UN issues stark climate warning

We're all about saving you energy and have rounded up the latest solar, climate and energy news so you don't have to.

The Solar Voyager preparing for a 2400km round trip to the South Pole. Credit: Clean2Antarctica

Solar and batteries

The sale of small-scale solar systems of less than 1MW totalled $13.5 billion, up 9% on a year earlier, according to third quarter global investment figures, reports BNEF.

Ukraine has launched its solar power plant next to the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant which suffered a meltdown in 1986, reports Fortune.

A Dutch couple is preparing for an expedition to the South Pole driving a solar-powered vehicle built out of recycled plastic waste, reports Electrek.

Renewables and fossil fuels

According to the World Energy Council's Energy Trilemma index, New Zealand's energy performance ranks in the top 10. Although our overall rank increased, our rank for sustainability and equity dropped due to the relative improved performance of other countries, reports the NZ Herald.

Climate change

The IPCC special report released this week warns the world only has 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

The New York Times says the report paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought. The Guardian says world leaders have been told they have moral obligation to ramp up their action on the climate crisis. In NZ, the Science Media Centre gathered reactions from six experts including Associate Professor Bronwyn Hayward, from University of Canterbury who was a lead author on the IPCC report. 

A new report by PWC shows emissions on the rise again and that no countries are achieving the necessary decarbonization rate to limit global warming to the necessary 2°C as laid out in the Paris Agreement, reports CleanTechnica. And, according to the Ministry of Environment, NZ's CO2 emissions are still increasing and we're not currently on track to meet either our 2030 or 2050 climate change targets, reports Newshub.

Power prices

The head of Meridian Energy lifted the lid on unfair penalty payments and admitted the industry had "dirty secrets" that needed calling out, reports the NZ Herald. In response, the NZ Herald also reports the heads of Mercury Energy and Genesis Energy's chiefs took a swipe at a Meridian's stance saying eliminating prompt payment discounts and penalties wouldn’t necessarily help customers.

An electricity bill of over $18,000 has put the spotlight on the practice of "back billing" in the electricity industry. While there are time limits on back-billing overseas, NZ power retailers can claim payment for inadvertent under-charging going back years, reports Stuff.

Genesis Energy has admitted a faulty power meter was to blame for a Christchurch man being overcharged by more than $4000 for power over the past year, reports Stuff.

Electric vehicles

Oil’s march toward $100 a barrel is coming at just the right the time for auto makers investing billions in the switch to electric cars, reports Bloomberg.

If you're thinking of trading in your petrol or diesel powered car Stuff looks at the and looks at the pros and cons of changing to one powered by electricity and all the plug in options available in NZ today.