Green, ethical, energy issues in the news

edited 12 July at 10:38AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • edited 15 October at 8:09AM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 15 October at 8:09AM
    Given the upcoming CfD auctions in the UK, and on-shore wind (and PV) being eligible again, I thought this article might make a good placeholder for now regarding costs/prices. The costs in the German auction average out at €57.90*/MWh, so approx £50/MWh or 5p/kWh.

    *Note, I'm assuming a typo/conversion mistake on the figures in the article at €0.579/kWh. [Edit - Renews have confirmed the error and are amending the article. M.]

    Onshore wind bags 1.5GW in latest German auction

    Germany’s Federal Network Agency has awarded 1494MW of onshore wind capacity in the country’s latest technology specific renewables auction.

    The 1.5GW consists of 166 bids.

    Values ​​of the accepted bids range from €0.52 per kilowatt hour (KWh) to €0.592/kWh.

    The volume-weighted average award value is €0.579/kWh, which is below the maximum value of €0.60/kWh in this round.


    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • shinytopshinytop Forumite
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    https://electricityinfo.org/news/new-nuclear-370/

    Posted already on the forum but might be of interest here. 
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    QrizB said:
    shinytop said:
    https://electricityinfo.org/news/new-nuclear-370/
    Posted already on the forum but might be of interest here. 
    Thanks for sharing, I saw the FT link but their paywall always puts me off!
    I'm in two minds about this. It's good that we have a strategy and if it can deliver, say, 20GW of new nuclear by the early 2030s it might actually be useful. However the UK doesn't have a good track record with infrastructure projects (HPC or HS2, anyone?) and I fear that it will be:
    • too late to be any benefit;
    • hugely over budget;
    • cancelled after costing a fortune; and/or
    • all of the above.
    I'd also add,
    • act as a distraction to rolling out more RE and storage;
    • divert large sums from RE and storage development/deployment;
    • ignore the high CO2(e) cost of nuclear due to the ~10yrs of extra FF consumption v's a faster RE deployment.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • shinytopshinytop Forumite
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    QrizB said:
    shinytop said:
    https://electricityinfo.org/news/new-nuclear-370/
    Posted already on the forum but might be of interest here. 
    Thanks for sharing, I saw the FT link but their paywall always puts me off!
    I'm in two minds about this. It's good that we have a strategy and if it can deliver, say, 20GW of new nuclear by the early 2030s it might actually be useful. However the UK doesn't have a good track record with infrastructure projects (HPC or HS2, anyone?) and I fear that it will be:
    • too late to be any benefit;
    • hugely over budget;
    • cancelled after costing a fortune; and/or
    • all of the above.
    There is some really good stuff on that site too if you want to keep up with your nuclear news. 

       
  • edited 16 October at 7:32PM
    shinytopshinytop Forumite
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    edited 16 October at 7:32PM
    QrizB said:
    shinytop said:
    https://electricityinfo.org/news/new-nuclear-370/
    Posted already on the forum but might be of interest here. 
    Thanks for sharing, I saw the FT link but their paywall always puts me off!
    I'm in two minds about this. It's good that we have a strategy and if it can deliver, say, 20GW of new nuclear by the early 2030s it might actually be useful. However the UK doesn't have a good track record with infrastructure projects (HPC or HS2, anyone?) and I fear that it will be:
    • too late to be any benefit;
    • hugely over budget;
    • cancelled after costing a fortune; and/or
    • all of the above.
    I'd also add,
    • act as a distraction to rolling out more RE and storage;
    • divert large sums from RE and storage development/deployment;
    • ignore the high CO2(e) cost of nuclear due to the ~10yrs of extra FF consumption v's a faster RE deployment.
    Just to add some balance. ;)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58704792

    I like the comparison with the Tesla range.


