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  • The EU Fights Over Gas Reduction // Does Size Matter? // Rosatom Builds Egypt's First Nuclear Plant

The EU Fights Over Gas Reduction // Does Size Matter? // Rosatom Builds Egypt's First Nuclear Plant

The EU Fights Over Gas Reduction

As we reported yesterday, the EU is calling for 15% cuts in natural gas consumption. A familiar split among member states has returned:

No surprise that the southern states, especially Greece, have little sympathy for Germany who raked Greece over the coals in the mid-2010s during its debt crisis. Why should they have to bail out those who treated them like hapless children? Those who didn't offer them a bailout when they needed it? Austerity for me but not for thee? That seems to be the dynamic.

“We will defend European values, but we won’t accept a sacrifice regarding an issue that we have not even been allowed to give our opinion on,” Spain’s Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera said. "We want to help, but we also want to be respected," she continued, adding that "a disproportionate sacrifice cannot be imposed on us."

While the fracture has emerged, IEA Chief Faith Birol has called for 20% reductions in natural gas consumption.

"Even if there is no single accident... #Europe still needs to reduce its gas consumption about 20% compared to today in order to have safe and normal winter months,” IEA chief Fatih Birol said. From his perspective, Europe has no alternative but to reduce consumption.

Oilprice.com reports that according to Birol, "Even assuming that the current Russian gas flow is maintained, and considering all the LNG Europe is getting from the United States and elsewhere, plus other natural gas sources, and even if there are no accidents that hamper supply, Europe still needs to reduce more, starting now."

Does Size Matter?

The major solar titans in China, top dog Longi Green Energy Technology Co. and runner-up Trina Solar Co. are having it out over which wafer size for solar modules is best: Longi's 182-millimeter wafer or Trina's 210-millimeter one.

The stakes are high as nations hurdle toward green energy goals that depend on Chinese solar. "Who gains the advantage in the current battle stands to substantially accelerate an already impressive growth record," reports Bloomberg. "Longi’s market cap has soared nearly eight-fold to $63 billion since the end of 2018, while Trina’s almost quadrupled to $20 billion from its trading debut two years ago."

Wafers are the razor thin semicondutor slice that get wired into solar cells of matching size before they're put into panels. Larger wafer sizes make it easier to build bigger modules, which makes the panel better at generating electricity. But there are trade-offs. Make the wafer and thus the panel too large and it loses some of its structural integrity.

"With both sides actively campaigning for their standard, the 182 and 210 wafers combined have taken over half of the market as of 2021. The share is expected to reach 79% this year," reports Bloomberg.

Manufacturers are responding by making units capable of switching between the two size types--for now.

Rosatom Builds Egypt's First Nuclear Plant

On Wednesday, Egypt held a ceremony for the pouring of the first concrete for the El Dabaa 1 nuclear reactor. The event was attended by Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker, NPPA Chairman Amged El-Wakeel, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov, and others. This marks the beginning of Egypt's membership among nations with nuclear power plants.

"The construction launch at El-Dabaa NPP unit 1 means that Egypt has joined the nuclear club," Likhachov said. "Construction of the nuclear power plant will allow Egypt to reach a new level of technology, industry, and education development. The plant will be the largest project of the Russian-Egyptian cooperation since the Aswan High Dam. Having its own nuclear energy industry has been a dream for the Egyptian people for more than half a century, and it is a great honor for Rosatom to make this dream come true."

"The ceremony commemorating the pouring of the first concrete for unit 1 is a great delight for us," Mohamed Shaker added. "The commencement of full-scale construction of unit 1 is a historic event for Egypt."

El Dabaa is located about 200 miles northwest of Cairo. All told, the plant will have four VVER-1200 units just "like those already in operation at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants in Russia, and the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus," reports World Nuclear News.

Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear company, is the gold standard around the world for plant construction. They deliver on time and on budget. Their only competition is from China. America is not even in the running.

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Conversation Starters

  • Texas just got a tax windfall from oil and gas. "Texas is expecting a record surplus of nearly $27 billion for the 2022-23 biennium, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar says, mostly due to the record amount of taxes the Texas oil and natural gas industry contributed," reports The Rigzone.

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