Weekend reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  September 29, 2018

Weekend reads: Billionaires battle climate change; Everybody loves RE

It's the weekend! Kick back and relax with these must-read energy articles from around the web: 

Bill Gates-led $1 billion energy fund is expanding its portfolio of startups fighting climate change (Quartz)  It’s not often that the world’s richest people get together, agree on a goal that’s for the public good, and then set about finding ways to achieve it. But that’s what Bill Gates has achieved with Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), which aims to invest $1 billion into radical energy startups capable of drastically cutting global emissions. The fund draws on the resources of billionaires like India’s Mukesh Ambani, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Virgin’s Richard Branson, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, and SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son.

How a ‘solar battery’ could bring electricity to rural areas (The Verge)  Solar energy is becoming more and more popular as prices drop, yet a home powered by the Sun isn’t free from the grid because solar panels don’t store energy for later. Now, researchers have refined a device that can both harvest and store solar energy, and they hope it will one day bring electricity to rural and underdeveloped areas. The problem of energy storage has led to many creative solutions, like giant batteries. For a paper published today in the journal Chem, scientists trying to improve the solar cells themselves developed an integrated battery that works in three different ways. 

Utilities have a problem: the public wants 100% renewable energy, and quick (Vox)  Renewable energy is hot. It has incredible momentum, not only in terms of deployment and costs but in terms of public opinion and cultural cachet. To put it simply: Everyone loves renewable energy. It’s cleaner, it’s high-tech, it’s new jobs, it’s the future. And so more and more big energy customers are demanding the full meal deal: 100 percent renewable energy. The Sierra Club notes that so far in the US, more than 80 cities, five counties, and two states have committed to 100 percent renewables. Six cities have already hit the target.

What happens to used electric car batteries? Renault plans huge energy storage system (Gearbrain)  A common question posed by those curious about (or critical of) electric cars is, what happens to the batteries when their performance starts to fade? It is often a question asked by those who are familiar with smartphones and other devices, when the batteries inside these gadgets lose the ability to hold charge as they age. In electric cars, a declining battery means a gradual decrease in potential range. Renault is the latest car maker to answer the question. It plans to build a large energy storage system using old electric car batteries to power local communities through the national grid. 

Put Renewable Energy On Your Desk With a Lego Wind Turbine (Popular Mechanics)  If you’ve always wanted to build your own wind turbine, Lego has a new set for you. On Wednesday during NYC Climate Week, Lego announced they’d be re-releasing the LEGO Creator Expert Vestas Wind Turbine, developed in collaboration with wind company Vestas. This set was initially developed in 2008 specifically for Vestas, and was never released to the public. This new release remedies that situation with an updated version available to all wind energy and Lego enthusiasts.



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