SNAPSHOT: The Surge of Renewables and Energy Storage

Full Story: The Energy Mix

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More than any other part of the climate change story in 2018, the continuing boom in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and affordable battery storage was a source of excitement, momentum, and hope.

By the time the year began, the plummeting cost of clean alternatives was already old news, with one industry publication stopping to mock a posted price of 1.79 cents per kilowatt-hour that still got Saudi Arabia the headline it wanted for low-cost solar development. And Project Drawdown had published its inventory of 80 proven solutions and 20 “coming attractions” that can drive the shift to a post-carbon future. In 2018, analysts and project developers showed that affordable, reliable technologies are a cornerstone of that transition, with far greater potential ahead if investment can scale up to meet the decarbonization challenge laid out in the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 1.5°C pathways.

A $26-Trillion Transformation

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate laid out the sheer scope of the off-carbon opportunity, reporting that the “bold action” needed to address the climate crisis could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030, produce more than 65 million low-carbon jobs, prevent 700,000 premature deaths, and generate $2.8 trillion in government revenues in that year. Renewable electricity posted record growth, but both the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report and the International Renewable Energy Agency warned that a great deal more will be needed to match the targets countries adopted under the Paris Agreement, much less the more ambitious imperatives in the IPCC report.

A carbon bubble driven by cheap renewables risked triggering a global economic crisis. Subsidy-free solar swept Europe, as countries reaped the rewards for their early support for the technology. In the United States, veteran Vox.com climate columnist David Roberts said the precipitous fall in solar costs showed that government support programs work, renewables boomed in 2017 despite a hostile White House administration and state-level uncertainties, and corporate buyers set a massive new record for renewable energy procurement.

The energy transition council established by then-Canadian natural resources minister Jim Carr anticipated a future of wind, solar, energy efficiency, and the world’s “cleanest” liquefied natural gas production. U.S. utilities and global fossils tried to fight public opinion and slow down the transition to 100% renewables; and fossil-focused Houston, Texas, recognized that it risked Rust Belt status if it didn’t embrace a renewable energy future. Regional utility planners at PJM Interconnection concluded that big power supplier FirstEnergy Solutions could replace four gigawatts of coal capacity with renewables and efficiency without compromising grid reliability, and fossils’ days were numbered after the Trump-appointed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cleared the way for battery storage to compete with conventional power plants.

South Africa mapped out a shift from coal and nuclear to renewables and natural gas, Danish Oil and Natural Gas transformed itself into an offshore wind powerhouse, and European renewables outpaced coal in 2017, though a full coal phaseout was still very much a work in progress. Pollinator-friendly solar sites boosted diversity while earning community support in Minnesota, and new wind and solar installations had the potential to green the Sahara. In Australia, local investment drove wider community benefits from wind farm development, a regulator reported the new Tesla mega-battery was working faster, smarter, and cheaper than competing natural gas plants, and the “Tesla effect” fueled enthusiasm for renewables and storage.

Renewables accounted for 10.3 million jobs worldwide in 2016, en route to 28 million in 2050; the massive job count had renewables and efficiency taking hold in every U.S. zip code; an Ohio energy innovation study showed the potential for 20,000 new jobs powered by US$25 billion in new investment; and Alberta introduced a new training course for solar farm and wind technicians.

The Drive for 100% RE

With some exceptions, the drive for 100% renewable electricity gained traction in 2018, with yet another low-carbon study concluding the apparently audacious target is doable and affordable. Renewables kept beating fossil energy on cost, electricity prices below zero heralded the end of the “energy mainframe,” and an Australian utility executive declared the end of 24/7 baseload power. The “electrification of everything” was on track to triple global grid capacity by 2050, renewables and storage began outpacing natural gas for peak power supply in the United States, Bloomberg said renewables would deliver 64% of global electricity supply by 2050, Project Drawdown said greater flexibility would enable an 80% renewable grid, and other studies showed 100% renewable energy grids were already a reality.

There was some pushback on the 100% renewable energy concept, with Vox.com’s David Roberts suggesting a reality check for deep decarbonizing targets, and University of Guelph geographer and community activist Kirby Calvert contending that cities need practical programs more than “earnest” 100% renewable energy targets. A study urged grid operators to treat solar as an asset to be maximized rather than as a problem to be managed. The Calgary-based Canadian Energy Research Institute said Canadian wind and bioenergy resources came in ahead of natural gas for the most affordable carbon reductions, and First Nations sought a bigger stake as Alberta opened a 700-megawatt tender for renewable energy procurement.

The Energy Mix stopped reporting news of 500-megawatt, one-gigawatt, even two-gigawatt renewable energy installations because they just weren’t news anymore, and readers were already getting too much email. (Which meant there was another avalanche of news out there, beyond the examples in this snapshot.) A five-gigawatt solar farm won planning approval in India, and the country set a mandatory renewables target for big power consumers, as falling solar costs and alarming levels of air pollution threatened a dominant but dirty coal industry. India also began encouraging hybrid wind and solar facilities to get the most out of both technologies.

Wind was set to become Europe’s biggest electricity source by 2027, Sweden expected to reach its 2030 renewable energy target in 2018, offshore wind in the United Kingdom was on track to hit price parity in 2025 and grow sixfold by 2030, UK renewable energy capacity exceeded fossils for the first time, and subsidy-free British renewables were on track to push out natural gas by 2030. Affordable renewables were seen as an enabler for tougher EU climate targets, the low price of new renewables was undercutting existing fossil plants on the U.S. grid, and the economics of new coal and gas plants crumbled as solar and wind hit an inflection point. Analysts took a wait-and-see attitude to Saudi Arabia’s US$200-billion, 200-gigawatt solar plan, the world’s biggest if it had come to pass—and sure enough, the deal collapsed later in the year.

Low Prices, High Targets

Average wind power costs came in at 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in the United States, a U.S. utility received “fabulous” bids of 2.1 cents for wind+storage and 3.6 cents for solar+storage, and a Nevada utility project came in at 2.37 cents. More than 100 cities produced at least 70% of their electricity from renewables in 2017, San Diego set a 2035 deadline to meet a 100% renewable energy target, Regina settled on 2050, and Edmonton planned to power 100% of its operations with renewables by 2030 after the Republican mayor of Georgetown, Texas, extolled the benefits of making the shift. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, co-chair of the 400-member Climate Mayors network, invited his counterparts across the United States to share their energy demand data as a first step in pooling their requests for proposals to renewable energy developers. California issued a new mandate that boosted energy-efficient buildings and rooftop solar, a Yale University undergrad had a plan to put more solar panels on rental rooftops, and zero-energy homes were affordable enough for mainstream markets. A proper microgrid could have prevented an 11-hour power outage at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta, and a study by Stanford University’s Mark Z. Jacobson showed multiple pathways to grid stability in a 100% renewable energy future. De-manufacturing and recycling emerged as a new challenge for aging solar modules.