  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    shinytop said:
    QrizB said:
    shinytop said:
    https://electricityinfo.org/news/new-nuclear-370/
    Posted already on the forum but might be of interest here. 
    Thanks for sharing, I saw the FT link but their paywall always puts me off!
    I'm in two minds about this. It's good that we have a strategy and if it can deliver, say, 20GW of new nuclear by the early 2030s it might actually be useful. However the UK doesn't have a good track record with infrastructure projects (HPC or HS2, anyone?) and I fear that it will be:
    • too late to be any benefit;
    • hugely over budget;
    • cancelled after costing a fortune; and/or
    • all of the above.
    I'd also add,
    • act as a distraction to rolling out more RE and storage;
    • divert large sums from RE and storage development/deployment;
    • ignore the high CO2(e) cost of nuclear due to the ~10yrs of extra FF consumption v's a faster RE deployment.
    Just to add some balance. ;)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58704792

    I like the comparison with the Tesla range.


    Yeah, that's the important issue balance, and whilst I may come over as anti-nuclear, it's much more simple than that, I'm just focusing on the economics, the need to address AGW asap and how fast the economics have changed.

    A decade back I was bumping heads with a guy (great guy, a senior moderator on a sustainable forum) because I was defending nuclear on the grounds that it was better than coal, I said I was only 90% against it because it was cheaper (when you include externalities) and cleaner, but his position was that it would be too little, too late, and cost too much, and to be fair, within 3-5yrs, he was absolutely right.

    The pace of change with RE, and crucially for the UK, off-shore wind, has been staggering, now we have successful testing of a 14MW WT :- 

    GE’s huge Haliade-X 14 MW offshore wind turbine is now operational

    and developments of 15MW and above as you mention.

    I even doubt the HPC CfD would have gotten through had the Gov not 'fibbed' over their predictions for future RE costs to make it look better, and the House of Lords did suggest that the Gov's RE predictions may have been pessimistic to flatter HPC:

    Th̲i̲s̲ i̲s̲ t̲h̲e̲ ̲G̲o̲v̲'̲t pr̲e̲d̲i̲c̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ f̲o̲r̲ 2̲0̲3̲0̲.̲ ̲(2012 pricing)
    Onshore wind to be in the range £45-72/MWh
    Offshore wind will be in the range £85-109/MWh
    Nuclear, at £69-99/MWh.
    For solar they predict £59-73/MW

    So they predicted off-shore wind at £85-£109/MWh for 2030 which in today's money would be £101-£129 (v's £106 for HPC), when we actually have contracts for £47.20/MWh for commissioning in 2023/24 (£39.65/MWh 2012 baseline). I kinda suspect that if it wasn't for the £20bn poison pill, the UK might have scrapped the HPC deal.

    I had hoped that the NIC suggestions would end the UK's nuclear distraction:

    Sir John Armitt, the NIC’s chairman, said: “They [the government] say full speed. We’re suggesting it’s not necessary to rush ahead with nuclear. Because during the next 10 years we should get a lot more certainty about just how far we can rely on renewables.”

    He argued that wind and solar could deliver the same generating capacity as nuclear for the same price, and would be a better choice because there was less risk. “One thing we’ve all learnt is these big nuclear programmes can be pretty challenging, quite risky – they will be to some degree on the government’s balance sheet,” he said.
    and those findings/suggestions were made after the off-shore wind CfD's of £88.59/MWh (£74.75/MWh 2012 baseline) for 2022 commissioning were issued in the 2017 auction, but before the lower 2019 auction prices.


    I don't blame the Gov at all for their 2012 decision on HPC, I'm less forgiving on their 2015 contract confirmation, but when it comes to Sizewell C, or SMR's, I'm starting to lose patience why they want to spend more money, to get less, 10yrs later. None of it adds up!


