Hitachi walking away from their two nuclear projects would constitute a major crisis in normal circumstances, but now it just joins a queue.

The optimist in me hopes that this might lead to a fundamental reappraisal of UK energy policy. Nuclear is too expensive, fracking is no answer, gas works as a transition technology, but only as that. Renewables with storage alongside efficiency programmes and distributed networks are ready to step up.

Company news

Hubject and Electrify America partner for contactless EV charging tech

European charging infrastructure network Hubject will provide expertise to Electrify America, a wholly owned subsidiary of car giant Volkswagen, to support them in the implementation of the ISO 15118 standard, a necessary requirement for Plug&Charge technology capabilities.
Those capabilities will allow the network to trial and implement technology which will allow vehicles to automatically authenticate and authorise a charging session without the need for membership RFID cards, mobile apps or other methods of payment.
This means drivers with Plug&Charge-enabled vehicles need only to connect their car to a charger and the session begins automatically, settling payment when the charge is complete or the vehicle disconnected. (currentnews)

California’s largest utility just declared bankruptcy

PG&E, the largest utility in California, announced Monday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of the month, providing a 15-day advance notice required by law.
What’s forcing the company into this unsavory position is upward of $30 billion in liability after record-breaking deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018 torched big swaths of California.
The bankruptcy is a major development in an ongoing showdown between the company and its regulator, the California Public Utilities Commission, and state legislators over who ultimately bears the costs for these disasters.
The fall of a major utility is also a chilling example of how the impacts of climate change can pummel US companies and taxpayers right now. And the risks are only growing. (vox)

UK news  

Gov’t to relax rules for large-scale storage co-located with generation

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today consulted on amendments to planning policy which could see co-located storage projects with combined capacities beyond the current 50MW threshold allowed to proceed without requiring Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) approval.
As it stands, and with storage technologies now being universally treated as a form of generation, co-located projects are treated on the basis of their combined capacities, creating what BEIS has identified as a potential hurdle to co-located projects coming to fruition.
Projects with generating capacities in excess of 50MW must seek NSIP approval, a lengthy process which ultimately requires planning consent from the sitting energy secretary.
Following an initial assessment of the status quo, BEIS is eyeing amendments to the Planning Act which would treat co-located projects differently, disaggregating the storage capacity from the other generator. (energystoragenews)

It’s time to bring onshore wind back to England

In 2015, the UK government introduced strict regulations which effectively banned onshore wind farms in England. This was a result of over 100 MPs writing to the prime minister calling for an end to the support mechanisms for onshore wind. But there’s evidence that wind energy is popular. In fact, recent research shows that 74 per cent of people living in the voting area of those objecting MPs actually support onshore wind and 73 per cent would be happy to live near wind turbines. Sixty six per cent of the British public think the government should reverse the ban. Current policy is not reflecting their opinion.
Most onshore wind farms are granted planning permission for 25 years. Since the ban in 2015, the number of applications for new onshore wind farms in England has plummeted, with a 94 per cent drop over the past three years.
A measured approach should be taken to increasing onshore wind developments. Policies adopted in Scotland, ensuring that environmental standards are met and communities are fully engaged in plans, could provide a model for the rest of the UK. (Rebecca Windemer for Green Alliance)

London to create ‘world’s most advanced’ air quality monitoring network

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the launch of what is claimed to be the world’s most advanced and comprehensive air quality monitoring network.
The city is collaborating with Environmental Defense Fund Europe (EDFE) and Google Earth Outreach for the Breathe London project, which will use a range of fixed and mobile sensors to build a real-time, hyperlocal image of the capital’s air quality.
They have equipped two of their Street View cars with air quality sensors, which will take pollution readings approximately every 30 metres at tens of thousands of locations across London.
A total of 100 fixed sensor pods will be mounted on lampposts and buildings close to known air quality hotspots and sensitive locations such as schools and nurseries.
The data, which will be available for public access, will provide “an unprecedented level of detail” about London’s air quality crisis and deliver new insight into the sources of pollution. (energylivenews)

