China, Lyft, HSBC, Hydrogen-from-solar, power cost blame game

Bloomberg: China’s Car Revolution Is Going Global
April 23, 2018 from Bloomberg Hyperdrive

What seemed like just another launch of a new vehicle was actually something more: the coming-out party for China’s globally ambitious auto industry. For the first time, a Chinese-branded car will be made in Western Europe for sale there, with the ultimate goal of landing in U.S. showrooms.

We’ve seen this movie before from China—in the smartphone industry. The nation used the shift in technology from basic flip phones to hand-sized computers to dominate the manufacturing industry…last year, three of the top five smartphone handset makers in the world were Chinese
»» Read more at Bloomberg

7minutesolar: China already leads the world in electric vehicle sales (by a long shot), leads in electric bus usage (by a ginormous shot)  and is going to lead – literally and figuratively – the world in electric vehicles. It will be akin to the U.S. auto explosion of the early part of the 20th century.


Triple Pundit: people, planet, profit: HSBC the Latest Bank to Announce End to Fossil Fuel Investments

According to several recent news reports, global banking giant HSBC has announced it would no longer fund fossil fuel projects, including Arctic drilling, tar sands development, the construction of new coal plants, and hydroelectric projects that are not consistent with guidelines set by the World Commission on Dams.

“Our updated energy policy reflects HSBC’s ambition to help our customers make the transition to a low-carbon economy in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Daniel Klier, Group Head of Strategy and Global Head of Sustainable Finance, HSBC in a public statement. “We recognize the need to reduce emissions rapidly to achieve the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperatures rises to well below 2°C and our responsibility to support the communities in which we operate.
»» Read more at Triple Pundit

7minutesolar: HSBC joins some other financial institutions in stating that they will stop investing in planet-unfriendly ventures. The World Bank announced it would end $60B in fossil fuel investment, insurance giant Generali made a commitment to taking £2B out of coal and putting £3.5B into green energy along with other insurance companies pulling $20B out of coal investment. But on closer inspection some of it seems to be PR more than anything else. But investors incrwasingly want to do something good, and also want to avoid lawsuits and other potential liabilities, so things are moving in the right direction.


GreenBiz: Lyft is buying carbon offsets to cover all of its rides
April 19, 2018 by Katie Fehrenbacher

San Francisco-based Lyft announced today that it’s investing seriously in buying carbon offsets, a move that it said will make every ride in a Lyft vehicle “carbon neutral.”

The initiative builds on a broader commitment that the company made in July, when it pledged to adopt measures that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions related to the transportation sector by at least 5 million tons per year by 2025. As part of that promise, Lyft has set a goal of providing ‘at least 1 billion rides per year using electric autonomous vehicles.’
»» Read more at GreenBiz

7minutesolar: What’s not to like about this? Lyft doesn’t own the cars, so this is a way to at least move to reduce fossil fuel exhaust. From a marketing perspective it gives Lyft an advantage over Uber and others – especially with the critically important millennials crowd – and it increases general awareness of the problems of FF vehicles. It’s another step in the kind of progress being made by RE100 in getting corporations like Google, Microsoft, AB InBev and others to see the business sense in being energy responsible.


New Atlas: Stable and scalable photo-electrode “strongest candidate yet” for renewable hydrogen generation
April 30, 2018 by 

Using the power of the sun to split water and produce hydrogen fuel is one of the most promising clean energy technologies being pursued. One of the biggest hurdles holding it back has been uncovering an efficient and stable semiconductor material for use in the water-splitting process, but that’s just what a team from the University of Exeter now claims to have created.
»» Read more at New Atlas

7minutesolar: This is something that a lot of people have been working on for a lot of time. Here are the Google results for ‘problems of spitting water for hydrogen‘. There are items going back to 2012 about promising technologies from MIT, Stanford, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel and others. This search seems to be similar to the efforts to develop the perfect battery. Using the sun to split water for an endless supply of clean energy probably WILL happen. Maybe, hopefully, this advance is the one that leads to an economically viable process. Or maybe this is another giant’s shoulders for someone else to stand on.


Forbes:
If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?

April 23, 2018 by Michael Shellenberger
No, Wind And Solar Do Not Inherently Increase Electricity Prices
April 30, 2018 by Joshua Rhodes 

Shellenberger:

Over the last year, the media have published story after story after story about the declining price of solar panels and wind turbines. People who read these stories are understandably left with the impression that the more solar and wind energy we produce, the lower electricity prices will become.

And yet that’s not what’s happening. In fact, it’s the opposite. Between 2009 and 2017, the price of solar panels per watt declined by 75 percent while the price of wind turbines per watt declined by 50 percent.

 And yet — during the same period — the price of electricity in places that deployed significant quantities of renewables increased dramatically.
Over to you, Rhodes:

While Shellenberger raises some good points, the real story, like the grid itself, is more complicated. The grid has many moving parts, so claiming cause and effect between any two is likely problematic. The claim that wind and solar alone have driven up the cost of electricity is just too simplistic.

As for Shellenberger’s claim that the intermittency of solar and wind introduce variability into the grid, while true, has not been shown to result in higher prices. 
7minutesolar: We’re staying out of this one! But debate is always good. You be the judge.
»» Read Michael Shellenberger’s piece
»» Read Joshua Rhodes’ counter argument
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