Power Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on power in Q2 2022, based on data from GlobalData’s Power Influencer Platform.
The top trends are the most mentioned terms or concepts among Twitter discussions of more than 170 power experts tracked by GlobalData’s Power Influencer platform during Q2 2022.
1. Sustainable energy and renewable energy – 2,548 mentions
Iceland using geothermal energy to power greenhouses and produce food throughout the year, and the need for nuclear power to decarbonise the global economy, were some of the popularly discussed topics in Q2.
Mike Hudema, a climate campaigner, shared a video on countries adopting solutions to make food supply greener. The video detailed how Iceland is using an innovative solution to grow food on the edge of the Arctic Circle by exploiting the power of the country’s geothermal springs. The boiling water heats up the giant greenhouses, allowing tomatoes and cucumbers to grow even in the country’s dark, sub-zero temperatures. With the sun rising just for five hours during the winter, very little can be grown outside, the article noted.
Iceland’s greenhouses have been using geothermal energy since the past 20 years. However, with technological advancements, farmers are able to build bigger and more efficient greenhouses, the article highlighted. Every greenhouse is equipped with a climate control system to adjust temperatures, humidity, lighting, and water for the plants. Geothermal energy constitutes a quarter of Iceland’s electricity, while the rest comes from other renewable sources.
The terms also trended in an article shared by Jesse Jenkins, macro-scale energy systems engineer, on the need for nuclear power for decarbonising the global economy. He tweeted that nations such as the US, China, Australia, and Canada could drive net zero goals with renewables as the nations do not have any land constraints, but net zero India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea was difficult to achieve.
Suggesting that a global trade in green hydrogen or ammonia could supply these land constraint nations, Jenkins shared an article on EU officials also admitting that Europe needed to import huge quantities of green hydrogen from abroad due to constraints on positioning sufficient wind and solar within the continent. According to EU climate chief Frans Timmermans, Europe’s future clean energy system will have to depend on green hydrogen imports, the article detailed.
Felicia Mester, director of public affairs at Hydrogen Europe, a Brussels-based trade body, further emphasised that Europe did have potential to yield renewable and low carbon energy. However, efforts to decarbonise the economy and phasing out of fossil fuels usage quickly would require imports, the article highlighted.
2. Solar Panel – 177 mentions
The US government offering support to solar developers, and double-sided solar panels working effectively in snow, were some of the popular discussions during Q2.
Jason Bordoff, the co-founding dean at Columbia Climate School, focusing on climate and sustainability solutions, shared an article on the Biden administration invoking the Defence Production Act (DPA) to promote further manufacturing of solar panels and other clean energy equipment in the US. According to a White House announcement, President Biden is focusing on protecting solar projects developers from the costs of potential trade penalties and offering federal assistance for domestic solar panel manufacturing.
Analysts and solar developers claim that the prolonged Department of Commerce’s investigation into solar module imports has stalled new solar projects in the US, adding to the supply chain disruptions and other issues, the article detailed. According to research, 64% of the US solar projects in 2022 are in danger due to the threat of tariffs. A White House fact sheet stated that the Act will be invoked for solar panel parts, such as photovoltaic modules and module components, electrolysers, heat pumps, fuel cells and platinum group metals, and for the power grid, such as transformers, the article noted.
In another tweet, David Ferris, a journalist, discussed how the two-sided solar panels performed better in snow due to the snow reflecting sunlight onto the hind side of the panel from the snowy ground. According to a research conducted by Western University researchers in London, Ontario ‘bifacial’ photovoltaic or solar panels receive sunlight from both sides. This produced considerably more power during winter compared to the one-sided panels, according to data from a solar array in Escanaba, a town located in Michigan.
The team also found that snow melted faster on the two-sided panels than the one-sided ones, probably because of the panels heating up from absorbing the sunlight on the rear side, the article highlighted.
3. Supply Chain – 130 mentions
The solar industry being hard hit by supply chain challenges due to its concentration in China, and the US government’s Commerce department keeping coal plants alive due to the solar trade probe, were some of the popular discussions in the second quarter of 2022.
Tor Valenza, founder of a solar marketing agency UnThink Solar, shared an article on the solar industry being hard hit by supply chain challenges due to its concentration in China. As a result, higher prices and late installations are expected to continue until more sustainable solar manufacturing capacity is developed worldwide, the article detailed. The Commerce Department’s probe of solar panels imported from Chinese organisations in Southeast Asia further exposes the supply risks of having solar manufacturing concentrated in one region.
