Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

EU 2020 Offshore Wind Record Investment

Europe confirmed a record amount of EUR 26.3 billion of investments in 2020 that will finance 7.1 GW of new offshore wind farms to be built in the coming years, WindEurope said.

For comparison, EUR 6.1 billion was invested in four offshore wind projects in 2019. This represents an increase of over 330 per cent year-on-year.

[] – European Offshore Wind Draws Record Investment in 2020
[] – Wind energy in Europe 2020 Statistics and the outlook for 2021-2025

NordLink Operational

Germany has a 2nd subsea power cable to Norway, called NordLink, connecting a large Norwegian hydro-buffer with German renewable energy sources to even-out intermittent power supply.

Construction start date: 2016
Trajectory: Wilster-Tonstadt
Subsea length: 516 km
Cost: 2 billion euro
Power: 1.4 GW
Operator: TenneT


[] – Deutschland nutzt Norwegen jetzt als Batterie
[] – NordLink
[deepresource] – Norway Wants to Become Europe’s Battery Pack (2012)

VirtuPVT Hybrid Solar

Basically a form of PVT:

Regarding PV Cell Efficiency at High Temperatures, Nicholas Simmons from Naked Energy has this to say: “PV cells regularly get to very high temperatures. If you return to your car on a hot summers day you know how hot it can be. A conventional PV module traps the cells behind glass and lets them bake in the sun. When a solar panel is made the temperatures used in the lamination process go up to something like 150C. As mentioned the efficiency of a solar cell drops off as temperature rises – this is known as the temperature coefficient and is published on the data sheets that go with PV modules. A conventional solar module has no way of losing heat other than through convection, but at the height of summer with no breeze and high ambient temperatures there is very little cooling going on. There is a lot of academic research out there discussing this. The virtuPVT heat exchanger as described in the video is constantly taking heat away to be used for other heating / hot water / process heat. Consequently a virtuPVT collector can actually be cooler than a normal PV module under the same circumstances.

[] – Company site
[] – Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector

Stirling Heat Pump

[] – Stirling engine

Toyota Plans Revolutionary Solid State Battery

A solid-state battery is a battery technology that uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries. Materials proposed for use as solid electrolytes in solid-state batteries include ceramics (e.g., oxides, sulfides, phosphates), and solid polymers. Solid-state batteries have found use in pacemakers, RFID and wearable devices. They are potentially safer, with higher energy densities, but at a much higher cost.

Challenges to widespread adoption include energy and power density, durability, material costs, sensitivity and stability.

A trip of 500 km on one charge. A recharge from zero to full in 10 minutes. All with minimal safety concerns. The solid-state battery being introduced by Toyota promises to be a game changer not just for electric vehicles but for an entire industry.

The technology is a potential cure-all for the drawbacks facing electric vehicles that run on conventional lithium-ion batteries, including the relatively short distance traveled on a single charge as well as charging times. Toyota plans to be the first company to sell an electric vehicle equipped with a solid-state battery in the early 2020s. The world’s largest automaker will unveil a prototype next year.

[] – Toyota’s game-changing solid-state battery en route for 2021 debut
[] – Solid-state battery

World Record Low Solar Energy Cost $0.0104/kWh

[source] The 300 MW Sakaka PV IPP project

The Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia has announced the intended construction of a 600 MW Al Shuaiba PV IP project, at a world record low cost of $0.0104/kWh.

As we have noted before, the cost of desert solar electricity is no longer relevant. Relevant is the cost of a “prepackaged kWh” on world markets. Storage, not generation, is the real cost. Think the cost of electrolyzers, conversion of hydrogen into a more convenient chemical form, transport, storage.

[] – Saudi Arabia’s second PV tender draws world record low bid of $0.0104/kWh

Offshore Wind Update

The Danish offshore wind park “Kriegers Flak” is halfway completed. 36 of the 72 Siemens Gamesa 8.4 MW wind turbines are in place and the rest will be until June, according to installer Jan de Mul of Flanders.

