Newsletter #3 - The future is coming... very fast
Every week I share and write about some of the biggest stories on the upcoming energy revolution transforming our world. This is edition #3.
My aim? To cover (and help spur) growing interest and investment in cheap, clean energy. It will make our lives vastly better and stop the climate crisis.
I’m taking a tech and financial reporting perspective. What technologies are around the corner? Where is the money coming and going? Who is doing interesting things?
Super-sized offshore wind turbines are coming… very fast
Most people still don’t seem to know why wind energy has become so cheap. Aside from manufacturing efficiency and access to cheaper capital, there’s one big reason: larger wind-turbines.
Chinese company MingYang is building a wind-turbine with 16 Megawatt capacity. Just four years ago the maximum capacity of an offshore turbine was 8MW.
This week, Joe Biden’s team announced a plan to have large-scale wind farms along nearly the entire coastline of the US. “This is very big, big deal.”
Why scale matters: A single offshore wind farm can now power a million homes. One spin of a mega-turbine can now power a home for a whole day. The demand for turbines and production capacity wasn’t there recently.
The pace of innovation and increasing size in wind energy is taking everyone by surprise. Vestas, the Danish wind giant, is worried it may be ‘too fast’.
China is building a clean energy super-power-station
China’s ambitions for building its clean energy capacity is just… unparalleled. In 2020 it built more clean energy capacity than all other countries combined. Now it’s building supersized-energy-hubs. They should dramatically reduce the cost of energy.
China is a building a 400 gigawatt solar + wind hub in its desert region, said President Xi this week. The initial phase (100 GW) should be finished by 2025 apparently. It will be by far the biggest power station in the world.
For comparison: 100 GW is more than all of India’s current clean energy capacity. China’s enormous Three Gorges Dam has a capacity of 22 GW. In 2020 the entire world installed 260 GW of renewable energy capacity. Nothing this big is remotely being considered in the west.
Why it matters: The shift towards clean energy will be faster than many expect. Plus, China looks like its building energy not just for itself but all of south-east Asia.
Companies are betting the future on ‘green’ hydrogen
Ships handle 80% of all trade around the world and consume over 5 million barrels of oil a day. To stop climate change, they need a new type of fuel. But no one knows for sure what that will be. Since most travel vast distances, batteries aren’t viable.
The UK isn’t far behind. Start-up ITM Power raised £250 million this week to build a green hydrogen hub. Octopus Energy and RES also committed £3 billion on green hydrogen plants. Another consortium wants to turn the oil terminal in Orkney (Scotland) into a green hydrogen facility. (Disclosure: I bought shares in ITM Power)
Hydrogen can be confusing. There are different colours allocated by the industry depending on how it’s made. Grey/black/brown hydrogen uses fossil fuels. Blue uses natural gas (and emissions are captured). Green uses renewable energy to make hydrogen. But… hydrogen has zero emissions only if used in fuel cells, not when burnt with methane.
Electric cars and charging are about to ‘take off’
Pod Point, a leading electric vehicle charging company, plans to go public in London. It predicts 25m charging points will be needed in Britain alone by 2040. It leads the market in home EV charging points. EV charging stations are finally about to take off, says Bloomberg.
Rivian – an electric truck maker funded by Amazon and Ford – is also planning an IPO.
Clean energy investment is fuelling a record run of fundraising for investment trusts in Britain, pulling in more cash than any other kind.
Private equity firms are pouring money into India’s 2-3 wheeler EV market.
A Californian company has raised $10 million for eco-friendly concrete.
An AquaCulture startup is turning seaweed into livestock feed, promising it will reduce methane produced by cows by up to 90%. That could be a big deal.
Infinitum Electric pulled in $40 million to build more of its ultra-high-efficiency, lightweight motors.
Berlin-based startup Made of Air – which produces durable materials from a ‘carbon-negative’ thermoplastic compound – raised €5 million.
That’s it! See you all next week! If you have any comments or suggestions, please do reply!