Rocket Lab plans to launch the German company’s super-secret satellite

OHB Group, a German technology company, has partnered with Rocket Lab to launch a small communications satellite into low earth orbit on behalf of a customer. The payload is to be delivered by Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle on Saturday 16th January 2021 from New Zealand. Officials from both Rocket Lab and OHB have not provided details about the payload, which remains a secret to the public.

The spacecraft, built by the OHB divisions in Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic, will be launched during a seven-minute window opening at around 8 p.m New Zealand time. This will be Rocket Lab’s first mission in 2021 and its 18th flight on an Electron launcher. According to a statement given by Rocket Lab, “this is a single communication microsatellite that will enable specific frequencies to support future services from the orbit.”

Rocket lab’s founder and CEO, Peter Beck, noted that this launch is scheduled for six months after OHB signs the contract. “By flying a dedicated mission on Electron, OHB and their mission partners have control over launch timing, orbit, integration schedule, and other mission parameters,” added Beck. Dr. Lutz, OHB executive board member, said OHB had purchased the Electron Launcher for a customer. “We will also operate it until the end of the satellite’s operational life,” Bertling said. The identity of the customer remains unknown. However, satellite market specialists have been speculating on who it might be.

An image of Electron rocket’s payload shows a pair of mission logos. According to a tweet by Alexandre Najjar, the logos might reveal the identity of the covert customer. “I think I have ID-ed the mystery OHB payload,” tweeted Najjar, who works at the Euroconsult as a satellite market consultant. He added that the payload seems to serve as a prototype for the low earth orbit broadband network which is linked to GMS, Chinese Company that also goes by the name Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology. GMS collaborates with KLEO Connect, a company based in Germany, to develop small satellites. GMS funds the project, which is aimed at providing data relay services and industrial asset tracking. KLEO Connect launched successful technology demonstration satellites in 2019, using a Chinese rocket.

According to Najjar’s tweet, the secrecy of the relationship between OHB and GMS could be due to the Germany-China relations. Rocket Lab’s Electron is an 18- meter launch vehicle capable of carrying 200kilograms of payload to an altitude of 500km on the polar orbit. The company’s Electron flights are inexpensive, which gives small satellite operators a chance to get rides for their payloads. Rocket Lab sells the flights at approximately $7 million per ride.

The Electron rocket will launch from the Mahia Peninsula launch complex, heading south to deliver the secret payload to a polar orbit. The two-stage rocket uses a Rutherford engine, propelled by kerosene and liquid oxygen fuel. During this flight, the Electron’s first stage will burn the 9 engines for two and a half minutes. The second stage is going to inject the kick stage and microsatellite into an elliptical transfer orbit. The kick stage uses a Curie engine. It will “perform a series of burns to raise apogee and act as a space tug to deliver the satellite to its precise orbital destination,” said Rocket Lab. This mission has been nicknamed ‘Another One Leaves the Crust.’


Electric vehicle industry operating at its topnotch level

2020 was a milestone that reshaped the automotive industry in such a short time than would have happened in a century. This year will also record numerous technological changes with capital markets and investors switching their investment in this side. Statistics from the Mobility Intelligence Center of Plante Moran anticipates the electric vehicles to form a quarter of the North American market in the next seven years, doubling the shares that this industry recorded last year. This trend will be facilitated by the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and purely electric vehicles that will be unveiled over the coming years. Nevertheless, the internal combustion engine cars will still have a considerable portion of the market share, although it would be on a diminishing scale.

The plausible theory that the experts are projecting is that the uptake of conventional cars will be low while that of the electric vehicles will be escalating. This trend is because the electric vehicle charging utilities would have infiltrated the entire country. However, the US is shifting its focus and policies from electric vehicle products, and consumer needs to other matters. The country paid less attention to this sector, with President Trump imposing tariffs on the importation of these vehicles from the manufacturing countries. This trend will change this year after the new leaders and legislators assuming office. President-Elect Joe Biden promised through his agenda to promote the uptake of clean energy and its development to minimize pressure from the environmental activists.

Capital markets are also in the process of channeling their resources to support environmental sustainability programs. Some include JPMorgan Chase, which has withdrawn its support for coal mining, and BlackRock declared its desire to help meet sustainability shareholder objectives. These trends, among others, indicate that the financiers are sending their resources to eco-friendly projects. The approach taken by the automotive industry indicates that it is going to thrive in the business world for the next ten years until the entire transportation industry switches to electric vehicles. Projections by experts show that over 3 million electric vehicles will be on the roads in the next six years. Electrification of common car brands like Ford Mustang and F-150 has put them in high demand, stirring their car fanatics and consumers’ uptake.

