Opinion

The green comeback of public transport

The public transport sector has been hit hard by the covid-19 crisis. Since climate change is not taking a break, electrification must be at the centre of a green recovery. Smart depots will play a crucial role in transforming the face of urban transport, says Monique Mertins at Siemens Smart Infrastructure

Most read this month

The questions climate neutral cities must answer

Why hydrogen trains are tracking hot

After years of stalling, can CCS finally get going in 2021?

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We face a fundamental change of the cost structure on the supply side and a need for a fundamental change.

Jochen Kreusel

- Market innovation manager in the power grids division at ABB Power

They [the European Commission] are looking at this stuff backwards. I still think they are convinced the short-term market model could work even though they are also starting to realise that you need something parallel, with long term price signals that give investors confidence to invest in infrastructure and allow them to see a decent market return.

Francesco Venturini

- Global head of renewables for Italian utility Enel

Despite tremendous cost decline of wind and solar technologies, electricity prices will probably remain too low to attract the level of investment needed.

Fatih Birol

- Executive director of the International Energy Agency

The greatest barrier to overcome is the integration of variable renewables into electricity systems. This will require developing power system flexibility and also a friendly deployment of variable renewables.

Fatih Birol

- Executive director of the International Energy Agency

Battery supply chains the oil pipelines of tomorrow

For savvy investors, upstream opportunities in the EV battery market are opening up, driven by forecasts of soaring demand. Raw materials are plentiful, but mining and refining capacity of the minerals needed for high-grade vehicle batteries is under pressure, say market researchers

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Clay cement can cut up to 3% of global CO2 emissions

Replacing limestone with clay in cement production can cut global CO2 emissions by up to 3%. But there is significant investment tied up in the "old" ways of doing things, and it will be necessary to use a range of incentives—as well as technological advancements—to change the status quo, writes Fleming Voetmann, vice president at FLSmidth

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Investors muscle up and pile on green pressure

Companies involved in activities that carry high climate-related, financial and reputational risks can no longer be certain of securing funds. Investors today have a choice. Green energy has become a comparatively better bet, with a lower risk profile and demonstrably higher returns. Companies can either realign their business strategies or watch institutional investors walk away

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The environmental movement rarely reflects the communities most impacted by climate change

Climate injustices adversely affect communities of colour and low-income communities, yet the issue of environmental justice has still not made it into the mainstream environmental movement—due to the same power structures that perpetuate its impacts. Voices that have been left out of these discussions must be heard, says Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes

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Why building renovation is not yet taking off

Work to increase the energy performance of Europe’s building stock remains sluggish, despite long standing political commitments and the launch of the EU’s Renovation Wave initiative in late 2020. Thomas Boermans, from German energy supply company E.ON, believes considering building renovation as an infrastructure project could help accelerate the movement

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Heavy industry to carbon light

Cement and steel manufacturing are two of the most carbon intensive industries in the world. Electrification can play a role in decarbonising both, though technology innovation is expensive and removing all emissions from the processes is a tall order

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After years of stalling, can CCS finally get going in 2021?

The past 12 months have shown that even drastic changes to our daily lives are not enough to sufficiently reduce emissions and avoid catastrophic global warming. Negative emissions technologies—such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)—will now have to start playing a role, says Suzana Carp, political strategy director at Bellona Europe

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Federal green grid vision gone missing in America

As the United States legislates for higher shares of renewables, the development of its straggling and disjointed grid network to match its clean energy ambitions is lagging behind

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Opinion

New public finance roadmap comes at a critical moment

In 2020, the UK government’s finance advisor, Mark Carney, set out a roadmap for securing private sector finance for the energy transition ahead of the COP26 climate negotiations later this year. But public sector finance must also remain central to the UNFCCC talks, argue Kate Levick and Sonia Dunlop from E3G

Better grid policy for full scale electrification

If we are to take the energy transition seriously, we need to start doing the same with ultracapacitors

Why hydrogen trains are tracking hot

The questions climate neutral cities must answer

Charging ahead with electric vehicle infrastructure

Low-carbon hydrogen is a key ally to electrification

Decarbonised heat within a decade in Denmark

How to decarbonise the building stock in Britain

It is time to bring consumers on board the energy transition

Fixing renewables certificates could boost corporate uptake demand

Revision of TEN-E policy will prove how serious EU is on tackling climate change


What our editors are reading

Fossil fuel peaks continue to occur earlier

Reports

Peak use of oil and gas are set to happen earlier than initially expected, according to the latest report from McKinsey & Company, an American management consulting firm. Oil-demand growth is projected to peak in 2029, driven by the decline in road transport and the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. The chemicals and aviation sectors will retain some oil demand, as well as by emerging economies. Gas demand continues to grow until the late 2030s when it shifts from a baseload provider to flexibility provider. Despite the rapid drop-off global greenhouse gas emissions decline by only around 25% by 2050, implying a 3.5°C pathway.

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Electricity prices hampering UK steel decarbonisation efforts

Reports

The higher price of electricity in the UK is harming the country’s steel industry by making it less competitive against European counterparts. According to research by UK Steel, the average price of electricity in the UK in 2020/21 was roughly €53/MWh, compared to €28/Mwh in Germany. This means UK steel producers must spend an additional €61 million a year on electricity, which could instead be invested in improving the industry—including its green credentials. UK Steel call on increasing the level of renewable levy exemptions, an exemption from Capacity Market costs and linking of the incoming UK ETS to the EU ETS.

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Europe’s PPA market starts to recover post-covid-19

Reports

The worldwide covid-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on the number of power purchase agreements signed in 2020, according to a new report by Swiss software company Pexapark. Following restrictions to movement implemented during the Spring and early Summer of 2020, PPA activity in Europe almost ground to a halt with just 14 deals totalling 644 MW agreed—down from the 2.8 GW signed in January and February. Still, Europe’s PPA market recovered from the slump to post record numbers in 2020. More than 8.9GW of renewables PPAs were reported in Europe, of which 54% (or 4.8GW) were with corporate off-takers.

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