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  1. #626
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Microsoft has a new business partnership with solar heavyweight Qcells as the tech giant boosts renewables procurement and Qcells expands U.S. manufacturing.

    Driving the news: Qcells, which makes panels and other equipment, will work with Microsoft to develop utility-scale solar projects in the U.S.

    • They'll also provide equipment, engineering and construction services to projects Microsoft is backing with other developers via power purchase agreements, which are contracts that help finance new generation.

    Why it matters: It's a lot of business. It envisions Qcells — an arm of Korean industrial giant Hanwha — initially providing 2.5 gigawatts worth of panels and related services, with room to grow.

    • That's "equivalent to powering over 400,000 homes," they said.

    The big picture: It's the "first time a company that procures energy is working directly with a solar supplier to adopt clean energy on such an important scale," the announcement states.

    • Brian Janous, Microsoft's GM of energy and renewables, tells Axios the company's cumulative renewables procurement to date is around 13.5 GW.
    • The initial Qcells agreement is equivalent to around half the renewable gigawatts Microsoft procured from all sources worldwide last year, he said.

    The intrigue: The deal is part of a tactical evolution.

    • "We started to think it really makes sense for us to go further upstream, and work more closely and collaboratively with suppliers of solar panels... because it helps give us some control and certainty and it does the same thing for our suppliers as well," Janous said.

    Catch up fast: Two weeks ago, Qcells announced a $2.5 billion investment in Georgia, along with further plans to domestically source silicone materials.

    • After growth announced this year and in 2022, it will have over 8GW of production capacity in Georgia in 2024, up from 1.7GW in 2018.
    • Microsoft, already a top corporate renewables buyer, has a goal of matching 100% of its aggregate energy usage with renewables by 2025 and becoming carbon-negative by 2030.

    What they're saying: Qcells VP Jihyun Kim called the deal part of helping the U.S. become "energy independent."

    • As they develop an integrated U.S. supply chain, "we definitely want to have partners, strategic and long term, for us to be able to continue growing our presence here," he said.


    • Hertz to help cities go electric, starting in Denver

    Hertz aims to speed the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) one city at a time, starting with Denver, where the car rental giant is launching a public-private partnership to add more neighborhood chargers and prepare workers for future jobs.

    Why it matters: Renting an electric car gives potential EV buyers a no-risk way to try before they buy. But it can be a daunting choice — especially for first-time EV renters in unfamiliar areas who don't know where to charge.

    Driving the news: Under the initiative announced Thursday, Hertz will work with cities to tackle such worries and try to spread the benefits of electrification, like cleaner air and lower long-term costs, to disadvantaged communities.

    Details: Hertz will bring up to 5,200 electric cars to its Denver rental fleet, which currently includes around 8,100 vehicles.

    • The cars will be available for rent by Hertz customers as well as by Uber drivers under a previously announced partnership.
    • To support those customers, Hertz and its partner BP Pulse, an EV-charging network owned by oil giant BP, will install "dozens" of public EV chargers at Denver International Airport and elsewhere around the city.
    • Hertz will also provide curriculum and training to the city’s technical high school and will offer summer job opportunities through Denver’s Youth Employment Program.

    The big picture: A key part of the initiative is to make sure EVs and chargers are accessible to everyone.

    • EVs are prohibitively expensive for many, and as Axios has reported, chargers are easier to find nationwide in wealthier neighborhoods.
    • The Uber partnership will make the expansion of charging infrastructure more equitable in places like Denver, Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr tells Axios.

    How it works: Hertz will share with city planners anonymized data about its cars to ensure new chargers are installed in the places they're needed most, Scherr said.

    • "We know where those EVs are going, and where they dwell overnight. That matters because if a city is going to build out its charging infrastructure, that capital needs to be spent in the right way."
    • Uber drivers often rent their car for weeks at a time, and take it home at night to neighborhoods that might not ordinarily attract investments in public charging, he explained.

    • "A byproduct of our rental of EVs to Uber drivers is a more equitable distribution of charging infrastructure that's in the city's interest."

    What they're saying: "Our goal is to reduce Denver’s carbon emissions 80% by 2050, and expanding the use and availability of electric vehicles will play a major role in helping us achieve that goal," Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a statement.

    • "This partnership with Hertz will provide invaluable data about where we need charging infrastructure the most, as well as provide new opportunities with this new technology to create good-paying jobs for our current and future workforce.”

    The bottom line: Scherr says the partnership is also good for Hertz, which aims to make 25% of its 500,000-vehicle U.S. fleet electric by 2024.

    • "The greater the proliferation of charging stations, the better it is for our business."
    • Hertz has committed to buy 100,000 electric cars from Tesla, 175,000 from GM, and 65,000 from Polestar.


    unlikely to ever again return to pre-Covid levels

    • Gasoline demand in the U.S. has peaked. Drivers will benefit in the long run—but experience some short-term pain first

    Gasoline demand in the US has peaked, with a surprise slowdown last year signaling that consumption is unlikely to ever again return to pre-Covid levels.

    This long-awaited milestone shows that climate-friendly initiatives put into place more than a decade ago are finally taking the US across the threshold. American drivers are traveling more miles on less fuel than ever thanks to a generation of cars with more efficient engines as well as new electric vehicles. The government forecasts further declines for gasoline demand this year and next.

    What comes next is a two-track future: short-term pain, followed by decades of economic and environmental benefits.

    In the next several years, the fuel industry is poised to cut supply faster than the drop in demand, with more plants due to shut or convert to smaller biofuels facilities. The result could be production crunches for gasoline, price spikes or even limited outages because of the mismatch. Paradoxically for drivers, it’s gasoline’s slow death that will make it painful.

    In the longer term, falling gasoline demand will eventually mean tamer prices and lower emissions, which is obviously good news for the environment since transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

    Peak gasoline will “have significant implications for consumers, inflation, politics,” said Mark Finley, an energy fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. “All in all, a big deal — over time.”

    One of the strange things about being at peak gasoline is that there’s still quite a lot of demand. Consumption started plateauing in the years before the pandemic. Even as it drops now, it’s not falling off a cliff and is still at what historically would be considered high levels.

    At the same time, oil refiners, who turn crude into useable fuels, are already cutting back to stay profitable. The supply losses were exacerbated because of pandemic-induced shutdowns. Since gasoline plants are destined to become uneconomical stranded assets as demand fades, there’s little incentive to increase output from them now.

    In simple terms, the refining industry risks moving on from gasoline more quickly than consumers.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  2. #627
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    Russia’s war in Ukraine is expected to weigh on long-term energy demand and accelerate the world’s shift to renewables and low-carbon power as countries boost domestic energy supplies, BP said in a report on Monday.

    In its benchmark 2023 Energy Outlook, BP Plc said the Ukraine war will slow global economic activity by 2035 by around 3% compared with last year’s forecast due to higher food and energy prices as well as reduced trade activity.

    BP lowered its oil and gas demand forecast in 2035 by 5% and 6%, respectively, under its central forecast scenario that is based on governments’ current energy transition plans. The changes are focused mostly in Europe and Asia which rely heavily on energy imports, BP said.

    Under its three scenarios, global energy demand peaks between the late 2020s and 2035, according to BP, whose Chief Executive Bernard Looney aims to rapidly grow the company’s renewables business and slash oil and gas output by 2030.

    Russia is a major exporter of energy and other commodities.

    But global energy trade routes changed dramatically following the war, particularly after Moscow halted most of its natural gas exports to neighbouring Europe while Europe banned imports of Russian oil.

    At the same time, a surge in global energy prices last year led governments to accelerate domestic energy production including nuclear, renewables, hydropower and coal.

    Put together, BP expects primary energy consumption in 2035 to be lower by 2% compared with last year’s outlook, with half of the decline due to gains in energy efficiency and half due to lower economic activity.

    “The increased focus on energy security as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war has the potential to accelerate the energy transition as countries seek to increase access to domestically produced energy, much of which is likely to come from renewables and other non-fossil fuels,” BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said in the report.

    Oil demand is set to start declining rapidly after 2030 under BP’s three scenarios, but will continue to play a major role in the global energy system, with world demand reaching 70 to 80 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2035, compared with today’s consumption of around 100 million bpd.

    Carbon emissions in 2030, under BP’s central scenario are 3.7% lower than in the previous outlook.

    In this scenario, global carbon emissions peak in the 2020s and by around 2050 are around 30% below 2019 levels.


    All of the nation’s coal-fired power plants but one are less cost-effective to operate than constructing new solar or wind facilities in the United States, according to a study published Monday by the firm Energy Innovation.

    Analysts compared operating costs at the 210 coal plants in the continental U.S. in 2021 to the estimated costs of developing new solar and wind, both within about 28 miles of the plants and within the broader region.

    They determined that 209 of the plants were costlier than either wind or solar would be. When adding energy community tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act, 199 of the plants were more expensive than solar plants within 28 miles would be, while 104 plants have cheaper wind-energy sources within 28 miles.

    The single plant that is cost-competitive with wind and solar is Wyoming’s Dry Forks Station, which the analysis determined is one of the newest and cleanest in the U.S. coal fleet and is still only $0.32 per megawatt-hour cheaper than regional wind would be. If a similar plant were built now, capital costs would keep it from being competitive with renewable energy.

    Overall, the median cost for coal-fired plants is $36 per megawatt-hour, compared to $24 per megawatt-hour for new solar.

    Analysts also found that the savings from transitioning to locally produced solar energy could be used to add 137 gigawatts worth of batteries across all plants and at least 80 percent of the capacity at one in three existing coal plants. In other words, they wrote, “the economics of replacing coal with renewables are so favorable that they could fund a massive battery storage buildout to add reliability value along with emissions reductions.”

    Coal is one of the biggest drivers of carbon emissions worldwide. In the U.S., its use has steeply declined since the 1960s, but at a year-to-year level, it increased 14.5 percent from the previous year in 2020, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Over 90 percent of that coal was used for electricity generation.


    Wind and solar supplied more of the EU’s electricity than any other power source for the first time ever in 2022, new analysis finds.

    They together provided a record one-fifth of the EU’s electricity in 2022 – a larger share than gas or nuclear, according to a report by the climate thinktank Ember.

    Record additions of new wind and solar in 2022 helped Europe survive a “triple crisis” created by restrictions on Russian gas supplies, a dip in hydro caused by drought and unexpected nuclear outages, the analysis says.

    Around 83% of the dip in hydro and nuclear power was met by wind and solar – and falling electricity demand. The rest was met by coal, which grew at a slower pace than some had expected amid a drop in fossil fuel supplies from Russia.

    Solar generation across the EU rose by a record 24% in 2022, helping to avoid €10bn in gas costs, according to the findings. Some 20 EU nations sourced a record share of their power from solar, including the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

    Wind and solar growth is expected to continue this year, while hydro and nuclear generation is likely to recover. As a result, fossil fuel power generation could drop by an unprecedented 20% in 2023 – double the previous record observed in 2020, the analysis projects.

    Record renewables

    Wind and solar generated a record 22.3% of EU electricity in 2022, for the first time overtaking nuclear (21.9%) and gas (19.9%), according to the analysis and shown in the chart below.

    It comes after wind and solar overtook hydro power in 2015 and coal in 2019.

    The new landmark reflects both record growth in wind and solar in Europe and an unexpected dip in nuclear power in 2022.

    Last year, Europe faced a “triple crisis” for its energy supplies, the report says.

    The first driver was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent shockwaves through the global energy system.

    Before the attack, Europe sourced a third of its gas from Russia. But the outbreak of war saw Russia restrict gas supplies to Europe and new EU sanctions on oil and coal imports from the country.


    • Latvia third in EU for renewable energy use

    Latvia ranks third among European Union (EU) Member States in terms of reliance on renewable energy sources, reveals the latest data from Eurostat.

    With more than half of the country’s energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption of energy, Sweden (62.6%, relying mostly on a mix of biomass, hydro, wind, heat pumps and liquid biofuels) reported the highest share among EU Member States in 2021. It came ahead of Finland (43.1%) and Latvia (42.1%) (both using mostly biomass and hydro), Estonia (37.6%, relying mostly on biomass and wind), Austria (36.4%, mostly hydro and biomass) and Denmark (34.7%, mostly biomass and wind).

    The share of gross final energy consumption from renewable sources at EU level reached 21.8% in 2021. Compared with 2020, this was a 0.3 percentage points (pp) decrease and the first decrease ever recorded. However, looking at the EU target currently set for 2030 of 32% by the directive 2018/2001 of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, the 21.8% share registered for 2021 is still well below the target. Therefore, countries need to intensify their efforts to stay above the baseline established in Regulation 2018/1999 on the governance of the energy union and climate action, and to comply with the required EU trajectory. This is even more so taking into account that in 2021 the Commission issued its proposal for amending the Renewable Energy Directive, where it aims to increase this target to 40%, with the REPowerEU plan in 2022 upping this target further to 45%.

    In total, 15 of the 27 EU members reported shares below the EU average in 2021 (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia).

    The lowest proportions of renewables were recorded in Luxembourg (11.7%), Malta (12.2%), the Netherlands (12.3%), Ireland (12.5%) and Belgium (13.0%).

    In addition to the effect that lifting Covid-19 restrictions in 2021 had on increasing energy consumption, which decreased the share of renewables (despite an increase in renewable energy production in absolute terms compared with 2020), a change in methodology also helps explain this development, stated Eurostat.


    • Scoop: Biden's EV surprise

    The Biden administration's plan to jump-start a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs) is on track to shatter expectations.

    The big picture: Democrats offered carmakers new tax credits as an incentive to scale up domestic battery manufacturing — and they're racing to take advantage.

    Why it matters: This is what President Biden and congressional Democrats wanted — to seed a domestic EV supply chain and reduce America's dependence on China, while accelerating the transition to cleaner transportation.

    Details: The Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year, is loaded with goodies for consumers and carmakers to spur EV sales.

    • The most lucrative incentive offers battery manufacturers a tax credit of $35 per kilowatt-hour for each U.S.-made cell, which slices their production costs by a third.

    Example: If a manufacturer produces 70-kWh batteries for 1 million vehicles, its total credits would be worth $2.45 billion a year.

    By the numbers: When the bill was being debated last summer, the Congressional Budget Office projected the tax credits would add up to about $30.6 billion over 10 years (including credits for solar and wind manufacturing).

    • The actual total will almost surely be much higher, thanks to a surge of new battery plants across the country.
    • One estimate, prepared by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence for Axios, pegs the cost of the battery rebates at $136 billion over 10 years — and Tesla has already announced new plans that will drive the number even higher.

    Between the lines: This will add up to big money for automakers. If they pass those savings on to consumers, it could drive down the cost of new electric cars and spur sales.

    • Tesla alone expects to earn up to $1 billion in battery tax credits this year.
    • In a recent earnings call, CEO Elon Musk said the value of such credits could become "very significant" and potentially "gigantic" in future years.
    • Tesla's Nevada plant, for example, will soon be able to produce 100 gigawatt-hours of battery cells, and that could grow to 500 gigawatt-hours in the future. At an annual production rate of 500 gigawatt-hours, the credits would be worth a staggering $17.5 billion per year.

    The big picture: Other companies also stand to reap huge credits as they ramp up domestic battery production, including General Motors and Ford Motor and their Korean joint venture partners, such as LG Energy and SK Battery Innovation.

    • Ford expects more than $7 billion in tax breaks from 2023 to 2026, with CEO Jim Farley predicting a "large step-up in annual credits" starting in 2027 during a recent earnings call.
    • GM chief financial officer Paul Jacobson told reporters that the automaker will earn about $300 million this year, with the credits eventually being worth $3,500 to $5,500 per vehicle.

    What they're saying: "We have already seen hundreds of billions of dollars in new private sector investments across clean energy industries, including batteries, electric vehicles and solar panels," said White House assistant press secretary Michael Kikukawa in a statement to Axios.

    • "No one should be surprised that the historic Inflation Reduction Act will lead to an explosion in new EV plants that will showcase how American workers are the finest in the world."

    The bottom line: The battery production tax credits are just one of many U.S. policy initiatives intended to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles — but they're clearly among the sweetest.

  3. #628
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    The UCF team recently invented a way to cost-efficiently convert excess renewable energy to hydrogen and oxygen and store it long-term — days, weeks or even months. Later, when the energy is needed, it’s reconverted and added to the electrical grid. That on-demand capability enables power companies to meet and balance the energy needs of a community not just from day to day, but from season to season.

    Blending Renewable Energy for the Electrical Grid

    Designed to help resolve that kind of mismatch between demand and available power, the UCF invention (called an H2/O2 Direct-fired sCO2 Power System) blends the use of renewables to keep electrical grids going.

    “We use that excess electricity from renewables to electrolyze water and make hydrogen and oxygen, and then we store them separately,” Kapat says.

    Later, when electricity is needed, the UCF technology combines the stored hydrogen and oxygen in a combustion chamber. The combination forms water, which heats and mixes with supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2). Part of the closed-loop power system, sCO2 is a nontoxic, nonflammable, low-cost working fluid used to run turbine systems that generate electricity.

    Kapat says the technology is a closed system without any nitrogen or air present and recycles the water from the combustion, storing it in a reservoir for the next cycle.

    With NASA’s CFCs as the storage mechanism, the UCF system can house the hydrogen and oxygen separately using conduits and pressure valves until they are needed. The CFCs contain retention material that adsorbs the hydrogen and oxygen for storage. They keep the gases at liquid-like densities, applying moderate pressures and temperatures without the need for liquefaction.

    “So, the energy requirement as compared to liquid hydrogen weighs less over time, making it more attractive for long-term storage,” he says.

    Safeguarding the Environment

    One of the benefits of the technology over other systems is that it does not emit harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) since air is not included in the hydrogen-oxygen combustion process. The pollutants are known for causing acid rain, smog and greenhouse gases that damage the ozone layer.

    A second environmental plus is that the system can be installed and operated in an area with little or no water sources.