Modern bioenergy supplied half of the world’s renewables and showed big potential for future growth, but the EU renewable energy directive risked triggering enough deforestation to destroy global carbon sinks. In her closing summary of the annual Scaling Up Bio conference in Ottawa, Montreal-based environmental lawyer Karine Péloffy envisioned an “economy without a tailpipe”, but cautioned participants that “there are no silver bullets: if you think you have one, you haven’t thought about it enough, or thought about it from an ecosystem approach.”

Financing for the post-carbon transition was a mixed story in 2018. A report showed China leading the world in clean energy investment in 2017, and the country topped the annual Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index for the third year in a row, with the United States regaining second spot. The International Energy Agency saw renewables investment falling and fossil projects receiving more. Analysts predicted a solar and offshore wind boom for the Asia-Pacific, Apple’s US$300-million renewables fund was expected to power a million homes in China; and southeast Asia was urged to scrap its fossil subsidies in favour of affordable, reliable renewables.

The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board closed renewable energy investment deals in India and Ontario, a new C$2.3-billion production facility in Quebec was set to deliver durable, all-glass solar panels, the Whabouchi mine in northern Quebec, on the territory of the Cree Nation of Nemaska, looked like an early winner in the race to supply lithium for electric vehicle batteries, and Energy Mix correspondent Will Dubitsky’s analysis showed Canada missing the moment to develop a homegrown clean transportation industry.

Energy Storage Hits Prime Time

For years, as distributed renewable energy emerged as a practical alternative to traditional fossil-fired electricity generation, grid managers fretted that renewables couldn’t deliver the reliability that utilities depend on and their customers expect. In 2018, battery storage continued to transform the conversation.

Tesla’s renowned big battery in South Australia saved consumers A$35 million in four months, putting up performance numbers that defied skeptics and sent industry “bananas”. Another big battery in Australia was quietly changing attitudes about the grid. India pushed ahead with battery storage for a renewable grid, and Tesla closed a land deal for a US$2-billion battery gigafactory in Shanghai.

Solar and wind with storage became the default choice for United States utilities, and battery manufacturing in the European Union was set to grow 20-fold by 2025. Green Mountain Energy used home batteries to cut peak demand during a mid-summer heat wave and save its ratepayers US$510,000. Duke Energy floated a $1-billion green bond to fund solar+storage in North and South Dakota, a California utility replaced three natural gas peaker plants with batteries, and utility-scale storage became an enabler for distributed renewables on the grid.

A battery system in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario became Canada’s biggest, saving local businesses C$3 million per year. A new zinc-air battery design promised to undercut lithium-ion on price, and a company in China planned to start producing next-generation, low-cobalt batteries in 2019.

Energy for the Rest of Us

At its best, the shift to energy efficiency and renewable energy isn’t just a great investment opportunity, nor even just a climate solution. For decades, community energy developers and advocates have seen the potential for a more democratic energy system, where the most vulnerable in any society can better control their energy at less cost. As one organizing handbook put it in the early 1980s, no one should ever have to choose between heat and rent.

Colorado kept making news on energy access and equity, with wind becoming a new cash crop for struggling farmers, Denver busting down barriers to community solar, and state low-income solar programs setting an example for other U.S. states. Rural electrification programs needed to place greater emphasis on distributed renewables, and U.S. fossils’ war on wind was hurting Oklahoma’s poorest citizens. In storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, local solar emerged as the best way to rebuild after Hurricane María, though analysts fretted about the potential for scandal as the island began a drive toward 100% renewable energy.

Decentralized renewables brought electricity to rural Nigerians, crowdfunded solar delivered a new cash crop for small-scale farmers in Kenya, a “next-gen” utility in Africa bundled pay-as-you-go solar and Internet services, a MasterCard-based system aimed to serve 625 million off-grid customers, an emerging solar deal in sub-Saharan Africa looked set to serve 250 million more, and Ukraine was poised to go big on renewables.

In Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation announced plans to promote community-led renewable power. Ontario demolished two obsolete coal smokestacks to make way for a 44-megawatt solar farm. But a few months and one election later, a new government proceeded to demolish the province’s successful carbon cap-and-trade program and cancel 759 renewable energy contracts, while pushing ahead with a costly nuclear relicencing scheme. The province undercut investor confidence by cancelling the virtually complete White Pines wind farm at a cost of at least C$100 million to ratepayers, then introduced a poorly detailed climate plan with a new carbon reduction target that was 30 million tonnes less stringent than the one it replaced.

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Green roofs rank #73 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By the year 2050, an increase in green and cool roofs could save 0.77 gigatons of carbon at a net cost of US$1.39 trillion, while producing $988.5 billion in savings.

Hamilton Completes Canada’s First Passive House Retrofit for Residential Tower

Investors Back Out of Australian Solar Tower Project

Chu: Renewables at 1.5¢/kWh Could Lead to a ‘Partial Hydrogen Economy’

Scientists should start thinking about what they’ll be able to do with renewable electricity in the near future when its cost falls to 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour—and that future might include hydrogen less expensive than the equivalent produced from natural gas, former U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu said earlier this week.

Silicon Valley Start-Up Brings Off-Grid Solar Lighting to 100 Million People

A pair of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs has raised just over US$100 million on a mission to make renewable electricity available to 2.3 billion people.

44-Megawatt Nanticoke Solar Farm Goes Online, Marking One-Year Anniversary of the Day the Coal Towers Fell

The solar farm on the former site of the Nanticoke coal-fired generation station has gone into service with precisely 192,431 solar panels across 460 acres sending 44 megawatts to the Ontario grid, marking the one-year anniversary of the demolition of the plant’s 650-foot smokestacks.

Romania Looks to Hydro-Québec for New Investment

Sustainable Investments Grow 34% Over Two Years, with Climate as Prime Motivator

Sustainable investments around the world grew 34% over the last two years to US$30.7 trillion, with financial professionals pointing to climate change as a leading motivator for investors, according to the latest in a series of biennial analyses by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

Florida Utility to Replace Two Natural Gas Plants with World’s Biggest Battery

Florida Power & Light has announced plans to build the world’s biggest battery and charge it from an existing solar power plant to replace two of its existing natural gas generating stations, a deal it says will save its ratepayers US$100 million.

Idaho Signs Solar Contract at Record-Low 2.175¢/kWh, Sets 2045 Target for 100% Clean Power

A new, 120-megawatt solar farm in southern Idaho is on track to deliver electricity at prices started at 2.175 cents per kilowatt-hour, believed to be the lowest ever for a U.S. project.

