Dawn of a glorious new era for clean energy in the UK, or the start of more challenging times? We shall find out soon enough
SSE Renewables pays Siemens-Gamesa £528m for 3.8GW of wind
Fast-growing SSE Renewables has completed the purchase of Siemens Gamesa’s 3.8GW portfolio of wind projects across southern Europe.
The clean power division of SSE, Scotland’s biggest generator-retailer, is acquiring ventures either spinning already or on the drawing board, and located across Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Co-location in some spots of up to 1.4GW of solar PV features in the transaction.
Sterling’s weakness against the euro puts today’s purchase price at £500 million, £19 million higher than announced in the spring. Another £28 million covers net debt and adjustments to working capital. (theenergyst)
Wave magnets offer ‘cheapest clean energy ever’
The creators of a new type of wave energy device claim it is capable of generating cheaper electricity than any other renewable source.
The Waveline Magnet, developed by UK-based startup Sea Wave Energy Ltd. (SWEL), is a spine-like device that floats on top of the sea perpendicular to the shore in order to capture the kinetic energy of waves.
The company claims it can provide substantial power on demand at a low cost, while requiring minimum maintenance in “any wave environment”.
The Waveline Magnet has been tested in wave tanks, as well as real-world sea conditions, with SWEL claiming that its patented technology enables far more efficient energy generation than current methods. (independent)
photo: Sea Wave Energy Ltd
Energy contracts reform can bring prices down
Welcome news: a consensus is emerging around one way to attack energy costs – stop paying sky-high prices for electricity that is generated in the UK by firms whose costs are unaffected by soaring gas prices.
Academics at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), followed by the consultancy Cornwall Insight, have been pushing the idea of shifting as many UK generators as possible onto contracts for difference, or CfDs.
Under CfDs, the problem of overpayments doesn’t arise: when wholesale prices are above a fixed “strike” price, the projects return cash to be recycled into lowering bills. But the CfD setup has been only been widely used since 2017.
Thus a switch to CfDs has right on its side. The chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, said on Thursday that the government is looking at a voluntary shift to CfDs, albeit one that won’t be ready until next year in order to get around the forward-selling wrinkles. The lure to developers would be a 15-year contract that guarantees still-profitable terms when the current emergency has passed and (we hope) gas prices plunge. That sounds roughly like the original UKERC proposal from April. And Energy UK, the trade body, says the industry is backing the plan. (guardian)
Britain allows Centrica to reopen Rough gas storage facility
Centrica’s Rough gas storage site off England’s east coast has received all the regulatory approvals to start storing gas again.
Countries across Europe have been building gas stocks ahead of winter to prepare for disruptions to supply of Russian gas, but Britain has had very little storage capacity since Rough’s closure in 2018.
Britain’s North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) said it had granted the required approvals and consents to Centrica Offshore UK Limited for Phase 1 of the Rough gas storage site.
Centrica’s Chief Executive Chris O’Shea said last month the company was carrying out the necessary engineering work to enable the site to reopen. (reuters)
UK ETS: Government confirms 2023 criteria for sustainable aviation fuels
The UK’s Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) will align its measurement of the environmental credentials of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) with the sustainability rules that underpin the UK’s biofuels policy until 2025, the government confirmed today.
In a partial response to its recent consultation into how the UK’s post-Brexit carbon trading scheme should work , the UK’s ETS Authority has this morning confirmed airlines that wanted to claim a related emissions reduction under the scheme using SAF would have to ensure the fuels they used meet sustainability criteria set out by the existing Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO).
Clarifying the rationale behind the move, the UK ETS Authority said the alignment was important to prevent the UK ETS from “paradoxically” encouraging supplies of SAF that do not contribute to targets set out by the RTFO, the UK’s headline renewables fuel blending policy. (businessgreen)
EV OF THE WEEK
Munro Electric launch a no-frills electric Off-Roader
Munro Vehicles is an automotive startup founded in 2019 in Glasgow and its first offering, the Munro Mark 1, is a rugged electric off-roader designed to carry people and equipment over difficult terrain.
The plan was to make a vehicle that is interesting for industrial operations like gold mining, forestry or even just farmers and half of first year production run is already spoken for and going to the US where it already has a distribution deal in place.
The Munro Mark 1 has a single 371 horsepower / 516 pound-foot (700Nm) electric motor that sends power to all four wheels through Land Rover Defender solid axles. The vehicle is largely based on an off-road kit car called the Ibex and what Munro Vehicles has done is reengineer that vehicle to accommodate its own electric powertrain.
Battery capacity is 80.1 kWh and they say it is capable of achieving 168 miles on one charge (on-road) and that it will have fast charging. The vehicle’s interior is very basic, although it does get selectable high and low ranges courtesy of its conventional driveline. It can wade through up to 3 feet of water, which is about as much as a Rivian.
Limited production of the Munro Mark 1 will begin in 2023 when the company intends to build 50 units. If all goes to plan, it intends to increase production to 2,500 units per year by 2025 and then 5,000 units by 2030. Both left- and right-hand drive versions are in the pipeline and they plan to sell them at around £75,000 (insideevs)
photo: Munro Electric
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners close €3bn green hydrogen fund
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has reached final close on what is claimed to be the largest dedicated clean hydrogen fund globally.
The CI Energy Transition Fund I (CI ETF I) was oversubscribed and closed at the hard cap of €3 billion, with commitments from investors across the Nordics, Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America.
It will invest in next-generation renewable energy infrastructure, including industrial scale power-to-x projects and green power generation through grid balancing.
