Green, ethical, energy issues in the news

edited 12 July 2021 at 11:38AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    It was the picture below that initially caught my attention as discussions on here have previously mentioned a global "ring main" and while this certainly isn't it, it may form one small part if Europe and North African countries can work to get this off the ground. It would seem there are growing excesses of renewables in the latter while Europe is struggling to replace existing coal and ageing nuclear power stations so it surely is in everyones interest to make it happen. Quite an extended read but certainly worth investing the few minutes it takes to appreciate the scale and problems to be overcome. But all very much doable, just requires the will and investment to make it happen.The proposed xlink pipeline to UK also gets a mention.

    Dreaming of a MENA integrated electricity grid

    01015_MENA_projects_3sp-1
    Two decades ago, electricity companies of the Mediterranean Basin planned, and failed to deliver, a gigantic project called the “MedRing.” The project, initiated in 2010, consisted of connecting 22 electricity networks between countries around the Mediterranean, from Morocco via Spain, crossing thousands of kilometers to North Africa and the Middle East, with loop ends connecting Syria to Turkey, and Turkey to the continental European system via Greece and Bulgaria. The objective of this unprecedented construction was to establish a Euro-Mediterranean electricity market.
    Today, the clear-sighted policies and the spread of ambitious renewable energy strategies have resulted in a surplus of energy. Most Gulf Cooperation Council and North African countries experienced a power surplus in 2020, while several countries in the Levant region – namely Lebanon and Iraq – experienced a deficit – according to Apricorp’s “MENA Energy-Investment Outlook 2021-25.”


    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Three Givenergy 8.2 kWh batts & 3.0 kW ac inverter. Still waiting for V2H. CoCharger Host, Interest in Ripple Energy & Abundance.
  • 2nd_time_buyer2nd_time_buyer Forumite
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    Interesting that high voltage DC energy losses are reported to be only around 3% per 1000km. Which I guess would translate to 10-15% over the distances discussed above. 

    I would imagine this is similar to round trip losses for batteries. 
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Big Oil is going back in front of Congress regarding their climate disinformation.

    I've also seen some interesting news in the US where Big Oil is being sued in multiple states to pay for AGW cost impacts, due to their spreading false information for decades. Big Oil is now using an interesting defence that protected free speech in the US means it was OK for them to lie. I've no idea if that'll work, it does seem a bit desperate. But it was established over a century ago that protected free speech can't be used to cause harm - "You can't falsely shout fire in a crowded theatre" - so lying about the harm from FF's and the reality of AGW and its environmental and financial harm may not be protected?

    I'm interested in this ongoing legal battle in the US, because if Big Oil and the FF industry in general lose a court case, then like Big Tobacco, it could lead to big changes, perhaps a faster transition to RE in the US, and more support for a carbon tax/fee.

    Oil industry board members to testify to Congress on climate disinformation

    A US congressional committee has invited board members at four large oil companies to testify in February about the industry’s role in the climate crisis and spreading “disinformation”, turning up the heat on big oil after lawmakers grilled their CEOs last year.

    The hearing of officials from Exxon, Shell, Chevron and BP, scheduled for 8 February, is the next phase of the House oversight committee’s investigation into the role of fossil fuel companies in blocking action on climate change and misrepresenting the industry’s efforts to address it.

    The panel had concluded the first of these hearings last October, which featured the oil company CEOs, by issuing subpoenas for documents on company scientists’ statements about the climate crisis and any funds spent to mislead the public on global heating.


    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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    Thought I'd post this as there's been a few items on wave energy recently. I don't know if the problems can all be solved given the enormous power that waves have, but hopefully all this support will lead to positive developments in this area and add another tool to the RE toolbox.

    New Jersey politician plans wave energy boost

    New Jersey General Assembly member Robert Karabinchak is planning to introduce a new legislative initiative in the latest assembly session that aims to bolster wave energy as the next, up-and-coming renewable energy source.

    Karabinchak (pictured) said the state's governor has laid out ambitious clean energy goals of 35% by 2025 and 100% by 2050.

    He said: “Largely these goals will be met by offshore wind and solar, which I was proud to sponsor several pieces of enabling legislation.

