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Climate change is driving 2022 extreme heat and flooding

Cracked and dry earth is seen in the wide riverbed of the Loire River near the Anjou-Bretagne bridge as a heatwave hits Europe, in Ancenis-Saint-Gereon, France, Jun 13, 2022. Image: Reuters/Stephane Mahe

From Reuters

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) – Extreme weather events – from scorching heatwaves to unusually heavy downpours – have caused widespread upheaval across the globe this year, with thousands of people killed and millions more displaced.

In the last three months, monsoon rains unleashed disastrous flooding in Bangladesh, and brutal heatwaves seared parts of South Asia and Europe. Meanwhile, prolonged drought has left millions on the brink of famine in East Africa.

Much of this, scientists say, is what’s expected from climate change.

On Tuesday, a team of climate scientists published a study in the journal Environmental Research: Climate. The researchers scrutinized the role climate change has played in individual weather events over the past two decades.

The findings confirm warnings of how global warming will change our world – and also make clear what information is missing.

For heatwaves and extreme rainfall, “we find we have a much better understanding of how the intensity of these events is changing due to climate change,” said study co-author Luke Harrington, a climate scientist at Victoria University of Wellington.

Less understood, however, is how climate change influences wildfires and drought.

For their review paper, scientists drew upon hundreds of “attribution” studies, or research that aims to calculate how climate change affected an extreme event using computer simulations and weather observations.

There are also large data gaps in many low- and middle-income countries, making it harder to understand what’s happening in those regions, said co-author Friederike Otto, one of the climatologists leading the international research collaboration World Weather Attribution (WWA).

HEATWAVES

With heatwaves, it’s highly probable that climate change is making things worse.

“Pretty much all heatwaves across the world have been made more intense and more likely by climate change,” said study co-author Ben Clarke, an environmental scientist at the University of Oxford.

In general, a heatwave that previously had a 1 in 10 chance of occurring is now nearly three times as likely — and peaking at temperatures around 1 degree Celsius higher – than it would have been without climate change.

An April heatwave that saw the mercury climb above 50C (122 Fahrenheit) in India and Pakistan, for example, was made 30 times more likely by climate change, according to WWA. 

Heatwaves across the Northern Hemisphere in June – from Europe to the United States – highlight “exactly what our review paper shows … the frequency of heatwaves has gone up so much,” Otto said.

RAINFALL AND FLOODING

Last week, China saw extensive flooding, following heavy rains. At the same time, Bangladesh was hit with a flood-triggering deluge.

Overall, episodes of heavy rainfall are becoming more common and more intense. That’s because warmer air holds more moisture, so storm clouds are “heavier” before they eventually break.

Still, the impact varies by region, with some areas not receiving enough rain, the study said.

DROUGHT

Scientists have a harder time figuring out how climate change affects drought.

Some regions have suffered ongoing dryness. Warmer temperatures in the U.S. West, for example, are melting the snowpack faster and driving evaporation, the study said.

And while East African droughts have yet to be linked directly to climate change, scientists say the decline in the spring rainy season is tied to warmer waters in the Indian Ocean. This causes rains to fall rapidly over the ocean before reaching the Horn. 

WILDFIRE

Heatwaves and drought conditions are also worsening wildfires, particularly megafires – those that burn more than 100,000 acres.

Fire raged across the U.S. state of New Mexico in April, after a controlled burn set under “much drier conditions than recognized” got out of control, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fires burned 341,000 acres.

TROPICAL CYCLONES

On a global scale, the frequency of storms hasn’t increased. However, cyclones are now more common in the central Pacific and North Atlantic, and less so in the Bay of Bengal, western North Pacific and southern Indian Ocean, the study said.

There is also evidence that tropical storms are becoming more intense and even stalling overland, where they can deliver more rain on a single area.

So while climate change might not have made Cyclone Batsirai any more likely to have formed in February, it probably made it more intense, capable of destroying more than 120,000 homes when it hit Madagascar. 

Author: Gloria Dickie

Singapore’s water tech companies, research institutes make waves worldwide

Wateroam’s portable water filter technology has been exported to 38 countries, including Nepal, Malaysia and Indonesia. Image: Wateroam

SINGAPORE – Water tech innovations and infrastructure that have helped water-scarce Singapore meet its daily water demands are now making waves worldwide, bringing clean water and sanitation to communities around the globe.

