A $3.5 billion battery parts plant is on the horizon for South Carolina after battery recycling startup Redwood Materials tapped the state as the site for its next facility.

Geothermal energy is also getting some attention this week as partnerships formed and the U.S. government doled out funding for projects.

The solar sector continued to heat up as well with news of more solar farms in the U.S. and abroad.

Here’s a look at some of this week’s renewable energy news.


Redwood Plans $3.5 Billion Battery Parts Plant in South Carolina

Redwood South Carolina project
Redwood Materials’ new plant will be located in Charleston, South Carolina. (Source: Redwood Materials)

Battery recycling startup Redwood Materials said Dec. 14 it will build a $3.5 billion plant in South Carolina that will recycle spent lithium-ion batteries to manufacture anode and cathode components, aiming to increase domestic supplies of the critical battery materials.

The company plans to break ground on the more than 600-acre site in Charleston in first-quarter 2023. It aims to have the first recycling process running by the end of next year.

Word of the new facility comes as the U.S. works to grow its supply of critical minerals used for power, electricity and electric vehicles. Earlier this year, the Biden administration launched the American Battery Material Initiative to strengthen the critical minerals supply chain.

“Similar to our Nevada operations, Redwood’s South Carolina operations will be 100% electric and won’t use any fossil fuel in our processes (we will not even pull a gas line to the site),” Redwood said in a news release. “We will source only zero-emission, clean energy, and our innovative plant design and manufacturing process will allow us to reduce the CO2 emissions associated with producing these components by about 80% compared to the current Asia-based supply chain that we are dependent on for these crucial materials.”

Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there have been a surge of companies announcing plans for battery factories in the U.S.


SunGas, Maersk Enter Green Methanol Pact

A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) is working with SunGas Renewables to develop multiple U.S.-based production facilities that convert sustainably sourced forest residues into green methanol, according to a Dec. 15 news release.

The duo recently signed a letter of intent that calls for SunGas to develop the production facilities, and Maersk intends to offtake all green methanol volumes.

“Securing green marine fuels at a global scale within this decade will require rapid scale up of green methanol production capacity using a variety of technology and feedstock pathways,” said Emma Mazhari, head of green sourcing and portfolio management for A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Plans are for the facilities to use SunGas flagship System 1000 platform to convert residues from the forestry and wood products industries into green methanol. Green fuels are defined as those with a 65% to 95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to fossil fuel, the release said.

With an annual production capacity of about 390,000 tonnes, the first facility is expected to start operations in 2026, the release said.


Occidental Lands Federal Funding for Geothermal Project

Occidental Petroleum and its partners have landed about $9 million in federal funding for a project aimed at lowering geothermal drilling costs, the U.S. Department of Energy said Dec. 14.

Called Geothermal Limitless Approach to Drilling Efficiencies (GLADE), the Denver-Julesburg Basin project entails drilling twin high-temperature geothermal wells using existing and novel drilling technologies, according to a news releases announcing the winners.

“The team plans to drill to deeper and hotter depths than most existing geothermal, and at a faster rate,” the release said.

The funds were awarded as the U.S. aims to increase use of geothermal energy, with sights set on the renewable energy source powering at least 40 million homes and contributing at least 60 gigawatts of electricity by 2050.

Geysers Power Co. and its partners also won $6.2 million in funding to test drilling technology and methods in different temperatures and conditions. The project could improve drilling rates by at least 25% and ultimately lower costs.

Chevron, Baseload Capital Form Geothermal JV

Chevron Corp. and Baseload Capital have created a joint venture (JV) to develop geothermal energy projects in the U.S., starting in an area of Nevada known for its immense potential to generate heat energy from the earth.

The two see geothermal energy as a critical renewable energy option that also enables other lower carbon solutions. The two companies said Dec. 14 they will work together to find the best prospects for development and move geothermal technologies from pilot to commercial scale.

“It is time for the geothermal industry to take its place as an obvious part of the energy mix,” Baseload Capital CEO Alexander Helling said in a news release. “Geothermal should be the new normal, becoming as standard to the energy mix as GORE-TEX is for outdoor clothes. Right now, everything is in the industry’s favor to move from niche to mainstream. We have no time to waste and no excuse for not picking up the pace here and now.”

Nevada’s Esmeralda County, which will be the site of the duo’s first project, has abundant geothermal resources. The state is home to about 25 geothermal plants, which together can theoretically generate up to 827 megawatts of power in an hour, according to Nevada’s minerals division.


SoCalGas Advances Proposed Angeles Link Project

SoCalGas said Dec. 16 it has achieved an important milestone for its planned Angeles Link project after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved its request to track costs for advancing the project’s first phase.

“The public interest is served if SoCalGas begins conducting a feasibility study of the project immediately,” the CPUC said its final decision.

