The electric vehicle (EV) battery sector continued moves to ramp up production in the U.S. with news this week of a manufacturing facility planned for Oklahoma and the construction start for a multibillion-dollar lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Kansas.
Panasonic Energy Co. Ltd. said Nov. 2 it has broken ground on its $4 billion lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in De Soto, Kansas. The same day California-based EV startup Canoo Inc. said it plans to build an EV battery module manufacturing facility in Oklahoma near its MegaMicro factory.
On the solar front, Google has signed what is being called its largest combined clean energy transaction in Texas to date with a 942-megawatt (MW) power purchase agreement with SB Energy Corp.
Meanwhile, more companies formed partnerships in pursuit of hydrogen hubs.
Here’s a look at some of this week’s renewable energy news.
Panasonic Starts Construction of EV Battery Factory in Kansas
Panasonic Energy Co. Ltd. has broken ground on its $4 billion lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in De Soto, Kansas, the company said Nov. 2.
The factory, among the latest of several being planned across the U.S., comes as the nation aims to increase the number of EV batteries produced domestically. Panasonic said the facility will focus on increasing production of the 2170 cylindrical Li-ion batteries to meet growing domestic EV battery demand. Total annual production capacity is expected to be about 30 GWh once the facility is complete.
Mass production is expected to start in March 2025.
“Expanding production capacity in Kansas will enable us to continue delivering the highest quality batteries for our automotive partners as demand grows,” said Kris Takamoto, executive vice president of Panasonic Energy and head of its EV battery business. “We are already producing more than five million battery cells a day in North America, and the new facility in Kansas will further grow our capacity, efficiency and economies of scale which are critical to a net-zero emissions future.”
Kansas City area contractors Emery Sapp & Sons Inc. and Kissick Construction Co. Inc. have been awarded contracts for site preparation, Panasonic said, adding more firms will be onboarding in the coming months.
South Korea Launches Battery Alliance to Source Key Metals
South Korea said on Nov. 1 it has launched the government-backed battery alliance to better source key metals in a bid to support the country’s battery industry.
The plan is part of President Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s strategy to strengthen the growing industry.
South Korea, home to major battery makers LG Energy Solution, Samsung and SK Innovation’s SK On, is seeking to bolster supply chain stability and metals to become a major player in the field, which is dominated by China.
Exports of lithium-ion batteries rose 16.7% to $800 million in October from the same month a year ago, while South Korea’s total exports shrank 5.7% to snap a 23-month gaining streak, trade ministry data showed.
EV Startup Canoo to Build Battery Manufacturing Facility in Oklahoma
California-based EV startup Canoo Inc. will build an EV battery module manufacturing facility in Oklahoma as it moves to boost production, the company said Nov. 2.
Located at the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor, the facility will have a capacity of about 3,200-megawatt hours production.
“This is the first building block for Canoo’s production ramp strategy, with more news coming very soon. The location has been strategically selected due to its proximity to our battery cell partner Panasonic and our future MegaMicro factory,” Canoo CEO Tony Aquila said in a news release. “In addition, we will be the first EV company to produce our battery modules with Hydro-Power from the Grand River Dam Authority.”
Canoo’s MegaMicro factory, a 400-acre campus also at the MidAmerica Industrial Park, will include a full commercialization facility with a paint, body shop and general assembly plant, the company said.
Dominion, Duke Energy Join Others to Jointly Pursue Hydrogen Hub
A group of major utilities, including Dominion Energy and Duke Energy among others, have joined a growing list of companies looking to land federal funding set aside to develop hydrogen hubs in the U.S.
Besides Dominion and Duke, the Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition includes Louisville Gas & Electric Company, Kentucky Utilities Co., Southern Co., Tennessee Valley Authority, Battelle and others, according to a Nov. 1 news release. Working with other hydrogen users from various industries, the coalition wants to create a six-state hydrogen hub comprising Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Each of the major utilities has set net-zero goals.
