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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Quebec will invest massively to cut its oil consumption 40% by 2030 and shift transportation, buildings, and businesses to electricity, Premier François Legault announced Sunday, during his party’s general council meeting in Montreal.

Australia Reports Rising Emissions, Sees Strong Renewables Potential, as Adani Mine Fight Intensifies

The intensity surrounding recent national elections in Australia is rolling over into the post-campaign period, with the country’s greenhouse gas emissions still rising, its potential for renewable energy development still catching attention, the fight over the massive Carmichael coal mine reaching a fever pitch, and its most heavily-populated state feeling the full force of climate-driven drought.

Coal-Powered South Africa Adopts Minimal Carbon Tax

South African industry will be subject to a carbon tax from June 1, after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the policy into law on Sunday.

Leggett: Fossils Could Topple as Suddenly as the Berlin Wall Fell

Though renewable energy investments stalled in 2018 while fossil dollars surged, legendary UK solar entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett believes a combination of public pressure and market forces will soon topple the fossil industry with a speed and conclusiveness comparable to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

KLM Plans Big Biofuel Buy Beginning in 2022

UK on the Verge of Subsidy-Free Wind

Wind Developer Vattenfall Boosts GE’s New 12-Megawatt Offshore Turbine

Portugal Plans 1.35-GW Solar Tender

Tesla On Track to Meet New York State Jobs Target

Energy Efficiency Alberta May Survive UCP Cuts, But Homeowners, Installers Still Face Uncertainty

Alberta’s new United Conservative Party (UCP) government may be stepping away from one of its more rash campaign promises, opting to review each of the 20 programs run by Energy Efficiency Alberta rather than scrapping the entire effort.
But uncertainty over the agency’s future is still leaving homeowners in limbo and could cost the province thousands of jobs.

Global Solar Set to Surge, But Still Falls Short of Paris Targets

The solar industry is expecting a continuing surge in the years ahead, according to two reports released earlier this month, though the rapid growth still falls short of what will be needed to keep average global warming below the minimum international target of 2.0°C.

Energy Revolution Must Give Low-Income Communities Better Access to Affordable Technologies

It isn’t an energy revolution if it doesn’t “provide low-income communities with better access to affordable clean energy technologies”, Yale Environment 360 reports, in a post that points to the nearly one-third of U.S. households that struggle to cover their energy bills.

Utility-Scale Energy Storage Enables Distributed Renewables on the Grid

Critical to enabling a wholesale shift to variable sources of renewable power like solar and wind will be Utility-Scale Energy Storage which, alongside grid flexibility, places #77 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions.

Community Solar in Minnesota Helps Veterans, Families in Need

400 Million Gain Electricity Service, But Countries Fall Behind 2030 Deadline for Universal Access

Although 400 million people around the world have gained access to electricity since 2010, progress is still too slow to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of supplying “affordable, reliable, and modern energy for all” by 2030.

China Boosts Unsubsidized Renewables But Storms Ahead with Coal Production, Air Pollution

While China is surging ahead with more than 20 billion watts of unsubsidized renewable energy, the country is also seeing alarming increases in coal consumption, coal-driven air pollution, and emissions of an ozone-destroying chemical that was banned in 2012.

GAF Energy Claims Faster Installation Rate by Merging Roofing, Home Solar

With “hundreds” of installations in the last year, solar roofer GAF Energy and its parent company, global roofing manufacturer Standard Industries, claim they’re getting their product to market faster than Tesla Energy, just months after they announced their entry into the U.S. market.

Perennial Bioenergy Crops Would Save 3.33 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Increased cultivation of perennial bioenergy crops ranks #51 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 3.33 gigatons by 2050 at a net cost of US$77.9 billion, but net savings of $542 billion.

Decades of Preparation Reduced Losses in Montecito Wildfire

Legault Touts Quebec as ‘Battery of North America’

7-MW Solar Buy Boosts Resilience for Texas Distribution Co-ops

Clean Energy Jobs Growing 60% Faster than National Average, Study Shows

Clean energy employs nearly 300,000 Canadians from coast to coast, and the sector’s job count was growing 60% faster than the Canadian average in 2017, according to a 10-province survey conducted by Navius Research and released today by Clean Energy Canada.

India Set to Exceed Paris Target, Install 80 GW of New Renewables in Five Years

India is on track to boost non-fossil energy to 45% of its electricity generation by 2022, well beyond its Paris Agreement commitment of 40%, according to a new assessment by the Moody’s credit rating agency.