    “However, our renewable energy goals can only be met when all renewable sources work together, including wave energy.”

    The state can aim to include wave energy in its Energy Master Plan and develop a streamlined process for its deployment along New Jersey's coast, he said.

    This would help New Jersey become the first US state or territory to have a commercial wave energy proof of concept, he added.


    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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    Exiled_Tyke said:  

    For me the most exciting solutions to the wind problem are dropping weights down mine-shafts and also using the West coast of Africa for solar generation to export to the UK.  If innovations like these turn out to be viable then we have a very exciting future for RE. 
    Just to excite you some more then, the Gravitricity idea is still moving forwards (or downwards?):

    Gravitricity secures European Investment Bank support for gravity energy storage project

    Energy storage firm Gravitricity has secured new project support led by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its plans to build a full scale 4-8MW project in a former mine shaft.

    Located in mainland Europe, the project follows a 250kW demonstrator which operated in Edinburgh throughout the summer and for which specialists appointed by the EIB has begun evaluating test results.

    The results of the Edinburgh demonstrator are to be combined with a review of local revenue streams to produce a commercial risk assessment that will inform detailed design and development activities.

    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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    This week's Carbon Commentary newsletter from Chris Goodall:

    Things I noticed and thought were interesting

    Week ending 23rd Jan 2022
     
    1, Scotland offshore wind. The award of licences to potential projects totalling almost 25 GW was a surprise this week. Expectations had been for a 10 GW round. Even more striking was that floating wind schemes accounted for about 65% of the total. As I said last week, no-one expected ‘floaters’ to develop so rapidly. The global wind trade association recently estimated that the UK would install about 30 GW of offshore wind between 2022 and 2030. The Scottish award means that this figures now looks to be a major underestimate. The 25 GW of new Scottish installations would probably supply about one third of the UK’s current need for power.
     
    2, The chemical recycling of plastics. Breaking down plastic polymers back into the original monomers so that the chemicals can be reused for remaking virgin plastics has long been an ambition of the industry. Very few large scale plants are able to achieve this and most of the focus has been on mechanical recycling, which cannot be done indefinitely and requires inputs of new plastics. Turning a plastic PET bottle into a T-shirt in this way doesn’t save much in terms of carbon emissions either. Chemicals company Eastman gave details of a proposed $1bn investment in advanced chemical recycling in France based on a technology it has pioneered in the US to remake polyesters. This will be the largest chemical recycling plant for plastics and the expected output is 160,000 tonnes a year. If the plant lasts 20 years, the capital cost alone is $300 per tonne of product. But since the price of polyester is about $1,000 a tonne, this still leaves a large potential margin. Unlike the mechanical version, chemical recycling can be truly circular, enabling the production of plastics of any colour. And Eastman claims a possible reduction of 80% in the carbon footprint of polyester made in this way. But we still probably need to buy fewer clothes and wear them for longer.

    3, Minigrids. Lesotho is one of the least electrified countries in the world. Only about 40% of the homes in this landlocked Southern African state have power. A local company has raised nearly $10m to build 11 microgrids covering 20,000 people, or about 1% of the population. The development will use solar trackers designed in Africa to maximise electricity production from PV and will provide 24 hour power. The scheme proposes a rate of $0.33 per kilowatt hour. A few months ago, that might have seemed very expensive. But as a result of gas price increases large numbers of European homes will be paying more than this within months.

    4, Solar geoengineering. A distinguished group of scientists argued that geoengineering that reflects some of the sun’s rays back into space (‘solar radiation management’ or SRM) must be blocked. Experimentation should cease. Two main reasons were given. First, science cannot easily predict what the outcome of geoengineering will be. Second, the experiments will encourage the world to be more relaxed about emissions reduction. The threat is that people will say that ‘we don’t have to worry about ceasing to use fossil fuels, because solar radiation management will help reduce temperature rises’. The first of these arguments seems contradictory to me; the only way we will ever find out if SRM works is being conducting careful, small experiments. Yes, SRM will probably change rainfall patterns but climate change is doing this already. The second argument has more strength but it does seem - however rapidly emissions reductions proceed – that we are likely to need SRM at some stage in the future. Therefore I think it makes sense to conduct careful monitored and controlled experiments as soon as possible.

