Welcome to the first of what were some of the hottest, most interesting stories related to cleantech, and climate policy. This column will appear at the end of the week.

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Image Credit via Pixabay. Under Public Domain Via Creative Commons

France this week announced they were banning the sale of combustible engine vehicles by 2040. Germany and had followed suit last year, banning sales of gas and diesel cars by 2030, and, while Norway is targeting for zero emission cars by 2025. No word if Canada or the United States plan to do likewise anytime soon, and its very unlikely this will occur. However, anything is possible given a study last year points to 2025 were all vehicles sold will be electric, and this year seems its electric vehicle’s (EV’s) watershed moment, with all these news stories that keep occurring.

Tesla announced this week it’s building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery storage facility. According to TechCrunch.com, the plant will be completed by December 2017 at Australia’s Hornsdale Wind farm. Tesla Commercial battery storage PowerPack will store total capacity of 100 MW/129 MWh, while capture the wind power during high points of the day and use when necessary. Tesla revealed its PowerWall for residential consumers, and PowerPack for commercial users, to revolutionize the battery storage market, which is critical for resolving intermittency problems with the wind and solar power.

Minnesota gave its blessing to Xcel Energy for the largest expansion of wind energy in the north US MidWest. According to Electric, Lights & Power, Xcel plans to build a total of 1,550 MW of new wind farms across North, South Dakota, and Minnesota by 2020. Xcel will own 1,150 MW, while the remaining 400 MW will be bought by Xcel, thanks to long-term Power Purchasing Agreements (PPA).  When completed in three years, the 1550 MW of wind power will provide 800,000 homes with a clean energy source. Currently, Minnesota ranks sixth overall in the US installed wind capacity with 3,499 MW, while North Dakota has 2,846 MW, and, South Dakota with 977 MW, according to American Wind Energy Association.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared on Thursday his city has more at stake than any other city in the world when it comes to climate change. Climate Progress notes the mayor released a climate policy plan which targets eliminating its cities carbon emissions in half by 2030. Twelve years ago, category three storm Hurricane Katrina pounded New Orleans and cost insurance $41.7 billion USD. The storm also kickstarted a serious discussion between extreme weather events and climate change in North America.

And finally, in the cute story of the week, China Merchants New Energy Group decided to uniquely design their latest solar farm in Datong China, to look like a panda. Business Insider said the cleantech firm plans to build more panda style solar farms, like the 248-acre one just built.

What did you think was the biggest or unique story in the cleantech world? was there anything missing from this list. Feel free to reach out. Follow us on Twitter at @salayservices, or by email at salayconsulting@gmail.com