The Republic is a leading global hydrohub with an ecosystem of more than 200 water companies and 25 water research centres spanning the entire water value chain, including water supply, used water management and stormwater management, such as flood protection measures, said national water agency PUB.

Some local companies have also been commercialising their solutions in other parts of the world.

Wateroam, a company founded in 2014, has developed portable water filters to deliver clean water to countries as part of emergency response and humanitarian relief for disaster-hit areas.

The technology, which is designed to be as simple as possible, has been exported to 38 countries, including Nepal, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Non-profit organisation Lien Foundation launched the Lien Environmental Fellowship in 2010 to equip Asian scientists and researchers from selected regional countries with the skills and resources needed to tackle challenges related to water and sanitation, as well as renewable energy projects in their home countries.

Successful applicants receive mentorship from the Nanyang Technological University’s Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (Newri), where they receive technical and financial support to transform their ideas into viable solutions.

A total of 18 projects have been administered in nine countries as at May this year.

Lien Foundation chief executive Lee Poh Wah told The Straits Times that each project has to be tailored to the unique challenges of each community and the solutions have to be long-term, sustainable ones that have garnered local support and engagement.

Recently, the Lien Environmental Fellowship programme embarked on a new project to sample the water quality of Kathmandu’s heavily polluted Bagmati River to determine the source and extent of the pollution.

There has been continuous dumping of solid waste, domestic sewage and industrial waste in the river.

Noting that plastic pollution in the water was immense, Newri executive director Shane Snyder said that a possible solution could involve a plastic upcycling technology, with plastic waste converted to diesel fuel to alleviate the high fuel costs that Nepal is currently experiencing.

He added that plastic waste – when left in water – can cause toxic chemicals to leach, which can be harmful for the human body.

Freelance climate change and senior watershed expert Madhukar Upadhya from Nepal, who was not involved in the project, said the idea was great, as it could provide jobs to those collecting plastic waste and incentivise households to save their plastic waste to sell it.

The Fellowship programme also saw some of Singapore’s best innovations – such as its membrane technology – benefit less-privileged communities.

For instance, Myanmar’s Mandalay city had extremely hard water – full of calcium content, as well as E. coli bacteria and other pathogens.

“We knew that the nanofiltration method (which is typically used to soften and disinfect water) would be the way to go – but there was no such system available,” said Professor Snyder.

However, local water tech company Century Water, picked up the intellectual property rights from NTU and the National University of Singapore – which also does water tech research – and installed a membrane nanofiltration system there at a low cost.

“The operations are still going strong, despite the coup there and even amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

Mr Lee said that having clean water is the very foundation for health and human development.

“Without clean water, no country could ever escape poverty… and just as Singapore has become a global water hub, we have also benefited from foreign investment during the early days. So this is our way of paying it forward.”

Author: Cheryl Tan

RETC releases 2022 Module Index Report

Image: RETC

The Renewable Energy Test Center has released a new report on PV module performance.

From pv magazine USA

The Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) has released its “2022 PV Module Index” (PVMI) report, highlighting module performance across a variety of lab tests, while also providing industry-cited clarifications on the real-world significance of the results.

The 2022 PVMI marks the first edition released since VDE acquired a 70% stake in RECT. President and CEO Cherif Kedir said the move will allow RETC to expand its testing services to a broader network of manufacturers, investors, insurers and developers, all in pursuit of minimizing risk and uncertainty in favor of long-term reliability, sustainability and profitability by designing better data-driven risk mitigation programs and service products.

RETC Vice President of Business Development Daniel Chang told pv magazine the 2022 PVMI takes a more forward-looking approach than previous editions, supplementing testing results and hardware performance with emerging industry trends that are going to guide the use of this hardware and investments in projects that utilize it into 2023 and beyond.

Cherif Kedir, President and CEO of RETC

“We focus on what we think are going to be topics that are going to be relevant for the upcoming year, like the onset of N-Type modules, and field services,” explained Chang. “There are a lot of installations out there degrading at a faster pace than expected. These installations are investments in assets made by banks to yield some sort of financial benefit to them, right? If they have some sort of degradation, then that’s not performing the way that was expected and planned for.”