Moreover, the measures streamlined towards greenhouse gas emission reduction have activated the development of clean energy sources to meet the demand for electric vehicles and other energy-consuming services. Another driving strategy in the high profitability witnessed in the electric vehicle industry is the high demand from mega distributors and companies like Federal Express, Amazon, and UPS. These utilities have also outlined objectives in line with the reduction of emissions.


What is the origin of the primordial black holes in the solar system?

The origin of giant primordial black holes has remained a mystery for quite a long time. Not even astronomers seem to understand anything about them. That’s understandable because black holes have existed for quite a long time as far as the cosmological record is concerned. Therefore, unless new physics is discovered, the existing one lacks information to explain how they came into appearance.

However, there is an exciting research proposal about their origin. It states that the stars are not the sources of the first black holes. On the contrary, they originate from clumps of gravitinos, particles that are super-hypothetical and super-exotic. These particles might have survived the Bing Bang, especially the first challenging years of the same.

For quite a long time, it was believed that black holes came about after the big stars’ death. Given the massive size, the black hole they leave behind is often more prominent than the sun. Assumptions have it that the extra big black holes result from merging two or more small black holes. Others are big because of solar masses resulting from consuming as much gas as possible. The theory has been justified for quite some time. After all, they often occur amidst every galaxy in the cosmos, including the Milky Way. That includes even the supermassive black holes (SMBHs).

Nevertheless, there is something weird about this particular assumption. According to astronomers, there were massive black holes at or before even the galaxies and stars existed. They existed even before the universe was a billion years old. Therefore, there are high chances that they don’t result from stars’ death since that takes a long time. Going by the typical stellar death route, stars could take even hundreds of millions of years to die. Yet again, the supermassive black holes were there even with the very first stars and galaxies. There are high chances there was no time for the star to die and form black holes in the early universe.

That pokes holes in the existing theory of how black holes came to be, especially the supermassive ones. Do we really know much about the astrophysics surrounding the growth of the big black holes? Probably not, but time will tell.

There is also the gravitinos theory that is too weird at the moment. After all, no known physics covers its scope. That’s where the rest of the work is put on the shoulders of theoretical physicists. Fortunately, they are already working day and night to go beyond the existing physics. With the help of things like supersymmetry, it might be possible. It has a way of explaining how the particle world works inside and tell if there are brand-new particles in them.


South Australia Peaks Energy Generation Capacity

South Australia was fortunate enough to realize its goal for a fully renewable energy future when it managed to generate 99% of its energy capacity from renewable energy. This spectacle took place during the Christmas and New Year season from December 27th, 2020. Such an achievement got recognition from renewable energy expert Pierre Verlinden. Pierre Verlinden is the former vice president of South Australia’s national regulatory commission. History shows that he has vast experience in ensuring the efficiency and sustainability of renewables. Likewise, and also double as a chief Scientist at the Trina Solar plant in China. Pierre Verlinden posted the update on his LinkedIn feed that got fast liking. However, the post managed to gain a lot of recognition from the Clean Energy Social Club. Pierre Verlinden, however, moved from China to oversee operations in the South Australian-based McLaren Vale.

According to speculation Pierre Verlinden the project has the potential to eclipse the following year’s solar generation capacity maxing out at a potential 63.5% in 2021. Pierre Verlinden also repeats that he relates that the country expects to attain its goal of 100% renewable energy generation by 2030. Talking further on the subject, Pierre released a new range of secrets behind attaining 100% reliable energy generation. He states that understanding the concept requires adequate knowledge of electrical generation diversification. It also requires full utilization of a high-capacity storage solution used together with deep integration in the renewable energy network.

South Australia was fortunate enough it will be in a region that gains sufficient input from solar energy. This position allows the country to diversify into other sources trying to achieve full sustainability. Several reports show that solar energy is the leading provider of electrical producer for the region as experts noted that 35% power production increment from its launch two years ago. Outtakes from an increment in solar energy generation show that it is a substantial investment. However, records show that there were several instances when solar energy exceeded the storage capacity in the solar generation plants, causing multiple meltdowns when surplus exceeded demand.

Experts already have this figured out, showing that the company and the state are working together towards spreading the region’s solar generation facilities to reach greater levels. The union will also focus on developing a wide network in an effort to decentralize solar energy production in the region allowing for more general more high-capacity storage across a large number of locations.

