SNAPSHOT: The Surge of Renewables and Energy Storage

 
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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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Zimbabwe Issues Call for 500 MW of Solar

Data Centre Demand from Facebook Speeds Up New Mexico’s Energy Transition

Toronto Organics Plant Converts Food Waste to Renewable Natural Gas

700-MW Offshore Wind Project to Meet 25% of Lithuania’s Power Needs

Denmark Plans 4 GW of Wind Capacity on Offshore Islands

Secretive U.S. Startup Promises 150-Hour Battery

Now-Bankrupt Coal Company Spent $1M to Fight Ohio Renewables Law

BP Plans Green Ammonia Plant in Western Australia

Fossils’ Five-Year Spending Plan Shows $17.5B for Renewables, $166B for New Oil and Gas

Despite fossils’ loud claims to be taking the climate crisis and the renewable energy transition seriously, they only plan to spend US$17.5 billion on solar and wind projects over the next five years. And one company—Equinor, the Norwegian state fossil previously known as Statoil—accounts for $10 billion of that total, new analysis by Rystad Energy shows.

EU Confirms Green Strings Attached to €750-Billion Recovery Package, €1-Trillion/Seven-Year Budget

News reports are confirming that the European Union’s seven-year, €1-trillion budget proposal and its €750-billion coronavirus recovery package will both have green strings attached, with 25% of the funds devoted to climate action and a “do no harm” clause to prevent environmentally damaging investments.

Mini-Boom in Renewables Hiring Offers Lifeline to Laid-Off Texas Fossil Workers

Even as the coronavirus pandemic wipes out tens of thousands of renewable energy jobs, Texas is going through a mini-boom in renewables hiring, Bloomberg Green reports, as a handful of clean energy executives in the state tap into an opportunity to recruit talent from an industry that has been hit even harder.

Energy Efficiency, Trades Training Could Combat Women’s Job Loss in COVID-19 ‘She-Cession’

With job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic affecting women more seriously than men, it’s time to increase women’s participation in energy efficiency jobs, writes Natalie Irwin, director of stakeholder engagement at Efficiency Canada.

Uber Scraps Tens of Thousands of E-Bikes in Shocking Move

Cycling advocates are confused and outraged following Uber’s recent decision—in the middle of a transportation-choking pandemic—to send massive numbers of e-bikes and scooters to the scrap heap.

Ørsted Announces Massive Green Hydrogen Project with Local Partners

EV Batteries Could Get Second Life at Solar Farms

World Bank Puts Technical Potential for Offshore Wind at 15 TW

Floating Wind Project Off France Nets European Investment Bank Support

Spain’s Iberdola Ramps Up Investment with 900-MW Wind Buy

Siemens Gamesa Brings Wind-Solar Hybrid to Philippines

Algeria Aims for 4 GW of New Solar Capacity

Six New Wisconsin Solar Farms to Deliver 675 MW, Power 175,000 Homes

Virginia Launches Technical Assistance to Make Solar ‘Faster, Easier, More Affordable’

Faroe Islands Look to Tidal Power

Spanish Researchers Turn Olive Waste into Compostable Plastic

It’s 2030. Here’s How Calgary Transformed Itself into a Cleantech Capital.

The city at the heart of the Alberta oilpatch can transform itself into a cleantech capital by the end of this decade if it makes the right decisions and brings together the needed investment now, Calgary-based environmental lawyer Jeremy Barretto argues in an opinion piece for CBC.

Solar Microgrids Deliver Multiple Wins for Refugee Camps

Non-polluting, cost-effective, and mercifully quiet, solar microgrids may make the dirty, noisy, and expensive fossil-powered generators that are ubiquitous in humanitarian relief efforts a thing of the past—a gift both for traumatized asylum seekers and cash-strapped aid organizations. 

Pandemic, U.S.-China Trade War Drive Renewable Energy ‘Pivot’ in Asia

Two New Wind Farms Open in Pincher Creek, Alberta

U.S. Renewable Generation Exceeds Coal for 40 Days Straight

UK Converts NE England Coal Mines to Renewable Facilities

44-MW Solar Project Delivers Big Savings for Philadelphia Transit Agency

Indiana Farmers Use Solar to Help Cover Costs

UK Needs Double Its Own Land Mass to Meet Consumer Demand

New York Mega-Utility Triples Energy Efficiency Budget to $1.5 Billion

New York state mega-utility Consolidated Edison is tripling its budget for energy efficiency to US$1.5 billion through 2025, in an aggressive program expansion that will include incentives for customers to install ground- and air-source heat pumps to reduce their dependence on natural gas.

Rwanda Emerges as Climate Leader with Updated 2030 Carbon Target

One of the world’s poorest countries became one of its more ambitious climate leaders last week, when Rwanda became the first African nation to promise deeper greenhouse gas emission reductions and a more ambitious approach to climate adaptation by 2030.

