Weekend Roundup: World Bank to fund 1,000 mini grids in Nigeria, Alberta pauses green approvals
The World Bank will help fund 1,000 solar-based mini grids in Nigeria along with the country's government and private sector, President Ajay Banga said. The bank has funded 150 such projects already and is putting up another 300, he said. Mini grids consist of small-scale generation units that typically power about 200 households. According to World Bank data, 568 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity.
Canada's Alberta province has paused all approvals for large renewable energy projects, citing rural and environmental concerns. In a statement last week, the government instituted a six-month moratorium on all wind and solar projects greater than 1 MW. Environmentalists have opposed the move, which municipal authorities have applauded. The province generated 17 percent of its electricity from wind and solar in 2022, ahead of its target of 15 percent.
Japan's Sumitomo Corp is evaluating the production of lithium hydroxide in its home nation, the company said in a statement. Lithium will come from the Kathleen Valley mine in Western Australia, owned by Liontown Resources. The mine will start producing hard rock lithium concentrate from mid-2024 and Liontown already has sales agreements with LG Energy Solutions, Tesla and Ford. Sumitomo will build the supply chain from mining and processing to production.
US electric truck maker Nikola replaced its CEO, naming a fourth occupant to the post in four years. Chairman Stephen Girsky will take over immediately from incumbent Michael Lohscheller, who stepped down due to a family health matter, the beleaguered company said. Nikola, which received a grant last month, cast doubts about its financial health, saying it was awaiting "critical" capital. It has forecast third-quarter revenue of $18-28 million, well below market estimates of $34.5 million.
US EV company Lucid cut prices of its luxury Air sedans as it sought to counter pressure from falling US sales and a price war from Tesla. Over a year ago, the company had raised prices due to rising raw material costs and supply chain bottlenecks. Cash should not be a problem: the company is backed by Saudi money and earlier this year raised about $3 billion from investors.