Two weeks worth in this issue, plus a rare political piece from me. Normally try to avoid that kind of thing.

Company news

Arrival arrives but not with a UK listing
Electric vehicle startup Arrival will debut on Wall Street following a merger with a U.S. blank-check company, in a deal valuing the startup at $5.4 billion.
Arrival is the latest in a flurry of startups to opt for a non-traditional listing. It will merge with the U.S.-based CIIG Merger Corp, a special purpose acquisition company, set up by Peter Cuneo. A SPAC has no commercial operations and is formed strictly to raise capital through an IPO to acquire an existing company.
One of the U.K.’s 10 most valuable startups, Arrival will list on Nasdaq under ticker symbol “ARVL” and raise nearly $660 million, the company said in a release. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.
Arrival seeks to produce budget electric vehicles with lower prices than its fossil-fuel competitors. It has two prototypes under development — an electric bus and an electric van. By 2023, it will have four vehicles in the market. (ibtimes)

INEOS inks agreement with Hyundai for hydrogen production
Chemicals giant INEOS and Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore new opportunities for the production, supply and deployment of hydrogen and related technologies.
In a joint statement, the companies said they will seek to build a ‘hydrogen value chain’ in Europe.
The agreement also includes the evaluation of Hyundai’s proprietary fuel cell system for the recently announced INEOS Grenadier 4×4 vehicle – it is expected the manufacturer’s fuel cell technology will help INEOS’ efforts to modify the powertrain options. (energylivenews)

UK news

NI Water awarded £5m for hydrogen project
The funding from the Department for the Economy (DfE) will be used to undertake an innovative Oxygen and Hydrogen Demonstrator Project that will deploy a state-of-the-art, 1 Megawatt (MW) electrolyser at a major Wastewater Treatment Works. This will be the first in the UK and Ireland to demonstrate how electrolysis can help to increase processing capacity, reduce carbon emissions and improve flexibility in the electricity grid. (constructionireland)

Major Vehicle-to-Grid Trial
Vehicle-to-grid trials have been going on for years. A new one in the UK, though, goes to new levels and might be the trial that helps vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology break through. The thing is, as with several earlier trials, this is limited to Nissan EV drivers — Nissan electric vehicles’ CHAdeMO charging capability is fully functional with V2G.
Overall, the Electric Nation trial will include 450 Nissan EV drivers. Aside from the relatively high number of participants, what is expected to be particularly useful with this pilot program is that multiple energy companies will be involved, not just one. The extra diversity and integrated approach should help the system better resemble a market-wide implementation.
The trial is a project of Western Power Distribution (WPD) and CrowdCharge, which has created a demand management charging platform that is used in the trial. They have more than enough interested participants, but due to an aim of roping in a wide variety of variables and ownership cases, they are still taking applications and are recruiting Nissan EV drivers in the Midlands, South West, and South Wales regions. (cleantechnica)

Aviva launches solar carport at Perth offices
Aviva, with support from the Scottish Government, has launched one of the UK’s largest combined solar carports and energy storage facilities at its Perth office.
It covers 342 car park spaces and provides 50 electric vehicle charging stations.
This investment comes as YouGov research finds that 65% of people living in Scotland think businesses are not doing enough to help tackle climate change, but 64% would look more favourably on those businesses investing to prevent further climate change.
Aviva’s facility will be powered by Tesla Powerpack technology and is expected to contribute to a combined annual carbon emission saving of nearly 400 tonnes (dailybusinessgroup)

UK government to subsidise onshore renewable energy projects
The government plans to double the amount of renewable energy it will subsidise next year after agreeing to include onshore wind and solar power projects for the first time since 2015.
Energy companies will compete for subsidy contracts in a competitive auction to be held at the end of 2021, which could support up to 12GW of renewable energy
The government expects the auction to be almost double the size of the last 5.8GW auction held in September 2019, in which offshore wind costs tumbled by a third to record lows, and believes it may deliver lower costs too.
The next round will include three separate auctions for different renewable energy technologies to compete for a contract which guarantees a price for the clean electricity they generate. There will be one “pot” for offshore wind projects and another for less-established technologies including floating offshore windfarms, energy-from-waste plants and tidal stream projects.
The third pot will allow onshore wind and solar farms to compete for a support contract for the first time in six years after the government agreed to drop its opposition to the projects earlier this year. (guardian)

