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Weekly Highlights | From the Global Wind Report 2022 to the solar solutions that fight cyber attacks

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By illuminem

· 7 min read

1. Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change


  • The latest IPCC report highlights that emissions continue to rise and current global mitigation efforts are far off track to keep under 1.5C° warming. It also stresses that no room is left for new fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Rapid transformations across all systems are needed, including energy, industry, transports and food, with high potential to generate co-benefits. The report also highlights that lifestyle and behaviors change can slash emissions by 40-70%
  • Finally, Working Group III emphasized how limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C will be impossible without carbon removal. Climate finance for mitigation must increase 3 to 6 times by 2030 to limit warming to below 2C°

2. Global Wind Report 2022

By Global Wind Energy Council

  • The latest released Global Wind Report 2022 declared that the wind industry has enjoyed its second-best year ever, with growth in 2021 only 1.8% behind a record 2020
  • The 93.6 GW of new installations in 2021 brings global cumulative wind power capacity to 837 GW, showing year-over-year (YoY) growth of 12%
  • At current rates of installation, GWEC Market Intelligence forecasts that by 2030 we will have less than two-thirds of the wind energy capacity required for a 1.5°C and net zero pathway, effectively condemning us to miss our climate goals, stressing the need for action to scale up wind energy installations

3. These energy innovations could transform how we mitigate climate change, and save money in the process

By Tech Xplore

  • 1) California is developing the United States' first solar canals, with solar panels built atop some of the state's water distribution canals; 2) Geologist and engineers are working on an innovative method that could boost the U.S. lithium supply at home by extracting lithium from geothermal brines
  • 3)  Scientists are working on other ways to boost batteries' mineral supply chain, too, including recycling lithium and cobalt from old batteries. They're also developing designs with other materials. Renewable fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, provide a different type of storage
  • 4) Batteries could also soon turn your electric vehicle into a giant, mobile battery capable of powering your home; 5) The technology to capture carbon dioxide from the air exists—it's called direct air capture—but it's expensive. We need to  find ways to decrease its cost

4. What the war in Ukraine means for energy, climate and food

By Nature

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has roiled the markets and geopolitics of energy, driving oil and gas prices to their highest levels in nearly a decade and forcing many countries to reconsider their energy supplies. The EU imported around 40% of its natural gas, more than one-quarter of its oil and about half of its coal from Russia in 2019.
  • The European commission’s plan seeks to replace 101.5 billion cubic metres of Russian gas by the end of the year. Boosting imports to Europe from other countries could account for nearly 60% of that reduction, and another 33% would come from new renewable-energy generation and conservation measures, the plan suggests
  • Another key question, some economists say, is how rising energy prices and the potential loss of grain supplies from Ukraine and Russia could reinforce inflationary effects and drive up prices for food and other commodities. However, experts say that global food stocks are sufficient to cover the loss of wheat and other grains from Ukraine as a result of the war itself

5. Do renewables need carbon markets?

By Energy Monitor

  • Costs of renewables have plunged, outcompeting even the cheapest coal plants. While their financing is discussed, two leading carbon markets standards (VCS and Gold Standard) have almost excluded all renewables projects since 2019
  • Despite this exclusion, carbon markets have for ex. been used to scale wind power in China, with a substantial impact over turbines price; some therefore still see a role of voluntary carbon markets to scale renewables
  • One programme, the Global Carbon Council, is currently reviewing over 135 renewables projects, separating itself from the above standards. Other areas carbon markets could help scale is transmission, distribution and storage

6. We are running out of sand and global demand could soar 45% by 2060

By New Scientist 

  • Humanity’s appetite for sand could soar 45 per cent within four decades, according to researchers who say unchecked consumption risks environmental damage and shortages of a key material for urban expansion
  • Xiaoyang Zhong at Leiden University in the Netherlands and his colleagues have now calculated that global building sand demand will jump from 3.2 billion tonnes a year in 2020 to 4.6 billion tonnes by 2060, led by areas in Africa and Asia
  • The figure is based on a central scenario of future population rises and economic growth, and modelled using estimates of concrete and glass consumption, and the floor area needed in buildings. The problem is that there is no reliable estimate for remaining sand reserves, so it is unclear if the world can sustain such a big increase

7. Cyber Threats Are One More Reason To Use Solar Panels, Storage, And Microgrids

By Forbes

  • One of the repercussions of America’s support for Ukraine is increased Russian aggression in cyber security. Electric utilities that are getting millions of phishing expeditions
  • Power companies are on guard, and they are developing robust systems that can continue to generate and deliver power whether they are hit with cyberattacks or high winds. A loss of electricity can also take out the drinking water system, the wastewater facility, and the communications infrastructure
  • In addition to the counter-measures mentioned above, solar-plus batteries provide dependable backup electricity for critical businesses. And localized microgrids are effective at delivering the power. They can either operate independently of the primary grid or interconnect with it, drawing electricity from the utility when battery storage devices are empty

8. Logistics gets on a sustainable track

By GreenBiz

  • In the United States, more than 70% of goods spend time inside a truck, according to the American Trucking Association, whose industry is responsible for almost 7% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • The research firm Wood Mackenzie expects the number of electric trucks on U.S. roads to rise from 2,000 in 2019 to more than 54,000 by 2025
  • Over the past two years, major corporations that fly millions of miles a year - Bank of America, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, McKinsey, Microsoft - have pressed airlines to use more of low-emissions fuel in their operations

9. This Is How the Global Energy Crisis Ends

By Wired

  • As it stands, Europe can survive without Russian oil, which accounts for around 30 percent of supplies for the European Union. But it can’t survive without Russian gas, which makes up 40 percent of gas in the EU
  • Solution 1: Price-driven demand destruction. Users that don’t need to consume energy, such as fertilizer firms that use gas, or individuals who drive cars as an option rather than a necessity, will drop out as the prices get too high for them. At the same time, government financial stipends can support households struggling to pay bills. Demand destruction leads to a temporary reduction in the amount of energy we need
  • Solution 2: Temporarily postpone its green energy plans. After having overlooked clean energy options when there was plentiful fossil fuel supply, we need to put the climate crisis on hold for the coming months and burn whatever is available now—then, once fossil fuel prices come down, move back into green tech

10. Solar 3.0: This New Technology Could Change Everything

By Electric Future

  • Currently, only 2% of global electricity comes from solar power, and 90% of that comes from crystalline silicon-based solar panels, the dominant material technology - with efficiencies of 20%
  • Thin-film cells are made by depositing thin layers of semiconducting films onto a glass, plastic, or metal substrate, and use 10 to 1000 times less material than crystalline silicon cells - being lighter and flexible -  but have lower average efficiencies
  • Nevertheless, materials like Perovskite - the leading contender - could push solar boundaries to other levels in terms of efficiency, reaching more than 30% efficiency needing less than 1% of the material that a silicon cell would require
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