I have had to add another section this week entitled “UK Politics”, for rather obvious reasons. I sincerely hope this is a temporary addition.
Maybe you could cheer yourselves by watching a recommended documentary on the bbc about oil flaring, called “Under Poisoned Skies”. Not exactly cheerful, but watch it HERE
Gresham House and Octopus renewables funds show strong growth
Gresham House Energy Storage Fund, the LSE’s largest investors in its self-created niche, posted revenues 20.6% higher at £30.1 million, earned from its 17 batteries, totalling 425MW. Earnings before interest, tax and depreciation advanced marginally, to £22.7 million.
Eleven projects under construction, all wholly owned, at the end of August totalled 527MW, with 90MW more at Enderby and Coupar Angus due to be lit within days.
ORIT, the Europe-spanning renewables fund of Octopus Energy Generation, grew its net assets 8.6% year on year, to £627.5 million.
Purchase of four projects, including Cambridgeshire’s 68MW Breach PV farm and 7.75% of Maquarie’s 270MW Lincs wind farm operating off Skegness, featured among the half’s highlights.
ORIT has set a future-facing internal constraint of having 51% of its operational revenue until 2032 being explicitly inflation-linked. (theenergyst)
Jaguar Land Rover to train 29,000 for all-electric future
Jaguar Land Rover plans to train 29,000 people over the next three years to support its rapid transition to electrification.
The company’s Future Skills Programme will see more than 10,000 Jaguar Land Rover and franchised retailer employees in the UK, and nearly 19,000 across the rest of the world trained in skills vital to electrification, digital and autonomous cars.
Currently about 80% of nearly 1,300 franchised Jaguar Land Rover retailers around the world offer EV servicing, so to tackle the skills gaps, the company is ensuring the majority of servicing technicians will receive electrification training this year. (theenergyst)
EDF unveils ambition to extend life of UK nuclear power stations
EDF is seeking to review whether two nuclear power plants can operate beyond their planned lifespan.
The Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power stations are due to be decommissioned in March 2024.
The company said: “The case to extend generation at Hartlepool and Heysham 1 power stations (2.2GW) – beyond the current estimated end date of March 2024 – will be reviewed in the coming months, with an ambition to generate longer if possible.”
EDF had previously agreed on keeping West Burton A coal-fired power station open for a further six months until 31st March, with an estimated 400MW available if needed by National Grid. (energylivenews)
UK Infrastructure Bank teams up with Bristol, Manchester and West Yorkshire
The UK Infrastructure Bank has unveiled plans to team up with local authorities in Bristol, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire to develop net zero focused pilot projects aimed at combating climate change.
The announcement follows the publicly-owned bank’s pledge in June to make clean energy its top priority, as it launched its first strategic investment plan to plough as much as £22bn of government-backed funding into the UK economy over the next five to eight years.
The UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) was first announced last year by the previous Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who promised that net zero would be a leading pillar of its work.
And, the three pilot projects announced this morning are set to focus on three key areas which it said were “at the heart of the net zero and local growth challenge”, including the electrification of buses, mass transit and place-based, and low-carbon energy infrastructure. (businessgreen)
PV : UK Labour leader?s backing of solar farms praised by industry
In his keynote speech to the Labour Party conference, Keir Starmer backed solar farms as a key part of boosting the rural economy and contributing to “cheaper bills and higher living standards”.
Launching the party’s ‘Green Prosperity Plan’, Starmer said it would turn the country into a “green growth superpower” by providing 100 percent clean power by 2030, five years ahead of the date set by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The “huge national effort” will “treble solar power”, with solar farms “growing rural communities, in the south east, south west and Midlands. This will require a different way of working – the biggest partnership between government, business and communities this country has ever seen,” he added.
“Clean energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels. Nine times cheaper. We just need more of it,” Starmer said. “It will mean new jobs – more than a million new jobs, training for plumbers, electricians, engineers, software designers, technicians, builders. And it will all start within the first 100 days of a new Labour government,” he told the conference. (renewableenergymagazine)
Net Zero Review: Chris Skidmore promises ‘no rowing back’ on net zero strategy
Chris Skidmore has promised there will be “no rowing back” on the UK’s Net Zero Strategy or climate commitments, as the MP today launched a public call for evidence to help inform the hotly-anticipated review he has been tasked with carrying out by the government over the next three months.
