Encouraging to see some big renewables projects getting a green light. My sense is that developers are keen to build projects despite the current state of power prices.

Company news

Limejump adds Ylem Energy peaker to its managed assets
Limejump has added a 20MW gas-fired peaking project, owned and developed by Ylem Energy to its award-winning virtual power platform.  The gas peaking plant, at an industrial site in Trafford (Greater Manchester), entered commercial operation on schedule in April.
Limejump is optimising the 20MW peaking unit on a real time basis, within different traded markets including the Balancing Mechanism.  Limejump has worked with Ylem Energy since 2016, managing a number of the company’s energy assets in the UK.
Ylem Energy, along with Limejump’s other customers, are utilising Limejump’s automated trading and data abilities for this and its  other generation assets. (newpower)

GIG and RIDG join forces to compete in ScotWind leasing round
Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) and the Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) have joined forces to compete in ScotWind, the next round of seabed leasing for offshore wind development off the Scottish coast.
GIG has supported 16 offshore wind projects and 110 green energy projects across the UK to date – its most recent addition is the acquisition of a 40% stake in the 102-turbine East Anglia ONE offshore wind project, which has committed around £70 million to suppliers across the East of England.
The Scottish offshore wind developer RIDG has recently entered the offshore wind market intending to develop large-scale projects which will enhance Scottish supply chain and economy. (energylivenews)

UK news

WPD prepares for 16-fold electric vehicle increase in three years
The distribution network operator (DNO) says flexibility and managed charging will be key to ensure its power infrastructure can handle widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
“With EV adoption increasing at the current rate, it is expected some 217,000 chargers will be connected to the network by 2023,” states WPD’s updated EV strategy.
At the end of March 2020 there were around 13,760 EV chargers installed on the network, per the report, suggesting a 1,500 per cent increase over the next three years. WPD cites changes to company car tax rates (Benefit in Kind), plus a significant ramp up from carmakers as driving factors. (theenergyst)

Port of Tyne to become base for ‘world’s largest offshore wind project’
SSE Renewables and Equinor, the two companies behind the ‘world’s biggest offshore wind project’ Dogger Bank, have announced plans to build a new operations and maintenance base at the Port of Tyne.
The new multi-million-pound facility, which includes both office space and a warehouse, will be the onshore base for the Dogger Bank team, ensuring the efficient operation of the facility.
The project is expected to create more than 200 direct jobs in the region.
The wind farm project comprises of three 1.2GW sites, with each located more than 130 kilometres from the North East coast of England. (energylivenews)

Boris Johnson promises to prioritise low carbon investment
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given the clearest indication yet he remains committed to accelerating the UK’s decarbonisation efforts, telling MPs the UK aviation sector “must keep its carbon lower” when flights resume and stressing that the government’s commitment to delivering net zero emissions “remains undiminished” by the current public health crisis.
During Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament yesterday, Johnson said that with greenhouse gas emissions having dramatically dropped as a result of business and industry shutdowns to stem the spread of Covid-19, there was now a need to “entrench those gains” once the lockdown lifts. (businessgreen)

EV of the week

Kia are stepping up
The Korean carmaker have been in the news this week on a number of fronts:
The Netherlands reported that EV sales in April were only down 14% within a car market down 53% year on year. The Kia Niro EV was the best seller, selling 364 units. (insideevs)
The company also announced that it plans to step up its EV presence hoping to sell 500,000 EV’s a year by 2026 hopefully 20% of its fleet (thedriven)
Kia also announced that it would launch a high performance crossover based on its “imagine” concept (below). This will be a SUV with 300 mile range and ultra fast charging thanks to 800-volt tech (like the Porsche Taycan) giving it a 20 minute charging time. (autoexpress)


Swedish startup to offset CO2 emissions using direct air capture technology
A Swedish startup claims to have become the first in the country to have committed to offsetting its carbon dioxide emissions using direct air capture technology.
Mentimeter, a tech company which provides interactive presentations, has chosen the Nordic DAC Group to facilitate the process.
The Nordic DAC Group’s first plant, which is expected to be fully operational in 2023, will extract up to 65 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on behalf of Mentimeter, representing the estimated carbon footprint the company had during 2019. (futurenetzero)