    “We do not have to worry about where to get the water,” Kapat says. “So, there’s no need to constantly use groundwater or water from sources like rivers and lakes.”

    Vesely says another benefit of the technology is its compact size.

    “You don’t need much of a footprint to build the system,” he says.


    CanREA’s new industry data shows that Canada is just starting to take advantage of its wind, solar and energy storage potential.

    The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) has announced the industry’s year-end data, reporting that Canada’s wind and solar energy sectors grew significantly in 2022.

    “I am happy to see that, across Canada, the sector grew by an impressive 10.5% this year,” says Phil McKay, CanREA’s senior director, technical and utility affairs. “Canada now has an installed capacity of more than 19 GW of utility-scale wind and solar energy, having added more than 1.8 GW of new generation capacity in 2022.”

    Of note: Solar is growing particularly quickly—more than one quarter of all the installed capacity in Canada was added this year alone.

    Western Canada accounted for 98% of Canada’s total growth in 2022, with Alberta adding 1,391 MW and Saskatchewan adding 387 MW of installed capacity this year.

    Quebec contributed 24 MW to the total growth for 2022, Ontario 10 MW, and Nova Scotia 2 MW.

    While this year’s growth of 1.8 GW was significantly larger than last year’s (less than 1 GW in 2021), it does not meet the growth rate called for in CanREA’s 2050 Vision, Powering Canada’s Journey to Net-Zero, which states that Canada needs to deploy more than 5 GW of new wind and solar energy every year to meet its commitment to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.


    An expanded federal tax credit is making it more affordable for homeowners to go solar.

    The change arrived as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, approved by Congress in August 2022, which is the largest investment in climate and clean energy the U.S. has ever made. In addition to tax credits for energy-efficiency upgrades, the act gives a considerable boost to homeowners who want to install solar, increasing the federal tax credit to 30% for solar panels and battery storage.

    The new higher rate is retroactive to the start of last year. Solar or battery storage projects completed between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2032, qualify for the 30% tax credit, with the rate ramping down to 26% for installations in 2033 and to 22% in 2034.

    Bundling the tax credit with Energy Trust of Oregon solar cash incentives and State of Oregon solar + storage rebates can significantly reduce the total cost of a residential solar project.

    Qualifying homeowners who meet low- to moderate-income guidelines can save even more with Energy Trust’s Solar Within Reach increased incentives and a higher solar + storage rebate rate from the state. These higher incentives and the tax credit can reduce the cost of installing solar by up to 65%.

    “This bigger tax credit makes solar more doable for more Oregonians,” said Jeni Hall, Energy Trust’s advanced solar program manager.

    Adding to the favorable financial picture is the fact that solar panel costs have dropped by more than half in the last decade. Plus, a solar installation means lower monthly energy bills for decades to come.


    The UK installed a record 3,193 MW of offshore wind capacity in 2022 as three large projects went fully online and eclipsed the previous annual high of 2,125 MW observed in 2018, according to research by RenewableUK.

    Total wind installations were 3,511 MW, meaning that only 318 MW of turbines were installed onshore.

    The onshore installations were spread across 10 projects, six of which, totalling 314 MW, were built in Scotland. There was also one 2.5-MW project in Wales, one two-turbine project with an overall capacity of 1 MW in England, and two in Northern Ireland for 0.5 MW of capacity.

    RenewableUK used the occasion to call for planning reforms for increased deployment both onshore and offshore. In its energy security strategy, the UK government set a target of processing offshore planning applications in 12 months, compared to up to four years currently. In December, the UK government also launched a consultation on planning changes in England which could allow the development of more new capacity in areas where the public wants it. Planning reforms are further underway in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the industry group noted.

    “In all parts of the UK, including Scotland, investors are highlighting the planning system as a major block on developing onshore new wind farms. Onshore wind is one of our cheapest sources of new power and the government’s own polling shows that four-fifths of the public support it,” said RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail.

    He also said that the UK should significantly step up the pace of offshore consenting to stay on track for the government’s objective of quadrupling offshore capacity by 2030.

    In 2021, only one offshore project of 48 MW was fully commissioned, while 370 MW of wind capacity was added onshore.

    Ørsted’s 1.3-GW Hornsea Two, RWE’s majority-owned 857-MW Triton Knoll, and the 950-MW Moray East, majority owned by Ocean Winds, are the three offshore wind farms fully commissioned UK waters last year.


    • Electric car batteries get a second life storing solar power

    A California energy startup has turned more than a thousand electric vehicle (EV) batteries into solar power storage capsules, in an intriguing effort to prove out an alternative to traditional recycling.

    Why it matters: Electric cars are cleaner than their gas-guzzling counterparts, but their batteries extract a significant ecological toll in the form of mining and manufacturing.

    • Repurposing old EV batteries can maximize their lifetime use, thus squeezing more benefit out of each battery made.
    • Energy storage, meanwhile, can help alleviate solar energy's intermittency problem — meaning, batteries can store solar power to be used when the sun isn't shining.

    Driving the news: B2U Storage Solutions' Sierra facility has reached 25MWh of solar storage capacity using second-life EV batteries from Honda and Nissan, the company announced Tuesday.

    • During the day, the Lancaster, Calif. facility's batteries are charged up by nearby solar panels. The company then sells power back to the grid at night, when the rates for solar power are higher.
    • The facility generated more than $1 million in revenue last year, the company says.

    The intrigue: B2U's big breakthrough is a proprietary plug-and-play technology that uses battery packs' existing management systems.

    • That, says co-founder and president Freeman Hall, "virtually eliminates the repurposing costs" and makes the company's tech "a very pragmatic operation as we go forward."

    What they're saying: Repurposed EV batteries work well for solar storage, in part because the job is much less stressful compared to powering a car, says Hall.

    • "The current we're applying isn't even a tenth of what they're rated for, and we don't push them all the way to the top end or the bottom end in terms of their rated voltage levels."
    • That should translate into a long second lifespan.

    Reality check: 25MWh isn't huge — the world's biggest solar storage facilities advertise hundreds of MWh.

    Yes, but: The point of B2U's Sierra facility is simply to demonstrate that second-life EV batteries can be used as solar storage at worthwhile scale.

    • "As we have that track record laid out over time, get that cycle history, get that dataset, demonstrate effectiveness, then we're in a better position to scale as the number of batteries going forward expands," Hall says.

    Meanwhile: Battery recycling firms, such as Redwood Materials and Lithion, are also gaining steam.

    What we're watching: Whether other use cases crop up.

    • Car manufacturers may explore similar technology to help decarbonize their production lines, while airports and airlines are also interested in small-scale onsite energy storage, as Axios' Joann Muller has reported.

    What's next: As early EV owners upgrade to newer models, the available supply of used batteries is expected to skyrocket — and many could be turned into alternative energy storage solutions.


    • Electrify America and TravelCenters of America to Add 1,000 EV Chargers

    If you've ever taken a road trip through the United States, chances are you stopped at least once at one of TravelCenter of America's 281 facilities, which are spread out over 44 states. According to Automotive News, TravelCenter is partnering with Electrify America to install 1,000 EV charging stations across the country at some of its rest stops. Plans call for the first chargers to be installed later this year.

    This partnership will benefit both companies. It will allow Electrify America to have chargers on the highway, a market they were lacking before this. TravelCenters of America will be able to offer EV owners a way to charge their vehicles while spending some time, and money, in its shops.

    Electrify America, which was formed in 2016 out of Reston, Virginia, plans to build off this initial installation. The company hopes to have an additional 1,800 operating charging stations within the next three years. Electrify America plans on building out a network of chargers across the contiguous United States.

    This is another in a series of agreements between charging companies, manufacturers and travel centers. Last year, General Motors partnered with EVgo to bring over 2,000 fast chargers to Pilot and Flying J travel centers.

    Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz, ChargePoint and MN8 announced a $1 billion partnership to install 400 charging hubs with more than 2,500 DC fast chargers throughout the U.S. ChargePoint Chief Revenue Officer Michael Hughes told U.S. News that the company is looking toward a future of 30-minute retail charging areas. With more and more rest stops and travel centers installing EV chargers, it's starting to seem like that 30-minute retail future is fast approaching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by S Landreth View Post
    The UCF team recently invented a way to cost-efficiently convert excess renewable energy to hydrogen and oxygen and store it long-term — days, weeks or even months.
    Unfortunately that process is very energy inefficient. Don't have the numbers but for sure not better than 50% efficiency. Batteries are much more efficient, can reach 90% or better. But battery storage is expensive. Battery storage is efficient to fill short term gaps, like charging during the day and discharging during the night.

    If that hydrogen can be used in the chemical industry to replace hydrogen from fossil sources, it can be very useful.
    "don't attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    If that hydrogen can be used in the chemical industry to replace hydrogen from fossil sources, it can be very useful.
    Iron ore reduction for steel and ammonia for fertilizer - remove coal and LNG from these processes

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    Boom times are here for any developer who can sell clean power to tech companies — and particularly those who can guarantee a round-the-clock supply.

    The number of clean energy purchase agreements signed by large corporations hit record levels in 2022, Bloomberg New Energy Finance found in a report published on Thursday.

    Amazon and other tech companies led last year’s clean-electricity buying spree, in which large corporations committed to buying 36.7 gigawatts worldwide of new electric power — 18 percent above their 2021 levels.

    The rise in power purchase agreements represents an important bright spot in sustainable investing, which has run into political and economic turmoil this year.

    Developers who can guarantee a customer reliable clean electricity “have access to a wellspring of corporate clean energy demand and are poised to be the biggest winners in this market,” BNEF report author Kyle Harrison wrote in the report.

    Tech companies — which depend on round-the-clock electricity to run data centers — have been particularly interested in renewable developments that offer “firming” services, which help fill in coverage gaps in a grid powered by renewable resources.

    In particular, companies that can help guarantee a 24-hour supply of clean energy “are going to rise to the top,” Harrison said.

    But Harrison expects the broader tide to boost clean energy of all kinds. “Look at how much clean energy Amazon bought this year —the equivalent of a small country’s power generation,” he said. “So there’s plenty of room for multiple developers to kind of sell power to Amazon or Google.”

    For big companies facing turbulent oil and gas prices, Harrison added that signing a power purchase agreement — in which an electricity buyer helps finance a new energy project by agreeing to pay what it produces — can help avoid the risk of a sudden price surge.

    The growth was a global phenomenon. Clean energy power purchase growth doubled to 4.6 gigawatts in Asia — where power purchase markets were a relative rarity just last year.

    But the record growth in the U.S. and Latin America helped drive global clean power purchase levels to new heights.

    Mining companies led that push in Latin America, seeking to decarbonize their operations with electric equipment.

    But in the U.S., that surge was mainly led by tech companies such as Amazon, Meta, Google and Microsoft.

    Tech companies led the charge because of their dependence on electricity to run their data centers — and, increasingly, corporate fleets, like Amazon’s growing fleet of electric delivery vans.

    With that Amazon fleet slated to hit 100,000 vehicles by 2030, the e-commerce giant was the biggest buyer of power purchase agreements in 2022 — signing agreements for 11 gigawatts of power.

    That brings Amazon’s total clean energy portfolio to 24.8 gigawatts of power purchase agreements — making it the seventh largest clean energy generator worldwide, including actual utility companies.

    Meta, formerly Facebook, was the runner-up with 2.6 gigawatts, followed by Google with 1.6 gigawatts, and Microsoft with 1.3 gigawatts.

    It’s not just tech companies. More companies are signing deals like the RE100, in which companies commit to secure 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

    With 56 new signatories in 2022, the nearly-400 companies in RE100 have already signed deals to purchase 249 terawatts of clean energy.

    But meeting their goals will require approximately 539 terawatts of power — or another 290 terawatts (116 percent) on top of what they have already installed.

    Some companies, like Google and Microsoft, have committed to using renewable electricity 24 hours a day — an even higher bar, requiring even more power.

    That’s because 100-percent agreements require a company to generate the same amount of clean electricity as it uses each year.

    That allows the possibility that, in a pinch, operations can be met by fossil fuel power, which the company makes up for with increased renewable generation at another time.

    Round-the-clock agreements offer no such leeway. In such a commitment, Harrison said,

    “Every hour, Google’s electricity consumption is fully offset by renewables. And something that they are seeking specifically is developers who can provide serving services because they can tailor a clean electricity structure that matches Google’s electricity demand over the course of the day.”

    Harrison said that this is a particular opportunity for companies that can offer clean power despite the intermittency of wind and solar. “Developers who can provide that are much more valuable.”

    The rise in power purchase agreements represents an important bright spot in sustainable investing, which has run into political and economic turmoil this year, the report found.

    Money flowed out of sustainable finance in 2022 — from the worldwide fall in sustainable debt issuance and the shrinkage of carbon offset markets to investors’ turn away from sustainable exchange-traded funds.

    But Harrison noted that despite that — and even as the Republican Party turns against the environment, social and governance (ESG) investment — the upheaval in global energy markets has helped turn the continued ramp-up of clean energy purchases by big corporations into a principal area of corporate consensus.

    Without the conservative backlash, “I think volumes probably would have been a little bit higher,” Harrison said.

    But even with those headwinds, the current 18 percent year-on-year growth is “a massive achievement. It shows that this segment of corporate sustainability makes economic sense for companies — it’s easy enough to do now at a large scale that companies will do it regardless of some of these macroeconomic and political factors.”


    The ACT’s first grid-scale battery, backed by the ACT Government, has been turned on, marking a significant step forwards in Canberra’s electrification journey.

    According to the State Government, the battery has enough storage capacity to power about 3,000 homes for two hours and is now fully operating as part of the National Electricity Market. Global Power Generation (GPG) developed and owned the battery.

    The State Government awarded GPG the contract in the 5th round of its renewable electricity reverse auction in 2019, supporting the State’s 100% renewable electricity supply.

    “This battery is a significant first for the city, given energy storage and battery technology are a critical component of our zero emissions future. We have even more battery storage on the horizon for the ACT, with a further 250 MW of grid-scale and neighbourhood batteries to be installed in the coming years as part of our Big Canberra Battery Project,” Chief Minister Barr said.


    December brought a massive record of global passenger plug-in electric sales, taking the full year volume beyond 10 million units.

    According to EV-Volumes data, shared by Jose Pontes, some 1,264,645 new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in December. That's about 39 percent increase compared to a year ago and a new monthly record (compared to 1.06 million in November).

    One of the most spectacular things is that rechargeable cars accounted for 21 percent of the total car sales globally, including 15 percent for all-electric cars.

    Plug-in car registrations:

    • BEVs: about *900,000 (up 57% year-over-year) and 15% share
    • PHEVs: about *360,000 (up 46% year-over-year) and 6% share
    • Total: 1,264,645 (up 39% year-over-year) and 21% share

    * estimated from the market share

    Top 20 by the end of December:

    Tesla Model Y - 771,300
    BYD Song Plus (BEV + PHEV) - 477,094
    Tesla Model 3 - 476,336
    Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV - 424,031
    BYD Qin Plus (BEV + PHEV) - 315,236
    BYD Han (BEV + PHEV) - 273,323
    BYD Dolphin - 205,238
    BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3) - 201,744
    Volkswagen ID.4 - 174,092
    BYD Tang (BEV + PHEV) - 151,141
    GAC Aion Y - 119,687
    GAC Aion S - 115,663
    Hyundai Ioniq 5 - 99,536
    Changan Benni EV - 97,379
    Chery QQ Ice Cream - 96,529
    Chery eQ1 - 96,155
    Hozon Neta V - 96,036
    Ford Mustang Mach-E - 79,100
    Li Xiang One EREV - 78,792
    Kia EV6 - 78,676


    • Ford to build EV battery plant in Michigan, use Chinese tech

    Ford Motor Co. announced Monday it will build a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan that uses Chinese technology, a move the company believes will bolster its ability to take advantage of President Joe Biden’s landmark climate law.

    The deal between Ford and China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., or CATL, the world’s largest producer of lithium iron phosphate batteries, is landing in the Great Lakes state after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, said he rejected a proposal to nab the plant, citing concerns around CATL’s connections to the Chinese Communist Party

    Ford, the nation’s second largest EV manufacturer, said a newly created subsidiary would build and completely own a sprawling complex about 100 miles west of Detroit on land near the town of Marshall.

    Ford workers will build both nickel cobalt manganese and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries at the facility, slated to come online in 2026, while CATL will continue to own the technology to create the cells and be contracted to provide some additional services.

    When asked about the political risks of working with a Chinese company, Lisa Drake, Ford vice president of EV industrialization, emphasized on a call with reporters Monday that it’s a “very global marketplace” especially when it comes to EV batteries. She also noted that while LFP technology already exists in the U.S. — although not yet at Ford — the new project will allow the company to de-risk the process in this country, where Ford has control.

    “It’s more control over the technology choice,” said Drake.

    Drake also addressed concerns that the Chinese government could move to block the use of its technology. “We certainly thought through that, and those are provisions and things that we’ve agreed with CATL in the course of our contract work with them,” she said. “Of course, we’ve thought about it, and we’ve taken care of those, the optionality, in the contracts.”

    Ford’s decision to build and operate in Michigan was driven by the newly minted Inflation Reduction Act, Drake said, and company officials said they’re confident the newly produced batteries will qualify for all of the production tax credits under the law, for both the cell and module, as well as commercial and lease customers. But Ford officials said questions remain for outright consumer purchases given there are income qualifications.

    “I think the IRA was incredibly important for us, and, frankly, it did what it intended to do and it allowed the United States to capture 2,500 fantastic technical jobs and all the indirect jobs that go with it, as well as the future growth” said Drake. “A big win for the U.S.”


    • Support for wind farms soars in Ireland

    Four in five Irish people support wind farms, while opposition to wind energy has fallen to just 5%, new research has found.

    The polling, carried out for Wind Energy Ireland by Interactions Research, also found that 58% of Irish people would support the development of a wind farm in their local area and support generally for wind energy among people living in rural Ireland was at 85%.

    Both of these figures are the highest since the tracking poll began in 2018.