    5, Conversion of petrol stations to EV charging. Will all petrol/gasoline stations eventually shift to charging electric cars? Shell set an example in London last week when it opened a site with 9 rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, replacing all existing petrol pumps at the site. The financial returns from EV charging might disappoint the company. A petrol pump can pour about 500 kWh of energy into a vehicle in a minute. At current prices this might generate a financial margin of about £5/$6.50 in that period. This is approximately thirty times the likely margin from EV charging of most electric cars, which can only absorb a maximum charge rate of less than 1 kilowatt hour a minute. Old petrol stations are terrible places for car charging. 

    6, Solar on buildings.  An environmental pressure group calculated that the rooftops of large retail shops in the US could house about 700 square kilometres of solar panels.  PV on these 100,000 ‘big box’ retailers would generate about 84 terawatt hours, or more than the total electricity consumption of Belgium. (Thanks to Thad Curtz).
     
    7, Power-to-gas for a cement plant. Cement manufacture remains one of the most difficult industries to decarbonise. Italgas, the main Italian natural gas distributor, said it was working with Buzzi Unicem cement to decarbonise the energy supply to cement works by employing green hydrogen. Most cement plants use natural gas for heating the limestone raw material to the high temperatures needed. Italgas will make hydrogen but then turn into methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas) meaning that the trial plant itself will operate exactly as before. Buzzi Unicem is already experimenting with a carbon capture process at a cement works in the north of Italy. Combining both green heating and carbon capture is a requirement for full decarbonisation of the cement-making process, currently responsible for about 8% of global emissions.
     
    8, Hydrogen in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi’s Masdar joined with fertiliser producer Fertiglobe and with Engie in a plan to build a plant to make green hydrogen for ammonia production. The project is not huge, probably only producing 10,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year from 200 MW of solar, providing the raw material for about 50,000 tonnes of ammonia. Fertiglobe makes over hundred times of much fertiliser as this from natural gas. But the announcement shows that in very sunny places green hydrogen can compete with natural gas from local fields. Abu Dhabi also announced a ‘demonstration’ plant with TotalEnergies for making sustainable aviation fuel (‘SAF’) from green hydrogen. There are still only a few experimental plants making SAF from hydrogen around the world, so this announcement is of significance. However this news comes with a few months of Total partnering with Abu Dhabi’s national oil company to develop a new 1 million barrels a day offshore oil field, a project of unimaginably larger scale.
     
    9, ‘Greenflation’. The world continues to worry about inflation of the price of key commodities necessary for the energy transition. Is there enough lithium or copper to fully electrify the planet, or will we see continued sharp rise in costs? David Roberts wrote an interesting article on the global availability of minerals. He concludes that ‘There will be supply problems, but there is no Supply Problem, no global scarcity of any mineral that will put a hard limit on the transition’. However he goes on to stress that the geographic concentration of supplies – often more tightly held than oil and gas – will inevitably create bursts of disruption. Additional destabilisation will arise from the small number of countries processing the core metals, the long lead times for mine development, increased ESG scrutiny and, yes, the growing impact of climate change on the economics of mineral extraction.
     
    10, Heat pumps. Decarbonisation of domestic heating requires 100% replacement of gas and oil boilers with heat pumps or other technologies. Sales of heat pumps in EU markets rose by about 25% last year to around 2 million units. This is double the figure from 2016. Heat pumps now account for well over a quarter of all new heating installations in Europe and the trade association sees another doubling of sales by 2025. Sales in Germany rose 28% last year to about 150,000 units, mostly air-to-water pumps. The country has over 40m households so a very large fraction of the housing stock remains to be converted. But Finland installed about 130,000 units in 2021 - mostly of the air-to-air variety - or equivalent to almost 5% of all households, taking the total number installed to well over 1 million. While the UK has promised to increase numbers, it remains the European country with the lowest rate of installation. One estimate suggested that only 2% of heating installations in 2019 used heat pumps.

