50Hertz, the German grid operator owned by Belgium-based Elia Group, plans to invest €8.7bn ($9.3bn) over the next 5 years to upgrade its network of substations, overhead power lines, as well as underground and submarine cables.

The planned investment, which will be made between 2023 and 2027, is more than double the amount 50Hertz invested in the previous five years, as the grid operator responds to large renewables developments that are both in the pipeline and have come online.


Stefan Kapferer, the CEO of 50Hertz, said in a statement on March 6 that the company is “observing a clear upward trend in photovoltaics” and anticipates “a significant further increase” in the coming years from large solar farms and rooftop installations. 

“It is very clear that, just like the development of renewable energy sources, grid development must move ahead faster to remove bottlenecks and reduce the costs for congestion management,” he added.

Moderna chooses Oxford for UK R&D hub

The US-based pharmaceutical company Moderna has said it will open a new research and production facility in Oxford, England, after reaching a ten-year agreement with the UK government last December to supply vaccines to the National Health Service (NHS).

Confirming the decision in a Tweet on March 6, the Covid-19 vaccine maker said it had chosen to set up its new innovation and technology centre at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. The location is home to more than 240 organisations working in areas including space, clean energy and life sciences.

Once operational, Moderna said the facility “will aim to provide the UK public with access to mRNA vaccines for a wide range of respiratory diseases”, pending independent regulatory assessment and licensure. The investment will create hundreds of jobs during its construction and operation, with the facility expected to come online in 2025.


Lego plans China footprint expansion

Danish toy maker Lego plans to open 145 new stores in 2023, most of which will be in China, as the company seeks to expand its retail footprint after strong growth in its sales across all its major markets.

“We plan to accelerate investment in strategic initiatives in the coming year to build long-term relevance and growth of our brand,” said Niels Christiansen, Lego’s CEO, in their annual report released today (March 7). Around 100 of Lego's planned store openings will be in China in 2023, while the remainder will be spread evenly throughout the Americas, Europe and the rest of Asia.

The company has invested heavily in its retail channels, product innovation and production capacity, including plans to invest $1bn to develop its first carbon-neutral factory in Vietnam. In 2022, the toy maker opened 155 new Lego branded stores, bringing its total to more than 900 stores globally.

And finally, South Korean auto parts manufacturer PHA will invest more than $67m in a new site in Chatham Country, Georgia, as part of plans to supply Hyundai’s multi-billion dollar electric vehicle and battery production facility.