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solarcity’s new AI chatbot, China looks to ban fossil fuel cars

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

This week we added a new member to our team, Sunny, an artificial intelligence backed chatbot that will make it easier for Kiwis to switch to solar.

Almost 75% of Kiwis would like to live in an energy efficient home with sustainable elements such as solar power and recyclable water, according to a new surveyFour in 10 people believe solar is "the way of the future" but don't have it installed at their homes.

Distributed renewable energy, like solar, not only provides resilience in the face of climate change, it’s actually the antidote for climate change, reports Microgrid News.

The US deployed 2,387MW of solar PV in Q2 2017, marking 8% year-on-year growth and its largest ever second quarter.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Large blocks of silicon storing wind and solar power as heat are the latest innovation in the battle to replace all fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Norway’s government plans to make taxpayers rather than oil companies pay special U.N. fees for any offshore production from remote Arctic regions, according to letters sent to oil firms and seen by Reuters.

A debate over the future of NZ’s natural gas supplies has followed a Consumer NZ article. It quoted a report by the International Energy Agency saying there was only about 10 years of domestic consumption covered with current reserves. The plumbing and gas fitting industry disagrees.

Climate change

The recent extreme weather in the US is a warning that we need to take immediate action against climate change, says Bill McKibben, founder of the climate campaign 350.org. In a perverse way Donald Trump's climate change denial may help save the planet, says former US vice-president Al Gore

Asia’s mountain glaciers will lose at least a third of their mass through global warming by the century’s end, with dire consequences for millions of people who rely on them for fresh water, researchers have said.

Local Government NZ is calling for an incoming government to act quickly on climate change to ensure New Zealand communities are well prepared for rising sea levels and greater storm frequency.

Emissions resulting from potential new coal mines on the Buller plateau would equate to increasing New Zealand’s annual emissions by 10%, warns Forest & Bird.

Electric vehicles

China, the world’s biggest vehicle market, is considering a ban on the production and sale of fossil fuel cars in a major boost to the production of electric vehicles as Beijing seeks to ease pollution, reports the Guardian.

Several carmakers have unveiled plans to mass-produce electric vehicles, spurred on by government crackdowns on engine emissions, falling battery costs and the increasing range of electric cars. BMW says that 12 all-electric cars and 13 hybrids will be on the market by 2025, reports the LA Times. Volkswagen is stepping up its shift to electric cars and plans to invest more than 20 billion euros in zero-emission vehicles by 2030 to challenge pioneer Tesla in creating a mass market, reports Reuters.

Being able to drive an electric vehicle that charges as it moves around city streets could soon be reality, with the NZ Government pumping more than $11 million into new research to create in-road wireless pads, reports the Herald.