Chevron Plans Further Growth Into Energy Transition – Renewable Fuels, Hydrogen and Carbon Capture

While long term goals of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and employing sustainable energy sources have gained momentum across all industries, Chevron Corp., through its New Energies division, has stated it has shorter term goals as well – it says its planned growth in renewable fuels, hydrogen and carbon capture is expected to enable about 30 million tonnes of annual CO2 equivalent emission reductions by 2028. Technology adoption, policy and consumer behavior will drive energy choices, says a top sustainability executive, as companies focus on carbon management along the path to net zero. All three factor into whether one form of energy or another is sought to supply demand created by income and population growth, according to Bruce Niemeyer, vice president of strategy and sustainability for Chevron Corp. “Keeping supply and demand balanced through the transition is important so the transition works for all and doesn’t become a negative event for those most vulnerable,” Niemeyer said earlier this month during UT Energy Week. He added, “We’re going to need many forms of energy, which means we need to work on reducing the carbon intensity of all of them.” Chevron is among the many companies working to lower its emissions amid a heightened focus on global warming and future energy supplies. Like the smartphone, technologies with features that meet consumers’ needs or low-cost technologies will gain market share, he said, noting consumer preference is a strong factor. Take, for example, the automotive sector. EVs are expected to play a key role in the energy transition, giving their lower emissions, compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines. However, “last year, our best estimate is there were 6.6 million electric vehicles sold. At the same time, there were 35 million SUVs. It doesn’t mean it will be that way forever, but consumer preferences are strongly important to how energy is demanded by the world and then the choices of whether it’s provided from one form or another.” Most consumers do not appear willing to give up their gasoline-fueled vehicles, however, falling electric vehicle (EV) prices with improved battery technology are contributing to an uptick in sales. Citing data from Wards Intelligence, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in February that hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EVs collectively accounted for 11% of light-duty vehicle sales in the United States in fourth-quarter 2021. Several countries and automakers have set ambitions to increase EV sales, including in the U.S. where there is a target of 50% EV sales share in 2030.

Like many of its peers, Chevron is advancing technologies to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations. Its targets include a 35% reduction in upstream CO2 intensity by 2028, a more than 5% reduction in its portfolio carbon intensity by 2028 and net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2050. Chevron’s 2030 new energies targets also include producing 150 ktpa in hydrogen, which Niemeyer said could be used to decarbonize the heavy-duty transportation sector; and 25 MMtpa in carbon capture and offsets. The company has formed several partnerships, including with Hydrogenious, a developer of liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology. Speaking during Chevron’s analyst day in March, Chief Technology Officer Eimear Bonner said the technology could deliver affordable and efficient storage and transport of hydrogen. The company has said its planned growth in renewable fuels, hydrogen and carbon capture to these shorter term goals is expected to enable CO2 equivalent emission reductions by 2028.

View the full article here: Chevron Exec Shares Insight on Energy Transition, Oil Major’s Strategy | Hart Energy.

NextEra Announces Record Renewables, Pushing Major ‘Green’ Hydrogen Project

NextEra Energy Inc.’s CEO, Jim Robo, has pushed Congress to extend clean energy tax credits as the company announced record renewables contracts and a major hydrogen project yesterday. Robo said odds are “reasonably high” of an extension if a consensus can be reached on what would be in the reconciliation bill. There is wider support in Congress to expand clean energy tax credits compared to the proposed $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program or carbon pricing. Other proposals have included a broad clean energy tax overhaul that some large energy companies say they support. “If something happens there, we feel good about the fact that there will be a long-term extension of the credits,” Robo said, adding that he foresees tax policy support for hydrogen and energy storage investments. “It would be very constructive for us.” As one of the world’s largest renewable energy developers, NextEra has a lot to gain if the Biden administration is successful in financially encouraging wind, solar and other technologies to cut U.S. power sector emissions in half by 2030. President Biden has set the goal of decarbonizing the grid by 2035. We are increasingly thinking about ourselves as the company that’s going to lead not only the clean energy transformation of the electric grid but really the clean energy transformation of the U.S. economy and the decarbonization of the U.S. economy,” he said. The way Robo sees it, a low-emissions grid is critical to decarbonizing the transportation and industrial sectors. The falling costs of renewable resources combined with utility, corporate and state goals aimed at cutting emissions are driving large-scale projects nationwide. NextEra’s renewable energy unit signed a record 2,160 megawatts of solar, wind and storage projects during the third quarter, the company said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts. This includes 1,240 MW of new wind projects, the largest amount signed during a three-month period in the company’s history, said Rebecca Kujawa, NextEra’s chief financial officer. Even with the future of tax credits in play, NextEra now has more than 18 gigawatts of signed contracts in its development queue, including more than 7,600 MW worth of projects post-2022.

