Back after the summer break with a slightly extended bulletin, covering some August highlights as well as this week’s goodies

Company news

Jinko Solar’s upbeat message on Q2 numbers

Jinko Solar, the world’s biggest solar panel maker, has pleased markets by showing good growth in unit sales, revenues and profits at their Q2 numbers. This was despite the US Government’s tariff announcement and despite a weak first half in China, which was awaiting a tariff announcement.
China has now offered a new tariff for the second half of the year so Jinko expect this greater certainty to drive sales ahead. In the first half 90% of sales came from abroad, including the largest ever order from Canada (see Titbit below) and strong growth from Japan, Vietnam, Australia, Europe, Mexico and Chile.
In the US Donald Trump has announced that bifacial modules (see picture) will be exempt from the tariffs, which is driving a significant increase for this newer tech. (gtm)

Ørsted exits mid-market to focus on 30GWh+ corporates

Ørsted will no longer pursue SME and mid-market customers, focusing its energy supply business instead on large industrial and commercial businesses that use at least 30GWh of power per annum.
The company will still sell through brokers and third party intermediaries but aims to offload more of its offshore wind power through corporate PPAs, as well as green gas.
It will continue to serve existing mid-market customers but will not renew contracts when they expire.
In February, Ørsted struck its first UK offshore wind PPA with Northumbrian Water. The water company will take around 100GWh a year, a third of its gross consumption from Ørsted, for ten years. (theenergyst)

UK news   

Electric car charge points to be installed in every new home

The Department of Transport recently opened public consultation on plans that would make it mandatory to have an electric chargepoint in all newly-built homes.
The world-first initiative would mean drivers with a dedicated parking space would have their very own electric charger to use at home.
Currently, electric car owners either to install their own charger or use one of the 100,000 public wallboxes around the country.
Motorists could save up to £1,000 a year if using their own charger, according to Pod Point, rather than relying upon public facilities.
The world-first initiative could save drivers up £1,000 in public charging fees (thesun)

Muirhall Energy starts work on first zero-subsidy wind farm in Scotland

The 46MW Crossdykes wind farm will be installed in Dumfries and Galloway Council, in the southwestern part of the country, in partnership with WWS Renewables. Muirhall Energy are building 10 turbines by Germany’s Nordex. First power is to be generated in September next year.
The project reached financial close in August. The required financing was provided by Close Brothers Leasing. The local community will be able to buy up to 10% via a community share offer, Muirhall Energy said. (renewablesnow)

UK funding to tackle climate crisis ‘must double’, Government warned

More than a dozen leading environment charities, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth as well as other leading organisations such as Oxfam and Christian Aid, said urgent action was required to raise spending.
Spelling out their demands in a costed roadmap for meeting the climate emergency, the groups said that government spending needed to increase from roughly £17bn a year at present to at least £42bn over the next three years. Further increases would be required in the future should the government wish to meet its promise of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. (edie)

Paribas introduce EROCI

Mark Lewis of Paribas Asset Management has published a report that introduces the concept of Energy Return on Capital Invested (EROCI). It is a measure of energy yield that allows comparison between different energy sources. The report focuses on the transport sector and looks to find out how a defined investment into both oil and renewables might convert into propulsive energy at the wheels of a car (or other light duty vehicle)
The conclusions of the report are as follows:
“Our analysis leads to a very stark conclusion for the oil industry: for the same capital outlay today, wind and solar energy will already produce much more useful energy for EV’s than will oil purchased on the spot market at $60bbl and then used for gasoline or diesel-powered LDV’s”
Download this excellent report entitled “Wells, wires and wheels. EROCI and the tough road ahead for oil” HERE

EV of the week 

Next week is the Frankfurt Motor Show, which promises to be arguably the most significant in the short history of EV’s. A number of important EV’s will be launched by major manufacturers. Notable amongst these VW ID.3, the hoped-for next link in a chain that reads Beetle – Golf – ID.3.
In the meantime here is something completely different:

