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8 March 2023

The world of renewables this week

China’s Pylontech says it has obtained the first sodium ion battery certificate granted by TÜV Rheinland, a testing lab. Prior to this it has made a living selling LFP battery stacks, some of which it has installed as grid BESS, but mostly these are for homes and enterprises. It claims to have sold 1 million systems.

Chevron New Energies has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s and JERA to explore carbon capture and storage projects in the United States and Australia. The US technology could qualify for Inflation Reduction Act credits. Jera is a joint venture between TEPCO Fuel & Power and Chubu Electric Power which produces about 30% of all electricity in Japan. They are already collaborating on lower carbon fuels.

Dedicated hydrogen production using electricity from a nuclear plant has started with a 1 MW demonstration scale, at Constellation’s Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant in Oswego, New York. The cost of making hydrogen is split unevenly between the capex of the electrolyzer and the price of the electricity and nuclear is not known for its cheap electricity. However with the passing of the Inflation reduction Act, anything is possible and nuclear credits and a subsidy for hydrogen production would make even this insane idea profitable. Last year, the US Department of Energy part paid for an electrolyzer to be installed with $5.8 million of government money.

Bayou Bend, a carbon capture and sequestration project in the Texas Gulf Coast, will expand its CO2 storage footprint by acquiring another 100,000 acres onshore in Chambers and Jefferson Counties, Texas. No doubt another unintended consequence of the Inflation Reduction Act. This goes with the existing 140,000 acres of space used for sequestration. Bayou Bend is a joint venture between Chevron, Talos Energy and Carbonvert. It can now sequester up to 100 million tons of Carbon by 2032. Wetlands sequester carbon in the soil between plant roots, though we’re not sure how this works in practice – do you just dump carbon there?

Siemens Energy said this week that its compressors will be used at Occidental’s first large-scale Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant in the Texas Permian Basin. It haws been developed by subsidiary 1PointFive. The two compressor packages will capture 500,000 metric tons of CO2 per year when fully operational. Again, we’re fairly sure that prior to the Inflation Reduction Act this lunacy would not go ahead.

Hydrogen fuel cell specialist Loop Energy, says that it has had its eFlow technology validated by Fraunhofer USA acting as a third party tester for use in PEM electrolyzers. It basically showed that this eFlow system helps electrolyzers make more hydrogen by enhancing temperature uniformity using a bipolar plate architecture. It is now looking for electrolyzer partners for the technology.

Global Energy Monitor statistics show that China approved 106 GW of new coal plants in 2022, with 50 GW beginning construction that year. In 2021 only 23 GW of coal was approved, but the country had a power shortage in September of that year.

The US Supreme Court has requested that the Solicitor General comment on a legal dispute between NextEra Energy and the state of Texas over a 2019 state law which grants utilities already operating in the state right of first refusal over transmission line project developments.

US tracker supplier Array Technologies predicts 2022 revenue of between $1.62 billion and $1.64 billion, up 50% from 2021, with 2023 to grow to between $1.8 billion and $1.95 billion.

China Southern Power Grid intends to add 39.73 GW of renewable energy in 2023, and 57.6 GW overall. In 2022 the company planned to add 52 GW of overall power of which around 39 GW for renewables, indicating that most renewable capacity additions come from wind and not the rapidly-growing solar industry, while 2023 non-renewable additions are temporarily boosted by the spike in coal plant approvals which followed the September 2021 power shortage.

Enesoon’s 600 MW, 3.6 GWh, $721 million, molten-salt energy storage and green hydrogen facility has been approved by the municipal authorities of Shouguang City in China’s Shandong Province. Shandong Province is a coastal province in between Beijing and Shanghai which has supported solar development more than any other province in the country, but lacks the natural conditions necessary for concentrated solar power. Instead, this molten-salt thermal energy storage system will be powered by electrical inputs from photovoltaic and wind capacity. Usage of waste heat will be an important part of the project’s financial viability.

EDP, the Portuguese utility, has announced a $26.5 billion investment strategy to develop 33 GW of renewables by 2026. Of the total, 40% will go to utility-scale solar, 40% to onshore wind, 12% to distributed solar, and the rest to offshore wind, hydrogen and energy storage.

The Australian state of Queensland has issued a draft proposal to ban photovoltaic and energy storage equipment from landfill disposal, which is one preliminary step towards a recycling industry.

RWE has acquired JBM Solar to enter the UK market with a 2.3 GWac solar, 3.8 GWac storage pipeline. RWE’s US green energy pipeline has meanwhile been expanded by 24 GW with the $6.8 billion acquisition of Con Edison Clean Energy.


CATL has sold its nearly 5% share in Australian lithium mining company Pilbara Minerals. CATL bought its 4.9% stake in the company at A$0.30 in 2019, and sold at A$4.10 per share, earning CATL A$555 million. The move puts further evidence towards CATL’s expectations for lithium carbonate prices to continue falling, after its decision to offer its customers a discount on lithium prices for the next 3 years in exchange for near exclusivity of battery demand. CATL can do this because its lithium supply is secure and vertically integrated, allowing it to use its supply as leverage to secure future demand.

$300,000 of battery packs totaling 1.5MWh have been stolen from the Valley Center Energy Storage project in California owned by Terra-Gen after being decommissioned as they awaited transportation to a recycling facility. The batteries – made by LG Energy Solutions – were stolen during the period between Christmas and New Year due to holiday scheduling.

Mullen Automotive has received an exclusive contract from Rapid Response Defense Systems (RRDS), a federal military contractor for the provision of class 1 cargo vans. Mullen’s class 1 BEV cargo van launches this year and will be the only EV cargo van on the market, which suits federal aims towards electrification. RRDS has a multi-billion dollar 5-year deal with the General Service Administration. The deal comes as Mullen’s share price fell another 50% this month to just $0.25 down from $15 in February 2021.

The Danish Energy Agency has unveiled three new zones in the North, Kattegat and Baltic Seas that have a potential to accommodate 20GW of offshore wind.

Vattenfall is looking to quadruple its 550MW wind farm in northern Sweden but wants local investors to get involved. If completed, the expansion will push the farm up to 2.6GW.

UK green hydrogen pioneer GeoPura has received a £36 million investment from the likes of General Motors and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital and Siemens Energy to help scale its green hydrogen business, which is replacing diesel-fueled generators and enabling zero-emissions energy generation.

The Japanese Government will offer $1.6 billion to promote efforts in Australia to produce hydrogen for export from brown coal. The money is being supplied from a green investment fund.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released a statement in which it estimates that the US will consume an average of about 99 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas during Q1 2023. The lowest value in a first quarter since 2018. This is because January and February are expected to be among the warmest on record, which will lead to lower heating demand and therefore lower natural gas consumption. This will also have a knock-off effect on the prices of natural gas which are expected to fall accordingly. EIA expects the average 2023 wholesale natural gas prices to be half of the 2022 average, and it expects natural gas inventories at the end of the first quarter to be 23% more than the five-year average.

According to Chinese sources, 1,000 km worth of new hydrogen pipelines are under construction. These include two long distance and several short distance pipelines.