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6 Global Banks Come Together to Decarbonize Steel

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Originally published on RMI.org.

Leading lenders to the global steel industry — Citi, Goldman Sachs, ING, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered, and UniCredit — are working together to develop a climate-aligned finance agreement to support steel sector decarbonization.

Several top lenders to the steel sector — Citi, Goldman Sachs, ING, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered, and UniCredit — have come together to define common standards of action for steel sector decarbonization through a collective climate-aligned finance agreement. A climate-aligned finance agreement establishes a framework for assessing and disclosing the degree to which the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a financial institution’s portfolio are in line with 1.5°C climate targets.

The banks have formed the Steel Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group (the Working Group), facilitated by RMI’s Center for Climate-Aligned Finance, with the goal of crafting an industry-backed agreement before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021 (COP26). The agreement would create a level playing field for measuring progress against climate targets in the steel sector, as well as a platform for proactively supporting the decarbonization of the sector.

“ING aims to be a positive force in the fight against climate change. With our Terra approach we’re steering our lending book in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Steel is essential for modern life. The challenge for the steel sector to decarbonize is significant with alternative technology paths unproven and not yet commercialized. By leading this working group we signal our commitment to help define what the energy transition means for the sector and our clients. It will also help us to define our expectations for change and define an ambitious yet realistic trajectory to meet those ambitions.” —Arnout van Heukelem, global head metals, mining & fertilizers, ING Bank

Steel is the foundation of modern society: a material input to buildings, cars, railways, roads and bridges. While low-carbon technologies exist across many industries, for the steel sector, which emits roughly 8% of global energy emissions and is heavily coal-dependent, commercially viable alternatives are still at an early stage for industrial-scale applications. Under a business-as-usual scenario, steel sector emissions could grow to 20% of the world’s 1.5°C carbon budget by 2050. The sector’s carbon intensity raises expectations of and from financial institutions to support its decarbonization, but to date, financial institutions lack the common practical tools to effectively support their clients’ decarbonization efforts.

The Working Group, led by ING and co-led by Societe Generale, comprises senior representatives from each bank’s metals and mining teams. The Working Group will forge the scope, emissions pathways, methodologies, and governance structure of the collective climate-aligned finance agreement in collaboration with existing decarbonization initiatives. With the goal of setting global best practices on climate for financial institutions that fund steelmaking, the Working Group plans to enroll other banks in the final climate-aligned finance agreement to be released at COP26.

The RMI Center for Climate-Aligned Finance (the Center) will facilitate engagement between the Working Group and the Net-Zero Steel Initiative (NZSI) to ensure the objectives of steelmakers and their lenders are aligned. “The formation of the steel finance working group is just the first step on the journey to a climate-aligned steel sector,” said James Mitchell, director at the Center. “Decarbonizing high-emitting sectors is challenging, but collective action efforts such as the Poseidon Principles show how the financial sector can meet its climate goals through serving its industrial clients in hard-to-abate sectors, such as steel. Now the hard work really starts.”

The agreement will be modeled after the Poseidon Principles, the first sector-specific climate-aligned finance agreement for maritime shipping. The Principles were launched in July 2019 with 11 banking signatories representing $100 billion — or 20% — of senior shipping debt and have since more than doubled to 24 signatories representing $175 billion as of March 2021. Developed through unprecedented multi-stakeholder collaboration between major shipping lenders, industrial corporations and experts, the Principles set the stage for a similar framework in other sectors, such as steel.

This effort is part of the Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), an alliance of leading nonprofit organizations and approximately 400+ businesses working to accelerate industrial decarbonization across seven sectors, including steel. Within MPP, the Working Group is part of NZSI, comprising some of the world’s largest steel producers and suppliers. By providing this crucial platform, the NZSI unites policy, customer demand, industry objectives, and financial commitments behind the sector’s net-zero transition.

