More Offshore Wind, Tesla’s ‘Money Furnaces’ And Green Hydrogen In Coal Country
This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.
On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced a partnership with 11 state governments to accelerate construction of offshore wind energy projects along the east coast. This move is a component of the Administrations long-term goal to have 30 gigawatts from offshore wind by the end of the decade. That’s enough to cut 78 million metric tons of carbon emissions and to power 10 million homes (or about 24 trips on Doc Brown’s time machine). As part of the move, the Department of Energy along with the governments of Maryland and New York will provide funding to secure supply chains for the project.
“Ten million homes with offshore wind. Ports turned back into economic engines, being in a position where foundries and factories are up and running — again, creating jobs,” President Biden said in remarks about the announcement, later saying that “This is a real boost for energy security.”
The Big Read
Australian Mining Billionaire Touts A Green Revolution In U.S. Coal Country — With Skepticism Trailing Close Behind
Andrew Forrest travels the globe trying to persuade leaders of industry and politics — and rank-and-file workers — that despite his polluting past he’s the man to champion green hydrogen as the clean fuel of the future. Read more here.
Discoveries And Innovations
This young chemistry researcher’s work explores how the natural photosynthesis process could be mimicked in order to provide an alternative energy source.
A new study from energy research think-tank Ember suggests that if Europe began an expansion of its electricity infrastructure and quadrupled its renewable energy generation, the continent would see $1 trillion in economic savings by 2035.
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a method of taking wood or other plant materials and turning them into recyclable, biodegradable plastics that could be used for a wide variety of applications.
Sustainability Deals Of The Week
NASA signed a $6 million contract extension with satellite imaging provider Spire. Under the deal, Spire will continue to provide NASA with data related to ocean conditions, soil moisture, sea ice extent, and other environmental data.
Boston-based Electric Hydrogen, which is working on making hydrogen for industrial use without fossil fuels, announced Wednesday that it raised a $198 million financing round to expand its efforts. The round was a mix of debt and equity.
The U.K government reportedly announced that it’s committing over $6 million to a space mission that would clear two defunct satellites out of Earth orbit, helping to keep it clear of debris.
On The Horizon
After three years of negotiations between politicians, industry and environmentalists, California is set to consider legislation geared towards eliminating 25% of produced single-use plastics from the state.
What Else We’re Reading This Week
Green Transportation Update
JB Straubel spent 15 years as Tesla’s low-key tech chief, overseeing the design of its electric motors and battery packs and later building and running the company’s massive Gigafactory in Nevada. While working at that facility, Tesla’s main source of battery packs, he began thinking a lot about where all the raw materials needed to make EV batteries would come from as demand continued to climb. So he left Tesla in 2019 to focus on securing lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese and other materials from spent batteries and electronics instead of mines from around the world. His Redwood Materials has been moving fast the past couple of years, partnering with Panasonic, Ford, Volvo Cars and now Toyota, the world’s biggest maker of hybrid-electric vehicles. The Carson City, Nevada-based company is already refurbishing and recycling used Prius packs as it aims to process at less 6GWh of used battery materials this year.
The Big Transportation Story
Musk Calls Tesla’s Berlin, Austin Plants ‘Money Furnaces’ Amid Startup Snags
Tesla and Elon Musk don’t speak directly with reporters much these days but he sat down for a couple hours with loyal fans of the EV brand to detail startup snags its new Berlin and Austin plants are having as they work to ramp up production. For now, however, they’re “money furnaces,” according to the mercurial billionaire. Read more here.