Lookback from 2050: NPR Essay Shows How We Got Climate Change Under Control

It’s 2050. We’ve got climate change under control. And we got the job done through mass electrification, reimagining cities, protecting forests, and changing the way cows are fed.

Living Buildings Would Revitalize the Environment, Build Community

Living buildings is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.

Huge Wind Farm Will Overlook Shuttered Hazelwood Coal Plant in Australia

Indonesia Could Quit Paris Agreement Over EU Palm Oil Ban

Indonesia is threatening to withdraw from the Paris Agreement if the European Union pursues plans to ban palm oil as a component of renewable fuels.

Transport Canada Commissions Hyperloop Study

Longtime Advocate Touts New Beginning for ‘Algae as Agriculture’

Fossils Turn to 3D Printing, Fast Prototyping for New Efficiencies

Affordable Batteries with Renewables Undercut Coal, Natural Gas for Reliable Grid Power

Lithium-ion storage battery costs have fallen 35% since the first half of 2018, making unsubsidized renewable energy with storage cost-competitive coal and gas to deliver reliable, “dispatchable” grid power, according to an analysis of more than 7,000 projects released earlier this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Nearby Neighbours Prefer Wind Farms to Fossil, Nuclear or Solar Plants, Study Finds

People who actually live near operating wind farms see them as better neighbours than fossil, nuclear, or solar plants, even if they’re located in U.S. coal country, according to a new study in the journal Nature.

74% of U.S. Coal Plants Are ‘Walking Dead’ Thanks to Cheaper Renewables

New wind and solar projects can deliver cheaper electricity than 74% of the remaining coal plants in the United States, putting 211 gigawatts (that’s 211 billion watts) at risk from cleaner, less expensive competitors.

Climate Politics Complicate Copenhagen’s Drive for Carbon Neutrality by 2025

Copenhagen is setting out to reach a carbon neutral target by 2025—in a move that will “show what’s possible, and what’s tough, for other urban governments on a warming planet,” the New York Times reports.

Big Investments in Spain Will Integrate Renewables on Grid

Florida Utility Plans Biggest Community Solar Program in U.S.

Smart Glass Would Save 2.19 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Smart glass ranks #61 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By 2050, smart glass can eliminate 2.19 gigatons of carbon dioxide at a net cost of $US74.2 billion, and would result in $321.5 billion in savings.

Ontario Slashes Energy Efficiency Programs, Delays Promise to Cut Hydro Rates

Ontario is eliminating seven key energy efficiency programs and bringing eight others under direct provincial government control, earning scorn from industry experts who see efficiency as the best tool to reduce electricity costs for consumers.

Advocates Declare ‘Historic Moment’ as Navajo Nation Abandons Bid for Arizona Coal Plant

The Navajo Nation in Arizona is walking away from nearly 50 years of economic dependence on coal after dropping its bid to take over the 2,250-MW Navajo Generating Station, one of the largest remaining coal plants in the southwestern United States, and the Kayenta mine operated by the now-bankrupt Peabody Energy.

Rive Brothers Join Solar+Storage Firm to Help Africa ‘Leapfrog the Electric Grid’

SolarCity co-founders Lyndon and Peter Rive, cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, are signing on with ZOLA Electric, a Silicon Valley effort to bring off-grid, pay-as-you-go solar+storage systems to Africa.

Advanced Energy Creates 3.5 Million U.S. Jobs in 2018

Advanced energy employed 3.5 million Americans in 2018, and just over two-thirds of the jobs were in energy efficiency, national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) reported last week.

Insulation Would Save 8.27 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Insulation places #31 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions, with the potential to cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 8.27 gigatons by 2050. The option carries an upfront cost of US$3.66 trillion, $2.5 trillion of which would be recouped within 30 years.

Vietnam Poised for Renewables Boom

‘Soft’ Loans from India Help Papua New Guinea Shift to Renewables

Colombia Introduces Supports for Off-Grid Solar

Two Swedish Ferries Go Emissions-Free with Renewable Electricity, Batteries

Chicago’s ComEd Looks to Off-Grid Streetlights for Backup Renewables

Humanitarian Disaster in Mozambique Points to ‘Fundamental Injustice of Climate Change’

With thousands of people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi still in need of rescue in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and nearly three million affected, meteorologist and Grist climate writer Eric Holthaus is pointing to the massive natural and humanitarian disaster as an example of the “fundamental injustice of climate change”.

Federal Budget Creates New Revolving Fund for Municipal Climate Action

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and its local partners are taking a victory lap after the federal budget included C$183 million for Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3), a permanent revolving fund that will support local climate action plans in cities across the country.

Rooftop Solar on 500 Palestinian Schools to Deliver Power for 16,000 Homes

Photovoltaic solar installations on 500 schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will produce 35 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 16,000 homes, under a US$18-million loan agreement between the European Investment Bank and the Palestine Investment Fund.

Rural Leaders Must ‘Come Out of Their Foxholes’ on Climate, Farm Writer Urges

It’s time for the “sharp lawmakers and staff” on the U.S. House and Senate agriculture committees to bring their expertise on farm and rural policy to a discussion on climate change, DTN Agriculture Policy Editor Chris Clayton writes in a recent opinion piece for Progressive Farmer.

Home Water Efficiency Would Save 4.61 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Water saving in the home places #46 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It can eliminate 4.61 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at a net cost of $US72.44 billion, producing net savings of $1.8 trillion, based solely on energy savings from more efficient use of hot water.

Brazil Plans Controversial Transmission Line Across Indigenous Land

Orkneys Penalized for Too Much Clean Power, Too Soon

Bioenergy Fuels Modern Cookstoves in Rwanda

Morneau’s Pre-Election Budget Boosts ZEVs and Energy Retrofits, Extends New Fossil Subsidy

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled a pre-election budget yesterday that included a 2040 deadline to phase out new internal combustion vehicle sales, major new funds for building energy retrofits, and a budget boost for municipal infrastructure, but introduced a new fossil fuel subsidy while doggedly claiming a fossil subsidy phaseout is still on the government’s agenda.

Australia Faces Economic Disruption as Japanese Investors Abandon Coal

With Japanese banks and trading houses dumping investments and dropping plans for new power stations, analysts in Asia are pointing to a “monumental” shift in energy markets that spells “the start of the end for thermal coal,” and disruptions for Australia as a major coal supplier.

30 Years Later, World’s First Passivhaus is Still Going Strong

Architect and writer Lloyd Alter is arguing for Passivhaus design as the minimum standard for residential construction, based on a comprehensive assessment of the first home of its kind nearly 30 years after it was built.

