Electric vehicles work best in the city, so why are the car companies not falling over themselves to provide small, affordable city runabouts like the Wuling, below? These would drive mass acceptance of electric motoring and encourage people to switch their family SUV to a an electric alternative. Skoda have just withdrawn their entry level CitiGo from sale due to too much demand! 

Company news

Alpiq sells Flexitricity for £15m
Swiss utility Alpiq has sold aggregator Flexitricity to Reserve Power Holdings in a share sale agreement worth around £15m.
The Edinburgh-based firm, one of the vanguard of demand-side response companies, was the first to launch in the GB market in 2004. It was acquired by Alpiq in 2014 and manages around 500MW of flexible demand and generation assets in its virtual power plant.
The company moved beyond ancillary services and into merchant markets last year, acquiring a supply licence primarily to trade in the balancing mechanism, which offers a much deeper pool of value (£1bn+) to assets that can meet its requirements.
Over the last year, Flexitricity has added significant volumes of storage to its portfolio, including 70MW for Gresham House and 19.5MW via Anesco.
Reserve Power Holdings is part of the Quinbrook Group, which has invested some $8bn (£6bn) in energy assets topping 19GW. (theenergyst)

BP and Equinor agree offshore wind jv
BP has taken its first major step into the offshore wind industry with the purchase of a $1.1bn (£850m) stake in two US offshore wind projects being developed by Norwegian state oil company Equinor.
The oil companies will also team up to develop more windfarms off the coast of the US after agreeing a strategic partnership to help corner the fast-growing market for offshore wind.
Bernard Looney, BP’s chief executive, described the deal as “an important early step” in the delivery of BP’s new climate ambitions, which include a goal to develop 50GW of renewable energy by 2030. (guardian)

UK news

Buyers of polluting vehicles should subsidise electric cars
Up to £1,500 could be added to the cost of new petrol and diesel cars in order to subsidise electric car purchases, under proposals being considered by the government.
Forcing buyers of more polluting vehicles to pay towards making electric cars cheaper, a so-called “feebate” system, would be one of the most effective ways to encourage a faster move away from fossil fuels, according to a feasibility report commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The car industry said it was opposed to measures that penalised petrol and diesel buyers rather than just incentivising electric and hybrid car sales.
Other recommendations from the report include forcing all petrol stations to install electric car charge points, giving government bodies incentives to buy electric cars for their fleets, and rebranding existing government support for electric car charging as “free fuel”. (guardian)
Download the report HERE

Improving poor air quality across the UK ‘could boost the economy’
Improving poor air quality across the UK could result in a £1.6 billion boost to the economy per year, as well as preventing 17,000 deaths annually.
That’s the suggestion from a recent CBI Economics analysis commissioned by the Clean Air Fund, which concluded that if the country was to achieve the air quality guidelines laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO), an additional three million working days would be gained per year, providing significant economic benefit.
It says this would be the case because reducing mortality and disease linked to poor air quality would have a direct effect on the number of work absences, illnesses and even fatalities caused as a result of harmful airborne particles – as well as the obvious benefits for individuals and their friends, families and communities, this would also help retain valuable skills and experience, gaining almost 40,000 productive years.
The report suggests the UK could also potentially gain an additional three million working days by reducing morbidity associated with poor air quality and increase worker earnings by £900 million each year by reducing the amount of time spent suffering from air quality-related illnesses. (energylivenews)

Renewable and technology associations team up to drive corporate demand for clean energy
UK trade associations, techUK, the Solar Trade Association (STA) and RenewableUK are forming a new partnership to encourage companies to purchase more renewable energy in a bid to spur the net-zero transition.
The three associations will team up to encourage member companies to enrol into long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) and explore the role of technology and data in the renewables sector. It is hoped that the corporate sphere can stimulate the UK’s renewables market, which has enjoyed record levels of growth over the last few years. (edie)

