Britain’s Octopus Energy is investing €1bn in French renewables over the next two years and will establish a European tech hub in Paris. In a statement announcing the news on March 10, the firm said the capital will go towards new generation projects which will supply 300,000 households.
The new tech hub will create hundreds of clean energy jobs and support millions of customers across the 10 European countries where the company operates.
The expansion comes 14 months after Octopus Energy entered the French market in January 2022. The firm is targeting one million customers across the country by 2026.
Aramco warns on underinvestment in oil & gas
The CEO of Saudi Aramco, Amin Nasser, has warned of the risks of underinvestment in hydrocarbons. In a statement on March 12 announcing the oil giant’s record 2022 profit of $161.1bn, Mr Nasser said: “Given that we anticipate oil and gas will remain essential for the foreseeable future, the risks of underinvestment in our industry are real — including contributing to higher energy prices.”
In the same statement, Aramco says it will invest up to $55bn in 2023, up from $37.6bn last year. The firm says it has “embarked on the largest capital-spending programme in its history” which will focus not only on oil, gas and chemicals, but also low-carbon technologies.
It follows Mr Nasser’s comments last month that renewables are not ready to shoulder the heavy burden of global energy demand.
EU–US start path to critical minerals pact
The US and EU have launched negotiations to allow EU critical minerals to qualify for tax credits under the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). In an announcement on March 10, US president Joe Biden and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the pact will cover materials extracted or processed in the bloc which are subsequently used to manufacture electric vehicles in the US.
“We will deepen our cooperation on diversifying critical mineral and battery supply chains, recognising the substantial opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic to build out these supply chains in a strong, secure, and resilient manner,” they said in a joint statement.
It comes amid growing warnings from politicians and corporate leaders that the US’s landmark IRA, which includes $396bn of green subsidies and grants, will lure business from the EU. The EU has responded by proposing a Green Industrial Plan which temporarily relaxes state aid rules to boost green investment.
And finally: Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD has ruled out building its first European car factory in the UK because of Brexit, the firm’s European president Michael Shu told the Financial Times.