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Weekly Highlights | From the growth of the electric storage market to an H2 Dakar rally

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By illuminem

· 6 min read

1. The Year in Climate News

By the New York Times

  • The article collects all the NYT articles published in 2021 which refer to climate and sustainability topics
  • The articles are divided in 4 main sections: “Climate change is here”; “Inequality”; “The thorny way forward”; “The politics”
  • The common point between all the articles is that 2021 represented a turning point for the fight against climate change. The energy crisis and Cop26 have helped to spread awareness on this delicate and urgent topic. The last year should be considered as a starting point for a sustainable green revolution

2. How Rapidly Will the Global Electric Storage Market Grow by 2026?​

By the International Energy Agency

  • According to IEA, global installed storage capacity is forecast to expand by 56% in the next five years to reach over 270 GW by 2026, and utility-scale batteries are expected to account for the majority of this growth
  • Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) will provide 42% of global expansion of electricity storage capacity, remaining the largest source of installed storage capacity and achieving 200 GW installed by 2026
  • Addressing global electricity storage capabilities, IEA forecast expects them to increase by 40% to reach almost 12 TWh in 2026, with PSH accounting for almost all of it

3. Green Energy: Which Sources Are the Most Sustainable?

By the Economist 

  • Renewables are an important source of the green transition, but nuclear energy will play a role as well, despite being overlooked. Bioenergy can lead to negative emissions if produced properly, but it is too expensive currently
  • Anti-nuclear movements (e.g., in Germany and Japan), caused by previous accidents, are blocking this technology to fulfill its role in the global energy mix, which is fundamental to achieve net zero
  • In theory, all the human energy needs can be met by solar power. Practically, the conversion rate of that source of energy is extremely inefficient. Hydrogen can play a big role as energy carrier and multi-season long term storage of renewables

4. Why Cop26 Coal Power Pledges Don’t Go Far Enough

By the Guardian

  • The majority of coal-fired power is not being phased out quickly enough to meet climate goals and avoid catastrophic global heating, despite new pledges made at Cop26
  • Currently, the world’s total capacity for coal-based power is 2.068 gigawatts (GW). After Cop26 pledges, 351 GW are expected to be retired soon. Another 1.628 GW are expected to be retired but not quickly enough
  • China, India and USA together account for 75% of global coal capacity. Only 6% of their coal power fleet is expected to be retired in line with Paris targets

5. Global Shipping in Crosshairs as Environmental Scrutiny Deepens

By Reuters

  • Shipping, which transports about 90% of world trade and accounts for nearly 3% of the world's CO2 emissions, is under growing pressure from environmentalists to deliver more concrete action including a carbon levy
  • Shipping will need $2.4 trillion to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, with around $500 billion required by 2030, according analyst estimates
  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO) said concrete progress was made in 2021 on combating climate change including new regulations to improve the energy efficiency of the world fleet

6. The Real Climate Change Challenge

By Politico

  • Our narrow focus on lowering our emissions has made us overly reliant on technological solutions, which has turned climate change into an engineering challenge rather than a political battle
  • The science is clear that keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius  is part of the answer, but we must not forget that this is only one facet of the environmental multi-crisis we have created
  • Instead of asking how fast we can decarbonize, we should be asking: How do we avoid an environmental catastrophe and increase humanity’s chances for survival?

7. Ships Carrying Natural Gas Head for Europe as Prices Surge to New High

By the Financial Times

  • During last week of December 2021, European gas prices leapt 23% to a record €182 per MWh as Russian gas flows on a key pipeline stopped
  • Minerva Chios, a US LNG tanker, was heading east near India on December 15 but has since turned round and was now on course for the Suez Canal, suggesting a delivery to Europe
  • Torbjorn Tornqvist, the founder and CEO of Gunvor, the world’s biggest independent LNG trader, said he expected to see 15 to 20 cargoes, in addition to the normal flow, heading to Europe in January.

8. China Talks Up 'Green' Olympics but Prepares to Fight Smog

By Reuters

  • Beijing has improved its air quality since China won its bid to host the Games, but the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has said winter smog risks remained "severe"
  • Critics warned in 2015 - when China won its bid - that the Winter Olympics could be overshadowed by hazardous smog. Since then, China has planted thousands of hectares of trees in Beijing and surrounding Hebei province, built sprawling wind and solar farms, and relocated hundreds of enterprises
  • Officials said during a government-organised tour this week that all 26 Olympic venues in Beijing and Hebei province would be 100% powered by renewable energy

9. How to Make Up Your Mind About the Pros and Cons of Nuclear Power

By Tech Xplore

  • Firstly, nuclear projects stretch over decades, between R&D and construction, thus long-term choices must be made. Secondly, price-wise, while it is difficult to estimate the cost of the whole life cycle of a plant, planning ahead is crucial (waste management, decommissioning, etc...) and nuclear power can be a cheap energy source
  • Safety concerns are politically heavy, though significant progress in know-how followed Chernobyl and Fukushima. Nuclear has two main pros in terms of climate action: no carbon emissions when producing power and regularity of supply
  • Adoption of nuclear power is mostly political, by reducing reliance on oil imports and coupling civil and military research. In summary, the list of arguments is very extensive. Citizens should consider all arguments when making up their minds

10. Dakar Rally To See Its First Hydrogen Truck Entry By Gaussin In Partnership With Aramco

By Forbes

  • Gaussin, a French manufacturer of zero emissions vehicles for the transport and logistics sector, has prepared a unique entry into the Dakar race with its class 8 hydrogen truck designed by Pininfarina
  • Gaussin considers itself an enabler, trailblazer, and innovator in clean transportation and the best way to show this energy would be to bring H2 technology to the market by building and entering a hydrogen truck for Dakar
  • H2 Racing Truck incorporates an impressive powertrain driven by two e-motors of 300 kW each, 380 kW of fuel cells in combination with 82 kWh of batteries
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