EV of the week

The Wuling wonder
Tesla sold 11,800 Chinese made Model 3’s in China in August, which is a mighty impressive number, but was beaten by a tiny upstart, the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV which sold 15,000 in its first month on the market.
This super-cute micro-EV is the result of a jv between SAIC, GM and Wuling. Somehow it seats four adults, has a top speed of 62mph, a range of 60 or 100 miles depending on model and costs from $4,000. The interior looks well made and with the seats down it has 741litres of luggage space.
At that price it is not surprisingly generating interest: within days of launch 50,000 orders were taken.
Finally GM has an electric success on its hands! (stats and pics from InsideEV’s)

photo: Wuling


German rail giant says goodbye to diesel
German rail giant Deutsche Bahn (DB) has begun the testing of new sustainable fuels in a bid to phase out diesel and become climate-neutral by 2050.
To this end, the company will trial a train running on an eco-diesel fuel that could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90%.
Starting from October, a train travelling between Westerland and Niebüll will operate with climate-friendly eco-diesel, made entirely or partially from processed organic residues.
DB says further tests in regular rail operations are planned, with preparations being currently underway to use eco-diesel on a larger scale in regional transport in Baden-Württemberg. (energylivenews)

photo: Deutsche Bahn

ENGIE teams up with aerospace firm to develop liquid green hydrogen
The French energy firm ENGIE has launched a new partnership with aerospace firm ArianeGroup to develop hydrogen liquefiers in France to speed up the production of liquid green hydrogen.
The technology will be tested at ArianeGroup’s facility in Vernon, France and aims to help decarbonise heavy-duty transport, trains and jets.
The partnership will also see the development of a range of liquid hydrogen products and services for maritime and inland waterway applications. (energylivenews)

Pandemic story of the week:

Role Of IoT Environmental Apps In The Times Of COVID-19
The tide of COVID-19 has forced enterprises to rely on high-tech developments such as the Internet of Things (IoT) in everyday operations. The utilisation of IoT app development services helps businesses to adjust to the new reality and address the challenges brought by the coronavirus.
According to MarketsandMarkets, global IoT market value heightened by the pandemic will increase to $243 billion by 2021. Current widespread adoption of the technology might have a lasting impact beyond COVID-19. The number of connected devices is estimated to reach 75.44 billion by 2025. Many of these devices are programmed to lower our carbon footprint, which can help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Here are 4 most common applications of IoT apps, which help us to work, shop, seek medical services, and other things in the post-pandemic world.
1. Power remote work
41% of employees will not stroll back to the office right after the coronavirus is gone, Gartner reports. During such transition, businesses leverage IoT apps and tools to demonstrate efficient performance.
2. Ensure safe workplaces
Even though many continue to work from home, other companies are slowly going back to the traditional work environment. Deploying technology-based safety measures in offices can mitigate the risk of the outbreak.
3. Contactless payments
According to MasterCard research, 74% of people around the world are eager to continue to use the contactless payment method once the pandemic is over.
4. Health monitoring
Embracing IoT solutions in the healthcare industry helps to relieve healthcare workers and meet large scale patients care needs. (blueandgreentomorrow)

Focus on:

U.S. regulators woke up…
For the first time in U.S. history, a federal regulatory agency has put out a report recognizing climate change as a major threat to the economy. The report , which was commissioned by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and released on Wednesday, explains plainly that even if the world begins reducing emissions tomorrow, one only need to look around at the fires and floods plaguing the country to see that the stockpile of CO2 in the atmosphere has put the stability of the U.S. financial system at risk.
The report is the result of a vote the CFTC made a year ago, with unanimous support from its two Democratic and three Republican members, to put together a Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee tasked with examining climate risks and proposing solutions. The commission convened a group of 34 experts from finance, academia, industry, and the public policy sector, including representatives from corporate giants like JP Morgan Chase, BP, and Cargill, as well as environmental groups like the Environmental Defense Fund and the Nature Conservancy.
The report covers a lot of ground about different kinds of risk and the considerable amount of authority that U.S. financial regulators have to do something about it today, without new legislation passed by Congress. Many of its conclusions echo the recommendations of similar reports put out in recent months, like Ceres’ warning to U.S. regulators about climate change risks in June, and the two climate action plans put out by House and Senate Democrats this summer. (grist)

