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Issue #71 - UK and Australian renewables hitting peak output, EV manufacturers stymied from selling to the public, and closed-loop battery anode recycling cuts costs and improves efficiency.

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #71 - UK and Australian renewables hitting peak output, EV manufacturers stymied from selling to the public, and closed-loop battery anode recycling cuts costs and improves efficiency.
By Gary Comerford • Issue #71 • View online
We are approaching a critical time in the world of EVs and renewables. The percentage of new cars that are plug-in is increasing all the time. In Europe, it hit 25% recently. Renewable Energy is getting more and more acceptance as a legitimate source of electricity around the world. China - the leading user of coal for energy - installed 150% more solar power IN ONE YEAR than the whole of the UK has ever installed in history. This week in the UK 50% of our energy was generated from wind alone - a figure that would have been unimaginable not too long ago. In fact, there were ‘experts’ who said that this was impossible and the grid wouldn’t be able to handle it.
But still, there are those who seek to delegitimise these efforts. Countries that continue to live by the holy grail of fossil fuel. Australia is a prime example. Despite having some of the largest battery installations on the planet - ones which have been proven time and time again to be up to the task of running whole states during energy crises - the government there is beholden to fossil fuel interests. ‘Coal brings in lots of money for Australia" and “Many people depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods” are two claims the prime minister of that country has made to try and deflect criticism of his policies.
But the same used to be said for the United Kingdom. Back in the days of Arthur Scargill and the coal miners strike the country generated upwards of 80% of their energy from burning coal. But in a period of fewer than ten years that has dropped down to a figure which fluctuates between 0% and 3% depending on other factors. Yes, many, many, miners lost their jobs because the pits closed. But many of them retrained, started their own businesses or went on to do things they wanted to do more than work in dangerous and unhealthy conditions every day. Former coal mining towns have regenerated - with the help of government money, of course- into thriving communities.
So the argument that this can’t be done is, plainly, nonsense.
Pressure on governments to stop legitimising fossil fuels, and to stop funding fossil fuels in the form of subsidies and government awards - has to be key in the move towards bringing fossil fuel’s reign to an end.
Now this week’s newsletter.

