What caught our eye - three key stories (week 16, 2024)
Sustainability. Strategy. Finance.

What caught our eye - three key stories (week 16, 2024)

Inability to connect new renewables to the grid slowing down the transition, microbes creating methane - we need to know more, and is there such a thing as better meat (yes - but it has other implications we need to think about).

Here are three stories that we found particularly interesting this week and why. We also give our lateral thought on each one.

Read in full by clicking on the link below.

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If we cannot connect new renewables to the grid ...

New renewable electricity generation is only useful if it's actually connected to the grid. Without that 'simple action' none of us can use the electricity.

So we really need to care about what are known as interconnector queues, the number of new projects waiting to get connected. In the US that data is collected annually by Berkeley Labs. And the latest data is now out.

And it appears that the interconnector queues are growing - more new renewables are waiting for connection.

The amount of new electric capacity in these queues is growing dramatically, with nearly 2,600 gigawatts (GW) of total generation and storage capacity now seeking connection to the grid (over 95% of which is for zero-carbon resources like solar, wind, and battery storage).

Of the c. 2,600GW, just under 1,600 GW is proposed generation, and c. 1,000 is storage. Most (1,480 GW) of the generation seeking connection is zero-carbon. Solar (1,086 GW) accounts for the largest share of generation capacity in the queues. Substantial wind (366 GW) capacity is also seeking interconnection, 1/3 of which is for offshore projects (120 GW).

And the fastest growing categories are solar and battery storage combined, they account for over 80% of new capacity entering the queues in 2023.

Source: Berkely Lab

The whole issue of connection queues is rightly getting more attention. But we still seem to be struggling to actually fix the problem. Only ~19% of projects requesting interconnection from 2000-2018 reached commercial operations by the end of 2023.

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