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China is preparing to cut electric vehicle incentives this year


China is planning to minimize the subsidies on new electric vehicles by 20% this year. The Ministry of Finance of China revealed this strategy to prepare electric vehicle developers and consumers for such measures. To be specific, the subsidies imposed on new vehicles in the transportation industry like new buses, passenger vehicles, taxis, delivery vehicles, trucks, crossovers, public utility vehicles, and government-owned cars will reduce by 10% to spearhead the transition to electric vehicles. Moreover, the Ministry explained that the car developers would have to adhere to the existing technical prospects like battery energy density, mileage range, and energy uptake through this year. For example, the lowest standard battery-electric vehicle will be expected to have a mileage range of 300 kilometers to enjoy the $2500 to $3000 subsidy. On the other hand, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with a mileage range of 50 kilometers will receive a $1250 subsidy. 

Moreover, the government will harden its stance on the adherence to safety measures for the new energy vehicles. For instance, the subsidies will be lifted or rendered null and void if the manufacturer is found culpable in leading to accidents due to insufficient safety measures or not adjusting their product after finding them to be problematic. Additionally, the government stated that stringent standards would be implemented to suppress investment and unauthenticated development of new energy vehicles to minimize the pressure on the existing roads and other resources. Other strategies include overseeing the quantity manufactured, establishing entry regulations for vehicle models and car manufacturers entering the market. Furthermore, the manufacturers who are expanding their operations, merging with other companies, and restructuring their operations will inform the appropriate agencies to facilitate city planning. 

China has witnessed the production and purchase of new energy vehicles plummeting over the last two years after Beijing sequestering the subsidies and a sluggish economic growth rate. The coronavirus pandemic, which began last year, also impeded the growth of the NEV sector. The government revealed that it would extend the subsidies on the new energy vehicles for the next two years to accelerate the recovery of the NEV adoption process after the pandemic weighing in on this sector. Initially, the subsidy reduction plan was to kick off last year but is switching to this year and will be reducing by the addition of 10% to the existing rate through time. Last year, the government intervened to accelerate the uptake of the vehicles. These efforts are visible in the 3.9% rise in sales of these NEVs per the report submitted by China’s automotive manufacturer’s association. 


What next when it comes to the adoption of the Electric Vehicles globally?


Electric cars are quickly gaining ground compared to their ICE counterparts. The most affected industry following the rise of EVs is the telematics industry. The EV industry lends heavily to the telematics industry through innovations. The telematics industry solves many problems in the transportation industry, including GPS tracking and fleet management. These solutions are a fundamental core for the EV market that places them in an attractive position to adopt cargo transportation. Several factors favor adopting electric cars as a significant staple for the future of electric vehicles including legislation, growth of the EV market, and cost-effectiveness. These does work together to provide a suitable base for EV establishment. 

According to recent legislation in the EU, all cars should be electric by 2030. The European Union announced a ban on petrol and diesel cars effective 2030. The Union placed requirements on manufacturers providing subsidies and reduced taxes for EVs while applying an extensive number of incentive programs for integrating EVs in the market. Likewise, other countries following this trend are the USA, Japan, and China. There’s a growing international community backing this cause intent on stopping the adoption of conventional petrol vehicles.

There is an increasing need for EVs in business as well. EVs are getting more demand in businesses following their capacity to reduce costs effectively. Resultantly, the EV market experiences a new model per month as a testament to electric vehicles’ growth and potential. Metrics in sales numbers and earnings show that the sector can sell 1.89 million units by 2027. 

Experts expect that the domestic consumer market with personal vehicles will carry most of the coming expansion, with cargo transportation following close. The most known names in EV transportation schemes are BYD and Yutong, based in China. Likewise, Proterra in the USA, VDL Groep in the Netherlands, and AB Volvo based in Sweden are notable names in the EV business scene.

Reduced cost in EV production also facilitates the growth of EV adoption in the coming EV wave. Currently, businesses face problems when purchasing electric vehicles compared to ICEs. However, this is changing following a move to reduce the cost of EV acquisition for businesses significantly. Initially, the ramp for Electric Vehicle adoption would be powered by achieving cost-competitive with the internal combustion engine cars. This will start when big cars reach this stage in Europe, which is expected to occur in 2022, and that will end with the small vehicles reaching the accomplishment around 2030 in both Japan and India.

Although this parity needs a wider view, the Chinese and European markets, which are projected to account for 72 percent of all commuters EV sales in 2030, would be hard-driven. China, as well as Europe, is predicted to accomplish the feat of 50 percent of all the road cars becoming EVs by the year 2030. 

