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Climate change deal to come into force, solar tied to NZ’s energy future

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

Solar, along with battery storage, is part of NZ’s energy future and should be encouraged, not punished as Unison Energy has done with its solar tax, writes Greenpeace campaigner Kate Simcock in Stuff. There’s been a big increase in the number of homeowners enquiring about adding battery storage in south Australia following the recent storm which caused a state-wide blackout. It does not really matter how you generate the electricity, a reliance on a centralised grid leaves consumers open to massive disruptions, says Renew Economy.

Electricity generated by solar panels on fields and homes outstripped Britain’s ageing coal power stations over the past six months in a historic first, reports the Guardian. The cost of building solar plants has declined by 25 percent in just five months, according to two recent bids in China and Dubai.

A new Pew Research Center survey shows that almost nine-in-ten U.S. adults (89%) favour expanding use of solar power. A report from the US Department of Energy paints a bright picture for our prospects to cut carbon pollution. It looks at recent changes in costs and deployment of five key clean energy technologies: wind, residential solar, utility-scale solar, batteries, and LED bulbs.

Bangalore’s International Airport plans to become the largest solar-producing airport in India. it will source 40 percent of its electricity from solar energy, offsetting approximately 17,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. In a world-first an Australian company is using solar energy to generate electricity and heating and to make water for growing commercial tomato crops.

Climate change

The Paris climate agreement will come into force next month after support from European nations sent the accord across an important threshold, prompting U.S. President Barack Obama to hail it as a "historic day" for protecting the planet. New Zealand fast-tracked its ratification of the agreement. Newshub lists five reasons why the Kiwi ratification is a bit meaningless. The New Zealand Youth Delegation to the United Nations climate negotiations to be held next month says there's still no evidence that the Government has a plan to meet its already weak commitments.

The global temperature has increased to a level not seen for 115,000 years, requiring daunting technological advances that will cost the coming generations hundreds of trillions of dollars, according to James Hansen, the scientist widely credited with bringing climate change to the public’s attention.

Kiwis are being urged to compete in a 24-hour global competition to come up with climate change solutions. The 2016 Climathon will take place simultaneously in 121 cities - including Wellington on October 28-29.

Power Prices

An independent external review and better processes are needed before the Electricity Authority proceeds with the latest reform of how the national grid is paid for, says a group of consumer trusts, businesses, farming, local government and electricity sector participants.

Renewables

A Japanese engineer has constructed a prototype wind turbine capable of harnessing the immense power of a typhoon.

Electric vehicles

Green Car Reports reviews the Paris Motor Show which saw the unveiling of a range of new electric-car concepts and production vehicles. Ahead of the show Renault revealed a new electric car with a range of 400km that it claims will overcome psychological barriers among drivers who fear running out of power between charges. Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands will launch more than 10 electric cars by 2025, and zero-emission vehicles will make up between 15 percent and 25 percent of overall Mercedes sales by then.

Tesla has confirmed New Zealand as a future site for a Tesla Store and Service Center along with sites for superchargers. It says this is in response to overwhelming demand for its Model 3 and enthusiasm from owners who have imported their Tesla's into the country.

A NZ aeronautical engineer is is working to turn his BMW into an electric car - and he might just be the first in the world to convert the model, reports Newshub.