Category: electricity

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The Surge of Sustainable Power: Unpacking the Significant Growth in Renewable Electricity Capacity

Quick Summary

In the ever-evolving landscape of global energy, a transformative shift is underway. The surge in renewable electricity capacity marks a pivotal moment in our collective journey towards a sustainable future. This article delves into the factors driving this significant growth, the challenges faced, and the implications for our planet.

A Record-Breaking Year for Renewables

The year 2023 was a watershed moment for renewable energy, with an unprecedented increase in renewable electricity capacity. The global community witnessed a 50% rise from the previous year, reaching an estimated 507 GW. This remarkable growth is a testament to the relentless innovation and policy support across more than 130 countries, with China leading the charge. The Asian giant’s solar PV market expanded by a staggering 116%, while wind technology saw a 66% increase. Additionally, Europe contributed significantly with a 35% increase in offshore wind capacity, and the United States saw a 25% rise in solar installations. Investment in renewable energy infrastructure reached an all-time high, surpassing $300 billion globally. Moreover, advancements in energy storage and grid integration played a crucial role in accommodating the surge in renewable energy, ensuring a more stable and reliable supply.

Solar and Wind: The Vanguard of the Green Revolution

The rapid expansion of solar PV and wind technologies has been instrumental in driving the renewable revolution. Solar power, in particular, has seen its share of global electricity generation climb from 4.6% in 2022 to 5.5% in 20232Wind power, too, has made significant strides, contributing to a record 13.4% of global electricity alongside solar2These figures underscore the growing reliance on clean energy sources, which now supply 30% of the world’s electricity3.

Overcoming Barriers: The Road Ahead

Despite the impressive growth, the renewable energy sector faces its share of challenges. Issues such as grid integration, storage capabilities, and the need for consistent policy frameworks are critical hurdles that must be addressed. Moreover, the cost environment for renewables is undergoing a significant shift, with companies like Statkraft reviewing their annual targets for new capacity. The fluctuation in raw material prices and supply chain disruptions have also impacted project timelines and budgets. Industry experts emphasize the importance of resolving grid connection and permit issues to sustain the momentum of growth. Ensuring robust and flexible grid infrastructure is essential to handle the variable nature of renewable energy sources, while streamlined permitting processes can accelerate the deployment of new projects. Additionally, fostering international cooperation and investment in research and development is vital to overcome these challenges and drive the sector forward.

The Impact on Fossil Fuels and Climate Goals

The ascendancy of renewables is setting the stage for a decline in fossil fuel generation. Projections suggest that, for the first time outside economic crises or pandemics, fossil fuel generation will fall in absolute terms in 2024, even as electricity demand grows2. This shift is crucial for meeting global climate targets and reducing emissions in the power sector. The COP28 climate summit’s goal to triple renewable capacity by 2030 is now within reach, thanks to the strides made in solar and wind power4.

Conclusion: Embracing a Renewable Future

The significant growth in renewable electricity capacity is more than just a statistic; it represents a collective commitment to a cleaner, more resilient energy system. As we continue to navigate the complexities of the energy transition, the lessons learned and the milestones achieved will guide us towards a future where sustainable power is not just an aspiration but a reality.

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Charging Electric Vehicles: Pay-per-kWh vs Pay-per-Hour

Introduction

The advent of electric vehicles (EVs) has brought about a significant shift in the automotive industry. As the number of EVs on the road increases, so does the demand for charging stations. However, a debate has emerged regarding the most equitable way to charge for this service: pay-per-kWh or pay-per-hour. This article will explore both options and argue in favor of the pay-per-kWh model.

Pay-per-Hour Model

The pay-per-hour model charges EV owners based on the amount of time their vehicle is connected to the charging station. This model is simple and easy to understand, as it mirrors the way we pay for parking. However, it has several drawbacks.

Firstly, the speed at which different EVs charge can vary significantly. Some vehicles may be able to fully charge in an hour, while others may take several hours to reach the same level. This means that owners of faster-charging vehicles end up paying more for the same amount of energy.

Secondly, this model does not incentivize efficient use of charging stations. Once a vehicle is fully charged, the owner has no financial incentive to move their vehicle and free up the charging spot for others.

Pay-per-kWh Model

The pay-per-kWh model, on the other hand, charges based on the amount of energy consumed. This model is akin to how we pay for gasoline or home electricity, making it intuitive for consumers.