Eco desert condo

Luxury Block with vertical landscape
This 12-story residential tower doesn’t just boast an impressive luxury highrise condominium design, but also an award-winning green building design. The luxurious 7180 Optima Kierland is located in one of North Scottsdale’s most desirable areas, with lavish amenities throughout and a vertical landscape system with self-containing irrigation.
Sustainable elements include perforated panels on the facade along with sun-screening louvers to create textured shadows. During construction, builders used post-tension concrete and aluminum. A variety of energy-efficient and carbon-reducing design aspects, combined with water-conserving plumbing fixtures, give the building added eco-friendly elements. The building’s most impressive sustainable feature has to be the innovative vertical landscape system; built-in self-containing irrigation and drainage allow for vibrant, colorful plants that start at the edge of each floor and grow up and over the building. (inhabitat)

Global stuff

Tesla Joins Cobalt Group That Supports Artisanal Congo Miners
Tesla Inc. is backing a new initiative to support informal cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo as carmakers and miners seek to reassure customers about ethically mined supplies of the battery metal.
The company joined the fledgling Fair Cobalt Alliance, according to an updated list of members on the group’s website. The FCA aims to end the use of child labor at mining sites and improve working conditions in Congo. It’s also backed by miner and trader Glencore Plc and major Chinese cobalt refiner Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co.
Almost three-quarters of the world’s cobalt comes from Congo and demand is forecast to surge in the coming years. However, artisanal cobalt, produced by small-scale miners who often dig by hand, has become a divisive issue. Groups such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have said that child labor and human-rights abuses are common at such sites and production from the country’s artisanal mines often gets mixed in with industrial output. (Bloomberg)

US wildfires could spark financial crisis, advisory panel finds
The devastating wildfires now sweeping across the western US are among the sparks from climate change that could ignite a financial crisis by damaging home values, state tourism and local government budgets, an advisory panel to a US markets regulator found.
Those effects could set off a cascade of events including defaults and market disruptions, undermining the economy and sparking a crisis, according to a report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
More than 85 significant fires are currently burning across the west, destroying communities in California, Oregon and Washington state.
The CFTC sees climate change impacting the US economy in several major ways.
First, global warming is making the western US hotter and drier, with wildfires more frequent and intense, scientists say.
Economists have traditionally seen natural disasters like wildfires as localized shocks. That’s changing, according to the report, produced by a 35-member panel for the CFTC. The group included representatives of major oil companies, banks and asset managers.
Cal Fire, California’s firefighting agency, says about 3m of the state’s 12m homes are at high risk from wildfires.

Mealworms can serve as protein source, research says
The new research, conducted by Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), proposes yellow mealworms as a food source.
Christine Picard, associate professor of biology and the director of the Forensic Investigative Sciences Program at IUPUI School of Science, led the research. The study focused on analyzing the genome of a mealworm species known as tenebrio molitor.
Findings explain that the yellow mealworm can offer several agricultural benefits. Fish and domestic birds can use the worms as an alternative source of protein. The worms can also help produce organic fertilizer, with their nutrient-rich waste.
The mealworm genome research employed a 10X Chromium linked-read technology. Researchers now say that this information is available for use by those seeking to utilize DNA to optimize mealworms for mass production. According to Picard, IUPUI’s research has dealt with the challenging part, opening doors for interested stakeholders. (inhabitat)

Techie corner

Leather made from fungi ‘eco-friendlier and cheaper’
Leather substitutes made from fungi could be eco-friendlier and cheaper than animal and plastic alternatives.
That’s the suggestion from researchers at the University of Vienna, Imperial College London and RMIT University in Australia, who believe leather made from fungi has “considerable potential” to be the “best leather substitute” in terms of both sustainability and cost.
Unlike traditional leather, which is associated with deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions from livestock and the use of hazardous chemicals for tanning processes, synthetic leather is generally made from polyurethane or PVC – however, these plastics are made from fossil fuels and are not biodegradable. (futurenetzero)