[] – Kriegers Flak Wind Turbines Halfway There

More interesting is the breakthrough of offshore wind in Eastern Europe, with a bang really. Poland gave the nod to 2.5 GW Baltica 2&3 via a “contract for difference” scheme:

[] – Poland Awards 2.5 GW Baltica 2&3 with Contract for Difference

But the greatest news is:

[] – Ireland to Get 1.4 GW Floating Wind Farm, Green Hub

Ireland will have a large floating wind farm off the West coast, build by Norwegian contractor Equinor. This technology will greatly expand the potential regions where offshore wind can be applied, even deep onto the ocean, which is interesting for Japan, China and the US.

Norwegian Oil Fund Invests in Dutch Offshore Wind Park

[source] Fill er up! Well, well, well… 5.4 million people owning 1.1 trillion euro, that’s 200k per capita, build-up over merely 20 years. The Norwegians have a luxury problem: what to do with all that money? And then they saw the European Renewable Energy Policy and they knew their problem was solved.

The Norwegian Statens pensjonsfond Utland just acquired 50% of the newly built Borssele I & II offshore wind parks from Danish wind developer Ørsted. Until now this state-owned pension fund was focussed on oil investments. Investment sum: 1.4 billion euro. The Norwegian fund sits on a staggering 1.1 trillion euro and is the largest public fund in the world. Ironically, the fund got its mammoth size thanks to Norwegian oil revenue.

The take-away point is that the financial resources to fund the renewable energy transition are virtually limitless, now that the transition is backed by:

1) Paris Accords
2) EU Green Deal
3) Global and especially European public opinion.

A large share of the funds will come from Scandinavia. Owning the parks yourself would be best, but geopolitically this is still preferable over US, UK, Chinese or Arabian ownership of the parks. Norway is de facto member of the EU Common Market.

[] – Norwegischer Pensionsfonds investiert erstmals in Meereswindpark

EU to Become #1 in Car Battery Production by 2030

Most car batteries are currently produced in China, South-Korea, Japan and the US. The EU is lagging behind with 7% market share. The signs are that this could change drastically and that by 2030, Europe will be market leader with 31% (Bloomberg). Reason: the huge investment sums, European car companies are willing to commit. This could lead to 90% battery self-sufficiency for cars produced in Europe in 2030.

Within Europe, Germany is expected to lead, before France and the UK. This market share will be realized in no less than 27 car battery factories that are being planned, c.q. build today.

Especially Volkswagen stands out as the likely winner in the e-revolution.

[] – Warum Deutschland Batterie-Champion für Elektroautos werden könnte
[deepresource] – E-Vehicles 2025 – and the Winner is… Volkswagen!

Germany Could Be Sitting on Large Lithium Reserves

German language video

A 90 kWh car battery contains about 13 kg lithium. German and French e-car manufacturers have to acquire this essential alkali metal from abroad, like South-America and Australia. In 2019, the global lithium reserve numbers were:

Country Share (%)
Chile 55.5
Australia 18.1
Argentina 11.0
China 6.5
US 4.1

According to the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), lithium could very well be economically won from the Oberrheingraben, in Germany itself.

As an additional advantage over short supply lines, the lithium could be won environmentally responsible, by extracting it from the brine of geothermal power stations. Australian specialists from the Vulcan corporation have established that the brine contains up to 200 mg per liter, which is exceptional. With 80 liter/s, that amounts to 16 gram/s or more than 4 car batteries per hour or ca. 40,000 per year, per borehole.

[] – Vulcan confirmed as largest JORC compliant Lithium resource in Europe

The company reported a total Inferred Mineral Resource of 13.2 Mt of contained Lithium Carbonate Equivalent, at a lithium brine grade of 181 mg/l Li.

This makes Vulcan the largest JORC-compliant Lithium Resource in Europe by a considerable margin, and a globally significant lithium brine resource.

The company noted that the Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate was calculated on just one of the five licence areas within the Vulcan Project, where majority of exploration licence areas remain as future upside.

