signed up – with Octopus revealing it paid out £5.3 million to participators. (theenergyst & energylivenews)
House of Lords adds renewable energy clauses to Energy Bill
Two clauses added by the House of Lords to the Government’s Energy Bill mean households and businesses can become customers of community-led local renewable energy companies.
The addition of the clauses was supported by 320 MPs from all parties, including 127 Conservatives. Hundreds of councils, the National Trust, the Church of England and over 80 other national organisations also support the proposals.
The reform would improve energy market competition, create tens of thousands of skilled jobs and help reduce customers’ energy bills, whilst accelerating the construction of new clean energy infrastructure. Money from energy bills would be kept local and would improve local economies across the country, while increasing local provisions for support of vulnerable customers.
Currently, outdated market regulations are blocking the potential for growth in smaller-scale energy schemes. At a debate on the Government’s Energy Bill held on Wednesday night, many MPs from all parties stood up and called on the Government to stop dragging its feet. (renewableenergymagazine)
EV OF THE WEEK
At last, a properly “Hot” Hatchback EV
Step forward the Alpine A290_ß. Alpine are closely associated with Renault and have made a number of popular sports cars as well as doing racing versions of Renault cars. This concept car based on the forthcoming, and keenly anticipated, Renault 5 EV looks very well placed to fill a gap in the EV market: the sexy, high performance hot hatch. Alpine have promised that the production version will keep 85% of the looks of this concept and that it will launch in 2025. It will be tuned for handling and sharp manners rather than pure power. The concept looks magnificent, here’s hoping that Alpine keep their promises
Glennmont signs Italian wind power play
Glennmont has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Trailstone Group for 84MW of wind capacity in Italy.
The deal is the latest in a longstanding relationship between Trailstone and Glennmont that began in 2016.
It brings the total wind capacity being managed by Trailstone in Italy in 2023 to over 500MW and the total number of renewable assets being managed by Trailstone across Europe to over 4.3GW.
Through this transaction, Trailstone will use its market access, expertise, and proprietary renewables optimisation platform to reduce balancing risk and maximise trading revenues for Glennmont’s wind generation assets in Italy.
Route to market PPAs offered by Trailstone allow owners of power generation, such as Glennmont, to access the forward power markets, generate revenues from the balancing mechanism and ancillary services markets, access dispatch service and meet minimum revenue guarantees. (renews)
photo: Unsplash/Waldemar Brandt
FOCUS ON: SUPREME COURT
A Supreme Court Ruling the Fossil-Fuel Industry Doesn’t Like
Last month saw an unexpected development, and it came in the Supreme Court: with only Brett Kavanaugh issuing a public dissent, the Justices declined to review a petition from Exxon and Suncor Energy to move a case from state to federal court. (Simultaneously, the Court denied the same appeal from other major oil companies in four more cases.) Three communities in Colorado—the City of Boulder, Boulder County, and San Miguel County—had brought suit against the two corporations, seeking compensation for damage wrought there by a warming planet, which, the plaintiffs claim, was caused in part by the companies’ products. That procedural victory may not sound like much, but it could turn out to be a signal moment in the climate fight.
The plaintiffs in Colorado are asking that the companies be ordered to compensate them for some of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the communities have spent and will spend trying to mitigate the effects of climate change in the area: Exxon produces a lot of oil and natural gas from Colorado reserves; Suncor, which is headquartered in Canada, operates a large refinery in Commerce City, near Denver. Moreover, the original complaint states that the defendants should help pay because they “knowingly and substantially contributed to the climate crisis by producing, promoting and selling a substantial portion of the fossil fuels that are causing and exacerbating climate change, while concealing and misrepresenting the dangers associated with their intended use.”
The industry responded to the lawsuits by retaining lawyers who have spent the past half decade arguing that the cases should not be heard in state courts but, instead, should be consigned to the federal judiciary system. Marco Simons, the nonprofit EarthRights International’s general counsel, who is representing the three Colorado communities, said that the companies “argued that any case involving essentially interstate environmental harm or interstate pollution has to be decided under federal law, and that, because climate change is inherently an interstate issue, only federal law can apply. And then they argued that, while only federal law can apply, federal law provides no remedy. Because, they said, federal law in this area is entirely governed by the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Air Act does not directly provide a remedy.” For the industry, a federal process was clearly more attractive—instead of dozens of different venues, they’d have a more manageable process, under one set of rules, that would end in an appeal to the Supreme Court, which lately has been very corporate-friendly.
Six federal appeals courts across the country had heard those arguments over the years, and all six rejected them…(Bill McKibben in the New Yorker)
Biden Moves To Mandate Greener Building Codes
The Biden administration plans to require new homes to be constructed to the nation’s greenest, most energy-efficient building codes to qualify for the federal loans that finance more than one-sixth of new houses sold in the United States.
The rule proposed Thursday would affect at least 168,000 new homes per year, 151,000 of which would be new single-family or low-rise multifamily units. Today, those units must be built to 2009 energy codes to be eligible for loans from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Federal Housing Administration or from the Department of Agriculture. The proposal would set the most recently written code, which came out in 2021, as the new baseline.
Fewer homes would be impacted by the new proposal if more states mandate the latest energy codes on their own, as several already have and 20 more are considering doing.
Federal researchers estimate that the 2021 energy codes would save 35% more energy than the currently required 2009 standard. (huffpost)
World’s first thermal energy storage “gigafactory” opens
Brenmiller’s thermal energy storage system, called bGEN, can be charged in various ways, the company explained in a video — solar, wind, the grid when there’s excess supply, industrial exhaust gas, and sundry other sources of heat or electricity.
That energy is stored in the bGEN’s storage medium — crushed desert rocks, according to NoCamels — which can store the energy very efficiently as extremely high heat, reaching temperatures of up to 750C. Water piped through the system is heated by this energy and turned into steam, which can then be accessed on demand. (freethink)
Bacteria Fuel Tiny Protein Factories of the Net-Zero Future
MicroHarvest was one of the winners in the BloombergNEF Pioneers awards last month. It has developed a process for growing, harvesting, and drying fermented bacteria that are similar to the microbes found in yogurt or kimchi. The result is a protein-packed powder that companies can incorporate into food, pet food and livestock feed.
The benefits of MicroHarvest’s process are manifold. The company believes its product reduces land use by 99% and carbon dioxide emissions by more than 70%, relative to beef-derived protein. MicroHarvest protein is ready in around 24 hours, compared to the months or years necessary to bring plant- or animal-based proteins to maturity. And the portability of the process means that, given the correct infrastructure, MicroHarvest protein can be grown anywhere.
Working bacterial protein into diets isn’t a slam dunk quite yet. There are still regulatory hurdles to overcome, following which MicroHarvest will have to convince manufacturers to incorporate the protein into their prepared foods. Yet icroHarvest CEO Katelijne Bekers isn’t worried. “Make it taste great,” she says, “and people will want to use it.” (bnef)