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NextEra Energy Sees Hydrogen As A Zero Emissions Alternative To Natural Gas

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Clean Power NextEra solar power plant

Published on August 2nd, 2020 | by Steve Hanley

August 2nd, 2020 by Steve Hanley 


NextEra Energy, the parent company of  Florida Power & Light, is leading an aggressive shift to wind and solar power in the Sunshine State. Recently, it has also moved to add battery storage to its renewable energy portfolio. When its Manatee county energy storage facility is completed in 2021, it will be the world’s largest battery storage installation at 409 MW/900 MWh. (The PG&E/Tesla battery at Moss Landing in California will have 182.5 MW and 730 MWh of storage, but that could be increased to 1.1 GWh at some point in the future.}

NextEra solar power plant

NextEra solar power plant

NextEra likes to conduct small experiments with new technologies to see whether it is cost effective, and then it goes big if the trials are successful. That’s what it did with solar panels. It now plans to install 30 million of them by 2030. Early tests of battery storage were completed successfully, which led to the decision to construct the Manatee battery facility.

Now the company has its eye on another technology that may help it eliminate all emissions associated with the electricity it provides to its customers — hydrogen made by electrolysis using renewable energy that would otherwise be “clipped” or curtailed. According to NASDAQ.com, during the company’s second quarter earnings call, CFO Rebecca Kujawa told analysts,

“Based on our ongoing analysis of the long-term potential of low-cost renewables, we remain confident as ever that wind, solar, and battery storage will be hugely disruptive to the country’s existing generation fleet, while reducing cost for customers and helping to achieve future CO2 emissions reductions. However, to achieve an emissions-free future, we believe that other technologies will be necessary, and we are particularly excited about the long-term potential of hydrogen.”

The company plans to test the electricity to hydrogen to electricity model at its Okochobee Clean Energy Center near Orlando. That natural gas-powered generating station came online in 2019 and is already one of the cleanest burning thermal energy facilities in the world. But if the natural gas it burns could be replaced with zero emissions hydrogen, that would be a major step forward in the company’s plan to be 100% emissions free by 2050. Here’s more from Rebecca Kujawa.

“Consistent with the toe-in-the-water approach, we have previously utilized with solar and battery storage, we are planning to propose a hydrogen pilot project at Florida Power & Light.. It is an approximately $65 million pilot project, which, subject to Florida Public Service Commission approval, is expected to be in service in 2023.

“We will utilize solar energy that would have otherwise been clipped to produce 100% green hydrogen through a roughly 20-megawatt electrolysis system. The hydrogen will be used to replace a portion of the natural gas that is consumed by one of the three gas turbines at the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center. We believe that the project is a complement to our ongoing solar and battery storage development efforts and highlights FPL’s continued innovative approach to further enhance the diversity of the clean energy solutions available for its customers.”

She went on to say the company plans to “continue to evaluate other potential hydrogen opportunities across our businesses. And while our near-term investments are expected to be small in context of our overall capital program, we are excited about the technology’s long-term potential, which should further support future demand for low cost renewables, as well as accelerate decarbonization of transportation fuel and industrial feedstocks.”

That last sentence is revealing. We at CleanTechnica are rather dismissive of hydrogen. Our view may be tainted by the disastrous experience of Toyota and Honda in trying to bring hydrogen fuel cell cars to market at a time when it was intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that electric cars were the preferred way to reduce emissions from privately owned automobiles. We have also been influenced by the words of Elon Musk, who has always been quite dismissive of hydrogen fuel cells in general, referring to them often as “fool cells.”

A third reason why we have looked upon hydrogen with a jaundiced eye is because much of the hydrogen available today is made from reforming natural gas, which itself is obtained by torturing the Earth to release the stuff via fracking, which heavily pollutes the groundwater beneath the fracking operations.

Perhaps we need to rearrange our thinking on the whole hydrogen question, however. Hydrogen could transform many industries, like steel-making, to slash their emissions, or could permit container ships to operate with low or no emissions. Volkswagen has just begun delivering cars to overseas markets in ships powered by compressed natural gas. That’s a big improvement over conventional ships that run on bunker oil, but imagine if that CNG could be replaced in the future by compressed hydrogen?

