You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist for this one, but I think the UK Government is quietly cutting the environmental protections for industry. The FT spotted that the carbon price in the UK ETS has, since March, diverged noticeably from the EU ETS, which it had tracked ever since its post-Brexit launch. As I write this, the carbon price in the EU ETS is trading at €83/tonne and the in UK ETS at £40/tonne. By my maths parity would be about £75/tonne.
According to the article (HERE if you have a subscription) the UK has been quietly making it easier to pollute by issuing extra credits.
‘Software-centric’ home battery company Electriq Power gets NYSE listing
The company said the transaction raised US$45 million in equity through private placements, PIPEs, loan conversions and non-redemptions. Electriq Power also referred to its previously announced US$300 million deal with an unnamed “major US clean energy company” being a project equity financing transaction.
That US$300 million financing was enough to put Electriq Power in the top five rankings for VC funding into energy storage companies for the first half of this year, according to Mercom Capital Group’s reporting.
According to a Form S-4 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company is aware that it operates in a competitive field with some big players as rivals.
Electriq Power claimed its strengths include efficient installation, multiple modes of operation and adaptability and cost of its devices, but acknowledged that some of its competitors. “However, while our competitors typically focus on the development and commercialisation of hardware offerings, our software-centric approach provides value throughout the value chain, from installers, fleet managers, consumers and utilities,” the company said in its Form S-4. (energy-storagenews)
photo: Electriq Power
Octopus Renewables to invest in solar and battery storage developer
Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust (ORIT) will invest up to £2 million to set up and fund a new solar and battery storage development business.
The new company, owned by ORIT, will benefit from development services from BLC Energy, a team of industry veterans with knowledge of the electricity grid and planning.
The initial investment of £0.7 million is expected to rise to £2 million by the end of 2025. The company is targeting a pipeline of 350MW of projects in development.
ORIT retains exclusive rights to provide further funding to bring the projects to build status between 2025 and 2029, and the option to build or sell the projects at that point. (solarpowerportal)
photo: Octopus Energy
UK Gen IV Reactor Developer Signs Agreement For Shipping Study
Newcleo, a developer of a Gen IV nuclear reactor, has signed a cooperation agreement with Italian shipbuilding major Fincantieri and the RINA classification society to carry out a feasibility study into nuclear applications to the shipping industry.
London-based Newcleo is developing lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) technology that uses nuclear waste as fuel. Newcleo said the deployment of its LFR for maritime propulsion would involve placing a closed mini reactor on vessels as a small nuclear battery producing a 30 MW electric output.
The reactor, as it is being designed, would require infrequent refueling, only once every 10-15 years, very limited maintenance, and easy replacement at end of life.
The firm said earlier this year it is aiming to commission a 30 MW demonstrator and pilot nuclear power plant for innovative fuels by 2030. (energycentral)
BP invests £4m into UK-based EV fleet software firm
BP Ventures has today announced a £4m investment in electric vehicle (EV) fleet software business Dynamon, in a move it hopes will help diversify its fleet services proposition and support customers’ transition towards zero emission vehicles.
Dynamon’s tools help businesses running EV fleets manage costs, enhance operational reliability, and gain a deeper understanding of battery degradation through advanced data analytics.
Its flagship Zero product offers EV fleet managers electricity demand forecasts and driving pattern analysis that can help them cut energy and capital investment costs by optimising EV adoption, charging infrastructure, energy costs, and fleet operations.
The company said that in one trial involving a 4,000-vehicle last mile fleet, one partner identified a potential £22m annual energy cost saving and 8,700 tonnes in annual carbon emissions savings using the tool.
BP’s funding forms part of a Series A round for Dynamon and represents the latest addition to the oil and gas giant’s $1bn portfolio of 40 tech investments. (businessgreen)
Cambridge Power secures 60MW BESS with 2024 grid connection
Cambridge Power has secured planning permission for a 60MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in Redcote Lane, Leeds.
The storage developer was also able to secure an Autumn 2024 connection date from Northern Power Grid, a much swifter connection time than its 13-year delayed 50MW Newcastle Upon Tyne BESS site.
Granted by Leeds City Council, the approval marks the company’s third successful brownfield rejuvenation project including a 29MW battery storage project in Glasgow and the Newcastle project. (solarpowerportal)
photo: Cambridge Power
Sunak “deaf to science” on N Sea licences, so scientists write again
678 scientists wrote to the PM in March to commit to the Governments stated Net Zero Strategy that rules out any further investment in offshore oil & gas. They received no reply, so wrote again in July. I think it is worth copying the text of this letter:
“We are disappointed that you have not yet responded to our letter,” the latest letter states.
“With searing heat around the world reminding us of the very real danger posed by climate change”, the 20 July letter goes on, “we are even more disappointed that the Government’s revised Net Zero Strategy did not rule out any new development of onshore and offshore oil and gas fields.
“We call on you again to make a commitment, based on the scientific evidence, not to approve any new development of onshore or offshore oil and gas fields”.
