All too often, the energy future is often viewed mainly through a U.S. lens. Whether it's multi-million-dollar DOE investments, large company collaborations, or alternative energy research breakthroughs, it’s easy to forget to zoom out and take note of the progress other countries are making.
But, with $6.5 trillion needed every year to make meaningful progress in global decarbonization, it’s important to remember it will take every country working together on the international stage to achieve meaningful results.
Here are some of the recent highlights from other countries taking big steps on their journey to net zero.
Despite being second only to Asia in terms of population and size, Africa is responsible for less than 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also home to one of the largest lithium mines – a key ingredient in EV battery production.
Earlier this month, Lithium Africa Resources Corp. and Ganfeng Lithium Group Ltd. announced their 50/50 joint venture partnership “focused on systematically exploring, identifying and defining new lithium deposits” in Mali, Zimbabwe, Guinea, and Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, Kenya is investing in nuclear power by announcing plans to build the country’s first nuclear power plant. Construction is set to begin in 2027, and once operational by 2035, the plant is expected to have a capacity of 1,000 MW.
On Africa’s western coast, Ghana announced its $550 billion Energy Transition and Investment plan, which, if successful, will help the country achieve net-zero emissions and create 400,000 jobs by 2060.
Over in Europe, solar charging and hydrogen planes are capturing the industry’s attention.
ZeroAvia, a British-American aviation company focused on hydrogen-electric planes, announced it had significant investments from big-name companies, including Airbus, Alaska Airlines, and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, in its most recent financing round. The money will largely go to the certification of the company’s first engine.
ZeroAvia and Airbus also announced they would be collaborating on how to approach certification of hydrogen power systems. The companies will work together on a “number of critical technical areas,” such as liquid hydrogen fuel storage and the development of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operations.
In Germany, the government is subsidizing part of the cost of installing home solar or electric vehicle chargers. Eligible applicants can receive up to $10,800 to equip their primary residences with solar-powered EV charging solutions: $6,300 for photovoltaic installations, $3,100 for solar electricity batteries, and $1,270 for a charging station. Only homeowners who have already ordered an EV are eligible.
The program, administered by Germany’s development bank, the KfW, had a $529 million (EUR 500 million) cap. In one day, 33,000 applications were filed, equal to $317 million (EUR 300 million) of the fund. Applications have closed for the year and will reopen for the remaining $211 million (EUR 200 million) in 2024.
East Asia and the Middle East have led the Asian charge for alternative fuel vehicles.
Israeli company StoreDot, which makes fast-charging (XFC) EV batteries, signed a multi-year agreement with Volvo Cars to develop a battery optimized for its next generation of cars.
Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot CEO, said, “There is a huge amount of work to do, optimizing all aspects of the system to meet Volvo's exacting requirements. But we are confident that we will be delivering our fast-charging technology for real-world testing as early as next year with the goal to enable Volvo Cars customers to benefit from our game-changing XFC battery, which enables 100 miles of range in just five minutes."
Electric three-wheelers are having a boom in the Asia-Pacific region, largely due to, according to ResearchandMarket, “growing awareness of emissions' dangers, government pollution control regulations, and increasing adoption of electric vehicles.” The boom has been largely concentrated in India, China, and Japan, which have pledged billions to the electric vehicle transition.
Three-wheelers have proven to be very effective as last-mile and short-distance solutions, as they are cost-friendly, low maintenance, and effective for daily consumer needs. The market is expected to grow to $892 million by 2028.