Green Hydrogen Projects Set to Skyrocket, Though Pandemic Could Slow Investors Down

Interest in “green” hydrogen produced from renewable electricity has been skyrocketing over the last several months, with global interest in electrolyser projects—particularly large ones—tripling between October 2019 and March 2020, according to an updated report released last month by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

TC Energy Joins Pumped Hydro Project at Former Coal Site

Glasgow Unveils Green Hydrogen Bus Plan

Germany Looks to Green Hydrogen to Help Drive Carbon Neutrality

Pollinator-Friendly Solar Makes Energy Cleaner, Greener

U.S. Developer 8minute Solar Reports 18 GW in New Projects

AEMO Plan Shows Australia Running on 75% Renewables

France’s Big Nuclear Company Sees Future in Small Renewables

Recession Could Curtail Up to 150 GW of South Pacific Renewables Projects

FortisBC Offers ‘Renewable’ Gas from Wood Waste

Maggots in Food Waste Control Methane

EU’s Massive Green Recovery Plan Includes 15-GW Renewables Tender, Support for Green Hydrogen

The European Union is set to propose a massive economic stimulus plan, complete with a 15-gigawatt renewable energy tender and auctions for green hydrogen, that will transform the European Commission’s Green Deal into the world’s greenest recovery package, according to leaked documents released last week by Bloomberg News and Euractiv.

Campaign for a Resilient Canadian Recovery Signs 2,100+ Allies [sign-on]

More than 2,100 Canadian companies and organizations have signalled their support for a post-pandemic economic recovery plan grounded in the principles of sustainability and resilience and driven by projects that “aren’t just shovel-ready, but shovel-worthy.”

The Interview: Canada Can Create Jobs, Set a ‘Signpost’ for the World in Shift to 100% Renewable Electricity, Hornung Says

Robert Hornung has been president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association since 2003. Last week, CanWEA and the Canadian Solar Industries Association announced they are merging to form the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, with Hornung at the helm. He talked to The Energy Mix about a massive moment of opportunity for solar, wind, and storage, and the importance of speaking with a common voice.

Michigan Dam Failures Highlight Risks in Aging Infrastructure, Toxic Sites

Safety officials warn that last week’s double dam failure and resulting, massive flood in Michigan foreshadows a frightening future for aging dams throughout the United States—structures that were never intended to withstand the torrential rains that are arriving with climate change.

Manitoba Cree Take Down Keeyask Hydro Blockade After Protesting COVID-19 Risk

GM Aims for 100% Renewables in SE Michigan by 2023

Pandemic Slows Down 2.5-GW Wind Procurement in New York

COVID-19 Sets Back Subsidy-Free Solar in Italy

Michigan Utility Drives ‘Wave’ of Solar Development

8 GW of New Capacity Will Double Duke’s Renewables by 2025

Minneapolis Leads State in Renewable Electricity

Toronto Community Housing Brings Passive House to Alexandra Park

Heiltsuk Nation Turns to Heat Pumps for Cleaner, Cheaper Power

Vietnam Turns to Rooftop Solar During Pandemic

Wisconsin Biogas Project Aims for Renewables Credits

New Plastics Process May Replace Dangerous Toxins with Water

Carbon Emissions Fell 17% at Pandemic’s Peak, But Will Rebound Without Bigger Changes

While the economic crash brought on by the coronavirus pandemic reduced daily greenhouse gas emissions 17% in early April, and will likely produce a 4.0 to 7.0% emissions reduction for the year, the real takeaway from a new analysis in the journal Nature Climate Change is that those carbon cuts will only be temporary without an aggressive response to the climate crisis.

Pandemic Delays Climate Plan Update as Ottawa Mulls Green Recovery Options

A recent wave of policy advocacy aimed at shaping the Canadian government’s green economic stimulus package is beginning to generate media coverage of its own, with the Globe and Mail reporting this week on the “frenzy” now under way “to determine just how—and how much—the federal government’s strategy for economic recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown will be shaped by its climate change agenda.”

U.S. Lags in Preparing for a Just Transition to Decarbonization

The United States is failing coal and nuclear plant workers who are seeking a just transition to a decarbonized economy, while their counterparts in many European countries face much better odds. 

Power lines, Mississauga, Canada

Maine Approves New Transmission Line from Quebec to New England

Regulators in Maine have approved a 145-mile, US$950-million transmission line that will carry 1,200 MW of electricity from Quebec to New England.

Swedish Firm Produces World’s First Rolled Steel with Hydrogen

A company in Sweden reported a world first late last month, after replacing liquefied natural gas (LNG) with hydrogen to produce the high-temperature heat it needs to make steel.

Homes with No Rooftop Exposure Turn to Community Solar

‘Shadowy Group’ Attacks Net Metering for U.S. Rooftop Solar

Manufacturer in France Pitches Solar Car Tarp

Chinese Coal Miner Starts Work on World’s Biggest Solar Hydrogen Plant

Developer Redesigns Wind Project for North Dakota Regulators

Silent Wind Turbine Draws Inspiration from Hummingbirds

Nova Scotia Gives Up on $48-Million Wind Plant Investment

Hydrogen Tech Producer Looks to Lease Out Low-Cost Production Units

Saudi Arabia Buys Into Canadian Tar Sands/Oil Sands as Norwegian Wealth Fund Declares Blacklist

Saudi Arabia bought into Canada’s two biggest tar sands/oil sands companies, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund jumped ship, and the World Economic Forum highlighted the slow pace of carbon reductions in the Canadian oil and gas industry, as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil global fossil markets.

Spain’s Green Recovery Bill Pledges 350,000 Jobs Per Year, Sets 2050 Net-Zero Target, Halts All New Fossil Projects

The Spanish government is expected to table a draft law today that will aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, call an immediate halt to new coal, oil, and gas projects, and ground the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a green transition.

