Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

April 16, 2022

Weekend Reads: Extending the Shelf Life of Solar Energy: The Key to Sparking Collective Climate Action

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

Why EV Charging Is Emerging As The Next Must-Have Building Amenity (Forbes) A new focus on sustainability is creating a shared commitment among tenants, investors and developers to reduce carbons emission in the built environment. Beyond providing building- and planet-level benefits, new tactics are impacting a property’s potential to increase foot traffic, attract tenancy and generate additional revenue. Nowhere is this more evident than in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). The environmental benefits of EVs are well documented: zero tailpipe emissions translate to radically improved air quality if vehicles are adopted at scale, and reduced reliance on gasoline cuts the impact of extracting, refining and shipping oil products needed for conventional combustion engines.

Solar energy can now be stored for up to 18 years, say scientists (EuroNews) Solar-powered electronics are one step closer to becoming an everyday part of our lives thanks to a “radical” new scientific breakthrough. In 2017, scientists at a Swedish university created an energy system that makes it possible to capture and store solar energy for up to 18 years, releasing it as heat when needed. Now the researchers have succeeded in getting the system to produce electricity by connecting it to a thermoelectric generator. Though still in its early stages, the concept developed at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenberg could pave the way for self-charging electronics that use stored solar energy on demand. “This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy. It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location,” explains research leader Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.

Solar Power Is Winning From the Energy Crisis. Wind Is Losing (The Washington Post) From the way the public conversation was going, you might think renewable energy was firmly on the back foot as a result of the energy crisis that’s roiled the world since late last year. Transport fuel taxes have been cut to ease the pain of high crude prices in the European Union, India, the U.K. and U.S., among other countries. Europe’s power plants burned 51% more coal in early March than they did a year earlier. China’s rush to use more coal after power cuts last year was even more dramatic: The country mined 687 million metric tons of solid fuel in January and February, equivalent to nearly two years of European coal consumption and a third more than in the same period of 2019. That’s troubling, considering the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s warning last week that carbon pollution must peak by 2025 if the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Why China’s energy transition is so difficult (OMFIF) Since the power crunch in September 2021, the Chinese government’s stance on coal appears to have changed, emphasising energy security as the top priority and recognising that coal is still a key energy source that has to be replaced by renewables gradually. Why is it so difficult for China to accelerate its energy transition away from coal? China is now leading the world in renewable development. In 2020, China’s cumulative installed wind and solar capacity took up a global share of 38.5% and 35.9%, respectively. The share of coal-fired power capacity in China’s total power generation mix dropped to below 50% for the first time. However, in the same year, non-fossil fuel energy sources (including hydro and nuclear) provided only 29% of China’s electricity generation, with wind and solar accounting for 7.2%.

Citing Renewable Energy Achievements Can Spur Collective Climate Action (CleanTechnica) There were a lot of dark subtexts to the recent IPCC report. Greta Thunberg admonished global leaders, saying that they “seem more focused on giving false hope to those causing the problem rather than telling the blunt truth that would give us a chance to act.” UN Secretary General António Guterres decried the “criminal abdication of leadership.” Yes, climate change is the greatest existential problem of all time, and collective climate action is imperative — now. The scientists who collaborated on the most recent IPCC Mitigation report firmly stated that any declaration of inevitable doom would be a barrier to action. The world has made progress to mitigate the climate crisis. What would happen if, instead of forecasting worst case climate scenarios, we treat the climate crisis as a call to action, one that is achievable with collective climate action grounded in a litany of renewable energy success stories?

Keywords: Weekend reads

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