Speaking at the Net Zero Festival, Skidmore also insisted his Net Zero Review, and the final report of recommendations he eventually sends to the government in December, would be fully independent, and would set out the clear economic case for doubling down on the UK’s legally-binding climate targets.
During his keynote address, Skidmore also announced the launch today of a call for evidence to inform his three-month review, as he urged businesses, local authorities and the public to speak up over how the fight against climate change should be best delivered.
The MP has been a staunch advocate for net zero within the Conservative Party, having set up the Net Zero Support group over the summer to make the case for an ambitious decarbonisation agenda during the Party leadership contest. (businessgreen)
What is happening to ELM?
In response to widespread concerns that the government’s flagship farm support scheme (environmental land management or ELM) was to be shelved, ministers reached for the comfort blanket of a Defra blog. This was amplified by a video message and tweets from new secretary of state Ranil Jayawardena. These gave the impression that the new focus on growth and food production would have no downsides. Without greater specificity, it is not plausible to suggest that this will not adversely affect the direction and delivery of government support for farmers to produce environmental goods.
The Growth Plan 2022 commits the government to “rapidly review” frameworks for the regulation, innovation and investment that impact farmers and land managers in England. There is no detail on how and when this review will be conducted, what advice or evidence will be gathered to inform it, or how it will be ensured that the indelible links between food security and nature are not detached, as the Natural England chair Tony Juniper has warned against. (excerpt from blog by Green Alliance “How can the government claim it’s still green if it rolls back environmental protection” read whole post HERE)
EV OF THE WEEK
Tata launches $10k EV for local market
Indian automaker Tata Motors on Wednesday announced an electric car that will sell for the equivalent of $10,000 in its home market.
the Tiago EV is noteworthy even in a market dominated by low-priced cars. India is the world’s fourth-largest car market, but most cars sold there are priced under $15,000, Reuters notes, adding that the Tiago.ev is much cheaper than India’s next-cheapest EV—the Tata Tigor EV (also based on an existing internal-combustion model), which starts at approximately $14,940.
Granted, the low price doesn’t buy much in the way of performance.Tata estimates 155 miles of range for the smaller pack and 196 miles for the larger pack, both based on India’s extremely optimistic ARAI testing cycle. DC fast charging is available, but at a maximum 50 kw it takes 57 minutes to go from a 10% to 80% charge. (greencarreports)
Norway to raise $3bn from resource, windfall taxes on wind and hydropower
The Norwegian government has announced a suite of resource rate hikes and windfall taxes on hydropower and wind generation, in a bid to redistribute profits from high electricity prices.
The country’s centre-left administration announced proposals on Wednesday that would see it introduce a ‘resource rent tax’ on the aquaculture and wind power sectors and raise existing resource taxes on hydropower.
In addition, it proposed an extraordinary tax on wind and hydropower generators, levied in response to high electricity prices.
Altogether it estimates the measures will raise approximately NOK 33 billion (£2.8bn) in annual tax revenues, but the move will see taxes on some generators reach an effective marginal rate as high as 90%. (energyvoice)
Infinited Fiber wants to transform how we make clothes
Petri Alava used to wear pressed suits and leather shoes to work, managing large corporations selling everything from magazines to gardening equipment.
Now he runs a Finnish start-up where socks are the norm on the office floor, and he proudly sports a round-neck T-shirt spun from recycled clothing fibres, tucked into some baggy shorts.
His firm, Infinited Fiber, has invested heavily in a technology which can transform textiles that would otherwise be burned or sent to landfills, into a new clothing fibre.
Called Infinna, the fibre is already being used by global brands including Patagonia, H&M and Inditex, which owns Zara. “It’s a premium quality textile fibre, which looks and feels natural – like cotton,” says Mr Alava, rubbing his own navy blue tee between his fingers. “And it is solving a major waste problem.”
Much of the science involved in making the fibre has been around since the 1980s, says Mr Alava, but rapid technological advancements in the last few years have finally made large-scale production a more realistic possibility.
The company has already attracted so much interest in its technology that it recently announced it was investing €400m to build its first commercial-scale factory at a disused paper mill in Lapland.