    The survey also revealed a growth in positive attitudes towards offshore wind with 83% of those polled saying they would help with Ireland’s energy security. However, just 31% felt Ireland was doing enough at present to develop our offshore wind capabilities.

    In terms of the recognised benefits of wind power, 45% of people ranked its number one benefit as cheaper electricity, followed by its role in reducing CO2 emissions (22%) and the environment benefits (18%).

    Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, welcomed the survey results: “Wind energy is cheaper than fossil fuels, it is clean and it is increasingly popular among Irish people.

    “Irish wind farms have helped to protect consumers from the worst effects of an energy crisis driven by our dependency on imported fossil fuels while also saving twice as much in carbon emissions as every other renewable energy technology combined.

    “The best way out of this energy crisis is to accelerate the development of renewable energy, to ensure more of our power is provided here, at home, creating Irish jobs, supporting local communities and helping to push down prices.”

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    Hollow-fiber forward osmosis (FO) membranes manufactured by Toyobo Co., Ltd. are being used for the world’s first fully functioning osmotic power plant*1 by Danish venture firm SaltPower. The plant is located at Nobians saltworks in Mariager, Denmark. It is scheduled to start operations in April 2023.

    Osmotic power generation uses the osmotic pressure difference between two types of solutions, such as fresh water and salt water, to generate electricity. The system can stably operate regardless of weather, day or night, and can generate power almost at the same cost as solar and wind power generation. For these reasons, it is attracting attention as a next-generation renewable energy power generation system, especially in Europe with its abundant natural resources such as underground rock salt layers and geothermal water.

    The osmotic power generation plant developed by SaltPower generates about 100kW of power by utilizing the difference in salinity between salt water of almost saturated concentration that is pumped up for use in saltworks from underground rock salt layers*2 and fresh water.

    Toyobo’s FO membrane allows water molecules but not molecules or ions above a certain size, such as those for the sodium chloride (salt) compound. So, when high concentration salt water and fresh water come into contact with each other across Toyobo’s FO membrane, their osmotic pressure difference causes water to flow to the salt water side, where the flow rate increases. This increase in flow rate is used to turn a turbine, which generates electricity.

    Toyobo’s FO membrane is semipermeable, with a cylindrical pressure vessel densely filled with hollow fibers. Thanks to its unique internal structure, which includes cross winding, both high concentration salt water and fresh water flow uniformly inside the FO membrane, and the increase in flow rate resulting from their osmotic pressure difference can be converted into highly efficient power generation.

    Toyobo’s FO membrane for osmotic power generation also has excellent pressure resistance achieved by the technology that Toyobo has developed for manufacturing RO membranes for seawater desalination. This means the FO membrane can operate even under high operating pressure required for highly efficient osmotic power generation and maintain high power generation efficiency. Toyobo’s FO membrane has been used in an osmotic power generation pilot plant operated by SaltPower. The pilot plant went through many demonstration tests before going into practical use.

    SaltPower plans to actively promote osmotic power plants using Toyobo’s FO membranes in Europe. Saltwork with solution mining and chlor alkali industry can benefit immediately from the technology. SaltPower also expect that osmotic power will contribute significantly to the green transition by generating energy when building salt caverns for seasonal storage for hydrogen.

    In collaboration with SaltPower, Toyobo will continue to support the spread of osmotic power generation, which is one of the most promising renewable energy sources of the future. Toyobo will also contribute to solving environmental issues around the world by using its unique hollow fiber membrane technology for desalination plants that operate at low cost and with lower environmental impact, concentration of industrial wastewater and other factors.


    Lightsource BP, Schroders Greencoat and H&M Group have announced the completion of two new solar power stations in Leicestershire.

    The Streetfields (pictured) and Northfield House solar projects provide a power output of approximately 50MWp, the equivalent of powering over 15,000 UK homes.

    As part of the partnership, which was first communicated in 2021, Lightsource BP has developed a customised and tailored PPA for H&M Group.
    This is to support the company’s ambitious goal to reduce its absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions and scope 3 emissions by 56% both by 2030, from a 2019 baseline.

    It also aims to increase the annual sourcing of renewable electricity to 100% by 2030.

    The renewable solar electricity produced at the Streetfields and Northfield House plants will supply H&M Group business activities across the UK.

    Renewable power contracts like this can include varied tenors and provide much-needed price predictability for corporates and businesses to help meet sustainability and decarbonisation targets.

    The joint capacity of the Streetfields and Northfield House projects is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 10,500 metric tonnes each year.


    Boralex has commissioned the 65MW Moulins du Lohan wind farm, located in the commune of Forges de Lanouée, in the Morbihan department of Brittany, France.

    With this commissioning, Boralex has reached 1.2GW of installed capacity in France and crossed the milestone of 3GW worldwide.

    Moulins du Lohan features 17 Vestas V126 turbines with a unit capacity of 3.8MW.
    “The Moulins du Lohan wind farm project reflects the challenges of deploying renewable energy in France,” said Nicolas Wolff, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Europe, at Boralex.

    He added: “At each stage of development, we were able to demonstrate that the project was sound, yet it still took more than 10 years to see it through to fruition.

    “There is a need to simplify the procedures governing the development of renewable energy if the objectives of France’s multi-year energy programme, the PPE, are to be met.

    “Renewables are key to decarbonizing our society. That principle is central to the new law aimed at accelerating the deployment of renewable energies, for which we have high expectations.”

    The wind farm was developed with local environmental and landscape sensitivities in mind.

    Lanouée Forest, a forestry site that hosts the wind farm, covers almost 4000 hectares.

    The wind farm occupies 0.3% of that area, 11.4 hectares, which will be replanted with deciduous species covering an area of 12.25 hectares.

    Project construction was adapted and carried out in line with an environmental strategy aimed at maintaining the forest’s biological functions, respecting its multiple uses, and implementing measures that add value to the forest ecosystem.

    The same strategy will continue to apply throughout the wind farm’s operating phase.


    Thousand Trails continues to strengthen its environmental footprint with the installation of a new premium RV storage section topped with nearly 3,500 solar panels at the Wilderness Lakes Campground in Menifee, California.

    The new premium RV storage section at Thousand Trails Wilderness Lakes is topped with roughly 82,000 square feet of solar panels that produce approximately 2.4 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year. The new facility will generate about 50% of the total energy used across the campground, which has more than 500 sites and features common area amenities like a swimming pool, hot tubs, a clubhouse, fitness center, and game room.

    The entire solar project is a 1,469 kilowatt solar system and is expected to produce roughly 2.4 million kilowatt hours of green energy per year. The solar panels are part of Thousand Trails' continuing efforts to increase renewable energy and will produce enough energy to facilitate about 50% of the total energy used across the campground which has more than 500 sites and common area amenities like a swimming pool, hot tubs, a clubhouse, fitness center, and game room.

    The solar panels, installed in coordination with DSD Renewables and Black Bear Energy, cover roughly 82,000 square feet and cover the campground's newly installed RV storage facilities. The new storage area accommodates rig sizes of 30' and 45' and features controlled access, security cameras and month-to-month availability. RVs are protected from the elements with covered storage spaces which double as a solar array with the solar panel topped covers.

    "Along with the many benefits these solar panels provide to our overall environmental initiatives, our guests and members at Thousand Trails Wilderness Lakes can feel confident knowing that the energy they use is coming from a renewable source," said Monica Ferrer, senior director of energy and sustainability for Thousand Trails. "We're thrilled to have a high end amenity for guests and members that also highlights our ongoing focus on sustainability, renewable energy and environmental awareness."

    The project concludes with an official ribbon cutting and tour of the new solar RV storage facility with the Menifee Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, February 21.


    • Ram 1500 REV Sold Out After Just 5 Days

    Ram has closed reservations for its 1500 REV pickup truck, just 5 days after order books opened. The exact number of reservations made was not disclosed. Ram is likely trying to build hype around its electric truck, and we wouldn't be surprised if reservations opened again in a few months time. The 1500 REV was revealed as part of a Super Bowl half-time commercial and could be reserved with a fully refundable $100 deposit.

    The 1500 REV is set to go into production in late 2024 and promises to "push past the competition in areas customers care about the most: range, payload, towing and charge time". Although exact specs have not been revealed yet, the 1500 REV clearly caught the attention of many.

    First shown as a concept at CES last month, the production 1500 REV shares similar styling cues however it loses out on certain features the concept had like detachable third-row seating. The 1500 REV will ride on Stellantis’ STLA Frame architecture, which can reportedly accommodate battery packs between 159 kWh and 200 kWh in size.

    The Ram 1500 REV will be a direct competitor to the Ford F-150 Lightning, GMC Sierra EV, Rivian R1T and Chevy Silverado EV when customer deliveries begin in Q4 2024. Pricing will be interesting to see with no information being given yet. Ram might offer a sub $50k affordable version of its electric truck, like Ford and Chevy do, or it could instead market it as a premium Rivian rival and not sell any version for under $70,000.

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    A new report by Climate Central shows how US capacity to generate renewable energy shot up last year – and surprisingly, red states lead the nation in solar and wind power production.

    National wind and solar capacity grew 16% compared to 2021. All told, renewables generated enough electricity to power 64m American households. The report comes as the Biden administration starts to make billions of dollars available for renewable energy projects. The administration has committed to decarbonizing the grid completely by 2030 and getting the US to net zero emissions by mid-century.

    Chung Eui-sun, left, executive chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, and Jose Munoz, president and COO of Hyundai, celebrate with a champagne toast during the official groundbreaking for the Hyundai Meta Plant in Ellabell, Georgia in October 2022

    “We are moving closer to the goals we need to reach in order to hit net zero,” said Jennifer Brady, a senior data analyst at Climate Central. “We have a free natural resource in the form of weather that can be captured to generate power.”

    Climate action has often been stymied at the local and federal levels by Republican leaders. But the new report shows Iowa and Oklahoma – all of which have Republican governors and majority Republican state legislatures – led the nation in wind power production, while California and Florida were the largest producers of solar power. Texas is a leader in both solar and wind power.

    In the past five years, the share of wind energy more than doubled from 15% to 34%. Over that same time, gas production has fallen from 49% to 34%.


    Minesto, leading ocean energy developer, and Taiwan Cement Green Energy (TCCGE) have entered into a collaboration agreement to pursue tidal and ocean current energy build out in Taiwan. The agreement covers assessments of economic and technical feasibility of selected sites, site development, and applications for feed in tariffs.

    The energy transition agenda in Taiwan is ambitious but with significant challenges given the large share of fossils currently relied on (95%) The available ocean energy resource, when matched with the right technologies, opens up an opportunity to move forward rapidly and with higher ambitions. In 2022, a new Ocean Energy electricity feed-in tariff was introduced to support the transition into renewable energy.

    "Taiwan Cement is an experienced and successful developer of renewable energy production in Taiwan with a strong focus on pioneering projects and an openness for new technologies. Minesto's Dragons are still in the early stage of commercial deployment and that makes this collaboration even more valuable for us, them and Taiwan," says Dr Martin Edlund, CEO of Minesto.

    "Our long-term commitment to Taiwan can finally bear fruit. We are looking forward to working with one of the strongest and most renowned companies in Taiwan to seek synergies in local production and supporting infrastructure, while leveraging on Taiwanese manufacturing and technology strengths," says Dr Yung-Lung Chen, Project Manager of Minesto Taiwan.


    Newcastle Airport, in New South Wales, has boldly moved towards sustainability by signing up for 100% renewable energy through a deal with energy retailer Flow Power. The airport has committed to this transition seven years earlier than originally planned, demonstrating its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and mitigating the effects of climate change.

    According to Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock, “Newcastle Airport is expanding to deliver growth to the Hunter region, and sustainability is key to everything we do.

    “We’re delighted to partner with Flow Power. By offsetting grid consumption with green generation certificates, they’ll help us significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help us achieve our 100% renewable energy strategy well ahead of our 2030 target.”

    The switch to renewable energy is a significant step for Newcastle Airport, which is one of the busiest regional airports in Australia, servicing over 1.2 million passengers annually. The airport has pledged to source all of its energy from renewable sources, which include wind, solar PV systems, and hydropower. This will ensure that the airport’s energy consumption does not contribute to the release of greenhouse gases, which are known to have a significant impact on the environment.


    West Virginia's governor on Friday signed a bill that gives $105 million in state funding for a renewable energy battery plant in a former steel town.

    Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill at the site of Form Energy's planned manufacturing facility in the Northern Panhandle community of Weirton. The 55-acre plant will produce iron-air batteries and is anticipated to create at least 750 jobs in a $760 million investment.

    "It will transform this community in every positive way you can imagine," Justice said.

    The state's total commitment for the project is $290 million, including $75 million already invested in purchasing the property and to start infrastructure work.

    Weirton Steel, which operated a nearly 800-acre property along the Ohio River in the town of about 19,000 residents, employed about 13,000 workers around the start of World War II. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2003.

    "We are honored to pick up the legacy of this historic location and carry forward the tradition on manufacturing on this phenomenal site," Form Energy CEO Mateo Jaramillo said. "The model of the town of Weirton is success and unity, and that’s how we see this project going forward. We’re committed to the long haul."


    • VW, Mercedes urge Berlin to accelerate EV charging network expansion, report says

    Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen Group have urged the government to do more to scale up the number of electric-vehicle charging stations across the country, German paper Bild am Sonntag reported.

    "To speed up the change (to electric vehicles), we need to be sure that the charging station infrastructure is being built up," Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius was quoted as saying by the paper on Sunday.

    "That is also a question for politics."

    VW CEO Oliver Blume agreed more speed was needed and that the construction of charging stations was "a common task of the economy, federal government and communes."

    The German government last October approved a plan to spend 6.3 billion euros ($6.74 billion) to rapidly scale up the number of charging stations across the country, as part of its push towards net zero emissions. The plan included speeding up state approvals to build charging points.

    Industry associations, which have long complained the government has not kept pace with the rapid expansion of electric vehicles, said the implementation of the proposals was key.

    "The future of the car is electric," Kallenius was quoted as saying. "By the end of this decade, we want to be ready to completely transition to electric cars in our market segment, wherever the market conditions allow it," he said.

    "It's not a foregone conclusion, rather it will require a gigantic industrial conversion."


    • The end of range anxiety: how has the range of electric cars changed over time?

    If you’re looking for an electric vehicle today, you have a menu to choose from.

    From small, two-seater convertibles to large four-wheel drives. From small-battery city drives to long-range country-wide rides.

    This is a dramatic transformation from the market a decade ago. Then, there were just a handful of car models, and small-battery city drives were your only option. Going further than 50 miles was a precarious mission to map out the charging points along the way. And those chargers were few and far between.

    We can see how the electric vehicle market has changed from a simple line chart of their average range. This data comes from the International Energy Agency (IEA): each car is weighted by its global sales, so a top-selling car’s range is better reflected in the average.1 We can see that the average range has almost tripled. In 2010, it was just under 80 miles. By 2021, it was hitting 220 miles.

    This is much further than the average car drives on most days. In the UK, drivers cover around 20 miles per day (this is even less if a family owns a second car).2 Most people’s range anxiety isn’t about day-to-day driving: it’s about those rare long trips for a holiday or special occasion.

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    It’s not easy to talk about climate change and carbon-free power when your country is a battlefield.

    That’s the hard reality environmental advocates and clean energy companies have confronted in Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion. But they say renewable energy has nonetheless gained wider public support as a reliable power source amid fighting that has spurred rolling blackouts.

    “War, it seems for us, created a new understanding of renewables and maybe also created new possibilities for further development of renewables,” said Artem Semenyshyn, executive director of the Solar Energy Association of Ukraine.

    Russia’s war in Ukraine has altered global energy markets, accelerating the green transition in wealthy parts of Europe and forcing poorer countries to fall back on dirtier fuels like coal. In Ukraine — which has coal, gas and nuclear resources — energy that's close to where it’s needed has become paramount.

    Renewables have been valued in the short term for their resilience, with small, distributed systems, like solar panels on the roof of a hospital or a home enabling backup power during a grid failure, said Allegra Dawes, a research associate focused on energy security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

    The war, meanwhile, has emphasized the role renewables can play over the longer term in providing Ukraine with greater energy security and helping it integrate more with the European Union as it works to decarbonize its energy system.

    During the signing of a cooperation agreement with the International Energy Agency in December, Ukraine's Minister of Energy German Galushchenko called the transition to carbon-free energy the “cornerstone” of the nation's energy sector recovery.


    GE Renewable Energy announced today that it has been selected by Inikti as the supplier for the Otada wind farm in Lithuania, located near Sakiai city in the south west of the country. With this 18 MW project, GE’s total installed onshore wind capacity in Lithuania will reach close to 500 MW by the end of 2023.

    The developer and investor of the wind farm – Inikti – will operate four GE turbines at 5.5 MW derated at 4.5 MW, with a rotor diameter of 158m. All turbines will be erected on a 151m tower. The installation of the wind turbines at the project site will take place in Q3 2023.

    Gilan Sabatier, GE’s Chief Commercial Officer of Onshore Wind International, commented: “We’re delighted to start a partnership with Inikti, and we are thrilled they’ve selected our technology. We are also very proud to keep contributing to the energy transition in Lithuania, a country which is one of the most attractive countries in Europe in terms of wind energy potential.”

    “We are thrilled to have chosen the partner with one of the most modern and high-performance wind turbines in the market. We hope that the beginning of our cooperation with GE will open up more opportunities for both companies, not only as a customer, but also as an installation and service provider”, said Aivaras Stumbras, CEO of Inikti.

    According to the Lithuanian wind power association, LVEA, Lithuania reached an installed capacity of 668 MW of wind power in the country in 2021 and is now approaching the 800 MW mark. The country has set an ambitious target of 7 GW of installed capacity from renewable energy sources by 2030.


    Duke Energy Florida today announced two new solar projects will begin construction later this month in Bay and Madison counties.

    The new projects are part of the company’s community solar program, Clean Energy Connection, and advance the company’s commitment to cleaner energy solutions to benefit Florida customers.