Total estimated reserves: 13.2 Mt Lithium-carbonate or Li2CO3. With a molecular weight of 73,891 g/mol for Li2CO3 on 6.941 g/mol for lithium, this would amount to 1.39 million ton lithium, in theory sufficient for 1.3 billion cars. The price on world markets for Li2CO3 is currently ca $10/kg, so the entire reserve could be worth 120 billion euro. The very pleasant side effect is that building geothermal power stations in the Oberrheingraben has became a lot cheaper, because of the lithium side effect.

Unsurprisingly, on the French side of the Rhine, similar lithium finds have been made.

The first German lithium production is targeted for 2023.

Is everything rosy? Not really. Germans in large majority support the renewable energy transition, except if it has an impact on their private lives. The balance between public and private interests is very much tilted towards the private side, perhaps a little too much.

[] – Buergerinitiave gegen Tiefengeothermie
[] – Kampf um Lithium

The consequence is that the transition in Germany is currently stagnating, not because of lack of funds or overall public support, but because small local groups agitate against wind turbine noise, “horizon pollution” from turbines or high voltage power lines, feared cracks in their houses or polluted groundwater because of geothermal activities.

[] – Lithium aus Deutschland – Der verborgene Schatz im Oberrheingraben
[] – Der Oberrheingraben
[] – Kampf um Lithium
[] – Lithium und Kobalt in Elektroauto-Akkus
[] – The World’s Top Lithium Producers

Tesla Throne Teetering


German magazine Focus claims that German car giants are rapidly catching up with Tesla and gives 5 reasons for that development:

  • Radical improvement cost structure
  • 100% CEO-level acceptance that the ICE car is history
  • No more fascination for design, but instead focus on battery production, charging poles, software
  • No more obsession with growing and take-over of competitors, but instead becoming agile
  • Acceptance of political directives like the Paris Accords and EU renewable energy program

[] – Der Musk-Thron wackelt
[] – Yes, Tesla Stock Really Is Overvalued
[deepresource] – “E-Vehicles 2025 – and the Winner is… Volkswagen!”

Going Green – Power Purchase Agreement


Energy is the lifeblood of any company. No energy, no company. A company ensuring access to energy sources is ensuring the continuity of said company. And with the Paris Accords in place, it also means a safe bet that a company is seen as being morally on the right side, that is the green side.

A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a contract between a company and a renewable energy provider that a certain guaranteed amount of renewable energy is going to be bought by the company from the provider. The result is that companies with deep pockets are funding the renewable energy transition and greatly enhance its momentum, without a single public dime involved.

Distinction needs to be made between a physical PPA and a virtual (or financial) PPA. With a physical PPA, renewable energy is pumped directly from the source into the company, without involvement of the grid. With a virtual (or financial) PPA in his pocket, the renewable energy provider can begin to develop his renewable energy project, because he can show to the financier he has a guaranteed source of income.

Listed here are a few companies that are engaged in a power purchase agreement (PPA).


Dutch Rail
Amsterdam Airport
Philips Electronics
Air Liquide


Deutsche Bahn
Frankfurt Airport


Department “Meurthe-et-Moselle”











[] – Power Purchase Agreement
[] – Power purchase agreement

LAVO – Residential Hydrogen Storage

LAVO Marketing video

The Australian start-up LAVO has introduced an energy storage device, based on hydrogen, that is produced locally in an electrolyzer and stored in metal, like water in a sponge. The energy is retrieved as electricity via a fuel cell. Storage capacity 40 kWh, which is 3 times a Tesla Power Wall, but with the same size and price, perhaps, is $34k. Vague about round-trip efficiency, perhaps lower than 50%, where a battery has 75-90%.

Website comment: it seems to make little sense to replace a battery with a small electrolyzer/fuell cell. Hydrogen brings added value only if it can provide seasonal storage, in the range of several months, not days; we have cheaper, more efficient batteries or pumped hydro for that. Nevertheless, bringing hydrogen storage to private homes is impressive, and we can only wish them success.