“By working together, the coalition can focus on developing scalable, integrated projects at key locations across the entire Southeast in support of these carbon-reduction goals,” the release said, “and encourage the broad-based development of a regional energy ecosystem that will allow members to deploy hydrogen as a decarbonization solution for customers and communities.
The U.S. Department of Energy will award up to $7 billion in federal funds to establish up to 10 regional hydrogen hubs in the U.S. The program is part of a larger $8 billion hydrogen hub program funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Denbury, Clean Hydrogen Works Seal Massive CO2 Deal
Denbury Inc. sealed an agreement to transport and sequester CO₂ from a massive clean ammonia project in Louisiana.
The company said Oct. 31 that its subsidiary, Denbury Carbon Solutions LLC, executed the agreement with Clean Hydrogen Work to transport and sequester CO₂ captured from Clean Hydrogen’s planned hydrogen-ammonia complex—called Ascension Clean Energy (ACE)—in Ascension Parish, Louisiana.
Plans are for the complex, which awaits a final investment decision by 2024, to be built less than two miles from Denbury’s existing CO₂ pipeline network, on a 1,700-acre site that developers say is ideal for exports. It will include two ammonia blocks with estimated ammonia production totaling 7.2 million tonnes per year (mtpy), about 75% of which have letters of intent offtake agreements, the company release said.
Captured CO₂ volumes are estimated to be about 12 mtpy, comprised of 6 mtpy from each block. Permanent, secure underground storage of the CO₂ is anticipated in one or more of Denbury’s sequestration sites located in close proximity to Denbury’s CO₂ pipeline infrastructure. The two blocks have a staged startup, with Block 1 production anticipated to begin in 2027.
Nikola, KeyState to Collaborate on Hydrogen Supply
EV maker Nikola Corp. said on Oct. 31 it was working with KeyState Natural Gas Synthesis to create Pennsylvania state’s first low-carbon hydrogen production supply chain.
However, Nikola said it was working on a definitive agreement with the hydrogen producer to expand supply for Nikola’s fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
The over 7,000-acre KeyState site is expected to be operational in 2026 and will supply ammonia and urea for industrial and transportation markets.
Nikola is also building a hydrogen fuel cell electric semi-truck with a range of up to 500 miles and a refuel time of under 20 minutes that would enable it to carry freight over longer distances.
The truck maker added that KeyState plans to supply the company with up to 100 tonnes per day of low-carbon hydrogen, which can supply fuel for up to 2,500 Nikola Tre FCEVs. That quantity of hydrogen could displace over 51 million gallons of diesel fuel per year consumed, Nikola said.
NextEra Energy Resources to Build Alabama’s First Landfill RNG Project
NextEra Energy Resources said Nov. 3 it plans to build a landfill renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility in Alabama, the state’s first.
The project will be located at a landfill owned and operated by Coffee County and be connected to a pipeline system owned by Southeast Gas, which will purchase the gas as part of a long-term contract, NextEra said in a news release.
“From both a fiscal and sustainability standpoint, renewable natural gas is the highest value product you can make from collected landfill gas,” Coffee County Administrator Rod Morgan said in the release. “This facility is exactly the kind of development we encourage in our community.”
Plans are to upgrade the existing landfill gas collection system and construct a new RNG production facility that is expected to capture more than 16,500 metric tons of landfill methane annually.
Construction of the facility, which will be owned by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Marketing and operated by Coffee County, is scheduled to begin in second-quarter 2023 with operations starting in 2024, pending regulatory approvals.
Google, SB Energy Seal 942-MW PPA to Power Data Center
Google has agreed to purchase renewable energy produced from four solar projects being developed by SB Energy Corp., marking the tech giant’s largest combined clean energy transaction in Texas to date, according to a news release.
SB said Nov. 1 that Google will purchase about 75% of the renewable energy produced from the four projects, which have a total capacity of 1.2 gigawatts (GW). The projects—Orion I, Orion II, Orion III and Eiffel—are scheduled to become operational by mid-2024.
