The unforeseen arrival of COVID-19 has brought many negotiations for corporate power purchase agreements to an abrupt halt in Europe, but this may not be all bad news for the sector write Daniel Marhewka, Lis Blunsdon and David Haverbeke, energy specialists at European law firm, Fieldfisher.
While the world’s climate negotiators dither, the post Covid-19 world could see their efforts overtaken – but only if policymakers are bold enough to take the opportunity to offer truly green fiscal stimulus packages to get us through the crisis. Felicia Jackson, from the center for sustainable finance of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, gives her thoughts here.
Technological innovation in PV is taking place in the context of extreme price competition among solar manufacturers, writes Karl Melkonyan, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS Markit. This, he argues, explains the focus on lowering manufacturing costs, increasing efficiencies, and reducing losses at all stages of the manufacturing process.
The airline industry has been among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic; carriers are in ‘freefall’ as Glen Peters, research director at the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo recently wrote, with governments mulling stimulus packages for airline bailouts. How we react to the coronavirus outbreak is crucial for society as a whole and the solar and energy storage industries can lead the charge in rewriting the status quo.
Contracts to build solar PV plants usually contain a performance warranty to ensure that the owner receives an asset that delivers the agreed-upon minimum performance level. But can warranties and assessment methodologies guarantee that plant performance is being correctly assessed? The answer is not entirely straightforward, writes Felipe Canto Teixeira, a partner at Everoze.
The battery and renewable energy industries are facing increased scrutiny for their human rights impacts. In December, U.S.-based technology and electric vehicle companies were named in the first lawsuit seeking to hold downstream companies responsible for allegedly aiding and abetting child labour in cobalt extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (https://bit.ly/2UgQPgZ). Energy storage technology, such as batteries, is increasingly developed alongside solar and wind-powered electricity generation. This means the battery industry’s material risks are now of direct concern to a broader group of companies involved in the global transition to a low carbon economy.
The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted the global PV supply chain. China, the largest manufacturing hub for solar products, has postponed factory openings in many regions, as it has been hit by logistical hiccups, staff shortages, and delivery delays. Manufacturers in some Chinese provinces are running under capacity, while those overseas are facing the same situation.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s most natural mineral rich countries, yet it is plagued with poverty, inequality, corruption, human rights violations and many more challenges. Mining for materials like cobalt is at the center of these. According to state-owned miner Gecamines, over 22% of the country’s GDP is generated in the mining sector, while 70% of the world’s cobalt is produced in the country.
Although decried for lacking ambition and as an abdication of responsibility in some quarters, the climate law proposed by the European Commission may be more ambitious than it first appears, as Felicia Jackson, from the center for sustainable finance of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London – considers here.
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