In addition to the supply chain disruptions, governments and solar buyers are worried about high carbon emissions from China’s coal-fired solar factories and the use of forced labour in the Chinese solar supply chain, the article noted. As a result, more solar manufacturing means greater opportunity to create a more resilient and sustainable supply chain, the article highlighted. For instance, manufacturers in countries with stronger environmental laws and cleaner grids are expanding production across the solar supply chain.
The term also trended in an article shared by Justin Guay, director global climate strategy of The Sunrise Project, solving climate crisis issues, on the current US administration’s Commerce department keeping old coal-fired plants alive by putting a check on the solar supply chain with Trumpian trade-related reviews. As a result, the Indiana utility has delayed its coal plant closure until 2025 due to solar trade probe, the article detailed.
The Northern Indiana Public Service Company stated in its first quarterly earnings that the Commerce investigation is likely to delay some of its solar projects by six to 18 months. Therefore, the Indiana utility is delaying the closure of its two final coal-fired units at the Schahfer Generating Station by two years, the article noted.
4. Turbine – 101 mentions
The most powerful wind turbine unveiled offshore Scotland, and the Mississippi River facility recycling old wind turbine blades, were some of the trending discussions in Q2.
Carl Siegrist, a renewable energy strategist, shared an article on Siemens Gamesa, a renewable energy company, and a subsidiary of Siemens Energy AG, a spinoff of the former gas and power division of the Siemens Group, being awarded a firm order for delivering 60 units of its SG 14-222 DD offshore wind turbine at the Moray West offshore wind power project.
The wind turbines have a capacity of 14.7 megawatt (MW) each and use the PowerBoost feature, the article detailed. The order included a service agreement for the 882MW project located in Scotland’s Moray Firth, the article detailed. The turbine makers had stated eight months ago that all of the 180 Siemens Gamesa B108 IntegralBlades will be manufactured at the company’s offshore blade factory in Hull, England. Additionally, the first machines are expected to be delivered in 2024, with first power generation to be expected in the same year.
Discussions around turbine also included an article shared by Mark Burger, a solar consultant, on a Mississippi River facility recycling old wind turbine blades. The blades that were meant for landfills are recycled in a Louisiana facility in Missouri to make cement kilns, the article noted. Veolia, a Paris-based water, waste and energy company, further explained that blade repurposing has become the key area of growth in the company’s business. The Louisiana facility is further looking to expand its business, and double its employees in the next couple of years, the article highlighted.
Bob Cappadona, Veolia North America’s president and CEO of environmental solutions and services, stated that the company’s newfound use of turbine blades was initiated by one call from General Electric, a major manufacturer of wind turbine parts. The company was sending the blades to the landfill, but called Veolia to understand whether the old turbine blades, usually ten to 20 years old and extending up to 120 to 150 feet, could be used in any other way, the article detailed.
Eventually, the cement industry emerged as a natural fit, as the material from the recycled blades cut greenhouse gas emissions by 27% from cement production.
5. Onshore Wind – 90 mentions
Onshore wind projects facing resistance from local communities all over Europe, and Greencoat Renewables agreeing to buy 65MW portfolio of onshore wind farms in France, were some of the popular discussions in Q2.
Justin Gerdes, an energy journalist, shared an article on how developers can learn to overcome local communities’ opposition to onshore wind projects. An analysis found onshore wind plans in one-fifth of the Dutch municipalities to have been impacted by the lack of support from local groups. Dozens of potential onshore wind projects have been put on hold, delayed, or cancelled to rising protests among local residents, the article detailed.
Similar trends of resistance against onshore wind projects are however being witnessed across Europe now, than just the Netherlands. For example, Sweden, which plans to install 80 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of onshore wind by 2040 is experiencing dwindling share of Swedes considering the country’s investment in more wind energy, the article noted. Similarly, wind projects are being taken to court in Germany, while in Norway new projects have been stopped after protests.
The term was also discussed in an article shared by Tor Valenza, on the renewable energy company Greencoat Renewables agreeing to buy a 65MW portfolio of operating onshore wind farms in France from Axpo, Switzerland’s largest renewable energy producer and a subsidiary of Axpo Holding AG. The acquisition includes four wind farms, all benefitting from the French government’s long-term contracts, the article noted.
The article further highlighted that this is Greencoat’s second portfolio acquisition in France, while the company is looking to further its European growth strategy into Spain, Germany, Sweden, and Finland. The transaction was expected to close in the end of the second quarter of 2022.