India sets new solar tariff low, now beating domestic coal generation

The record low prices for renewable energy continue to fall both in Australia and overseas.

Days after Origin and Goldwind set a new low for Australian wind prices (about $55/MWh for the 530MW Stockyard Hill wind project in Victoria), a new low has been set in the Indian solar market, a development with major implications for Australian thermal coal exports. It was reported overnight in India that Phelan Energy Group and Avaada Power secured 50MW and 100MW solar mandates respectively at the new record low price of 2.62 rupees per unit, while SBG Cleantech – a joint venture between SoftBank, Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn – obtained 100MW at Rs 2.63 a unit.

That price equates to a price of $US40/MWh ($A55/MWh) – not a world record low, but a record low for India, where prices have fallen 12 per cent in just three months since the last tender obtained a price of Rs2.97/unit in February – itself a 32 per cent fall on the previous record low.

Cities Surrounded By Fossil Fuels Are Vowing To Run Entirely On Green Energy

Atlanta is the latest city to swear off fossil fuels and to ease into renewable energy, all by 2035. Its city council voted unanimously to enable this transition, making it the 27th city nationally to do so.

It’s a challenging goal, given that cities generally rely on their local utilities for electricity. To move past that paradigm, jurisdictions depend in part on government incentives and technological advances. Indeed, properly structured policies can give local governments better access to low-carbon solutions while innovations like onsite power generation and localized microgrids can free buildings and businesses from centralized networks.

How Batteries Could Revolutionize Renewable Energy

All over California, there's evidence of the state's goal to lead the country in renewable energy. Enormous farms of shiny solar panels have popped up across southern California, and gigantic wind turbines dot the landscape outside nearly all the major cities. There are less flashy—and less visible—investments in renewables going on, too. Tucked away in warehouses, trailers and industrial parks are lithium ion batteries that, if all goes well, will play a critical role in helping California hit its ambitious target: to have 50% of all electricity come from renewables by 2050.

Some green energy sources come with a built-in challenge: the wind and the sun can't be turned on and off at will. When it's windy and sunny, an abundance of energy may be harnessed—but any excesses go to waste. That's where batteries, the most common type of energy storage, come in. Batteries solve that problem by allowing utility companies to collect excess electricity and store it for times when the sun may not be shining or the wind not blowing.

Solar to attract more investment than coal, gas and nuclear combined this year

Analysts expect global renewable power investment to reach $243bn this year, with solar PV the fastest-growing segment and non-hydro renewables to account for 65% of all global power investment by 2020. A new report by analyst firm Frost & Sullivan projects that in 2017 solar PV will attract more investment than coal, gas and nuclear power combined.

The report, titled the Global Power Industry Outlook 2017, examines power market trends, including investment and regional growth. The report deduces that this year, renewable power investment will reach $243.1 billion globally, with solar PV investment comprising $141.6 billion of that total, followed by wind.

RMI and Grid Singularity Launch The Energy Web Foundation

Centrica plc, Elia, Engie, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Sempra Energy, SP Group, Statoil ASA, Stedin, TWL (Technical Works Ludwigshafen AG), and Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) have joined forces to support the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the commercial deployment of blockchain technology in the energy sector. Thanks to their support, EWF has secured the first round of funding amounting to $2.5 million.

EWF is a partnership between Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent, U.S.-based nonprofit organization focused on driving the efficient and restorative use of resources, and Grid Singularity, a blockchain technology developer specializing in energy sector applications.

Program to accelerate creation of renewable energy start-ups launches in Sydney

A start-up accelerator program, dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs designing renewable energy products and technologies, has kickstarted in Sydney.

EnergyLab, based in Chippendale, has granted four companies $50,000 each to spend 12 to 24 months bringing their clean-tech products to market.

Most start-up incubators give entrepreneurs 90 days to develop their products, according to co-founder Piers Grove.

The Climate Finance Architecture The World Needs

The climate finance architecture — the system of specialized, public funds that help countries implement climate mitigation and adaptation projects and programs — is crucial if the world is to overcome the climate change challenge. These funds play a valuable role in everything from deploying renewable energy to helping smallholder farmers cope with drought to restoring degraded forests, and often mobilize even larger volumes of funding from the private sector and other sources.

Yet the climate finance architecture has become too complex. Over the past 25 years, dozens of national, regional and international climate funds have been created. Each new fund responded to needs and gaps that existed at the time, but this has led to a rather complicated system

Local currency lending for off-grid and grid-deficit solar

Over the last five years, SunFunder has completed $25 million of loans to more than 30 solar companies in the beyond the grid sector. Until now all of that debt finance has been issued in US dollars.

