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Volume 7 Issue 5, May 2022

Return on preparedness

Debate has raged in Texas over the costs of preparing the energy system for winter weather since storm Uri caused massive power outages. Gruber et al. estimate the costs and expected revenue from winterization and find that investment in disaster preparedness pays off for utilities and consumers.

See Gruber et al.

Image: Josef Kubes / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover Design: Thomas Phillips.

Comment & Opinion

  • Innovative user-centred energy business models will be critical to deliver millions of zero-carbon assets in homes and businesses and to help customers with complex energy prices. These new business models require regulatory space to emerge while regulation itself will need to change to protect consumers from harm.

    • Jeffrey Hardy
    • Laura Sandys


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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • The open-circuit voltage of CdTe solar cells is limited by energy losses across the device stack. Now, a comprehensive optical and electrical analysis reveals that the high internal voltages of state-of-the-art CdTe-based absorber layers could be translated into electrical power if charge selectivity is increased at contacts.

    • Thomas Unold
    News & Views
  • The renewable energy sector has the potential to contribute to the creation and growth of business ventures. A new study offers important insights on entrepreneurial opportunities and their gender dimensions with regard to entrepreneurial uses of electricity.

    • Nathanael Ojong
    News & Views
  • Redox flow batteries offer a readily scalable solution to grid-scale energy storage, but their application is generally limited to ambient temperatures above 0 °C. Now, a polyoxometalate-based chemistry has been developed to enable redox flow batteries to operate, and even thrive, under frigid conditions.

    • Leo J. Small
    • Travis M. Anderson
    News & Views
  • Formic acid is a promising hydrogen carrier, but more effective and economical catalysis of both its synthesis from H2 and CO2 and its dehydrogenation is needed. To this end, a Mn-based complex, in the presence of an α-amino acid, is now shown to promote efficient catalysis of both reactions and enable retention and reuse of CO2.

    • Sheri Lense
    News & Views
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Policy Brief

  • Considering the probability of occurrence of an extreme cold event similar to that in February 2021, winterization of the Texan power system pays off for risk-neutral utilities in the medium term. Risk aversion can cause under-investment, and policymakers should therefore take into account extreme event risks in decision-making and implement measures that increase winterization efforts.

    • Katharina Gruber
    • Tobias Gauster
    • Johannes Schmidt
    Policy Brief
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Amendments & Corrections

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