FedEx CEO to testify as U.S. lawmakers make green infrastructure push


FedEx Corp’s chief executive, Frederick Smith, testified before Congress on March 10 as U.S. lawmakers began a fast push for a massive hike in infrastructure spending and drive toward electric vehicles. “The Business Case for Climate Solutions” is expected to include PG&E testimony about more than $400 million in programs to help customers transition to EVs. To learn more, read FedEx CEO to testify as U.S. lawmakers make green infrastructure push.”

Key Takeaways:

  • In early March, FedEx announced it planned to become carbon-neutral by 2040 and will invest $2 billion in vehicle electrification, sustainable energy, and carbon sequestration. FedEx also said its entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will be zero-emission electric vehicles by 2040.
  • FedEx is the latest among a number of corporations, automakers, and startup companies that are working to adopt electric-vehicle pickups and larger delivery vehicles.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Electric utilities and governments across the world are moving towards 100% carbon-free energy. To succeed, they need to not only increase renewable generation, but also to rapidly reduce the use of fossil fuels. Renewables and storage alone cannot rapidly decarbonize our power system fast enough. If corporations with the largest carbon footprints take the lead in optimizing power resources, renewable energy and flexible fuels others will follow as they pave the path to 100%.


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Utilities Are the Focus Of Electrification And Decarbonization, But Can They Deliver?


In the early 2000’s, utilities were unable to grasp the climate change movement. Today, they have been swept up by it – a function of stricter environmental regulations, cheaper natural gas, and affordable renewables. But if electrification and decarbonization are realized, it could pay big dividends for power companies. To learn more, read Utilities Are The Focus Of Electrification And Decarbonization, But Can They Deliver?” Reading this article may require a subscription from the news outlet.

Key Takeaways:

  • About 70% of the largest U.S. electric and gas utilities now have net-zero goals, says S&P Global Market Intelligence.
  • The Boston Consulting Group analyzed a “model utility” with 2-3 million customers. It found that it would need to invest between $1,700 and $5,800 in grid upgrades per electric vehicle (EV) through 2030.
  • Xcel Energy has announced plans to serve 1.5 million EVs by 2030. Xcel Energy Chair Ben Fowke expects 60% of the utility’s electric generation to be fueled by renewables in 2030 – with some natural gas as a backup.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Carbon neutral and carbon free systems must install enough capacity (with the right capabilities) to meet energy needs in worst-case scenarios. At a minimum, to assure reliability and avoid blackouts, utility system planners and policy makers need to account for seasonal trends in availability of renewable resources. Accurate modelling can make a critical difference in renewable integration, resilience and reliability. Finally, energy storage systems designed for daily shifting with less than 12 hour duration are not cost optimal for long-term storage and energy time-shifting in high renewable power systems.


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Shell Says Hydrogen Is Heavy Transport’s Future. What Now For Biofuels?


Hydrogen will be the key energy source for global road freight, according to a new report commissioned by European oil major Shell. Electrification is the most economic and environmental solution for smaller delivery vehicles. The study, carried out by global accountancy firm Deloitte on Shell’s behalf, questioned 158 executives in the road freight sector in 22 different countries. To learn more, read Shell Says Hydrogen Is Heavy Transport’s Future. What Now For Biofuels?”

Key Takeaways:

  • Of those interviewed for the report, 70% ranked decarbonization as a top-three concern for their business and many said they expect hydrogen to be commercially viable in just five to 10 years.
  • Carlos Maurer, EVP of sectors and decarbonization at Shell, stated, “We believe that once produced at scale, hydrogen will likely be the most cost-effective and viable pathway to net-zero emissions for heavy-duty and long-route medium-duty vehicles, and electric mobility will do the same for light-duty and short-route medium-duty vehicles.”
  • Major truck manufacturers in Europe have accelerated the target date for their diesel engine phase-out from 2050 to 2040. Hydrogen and electrification are the low-carbon technology options of choice.
  • Biofuels are more likely to play their largest role in the short term when it comes to the transportation sector; however, there are other transport end markets where biofuels hold a strong advantage.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Decarbonizing the transportation sector will be a key step in realizing a 100% renewable energy future. Investments in hydrogen production, both in policies and infrastructure, will accelerate the timeline for commercial viability.



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Q&A Series: Santiago Barcón Uses the Written Word to Accelerate Renewable Energy Innovation

Santiago Barcón is CEO of PQBarcon and Energía Hoy (Energy Today). He’s an entrepreneur, advisor and writer with a degree in electrical engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana. Follow him on Twitter: @sbarconenergia.

Question:  Please describe yourself and your work. 

Santiago: I am an electrical engineer with more than 30 years of experience, where I have been focused on power quality. I have co-authored the book published by McGraw-Hill titled: “Calidad de la Energía: Factor de potencia y filtrado de armónicas,” translated means “Power Quality: Power factor and harmonic filtering.” I have also written 45 technical papers and write a monthly column at Energia Hoy.

Q: How did you become interested in renewable energy? And what is your goal for a renewable energy future?

Santiago: As a professional in the sector, you have to be attentive to new technologies where renewables are a fundamental part. Additionally, I have the natural curiosity of an engineer. My goal is to speed up the integration of renewable energies within the energy matrix.

Q: Your book, “Calidad de la energía: factor de potencia y filtrado de armónicas,” was published in 2012. Could you describe the premise of this work and what you hoped to accomplish with its publication?

Santiago: Reactive energy compensation is a forgotten topic in professional education in all countries. Harmonics is a phenomenon that has accelerated in electrical systems and that will continue to increase. We wanted a work that would allow us to learn about the subject and highlight its importance. I think we got it. The print edition is out of print but you can download it for free here.

Q: You are on the Editorial Board of Energia Hoy and write a monthly column. What subjects have been most important for you to write about over the years?

Santiago: Analysis of the Mexican energy sector with a special emphasis on the electricity branch. I try to provide a technical analysis on what each of the participants requires to provide a better understanding of the power grid as a whole. I also try to point out the best practices from around the world.

Q: Now, why do you consider the transmission network one of the main challenges Mexico faces on its way to clean and affordable energy?

Santiago: A robust transmission network offers the ability and flexibility to place generations, of any type, at the optimum performance point. For example, we should leverage our renewable potential and even export it.

Q: Finally, how can Mexico contribute to the journey to 100 percent renewable energy around the world? And what progress do you foresee for the region in the coming years?

Santiago: Each country has its own unique challenges. Economic leaders must lead by example: they are the ones with the resources and also the ones who contribute the most. In Mexico, on the other hand, we must not lose sight of the fact that we need to provide sustainable and affordable power to more than three million Mexicans. This figure is not the official one, but I do not believe that just having a photovoltaic system equals electrification: It requires power so they can use motors and other devices. Lighting is not electrification.


Photo: Andrés Medina on Unsplash