Specifically, RETC is interested in forensic analysis of PV systems to determine the root causes of underperformance. This investigation is the culmination of different analyses to be done over the life of a project, starting with a baseline third-party module health assessment during project commissioning.

In instances of underperformance, RETC recommends Electroluminescence (EL) testing. EL testing uses a special camera system to document the light emissions that occur when an electrical current passes through PV cells. The technology has long been used in labs to detect a wide range of hidden module defects.

Another aspect of forensic analysis is predictive maintenance, wherein a third party inspects plants from periodically to detect issues that may not be visible at a base overview, but could develop into much larger issues if allowed to linger.

While Chang brought to light the ongoing issue of degradation and the developing need for advanced field services, Kedir focused more on the technology side, researching where the next wave of module innovation will come in a post-large-format world.

Panasonic Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin Layer (HIT) solar cell

That innovation, he thinks, will come from heterojunction n-type modules (HJT).

“I think leading manufacturers are kind of a crossroad point right now, in terms of how to get more power out of modules without making the modules just unreasonably large, because they’re already pretty damn big,” Kedir said. “The other reason I think manufacturers may be hesitant to make their modules larger is that everybody is testing the waters with heterojunction cells, so that they can eke out more more watts per module, without having to increase the size. With the module technologies they currently have, I don’t think they’re able to get a lot more efficiency out of the cell, so they’re trying to figure out how to get more power without increasing the module size, and the next, the next logical thing is to go to different technologies, Topcon and heterojunction.”

In an op-ed for pv magazine in November 2021, Nadeem Haque – chief technology officer at Heliene – outlined some of the distinct technology advantages that HJT presents. HJT cell manufacturing involves the deposition of an amorphous layer of silicon on both the top and bottom of the wafer followed by a transparent conducting oxide deposition and making of metal contacts.

HJT cell production lines are currently expensive, almost prohibitively so, and new lines need to be built. The cells require a more expensive metallization paste to manufacture. HJT cells are by nature bifacial, with bifaciality rates above 90%, the highest of any cell technology. Higher bifaciality and lower temperature coefficients result in higher energy output, and HJT cells in mass production are expected to reach about 27% efficiency.

“You can gauge where the industry is going based on where investment money is going, and we hear a lot about companies investing money in heterojunction cell lines in Asia, so I think that’s probably going to be a trend,” said Kedir.

The last industry trend examined by RETC is mitigating the effects of extreme weather on PV systems, a topic which pv magazine has reported on extensively with RETC and other partners, like VDE Americas.

Module index

The core of the report is a review of modules’ performance across a range of tests that are designed to go beyond the parameters of tests for certification and accurately project what each module’s strengths are, rather than compare and rank them against one another.

The tests are split up into three categories, each of which analyzes a different aspect of module excellence: quality indicators, performance indicators, and reliability indicators. In testing, the researchers at RETC noticed a new trend that some of the performance and reliability gaps from manufacturer to manufacturer have widened, as opposed to the narrowing they observed in recent years.

“Some of the issues that we saw over the last year have been related to manufacturers faced with their own supply chain issues and inability to get their raw materials,” explained Kedir. “They’ve had to go to other sources, secondary and tertiary sources of cells and backsheets, and then that triggered a few failures, we saw more of them last year. What’s been lingering is potential-induced degradation (PID) and some related performance stuff. On cells, PID, for all intents and purposes, had been completely solved a few years ago, but then it reappeared throughout the pandemic, with the supply chain issues, we see some of that leftover.”

This is a phenomenon that Kedir expects to see continue, at least in the short term. The issue may linger as a result of the recently-announced two year moratorium on the DOC’s anticircumvention case, he said.

“Demand is going to is going to pick up in the US,” he began. “The upcoming traceability requirements are going to put a constraint on the cell supply from forced labor regions, which means you’re not going to have enough cell supply for them for the market demands. This causes supply separation between manufacturers. Some larger manufacturers have already completely mitigated that issue, developed a new supply chain for polycrystal, and have new cell lines in Southeast Asia. Those guys are going to fare out much better than a manufacturer who hasn’t put in that infrastructure already. They’re going to have to try to source cells from other places or other manufacturers that may or may not be as good as their initial supply.”

While the gap between top-tier, established module manufacturers and some newer market entrants is widening, RETC still had a number of manufacturers perform well across their litany of tests.