EV of the week

This week I am posting EV company of the week rather than car

Nio Q3 numbers beat expectations
Nio, for those who don’t know them, are a Chinese startup manufacturing high end EV’s. Their range as of now consists of two SUV’s, the mid size ES6 and the full size ES8, plus a newly launched coupe based on the ES6 called the EC6. They only sell in China currently and are unique two ways: First they have built a network of battery swap stations and also they are quoted on the US market.
This week they posted Q3 numbers which clearly benefited from the reopening of the Chinese market: they delivered 12,206 vehicles (up 156% y/y), revenues were up 146%, vehicle margin was 14.5% (vs -6.8%) and gross margin was 12.9% (vs -12%). They expect to ship 16,500 to 17,000 vehicles in Q4.
All of these numbers were slightly better than analysts had forecast, which sent the shares marching upwards again and mean that the shares are up 1,000% year to date.
The company has established a base in Denmark and is planning to launch in Europe during 2021. One to watch.


Italian homeowners can now install PV systems for free
The Italian government has allocated €55 billion in stimulus perks through the Relaunch Decree on Economic Stimulus Measures to help revive the country’s economy as it slowly exits its Covid-19 lockdown.
The measures include an increase in the so-called “eco-bonus” for building-renovation projects from 65% to 110% and a jump in support for PV installations and storage systems associated with such renovation projects, from 50% of costs to 110%.
The decree was published in the Italian government’s official journal on Wednesday and is already in force. The Italian parliament will have 60 days after the initial publication of the measures to introduce amendments to the law. According to these new provisions, the eco-bonus – which is an income tax (IRPEF) rebate – will be applied to all expenses incurred between July 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. (pv-magazine)

Panasonic, Equinor and Hydro in battery jv
Japanese technology company Panasonic, energy giant Equinor and industrial group Hydro have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the potential for a lithium-ion battery business in Norway.
The collaboration, which aims to target the European market for electric vehicles (EVs) and other applications, will see the companies investigate the potential for an integrated battery value chain and the co-location of supply chain partners.
With the preliminary findings of this agreement expected to be unveiled by mid-2021, the battery joint venture intends to engage potential customers in Europe’s automotive and non-automotive industries and capitalise on the growing demand for electrification. (energylivenews)

Focus on: UK’s Infrastructure plans

By now you have probably had time to digest both the 10 point plan and the National Infrastructure Strategy announcements. I have, maybe unfairly, a slightly jaundiced view on this Government’s approach to the Green agenda which might be summed up using their favoured three soundbites:

Make Noise / Spend Little / Congratulate Self
In fairness there are many calls on the Governments money right now. The key was to see how a Green Investment programme might be wrapped through projects such as “Levelling Up” and where we have ended up is by no means all bad: Good on EV’s, Offshore Wind, Hydrogen and maybe CCS. Very good that onshore wind and solar will once more qualify for CfD’s (see above).
However the costs of zero carbon are only going to rise if we don’t get moving on this agenda. The PWC report discussed below sets this out very clearly. Is the kind of money the Government is committing enough to drive this and crucially does it create the kind of certainty that will allow large private investment flows to continue to deploy in the right areas? Not sure these questions have been properly answered in the last two weeks.

Investment gap: £400bn required to deliver net-zero transition, report finds
On the day that the Government unveiled a new Ten Point Plan to drive investment to assist with the net-zero transition, a new report from PwC has warned that up to £400bn needs to be unlocked and funnelled into green infrastructure to meet the 2050 national target.
PwC, on behalf of the Global Infrastructure Investment Association (GIIA), has warned that £40bn investment per year is required over the next decade in low-carbon and digital infrastructure.  This would be double the capital allocation of the UK’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which in 2019 called for more than £20bn of annual private investment in the energy, water and telecoms sector.
According to the report, existing policy frameworks will drive low-cost investment into some key technologies that will help reach net-zero. These include regulated ownership structures for grid investment and subsidies that support renewable generation investment.
However, more than half of the required £40bn annual investment lacks policy frameworks that would deliver confidence to investors that long-term returns could be generated.
The report estimates that an £11.4bn gap in investment required to meet net-zero currently exists. The gap is predicted to grow to reach £13.5bn annually by 2022. (edie)
The report called “Unlocking Capital for Net Zero Infrastructure” can be downloaded HERE

Global stuff

Could Agri-PV Be Africa’s Next Big Solar Market Trend?
Insiders predict agricultural companies could become major adopters of solar power in Africa as farmers seek to improve the cost and reliability of energy supplies.
According to a report from GreenCape, a nonprofit organization, the market for renewable energy in agriculture last year was worth up to 960 million South African rand ($61 million at today’s rates) in South Africa alone.
One in 10 South African solar installations are in the agricultural sector, the report states, and the market is expected to grow at 10 percent a year.
Frank Spencer, a board member at the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association, said solar is seeing “exponential growth” in the agricultural sector.
While the term “agricultural solar” often refers to the co-location of PV projects on the same land where crops grow or livestock grazes, in Africa, the location aspect isn’t the primary focus. Instead, it’s the fact that businesses mainly use solar electricity to pump irrigation water and to chill produce before shipping it. (gtm)