L’Oréal launches €150m social and environmental fund
Global cosmetic firm L’Oréal has noted the need to focus on regenerating the environment while also supporting those impacted by the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, and has responded by launching a €50m social fund to support vulnerable women and a €100m environment fund.
The L’Oréal for the Future programme is a responsive, social and environmental “solidarity programme” aiming to contribute to the regeneration of damaged ecosystems and preventing climate change, while also supporting vulnerable women during the social and economic crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic. (edie)

Covid thought for the week

Covid-19 crisis will wipe out demand for fossil fuels, says IEA
The International Energy Agency said the outbreak of Covid-19 would wipe out demand for fossil fuels by prompting a collapse in energy demand seven times greater than the slump caused by the global financial crisis.
In a report, the IEA said the most severe plunge in energy demand since the second world war would trigger multi-decade lows for the world’s consumption of oil, gas and coal while renewable energy continued to grow.
The steady rise of renewable energy combined with the collapse in demand for fossil fuels means clean electricity will play its largest ever role in the global energy system this year, and help erase a decade’s growth of global carbon emissions.
Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said: “The plunge in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for coal, oil and gas. Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard of slump in electricity use.”
Renewable energy is expected to grow by 5% this year, to make up almost 30% of the world’s shrinking demand for electricity. The growth of renewables despite a global crisis could spur fossil fuel companies towards their goals to generate more clean energy, according to Birol, but governments should also include clean energy at the heart of economic stimulus packages to ensure a green recovery. (guardian)

Focus on: Big Solar Projects

World’s Largest Solar Project Will Also Be Its Cheapest
Abu Dhabi has set a global record-low solar price as authorities confirmed the winning bid in a 2-gigawatt tender. Upon its expected completion in mid-2022, it is slated to be the largest single-site solar energy project in the world.
The Al Dhafra project had five bidders, with the lowest offer coming in at 1.35 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour.
The state-run Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower) confirmed to GTM that the leading consortium consists of French energy giant EDF and the projects division of Chinese solar manufacturer Jinko Solar.
ADPower will now negotiate a 30-year power-purchase agreement with EDF/Jinko.
There are numerous factors behind the ever-lower prices for solar in the Middle East, including great solar resources, large and flat sites, cheap-to-zero land costs, massive scale, and the cheap finance that comes with a 30-year PPA with a petrostate as the offtaker.
Both JinkoSolar and EDF have strong track records in the United Arab Emirates. Jinko developed the 1.2-gigawatt Noor Abu Dhabi project (below) in partnership with Marubeni, which came online last year.
EDF has teamed up with UAE energy company and investor Masdar on a variety of projects, from solar thermal deployment in North Africa to an energy services company serving the whole region. (gtm)

Trump administration approves massive solar project in Nevada
The Trump administration has given final approval to the largest solar energy project in United States history.
The Department of the Interior Monday signed off on the Gemini Solar Project, an estimated $1 billion solar and battery storage facility set to be built on more than 7,000 acres of federal land, located about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
The facility is expected to produce 690 megawatts of electricity. The project also includes a large, 380-megawatt battery storage system capable of holding solar power generated during the day that can be enabled when the sun goes down. The facility is being developed by Arevia Power and equity firm Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners. The project will serve NV Energy, a unit of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., as the utility works to meet the state’s requirement for 50 percent renewables by 2030, and 100 percent clean energy by 2050. (thehill)