Based on available testing data, RETC highlighted Hanwha Q CELLS, JA Solar, and LONGi Solar as the overall top three performers of the year. The recognition does not stop with the top performers, however, and RETC listed some of the manufacturers who scored the highest marks in individual tests, listed below.

Hail durability:

  • LONGi Solar

Thresher test:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Tesla

LeTID resistance:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Trina Solar

LID resistance:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Trina Solar

Module efficiency:

  • JA Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • REC Solar
  • Silfab Solar
  • Tesla
  • Yingli Solar

Pan file performance:

  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Trina Solar

PTC-to-STC ratio

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • REC Solar
  • Silfab Solar
  • Tesla
  • Yingli Solar

Damp heat test

  • JA Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • Tesla

Dynamic mechanical load test:

  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar

PID resistance:

  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar

Thermal cycle test:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Tesla

RETC said the rankings are comprehensive only to data that the company has collected, so modules from other manufacturers could perform similarly to the ones listed above, but the organization cannot make an overall determination regarding high achievement in manufacturing without module tests data across the three categories.

The report concludes with a look at a number of notable changes and revisions anticipated in the upcoming edition of IEC 61730, a two-part standard pertaining to PV module safety qualification, as well as upcoming updates to IEC TS 62915, a technical specification pertaining to PV module approval, design and safety qualification.

The standards analysis is expansive, and pv magazine will cover these pending changes in a follow-up to this article.

Author: Tim Sylvia

A fast-changing renewables PPA landscape

Structured PPAs are becoming more common in mature PV markets, where risks are shared. Image: Axpo Solutions

Power purchase agreements are ideal risk-management tools, given that electricity price volatility is the new normal and renewables uptake is a matter of urgency due to untenable Russian gas dependency. pv magazine sat down with Andy Sommer, team leader of fundamental analysis and modeling at Swiss trader Axpo Solutions, to discuss the situation of prices and PPAs in Europe.

From pv magazine 05/2022

Wholesale electricity prices in Europe have been rising – a trend which started before the war in Ukraine, but is no doubt exacerbated by it. How long will it continue?

It’s impossible to tell of course, nobody has a crystal ball and under current conditions predicting in the near term, let alone the more distant future, is risky. It’s a basic liability issue. But we can understand the many different factors, including how long Russia’s war against Ukraine lasts, and whether imports of Russian gas by Europe (and potentially other relevant countries, especially in Asia) will eventually be banned. The weather in Asia and the Americas, and the availability of replacements for Russian coal in Europe/Japan are other factors which could contribute to continued price increases.

The medium-term development is important for those planning and building PV power plants. What do you expect for wholesale electricity prices in the medium term (five to 10 years)? Can PV investors rely on higher revenues?

As mentioned, the short-term outlook for Europe’s electricity prices is almost impossible to judge right now. Neither can we predict with any certainty whether politicians are going to intervene further in the markets, affecting how fast renewable power generation capacities can expand, for example.

Assuming that PV and wind will continue to be built quickly (supported either by subsidies or favorable market conditions), that the phasing down of coal and nuclear continues as scheduled, and the general energy transition progresses, we believe wholesale market prices will decline substantially in the mid-term versus current levels. This would be due to the presence of more renewable energy sources (RES) in the system, reducing the need for low-efficiency thermal plants, and a significantly less tight gas market (with increasing volumes of LNG coming online around 2025) more than compensating for higher carbon costs.

In the long term, factors such as the cost of investment in carbon capture, utilisation and storage and green hydrogen technologies could become a stabilising influence. Nevertheless, as long as Europe is dependent on LNG imports to cover its gas needs, the market will remain dependent on weather, as well as economic and political conditions in Asia and other regions of the world.

Axpo is a major PPA offtaker in Europe. What does electricity price volatility mean for new solar PPA prices and contracts?

The risks associated with PV development through PPAs have not changed; they always existed. However, we are now seeing most of them under an unprecedented spotlight, including factors such as electricity price volatility, regulatory uncertainty, CPI shocks, transportation difficulties, and permitting delays, among others.

PPAs as risk mitigation tools are adapting to this new reality with more flexible approaches to cope with potential delays, more short-term contracts to capture temporary price spikes, floor structures to leave potential price upsides within the project developer, and more structured approaches to capture higher prices, such as baseload hedges instead of traditional pay-as-produced contracts, and more.

