What deal has Exxon Mobil agreed with Rex Tillerson?
Donald Trump’s nomination for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been cashed out by Exxon Mobil, clearing the way for him to move into the incoming president’s administration.
The board of directors of Exxon Mobil Corporation has reached an agreement with Tillerson, former chairman and chief executive officer, to sever all ties with the company to comply with conflict-of-interest requirements associated with his nomination as secretary of state.
Under the agreement developed in consultation with federal ethics regulators, if Tillerson is confirmed as secretary of state, the value of more than two million deferred ExxonMobil shares that he would have received over the next 10 years would be transferred to an independently managed trust and the ExxonMobil share awards would be cancelled.
The trust would be prohibited from investing in ExxonMobil and the trustee would manage the assets consistent with government ethics rules. Payments to Tillerson from the trust would be subject to the same 10-year schedule that the cancelled awards would have had if they had continued in place.
Tillerson would also surrender entitlement to more than $4.1 million in cash bonuses, scheduled to pay out over the next three years, and other benefits such as retiree medical and dental benefits, and administrative, financial and tax support.
The one-time payment to the trust would be equal to the value of Tillerson’s cancelled shares based on a volume-weighted average price per share. Consistent with guidance from federal ethics regulators, the value would be reduced by about $3 million.
The trust would include forfeiture rules that would prohibit Tillerson from working in the oil and/or gas industry during the 10-year payout period.
The trust rules dictate that in the event of forfeiture, the money would be distributed to one or more charities involved in fighting poverty or disease in the developing world. Neither Tillerson nor ExxonMobil would have any control over the selection of the charities.
The net effect of the agreement is a reduction of approximately $7 million in compensation owed to Tillerson. Tillerson retired on Dec. 31 with more than 40 years of service with ExxonMobil.
Separate to the agreement with ExxonMobil, Tillerson has also committed to the State Department that, if confirmed, he would sell the more than 600,000 shares in ExxonMobil he currently owns.
Form Energy receives funding power for iron-air batteries
Form Energy believes it has cracked the conundrum of commercialising grid storage through iron-air batteries - and some of the biggest names in industry are backing its potential.
The startup recently announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. Founded in 2017, Form Energy is backed by investors Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group and Macquarie Capital.
While solar and wind resources are the lowest marginal cost sources of electricity, the grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy, even in periods of multi-day weather events, without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability.
Moreover, while Lithium-ion batteries are well suited to fast bursts of energy production, they run out of energy after just a few hours. Iron-air batteries, however, are predicted to have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg according to Renaissance of the iron-air battery (phys.org)
The active components of Form Energy's iron-air battery system are some of the cheapest, and most abundant materials: iron, water, and air. Iron-air batteries are the best solution to balance the multi-day variability of renewable energy due to their extremely low cost, safety, durability, and global scalability.
It claims its first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion and can be optimised to store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants.
"This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonisation: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation," it states.
Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said it conducted a broad review of available technologies and has reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid. "With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages," he said.
Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems. Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.
Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal, believes Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. "The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome the issue of intermittent supply of renewable energy."
Investors in Form Energy's November 2020 round included Energy Impact Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Temasek.
In May 2020, it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the US.
Last week Helena and Energy Vault announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its energy storage system worldwide. It received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) in June.
Maoneng has revealed more details of its proposed 240MWp / 480MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia (click here).
The BESS represents hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that will improve electricity grid reliability and network stability by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods for battery storage, and dispatching energy to the grid during peak periods.