EV Battery Investments Surge; Other Clean Energy News

EV Battery Investments Surge; Other Clean Energy News

DHL Group is expanding its charging infrastructure for electric trucks, thanks to a partnership with energy provider E.ON. The contract calls for E.ON to establish fast-charging infrastructure at DHL Group distribution centers. DHL service partners will also have access to the new charging infrastructure.

EV Battery Investments Charge Ahead

The global push toward a sustainable future has ignited an unprecedented surge in battery investments. This rapid growth has introduced new challenges, however, particularly impacting the stability of the battery supply chain.

“Global efforts to combat climate change are driving a surge in battery investments with the aim to de-risk supply chains that are historically highly concentrated in Asia, particularly China,” says Mirko Woitzik, global director of intelligence solutions at Everstream Analytics, which monitors global investments in battery facilities.

Sustainability concerns have prompted a boost in localization efforts for battery production in an attempt to strengthen the resilience of supply chains, most notably for the automotive sector.

Since 2021, the United States has invested more in new battery production plants than any other country, with China following far behind.

This trend is expected to continue. Everstream’s projections show that North America will keep investing in new battery production plants at a higher rate than any other region until 2030. Europe is also on track to exceed Asia’s investments in new plants by 2030.

U.S. automakers such as Ford, which currently leads the way in global investments in battery plants by companies worldwide, are driving this growth. Other U.S. and European automakers, including General Motors, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz, are also investing in new battery plants at unprecedented rates.

These investments prompt Everstream to project significant shifts in global battery procurement, diffusing concentration of activities and, in turn, increasing resilience to external shocks in certain parts of the world.

Powering the Nation

Here are the top five energy sources in the United States that keep the lights on and wheels turning.

1. Petroleum (crude oil and natural gas liquids). Petroleum makes up 36% of the U.S. energy mix. Concerns about environmental impact and dependence on foreign oil, however, are driving efforts toward cleaner alternatives.

2. Natural gas. This clean-burning fossil fuel makes up 33% of U.S. energy consumption. Natural gas is a popular choice for heating homes and businesses due to its efficiency and lower emissions compared to coal, but the extraction process (fracking) raises environmental concerns.

3. Renewables. Wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal sources are collectively making a significant push, currently contributing 13% of U.S. energy.

4. Coal. Coal has seen its share decline to 10% in recent years. While it remains a relatively cheap and abundant resource, concerns about air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are leading to a shift away from coal-fired power plants.

5. Nuclear power. Providing a reliable source of baseload electricity, nuclear power plants account for 8% of U.S. energy consumption. Concerns about safety and nuclear waste disposal continue to be debated.

Around 40% to 60% of a manufacturing company’s energy and carbon footprint can reside upstream in its supply chain—from raw materials, transport, and packaging to manufacturing processes—but this number can be as high as 80% for some sectors.

U.S. Department of Energy

DOE to Restore Nuclear Plant

A shuttered nuclear power plant in Southwest Michigan will resume operations in 2025 after federal energy officials offered more than $1.5 billion in financing for the project.

The Palisades Nuclear Plant, an 800-megawatt generating station located along the coast of Lake Michigan, halted operations nearly two years ago after more than five decades. The plant was reportedly set to be dismantled entirely, but under a proposed loan offer from the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, Holtec Palisades would restore the complex and return it to service by late 2025.

If approved by federal nuclear regulators, the revamped plant would be able to produce power until at least 2051.

“The recent attacks by Iran on Israel highlight the fragile nature of international trade, particularly within a region that plays a critical role in the provisioning of the world’s oil. Companies must bolster their risk management strategies, incorporating comprehensive contingency plans that ensure flexibility and adaptability in the face of geopolitical instabilities. By fostering robustness in their supply chains, businesses can better navigate the complexities of today’s global market dynamics, maintaining operational continuity even as geopolitical tensions pose ongoing challenges.”

—Vitaliano Tobruk, Supplier Risk Management–Industry Practice Lead, Moody’s

U.S. Invests in Clean Energy, Domestic Biofuels

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will fund more than 700 clean energy projects to lower energy bills, expand access to domestic biofuels, and create jobs and new market opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act funds many of these projects.

In all, USDA is providing $238 million in funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP).

The REAP program helps agricultural producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar, geothermal, and small hydropower energy and make energy efficiency improvements.

USDA has invested more than $2 billion through REAP to support renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will help rural business owners lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen their resiliency of operations.

HBIIP provides grants to fueling station and distribution facility owners, including marine, rail, and home heating oil facilities, to help expand access to domestic biofuels, a clean and affordable source of energy. These investments help business owners install and upgrade infrastructure such as fuel pumps, dispensers, and storage tanks.

USDA has invested approximately $135 million to increase access to biofuels at fueling stations. In June 2023, USDA made $450 million available in Inflation Reduction Act funding through the HBIIP to expand the use and availability of higher-blend biofuels.