    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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    Another bit of divestment news for the UK.

    UK’s biggest private pension fund to shift £5bn away from polluters

    The UK’s biggest private pension fund will move £5bn of its investment in equities to an index avoiding the worst polluters, in a move that will immediately reduce the carbon emissions associated with the shareholdings by 30%.

    The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which manages the pensions of British academics, will introduce a climate “tilt” to the money, shifting it to companies that are making efforts to cut emissions.

    USS owns assets worth £82bn on behalf of 470,000 members from 330 of the UK’s higher education institutions, of which 40% is held in equities. It is facing pressure from members to decarbonise, as well as a separate dispute over proposals to cut pension benefits that could lead to strike action.

    USS has faced persistent criticism from some of its members for holding large stakes in major carbon emitters, including oil companies such as Shell and other companies that are dependent on burning fossil fuels, such as Heathrow airport. The campaign group Divest USS argues that the scheme has not done enough to vote in favour of climate-focused shareholder resolutions.

    Paul Kinnersley, an emeritus professor at Cardiff University and a coordinator of the group, highlighted the fact that USS members included large numbers of climate scientists and other academics who would probably favour rapid divestment.

    “Any shift by USS to decarbonise or clean up their investments is obviously a step in the right direction,” he said, “but they’ve been slow about changing and they’ve been slow about sharing detail on the target of net zero by 2050. We’re welcoming it, but there’s a long way for them to go.”


    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.
  • michaelsmichaels Forumite
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    This week's Carbon Commentary newsletter from Chris Goodall:

    Things I noticed and thought were interesting

    Week ending 23rd Jan 2022
     
    1, Scotland offshore wind. The award of licences to potential projects totalling almost 25 GW was a surprise this week. Expectations had been for a 10 GW round. Even more striking was that floating wind schemes accounted for about 65% of the total. As I said last week, no-one expected ‘floaters’ to develop so rapidly. The global wind trade association recently estimated that the UK would install about 30 GW of offshore wind between 2022 and 2030. The Scottish award means that this figures now looks to be a major underestimate. The 25 GW of new Scottish installations would probably supply about one third of the UK’s current need for power.
     
    2, The chemical recycling of plastics. Breaking down plastic polymers back into the original monomers so that the chemicals can be reused for remaking virgin plastics has long been an ambition of the industry. Very few large scale plants are able to achieve this and most of the focus has been on mechanical recycling, which cannot be done indefinitely and requires inputs of new plastics. Turning a plastic PET bottle into a T-shirt in this way doesn’t save much in terms of carbon emissions either. Chemicals company Eastman gave details of a proposed $1bn investment in advanced chemical recycling in France based on a technology it has pioneered in the US to remake polyesters. This will be the largest chemical recycling plant for plastics and the expected output is 160,000 tonnes a year. If the plant lasts 20 years, the capital cost alone is $300 per tonne of product. But since the price of polyester is about $1,000 a tonne, this still leaves a large potential margin. Unlike the mechanical version, chemical recycling can be truly circular, enabling the production of plastics of any colour. And Eastman claims a possible reduction of 80% in the carbon footprint of polyester made in this way. But we still probably need to buy fewer clothes and wear them for longer.

    3, Minigrids. Lesotho is one of the least electrified countries in the world. Only about 40% of the homes in this landlocked Southern African state have power. A local company has raised nearly $10m to build 11 microgrids covering 20,000 people, or about 1% of the population. The development will use solar trackers designed in Africa to maximise electricity production from PV and will provide 24 hour power. The scheme proposes a rate of $0.33 per kilowatt hour. A few months ago, that might have seemed very expensive. But as a result of gas price increases large numbers of European homes will be paying more than this within months.

