David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - Energy

    Why So Many Electric Car Chargers in America Don't Work

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    There isn’t a single reason for EV charger failures. Some of the problems, particularly with older machines, can be chalked up to a new technology going through the usual learning curve of improvements, all while sitting outside, exposed to the weather. There have been cycles of needed upgrades, such as replacing modems to deal with 5G wireless internet service. The myriad networks, retail outlets and garage owners who own the machines don’t always stay on top of maintenance. And chargers must communicate with a rapidly expanding variety of cars. 

    To that end, the precise scope of the problem isn’t known. EV drivers face a complex landscape of competing charging companies, each with its own stations and app, and there is no central repository of data on station performance. One widely cited 2022 study of fast-charging stations in the San Francisco Bay Area (excluding Tesla Inc.’s Superchargers), found that about 25% of the 657 plugs weren’t working. While J.D. Power doesn’t disclose reliability rankings, Gruber said the worst-performing charging company leaves drivers unable to plug in about 39% of the time. 

    “With public charging, it’s a bit of the wild, wild West,” he said.

    Tesla proved that reliable charging is possible. The all-electric automaker runs a global network of 45,000 Superchargers, which can add up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Tesla consistently gets the highest customer-satisfaction marks of any charging company in J.D. Power’s surveys, Gruber said. Its drivers report charger downtime of just 3%.

    But Tesla has the advantage of keeping everything in-house. Until recently, Superchargers could only be used by Tesla cars, and didn’t need to work with the growing array of other EVs and batteries. Tesla also owns its Supercharger network, whereas many of the public chargers installed over the past decade are owned by whoever owns the parking lot where they’re located. Such property owners, Gruber said, don’t have as strong an incentive to maintain their machines.

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    Fire on 'Shadow' Tanker off Malaysia is Extinguished, Search Continues

    This article from Maritime-Executive.com may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    During a press briefing in Malaysia, the Russian captain of the vessel described the situation saying that he had discovered a fire amidship early afternoon on Monday. The initial discovery of smoke was followed by one or more loud explosions which he said shook the vessel, broke the windows, and rendered most of the communications systems inoperable.

    “The fire on the upper deck destroyed our aerial, none of the communication equipment was functioning,” the captain told NST TV in Malaysia. “I had to use the walkie talkie …I finally got in touch with our engineer via the walkie talkie but by then all our safety boats were destroyed.” 

    The captain said the desperate crew had gone into the water in their life jackets and luckily two ships were in the immediate area to assist with the rescue. He said in the confusion with the crew going in all directions it had been impossible for him to get a head count. He said the fire was also being spread by windy conditions.

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    Copper Mine Flashes Warning of 'Huge Crisis' for World Supply

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

    Take not just Chile, with its revisions to fiscal policies for miners, but Peru, a country long considered crucial to the next wave of copper production, where the mining sector has been battered during lengthy social unrest. Rio in late March agreed to sell a controlling stake in its Peruvian mine La Granja to First Quantum.

    “What the market never predicted was how difficult South America would become,” said Radclyffe. “The uncertainty out of both Chile and now ongoing in Peru, that’s just added an extra level of complexity that the market never expected, and that hasn’t really been resolved.”

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    Oil Tumbles as Low Trading Volumes Make for an "Investor Desert"

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    “The market is an investor desert,” said Scott Shelton, an energy specialist at ICAP. “The fundamental information that generates predictable price action doesn’t exist.”

    Adding to the bearish sentiment, vacancies at US employers fell to an almost two-year low in March, a fresh sign of a softening labor market. Activity in China’s export-tilted manufacturing sector missed estimates in April, a possible sign of a recession among customers in the US and Europe. And Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said the country has increased output to more than 3 million barrels a day, providing additional supplies to the market.

    “It’s going to take some evidence in the physical market on the tightening we see in our balances before we see any more positive or committed trading activity,” Emily Ashford, an energy analyst at Standard Chartered Bank, said by phone. 

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    Email of the day on why uranium is not doing better.

    Dear Eoin, Why do you think the Uranium Miners ETF you have been holding has been disappointing of late? Is it all about "risk-off" and withdrawal of liquidity from the market? What makes you continue to hold? What would make you sell? Thanks! Kind regards, 

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    CATL Says New Super Strong Battery May Power Electric Flight

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

    China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., known as CATL, unveiled its strongest battery to date Wednesday, saying that it could one day be used to power electric aircraft.  

    The battery, which loads more power into a smaller package, has an energy density of 500 watt-hours per kilogram, CATL’s Chief Scientist Wu Kai said during a presentation at the Shanghai auto show. CATL’s most recent battery, called Qilin, has an energy density of 255 Wh/kg and can power an electric vehicle for 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) on one charge. 

    The technology, which CATL calls a condensed state battery, is potentially a breakthrough that will help electrify sectors wed to fossil fuels because existing batteries are either too heavy or unsafe. Still, questions remain about the materials it will use, its cost and ultimate market impact.

