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May 23, 2017


Charging ahead: Welsh battery scheme may aid growth of green energy

A pioneering project will materialise this summer neighbouring a windfarm at The Upper Afan Valley near Swansea that could prove a blueprint for unlocking Britain’s renewable energy potential.  The facility, one of the UK’s largest battery storage schemes built by Swedish energy company Vattenfal, will involve six shipping containers filled with lithium-ion batteries made by BMW’s electric car division. The project is seen as a crucial part of the jigsaw for helping wind, solar and other renewable sources go from the 25% of UK power they provide today, to the much greater share the government needs to hit its climate change targets. The batteries will be connected to the grid’s transmission network to take power around the UK and at the same time they will share a site with the Pen y Cymoedd windfarm. As the battery installation will make use of the site’s existing infrastructure this will prove to be about £5m cheaper than building it on a standalone site. (Guardian)


Unilever goes 100% renewable across all UK sites

Unilever has revealed that all of its UK manufacturing sites are now 100% powered by electricity generated from certified renewable sources. The global consumer goods firm has become the first dedicated beneficiary of energy sourced from a Scottish Highlands-based wind farm boasting 23 turbines, supplying renewable electricity to 15 UK Unilever sites. The excess 24GWh of power generated at the farm are also sold-off under a retail tariff to local communities. Unilever’s sustainable business communications director Yvette Edwards said: “This latest step in securing an in-country, sustainable supply of wind-generated energy is an important milestone in helping us meet our bold ambition of becoming carbon positive by 2030.” Across its entire global business, Unilever generates 63% of its grid energy from renewable sources. (Edie)


Google accused of threatening employees’ jobs over leaks

A Google executive threatened to terminate the contract of employees who shared internal information with journalists, according to a lawsuit filed against the tech giant. Court papers filed earlier this month in San Francisco Superior Court allege the threat came in the form of an email sent to Google employees by Brian Katz, head of investigations at the company. The email was in response to a leak of internal jokes about Nest CEO Tony Fadell and the transcript of an open meeting he held with Google employees, according to the filing, first noticed by The Register. The lawsuit, filed in by the employee plaintiff December, claims Google’s confidentiality agreements violate California labor laws. Google could be on the hook for billions of dollars in penalties if the suit is successful. (CNET)

Reporting / Responsible Investment

Bullish forecasts create liability risk, ClientEarth warns fossil fuel giants

ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law organisation, has written to BPGlencore and investors warning of the risk of investor lawsuits based on statements about future fossil fuel demand in their reporting. Both companies publish scenarios for future commodity demand in official reporting documents that paint a picture at odds with expert analysis. According to ClientEarth, this suggests a risk of evidence materialising which demonstrates that the companies’ management were reckless as to the truth or accuracy of statements relating to these scenarios. If this happens, and investors have suffered loss as a result of relying on the statement, investors can sue. BP’s statement about its ‘base case’ being “the most likely path for energy to 2035”, as it appears in its annual report, does not tally with several independent analyses of future oil demand – including some of BP’s industry peers. BP’s ‘base case’ says demand for oil and other liquids is expected to increase until 2035. ClientEarth also says that Glencore’s annual report risks future investor action because it relies on assumptions about the future for coal markets that have been challenged by independent expert analysis and does not address significant market trends that may depress coal demand. (ClientEarth)


Nestlé Waters North America announces $6 million investment in Closed Loop Fund

Nestlé Waters North America is investing $6 million in an effort to find a national solution to the “critical recycling gap” in the US. Its investment is going to the Closed Loop Fund, a $100 million social impact investment fund committed to funding comprehensive recycling infrastructure across the US. The so-called recycling gap refers to the fact that, while 75% of the waste stream in the US is recyclable, just 30% actually gets recycled. Much of this waste, such as PET plastic, is in demand among manufacturers as raw material for everything from textiles to packaging. The problem lies in infrastructure: most recycling facilities aren’t able to collect, sort and process plastics and still turn a profit, as the New York Times reported when the Closed Loop Fund kicked off in 2015. (3BL)

Image source: Wind Turbine at