Bristol, Devon and Plymouth councils land euromillions for energy projects

Bristol, Devon and Plymouth Councils have a secured a further €1.9m in grant funding from the European Investment Bank and the European Commission to spend on energy projects.
The cash comes from the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme and the councils will use it to fund energy efficiency, renewables, sustainable transport and heat networks projects across South West over the next three years.
Bristol City Council secured £50m in ELENA funding almost five years ago and it will use this latest tranche to enable energy efficiency retrofits of both business and domestic premises. (eneergyst)

EV of the week 

The startups looking to launch EV’s

Whilst the major car companies have finally realised that they need to have credible offerings in the EV space, their slow response to the challenge offered by Tesla has allowed a number of other startups to join the game. Cleantechinica recently reviewed some of the most serious contenders:

Farraday Future

Faraday Future, possibly the most infamous EV startup today, made waves with a series of high-profile unveilings in Las Vegas that brought all the glitz and glitter of Vegas to their unveilings.
Faraday Future most recently refocused its efforts on starting production of the FF91 at a new factory in California, until its latest financial woes triggered massive layoffs and furloughs, executive departures, and a desperate scramble for legal cover and new funding.

NIO (formerly Next EV)

Started by building a supercar for the Chinese market. Now they are launching the NIO ES8 which looks like an attractive entrant in the SUV sector. Whether it will be seen much outside China depends probably on trade relations with the US. The company floated last year at a value of $6.4bn


Run by refugees from the BMW e-vehicle programme, the company looks a contender if it can manufacture to scale (always a big ask). Plan is to launch the M-Byte SUV next year and a K-Byte saloon (below) soon after. Both will have very advanced electronics on board.


Targeting the luxury end, with substantial financial backing from Saudi Arabia. Their Model S challenger has done a lot of testing and should launch next year.


Kept a low profile until a big unveiling recently. A slightly different approach, launching simultaneously a tonka-tough pick-up and big SUV running of the same platform. Pricing and specs look very competitive and the package looks well thought out. They are talking a late 2020 launch, but will they be able to satisfy likely strong demand?
Watch the FullyCharged Show get very excited HERE

SF Motors

SF have manufacturing in both USA and China, plan to launch two vehicles the SF5 and SF7 off a single “skateboard” platform. The cars again target the upper end, but possibly more interesting is that the company plans to license the tech to others who can apply their own bodies to the skateboard, an interesting and modern business model.


Vattenfall to buy Dutch green energy supplier

DELTA Energie supplies green energy to around 170,000 households and small and medium sized businesses, with the majority of its customers in the Zeeland province in the south of the Netherlands.
The acquisition is subject to approval from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and “positive advice” from DELTA’s works council.
The companies have agreed not to disclose the commercial terms of the agreement. (energylivenews)

Focus on: California’s Cap & Trade

How California Is Pioneering ‘Energy Justice’

California has developed a novel and far-reaching set of state laws that require 35 percent of California’s cap-and-trade auction proceeds to be spent on clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities and low-income neighborhoods.
The main vehicle so far has been the $38 million Low-Income Weatherization Program, (LIWP), which the state estimates has reduced energy use by an average of 44 percent for those participating since the initiative began in 2016. LIWP’s initial focus has been on the places where the vast majority of poor people live — low-income multifamily rental properties particularly within the Latino community.
Since taking effect in 2013, California’s cap-and-trade program has raised more than $6.5 billion, and it is now the fourth largest in the world (the European Union’s program is the largest). State law directs 35 percent of greenhouse gas auction proceeds to benefit low-income neighborhoods and disadvantaged communities. There are currently 2,007 designated disadvantaged communities (known as “DACs”), where cap-and-trade investments have ranged from rebates on electric vehicles to subsidizing fleets of electric rural school buses.
These initiatives serve to “democratize climate policies and benefits,” says Ethan Elkind, director of the climate program at the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. (yale360)

