The International Energy Agency estimates electric vehicles account for 0.1% of the global automobile market. The Agency expects 1.26 million electric vehicles to be on the world’s roads by the end of the year.

Volkswagen (VW) said it will invest billions of euros in electric cars, ride-hailing and automated driving to become a world leader in green transport by 2025 as it reshapes its business following a diesel emissions scandal. As a result it is phasing out some 40 models. VW currently makes about 340 car models across its portfolio, which includes brands such as Audi, Skoda and Seat.

BMW is adapting its electric vehicle battery technology for home use. The German automaker has built a home energy system using i3 batteries that integrates seamlessly with EV charging stations and solar panels. The system combines the automaker’s charging station with an extra 22- or 33-kWh battery pack that can charge off of the normal electric grid and be used as a backup during power outages or to cut costs during peak energy usage times when electric rates are highest. These batteries are identical to those found in the i3 and Mini E.  The eventual goal is to repurpose used battery packs pulled right out of an i3 as they start to lose some of their charge/discharge capacity and hit the secondary market. Hence the company is creating a home energy storage solution and a battery recycling program at the same time.

European automaker Renault has launched in Sweden a new service that allows anyone in that country to transform their house into a charging station for electric vehicles. Called Elbnb, the online service will feature a map that will enable EV drivers to quickly locate homes that will allow them to recharge their vehicles. The charging price and times will be determined by the driver and homeowner.

Last week three African countries, Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia announced they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Russia on nuclear energy. Russia will be assisting them in building nuclear technology in the African countries. Countries around the world are increasingly becoming interested in nuclear power because it is a way of diversifying their energy supplies while enhancing energy security. With the present decline in the global production and supply of crude oil, countries like Nigeria are concerned about energy security once again and diversifying its sources of energy will help cushion the fluctuations in global oil prices.

UK energy regulator Ofgem has granted a license to build a 650 kilometer long underwater power cable with a capacity of 1.4 gigawatts to bring Norwegian hydropower to Scotland. That represents about 25% of Scotland’s peak energy consumption. The interconnector is scheduled to start operating from 2022. The project will be constructed by the Swedish utility Vattenfall along with the Norwegian energy companies E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse.

The government of Indonesia wants an acceleration of renewable energy development by five-fold so that renewable energy could reach 23% percent of the total energy mix by 2025.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) says the amount of electricity generated using solar panels stands to expand as much as sixfold by 2030 as the cost of production falls below competing natural gas and coal-fired plants.  Solar plants using photovoltaic (PV) technology could account for 8% to 13% of global electricity produced in 2030, compared with 1.2% at the end of last year, the Agency says. The average cost of electricity from a PV system is forecast to plunge as much as 59% by 2025, making solar the cheapest form of power generation “in an increasing number of cases”, it said.

With a burgeoning surplus of natural gas globally, large energy firms like Total and Royal Dutch Shell are looking at building liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants downstream in new countries to find a market for the product. The companies see this an opportunity to create new markets from Africa’s Ivory Coast to remote Indonesian islands by building gas-fired power plants, pipelines, regasification and storage terminals. Other potential markets include Chile, Ghana and Morocco.


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