The Biggest EV yet (and in never needs recharging)

The Swiss division of machinery manufacturer Kuhn wants to electrify the mining truck segment. It converted a diesel-powered truck to run on electricity, and put the behemoth to work in a quarry located on the outskirts of Biel, Switzerland. Called eDumper, it’s the largest electric vehicle in the world.
The eDumper started life as a Komatsu HD 605-7 powered by a mammoth of a straight-six turbodiesel engine with 23.1 liters of displacement. It’s 30 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 14 feet tall, according to Green Car Reports. Kuhn Schweitz removed the six-cylinder engine and replaced it with motors that draw electricity from a 9,000-pound, 600-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. To add context, the biggest battery pack offered on a Tesla Model X has a 100-kWh capacity.
The pack works with regenerative braking technology to give the eDumper an infinite driving range. Researchers haven’t unlocked a long-awaited breakthrough in battery technology; they merely leveraged basic physics. The 45-ton eDumper drives up a 13-percent incline to pick up the 65 tons of lime and marl it needs to bring to a nearby cement factory. It’s so heavy when it drives back down that its regenerative braking system generates most or all of the energy used to go up the hill. (autoblog)


LCOE for solar-plus-storage already below 2018 spot prices in Europe

A study co-written by industry figures has put forward new claims of the cost-competitiveness of European solar-plus-storage, amid predictions that grid parity will unfold continent-wide by 2025.
In work carried out with the support of PV research institute ETIP PV, researchers examined six solar markets in Europe’s north and south and found levelised costs of electricity (LCOE) fell below average spot prices across all already in 2018.
Assuming weighted average costs of capital of 7%, solar grid parity was already present last year in Málaga an LCOE of €24 (US$26.44) per MWh, in Helsinki (€42/MWh) and cities in four other EU countries, the study said.
Solar competitiveness – understood as the gap between average spot market prices and lower PV LCOEs – was most pronounced in high-irradiation Spain and Italy, followed by the UK, France, Germany and Finland, the analysis claimed. (energy-storagenews)

Solar Real Estate Is Hiding in Plain Site on Europe’s Rooftops

Europeans can massively expand low-cost solar generation just by tapping the space over their heads.
That’s the conclusion of researchers who used satellite imagery, electricity prices and lending data to assess the untapped energy potential of Europe’s buildings. Rooftop area three times the size Luxembourg is available and could economically supply almost a quarter of the bloc’s power, according to a paper published in Elsevier’s October edition of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.
The new research suggests that looking more closely at rooftop solar resources could help policy makers to plan more effectively, especially as an expected wave of electric vehicles enters the market and raises power demand.
There are about 7,935 square kilometers of rooftops available in the bloc that could produce some 680,276 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year. The plunging cost of solar power, which has hit cost parity with traditional generation in many parts of the world, means electricity from rooftop panels could be economically priced, according to the report. (bloomberg)

Focus on: Trees

Documentary “The Great Green Wall” shows at Venice Film Festival

“Buena Vista Social Club” meets “The Year of Living Dangerously” is how director Jared P. Scott pitches “The Great Green Wall,” an eco-documentary that shines a light on one of the world’s most ambitious but unsung initiatives to tackle climate change. The film premieres on Saturday in Venice Days, an independent section running alongside the Venice Film Festival. The film will be shown to 150 heads of state at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York on Sept. 23.
Executive produced by Fernando Meirelles, the Oscar-nominated director of “City of God” and “The Constant Gardener,” “The Great Green Wall” focuses on the plan, agreed by 11 African nations in 2007, to plant 8,000 kilometers of trees and vegetation across the Sahel, the semi-arid area that stretches the entire width of the continent, just below the Sahara desert.
The 90 minute doc tells its story through the eyes of Malian musician and activist Inna Modja, who travels through Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Niger and Ethiopia. Along the way she meets some of the people most affected by climate change and land degradation in the Sahel, and highlights the issues that the Green Wall aims to counteract: desertification, drought, resource scarcity, conflict, migration and radicalisation.
“But in the end ‘The Great Green Wall’ is a story of hope,” says Scott, describing it as a tale of optimism, solidarity and resolve. “If completed, this wall will be the largest living structure on Earth, three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.”
The hope is that this film might just provide an impetus to get more of it built. (variety)
Watch the trailer for the film HERE