“As a founding member of the UNEP-FI Net Zero Banking Alliance, Societe Generale is committed to work with its clients and partners across sectors to achieve net-zero no later than 2050. By co-leading the Steel Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group, our ambition is to help define a pathway consistent with the development of low-carbon industrial solutions in the steel sector. Steel is essential and Societe Generale is already supporting steel producers implementing breakthrough hydrogen technologies to produce low carbon steel demonstrating the climate adaptation potential of this industry. With the appropriate framework, all banks will be able to support their clients as they innovate and invest for a low carbon future. After the Poseidon Principles for maritime shipping, Societe Generale is proud to co-lead to the creation of a climate-aligned finance agreement for another hard-to-abate industry.”


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/29/6-global-banks-come-together-to-decarbonize-steel/

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Jobs In Renewable Energy Fared Better Than Other Sectors In 2020

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Employment in renewable energy and battery-related sectors was far more resilient to the shock of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an annual DOE report released Monday.

Overall, one in 10 U.S. energy workers lost their jobs in 2020, with oil and gas workers hit hardest despite billions in bailouts and substantial payouts to executives.

Wind energy employment grew by nearly 2%. Jobs in the electric and hybrid-electric vehicle sectors grew by 8% and 6% respectively, and battery storage jobs also increased.

“While we do have work to do to make our energy sector more robust, we also have a lot of work to do in making our energy sector look like America and to make sure that these new clean energy jobs are paying family-sustaining wages, with good benefits and union membership,” DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a virtual report release.

Sources: ReutersThe Hill

This is a quick news brief from Nexus Media.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/21/jobs-in-renewable-energy-fared-better-than-other-sectors-in-2020/

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Jobs In Renewable Energy Fared Better Than Other Sectors In 2020

Published

on

Employment in renewable energy and battery-related sectors was far more resilient to the shock of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an annual DOE report released Monday.

Overall, one in 10 U.S. energy workers lost their jobs in 2020, with oil and gas workers hit hardest despite billions in bailouts and substantial payouts to executives.

Wind energy employment grew by nearly 2%. Jobs in the electric and hybrid-electric vehicle sectors grew by 8% and 6% respectively, and battery storage jobs also increased.

“While we do have work to do to make our energy sector more robust, we also have a lot of work to do in making our energy sector look like America and to make sure that these new clean energy jobs are paying family-sustaining wages, with good benefits and union membership,” DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a virtual report release.

Sources: ReutersThe Hill

This is a quick news brief from Nexus Media.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/21/jobs-in-renewable-energy-fared-better-than-other-sectors-in-2020/

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EU’s Proposed Green Deal Is A Big Victory For Fossil Fuel Companies

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On the 14th of July 2021, the EU Commission published its proposal for dealing with the climate crises and biodiversity crises, using money made available to counter the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mix of climate crises, biodiversity crises, and economic recovery makes this packet something where many people find bits to be happy about and many people find bits not to be happy about.

  • The economic recovery is high priority, very short term.
  • The climate crises is ultimate priority, very short term.
  • The biodiversity is medium priority, medium to long term.

With that last classification, many people will get very angry. But it is a task that will take our attention for the coming centuries. Getting one or two years delayed in formulating policies, writing laws, and reaching consensus is not the biggest problem. The realization that we should start doing it, that we should keep doing it for as long as we are the custodians of life on Earth, that is the hardest part. It is something that can not be, even a tiny little bit for your special case, sacrificed for convenience or financial gain.

The second classification about climate change is even harder to understand for most people. Species are disappearing today, to be never seen again. The climate is something that will last centuries from now. How can it have a higher priority?

Catastrophic climate change is already happening today. It is killing people in heatwaves and floods today — literally, today. If we do not succeed to halt the growth of the greenhouse gas layer in this decade for the most part, mopping up the rest of the pollution sources in the next decade, biodiversity does not matter anymore. We will likely go to an Earth with a completely different biotope, one where there is no place for mammals.