“The only way that new development of onshore and offshore oil and gas fields by the UK could be consistent with the aim of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C would be if it also persuaded other producers to leave in the ground an equivalent amount of their current reserves, or if carbon capture, utilisation and storage were deployed at a far greater pace and scale than at present to permanently remove the equivalent amount.
“If this is your plan, we would be grateful if you could lay out in a quantified way how you intend to achieve it”.
“It is essential that fairness is at the heart of environmental policies for them to be acceptable and effective, but any relaxation of the overall net zero transition risks a meltdown of our climate.” (theenergyst)
Over 300,000 hours of sewage spills hit most protected habitats
Sewage poured into England and Wales’ most-precious conservation sites for more than 300,000 hours in 2022, an Unearthed investigation has found.
Using mapping analysis, Unearthed identified almost 1,200 sewage overflows that discharged in or close to internationally important habitats last year, all of which are supposed to be protected by formal conservation regimes.
The protected nature sites most heavily hit with sewage spills last year included some of the UK’s most loved and well-known beauty spots, from the south west coast to the Lake District, to Wales’ Brecon Beacons national park.
Protected areas, which include sites of special scientific interests (SSSIs) or special areas of conservation (SACs), are singled out for conservation because they are home to internationally prized, rare, or threatened species and habitats.
Under the government’s plan for tackling England’s sewage crisis, the overflows spilling into these valuable ecosystems have been identified as “high priority” – meaning they are among the pipes where action is most urgently needed.
However, the department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) has never revealed where these sites are. (unearthed/greenpeace)
Graphic: Aman Bhargava / Revisual Labs
EV OF THE WEEK
Volvo EX30 is a highly significant (Chinese built) EV
The launch of the EX30 is quite a statement from Volvo on a number of levels. This is the smallest, cheapest and fastest Volvo and it uses parent company Geely’s modular EV platform for the first time. It is made in China and sets new benchmarks for sustainability in car manufacture. This is a significant launch.
First, and most notably, the Chinese provenance allows Volvo to offer the car at a very competitive price. The smaller battery version can be bought for about £32,000, which is £20,000 cheaper than the cheapest Mercedes EQA or BMW iX1. It is a boxy car that comfortably seats four, even the base model will accelerate 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds and it looks great inside and out. Two battery sizes are offered, one offering range of about 200 miles the other about 300. One can assume the usual Volvo attention to safety etc.
Volvo are claiming that this is their most sustainable car yet: A quarter of the aluminium here is recycled. 17 per cent of the steel is also recycled, and there’s the same proportion of repurposed plastic. You can even spec carpets made entirely from reclaimed plastic bottles.
According to Volvo – building this car and then driving it 120,000 miles will emit fewer than 30 tonnes of CO2. 18 tonnes of that is building the car in the first place. The Swedes insist no other car – even a very frugal petrol car – can beat that footprint from factory to 200,000km.
This is just the sort of car that the EV market needs as it faces, in the UK at least, a new wave of undermining publicity from politicians and certain sections of the popular press. One aspect, however, that is likely to be noted is the Chinese provenance. If ever there was evidence that the Chinese are pulling ahead of even the most advance western manufacturers it is this car. (topgear)
Uniper unveils €8bn renewables investment plan
Energy giant Uniper has unveiled a new strategy aimed at driving its green transformation through significant investments in renewable energy projects.
The company plans to invest more than €8 billion in renewables by 2030, tripling its average annual investments from the past three years.
In February, the company said it faced a significant setback with a €19.1 billion loss due to the complete freezing of Russian gas supply.
The company had heavily relied on gas imports from Russia, but these imports were capped last year.
To meet customer contracts, Uniper was compelled to procure gas from alternative sources at high prices, resulting in financial hardship and ultimately leading to its nationalisation to prevent broader repercussions.
Uniper’s new strategy involves direct investments in solar and wind farms, aiming to achieve over 80% of its installed generating capacity as zero-carbon by 2030.
Moreover, Uniper aims to end coal-fired power generation by 2029 at the latest, reflecting its commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuels. (energylivennews)
Iberdrola Secures EUR 500 Million Loan for East Anglia Three
Spain-headquartered Iberdrola has secured a EUR 500 million loan from Citi, partly guaranteed by the Norwegian Export Credit Agency (Eksfin), to support the development of the 1.4 GW East Anglia Three offshore wind farm in the UK.
The loan has a drawdown period of two years. According to Iberdrola, it will improve the company’s liquidity position, which at the end of the first quarter of 2023 exceeded €21 billion.
Iberdrola has strong relationships with Norwegian partners. The company is active in offshore wind development in Norway with its partners TotalEnergies and Norsk Havvind.
