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Anyone who thinks rapid global decarbonization is out of reach should take a look at the floating wind turbine sector. Floating wind seemingly popped up out of nowhere in just the past couple of years, and it has already hooked up with the splashy new green hydrogen trend. Too bad those pesky cryptocurrency speculators are sucking up all the clean kilowatts, but that’s another new trend and a whole ‘nother can of worms.

Floating Wind & Green Hydrogen To The Rescue

For those of you new to the topic, putting a wind turbine on a platform that floats is a technologically difficult exercise, but the payoff is huge in terms of rapid decarbonization. Floating platforms can be tethered to the seabed in deeper waters and/or farther from shore, which takes advantage of prime wind speeds while minimizing opposition from coastal communities.

The green hydrogen angle comes in for squeezing the most available juice possible from wind turbines. Hydrogen is a zero emission fuel that can be combusted to run turbines, or deployed in a fuel cell to generate electricity. At the present time, though, almost all of the global hydrogen supply comes from natural gas. That’s going to change because low-cost renewable energy has upended the economics of hydrogen production, making it financially feasible to “split” hydrogen gas from water with an electrical current.

Since hydrogen acts as a transportable energy storage medium, water-splitting provides a way to salvage excess energy from wind turbines or solar panels. The case for wind turbines is especially strong because winds generally pick up at night, when electricity demand goes down.

Other sustainable hydrogen pathways include biogas, industrial waste gas, wastewater, and waste plastics, but water-splitting seems to be attracting the most attention these days.

Pie In The Sky? No, Wind Turbines That Float

Into this picture steps a venture called Cerulean Winds, which has come up with a financing formula for scaling the floating wind-plus-hydrogen connection to the national level.

The idea would have seemed far fetched just a few years ago, but both the floating wind industry and the green hydrogen industry are rapidly maturing.

“Cerulean utilises a tuned infrastructure project finance (IPF) construct with integrated delivery and finance that is proven for the offshore floating environment,” Cerulean explains. “At its core is the comprehensive understanding of risk for floating infrastructure and the most appropriate allocation of these risks across our partner and stakeholder ecosystem,” the company states.

Cerulean’s “Blueprint” model is aimed at cutting the timeline between applying for a license and producing clean kilowatts. According to the company, its Blueprint platform also provides for more flexibility than the conventional centralized power plant structure, which is a key point in the distributed energy landscape of today. Energy storage and cross-border trading are also in the mix.

Serial Oil & Gas Developers Turn To Green Hydrogen

The new Cerulean proposal is billed as the “UK’s largest offshore decarbonisation development.” At a cost of £10 billion, it would sport at least 200 wind turbines floating wind turbines with integrated green hydrogen systems, in two North Sea areas, West of Shetland and Central North Sea.

Before you get too excited, one leading aim of the project is to provide clean electricity to existing offshore facilities, namely, offshore oil and gas drilling sites. Cerulean projects that 3 gigawatts in hourly capacity will go to the oil and gas industry. Still, that leaves 1.5 gigawatts per hour in capacity for green hydrogen production systems to be located on shore.

If the offshore oil and gas angle sounds rather unappealing, it is. However, the reality is that switching millions of automobiles, buildings, and other systems over to clean power is a time consuming process. A movement is already afoot to replace diesel and gas generators on offshore drilling platforms with clean power. The Cerulean proposal is part of that trend, ramped up with the green hydrogen angle.

Cerulean has just submitted a seabed lease request to Marine Scotland, so if anything happens out there in the North Sea it could be a long way off. However, Cerulean has already set the contractor and financial wheels in motion, and in that regard the project does demonstrate that the oil and gas industry could pivot rapidly into low carbon mode, if it chose to do that.

“Cerulean Winds is led by serial entrepreneurs Dan Jackson and Mark Dixon, who have more than 25 years’ experience working together on large-scale offshore infrastructure developments in the oil and gas industry,” the company explains. “They believe the risk of not moving quickly on basin wide decarbonisation would wholly undermine the objectives set out in the recent North Sea Transition Deal.”

To sweeten the pot, Cerulean anticipates undercutting the cost of conventional gas turbine power for offshore platforms. According to the company, oil and gas operators would not incur any up-front costs from the switchover.

Floating Wind, Green Hydrogen, & Green Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

To make the case for speeding up the lease approval process, Jackson and Dixon are appealing to the potential for the wind-plus-hydrogen project to create thousands of new green jobs. Ideally the fossil energy jobs will phase out over time, but in the meanwhile Cerulean aims to show that the floating wind plus green hydrogen combo can maintain employment in the fossil sector while adding new green jobs to the economy, at scale. According to the company’s analysis, over the next five years the project will help preserve 160,000 oil and gas jobs while adding 200,000 new green jobs.

More Bad News For ExxonMobil

“The development of green hydrogen at scale and £1 billion hydrogen export potential” is another key pot-sweetener offered by Cerulean, and that should really give gas stakeholders the heebie-jeebies.