Electric companies nationwide are targeting hydrogen as a new option for emission-free electricity. Kujawa yesterday said NextEra has inked a deal to build a 500 MW wind project designed to power a green hydrogen fuel cell company. “Green” hydrogen is made from water and renewable electricity. That company wants to build a hydrogen electrolyzer nearby and use the wind power to meet up to 100 percent of its load requirements, Kujawa said. The hydrogen produced would be sold to commercial and industrial end-users to replace their current electricity that comes from other forms of hydrogen and fossil fuels, she said. The goal is to further accelerate the decarbonization of the industrial and transportation sectors, she said. Electric companies are eying expanded used of hydrogen during the later part of the 2020s and the next decade, Kujawa said, because it’s likely that long-duration storage will be developed by then. The transportation sector may be able to take advantage of green hydrogen earlier, however, she said. “The big question mark would be whether or not there’s a hydrogen production tax credit ultimately, in the final reconciliation bill,” she said. She said the $3-a-kilogram PTC “really closes the gap” between natural gas-based hydrogen and green hydrogen. That would create more opportunities to replace gas-based hydrogen with green hydrogen and expand renewable energy options. “We’ll know a lot more in January once we see the final package, if there is one,” she said.

E&E News | Article | NextEra announces record renewables, major ‘green’ hydrogen project (

DOE Releases Solar Futures Study Outlining a Plan to Reach 40% Solar Electricity by 2035

On September 8, 2021, the Department of Energy (DOE) released its Solar Futures Study providing a blueprint for the role of solar energy in decarbonizing the nation’s power sector.  The 310-page Study outlines a future in which solar provides 40% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2035 through cost reductions, technological improvement, rapid deployment, and supportive policies.  And, with the electrification of buildings and the transportation sector, solar could also power 30% of all building end uses and 14% of transportation end uses by 2050.

The Study identifies several policy initiatives needed to support the deployment of solar at this scale, including decarbonization targets, R&D investments and cost reductions, changes to wholesale electricity market regulation, and transmission development, to name a few. In order to meet the 40% by 2035 goal, the Study estimates that the U.S. must install an average of 30 GW of solar capacity per year between now and 2025 and 60 GW per year from 2025-2030, with a total of 1,000 GW of solar deployed by 2035. If the solar industry sees this level of growth, the Study estimates that the industry could employ up to 1.5 million people by 2035. The Study also highlights the important role that battery storage and demand-side management will play given that solar power varies based on daily and seasonal patterns.

With solar power currently providing approximately 3% of the nation’s electricity supply, the DOE’s 40% goal will be contingent on many factors supporting the industry in the coming years, including cost reductions, supportive policies, and widespread deployment.

Corporate solar interest surges as companies exit pandemic and turn focus to ESG issues

A financial rebound is in progress as COVID-19 becomes less of a driver to business and our general livelihood, and it is one that is apparent in the renewables sector. Experts see growth fueled not just by pent-up demand, but also growing attention to ESG considerations and renewables’ financial advantages.

Corporate merger and acquisition activity was up significantly with solar developers expanding their pipelines, oil and gas companies diversifying into renewables, and funds buying up renewable assets.

According to Mercom CEO Raj Prabhu, Solar project acquisitions reached a record high in the second quarter, he said, with more than 24.7 GW of capacity acquired. That total came from 34 corporate M&A deals, compared to 20 in the first quarter of this year and 13 in the second quarter of 2020.

In the first half of 2021, solar project acquisitions reached 39.3 GW, more than doubling the 14.7 GW acquired in the first half of 2020.

Venture capital funding in particular has experienced a strong recovery. Funding for VC was 680% higher in the first half of the year, compared with last year, with $1.6 billion raised in 26 deals, according to Mercom.

Renewables have been rapidly gaining market share for years. In 2020, the United States saw its fifth consecutive year of renewables consumption growth, reaching a record high of 12% of the country’s total consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA estimates solar energy accounted for about 11% of last year’s renewable energy consumption, and “overall, 2020 U.S. solar consumption increased 22% from 2019.”

By comparison, the agency said fossil fuel consumption fell last year by 9% to “the lowest level in nearly 30 years.”

The trend is represented globally as well. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) most recent market update, released in May, found renewable electricity capacity added in 2020 rose by 45% to 280 GW.

“Solar PV installations will continue to break new records, with annual additions forecast to reach over 160 GW by 2022,” IEA said in its analysis. “That would be almost 50% higher than the level achieved in 2019 prior to the pandemic, affirming solar’s position as the ‘new king’ of global electricity markets.”

Corporate solar interest surges as companies exit pandemic and turn focus to ESG issues | Utility Dive

Pennsylvania Governor Announces PULSE Project to Provide 50% of Commonwealth Government’s Electricity Consumption

On March 21, 2021, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the Pennsylvania “Project to Utilize Light and Solar Energy” (“PULSE”), a renewable energy project consisting of seven new solar farms totaling 191 MW in capacity to be constructed in various counties across the Commonwealth by 2023. Upon completion, the PULSE Project is expected to provide upwards of 360,000 MWh of electricity each year, estimated to be enough to supply nearly half of the state government’s annual electricity consumption. Billed as the largest solar commitment by any government in the US, 16 Commonwealth agencies are expected to use electricity generated from the PULSE Project, including, among others, the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection, Conservation and Natural Resources, Transportation, and Health, as well as the Game and Fish & Boat Commissions.

Part of Governor Wolf’s GreenGov initiative, the PULSE Project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth, Lightsource BP, and Constellation. Under the project, Lightsource BP will finance, construct, own and operate the solar farms, which will be built in Columbia, Juniata, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and York Counties.  Pursuant to a Power Purchase Agreement, Constellation, an electricity supplier, will purchase electricity generated from the solar farms and distribute it to the Commonwealth’s participating agencies under a 15-year fixed-price supply agreement.  Expected benefits of the PULSE Project include an estimated reduction of 157,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year and creation of over 400 jobs.