The goal is to produce 30,000 tonnes of fibre a year once it’s operating at full capacity in 2025. That is equivalent to the fibre needed for approximately 100 million T-shirts. (bbc)
photo: Infinited Fiber
FOCUS ON: ELECTRIC PLANES
How Eviation’s Alice, The First EV Passenger Aircraft, Could Transform The Industry
Eviation has proven that a viable electric aircraft can really fly, and that their design survives the real world instead of just on paper or in simulations.
According to its CEO, flying a business jet on average costs $3,000 per hour. However, an electric airplane virtually cuts that cost by 90%. Furthermore, an electric aircraft is 92-95% more efficient than any kerosene counterpart.
The company said viable flight is feasible with a 400Wh/kg battery, and that batteries made today are, in fact, energy dense enough to work out. For Alice, the battery pack makes up 65% of the aircraft’s weight with 900 kWh. The electric motors produce 3×260 kW of power. This gives the Alice a service ceiling of 30,000 ft and an approach landing speed of 100 knots.
Before May 2019, Eviation selected the magniX magni250 propulsion system for its airplane. The company’s goal was to be the first to offer an electric commuter plane that was fully operational.
On September 27 at 7:10 a.m., Alice took off from Grant County International Airport (MWH). For 8 minutes, it flew at an altitude of 3,500 feet; this was the first flight for the technology demonstrator. Eviation gathered crucial data from the flight to assist with optimizing the aircraft for commercial production.
Launch customer DHL was also excited to see that its order for 12 cargo planes was coming closer to reality. (cleantechnica)
Electric Planes Are Taking Flight
Last week, Air Canada became the latest airline to commit to trying the new, zero-emission technology by ordering 30 battery-powered passenger aircraft from the Sweden-based Heart Aerospace. United Airlines and regional provider Mesa Airlines each ordered 100 of the company’s planes in summer last year.
For now, these in-development electric planes are small, with room for up to just 30 passengers. And they can’t travel far—Heart Aerospace’s plane, powered by more than 5 tons of onboard lithium-ion batteries, can only fly 124 miles on one charge. But, with help from a fuel-powered generator, it can expand its range to nearly 500 miles, reports the Washington Post’s Pranshu Verma. But even that so-called “hybrid mode” would still produce 50 percent fewer emissions than standard planes. These electric aircraft would also be much quieter, Heart Aerospace executives say.
The Swedish company says its planes could be ready as early as 2028, but the vehicles will need to pass an array of regulatory hurdles before they can take flight. (smithsonianmagazine)
photo: Heart Aerospace
ECO – GREEN GREEN SPACE
Järva Stadspark is a new proposal for urban green space
Commissioned by the Stockholm Center party and planned by Anders Berensson Architects, Järva Stadspark gives new life to a mostly-inaccessible space in the middle of a developed region. The green area sits between several suburbs, so designers propose converting it into a park. However, this park not only connects the suburbs but provides a space for recreational activities. The green design will extend from the ground to the rooftops of the incorporated new city district.
While developing an undisturbed area can hardly be labeled as a solution for the problems associated with urban sprawl, doing so with a focus on accessibility and maintaining green space is an example of how we can approach the housing crisis and balance the needs of nature.
Moreover, the new central park will blend leisure activities with recreation and housing. It will connect the nearby suburbs of Rinkeby and Kista to a new district that will feature gardens from ground to rooftop. Additionally, connected roof terraces will create a multi-level hill of green spaces. (inhabitat)
Electric school buses to provide grid reliability services in PJM market in V2G scheme
Distributed energy resource (DER) platform Voltus and Highland Electric Fleets have partnered to deliver grid reliability services to the PJM, US, market using electric school buses and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.
The two will cooperate to deliver grid reliability to the PJM wholesale electricity market using electric school buses from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland, which covers some 160,000 students.
Maryland is one of 14 US states which are served by regional transmission organisation (RTO) PJM, all in the northeast of the country.
Dana Guernsey, Voltus’s chief product officer, said that the entire US school bus fleet would add 29GW of new electric demand across 480,000 buses, adding they were a perfect use case for electrification.
Electrified school bus fleets also offer a great opportunity for V2G technology, thanks to larger battery sizes and more predictable planning of discharging and charging schedules, compared with consumer electric vehicles (EVs).