Today that is changing. We are delighted to announce that we now have the capability to offer local currency loans, thanks to a new partnership with hedging facility MFX Solutions.

Launch of Innovative Microgrid Investment Accelerator to Unlock Private Capital for Energy Access

Finance Facility to Catalyze Energy Access Clean Energy Microgrids via Public-Private Partnerships

This first-of-its-kind energy access financing facility seeks to mobilize ~$50 million between 2018-2020 to expand energy access to communities that currently lack reliable access to modern energy services in India, Indonesia and East Africa. Supporting organizations include founding partners Allotrope Partners, Facebook and Microsoft, and implementing partners cKers Finance in India, CrossBoundary Energy in Africa, California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), Electric Capital Management, Morrison & Foerster LLP, and GivePower.

“MIA will test the commercial opportunity for microgrids and demonstrate how concessionary finance can unlock progressively larger proportions of private capital as risks are discovered, priced, and mitigated.  With innovative financing and partnership models, the MIA facility will unlock the resources needed to scale microgrid solutions to achieve our shared energy access and economic development goals,” said Alexia Kelly, the new Chief Executive Officer of the MIA facility.

How to invent a clean energy company

The common view of invention is that it is unexpected. The people who do it are extraordinary individuals. There are risk takers but also naturally creative geniuses. Ancient Archimedes came up with his theory of buoyancy by his spontaneous revelation, a “eureka moment” in a bath.

In the 19th century, August Kekulé invented our theory of chemical structure. This made industrial chemistry possible and thus much of our modern life. One of his central discoveries came after he day-dreamed an ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail, and this metaphor became his notion of the circular ring of six carbon atoms, a crucial base unit in organic chemistry.

Charles Edison was a freakishly inventive man with more patents than many countries and progenitor of General Electric and another dozen companies. And Albert Einstein was, well, Albert Einstein.

The Democratisation of Energy

Technological developments are already blurring the line between producers, distributers and consumers. Companies are increasingly looking for opportunities to become power producers in the new urban energy rush and could become significant contributors in the future.

According to Arup, transactive energy systems will enable prosumers – those who design things for their own needs – to respond to triggers such as energy price and grid frequency in real time. As Alan Thomas, head of global energy systems at Arup, points out however: “It’s what you do with this that counts, without a surrounding ecosystem it’s like having an iPhone without any apps.”

Research by Arup and Siemens indicates that the value to end-users of distributed energy systems investment is significant. Operational cost-reductions ranging between 8 and 28 per cent and a return on investment between three and seven years were observed, based on a series of modelled case studies around the world.  The revenue potential is also high.

The National Grid urgently requires more flexibility to manage the grid and its ancillary services market, with different types of capacity required to deal with demand and supply imbalances, is expected to be worth around £2 billion by 2021.

9 New Clean Energy Technologies Chosen To Power The Next Generation

NEXUS-NY’s proof-of-concept accelerator is ready for another year of helping to catalyze the commercialization of research-derived clean energy technologies. After months of meetings at colleges and universities across NYS, the NEXUS-NY team has selected 9 rockstar clean energy innovations that have major potential to power innovation, and fuel the future.

The Future Of Energy : Sector Outlook Post-Paris

It would be big news for any country to invest $50 billion in renewable energy to generate 10 gigawatts of wind and solar power by 2023. However, when the nation concerned is Saudi Arabia – the Gulf State that possesses nearly one fifth of the planet’s proven reserves of petroleum and ranks as the largest global exporter – the story takes on another dimension.

It should not, though, come as such a surprise. In the era of the grand energy transition, we have entered a world where renewable is now the new normal and, to some extent, we have Paris to thank for that.

Much has happened since 195 countries adopted the first universal, legally binding climate deal to limit global warming below 2C, as signatories to the COP21 Paris Agreement, 2015. The normalising effects are far reaching, says Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Perhaps the biggest impact of the Paris Agreement is that the shift to a low-carbon economy is now seen as inevitable over some extended timeframe, not pie in the sky,” he says.

“So now, completely mainstream investors are asking companies about climate risk and stranded fossil assets. And in industry after industry, right through the supply chain, it is clear a lower environmental or climate impact can be a source of competitive advantage, driving a surge of innovation.”