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TVA is paving the way for additional EV’s

If you begin to see more charging points in Tennessee, don’t be shocked. As per the Tennessee Valley Authority, only about 13,000 electric vehicles (EVs) travel the Tennessee Valley Route. Last month, the public power corporation made a crucial change in the hope of growing the amount, a move that won an environmental group’s TVA applause. The TVA board passed a new commercial rate system in mid-November only for Electric Vehicle charging stations. The vote was meant to help the region-wide extension of EV charging networks, eliminating a significant hurdle for customers to purchase more EVs, perhaps.

The barrier is generally referred to as “range anxiety.” It is the fear that the battery of an EV will drain out before the user makes his destination or identifies another charging point. As per ChargeHub, almost 80 Tennessee cities currently have charging points. Memphis boasts of 113 charging stations as well as 52 of them (46%) provide free charging. There are 325 stations in Nashville, 107 in Knoxville, and 107 in Chattanooga. According to a survey by the ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation), nearly 320,000 new electric vehicles were sold in the United States in 2019, making the region the third largest Electric car market globally. 

Half of those cars were registered in California, and in San Jose, California, 20% of those were sold. Of the number, Memphis revenue accounted for about 0.5%. According to the study, charging technology remains a challenge but is improving. The ICCT report reads: “With the estimated compound annual growth at 30% across the 50 metropolitan regions, the deployment of charging infrastructure is in accordance to meet the projected charging gap by 2025.” There is probably a minimum of 450 public chargers for every million residents in places with the largest electric car shares. Half of the American population resides where charging is not more than 50% of the same benchmark.”

On TVA’s website, Drew Frye, the program manager for the Electric Vehicles EVolution campaign of TVA, stated that other challenges to Electric vehicles adoption in the valley had included lack of funding from both the state and local governments as well as local utilities, electric car affordability, and overall market perception of EVs. “In order to reduce or eliminate each of these obstacles, TVA is focusing on what we action we should take,” Frye stated. “We will start by developing regulations that focus on the Electric car rate as a distinct and separate class and create the latest, the monetary, stable rate for all those constructing charging points, something that we can do rapidly as a regulator in our position.”

Carving out the commercial rate for Electric Vehicles charging stations would encourage the 153 local power utilities of TVA to conveniently offer quick charging as well as the capacity of private firms to resell power to and run the fast chargers that they own. To put it plainly, this step opens the door to the construction of quicker charging stations around the TVA’s service area.


Three energy stocks will witness tremendous growth in 2021 

The coronavirus pandemic heavily impacted the energy sector due to the shelter-in-place measures that forced the demand to go down. Nevertheless, one industry in the energy industry has witnessed vast growth: renewable energy. A perfect example of companies in this sector that have recorded growth and profit is the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN) that returned over 100 percent on its stocks. The International Energy Agency (IEA) records revealed that the newly developed renewable energy utilities are witnessing the highest share capacity in history. The agency reported that over 200 gigawatts of renewable energy have been infused into the energy industry and that renewables will entail close to 99 percent of the energy increase in the next five years. Moreover, the agency anticipates the installed wind and solar energy to supersede fossil fuels in the next three to four years consecutively. 

One renewable energy utility that has amassed profits and growth considerably before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic is NextEra Energy Inc. The company performed exceedingly better, recording a 27% increase in earnings in the last five while witnessing a 20% growth in profits for the past decade. The company is America’s leading developer of wind and solar energy, with a third of its energy being sourced from renewables. Nevertheless, the pandemic slumped the growth of the company before it kicked off once again on a high note. This piece will be looking at three renewable energy stocks that will operate at better margins than NextEra Energy. 

First, we have Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation, which deals with the production, distribution, and transmission of utility assets through the United States and Canada. Algonquin generates about 3 gigawatts of renewable energy and runs 2.7 million electric, water, and natural gas utilities that help customers in their daily activities. These statistics approach the 3.2 gigawatts of renewable energy storage that NextEra runs. This situation validates the company’s 20% increase in earnings that will see it operate at twice the dividends that NextEra generates in a year. Moreover, Algonquin’s subsidiary, Atlantica Yield, will bring the company $20 million when the subsidiary kicks off in June next year, opening up the company’s capital base to run efficiently. 

Next is Bloom Energy Corporation, a renewable energy firm that develops, produces, and sells solid-oxide fuel cell units for energy developers. The company’s Bloom Energy Server is a power production portfolio that integrates clean natural gas, biogas, or hydrogen to electricity by electrochemical means minimizing the production of carbon gases. The company revealed that it would be venturing into hydrogen technology after realizing that the sector is kicking off and expenses are reducing. The company will be utilizing the Green Hydrogen Catapult Initiative to generate 25 gigawatts of hydrogen power in the next six years. 

