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Energy vs Climate in the News - October 2021

This month, we have a special plug for the Energy Shift newsletter. Each week, Peter Koning looks for meaningful markers of the shift to renewable energy and the electrification & decarbonization of economies around the world. This includes solar, wind, energy storage, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, grid evolution, smart cities, hydrogen, carbon capture and circular design. Scroll beyond EvC in the News for a full issue, subscribe, and view archives of Energy Shift updates at

While we at Energy vs Climate don’t agree with all the opinions shared in Energy Shift or other publications we promote, we are committed to bringing you climate and energy content you may find of interest.

Here's what Energy vs Climate's co-hosts had to say this past month in the news:

Ed Whittingham
(VIDEO) Alberta energy experts talk climate crisis ahead of COP26 - Oct 29 2021 - CBC News

Sara Hastings-Simon
(VIDEO) Alberta's Updated Hydrogen Roadmap - Oct 27 2021 - CBC News (@ 7 minutes)

What the International Energy Agency’s path to net-zero means for Canada’s oil and gas industry - Oct 20 2021 - The Narwhal

(VIDEO) WEO Week: Energy security in transition: orderly or disorderly? - Oct 19 2021 - International Energy Agency

Oil price spike won’t increase industry cleanup spending, Alberta energy minister says - Oct 8 2021 - The Globe and Mail

Energy Shift Bi-Weekly News
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Hi Everyone,
Another rather full week of stories. Jump to my comments for the key stories to focus on. Skim the other headlines at your leisure.

I do welcome your feedback and questions. I also appreciate it when readers point out important stories. It helps me calibrate my thinking for what is significant.

Lastly, the best way to thank me is to encourage someone you know to subscribe.

Thanks and have a great week.
My focus: each week I look for meaningful markers of the shift to renewable energy and the electrification & decarbonization of economies around the world. This includes solar, wind, energy storage, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, grid evolution, smart cities, hydrogen, carbon capture and circular design.

Top Signpost Stories are Organized into three main drivers of the transition to cleaner energy: Technology, Policy and Consumers. What happens in each of these areas could either speed up or slow down the transition. By watching these signposts, we can better understand the trajectory in which we're heading.I also include a consolidated section where I provide my Observations, Comments and Questions.

Disclaimer: This is purely my hobby. I am an employee of an oil and gas exploration and production company, but views expressed here are my own.

View archives of Energy Shift updates on my website:

Observations & Comments
Energy prices have been on the rise as function of higher demand not matched by the supply of gas and oil. Many of us want to see climate change addressed, but we still are still heating our homes with natural gas, refueling our vehicles with gasoline and diesel and our electricity grids are a long ways from being fully green. We'd like to be able to switch to something else. We want it fast, high quality and cheap. Getting all three is rarely possible. Understanding the challenges is important for us to make wise choices to advance the transition we desire. It is why I want you to read Peter Tertzakian's piece about "A Disorderly Energy Transition".

If you're prepared to go one article further, the next feature story has to do with what investors are expecting of US oil companies and how that differs from the expectation being made of the European majors. Tie that to the fossil fuel divestment push (see Finance & Sentiment). The achievement of $39 trillion divested from fossil fuels will be celebrated by those advancing that agenda. I expect those calls to get louder. Yet we have not kicked our habit and we actually still need oil and gas for our economies to run - and will for some time yet. Instead of depriving them of capital, investors ought to be working with oil and gas companies to help lower emissions and create new pathways to power civilization.

An important video I want to bring to your attention is the Energy Futures Lab panel talking about Financing Future Fit Hydrocarbon in the Energy Transition. As an Energy Futures Lab Fellow myself, I have had the pleasure of getting to know the panelists (all except Nicholas Parker) and the facilitators through the work of the Lab. Anyone wanting to unpack the opportunities and challenges in advancing the energy transition - watch this video!  I realize I'm asking a lot. It is over an hour long, but well worth it. You'd be paying big bucks to hear this panel at a conference. Here, it's free.

The parade of announcements continues ahead of the big UN climate meeting starting next week, called COP26 or Conference of the Parties. Israel and Australia announced net zero ambitions, with the latter receiving plenty of criticism for the lack of details. I'm careful to manage my expectations of these meetings. Does anyone know if they're likely to solve Article 6 for international offsets?

