The Impact of Solar lighting in rural Kenya

While climate change has led many high-income countries to increase their efforts to improve energy efficiency and to invest in renewable energies, households in low-income countries still face another energy challenge: more than 1 billion people lack access to electricity. Could solar lights offer a solution?

There is an ongoing debate among policy makers, international donors and researchers about how to provide energy access to poor rural areas. For many years, most funding was flowing into large-scale infrastructure projects to expand national electricity grids. However, grid extensions to remote and poor areas are expensive and difficult to maintain. At the same time, concerns about climate change combined with the decline in solar photovoltaic and battery prices have made solar-powered electricity an attractive investment

France set to ban sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040

France is set to ban the sale of any car that uses petrol or diesel fuel by 2040, in what the ecology minister called a "revolution".

Nicolas Hulot announced the planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles as part of a renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal.

He said France planned to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Hybrid cars make up about 3.5% of the French market, with pure electric vehicles accounting for just 1.2%.

A Clean Energy Transition Needs More Technology Options

Recently, the idea that renewable energy sources—like wind, solar and hydroelectric projects—could meet all of our energy needs has grown in popularity. Earlier this year, Senator Bernie Sanders and others unveiled a bill to transition the United States to a 100-percent renewable power grid by mid-century. They grounded the feasibility of their idea in an academic study by Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson and colleagues, who argued in the prestigious pages of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that wind, water, and solar energy could supply virtually all of America’s energy needs.

Solar Powers India’s Clean Energy Revolution

With 1.3 billion people, India is the world’s third largest consumer of electricity. Over 450 million ceiling fans are in use and 40 million sold each year, but 240 million people still have no legal electricity connection. Demand for electricity is growing at the same rate as in France or Germany as millions of people in rural or impoverished areas seek access to power in their homes and workplaces. 

A new front in the climate fight: Innovative Finance

What does public debt have to do with combatting climate change?
 
A few years ago, this would have seemed a strange question, as debt management and climate policy have traditionally been regarded as unrelated fields. But at a workshop at the annual Debt Management Forum in Vienna on May 22, 2017, debt managers from 50 developing countries discussed the role of emerging debt instruments such as green bonds and blue bonds, in raising capital for climate-friendly projects that range from reforestation to renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Microgrids Can Tap into $1.5B from New York RFPs

New York plans to make up to $1.5 billion available for green energy, opening up another funding source for renewable energy microgrids in the state.

Workers install solar panels near Poughkeepsie, NY Announced late last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the pot of money will create the largest renewable energy procurement to date by the state.

Brazil Plots Steady Clean-Energy Course Amid Political Turmoil

Brazil is taking steps to promote new renewable-energy projects as the government seeks to reassure the industry that political turmoil won’t threaten current power policies.

The country will organize at least one power auction for clean-energy projects this year, according to Eduardo Azevedo, secretary of energy planning and development at the Ministry of Mines and Energy. A second auction is also being considered that would be open to all energy sources.

The move reflects growing interest in clean energy as the country seeks to meet its commitments under the global Paris climate agreement signed in 2015. The plans also show that Brazil is seeking to move forward with its energy plans and assuage concerns that an expanding political crisis would crimp efforts to boost wind and solar energy.

Prince Was a Secret Patron of Solar Power

Before his abrupt death a year ago, the pop musician Prince made an investment in green energy that’s now helping solar start-ups weather an assault from President Donald Trump. 

It started with a conversation in 2011 between Prince and his friend Van Jones, a CNN commentator and California human rights agitator and onetime green-jobs adviser to President Barack Obama.

“He asked, ‘If I have a quarter-million dollars, what can I do with it?’” Jones recalled in an interview. “My wife said he should put solar panels all over Oakland.”

That led to the creation of Powerhouse, a rare for-profit incubator dedicated to putting clean-tech entrepreneurs together with investors. The company has helped 43 start-ups get on their feet in an era when venture capital funding for renewables has plunged and Trump is working to slash funds for early-stage entities from the U.S. Department of Energy.

UK sets new renewable energy record as wind and solar surge

A blustery start to summer has helped the renewable energy industry to its highest ever output as wind turbines and solar panels help to meet more than half of the UK’s electricity demand. National Grid’s data at lunchtime on Wednesday showed that solar panels produced around 7.6GW of electricity while wind farms generated 9.5GW of power.

In addition, the UK burnt 2GW of renewable biomass, made from waste wood, and produced a modest amount of hydro electricity to help squeeze traditional power plants off the system.

Battery Storage Takes Hold in the Wind Industry

Spanish wind power developer Acciona has bagged an industry award for battery storage research, amid claims the company is playing catch-up with an emerging trend. 

Aris Karcanias, co-lead of the clean energy practice at FTI Consulting, said Acciona “comes late to the party but is developing hybrid solutions to address a growing need for improved power quality” after the firm was praised by the Spanish wind industry association.

Two Acciona employees, Asun Padrós and Raquel Rojo, won this year’s innovation award from industry body Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE) for a study of a hybrid wind and battery storage plant in Barásoain, Navarre, which entered operation last month.

The Race to Solar-Power Africa

The cacao-farming community of Daban, in Ghana, is seven degrees north of the equator, and it’s always hot. In May, I met with several elders there to talk about the electricity that had come to the town a few months earlier, when an American startup installed a solar microgrid nearby. Daban could now safely store the vaccine for yellow fever; residents could charge their cell phones at home rather than walking to a bigger town to do it. As we talked, one of the old men handed me a small plastic bag of water, the kind street venders sell across West Africa—you just bite off a corner and drink. The water was ice-cold and refreshing, but it took me an embarrassingly long moment to understand the pleasure with which he offered it: cold water was now available in this hot place. There was enough power to run a couple of refrigerators, and so coldness was, for the first time, a possibility.

Decentralized Renewable Energy: Complementing The Grid To Reach Millions Without Access In India

As the Government of India continues to focus on strengthening its national grid, Shilpi Samantray, Project Officer, The Climate Group, India, highlights how the organization is working with partners to promote the value of decentralized renewable energy (DRE) systems, aligning it with India’s national priorities on energy access.

Currently, an estimated 237 million people in India lack access to any form of electricity, while an additional 100 million have less than four hours of electricity per day. At the same time, the Government of India has set a target of generating over 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022.

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.