PV plants with a PPA business model don’t need subsidies. Considering that electricity prices are high, what limits the growth of this sector?

Current limits include the not-in-my-backyard or the NIMBY social phenomenon, the limitations of electricity grid infrastructure, and sometimes complex, lengthy and bureaucratic approval/permitting processes, although these hurdles are now beginning to be addressed politically.

The PV-PPA market in Spain is probably the most mature in Europe. What can other countries learn from there?

We have seen the Iberian PV-PPA market evolve over a very short period of time. We started with traditional pay-as-produced structures, in which the producer is paid a fixed price for the full production of a power plant. It was an environment where there was little demand for buying power long-term, and PPAs were seen as an alternative to pay-as-produced feed-in-tariffs.

In a more mature market with many different players, we now see more structured PPAs, where risks are not only borne by the off-taker, but also shared between the two parties. It makes a lot of sense, since pay-as-produced contracts provide very limited returns on the investment and are only suitable for very risk-averse investors. Higher ROIs are still achievable in more sophisticated PPA structures with shared risks, which should be suitable for investors with greater market knowledge and experience.

Does the uncertainty of electricity price instability make PPAs more attractive?

It most certainly does. PPAs are risk management tools that enable developers to secure their investments. These contracts are adapting to different investor needs and market views.

WTO goes green as climate change impacts trade

The WTO is staging its first meeting of trade ministers in nearly five years and environmental issues are rocketing up the agenda. Image: EPA-EFE

From AFP

GENEVA (AFP) – The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) boss insisted on Monday (June 13) that turning trade green was now urgent business, with the WTO putting climate change at the heart of its negotiations.

The WTO is staging its first meeting of trade ministers in nearly five years and environmental issues are rocketing up the agenda at the global trade body.

The European Union on Monday teamed up with Ecuador, Kenya and New Zealand to launch a new Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate, in the expectation that other countries will join the forum.

And diverse nations are already banding together in other groups to try and find mutual ways forward on topics such environmentally sustainable trade and tackling plastic pollution.

“Greening trade is urgent: climate change isn’t waiting,” WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said after attending the new coalition’s launch on day two of the WTO ministerial conference in Geneva.

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said the new group would try to tackle the climate crisis in a fair manner through trade policy.

“Trade has to be part of the solution. It is an engine of growth that can create new green jobs, reduce poverty and support the transition to climate-neutral economies,” he told the group’s launch.

Children’s future

Its ministers want to boost trade, and trade policies, in support of sustainable development and the 2015 Paris Agreement climate goals.

A first meeting is planned for July to work out the coalition’s next steps.

Climate change is not strictly within the WTO’s purview but the organisation – which is looking to revive its importance on the world stage – wants to make sustainable development and environmental protection among its core objectives.

“We need to profoundly change how we produce and consume things if we want our children to have a sustainable, peaceful and comfortable life in 50 years’ time,” said WTO deputy director-general Zhang Xiangchen.

The WTO traditionally reaches agreements by consensus, and some of its 164 members form groups on various issues to try and find ways forward, with climate change being no exception.

Several dozen WTO member countries pledged in late December to intensify discussions on plastic pollution, fossil fuel subsidies and environmentally sustainable trade, in a move hailed as historic by Mr Okonjo-Iweala.

Fossil fuel subsidies ‘insane’

Australia’s WTO ambassador George Mina, who co-chairs the Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution, said 72 countries were now on board.

Mr Mina said countries had failed to tackle major environmental problems through the WTO, but in recent months, “we’ve seen a significant elevation in the profile, energy and focus” on such issues.

“Trade policy has to be a part of the solution on the environment and climate change response,” he said.

Co-chair Li Chenggang, China’s WTO ambassador, added: “Plastic is an important basic raw material but the leakage of plastic waste in the natural environment has brought environmental pollution and harm.”

At a press conference on fossil fuel subsidies, Iceland’s Foreign Minister Thordis Kolbrun R. Gylfadottir said renewable energy was “good business”, making economic and environmental sense.

“The fact that global subsidies for fossils fuels exceed those for renewable energy should come as a wake-up call for all of us,” she said.

