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Solar’s huge potential, Kiwis go cold due to high power prices

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

Global surface temperatures in June 2018 averaged 0.78C higher than normal. Guardian graphic. Source: Nasa, NOAA

Solar and batteries

The economics for technologies like solar power just keep getting better and better, says Sir Stephen Tindall in an interview with the NZ Herald. Sir Stephen's K1W1 investment fund provides solarcity with financial backing. And, there's huge potential for clean energy technologies like solar to replace fossil fuels in the NZ economy, writes Dr Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Newsroom. Sadly, he says, the political and economic leadership to develop this potential is far behind that of most other nations, 

The US produced a record amount of solar power in 2017, generating 39 times more solar power than a decade ago, according to a new report that shows renewable energy is taking off across the country, reports Greentech Media.

A new combination of materials developed by Stanford researchers may aid in developing a rechargeable battery able to store the large amounts of renewable power created through wind or solar sources, reports Energy Daily. And, the idea of capturing solar energy in space where the sun never stops shining and beaming it to Earth may seem far-fetched, but such technology is further along than most realise, reports EarthSky.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Using natural gas as a bridge between dirty coal and clean renewables is likely to be a much shorter transition than predicted, reports Vox

The signing of a new gas supply deal shows the fossil fuel ban isn't going to hurt the Taranaki economy, according to Climate Change Minister James Shaw, reports Newshub. Meanwhile, hydrogen could be the fuel of the future, says the head of a new startup in Taranaki, reports Stuff.

Vitol has joined other big companies from the oil and gas industry by investing in renewable energy generation, reports Greentech Media

Climate change

The record-breaking heatwaves gripping the northern hemisphere are undoubtedly linked to global warming, according to scientists, reports the Guardian. The heatwave hitting Europe is contributing to a number of devastating wildfires across the continent, reports Stuff. And a report from Britain's Met Office suggests that climate change will make heat waves more frequent and severe, reports the NZ Herald.

Declining populations of mammals and birds are linked to rapid warming of the climate, says the Zoological Society of London.

New Zealand's approach so far to climate change has been labelled "complacent" by a leading energy researcher, reports the NZ Herald. "People regard the process as too expensive, that we should wait for other countries to develop the technology. This self-defeating narrative is repeated and reinforced by established industry players who dominate policy and media discourse," says Anna Berka, a research fellow at the University of Auckland's Energy Centre.

And, the NZ Herald also reports on sweeping new analysis of hundreds of annual reports and statements that reveal NZ hasn't been "walking the talk" on climate risk.

Power prices

A survey by the Salvation Army shows 45% of those polled went without heating in the last year due to the high price of power, reports RNZ.

Electric vehicles

The Japanese Government says that by 2050 all new cars sold in Japan should be electric or hybrid, reports The Japan Times.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has launched EVRoam, claimed to be the world’s first live database of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, reports Computerworld.

Jaguar predicts almost two-thirds of Aussies could own an electric vehicle within 10 years, reports Renew Economy.