October 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to our October Newsletter! Here we dish out all of the renewable energy industry news, and because we’re an EcoXpert, the latest news with Schneider Electric! Read on for the full article:

Renewable Energy Industry – What’s Happening?

Nissan unveils new urban electric car

Another new electric vehicle has entered the market! Earlier this month, Nissan unveiled the new Nissan IMk electric urban car, as seen below. A representative from Nissan stated that “The Nissan IMk concept builds on this experience by offering a pure electric alternative for customers who desire a compact vehicle suited for a sprawling metropolis”. 1

Solar panel farm grows 17,000 tons of food without soil, pesticides, fossil fuels, or groundwater

Diving into farming and agriculture! According to this source, there is new technology that solves the issue of finite resources like water, land, and energy. Sundrop Farms has revealed their greenhouses that utilize viable solutions for growing crops in unsuitable locations and while also reducing the need for finite natural resources. The company expects that rising populations by 2050 will result in a 50% increase in food demand. Coupled with climate change, there is a concern about dwindling natural resources. Sundrop Farms’ solution is using seawater and natural sunlight to try and combat this threat. The technology that they use is solar power, electricity generation, fresh water production and hydroponics. According to the company, this can produce just as much food as traditional farming, but in a much more sustainable way.2

A massive investment: Google announces 18 new renewable energy deals

Many of the world’s largest corporations are joining the renewable energy movement. And to add to the list, is Google. They are investing a record-breaking amount into renewable energy deals in the US, Chile, and Europe. These 18 new deals are worth a combined 1600 megawatts (MW), bringing Google’s total wind and solar agreements to 5500 MW. Google is involved in 52 renewable energy projects, and will lead to massive investments in new energy infrastructures.3

Amazon and the all-electric future of fleet vehicles

Speaking of large corporations joining the renewable energy movement, here is another. Amazon is ordering 100,000 electric delivery vans to use by 2030. To put this in perspective, FedEx uses 85,000 motorized vehicles to delivery packages, and UPS has around 123,000 delivery vehicles, of which only 10,000 use alternative fuel. So 100,000 all-electric delivery fleet sounds pretty impressive! This deal suggests that electric vehicle fleets may be a key to an electric future.4

How UK’s disused mine shafts could be used to store renewable energy

Mines in the UK are looking to use a new form of “gravity energy” to create cleaner electricity. Essentially, a “virtual battery” is created by hoisting and dropping 12,000 tonne weights down disused mine shafts, hopefully utilizing these old mines to make better use of clean electricity. This method costs half that of lithium-ion batteries. How it works is the system stores energy by using electric winches to hoist the weights to the top of the shaft when there is plenty of renewable energy available, then dropping the weights hundreds of metres down vertical shafts to generate electricity when needed. This mimics hydropower projects. A report found that electricity released by a typical 10MW lithium-ion battery project would cost $367 (£283) per megawatt-hour over its lifetime compared with a cost of $171 (£132)/MWh for electricity from a Gravitricity project.5

Saskatchewan ready to tap into tremendous wind resource

SaskPower has announced that they have signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Potentia Renewables’ 200 MW Golden South Wind energy facility. This facility will be able to generate enough electricity to power 90,000 homes in 2021. There are a few reasons why Saskatchewan and Alberta are one of the best places for wind resources in Canada. One of them, is that both have targets to green and diversify their electricity mixes. This new project with SaskPower will help Saskatchewan’s goal of using regnewables to meet half of its electricity generating capacity, and will cut greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030.6

UK renewables generate more electricity than fossil fuels for first time

Heading back to news in the UK, in the third quarter of 2019, the UK’s windfarms, solar panels, biomass, and hydro plants generated more electricity than the combined output from power stations fired by coal, oil and gas. This is the first ever quarter where renewables outpaced fossil fuels since the UK’s first public electricity generating station opened in 1882!7