The possibilities for lowering the world’s carbon emissions by using hydrogen are enormous. And if that hydrogen comes from using renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted, that makes the idea all that much more appealing. Kudos to NextEra Energy and Florida Power & Light for having the courage and foresight to investigate future technologies. Hopefully their openness to considering new paths toward a zero emissions world will impact some of their less progressive peers in the utility industry. 
 
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Tags: Florida Power & Light, green hydrogen, Hydrogen, NextEra Energy


About the Author

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/08/02/nextera-energy-sees-hydrogen-as-a-zero-emissions-alternative-to-natural-gas/

Cleantech

Ford Mustang Mach-E Easily Goes 300+ Miles In Norway

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Published on September 18th, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan

September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


Ford is now testing its hot new Mustang Mach-e electric crossover/SUV in Europe. Naturally, the #1 place to take an electric vehicle is Norway, where approximately 70% of new vehicle sales are now electric (fully electric or plugin hybrid). That’s where Ford has been playing around with the Mustang Mach-E, and the results are looking good (according to Ford’s PR team, but I don’t see any reason to not believe them).

Toward the end of a long press release filled with fluffy marketing language more than anything else, Ford shared that the “all-wheel drive model with a targeted WLTP driving range of 335 miles exceeded energy-efficiency expectations, travelling 301 miles non-stop from Oslo to Trondheim, finishing the journey with 14 per cent battery capacity remaining.” Not too shabby, and that’s not even the extended-range trim, which Ford expects to get a WLTP range rating of 379 miles.

Furthermore, Ford’s charging specs have gotten better. “Latest testing shows charge time has improved by nearly 30 per cent from early estimates, reaching an average of 73 miles of range within 10 minutes using IONITY fast charging, when equipped with an extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive.”

Overall, though, Ford’s message in its press release about European testing is pretty simple: The Mustang Mach-E drives really well. It has a useful low center of gravity due to the big battery on the bottom (because it’s an electric vehicle and Ford considered both basic physics and Tesla’s decade lead in the market). It has great torque (because it’s an electric vehicle).

Though, it was the less obvious benefits touched on in the accompanying video that caught my attention. Depending on what mode you want to drive in, the lighting changes. Cool! The soundproofing is highlighted as noteworthy as well. I’m curious to check that out, especially because the soundproofing on my Tesla Model 3 seems rather weak on fast roads.

Overall, since it was revealed, I’ve thought that the Ford Mustang Mach-E has a winning, true 21st century package. The electric SUV/crossover may prove to be a big item in Europe.

“Whether testing on frozen lakes, in searing deserts, or using state-of-the-art driving simulators, Ford’s engineering teams worked across the globe to develop an all-electric Mustang Mach‑E that delivers a true Mustang driving experience for customers around the world.”

You can read the full press release about the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s European testing here.

There’s also more info on the UK website for the Mustang Mach-E
 


 


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Tags: Ford, Ford Mustang, Ford Mustang Mach E, Ford Mustang Mach-E price


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/ford-mustang-mach-e-easily-goes-300-miles-in-norway/

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Indian Government May Put EV Chargers At 69,000 Gas Pumps

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September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


The Indian government has occasionally expressed extremely bold electric vehicle plans. While it is doing a bit to pursue those dreams, it is far away from some of the loftier goals. However, one potentially new move could give a boost to e-mobility in the country — the government is considering a requirement that all gas stations (“petrol stations” as they and the Brits say) include EV chargers.

Well, technically, it wouldn’t be all gas stations — there’s some fine print. The requirement, if implemented, would be for “Company-Owned, Company-Operated (COCO) petrol pumps of state refiners.”

An alternative but similar idea is that the government would install EV chargers at 69,000 gas/petrol stations across India.

One other possible path forward that the government is considering is focusing EV charging investments in and around several major cities — Delhi, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Vadodara.

One final detail under consideration: requiring that no chargers used for such plans come from China or Pakistan. 
 


 


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Tags: India, India electric vehicles, India EV charging


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/indian-government-may-put-ev-chargers-at-69000-gas-pumps/

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I ♥ ChargePoint

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September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


I wrote recently that I’ve had electric cars in Florida for two years and haven’t spent a dime on charging. Nine months were in a BMW i3 (and then we were gone for 3 months) and one year was in a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus. The free charging has been one of the big benefits of driving electric.

There’s one charging network that dominates in providing us with that free charging — ChargePoint. Whether at the grocery store, the mall, the beach, the park, or just right down the street from us at a shopping center, ChargePoint gives us our electrons.

