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This week In #CleanTech August 20, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of August 20, 2017.

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Australia Flag via Pixabay By becca282bl. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons

Australia is getting a big boost in its wind energy capacity. According to Fortune, General Electric (GE) announced they would add a total of 123 turbines at a wind farm, 250 km north-west of Brisbane Australia. Currently, the plant has a capacity of 453MW. It will be the largest addition to Australia’s wind capacity, increasing it by 10%.

Fortune notes the project would potentially provide clean power for 260,000 homes, and slash carbon emissions by 1.18 million tonnes yearly.

It’s good news for Australia, who is gaining traction in renewable energy capacity. Australia has over 5.5GW in total solar capacity, according to the Australia Energy Council, while there has been 4.3GW of wind energy installed, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Australia is far behind other countries, including China, US, and Germany on wind power.

Austin, Texas raised the bar this week when it comes to being powered by clean power. City council approved a plan where city utility Austin Energy must have 65% of its power come from renewables by 2027, according to The Austin Monitor. Currently, Austin Energy was on track to reach its previous goal of 55% renewables by 2025. Approximately 32% of Austin’s energy is coming from clean energy sources.

There was a debate on what the updated goal should be, as some within the community wanted to have the city reach a 75% target by 2027.

However, after concerns were brought up a more ambitious goal in the short run would execute the risk of the city losing its utility in the future as many Republican state senators would like Austin energy privatized.

Austin, Texas, is one of the more liberal cities in Texas and is well-known for its South By South West festival, which discusses the hottest issues in technology, music, and culture.

Austin’s plan to increase its renewable energy sources is a very good move and showcases its tradition of being a progressive city, yet faces the challenges of being hamstrung by a state government who does not necessarily share its values.

And finally, check out my review of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, where I go over the Al Gore’s sequel to the 2006 ground breaking documentary on climate change. I also review why the sequel has not reached the box office heights of its predecessor, thanks to a changing platform landscape.

Have a question on cleantech or climate policy? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

This week In #CleanTech July 23, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of July 23, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by lukabieri. Under Public Domain via Credit Commons

General Electric’s (GE) renewable energy section saw a strong profit jump in the first half of 2017. According to reNEWS, GE’s cleantech division showed a gain of $267US billion, up from $211US billion (27%) for the first six months of 2016. A big wind turbine order for Invenergy’s Texas wind farm and collaboration with Fortum’s digital hydro plant in Sweden provided underlying support for GE, reNEWS noted. Overall, GE renewable energy business earned $4.5US billion, another big jump compared to the first half of 2016 ($3.8US billion). GE’s investments in renewable energy were perhaps one of the few highlights for the multinational company, whose revenue was 2% for the first half of 2017, compared to the first six months of 2016. GE Jeffrey Immelt in recent years have been adamant on the need for going big on renewable energy investment, as he sees it as a key growth sector. He even urged US president Donald Trump to stay in the Paris climate accord. Too bad, Trump did not see it that way. Moving forward in the second half of 2017, it will be interesting how not only GE’s overall financial performance is but their cleantech section. If GE’s renewable energy continues to grow, while the rest of the company’s margins drop, expect more investors eyes to glaze over GE’s renewable energy portfolio.

In India, Tata Power will infuse $90US million in Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited. CleanTechnica.com said the Indian company would use the financing to support large-scale solar projects totaling 320MW. Currently, Tata Power has 2GW worth in wind and solar energy projects. Although India is one of the highest carbon emitting countries on Earth, they are also becoming an emerging leader in the global renewable energy markets. Earlier this spring, India had passed 12GW of solar installed, more than four times of total capacity in 2014 (2.650GW). Concerns over extreme weather events from a changing climate, reducing energy poverty, while utilizing clean power, are some reasons why India is building on its renewable energy investments in recent years.

Just when you thought 2017 would not be one of the hottest years on record, you could be wrong. According to Scientific American, global temperatures have been 1.64F above the global temperature average (56.3F) this year. If everything continues at this pace, 2017, will be the second hottest year, just behind last year, 2016.

What scientists are stumped is how high the temperature increase is. Scientific American notes in periods after El-Nino, global heat patterns would drop or stay flat. However, temperatures have continued to go up, even without El-Nino. Gavin Schmidt predicts a 57% chance 2017 will be the second warmest year in the planet’s history, only behind 2016.

With increasing temperatures also increases the risks of extreme weather, according to analysts. This year is holding those patterns valid all over the globe. Ontario February thunderstorms, record rainfall in eastern Canada, causing flooding, to British Columbia wildfires are just some of the extreme weather events which have played across Canada this year. Meanwhile, Futurism said 2017 in the US has been one of the wettest and hottest recorded.

Perhaps Climate Progress said it best when “This matters because when a month — or six-month period — see record high global temperatures in the absence of an El Niño, that is a sign the underlying global warming trend is stronger than ever.”

Do you think GE’s Renewable Energy division will continue being a bright spot heading into the last six months? Do you think 2017 will be the second hottest year on the planet?

Drop a line with your thoughts at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

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