Category: Opinion & Perspective

Energy, Transport, Sustainability – 10 Predictions For 2021

As it turned out, decarbonization was lucky enough to be a safe haven during the health and economic crises of 2020. Here are just three pieces of evidence: clean energy shares roared to new records, up a remarkable 142% last year on the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX); we saw the biggest financing ever in non-hydro renewables, at $8.3 billion for the first two stages of the U.K.’s Dogger Bank offshore wind project; and governments turned suddenly greener – China announcing a goal of net-zero emissions by 2060, and countries committing a total of more than $800 billion to ‘green stimulus’ programs.

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Green hydrogen to join climate mitigation arsenal: IRENA

The costs of green hydrogen reflect renewable electricity prices, investment costs for electrolysers and operating hours. All these factors currently make it between two and three times more expensive than blue hydrogen, the kind produced with fossil fuels in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS). Continuous innovation and policy attention will be essential to make green hydrogen viable as part of a sustainable energy mix. Regulations, market design, and the costs of power and electrolyser production will all come into play.

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Asia’s Climate Optimism

While China’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060 is a good start, electricity demand is already forecast to double by 2050 (from 2017 levels). It therefore must urgently step up its efforts to improve energy efficiency, adopt green and low-carbon energy, expand energy storage, deploy carbon capture and sequestration technologies, and develop a framework for low-carbon urbanization. Many of the needed technologies are already available, and East Asia has the scale to bring down their cost to a level that would enable widespread adoption.

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A New Dawn: A new chapter in US history

In order to catch up in this transition, the United States will need a robust industrial policy—a coordinated plan for the development of the US energy economy—that prioritizes the new technologies that are gaining ground, not the high-carbon technologies of the past.

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Electrifying Fleets: From Pilot to Full Scale

Fleet vehicles in the United States comprise only 3 percent of all registered vehicles, but fleets are an important market segment to lead the successful electrification of the entire transportation sector. Large fleet purchases can drive scale, resulting in reduced costs of vehicle technology and infrastructure. Additionally, because of their central control, corporate sustainability goals, and rational economic view, they are well positioned to move further faster.

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New Zealand’s EV Market Gets A Boost With New Government Directive

New Zealand’s electric vehicle (EV) market is set to experience exponential growth from 2021 onwards as the national government starts to implement its carbon reduction policies. New Zealand will also increasingly offer a supportive environment for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) over 2020-2030 as the government is committed to transforming New Zealand into a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.

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Viability assessment of new domestic solar module manufacturing units

India is one of the leading module manufacturers with a growing capacity and promising potential. However, the country still lags behind China. In its report titled “Viability assessment of new domestic solar module manufacturing units”, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) evaluates the question of whether India can compete against China in PV production.

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As Big Energy Gains, Can Europe’s Community Renewables Compete?

Local wind and solar cooperatives have been instrumental in fostering Europe’s renewable energy growth. Now, as multinational corporations play an ever-larger role in efforts to decarbonize Europe’s economy, the EU is looking to bolster these grassroots clean-energy initiatives. Under the new European Green Deal, the European Union has become a champion of community energy, with an EU directive stipulating that all member countries enact laws that make community energy not only possible but also profitable.

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Top six wind trends of 2020 in the US

This has been a year like no other, complete with a tremendous amount of uncertainty for our country and the entire world. Despite the many challenges, the wind industry continued to provide reliable, clean, and affordable energy for the American people. And there’s no sign that it will be slowing down any time soon.

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Europe and China’s Year-End Breakthrough

Kudos to the European Commission for finalizing a new investment agreement with China. Europe’s active diplomacy also played a role in China’s recent commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 – a decision that was quickly followed by Japan’s pledge to decarbonize by 2050. Now it has yielded yet another major success.

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Signs of Hope for US Federal Climate Action in 2021

As President-Elect Biden begins to name his cabinet appointments, the emphasis these appointments place on climate change and the diversity of the appointments is notable. As climate wonks, it’s easy to read climate and energy into everything, everywhere, all the time. But it is clear that climate and clean energy are core values across agencies and personnel in the next administration.

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Lessons from the proliferating mini-grid incentive programs in Africa

Given the early stage of nearly every mini-grid market in Africa, it is likely that the sector would benefit less from competition than from clear subsidies, bankable regulation, and capacity building. This would support a scale-up phase in the market, which could bring new market entrants, drive costs down, and build the capacity of regulators to allocate market opportunity efficiently.

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How green hydrogen could change the renewables landscape

Between now and 2024, the EU aims to install at least 6GW of the electrolyzers used to create green hydrogen, to produce up to 1m tonnes. By 2030, it wants to have at least 40GW of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers, producing up to 10m tonnes of green hydrogen. Such targets will require electrolyzer investments of €24b–€42b before 2030.

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China’s Green Gambit

China’s ambitious climate pledges have drawn praise the world over. But China will demand a high price for its contributions and can be expected to use its promise of international cooperation to undermine any containment strategy that US President-elect Joe Biden’s administration tries to pursue.

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Michigan Clean Energy Year in Review (and the Road Ahead)

Clean energy is a solution to both the climate crisis, and to Michigan’s economic recovery from COVID. Further, if applied equitably and inclusively, clean energy solutions could chip away at long-standing systemic inequities that have left Michigan’s residents of color vulnerable to the cumulative impacts of pollution, climate change, and health, economic, and racial inequities.

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Latin America’s 2020 Climate Leaders and Laggards

2020 was a turbulent year in Latin America. Few countries in the region were not touched by massive protests, political upheavals, economic woes or catastrophic storms—with the COVID-19 pandemic on top of it all. Despite this, some leaders in the region have continued to make much-needed advances to curb climate change, particularly, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica.

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A tale of two markets: How the US electric power sector is diverging

Some regions are prioritizing cutting greenhouse-gas emissions; many are not. As of September 2020, 22 states plus DC have set targets to fully or mostly decarbonize their power systems over the coming years. Four more have set targets to reduce at least one-quarter of their emissions. The other 24 have no or limited targets. What does this mean for decarbonization in the United States?

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Rising solar: Investing in Japan’s energy transition

Despite these innovations and R&D activity, in the renewable realm, Japan currently uses wind and solar capacity to power only 7.6% of its total energy consumption. Indeed, even in light of Japan’s behemothic COVID-19 stimulus measures—amounting to some $2.1 trillion, or 43% of the nation’s GDP—only about $103 million has been set aside for the energy transition.

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China to Dominate Solar Manufacturing Competitive Landscape

China will remain a dominant player in global solar equipment supply chains, due to its large economies of scale and improving product quality and efficiency. While the Covid-19 pandemic will drive some diversification of supply chains or increased localisation, Chinese solar manufacturers have also expanded their geographic production bases outside of China, which will reduce their risk exposure to political or economic disputes.

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