This model is fairer as it ensures that drivers pay for the exact amount of energy they consume, regardless of how long it takes their vehicle to charge. It also encourages efficient use of charging stations, as drivers are likely to unplug their vehicles once they are fully charged to avoid additional costs.

Moreover, the pay-per-kWh model aligns with the goal of promoting energy conservation. By making drivers aware of their energy consumption, it encourages them to adopt energy-efficient driving habits.

The Future of EV Charging

While both models have their merits, the pay-per-kWh model is arguably the better option. It is fairer, promotes efficient use of charging infrastructure, and encourages energy conservation.

However, implementing this model is not without challenges. Regulators must ensure that pricing is transparent and that consumers are protected from price gouging. Additionally, charging station operators will need to invest in metering technology that can accurately measure energy consumption.

Despite these challenges, the pay-per-kWh model is the way forward. As the EV market continues to grow, it is crucial that we adopt a charging model that is fair, encourages efficiency, and promotes sustainability. The pay-per-kWh model ticks all these boxes, making it the clear choice for the future of EV charging.

In conclusion, while the pay-per-hour model may seem simpler, the pay-per-kWh model is a more equitable and sustainable solution. As we navigate the transition to electric vehicles, it is crucial that we make decisions that not only serve the needs of EV drivers today but also pave the way for a more sustainable future.

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Electric Vehicles: What is the future? 

Quick Summary

EV Sales

What’s pushing the EV Marketing

Oil and Electricity demand

EVs in Developing Nations

Article

What are the odds of you driving an Electric vehicle by 2030 or ten years later? Do not worry because
the odds are getting better for you every year. BloombergNEF (BNEF) estimates that in 2025,2030 and
2040, electric vehicles EVs will hit 10%, 28% and 58% of worldwide passenger vehicle sales respectively.
The BMEF report currently puts electric vehicles global sales at 3%.
Do you know what Kodak, Xerox or Blockbuster have in common? Innovation absence. The incumbent
organization must always invest in innovation in order to maintain being at the top. Otherwise, they will
tend to fall. This is what is currently happening in the automotive industry.
After companies like Tesla made electric vehicles a common feature on the roads of developed
countries, other manufacturers have joined the race. Currently, the Tesla Model 3 heads the pack at top
position with over 365,000 units sold in 2020 yet was first launched in July 2017.
EV Sales
Currently there are over 500 electric vehicles model globally. As battery prices fall with an increase in
energy density improvement coupled with mushrooming of more charging stations, sales will continue
to rise for electric vehicles. In India, Electric vehicle sales are up 20% with listed electric vehicle
companies like TATA, Ashok Leyland, Ather Energy and Mahindra focusing on production. Over the
years, India has been a strategic market for most manufactures not just in the automotive industry. This
can be attributed to the population of over a billion providing vast markets.

Tesla has as a result registered a company in the country. According to India’s transport minister, Nitin
Gadkari, the giant electric vehicle company will start off with sales and thereafter may seek assembly
and manufacturing.
What’s pushing the EV market?
If you sat in an Advanced Macroeconomics class, you probably have heard of arguments that technology
is endogenous. Technological advancements occur as a result of intentional investment decisions. These
decisions are made by profit maximizing agents.
This is the case in the EV market. Batteries keep getting better every year. This is not by default but by
serious labor and financial investments. Battery average density keeps on rising at 4%-5% annually
while charging speeds are on the rise. For example, the Tesla supercharger 3 network can add about 75
miles of charge in just 5 minutes of charge for the Model 3.
Apart from technology, policy makers are also lobbying for significant reduction of emissions in the
automotive market. Another major concern for them are city policies, fuel economy regulations and
quota systems. Several countries have put in place mechanisms to encourage adoption of electric
vehicles through policy makers. Subsidies for example have encouraged purchase of battery electric
vehicles.
In 2016, countries like Norway, Korea, China, United States, France, UK and Japan offered national
subsidies of USD 20,000, 16,550, 10,000, 8,750, 7,100, 6,200, and 5,500 for battery electric vehicles per
vehicle respectively. With this effort, about 13 countries have announced their plans to eliminate the
sale of internal combustion vehicles (ICV). This has as a result led to rising policy pressure on
manufacturers. This is enough to educate manufacturers on the future of ICV’S.
Another contributor is the falling lithium-ion battery prices. From 2010 – 2019, lithium-ion battery packs
prices dropped 87%. This has been attributed to discoveries of new manufacturing techniques,
chemistries and introduction of simplified pack designs.
What it means for Energy and Electricity demand
Oil and Electricity Demand

Covid- 19 safety rules hit the passenger vehicles hard and the effects passed on to oil demand. 1 million
barrels of oil per day is already being replaced by EV’s around the world. What still gives hope to the
overall road transport oil demand for this decade is growth in heavy commercial vehicles. We have
however seen the likes of Elon Musk unveiling solutions for this such as the class 8 semi-truck. The truck
will come with 300-mile or 500-mile range. Tesla has also launched an eighteen-wheeler for cargo.
Multibillion-dollar organizations such as Amazon has also opted for electric vehicles for deliveries. This
clearly gives a clear picture of where things are headed. BNEF projects that by 2040, 17.6 million barrels
of oil demand will be displaced by EV’s per day.