Looking at you, ExxonMobil. In terms of making global decarbonization happen, the company has lagged far behind Shell, BP, and other legacy fossil energy companies. Instead of pumping more money into proven clean tech fields like wind and solar, ExxonMobil banked on algae biofuel while doubling down on shale gas in recent years, apparently with the idea that it could continue making fossil energy relevant by comparing gas emissions to coal emissions.

The idea of natural gas as a “bridge fuel” has fallen flat for a number of reasons, including evidence that the recent spike in natural gas emissions may have offset any gains from pushing coal out of the power generation picture.

Now that hydrogen fuel cell demand is up, ExxonMobil and other natural gas stakeholders are been banking on increased demand for hydrogen to fuel the global economy’s thirst for natural gas. However, schemes like the Cerulean floating wind proposal are quickly shutting that window.

Gas stakeholders could try leaning on the exploding cryptocurrency market to pitch their wares. Speculative crypto mining is an energy intensive process that could help prop up both gas and coal producers for years to come.

To be clear, not all cryptocurrency is speculative. The firm Power Ledger, for example, is deploying a crypto-plus-blockchain model that helps electricity users share excess clean kilowatts.

It’s the speculative crypto market that has become a huge public relations problem for industries looking to decarbonize. Banking, real estate, auto sales and other high-dollar sectors have been getting cryptocurrency-curious, but energy consumption by crypto mining systems has become a public relations ball-and-chain.

As leading global corporations move into the supply chain phase of decarbonization, crypto miners are vulnerable. Switching to renewable energy is one solution, but in the context of the urgent need for climate action, any sector that adds to the global energy demand load will have to make the case that it is not simply playing carbon whack-a-mole with clean energy resources.

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Image: Floating wind turbines via US Department of Energy (credit: Josh Bauer, NREL).

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Ford is paying 2023 F-150 Lightning buyers $2,500 for unmet orders




Ford is paying 2023 F-150 Lightning buyers ,500 for unmet orders

If you ordered a Ford F-150 Lightning and were unable to get the vehicle, you may be in luck. Ford is paying 2023 F-150 Lightning buyers $2,500 for unmet orders to switch to the 2024 model.

Ford to pay Lightning XLT buyers for unmet orders

According to a dealer’s note Thursday, Ford will give buyers who ordered a 2023 Lightning XLT that was never built a $2,500 discount off the 2024 model.

The incentive will help offset the price difference between the model years. Ford initially launched the Lightning Transition Customer Satisfaction Program in 2022 to protect order holders against price hikes this year.

Ford has continued the program in 2023. That means if you bought a 2023 Lightning XLT standard range (with Equipment Group 311A), you are eligible for $2,500 off a new lease or purchase.

The incentive helps offset the 2024 XLT’s price of $57,495 compared to $54,995 last year. No other trims are eligible for the offer.

According to online auto research firm Cars Direct, the letter said, “Eligible customers can choose to order a 24MY F-150 Lightning with priority scheduling or they can purchase or lease a 23MY from dealer stock.”

Ford F-150 Lightning (Source: Ford)

Ford is still offering big incentives on the Lighting electric pickup for those not included in the deal. The Lightning currently features up to $15,000 off in incentives.

The discount includes $7,500 in retail purchase cash plus the $7,500 EV tax credit. However, the biggest discount applies to the Lariat and Platinum trims. The XLT is eligible for $1,500 for buying or leasing.

Ford F-150 Lightning Flash (Source: Ford)

Ford is also offering $5,000 in Red Carpet Lease customer cash on the Lariat. These are some of the most significant discounts we’ve seen from Ford so far.

2024 Ford F-150 Lightning trim Price
Pro $49,995
XLT $57,495
Flash $69,995
Lariat $77,495
Platinum $89,995
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning starting prices by trim (source: Ford)

The automaker added a new “Flash” trim (pictured above) to the 2024 Lightning lineup. Ford says the new model hits the “sweet spots” with 320 miles range, a tech-loaded interior, and a heat pump, starting at $69,995.

All 2024 F-150 Lightning trims qualify for the EV tax credit except the Platinum (it exceeds the IRA’s $80K threshold).

For those not eligible for the incentive, we can still help you find some of the lowest prices on Ford’s electric pickup. You can use our link to find great deals on a 2024 or 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning near you today.

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Daimler Truck North America just deployed its electric semis in-house




Daimler Truck North America just deployed its electric semis in-house

Daimler Truck North America is putting its money where its mouth is by using its own electric semi trucks to transport auto parts.

Daimler Truck North America and its own electric semis

The Portland, Oregon-based company launched its Freightliner eCascadia battery electric semi-trucks for customers in 2022. Now, it’s deploying an initial four eCascadias to support its production and aftermarket operations across North America.

Daimler Truck North America’s electric semis will pick up parts from suppliers in the Pacific Northwest and deliver them to its consolidation center in Portland. The parts will then be shipped to its North American factories and aftermarket parts distribution centers that serve customers in the US and Canada.

The four eCascadias will charge at Daimler’s “Electric Island,” a heavy-duty electric truck charging, development, and testing site that opened in 2021 at the company’s headquarters.

The eCascadia comes in 315 or 475kWh configurations and has up to 250 miles of range while carrying approximately a 65,000-pound gross vehicle weight. 