Meanwhile New Zealand’s trade minister Damien O’Connor said subsidies at a time when countries needed to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels “seems somewhat contradictory, if not insane”.

The Hydrogen Stream: World’s first hydrogen-powered towboat

Image: Hermann Barthel

Shipbuilder Hermann Barthel has developed the world’s first push boat to combine battery-electric propulsion with hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Iberdrola and Fertiberia, meanwhile, have commissioned Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plant.

From pv magazine

Hermann Barthel has unveiled Elektra, the world’s first towboat to feature hydrogen power and fuel cell technology. It built the push boat at a shipyard in Derben, Germany, over a period of almost two years. “The entire project is a blueprint for climate and environmentally friendly inland navigation and a true pioneering achievement, not only technically but also in regulatory terms,” said German Minister for Transport Volker Wissing.

Washington State University researchers have used an ethanol and water mixture in a novel conversion system with an anode and a cathode to produce pure compressed hydrogen. The process could reduce the cost of hydrogen transport. “Hydrogen could be made on site at fueling stations, so only the ethanol solution would have to be transported,” the researchers said. They put a small amount of electricity into the ethanol and water mixture with a catalyst, electrochemically producing pure compressed hydrogen. The project, funded by the Gas Technology Institute and the US Department of Energy’s RAPID Manufacturing Institute, was recently described in Applied Catalysis A

Iberdrola has commissioned Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plant in Puertollano, Spain. It developed the project, which produces green hydrogen with a 20 MW electrolyzer, for Fertiberia. It includes a 100 MW solar array and four fully integrated 40-foot battery containers, as part of a 1.25 MW/5 MWh battery system supplied by Ingeteam.

UK Energy Storage (UKEn), a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas, has signed a lease agreement with Portland Port Ltd. for two sites at the former Royal Navy port in Dorset, England. It aims to develop an integrated energy hub centered on hydrogen-ready gas storage and future green hydrogen-generating capabilities. The project builds upon an unrealized Portland Gas Storage plan for an underground salt cavern storage facility.

The Port of Tallinn in Estonia and Poland’s Port of Gdynia Authority have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on hydrogen management. Gdynia wants to establish a hub to produce and store renewable hydrogen. It also aims to use hydrogen-based fuels to propel vessels. “Hydrogen will help Port of Tallinn create new value chains and economic opportunities and in doing so reach carbon neutrality,” said Valdo Kalm, CEO of the Port of Tallinn. 

Renewable Energy Hub Flevoland is now set to supply 1 GW of sustainable energy to the Netherlands by 2030, as GIGA-Storage, EQUANS, Circul8 Energy, Smartgrid Flevoland, Solarvation, ACRRES and Wageningen University & Research have agreed to teamed up on its development. The hub will combine wind, solar, batteries and hydrogen. “In this way, power can be continuously supplied to the grid, even when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing,” said the provincial authorities in Flevoland, which aims to become the Dutch testing ground for storage solutions.

Corstyrene inaugurated its first two hydrogen stations on May 19 in Aléria, Corsica. The expanded polystyrene specialist has teamed up with green hydrogen producer Atawey to install an electrolyzer that will produce up to 1 ton of green hydrogen per year, powered by 100 kWp of solar shading systems.

Author: Sergio Matalucci

Global online database for solar parks above 20 MW

Image: Global Energy Monitor (GEM)

Global Energy Monitor (GEM) has launched a new open-source online tool that lists large-scale solar plants in 148 countries.

From pv magazine

Global Energy Monitor (GEM) has unveiled a new online tool to map solar power plants throughout the world with capacities above 20 MW.

The Global Solar Power Tracker (GSPT) can map projects of any status, including operational arrays or announced plants, as well as solar facilities that are under development or under construction. Every solar park is linked to a wiki page on the GEM wiki platform.

The tracking tool provides search results by project name, start-up year, operator, owner, country, capacity, and project status. Currently, it includes 5,190 solar projects with a combined capacity of 298.7 GW across 148 countries. It also includes another 3,551 potential projects, bringing the aggregate total to 651.6 GW.

Author: PILAR SÁNCHEZ MOLINA

Singapore will boost its contributions on the sustainability front: Iswaran

Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran explains why Singapore is joining the First Movers Coalition to create demand for innovative clean energy technologies: Image: The Straits Times

From The Straits Times

DAVOS – As an aviation, maritime and business hub, Singapore can contribute in cutting greenhouse gas emissions well beyond its national carbon footprint.

