The world of renewables this week

When is a tariff not a tariff? When it has an exclusion for the latest technology. The Trump administration has given Bifacial solar modules an exclusion order from tariffs as they enter the US market. Bifacial modules absorb light on both sides and improve energy conversion by as much as 25%. Most new projects bid in the last 6 months have focused on introducing Bifacial as it is more profitable, but existing installs are under 1%. The remaining solar industry gets a 30% tariff, which has barely touched solar shipments, but shipments may slow once the US tax incentive for renewables expires. This is an interesting move as the US has zero bifacial manufacturing capacity so this looks more like a stimulus plan for the high end Chinese bifacial panels, than a tariff.

Researchers at Washington State University claim they have created a way to make jet fuel from plastic waste. So all those landfills in the US which handle about 28 million tons of plastic waste each year can now be ransacked for Hydrogen. The key is some form of simply catalyst says Professor Hanwu Lei in Science Daily. He suggests activated carbon as that catalyst, which has a larger surface area than ordinary carbon. His team have taken low density polyethylene, mixed it with plastic waste, ground it up into three millimeter pellets, put it on activated carbon and heated it to between 430 to 571 degrees Result is liquid diesel, which can be refined to jet fuel. It doesn’t help emissions – it just releases all that carbon which is currently locked into plastic. We’re not sure it is such a good idea. How about this as an alternative – Make less plastic, revolutionary eh?

India wants to get more electric buses into its public transport fleet so the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has issued a document to invite proposals from states, government departments, transportation departments, and municipal bodies for procurement of electric buses across 40 cities, based on a subsidy under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India or the FAME-II scheme. It has set aside $360 million to cover 40 cites which must have populations of 4 million and deploy at least 300 electric buses. It wants this all done in 18 months, we bet you that in 18 months there are still no EV buses.

Reuters carried a piece this week saying the Indian government is thinking that cab aggregators like Uber and Ola Cabs will be required to have at least 40% of their fleet as electric vehicles by April 2026. The roadmap suggests that by 2021 the target would be 2.5% then 5% by 2022, 10% by 2023, and 40% by 2026. Uber and Ola say they have already invested substantial efforts in moving towards electric mobility.

Clean Technica writes that Barclays, one of the UK’s four “Big Banks,” has announced a commitment to 100% renewable electricity for global operations by 2030, with an interim goal of 90% by 2025, and a reduction to its global emissions of 80% by 2025. Barclays has regularly been criticized for being pro-fossil fuel and held up as the worst bank in Europe for financing fracking and coal.

Italy says it has reached a cumulative installed solar PV capacity of 20.2 GW by the end of March 2019, according to numbers from the Italian Renewable Energy Association. In Q1 it added 105 MW, up from 89 MW last year and 84 MW the year before. Most of this is distributed, with solar parks over 1 MW only accounting for 2.9 MW of the total and residential systems up to 20 kW accounting for the largest share. Italy has a plan for cumulative solar to reach

50 GW by 2030.

Swedish marine energy developer Minesto has been awarded a €2.5 million grant from the European Commission’s SME Instrument program. The funding will support installation of its Deep Green technology in the Faroe Islands working with utility SEV. It is aiming for a step at a time build out up to 70 MW.

Green Investment Group, says it has signed with developer OX2 to acquire a 43MW wind farm in Hornamossen, Jönköping in Sweden. OX2 is currently building seven wind farms with a total of approximately 750 MW in Sweden.

The UK Guardian newspaper says US oil giant ExxonMobil tried to make tax-exempt donations to leading universities, civic groups and arts programs to promote the company’s interests and undermine environmental regulation, according to internal documents from the early 1990s that the newspaper obtained. It is reported that it is now facing investigations over claims it failed to communicate known climate crisis-related risks to investors and the public.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has an RFP out to build floating solar plants in the Arabian Gulf. The aim is to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power from clean energy by 2050. The consultancy services include a feasibility study, the technical requirements for a floating solar, an environmental impact assessment report and a study of the marine requirements.

Sunnova Energy Corp is said to be planning an IPO to value the Houston-based firm at over $1 billion according to Reuters. Sunnova declined to comment but was founded in 2012 and received $2.5 billion in private equity funding and is one of the largest residential solar players in the US.

The Portuguese Directorate-General of Energy and Geology will publish details of its pending 1.4 GW solar energy auction in July, requesting bids for

no less than 10 MW if connected to a grid with a voltage of 15-60 kV. For grid connections with a 150-400 kV voltage, solar projects must be larger than 50 MW in capacity. Last week, Portuguese state secretary for energy João Galamba revealed the procurement exercise has so far attracted around 300 potential bidders. In February when details first emerged the government also promised to spend €535 million making its grid better able to take intermittent renewable energy.

The UK National Grid has agreed a $150 deal with Atos to deliver Digital Managed Workplace Services for National Grid’s core business, spanning the UK and northeastern United States. In the US National Grid serves more than 20 million people through its electricity and gas networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Atos will deliver data analytics and a an enterprise service desk, device management and a Proactive Experience Center.

Canadian energy storage firm Cellcube, has signed a, which Commercial Framework Agreement with Immersa in the UK to reserve production capacity of Vanadium Redox Flow Battery systems up to the value of $6 million over the next two years to feed its own grid scale multi MW pipeline of deals.

Solar Media market research says that as much as 500 MW of large-scale battery storage capacity will be built in the UK during 2019, upping capacity to 1.2 GW. As of this month there is currently 700 MW installed, with around 80 MW showing as completed in the first half of 2019. The current pipeline of projects has reached 11 GW, and although they may not all be built, around 800 MW are under construction or will be in the next 12 months.

The World Bank says it has sanctioned energy storage deployment to the tune of US$1 billion and has also approved a $300 million loan to do the same in China which had about 1,038 MW of batteries at the end of last year. The country still has large regional pockets of energy poverty the bank says. A further $450 million will be found from counterpart funding using Hua Xia Bank.