2021-05-18 18:37News

18 May 2021

Mundus Nordic Green News

IEA report stuns the global energy industry

In a break from our usual focused Nordic reporting, we dedicate our first story to the stunning new report from the IEA. Established in 1974 in response to the oil crisis, the IEA has long been seen as a creature of the energy industry and major oil companies. However, in a major departure from this, the IEA released its scenario and assumptions for global energy sector with net-zero emissions in 2050.

The IEA describes the “report as the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth” … It “describes a net zero pathway that requires the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies, combined with a major global push to accelerate innovation.”

Highlights;

  • Energy groups would need to stop all new oil and gas projects from this year
  • In another indicator of the scale of the transition envisaged the IEA says that for “solar PV, it is equivalent to installing the world’s current largest solar park roughly every day.”
  • A transition of such scale and speed cannot be achieved without sustained support and participation from citizens, whose lives will be affected in multiple ways.
  • Total annual energy investment surges to USD 5 trillion by 2030 in the net zero pathway, adding an extra 0.4% p.a. to global GDP growth (based on a joint analysis with the International Monetary Fund). Global GDP 4% higher in 2030 than it would reach based on current trends
  • By 2050, almost 90% of electricity generation to come from renewable sources, with wind and solar PV together accounting for almost 70%. Most of the remainder comes from nuclear power.

NGOs described the reports release as a breakthrough.

Greg Muttitt, from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, told Climate Home News “This is a very significant moment. It’s the first time the IEA has released a scenario that is properly aligned with the Paris [Agreement] goals.” Meanwhile, Kelly Trout, from Oil Change International said “It’s a huge shift to have the IEA joining global calls for ending fossil fuel extraction … Oil companies have previously used IEA scenarios to justify ongoing fossil fuel expansion. The fossil fuel industry is losing one of its biggest sources of shelter.”

The Financial Times reported that Dave Jones, from climate think-tank Ember, told it “I don’t think anyone expected this from the IEA. It is a huge turnround on their part... It has been very pro-fossil, so to come out with something like this is just amazing… This is a truly a knife in the fossil fuel industry.”

And so, while the report is neither a forecast nor a recommendation, and the IEA has no power to drive the change that it anticipates, the world appears to have taken another step on the journey towards climate neutrality. (press release, Climate Home, Financial Times)

European and Nordic impact

Although Europe as a whole tends to be ahead of the curve, with the Nordics at the front of the peloton, this would still represent a major change to its economies. Europe as a whole still uses fossil fuels to generate over one third of its electrical power, with wind accounting for 16.5% and solar a tiny 3.1%. Even Denmark, which uses wind to generate over 40% of its power, still has 18% from coal and 8% from gas. And in Finland, fossil energy sources account for 23%.

Nonetheless, the country for which this would represent the biggest impact is Norway, which generates a massive amount of its wealth from oil, even if it predominantly generates its power from hydroelectricity. (Europower Energi)

Luleå University of Technology to invest in hydrogen research

With more than SEK 1,000 billion in investment planned in the coming decades in Norrbotten and Västerbotten, several of the projects anticipate using hydrogen as a key reactant in fossil-free production. Now, Luleå University of Technology is making an extensive research and education investment in close collaboration with leading basic industries and energy producers on hydrogen. The university is investing 60 million over 6 years, with an ambition is to double the budget with funding from external actors. The initial collaborating partners in CH2ESS (Center for Hydrogen Energy Systems Sweden) are LKAB, SSAB, Vattenfall, Hybrit, H2 Green Steel, Skellefteå Kraft, the NTNU Energi Team Hydrogen at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Piteå municipality. The investment in CH2ESS will take a holistic approach to the production, storage and transport of hydrogen and include process integration and the electric power system.

LTU is also investing heavily in training 500 new civil engineers with hydrogen skills within 10 years. (Industri Nyheter)

Volvo Construction Equipment launches a new test laboratory for fuel cells

A new test laboratory, located in Volvo Construction Equipment's technical center in Eskilstuna, will be the first major step forward in the company's hydrogen investment. The laboratory is also the first facility within the Volvo Group to test complete fuel cell units and will be an important contribution to Volvo's development of fuel cell technology. (press release)

LKAB appeals EU decisions

The European Commission does not want to compare LKAB's iron ore products with those of steel companies' in the emissions trading system. This benefits the producers who now cause the the largest carbon dioxide emissions. LKAB is therefore now appealing the Commission's climate-adverse decision to the European General Court. (press release)

Vestas unveils new technology to recycle wind blades and stop dumping

A coalition of industry and academic leaders spearheaded by Danish wind turbine manufacturing giant Vestas has developed a new technology it says will be the final technology step towards a fully recyclable wind turbine value chain. In an effort to foster the adoption of this new technology throughout the wind turbine industry, Vestas announced on Monday the launch of the Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites (CETEC) initiative.

Developed by DreamWind – a research project in collaboration between Aarhus University, Danish Technological Institute, and Vestas – the new technology consists of two-step process in which thermoset composites are disassembled into fibre and epoxy, before being put through a chemcycling process which breaks the epoxy into further base components similar to virgin materials.

It is partly funded by Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD), and involves both industrial and academic leaders including Olin, the world leading producer of Epoxy, the Danish Technological Institute (DTI), and Aarhus University. (RenewEconomy)

Lifeline Ventures invests in P2X Solutions

Finnish private equity firm Lifeline Ventures has become a new shareholder in green hydrogen producer and Power-to-X technology pioneer P2X Solutions via a €2 million share issue. P2X Solutions has completed the concept of its first industrial-scale green hydrogen production plant and begun the feasibility design, in a model that is intended to be replicable elsewhere in Finland and around the world. (Kauppelehti)

Hydrogenpro enters the initiative to supply green hydrogen in North America

HyDeal North America is a new commercialization platform founded by the Green Hydrogen Coalition to launch green hydrogen ecosystems around North America. Norway’s Hydrogenpro, an engineering firm, is a partner to this initiatve. The goal is to launch "scaled supply chains that supply green hydrogen at low prices", the company writes. (press release)

What we’re reading
  • John Kerry: US climate envoy criticised for optimism on clean tech (BBC)



About Mundus Nordic Green News & Indices

The Nordic countries are some of the most dynamic and successful economies in the world. They are also leaders in sustainability, from renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and storage and the hydrogen economy, circular economy business models and battery development, the Nordics are pioneers in policy design, technology development and consumer uptake. Mundus Nordic Green News is covering this transition for the international community. Every day we clip the stories of most relevance to international businesspeople and policy experts from the flow of news. We supplement these with our own opinion pieces and commentary, in English.