IRENA and GWEC enhance cooperation to scale up renewables globally
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) signed a cooperation agreement in order to join efforts aimed at increasing the adoption and deployment of wind and renewable energy worldwide.
This agreement was signed by IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera and GWEC CEO Ben Backwell on the occasion of the Race to Zero Dialogues, a programme to accelerate progress by governments, industry and other key stakeholders to meet the Paris Agreement, convened by the High-Level Champions for Global Climate Action.
As shown in IRENA’s Global Renewables Outlook report, a Paris-compliant future by 2050 requires transformative changes to policy, behaviour and international cooperation. Renewable technologies such as onshore and offshore wind, as well as energy efficiency measures, can deliver more than 90 per cent of the emission reductions needed, while providing net employment and economic gains in the process.
Both IRENA and GWEC recognise that rapid decarbonisation will require a variety of policy shifts and investments, including intensifying renewable energy commitments, resolving market and regulatory barriers, improving access to finance and expanding the pipeline of bankable projects. Around a third of all new renewable power capacity added in 2019 was from wind power and IRENA data suggests wind – together with solar – will dominate future capacity growth. (theenergyst)

Rotting veg company wins Dyson Award
A novel material made from rotting fruit and vegetables that absorbs stray UV light from the sun and converts it into renewable energy has landed its designer the first sustainability gong in this year’s James Dyson awards.
From a record 1,800 entries – despite the challenges of Covid-19 – the award was given to 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue, a student at Mapúa University in the Philippines, for his AuREUS system which uses the natural scientific principles behind the northern lights.
Aureus is made from crop waste and can be attached in panels to windows and walls. It allows high energy photons to be absorbed by luminescent particles derived from fruit and vegetables, which re-emit them as visible light. Unlike solar panels, the system is effective even when not directly facing the sun because it can pick up UV through clouds and bouncing from walls, pavements and other buildings.
Maigue, who was forced back to the drawing board with his invention after an earlier version proved too costly, said: “Winning the James Dyson Award is both a beginning and an end. It marked the end of years of doubting whether my idea would find global relevance. I want to create a better form of renewable energy that uses the world ’s natural resources, is close to people’s lives, forging achievable paths towards a sustainable and regenerative future.” (guardian)

World’s largest battery to power luxury Red Sea resort
The developer behind the 28,000 sq km Red Sea Project resort has announced that it will be fully powered by wind and solar energy, as well as the world’s largest battery.
A consortium led by Saudi Arabian firm Acwa Power will run the 1,000MW/h battery as well as designing, building and operating the project’s utilities infrastructure as part of a public–private partnership.
The battery will provide power at night, and will be able to supply power during outages caused by sandstorms. (globalconstructionreview)

Techie corner

A Start-Up’s Unusual Plan to Suck Carbon Out of the Sky
Stripe is one of those technology companies that control the internet’s plumbing. It makes payments-processing software that hustles money from your debit or credit card to someone else’s bank account. If you’ve ever purchased groceries on Instacart or supported a project on Kickstarter, you’ve used Stripe, even if you didn’t know it.
Owning this particular corner of internet infrastructure is highly lucrative. Stripe is worth $36 billion by one metric, making it among the most valuable U.S. start-ups that have yet to go public.
Lately Stripe has been helping to build a different kind of plumbing—physical pipes running from the open air to deep underground. In the past year, Stripe has become one of the world’s largest purchasers of carbon-removal credits, devoting $1 million to extracting carbon from the sky. Last month, it began allowing its customers—the businesses that use its payment software—to buy carbon removal as well.
Stripe may now have more knowledge of the carbon-removal market than any other private company. In this era of greenwashing and sustainable everything, its program, called Stripe Climate, is one of the most compelling corporate climate initiatives now running.
Stripe buys removal from four companies: Climeworks, which captures carbon directly from the air and injects it into underground basalt; CarbonCure, which injects carbon into concrete; Project Vesta, which uses a common mineral to convert carbon in the ocean into limestone on the seafloor; and Charm Industrial, which produces an oil from biomass and then injects it deep into the earth.
The company picked these four relatively small companies based in part on their potential to become much larger operations. By buying from these companies now, at a relatively high price point, Stripe is aiming to let everyone pay less later. (theatlantic)