[] – LAVO company site
[] – Home hydrogen battery stores 3x the energy of a Powerwall 2
[] – Waterstofopslag voor woningen en bedrijven komt op de markt

Review from hell:

[] – LAVO’s Australian Made Hydrogen Battery: Incredible Engineering. Tough Sell.

Battery prices in Europe, ca. $500,-/kWh

[] – Batterijen

Read more…

Construction 1.5 GW Hollandse Kust-Zuid to Begin in June

Jack-up ship: Seaway Strashnov
Depth North Sea: 18-28 m
Turbines: 140 Siemens-Gamesa SG 11.0-200 DD (11 MW)
Installation date monopiles: Summer 2022
Start electricity production: 2022
Commission date: mid-2023

[] – Offshore Construction on Dutch Trailblazer to Start in June
[] – Windpark Hollandse Kust Zuid
[] – Seaway Strashnov


[source] – Siemens-Gamesa 11 MW

World’s Largest Construction Firm Moving into Renewables


(Bloomberg) — Vinci SA’s move to buy a core business of Spain’s Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA ​​​for about 4.9 billion euros ($5.8 billion) will turn the French infrastructure giant into a global player in renewable energies. The deal that was more than six months in the making expands Vinci’s reach into Spain and Latin America, according to a statement Thursday… The acquisition includes a pipeline of 15 gigawatts of new renewable power assets, mostly solar and onshore wind, plus a team that can originate more. Vinci is also looking at 8 gigawatts of offshore wind projects. Depending on how much of those actually get built, the assets could turn the company into a significant developer of green power.

[] – Vinci Seals $5.8 Billion Deal Marking Push Into Renewables
[] – Vinci SA

“Scotland Can Provide 25% of EU’s Renewable Energy”


Most Scottish newspapers are unionist and oppose Scottish independence. But even they have to operate in an environment, rife with secessionism, that thanks to the economic disaster that is Brexit (most of all for the UK), got a new lease of life, after the failed independence bid of 2014. So even “The Scotsman” occasionally has to give voice to those who promote secession and within the current Scottish political context that is the SNP and the Greens.

The English love to express a certain dédain for the economic prospects of an independent Scotland, but the reality is that within the EU, Scotland can be expected to thrive, even more than Ireland has done, and they are currently one of the richest per capita countries in Europe. Not bad for a country, once known for “too much whiskey and too few potatoes”. Why is Ireland so rich and attractive?

1. it is a loyal EU member
2. the population speaks English (sort of)

That makes it attractive to foreign investors from all around the world, not just from the US. The point to make is that the same conditions apply to Scotland as well. There is sufficient reason to assume that Scotland could become another “Celtic Tiger”. Certainly if you realize this:

Scotland has the potential to provide 25% of Europe’s renewable energy

Say what?!

According to an op-ed by Lorna Slater, a Scottish politician for the Greens Party, does Scotland have the potential to become for Europe a renewable energy Saudi-Arabia (our words). With 65/km2, Scotland is sparsely populated. In the waters of Scotland there is a lot of potential for tidal energy, the field of Lorna Slater. And then there is on- and offshore wind. Renewable energy could be a major export product into continental European markets and a guarantee for future Scottish wealth.

[] – Renewables can power economy of an independent Scotland

P.S. What Lorna Slater failed to mention is that, apart from renewable energy generation, Scotland also has great potential for renewable energy storage, far greater than required for domestic needs:

[deepresource] – World-Record Pumped-Hydro Storage for Scotland?
[deepresource] – Great Potential for Pumped Hydro in Scotland

Mercedes-Benz EQS

Despite this being a car skeptic site, here the answer Daimler has in store for Tesla: the EQS. By 2022, Mercedes-Benz will have 10 e-models on offer.

[] – Mercedes-Benz EQS
[] – Mit diesem Auto will Daimler Tesla attackieren

Daimler, Volkswagen & Salzgitter Go Green

One of the most potent boosters of the renewable energy transition are companies, keen on presenting themselves as “green”, in that they purchase green energy sources, with an output that roughly matches the energy consumption of said companies. Examples of that behavior in the recent past are Apple, Google, Dutch Rail, Dutch Infrastructure ministry, Amsterdam Airport and many more.