Ireland will plant 440 million trees in 20 years

Ireland is about to get a whole lot greener. The 84,431-square-kilometer country is determined to fight climate change by planting 440 million trees by 2040; 70 percent will be conifers and the remainder broad-leaf. The initiative is part of Ireland’s larger goal to become carbon-neutral by 2050.
Ireland has the lowest forest cover of all European countries — about 11 percent compared to an average of more than 30 percent. Some say planting additional trees could be the answer, while others aren’t completely sold.
In order to make the tree planting initiative work, Ireland needs farmers to plant more trees on their properties. The problem is that this is not a popular idea among farmers. The government hopes to try to change these opinions by offering local meetings to garner support for reforestation.
Other people in Ireland are also against planting more trees. For instance, Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust is not on board. “People are not good at planting trees, and trees do not like being planted. They prefer to plant themselves,” Fogarty told The Irish Independent. Rather than handing out around €94m in forestry grants, the government should pay farmers to plant nothing and let their properties regrow on their own, Fogarty suggested. (inhabitat)

Will Deforestation and Warming Push the Amazon to a Tipping Point?

This is an excerpt from an excellent interview in Yale360 with Carlos Pena, Brazil’s leading expert on the Amazon and climate change. Read the whole interview HERE
There have been many, many studies about what climate change, deforestation, and increased vulnerability to forest fires might do to the Amazon system as a whole. In fact, I published a paper about this in Science in 1990 that said if we deforest parts of the Amazon, it will become a savanna. The post-deforestation climate will no longer be a very wet climate like the Amazon. It will become drier, it will have a much longer dry season, like the long dry seasons in the savannas in the tropics in Africa, South America, and Asia.
What we know today is that if we would have only deforestation — [with] zero climate change — that if you exceed 40 percent total deforested area in the Amazon, then you have a tipping point. About 60 to 70 percent of the Amazon forest would turn into a dry savanna, especially in the southern and northern Amazon, areas that now border savannas. Only the western Amazon near the Andes, which is very rainy, the forest will still be there. So that’s one tipping point — 40 percent deforested area.
Then we look at what climate change might do. We concluded that if the temperature in the Amazon increases up to 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit), this will mean a hydrological cycle change with less rain and a longer dry season. It’s the same mechanism — savannization. So if you put all the perspectives together — deforestation, global warming, increased vulnerability to forest fires — we conclude that with the current rate of global warming, if we exceed 20 to 25 percent deforestation, then we reach the tipping point and 50 to 60 percent of the Amazon forest would become a savanna. That’s why we are making this warning — today we already have 15 to 17 percent total deforestation in the Amazon. So at the current rates of deforestation, we are 20 to 30 years off from reaching this tipping point. (360yale)


600MW Solar Plant, Largest Ever for Canada, Wins Key Approval

A solar project that would be Canada’s biggest received provincial approval this week from regulators in Alberta, gliding through a key step to its completion.
So far Canada hasn’t seen the whoppingly large projects that have cropped up elsewhere. The newly approved 600MW (DC) plant, developed by Alberta-based wind and solar developer Greengate Power Corporation, will beat out any previous solar construction in the country by leaps and bounds. Its size will also put Canada within reach of other eyepopping solar projects around the world, like the 754MW Villanueva project in Mexico or the 579MW Solar Star project in California.
The largest farms already in operation in Canada are 100 megawatts or less in capacity. According to data from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, most projects in Canada range between 5 and 25MW. (gtm)