This Week's Podcast (s).
The EV Musings Podcast: 117 - The Polestar Episode
The EV Musings Podcast: 118 - The I want an EV but... Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Are Auto-Dealership Protection Laws Holding Back Electric Vehicle Adoption?
One way legacy automakers have tried to push back against the tide of EV sales is to limit the ways in which start-up auto makers (such as Tesla) have been able to sell them. While Tesla can sell on-line in all US States, [antiquated dealer-protection laws(] which forbid companies like Tesla from selling direct to the public (as a manufacturer) in dealer lots exist in many states.
The upshot of this is that tesla (and other manufacturers such as Lucid and Rivian) are having to push for changes in individual states to allow them to sell directly to the public. It’s starting to work.
For the past three years, (according to research firm IHS Markit), Floridians have bought over 60% more EVs than New Yorkers. Could this have something to do with the fact that Tesla, which currently sells the vast majority of EVs, has opened 17 stores and galleries in Florida, whereas in New York, it has only 5 stores, and is prohibited from opening more?
Without changes like this at the state (and, ideally at the federal) level, EV uptake - a key component of Joe Biden’s policies - will stall.
Redwood Materials to Launch Anode Copper Foil Production
Another step in the movement towards battery recycling is announced here. What’s key in this announcement is the fact that this is a completely closed-loop system. Both the manufacturing, the recycling and the subsequent remanufacturing occurs on the same site this reduces the carbon footprint of materials that no longer need to be shipped from factory to factory as part of the recycling process.
This will be the first time batteries will be recycled, remanufactured, and returned to the same factory in a closed-loop. This partnership with Panasonic began in 2019 and since, they’ve been recycling all Panasonic’s manufacturing scrap from the Tesla Gigafactory. That very same material will now be recycled, and the copper contained will be remanufactured into anode foil and returned to Panasonic at the Gigafactory, just a few miles down the road.
Sunshine, My Frenemy
As mentioned in the introduction, Australia has quite a robust solar energy production system (mainly despite the government’s policies rather than because of them).
In recent hot weather the fruits of these investments were born. An uninterrupted stretch of 100%-plus renewable energy output in South Australia was achieved from Thursday, December 23rd to Wednesday, December 29th. That’s 156 hours or 6.5 days. Wind averaged 64.4% of electricity supply, rooftop solar PV averaged 29.5%
This was from the state which - in the not too distant past - suffered from power outages due to renewals issue that caused the then finance minister (and current Prime Minister Scott Morisson) to bring a lump of coal into the Australian parliament and tell politicians not to be scared of it because it’ll keep the lights on.
This renewable fad might catch on, you know.
UK Windfarms Generate Record Amount of Electricity During Storm Malik
Continuing the themes of renewables, Storm Malik in the UK brought about new record-setting levels of wind generation.
Wind speeds of up to 100 miles an hour recorded in Scotland helped wind power generation to rise to a provisional all-time high of more than 19,500 megawatts – or more than half the UK’s electricity – according to data from National Grid.
The winter storms have followed a summer of low wind power generation across the UK and Europe, which caused increased use of gas power plants during a global supply shortfall
The UK’s weekend surge in renewable electricity helped to provide a temporary reprieve from its heavy reliance on fossil fuel generation in recent months, which has caused market prices to reach record highs
Western Australia — Out With the Poles, in With the Solar Panels
Remote Australian areas are showing the transition from centralised to decentralised power, and the locals are benefitting from the transition.
As part of the Western Australian government’s Recovery Plan, Horizon Power has received $46 million to provide 150 systems across regional Western Australia. Each system consists of solar panels, battery storage, and a backup diesel generator.
Derby, in the remote Kimberleys, had a $5.2 million solar and battery storage project installed, including a 40kW solar shade over the local pool. Marble Bar (the hottest town in Australia) installed a 582kW/583kWh battery energy storage system to be paired with the Marble Bar solar farm, which generates more than 1,000MWh of electricity annually. Broome is to receive two batteries, which would free up more than 1,400kW of new rooftop PV hosting capacity to residents and businesses next month.
It’s installations and initiatives like these which allow states in Australia to run for days and days purely on renewable energy.
The federal government needs to get behind projects like these and quickly.
A cool EV or renewable thing
From Episode 117:
I, personally, am very conscious of my carbon footprint. I’ve said on this podcast before that because of the work I used to do ‘back in the day’ I have a footprint that I’ll probably never be able to offset or remove.
So I was really interested to hear about a book that’s come out called ‘How Bad Are Bananas? (affiliate link).
It, basically, looks at pretty much everything you can buy, grow, or use, on a day to day basis and gives you an indication of the actual carbon footprint of that item.
Did you know, for example, that the carbon footprint of a pair of jeans is actually 2.5 times as high as trousers made from synthetic material. It seems counterintuitive but - in much the same way as EVs are better, long term, than ICE cars, the jeans have a lower manufacturing cost per kilo but are usually much heavier than similar synthetic material. Add to that the lifestyle cost of washing and drying the heavier materials and the overall footprint is much higher.
This book is literally packed with startling little revelations like that and will have you seriously rethinking some of the things you do, buy, and consume on a day to day basis.
Click the affiliate link if you want a copy of this book. We’ll get a small portion of the sale price if you do
From Episode 118:
Wave power could be a significant source of renewable energy, but harvesting that energy has been tricky. Wave turbines are often big, expensive, and float at the surface of the ocean. Seawater can also be corrosive, and the rigid form of these devices means they aren’t all that efficient at capturing energy from smaller, less frequent, underwater waves that don’t roil the ocean’s surface.
But these gentle motions can be an important source of energy. Researchers in China have created a generator to mimic seaweed, which sways or even moves in small waves and currents.
But how can the electricity be harnessed?
Using triboelectric nanogenerators, or TENGs—devices that generate electricity from the transfer of electrons between two surfaces, usually in how they rub together to produce static electricity — could address this need, since they can be made of flexible materials.
Eventually, these generators could replace batteries for all the electronics in coastal zones, like sensors that monitor water quality, or help ships navigate
The researchers are planning to develop a small-scale underwater power station made of these seaweed TENGS to test their performance in a real ocean. Millions of seaweed-like TENGs could also harvest ocean energy on a larger scale. Researchers estimate that, if agitated two or three times per second, a network of these devices over an area equal to the size of the state of Georgia could meet the entire world’s energy needs
Something To Think About.
We’re now into February and - as someone posted recently on Twitter:
January: 57 years
February: 28 days
March - December : 15 minutes
So the year is going to start coming at us pretty quickly. I’ll keep trying to keep you up-to-date with the various changes and stories in the world of renewables and electric vehicles.
I’ve just found out that the new Pipistrel electric aircraft has arrived at my local airfield for flight training so I’ll definitely be heading up there when the weather improves for a quick flight.
Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter. If you don’t also listen to the EV Musings Podcast please head over to subscribe (or use whichever pod-catching app of your choice to subscribe.) I’m approaching the end of Season 6 now and we have a great Round-Table episode planned with chat and discussion on a wide-ranging series of topics.
Also try the McDonalds McPlant if you’re not into the meat products they sell. I’ve had three now and I really like them.
The mystery box. What's in it? Well, that's the mystery.
The mystery box. What's in it? Well, that's the mystery.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Gary Comerford

Topical stories about renewables, EVs and things that are interesting to EV drivers.

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