Daily Shorts: US renewable projects run into 3-year transformer wait, VW promises cheap EV, and more
America's power sector is grappling with a transformer shortage. US renewable energy project developers who are setting up grid-scale RE and energy storage systems say critical components are in short supply, which is causing prices to rise and project to be delayed. In particular, the country is running short of high-voltage transformers (HVTs), which are necessary to connect RE projects to the grid. HVTs are the size of a truck and must often be custom-built for each project. Now, developers say delivery time has grown from 50 weeks (almost a year) last year to 150 weeks (three years) now.
Volkswagen is on track to deliver a €20,000 ($21,700) electric vehicle by the second half of this decade, CEO Oliver Blume told a conference in Berlin. Pointing out that battery costs were the main lever to cut EV prices, Blume said Volkswagen's unified battery cell plans would reduce battery costs 50 percent. Earlier this year, VW announced plans to launch a 450-km range EV with a fast-charging battery (10 percent to 80 percent in 20 minutes) at a cost of €25,000 by 2025. At that time, it also spoke about a €20,000 EV, but did not provide details. Rival Stellantis is working on affordable EVs too.
British developer SSE increased its renewable power capacity target and said it will raise capital spending by $3 billion after reporting better-than-expected net profit for the first half of the year. The additional funds will be spent during its five-year capital programme (now worth $25.6 billion) ending 2027. SSE said it will target 9 GW of renewable capacity by that year, up from around 4 GW now. The company is developing major wind farms off the British coast, while also setting up one of UK's largest battery energy storage projects.
Germany's government has halted major green initiatives after a constitutional court ruled the government could not divert €60 billion of unused pandemic money to a climate fund. The government had earmarked the money for making buildings more energy efficient, subsidizing renewable power, and providing support to energy-intensive companies. However, officials said the funds could sill be used to promote energy efficiency and use of renewables-generated power for buildings. The World Bank estimates countries need to spend $1.5 trillion to make buildings more efficient.