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This week In #CleanTech September 10, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of September 10, 2017.

China and the United Kingdom (U.K.) announced this week they are collaborating on five next generation off shore renewable energy technologies (ORE).

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Offshore Wind Turbine via Pixabay by andreas160578. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons.

According to CNBC.com, both countries will work on five projects over three years which will focus on the challenges of developing ORE systems related to wind, tide, wave, and offshore energy.

Funded jointly by the U.K.-China Offshore Renewable Energy Program,  the partnership will also look at the social and economic benefits of ORE projects, including the possibilities for coastal communities of providing steady, clean power, CNBC notes.

“This £4 million investment will support collaborative research into the next generation of offshore technologies with one of our largest global trading partners, unlocking further opportunities for projects across the U.K. and the rest of the world,” said Richard Harrington, the United Kingdom’s Minister of Energy.

By announcing a collaboration with the U.K., shows China’s furthering strength of not only as a clean tech leader but also firming itself as a world political powerhouse. China leads in wind and solar installations and has committed to at least $360 billion in cleantech investments by 2020.

China also gains further a partner in developing its offshore renewable energy potential by teaming up with a country with offshore experience of the United Kingdom. The U.K. ranks as a leader in offshore wind power as they are an island country utilizes its offshore wind power. The U.K. accounts for just below 36% of all global offshore wind energy capacity, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Meanwhile, the UK also gains from China’s advanced knowledge of how to scale renewable energy projects, with its solar and wind power industries.

And in a week of collaboration announcements continues. Germany will be helping India with the integration of renewable power on the grid.

According to CleanTechnica.com, the European and Asian giants will work together under the Indo-German Energy Programme — Green Energy Corrido. GIZ, a German development organization, will help provide technical advice to regulators and agencies in India on fusing renewable energy into its current grid infrastructure.

It’s hoped the project will have by 2022 175GW of renewable energy capacity tied to the grid. Grid integration of renewable electricity has already become a challenge within the country. CleanTechnica.com notes developers of direct solar and wind power decrease generation when there is not sufficient transmission capacity on the grid. Direct revenue losses to project developers occur when this happens. India is going big on renewables including on solar, as they look to curb carbon emissions. CleanTechnica.com said India plans to install 100GW by 2022.

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 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 August 13, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of August 13, 2017.

The home Disney World this week became the 40th US city in going towards 100% renewable energy. According to EcoWatch.com, Orlando, Florida city commission approved unanimously in supporting a move to all renewables by 2050. It’s now officially the largest city in Florida to pass such a resolution.

The First 50 Coalition, a broad-based group of progressive organizations led by the League of Women’s Voters in Orange County worked hard in making central Florida more sustainable were celebrating the vote.

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Image Credit: Disney World by BBarth via Pixabay. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons

“This is a first, important step, and we plan to continue to support and encourage the City to follow with concrete measures that solidify this commitment,” said League of Women’s Voters co-president Carol Davis to EcoWatch.com.

US cities are ramping up their obligations in going towards 100% renewables by 2050. Already 118 mayors are committed to this goal as cities are looking to meet the Paris Agreement, despite US President Donald Trump announcing earlier this summer the US will leave the accord.

US wind energy capacity increased by 8.2 GW in 2016, according to a new report from the US Department of Energy. Overall capacity advanced by 11% to 81.31GW from 2015 as companies invested $13 USD billion was invested into US wind energy. The wind producer tax credit along with other key policies were key drivers in moving US wind energy markets forward, the US DOE noted. Texas installed the most wind power in 2016 with 2.611 GW and leads the nation in cumulative capacity with over 20GW.

“The wind industry continues to install significant amounts of new capacity, and supplied about 6 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2016,” said US DOE acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy Daniel Simmons on Climate Progress regarding the growth of US wind electricity as its slowly becoming more plentiful on the grid.

Despite the gains, US wind energy is far behind China which leads with 168.69GW. China is going big on renewables including promising to invest $361 USD billion by 2020 into renewables as they look to fulfill their duties with the Paris agreement.

Don’t worry. The US is still way ahead of Canada. Currently, Canadian wind energy has a total capacity of 11.9GW. Ontario leads the way in Canadian wind capacity with 4.78GW, followed by Quebec with 3.5 GW.

With more US cities going committing to 100% Renewable energy by 2050, how should Canadian cities reach this goal, specifically Winnipeg? Drop a line at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

Analysis: REthinking 2017 Accelerating the Global Energy Transformation

Reports are key indicators of where modern trends are going. That’s especially true with developing industries like renewable energy. Report after report have only confirmed renewable energy is shaking up traditional energy markets.

The International Renewable Energy Association’s (IRENA) REthinking Energy: Accelerating the Global Energy Transformation confirms these trends. IRENA recently released their findings in energy and policy development.

According to the report, global solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity reached 219 gigawatts (GW) in 2015, more than five times the capacity in 2010 (40 GW). This trend is expected to continue with new global PV capacity in 2017 supposed to reach 79 GW, according to an IHS technology report. By 2030, solar PV capacity could account for 7% of total global power generation.

What’s been helpful for solar energies rise to the top has been sharp declines in prices. In many countries, solar prices have reached new lows, according to IRENA. Solar energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in many nations. Solar PV prices have fallen by 80% since 2009, said IRENA.

Wind power is also strong. Currently according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), global capacity reached 432.33 GW in 2015, 63.48 GW more than from in 2014.

IRENA said wind turbines prices have fallen by one-third since 2009. Even without government support, onshore wind farms are cost competitive or less than gas-fired power plants, oil, or coal, according to IRENA.

Falling prices in both wind and solar have not only increased capacity but investment, as these two technologies captured a whopping 90% of 2015 global renewable energy investments.

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Photo Credit via Pixabay by Steppinstars. Under Public Domain by the Creative Commons.

While the wind and solar power’s growing energy prowess is necessary, battery storage units, which can store both these technologies when needed during non-peak periods will play a critical role going forward. By 2020, IRENA expects this growing market to reach USD $14 billion, up from USD $2.2 billion in 2015. Falling lithium-ion battery costs, along with Tesla’s Powerwall are giving glimpses of its potential. By 2030, IRENA projects battery storage for electricity could reach 250 GW, nearly 250 times more than currently.

Policy-wise, the move towards cleaner sources of energy is helping move nations in the right direction. Currently, 170 countries have created renewable energy targets, while 150 have a policy in place to boost renewable energy investments, IRENA said.

This strong support by countries overwhelmingly to transition to renewable energy has seen strong global investments this century. In 2004, this figure was USD $50 billion. In 2015, renewable energy investment reached a record USD $348 billion.

Emerging market countries including China and India have been serious players. China recently has said they are committed to spending USD $361 billion through 2020 on renewables. Meanwhile, accounting firm Ernst & Young’s 2016 report pointed to developing nations including Egypt, Mexico, and Chile are becoming hotspots for renewable energy investors compared to European markets.

There will be challenges, including the new US administration lead by Donald Trump who has vowed cut backs in renewable energy investments and may pull out of the Paris climate accord.

However, countries, including China are promising to pick up the slack and pull away in the cleantech race.

IRENA’s analysis of the cleantech market proves renewable energy on the global level, will only become more competitive and transform energy markets.

To read IRENA’s full report, view here.

 

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