Judges Reverse Ford Government Bid to Cancel Cornwall-Area Wind Farm

The 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm near Cornwall, Ontario is back on the boards, following a court decision that quashed the last-minute decision by Environment Minister Jeff Yurek to cancel the project in December.

1.5¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour: New Mexico Solar Project to Deliver Power at Record-Low Price

A state regulator has approved two new projects that will deliver electricity in southern New Mexico and west Texas at the record-low prices of just US1.5¢ per kilowatt-hour for solar and 2.1¢ for solar plus storage.

Better EV Policies Could Jump-Start $110 Billion in Canadian GDP

A shift in policy could jump-start Canada’s domestic EV market, generating nearly 800,000 jobs and $110 billion in GDP by 2040, according to a recent report co-authored by the International Council on Clean Transportation and the Pembina Institute.

COVID-19 Wipes Out Nearly 600,000 U.S. Clean Energy Jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out nearly 600,000 energy efficiency and renewable energy jobs in the United States, more than twice as many as the country has created since 2017, and the numbers are set to rise through the spring, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data released last week by Washington, DC-based Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

‘Landmark Decision’ Blocks Fracked Gas Pipeline in New York State

In what Politico is calling a “landmark decision” grounded in New York State’s “sweeping climate law”, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration has rejected a permit for the US$1-billion Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline to supply fracked natural gas to Long Island and New York City.

Week 20, May 18: Green Industry

In 2017 heavy industry produced 73 Mt of CO2e, accounting for 10% of Canada’s emissions, including non-fossil-fuel mining, smelting and refining, and the production and processing of industrial goods such as fertilizer, paper and cement.

Scotland Okays 50-Turbine, 240-MW Offshore Wind Farm

Passive House Design Can Slow COVID’s Spread

Bankrupt West Virginia Coal Plant Was One of U.S.’s Newest, Most Efficient

Google Looks to Maximize Renewables by Shifting Loads at Data Centres

Offshore Wind Emerges as Lifeline for Oilfield Service Contractors

Collapse of Massive Crane Could Delay UK Offshore Wind Projects

Clean Power ‘Hammers’ U.S. Nuclear During Pandemic

EU Solar Generation Jumps 28% During Month of Lockdown

New Task Force Touts Hydrogen for Alberta’s ‘Industrial Heartland’

Alberta Designer Looks to Net-Zero Renovations

Analysts Point to Green Recovery as Route to ‘Shovel-Worthy Decade’

From prominent international economists to an (almost as prominent?) Canadian think tank, there’s a widening consensus that green investment in projects that are “shovel-worthy” as well as “shovel-ready” will be the best way to restore economies ravaged by the coronavirus lockdown while simultaneously addressing the climate crisis.

Ramp Up Training, Break Down Market Barriers to Boost Zero-Carbon Buildings, CaGBC Urges

Canada’s building industry “still has work to do” to acquire the skills and knowledge it’ll need to deliver zero-carbon buildings at scale, even based on the country’s current greenhouse gas reduction target of just 30% by 2030, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) concludes in a report issued last week.

Canada’s ‘Rich Carbon Sink’ Peatlands Need Urgent Protection, Story Map Shows

Northern peatlands—the richest carbon sinks on the planet and epicentres of biodiversity—are in urgent need of protection from human development, the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada asserts, in a detailed “story map” that outlines why and how these “enormous carbon storehouses” must be preserved, with Indigenous peoples leading the way.

Geothermal Could Gain from Slumping Oil Prices

Researchers Ponder Sustainable Production for Millions of Batteries

California Renewables, Storage Demand New Approach to Grid Reliability

Senior Republican Senator Celebrates as Wind Hits 40% of Iowa Power Supply

Navajo Power CEO Foresees 10 GW New Solar on Tribal Lands

Fossils Expect Permanent Losses, Renewables Keep Growing as Pandemic Crashes Global Energy Demand

The permanent reductions in conventional energy demand wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic will change the oil and gas industry forever, leaving renewables as the only energy form resilient enough to keep growing, according to separate assessments released last week by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Europe’s biggest fossil, Royal Dutch Shell.

New Alliance Looks to Geothermal to Get Alberta Oil Rigs Back in Use

In what the Globe and Mail calls “a rare united front between environment and energy,” Alberta’s shattered oil drillers are looking to the emerging geothermal industry as a place to get idled rigs back in production and begin a shift to post-carbon energy.

World’s Biggest Solar Plant to Deliver Power at Record-Low 1.35¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour

The two-gigawatt Al Dhafra project in Abu Dhabi, the world’s biggest single-site solar installation, is expected to deliver electricity at a record-low US1.35¢ per kilowatt-hour when it goes into service in 2022.

The Interview: Energy Retrofits Can Drive Economic Recovery, But Financing and Logistics Are Key, Torrie Says

Ralph Torrie is a senior associate with the Sustainability Solutions Group, partner in Torrie Smith Associates, and one of Canada’s leading energy and carbon modellers. He’s been focusing on mass, deep energy retrofits as a cornerstone of a green economic recovery, the financing, training, and logistical approaches that will get the job done, and a “very human response” that might be the catalyst for action.

