China leads solar surge, Portugal sets record for renewable electricity

The Gehetou photovoltaic power generation station in Qinhuangdao, north China (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

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

Solar and batteries

China was the driving power behind last year's surge in solar, reports UN News. And a new 1-kilometer section of solar expressway in China is generating power to help run street lights, electric signs, sprinkler systems and tunnel and toll gates, reports Xinhua.

Saudi Arabia will host the largest solar-powered city in the world and will generate half of the world’s capacity for solar energy, reports Arab News.

Sports venues around the globe are taking into account their environmental footprint and turning to solar power, reports Solar Power World.

Bentley plans to construct the UK's largest solar-powered carport. Comprising some 10,000 solar panels, the car port will generate an estimated 24 percent of Bentley's electricity requirements and could replace 3,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, reports CNET.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Portugal’s renewable electricity production exceeded monthly consumption in March, reports Quartz.

The global shift from fossil fuels to renewables is being undermined by the very organisation that ought to be leading the charge, according to a scathing new critique of the International Energy Agency, reports the Guardian.

The NZ Government will invest $150,000 to investigate establishing Taranaki as an internationally recognised leader in clean energy technology.

Apple announced its global facilities are now powered with 100 percent clean energy. And Google announced that it purchased enough renewable energy to match all the electricity it consumed in 2017.

Climate change

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell was well aware of the world-altering climate risks associated with carbon dioxide emissions by at least the mid-1980s, according to a trove of internal company documents recently uncovered by a European journalist, reports Huffington Post.

Tuesday's storm, which wreaked havoc across the country on Tuesday, indicates the extreme weather event losses are not abating this year and are likely to continue to increase due to climate change according to the head of the the New Zealand Insurance Council, reports the NZ Herald.

Commentator Rod Oram, writing for Newsroom, looks at Westpac's report on the economic benefits of taking climate change action and finds plenty of reasons for taking action earlier rather than later.

Power prices

The Utilities Disputes Commissioner says her scheme received 101 complaints over the past year in relation to power company switches, reports Stuff.

Electric vehicles

Norway wants to double down on its leadership in the field of electric transport and plans to make its first electric-powered commercial flights by 2025, reports Business Insider Noridc

And, NZ Bus will introduce 5 electric buses in the western Bay of Plenty, reports EV Talk.