Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, GHG Emissions, Solar  -  November 23, 2019

Weekend reads: Bill Gates' secret solar project; Tesla bulks up largest lithium-ion battery

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

Secretive energy startup backed by Bill Gates achieves solar breakthrough (CNN) A secretive startup backed by Bill Gates has achieved a solar breakthrough aimed at saving the planet. Heliogen, a clean energy company that emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday, said it has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius. Essentially, Heliogen created a solar oven — one capable of reaching temperatures that are roughly a quarter of what you'd find on the surface of the sun. The breakthrough means that, for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes.

What's Happened To US Electric Vehicle Sales? (Forbes) There was much cheering in 2018 when plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) hit a US sales record of 361,000. Sales started strong in 2019 but declined beginning in July. The pronounced drop in sales, along with a similar decline in China, has prompted concern that future sales may fall short of expectations. However, ups and downs have occurred before. The current slump in electric vehicle sales does not necessarily indicate a change in trend.

Tesla Set to Bulk Up the World’s Largest Lithium-Ion Battery (Bloomberg) The world’s biggest lithium-ion battery is about to get even bigger, with Tesla Inc. set to beef up capacity at the Hornsdale site in South Australia. The system will be expanded by 50% to 150 megawatts, according to an announcement from Neoen SA, the French company that operates the site. The storage site has already saved consumers more than A$50 million ($34 million) in its first year of operation.

Utility-scale storage critical to achieving Massachusetts carbon goals: UMass study (Utility Dive) The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is likely to fall short of its greenhouse gas emission goals if it cannot implement utility-scale storage, according to a new study. More than 70% of the state’s two pumped-hydro storage facilities — with a collective capacity of around 1,800 MW — is currently unutilized due to the lack of market incentives, according to researchers. The lack of utility-scale storage could mean that the state’s grid remains “dirty” even with a high penetration of renewables.

Coldplay to pause touring until concerts are 'environmentally beneficial' (BBC) Coldplay have put plans to tour their new album on hold, due to concerns over the environmental impact of concerts. "We're not touring this album," frontman Chris Martin told BBC News. "We're taking time over the next year or two, to work out how our tour can not only be sustainable [but] how can it be actively beneficial."

Keywords: Weekend reads

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