NB Power Invests in Hydrogen Research for Carbon Reduction, Grid Resilience

New Brunswick Power is trying to position itself as the world’s first hydrogen-powered distributed electricity grid after investing C$13 million in what Greentech Media describes as a “mysterious hydrogen production technology” under development by Florida-based Joi Scientific.

Biomass for Electricity Would Save 7.5 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050…But Perils Await

Burning biomass to produce electricity places #34 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could avoid 7.5 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2050 at a net cost of US$402.3 billion, with net savings of $519.4 billion.

Asian Development Bank Sees Pacific Region Moving to Renewables

Thailand’s 2.7 GW of Floating Solar Will Be World’s Largest

http://cdooginz.deviantart.com/art/California-Drought-518267539

Key U.S. Water Basins Could Fall Short of Monthly Demand by 2071

Up to 96 of the 204 water basins that supply most of the freshwater in the United States could be falling short of monthly demand by 2071, due primarily to climate change and population growth, according to preliminary modelling funded by the federal government and published in the journal Earth’s Future.

Canadian Fossil Nets Another $90M ‘Clean’Tech Subsidy

Italy Exceeds 20 GW in Installed Solar Capacity

Home Solar + Storage the ‘Tip of the Spear’ for Wholesale Power

Utilities Could Do More to Tailor Efficiency Pitches to Customers

Gates, Bezos Invest in Geothermal Project Developer

U.S. Manufacturers’ Lobby Defends Fossils Against Climate Litigation

The 123-year-old National Association of Manufacturers is emerging as one of the staunchest defenders of the U.S. oil and gas industry as it battles a cascade of litigation based on climate change and its impacts.

https://pixabay.com/en/plastic-bottles-fishing-net-netting-388679/

NREL Develops Upcycling Process for Single-Use Plastics

The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is hot on the trail of a new process for “upcycling” single-use plastics to extend their lifespan, while cutting the energy consumed by the recycling process.

South Korea to Prioritize Low-Carbon, High-Efficiency PVs

Wind Industry Installs 51.3 GW in 2018

Kite- and Drone-Mounted Turbines Could ‘Revolutionize’ Wind

Surging Canadian, U.S. Fossil Production Puts Paris Targets at Risk

Growing production in Canada and the United States has added the equivalent of another Russia or Saudi Arabia to global oil and gas markets in the last decade, pointing to a “growing disconnect” between fossil production and the urgency of the climate crisis, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol told an audience in Ottawa late last month.

Campaigners Celebrate as Turkish High Court Blocks 1,320-MW Coal Plant

Turkey’s highest administrative court has blocked a major coal power plant on the Black Sea coast, in a victory for campaigners.
The Council of State ruled February 21 that Hema Elektrik’s environmental impact assessment for the 1,320-megawatt project in Amasra district, Bartin province, was inadequate.

Enerkem, Shell Launch Waste-to-Chemicals Plant in Rotterdam

Montreal-based Enerkem and Royal Dutch Shell are joining two other companies and the Port of Rotterdam in a commercial-scale project to convert non-recyclable waste materials into chemicals and biofuels.

Dam Collapses Loom as Latest Climate Risk

Energy Service Agreements Hold Big Potential for Efficiency

Kenney Would ‘Roll Back the Clock’, Cost Albertans More by Cancelling Solar, Wind Subsidies

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney’s pledge to phase out subsidies for solar- and wind-powered electricity would “roll back the clock” and could cost Alberta more in the long run, according to Warren Mabee, director of the Queen’s University Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.

Trump Golf Course Assessed Legal Costs After Losing Scottish Wind Case

Togo Plans Subsidies for Rural Solar

U.S. Senators Pan Huawei Solar Inverters as Security Threat

Solar Shines, Coal Crashes in Australian Heat Wave

Toronto Heat Pump Retrofits Reduce Building Energy Consumption 32%

Five New Energy Policies Would Add 135,000 Jobs in Florida

Minnesota Sees Sharp Jump in Community Solar

New Flag Design Captures Energy from Sun, Wind

Energy Efficiency Delivers 25% of UK’s Economic Growth from 1971 to 2013

Energy efficiency delivered one-quarter of the economic growth in the United Kingdom between 1971 and 2013, far more than conventional wisdom usually assumes, according to a new study in the journal Energies.

Coal Emerges as Epic Loser as India’s Energy Future Shifts to Renewables

Coal is shaping up as an epic loser in India’s energy future, even with the country on track to double its electricity demand over the next two decades.

Trump Tariffs Cost U.S. 18,000 Solar Jobs, But Industry Survey Shows Rebound Ahead

Though Donald Trump’s tariffs on solar panels has produced rough weather for solar jobs in the U.S. since their imposition in late January 2018, capping a two-year period that saw 18,000 jobs lost, the Solar Foundation’s latest report offers a cautious forecast for clearer skies and a rebounding industry in 2019.

TVA Plans No New Coal Plants for 20 Years

India Sees Steady Outlook for Renewables Despite Election Uncertainties

Renewables Transition Could Create 162,000 Wisconsin Jobs

‘Virtual Power Plant’ Wins Right to Supply Electricity in New England Auction

Runaway Uptake of Community Solar Has St. Louis Utility Planning Big

A stellar community response to a St. Louis-based utility’s launch of a community solar program has renewable energy advocates in Missouri celebrating and the utility planning to expand its renewable energy.

Smart Policy, No Natural Gas Deliver Green Win for Small New York Town

Marbletown, New York, population 5,500, is poised to achieve 100% low-cost renewable electricity within the year, and has a serious plan to decarbonize the rest of its energy supply, thanks to its newly-minted membership in a community choice aggregation (CCA) program, a fortuitous absence of natural gas resources, advances in heat pump technology, and progressive local policies.

Building Automation Would Save 4.62 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Building automation ranks #45 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate up to 4.62 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 at a cost of US$68.1 billion, eventually saving building owners around $880.6 billion.

Tallahassee Sets 2050 Deadline for 100% RE

U.S. Utilities’ Push for Solar+Storage Holds ‘Major Implications’ for Fossil Electricity

Despite their “checkered history” on renewable energy development, U.S. utilities have begun to drive the transition to solar-plus-storage projects, in particular—with “major implications for baseload power providers,” analyst Dennis Warmsted writes for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Exemptions Raise Flags as European Commission Moves to Restrict Palm Oil in Biofuels

The European Commission is moving to restrict transportation fuels based on palm oil whose cultivation is linked to deforestation, but is taking criticism for the loopholes in its phaseout plan.

Concentrated Solar Power Would Save 10.9 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) places #25 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Scaling up CSP to 4.3% of global electricity production by 2050 would avoid 10.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide. While implementation costs of CSP are high, at US$1.3 trillion, net savings by 2050 could total $414 billion, with lifetime savings of $1.2 trillion.