    4, Solar geoengineering. A distinguished group of scientists argued that geoengineering that reflects some of the sun’s rays back into space (‘solar radiation management’ or SRM) must be blocked. Experimentation should cease. Two main reasons were given. First, science cannot easily predict what the outcome of geoengineering will be. Second, the experiments will encourage the world to be more relaxed about emissions reduction. The threat is that people will say that ‘we don’t have to worry about ceasing to use fossil fuels, because solar radiation management will help reduce temperature rises’. The first of these arguments seems contradictory to me; the only way we will ever find out if SRM works is being conducting careful, small experiments. Yes, SRM will probably change rainfall patterns but climate change is doing this already. The second argument has more strength but it does seem - however rapidly emissions reductions proceed – that we are likely to need SRM at some stage in the future. Therefore I think it makes sense to conduct careful monitored and controlled experiments as soon as possible.

    5, Conversion of petrol stations to EV charging. Will all petrol/gasoline stations eventually shift to charging electric cars? Shell set an example in London last week when it opened a site with 9 rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, replacing all existing petrol pumps at the site. The financial returns from EV charging might disappoint the company. A petrol pump can pour about 500 kWh of energy into a vehicle in a minute. At current prices this might generate a financial margin of about £5/$6.50 in that period. This is approximately thirty times the likely margin from EV charging of most electric cars, which can only absorb a maximum charge rate of less than 1 kilowatt hour a minute. Old petrol stations are terrible places for car charging. 

    6, Solar on buildings.  An environmental pressure group calculated that the rooftops of large retail shops in the US could house about 700 square kilometres of solar panels.  PV on these 100,000 ‘big box’ retailers would generate about 84 terawatt hours, or more than the total electricity consumption of Belgium. (Thanks to Thad Curtz).
     
    7, Power-to-gas for a cement plant. Cement manufacture remains one of the most difficult industries to decarbonise. Italgas, the main Italian natural gas distributor, said it was working with Buzzi Unicem cement to decarbonise the energy supply to cement works by employing green hydrogen. Most cement plants use natural gas for heating the limestone raw material to the high temperatures needed. Italgas will make hydrogen but then turn into methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas) meaning that the trial plant itself will operate exactly as before. Buzzi Unicem is already experimenting with a carbon capture process at a cement works in the north of Italy. Combining both green heating and carbon capture is a requirement for full decarbonisation of the cement-making process, currently responsible for about 8% of global emissions.
     
    8, Hydrogen in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi’s Masdar joined with fertiliser producer Fertiglobe and with Engie in a plan to build a plant to make green hydrogen for ammonia production. The project is not huge, probably only producing 10,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year from 200 MW of solar, providing the raw material for about 50,000 tonnes of ammonia. Fertiglobe makes over hundred times of much fertiliser as this from natural gas. But the announcement shows that in very sunny places green hydrogen can compete with natural gas from local fields. Abu Dhabi also announced a ‘demonstration’ plant with TotalEnergies for making sustainable aviation fuel (‘SAF’) from green hydrogen. There are still only a few experimental plants making SAF from hydrogen around the world, so this announcement is of significance. However this news comes with a few months of Total partnering with Abu Dhabi’s national oil company to develop a new 1 million barrels a day offshore oil field, a project of unimaginably larger scale.
     
    9, ‘Greenflation’. The world continues to worry about inflation of the price of key commodities necessary for the energy transition. Is there enough lithium or copper to fully electrify the planet, or will we see continued sharp rise in costs? David Roberts wrote an interesting article on the global availability of minerals. He concludes that ‘There will be supply problems, but there is no Supply Problem, no global scarcity of any mineral that will put a hard limit on the transition’. However he goes on to stress that the geographic concentration of supplies – often more tightly held than oil and gas – will inevitably create bursts of disruption. Additional destabilisation will arise from the small number of countries processing the core metals, the long lead times for mine development, increased ESG scrutiny and, yes, the growing impact of climate change on the economics of mineral extraction.
     
    10, Heat pumps. Decarbonisation of domestic heating requires 100% replacement of gas and oil boilers with heat pumps or other technologies. Sales of heat pumps in EU markets rose by about 25% last year to around 2 million units. This is double the figure from 2016. Heat pumps now account for well over a quarter of all new heating installations in Europe and the trade association sees another doubling of sales by 2025. Sales in Germany rose 28% last year to about 150,000 units, mostly air-to-water pumps. The country has over 40m households so a very large fraction of the housing stock remains to be converted. But Finland installed about 130,000 units in 2021 - mostly of the air-to-air variety - or equivalent to almost 5% of all households, taking the total number installed to well over 1 million. While the UK has promised to increase numbers, it remains the European country with the lowest rate of installation. One estimate suggested that only 2% of heating installations in 2019 used heat pumps.