This is why the Republic is building partnerships with other countries, even as it has set national targets under the Singapore Green Plan 2030, Minister for Transport S. Iswaran told Singapore media in a wrap-up interview.

On Wednesday (May 25), Mr Iswaran announced at the World Economic Forum that Singapore has joined the First Movers Coalition (FMC) alongside Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The coalition also has 55 companies on board, such as Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft, and the Volvo Group, with a combined market capitalisation of some US$8.5 trillion (S$11.67 trillion).

Launched by United States President Joe Biden at the COP26 climate change conference last November, the FMC seeks to pool the collective purchasing power and supply chains of companies in emissions-intensive sectors to create demand for innovative clean energy technologies.

For instance, coalition members commit to buying a percentage of needed industrial materials such as aluminium, concrete and steel, as well as transport spending, from suppliers using near-zero or zero-carbon solutions, even if they have to pay a premium.

“Singapore was honoured to receive the invitation (to join the FMC) and we accepted it because we thought we could contribute by virtue of the fact that as an aviation, maritime, and a business hub, we have manufacturing activities, energy and chemicals, and so on,” said Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations.

He added that Singapore was in a position to contribute by cooperating with the private sector, a point made by US representatives at the meeting who noted that the city-state has always worked closely with its private sector.

Under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 launched in February last year, the Republic aims to become a regional centre for developing new sustainability solutions and a leading centre for green finance and services in Asia.

It will also groom local enterprises so that they can capture sustainability opportunities.

“Clearly, there’s a recognition that Singapore can make a contribution that goes well beyond what we do within our borders at the national level,” he said.

While Singapore is formulating its own sustainable air hub blueprint, it is also working with other aviation hubs on solutions that can have a demonstrative effect on sustainable initiatives for the larger aviation sector, said Mr Iswaran.

Likewise, what Singapore does as a maritime hub will also have important implications for work that can be done in the international maritime community, he added.

The Republic has set up the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation locally to shape standards and find ways to cut the maritime sector’s emissions as quickly as possible.

But it has also signed on as a member of the Clydebank Declaration to create green corridors – zero-emission shipping routes – with other maritime centres, noted Mr Iswaran.

The National Climate Change Secretariat, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Transport said in a joint statement on Thursday that going forward, the Government will engage local firms and encourage them to participate in the FMC. 

“The FMC presents an opportunity for companies to collaborate with like-minded partners and access low-carbon technologies,” they added.

Asked how joining the FMC benefits Singapore’s economy, Mr Iswaran said climate action is a global responsibility, and Singapore needs to be seen doing the right thing as part of the collective effort by the community of nations.

The global emphasis on sustainability means it is in the competitive interest of Singapore’s enterprises to strengthen their sustainability credentials through meaningful initiatives, the minister said.

This is so especially for businesses that have to be part of the global ecosystem, particularly in sectors such as aviation and maritime, added Mr Iswaran.

“Ultimately, we need to make sure that our enterprises in these spaces are able to maintain their competitive position by the quality and sustainability of the services they provide,” he said.

Author: Lim Yan Liang, Political Correspondent

World in one of the most severe energy crises since 1970s: WEF

UN Secretary General Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the short-sighted rush to fossil fuels such as coal and LNG as “madness”. Image: Reuters

From The Straits Times

DAVOS – The war in Ukraine, as well as the pandemic and the quick economic rebound in its aftermath, significantly disrupted energy transition efforts.

This has left the world in one of the most severe energy crises since the 1970s, said the World Economic Forum (WEF) in a new report titled Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022.

The pace of energy transition needs to be supercharged for the world to keep to its sustainability goals, it noted.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew attention to the energy crisis in an address last week (May 19), noting that Russia’s assault on Ukraine will likely have major implications for global heating targets.

Many countries are stepping up the use of coal or imports of liquefied natural gas as alternative sources to Russian energy, he noted, calling the short-sighted rush to fossil fuels “madness”.

WEF, in its latest energy transition report, called for urgent action by both private and public actors to ensure a resilient transition.

This “urgency for countries to accelerate a holistic energy transition is reinforced by high fuel prices, commodities’ shortages, insufficient headway on achieving climate goals and slow progress on energy justice and access”, it said.

