This week in clean energy news, the Trump administration announced daunting tariffs on solar. However, companies and governments continue to push forward in clean energy investments despite such, with the goal of continuing to lower renewable energy costs. Tech giants are buying more clean energy than ever before, and solar currently creates more jobs than any other sector in the U.S.
In other news, an MIT research group has made a breakthrough in battery storage, and clean tech development is expected to be accelerated with the help of artificial intelligence and robotics.
What news have you been reading this week? Share with us @GreentownLabs!
Clean Technica – Solar Tariffs Could Be Offset By Ultra-Low-Cost Solar Plans
- Shortly after the current administration announced a 30% tariff on imported solar cells and modules, Rocky Mountain institute and 35 other solar energy industry leaders countered with a plan to continue developing low-cost solar products that have the potential to offset the tariffs.
“The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) along with 35 solar energy industry leaders have identified an opportunity to reduce solar costs by $0.20/W in 2018 alone, and have committed to developing an ultra-low-cost solar product that could not only operate in a variety of environments but could be fully installed for as low as $0.50/W.”
- Despite recent rollbacks of clean energy policies that have the potential to threaten renewable economies, tech giants are surging forward by signing a record amount of clean power contracts.
“Forty-three businesses signed long-term agreements for a record 5.4 gigawatts of clean power including solar and wind worldwide last year, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. That’s up from 4.3 gigawatts in 2016 and is enough to displace at least 10 coal-fired power plants.”
Greentech Media – Big Money Is Getting Into Microgrids
- A major obstacle for many companies looking to build microgrids is financing. The Carlyle Group, a multinational private equity corporation, plans to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars towards owning and operating these microgrids via their business Dynamic Energy Networks (DEN), in an effort to alleviate financing issues in the space.
“Dynamic Energy Networks (DEN) will deploy Carlyle capital to create microgrids, then operate them in an energy-as-a-service model for long-term contracts.”
- The case for investing in the solar industry is further strengthened by a recent report published by The Solar Foundation illustrating how the solar industry creates more jobs than any other sector in the U.S.
“In 2010, there were only 93,000 jobs in solar. The sector has seen a steep rise and six years later 260,077 people were employed in the field. This means that in 2016 one in every 50 new jobs was in the solar industry, and analysts expect the trend to continue.”
- New clean energy technology creation depends on the testing of materials, which can be a time consuming and expensive process that takes 10 to 20 years. However, with the help of AI and robotics, that time could potentially be cut from 20 years to one or two years.
“The performance, efficiency and affordability of clean energy technologies can be increased by finding materials with the properties you need. At the moment, we’re very much like Edison looking for filaments for his light bulb, testing them one by one in a sequential fashion, by trial-and-error, until we find the one that works. This report lays out a road map for methods that will let us quickly discover and design materials with exactly the properties we need.”
MIT News – A new approach to rechargeable batteries
- A research group at MIT has announced a breakthrough in battery storage, detailing the use of liquid sodium batteries the electrical grid requires to deliver intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, in a reliable way.
“The work could lead to inexpensive batteries large enough to make intermittent, renewable power sources practical for grid-scale storage.”
Climate Action – EU connects the dots with €873 million clean energy investment
- The EU has announced plans to invest millions in clean energy projects and renewable energy integration in order to improve energy security and reduce carbon emissions.
“Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete highlighted the importance of the investments to wider efforts to curb carbon emissions, stating: ‘An energy infrastructure which is fit for purpose is also essential for renewable energy sources to thrive and for delivering on the Paris Agreement on climate change’.”