Puerto Rico Rebuild Plan Calls for Mini-Grids, Solar+Storage, Natural Gas

Saudi Arabia Turns to China for Solar Manufacturing

Enel Starts Work on South America’s Biggest Wind Farm in Brazil

Métis Receive 50% Stake as Alberta Announces Three New Subsidy-Free Solar Farms

Alberta will double its solar capacity and save C$3.9 million per year after commissioning 94 megawatts of new generation under a 20-year contract with Canadian Solar Solutions and Conklin Metis Local 193, which has a 50% equity stake in the project.

IESO Transmission Request Would Boost Ontario Hydro Imports from Quebec

A request last week from the independent agency that runs Ontario’s electricity grid could open the door for the province to import inexpensive, renewable electricity from existing hydroelectric facilities in neighbouring Quebec.

California Sets Sights on Up to 100,000 New Net-Zero Homes Per Year

Net-zero buildings that produce as much energy as they consume may be about to hit the mainstream in California, where most new homes and multi-residential structures up to three stories high will be equipped with rooftop solar panels beginning next year.

Saskatchewan Announces 23 Solar, 15 ‘Carbon-Neutral’ Fossil Projects

Texas Sees 80% of New Power Coming from Wind, Solar in 2019

Milwaukee Invests in Solar, Slams Utility for Stifling Market

Italian Fossil Eni Buys Into Australian Solar Farm

Anti-Turbine Activists Spread Asbestos to Protest Netherlands Wind Site

Baltimore Utility Cuts Peak Demand by 300 MW, Puts Money in Ratepayers’ Pockets

Six years after it launched its Smart Energy Rewards program, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is reporting that local energy efficiency measures have reduced peak electricity demand by more than 300 megawatts, cut operating costs by almost US$200 million, and left ratepayers with more money in their wallets.

Utilities Seek New Identity, Different Revenue Sources in Post-Carbon Economy

From rebranding themselves as “partners” in energy delivery, to renovating legacy infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicle charging, to redirecting into the business of “smart” homes, microgrids, and energy storage, utilities are working overtime to reinvent themselves for a post-carbon world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_picture_candidates/Barrow_Offshore_Wind_Farm

World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Delivers First Power to UK Grid

The world’s biggest offshore wind farm was expected to begin delivering power to the United Kingdom grid this week.

Renewables Could Head Off EU Natural Gas Boom as Germany Phases Out Coal

Renewable energy may be poised to head off a boom in natural gas demand that European producers expected to see in the wake of Germany’s coal phaseout plan.

Wind Farm Saves Kansas University Campus $500,000 Per Year

Los Angeles Shifts Billions of Dollars from Gas Plants to Storage, Efficiency, and Solar

Los Angeles is walking away from a plan to spend billions of dollars rebuilding three natural gas power plants along the coast, in what Mayor Eric Garcetti cast as a boost for the city’s 100% renewable energy goal and its plan to improve air quality in polluted neighbourhoods.

Green New Deal Comes to Life in Portland Affordable Housing Project

Affordable, green, and employing immigrant Americans, a new housing project in a low-income neighborhood in Portland, Oregon is being cast as an early glimpse of all that a Green New Deal could bring.

Australia Could Hit 100% RE by 2032 with Current Pace of Wind and Solar Development

Australia could hit the equivalent of 100% renewable energy by 2032 if wind and solar installations continue at their current pace, according to a new study by the school of electrical engineering at Australian National University.

Solar Aggregation Deal Opens Wider Door for Corporate Renewables Procurement

A recent deal which will see 42.5 megawatts of solar power from a 100-megawatt solar project in North Carolina divided among five smaller companies is being heralded as a critical step in corporate energy procurement.

Hydro-Québec Floats $40 Million for Maine Transmission Line

Three Injured, One Critically, in Alberta Wood Pellet Plant Explosion

Polish Physicist Develops Inkjet Panels to ‘Revolutionize’ Solar

Colombia Renewables Tender Draws 1.5 GW of Bids

Moving Energy Efficiency to the Tax Base Would Raise Ontario Power Costs, Increase Emissions, Efficiency Canada Warns

The Doug Ford government in Ontario is at risk of driving up electricity costs, stifling energy innovation, and driving up the need for peak electricity supplied by carbon-emitting natural gas plants if it follows through on a plan to fund energy efficiency programs through the tax base, rather than consumers’ power bills, Efficiency Canada warns in a new policy brief.

Equipment Manufacturer Urges Bold Energy Efficiency Action to Meet Paris Climate Goals

Energy efficiency is poised to meet the carbon reduction targets in the Paris Agreement, depends on readily-available technology, and constitutes a trillion-dollar opportunity, writes Kim Fausing, President and CEO of Danish energy systems manufacturer Danfoss, in a recent post for the World Economic Forum. All that’s needed is a change of mindset on the part of energy consumers—especially the big industrial ones—and smart governance.

Policy Support Could Make Community Projects the Second-Biggest Source for U.S. Solar Power

Community solar in the United States is seeing such an influx of funding and an uptick in institutional interest that one of its proponents says the right policy support could make it the country’s second-biggest source of solar-electric capacity.

Origami-Style Window Blinds Would Produce Solar Electricity, Deliver Better Daylighting

An Australian architectural design firm is working on a new origami-style window blind that produces electricity and even brings more natural daylighting into the space.

Ørsted Offers 9.8¢/kWh for Offshore Wind in Rhode Island

Americas Install 11.9 GW of New Wind in 2018

BC Hydro Racks Up $5.5 Billion in Future Ratepayer Costs

Green New Deal Envisions Net-Zero Emissions in 10 Years Through WWII-Scale Effort

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released an outline of the Democrats’ Green New Deal yesterday, in the form of a 14-page Congressional resolution that would bring U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in 10 years by “dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources”.

Developers Announce New Solar Farms in Fort Chipewyan and Calgary

Alberta has two new solar farms in its immediate future, following an announcement by First Nations and Métis in Fort Chipewyan and a planning decision this week by the City of Calgary.

Trump Light Bulb Efficiency Rollback to Cost Consumers $12 Billion, Boost Emissions by 34 Megatonnes Per Year

The Trump administration’s decision to rescind new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs will cost consumers at least US$12 billion per year by 2025, while increasing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 34 million tonnes and annual electricity use by 80 billion kilowatt-hours in that year, according to an analysis released this week by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Public More Concerned About CO2 Removal Techniques that Tamper with Nature

Public support for different methods of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere depends in part on the extent to which they’re seen to tamper with nature, a group of four researchers concludes in a new paper.