Near-Historic Low Snowpack Forces Yukon Energy to Look Beyond Hydropower

Ocean Energy May Finally Meet Its Potential

Waste Heat from Sewage Farms to Power Giant Greenhouses

Trump Lifts Tariff on Bifacial Solar Panels

Money for Carbon Farming May Be Getting Ahead of the Science, Researchers Warn

French Startup Uses ‘Mutant Enzymes’ to Recycle Plastic

Solar, Wind Are Cheapest New Power Sources for Two-Thirds of World Population

Solar and wind are now the cheapest source of new electricity for at least two-thirds of the world’s population, with prices coming in at just 4.4¢ per kilowatt-hour for wind and 5¢ for solar, BloombergNEF (formerly Bloomberg New Energy Finance) reported this week.

Philippe Dunsky

The Interview: Post-COVID Recovery Becomes Added Lens for Climate, Energy Efficiency Programs, Dunsky Says

Philippe Dunsky is President of Dunsky Energy Consulting, a 35-person Canadian firm specialized in accelerating the clean energy transition. In early April, he circulated a sampling of the energy efficiency, clean energy, electric mobility, and climate action plans his firm is continuing to support through the pandemic, with members of his Montreal-based team conducting their work from home. He talked to The Mix about what a future of rapid decarbonization could look like post-coronavirus.

Haley: Governments Need Long-Term Investment to Get Green Stimulus Right

Governments that hope to recapture the gains and avoid the pitfalls of the last big round of economic stimulus more than a decade ago should double down on decarbonization and energy efficiency programs—and take a careful look at the thinking of 1930s-era economist John Maynard Keynes for a guide to the best strategic investments, says Broadbent Institute Policy Fellow Brendan Haley.

EU Rapidly Shunning Coal as Renewable Power Prices Drop

After centuries of being powered by coal, Europe is accelerating away from this dirtiest and most expensive of fossil fuels and toward ever-cheaper renewables—a sea change that is also going global, as pandemic-shuttered economies around the world leave coal increasingly without buyers.

Canadian-Designed Sensors Helping to Build ‘Smart’ Cities

Once used solely to light commuters’ paths after dark, streetlights can now serve as “technology pillars” for smart city development and maintenance around the world, thanks to a Halifax-based roadway lighting company.

Woynillowicz: Here’s How Canada Can Build Back Better

Coal-Heavy Indiana Could Get 16 GW of New Solar

Smart Meters On Track for $30B in Investment through 2025

WoodMac Sees Surging Demand for Green Hydrogen

Total Joins Adani to Tap India Renewables Market

Solar Industry Must Maximize Reuse, Recycling

New York Opens Renewables Siting Office to Speed Up Projects

New Role Opens Up for Businesses Built on Fungii

Parliament Buildings Ottawa Centre Block

Guilbeault, McKenna, Wilkinson Assigned to Chart Post-COVID Green Recovery

Federal cabinet ministers Steven Guilbeault, Catherine McKenna, and Jonathan Wilkinson have been handed responsibility for crafting “an economic recovery plan that aims to accelerate the green shift” as the immediate COVID-19 crisis subsides, La Presse revealed last week

Mid-Density Cities Can Meet Community Needs While Containing Sprawl, Ryerson Report Concludes

An institute at Toronto’s Ryerson University is diving right into the looming debate over urban density in an age of pandemic.

Blistering Critiques for Moore’s Planet of the Humans: Short on Facts, Arbitrary in Style

An Earth Day release by filmmaker Michael Moore and director Jeff Gibbs, purporting to show that a clean energy transition won’t help address the climate crisis and that climate campaigners have sold out to “wealthy interests and corporate America”, has spurred an avalanche of critical analysis, prompting one of its distributors to take the online video out of circulation before putting it back up a half-day later.

Opinion: Planet of the Humans Doesn’t Let Facts Get in the Way of a Sensational Yarn

After the reactions I’d read before I watched Planet of the Humans, I found parts of movie more thought-provoking than I expected. But my overall impression is that Gibbs and Moore started out hell-bent on telling a particular story and determined to stick with it, even if that meant leaving out any details, nuances, or factual updates that got in their way. 

U.S. Community Solar is Hiring While Pandemic Rages

Utilities Could Help Low-Income Customers Buy Solar

U.S. Utility Turns Efficiency Gains into Clean Power Supply

U.S. Electricity Demand Hit 17-Year Low in Mid-April

Grid Structure Sometimes Inhibits Renewables+Storage Projects

260-MW Array is China’s Biggest Unsubsidized Solar Project

New Solar Plant in China Aims to Meet Half of Global Demand

Clear Skies Drive Record Solar Output in Spain, Germany, UK

RWE Touts Batteries to Help Data Centres Manage Demand

New Membrane Boosts Artificial Photosynthesis for Renewable Fuels

Renewables Agency Urges $110-Trillion Green Infrastructure Investment to Supercharge Recovery, Boost Resilience

Governments around the world can “supercharge their recovery, become more resilient to crises, and save trillions of dollars,” while setting sights on deep greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2050, by directing stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to green infrastructure, Forbes magazine reports, citing a new release this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The Interview: Pandemic Shows Community Risk of Climate, Air Pollution, Buchanan Says

Sarah Buchanan is Program Manager, Clean Economy at Environmental Defence in Toronto. Her work on clean vehicles and air pollution over the last six months has her focusing on the multiple, overlapping crises communities are facing during the pandemic.

