China plans first solar power station in space, climate change increases threats to Kiwi homes

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 is working on an orbiting power station that would capture solar energy in space and beam it back to Earth, reports Stuff.

Falling solar and battery costs may already have overtaken prices assumed in Transpower’s latest modelling of the future power system, according to the Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand, reports Sharechat.

India's first grid-scale lithium-ion battery energy storage system officially went into service last week, reports PV Tech.

The US solar workforce has grown 159% since 2010, adding nearly 150,000 jobs. Last year about 8000 solar jobs were cut due to the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on imported PV panels, reports the Solar Foundation.

However, the number of solar jobs is expected to start growing again this year with a record amount of utility scale development in the pipeline, reports Cleantechnica. 

Renewables and fossil fuels

Natural gas could produce the same amount, or more, greenhouse gas emissions as other fossil fuels when the full life cycle is taken into account, reports Sightline.

UK researchers have developed flags that can simultaneously generate electrical energy using wind and solar power, reports Power Technology.

And, in Scotland wave energy technology is being developed that could help generate low-cost electricity for thousands of homes, reports TechXplore.

Climate change

Parts of New Zealand with low or moderate fire risk are likely to see dramatic increases in danger as climate change occurs, reports RNZ.

And, a significant proportion of New Zealand’s population is under increasing threat from sea-level rise – 300,000 residents live below 3m land elevation, reports National Science Challenges.

Thousands of school pupils joined protests across the UK calling for action on climate change last week, reports the Guardian.

Climate change is one of the contributors to a 40% decline in insect species, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, reports the Guardian.

And, the Guardian also reports that polar bears are being driven off off their normal migration routes and into human habitation as the Arctic shrinks due to global warming.

Power prices

Wholesale electricity prices remain high as maintenance at the Pohokura gas field limits supplies and unusually hot weather pushed demand to new summer records, reports Sharechat.

Vertical integration in New Zealand's electricity market results in energy poverty and suppresses investment in renewable generation, says the head of Ecotricity. Al Yates says says consumers can short circuit the electricity market by going solar.

Electric vehicles

The fully-electric Kia Niro is due to arrive in New Zealand showrooms soon, reports Autocar.

Sono Motors is expected to begin delivering production versions of its solar-powered electric car towards the end of 2019, reports the Express.

Meanwhile, Dutch start-up Lightyear is aiming to deliver the world’s first commercial electric vehicle that runs entirely on solar power next year, reports pvmagazine.