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Weekly Highlights | From the Russian gas shortage strategy to electrified new houses
Weekly Highlights | From the Russian gas shortage strategy to electrified new houses
illuminem
By illuminem
Sep 25 2021 · 4 min read

Illuminem Voices
Energy · Environmental Sustainability · Climate Change

1. ‘Tipping Point’ for Climate Action: Time’s Running Out to Avoid Catastrophic Heating

By United Nation

  • There is no sign of growing back greener; in fact, emissions continue to rise and are far from being compatible with reaching the Paris Agreement goals
  • This has dramatic consequences: from a five-time increase in the occurrence of weather disasters to inevitable sea level rise, even if temperature rise is kept well below 2°C
  • Impacts on health are also significant: increase in heat-related mortality and work impairment and higher risks from climate related hazards

2. Is Nuclear Power Ready For Its Model T Moment?

By Forbes

  • The capacity factor in U.S. reactors has increased from 66% (1990) to 90% (2000), enlarging U.S. nuclear power generation capabilities (+40%)
  • International Energy Agency (IEA) projected that capital costs for European nuclear power will decline to reach parity with U.S. by 2040 - at a rate of 20% per year
  • Reactor vessels won’t be turned out by production lines like Model T, at least not in similar numbers, but we seem to be much closer to seeing nuclear power production ramping up

3. Why Some See the Hand of Russia in Europe’s Gas Price Crisis

By Financial Times

  • Record prices across the UK and continental Europe have drawn attention to recent lower supplies of natural gas from Russia, leaving many questioning whether a quiet squeeze of the market has been executed by Moscow
  • The theory goes that Russia wanted to boost prices to such a level that Germany rushes through the approval of the politically controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  • 40 members of the European Parliament called for an investigation of Gazprom

4. The Sustainability Impact Pyramid

By TNMT

  • Start-ups will be the catalysts of change to reach a net-zero emissions future. TNMT has created the sustainability impact pyramid, where the 30 most promising start-ups are ranked according to three pillars of impact: offset, reduce and remove
  • The lower base of the pyramid focuses on offsetting emissions rather than eliminating them; the next one reduces emissions through technological solutions
  • Finally, the most impactful pillar, remove, offers solutions to remove carbon from the air either through capture or removal technologies. Start-ups in this pillar are still in their infancy but have great potential

5. Building Electrification Could Recharge Our Economy – And Save The Climate

By Forbes

  • Replacing fossil-fueled appliances with electric ones (powered by clean electricity) is the most viable solution to curtail planet-warming emissions and eliminate harmful indoor air pollutants without compromising comfort
  • Over a hundred million buildings burn fossil fuels for heating and cooking, contributing 13% of U.S. emissions
  • Energy Innovation model shows electrifying all new buildings by 2025 and all new equipment by 2030 is essential for reaching net-zero by 2050

6. Will Climate Migration Derail the 4th Industrial Revolution?

By GreenBiz

  • The rapid evolution of low-earth orbit satellites, which promises high-speed internet services in remote areas, have the potential for developing countries to provide equal access to work than ever before
  • While this presents a very positive scenario for developing countries, according to the World Bank, 216 million people are expected to migrate due to climate change by 2050
  • The Groundswell report points out that “rapid and concerted action to reduce global emission, and support green, inclusive, and resilient development, could significantly reduce the scale of internal migration

7. The Computer Chip Industry Has a Dirty Climate Secret

By The Guardian

  • Demand is booming for silicon chips, which are embedded also in electric vehicles, solar arrays and wind turbines, all necessary for a green transition
  • Chip manufacturing also contributes to the climate crisis. It requires huge amounts of energy and water – a chip fabrication plant, or fab, can use millions of gallons of water a day – and creates hazardous waste
  • Pressure from investors and electronics makers keen to report greener supply chains to customers, the semiconductor business has been ramping up action on tackling its climate footprint

8. EV Battery Prices Risk Reversing Downward Trend as Metals Surge

By Bloomberg

  • Over the past decade, battery prices have fallen from almost 1,200 $/kWh to just 137 $/kWh in 2020. For an EV with a 50 kWh battery pack, that is a savings of more than $43,000
  • However, around 40% of a lithium-ion cell is tied to commodities which prices have risen relentlessly over the past 12 months, putting pressure on battery prices
  • Automakers won’t be able to make the same margin on EVs as they do on gas vehicles, and this could lead to a slowdown in EV sales

9. The World’s First Large Scale Hybrid Hydro-Floating Solar Power Plant

By PV Magazine

  • The Norwegian government has decided to support, with $9.1 million, a research project led by Norway-based Scatec aimed at developing a large-scale, hybrid hydro and floating solar power plant in West Africa
  • Scatec recently acquired the SN Power hydropower operator belonging to Norwegian state owned private equity business Norfund, owning 2.5 GW of hydro assets in Asia
  • Hydropower and solar PV are complementary technologies, resulting in new project opportunities, for instance floating solar on hydro reservoirs” said Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen

10. Energy Prices in Europe Hit Records After Wind Stops Blowing

By The Wall Street Journal

  • Heavy reliance on wind power, coupled with a shortage of natural gas, has led to a spike in energy prices
  • Property owners in the windy and sunny parts of the U.S. are pushing back against large-scale renewable energy development, opposition that researchers say could slow the transition to a cleaner economy
  • Large scale wind projects are needed in order to be cost efficient. Producing renewable energy requires 10x the land vs fossil fuels
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