While the whole GameStop/Reddit saga has been copping the news, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks for green energy too.
The fact that Joe Biden got elected into the White House has only accelerated the green energy trend, and things are really starting to move fast indeed.
Only hours after Biden stepped into the Oval Office, he signed an executive order for the US to rejoin the Paris climate accord.
He’s looking for the US to get to net zero by 2050 and has pledged US$2 trillion towards this.
Last week, the newly-elected president said the government is looking at replacing their whole vehicle fleet with electric vehicles (EVs).
The deal is obviously a huge boost and endorsement for EVs, considering that at the moment hybrids and EVs only make up 1% of the entire fleet.
Replacing all 645,000 cars and trucks would give the government some fuel savings. In 2019 the US government spent US$795 million just on gassing up the fleet…that’s not to mention maintenance costs as EVs are usually cheaper to maintain.
And speaking of electric vehicles…
Here in Australia, things are also starting to move with Green Energy
While the media didn’t really make much fuss about it, a few days ago Prime Minister Scott Morrison test drove a truck. This was during his visit at the Volvo Group Australia production facility in Queensland.
The big deal about this truck is that it’s electric, the first Volvo FL Electric truck in Australia. With a gross weight capacity of 16 tonnes and an electric motor generating 200kW of power output, the truck will be trialled by logistics company Linfox in April.
Joining Morrison on the visit was Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, who gave a lift to the future of EVs in Australia.
Here are her comments, courtesy of Prime Mover Magazine:
‘[She] said the Government was right behind the development of trucks powered by clean and renewable sources such as battery electric (EV) and hydrogen fuel cell.
‘Andrews said while the Government’s electric vehicle strategy falls under the jurisdiction of the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, she has a particular interest in the EV sphere from a manufacturing standpoint.
‘“Clearly many Australians are looking to transition to EVs, so where we can do that in a freight environment — that is something that we are certainly very, very supportive of,” she said.
‘I would like to see a move towards all types of electric vehicles — I think the time is right for this to happen.’
And in another boost to the green energy transition, earlier this week during a speech Morrison said the goal is to get to net zero ‘as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050.’
That’s quite a change from his previous comments of reaching net zero sometime before 2100.
I mean Australia is a country with amazing resources. With plenty of wind and sun we have the potential to become a renewable energy giant, and hydrogen will also play a large role.
In fact, it’s also something Morrison singled out during his speech.
As he said:
‘This year our $18 billion technology investment roadmap gets going. […] With a $1.9 billion commitment to develop clean energy technologies such as hydrogen, green and steel and CCS.
‘And we are taking the roadmap global, pursuing ambitious partnerships with countries like Japan, the US, the UK, Korea and Singapore.’
In December the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released their 2021 Draft Inputs Assumptions and Scenarios report. In it they modelled different scenarios including one called ‘Export Superpower’.
In this scenario, ‘strong’ international and domestic pressure pushes Australia to net zero by 2040 with the electrification of Australia…and green hydrogen plays a key part.
As they noted:
‘Capitalising on significant renewable resource advantages, Australia establishes strong hydrogen export partnerships to meet international demand for clean energy. Achieving this requires significant government investment in early years to stimulate the hydrogen economy, including initial domestic applications.’
This hydrogen production would impact demand for other energy sources like gas and coal.
The government has already taken some steps in this direction through the Asian Renewable Energy hub, which got granted major project status.
Backed by Vestas, Pathway Investments, Intercontinental Energy, and CWP Renewables, the project will export green hydrogen from the Pilbara region into Asia.
My point is things could very well accelerate in this space from now on.
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