August 20, 2021

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

  • California is building 5 temporary gas-fueled generators with a total capacity of 150 megawatts to increase the power grid in the evening to avoid blackouts.
  • Swedish venture HYBRIT using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen made the world’s first customer delivery of steel produced without burning coal.
    • Volvo will use this new type of steel in trucks as a trial run before full commercial production in 2026
  • China has approved a massive power project that will use solar and wind to produce 66,900 tons of green hydrogen per year starting in mid-2023.
  • Solar energy could supply more than 40% of US electricity (vs 3% now) by 2035… IF congress adopts policies such as tax credits for renewable energy projects and component factories.
  • IKEA is going to start selling affordable renewable energy to households in Sweden this September. Households will be able track their usage through an app.
  • So far this year over 37,000 acres in BC and a record 1 million acres in California have burned. Fires are also burning in Greece, France, Spain, and Portugal.
  • US ordered the first-ever water cuts on the Colorado River system that sustains 40 million people. Most impacted will be Arizona farmers followed by Nevada farmers.
  • China is planting 36,000 sq km of new forest a year (larger than the total area of Belgium) from this year to 2025.

TIDBITS

  • Canadian mortgage debt is increasing at its fastest monthly pace since 2007 ($1.73 trillion in June).
  • Rent for ‘single family homes’ in the US rose 7.5% in June, the largest increase since 2005.
  • US is increasing food stamp program to $157 per month from $121 to 42 million Americans.
  • 61% (vs 43.3% for the 5 years pre-pandemic) of US households paid no federal income tax last year because of declines in income and boosts to government subsidies that wiped away tax liabilities.
  • Return to office plans are being disrupted by the COVID-19 Delta variant…some companies including Apple have delayed to 2022 while others, including the big 6 Canadian banks, are mandating vaccines.
  • Amazon (now the world’s largest retail seller outside China) is opening large physical shops in the US that will operate like department stores.
  • Global shortage of semiconductors will cut worldwide auto production by as many as 7.1 million vehicles this year and pandemic-related supply disruptions will hit the industry well into next year.
  • Tesla will probably launch a prototype “Tesla Bot” humanoid robot next year, designed for dangerous, repetitive, or boring work that people don’t like to do.
  • In addition to 1.3 million humans, Amazon uses 350,000 robots in its warehouses. Human employment has increased 63% while robotics is up 75% in the past 2 years.
  • Automation could displace as many as 375,000,000 workers worldwide by 2030.