In May the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules regulating carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Here, four experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies – Cy McGeady, John Larsen, Kyle Danish and Mathias Zacarias – make their assessment and point at the wide-ranging implications. The main issues covered include CCS, hydrogen-fuelled generation, state clean energy standards, carbon pricing, … [Read more...]
Financing Renewable Hydrogen globally: ramp up to 2030 only needs $150bn/year
Dolf Gielen, Priyank Lathwal and Silvia Carolina Lopez Rocha at the World Bank present a thorough review of the pathway to financing global clean renewable hydrogen over the coming decades. The wind and solar that powers production will continue to get cheaper, and so will electrolyser costs as they scale up. Nevertheless, the total financing will still be considerable. World Bank analysis shows around $30tn between now and 2050 will be needed … [Read more...]
Five charts on the Energy Transition: the 2020s is the decade of maximum disruption. By 2030 the endgame will be clear
Sam Butler-Sloss and Kingsmill Bond at RMI present a succinct summary of why the energy transition matters, how the 2020s is the era of maximum disruption, and how by 2030 the transition’s endgame will be apparent (though far from complete). Four key technologies are already entering the exponential growth stage: solar, wind, EVs and heat pumps. As early as 2030 their cheapness will flush away the fossil equivalents in succeeding decades, say the … [Read more...]
Global “explosive” growth means 1 in 3 new cars will be electric by 2030. But SUV emissions could wipe out those gains
More than a third of all new vehicles sold globally in 2030 will be electric, according to the IEA. That’s a doubling of its prediction made only two years ago. Josh Gabbatiss at Carbon Brief summarises the report. The IEA describes the growth as “explosive”: from just 1% of global car sales in 2017, to 14% last year, and now 18% expected by the end of 2023. China has consistently dominated those sales while new policies in the U.S. and EU are … [Read more...]
How can Europe stop U.S. and China dominance of cars and batteries without being protectionist?
European and Chinese car and battery makers are making plans to set up plants in the U.S. to take advantage of their big new “made in the USA” subsidies. They can then ship their vehicles to Europe to sell into its very large and generously subsidised company car market. This puts electric vehicle production in Europe at a serious disadvantage. As William Todts at T&E explains, the EU must respond, instead of effectively assisting the U.S. … [Read more...]
CO2 emissions from Land Use: country-level data for turning “emitters” into “sinks”
Until carbon capture technologies take off (if at all!), the world’s CO2 removals depend entirely on nature. Clemens Schwingshackl, Wolfgang Obermeier and Julia Pongratz at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, writing for Carbon Brief, review the latest data on “carbon fluxes” which measure whether the land is a net “source” of carbon or a “sink.” Flux measurements are categorised: deforestation, forestation, wood-harvest emissions, removals … [Read more...]
Can Phytomining deliver Critical Minerals at scale: farming plants that accumulate high metal concentrations
Both Europe and the U.S. are making plans to secure supplies of critical minerals as the transition gains pace. Domestic mining or securing import deals with close allies is the main focus. Here, Maria Krol-Sinclair and Thomas Hale at CSIS review the prospects for a new method that will require neither: phytomining. Some plants, called hyperaccumulators, soak up high concentrations of metals into their leaves, bark, and roots. These plants can … [Read more...]
Record clean-power growth in 2023: is Coal and Gas decline now structurally embedded?
Last year, wind and solar reached a record 12% of global electricity generation, according to think tank Ember’s latest global electricity review. The overall share of all forms of low-carbon electricity rose to almost 40% of total generation. Josh Gabbatiss at Carbon Brief goes through the Ember review which heralds this as the moment fossils began their permanent decline. Ember calls it “structural” and “enduring” because previous declines only … [Read more...]
Poorly defined “efficiency” incentives birthed the SUV. Beware the same mistake with “clean energy” jobs, “domestic” batteries + more
Financial support for the transition needs clear and carefully chosen definitions of what qualifies for that support. Getting it wrong leads to unintended consequences, some which may not reduce emissions, explains James Sallee at the Energy Institute at Haas. Ever wondered why SUVs and big cars proliferated after the 1970s in the U.S. (and are on roads all over the world now)? The 1970s oil crisis triggered new rules that penalised fuel … [Read more...]
The U.S. is moving faster than the EU on Methane regulations. Why?
Ben Cahill at the Center for Strategic and International Studies takes a deep dive into U.S. and EU progress on regulating methane emissions. It’s vitally important because methane has more than 80 times the warming potential of CO2 in its first 20 years in the atmosphere. In his assessment, Cahill explains why the U.S. is likely to move much faster than the EU. Unlike the U.S., the EU is a big importer of gas so needs its rules complied with by … [Read more...]
Li-ion Grid Batteries aren’t always the best replacement for Gas Peakers
Gas peakers need to be replaced with something cleaner. Like grid batteries. But the question is “when”, says Maximilian Auffhammer at the Energy Institute at Haas. Summarising his co-authored paper, he explains that a review of 19 gas peakers in the U.S., replaced with Li-ion grid-scale batteries, reveals only 5 make economic and climate sense (i.e. a positive net present value after including monetised climate and human health impacts). … [Read more...]
Geothermal Heat Pumps: can new U.S. “IRA” support make it go mainstream?
Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S. is meant to drive forward the best clean energy solutions. To help make sure geothermal heat pumps play their fullest role, RMI has done a study of its benefits as well as published guides on how developers can take advantage of the various new laws and support mechanisms. Lauren Reeg, Mike Henchen, Chris Potter and Chris Stone at RMI start with a summary of the technology and its applications, before … [Read more...]
Turning Ethanol production’s CO2 by-product into E-Fuels using Wind power
With vast open spaces, Midwest states in the U.S. produce millions of gallons of ethanol from corn as well as thousands of kilowatt-hours of electricity from wind farms every year. Research led by NREL is working on using wind power to drive electrolysers that turn the ethanol’s CO2 by-product into e-fuels, explains Erik Ringle at NREL. A typical 50 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant releases 14 tons of CO2, a natural by-product of … [Read more...]
Renewables “cost of capital” in Europe lower than oil, gas, coal. What the U.S. and China can learn
The ultimate price of anything is highly dependent on the cost of capital needed to put it in place. That cost reflects the risks financial markets perceive. And policy certainty reduces risk. Gireesh Shrimali, Christian Wilson and Xiaoyan Zhou at Oxford University, writing for WEF, summarise their global study which shows the cost of capital for different energy technologies, and therefore which ones will trend upwards and dominate. They cover … [Read more...]
IEA’s global “CO2 Emissions in 2022” report: by sector, fuel, region, heating +more
The IEA has published “CO2 Emissions in 2022”, giving estimates of CO2 emissions from all energy sources and industrial processes globally. Emissions from energy combustion increased by 423 Mt, while emissions from industrial processes decreased by 102 Mt. Emissions from various sources (sector, fuel, region, heating, etc.) are broken down, with reasons for why the change happened. The report is part of the IEA’s first global stocktake of the … [Read more...]
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