Saskatchewan Analysts See Energy Retrofits, Renewables as ‘Very Practical’ Path to Economic Recovery

As oil prices plummet and coronavirus-hit economies reel, analysts and experts are urging aggressive investment in labour-intensive renewable energy projects and efficiency retrofits as a responsible, cost-efficient, and “very practical” path through—and beyond—the pandemic.

Webinar: New York State Looks to Energy Efficiency for Post-COVID Job Creation

With the COVID crisis shutting down the economy in one of the hardest-hit parts of the United States, New York state is in an all-out push to sustain its energy efficiency industry and the 120,000 jobs it creates, Janet Joseph, senior vice president with the state’s Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), told a webinar yesterday.

Ontario Records Big Emissions Spike After Axing Cap and Trade

The national greenhouse gas inventory report that Canada filed with the United Nations last week showed a big increase in Ontario, after several years of steady decline, Toronto-based Environmental Defence reported in a blog post earlier this week.

Two Recent Court Rulings Bring Wins for the Green Economy

Springtime in the U.S. courts brought two pieces of good news for the green economy. A district court in Washington, DC ordered the Trump administration to more closely analyze the impacts of the Dakota Access pipeline, while the Kansas Supreme Court rejected utility efforts to charge high rates to ratepayers with home solar equipment.

Spanish Builder Announces 1-GW Wind Farm in Queensland

Groups Sue U.S. Over ‘Arbitrary’ Limit on Appliance Efficiency

Minnesota Sees Pollution Drop as Renewables Gain

Co-Housing Models New Approach to Energy Use

Passive Solar Infill in Revelstoke Shows Value of Exceeding Building Code Specs

450-MW Solar Farm in Vietnam Will Be Southeast Asia’s Biggest

Developer Looks to 400 MW of New Wind Capacity in Greece

1,000-MW Idaho Wind Farm Could Break Ground in 2022

New Transmission Line to Support Renewables in Arizona, California

690-MW Solar+Storage Project Faces Regulatory Roadblock in Nevada

Batteries Become Common Accessories for New Wind Farms

Grid Limits Leave Northern Germany with Surplus Renewables

3D Printed Structures Could Boost Coral Growth, Support Algae-Based Fuels

Danish Fuel Researchers Look at How Pandas, Slugs Digest Tough Foods

Shell Draws Praise, Pushback for 2050 Net-Zero Pledge

Royal Dutch Shell is receiving some praise and a healthy dose of pushback after unveiling plans to become a “net-zero carbon company” by 2050.

Explosion at Hydrogen Fuel Cell Plant Damages 60 Homes

A recent, massive explosion at a OneH2 hydrogen fuel cell plant in Long View, North Carolina has left the facility’s 44 employees shaken, but unscathed and 60 homes damaged, one of them beyond repair. 

Week 16, April 20: An Efficient Renewable Energy Grid

To ensure that Canada’s power utilities continue to produce reliable, dispatchable power through the transition to 100% renewable energy, we will provide $100 million in Renewable Grid Research Grants over 10 years to develop improved systems of utility power storage and grid reliability.

Kansas Court Delivers Unexpected Win for Rooftop Solar

Renewables Reduce Inequalities Across Asia Pacific

Massachusetts Pushes Grid to Use Renewables for Costly Peak Power

New Technologies Hold Promise for Long-Duration Energy Storage

500-MW Solar Project Wins Funding in Oman

Award-Winning Low-Energy Retrofit Needn’t Be the Exception

Swedish Consortium Claims Carbon-Neutral Fuel from Hydrogen

WRI Webinar: Nations, Cities Can ‘Build Back Better’ after Pandemic

As governments attempt to steer their economies through the mounting economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, stimulus packages should focus on fostering new models of sustainable and inclusive economic growth, according to panelists at a webinar hosted earlier this month by the World Resources Institute (WRI). 

Major U.S. Transmission Projects Keep On Pushing to Bring Renewable Power to Market

After a tough decade of regulatory and public hurdles for new electricity transmission projects in the United States, Greentech Media is out with a profile of nine major lines that are at various stages of review and approval.

Japan Opens World’s Biggest Hydrogen Plant

Germany Exceeds 50% Threshold for Renewables Use

Third-Generation Biorefineries Aim to Produce Fuel, Chemicals from CO2

COVID Lockdown Shifts California’s Daily Electricity Demand

New York Auction Nabs Almost 1.3 GW of Wind, Solar

Texas Closes Big Solar Deal Despite Coronavirus

Utah Becomes Red State Template for 100% RE

Indian State of Odisha Plans 500 MW of Floating Solar

Next 10 Years to See Solar, Wind Push in Uzbekistan

Human Incursion into Wild Spaces Make Pandemics More Likely

Humanity’s ever more destructive relationship with wild animals and their habitats—as expressed in a global wildlife trade worth billions, the calculated destruction of rainforest for palm oil, the negligence of building solar farms in wildlife reserves, and the collateral damage wrought by urbanization—was a cause of the current pandemic, and, if left unchecked, will drive future ones, according to disease ecology experts.

Europe’s Green Utilities ‘Largely Insulated’ from Economic Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Green utilities in Europe have been faring better than their conventional competitors and better still than other economic sectors in the financial crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Week 15, April 13: First Nations and Rural Opportunities

In the Yukon, $200 million is spent each year to import diesel to provide power and heat for the territory’s 40,000 people, averaging $5,000 per person, $25,000 for a family of five.