By 2040, the overall consumption of electricity by EV’s across all segments will add just 5.2% to global
electricity demand. This EV’s will consume a total of 1,964TWh.
Why Electric Vehicles?
A global advantage of buying an electric vehicle is the absence of carbon emissions. They help reduce
global warming in the long run and as a result an investment to our future generations. EV’s also require
low maintenance compared to gasoline cars. There is no need to send your EV to the service station as
often as you would an ICE.
Savings is one of the most important selling points. EV’s can be charged for significantly very low prices
compared to ICE’s. Some countries also offer incentives for going green. On safety, EV’s have been
deemed safer to use due to their low center of gravity making them more stable. EV’s are even less
likely to burn or experience explosions given the absence of flammable fuel.
EV’s are revolutionizing driving by making it easier. They come without the clutch mechanism since EV’s
do not suffer from the problem of stalling. You basically operate the vehicle using acceleration pedal,
the steering wheel together with the brake pedal. In ICE’s the breaking process wastes kinetic energy
while in EV’s, regenerative breaking charges the battery.
As much as there are some disadvantages of using electric vehicles such as the issue of recharge points,
steep initial investment and driving range the advantages outweigh them. Most of the challenges are
being faced out by technological advancements and time. An example is the problem of driving range.

Improved battery technology has now seen EV’s with up to 412-mile range up from 100-mile range. It is
therefore possible in future to have 1000mile range EV’s given this trend.
EV’s in Developing Nations
The Kenyan government has set a goal of having 5% of all registered vehicles being EV’s by 2025.
Government strategies have been formulated in order to have new public buildings have charging
stations. Kenya has severally experienced fuel challenges for example the increase of public transport
costs by Ksh.15. This was as a result of increased fuel costs as a result of increased VAT.
Private transport companies such as Eco-rent have however invested in EV’s in the Kenya. The company
launched a digital application similar to uber called NopeaRide. The organization uses purely EV’s and
has also set up charging points for their vehicles. Other countries in Africa worth mentioning include
South Africa where out of more than ten million cars, a thousand are EV’s and Nigeria where the
Hyundai-Kona, a locally assembled EV is being set up.
Conclusion
Technology advancements are exponential and endogenous. It is on this basis that the EV markets
future is promising. The overwhelming support and interests from governments and other relevant
institutions have also seen EV’s market grow. Technological advancements will render the initial costs
for EV’s to be cheaper and as a result more affordable.
Moreover, having Solar Power your home together with an EV is significantly economical as witnessed
by a Tesla customer who installed the Solar roof and owns a Model Y. She was able to feed extra power
to the grid making savings of up to $415.50 and revenues of $92.12 from selling back to grid.
This therefore shows us the need to also adopt solar power for running homes from which could also
power the EV’s making it even more economical. It would then be possible to make savings in this harsh
covid-19 economic times.

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Load Shedding in Kenya: A Looming Crisis or a Wake-Up Call?

Monologue

It is now the third time that Kenya has been plunged into darkness as witnessed on the 10th of December, 20:00hrs EAT. The previous case happened in August and now the Energy CS, David Chirchir has hinted on a possible rationing/load shedding as maintenance and building of new distribution channels are to take effect. Kenya, a country that has been seen to be in the forefront of spearheading ESG and adoption of renewables seems to be falling back on it’s mandate or this just a case of poor governance?

Article

Load Shedding in Kenya: A Looming Crisis or a Wake-Up Call?

Kenya is facing the possibility of scheduled power outages, known as load shedding, in the near future. This is due to the lack of adequate power transmission lines to distribute the electricity generated from various sources. Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir has revealed that the government is contemplating this measure to prevent overloading the grid and causing nationwide blackouts, as happened on Sunday, December 10, 2023

Load shedding is a strategy to balance the available power with the demand, ensuring a more stable and reliable electricity supply for everyone. It involves cutting off power to certain areas or sectors for a specified period of time, usually on a rotational basis. While this may sound like a reasonable solution to avoid a complete collapse of the power system, it comes with significant economic, social and environmental costs.