Women in U.S. Solar Earn Only 74¢ on the Dollar

Spurred by new annual statistics that show women in the U.S. solar industry earning 74¢ on the dollar compared to men, and the sector’s executive teams clocking in at 88% white and 80% male, the Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have released a best practices manual and launched a social media challenge.

Electrified Rail Would Save 500 Megatons of Carbon by 2050

Electrified rail places #74 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 500 megatons by 2050. While expanding rail lines around the world from 166,000 to 621,000 miles (267,150 to about one million kilometres) would cost US$809 billion, 30 years of use would see $314 billion saved, with a further $770 billion in savings over the life of the infrastructure.

Vertical Axis Turbines Could Re-Emerge for Floating Platforms

Trump Organization Must Hit Building Retrofit Deadline or Face Millions in New York City Fines

Donald Trump’s refusal to confront the climate crisis will soon prove costly to his stumbling business empire, with a number of his New York City properties in line to be heavily fined if they are not rapidly retrofitted to reduce their currently sky-high level of emissions.

Montreal Mayor Promises New Climate Action But Critics Call for More

Montreal’s city administration is vowing to get tougher on fossil-fueled heating and fossil company divestment, but its climate plan has already led to the defection of one borough mayor who plans to advocate for faster, deeper carbon cuts as a private citizen.

Vietnam Aims to Boost Non-Hydro Renewables, Avert Climate Impacts That Would ‘Destroy 30 Million Livelihoods’

With hydroelectric resources maxed out and coal reserves in decline, Vietnam is seeking to mobilize its significant wind and solar potential—and the requisite investment of roughly US$8 billion.

In-Stream Hydro Would Save Four Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

In-stream hydro ranks #48 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 4.0 gigatons by 2050, at a net cost of US$202.5 billion but with net savings of $568.4 billion.

Inslee Calls for $9-Trillion Green Jobs Investment, Transition for Fossil Workers

China Still the World’s Best Renewables Market After Subsidy Cuts

Lake Erie Wind Project Agrees to High-Tech Bird, Bat Monitoring

Medicine Hat Shutters Expensive Solar Thermal Plant

IEA Places Canada’s Gas-Guzzling Vehicles Dead Last in Fuel Efficiency

Canada comes in dead last in the International Energy Agency’s latest ranking of average fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre travelled, University of Calgary economist Blake Shaffer reports in a commentary for Global News.

Albertans Anxious About Future of Solar, Energy Efficiency Rebates

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s plan to cancel his province’s carbon tax has produced anxiety about the future of the solar and energy efficiency rebates introduced by the previous Rachel Notley government.

Low-Carbon Investment Must Grow 250% by 2030 to Hit Paris Targets: IEA

Low-carbon energy investment must increase 250% by 2030 if countries are to meet their targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the International Energy Agency warned this week.

Pressure Mounts for Emission Cuts, Speed Reductions in International Shipping

With a key International Maritime Organization (IMO) committee meeting in London this week to address pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on the high seas, environmental groups are warning that the UN agency is off-course in the effort to align the industry with a 1.5°C world.

European Development Bank Commits $100 Million to Turkish Solar

Iraq Issues 755-MW Solar Tender

Edmonton Prepares Backup Plan if UCP Cuts Energy Efficiency Funds

Fluorescent Microalgae Could Hold the Key to Super-Efficient Solar Cells

Biosolar Leaf Targets London, UK Air Pollution

Report Lays Out $68-Billion Opportunity for U.S. Offshore Wind Suppliers

A flurry of state-level commitments to offshore wind in the United States adds up to US$68.2-billion in contracts to build 18.6 gigawatts of new capacity through 2030—but only if investors can see the opportunities shaping up, according to a University of Delaware report last month that aimed to provide a “first-of-its-kind singularity” into the supply chains that will drive the industry.

U.S. Solar Celebrates Two Millionth Installation, Predicts Market Dominance in 2020s

U.S. solar is laying claim to having “reshaped the energy conversation” and aiming to “dominate in the 2020s”, after the latest data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables showed the industry exceeding two million installations earlier in 2019, a year later than analysts originally predicted.

Tasmania Closes In on 100% RE as Australian Renewables Undercut Coal, Gas on Price

The state of Tasmania is on track to become the first in Australia to be powered 100% by renewable energy, just as an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) declares new wind and solar with battery storage less expensive than coal- and gas-fired generating stations.

Green Leasing, PACE Financing Transform 1960s Commercial Building in Cleveland

A non-descript office building in Cleveland is about to complete a big leap in operating efficiency, becoming the community’s first to finance a major energy retrofit through Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE).