    Construction on the following sites will begin in March and will take approximately nine to 12 months to complete, creating approximately 200 to 300 temporary jobs during that time.

    Mule Creek Renewable Energy Center will be built on approximately 700 acres that includes thoughtful site buffers for the community in Bay County, Fla. Once operational, the 74.9-megawatt (MW) facility will consist of approximately 175,000 solar panels.

    After a successful community open house, Winquepin Renewable Energy Center will be built on approximately 530 acres in Madison County, Fla. Once operational, the 74.9-MW facility will consist of approximately 220,000 solar panels.

    At peak output, each site will generate enough carbon-free electricity to power what would be equivalent to around 23,000 homes.


    Groundbreaking ceremonies on Thursday marked the start of the next phase of a solar farm project that is so big, it’s simply called Mammoth, and it’s being touted as the largest in the nation.

    “Well, we like the pole position in Indiana, we like to race, and we like to win,” said Governor Eric Holcomb, (R-Ind.) “Today’s a winning day for Pulaski County.”

    The Starke County section of Mammoth began in November of last year. Today, acres and acres of farm fields there were filled with solar panel support poles.

    The Mammoth footprint in Starke County will total 4,000 acres, the Pulaski County portion will add 3,500 more. Plans for future phases bring the total acreage of the farm up to 13,000.

    “And it also catapults Indiana to a top five state in the United States of America for the delivery and production of clean energy,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers. “How about that?”

    While the project is not without opposition, Doral Renewables today was praised for being a good neighbor and praised for the creation of a showpiece.

    Only 20 percent of the project footprint will actually sport solar panels.

    “We don’t cut down trees, we leave the wetlands intact, if there’s a sensitive habitat area, we don’t touch it,” explained Doral CEO and President Nick Cohen. “There will be sheep grazing, there will be what we call Agri voltaic, different crops are grown around and sometimes between panels. Today we were giving out solar popcorn. We grew popcorn on the margins of the project.”

    Cohen says phase two of the Mammoth project will create 400 new jobs over the next two years with 75 to 80 percent of the labor being local.

    Doral will also pay Pulaski County Government $40 million over the next 20 years.


    Today, every home in Iceland is heated with renewable energy: 90% from district heating systems that tap hot water directly underground and 10% from electricity generated either using steam from that water or hydropower. All of the country’s electricity is also renewable.

    Getting there was neither easy nor cheap.

    Voters needed to be persuaded to abandon coal, funds were raised for new infrastructure and technologies were created and then embraced. A big part of Iceland’s success comes down to leverage, Nielsson reflects, as he crunches his way through mounds of volcanic scree between the wells.

    It’s taken almost a century, but the country has managed to maximize the social benefits of renewable energy, as well as the economic and environmental ones.

    Once thick with smog, the air over Reykjavik is now crystal clear. Homes are toasty, heated by naturally boiling water that’s also used to warm the multitude of outdoor swimming pools Icelanders consider an essential resource during the cold, dark winters.


    • Indonesia to provide incentives to boost EV sales, attract investment

    Indonesia will provide incentives to boost sales of electric vehicles (EVs) starting March 20, as part of efforts to accelerate adoption and attract investment from companies like Tesla, senior cabinet minister Luhut Pandjaitan said on Monday.

    The incentive programme will cover sales of 200,000 electric motorcycles and 35,900 electric cars, said Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita. It will also cover the conversion of 50,000 combustion engine motorcycles, he added.

    The two ministers, who spoke at a news conference, did not disclose the budget set aside for the programme, but said 7 million rupiah ($457.82) will be disbursed to producers and retailers for each new motorcycle sold and for each converted into an electric bike.

    Indonesia is keen to develop domestic EV production facilities to take advantage of its rich nickel reserves, an important material to produce batteries.

    "We are finalising negotiations with two big global car producers. We hope this new policy will make our position much stronger than before," Luhut said without naming the companies.

    "If we don't give (incentives), they will not come to us," he added.

    Asked about discussion with Tesla, Luhut said he plans to talk with the U.S. carmaker in coming days.

    Tesla announced last week it would build a new "gigafactory" in Mexico, raising questions about whether it would invest in a similar facility in Asia.

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    U.S. scientists say they have produced the first commercially accessible material that eliminates the loss of energy as electricity moves along a wire, a breakthrough that could mean longer-lasting batteries, more-efficient power grids and improved high-speed trains.

    Materials that can conduct electric currents without any loss—so-called superconductors—have been wildly impractical because they typically need to be extremely cooled, to around minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit, and subjected to extreme pressure to work.

    Now, a group of researchers at the University of Rochester report that they have created a new superconductor that can operate at room temperature and a much lower pressure than previously discovered superconducting materials.

    The breakthrough has the potential to create lossless electrical grids, and better and cheaper magnets for use in future nuclear fusion reactors, among other things, according to Ranga Dias, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and physics at the University of Rochester, who led the breakthrough work. That is because perfect conductors that work in everyday, ambient conditions don’t require expensive, large cooling systems.

    “We could magnetically levitate trains above superconducting rails, change the way electricity is stored and transferred, and revolutionize medical imaging,” Dr. Dias said.

    Superconductors demonstrate what physicists call the Meissner effect, when a material expels its magnetic field. If you put a superconductor near a magnet, it will levitate, he added.

    In 2020, his group reported that they had created a superconductor made up of a hydrogen, sulfur and carbon combination that operated at roughly room temperature. The catch was it only worked after being baked by a laser and crushed between the tips of two diamonds to a pressure greater than that found in the center of the Earth, in a device known as a diamond anvil cell.

    For the new study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the researchers tweaked their superconductor recipe—adding nitrogen and a rare-earth metal known as lutetium to the hydrogen instead of sulfur and carbon—and once again heated and squeezed it in the diamond anvil cell.

    They named the resulting material “reddmatter,” after observing how the material’s hue changed from blue to pink to red as it got compressed. The moniker, Dr. Dias said, was inspired by the fictional, black hole-forming substance from the 2009 Hollywood blockbuster ‘Star Trek.’


    In a massive irony, the Queensland Labour government will use increased taxes on coal miners to buy and complete the 1,000 km high-voltage network – Copperstring 2. These transmission lines will connect the solar- and wind-rich areas of northwestern Queensland with the industrial hub of Townsville. The communities of Mt Isa (a mining powerhouse), Cloncurry, Hughenden, and the North West Minerals Province will be connected to the national electricity grid.

    The Queensland Labour government has purchased the project for an estimated AU$5 billion dollars, with a down payment of $500 million from the state’s coal royalties fund. The government’s aim is for 50% of all electricity produced in the state to be from renewable sources by 2030. The plan is to keep the project 100% publicly owned. The Queensland government already owns its own coal-fired power generators. Construction work will be done by Powerlink, a government-owned transmission business.

    Copperstring 2 is expected to bring 6 GW of renewable energy into the grid. To put this into perspective, Queensland currently has installed power capacity of about 8 GW. As I write, that is made up of 4.5 GW of coal (about 60%). Copperstring 2 will certainly make a difference to that.


    Iraq’s prime minister Sunday promised sweeping measures to tackle climate change — which has affected millions across the country — including plans to meet a third of the country’s electricity demands using renewable energy.

    Climate change for years has compounded the woes of the troubled country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have faced waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq’s ongoing struggle to combat cholera.

    “More than seven million citizens have been affected in Iraq … and hundreds of thousands have been displaced because they lost their livelihoods that rely on agriculture and hunting,” Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a speech to open the two-day Iraq Climate Conference in Basra.

    Al-Sudani said the Iraqi government is working on a national plan to tackle climate change that consists of a series of measures it hopes to take by 2030. The plan includes building renewable energy plants, modernizing inefficient and outdated irrigation techniques, reducing carbon emissions, combating desertification, and protecting the country’s biodiversity.

    Among the projects is a massive afforestation initiative, where Iraq would plant 5 million trees across the country. Iraq also hopes to provide one-third of the country’s electricity demand through renewable energy instead of fossil fuel.


    • Scout Clean Energy Accepts Final Delivery of GE Turbines for Sweetland Wind Farm

    Scout Clean Energy (Scout), a Colorado based renewable energy developer-owner-operator, announced that they have accepted final delivery of 71 of GE's latest generation 2.8-127 onshore wind turbines for the 200 MW Sweetland Wind Project (Sweetland) in Hand County, South Dakota. Sweetland is owned and will be operated by Scout Clean Energy.

    "We are pleased to have received the on-time delivery of the 71 of the latest GE wind turbines for Sweetland Wind Farm," said Michael Rucker, CEO and founder of Scout Clean Energy. "The final delivery allows for our Sweetland project to begin full construction shortly, and when commissioned later this year will add to Scout's growing contribution of carbon free, renewable energy to South Dakota."

    Sweetland is expected to produce over 903,500 megawatt hours of low cost, renewable power each year, offsetting approximately 615,000 tons of annual carbon emissions. Sweetland is estimated to power 82,100 homes with carbon free electricity. GE's 2.8-127 series turbines, have been named by the American Clean Power Association (ACPA) as the most widely deployed wind turbine in the US.

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    Several major fast food and convenience store chains have recently announced a big push into electric vehicle (EV) charging, a trend that could accelerate efforts to expand the country's embryonic charging infrastructure.

    Why it matters: Automakers are finally getting serious about electrification — yet many would-be EV buyers want more assurance they'll be able to find chargers when they need them.

    Driving the news: Convenience store chain 7-Eleven recently launched its own EV fast-charging network, called 7Charge.

    • The network has chargers across Florida, Texas, Colorado and California so far, with plans to expand into Canada as well. (The company didn't respond to Axios' question about how many chargers it has installed.)
    • Users will be charged based on the energy they consume or the time they spend charging, depending on local regulations.
    • 7Charge is compatible with a wide array of EVs — even Teslas, though they'll need an adapter.

    Catch up quick: Fast food giant Subway last month announced long-term plans to build car-charging "oases" replete with green spaces, playgrounds and more. (Electrify America, one of the foremost charging-specific companies, has similar ambitions.)

    • More immediately, Subway is working with franchise owners to install stand-alone fast-chargers at various locations.
    • One major Taco Bell franchisee, meanwhile, is rolling out EV chargers at more than 100 of its California restaurants, USA Today reports.

    The intrigue: In a press release, 7-Eleven touted its potential to address the charging gap.

    • "7-Eleven will have the ability to grow its network to match consumer demand and make EV charging available to neighborhoods that have, until now, lacked access," reads the release.

    Be smart: Stores that install EV chargers will likely make a decent buck on charging fees, just like gas stations take a cut when you fill up your tank.

    • And, even with the latest fast-charging technology, topping off an EV takes time — turning drivers into a captive audience for food, drinks and other goodies as they juice up their cars.
    • Those bonus sales could give stores an extra incentive to add chargers.

    Yes, but: Franchise chains have only so much control over what individual owners choose to do, potentially limiting their ability to become major players in EV charging overnight.

    • Still, if some owners make a handsome profit from EV charging, their peers may follow suit.

    The bottom line: As the Biden administration pours billions into incentives for expanding the charging infrastructure, your favorite fast food chains are looking to take a big gulp of that cash spigot.


    Charts: See when renewables provide more than 20% of power in the US

    How best to understand the remarkable growth of clean energy on U.S. power grids over the past four years? Let’s take a look at it season by season.


    • Wisconsin’s renewable energy wave is prompting some farmers to lease land for fields of solar panels

    The decision to transition a sizable portion of their family’s farm from pastures and grain fields to thousands of solar panels was not an easy one for Duane and Tina Hinchley.

    The couple owns Hinchley’s Dairy Farm in Cambridge (20 miles east of Madison). The farm totals approximately 2,600 acres.

    A 995-acre chunk of the dairy farm acreage is slated to become part of the sprawling $649 million Koshkonong Solar Energy Center Project.

    The solar development from Chicago-based energy firm Invenergy Services LLC encompasses 6,384 acres. It is projected to generate 300 megawatts of energy and will include a 165-megawatt battery storage.

    The project will generate enough power for 60,000 homes. It will also bring as many as 1.1 million solar panels across 2,400 acres of land.

    Tina Hinchley said they will continue to use 1,600 acres for agriculture and tours of the farm. The dairy farmers hope leasing out almost 1,000 acres of land for the solar development will help provide extra revenue to help install more technology including some robotic equipment.

    Duane Hinchley also hopes money from the solar farm will help keep the family farm viable going forward.

    Dean Ortwell, president and CEO of the Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative, said he’s seen farmers offered $750, $800 and up $1,500 per acre in lease offers from solar energy developers. That compares to $250 to $350 per acre for farming uses.

    That can be tough to pass up, said Ortwell, whose utility coop is part of efforts to bring 2 mw of solar energy online.


    • The world saw a record 9.6% growth in renewables in 2022

    By the end of 2022, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 3,372 gigawatts (GW), growing the stock of renewable power by 295 GW or 9.6%, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

    Renewables produced an overwhelming 83% of all power capacity added last year.

    Renewable Capacity Statistics 2023, released today by IRENA, shows that renewable energy continues to grow at record levels despite global uncertainties, confirming the downward trend of fossil fuels.

    Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA, said:

    This continued record growth shows the resilience of renewable energy amid the lingering energy crisis.

    The strong business case of renewables coupled with enabling policies has sustained an upward trend of their share in the global energy mix year on year. But annual additions of renewable power capacity must grow three times the current level by 2030, if we want to stay on a pathway limiting global warming to 1.5C.

    While many countries increased their renewable capacity in 2022, the significant growth of renewables is concentrated in Asia, the US, and Europe. IRENA reports that almost half of all new capacity in 2022 was added in Asia, resulting in a total of 1.63 terawatts (TW) of renewable capacity by 2022. China was the largest contributor, adding 141 GW to Asia’s new capacity.

    Renewables in Europe and North America grew by 57.3 GW and 29.1 GW, respectively. Africa saw an increase of 2.7 GW, slightly above 2021. Oceania continued its double-digit growth with an expansion of 5.2 GW, and South America had a capacity expansion of 18.2 GW. The Middle East recorded its highest increase in renewables on record, with 3.2 GW of new capacity added in 2022, an increase of 12.8%.

    Although hydropower accounted for the largest share of the global total renewable generation capacity with 1,250 GW, solar and wind continued to dominate new generating capacity. Together, both technologies contributed 90% to the share of all new renewable capacity in 2022. Solar led with a 22% (191 GW) increase, followed by wind, which increased its generating capacity by 9% (75 GW).


    • Renewable energy now required on New Mexico state land after Lujan Grisham signs bill

    Public land managed by the State of New Mexico was required to see renewable energy developments, after a bill was signed into law to make the state’s Office of Renewable Energy permanent.

    House Bill 95 was intended to codify into law the office established within the State Land Office by Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, meaning it could not be disintegrated by any future land commissioner or government leader.

    Sponsored by Reps. Tara Lujan (D-48) and Debra Sarinana (D-21), the bill was intended to help New Mexico expand renewable energy development as a path toward lowering carbon emissions from traditional energy development like coal and oil and gas.

    This goal was spelled out in the 2019 Energy Transition Act that called for New Mexico to produce 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045 to reduce the state’s impact on pollution and climate change.

    The State Land Office estimated revenue from wind and solar power generation in the state was more than $12 million in Fiscal Year 2022.

    That money goes to statutory beneficiaries of State Trust land, including public schools, universities and hospitals.

    Records show there were 27 active leases on State Trust land as of March 9, with a total capacity of 1,556 megawatts, mostly in central New Mexico around Torrance and Lincoln counties.

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    Air taxis are coming to Chicago

    Air mobility startup Archer Aviation and United Airlines are working to bring air taxi service to Chicago, the companies announced Thursday.

    • The planned service will run between O'Hare International Airport (a vital United hub) and Vertiport Chicago, a helicopter facility about three miles west of the city's South Loop.

    Details: The plan is for United passengers to be able to hop aboard an Archer eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft for a 10-minute cruise to O'Hare — a trip that can take 45 minutes or longer, depending on traffic.

    • Once at O'Hare, they can connect to their departing flight.
    • Service is expected to start in 2025.

    Catch up quick: Archer and United, an investor, previously announced a planned route between downtown Manhattan and Newark Liberty International Airport — also a major United hub.

    The big picture: Archer and United are just two of several companies that hope to use eVTOLs to whisk passengers between urban cores and airports, which often lie on the outskirts of the cities they serve.

    • eVTOLS are cleaner and quieter than traditional helicopters, making them more feasible for this kind of service.

    Yes, but: Archer and other developers of the newfangled aircraft still need to clear various regulatory hurdles with the Federal Aviation Administration.

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    The Global Wind Energy Council in Brussels also cited concern about climate change, as well as secure energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for a fast-growth outlook in its annual Global Wind Report. The international trade association projected 680 gigawatts of new onshore and offshore wind will be installed by 2027 – enough to power about 657 million homes annually.

    “The twin challenges of secure energy supplies and climate targets will propel wind power into a new phase of extraordinary growth,” the council said in its report.

    The wind power market stalled in 2022 because of government policies that encouraged “race to the bottom” pricing, and because of inflation, higher logistics costs and inefficient permitting and licensing rules, the council said. The industry added about 78 gigawatts of wind capacity globally in 2022 — down 17% from 2021, but still the third-best year ever for new capacity.

    This year, the industry will reach a historic milestone — 1 terawatt, or 1,000 gigawatts, of wind energy installed worldwide, the council said. The 2-terawatt milestone should come in 2030 if policymakers strengthen supply chains to meet demand and address permitting and other bottlenecks, the council added.

    “2023 will mark the start of a decisive turnaround,” Council CEO Ben Backwell wrote in the report. “Governments of all the major industrialized nations have enacted policies that will result in a significant acceleration of deployment.”

    The council pointed to incentives for renewable energy development in the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, and policies in Europe and China that further expand the role of renewables. Vietnam and the Philippines are enacting new plans for wind, India seems set to pick up the pace, and Brazil will continue to establish itself as a wind energy powerhouse, the report said.

