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Weekly Highlights | From a net zero grid systems to the Chinese renewables supremacy

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Blue Hydrogen Isn’t The Climate Enemy, It’s Part Of The Solution

By Forbes

  • The studies claiming that blue hydrogen will be 20% worse for the environment than directly burning natural gas are based on pessimistic assumptions (e.g. methane leak rate many times higher than the global average)
  • Built infrastructure and plants for using hydrogen will be available for zero-emission hydrogen in the future, regardless of production method (green or blue)
  • CO₂ intensity of blue and green hydrogen will be comparable when implementing appropriate and realistic technology concepts and boundary conditions in Europe

2. Carbon Offsets: a Licence to Pollute or a Path to Net Zero Emissions?

By Financial Times

  • Companies have flocked to buy offsets from groups that aim to clean up the atmosphere. The trade is simple: one offset equals one tonne of carbon saved or removed
  • Between 2017 and 2019, more than $750m worth of offsets were traded globally
  • Offsetting is “not a donation, it is an exchange of money to emit a tonne of carbon . . . If you are not delivering a tonne of carbon removal, it’s a very bad deal for the climate”, says Johnatan Goldberg, CEO of Carbon Direct

3. The Six Problems Aviation Must Fix to Hit Net Zero

By The Guardian

  • Amid growing environmental concerns, the sector is expected to recover pre-covid levels in 2023; fuel will remain a big CO2 contributor, as cleaner fuels are not on track to make a significant impact before 2050, as well as other non-CO2 gases
  • Around 50% of commercial aviation’s emissions are caused by 1% of the world’s population, thus demand must be tackled. However, international aviation is lacking strict policies (ex. sits outside the Paris Agreement)
  • With rising middle class in developing countries, demand for flights will most likely increase; in parallel, super-sonic planes are being developed, which are 5 to 7 times more polluting than subsonic ones

4. How the EU Can Get its Grid Ready for Net Zero

By Energy Monitor

  • The new EU regulation ‘Fit for 55’ is important, but the 2019 Clean Energy Package has still to be fully implemented (e.g. 70% of each interconnector to be set aside for cross-border trade)
  • Industrial clusters already using H2 as a energy source, but H2 infrastructure and the associated market still need to be developed
  • Regulators will benefit from an established framework based on gas market principles (e.g. third party access provisions, monitoring and regulatory oversight)

5. OPEC and other Producers Will Meet to Decide Oil Output

By the New York Times

  • Officials form OPEC, Russia and other oil-producing countries decided to increase production each month by 400,000 barrels a day, an amount equivalent to less than 1% of global supply
  • Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser of the Biden administration said that higher gasoline prices “risk harming the global recovery” and that OPEC Plus “must do more”
  • The group will continue to meet monthly, giving itself time to react to a deterioration in demand

6. A Decade Of Wind, Solar, & Nuclear In China Shows Clear Scalability Winners

By CleanTechnica

  • Today, 7 of the 10 largest wind turbine manufacturers and 9 of the 10 largest solar components manufacturers are Chinese companies
  • China surprised the world in 2020, deploying not only 72 GW of wind energy (global record), but also 48 GW of solar capacity (50% more than the previous year)
  • In three of the 11 years from 2010 to 2020, China attached no nuclear generation to the grid at all

7. Cities Are Banding Together to Buy Renewables at Scale

By GreenBiz

  • Aggregated procurement is democratising clean energy access by enabling cities, especially smaller ones, to collectively develop significantly large renewables projects
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated that procuring 100 MW of solar instead of 5 MW can reduce development costs by 24%
  • In Florida, 12 cities joined together to form the Florida Municipal Solar Project. They are developing 372.5 MW of zero-emissions energy capacity, enough to power 75,000 Florida homes

8. Global Upstream M&A Picks up the Pace

By Wood Mackenzie

  • Upstream M&A activity recovered to 2019 levels and more than doubled in comparison to the low point in the first half of 2020
  • The biggest surprise was Cabot’s US$17 billion merger with Cimarex, bringing together a gas player with a gas and oil player
  • Despite surging oil prices, deal valuations have picked up only slightly and this trend will persist due to the low competition for assets

9. Killer Heat Forces Cities to Adapt Now or Suffer

By Bloomberg

  • Heat researchers use two main factors to determine which cities will best adapt to climate changeincome and climate– which explains disparities in projections between seemingly similar cities
  • As climate change steadily increases temperature in cities unused to heat waves, such as Seattle in Northern America, income will be determinant
  • Good strategic plans in case of a heatwave and measures targeted to fight the urban heat-island effect –absorption of heat by infrastructure– can play a big role, even in low income cities

10. This Is how AI Will Accelerate the Energy Transition

By World Economic Forum

  • Ramping up renewable energy deployment will mean more power is supplied by intermittent sources (such as solar and wind), creating new demand for forecasting, coordination, and flexible consumption
  • The World Economic Forum has released a new report, establishing nine ‘AI for the energy transition principles’ which would accelerate the uptake of AI solutions to the energy transition
  • These nine principles are needed to unlock AI’s potential across three critical domains: ‘Governing the use of AI’, ‘Designing AI that’s fit for purpose’ and ‘Enabling the deployment of AI at scale’
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