The energy will be used to power a Google data center as the company aims for carbon-free operations by 2030.
The 314-MW Eiffel project is located in Lamar County, Texas, while the Orion projects—ranging from 258 MW to 315 MW, are located in Milam County, Texas.
ACWA Power Enters Floating Solar PV Sector
Indonesia’s state-owned utility PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has selected Saudi developer and operator ACWA Power Co. to develop two floating solar PV projects in Indonesia, according to a news release.
The projects, which have a combined investment value of $105 million, will be ACWA’s first in Indonesia and the company’s first floating solar PV projects, the company said Nov. 1 in the release. The Saguling Floating Solar PV project will have a capacity of 60 megawatt alternating current (MWac), while the Singkarak Floating Solar PV Project will have a capacity of 50MWac.
“For companies like ACWA Power, who are intent on the energy transition, this country is an exciting market as there is government support, an understanding of global challenges, considerable demand and an urgent need to supply the country’s numerous residents,” ACWA Power Chief Investment Officer Clive Turton said in the release.
ACWA Power holds a 49% equity stake in both projects. PLN subsidiary Indonesia Power holds the rest.
Equinor to Acquire Danish Solar Power Developer
Norwegian energy firm Equinor said on Nov. 2 it had agreed to buy Denmark’s BeGreen, a solar project developer in northwest Europe, for an undisclosed sum.
BeGreen has developed, sold and delivered solar PV capacity of more than 700 MW to date, with a further 6,000 MW under planning in Denmark, Sweden and Poland, Equinor said.
The transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals, it added.
Equinor is already developing solar projects in Poland, Brazil and Argentina.
Carlyle Backs Solar Developer Aspen Power with $350 Million Investment
Private equity firm Carlyle Group Inc. said on Nov. 3 it has invested $350 million to acquire a majority stake in renewable energy developer Aspen Power Partners LLC.
Carlyle said its investment will fund the expansion of Aspen Power, which is aiming to acquire renewable energy projects across the United States. Dallas-based Aspen Power had agreed in September to acquire solar power developer Safari Energy LLC from electricity giant PPL Corp.
“This investment is in a platform that will be entirely vertically integrated in the distributed generation space, which includes community, commercial and industrial, and sub-utility solar,” Pooja Goyal, chief investment officer of Carlyle Infrastructure, told Reuters in an interview.
Aspen Power provides financing for the development, construction and operation of renewable energy projects, including solar and storage installations. The company has financed renewable projects worth more than $2 billion, according to its website.
Japan’s TEPCO Renewable to Buy British Offshore Wind Power Firm
TEPCO Renewable Power, a unit of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, said on Nov. 2 it will buy a 100% stake in Flotation Energy, a British floating offshore wind power company, for an undisclosed sum.
The deal, signed on Nov. 1, marks the Japanese company’s first equity investment in overseas wind power and comes as part of its plan to develop 6 to 7 GW of new offshore wind and hydroelectric power assets by 2030, expanding from the current generation capacity of 9.9 GW.
Flotation Energy, established in 2018 and based in Edinburgh, Scotland, has strength in early-stage projects such as planning, research and bidding, and holds preferential negotiating rights for the development of two offshore wind farm projects in the U.K., TEPCO Renewable said in a statement.
The British company also has plans to develop offshore wind farms totaling 12 GW in the U.K., Ireland, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.
Flotation Energy’s experience and knowledge of floating offshore wind development and its global network will help accelerate the development of TEPCO Renewable’s offshore wind business in Japan and abroad, the Japanese company said.
Saudi ACWA Power Signs MOU for 10 GW Wind Project in Egypt
Saudi ACWA Power Co. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Egyptian New and Renewable Energy Authority and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co. to build a 10-GW wind energy project in Egypt, the Saudi Energy Ministry said Nov. 1.
Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy is on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, where he met Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
Reuters and Hart Energy staff contributed to this article.
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