Earthship of the week

Whimsical, off-grid earthship is made out of reclaimed tyres and bottles
It’s not everyday that you get to stay in an earthship, but if you’re able to travel to Ironbank, South Australia in the future, make sure to check out the amazing Earthship Ironbank. Made out of reclaimed tyres that were pounded into a curved shape, this unique, off-grid Airbnb property is located on about four acres of native bush land and surrounded by native wildlife.
The beautiful property, which is the first council-approved earthship in Australia, is made out of various reclaimed materials, such as discarded tires and old glass bottles, and is completely self-sufficient. Created by Martin and Zoe Freney, the design was inspired by the work of Michael Reynolds, who is known for starting the earthship movement years ago.
With the help of about 60 volunteers, Earthship Ironbank took shape using, by definition, many reclaimed materials. To start, the frame of the 750-square-foot structure was built primarily from stacked discarded tires. Filled with earth and coated in cement, the tires were pounded into a curved shape. From there, Martin created a strategy to take the earthship off of the grid.
The residence relies primarily on solar power. There is also a solar hot water system. Various windows and skylights allow for natural light and air ventilation, which further reduces the need for electricity.
The south side of the structure is tucked into the ground to add thermal mass. This earth-bermed section is covered with natural plantings and gravel for optimal thermal stability. Another bonus to embedding the house into the landscape is the added resilience to bushfires. An expansive rooftop conceals the home’s integral gray water system, which includes various filters that lead to underground water tanks. (inhabitat)

Global stuff

BP begins chase for giant green ammonia plant in Geraldton
Momentum is growing in Western Austraia for a switch from gas to renewable energy with BP announcing it will consider the feasibility of building a green ammonia plant near Geraldton with a $4.4 million feasibility study part-funded by the Federal Government.
The study will consider a potential pilot plant with the capacity to make 20,000 tonnes of ammonia a year using renewable electricity produced on-site or purchased from the grid.
A commercial-scale plant to produce one million tonnes a year of ammonia for local use and export powered by 1.5 gigawatts of renewable electricity could follow. (boilingcold)

Canada ties economic relief packages to climate goals commitments
The Canadian Government has announced new Covid-19 aid intended for businesses to save jobs will be conditional on the companies meeting climate goals.
Justin Trudeau, Canada‘s Prime Minister, has unveiled new measures to support companies so they can keep their workers on the payroll and weather the coronavirus pandemic.
However, he says businesses that seek emergency payroll funding will have to demonstrate their compliance with climate change guidelines.
One of the conditions for the eligible businesses will be their commitment to publishing annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force.
It notes this reporting would demonstrate how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals. (energylivenews)

India’s CO2 emissions fall for first time in four decades
As lower power demand growth and competition from renewables weakened the demand for thermal power generation throughout the past 12 months, the Corona virus influenced drop-off in March was enough to push generation growth below zero in the fiscal year ended March, the first time this has happened in three decades.
Over the preceding decade, thermal power generation grew by an average of 7.5% per year. The dramatic drop-off in total power demand was entirely borne by coal-based generators, amplifying the impact on emissions.
Coal-fired power generation fell 15% in March and 31% in the first three weeks of April, based on daily data from the national grid. In contrast, renewable energy (RE) generation increased by 6.4% in March and saw a slight decrease of 1.4% in the first three weeks of April. (carbonbrief)

Techie corner

Tesla’s secret battery friend
Tesla Inc is a leader in electric vehicle battery technology, but the company doesn’t do all its own research.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has reached out to battery experts clustered at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tesla in 2016 agreed to fund a group of scientists led for the past 24 years by Jeff Dahn, a pioneer in lithium-ionbattery development.
The work with Dahn’s team is now playing a key role in Tesla’s plans to introduce a new low-cost, long-life battery in its Model 3 sedan in China by early next year, Reuters reported on Thursday. The goal is to bring the cost of electric vehicles in line with gasoline models, and allow EV batteries to have second and third lives in the electric power grid.
Tesla began hiring Dahn students and graduates in 2012 and built connections in 2015 to a small battery testing facility in Halifax that was spun out of Dahn’s lab at Dalhousie. That same year, Tesla set up its own battery research lab in Halifax to cement its connection with Dalhousie and with Novonix, the test lab spinout. A former PhD student of Dahn’s, Novonix CEO Chris Burns, helped Tesla build its Halifax facility.
Since 2016, Tesla has funded much of the battery research work at Dalhousie and has filed at least six patent applications since 2017 that list Dahn and members of his research team as co-inventors.
Tesla’s Dahn/Dalhousie connection goes even deeper: At least eight of Dahn’s former students and researchers currently work for Tesla; another seven previously worked for or interned at Tesla.
Dahn and his team have been among the most active battery researchers on the planet. They have published more than 600 academic papers, and Dahn is listed as a co-inventor on more than 40 battery patents dating to 1988. (reuters)