Happy New Year! Our first newsletter of the new decade is here. Read on to learn all about renewable energy industry news in the first month of 2020.

Renewable Energy Industry – What’s Happening?

Canada’s First All-Electric Float Plane

Last month, Harbour Air founder and CEO Greg McDougall completed a five minute test flight of a classic Burrard Beaver floatplane, that had been retrofitted with a new electric motor. He has taken a big step toward realizing his long-time vision of creating the world’s first all-electric airline.1 Congratulations are in order!

IRENA Report Shows Potential of Renewables in Refugee Settlements

On-site renewable energy solutions can cost-effectively supply refugee communities with low-cost, reliable electricity, according to the findings of a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in cooperation with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. There are currently almost 26 million refugees in the world today. Unreliable energy exposes them to additional and associated risks which renewables can serve to overcome.2

Trump Administration to Approve Largest Solar Farm in the U.S.

The United States Department of the Interior is reportedly close to signing off on approving a plan for the largest solar farm in the U.S. 

The farm, which will be located in the Mojave Desert area northeast of Las Vegas and south of the Moapa River Indian Reservation, is part of the Gemini Solar Project. Its mission is to install solar panels that will generate up to 690 megawatts over the 7,100 acres of federal land, which they estimate will create up to 2,000 jobs.3

report in the Los Angeles Times says that the new solar farm would be able to store approximately 380 megawatts of four-hour lithium ion batteries for power when the sun goes down. 

Energy Transformation Can Create More than 40M Jobs in Renewable Energy

 Renewable energy could employ more than 40 million people by 2050 under the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) climate safe energy path, according to a report published by the Agency during its 10th Assembly. The report finds that total energy sector employment can reach 100 million by 2050, up from around 58 million today should the international community utilise its full renewable energy potential.4

Entitled ‘Measuring the socio-economics of transition: Focus on jobs’, the report offers detailed insights on how the energy transition will impact employment at both global and regional levels. The analysis highlights the potential of regional disparities in job creation with job gains in some parts of the world outpacing losses in others. The identification of policies to balance the impact of the transition while maximising the socioeconomic opportunities is noted as key.4

Renewables Beat Fossil Fuels on 137 Days in Greenest Year for UK Energy

Energy produced by the UK’s renewable sector outpaced fossil fuel plants on a record 137 days in 2019 to help the country’s energy system record its greenest year.

The report by the Carbon Brief website found that renewable energy – from wind, solar, hydro and biomass projects – grew by 9% last year and was the UK’s largest electricity source in March, August, September and December.

The rise of renewables helped drive generation from coal and gas plants down by 6% from the year before, and 50% lower from the start of the decade. Meanwhile, the number of coal-free days has accelerated from the first 24-hour period in 2017 to 21 days in 2018 and 83 days last year.5

The Decade Ahead for Residential Solar Storage in California

California, which has long been the nation’s solar energy leader, is now leading the way with residential solar storage. So, what’s on the horizon for the Golden State in the 2020s?6

  • The Home Solar Mandate – The state now requires all new homes to be equipped with solar power. This will translate to about 100,000 new rooftop units each year.
  • The Effects of Climate Change – California is becoming hotter, dryer, and windier; leading to incentives to have emergency backup power. This will drive residential solar storage in the 2020s.
  • Dissatisfaction with the Utility Giants – All three of the state’s utility giants have continued to raise their rates and attempted to undermine solar customers. Public opinion has turned against the utilities. Homeowners are looking to fight back and keep more money in their pockets with an energy storage system.

Microsoft to Erase its Carbon Footprint, Past and Future, in Climate Push

Microsoft Corp set a new ambition among Fortune 500 companies in addressing climate change, pledging to remove as much carbon as it has emitted in its 45-year history.

The focus on clearing carbon from the atmosphere sets Microsoft’s climate goals apart from other corporate pledges which have focused on cutting ongoing emissions or preventing future ones.

“If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that technology built without these principles can do more harm than good,” Chief Executive Satya Nadella said at a media event at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

“We must begin to offset the damaging effects of climate change,” he said, adding if global temperatures continue to rise unabated “the results will be devastating.”7

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References

1Glave, James. (December 2019). Canadian airline makes history with first flight in the world by all-electric floatplane. Retrieved from nationalobserver.com: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/10/news/canadian-airline-makes-history-first-flight-world-all-electric-float-plane

2International Renewable Energy Agency. (December 18 2019). New Report Shows Potential of Renewables as a Reliable Power Source in Refugee Settlements. Retrieved from irena.org: https://irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2019/Dec/New-Report-Shows-Potential-of-Renewables-as-Reliable-Power-Source-for-Refugee-Settlements

3Kelley, Alexandra. (Jan 2, 2020). Trump Administration to Approve Largest Solar Farm in the U.S. Retrieved from thehill.com: https://thehill.com/changing-america/sustainability/energy/476489-the-trump-administration-could-approve-the-largest

4International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). (January 11, 2020). Energy Transformation Can Create More than 40M Jobs in Renewable Energy. Retrieved from irena.org: https://irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2020/Jan/Energy-Transformation-Can-Create-More-than-40m-Jobs-in-Renewable-Energy

5Ambrose, Jillian. (January 7, 2020). Renewables beat fossil fuels on 137 days in greenest year for UK energy. Retrieved from theguardian.com: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/07/renewables-beat-fossil-fuels-greenest-year-uk-energy

6NeoVolta Inc. (January 7, 2020). The Decade Ahead for Residential Solar Storage in California. Retrieved from globenewswire.com: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/01/07/1967185/0/en/The-Decade-Ahead-for-Residential-Solar-Storage-in-California.html

7Nellis, Stephen, & Dastin, Jeffrey. (January 16, 2020). Microsoft to erase its carbon footprint, past and future, in climate push. Retrieved from in.reuters.com: https://in.reuters.com/article/climate-change-microsoft/microsoft-to-erase-its-carbon-footprint-past-and-future-in-climate-push-idINKBN1ZF2EM