The Economic Impact of Load Shedding

Load shedding has a negative impact on the productivity and profitability of various sectors of the economy, especially the manufacturing, mining, agriculture and service industries. These sectors rely heavily on electricity to operate machinery, equipment, computers and other devices. When power is interrupted, they have to halt their operations, incur losses, delay deliveries, reduce output and quality, and sometimes lay off workers. According to a study by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, load shedding costs the country about 0.4% of its GDP annually

Load shedding also affects the competitiveness of Kenyan businesses in the regional and global markets. Kenya is already lagging behind its neighbours in terms of electricity access and affordability. According to the World Bank, only 75% of Kenyans have access to electricity, compared to 89% in Uganda, 97% in Rwanda and 100% in Ethiopia Moreover, Kenyan manufacturers pay an average of Sh16 per kilowatt-hour, which is higher than the regional average of Sh12 Load shedding will further increase the cost of doing business and erode the confidence of investors and consumers.

The Social Impact of Load Shedding

Load shedding also has a detrimental effect on the quality of life and well-being of Kenyans. It disrupts the normal functioning of households, schools, hospitals, public services and other essential facilities. It affects the provision of health care, education, water, sanitation, security and communication. It exposes people to health and safety risks, such as food spoilage, water contamination, fire hazards, crime and violence. It also limits the opportunities for leisure, entertainment, socialization and personal development.

Curtesy of BBC
Curtesy of BBC: A pupil using a candle to study

Load shedding also exacerbates the existing inequalities and vulnerabilities in the society. It affects the poor and marginalized groups more than the rich and privileged ones. It widens the gap between the urban and rural areas, where access to electricity is already unequal. It also increases the gender disparities, as women and girls bear the brunt of the domestic chores and responsibilities that require electricity, such as cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing. It also limits their access to education, information, employment and empowerment.

The Environmental Impact of Load Shedding

Load shedding also has an adverse impact on the environment and the climate. It encourages the use of alternative sources of energy, such as diesel generators, kerosene lamps, charcoal stoves and firewood. These sources are not only expensive and inefficient, but also emit harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases that contribute to air pollution, respiratory diseases, deforestation, desertification and global warming. They also deplete the natural resources and biodiversity that are vital for the ecological balance and sustainability.

Load shedding also undermines the efforts to transition to a green and low-carbon economy. Kenya has made significant strides in developing and harnessing renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, hydro, wind and solar. These sources are clean, cheap, abundant and renewable. They have the potential to meet the growing demand for electricity and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and imports. However, load shedding reduces the incentives and returns for investing in renewable energy projects and infrastructure. It also creates uncertainty and instability in the power sector and the energy market.

The Way Forward for Kenya

Load shedding is not inevitable or irreversible. It can be avoided or minimized by taking proactive and preventive measures to address the underlying causes and challenges of the power sector. Some of these measures include:

  • Expanding and upgrading the power transmission and distribution network to increase its capacity, efficiency and reliability. This will reduce the losses, leakages and bottlenecks that hamper the flow of electricity from the generation to the consumption points.
  • Enhancing the maintenance and management of the existing power plants and equipment to improve their performance, availability and lifespan. This will reduce the breakdowns, faults and outages that affect the power supply and quality.
  • Accelerating the completion and commissioning of the ongoing and planned power projects, especially the coal-fired plants of Medupi and Kusile, which are expected to add 9,564 MW of capacity to the grid. This will increase the power generation and diversification and reduce the supply-demand gap.
  • Promoting the development and integration of renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, hydro, wind and solar, into the national grid. This will reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and imports and increase the affordability and sustainability of electricity.
  • Implementing the reforms and recommendations of the Presidential Taskforce on Independent Power Producers, which was chaired by John Ngumi. This will improve the governance, regulation and oversight of the power sector and address the issues of corruption, mismanagement and sabotage that have plagued Eskom and other stakeholders.
  • Encouraging the participation and involvement of the private sector, the civil society and the consumers in the power sector. This will enhance the competition, innovation and accountability in the sector and foster a culture of transparency, responsibility and efficiency.

