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24 August 2022

The world of renewables this week

China’s Global Times printed a story last week talking up a specific oil and gas find in by Sinopec in, Xinjiang in China which should amount to a 1.7 billion tons of oil reserves. It was achieved by drilling far deeper than usual, some 7,300 meters deep. It is enough oil to run China for two years, and that’s just one well in the Shunbei oil and gas field in the Tarim Basin. The entire exploration program amounts to 41 wells over 8,000 meters deep, and another 76 wells a little shallower than that. The entire Tarim Basin is thought to offer enough gas and oil to take China to 2030, when it is due to reach peak emissions – and thereafter reduce fossil fuels. One report had it that this is 83% of gas that has been found in China and 64% of oil. After that find, what price would anyone give on the second Russian gas pipeline to China ever being completed?

A piece in Nature Climate Change last week pointed out dramatic falls in the water storage potential of the Tibetan Plateau – source of most of the major life-sustaining rivers in China and also the Indus river that flows through Pakistan and rivers in other surrounding countries. Using a new approach to quantify terrestrial water storage decrease on Tibetan Plateau in recent decades the paper projects at last 79% of water capacity will be eliminated in the next 30 years. This will put close to 2.5 billion people in danger of floods and then prolonged drought and food shortages. Another piece in the South China Morning Post suggested that the Yangtze river, which rises in the Quighai mountains, next to the Tibetan plateau, is the driest in living memory with crop irrigation already a problem due to the current dry spell.


India could add nearly 24 GW of new wind power capacity over the next five years, according to GWEC, providing enabling policies are implemented as well as facilitative instruments and institutional interventions.

Enel Russia is filing a $383 million lawsuit against Siemens Gamesa, claiming that the company refused to supply the agreed equipment as part of a contract to build the 201 MW Kolskaya WPP wind farm. Siemens Gamesa maintains that it has already delivered the main equipment for Enel Russia’s fleet, which has allowed the construction of 48 wind turbines out of the 57 initially planned.

The cost of carbon in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) has hit an all-time high of €99 per ton, as suppliers across the bloc turn back to coal because of tight natural gas supplies. Prices have risen 28% since August.

Brent crude oil prices climbed back above $100 per barrel on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia outlined the potential for OPEC to reduce its output. The move comes in response to poor liquidity in the crude futures market, and fears of a global recession denting demand. OPEC suggested that any cuts would coincide with the return of Iranian oil to the market, should a nuclear deal be revived, which is looking increasingly likely. OPEC+ is already producing 2.9 million barrels per day less than its target, with countries still struggling to bring production capacity back online following the Covid-enforced shutdowns.

Latvia has dropped out of an offshore wind collaboration with Estonia to focus on its domestic industry. Eesti Energia and Orsted will continue the 1 GW project that was planned in Estonian waters of the Gulf of Riga, while Latvia prepares legislation for future tenders in its own waters.

Following up on our article from earlier this year, Mitsubishi Power Americas confirmed its order of 40 electrolyzer systems from HydrogenPro AS for a figure that raised to almost $80 million from the original $50 million reported in February. The deal has been reveled to also include service and support from the Norwegian electrolysis company for a period of 10 years.

Phoenix Motor, a manufacturer of all-electric, medium-duty vehicles announced the acquisition of hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing assets from Altergy Systems. The assets include an automated, robotic fuel cell assembly line. Phoenix will utilize the manufacturing facility to design and produce hydrogen fuel cells to power forklifts, hybrid buses, vans and trucks, and long-range, heavy-duty trucks.

SoCalGas has announced construction of a first-of-its kind advanced hydrogen generation system at SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, California. The project, called H2 SilverSTARS, will generate hydrogen from renewable natural gas that will fuel SunLine’s fleet of 17 hydrogen fuel cell electric buses. At scale, the demonstration project has the potential to provide hydrogen to any location adjacent to a natural gas pipeline, which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable natural gas can be sourced from waste generated gases, which is then fed through a process similar to electrolysis in order to split the hydrogen and carbon molecules apart in an emission free chemical procedure. It has the potential to provide clean hydrogen and reduce emissions that would otherwise contribute to global warming.

Vestas has completed the prototype of its nacelle for the V236-15.0 MW offshore wind turbine at its factory in Lindø, Denmark. The new design, which is the company’s largest, is now ready for testing before it is isntalled at its test site later this year. The first of these turbines are expected to be constructed and put into operation in 2024.

Vestas’s Lindø factory that produced the prototype nacelle will also house serial production of the nacelles for the commercial 15 MW model, which already has buyers in Germany, the US, and Denmark.

Japan is planning to restart more of its idled nuclear plants, with eyes on new reactors for development, according to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. This move would mark a turnaround from the nuclear decline since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, highlighting how the ongoing fossil fuel crisis is forcing an adjustment on perspectives towards nuclear power.

Germany will cut tax on natural gas sales to reduce energy costs for many households across the country. VAT on gas sales will fall from 19% to 7%, aiming to offset the impact of a new 2.4 cents per kWh gas levy that starts in October.

Energysage’s latest Marketplace Intel Report, covering US residential solar, observes a 3.4% rise in installation cost for H1 2022, a payback period rise from 8.7 to 9.1 years, and a rise of battery adoption with residential solar from 15.5% to 17%, all compared to H2 2021.

Eesti Energia, the Estonian state power producer, is considering a $2.5 billion investment into renewables through to 2026 – in a country of just 1.3 million people. Like the other Baltic states Estonia is pursuing offshore wind development, but officials have also recently recognized the surging demand for rooftop photovoltaics.

Leading polysilicon manufacturer Tongwei has announced yet another new factory – weighing in at 200,000 tons with an investment cost of $2 billion, with a possible second phase being the same size again. By the end of 2024 the company will reach 750,000 tons of total production capacity. So far this year the company has signed long-term supply deals which (given monthly price renegotiations) will be worth $8 billion even at a polysilicon price of $10 per kilogram, of which over $3 billion would be profit.

Australia coal miner South32 has abandoned its plans for a $484 million coal mine expansion in Illawarra, while fellow Australian miner Pilbara Minerals, which deals in lithium, intends to develop 6 MW of distributed solar to power its operations.

Heterojunction cell efficiency has set a world record with a full-area conversion efficiency of 23.68% achieved by Huasheng New Energy’s 500.7 W product, as verified by TUV SUD. Meanwhile PERC cells have also posted a new high, with a 24.01% result posted by DMEGC Solar.

Ameren Missouri will delay the retirement of a 1.2 GW Coal plant in Missouri, USA, until 2025 on grid reliability grounds. The company has claimed that shuttering the plant could cause severe voltage stability problems and cascading power outages, as identified by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).

Toyota has removed Hino from Japanese truck consortium after emissions scandal. A transport ministry investigation recently revealed that some 76,000 of Hino’s small trucks sold since 2019 had not been subject to the required number of engine tests.

State National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) plans have raised concerns about EV charging infrastructure rollout. Sourcing and grid capacity constraints could threaten EV charging infrastructure ambitions of charging stations every 50 miles on interstate highways.