    And then when you think further, your head starts to spin, with the 'insurance' risk/cost the UK Gov has to carry for a major incident, having to cover additional decommissioning costs if they exceed the fund that HPC will pay into, the fact that nuclear CfD subsidies are for 35yrs v's 15yrs for RE, the ~£3bn pa cost of the NDA (nuclear decommissioning Agency) for the next 100-120yrs, the lack of a plan/solution for long term waste storage. Something doesn't add up here, and I find it equal parts fascinating and baffling?
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • EVandPVEVandPV Forumite
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    Scott in Fife, 2.9kwp pv SSW facing, 2.7kw Fronius inverter installed Jan 2012
    7.2kwh Pylontech battery storage with Lux ac inverter
    Renault Zoe 40kwh, Zappi EV charger and Octopus Go
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    That's a brilliant vid. Loads of numbers I haven't seen before for the scheme. I was really impressed with the high 55%cf of the on-shore-wind, actually, that's not high, that's sky high and shows how 'constant' the winds there are.
    Also great to see a price, I didn't think it would be as low as £48/MWh, due to the cabling costs, so that was a lovely surprise. I do hope they can bid into the CfD mechanism at that price (which I assume is 2012 baseline, so approx £56 today?)

    I also wonder how modular/scaleable this scheme is, could they simply build another one?

    Thanks again.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Time for a Chris Goodall newsletter:

    [The last two sentences of number 7 probably aren't a big surprise to anyone.]

     Things I noticed and thought were interesting

    Week ending 17th October
     
    1, Indian decarbonisation. Reliance Industries, India’s largest company, said in June that it would invest $10bn into clean technologies. It has taken four steps in the last two weeks. Perhaps most interestingly, it put €25m into Nexwafe, a German company with a new approach to making solar cells. Nexwafe says its technology should enable a 30% reduction in the price of PV, partly by avoiding the need for energy-intensive manufacture of polysilicon. Reliance will licence the Nexwafe intellectual property for new PV manufacturing plants in India. The Indian conglomerate also did deals with Danish electrolyser manufacturer Stiesdal to enable Reliance to build factories in India and it bought Norwegian PV manufacturer REC from its Chinese owner. Finally, it acquired a 40% stake in a solar installation and O+M business.  
     
    2, Basalt storage of CO2. The Climeworks carbon sequestration plant in Iceland uses a technology pioneered by Carbfix to store the CO2 in basalt. In what I think may be the first use of the Carbfix approach to store carbon from fossil fuel production, an Australian natural gas producer said it would investigate making blue hydrogen, storing the CO2 in a basalt that is similar to the rock in Iceland. (Thanks to Kelvin Grace).
     
    3, Repsol investments in hydrogen and renewables. Repsol, the Spanish oil major, announced a series of steps towards its target of becoming the largest hydrogen producer on the Iberian peninsula. Alongside its new aim of having 1.9 GW of electrolysers by 2030, an increase from 1.2 GW previously, it said it would build 20 GW of new renewable capacity, up 60% from its previous target. Hydrogen will be manufactured not just by electrolysers but also by steam reforming of biogas and by electrocatalysis. It said it will work with Saudi Aramco to build a new small synthetic fuels plant in Bilbao by 2024, using captured CO2 and green hydrogen. Repsol’s ambition is have 40% of its revenue derived from low carbon activities by 2030, a figure much higher than other oil companies.
     
    4, Ammonia bunkering. If ammonia made from green hydrogen is to become a major fuel for global shipping, a network of bunkering installations needs to be created so that ships can refuel at all major ports. Yara, the world’s largest fertiliser company, said it is working with two Japanese companies to develop bunkering infrastructure for ammonia in Japan. (Ammonia is a precursor to agricultural fertilisers). Japan has said it wants to import 3 million tonnes of ammonia by 2030 and 30 million tonnes by 2050. So for Yara, which makes about 8 million tonnes a year, the shipping market is potentially transformative.
     
    5, E-methanol and pyrolysis oil purification. The Danish company Haldor Topsøe specialises in processes that enable low carbon alternatives to chemical routes that use fossil fuels. It made two announcements this week. First it said that it had built a small synthetic methanol plant that will use methane from biological sources and green electricity. E-methanol is an important chemical for plastics production and will probably be an important future fuel for shipping. Topsøe said its process uses about half the CO2 that it is an inevitable part of methane-containing gas from biological sources. It also told us it would be working with Dow (please see note 9) to purify pyrolysis oil derived from waste plastics.
     