Without mammals in the mix, there will be room for many thousands, if not millions, of new species on earth. Biodiversity will be saved, but not as we envision it today.

Economic recovery is always a very short-term action. For the economic problems caused by the coronavirus measures, immediate relief is needed. Companies should not go broke and people should not get unemployed because of what is essentially a natural disaster.

That the money for the economic recovery is used to accelerate the necessary transition to a clean/green economy is logical. Why spend money to rebuild what we were planning to demolish. I mean, the fossil fuel–based economy has to go. No reason to waste money in preserving it.

Logical, but not what many stakeholders of the fossil industry would like to see. They have dreams of transitioning the economy to greener fossil fuels. The previous attempt to switch to clean diesel failed, but that is not a reason to give up and go find a new career. There is still the fuel of the future, hydrogen. It is preferably made from natural gas (preferably for them, not for us), and in the long run with electricity from nuclear reactors, through a future electrolysis process.

Convincing policymakers that hydrogen (green in the future) is essential for road transport will delay the growth of battery electric vehicles — those pesky toys that do so much harm to the automotive industry and can drive on electricity from the solar cells on one’s roof.

These goals in the EU Green Deal proposal — not nearly large enough (“fossil fuel friendly,” you might say) — are:

  • A 600kW station every 60 kilometers along European highways for light vehicles by 2030 (2*150kW by 2025 and 4*150kW by 2030).
  • A 3500kW station every 60 kilometers along European highways for medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles in 2030 (perhaps 5*700kW?).
  • A hydrogen station every 150 kilometers for ???????.

Currently, the fastest charging is at 175 kW or 250 kW for 350V–400V batteries. Double that for 800V batteries. A two-plug 150kW each station every 60 kilometers is probably sufficient in Northern Sweden and Lapland. Between 2025 and 2030, the number of BEVs on the roads will multiply by four (increase by 300%) at least. I expect Tesla alone to offer more stations with more plugs long before 2030.

Trucks have charging at their home depot, or are long-haul trucks charging on the road? (Okay, this is a bit simplified.) The Tesla Semi uses about 1.25 kWh/km. The charge time of the truck can be booked as the mandatory rest time of the driver. The 1 MW or 1.2 MW chargers that are now discussed are a reflection of this reality.

Truckers like to combine their rest time with their lunch or dinner break. This creates high demand for many plugs around these times with low demand during normal trucking times. Logistics is a commercial business. It will create the needed charging infrastructure via demand and supply. Selling electricity and a warm meal is the name of the game.

Local governments need to be prepared to facilitate the permitting process and plan the grid connections. Each station (both for light-duty vehicles and medium-/heavy-duty vehicles) should be planned for a 2MW–8MW connection or more. Building the transport line between the charging station and the existing grid is very expensive.

For the chargers, the most important metric is missing. That is the number of plugs needed at each station. For this, an analysis of the traffic volumes on the European roads is needed. It would show that many roads will need a charging station every 30 kilometers with 8 to 20 plugs.

In Europe, many have free travel in their company cars. Company cars are new, and after 2025, likely all electric. While the complete European car fleet will likely take 20+ years to replace, the fleet traveling on highways will be replaced in about 6 years. Due to less range, a BEV will charge more often than a fossil fuel vehicle makes a tank stop, at least twice as often. It will also keep a charging space longer occupied than a gas pump will be occupied — for ease of computation, double the time.

By 2030, at least half the fleet on the highways will be BEV. That means that half the gas pumps have to be replaced by four times that number of charging plugs. We have an awful lot more than four gas pumps every 60 kilometers of highway. The European Automobile Industry (ACEA) has even explained that the progress in selling BEVs is limited by the buildout of the infrastructure on the ground. When the EU comes with an ambitious plan for the car market, an even more ambitious infrastructure plan should accompany it to make it reality.

