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  • #34. 🪦Ocean deadzones | 💨Rivian's wind power | ⚡️VW's next-gen MEB+ platform

#34. 🪦Ocean deadzones | 💨Rivian's wind power | ⚡️VW's next-gen MEB+ platform

Plus: Climate's impact on US farming | Seychelles' ocean plants | Solar-powered farming | US battery storage capacity | Uber's autonomous IONIQ5 in Las Vegas | Tesla Powerwall Las Vegas neighborhood

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🌡 CLIMATE CHANGE

This is an overview of the climate impact on various crops’ abysmal harvests in the US this year. Particularly hard hit: Texas’ cotton; Florida’s oranges; California’s rice; and cattle ranchers’ cows.

Decreased oxygen levels in ocean water is directly causing the loss of marine sea life. In 2007, some 400 “dead zones” were discovered around the globe, up from just 150 in 2003. The hypoxic regions of water can contain 20-50% less oxygen than normal ocean water, and typically span 50 to 400 meters (164 to 1300 feet) below the ocean’s surface. Most dead zones are off the Americas’ coasts, from California to Chile; West Africa and the Indian Ocean off the western coast of Indonesia are also affected.

Seagrass is 35 times faster at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. It also helps to defend against rising sea levels and damaging weather along with other coastal wetlands like mangroves, marshes, and swamps. Unfortunately, seagrass coverage is decreasing.

🔋 CLEAN ENERGY

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $8m in funding for six solar energy research projects in six states and the District of Columbia. The funding supports agrivoltaics — the co-location of agricultural production and solar energy generation on the same land — and is intended to reduce barriers to utility- and community-scale solar energy deployment while maximising benefits for farmers and local communities. In the US, less than 2% of solar energy projects are co-located with crops or pollinator habitats.

Rivian (Crunchbase) will purchase 50 MW of clean energy from Apex Clean Energy’s Goose Creek Wind Farm which should go live in 2024. It will include 50 wind turbines on 20,000 acres of land, and provide a total output of 300 MW annually, enough for 99,000 US homes.

This is a great breakdown complete with graphs showing the exponential rise in battery storage in the US, now projecting some 30 GW by 2025, up from around 8 GW today.

🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Hyundai’s joint venture with Motional (Crunchbase) and Uber, launched in March 2020 in collaboration with Aptiv (Crunchbase), will be open to the public in Las Vegas starting next year, with Los Angeles following next and an unspecified date.

The current MEB platform underpins VW’s current EV model lineup including the ID.3, ID.4, and ID.Buzz. The MEB+ platform promises up to 700 km (435 mi) of range for future VW EVs, a huge increase over the current 500 km (310 mi) range. The platform will support 10 new EVs by 2026 with supported charging speeds of up to 200 kW. For comparison, Tesla’s Superchargers top out at 250 kW.

Following a similar neighborhood in Austin, Texas, with all 12,000 homes powered by Tesla Solar Roofs and Powerwalls, a new neighborhood in Las Vegas called The Arches will include 51 homes similarly equipped with Tesla’s solar system, as well as EV home charging (presumably for Tesla vehicles). The solar system work is being installed by Sunnova, a Tesla Powerwall installation partner.

🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!

Thank you so much for reading, have a great weekend, see you next week! -Marc

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