In 2020, the Portland truck factory where the eCascadia is built achieved carbon-neutral production with reduced energy consumption and the offset of onsite emissions. Daimler plans to incorporate carbon-neutral production at its remaining truck factories by 2025.

Electrek’s Take

Well, this certainly makes sense. If you want to sell electric semis, what better way to instill confidence in customers than demonstrating that you trust your product by deploying it yourself? Why would you sell eCascadias and then move the parts for those eCascadias around in diesel semi trucks, if you didn’t have to?

This is the best form of authenticity. I hope Daimler quickly rolls out more of its own eCascadias and for longer trips, too.

Photos: Daimler Truck North America

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Tesla releases Powershare bidirectional charging – on Cybertruck only, so far




Tesla releases Powershare bidirectional charging – on Cybertruck only, so far

Tesla has just delivered the first Cybertrucks, and with them comes a feature that we’ve been waiting for for a while: bidirectional charging.

Tesla has talked a bit about bidirectional charging in the past, but always seemed a little wishy-washy about bringing it to market. In its Investor Day presentation in March, Tesla VP Drew Baglino stated that the company could have bidirectional charging in two years, but CEO Elon Musk immediately threw some cold water on that statement, saying  “I don’t think very many people are going to want to use bidirectional charging, unless you have a Powerwall, because if you unplug your car, your house goes dark, and this is extremely inconvenient.”

Now, nine months after that event, Tesla has released a vehicle that has bidirectional charging equipped – and its branding suggests that more vehicles will have the same capability in the future.

Tesla’s Cybertruck delivery event today was pretty light on details, and we’ve had to comb over the website to find out any sort of specs. And in the website we noticed one new feature that was completely absent from the presentation: Powershare.

Powershare is, apparently, Tesla’s new bidirectional charging feature which seems to include vehicle-to-load, vehicle-to-home, vehicle-to-vehicle capabilities (V2L, V2H and V2V).

V2L refers to a vehicle’s capability to power equipment – in this case, through five outlets – 2 x 120V 20A in the bed and cabin each, and 1 x 240 40A outlet in the bed. This can be used for work equipment, or for camping or other mobile power necessities (emergency response, for example).

We already learned that Cybertruck would be capable of some bidirectional charging features when specs leaked earlier this month. Those specs suggested to us that it would have ~12kW output capability, but today Tesla confirms that the Cybertruck has 9.6kW worth of continuous power combined through five outlets in the vehicle. By way of comparison, the F-150 Lightning has more outlets, but the same total 9.6kW maximum draw with the upgraded Pro Power Onboard package (and 2.4kW without).

But Cybertruck does have 11.5kW output capability from its V2H system, which allows it to power a home in the event of a power outage or grid instability.

The Lightning can also power a home, but that requires an additional $3,900 unit, plus installation costs. Tesla’s solution is no different – in order to power your home you will need additional equipment, seemingly in the form of Tesla’s Universal Wall Connector ($595) and Gateway ($1,800) products, and optionally Tesla’s Backup Switch (though this may depend on your utility).

But the big difference here is the existence of the Tesla Powerwall, and Tesla says that homes with Powerwall and Tesla’s Wall Connector installed will be ready to use Powershare without additional equipment (although it refers to alternately its Wall Connector and Universal Wall Connector, so we’re not sure which one is compatible, or both, or whether you need one made after a certain year, or what).

This is actually a huge deal, because Tesla already has an installed base of Powerwall users who can plug in without having to change anything in their homes. Lightning users might be hesitant to spend another $4,000+ just to make their home more resistant to power outages, but Powerwall owners have already spent (significantly more than that) on a solution that works with the bidirectional charging capability on the car.

So this would, essentially, turn a Powerwall with its 13.5kWh worth of storage into one with 100+kWh of storage (or whatever the size of the Cybertruck’s battery is – even after first deliveries, we still don’t know for sure).

Tesla says that Powershare can power a home for “over three days,” assuming the home uses an average of 30kWh per day (my home, for reference, uses 10kWh per day). This works out to a Cybertruck battery capacity of over 90kWh, but less than 120kWh.

The Cybertruck also has a higher continuous output capability than the Powerwall, with Cybertruck at 11.5kW and the Powerwall at 5kW.

So this could be big for V2H, because previously it has been more of a niche application. Tesla, having a market already built of houses that are V2H-capable, might see much higher usage of this capability.

Tesla also says that Powershare will be capable of V2V, or using the Cybertruck’s battery to charge another electric vehicle. We’ve seen something like this with the Lightning, where Ford cheekily released an adapter letting its Lightning charge up Teslas that need some juice. And with a NEMA 14-50 plug in the back, which is somewhat of a “standard” for EV charging, this should be something that a lot of cars already have an adapter for – including anyone with the Tesla Mobile Connector kit which used to come with every Tesla vehicle.

As of now, Powershare is only available on the Cybertruck, but the fact that Tesla has branded it with its own name suggests that it will be available on other vehicles in the future. Tesla’s website says it’s “currently” available for Cybertruck only, but doesn’t mention a timeline beyond that.

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