Time to Cancel Coal Plants as Renewables Compete on Cost

Ramp Up Fuel Efficiency to Defeat Trump Rollback, ICCT Urges Canada

Midwestern U.S. Grid to Add 4.25 GW Wind, 730 MW Gas by Mid-Summer

German Utility Giant RWE Plans 4 GW of New Renewables by 2022

Amazon Signs On for 300 MW of New Wind, Solar

Northland Deal is Early Sign of Offshore Wind in Canada

Puerto Rico’s 100% RE Goal Imperiled by Over-Reliance on Gas

San Francisco Start-Up Helps Grids Keep Up with Renewables

German Manufacturer Unveils Hydrogen-Powered Snowmobile

Wind Can Act as Cornerstone for Reliable Grid

Use Pandemic Stimulus to Create Clean Energy Jobs, Canadian Associations Urge Ottawa

The federal government’s economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic must signal continuity in climate policy, provide “sufficient, sustained, and sustainable stimulus”, and use existing programs to quickly support clean energy solutions, a dozen leading energy transition associations said last week, in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau coordinated by Clean Energy Canada.

COVID-19 Risks Prompts Calls to Shut Down Fossil and Hydro Man Camps, Pipeline Construction [Sign-ons]

From the Site C hydro megaproject to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipelines, from the tar sands/oil sands in northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, fossil workers with little opportunity for physical distancing are finding themselves at higher risk of contracting COVID-19—and in most cases, raising anxieties for nearby First Nations and other rural communities with limited resources to deal with an outbreak.

Post-Pandemic Employment Will Hinge on Green Energy as Fossil Jobs Slide

With projected oilfield job losses of 30% by the end of 2020, the fossil sector is likely to remain highly embattled after the threat of COVID-19 has abated, with little ability to create new jobs. But the job-intensive green energy sector could be set to flourish, particularly if policy-makers include some variant of a Green New Deal in their plans for secondary stimulus packages, a new analysis shows.

Renewables Delivered Nearly 75% of New Electricity Last Year, But Investment Must Double by 2030

Solar, wind, and other forms of renewable power supplied nearly three-quarters of the new electricity generating capacity installed in 2019, but annual investments will still have to double by 2030 to keep pace with the climate emergency, according to a new report issued this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

California Looks to Double Green Energy Capacity, Cut Emissions by 2030

New solar and storage facilities—and no new gas plant approvals—are the cornerstones of California’s recently-released plan to drastically reduce emissions to just 46 megatonnes by 2030, and hit a 100% renewable energy target by 2045.

Hand Sanitizer Holds Out Weak Lifeline for Embattled U.S. Ethanol Industry

Ethanol producers struggling through the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic are welcoming new U.S. government rules that will permit them to provide alcohol for the manufacturing of hand sanitizer. But there is widespread doubt that hitching ethanol’s fortunes to the pandemic supply chain will prove much of a lifeline.

New York Buys Renewables at 1.86¢/kWh

Two New Solar Farms in Rajasthan to Deliver 10 GW

Wind Giant Iberdola Launches Two Offshore Projects in Europe

U.S. States Turn to Utilities for Energy Efficiency Gains

Renewable Purchase Agreements Pay Off for U.S. Tech Giants

LA Aims for First with Renewable Hydrogen

Oman Plans Hydrogen Plant to Decarbonize Chemical Production

French Colossal Fossil Total Pushes On with 250-MW Wind Buy

Indianapolis Solar Installer Sees New Demand, Creates Jobs in Midst of Pandemic

Solar Power Deals Spread Across Latin America

Brazil Mine Plans 330-MW Solar Array

Analyst Puts Solar at Centre of Water-Energy-Climate Nexus

Green Economy Increases Demand for Science, Analytical Skills

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aikawa_Solar_Power_Plant_06.jpg

Sustainable Investments Match Fossils’ Returns, Out-Perform Conventional Funds in Oil Price Crash

With oil markets crashing under the combined weight of a global pandemic and a sustained price war between rival producers, new analyses show renewable energy developments offering competitive returns against fossil projects, and sustainable funds outperforming traditional investment portfolios.

Week 14, April 6: Renewable Electricity

In 2017, the generation of electricity from fossil fuels produced 74 Mt (10.3%) of Canada’s emissions. Renewable energy has become the cheapest option for new power generation. Onshore wind and solar PV power are now less expensive than any fossil-fuel option, without financial assistance.

India’s Record-Breaking 2.2-GW Solar Park Goes Online

Wind, Solar, Storage Account for 95% of New Power to New England Grid

Global Developer Grasshopper Energy Takes Over 15 MW of Canadian Solar Projects

France Approves 1.7 GW of New Wind, Solar Capacity

Budget Cuts Likely to Drive Down Fossils’ Support for Renewables

NREL Studies Potential for Bifacial Solar Panels

Trump Rolls Back Fuel Economy Standard Aimed at Cleansing the Air, Cutting Emissions

With his country in the grips of an out-of-control pandemic of respiratory disease, Donald Trump is pressing ahead with his long-standing plan to gut vehicle fuel efficiency standards designed to cleanse the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in what InsideClimate News describes as the country’s “largest anti-climate rollback ever”.

ABB Tracks 10.4 GW of Utility-Scale Solar Under Construction in U.S.