    China led the world in both onshore and offshore wind development last year, and is expected to continue to lead in 2023. The Asia-Pacific region surpassed Europe in 2022 as the world’s largest offshore wind market, according to the report. Europe continues to build the most floating offshore wind farms.

    The industry's year-over-year growth, forecast to be 15%, is enormous compared to most other industries, the council said. But even that rapid growth will fall short of what experts say wind needs to contribute to renewables growth by 2030 to stay within the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold that scientists have said is imperative to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

    “The message for policymakers from this year’s Global Wind Report is clear: it is time to double down on your ambition and deliver the support that will secure the clean energy future dawning in front of us," Backwell said in a statement.

    In other news: Wind sector faces supply chain crunch this decade, industry body warns


    The planned Normandy offshore wind farm will be located more than 32 km off the north coast and is expected to be commissioned around 2030. Over the next few years, planning and permitting will be finalized, which will require minimal development expenditure leading to construction later this decade. The fixed-bottom project is expected to supply the equivalent of the annual consumption of approximately 1.5 million people, more than half of the electricity needs of the population of Normandy.


    Peru’s executive branch has introduced a bill to congress to promote the diversification of the energy matrix.

    The proposal would allow power distributors to procure capacity and energy independently in supply tenders, a change that stakeholders, particularly renewable energy companies, have spent years calling for.

    Power supply calls are expected in the near term as certain contracts between distributors and generators are scheduled to expire.

    "The decreasing trend in renewable technology development costs will be used to establish better rates for final consumers, reducing the application of subsidies to renewable energies in the current regulatory framework," according to the draft legislation, which would modify law 28832, governing the guarantee of efficient power generation development.

    The document, available here, in Spanish, adds that the “proposal strengthens free competition in the Peruvian electricity market and equality between all technologies, eliminating regulatory barriers ... and will reduce dependence on fossil fuels.”
    The energy and mines ministry released a draft bill for consultation last June.

    “It would be a good incentive for the construction of new renewable generators, as contracts with distributors would be for 10, 15, 20 years,” Rolando Salvatierra, a senior partner and energy expert with Lima-based law firm Estudio Muñiz, told BNamericas.

    Salvatierra forecasts that 2023 will be a watershed year for renewables in Peru, with the potential announcement of a new renewable energy auction. The last process was launched in 2015.


    • US renewable power surged ahead of coal for the first time last year

    Last year, U.S. renewable electricity generation surpassed coal for the first time, according to newly released federal data. The report marks a major milestone in the transition to clean energy, but experts say that much faster progress is needed to reach international climate targets.

    According to the Energy Information Administration, a federal statistical agency, combined wind and solar generation increased from 12 percent of national power production in 2021 to 14 percent in 2022. Hydropower, biomass, and geothermal added another 7 percent — for a total share of 21 percent renewables last year. The figure narrowly exceeded coal’s 20 percent share of electricity generation, which fell from 23 percent in 2021.

    The growth in renewable electricity was largely driven by a surge in added wind and solar capacity, the agency said. Texas was the top wind-generating state last year, producing more than a quarter of all U.S. wind generation. It was also the leading state for natural gas and coal power. Iowa and Oklahoma landed at second and third in wind generation, accounting for 10 percent and 9 percent of national wind power respectively.

    California took the lead in solar, clocking in with 26 percent of the nation’s solar electricity. Texas came in second at 16 percent, followed by North Carolina at 8 percent. Renewable generation also exceeded nuclear for the second year in a row, after surging ahead for the first time in 2021.

    But the report found that fossil fuels still dominate the country’s energy mix. Natural gas remained the top source of electricity in the U.S. — its share rose from 37 percent of electricity generation in 2021 to 39 percent in 2022.

    For 2023, the Energy Information Administration forecasts additional growth in renewables. The agency predicts wind power will increase from 11 percent to 12 percent of total power generation this year. Solar is projected to rise from 4 percent to 5 percent. Coal is expected to further decline from 20 percent to 17 percent. Meanwhile, natural gas generation is expected to remain unchanged.

    Despite the encouraging news, some energy experts say the uptick in renewables still isn’t fast enough. On Tuesday, the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization, announced that global annual investments in renewables need to more than quadruple to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The assessment echoes the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s top climate science body, which called for a rapid scale-down of greenhouse gas emissions largely produced from fossil fuels.

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    India’s top energy official has warned that the country needs to “succeed” in local manufacturing if it is to meet its goal of 90 per cent renewable energy by 2047.

    India’s Power Secretary Alok Kumar said that the coal-reliant country must more quickly deploy clean power plants to meet its global climate commitments. Coal currently fuels 70 per cent of electricity output in India.

    “The challenge is huge and if we don’t succeed in promoting local manufacturing, India’s energy transition will be very, very, difficult,” Mr Kumar saidon the sidelines of a G-20 energy meeting on Monday, according to The Economic Times.

    “There is no alternative.”

    India aims to increase clean energy to 50 per cent by 2030 from 42.6 per cent at present. The country also aims to achieve energy self-sufficiency by 2047, India’s centenary year of independence.

    Government officials say that to achieve this ambitious goal, India must build out its domestic manufacturing in green technologies such as solar modules, battery storage, and electrolysers for making green hydrogen.

    The government is offering incentives for production of green components to meet domestic needs, as well as serve the export markets, challenging China’s dominance in the sector.

    India’s renewable energy capacity has grown rapidly in recent years, making it the fourth-largest in the world in hydro, wind, and solar power.


    The Biden administration on Tuesday morning announced it will put $450 million toward development of renewable energy projects on current and former mine sites.

    In a call with reporters, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the recipients could range from advanced nuclear projects to power plants with carbon capture capabilities.

    The funds will be dispersed through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was enacted in 2021.

    “They’ll prove out the potential to reactivate or repurpose existing infrastructure like transmission lines and substations, and these projects could spur new economic development in these communities,” Granholm said.

    “As with all BIL-funded projects, we’ll be prioritizing those that partner directly with communities,” she added, referring to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

    Concept papers from applicants will be due in May, with full applications due by the end of the summer, Granholm said.

    Separately, the administration also announced it will disperse $16 million to two sites in North Dakota and Virginia to study methods of extracting critical minerals from coal-mine waste streams, with an eye toward building a new essential-materials facility for renewable energy components such as solar panel or wind turbine parts.

    The administration is also focused on “cleaning up polluted land and water and creating good paying jobs for local workers,” Granholm said.

    The supply chain for solar energy in particular has proven a challenge for the Biden administration’s clean-energy goals.


    The USDA will award up to $1 billion in grants to help farmers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems or make energy-efficiency improvements to their property, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The USDA will cover up to 50% of the cost of projects with a maximum grant of $1 million through the Rural Energy for America Program.

    “Supporting renewable energy and energy-saving systems helps the people of rural America create thriving, livable communities,” said Vilsack in a statement on Friday.

    The USDA opened the REAP application window on Saturday, with plans to hold quarterly competitions for funding through Sept. 30. Funding for the grants comes from the 2022 climate, health and tax law. The government said it was particularly interested in projects that would encourage rural economic growth, conserve farmland, mitigate climate change and aid underserved communities.


    European Union negotiators agreed to set more ambitious renewable energy goals last week, ramping up efforts to combat climate change. The bloc of 27 nations is now poised to source 42.5 percent of its energy with renewables by 2030, an increase from its current goal of 32 percent. The deal comes as Europe moves away from its reliance on Russian gas and oil following the invasion of Ukraine.

    “This will help us progress toward climate neutrality, strengthen our energy security and boost our competitiveness, all at once,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says, per Samuel Pétrequin of the Associated Press.

    The agreement comes about two weeks after a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned it’s becoming increasingly less likely the world can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This target was set in the Paris Agreement of 2015, which called on countries to take swift action to reduce their climate-warming emissions. So far, the highest-emitting nations are falling short of their climate goals.

    In 2021, 22 percent of the European Union’s energy came from renewables, per Reuters’s Bart Meijer, Kate Abnett and Philip Blenkinsop. That same year, renewables made up about 12.4 percent of primary energy consumption in the United States.

    Under the new European agreement, countries may choose to increase their goals to 45 percent renewable energy, but this is not legally binding, reports Angela Symons for Euronews. As a result, the deal has attracted some criticism for not doing enough.

    “By making 2.5 percent of that target aspirational, [the E.U.] has failed to fully seize this opportunity to strengthen energy security and achieve climate goals,” Sarah Brown, Europe program lead at clean energy think tank Ember, tells Euronews.

    The war in Ukraine and the E.U.’s subsequent energy crisis has transformed and accelerated the region’s transition to renewables. In May 2022, the European Commission revealed a $229 billion (€210 billion) plan to completely wean off Russian oil and gas by 2027. In 2021, before the war, Russian gas made up about 45 percent of the E.U.’s total gas imports.


    Despite federal and state programs to convert corn into ethanol and soybeans into biodiesel to fuel cars and trucks, the United States has never before regarded farming as a primary energy producer.

    That changed when Congress in August passed the climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides $140 billion in tax incentives, loans and grants to replace fossil fuels with cleaner renewable energy that lowers emissions of carbon dioxide.

    Along with the wind and the sun, the raw materials needed for a significant portion of that energy come from agriculture — alcohol from fermenting corn, and methane from the billions of gallons of liquid and millions of tons of solid manure produced by big dairy, swine and poultry operations.

    Despite pushback from environmental groups concerned about increased pollution from farm waste, developers across the country see opportunities to build ambitious renewable energy projects to convert crops and agricultural wastes to low-carbon energy.

    “There is not a single renewable energy producer in the country that is not looking at or already taking steps to install new technology, expand their facilities, or thinking about building new plants in response to the federal tax incentives passed last year,” said Geoff Cooper, the president and chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association, an industry trade group.

    In January, Avapco, a biofuel company that operates an ethanol refinery in Thomaston, Ga., about 60 miles west of Macon, was awarded an $80 million grant by the Department of Energy to build a plant capable of producing 1.2 million gallons of jet fuel a year from wood chips. And on a 2,500-acre site near Hennepin, Ill., Marquise Energy is collaborating with LanzaJet, which makes low-carbon fuel, to build an ethanol and biodiesel plant to produce aviation fuel for jets taking off from Chicago’s two major airports.

    The emphasis on energy production is a big shift in American farm policy that started in the early 1970s when Earl Butz, the secretary of agriculture during the Nixon administration, encouraged farmers to plant “fence row to fence row.” Mr. Butz’s summons to produce enough food to feed America and the world, say authorities, converted farms from family-managed businesses to an industry dominated by commodity-producing, export-focused corporations.

    The government’s plan to turn agricultural products into energy is intended to increase economic output, said John E. Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri.

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    “This new change to energy and carbon sequestration significantly expands the size and intensity of agricultural production,” he said. “You know, people can only eat so much.”

    But environmental groups are wary about the additional waste the effort might produce. Phosphorus and nitrogen discharges from U.S. farms are “the single greatest challenge to our nation’s water quality,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. More acres of corn, the most heavily fertilized crop, and more manure from larger livestock and poultry operations could increase nutrient pollution.

    “The federal government, in the name of climate action, is dumping billions of dollars into an already poorly regulated industry,” said Emily Miller, a staff attorney for Food and Water Watch, a national environmental group.

    One of the newest projects is on a 245-acre field just outside tiny Lake Preston, S.D. Last September, Gevo, a Colorado developer, broke ground for Net-Zero 1, an $875 million refinery to turn corn into low-carbon jet fuel.

    Gevo says its “farm-to-flight” project will release 80 percent less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than ethanol made by a conventional plant. A wind farm will power the plant, which will turn 35 million bushels of corn from about 100 South Dakota growers into 65 million gallons of jet fuel a year.

    The production practices, including the equipment used to capture carbon from air emissions, will offset the carbon released in jet engine exhaust, said Patrick R. Gruber, the company’s chief executive. “This will be the cleanest ethanol plant in the world with the lowest carbon footprint,” he added.

    None of it would be possible without government support. Virtually every phase of Net-Zero 1 production, and a good portion of its revenue, benefits from tax incentives, grants and direct payments for low-carbon renewable energy and the nearly $20 billion that Congress has approved since 2021 for the disposal of carbon dioxide. When the plant begins production in 2025, it will qualify for a clean fuel tax credit of $1.75 a gallon, plus an $85 tax credit for every ton of carbon dioxide it disposes of in deep subsurface caverns.


    • Taiwan’s rapid renewables push has created a bustling battery market

    Taiwan faces two imperatives to decarbonize its grid: the looming threat of climate change, and the potentially more imminent risk of intervention by China’s military.

    Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen recently enacted a binding target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As it stands, Taiwan’s economy depends almost entirely on coal, oil and gas — all of which must be shipped in, since the 245-mile-long island lacks deposits of those fuels. But shipping depends on open sea lanes, and China’s increasingly belligerent attitude toward Taiwan has many observers worrying about military intervention in the years to come.

    Against that backdrop, Taiwan’s state-run utility Taipower is attempting to nearly quadruple its share of renewable electricity by 2025. That’s also forcing a complementary buildout of battery storage to balance the surges of intermittent power on the isolated island grid.

    Any location that builds a bunch of renewable power plants needs to figure out how to build energy storage at scale. Move too fast, and you can end up with faulty systems catching fire, as South Korea did after a lucrative incentive prompted a rowdy storage boom. Move too slowly, and the grid won’t have much-needed flexibility to handle the swings of wind and solar production. Outside of the U.S. and Australia, hardly any other places have cracked the code for sustained, large-scale grid battery construction.

    Now Taiwan is looking to join that group of storage stalwarts as quickly as it can.

    “In terms of rapid adoption, the percentage growth each year [for Taiwan’s energy storage market] is much higher than other countries,” said Danny Lu, senior vice president at Oregon-based grid battery integrator Powin Energy.

    As one of the top energy storage integrators, Powin sells the most battery capacity to the U.S. and Australia; China and India have considerable demand for storage but also high barriers to entry. Taiwan’s appetite for new batteries is approaching the U.K. in size, Lu said — that’s notable given that the U.K. has nearly three times the population to serve.

    Decarbonizing the grid is tricky anywhere. The stakes are higher than usual for Taiwan since it must transition its energy system — serving some 23 million people and a world-leading cluster of microchip factories — under threat of interference from a well-armed foreign power. It’s too early to tell how feasible net-zero goals can be under these circumstances, but incubating a bustling energy storage industry is a critical early step in the right direction.

    Big clean energy goals — with tough limitations

    Government-owned Taipower has a hefty task ahead of it: It wants to transform its energy mix by 2025.

    The government’s plan is to reduce coal generation from 45 percent to 27 percent of the energy mix and to take nuclear from 11.2 percent to zero over that timeframe, according to Taipower materials. To compensate, imported fossil gas will rise from 35.7 percent to 50 percent of the energy mix, and renewables will increase from 5.5 percent to 20 percent.

    Renewables growth spurs battery uptake

    Five years ago, there wasn’t any inkling of a grid storage market in Taiwan, said Lu. But Powin started making inroads there nevertheless, in part due to a personal connection to the place: Lu was born in Taiwan, and his grandfather served as a head engineer at the state-owned utility.

    Things changed quickly. Powin signed its first Taiwan deal in 2020 — three sets of battery enclosures totaling nearly 50 megawatt-hours, Lu said.

    Rather than manage sales from the misty hills of Oregon, Powin chose Taiwanese engineering and construction firm Leader to act as the sales agent and distributor for the battery systems. In the first year of that partnership, Leader bought 300 megawatt-hours from Powin to be installed at around a dozen different sites, Lu said.

    The big early driver for storage adoption was a market product called Dynamic Regulation Reserve (dReg). It’s a form of frequency regulation whereby batteries provide little bursts of energy to stabilize the grid. Taipower builds some of these facilities for itself, but it also lets independent developers erect their own batteries and bid into the market.

    Batteries are appealing for this application because they respond faster and more nimbly than traditional power plants, and they do it without burning fuel. Battery developers can make an impact with small, short-duration batteries, which saves money compared to big battery plants that need to discharge for hours.

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    The Group of Seven richest countries set higher 2030 targets for generating renewable energy, amid an energy crisis provoked by Russia's war on Ukraine, but they set no deadline to phase out coal-fired power plants.

    At a meeting hosted by Japan, ministers from Japan, the U.S., Canada, Italy, France, Germany and the U.K. reaffirmed their commitment to reach zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century, and said they aimed to collectively increase solar power capacity by 1 terawatt and offshore wind by 150 gigawatts by the end of this decade.

    "The G7 contributes to expanding renewable energy globally and bringing down costs by strengthening capacity including through a collective increase in offshore wind capacity ... and a collective increase of solar ...," the energy and environment ministers said in a 36-page communiqué issued after the two-day meeting.

    "In the midst of an unprecedented energy crisis, it's important to come up with measures to tackle climate change and promote energy security at the same time," Japanese industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference, according to Reuters.

    The ministers' statement also condemned Russia's "illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked" invasion of Ukraine and its "devastating" impact on the environment. The ministers vowed to support a green recovery and reconstruction in Ukraine.

    They also published a five-point plan for securing access to critical raw materials that will be crucial for the green transition.

    Before the meeting, Japan was facing criticism from green groups over its push to keep the door open to continued investments in natural gas, a fossil fuel. The final agreed text said such investments "can be appropriate" to deal with the crisis if they are consistent with climate objectives.

    The ministers' meeting in the northern city of Sapporo comes just over a month before a G7 leaders' summit in Hiroshima.


    • Walmart will add thousands of EV charging stations to stores by 2030

    Walmart announced Thursday it plans to add electric vehicle charging stations to thousands of U.S. stores by 2030.

    The company announced it would expand its EV fast-charging network to Walmart and Sam’s Club locations across the country, adding to the nearly 1,300 EV stations currently in operation at 280 of the company’s locations. Walmart did not provide more detail on the investments.

    The big-box retailer said it’s in the process of identifying suppliers. It plans to own and operate the EV charging stations in its national network. The company expects an average of four chargers to be installed at each participating store, Reuters reported.