BHP plans to replace coal with renewables at two huge copper mines in Chile

The mining giant BHP has signed four renewable energy contracts that will replace coal-fired power at two of its copper mines in Chile, a move it says will mean both sites are fully powered by renewables by the mid-2020s. The company says it had signed the contracts for its Escondida and Spence copper mine operations. BHP’s Escondida mine, in Chile’s Atacama Desert, is the world’s largest copper producer. These agreements would benefit business, and would also generate strong environmental and social value.8

How the dirtiest power station in western Europe switched to renewable energy

North America should be taking some tips from this story! A power station that used to be the biggest polluter in western Europe has made a near-complete switch to renewable energy. The Draw Power Station in Yorkshire, England, used to spew out millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year by burning coal. Over the past 8 years, its converted four of its six coal-fired units to biomass. The plant now generates 15% of the country’s renewable power, and only 6% of its power now comes from coal.9 To learn more about biomass energy and how it works, check out our post about Biomass Energy on our website at www.nsci.ca/news

Schneider Electric News

Don’t forget to join Schneider Electric next week at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, to discuss #EcoStruxure Building with experts, and how it can allow you to make your building a more efficient and comfortable environment for your occupants. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/innovation-talks-by-schneider-electric-tickets-73852327299

Local News

Our neighbours to the east of the Sault have been hard at work! A Sudbury-based mining equipment supply company has launched a unique user case study to measure the effectiveness of HydraGEN Technology underground by measuring the changes in emissions and fuel economy on mobile diesel equipment in a Northern Ontario mine. The company describes HydraGEN as “patented technology that creates hydrogen and oxygen on demand through a unique electrolysis system and supplies these gases through the air intake to enhance combustion, resulting in lower carbon emissions and greater fuel efficiency.” 10

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1Lambert, Fred. (October 1, 2019). Nissan unveils new urban electric car. Retrieved from electrek.co: https://electrek.co/2019/10/01/nissan-imk-urban-electric-car/

2DailyHealthPost Editorial. (2019). Solar panel farm grows 17,000 tons of food without soil, pesticides, fossil fuels, or groundwater. Retrieved from dailyhealthpost.com: https://dailyhealthpost.com/solar-panel-farm/?fbclid=IwAR3pC8mZJnm8xovWYg6Wx2q72twYDvWgUVj6_ujeIwKI-kxyt0dhuj0Xgkk

3Koksal, Ilker. (October 2, 2019). A massive investment: Google announces 18 new renewable energy deals. Retrieved from forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ilkerkoksal/2019/10/02/a-massive-investment-google-announces-18-new-renewable-energy-deals/#17d36e1a5024

4Marshall, Aarian. (September 21, 2019). Amazon and the all-electric future of fleet vehicles. Retrieved from wired.com: https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-all-electric-future-fleet-vehicles/

5Amrbose, Jillian. (Oct 21, 2019). How UK’s disused mine shafts could be used to store renewable energy. Retrieved from theguardian.com: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/21/how-uks-disused-mine-shafts-plan-to-store-renewable-energy

6Wilson, Evan. (October 19, 2019). Saskatchewan ready to tap into tremendous wind resource. Retrieved from canwea.ca: https://canwea.ca/blog/2018/10/19/saskatchewan-ready-to-tap-into-tremendous-wind-resource/

7Evans, Simon. (October 17, 2019). UK renewables generate more electricity than fossil fuels for first time. Retrieved from weforum.org: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/10/uk-renewables-generate-electricity-fossil-fuels?utm_source=Facebook%20Videos&utm_medium=Facebook%20Videos&utm_campaign=Facebook%20Video%20Blogs

8Cox, Lisa. (October 22, 2019). BHP plans to replace coal with renewables at two huge copper mines in Chile. Retrieved from theguardian.com: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/22/bhp-replace-coal-renewables-two-huge-copper-mines-chile?CMP=share_btn_tw

9Ziady, Hanna. (October 23, 2019). How the dirtiest power station in western Europe switched to renewable energy. Retrieved from cnn.com: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/23/business/drax-power-station/index.html

10Gillis, Len. (October 28, 2019). Sudbury firm testing innovative emissions-reduction technology. Retrieved from northernontariobusiness.com: https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/industry-news/mining/sudbury-firm-testing-innovative-emissions-reduction-technology-1772740