Low-Income Communities to Benefit from Ohio Solar Project

Berlin Targets 25% Solar by 2050

California Real Estate Firm Starts Construction on 2.7-GW Solar Installation

Spanish Fossil Repsol Plans 860 MW of Wind on Home Turf

Mideast Expected to Continue Push for Renewables

Danish Start-Up Looks to Recycle Old Wind Turbine Blades

South Africa Can Learn from Renewable Energy Auctions in Brazil, India

Electricity, Clean Water Hold Keys to Human and Climate Health

While the world’s most industrialized countries grapples with health care systems that are strained and fraying in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, large parts of the developing world still lack two simple resources that are the foundations for any kind of health system at all: electricity and clean water.

E-Commerce Giants Produce Lower Emissions, But Fail on Workers’ Respiratory Health

While e-commerce heavyweights like Amazon generate lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional bricks-and-mortar shops, online shopping is still producing massive amounts of local pollution, according to a recent report. That in turn is driving higher levels of asthma and other lung diseases—a particularly frightening health risk as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Scarce Details, ‘Quid Pro Coal’ Undercut Australian State’s 17.7-GW Renewables Plan

The Australian state of New South Wales has released a new net-zero plan that promises up to 17,700 MW in new wind, solar, and storage capacity, with the potential for up to 2,000 permanent jobs. But the deal carries a quid pro quo with coal, to the dismay of those pushing for rapid climate action.

Turkey Scales Up Storage for EVs, Renewables

Jaccard to Study Net-Zero Emissions for Sustainable Development Network

Net-Zero, Energy Poverty Demand Fixing Existing Homes

New NYC Building Code Mandates Energy Efficiency

End of Onshore Wind Subsidy Ban Could Be ‘U-Turn’ in UK Energy Policy

Major Chinese Solar Manufacturer Considers Production Base in India

Manitoba Researchers Study ‘Plastivore’ Worms that Gobble Waste

Scientists Pitch Elaborate North Sea Dam as ‘Least Bad Option’

Renewable Energy

Pandemic Response Should Mobilize Around Low-Carbon Solutions

With the coronavirus pandemic devastating the global economy and pushing world oil prices over a cliff, the federal government has two potential options in dealing with the oil and gas industry. It can give in to the predictable lobbying from fossil fuel interests, or it can use the virtual shutdown of the economy for industry mobilization. A post for Policy Options by Mitchell Beer

U.S. Economic Stimulus Package Dumps $3-Billion Oil Buy But Rebuffs Renewables

A push to include solar and wind energy tax credits in the United States’ US$2-trillion emergency stimulus package to address the coronavirus pandemic stalled out this week, after Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to including the relief measures in the bill.

European Oil Major Cuts Costs, Protects Renewables, as Stranded Fossil Assets Begin Looking ‘Inevitable’

Like most of their counterparts around the world, colossal fossils in Europe are slashing spending in response to an oil price crash triggered by the pandemic and a pitched price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. But so far, at least, three of the biggest and one in particular seem to be protecting their renewable energy businesses from the economic carnage, Greentech Media reports.

Solar Workers May Be Declared Essential in Age of Social Distancing

Februrary Sets Record for New Rooftop Solar in Australia

Grid Connections, Land Use Stall Massachusetts Solar

Delaware Tries De-Damming to Boost Fish Migration

China’s Three Gorges Corporation Starts Work on 2.2 GW of Offshore Wind

Coal-Dependent South Korea Adopts 2050 Carbon-Neutral Target, Sets Deadlines for Green New Deal

In a major shift, South Korea’s governing party has pledged to adopt a Green New Deal and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with a recently-introduced plan that includes a carbon tax, a phaseout of financing for domestic and overseas coal projects, and accelerated support for renewable energy.

IEA Chief Sees ‘Historic Opportunity’ for Climate Action Through Economic Stimulus

The coronavirus pandemic presents a momentous opportunity for governments and financial leaders to build climate action into the economic stimulus packages they introduce to stabilize their faltering economies, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said last week.

France’s Floating Wind Turbine Hits Production Record in February

Nova Scotia Plans $110-Million Refurbishment for Wreck Cove Hydro Plant

Repowering Boosts Output, Even from New Solar Farms

Renewables Push in Sub-Saharan Africa Begins with Kenya, South Africa

Commissioner Scorches Newfoundland’s ‘Blind Trust’ in Troubled Muskrat Falls Megaproject

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is calling in the police and the provincial justice department, following the release of a scathing report last week that found a previous provincial government failed to protect residents’ interests during construction of the 824-megawatt, C$12.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydro megaproject.

Local Groups Partner with Siemens Ireland for 300-MW, All-Renewable Microgrid

Massive Solar+Storage Project Comes to New South Wales

Australia Renewables Projects Face Seven-Year Delay

Oil War and COVID-19 Create Risk, Opportunity for Clean Energy

The end-to-end news coverage of the coronavirus emergency is producing a secondary wave of commentary and analysis on whether the global pandemic will derail the transition to fossil to renewable energy. The verdict so far: It depends.