    In the past, Walmart has worked with EV charger providers EVgo and Electrify America. The company has grown its network substantially over the last two years.

    “Easy access to on-the-go charging is a game-changer for drivers who have been hesitant to purchase an EV for concerns they won’t be able to find a charger in a clean, bright and safe location when needed,” Vishal Kapadia, senior vice president of energy transformation, said in a statement.

    The planned expansion would make EV ownership more reliable, Kapadia said. Walmart’s more than 4,700 stores and 600 Sam’s Clubs are located within 10 miles of around 90% of Americans, according to the company.

    The Biden administration recently announced an investment of over $7.5 billion to launch a national charging network, particularly in lower-income and rural communities. This will likely boost EV sales, which accounted for 7% of new U.S. vehicle registrations in January.


    • Chipotle reveals all-electric, wind- and solar-powered restaurant

    Chipotle unveiled an all-electric restaurant concept Tuesday that relies entirely on alternative energy to power its stoves, grills, electric car charging ports and more.

    The big picture: The reveal comes as Chipotle and other fast-food chains are under enormous pressure to reduce their carbon emissions.

    • Several major fast-food and retail chains, including Subway, 7-Eleven and Walmart, have all recently announced big pushes into electric vehicle charging as part of broader efforts to go green, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick reports.
    • While rooftop solar panels will be installed "where feasible," Chipotle says, most of the restaurants' energy will come from offsite wind and solar generation.

    Driving the news: Chipotle has opened two restaurants with what it's calling "responsible restaurant design" features so far: one in Gloucester, Virginia, and another in Jacksonville, Florida.

    • A third is slated to open in Castle Rock, Colorado.
    • Highlights include electric cooking equipment to replace gas-powered variants, rooftop solar panels and heat pump water heaters.

    What's next: The fast-casual Mexican chain plans to install such features as it opens new restaurants over time.

    • It's goal is to use all-electric equipment at more than 100 of its new locations in 2024 and at least some additional elements from its new design, per a release.

    The bottom line: Chipotle aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, from 2019 levels, the company says.

    • The company also said Tuesday that it's planning to offer more vegetarian and vegan menu items, while purchasing 36.4 million pounds of local produce this year.


    • Türkiye foresees $1.5B investment in renewable-based storage projects

    Türkiye has completed the first pre-licensing process after receiving record applications for the installation of solar and wind-based electricity storage facilities, the energy watchdog’s head said Saturday.

    A total of 12 pre-licenses with a capacity of 744 megawatts (MW) have been granted for the installation of solar and wind-based electricity storage facilities, which foresees an initial investment of $1.5 billion (TL 28.87 billion) in the sector, said Mustafa Yılmaz, the head of Türkiye's Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK).

    The high volume of applications reflects positive investor appetite and potential in the country, Yılmaz told Anadolu Agency (AA).

    “The total applications made have reached 4,369,” he said and added that the installed power capacity for the sum total of these applications corresponds to approximately 221,000 MW.

    He stated that the power generated by wind energy-based storage electricity is 113,500 MW, while it is 107,500 MW for the solar energy version.

    According to Yılmaz, the high volume of applications may push the final investment figure up to between $40 billion-$45 billion on the ground.

    “We said that our electricity storage regulation is a groundbreaking development in the renewable energy sector. The investment demand of $270 billion for electricity storage in the renewables sector has confirmed the accuracy of this prediction,” he explained.

    “We carried out this regulation believing in our country's potential and with trust in our investors. We already see that the regulation on electricity storage facilities marks a new era in our energy sector,” he said.

    He explained that the new regulation is not only important in terms of investment volumes but also for employment and development of domestic battery technologies in Türkiye, while also contributing to the country's energy security and grid flexibility.

    Türkiye's current renewable capacity accounts for over half of the country's total installed power capacity, which stood at 104,488 MW by April 7.

    After a hydropower capacity of around 31,600 MW, wind is the second-biggest renewable source of electricity at 11,490 MW. Türkiye's solar power installations reached 9,820 MW in the same period.

    Moreover, at least 1,000 MW of wind and solar energy capacity each is expected to be added to the country’s renewable portfolio in 2023.

    Renewables accounted for more than 95% of new capacity increases in the country in 2021. The country achieved a record-high annual increase in wind energy in 2021 with the addition of approximately 1,750 MW, up from the previous all-time high of 1,248 MW added in 2016.

    Türkiye is forecast to see around 64% growth in its renewable energy capacity to 90 gigawatts (GW) in the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), with almost 75% of this addition being solar and wind.

    The growth will help it rank fourth in Europe and among the 10 biggest renewable markets in the world.

    Türkiye ranks fifth in Europe and 12th in the world in renewable energy installed capacity, and seventh in Europe and 12th in the world when it comes to wind energy installed power.


    • Wisconsin Public Service announces new renewable energy facility, fourth since 2020

    More clean energy is on its way to Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) customers as a new renewable energy facility went into service this week in southwestern Wisconsin.

    A release from the WPS has announced the completion of the Red Barn Wind Park, a project that can produce 92 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which is equal to powering more than 50,000 homes.

    The Red Barn Wind Park, located in Grant County, is the fourth renewable energy project WPS has brought online since 2020 including the state’s first large-scale solar parks.

    The energy that the new facility produces is sent to the grid, providing homes and businesses in northeast and northcentral Wisconsin with affordable, reliable, and clean energy, officials say.


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    In line with its goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Lowe's today announced details of rooftop solar panel installations at 174 store and distribution center locations nationwide, including 20 sites currently in operation. Once each site is completed, the solar panels will provide approximately 90% of the energy usage at each location.

    Through partnerships with DSD Renewables (DSD), Greenskies Clean Focus and Infiniti Energy, Lowe's rooftop solar panel installations span locations throughout California, Illinois and New Jersey. These investments will help Lowe's reduce its operational emissions and reach its goal of having its operations powered with 50% renewable energy by 2030.

    "At Lowe's, we are focused on operating responsibly and reducing our impact on the environment," said Chris Cassell, Lowe's vice president of corporate sustainability. "Investing in renewable energy lowers operating costs and is an important step in reducing emissions associated with our stores and distribution centers. This initial rooftop solar portfolio is one example of the collaboration we seek with partners as we work toward our long-term and interim net-zero goals."

    The rooftop solar portfolio of 174 locations includes:

    • 20 stores in New Jersey that are currently operational through Infiniti Energy. Panel installations at six additional Lowe's stores in the state are in development and scheduled to be operational later this year.
    • 55 stores in California as well as 36 stores and three distribution centers in Illinois planned in partnership with DSD. Construction is expected to begin at all sites by the end of 2023.
    • 52 stores and two distribution centers in California, in partnership with Greenskies Clean Focus, scheduled to begin construction later this year.

    This investment in rooftop solar panels builds on Lowe's recent sustainability progress, including achieving its 2025 goal of reducing scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 40% – relative to 2016 emissions levels – four years early.

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    Big money — from the three biggest economies in the world, as well as scores of ambitious venture capitalists — is suddenly flying toward startups promising to help the world build a carbon-free future.

    It’s a shift from the world of software into the actual world, following the trajectory of a tech founder like Peter Reinhardt, who sold a software company for $3.2 billion in 2020 and now leads carbon-storage company Charm Industrial. The newer startup, which he co-founded in 2018, turns carbon-rich biomass into sludge that can be safely buried underground. “We need to rebuild almost all the infrastructure around us to eliminate fossil fuel emissions and return the atmosphere to pre-industrial CO2 levels,” Reinhardt says. “That will require a tectonic shift.”

    That’s why horizon-scanning investors are suddenly less interested in reseeding yesterday’s innovations (solar, wind and lithium-ion batteries) than doing deals that push forward the frontiers of climate tech. Decarbonized food, carbon-removing contraptions, futuristic materials and next-generation fuels are now portfolio targets for venture capitalists.

    Venture Capitalists Are Moving Beyond Solar and EVs - Climate tech VC deals in 2022

    For early-stage investors, solar panels and electric vehicles are so 2011. By now these are relatively mature products built on the work of previous decades. They’re doing the job they were built for: gradually replacing fossil fuels. In fact, solar and wind are cheaper than coal in most of the world today. That means market forces will turn power grids a deeper shade of green with each passing year, and VCs can focus on electrifying everything else.

    “There is capital available for great entrepreneurs — and good entrepreneurs — to tackle really hard problems in a way that wasn’t available in that first wave” of renewables investment, says Gabriel Kra, co-founder of Prelude Ventures. During the last 15 years, he adds, “the core technologies have changed, the participants have changed, the capital availability has changed, the building blocks have changed. And that’s what’s leading to this second, more successful wave of innovation.”

    much more in the link above.

    Little more......

    Major VCs link arms in new climate push


    The surge in demand for electric vehicles (EVs) — and declining interest in gas-powered cars — is driving car manufacturers toward greater consolidation, according to a new report.

    That’s bad news for the broader ecosystem of parts suppliers, service stations and mechanics, who risk getting squeezed out of the market, according to a new report published on Tuesday from consultancy Deloitte.

    The report predicts an epochal shift toward electric vehicles and away from gas-powered ones over the rest of the decade.

    It predicts that this change will lead to a larger transformation of the car market — and the supply chains that feed it — that will outpace even the shift to EVs.

    While EVs still account for a relatively small share of current production, consumer demand is shifting away from gas cars.

    Fewer than two-thirds (62 percent) of consumers surveyed told Deloitte that they wanted a “traditional” internal combustion engine-powered car in 2023 — a “significant” decline from the 80 percent who wanted one five years ago.

    That means that while gas-powered cars still dominate both existing vehicle fleets and new vehicle sales, Deloitte predicts that demand for such cars — and the components that make them up — will decline steeply over the next five years.

    The report predicts that revenue from the sale of internal combustion engines and related parts like fuel systems and exhaust systems will fall by by nearly half (44 percent) by 2027.

    At the same time, revenues from key electric parts like drive-trains and batteries are expected to surge by 245 percent, or nearly 2.5 times, over the same period — a number that far outstrips the number of vehicles expected to be sold.

    These numbers are a bit misleading, because the gas-powered market is so much larger than the EV market that a large growth in the percentage of EV sales doesn’t necessarily translate to a big change in the global car fleet — at least, not overnight.

    But 1 out of 7 cars sold worldwide last year were EVs — up from 1 in 70 in 2017, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

    In terms of new cars sold last year, in China — the world leader — 1 in 4 was an EV, while in the EU it was 1 in 5 and in the U.S. 1 in 10.

    Standing against this trend toward lower-emission cars and trucks is the rising preference for both electric- and gas-powered sports utility vehicles (SUVs), the emissions from which reached nearly 1 billion metric tons in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency.

    But while that rise in the uptake of big, heavy vehicles is countering national climate goals and driving the world closer to dangerous climate tipping points, the Deloitte report suggests that it isn’t enough to offset the declines in conventional car and truck manufacture — and the associated disruption in auto supply chains.

    For manufacturers, suppliers and technicians, the biggest difference between electric and gas-powered cars and trucks isn’t the fuel they burn, but the relative complexity in their engines.

    More than 100 moving parts in the typical internal-combustion engine drive-train (the power system that drives a car) will be cut in the transition to EVs, according to Automotive News.

    That wide array of failure-prone parts has led to an enormous array of parts suppliers, auto-shops and mechanics that work in tandem with major car manufacturers.

    But as these largely-mechanical moving parts, like mufflers and catalytic converters, are replaced by another 41 largely-electronic components, those suppliers will watch their market share shrink.

    The Deloitte report suggests that this trend will increase across all vehicles — not just EVs — as car manufacturers seek to cut costs by simplifying and integrating their supply chains.

    The “less complicated vehicle architectures may lead to fewer, more competitive opportunities for suppliers” to sell to major carmakers, the authors wrote in an accompanying statement.

    The consulting firm suggests seeking markets abroad for internal combustion car manufacturers and suppliers.

    Alternatively, firms can spin off gas-powered manufacturing chains into separate companies (as Ford did last year), which it advises ultimately selling off to private equity.

    For EV and battery manufacturers — and the relatively stagnant fields like brakes and suspension manufacturers — it forecasts a wave of mergers, as companies acquire or merge with their competitors as a means to keep driving up their share prices.

    That likely means a wave of greater consolidation in auto companies, which will lead to many companies being gobbled up by larger rivals, the report predicted.


    • Renewables Have Pulled Ahead of Coal. What’s Next?

    There’s good news in the recently released official data on electricity generation in the United States in 2022: renewable energy has continued to grow, coal power has continued to drop, and renewables are now firmly ahead of coal for the first time ever. The numbers also have important things to say about how much more needs to happen.

    The progress in the numbers

    The new numbers are from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA), which collects data from power plant operators from across the country. They offer a lot of good news about clean energy progress . Here’s a taste:

    • Wind power, the largest single source of renewable electricity in the country, grew the most of any renewable energy source in overall generation from 2021 to 2022. It supplied 10.5 percent of the country’s electricity supply (up 1.1 percentage points).*
    • Solar power increased the most among renewable electricity sources in percentage terms, up 24 percent. Its contribution to our electricity rose to 4.9 percent (up 0.8 points).
    • Solar’s increase came from progress with both the large-scale solar featured in EIA’s topline calculations, and the small-scale solar (think panels on rooftops) that it started measuring a few years ago, when that sector got too big to ignore. Large solar provided 3.5 percent of the 2022 generation, and small solar 1.4 percent.
    • With small solar included, renewable electricity all together provided 22.7 percent of US electricity, up 1.9 points from the year before. Wind, hydroelectric, and solar power accounted for 95 percent of renewables’ 2022 generation.

    Renewables up, coal down

    More renewable energy is desirable for a lot of reasons. Some of those, such as the public health and climate benefits, depend on the clean energy displacing the dirty stuff—avoiding increases in fossil fuel generation or, even better, displacing existing generation. From a public health perspective, displacing coal is particularly important.

    So it’s good news that the 2022 numbers also show coal generation dropping, and renewables clearly surpassing coal. Renewables (including small solar) had squeaked past coal in 2020, before a rebound put coal back on top the following year. But, in 2022, renewables generated 14 percent more than coal, as renewables rose and coal fell (7.7 percent). That crossover is consistent with the long-term trend for both renewables and coal: renewable generation increased every year of the last decade, while coal dropped in seven of those years.

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    New York state has passed legislation that will scale up the state’s renewable energy production and signals a major step toward moving utilities out of private hands to become publicly owned.

    The bill, included in the state’s new budget, will require the state’s public power provider to generate all of its electricity from clean energy by 2030. It also allows the public utility to build and own renewables while phasing out fossil fuels.

    “It’s a historic win for the climate and for clean jobs,” said Lee Ziesche, organizer with Public Power New York, a coalition that has been fighting to pass the legislation for the past four years. “It’ll create a model of public power for the whole country, and it’s really showing that our energy should be a public good.”

    The Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) will ensure that all state-owned properties that ordinarily receive power from the New York power authority (NYPA) are run on renewable energy by 2030. It will also require municipally owned properties – including many hospitals and schools, as well as public housing and public transit – to switch to renewable energy by 2035.

    NYPA provides low-cost electricity to more than 1,000 customers, ranging from local and state government buildings to electric cooperatives, businesses and non-profits. It also sells a portion of its power on the wholesale market, where utilities can purchase it. The legislation will require NYPA to offer low-to-moderate income customers a lower utility rate for renewable energy.

    The passage of this first-of-its-kind law comes after years of grassroots campaigning by climate and environmental organizers in New York state.

    NYPA is the largest state public utility in the country. The vast majority of the electricity generated by NYPA comes from hydropower: over 80%. This new legislation will require the state to phase out the six natural gas-fired plants that NYPA operates across New York City by 2030. (NYPA had previously agreed to shut down the plants by 2035.) NYPA built these “peaker plants” in 2001 to meet energy demands during peak times – such as the hottest days of the year. The plants, which emit nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide, are located in the Queens and the Bronx boroughs of New York City and the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan – the latter two of which have some of the highest asthma-related death rates in the country.


    • Orsted and Eversource have begun assembling foundation components for the Revolution Wind project at their offshore wind construction hub in Rhode Island.

    Governor Dan McKee, US Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, US Representative Seth Magaziner, and Providence Mayor Brett Smiley joined Orsted and Eversource at the ProvPort offshore wind construction hub.

    They gathered to celebrate the launch of Revolution Wind’s advanced foundation components construction and the successful completion of South Fork Wind’s components.
    The work underway at ProvPort alone represents a more than $100m investment in Rhode Island.

    “Rhode Island is a national leader in offshore wind, and today marks a significant moment as our state continues to capitalize on one of our state’s most abundant natural resources,” said McKee.

    “In addition to assisting us in meeting our emissions reductions target in the Act on Climate, the work underway will also create more jobs, making Rhode Island an economic hub for clean energy.”

    Whitehouse said: “This new private investment by Orsted and Eversource reinforces the strategic role of ProvPort’s offshore wind hub in the Ocean State’s Blue Economy.”

    He added: “I will continue working hard to get more steel in the water and more well-paying union jobs here in Rhode Island.”


    UK renewable energy company Banks Renewables has reached a target of three million megawatt-hours of green energy generated by its onshore wind farms. The wind farms generated one million megawatt-hours in the past year alone.

    The company predicts that this total is enough to meet the annual electricity needs of around 1.04 million homes. Additionally, the electricity generated by the portfolio has displaced around 584,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the UK’s electricity supply network, the company predicts.

    Banks Renewables was incorporated in 2006 and currently operates ten wind farms across Scotland and the north of England in the UK. It also has an additional four onshore wind farms under development.

    The UK’s recent energy policy announcements favour offshore wind with a target to develop 50GW of offshore wind capacity. However, the UK Government outlines in its ‘Powering Up Britain’ policy that “onshore wind is an efficient, cheap and widely supported technology”. The UK government seeks to “deliver a localist approach” to onshore wind.