The fossil fuel industry will be very grateful for this ridiculous lowball number for highway charging stations. There will never be enough plugs for the yearly mass migrations to the sun and the snow. But that is only about 6 weekends each year. It is like the airlines never having enough seats for Thanksgiving weekend in the USA. Sizing to the exception is impossible, but we can aim to have enough in the rest of the year.

There is NO metric for the hydrogen station. Probably the lobbyists know that there won’t be customers. It is only about getting subsidies for the uneconomical stations and slowing the transition to fully electric ones. It is just a distraction. The well-to-wheel energy need is too clear a case to expect any hydrogen ever playing a role in road transport.

There are a number of lofty goals for hydrogen production. It should get at volume soon, and 50% of the green hydrogen should be renewable by 2030. Makes one think — what is non-renewable green hydrogen? I can only think of hydrogen fused into helium as not renewable. That would liberate a lot of energy, by the way.

Photo by Cynthia Shahan, CleanTechnica

Another way of temporizing what the market is doing is setting goals for public chargers that are too low. These are mostly Level 2 chargers for people without home charging.

  • 2025 – 1 million
  • 2030 – 3.5 million
  • 2040 – 11.4 million
  • 2050 – 16.3 million

Either those civil servants in Brussel are math-illiterate, or they think we are. The total for the EU in 2025 is just twice what the home country of the main writers of the deal plan to build by that year. The 2030 number is about three times the number in their home country. These math-illiterate people are Commissioner Timmermans and his chief-of-staff Samson, both Dutch.

Before he became chief-of-staff, Samson was one of the authors of the Dutch Klimaatakkoord, where the numbers of Dutch planned chargers can be found.

The EU is over 25 times the population of the Netherlands, and many more times the size. The Dutch numbers are from before the more ambitious goals and the rise in BEV sales in the last two years. In another article, I discussed why they are too low. With over a million chargers for the Netherlands alone in 2030, there is only a goal of 2.5 million chargers for the rest of the EU.  … Somebody is math challenged, and it ain’t me. In my very humble and biased opinion, that number needs an extra zero. And then some.

While greenwashing their actions, the EU commission is applying the brakes at full force. The fossil fuel lobby was successful.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/21/eus-proposed-green-deal-is-a-big-victory-for-fossil-fuel-companies/

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What Will Happen To Old ICE Vehicles In The Electric Era?

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David Waterworth

“Disabled & Elderly Parking Only.” That’s what the sign said, so he parked his ICE Corolla there. We saw the vehicle as we exited the restaurant and walked towards where we had parked our Tesla. When I pointed it out to my friend, he said, “In 20 years they’ll be using that car for a chook pen.”

Image by David Waterworth

I thought that was a little unfair, as one of my neighbours has an older Corolla (and 2 others the same model in the backyard for spares). They are certainly a great little car and have been a phenomenal success for Toyota. But so was the Morris Minor for British Motors Corporation and the Torana for General Motors Holden and the Cortina for Ford. 

Image by David Waterworth

The conversation continued around car clubs and the future of ICE vehicles for enthusiasts and hobbyists. Would they become quaint curiosities to be gawked at in special auto shows? Perhaps they would feature in car museums. While everyone else is driving normal cars (those that have electric motors, that don’t make a lot of noise or produce noxious smells), these could be taken out on weekends to drive in convoys for the nostalgic.

Or will it be smash-up derbies as was done to the old British cars of the ’60s – the Austins, Morrises, and Wolseleys were driven round the track and smashed into each other for fun and entertainment. 

When the age of horse power came to an end, many animals were kept as pets or out of kindness and duty. Unfortunately, most were slaughtered and eaten (yes, eaten). As the age of ICE vehicles comes to an end, we may have to give thought about what to do with the faithful Corollas that we will have to let go. There is a limit to how many we can keep as pets. And we can’t eat them. 

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He owns 50 shares of Tesla.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/21/what-will-happen-to-old-ice-vehicles-in-the-electric-era/

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