Community Hydro Transforms Rural Economy in Nicaragua

Big Algeria Solar Plan Frees Up Gas Production for Export

‘Terrifying Assessment’ Shows Himalayas Losing One-Third of Ice by 2100 in Best-Case GHG Scenario

The Mount Everest area will lose more than half of its ice by 2100 in even the most optimistic greenhouse gas reduction scenario, and the Himalayan region as a whole will lose more than one-third, according to a 627-page regional assessment released this week by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Record Flood Hits Queensland, Australia While Tasmania Burns

Hundreds of people in northern Australia were forced to evacuate their homes and about 18,000 lost power after the coastal city of Townville, in Queensland, received nearly four feet (120 centimetres) of rain between January 26 and February 4.

UK Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall 38% from 1990 to 2017

Cleaner electricity and reduced energy demand were the two major factors driving a 38% drop in the United Kingdom’s carbon dioxide emissions between 1990 and 2017, from 600 to 367 megatonnes, the biggest reduction in any industrialized country.

Study Shows ‘Sizable Disconnect’, Big Opportunity, in Corporate Clean Energy Strategies

Despite tech giants like Google setting 100% renewable energy targets, and corporate buyers signing up for five gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity in 2017 alone, there’s still lots of scope for the rest of the private sector to shift its energy behaviour, according to a new study by Centrica Business Solutions.

http://www.offgridquest.com/extra/a-fully-transparent-solar-cell-that-coul

Edmonton Company’s New Technology Turns Windows Into Transparent Solar Panels

A company in Edmonton is working on technology to turn windows into transparent solar panels, with a boost from Alberta carbon tax revenues.

IEA Sees Railways as Path to Peaking Global Transport Emissions in 2030s

An “aggressive” expansion of railways—with well-engineered policies in the conductor’s seat—could see global transport emissions peak in the 2030s, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

BC Hydro Awarded $90M in No-Bid Contracts for Site C

New England Has 10 GW of Offshore Wind Under Development

1-MW Solar Canopy Brings Texas Auto Dealer to Net Zero

Mexico Stuns Industry by Cancelling Renewable Power Auction

Oilfield Services Giant Sees Future in Renewables

The world’s third-biggest oilfield services provider is looking to expand its offerings for wind and solar energy suppliers, as it begins to contemplate a future world without hydrocarbons.

Nebraska Farmers, Utility Attempt Biggest Solar Farm in Midwestern U.S.

U.S. Utility Solar Developer Refocuses, Lays Off 20% of Work Force

Saskatchewan Opens 20-MW Wind Farm

Fuel-Efficient Trucks Would Save 6.2 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Increasing fuel efficiency in the global freight trucking industry places #40 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could reduce atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide by 6.2 gigatons by 2050, at a net cost of US$543.5 billion, but $2.78 trillion in net savings.

Calgary Indigenous Youth Summit Spotlights Renewable Energy Careers

First Green Bond Issue Brings Citigroup €1 Billion

Kenya Aims for Universal Electricity Access by 2022

Texas Reports 30% Carbon-Free Grid

Community Effort Delivers Solar Microgrid for Washington School District

Solar, Wind, Storage Set for Breakout Year Thanks to ‘Remorseless’ Cost Reductions

World-wide renewable generation capacity could grow by more than 200 gigawatts this year, thanks to “remorseless reductions in the costs of solar and wind electricity and of lithium-ion batteries,” according to a commentary published earlier this month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

France Plans 300 MW of New Solar Capacity to Replace 40-Year-Old Nuclear Plant

France has received European Commission approval for a €250-million plan to replace the 40-year-old Fessenheim nuclear generating station by contracting for 300 megawatts of new photovoltaic solar capacity.

China Moves to Phase Out Subsidies as Solar, Wind Prices Become Competitive with Coal

With the end of 2020 as a target date to phase out renewable energy subsidies, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has unveiled a package of eight “enticements” for developers that are prepared to consider subsidy-free solar and wind projects over the next two years, Greentech Media reports.

Green New Deal Risks Splitting U.S. Climate Community Over Timelines, Targets

The prospect of a comprehensive Green New Deal to drive rapid decarbonization and create jobs in the United States has been receiving considerable air time in the U.S. congress and media. But with the specifics of the plan still taking shape, a tough political battle is already emerging between Democrats demanding 100% renewable energy by 2035, and a second contingent urging a 100% decarbonization target—a policy which would leave options like carbon sequestration and nuclear generation on the table.

Solar, Efficiency Offer Some Relief as Australian Grid Strains Under Epic Summer Heatwave

Australia’s electricity grid is creaking under the strain of an epic, two-week summer heatwave. Solar and demand management have helped minimize the impact after nearly two gigawatts of coal-fired generation fell off the system, but not before the disruption drove wholesale electricity prices up to the regulated maximum of A$14.50/US$10.30 per kilowatt-hour.

‘Dirt-Cheap’ Power Deals May Drive U.S. Utility Solar into Financial Bubble

Liebreich Traces Story of Renewable Microgrid in Sierra Leone

New Process Modelled on Ocean Acidification Turns CO2 into Energy

100% Renewables, Land Restoration Can Meet 1.5°C Target Without ‘Unproven’ Geoengineering Techniques

A rapid shift to 100% renewable energy by 2050, combined with land restoration efforts to boost the resilience of natural ecosystems on every continent, would be enough to hold average global warming below 1.5°C without resorting to unproven and potentially dangerous “negative emissions” techniques, according to a two-year modelling effort conducted by 17 leading scientists and funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Florida Utility Plans to Install 30 Million New Solar Panels by 2030

Florida Power & Light unveiled a bold “30 by 30” plan last week to install 30 million solar panels over the next dozen years, a feat that would stand as “the largest installation of solar panels by a regulated utility in the world.”

TBT: What If Canada Had Spent $200 Billion on Wind Instead of Fossils?

In June 2018, international environmental journalist Stephen Leahy asked a provocative question: What if Canada had invested $200 billion in wind energy over the last two decades, rather than pouring it into the tar sands/oil sands?

Wind Giant Ørsted Diversifies into Batteries

China Looks to Pumped Storage to Boost Renewables Use

Indiana Utility Sees Renewables as Part of Industry ‘Revolution’

World’s Biggest Roofing Manufacturer Launches U.S. Rooftop Solar Venture

The world’s biggest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer is launching a rooftop solar business in the United States with the declared goal of “revolutionizing” adoption of the technology by “everyday consumers”.

Low Uptake in Black, Hispanic Communities Shows Diversity Challenge for U.S. Rooftop Solar Firms

Majority African-American and Hispanic-American census tracts in the United States are far less likely then majority-white areas to have solar panels on their roofs, according to a new study in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Former U.S. Regulator Lays Out His Case Against Nuclear Generation

Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Gregory Jaczko is still implacably opposed to development of traditional nuclear power plants, despite technological fixes intended to make them safer, the Las Vegas Sun reports in an editorial based on Jaczko’s new book.