Now Daimler has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Norwegian utility Statkraft, sourced from wind, solar and hydro-power:

The power for the PPA will come from a fleet of 24 post-subsidy wind farms as well as a portion of the solar production from Schornhof PV complex in the south of Germany, together equal to the electricity consumed by some 65,000 households.

And then there is Volkswagen:

In 2020, Volkswagen Group increased the share of renewables powering its European factories from 80% to 95% (year over year/YoY), and 10 of its factories became 100% renewably powered. The target is for them to reach 100% renewable power by 2023.

And finally German steel giant Salzgitter:

A major green hydrogen facility in Germany has started operations, with those behind the project hoping it will help to decarbonize the energy-intensive steel industry in the years ahead… The development in Germany is centered around seven new wind turbines operated by Avacon and two 1.25 megawatt (MW) electrolyzer units installed by Salzgitter Flachstahl… The turbines, from Vestas, have a hub height of 169 meters and a combined capacity of 30 MW. All are located on premises of the Salzgitter Group, with three situated on the site of a steel mill in the city of Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, northwest Germany. The hydrogen produced using renewables will be utilized in processes connected to the smelting of iron ore.

An interesting aspect of the decentralized renewable energy transition is that it is funded to a large degree by social actors, like companies, households, municipalities, banks, pension funds, investment firms, etc. and not solely by the national governments or EU, who can mostly concentrate on signaling, designing regulations, directives, a little subsidy here and there and that’s it. The renewable energy transition is an effort by all parts of society and that makes it such a unique undertaking.

[] – Daimler car factories go green 24/7 with hydro-backed Statkraft wind-solar power deal
[] – Daimler Sustainability
[] – Volkswagen’s European Factories Up To 95% Powered By Renewables
[] – German steel powerhouse turns to ‘green’ hydrogen produced using huge wind turbines
[deepresource] – Dutch Rail Runs 100% on Wind Power

Sand Batteries

In the desert there is no water for pumped storage. There is however lots of sand, as well as heat. Could be used for heat storage, heat that can be transformed into electricity.

[] – Sand Batteries For Solar Energy Storage
[] – Heat Storing Sand Battery
[] – Thermal battery
[deepresource] – SandTES – Storing Heat in Sand

Iranian Homegrown Wind Turbine

It’s difficult to find reliable information, but this probably refers to a 2.5 MW machine from MAPNA.

To facilitate cooperation with globally renowned companies in technology transfer, the company succeeded in obtaining licenses and indigenizing technical knowledge of manufacturing wind turbines with 2.5MW capacity from Fuhrländer, a renowned German manufacturer of wind-power plants.


So it’s not entirely homegrown, but nevertheless produced in Iran.

[] – Fuhrländer’s new hope: Iran

Aha, the Iranians apparently saved Fuhrländer from bankruptcy:

Now it is evidently Mapna who will take over. The Iranians are supposed to continue to advance development of the 3 MW turbines and add 80 employees. Mapna is also a customer of a Fuhrländer project in Iran. In 2012, authorities delayed exporting the turbine to Iran due to a European embargo, but problems with the embargo are supposed to be clarified prior to the sale, a spokesperson confirmed.

[] – Fuhrländer

The Fuhrländer AG company was dissolved in December 2012 due to bankruptcy. Fuhrländer AG’s business operations were finally terminated in summer 2013. Around a third of the workforce has been taken over by a new company called FWT Trade.

[] – WWEA welcomes 600th member: FWT energy GmbH

(2014) FWT is active in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, India, USA, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Iran and China. Currently 22 turbines (FWT 2000) are being delivered for the first wind project in Kazachztan, a flagship project of Expo 2017 in Astana.

[] – company site

[] – MAPNA Turbine Blade Engineering and Manufacturing
[] – Mapna 2.5 MW
[] – Wind energy in Iran, Wind Power Coming to Sistan-Baluchestan
[Google Maps] – Mile Nader Wind Energy Zone, near Zabol

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