EU Praises North Macedonia’s Shift from Coal to Solar

Wind Delivers 40.2% of Oklahoma’s Power in 2019 (Inhofe’s Hot Air Not Included)

Flexible Solar ‘Skin’ Could Power Cars, Small Devices Within Two Years

California Home Heat Pump Company Gears Up

Local Groups Partner with Siemens Ireland for 300-MW, All-Renewable Microgrid

Carbon emissions from a coal plant in Germany

Electricity Generation Cuts Emissions 2% in 2019, But Faster Coal Phaseout Needed

Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation fell 2% last year, the biggest annual drop since at least 1990, driven by reduced coal use in the European Union and the United States, according to a report released Monday by climate think tank Ember.

coronavirus COVID-19

Climate Action Can Deliver Economic Stimulus After Coronavirus Crash: Abreu

With the rapid spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) driving an economic slowdown and triggering a steep drop in global oil prices, national governments are considering their options for economic stimulus—prompting analysts and advocates to wonder whether a new package of government incentives and subsidies will undercut carbon reduction goals or reinforce them.

Quebec to Double Climate Spending Through 2026, But Details Still to Follow

The Quebec government released a budget yesterday that doubles spending on climate change to C$6.2 billion over six years, beginning in 2021, using surplus power from provincial utility Hydro-Québec to drive a 37.5% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2030. But details of the plan are still months away, and two major environmental groups say it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

Alberta Turns Abandoned Oil Wells into Solar Farms

Global Wind Turbine Orders Approach 100 GW in 2019

Asia Races Past Europe to Lead Offshore Wind Investment in 2019

Ukraine Climate Groups Demand Rapid Shift to Renewables

Buckley: Delayed Shift Out of Fossil Fuels Could Leave $20 Trillion in Stranded Assets

Investors and financiers will find themselves confronted with up to US$20 trillion in stranded fossil energy assets by 2050 unless they embrace the shift to clean energy, warns Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), in a recent summary of a podcast he recorded last month.

Torrie: Mass, Deep Energy Retrofits Put Net-Zero Emissions Within Reach

A program of mass, deep energy retrofits to dramatically increase the efficiency of Ottawa’s existing building stock must be at the centre of the city’s plan to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, veteran energy modeller Ralph Torrie told a packed house at Ottawa’s Impact Hub late last month.

Australia Working Toward Net Zero Despite Federal Stonewalling

Continued attempts by Scott Morrison’s government to downplay the climate crisis and obstruct solutions in Australia are proving to be increasingly out of step with public opinion, as state and local governments—as well as business interests, environmentalists, and ordinary people—fight to decarbonize the country by 2050. 

Virginia Legislation Enshrines 100% RE Target, Limits Utility Charges for Early Fossil Closures

The latest session of the Virginia state legislature ended with a flurry of activity on renewable energy, climate change, and grid renewal, including a 100% renewable energy target, one of the most ambitious energy storage targets in the United States, a carbon cap-and-trade program compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and a bill aimed at putting ratepayers first as mammoth utility Dominion Energy moves to shut down high-emitting coal- and gas-fired power plants.

Winfield: Energy Conservation Must Take Centre Stage in Ontario

Devon, UK Connects First Subsidy-Free Community Solar to Grid

Study Points to Sustainable Wood Bio-Refinery for Low-Carbon Chemicals

Cleveland Retirees Spread Solar to Churches, Other Non-Profits

Iowa Would Give Renters More Info on Apartment Energy Bills

Wind Turbines Power Remote Inland Mine in Australia

Researchers Look at ‘Social Tipping Dynamics’ for Climate Stability

Time to Cut Fossils’ ‘Corporate Welfare’, Make Economy More Efficient, Author Argues

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies is a policy measure that could create some common ground between climate campaigners and libertarian free market advocates, self-styled independent journalist and public historian Taylor Noakes writes in a new opinion piece for CBC that had generated more than 3,700 comments as of Thursday evening.

10-Month Deadline Makes Netherlands a ‘Test Case’ for Rapid Decarbonization

The Netherlands has become a reluctant test case for how quickly a government can cut its carbon emissions when it’s required to, after the supreme court ruled late last year that the country must cut its greenhouse gas emissions 25% below 1990 levels by the end of 2020. 

Scandinavia Looks to Solar in ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’

Northern regions as far as the Arctic Circle are increasingly turning to the power of the midnight sun to keep their communities humming, feeding hopes that carbon neutrality by 2035 may be within reach.

Regulator Pushes Michigan Utility to Speed Up Efficiency, Renewables

Federal Regulator Undercuts New York’s Renewables, Storage Plans

Scientists Probe Emissions from Biomass, Peat Burning

Drawdown’s Latest ‘Tools of Possibility’ Show Path to 1.5°C, with 1,570 Billion Tons of Emission Cuts by 2050

Humanity can prevent or draw down 1,570 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2020 and 2050 to approach a 1.5°C threshold for average global warming, or 992.77 billion tons to settle around 2.0°C, by adopting a menu of 82 practical solutions ranging from onshore wind to utility-scale solar, from reduced food waste and plant-rich diets to tropical forest restoration and clean cookstoves, according to the 2020 update of the popular Drawdown list.

Michigan Utility Becomes First in U.S. to Declare 2040 Net-Zero Goal

Michigan’s Consumers Energy has become the first United States power utility to set a 2040 deadline for bringing its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero.

New U.S. Energy Legislation Backs Solar, Wind and Storage, Misses Out on Efficiency, Pushes Fracked Gas Exports

A massive, bipartisan energy bill could come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate as soon as this week, with billions of dollars directed to solar, wind, and storage, but no explicit climate targets, major gaps on energy efficiency, no tax credits for electric vehicles or renewables, and continuing support for fossil fuels.