The Lessons from South Africa

Kenya can learn from the experience and example of South Africa, which has been grappling with load shedding for more than a decade. South Africa is one of the most electrified countries in Africa, but also one of the most affected by power cuts. The country has suffered from load shedding for 232 days as of September 2023, which is about 1.5 times more than what was experienced in 2022

The main causes of load shedding in South Africa are similar to those in Kenya: ageing infrastructure, poor maintenance, corruption, mismanagement and sabotage. The consequences are also similar: economic losses, social disruptions, environmental damages and political instability. The solutions are also similar: expanding and upgrading the power network, enhancing the maintenance and management of the power plants, accelerating the completion and commissioning of the power projects, promoting the development and integration of renewable energy sources, implementing the reforms and recommendations of the power sector, and encouraging the participation and involvement of the stakeholders.

However, South Africa also offers some unique insights and lessons for Kenya. One of them is the importance of diversifying the power sector and reducing the monopoly and dominance of Eskom, the state-owned utility that generates, transmits and distributes electricity in the country. Eskom has been accused of being inefficient, corrupt, politicized and unaccountable. It has also been resistant to change and reform, especially in terms of embracing renewable energy and allowing independent power producers to enter the market.

Another lesson is the need to balance the social and environmental objectives of the power sector with the economic and financial realities. South Africa has been struggling to keep the electricity tariffs affordable and accessible for the poor and vulnerable segments of the society, while also ensuring the viability and sustainability of Eskom and other power providers. The government has been subsidizing Eskom and bailing it out of its debts, but this has also increased the fiscal burden and the public debt.

A third lesson is the role of innovation and adaptation in coping with load shedding and mitigating its impacts. South Africans have developed various strategies and technologies to deal with the power cuts, such as installing solar panels, batteries, inverters, generators and smart meters, using energy-efficient appliances and devices, switching to gas or biogas for cooking and heating, and adopting flexible working hours and arrangements.

Conclusion

Load shedding is a serious and complex problem that affects Kenya and other African countries. It has negative and far-reaching implications for the economy, the society and the environment. It also poses a threat to the development and stability of the country. However, load shedding is not insurmountable or inevitable. It can be prevented or minimized by taking appropriate and timely measures to address the challenges and opportunities of the power sector. Kenya can also learn from the experience and example of South Africa, which has been facing load shedding for a long time. By doing so, Kenya can ensure a reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supply for its people and its future.

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Electrifying Showdown: Battery vs. Hydrogen Trucks in the Epic Quest for Dominance

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Current front-runner
  • Emerging contender
  • Verdict

Article

Introduction

The transportation industry is at a crossroads, with two major technologies vying for dominance: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs). Both technologies offer the promise of zero-emission transportation, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Battery Electric Trucks: The Current Front-Runner

In 2022, nearly 66,000 electric buses and 60,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks were sold worldwide, representing about 4.5% of all bus sales and 1.2% of truck sales globally. The majority of these vehicles were sold in China, which continues to dominate the production and sales of electric trucks and buses.

Battery electric trucks have several advantages. They are roughly 50% more efficient to operate than diesel trucks, making them at least 20% less expensive. Moreover, they produce zero tailpipe emissions, contributing to a significant reduction in carbon emissions3. However, they also face challenges such as limited driving range, longer refueling times, and the current lack of charging infrastructure, especially for long-haul routes.

Hydrogen Trucks: The Emerging Contender

Hydrogen trucks, on the other hand, are still in the early stages of market penetration. As of 2020, there were only 25,932 hydrogen-powered vehicles registered globally, with the majority being buses. However, the hydrogen truck market is projected to grow rapidly, with the global hydrogen trucks market size expected to surpass around USD 118.1 billion by 2032.

Hydrogen trucks offer significant environmental benefits, fuel efficiency, and noise reduction. They produce only water vapor as a byproduct, making them a clean energy solution. However, they also face challenges such as high initial costs, lack of a widespread refueling infrastructure, and safety concerns related to the storage and transportation of hydrogen.

The Verdict

While both battery and hydrogen trucks have their merits, the choice between the two technologies ultimately depends on the specific use case. Battery electric trucks are currently leading the race due to their higher efficiency and lower operating costs. However, hydrogen trucks hold promise for long-haul transportation due to their longer driving range and quicker refueling times.

The race between battery and hydrogen trucks is far from over. As technology advances and infrastructure develops, the balance could shift. For now, it’s clear that both technologies will play a crucial role in the transition to sustainable transportation.

In conclusion, the future of the trucking industry lies in the adoption of zero-emission technologies. Whether battery or hydrogen trucks will dominate the market remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the race is on, and the winner will be the environment.

Verified by ExactMetrics