B.C. Offers Bigger Energy Efficiency Incentives for Homes, Businesses

U Calgary Researcher Turns GHGs Into Carbon Microfibre

Geothermal Set to Support Farm Operations in Kenya

Cambodia Needs More Solar to Counter Problems with Hydro

IEA Flags ‘Deeply Worrying’ Stagnation in Renewable Energy Growth

The International Energy Agency is raising the alarm over 2018 statistics that show annual growth in renewable energy deployments stagnating for the first time since the turn of the century.

Bosch Plans Major Offsets Purchase to Achieve Carbon-Neutral Operations by 2020

The world’s largest automotive supplier, Germany’s Bosch, has declared its intention to be carbon neutral by 2020, thanks to increased energy efficiency, more green power, and substantial offsets.

Exxon Pitches $100 Million Over 10 Years for Biofuels, CCS Research

China Invests in South America’s Biggest Solar Farm

Saskatchewan Issues 10-MW Solar Tender

Solar, Wind Displace 35 Times as Much CO2 Per Year as CCS Has Ever Sequestered

Solar and wind energy displace roughly 35 times as much carbon dioxide each year as carbon capture and storage (CCS) has sequestered in its entire history, DeSmog Blog reports, citing a new analysis by CleanTechnica.

U.S. Solar Tax Credit Extension Would Help Communities Facing Coal Phaseout

There’s an unexpected good reason for the U.S. government to extend its solar energy tax credit through 2024, according to a new briefing note by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis: It’s an essential support for coal communities making the transition to cleaner, less expensive, low-carbon energy.

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Mini-Grids+Solar Promise Reliable Power, Community Income for World’s Poorest Countries

With mini-grid technology that allows peer-to-peer solar energy trading well in hand, the next step for poor countries like Bangladesh is to allow individual solar home systems (SHS) to connect to the public grid, a move that would boost energy equity and overall grid stability while enabling joint public-private energy planning, inclusive business consultancy Enleva states in a recent blog post.

Idaho Republican Acknowledges Climate Change, Considers Dam Removals to Save Endangered Salmon

A U.S. Congress member from deep-Republican-red Idaho is acknowledging climate change and stressing the need for action, as part of an all-out effort to save his state’s critically endangered salmon population.

Solar to Power Humanitarian Hub in South Sudan

Renewables Investors Breathe Easier After Spanish Election Result

World Bank Pushes for Cleaner Renewables Supply Chains

Buffett-Owned Utility Proposes to Replace Coal with Renewables+Storage

National Bank Looks Outside Canada for Renewable Energy Investments

Canada’s sixth-biggest bank has to look abroad for projects to meet its renewable energy investment targets, its CEO revealed during the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting late last month.

U.S. Monthly Renewables Output Set to Outpace Coal for First Time

Brick Towers Could Offer New Energy Storage Solution

Spanish Socialists Coast to Election Win with ‘Sweeping’ Ecological Transition Program

Spaniards threw their weight behind a Green New Deal program Sunday, after re-electing the pro-climate Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE).

Energy Efficiency Employs 436,000 Canadians, More Than Twice the Total in Oil and Gas

Canada’s energy efficiency sector accounted for more than twice as many jobs as oil and gas in 2018, with 436,000 permanent positions, and is on track to create about three times as many new positions as fossils are at risk of losing in 2019, according to data released this week by Calgary-based ECO Canada.

Solar+Storage Dominates Natural Gas Across Most U.S. Grid Areas

Solar+storage is beginning to undercut natural gas “peaker” plants in Arizona on price, and is now in a position to supply more affordable peak-hours electricity in every part of the United States, 8minuteenergy Renewables CEO Tom Buttgenbach asserted in a recent post by PV Magazine.

Wind Developer Invenergy Emerges as Energy Storage Leader

Wood Mackenzie Sees 124 GW of New Solar in Europe by 2024

Koch-Backed Blog Supports Trump’s False Attacks on Wind

Developer Cancels Wind Project on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Cocoa Pod Husks Emerge as Bioenergy Feedstock

Town Evacuates Ahead of Possible Dam Failure as West Quebec Floodwaters Surge

With the decommissioned Chute-Bell/Bell Falls hydro dam west of Montreal holding back “millennial” water levels and the downstream town of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge evacuated against a possible breach, authorities are watching and waiting as provincial utility Hydro-Québec predicts a 30% increase in water flow over several days.