This loan will support the company’s aim of diversifying financing, which combines various sources: financial institutions, development banks such as the World Bank and European Investment Bank, the market and export credit agencies. (offshorewind)
FOCUS ON: CCS
Carbon Capture (CCS or CCUS) is all over the news this week. I don’t think I need to describe what it is, but would like to look a why use CCS:
I suggest that there are two types of CCS: Good CCS, which is used to lock away CO2 emissions from hard to abate industries, and a couple of examples are shown below. Bad CCS in my book is where it is used to justify extra fossil fuel use, or exploration, or is used as greenwash to allow for excess emissions that should not be allowed. Yes, Mr Sunak, I am looking at you.
Eni and Enfinium eye CCS system for North Wales energy-from-waste plant
A waste-to-energy plant in North Wales could in future help to capture over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 under proposals that would see the facility fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
The move comes after UK energy-from-waste firm Enfinium, which operates the Parc Adfer combined heat and power plant near the border with England, yesterday announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian oil and gas giant Eni to develop CCS plans for the site.
The Parc Adfer plant has the capacity to convert 200,000 tonnes of household waste into enough energy to power around 45,000 homes and businesses. But by installing a CCS system the firms hope to deliver the net removal of over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.
The two firms are eyeing the HyNet North West industrial cluster – where Eni UK is the developer and operator of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure – as a potential offtaker for the CO2 captured at Parc Adfer. (businessgreen)
Carbon Clean awards KBR design contract for FlagshipONE project
Leading carbon capture solutions provider, Carbon Clean, has announced the award of a new contract to global engineering experts, KBR, for the detailed design of a carbon capture plant for Ørsted’s FlagshipONE project in Sweden. Carbon Clean was awarded the contract for the full design and supply of the carbon capture plant earlier this year. This new contract is for the detailed design, following KBR’s successful completion of the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the carbon capture plant in 2021.
The modular carbon capture plant will be designed for ease of construction and future replication. It will be capable of capturing 70,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from a biomass-fired combined heat and power plant in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden; the captured biogenic CO2 will then be combined with renewable hydrogen in Ørsted’s FlagshipONE plant, to produce 50,000 tonnes per year of the eFuel, eMethanol, for use in the shipping industry. (carbonclean)
photo: Carbon Clean
OVERLOOKED REPORT OF THE WEEK
Millions of pensions at risk because consultants understate climate threat
Pension funds are risking the retirement savings of millions of people by relying on economic research that ignores critical scientific evidence about the financial risks embedded within a warming climate, warns a report released today by Professor Steve Keen and the financial think tank Carbon Tracker.
Financial institutions, central banks, regulators and governments underestimate the dangers and economic damages of climate change, relying on research from a small, self-referential group of climate economists that ignores the impact of climate “tipping points”, it says.
The author, economist Prof. Steve Keen, a Distinguished Research Fellow at University College of London and author of Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis? argues that just as mainstream economists failed to predict the global financial crisis in 2008 – the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression – they could now be steering the world toward another crash.
The report reveals that many pension funds use investment models that predict global warming of 2 to 4.3°C will have only a minimal impact on member portfolios, relying on economists flawed estimates of damages from climate change, which predicts that even with 5 to 7°C of global warming economic growth will continue. The report underscores that such economic studies cannot be reconciled with warnings from climate scientists that global warming on this scale would be “an existential threat to human civilisation.” (carbontracker)
Download the report HERE
Amazon deforestation falls over 60%
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by at least 60% in July compared to the same month last year, the environment minister, Marina Silva, has told the Guardian.
The good news comes ahead of a regional summit that aims to prevent South America’s largest biome from hitting a calamitous tipping point.
The exact figure, which is based on the Deter satellite alert system, will be released in the coming days, but independent analysts described the preliminary data as “incredible” and said the improvement compared with the same month last year could be the best since 2005.
The rapid progress highlights the importance of political change. A year ago, under the far-right then president, Jair Bolsonaro, the Amazon was suffering one of the worst cutting and burning seasons in recent history. But since a new administration led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took power at the start of the year, the government has penalised land grabbers, mounted paramilitary operations to drive out illegal miners, demarcated more indigenous land and created more conservation areas. (guardian)
photo: US Forest Service/Creative Commons
Moss Landing: World’s biggest battery storage project is now 3GWh capacity
An additional 350MW output and 1,400MWh energy capacity has been added to the plant, bringing it to a total 750MW/3,000MWh.
This comes after the 300MW/1,200MWh Phase I was completed in 2020, followed by the addition of another 100MW/400MWh in Phase II the following year.
As with the first two phases, offtaker of the new batteries will be California investor-owned utility (IOU) Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). The utility has contracted with Vistra for resource adequacy (RA), the California mechanism for ensuring electric load-serving entities in the state deliver energy reliably to customers and with sufficient supply.
RA is the main reason for California becoming a world leader in grid-scale BESS deployments. The fact that battery developers can secure long-term contracts with associated revenue streams from electricity supplier offtakers has seen the market surpass 5GW in the main CAISO grid service area.
RA requirements include delivery of electricity in four-hour blocks, which is why most new-build battery storage facilities in the state have durations of that length. (energy-storagenews)
Photo: LG Energy Solutions