    5. Good news is that the average charge speed of new cars is probably now twice the 1kwh per minute quoted and new vehicles are getting faster.  Petrol margins are also pretty variable and are allegedly well above normal levels at the moment - plus the suspicion is that petrol retail makes more money on the convenience store and coffee shop than the fuel sales - and with a captive audience of unmanned electric car chargees I suspect this will be a real win for EV fuel stations.
    I think....
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    michaels said:
    This week's Carbon Commentary newsletter from Chris Goodall:

    Things I noticed and thought were interesting

    Week ending 23rd Jan 2022
     
    1, Scotland offshore wind. The award of licences to potential projects totalling almost 25 GW was a surprise this week. Expectations had been for a 10 GW round. Even more striking was that floating wind schemes accounted for about 65% of the total. As I said last week, no-one expected ‘floaters’ to develop so rapidly. The global wind trade association recently estimated that the UK would install about 30 GW of offshore wind between 2022 and 2030. The Scottish award means that this figures now looks to be a major underestimate. The 25 GW of new Scottish installations would probably supply about one third of the UK’s current need for power.
     
    2, The chemical recycling of plastics. Breaking down plastic polymers back into the original monomers so that the chemicals can be reused for remaking virgin plastics has long been an ambition of the industry. Very few large scale plants are able to achieve this and most of the focus has been on mechanical recycling, which cannot be done indefinitely and requires inputs of new plastics. Turning a plastic PET bottle into a T-shirt in this way doesn’t save much in terms of carbon emissions either. Chemicals company Eastman gave details of a proposed $1bn investment in advanced chemical recycling in France based on a technology it has pioneered in the US to remake polyesters. This will be the largest chemical recycling plant for plastics and the expected output is 160,000 tonnes a year. If the plant lasts 20 years, the capital cost alone is $300 per tonne of product. But since the price of polyester is about $1,000 a tonne, this still leaves a large potential margin. Unlike the mechanical version, chemical recycling can be truly circular, enabling the production of plastics of any colour. And Eastman claims a possible reduction of 80% in the carbon footprint of polyester made in this way. But we still probably need to buy fewer clothes and wear them for longer.

    3, Minigrids. Lesotho is one of the least electrified countries in the world. Only about 40% of the homes in this landlocked Southern African state have power. A local company has raised nearly $10m to build 11 microgrids covering 20,000 people, or about 1% of the population. The development will use solar trackers designed in Africa to maximise electricity production from PV and will provide 24 hour power. The scheme proposes a rate of $0.33 per kilowatt hour. A few months ago, that might have seemed very expensive. But as a result of gas price increases large numbers of European homes will be paying more than this within months.

    4, Solar geoengineering. A distinguished group of scientists argued that geoengineering that reflects some of the sun’s rays back into space (‘solar radiation management’ or SRM) must be blocked. Experimentation should cease. Two main reasons were given. First, science cannot easily predict what the outcome of geoengineering will be. Second, the experiments will encourage the world to be more relaxed about emissions reduction. The threat is that people will say that ‘we don’t have to worry about ceasing to use fossil fuels, because solar radiation management will help reduce temperature rises’. The first of these arguments seems contradictory to me; the only way we will ever find out if SRM works is being conducting careful, small experiments. Yes, SRM will probably change rainfall patterns but climate change is doing this already. The second argument has more strength but it does seem - however rapidly emissions reductions proceed – that we are likely to need SRM at some stage in the future. Therefore I think it makes sense to conduct careful monitored and controlled experiments as soon as possible.

    5, Conversion of petrol stations to EV charging. Will all petrol/gasoline stations eventually shift to charging electric cars? Shell set an example in London last week when it opened a site with 9 rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, replacing all existing petrol pumps at the site. The financial returns from EV charging might disappoint the company. A petrol pump can pour about 500 kWh of energy into a vehicle in a minute. At current prices this might generate a financial margin of about £5/$6.50 in that period. This is approximately thirty times the likely margin from EV charging of most electric cars, which can only absorb a maximum charge rate of less than 1 kilowatt hour a minute. Old petrol stations are terrible places for car charging. 