    6, Battery recycling. Perhaps the recent unpredicted price jumps for metals and other materials have made manufacturers more aware of the need to build local recycling infrastructures for EV batteries. Money is now flooding into the industry. Ford announced a link with Redwood Materials, the recycler founded by J B Straubel, the former CTO of Tesla. The car maker invested $50m in the company to buttress the $700m that the business has already raised. Redwood indicated that it hoped to provide the recycled materials for about a million batteries in 2025, or about 5% of current US sales of cars of all types. Koch Industries, the major fossil fuel company, put $100m into Li-Cycle, a Canadian recycler. Li-Cycle is opening factories that will recycle about 80,000 tonnes of batteries a year by 2023, but intends then to rapidly expand to sites around the world that are close to battery manufacturing plants. Greenpeace estimated last year that almost 13 million tonnes of batteries will need recycling by 2030. Battery manufacturer CATL, the world’s most important supplier, said this week it would invest about $5bn in a subsidiary that will handle waste batteries. The general view is that 90-95% of the material in an EV battery can be productively recycled into new batteries.
     
    7, Small nuclear reactors. Emmanuel Macron announced a fund of €1bn for the development of French small nuclear reactors (SMR) by 2030. This means reactors of less than 300 MW capacity, or about one fifth of the size of the horrendously costly EPR design that is proving so difficult to build. Interest has risen sharply in SMRs over the past year and there are now about 70 possible designs using several different technologies. The world leader is probably NuScale, which has a design approved by US authorities and which has recently signed an agreement to ‘explore’ SMR deployment on land surrounding coal-fired power stations in Poland as these plants are retired from use. It is also working with the Ukraine nuclear power station operator to investigate opportunities there. Will SMRs be able to compete with 1 cent a kWh solar in 2030, which is probably the very earliest that any can be deployed? It seems unlikely but SMRs may be useful in areas of low sun and limited wind. One unremarked implication of Macron’s speech is an implicit acknowledgement that France’s EPR dream is dead. The UK now seems to be alone in thinking that large nuclear power stations make financial sense.
     
    8, Electric heavy trucks. Mercedes Benz told us it had started full-scale production of its eActros truck. These vehicles can cover about 400 km before needing recharging and have a maximum weight of about 40 tonnes. At ultrafast chargers, the charging time is less than 2 hours (from 20% to 80% of capacity). The truck is made in an existing factory although the last stages, when the electric components are introduced, is completed in a purpose-built addition to the main building. Longer range and urban versions will be introduced over the next three years. Separately, the shipper DFDS said it was buying 100 heavy trucks from Volvo with maximum weight of 44 tonnes and a range of 300 km. DFDS said ‘(t)ogether we are showing the world that electrified heavy truck transport is a viable solution already today’.
     
    9, Ethylene with CCS. As transport demand fades, plastics may eventually become the most important use of oil. (Although of course it would be better if all plastics were derived from recycled materials). The huge chemical company Dow announced a large investment in its Alberta, Canada site to make ethylene and polyethylene without net CO2 emissions. The plant, which provides about 2.5% of global ethylene production, will store CO2 in underground storage, presumably in depleted oil or gas fields. Dow also told us of a wide range of initiatives in the US and the Netherlands to use oil from pyrolysis of waste plastics for new material. The company said its investments – of around $1bn a year – will ‘address the tremendous unmet demand for circular and low carbon polymers’. 
     
    10, International Energy Agency. Kingsmill Bond of Carbon Tracker sent out a crisp and illuminating email on the IEA’s 2021 report and I republished it with permission. Kingsmill was struck by the new emphasis on the profoundly beneficial consequences of the energy transition. IEA director Fatih Birol said ‘The social and economic benefits of accelerating clean energy transitions are huge’. Net Zero is possible by 2050,  the IEA says, but the investments required are large. The report suggests that about 5% of world GDP, or $4 trillion, will need to be spent annually on clean energy by 2030 to meet our targets. That’s about ten times the current spend on oil and gas exploration and production.  

    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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