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22 February 2023

The world of renewables this week

Dutch solar installations of below 1 MW are to be grid-connected to the tune of only 50% of their rated capacity under the 2023 round of the SDE++ subsidy scheme, which has an $8.5 billion budget. This is according to a proposal still under consideration from regulators, but which is likely to be approved considering high electricity prices, high demand for solar, and limited space on the grid.

China’s Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia intends to install more than 25 GW of renewable energy capacity this year, and has installed 2,150 MW in January alone. The Region has a population of just 24 million but has immense industrial activity and is one of the wealthier Chinese provinces.

A JMK Research and IEEFA report has found that Indian renewable energy tenders are falling below the level of activity needed to meet the country’s 450 GW clean energy target for 2030. The report finds that only 28 GW was tendered in 2022, down significantly from 40 GW in 2019 and below the 45 GW needed each year. The report blamed this on a shift in preferences on the part of state-level distribution companies, or discoms, which now seek wind-solar hybrids with energy storage.

Tongwei, GCL-Poly, Daqo, and TBEA – the four biggest polysilicon makers – have released 2022 performance forecasts which feature a combined profit of $12.7 billion, with three having profit growth rate of over 200%.

Risen Energy has announced a 23.89%-efficient heterojunction module with a rated capacity of 741.456 W, using 100μm wafer thickness.

The US Department of Energy has broken ground on a Generation 3 CSP pilot project at the Sandia National Laboratories. The project will use sand-like ceramic particles to store and transmit heat, powering a supercritical carbon dioxide turbine.

Westinghouse Electric, probably the best known US name in nuclear power, has finally come out with its eVinci micro nuclear reactor and has filed a Notice of Intent to submit key licensing reports to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for joint review. It looks like it might catch NuScale which has made all the early running in SMRs.

Anovion, a US supplier of raw battery materials has partnered with Forge Nano, which makes precision nano-coating technology. They will jointly supply commercial-scale synthetic graphite anode using Forge Nano’s proprietary Atomic Armor.

Glencore has reported record earnings for 2022 a fact it puts down to high requirements for coal to replace natural gas, which had spiked even higher due to the Russian-Ukraine war. It had an EBITDA of $34 billion. Some 50% of profits came from coal. Rival Trafigura had profits of $7.1 billion  too.

David Malpass has been a point of embarrassment to the World Bank, appointed as he was by Donald Trump, and being a non-believer in global warming. So his resignation has been accompanied this week by lots of soul searching about who cis the right climate activist for the job. Malpass has left a year early under pressure for his beliefs.

The IEA has put out a statement this week that fossil fuel consumption subsidies rose above $1 trillion for the first time as markets took prices well above what consumers could afford directly. Last year’s subsidies were double their 2021 levels.

Piedmont Lithium and LG Chem have signed an offtake agreement for the supply of 200,000 tons of Spodumene concentrate and a $75 million equity investment. This will result in LG Chem owning roughly 5.7% of Piedmont Lithium’s common shares. Piedmont will deliver 50,000 tons per year for 4 years starting in Q3 2023. Piedmont will also give LG Chem priority rights to 10,000 tons per year from its planned facilities in either Tennessee or North Carolina. As of the time of writing, following an increase in share value of 3% since the announcement, Piedmont Lithium has a market cap of $1.34 billion.

Jaguar Land Rover has announced that it will open three new engineering hubs in Europe to develop autonomous vehicle technologies as part of its partnership with Nvidia. The hubs in Bologna, Munich, and Madrid will join six existing hubs in the US, China, and Europe.


Finland’s parliament has passed an overhaul of its mining law to safeguard the environment and communities local to mining projects. This is designed to put in place stricter regulation and higher fees at a time when Europe is struggling to source domestic critical mineral supplies. Finland is emerging as a major source of primary resource generation within the bloc with more than €6 billion in investments planned, investors include BASF and Trafigura who source cobalt and nickel from it. European countries have a standard to uphold if it is to effectively implement its carbon border adjustment mechanism as a way to improve its global competitiveness while working on its climate goals. These new regulations aim to maintain this level of climate-positive mineral extraction without slowing down efforts to bring new mines online and will need to strike a balance between the two.

New York regulators have approved $4.4 billion in grid upgrades for the planned 3.5GW of solar and onshore wind expansions as part of the state’s 2030 goal of 70% renewable electricity generation. The agreement includes 62 local transmission infrastructure upgrades.

ZeroAvia and Birmingham Airport (BHX) have commenced a long-term partnership to make on-airfield hydrogen refuelling and regular domestic passenger flights of zero-emission aircraft a reality in the coming years. ZeroAvia is currently working on bringing to market a zero-emission system capable of flying 20-seat aircraft 300 nautical miles by 2025. This opens up the possibility of green air travel from Birmingham to destinations like Glasgow, Aberdeen, Belfast and Dublin by the middle of this decade. In a move that would make zero-emission travel to Mediterranean holiday destinations a reality, ZeroAvia is aiming to get an emissions-free 80-seat aircraft flying up to 1,000 nautical miles by 2027. For BHX, the partnership with ZeroAvia forms an important part of its journey to become a net-zero-carbon airport by 2033. The airport plans to use an area near to its disused Elmdon terminal building as a potential location for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, testing and operations.

Swedish company, Hexicon, and IX Wind have agreed to develop and build a 1.3GW floating wind project in Taiwan. The wind farm is planned to be commissioned as early as 2028.

Brooge Energy subsidiary, BRE, has announced a partnership with Siemens Energy for a green hydrogen project in Abu Dhabi. The duo will develop a 650 MW solar plant that will power the first phase.