Availability and proximity to where we’re going are paramount, but there are several other things I love about ChargePoint stations — and one or two things I don’t.

Before getting to the things I like, love, and dislike about ChargePoint, though, I should first explain how the network actually works. ChargePoint doesn’t pay to install the stations and it doesn’t decide whether to charge for using the stations or not. That’s all in the purview of the site host. They decide whether to install a station, they pay for it, and they decide whether to charge users to use it. So, all of the free charging I have in my area is thanks in part to ChargePoint (simply for existing), but it is also thanks in large part to the site owners that decided to buy the stations and provide the charging for free. Also, I should perhaps note: yes, free charging attracts customers.

Whether charging should be free or not is a hotly debated topic, and I’d so most EV charging network companies are vehemently against the idea. But it’s really about the business model you choose and what your aims are. If shops or shopping centers just want to attract customers, it may make sense to offer charging like this for free. If, like some other companies (e.g., Volta Charging), you are selling ads on the chargers, again, it makes sense to offer free charging. We’ll see which business models win out in time, or how much market share the different models get, but from a user’s perspective, free charging is ccertainly appealing.

Regarding what I think is superb about the stations themselves, some of these features are features I also love about Tesla Superchargers, and they are all things that I recommend for nearly any public EV charging station company. Let’s have a look.

There are 8 charging ports at 4 charging stalls at this station.

The number of stalls is often decent. This must be a site host choice in the end, but it seems that ChargePoint either does a good job convincing those hosts to put in multiple stalls or is simply frequently selected for such installations.

It’s important to have several charging stalls because it’s a huge downer to get to a charging station and find that all the stalls are in use. This is an especially big issue if you are in big need of a charge — not simply topping up while shopping or hanging out. I seldom get to a ChargePoint station anywhere and find all the stalls in use.

Quite visible: ChargePoint charging stalls are fairly tall, which helps make them easy to find. They also typically have some bright orange on them that further helps to catch the eye, but not in a tacky way.

Aside from these things making it easier for a first-time user to find the station, greater visibility also puts the idea of going electric in front of more people, and encourages others who have been thinking about it to think about it more.

Data, data, data: Being the “smart” chargers they are, ChargePoint provides you with data regarding your charging habits and charging history. Fun.

Charging via phone or RFID card: Simply plugging in and charging (Plug&Charge) would be easier, and some “dumb” chargers in the area allow this, but it is fairly convenient to use my phone to start charging rather than needing an RFID card. That said, the RFID card also has benefits, and even a 2 year old can use it (see picture above).

Retractable cables that stay off the ground! Some charging stations do not have charging cables that are kept off the ground with a fancy little retractable cable systems. They should. This is a great benefit to a user, since it means you don’t have to wrestle with the cable and it doesn’t get covered in dirt and mud from lying on the ground.

Okay, now about a couple of things I don’t like about ChargePoint stations. First of all, an important part of the chargers has been breaking off at some stations. In particular, the chargers are now mostly broken at a location near me that just a couple of years ago had 8 brand new charging ports on 4 stalls. A little metal part that clicks onto the adapter for the Tesla Model 3 has broken off on most of them. (See the pics below.) I’m not sure if the chargers still work for other models, but they never work for the Model 3 with this piece missing.

Not broken.

Broken.

Not broken.

Broken.

Broken charger plugged into car but not secured. “Waiting for vehicle.”

Interestingly, some of the chargers don’t have this metal part. The black plastic just extends into that important shape. I think these ones are newer and the design was perhaps created to deal with this problem.

New? One big black plastic piece instead of black plastic with silver metal on the end (that often breaks off).

Charger on left is broken. Charger on right has full black plastic piece. (It is the charger I’m holding in the picture above this picture.)

The other issue: it seems that it takes ChargePoint a long time to get technicians to come and fix stations. One station was down for months this year. COVID-19 may have been an excuse, but I met the person at the City of Sarasota in charge of their charging stations and he also complained about this problem. That said, it seemed that other companies the city had worked with took even longer to fix or respond to technical problems. So, it appears to be a challenge across the industry.

Overall, though, I love ChargePoint stations and it’s hard to imagine EV life without them!

 
 


 


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Tags: chargepoint, free EV charging


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/i-%e2%99%a5-chargepoint/

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