Mr Roberto Bocca, head of energy, materials and infrastructure at WEF, said: “Countries are at risk of future events compounding the disruption of their energy supply chain at a time when the window to prevent the worst consequences of climate change is closing fast.”

He added: “Now is the time to double down on action.”

WEF’s report detailed key recommendations for governments, companies, consumers and other stakeholders on measures to advance energy transition.

Countries will need to prioritise efforts to ensure a resilient energy transition and diversification of the energy mix, it stated.

Diversification needs to be pursued on two fronts: Countries need to review their domestic energy mix and consider their fuel and energy suppliers in the shorter term.

Most countries rely on just a handful of trade partners to meet their energy requirements and have a deficient diversification of energy sources, providing limited flexibility to deal with disruptions, said WEF.

The report noted that of 34 countries with advanced economies, 11 rely on only three trade partners for more than 70 per cent of their fuel imports.

More countries need to make binding climate commitments, create long-term vision for domestic and regional energy systems, attract private-sector investors for decarbonisation projects and help consumers and the workforce adjust, the report added.

Author: Shefali Rekhi

Climate change indicators hit record highs in 2021: UN

The declining water levels on Lake Mead is a result of a climate change-fueled megadrought coupled with increased water demands in the Southwestern United States. Image: AFP/Getty Images/Mario Tama

From AFP

GENEVA: Four key climate change indicators all set new record highs in 2021, the United Nations said Wednesday (May 18), warning that the global energy system was driving humanity towards catastrophe.

Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification all set new records last year, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its “State of the Global Climate in 2021” report.

The annual overview is “a dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption”, UN chief Antonio Guterres said.

“The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe.

“We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home.”

The WMO said human activity was causing planetary-scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for ecosystems.

RECORD HEAT

The report confirmed that the past seven years were the top seven hottest years on record.

Back-to-back La Nina events at the start and end of 2021 had a cooling effect on global temperatures last year.

Even so, it was still one of the warmest years ever recorded, with the average global temperature in 2021 about 1.11 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial level.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change saw countries agree to cap global warming at “well below” 2 degrees Celcius above average levels measured between 1850 and 1900 – and 1.5 degrees Celcius if possible.

“Our climate is changing before our eyes,” said WMO chief Petteri Taalas.

“The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come. Sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification will continue for hundreds of years unless means to remove carbon from the atmosphere are invented.”

“CONSISTENT PICTURE OF WARMING WORLD”

Four key indicators of climate change “build a consistent picture of a warming world that touches all parts of the Earth system”, the report said.

Greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new global high in 2020, when the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 413.2 parts per million (ppm) globally, or 149 per cent of the preindustrial level.

Data indicate that they continued to increase in 2021 and early 2022, with monthly average CO2 at Mona Loa in Hawaii reaching 416.45 ppm in April 2020, 419.05 ppm in April 2021, and 420.23 ppm in April 2022, the report said.

Global mean sea level reached a new record high in 2021, rising an average of 4.5 millimetres per year throughout 2013 to 2021, the report said.

GMSL rose by 2.1 mm per year between 1993 and 2002, with the increase between the two time periods “mostly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets”, it said.

SIGNS IN THE SEAS

Ocean heat hit a record high last year, exceeding the 2020 value, the report said.

And it is expected that the upper 2,000m of the ocean will continue to warm in the future – “a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial timescales”, said the WMO, adding that the warmth was penetrating to ever deeper levels.

The ocean absorbs around 23 per cent of the annual emissions of human-caused CO2 into the atmosphere. While this slows the rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, CO2 reacts with seawater and leads to ocean acidification.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded with “very high confidence” that open ocean surface acidity is at the highest “for at least 26,000 years”.

Meanwhile the report said the Antarctic ozone hole reached an “unusually deep and large” maximum area of 24.8 million sq km in 2021, driven by a strong and stable polar vortex.

Guterres proposed five actions to jump-start the transition to renewable energy “before it’s too late”.

Among them, he suggested ending fossil fuel subsidies, tripling investments in renewable energy and making renewable energy technologies, such as battery storage, freely-available global public goods.

“If we act together, the renewable energy transformation can be the peace project of the 21st century,” Guterres said.