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  • China's BYD Negotiates 6 African Lithium Mines // Big Blow: A Devastating Report on North Carolina Offshore Wind // Drought Could Halve California's Hydro

China's BYD Negotiates 6 African Lithium Mines // Big Blow: A Devastating Report on North Carolina Offshore Wind // Drought Could Halve California's Hydro

China's BYD Negotiates 6 African Lithium Mines

China's top EV maker, BYD, has discovered six lithium mines in Africa and has arrived at acquisition intentions with all of them. Chinese publication The Paper reports, "according to BYD's internal calculations, among the six lithium mines, the amount of ore with a grade of 2.5% lithium oxide has reached more than 25 million tons, which can be converted into 1 million tons of lithium carbonate."

The move comes as BYD seems to be approaching its apex on the world stage. The company has committed itself to strictly producing EVs; it will no longer make vehicles that run on fossil fuels. Last year, the company overtook the rest of the Chinese auto industry, selling over half a million vehicles. The firm has been expanding its dealerships all over the world, especially in Brazil.

If the 25 million tons of lithium are mined, The Paper reports, BYD "can meet the power battery needs of 27.78 million 60-degree pure electric vehicles. If the hybrid vehicles with a battery capacity of more than ten degrees are included, the 25 million tons of ore will at least double the production capacity. BYD's sales target in 2022 is 1.5 million units. If calculated based on this, the lithium ore won means that BYD will no longer have to 'skill a woman to cook without rice' in the next ten years."

Not entirely sure what that idiom translated via Google means, but I'm guessing it's close to America's "cooking with gas." But not all is champagne and roses. China's EV market has seen several price increases. The Paper seems skeptical that these new lithium acquisitions will, in the long run, solve high costs on the consumer end.

BYD's move deepens America's struggle to realize its green dreams without Chinese dependency. So far, China has a lock on most of the supply chains for the crucial materials America needs for its climate policies. Advocates for these policies focus on demonizing Putin and fossil fuel, but few say anything about mineral and therefore energy dependence on China.

Big Blow: A Devastating Report on North Carolina Offshore Wind

In 2020, North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order to build 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and 8 GW by 2040. Cooper argued that such a plan would be an economic and environmental boon to the state. But the John Locke Foundation, in collaboration with the Center of the American Experiment, has just published a new report, Big Blow, on what offshore wind would do to North Carolina. The findings are shocking and cover everything from price increases to environmental impacts.

Here's a rundown of some of the juicier tidbits:

  • Building 8 GW of offshore wind in North Carolina would cost anywhere from $55.7 billion to $71.5 billion.

  • "By 2040, electricity rates would increase by 28% to 36% over their 2020 levels. It would result in an average cost increase of $330 to $425 per year per consumer, reaching as high as $642 and $823 per customer in 2040."

  • A new analysis suggests that building and running 8 GW of offshore wind off the NC coast could actually cost "45,000 to 67,000 jobs from electricity price hikes and their downstream effects on the economy."

  • "Negative effects on many different fish and mammal populations from offshore wind facilities include population impacts and habitat disruption from site selection, construction, and operational noise. These effects could go unobserved even as turbines interfere with the ability to estimate commercial seafood populations for determining sustainable harvest levels."

The report's principal author, Jon Sanders, suggests this single sentence as the potent TLDR:

"The proposition before North Carolina policymakers is essentially this: to jack up electricity rates on everyone, create subsequent price increases on everything because of the pervasive effect of electricity rate hikes, cause people to spend an exorbitant amount of money throughout the coming years paying for these facilities, inflict some unknown amount of harm to coastal communities’ fishing and tourism, disrupt sensitive underwater habitats, kill an uncountable number of birds, disrupt vessel navigation as well as search and rescue operations, introduce more intermittency and unreliability on electrical grids, and all to put the most expensive form of electricity generation with enormous towers and unrecyclable wind blades into the nation’s most hurricane-prone waters and say it’s to reduce North Carolina’s climate emissions, create jobs, and grow the economy — ongoing achievements North Carolinians have already been enjoying without it."

Drought Could Halve California's Hydro

The Energy Information Administration has released some troubling forecasts for California's hydro fleet.

In its recent Short-term Energy Outlook, the EIA reports, "California hydroelectric generation would be 48% less this summer in an alternative case that assumes drought conditions compared with a case that assumes relatively normal water conditions."

A major problem is a decrease in the snowpack. "As of April 1, which typically marks the peak of snowpack, California’s snowpack had an equivalent water content of 6.9 inches, which is about 40% below the median value from 1991 through 2020." Less snowpack means less water flowing into the reservoirs that feed into hydro dams.

The outlook concludes, "We expect California’s hydro share of the generation mix for June through September 2022 in the drought scenario would be 8% of California’s total electricity generation, compared with 15% under normal water conditions. In drought conditions, we expect California would import more electricity from other markets and use more in-state natural gas-fired generation."

The EIA predicts California will burn more natural gas and see a 5% increase in western electricity prices along with a 6% increase in emissions.

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Conversation Starters

  • Vietnam might be reconsidering nuclear. Its industry minister called the nuclear revival an "inevitable trend," signaling that the country recognizes a of the tides that Vietnam might also partake in.

  • France's EDF has ruled out an extension for one of the UK's 6 nuclear plants. The plant is beyond its life expectancy and, unlike other reactor types, cannot be refurbished. This news comes as a blow to the UKs concerns over energy availability this winter, especially if Russia cuts its gas flows to Europe.

  • The Financial Times has published a long read on whether or not Africa can develop without fossil fuels. The answer is no, it cannot. However, it's an interesting read and ends on an important note: the West should not pursue green policies that will keep Africa poor.

Word of the Day

Azimuth angle

The orientation angle relative to north that a solar panel tilts toward: 0° is north, 90° is east, 180° is south, and 270° is west. (source)

Crom's Blessing