How about Hertz's order of 100,000 Tesla's? Another vault towards taking EVs mainstream. Speaking of a different kind of vault, check out the video in the story about Energy Vault landing a customer order for its crane-type energy storage system,

Last week I profiled the conversation at Energy vs Climate about decarbonizing aviation. In the Transportation section, you'll see the first three stories are about just that - a hydrogen fuel cell plane with a 500 mile range, how slightly adjusting altitude could reduce the climate effects of contrails, and a sustainable aviation fuel made from a mustard plant. 

Feature Stories

A Disorderly Energy Transition | Peter Tertzakian, ARC Energy Institute

Climate crisis plus energy crisis does not equal a good path to net-zero emissions. Policy wonks at the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow later this month will have a tough time with this calculus.

It’s been a while since the phrase energy crisis has been thrown around. When I hear it, I have déjà vu to the 1970s, the late-2000s and other lesser episodes in between. I reflect on societal hardship, ugly politics and uncertain outcomes.

Today, a panoply of numbers is pointing to a looming energy deficit that may rival big ones of the past. READ MORE

Investors on board as U.S. oil majors dismiss wind and solar projects | BOE Report
Top U.S. oil firms are doubling down on drilling, deepening a divide with European rivals on the outlook for renewables, and winning support from big investors who do not expect the stateside companies to invest in wind and solar. Among a dozen U.S. fund managers contacted by Reuters from companies overseeing about $7 trillion in assets, most said they prefer oil firms to generate returns from businesses they know best and give shareholders cash to make their own renewable bets.
Financing Future-Fit Hydrocarbons in the Energy Transition
On October 27th, the Energy Futures Lab hosted a curated panel featuring energy industry and investment minded professionals to discuss financing the energy transition. They were asked to share their perspectives on growing pressure from the financial community toward net-zero, as well as how companies are reacting, responding, and adjusting their strategies. Watch the video here. 

Panelists include:
  • Chad Park, Vice President, Sustainability & Citizenship at The Co-operators
  • Nicholas Parker, Parker Venture Management
  • Sandra Odendahl, Vice President, Social Impact and Sustainability at Scotiabank
  • Trevor McLeod, Director, Indigenous & Climate Policy at Enbridge

Finance & Sentiment

Global fossil fuel divestment movement surpasses $39trn as cities and faith groups make new pledges | edie
More than 70 faith institutions and the cities of Glasgow, Paris, Copenhagen, Seattle, Auckland and Rio De Janeiro have committed to divest from fossil fuels, pushing the global amount of capital covered by such commitments to $39.2trn.

Dutch pension fund to divest from fossil fuel producers | AP News
The Netherlands’ biggest pension fund announced Tuesday that it will stop investing in companies that produce fossil fuels, saying the move — that has long been demanded by many members of the fund — was prompted by recent climate reports by the United Nations and International Energy Agency.

Canada’s ‘Big Six’ Banks Join Net Zero Banking Alliance | ESG Today
Canada’s six largest banks – BMO, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD – jointly announced that they are signing on to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, placing Canada’s financial sector in the center of the multinational movement to promote and advance global climate goals through lending and investing activities.

Investors Can Now Police Net-Zero Claims With This New Tool | BNN Bloomberg
As corporations have churned out net-zero CO2 pledges, investors have so far had little hope of holding them to account. That’s about to change.The Science Based Targets initiative, a widely respected framework for certifying corporate climate policies, is introducing a Net Zero Standard to provide an “independent assessment of corporate net-zero target setting.” That means there’s now a tool that can reveal whether the growing list of companies — 600 and counting — that are promising net-zero emissions by mid-century actually have credible plans to reach that goal.

Saudi Aramco Pledges to Reach Net-Zero Emissions by 2050 | BNN Bloomberg
Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest exporter of oil, set a goal of reaching net-zero emissions from its operations by 2050, Chief Executive Officer Amin Hassan Nasser said Saturday. The target excludes emissions by customers burning the company’s crude.