    6, Solar on buildings.  An environmental pressure group calculated that the rooftops of large retail shops in the US could house about 700 square kilometres of solar panels.  PV on these 100,000 ‘big box’ retailers would generate about 84 terawatt hours, or more than the total electricity consumption of Belgium. (Thanks to Thad Curtz).
     
    7, Power-to-gas for a cement plant. Cement manufacture remains one of the most difficult industries to decarbonise. Italgas, the main Italian natural gas distributor, said it was working with Buzzi Unicem cement to decarbonise the energy supply to cement works by employing green hydrogen. Most cement plants use natural gas for heating the limestone raw material to the high temperatures needed. Italgas will make hydrogen but then turn into methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas) meaning that the trial plant itself will operate exactly as before. Buzzi Unicem is already experimenting with a carbon capture process at a cement works in the north of Italy. Combining both green heating and carbon capture is a requirement for full decarbonisation of the cement-making process, currently responsible for about 8% of global emissions.
     
    8, Hydrogen in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi’s Masdar joined with fertiliser producer Fertiglobe and with Engie in a plan to build a plant to make green hydrogen for ammonia production. The project is not huge, probably only producing 10,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year from 200 MW of solar, providing the raw material for about 50,000 tonnes of ammonia. Fertiglobe makes over hundred times of much fertiliser as this from natural gas. But the announcement shows that in very sunny places green hydrogen can compete with natural gas from local fields. Abu Dhabi also announced a ‘demonstration’ plant with TotalEnergies for making sustainable aviation fuel (‘SAF’) from green hydrogen. There are still only a few experimental plants making SAF from hydrogen around the world, so this announcement is of significance. However this news comes with a few months of Total partnering with Abu Dhabi’s national oil company to develop a new 1 million barrels a day offshore oil field, a project of unimaginably larger scale.
     
    9, ‘Greenflation’. The world continues to worry about inflation of the price of key commodities necessary for the energy transition. Is there enough lithium or copper to fully electrify the planet, or will we see continued sharp rise in costs? David Roberts wrote an interesting article on the global availability of minerals. He concludes that ‘There will be supply problems, but there is no Supply Problem, no global scarcity of any mineral that will put a hard limit on the transition’. However he goes on to stress that the geographic concentration of supplies – often more tightly held than oil and gas – will inevitably create bursts of disruption. Additional destabilisation will arise from the small number of countries processing the core metals, the long lead times for mine development, increased ESG scrutiny and, yes, the growing impact of climate change on the economics of mineral extraction.
     
    10, Heat pumps. Decarbonisation of domestic heating requires 100% replacement of gas and oil boilers with heat pumps or other technologies. Sales of heat pumps in EU markets rose by about 25% last year to around 2 million units. This is double the figure from 2016. Heat pumps now account for well over a quarter of all new heating installations in Europe and the trade association sees another doubling of sales by 2025. Sales in Germany rose 28% last year to about 150,000 units, mostly air-to-water pumps. The country has over 40m households so a very large fraction of the housing stock remains to be converted. But Finland installed about 130,000 units in 2021 - mostly of the air-to-air variety - or equivalent to almost 5% of all households, taking the total number installed to well over 1 million. While the UK has promised to increase numbers, it remains the European country with the lowest rate of installation. One estimate suggested that only 2% of heating installations in 2019 used heat pumps.

    5. Good news is that the average charge speed of new cars is probably now twice the 1kwh per minute quoted and new vehicles are getting faster.  Petrol margins are also pretty variable and are allegedly well above normal levels at the moment - plus the suspicion is that petrol retail makes more money on the convenience store and coffee shop than the fuel sales - and with a captive audience of unmanned electric car chargees I suspect this will be a real win for EV fuel stations.
    Yeah, I didn't understand the negativity in that piece, and thought I was just reading it wrong. I'm sure all of this will come out in the wash over time.
    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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