Perennial Food Crops Could Boost Soil Carbon and Food Security, Reduce Deforestation

Replacing soil-depleting annual food species with perennial crops is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.

World’s Biggest Wind Farm Planned to Power Beijing Olympics

80-MW Wind Farm Brings Melbourne, Australia to 100% Renewable Power

550-MW Topaz Solar Park Sees Ratings Downgrades Due to PG&E Bankruptcy

World Bank Funds 400-MW Solar Project in Pakistan

Iberdola Uses Blockchain to Verify Renewable Energy Supplies

Siemens Gamesa Plans 10-Megawatt Offshore Wind Turbine by 2022

Mexico, Quebec Ink Power Import/Export Deal

Wildfire Liabilities Drive California’s Biggest Power Utility Toward Bankruptcy

Tens of billions of dollars in liabilities from California’s devastating wildfires drove the state’s biggest power utility toward insolvency this week, as Pacific Gas & Electric announced it intended to declare bankruptcy. The decision could affect billions of dollars in utility programs to cut carbon and shift toward energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and renewables.

Rising U.S. Emissions Show Poor Climate Return on Coal-to-Gas Conversions

The U.S. practice of “decarbonizing” its electricity supply by switching from coal to natural gas is coming into sharp focus, after new data showed the country’s greenhouse gas emissions increasing by 3.4% in 2018, and its electricity sector emissions rising for the first time in five years.

Household Recycling Would Save 2.77 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Household recycling ranks #55 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate 2.77 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions at a net cost of US$366.9 billion, while producing net savings of $71.1 billion.

Supply Chain Crunch Could Squelch U.S. Wind Energy Boom

Internal Combustion Growth is ‘Over’ in China, Spelling Trouble for Global Oil Markets

The rise of electric cars in China spells trouble for anyone planning to sell fossil fuels into an increasingly volatile global market, U.S.-based author and journalist Gregor Macdonald told CBC last week.

Federal Government Earmarks $25 Million for Geothermal, $10 Million for Deep Water Cooling

The federal government unveiled two new renewable energy grants last week, earmarking C$25.6 million to help develop a geothermal power plant in Estevan, Saskatchewan and $10 million for Toronto-based Enwave, North America’s biggest district energy provider.

Solar+Storage in Hawaii to Offset 3.7 Million Gallons of Diesel as Costs Fall 42% in Three Years

Hawaii has produced a small surge of solar+storage news to start the year, with the world’s largest installation of its kind going into service on the island of Kauai and the Hawaiian Electric Company submitting seven new projects—six of them offering record low prices for the state.

New Microorganism Produces Biodegradable Bioplastics from Seaweed

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say they’ve come up with a new polymer for bioplastics derived from microorganisms that feed on seaweed, using a process that delivers a biodegradable product and no toxic waste.

Uxbridge Farmer Replaces Noisy, ‘Noxious’ Diesel Tractor with Electric Prototype

A farmer in Uxbridge, Ontario has traded in his old, noisy diesel tractor for one of 10 electric prototypes developed in 2018. On top of a healthier, more pleasant ride while he works, he makes money when his new 10-kilowatt solar array sells surplus power back to the provincial grid.

Climate Science at Risk as Trump’s Government Shutdown Drags On

UN Committee Calls for Halt to Site C Over Indigenous Rights

C40 Cities Announces 10 Women4Climate Tech Challenge Finalists

South Dakota Moves Fast on Two New Wind Farms

Australia Sees Renewables Surge, Brown Coal Collapse

India Plans Another 500 Gigawatts of Renewable Capacity by 2028

India has unveiled bold plans to procure an additional 500 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2028, including 350 GW from solar and 140 from wind, with the objective of producing 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

Energy Efficiency Still Costs Less Than U.S. Renewables, Delivering $790 Billion in Savings Since 1990

Even with renewable energy costs plummeting, energy efficiency is still the least expensive source of energy services in the United States.

Coal in India Continues Slide Against ‘Explosive’ Renewables Growth

Asia Looks to Major Expansion for Onshore, Offshore Wind

Airlines Ignore Efficient Planes as Carbon Targets Slip Away

Renewables Mean Jobs for Rural Midwestern U.S.

Policy Moves, Front-Line Action Could Make 2019 a ‘Breakthrough Year’ for Climate Solutions

After a bruising year of climate change news, including alarming reports of far worse in the future and an incomplete result at the United Nations climate conference in Katowice, Poland, 2019 is dawning as something improbable: A year of hope for effective climate action.

Renewables Exceed 40% of German Power Supply, Outpace Coal for the First Time

Renewable energy supplied 40.4% of Germany’s electricity last year, exceeding the output from coal for the first time, according to a report released last week by applied science researchers at the Munich-based Fraunhofer Society.

Minnesota Non-Profit Brings Community Solar to Low-Income Households in Vermont

A successful community solar garden partnership launched by a team of volunteers out of a garage in rural Minnesota is pushing its boundaries to Vermont, after concluding that a development model first introduced in 2017 can be extended across the United States.

New York Offers Free Community Solar to 10,000 Low-Income Households

New York State is supplying free access to community solar to 7,000 low-income households across the state, and plans to extend the program to a total of 10,000 homes by the end of this year.

Vancouver Passive House Sets New Green Standard, Cat Door Included

Old U.S. Coal Mines See New Life as Solar Farms

Clean Energy Revolution Rises in U.S. Midwest

NREL Sees Floating Solar Supplying 10% of U.S. Electricity

Cut Red Tape, Make Rooftop Panels the Cheapest Power Source, Solar Industry Urges Ontario

The Canadian solar industry is urging the Ontario government to trim or eliminate red tape that is driving up the cost of connecting rooftop panels to the electricity grid.

Aircraft Fuel Efficiency Would Save 5.05 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Improving aircraft fuel efficiency ranks #43 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 5.05 gigatons by 2050. The shift would cost US$662.4 billion, but produce net savings of $3.19 trillion.

Google Invests $700 Million in Green Energy for Danish Data Centre

U Waterloo Scientist Touts CO2-Absorbing Material to Cut Power Plant Emissions

Alberta Procures 760 MW of Wind in Five New Projects, Three with First Nations

Alberta is procuring 760 megawatts of wind-generated electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes, and creating an estimated 1,000 jobs by investing C$1.2 billion in five new green energy partnerships, three of them involving First Nations.

Cannabis Growers Look to Energy Efficiency to Cut Costs

Long Island Plans Consumer Protection for $1-Billion Rooftop Solar Industry

Croatia Plans Big New Investments in Renewable Electricity

WoodMac Scenario Has Fossils at 77%, 2°C Out of Reach in 2040

India Plans New Solar, Wind Tenders to Hit 175-Gigawatt Target by 2022

India is planning to issue tenders for 60 gigawatts of new solar and 20 GW of new wind capacity over the next two years, in a bid to hit its target of installing 175 GW of new renewable energy generation by 2022.