Eco-floating hotel room

Solar-powered floating hotel room is designed to pop up anywhere

Valencia-based architecture firm Mano De Santo has proposed a plug-and-play hotel room that could be easily transported and installed thanks to its modular, off-grid design. Dubbed the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge, the conceptual floating pavilion is a sustainable tourism initiative that targets low environmental impact. Powered with solar energy, the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge would offer a private and luxurious experience on the water for two. (inhabitat)


India Plans to Add 500 GW of Renewable Energy Capacity Within 10 Years

India will auction off 40GW of solar and wind capacity every year until 2028, part of the country’s goal to produce 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, Anand Kumar, head of India’s New and Renewable Energy Ministry, announced last week.
In total, the country aims to install 500GW of new renewable energy capacity in the next decade, excluding large hydropower projects. Annual auctions will include bidding for 30GW of solar and 10GW of wind energy every year, Kumar said at the India-Norway Business Summit in New Delhi. If the country’s gross domestic product continues to grow at its current rate of 6.5 percent, India’s electricity demand will reach 840GW by 2030. (360yale)

Florida Power & Light aims to install more solar panels than any regulated utility

Florida Power & Light yesterday unveiled a solar energy campaign it dubbed “30-by-30,” calling for the installation of 30 million photovoltaic panels by 2030, with an aim of reducing carbon emissions by 67% over that period.
The utility did not release a capacity goal for its rollout, but some solar experts have estimated it will mean total installations of 8GW to 10GW or more. FPL says its plan would be the “largest installation of solar panels by a regulated utility in the world.”
By 2030, the utility says a combination of renewable generation, energy storage and nuclear power, will supply more than 40% of its electricity. FPL has been working to clean up its energy mix, and plans to shutter its lone remaining coal plant later this year. (utilitydive)

South Australia’s second big battery goes live, charges up

South Australia’s second grid-scale energy storage system, the 30MW/8MWh big battery at the Dalrymple substation on the state’s Yorke Peninsula, is charging up, nine months after installation was completed in April 2018. (reneweconomy)

The right wing Government and the Supermodel

The Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen has rebutted an extraordinary attack by Brazil’s agriculture minister, who called her a “bad Brazilian” for her environmental activism and said she did not know “the facts”.
Bündchen said the “bad Brazilians” were those responsible for Brazil’s worst deforestation figures in a decade.
In a letter addressed to the minister, Tereza Cristina Dias, published in Brazilian media, Bündchen lamented government figures showing deforestation had increased by more than 13% in a year.
“An immeasurable heritage threatened by illegal deforestation and the squatting of public lands. These, yes, are the ‘bad Brazilians’,” she wrote.
In a tweet, she said: “Since 2006 I have been supporting projects and getting involved in socio-environmental causes”, adding that her grandparents were farmers and she understood the importance of agriculture to Brazil.
The war of words has highlighted rising international concern over the future of the Brazilian Amazon under the government of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. (guardian)

Techie corner

Seawater into freshwater cheaply through solar energy

Motivated by this problem, a team of engineers from the Department of Energy of Politecnico di Torino has devised a new prototype to desalinate seawater in a sustainable and low-cost way, using solar energy more efficiently. Compared to previous solutions, the developed technology is in fact able to double the amount of water produced at given solar energy, and it may be subject to further efficiency improvement in the near future.
The working principle of the proposed technology is very simple: “Inspired by plants, which transport water from roots to leaves by capillarity and transpiration, our floating device is able to collect seawater using a low-cost porous material, thus avoiding the use of expensive and cumbersome pumps. The collected seawater is then heated up by solar energy, which sustains the separation of salt from the evaporating water. This process can be facilitated by membranes inserted between contaminated and drinking water to avoid their mixing, similarly to some plants able to survive in marine environments (for example the mangroves),” explain Matteo Fasano and Matteo Morciano from the team. (sciencedaily)

Have a good weekend.