Happy new year!
2022 is going to be the biggest year yet for clean energy. This weekly email will keep an eye on the coming transformation like a hawk. Hope you stick with me. This is edition #12
My aim? To cover the growing interest and investment in cheap, clean energy. It will make our lives vastly better and stop the climate crisis.
I take a tech and financial perspective. What technologies are around the corner? Where is the money coming and going? Who is doing interesting things?
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The electric vehicle revolution is speeding up
Tesla started the year with the announcement had delivered 87% more cars in 2021 compared to 2020; its share-price jumped 13% the following day. Any doubt it will dominate the EV revolution has now vanished.
Why it matters. Electric car adoption is speeding up, not slowing down as some expected. Electric (full & partly) cars were 65% of all new car sales in Norway in 2021, 14% - 20% in China, and over a quarter of all new sales in Germany. In Britain, the Tesla Model 3 was the second best-selling vehicle overall in 2021.
Traditional car companies will find it hard to catch up. Tesla is ahead of its competition because it does so much in-house: from software and hardware to directly sourcing car battery minerals. Most car companies outsourced almost everything, making it harder to embrace new technology, and build it all in-house.
So they’re making announcements in the meantime to placate shareholders. Ford is planning to double production for its electric F-150 Lightning truck. Mercedes-Benz unveiled a concept car with solar panels that can travel 1,000 km (621 miles) on one charge. Volkswagen and Toyota announced $170 billion worth of investment into EVs. Chrysler plans to be all-electric by 2028. General Motors made a blizzard of announcements last week.
Except… much of this won’t start to bear fruit until 2023. By then Tesla may have an insurmountable lead. Traditional automakers hesitated over EVs for years, in 2022 that may prove fatal.
Solar roofs are finally coming of age
Why put solar panels on your roof when you could have a roof made from solar panels?
This was Elon Musk’s case when he acquired SolarCity in 2016. But Tesla has struggled to get SolarCity off the ground because the technology proved difficult. Now, one of America’s top roofing companies says it has a breakthrough.
GAF Energy, sister to one of the largest roofing companies in the world (Standard Industries), has launched a solar roof it says can be nailed down like a regular shingle, reducing the complexity and cost of installation.
“What we’ve built is a nailable solar shingle that goes on as fast or faster than a regular shingle, looks great and generates electricity,” says the company’s President.
Why it matters: GAF Energy’s innovation has the potential to radically speed up the adoption of home solar across the US. Its background is in roofing, not solar - giving the company an advantage over new and more expensive competitors. And it claims to have already installed more solar roofs than Tesla.
“We’re the largest roofing manufacturer in the world; either we’re going to go disrupt the roofing industry ourselves or someone else will.”
New York’s iconic taxis are going electric
Gravity, a new EV and infrastructure startup in New York city, is trying to push it's iconic yellow cabs to go all electric.
Last week it launched the first in a fleet of all-electric NYC yellow taxis designed to “completely reimagine the iconic New York cab”, it said.
Gravity intends to deploy a fleet of at least 50 cabs made up of Ford’s Mustang Mach E (pictured) and the Tesla Model Y cars as taxis.
More news and reading
Battery maker Northvolt has started producing its first lithium-ion battery cell in Sweden. The company, valued at $12 billion last year, says it’s the first such battery developed and assembled by a European battery company.
Swedish company Vattenfall has developed a new type of heat pump that can provide hot water at high temperatures and make cheaper for households to stop using natural gas. It could also remove the requirement for some homes to install insulation or replace radiators.
NextEnergy Solar Fund signed its first co-investment transaction for a 25% stake in a Spanish 50 megawatt (MW) solar project currently under construction.
ESS Tech’s innovative Iron Flow batteries were installed last week at a micro-grid in San Diego, California. Analysts say the company’s batteries – which use iron, salt and water as a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to lithium – are a clean energy milestone.
Heliogen, a provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar energy, is working with CarbonCapture to power its facility to directly remove CO2 from the air.
2021 was a bad year for green hydrogen investors, but a good year for the companies. - WSJ.
How six US states could transform the trucking industry.
New York state will spend $500 million building up ports and manufacturing infrastructure for offshore wind farms in a bid to become home base for the nascent industry.
That’s it! See you next week!