    CEO of Banks Renewables Richard Dunkley claims that: “Onshore wind is one of the cheapest and most easily scalable electricity generation technologies and should be a central part of the UK’s future energy and energy security strategy.”


    More than one in three new vehicles sold in 2030 will be electric thanks to “explosive” growth in the market, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    The influential Paris-based group says electric cars are already on track to make up 18% of sales in 2023. With new policies driving growth in the US and the EU, the share of electric models in 2030 is now set to be more than double what it expected just two years ago.

    The expansion means that the demand for oil-based fuels such as petrol and diesel in the road transport sector will start to decline within just two years. Around 5% of current oil demand will have been wiped out by 2030, it adds.

    The IEA’s new Global EV Outlook report concludes that, by the end of the decade, electric cars sales are on track to cut annual emissions equivalent to Germany’s entire economy.

    However, the agency notes that the growing popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) is a “major concern”. Last year, the growth in sales of these large, energy-intensive models nearly cancelled out the emissions reductions from record electric vehicle sales.

    Exponential growth

    More than 10m electric cars were sold in 2022, reducing global emissions by 80m tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e), according to the IEA.

    The agency adds that sales are expected to reach 14m by the end of this year. This would amount to 18% of global car sales in 2023, up from 14% a year earlier and just 1% in 2017.

    On this trajectory, these vehicles will have nearly quadrupled their market share since 2020, when they made up less than 5% of sales.

    The “exponential” growth in electric car sales can be seen in the chart below. China (red) has consistently dominated the market, making up roughly 60% of global sales in 2022.

    The other two key players are the US and the EU, both of which have recently raised their 2030 targets for cutting emissions from road transport. In recent months, the IEA notes that both have “passed legislation to match their electrification ambitions”.

    According to the new report, a combination of the new CO2 targets for cars and vans in the EU, and the suite of new measures in the Inflation Reduction Act combined with state-level action will continue to drive electric car sales in the coming years.

    Under the IEA’s Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS), which accounts for policies and measures that have been put in place by governments, electric cars’ share of the market is set to double to 36% by 2030. This narrows the “implementation gap” between action and targets set by governments, which in total would bring this share up to 40%.

    Deep cuts

    The rapid growth in electric car sales under existing government policies is expected to have a significant impact on fossil-fuel use. The IEA says oil demand for road transport is expected to peak around 2025 in the STEPS scenario.

    The surge in electric vehicles on the roads would eliminate the need for 5m barrels of oil per day by 2030. This amounts to around 5% of global oil demand today.
    Last edited by S Landreth; 05-05-2023 at 03:05 PM.

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    In an “exclusive”, Reuters reports that “India plans to stop building new coal-fired power plants, apart from those already in the pipeline, by removing a key clause from the final draft of its National Electricity Policy (NEP), in a major boost to fight climate change, sources said”. The newswire adds that “the draft, if approved by the federal cabinet chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi, would make China the only major economy open to fresh requests to add significant new coal-fired capacity”. It quotes a “government source” saying: “After months of deliberations, we have arrived at a conclusion that we would not need new coal additions apart from the ones already in the pipeline.” The Reuters article continues: “The new policy, if approved, would not impact the 28.2GW [gigawatts] of coal-based power in various stages of construction, the sources said…The draft, India’s first attempt at revising its electricity policy enacted in 2005, also proposes delaying the retirement of old coal-fired plants until energy storage for renewable power becomes financially viable, the sources said.”

    Meanwhile, in contrast, Bloomberg covers a new report by the Indian power ministry’s Central Electricity Authority. The outlet says: “Coal will remain India’s largest source of electricity generation by 2030 and additional new plants will be required, even as the nation adds record clean energy installations to hit climate targets…’Availability of affordable and reliable electricity is a key factor in sustainable growth of the country,’ Ghanshyam Prasad, the authority’s chairperson, said in a report. Coal will account for about 54% of electricity generation in 2030 and as much as 46GW of additional capacity will be required alongside new renewables, the authority said in the report published Thursday. The fossil fuel currently accounts for almost three-quarters of generation and mines are striving to dig out material at a record pace to avoid shortages that caused blackouts in recent summers. Installations of solar, wind, hydro, biomass and nuclear plants will reach more than 500GW by 2030, an almost tripling of current levels, and account for 64% of the country’s generation capacity.”


    California recently announced that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted on its Advanced Clean Fleets rule, and the vote to finalize it was unanimous. The new rule will essentially ban the sale of all diesel-powered medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles beginning in 2036. At that time, all new sales and registrations will need to be zero-emission vehicles.

    California continues to push the envelope when it comes to rules and regulations to help the environment. It was recently announced that the state has a new goal to ban all new gas passenger car sales starting in 2035.

    The state's previous target for banning the sales of diesel trucks was set at 2040, so now it's even more aggressive. California's Governor Gavin Newsom has vowed to move the state to 100% zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. That said, banning diesel truck sales sooner may make it a bit easier to reach his goal.

    It's important to note that, just like California's gas car ban target, there are many very specific rules related to such legislation, and it's all very complicated. There will certainly be wiggle room and loopholes. However, to be very clear, none of these are actual, official "bans," and they're not going to take away peoples' cars or companies' diesel trucks or other equipment.

    Instead, to work toward the larger goal of transitioning an entire fleet to zero-emission vehicles, there arguably has to come a point when the production and sale of new gas-powered vehicles comes to an end. Eventually, the older gas-powered vehicles will be replaced by a zero-emission vehicles, thus slowly making the transition happen.

    According to Electrek, California's diesel truck ban won't just suddenly take effect in 2036. Rather, there are steps along the way. By 2024, 50% of state and local government agency vehicle purchases will have to be zero-emission vehicles. This number bumps up to 100% by 2027.

    With the new rules in place, California estimates that about half of all semi-trucks on its highways with by zero-emission by 2035. By 2042, California puts this figure at 70%. If all goes as planned, the state should hit 100% by 2045.

    This new legislation in California is the strictest of its kind across the globe, and the first to aim to ban diesel trucks. We can only hope the world is watching and others will follow suit. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comment section below.


    US power utility AES has announced a long-term strategy to exit completely from coal by the end of 2025 and triple its renewables portfolio by 2027.

    AES will add 25–30GW of solar, wind and energy storage across its power generation portfolio.

    The company has set an annualised growth target for adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of between 6% and 8% between 2023 and 2027, from a base of its reaffirmed 2023 guidance of $1.65–1.75.

    This growth is expected to come from the renewables’ contribution and from investments in the rate base at the company’s utilities strategic business unit. This growth is expected to be partially offset by lower contributions from the energy infrastructure SBU as the company intends to exit from coal by the end of 2025.

    AES also plans to invest to deliver annual rate base growth of 10% at its utilities in the US.

    AES president and CEO Andrés Gluski stated: “AES is uniquely positioned to create value for our shareholders in the once-in-a-lifetime energy transition we are currently living through. Through 2027, we expect to nearly triple our renewables capacity by adding 25–30GW of solar, wind and energy storage to our portfolio, while simultaneously delivering annual rate base growth of 10% at our US utilities.

    “Our diversified portfolio will support and enable this growth as we advance our transformation by fully exiting coal by year-end 2025.”

    AES executive vice-president and chief financial officer Steve Coughlin stated: “With our new strategic business units, we have aligned our management and operations of our businesses to execute on our long-term strategy, and this structure now better reflects the focused company that AES is today.”

    For 2023, the company projected an adjusted EBITDA guidance of between $2.6bn and $2.9bn. This growth is expected to come from new renewable projects coming online, along with prior-year one-time expenses at its US utilities.

    However, it could be hit by lower margins from its liquefied natural gas (LNG) business due to the normalisation of LNG prices and the roll-off of gas supply contracts and lower coal margins.


    Loblaw unveiled a carbon-free energy deal on Thursday that will shift the company’s operations in Alberta to be powered entirely by renewable sources, including wind, sun, and water. This change extends to the company’s supermarkets, drugstores, offices, and distribution centers in the region.

    This program will eliminate the carbon emissions associated with the company’s electricity purchases in Alberta, while cutting its nationwide enterprise operating emissions by 17 percent, according to the company.

    As a result of the deal, the company is closer to its goal of using carbon-free electricity to power over 280 locations, including subsidiaries like Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills, Real Canadian Liquor Store, its Independent, and Wholesale Club stores, as well as the company’s offices and distribution centers. This energy purchase will provide over 300,000 megawatt hours of carbon-free energy every year and save the equivalent of up to 180,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

    "Loblaw has been actively reducing its carbon emissions for over a decade, consistently exceeding its own ambitious targets. Last year, when we raised those targets to become net zero by 2040, we knew we would need some breakthrough innovation to reach our goal,” said Galen G. Weston, chairman and president of Loblaw Companies Limited, in a statement. “This project delivers that by turning our highest carbon-emitting energy market into our lowest, in one single step.”

    By coupling the three renewable energy methods into a shared electrical grid, the program solves a renewable energy problem where one source may not provide enough energy due to external factors: when solar panels fail to provide electricity at night, the power can be supplemented with the energy from wind turbines and the pumped-hydro energy storage station.

    Loblaw is making this purchase from TC Energy, an experienced, long-time North American energy company.


    The US Port of Long Beach has released plans for a floating wind facility conceived to help California and the nation reach renewable energy targets in the coming decades.

    Known as Pier Wind, the facility would support the manufacture and assembly of offshore wind turbines standing as tall as the Eiffel Tower.

    It would be the largest facility at any US seaport specifically designed to accommodate the assembly of offshore wind turbines, the port said.

    Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero said: "Imagine fully assembled wind turbines capable of generating 20MW of energy towed by sea from the Port of Long Beach to offshore wind farms in Central and Northern California.

    "As society transitions to clean energy, our harbor is ideally located for such an enterprise – with calm seas behind a federal breakwater, one of the deepest and widest channels in the US, direct access to the open ocean and no air height restrictions.

    "No other location has the space to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive down the cost of energy for these huge turbines."

    The Pier Wind project could help California meet goal of producing 25GW of offshore wind power by 2045, and contribute toward lowering the national cost of offshore wind power by 70% by 2035.

    The facility would span up to 400 acres of newly built land located southwest of the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge within the Harbor District.

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    • EDP Renewables has expanded the capacity at its largest wind farm in Portugal.

    The Alta da Coutada wind farm has a capacity of 187MW, following installation of six turbines.

    They are expected to increase the annual production of the wind farm by 12%.
    The facility is located in Serra da Padrela, in the municipalities of Vila Pouca de Aguiar and Valpaços in the Vila Real district.

    The wind farm started operating in 2010 and initially had 72 wind turbines and an installed capacity of 165.6MW.

    The six new turbines add 21.6MW of capacity.

    "Adding more power to an operational wind farm is currently one of the main focuses of EDP Renewables, which has been a pioneer in the development of renewable projects in Portugal and has several projects that can increase its contribution to the decarbonization of the country.

    “By installing more wind turbines, we are providing more clean energy to the grid in a faster way, without the complexities associated with developing new projects," said Duarte Bello, EDP Renewables Chief Operating Officer for Europe and Latin America.

    In late 2022, EDP Renewables added additional wind turbines to the Barão de São João Wind Farm in the Algarve, using two of the largest and most powerful turbines on the Iberian Peninsula for this expansion.

    The company has already performed similar expansions in 11 wind farms in Portugal and intends to continue exploring ways to add more renewable capacity to its operational projects.

    EDPR is evaluating the possibility of hybridizing the Alta da Coutada Wind Farm, incorporating photovoltaic generation into the complex, as it did at the Mosteiro wind farm in the Guarda district at the end of 2022.


    The think tank’s data reveals that in G20 countries, wind and solar reached a combined share of 13% of electricity in 2022, up from 5% in 2015.

    In this period, the share of wind power doubled and the share of solar power quadrupled.

    As a result, coal power fell from 43% of G20 electricity in 2015 to 39% in 2022.

    Shares of other sources of electricity remained broadly stable, with fluctuations of just 1-2 percentage points.

    Across the G20, progress towards wind and solar power is mixed.

    The leaders are Germany (32%), the UK (29%) and Australia (25%). Turkey, Brazil, the US and China have consistently held above the global average.

    At the bottom are Russia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia with nearly zero wind and solar power in their mix.

    Thirteen of the G20 still have over half of their electricity from fossil fuels as of 2022.

    Saudi Arabia stands out with almost 100% of its electricity from oil and gas.

    South Africa (86%), Indonesia (82%) and India (77%) are the next most reliant on fossil – all predominantly coal – generation.

    Among advanced (OECD) economies in the G20, which should target coal phase-out by 2030, there has been a reduction in coal generation by 42% in absolute terms from 2015 to 2022.

    The fastest decline in coal power in the G20 has been achieved by the UK, which reduced its coal generation by 93% since the Paris Agreement was signed, falling from 23% of electricity in 2015 to just 2% in 2022.

    Italy halved its coal power in the same period, while the United States and Germany reduced their coal power by around a third.

    The growth in wind and solar generation has been a key factor in the success of these OECD countries in reducing coal power.

    The UK and Germany stand out with the highest shares of wind power at 25% and 22% in 2022.


    • 500-MW Hydrogen Power Plant Planned in Arkansas

    An Arkansas city known for its use of renewable energy announced plans to break ground this year on a power plant that would be part of the state’s first so-called “hydrogen hub.”

    Officials in Clarksville on May 12 signed an agreement with Syntex Industries, part of SyntexNRG, to design and build the Syntex Hydrogen Power Plant. The current timeline for the project calls for at least limited power generation to begin in 2025, with the plant completed in 2026.

    Plans call an initial investment of more than $250 million in the first 50-MW phase of the project, with the facility expected to have more than 500 MW of generation capacity when complete, according to officials.

    Support for Renewable Energy

    “Syntex has been working with Clarksville to develop methods to store excess renewable energy and regenerate it on demand. Recent technical developments and federal tax incentives have opened the door at last,” said Clarksville Mayor David Rieder in announcing the plant. “This project offers the infrastructure to support our growing economy and bring new high-paying ‘ecodustrial’ jobs to the area.”

    Rieder said Syntex wants to develop a “Hydrogen Power Grid” to pursue “the promise of renewable hydrogen for clean energy and fuels of transportation.” Syntax has said it also has plans for a solar power facility at the Clarksville site.

    Tom Waggoner, managing director and CEO of Arkansas-based SyntexNRG, in a news release said hydrogen “offers a practical pathway to reduce greenhouse gases from power generation by storing energy from solar and wind when it would otherwise be unused.” Waggoner said, “Syntex is committed to facilitating the decarbonization of the economy with major investments in renewable energy, sustainable fuels, and energy-efficient housing in modern sustainable communities.”

    A Grid of Hydrogen Plants

    Syntex officials have said they think the “most efficient and cost-effective way to deliver hydrogen across the globe” is through a grid of hydrogen power plants that could produce what they call pure “fresh” hydrogen within a radius of about 200 miles. Their plan also includes ammonia- or methanol-based hydrogen carriers “for long-term storage and cost-practical transportation.” The company has said it is committed to developing projects to provide “decarbonization at scale.”

    Several companies are working on blending hydrogen with natural gas at existing power plants, including major turbine makers General Electric, Siemens, and Mitsubishi, along with engine manufacturers Wärtsilä and others. Energy analysts have said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new standards on power plant emissions also could spur development of more hydrogen-fueled facilities.


    Renewables provided almost two-thirds (64.64%) of new US utility-scale generating capacity added in the first quarter of 2023, according to newly released Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) data, which was reviewed by the SUN DAY Campaign.

    New utility-scale solar capacity was 2,530 megawatts (MW) or 39.56% of the total – and that doesn’t include small-scale distributed photovoltaics, such as rooftop solar. New wind capacity provided 1,475 MW – or 23.06% of the total. Hydropower and biomass added 100 MW and 29 MW, respectively. New natural gas capacity totaled 2,259 MW (35.32%) and was supplemented by 2 MW of new oil. No new capacity additions were reported for coal, nuclear power, or geothermal.

    In the month of March alone, all new capacity additions were provided by only solar (491 MW) and wind (409 MW).

    With these latest additions, renewable energy now accounts for 27.67% of total installed utility-scale generating capacity, including 11.51% from wind and 6.67% from solar.

    Notably, the share of US generating capacity is growing at a substantially faster rate than FERC had anticipated. In March 2020, renewables’ share of total generating capacity was just 22.74%. At that time, FERC projected that “high probability” additions by solar in the ensuing three-year period would be 24,083 MW. In fact, solar grew by 39,470 MW. Likewise, FERC’s three-year forecast for net “high probability” wind additions was 26,867 MW. Instead, wind expanded by 38,550 MW.

    Combined, new solar and wind capacity additions totaled 78,020 MW during the past three years, or 53.13% more than FERC had expected.

    For the next three years, FERC is now forecasting 77,594 MW of new “high probability” solar capacity joined by 17,071 MW in net new wind capacity plus 556 MW from hydropower and 2 MW from geothermal.

    By comparison, coal capacity is foreseen to drop by 28,507 MW, oil by 1,572 MW, natural gas by 574 MW, nuclear power by 123 MW, and biomass by 103 MW.

    If FERC’s projections prove to be accurate, by the end of the first quarter of 2026, renewable energy generating capacity will be more than one-third (33.46%) of the total, with nearly equal shares provided by wind (12.23%) and solar (12.16%). Meanwhile, the shares provided by fossil fuels and nuclear power would all decrease: natural gas from 44% to 41.83%; coal from 17.12% to 14.16%; oil from 2.99% to 2.73%; and nuclear power from 7.97% to 7.63%.

    SUN DAY Campaign notes that we should keep in mind the degree to which FERC underestimated wind and solar growth during the past three years, so it’s possible the US generating capacity by the mix of all renewables by spring 2026 could end up being significantly higher than FERC now expects.


    Vietnam’s government has green-lit a national plan for its power industry. The plan will see the country move away from coal while opening wind and gas avenues.