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    The Age of Energy Insecurity

    Thanks to a subscriber for this article from Foreign Affairs. Here is a section:

    Even with redoubled efforts to produce more clean energy at home, the United States and others will still depend on China for critical minerals and other clean energy components and technologies for years to come, creating vulnerabilities to Chinese-induced shocks. For instance, in recent months, China has suggested that it may restrict the export of solar energy technologies, materials, and know-how as a response to restrictions that Washington imposed last year on the export of high-end semiconductors and machinery to China. If Beijing were to follow through on this threat or curtail the export of critical minerals or advanced batteries to major economies (just as it cut off rare earth supplies to Japan in the early 2010s), large segments of the clean energy economy could suffer setbacks.

    Traditional energy heavyweights are also recalibrating their positions in response to the changing geopolitical landscape in ways that increase energy security risks. Saudi Arabia, for instance, now sees its global stance differently than it did in the decades that followed the famous “oil for security” bargain struck by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdulaziz ibn Saud on Valentine’s Day in 1945. Riyadh is now far less concerned with accommodating Washington’s requests, overt or implied, to supply oil markets in ways consistent with U.S. interests. In the face of a perceived or real decrease in U.S. strategic commitment to the Middle East, Riyadh has concluded it must tend to other relationships—especially its links to China, the single largest customer for its oil. The kingdom’s acceptance of China as a guarantor of the recent Iranian-Saudi rapprochement bolsters Beijing’s role in the region and its global status. Relations with Moscow have also become particularly important to Saudi Arabia. Regardless of the invasion of Ukraine, the Saudi government believes that Russia remains an essential economic partner and collaborator in managing oil-market volatility. It will therefore be extremely reluctant to take positions that pit the Saudi leadership against Putin.

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    EU Hydrogen Quotas Raise Global Demand For Green Molecules

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    European Union (EU) lawmakers have agreed on the world’s first binding quotas for using renewable hydrogen (H2) and derived fuels. The March 30, 2023 rules will create significant demand for renewable H2, mandating existing industrial hydrogen users replace at least 42% of their demand with renewable H2. They also mandate at least 1% of transport energy to be H2-based.

    Member states should ensure 42% of existing industrial H2 demand is renewable by 2030, rising to 60% by 2035. The industry quota targets companies such as fertilizer and methanol producers, but excludes refineries, which are covered under the transport mandate. Member states will be legally required to adopt this agreement as national law and the European Court of Justice will determine penalties for states that fail to comply.

    In transport, fuel suppliers need to replace 5.5% of final energy demand with H2 or advanced biofuels, with a minimum target of 1% for H2-based fuels by 2030. BNEF expects the hydrogen share to be closer to the minimum goal as meeting the combined target using H2 alone would require extensive use of the molecule in road transport. Advanced biofuels had already reached a 2.1% share in transport by 2021.

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    EU Looks at Carbon Market, Agriculture in 2040 Climate Plan

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:   

    The measures are part of the 27-nation region’s plan to cut emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. 

    The EU wants to be a global leader in the green shift, an increasingly challenging objective after US President Joe Biden’s landmark climate package and competition from China in low-carbon technologies and critical materials. At the same time, the bloc is grappling with an unprecedented energy crisis triggered by a cut in gas supply from Russia following the war in Ukraine.

    “It is now more important than ever for the EU to get and stay on track to climate neutrality and resilience, providing a positive example to galvanize global action and to work with our partners worldwide to develop the solutions needed for all to transition to climate neutrality,” the commission said. 

    The EU indicated an emissions cut of 75% to 80% would follow the average trajectory between 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050. Lowering pollution by more than 90% would signify “a very high ambition, close to reaching climate neutrality already in 2040,” the commission said. 

    The commission signaled it is considering various options on the evolution of the EU Emissions Trading System, the bloc’s flagship carbon cap-and-trade program. They included an extension to cover new sectors, potential inclusion of all fossil-fuel uses and accounting for carbon capture technologies.

    It also said removing carbon dioxide from the environment is indispensable and sought views on how to tackle emissions from agriculture, including putting a carbon price on greenhouse gases from the sector. 

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    EU Moves Toward Zero-Emissions Cars After German Deal on E-Fuels

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    E-fuels, made using renewable energy and carbon dioxide captured from the air, aren’t seen as a viable solution for the vast majority of cars, given their high cost and current lack of availability. Instead, the bulk of carmakers in the region are expected to remain focused on battery-powered vehicles.

    “We see e-fuels as a useful addition to the existing fleet of combustion engines and for special applications such as emergency vehicles or limited series, the Porsche 911 for example,” Volkswagen said in a statement. Europe’s biggest carmaker said that it remained committed to the electrification
    of its fleet.

    The deal, announced on Saturday, was enough for Germany to drop its opposition to the proposal.  A push by the country’s pro-business FDP party, the junior member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s governing alliance, for the commission to come forward with more assurances on e-fuel cars had delayed a vote earlier this month.


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