New class of transformative green finance instruments for India

The India Innovation Lab for Green Finance has selected three new ideas for green finance instruments to move forward for further analysis, development, and preparation for piloting. The new instruments for the India Lab’s 2016-2017 cycle could help catalyze millions of dollars for clean energy and sustainable urbanization in India.

Through an open call for ideas, the India Lab received a record number of 72 innovative idea submissions. After an initial screening of these ideas, on February 21st, Lab Members met in New Delhi to select the top three ideas based on their actionability, innovation, catalytic potential, and financial sustainability.

Five Steps To Build A Startup Ecosystem In Your City

According to a Kauffman Foundation report, in the US,"new businesses account for nearly all net new job creation and almost 20 percent of gross job creation." It's no wonder there is so much hype about emerging startup ecosystems, and so much new focus on supporting startups from governments.

But what often gets lost in all the hype is how sustainable startup ecosystems are actually created.

For example, it pains me every time I see a press release from the government of an area with no startup ecosystem that decides to dump millions into shiny facilities to "spur local startup innovation." More often than not, these initiatives end up providing a great photo opportunity and a hip workspace for local freelancers to code while sitting in beanbags, but little else.

Similarly, I see a lot of government venture funds investing in the best companies in their locales, whether these companies have found product-market fit or not. Not only do these efforts provide improper validation to businesses before they are ready, they are also an egregious waste of taxpayer money.

Solar Market Smashing Records

In its biggest year to date, the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record, topping out at 14,626 megawatts of solar PV installed in 2016.

This represents a 95 percent increase over the previous record of 7,493 megawatts installed in 2015. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) previewed this data in advance of their upcoming U.S. Solar Market Insight report, set to be released on March 9.

The ‘New Normal’ in America: Renewables Boom

After decades of technology development, business model innovation and policy progress, the U.S. economy is now decisively growing -- independent of energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Since 2007, U.S. GDP has grown by 12 percent, while energy consumption has fallen by 3.6 percent, according to the new 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).

This year’s fifth edition report builds on last year’s Factbook findings that show the U.S. economy grew by 10 percent since 2007, while energy consumption fell by 2.4 percent. “In other words, energy productivity continues to improve as less and less energy is needed to fuel growth,” the authors wrote.

Microgrids on the March: Utilities Building New Business Models

Pulling a cohesive narrative out of the DistribuTech conference’s thousands of participants and menagerie of electrical doohickeys is like synopsizing James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Amid the cacophony, however, a few trends emerged. The sophistication of software used to manage an increasingly decentralized grid continues to grow, as Jeff St. John observed. Meanwhile, utility representatives expressed caution about the dislocations stemming from that decentralization.

"Our main charge is to make sure our customers have reliable power," said James Boston, manager of market intelligence at San Antonio utility CPS Energy, which recently deployed a demonstration microgrid. "Utilities are generally cautious to make sure these things are tested, are proven, before we put customers’ reliability in any type of jeopardy."

Transforming the Energy Economy : Global Startup-Utility Accelerator

On a recent Monday evening, Danny Kennedy, the director of the California Clean Energy Fund, stood in front of a crowd of dozens of energy industry insiders in Dubai.

“Steve Jobs used to say you should cannibalize yourself every couple of years or someone will come eat your lunch,” he said. “Seems like the utilities in the room have started to invite the cannibals to the crowd.”

The utilities he referred to are major utility companies from all around the world that, despite deep-pockets and massive customer bases, have been slow to adopt to an energy economy that is quickly evolving toward renewable resources like wind and solar power. Moreover, those same utilities are finding themselves eclipsed by startups that are quick to experiment with new technologies that can more efficiently harness the power of renewables and while engaging with those customer bases.

Building a Cohort : Energy Excelerator

You can read about why we selected each individual company below, but looking at the cohort as a whole is equally important.

The Energy Excelerator approach is to think in systems. This means we look for ways to connect the right people, companies and solutions to accelerate our path to 100% clean energy, not just in Hawaii, but across the world.

What does our selection process look like? Well, it includes a whole lot of listening. We listen to the needs of our Global and Local Partners — the organizations that will be deploying technologies alongside us and our companies. We listen to the market — gauging the impact policy and regulation can have on innovation, and we listen to our companies — some of the most innovative minds in energy, water, transportation, agriculture, and cybersecurity. In fact, 2 of the 12 companies in our 2017 cohort came from direct referrals from companies in our portfolio.