    Power Development Plan 8 (PDP8) aims to secure Vietnam’s energy future up until 2030, with further a aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

    By 2030, Vietnam aims to draw a minimum of 30.9% of its energy from renewable sources, increasing to 67.5% by 2050. Offshore wind, from which Vietnam generated no power in 2020, should give the country 15GW by 2035, accounting for around 18.5% of the total power mix.

    The PDP8 also provides guidance for the provision of solar energy. A government statement said: “From now to 2025, there is no limit to the capacity of rooftop solar power development provided that the prices are reasonable and the existing transmission network is not overloaded, particularly in the areas where power shortage is likely to occur.”

    The plan would see Vietnam’s power generation capacity more than double to more than 150GW by the end of the decade.

    The PDP8 will require $134.7bn drawn from both government and foreign direct investment (FDI) to reach its 2030 goals. Much of this is expected to come in the form of FDI from the other G7 countries.

    In 2020, the G7 collectively pledged $15.5bn to end Vietnam’s coal reliance. Vietnam is one of the world’s largest coal consumers, with it providing 30.8% of Vietnam’s energy. The Vietnamese Government predicts that with the PDP8, coal’s share of national power production will fall to around 20% by 2030.

    Although PDP8 is estimated at $134.7bn through until 2030, the 2050 targets are set to be much more expensive. The Vietnamese Government has estimated that the energy transition period between 2031 and 2050 will cost between $399.2bn and $523.1bn in total investment capital.

  21. #646
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    Spain is among a handful of countries leading the world in the push toward renewable energy. And last week it reached a new milestone.

    Energy generated from wind, sun, and water managed to meet the needs of mainland Spain from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, El Pais reported.

    Renewable energy has grown in the past few years, according to Scientific American. It now accounts for about one-third of electricity generation worldwide. And that share is growing.

    The shift to green energy not only helps address the climate crisis by reducing emissions, it is also profitable and reduces costs.

    El Pais reported that in Spain, the addition of solar panels has had a dual effect: it adds energy into the gird system while reducing the demand for other sources of energy when the sun is out.

    While not every oil and gas company is making the shift towards more renewable energy, some are already seeing increased profits from the move. Insider reported that over the past two decades, Ørsted, a Danish company, had slowly been making the switch from black to green energy and has so far raked in billions in profit.

    The company, which had a net profit of $2 billion last year, produces 90% of its energy from renewable resources.

    In the United States, the push toward green energy continues to pick up momentum.

    President Joe Biden's administration recently approved a multibillion-dollar transmission line that will send wind energy from New Mexico into cities along the West Coast, the Associated Press reported.

    While these advances in green energy — like in Spain — do not eliminate the need for oil and gas, they are a way to reduce it and help ease carbon emissions.

    "What is relevant is that this is not something cyclical, but on the way to being structural, both because of the fall in demand and, above all, because of the increase in photovoltaic generation," Natalia Fabra, a professor of economics at the Carlos III University in Madrid, told El Pais.


    The U.S. Department of the Interior announced on Thursday its decision to greenlight a 520-mile, multibillion-dollar transmission line to transport renewable energy from New Mexico to Arizona and California.

    The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project involves two 500-kilovolt transmission lines across federal, state and private lands.

    It traverses Graham, Greenlee, Cochise, Pinal and Pima counties in Arizona and Lincoln, Socorro, Sierra, Luna, Grant, Hidalgo, Valencia and Torrance counties in New Mexico to provide 4,500 megawatts of primarily wind-generated electricity.

    It will be the country’s largest clean energy infrastructure project to date, according to Pattern Energy Group LP.

    “Through robust engagement with states, cities and Tribes, we are proud of the part we play in the all-of-government efforts to diversify the nation’s renewable energy portfolio while at the same time combatting climate change and investing in communities,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis said in a press release.

    Arizona State University picked to establish clean energy institute

    The project seeks to create union jobs, prevent power outages amidst extreme weather and strive toward the Biden Administration’s 100% clean electricity grid by 2035 goal, according to the Department of the Interior.

    It falls under the Investing in America agenda, for which private companies have pledged $470 billion in manufacturing and energy investments, the Administration said in a press release.


    Enel North America, through its affiliate 3Sun USA, has unveiled plans to build an industrial-scale production facility in Inola, Oklahoma for the manufacturing of American-made photovoltaic (PV) modules.

    The 2 million square foot factory represents a planned investment in excess of US$1bn, will create over 1000 full-time jobs, and is expected to reach 3GW annual capacity in 2025 with the possibility to scale up to 6GW.

    It’s among the first facility in the US to produce high-performance bifacial PV modules and cells, which capture more sunlight because the cells can respond to light on both front and rear surfaces, Enel said.

    To support energy workforce development, Enel is adding solar technician training to its training centre in Oklahoma City, which opened last year.

    Enel currently has a large presence in Oklahoma with more than 2GW of renewable energy generating capacity, representing over US$3bn in total investments over the last decade.


    Volvo AB (OTC: VLVLY) has signed a long-term agreement with Vattenfall, the largest producer of renewable electricity in Sweden. The financial terms were not disclosed.

    Under the agreement, Volvo Group is committed to buying 50% (~230GWh/year) of the renewable electricity produced at Bruzaholm wind park in Sweden over 10 years starting in the last quarter of 2025.

    The partnership is a step forward in Volvo's commitment to reach a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) value chain by 2040.

    Containing 21 wind turbines with associated facilities, construction of the Bruzaholm wind park is scheduled to commence in summer 2023 and to be ready for commission by the autumn of 2025.

    "The industry's energy transition is taking place here and now – the key to success is collaboration, no one can tackle the challenge completely on their own," said Vattenfall’s CEO and President Anna Borg

  22. #647
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    09-06-2023 @ 09:28 PM
    For Australia to reach net zero (which is not true zero) emissions will require 1,430 terawatt hours of energy. This is impossible with renewables. It will require a mix of hydro and Nuclear for base load power to achieve this, a route many Australians are reluctant to take.
    Meanwhile the world after two decades and billions spent on renewables the end result is a reduction of fossil fuel usage of 2%. Currently the world is using around 130,000 terawatt hours of fossil fuels per year. Roughly a 40% increase since 2000.
    A good example of the unpredictability of climate prediction was illustrated by the difference between the Australian meteorological bureau (ABM) and NOAA assessments on an extended El Nino this year, with ABM predicting a 50% chance and NOAA 90%.

  23. #648
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    Chris Bowen:

    Investment in large-scale renewables is up 55% under this government. We had 7.1 gigawatts committed of investment in renewable energy since the government was elected.


    Australia has raised its climate targets and now needs to accelerate its clean energy transition, says new IEA review

    Today, Australia is a major exporter of both fossil fuels and the critical minerals used in many clean energy technologies. A successful clean energy transition would support the country’s economic diversification and industrial growth while providing long-term resilience against global energy market shocks, according to the new IEA report.

    Since the IEA’s last review in 2018, Australia has passed the Climate Change Act in 2022, which doubles the target for emissions reductions by 2030 and sets the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The Australian government also signed up to the Global Methane Pledge in 2022, joining 130 governments who are collectively targeting a reduction in methane emissions of at least 30% by 2030.

    In recent months, the Australian government has presented a host of policy strategies to fast-track the country’s energy transition. The IEA review welcomes these strategies, including the Rewiring the Nation Plan, the National Energy Transformation Partnership, and National Energy Performance Strategy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    For Australia to reach net zero.... It will require... Nuclear
    not going to happen
    Last edited by S Landreth; 26-05-2023 at 04:49 PM.

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    Chinese manufacturer Gotion High-Tech has announced a new battery pack will go into mass production in 2024 that it says will deliver range of up to 1,000kms for a single charge and could last two million kms.

    The company says the manganese doped L600 LMFP Astroinno will be able to do 4,000 full cycles at room temperature, and at high temperature will get 1800 cycles and over 1500 cycles of 18-minute fast charging.

    These incredibly high cycle numbers mean the battery could essentially last 2 million km before it starts to deteriorate. To put that into context, the average Australian car travels around 15,000 km per year so it would take 130 years worth of average driving to reach 2 million km mark.

    Gotion High-Tech says the battery single-cell density is 240Wh/kg and that improvements in pack design have increased overall battery pack energy density to a point where 1000km range pack is possible with the highly durable chemistry.

    “Astroinno L600 LMFP battery cell, which has passed all safety tests, has a weight energy density of 240Wh/kg, a volume energy density of 525Wh/L, a cycle life of 4000 times at room temperature, and a cycle life of 1800 times at high temperatures,” said executive president of the international business unit of Gotion High-Tech Dr. Cheng Qian.

    Gotion High-Tech released a new video this week explaining the new chemistry, pack design as well as the battery’s safety and thermal properties.

    “The the volumetric cell to pack ratio has reached 76% after adopting the L600 cell, and the system energy density has reached 190Wh/kg, surpassing the pack energy density of current mass-produced NCM (Nickel Cobalt Manganese) cells.” said Dr Cheng.

    “In recent years, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) technology has regained the recognition of the market with market share continuing to increase.

    “Meanwhile, the energy density growth of mass-produced LFP batteries has encountered bottlenecks, and further improvement requires an upgrade of the chemical system, so manganese doped as called lithium iron manganese phosphate (LMFP) was developed.” said Dr Cheng.

    According to Dr Cheng, Gotion High-Tech has solved the challenges of Mn dissolution at high temperatures, low conductivity and low compaction density through utilising co-precipitation doping encapsulation technology, new granulation technology and new electrolyte additives.

    The Chinese company, which has headquarters in Fremont California, credits its global R&D efforts and says its research institution in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, developed a new electrolyte for LMFP, which has greatly improved the cycle and storage performance at high temperatures.

    More in the link


    The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management this week said it has advanced two transmission projects proposed by public utility NV Energy that would facilitate more renewable energy development and delivery in Nevada.

    The agency will start an environmental review for the Greenlink North project, which will span over 450 miles to connect Las Vegas to Reno, and release a draft environmental impact statement for the Greenlink West transmission project, which will cover 232 miles from Ely to Yerington.

    Once completed, the projects will connect eight gigawatts of clean energy to the Western power grid. The plans would bolster the Biden administration’s goal to deploy 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands and waters by 2025 and achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2035.


    Engie has inaugurated a 66MWp solar farm in Sicily, which will provide electricity to power online retailer Amazon’s Italian operations.

    The park combines renewable energy production with agricultural farming and is among the biggest agrovoltaic park built in Italy. It is the first agrovoltaic project in Italy conceived on the basis of a corporate Power Purchase Agreement contract between two private companies.

    A second renewable energy facility, also an agrovoltaic park based in Sicily, is expected to produce energy by the end of the year. In total, the two plants will have a production capacity of 104MWp.
    “Despite the context of the global crisis, we have continued on our decarbonisation path towards the energy transition. For Engie, this agrovoltaic plant in Mazara del Vallo is fully consistent with our strategy in Italy and in the world,” said Monica Iacono, CEO of ENGIE Italia.

    “We have today 500MW of renewable installed capacity in Italy, and our plan is to reach 2GW in 2030 between wind and photovoltaic plants. To achieve these goals, a continuous and constant relationship with the territories and institutions, is essential, along with a stable, simplified legislative and regulatory framework, which we hope will be defined soon."


    The first deliveries for the seven-turbine project took place in the early hours of May 23 to ensure minimum disturbance to local residents. The turbine contractor’s team at the Lenalea site took delivery of the first Vestas V117-4.3MW nacelle.

    The deliveries will continue over the next seven weeks, with the turbine blades requiring a specialist team to transport these large components.
    The components are scheduled to be installed at Lenalea between early June and the end of August 2023.

    Elizabeth Anne Read, Associate Project Manager, Vestas said: “We are very pleased with the way the initial component deliveries have progressed, and soon we will be delivering further items including the wind turbine blades. This will require a specialist team to transport these impressive pieces of kit as well as an escort from the Garda.”

    Project Manager Patrick Greene for Lenalea Wind Farm said: “This is a significant milestone for the project, and now means that we’re one step closer to delivering green electricity for the community in Donegal.

    “Our Lenalea wind farm project is also contributing to SSE Renewables’ own ambitious Net Zero Acceleration Plan which sees us spending around €8m a day on critical low-carbon infrastructure needed for the global transition to net zero emissions. As a responsible developer and operator, we are looking forward to working closely with the neighbouring community in Lenalea.”


    • Qld’s green jet fuel industry set to soar with Qantas partnership

    The Palaszczuk Government has joined forces with airline giant Qantas to get Queensland’s vision to be an Asia-Pacific green jet fuel hub on the runway.

    Under a memorandum of understanding signed today, the Queensland Government and Qantas will work together to further grow a local (sustainable aviation fuel) SAF industry.

    This will include exploring how to fully leverage sugarcane and agricultural by-products for biofuels production and the potential for developing new feedstock sources and processes.

    More broadly, the parties will focus on developing a Queensland-based SAF supply chain.

    SAF is yet to be produced in Australia at commercial scale.

    Qantas currently uses green aviation fuel sourced overseas and is targeting 10% SAF in its fuel mix by 2030, and about 60% by 2050.

    Today’s announcement, during Australian Renewable Fuels Week, is the latest in a series of SAF wins for Queensland.

    In March this year, the Palaszczuk Government, Qantas and Airbus announced support for Jet Zero Australia to commence a feasibility study for a new biorefinery in Queensland, which could produce up to 100 million litres of SAF a year.

    The Palaszczuk Government has also partnered with Ampol and ENEOS, which will assess the feasibility of delivering an advanced biofuels manufacturing plant at Ampol’s Lytton site.

    Oceania Biofuels also plans to build a commercial aviation fuel biorefinery in Gladstone, which could generate up to 350 million litres of SAF and renewable diesel each year.

    Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier Steven Miles:

    “When it comes to decarbonising our skies, Queensland is the place to invest.

    “Growing our SAF industry is one of those opportunities that will fuel Queensland’s economic future and contribute to decarbonisation targets.

    “With our rich supply of feedstock and skilled workforce, Qantas, and the world, has recognised Queensland as an ideal location to establish an Australasian SAF supply chain.

    “The Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to sustainability has given Qantas the confidence to trust us a sustainable aviation fuel hub, because we have set the state up for success, with the Queensland Energy and Jobs plan.

    “Partnerships like this one with Qantas position Queensland as a SAF hub, along with the right mix of investment, government support and policy, and industry collaboration.

    “Importantly, growing industries that will be in demand in a decarbonising world will create more good jobs for Queenslanders and new export opportunities.

    “This is another step towards Queensland’s take-off as a clean energy superpower.”

    Quotes attributable to Qantas Group Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Parker:

    “Air travel is a critical industry, especially in a state as big as Queensland with an economy that benefits so much from tourism. Having a clear plan to decarbonise air travel so we can keep connecting Queensland and Australia in the decades ahead is key for the future,” Mr Parker said.

    “Sustainable fuels are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their emissions, particularly given they can be used in today’s engines and fuel delivery infrastructure with no modifications.

    “Qantas will be the largest single customer for Australian-made SAF, so it’s fantastic that the Queensland Government is seeking to partner with us so we can work together on establishing the industry from the ground up.

    “The Queensland Government is already showing real leadership in helping accelerate the development of a local SAF industry, which is giving the State a head start over other parts of the country.”


    • Tesla, Ford announce partnership on Superchargers

    Ford electric vehicles (EV) are set to gain access to Tesla’s electric car chargers starting next year, the companies announced Thursday.

    In a Twitter Spaces livestream, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Ford CEO Jim Farley announced Thursday the partnership on Superchargers between the two companies. Starting in 2024, all of Ford’s existing customers and future customers will be able to access 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the United States, the company leaders said.

    “We’re really excited about that. We’re ramping production, and we think this is a huge move for our industry and for all electric customers,” Farley said, adding that this is a “really big deal” for Ford’s customers.

    Tesla has a vast range of charging stations across the country and has more than 45,000 Superchargers around the world. The company website noted that this is the largest global network of electric car chargers around the world and that after 15 minutes of charging, the car can gain up to 200 miles.

    Farley said on the livestream that the next generation of electric vehicles made by Ford will have charging ports developed by Tesla instead of the typical ports used by other car manufacturers for their electric vehicles. The company leaders said that existing Ford electric vehicles can use an adaptor with the Tesla’s charging stations.

    “We don’t have as many EV customers as you do, but we still have plenty, and for them to be able to have this benefit early next year already and not have to buy a new car is, I think, a real statement by you and the Tesla team to be really prioritizing the customer’s experiences,” Farley told Musk.

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    Clean energy investment is extending its lead over fossil fuels, boosted by energy security strengths

    Investment in clean energy technologies is significantly outpacing spending on fossil fuels as affordability and security concerns triggered by the global energy crisis strengthen the momentum behind more sustainable options, according to a new IEA report.

    About USD 2.8 trillion is set to be invested globally in energy in 2023, of which more than USD 1.7 trillion is expected to go to clean technologies – including renewables, electric vehicles, nuclear power, grids, storage, low-emissions fuels, efficiency improvements and heat pumps – according to the IEA’s latest World Energy Investment report. The remainder, slightly more than USD 1 trillion, is going to coal, gas and oil.

    Annual clean energy investment is expected to rise by 24% between 2021 and 2023, driven by renewables and electric vehicles, compared with a 15% rise in fossil fuel investment over the same period. But more than 90% of this increase comes from advanced economies and China, presenting a serious risk of new dividing lines in global energy if clean energy transitions don’t pick up elsewhere.

    “Clean energy is moving fast – faster than many people realise. This is clear in the investment trends, where clean technologies are pulling away from fossil fuels,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “For every dollar invested in fossil fuels, about 1.7 dollars are now going into clean energy. Five years ago, this ratio was one-to-one. One shining example is investment in solar, which is set to overtake the amount of investment going into oil production for the first time.”

    Led by solar, low-emissions electricity technologies are expected to account for almost 90% of investment in power generation. Consumers are also investing in more electrified end-uses. Global heat pump sales have seen double-digit annual growth since 2021. Electric vehicle sales are expected to leap by a third this year after already surging in 2022.

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