The fund will primarily focus on greenfield projects in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and aims to contribute to the decarbonisation of industries including agriculture, aviation, shipping, chemical manufacturing and steel production through the use of green fuels and feedstock and CO2-free fertilisers. (futurenetzero)
FOCUS ON: ELECTRIC BUSSES
Regular readers will know that I have been a keen champion of electrifying busses for a long time. In terms of effectiveness in reduction of CO2, this delivers big savings and can contribute substantially towards cleaner air, which is badly needed in many UK cities.
First Bus places order for nearly 200 electric buses
First Bus has placed an order for 193 electric buses which will be rolled out across England starting in March 2023.
It has struck a £43 million deal with UK manufacturer Wrightbus, with the investment supported by a £38 million grant from the Department for Transport.
The electric buses, which will be built in Northern Ireland at the Wrightbus facility in Ballymena, will hit the roads in Leicester, York, Leeds, Norwich and Portsmouth starting next year. (futurenetzero)
photo: First Bus
Electric bus fleet for Scottish cities
Stagecoach has announced that it will be introducing the UK’s first all-electric city bus networks in Inverness and Perth as part of its drive to deliver a net zero UK bus fleet by 2035.
The company is rolling out the £13.9m fleet of 38 new e-buses, partly funded by the Scottish Government, through the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB), designed to support the transition to zero-emission technologies as part of Scotland’s overall target to achieve net zero by 2045.
The new electric buses in Perth, which will be introduced in early 2023, will be made up of a £4.8m fleet of 13 buses, including seven single deck, five midibuses and one double-decker.
The £9.1m investment in Inverness will see a fleet of 25 new electric midibuses introduced from late 2022 across routes 1-9, replacing the city’s diesel bus fleet.
New zero emission buses (ZEBs) are also being introduced over the coming months on Stagecoach networks across other areas in Scotland including Aberdeen, Ayr, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Kilmarnock as part of the ScotZEB plans. (theenergyst)
Kleanbus Introduces Platform to Repower Buses from Diesel to Electric
Bus repower company Kleanbus has unveiled the first images of its advanced modular platform technology, which can turn any bus, whether single or double decker, from ICE to fully electric. Electrification is the most viable way for bus operators to go green, but new electric buses are expensive and can take many months to join a fleet from order placement to delivery. Repowering – removing the diesel engine or hybrid powertrain from an existing bus, replacing it with a fully electric powertrain – is the fastest and most cost-effective method to transition the a bus fleet to zero emission. Kleanbus’ advanced solution can accelerate that changeover with the company’s unique technology.
Combining fully warranted electric powertrain components from Tier 1 suppliers with Kleanbus’ own integration technology and proprietary software, Kleanbus’ platform system is technology agnostic, nimble and adaptable. This approach means that Kleanbus can take advantage of the latest componentry, enabling it to leverage a wide variety of batteries and motors, creating purpose-built e-powertrains tailored exactly to a bus operator’s needs. (ngtnews)
Bridgestone Americas to develop desert shrub into rubber alternative
Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone Americas has announced it has invested $42m to commercialise the development of desert shrub guayule found in America’s southwest into a domestic source of natural rubber for its tyres.
The company announced that it has made the investment to establish commercial operations to farm the shrub, and has further plans for additional investment and expansion through to 2030.
It said it will collaborate and partner with local US farmers and Native American tribes to increase the capacity of up to 25,000 additional acres of farmland for planting and harvesting guayule at scale, with a view to targeting the sustainable commercial production of guayule-derived natural rubber by the end of the decade.
Bridgestone described guayule as a heat tolerant, woody shrub which thrives in the deserts of America’s southwest. The company said the shrub can be farmed using existing row-crop equipment, which will save costs for farmers, and additionally requires as little as half the water to grow as existing crops, such as cotton and alfalfa. The company believe that this will reduce the environmental impacts around importing rubber and encourage sustainable farming. (businessgreen)
Plans to establish 100% ammonia power plant at Singapore port
Plans to establish a direct combustion power plant fuelled by 100% ammonia on Jurong Island in Singapore have been unveiled.
Jurong Port, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Asia Pacific (MHI-AP) – a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – and JERA Asia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly explore establishing a 60MW gas turbine combined cycle plant.
It is planned to be set up to produce carbon-neutral electricity as well as stimulate ammonia demand to be ready for ammonia bunkering in the future to decarbonise the maritime sector.
The MoU builds upon an initial agreement between Jurong Port and MHI-AP signed in August 2021for a pre-feasibility study on ammonia direct combustion technology for green power generation.
The project will support the Singapore Government’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. (futurenetzero)
New all-electric Canadian train-plane is faster than a jet
Canadian startup TransPod recently unveiled a hybrid between a train and an aircraft that could transform the transportation industry as we know it. The fully-electric FluxJet can travel at speeds of more than 621 miles per hour. Such speeds are even quicker than an average private jet and almost three times that of high-speed trains.The science behind the train is based on a new field of physics known as “veillance flux.” This technology also features a “contactless power transmission” and aerodynamic and propulsion systems to reduce friction. Essentially, a vacuum tube is set up, in which magnetically levitated pods travel at faster speeds than trains, cars and jets.
Besides exemplary speeds, FluxJet also has zero carbon emissions and the creation of up to 140,000 jobs. The fast-speed train will start operating in Canada and is expected to lower transport costs for individuals by 44% compared to a plane ticket. (inhabitat)