Finally, we have First Solar, which deals in solar energy production and is at a revenue mark of $3.1 billion. The company develops solar PV panels, installs photovoltaic energy plants, and other operations that characterize the solar energy industry. The company recorded $982 million in revenue in the last earnings call surpassing Wall Street’s predictions. 


Top League table is financed by Green Energy in the banner year for ESG


Both of the two United States equity funds with the highest returns in the year 2020 concentrate on renewable energy, in an affirmation for investors who have pursued solid environmental, social and governance values for their holdings. Thanks to a rise in the valuation of solar energy securities, which themselves have experienced tailwinds from the strong inflows into the ESG investment strategies, the two funds, both managed by Invesco, the asset manager, have increased in value by more than three times.

As reported by Morningstar, the Invesco Solar exchange-traded fund that has $3.7bn in assets, has risen 238% since the beginning of 2020 as of Christmas Eve, leading the league table of the United States ETFs as well as mutual funds which invest in equities. Two suppliers of residential solar energy, Enphase Energy, that has increased by almost 600% in volume, and Sunrun, which is up 400%, are some of the top holdings of ETF. The Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF that yielded 220% was the second-highest paying fund. FuelCell Energy, which develops and manufactures power plants, whose stocks in 2020 have grown almost 400%, is one of the biggest holdings. 

“Coupled with the rapid decrease in renewable energy prices, a Joe Biden win has led to even further appreciation of both the solar as well as clean energy funds,” stated Rene Reyna, who serves as the head of Invesco’s thematic as well as specialty product strategy. “Downtrends should be anticipated” in the midst of these 2020’s good results, Mr Reyna added: “The economic fundamentals within the renewable energy industry endorse our belief, and we’re in the initial stages of a long-term secular high growth.”

As per the Institute of International Finance, that said the pattern had intensified in recent times as investors expected active support from the new Biden administration, global funds carrying ESG investments have soared over 50%, above $1.3tn, since the close of 2019. The ESG fund positions number 5 on the inflows’ league table, through dollar sum, out of equity funds in the United States, highlighting the strategy’s banner year. According to Morningstar, iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF of BlackRock attracted $9.3bn net inflow in the year to 30th November, raising its overall net assets to about $12.7bn.

The fund is intended to track S&P 500, the standardized United States stock index, widely, even though it excludes stakes in sectors such as tobacco and low ESG firms. As a convenient entry point for ESG investment, BlackRock has sold it to financial advisors and customers. It is among those claiming that accelerating inflows into these funds is building momentum that would push up common ESG stocks. “Collectively, companies which have the highest ESG ranking outperformed” during the epidemics market downturn in the month of March and even beyond, said Romain Boscher, Fidelity International’s global chief equity investment officer.


EU Renewable Energy Regulations under Review 

The EU is currently on a strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. It wants 30 million electric cars operational by 2030. This motion has been a long-standing project, but a recent look at emission regulations shows that the terms and conditions are getting tougher. The move is selective opposition aimed at pushing the automotive industry towards embracing electric vehicle manufacturing and adoption into society.

In a recent meeting, the regulatory heads provided the target for the end of this decade, stating that adapting 100% zero emissions is the way to go. The plan’s layout is available in a strategy document published by Bloomberg News, scheduled to be published next week. The project has skepticism, provided that there are currently 1.4 million electric vehicles in Europe. However, if the plan is successful, Europe will see 28 million plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles operational by 2028. 

The plan is a detailed map of how electric vehicles will take center stage of transportation in the European Union. However, it also entails establishing more clean energy transportation that includes doubling the use of high-speed rail traffic by 2030 and limiting all vehicles below 300 kilometers to be used by fully renewable transportation sources.

The plan has a schedule for introducing renewable energy air travel and sea voyage that will be operational by 2035. The program further looks to enlarge its reach to include expanding the current capability of Europe’s rail freight traffic system while also tripling high-speed rail transportation by 2050. However, the plan is still in its draught stage, with final details yet to be included before reviewing into legislation in the following months.

The region still faces challenges implementing this policy, including disagreement between a change in the 2030 emissions reduction target to reach 55% of carbon emissions levels in 1990. The initial goal was to reduce the emissions to 40%; however, getting to 55% would mean extensive investment in renewable energy prospects and research infrastructure.

However, there are concerns over making part of the transportation infrastructure Green compared to making all transport modes run on renewable energy. Experts relate that a comprehensive shift in operations for a transportation system towards a renewable energy source will have substantially higher returns on energy-savings than individual changes per sector.

There is no comprehensive decision on whether the regulations will be reviewed wholesomely or left as is. However, the commission report will seek to revise common standards for cars and vans come June 2035.