Verizon Sets 2035 Deadline for Carbon-Neutral Operations

The urge to “do the right thing”—and a convincing business case—are driving U.S. telecom giant Verizon to embrace a 2035 deadline to make its operations carbon-neutral, a target that will encompass its energy purchases as well as direct emissions from its operations.

Solar Water Heating Would Save 6.08 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Solar water heating ranks #41 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate 6.08 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 at a net cost of US$3 billion, resulting in net savings of $773.7 million.

Enerkem Raises $76.3 M in New Financing, Draws Suncor as New Investor

$3-Billion Transmission Line to Carry Wind Power from Wyoming to U.S. West

Massachusetts Approves 800-MW Offshore Wind Project

Climate and Environment Emerge as Top Public Concerns Before Canadian, Australian Elections

With federal elections coming up in Canada in October and in Australia in May, opinion polls are identifying climate change—and in Canada, waste reduction, nature conservation, and Indigenous management—as top-tier issues for voters in two of the world’s most stubborn fossil economies.

Nevada, Washington State Declare 100% Clean Energy Targets

Nevada and Washington State have been the latest in a string of U.S. jurisdictions to adopt rapid steps to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

China Relaxes Limits on New Coal Plants, But Analysts See Renewables Boom Continuing

The last few days have seen conflicting analysis of China’s recent decision to allow new coal plant construction in 11 of its provinces, with an initial report on Bloomberg asserting that the country is “far from finished with the most-polluting fossil fuel”, but a follow-up suggesting relatively few developers will take the national government up on its offer.

Coal Plants Failed, Renewables Shone as Epic January Heat Wave Hit Australian Grid

Australia’s mammoth coal plants failed while its wind and rooftop solar installations shone during a major January heat wave in Victoria state, according to a report last week by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Silicone-Based Device Generates Renewable Electricity from Snow

A research team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is working on a device that would generate electricity from snow.

Study Traces Options for Cutting Life Cycle Emissions from Plastic

With carbon pollution from every stage of the plastics life cycle on track to grow four-fold by mid-century, a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change lays out a set of four strategies that, taken to their extreme, could reduce those emissions by up to 93% from what they would otherwise be in 2050.

Shipping Efficiency Would Save 7.9 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Increasing transport ship efficiency places #32 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Efficiency gains of 50% across the sector, at a net cost of US$915.9 billion, could prevent 7.9 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050, while saving the international marine industry US$1 trillion in fuel costs over the life of the vessels.

Gyms, Pools, Amenities Drive Up Energy Use in New Condo Buildings

Community Solar Market Still Hungry After Illinois Allocates 215 MW

Vietnam Explores ‘Huge’ Offshore Wind Potential

EU Parliament Fails to Censure Exxon for Denying Climate Change, Ignoring Summons to Testify

In a ruling that angered activists and academics fighting to hold ExxonMobil to account for its leading role in climate denial, the leaders of the European Parliament have declined to strip the fossil company’s lobbyists of their EU access badges.

New York Passes Landmark Bill to Cut Buildings’ Carbon Emissions, Energy Use

New York City has adopted a plan to reduce carbon pollution from large buildings by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030—roughly a 26% cut from present-day emissions—with an approach that limits the cost to low-income residents and creates local jobs.

Northern Holland Installing World’s Biggest Floating Solar System

A company in The Netherlands has begun work on the world’s largest floating solar installation, a network of 73,500 panels on 15 islands on the Andijk reservoir in northern Holland that will have the ability to track the sun as it crosses the sky.

Friedman: ‘Green Real Deal’ Holds the Key to Beating Trump in 2020

While the Green New Deal’s baked-in principles are laudable, it will be “getting real” and building on the growing bipartisan consensus on the urgent need for green energy that will beat Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. federal election—thereby re-enlisting the U.S. in the fight against climate change, writes New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman.

Booming Community Solar Sector Promises Access for Low-Income Households

Determined to make good on the promise of equity contained in the phrase “community solar,” more than a dozen U.S. states and non-profit developers are working hard to ensure that low-income Americans have fair access to the power of the sun.

India Can Save by Shifting Kerosene Subsidies to Solar

Malaysian Fossil Petronas Jumps Into Solar PV Market

Auto Insurers Can Help Community Solar Spot EV Users

Clean Energy Alliance Foresees Solar Surge in Southeastern U.S. through 2022

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Commercial Buildings Drive 75% Growth in Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing

American commercial builders and retrofitters determined to deliver a lower-carbon product are signing up in droves for long-term financing using the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) mechanism and hammering home cumulative savings of 6.3 billion kWh, the amount of electricity used annually by around 25,000 commercial office buildings.

