Daily Shorts: Swiss convert satellite antennas to solar plants, South Africa gets more funds to drop coal, and more
Switzerland is converting retired satellite antennas into solar power plants. The project is currently underway in the town of Leuk in the Valais canton of the landlocked country, where energy service company CKW Group is covering 32-meter-wide dishes with solar panels. Experts say the site's location high up in the mountains means panels installed there receive more sunlight than panels installed at ground level, especially during the winter months. Additionally, since the antennas are flexible, they can be optimally aligned with the sun. Switzerland could face a shortfall of 50 terawatt hours of electricity a year by 2050, according to one estimate.
Rich nations have doubled the amount gifted to South Africa to pivot to clean energy sources to $676 million, it emerged. The grants are part of a $12 billion package that will come in the form of loans that require repayment. South Africa depends on coal to generate 80 percent of the country's power and estimates a shift away will require close to $80 billion. The country has been pushing for more money to come by way of grants. Indonesia has signed a similar agreement worth $20 billion, and is parallelly seeking incentives from China as well.
American and European negotiators have failed to make progress on trade disputes involving green subsidies, lowering chances of a deal between US President Joe Biden and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. The two sides are looking to resolve US tariffs on European steel, imposed by former President Donald Trump, while making it easier for Europe to send EVs across to the US after the country unveiled tax breaks for vehicles assembled in North America.
Lordstown Motors, the US EV company that filed for bankruptcy in June, received court approval to sell its manufacturing assets to LAS Capital, whose majority stakeholder is Lordstown founder and former CEO Stephen Burns. LAS Capital is paying $10.2 million for Lordstown's intellectual property and business records, as well as machinery including the company's assembly lines for EV motors and batteries. Burns, who left Lordstown under a cloud in 2021, had sold all his shares in the company before it went bust.
Electricity grids around the world are lagging behind growth in renewable energy generation, creating a severe bottleneck in the energy transition process, the International Energy Agency has warned, days after the head of networks for E.ON made similar claims. In a recent report, the IEA said at least 3,000 GW of RE capacity is awaiting connection to power grids, necessitating upgrades and new equipment to handle large loads of RE power, among them battery storage to negate intermittency. The agency estimates around 80 million km of electric grids worldwide need additions or refurbishment by 2040 to integrate planned RE capacities. Read more.