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Weekly Highlights | From the green investment trends to turquoise H2

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Global Climate Agreements: Successes and Failures

By Council on Foreing Relations

  • The question of how to combat climate change has been negotiated by states around the world since the early 90s. These negotiations have resulted in several important accords, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement
  • While states usually agree on the science behind climate change, controversial questions are who is most responsible for it and how to reduce emissions
  • Experts say that current measures under the Paris Agreement is not enough to keep under 1.5°C warming; this will lead to dramatic consequences, such as heat waves and floods

2. Energy Transition Investment Trends

By BloombergNEF

  • In 2020, global investment in the low-carbon energy transition totalled $501.3 billion (vs $235.4 billion in 2010). Europe and China are the most active
  • Renewable energy attracted $303.5 billion (~ 61% of total investments) for new projects and small-scale systems. The second-biggest investment area was electric transport, which saw $139 billion
  • Hydrogen and CCS are small sectors for now, but are expected to grow. In 2020, they received investment of $1.5 billion and $3 billion, respectively down 20% and up 212%

3. Energy Prices: Brace for more Price Hikes in the New Year


  • SSE is the monopoly Gas supplier to the UK West area, while Firmus has the monopoly in the so-called 'Ten Towns' area
  • In August, Utility Regulator Chief Executive John French gave a warning of what was to come, saying that "unprecedented" increases in international wholesale prices
  • As expected SSE increased prices by 21.8%, while Firmus' increase in prices was more than 35%. Respectively, this caused an annual increment in energy prices of £112 and £173

4. Race to the bottom: the disastrous blindfolded rush to mine the deep sea

By The Guardian

  • The Island republic of Nauru informed the International Seabed Authority (ISA) of its intention to start mining the seabed in two years’ time
  • This note was a starting gun for a resource race on the planet’s last vast frontier: the abyssal plains that stretch between continental shelves deep below the oceans
  • The risks are enormous. Regulators admit humanity knows more about deep space than the deep ocean. The technology is unproven. State governments have yet to agree on a rulebook on how deep oceans can be exploited

5. What Will It Take for Electric Vehicles to Create Jobs, Not Cut Them?

By The New York Times

  • When President Joe Biden announced his multitrillion-dollar jobs plan in March, it included nearly $175 billion in spending to encourage Americans to buy electric vehicles
  • Electric vehicles have substantially fewer moving parts than gasoline-powered ones and require ~ 30%  less labor to manufacture
  • There are essentially only two ways for a government to offset the projected job losses: to increase the proportion of each vehicle’s parts that are made domestically and/or to sell more vehicles assembled domestically

6. UN Launches pledge to Stop building New Coal Power Plants

By The Straits Times

  • Seven countries (Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Montenegro, Sri Lanka and the UK) have signed a pledge to stop building new coal power plants initiated by the United Nations
  • Burning coal for electricity generation contributes to about a third of the world's total carbon dioxide emissions. All emissions from coal power plants should end by 2040 if the world is to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the International Energy Agency. 
  • The pipeline of new coal power plants has collapsed globally over the past decade. Since 2015, the world has cancelled 1,175GW of coal power plants - about the same size as China's existing coal fleet

7. Blue, Green… Turquoise? Carbon-To-Value And Sustainability In The Hydrogen Palette

By Forbes

  • For hydrogen to be low carbon, the negative CO2 externality must be abated, which pushes the production technology options away from grey and brown production pathways
  • ‘Turquoise’ hydrogen uses natural gas or a gasified fossil fuel as feedstock through a pyrolyzer, creating solid carbon as a by-product which could be used in existing applications
  • The value proposition of methane pyrolysis relies on the availability of sufficiently large markets that can absorb the solid carbon output that will result from the scale-up of turquoise hydrogen

8. Can Green Energy Power Africa's Future?


  • Africa is currently using microgrids - independent energy systems serving specific areas - to provide low-cost, clean energy, powered by solar and wind power to isolated communities
  • Even in the megacities of South Africa and Nigeria, businesses have to deal with rolling power blackouts
  • Many see the gas sector as being kinder to the environment than oil, and therefore a viable proposition alongside renewable energy

9. European Charging Market To Replace Petrol Station Market In Next Decade​

By CleanTechnica

  • Today, the public charging market is estimated at 1,1 million cars times 15,000 kilometers times 140 Wh. That makes a nice 2.31 billion kWh. If the average price is €0.40/kWh, then revenue for the charging companies is about $924 million (only daily charging, not counting travelling)
  • In 2030, the 60% (estimate of people without private charger) of 50 million cars times 12,000 km times 140 Wh/km times €0.35/kWh, which equals €17.5 billion (public charging market)
  • In 2040, the charging market will grow to become a €150 billion market, a lot smaller than the gasoline and diesel markets of yesteryear, but still an interesting and profitable market for those companies that were first and got the best locations

10. How Long Will Europe's Energy Crisis Last?​

By France24

  • The current situation could get even worse as expected cold temperatures will put pressure on already depleted resources. There aren’t short-term solutions for Europe, as LNG supplies from Australia and USA are mainly absorbed by Asia
  • The main causes of gas shortage are: colder weather in Southeast Asia and Europe, increasing heating demand at the beginning of the year and Gazprom not ramping up gas supply to pre-pandemic level
  • This crisis will put the basis for a even faster switch to renewable resources
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