SoCalGas has proposed developing what would be the nation’s largest green hydrogen infrastructure system. Called the Angeles Link, the system would move large quantities of hydrogen via a new pipeline system into the LA Basin from solar- and wind-rich areas with the purpose of lowering emissions from electric generation, industrial processes, heavy-duty trucks and other sectors.

The company said CPUC also asked it to join the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems as the state targets some of the $8 billion in available federal funds to support regional hydrogen hubs.

De Nora Progresses Hydrogen Gigafactory in Italy

Italian electrode maker Industrie De Nora said on Dec. 16 it had started the authorization process to set up a plant near Milan that will host its Italian Gigafactory project.

The site, which will be built on a currently abandoned industrial area, will make electrolyzers to produce green hydrogen and parts for hydrogen fuel cells, the company said in a statement.

No financial details of the project were provided.

Industrie De Nora said works for the plant were expected to start in the second half of 2023, subject to a successful completion of the authorization process.

Nikola to Sell Up to 75 Hydrogen-powered Trucks to Plug Power

Electric truck maker Nikola Corp. said Dec. 15 that it would sell up to 75 Tre hydrogen-powered trucks over three years to fuel-cell technology developer Plug Power Inc.

Electric vehicle (EV) makers are looking to capitalize on tax incentives provided by the U.S. IRA to lower costs of adopting EVs for commercial purposes.

Plug Power will attach its liquid hydrogen tankers to Nikola’s trucks, whose deliveries will begin next year, to transport green hydrogen fuel across North America.

The company will also provide a liquefaction system for Nikola’s hydrogen hub project in Buckeye, Arizona, which will produce 30 metric tons per day of the gas initially and scale up to 150 metric tons per day.

Nikola said that low-carbon hydrogen from the facility will enable further deployment of its Tre fuel-cell electric trucks.

Plug Power will also supply Nikola 125 metric tons per day of green hydrogen, and the latter has the option to secure more volumes and also to source the hydrogen fuel from elsewhere in the United States.


NextEra Energy to Build 310-MW Solar Farm in Texas

Texas is set to become home to another solar plant after Ineos Olefins & Polymers said Dec. 13 it signed a renewable power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources, paving the way for the new 310-megawatt (MW) project.

Located in Bosque County, northwest of Waco, the Ineos Hickerson Solar Farm will be constructed, owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, Ineos said in a news release.

Construction is set to begin in first-quarter 2024 with commercial operations starting by December 2025.

“INEOS O&P USA seeks to be a bellwether of what the petrochemical community can do to adopt renewable energy among its long-term energy demands, and this is one of many important steps being taken globally to reduce the carbon footprint of all the INEOS businesses,” Ineos O&P CEO Mike Nagle said.

The facility is expected to produce 730,000 megawatt hours of clean energy per year with all of its output going to Ineos, according to the release.

Glennmont Partners Enters US Renewables Market with Solar JV

Europe-based renewable energy investor Glennmont Partners plans to enter the U.S. renewables market for the first time via a joint venture with solar developer GreenGo Energy US to develop over 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar and storage projects.

Glennmont and GreenGo Energy US, a subsidiary of GreenGo Energy Group, will develop both combined and stand-alone solar photovoltaic and energy storage projects with the first projects expected to come online in 2025.

The U.S. renewables market has become increasingly attractive for investors since the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act was introduced this year. The huge green subsidy package has introduced production tax credits for nuclear and solar power and investment tax credits for energy storage.

Dries Bruyland, head of U.S. at Glennmont Partners, said the act also provides long-term stability for investment over the next 10 years.

“This deal with GreenGo ensures Glennmont is well-placed to capitalize on the vast opportunities in the U.S. for the deployment of solar and storage right now as we work to accelerate the energy transition in new markets,” he told Reuters.

The firm declined to disclose the value of the deal.

RWE Plans New Solar Farm in Britain

RWE will build a 600-MW solar farm in Britain as part of plans to expand its renewables activities in the country, the German utility said Dec. 13.

The project, called Tween Bridge solar farm, recently secured a capacity agreement with National Grid and will be located next to RWE’s existing Tween Bridge onshore wind farm in Doncaster.

The solar farm is expected to be operational by 2029. Once constructed, the site will host solar power generation, battery storage, onshore wind and a sheep farm.

The cost of the project was not disclosed.


Technip Energies to Design Mega Floating Offshore Wind Project

Italian renewable developer Renexia has selected Technip Energies to study and design key elements of one of the world’s biggest floating offshore wind farms, the engineering group said Dec. 15.

The French group, which this year launched a division dedicated to energy transition projects, will conduct the front-end engineering and design for Renexia’s proposed $9.59 billion Med Wind project in the Strait of Sicily.

The project will have an installed power capacity of 2.8 GW, enough to power more than three million Italian households. It will have 190 floating foundations for the wind turbines.

Renexia, part of privately-owned Toto Group, is studying the environmental impact, as required by Italy in its complex permitting process for such investments.

Renexia is confident about getting approval to start construction in 2024, a company spokesperson said.

Reuters contributed to this article.