Voltus’ platform connects nearly 2.6GW of DERs to electric markets, the company claimed. (energystoragenews)
Canada and UAE first to back maritime sector’s green fuels initiative
Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have become the first governments to back the maritime industry’s green fuels initiative.
The Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative, launched by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) and the CEO-led Clean Energy Maritime Taskforce, aims to help accelerate the world’s transition to green fuels and technologies.
It will be a convening platform for public and private senior-level stakeholders from the ports, shipping, finance and energy sectors across the energy-maritime value chain.
ICS and IAPH will kickstart activities with governments represented at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), where the initiative was launched, with the objective of advancing the production, export and import of low carbon fuels. (futurenetzero)
Queensland opens talks for federal funding for world’s largest pumped hydro project
The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, says she has had preliminary conversations with the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, seeking federal backing for plans to build the world’s largest pumped hydroelectricity project in the state’s north.
Palaszczuk was in Mackay on Thursday to unveil details about the proposed Pioneer-Burdekin project, which will take about a decade to plan and build.
She said the 5GW project was the “centrepiece” of the Queensland energy plan announced Wednesday, which envisages large-scale construction of renewables and the early closure of coal-fired generators. Under the plan, reliance on burning coal would cease by about 2035.
However the Pioneer-Burdekin project remains in the very early stages and still requires significant planning and funding. The government said while it was confident the proposal is viable, it would continue to assess potential backup options. (guardian)
Hertz and bp team up for EV charging network in North America
American car rental company Hertz has teamed up with bp to install a network of EV charging solutions for its customers in North America.
They have signed a memorandum of understanding which also involves the management of Hertz’s charging infrastructure by bp pulse and the customisation of its Omega software to ensure its fleet of electric rental cars are quickly and efficiently recharged between rentals.
Omega supports fleet operations by automating charging when the power price is low, while providing real-time visibility to EVs, chargers, power usage and more. (futurenetzero)
The potential of microalgae biomass as a renewable resource
Microalgae (phytoplankton), unlike macroalgae (seaweed), are single-cell microscopic organisms that live in freshwater or marine ecosystems. Through their growth, they produce biomass, which is organic material that is used to generate energy. Compared to terrestrial plants and animals, microalgae have the highest net biomass productivity which makes them a rapidly-generating renewable resource.
Cultivating microalgae is a simple process as the organisms only require sunlight, nutrients, carbon dioxide and water to grow. This process is called algaculture, and the microorganisms grow quickly in favorable conditions.
There are over 25,000 species of microalgae and their lack of roots, stems, and leaves allows them to photosynthesize and sequester carbon more efficiently than terrestrial plants. Additionally, phytoplankton are very resilient and do not need soil or clean water for growth. In fact, they can even thrive in saltwater and wastewater.
One of the ways phytoplankton can be used in aquaculture are as fishmeal alternatives. Through photosynthesis, microalgae produce nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. These are beneficial to marine and freshwater species because of antioxidants and immune-stimulant properties that boost health. By mixing various species of microalgae, the feed can be higher in nutrients and growth-promoting compounds. (inhabitat)
Graphene Nanotubes Offer Advanced Set of Properties to Meet EV Battery Pack Standards
Genius, a leading Chinese company in engineering plastics and new composite materials, has developed an advanced engineering solution for battery packs. They utilize reinforced glass fiber filled polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), with 0.3 wt.% graphene nanotubes replacing 10 wt.% conductive carbon black. The final parts show surface resistivity of 103 Ohm/sq after injection molding and fully meet the high battery standard.
Traditional agents added into thermoplastics have numerous drawbacks, increasing the number of out-of-spec parts and forcing producers to make compromises in performance: carbon black can’t provide stable and homogenous electrical conductivity, while carbon fiber can’t provide targeted low resistivity.
An easy-to-handle pre-dispersed concentrate of nanotubes, TUBALLTM MATRIX, allows good processability and the freedom to incorporate other functional ingredients. Permanent homogenous resistivity without “hot spots,” retained color, good surface quality, and high performance of the battery pack reduce the assembly costs of battery enclosures, increasing their safety, durability, compliance, and affordability, which are the major drivers on the EV market. (renewableenergymagazine)