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Engineered Algae Could Produce 10,000 Barrels Per Day of Biofuel by 2025

The prospect of growing algae to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and produce nearly-carbon neutral diesel, petrochemicals, or bioplastics is moving gradually toward commercialization, with investors directing hundreds of millions of dollars into dozens of start-ups. One of those ventures, backed by genomics pioneer Craig Venter and colossal fossil ExxonMobil, says it’s on track to produce 10,000 barrels of biofuel per day by 2025.

Micro Wind Would Save 200 Megatons of Carbon by 2050

Micro wind places #76 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. If its share of global electricity generation increases to 1%, it could eliminate 0.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide at a cost of $US36.1 billion, against savings of $19.9 billion.

New Projects Would Boost Wisconsin’s Solar Capacity Five-Fold

Ontario Cuts Energy Efficiency, Talks Generalities on Climate in ‘Most Anti-Environment Budget Since Walkerton’

The Doug Ford government in Ontario released a budget last week that allocates job creation incentive funds for clean energy investments but cuts program funding for electricity conservation, even though the province could face electricity shortages as early as 2023.

Apple Pushes Suppliers to Adopt 100% RE Targets

Tech giant Apple has nearly doubled the number of suppliers it has convinced to adopt 100% renewable energy targets, bringing the total to date to 44, the company announced in a release last week.

New Coal Plants in India Collapse from 20 GW in 2015 to 1.2 Last Year

Zambia Sets Record for Cheapest Sub-Saharan Solar

Energy Efficiency Cuts Costs for Low-Income Multi-Family Households

Energy Storage to Become ‘Key Grid Asset’ with 13-Fold Growth Through 2024

The capacity of energy storage systems around the world is set to increase thirteenfold over six years, from 12 gigawatt-hours of installed capacity in 2018 to an astonishing 158 GWh in 2024, according to a new market assessment by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Global Wind Capacity Set to Surge 50% in Five Years As GE Installs 12-Megawatt Test Turbine

Falling technology costs and expanding markets will send global wind capacity soaring by 50% over the next five years, according to an annual report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Canadian Utilities Need 20,500 New Workers by 2022 to Replace Departing Boomers

Canada’s utilities will need at least 20,500 new workers by 2022 to keep power plants and transmission systems in operation, the Electricity Human Resources Council warns in a report issued yesterday.

B.C. Seaplane Company Sets Out to Become World’s First All-Electric Airline

Nanaimo, British Columbia-based Harbour Air is setting out to become the world’s first all-electric airline—not by developing a new fleet for delivery in the mid-2020s, but by taking the 40, mostly single-engine piston and turbine aircraft it already operates and equipping them with electric motors and lithium-ion batteries.

Two New Studies Trace Massive Glacier Loss Linked to Climate Change

North America accounts for more than half of the 369 billion tons of snow and ice the world’s glaciers are losing each year, and the Alps are on track to see two-thirds of their glacier ice melt by 2100, according to two different studies released this week.

Chicago Sets 2040 Deadline for 100% RE

Estonia Refuses Permit for 600-MW Wind Farm, Cites Security Concerns

Investors Back High-Efficiency Perovskite Solar Start-Up

Renewables Make Decarbonization $15 Trillion Cheaper, Promise $160 Trillion in Savings by 2050

The plummeting cost of solar and wind farms, coupled with government policies driving faster electrification, has cut the cost of reaching global climate goals by US$15 trillion in the last year, concludes a report issued this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Indonesia Sees Path to Prosperity in ‘Mainstreaming’ Low-Carbon Development

Indonesia’s planning minister has said the country will choose a low-carbon development pathway after a government report found it could significantly boost the economy.
By 2045, the centenary of Indonesia’s independence, citizens could be as wealthy as those of the Netherlands or Germany today, the report found. But it will need to make careful choices across all sectors of the economy.

Southeast Asia Sees Renewables Development Heating Up

Chinese Wind Company Boosts Transparent Solar

Midwestern Floods Cut Ethanol Supplies, Drive Up Gas Prices

500,000 Pumped Storage Sites Can Add to Energy Storage Boom

Republican Senators, Governor Call Out Trump’s ‘Idiotic’ Wind Turbine Cancer Claim

Iowa’s two Republican senators and its Republican governor are calling out Donald Trump’s latest fulminations on wind turbines after the former reality TV star claimed without evidence that noise from the devices may cause cancer.

Green Roofs Would Save 770 Megatons of Carbon by 2050

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

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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.

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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.

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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