Global Wind Industry on Track to Grow 680 Gigawatts Over 10 Years

The global wind industry is on track to deliver more than 680 gigawatts (680 billion watts) of new capacity over the next decade, according to two recent reports by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Solar Jobs Grow Around Chicago’s ‘Toxic Doughnut’

Texas Hits 2.1¢/kWh in Lowest-Ever Solar Bid

Norway Parliament Bans Palm Oil-Based Biofuels

Innovation Award Winner Envisions Wind Turbine for Cities

Starbucks to Power Illinois Cafés with 100% Wind

CBC Reveals Three Construction Fires at Parry Sound-Area Wind Farm Site

Falling Cost of Renewables, Batteries Allows Countries to Boost Their Paris Commitments

The falling cost of renewable electricity and lithium-ion batteries will make it “substantially cheaper” for countries to fulfill their carbon reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement, according to a discussion paper released last month by Umwelt Bundesamt, the German environment agency.

Xcel Energy Commits to 80% GHG Cut by 2030, Zero-Carbon Operations by 2050

Minneapolis-based utility giant Xcel Energy is committing to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2030, en route to a zero-carbon target by 2050, while maintaining affordability and reliability in the eight U.S. states where it operates—even though it doesn’t believe the technologies are currently available at scale to deliver on its promise.

London Mayor Khan Declares Climate Emergency, Pushes Carbon Neutral Deadline from 2050 to 2030

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is declaring a climate emergency and calling for more urgent action by the UK government “to avert an ecological breakdown that he says poses an existential threat to future generations,” The Guardian reports.

Maersk Sets 2050 Deadline for Carbon-Neutral Operations

Denmark’s AP Moller Maersk, the world’s biggest marine shipping company, has set a 2050 deadline to make all its operations carbon-neutral.

Smart Highways Would Turn Roads Into a ‘Positive Social, Environmental Force’

A shift to smart highways is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.

Community Ownership Reduces Backlash Against Wind

Ohio Solar Program Prepares Inmates for Jobs on the Outside

Louisiana Town Fights for Community Solar

Ørsted, Enel Plan Big Renewable Energy Investments

B.C. Climate Plan Lays Out Rapid Shift from Fossil Energy to Electricity

Higher carbon prices and measures to shift individuals and industry off fossil fuels are key pillars of CleanBC, the new climate action plan unveiled last week by the provincial government in British Columbia.

Rising Oil Use, GHG Emissions Will Mean ‘Faster, More Furious’ Climate Change

A pair of new studies coinciding with the opening of this year’s UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland shows oil consumption increasing, greenhouse gas emission accelerating like a “speeding freight train”, and average global warming on track to exceed 1.5°C as early as 2030—10 years ahead of the 2040 turnover year recently projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Schumer to Trump: No Infrastructure Bill in 2019 Without Action on Climate

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is demanding a novel quid pro quo from Donald Trump as the 2019 legislative session looms—if the former reality TV star wants a deal to rebuild America’s crumbling physical infrastructure, it’ll have to include measures that respond to climate change.

New Quebec-New York City Power Line to Start Construction in 2020

Regulator Signs Off on California Solar Roof Mandate

Cincinnati Becomes 100th U.S. City to Declare 100% RE Goal

EU Sets 2050 Carbon Neutral Target, 10 Years Too Late for CAN-Europe

The European Union has set a 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality, 10 years later than the target adopted in early October by Climate Action Network-Europe in line with a 1.5°C limit on average global warming.

IEEFA Sees Failure in Four North American CCS Projects

There’s no sign that the North American fossil industries’ attempts to develop viable carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology are paying off, and less justification than ever to keep up the effort, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concludes in a report released last month.

Drax to Capture a Tonne of CO2 Per Day in BECCS Pilot Project

The 2.6-gigawatt Drax biomass- and coal-fired generating station in the United Kingdom is aiming for carbon-negative status with the launch of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) pilot project, a first of its kind in Europe.

Geothermal Would Save 16.6 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Geothermal places #18 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions. If it could increase its share of global electricity generation from 0.66 to 4.9% by 2050, geothermal would prevent 16.6 gigatons of CO2 emissions, at a net cost of $US155.5 billion but net savings of $US 1.02 trillion.

GE Expects Big Role for Storage, Hybrid Energy Projects

U.S. Firm Wants Microgrids as Easy to Finance as Rooftop Solar

Solar+Storage Delivers Cheaper, Cleaner Power in Philippines

Australia On Track to 50% RE by 2030

African Development Bank Approves $216-Million Renewables Loan to South Africa

Greenpeace Energy Co-op Offers to Buy Germany’s Lignite Mines, Shut Them Down by 2025

A utility co-op set up in 1999 by Greenpeace Germany is proposing to take over the open cast lignite (brown coal) mines now operated by German electricity giant RWE, shut them down by 2025, and replace them with 8.2 gigawatts of wind and solar projects.

Government Policy, Public Investment Drove 99% Drop in Solar Photovoltaic Costs

Government policy and public investment were the key driver of an astonishing 99% drop in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels over four decades, according to a new paper in the journal Energy Policy. “It didn’t just happen,” writes Vox.com climate columnist David Roberts. “It was driven, at every stage, by smart public policy.” In the paper, associate professor Jessika Trancik, post-doctoral candidate Goksin Kavlak, and research scientist James McNerney of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology set out to develop an overall theory of technological innovation, using the precipitous drop in photovoltaic costs as an example. Their research appears […]

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Developing Nations ‘Lead the Charge’, Outpace Wealthier Countries in New Clean Energy Capacity

Developing countries are “charging ahead of wealthier nations in the global green energy push,” adding more clean electricity than fossil fuel capacity in 2017 for the first time ever, according to a Bloomberg News report citing the annual Climatescope survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Landfill Methane Would Save 2.5 Gigatons of Emissions by 2050

Producing energy from landfill methane ranks #58 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric emissions by the equivalent of 2.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050, at a net cost of -US$1.8 billion and net savings of $67.6 billion.

Exxon to Power Texas Oil Operations with 500 MW of Solar, Wind

Germany Plans 8 GW of New Renewables Tenders

Public Housing Upgrades Cut Energy Bills, Pollution

Billionnaire Medical Entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong Buys Into Energy Storage

New Mexico Candidate Climbs a Wind Turbine Tower to State Governor’s Mansion

A U.S. congresswoman from New Mexico climbed a 265-foot wind turbine tower to her state governor’s mansion in mid-term elections earlier this month.