Tesla helps Zimbabwe mobile payments stay open

Amid power outages of as long as 18 hours a day, Econet Wireless Ltd., Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile-phone operator, is turning to the Palo Alto, California-based automaker and storable-energy company for batteries that can keep its base stations running. The southern African country faces chronic shortages of physical cash, so almost all transactions are done digitally, and many via mobile phones.
The installation of 520 Powerwall batteries, with two going into each base station, is the largest telecommunications project in which Tesla has participated to date. With Econet having about 1,300 base stations in the country and two other mobile-phone companies operating there, Distributed Power intends to install more batteries and could eventually roll the project out to other power-starved countries in Africa, such as Zambia, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (bloomberg)

Tesla to ramp up Solar Roof production by end of year

In a Twitter response last week, Musk wrote that Tesla is quickly increasing production of its Solar Roof and hopes to produce around 1,000 per week by the end of 2019. This update comes after a year or so of relative silence from Tesla on the solar shingles.
Tesla introduced the solar roof in October 2016, after acquiring solar installation company SolarCity for $2.6 billion that same year. Tesla planned to ramp up Solar Roof production throughout 2017 and begin installations in early 2018.
Tesla actually began producing the solar shingles in August 2017 at its Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York, where the company also manufactured conventional solar panels in partnership with Panasonic, a company with decades of experience manufacturing solar cells.
Since that time though, production issues have kept the company from ramping up production of the Solar Roof.
By April 2019, as reported by GTM, Tesla had installed just 31 solar roofs in California, despite having a backlog of 11,000 customer orders. Two months later, Musk announced at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting that it’s now installing solar roofs in eight states. That’s a big jump from just California, but Tesla still hasn’t reported the number of solar roofs it has installed. (earthtechling)

How Hydrogen Could Solve Steel’s Climate Test

The steel industry could adopt hydrogen for between 10% and 50% of output by mid-century given the right carbon pricing, BloombergNEF analysts wrote in a report. The sector accounts for as much as 9% of global carbon emissions, according to the World Steel Association.
Hydrogen technology will be competitive with high-cost, coal-based plants when the cost of renewable hydrogen falls below $2.20 a kilogram, assuming coking coal prices at $310 a ton. That’s possible by 2030, BloombergNEF said.
Any shift to hydrogen would pose a danger to coking coal producers and their investors. The material has few uses other than in blast furnaces. (bloomberg)

Solar now ‘cheaper than grid electricity’ in every Chinese city, study finds

Solar power has become cheaper than grid electricity across China, a development that could boost the prospects of industrial and commercial solar, according to a new study.
Projects in every city analysed by the researchers could be built today without subsidy, at lower prices than those supplied by the grid, and around a fifth could also compete with the nation’s coal electricity prices.
They say grid parity – the “tipping point” at which solar generation costs the same as electricity from the grid – represents a key stage in the expansion of renewable energy sources.
While previous studies of nations such as Germany and the US have concluded that solar could achieve grid parity by 2020 in most developed countries, some have suggested China would have to wait decades.
However, the new paper published in Nature Energy concludes a combination of technological advances, cost declines and government support has helped make grid parity a reality in Chinese today. (carbonbrief)

Techie Corner

Ricardo tests immersion-cooled batteries for EVs

The two biggest challenges for electric cars—battery life and charge times—come down to battery cooling.
Now British auto parts supplier Ricardo is working with partners to come up with a new type of cooling technology that the company hopes will allow automakers to pack more energy into cars’ batteries and to charge them faster. The technology, called immersion cooling relies on coating the batteries with dielectric cooling gel, called MIVOLT, used as electrical insulation in other applications.
If it’s successful, the technology could prolong battery life in electric cars and accept higher current rates while charging without overheating them, and potentially bring charge times down closer to the time it takes to refill a gas tank.
Today’s liquid cooling systems rely on cooling plates with pumps to circulate ethylene glycol or another coolant. If it proves effective, the immersive cooling technology could split the difference between those bulky, heavy systems and simpler air-cooled systems such as in the Nissan Leaf, which has been more prone to heat-related battery issues than other electric cars. (greencarreports)