Solar up in India, off-grid and on Target stores – Allianz dumps coal

EcoWatch: For First Time Ever, India Adds More Renewable Than Fossil Fuel Capacity

May 3, 2018 by Olivia Rosane

Solar plant - Shakti Sthala - IndiaIndia added more energy capacity from renewable energy sources last year than from conventional sources like coal for the first time, an important breakthrough for a country that struggles with high greenhouse gas emissions and deadly air pollution.

Not only did renewables exceed conventional sources, they exceeded them by more than two times. Between April 2017 and March 2018, the subcontinent added about 11,788 megawatts of renewable energy capacity and only 5,400 megawatts of capacity from fossil fuels or large hydropower projects, Quartz India reported Thursday.

sevenminutesolar: As one of the top three contributors to greenhouse gasses – along with China and the US –  it is extremely important for global carbon reduction that India move away from fossil fuels. In 2016 Indian emissions actually went up by 4%, so this 2017 news is definitely a move in the right direction. It also appears that momentum is building for renewables on the subcontinent. It is building the world’s largest solar park – Shakti Sthala (Energy Centre) – which is scheduled to begin operations by December 2018, it added 4.6 Gigawatts of solar in Q1 of this year and has set a goal of installing 175 gigawatts (GW) of capacity of renewable power (all sources) by 2022. 

IRENA: Off-Grid Renewables Growing Rapidly

May 6, 2018

IRENA- solar microgrids booming
Photo: IRENA: Biswaji Patra

New data from IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) shows that about 115 million people worldwide currently rely on the basic energy services provided by solar lights, while another 25 million obtain a higher level of renewable energy services through solar home systems or connection to a solar mini-grid. In addition to solar power, over 6 million people are currently connected to hydropower mini-grids, while another 300,000 people use biogas power.

Almost all of the growth in the use of off-grid power has occurred in the last five years — largely driven by the increased availability and affordability of small solar devices, such as solar lights and lighting kits.”

7minutesolar: One of the big opportunities to be grabbed as the world electrifies is to avoid making the mistakes of the past. Now countries and areas that have never had electricity don’t need to have large centralized power plants and grids – and the issues that go along with them – to get the electricity they need to improve their lives. In the same way that smartphones have brought the benefits of technology and expanded communications without requiring phone lines to be installed, single dwelling and community solar coupled with microgrids can reduce the dependence on dirty fuel like kerosene used for cooking, heat and light. 115 million is a good start, let’s keep going!

CNBC: Target leads the way as US corporations go solar

April 19, 2018

Corporate solar installation - U.S. 2017American businesses are investing record amounts in solar, with the top corporate users adding 325 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity last year, according to a report.

Leading the way was Target, which added over 40 MW of solar capacity to its portfolio in 2017. The retailer now has more than 200 MW of installed capacity.

Released Thursday (April 15), the “Solar Means Business 2017” report, from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), contains data from more than 4,000 businesses.”

7minutesolar: As with the article about coal investment below, we are starting to reach the stage where the financial advantages of solar is realizable and increasingly evident to large corporations and the shareholders they are responsible to. As solar and storage prices continue to fall and these and companies utilize solar and storage, it will being to have an effect on the way governments and utilities are required to adapt to new realities.

World Coal: Allianz takes a step back from coal

May 4, 2018 by 

Allianz, the world’s biggest insurance company by assets, announced that it will no longer provide standalone insurance coverage for coal power plants or coal mines. The German insurer also announced that it will ban all companies planning to build more than 500 MW of new coal capacity from its investment portfolio. This bold step reinforces the shift of the insurance industry away from coal and increases the pressure on industry laggards to adopt coal exit policies as well.

Since 2017, AXA, Zurich, SCOR and now Allianz have decided to stop insuring some or all new coal projects, and Swiss Re has announced that it will adopt such a policy soon. So far, 16 insurers have divested an estimated US$22 billion from coal companies.”

7minutesolar: However you want to look at it, 22 billion dollars is a lot of money to be taken out of the investment pool for any industry. Generali Insurance took £2B out of their coal pile at their annual meeting in March and on top of that announced they would be putting£3.5B  – that money plus another £1.5B on top – into green energy. The City of Paris also passed a motion calling on cola companies to end coal support last week. It wouldn’t matter that much, except that all the CEOs of the worlds insurance companies are coming to the city of lights the end of May for their annual Geneva Convention. While there is certainly still investment in coal mining and coal power generation, there is pressure not just on insurance companies but also on banks to get out of the game. At some point it just become easier to invest in other businesses. It looks like things are moving in that direction.

Curbed: How a Chinese city turned all its 16,000 buses electric

May 3, 2018 by Patrick Sisson

The city of Shenzhen, a 12.5 million-person metropolis made headlines last year as the first to operate an all-electric bus system. It’s a significant achievement, especially considering the size of the city’s fleet, which totals 16,359 vehicles, more than the combined number operating in New York City, LA, Toronto, New Jersey, and Chicago.

Shenzhen has become the poster child of China’s electric bus push. With 385,000 electric buses, the country has 99 percent of the world’s electric buses, and currently adds 9,500 zero-emission buses every five weeks, equivalent to London’s entire bus fleet.

7minutesolar: Buses look like they may be the vehicle that makes the most immediate impact on atmospheric carbon from transportation. Not surprisingly, China is WAY ahead on this. The US has literally hundreds of new electric buses from five or six manufacturers and is starting to talk about the need for a common charging system. The Chinese system of government may have many disadvantages, but it is able to enact change quickly. Bloomberg notes that China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017…and adds amost 2,000 EVERY WEEK. Together that means almost 300,000 barrels PER DAY of fuel won’t be needed this year. North America is starting to move towards electric buses, but with so many different municipalities and levels of government and funding involved, it is a time-consuming process.

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