Saudi Arabia commits $110B gas field for blue hydrogen development | World Oil

Saudi Arabia said it would use one of the world’s biggest natural-gas projects to make blue hydrogen, as the kingdom steps up efforts to export a fuel seen as crucial to the green-energy transition.

Australian hydrogen ship maker to develop 2.8 GW green facility | pv magazine
Compressed hydrogen ship maker Global Energy Ventures will develop a 2.8 GW green hydrogen export project on the Tiwi Islands, off the coast of the Northern Territory. It says the project will demonstrate the simplicity and efficiency of compressed hydrogen for Asia-Pacific supply chains, and will of course use a fleet of its own hydrogen-powered and hydrogen carrying 430-tonne ships.

BP and Daimler partner to roll-out hydrogen network for UK freight transport | ShareCast
BP and Daimler will work together to accelerate the introduction of a hydrogen network with the aim of decarbonising UK freight transport. Under the terms of their memorandum of understanding, BP will assess the feasibility of building and operating as many as 25 hydrogen refuelling stations across the country by 2030.

Energy Storage 
Gravity-based energy storage tower developer notches a customer order | pv magazine

The gravity-based energy storage tower developed by Energy Vault has reached commercialization, with the company signing an agreement with DG Fuels to supply 1.6 GWh of energy storage.

California's SCE contracts Ameresco for over 2GWh of batteries | Energy Storage News
Clean energy solutions provider Ameresco has contracted with California investor-owned utility Southern California Edison (SCE) to deliver battery energy storage systems (BESS) totalling 537.5MW of output and 2,150MWh.

California’s ‘biggest hybrid renewable power plant’ under construction, Clearway says | Energy Storage News
Construction of the first phase of what has been described as California’s biggest hybrid renewables-plus-storage project got underway earlier this month. Combining 482MW of solar PV with 394MW of battery energy storage in total, utility-scale clean energy project developer Clearway’s Daggett project is being built adjacent to Coolwater Generating Station, a retired coal and natural gas power plant in San Bernadino, California. 

Tesla's prototype battery with 5 times more energy storage comes to life at Panasonic | CNET
Tesla long promised big changes for its future batteries, and Panasonic hopes its latest prototype battery will deliver for the electric carmaker. On Monday, Automotive News reported on the Japanese company's new prototype battery created specifically for Tesla. It promises fives times more energy storage, which may increase ranges significantly.

[From July] China's Envision AESC to create $1.4bn UK electric battery plant for Nissan | CGTN 
Nissan has launched plans for a vast battery plant, known as a gigafactory, in northeastern England, where it will manufacture new electric vehicles as companies and governments accelerate away from fossil-fuel cars. Chinese battery supplier Envision AESC will invest $620 million to build the battery plant, which will run on renewable energy and be able to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles per year.

Tesla orders 45 GWh of EV batteries from CATL | pv magazine
Reports calculated that the single order would be enough to support production of 800,000 vehicles. Chinese media reported that Tesla ordered 45 GWh of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries from Chinese battery producer CATL. The batteries reportedly will be used for the automaker’s Model 3 and the Model Y.

Solar and Wind 
The US is getting its first offshore wind blade factory | Electrek

Spain-headquartered renewables giant Siemens Gamesa announced today that it will build a new offshore wind turbine blade factory in Virginia. The $200 million factory will be the first of its kind in the US.

Why supply chain disruptions may slow down clean energy deployments | GreenBiz
The cost of renewable energy is going up, and that could be bad news for corporate renewable energy commitments — and global climate goals. 

India added 8.8 GW of solar in first nine months of 2021 | pv magazine
The country is expected to reach 14 GW of newly installed PV capacity this year. Of this power, around 11 GW should come from utility scale projects and 3 GW from distributed generation.

Falck, BlueFloat unveil plans for 1.3GW floating wind project offshore Italy |
Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy are planning a second floating offshore wind farm off Puglia, southern Italy.

Lightsource bp to develop 298MW Sun Mountain solar farm in Colorado | NS Energy
Lightsource bp has launched the development of the 298MW Sun Mountain solar farm in Pueblo in the US state of Colorado. The power generated by the new solar farm will be supplied to Xcel Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement.

South Africa’s 2.6 GW renewables tender draws lowest solar bid of $0.02481/kWh | pv magazine
The South African authorities have published the list of the preferred bidders of the fifth round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Around 2.58 GW of renewable energy capacity was allocated through the procurement exercise.

Alaska Air and ZeroAvia are developing a 500-mile range hydrogen-electric plane | Electrek
Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, is collaborating with ZeroAvia to develop a hydrogen-electric powertrain that will be implemented on a 76 passenger plane. When completed, the ZA2000 hydrogen-electric powertrain should boast 2,000-5,000 kW of power with a 500-mile range. As a new investor in ZeroAvia, Alaska Air plans to electrify its aviation to meet its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2040.
Contrails: How tweaking flight plans can help the climate | BBC News
Those wispy white lines that crisscross the skies after an aeroplane flies overhead are far less benign than their fluffy patterns might suggest. Contrails, which heighten the effect of global warming, may account for more than half (57%) of the entire climate impact of aviation. Dr Marc Stettler, transport and environment lecturer at Imperial College London, says changing the altitude of fewer than 2% of flights could potentially reduce contrail-linked climate change by a staggering 59%.

Mustard-powered planes could cut carbon emissions by nearly 70% | EuroNews
After four years of searching, scientists have found a new plant-based aviation fuel that could significantly reduce the environmental impact of flying.

Tesla-Hertz Blockbuster Deal Paves Way to Take EVs Mainstream | BNN Bloomberg
Hertz Global Holdings Inc.’s $4.2 billion deal with Tesla Inc. is about more than just an order for 100,000 cars. It’s about vaulting electric vehicles into the mainstream.

Lion Electric receives conditional PO for 1,000 electric school buses, the largest fleet in North America | Electrek
Medium and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer Lion Electric Co. recently announced a conditional purchase order from Student Transportation of Canada (STC) for 1,000 of its all-electric Lion C school buses. The PO is dependent upon a grant of non-repayable contributions to STC under Canada’s Zero-Emission Transit Fund (ZETF). If approved, STC would become the largest operator of zero-emission buses in all of North America.

London's ULEZ expands, with new zone 18 times larger than original perimeter | edie
London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been expanded this week to cover all of inner London. The expansion from central London now means the ULEZ is 18 times bigger. Because of the expansion, 3.8 million people now live and work within the ULEZ, with the area size representing one-quarter of Greater London.

GM announced the deployment of 40,000 new EV chargers, but it sticks to level 2 | Electrek
GM announced a new program to deploy over 40,000 new EV chargers in the US and Canada. It’s an interesting venture into charging for GM, but the automaker is sticking to level 2.

India’s Electric Vehicle Ambitions Are Arriving on Two Wheels | Bloomberg Hyperdrive
When Ola Electric Mobility priced its electric scooter at 99,999 rupees ($1,337) last month – not too far ahead of the cost of a traditional two-wheeler – it sold 60,000 units in the first 24 hours. Rival manufacturer Hero Electric Vehicles, which is planning to eventually expand annual capacity to 500,000 scooters, argues India could plan to end sales of gasoline-powered two-wheelers as soon as 2027.
Circular Economy 
Wave of investment just the beginning for EV battery recycling | Waste Dive

Within the last month, four lithium-ion battery recyclers saw a collective $255 million worth of investment and another completed a merger. Mathy Stanislaus, interim director of the Global Battery Alliance, said global recycling would need to grow by 25 times its current capacity in order to meet demand for lithium-ion battery materials. 

Australia Sets Target for Net-Zero Emissions by 2050 | BNN Bloomberg 
Australia, one of the world’s top per-capita polluters, finally agreed to a plan to zero out its carbon emissions by 2050. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the target days before he is scheduled to head to Europe for G-20 talks and then the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. It follows a new round of fractious domestic debate on climate policy, an issue that’s riven Australia’s politics for more than a decade and comes after pressure from allies including the U.S. on Australia to show more urgency in action to limit global warming. 

Israel Sets 2050 Net Zero Emissions Target Ahead of COP26 | Financial Post
Israel announced plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, ahead of a United Nations climate conference in the Scottish city of Glasgow. The government will take a number of actions to reach the target including rolling out green infrastructure and developing carbon capture and storage technology, according to a statement from the Prime Ministers Office on Friday.
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