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The solar revolution is here, NZ power companies buy shonky carbon credits

Source: Cleantechnica / Get the Data

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

An electricity system once dominated by monolithic state agencies and a few large corporations is giving way to a vast range of owners and producers, says a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. Letting in the Light looks at how power generation is diversifying from the hands of the few to the enterprises and homes of the many.

How much do you really know about solar? Cleantechnica has published 10 useful facts and handy charts that will make you an expert. If, for some reason, someone wished to delay the introduction of solar panels into New Zealand, here are some ideas on how to do it, writes George Jones, a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand, in a satirical column for Sciblogs.

A London-based company has developed a floating, solar-powered home made from nearly 100% recycled materials. A small unmanned solar-powered boat has completed a voyage of almost 4,000km from California to Hawaii.

Renewables 

Transpower is tracking how much power is being generated by hydro, geothermal and wind and generates graphs for the last week, month and year. 

Climate change

Power companies Contact and Genesis Energy feature in a Morgan Foundation report revealing 12 NZ companies which bought cheap, worthless carbon credits to meet their climate change commitments. New Zealand was the world's biggest buyer of Russian and Ukrainian credits which did not represent any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace says Genesis Energy should have taken climate action by shutting down the coal-burning Huntly Power Station rather than buying shonky carbon credits in order to make a profit at New Zealand’s expense.

Global temperatures continue to warm even though El Nino has finally released its grip. Nasa has confirmed that July was the hottest month in recorded history.

The residents of a small coastal Alaskan village have voted to move to the mainland because of rising sea levels, but they may not have the funds to do it. The 600-person village of Shishmaref, located on an island just north of the Bering Strait, has for decades been ravaged by erosion tied to climate change, leading residents to seek a more sustainable place to live. An explosive wildfire fanned by a heatwave and strong winds ripped through rural communities outside Los Angeles, unleashing fire tornadoes and triggering evacuation orders for more than 80,000 people. Climate change has extended the traditional fire season in the western states of the US by 78 days since the 1970s, running from June to October. Fires start earlier and burn longer.

New Zealand researchers are monitoring changes to the world's major habitats using data collected from space. The University of Otago team, including Professor Steven Higgins, has developed a system which they say could be used to study the effects of climate change on flora and fauna.

Auckland has managed to minimise greenhouse gas emissions increases despite its increasing population, says Auckland Council. An inventory, published by the Carbon Disclosure Project, shows Auckland’s emissions rose 0.9 per cent between 2009 and 2013 at the same time its population grew by 5.0 per cent.

New Zealand will ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change by the end of the year, the government says.The agreement, finalised in Paris last December, commits New Zealand to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Power prices

Producer prices rose in the June 2016 quarter, due to higher fuel and electricity prices, says Statistics New Zealand.

Transport

A new report states a shift in Australia over a 10 year period to electric vehicles powered by 100% renewable energy would eliminate at least 6 per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. New evidence has emerged that Tesla is preparing to release a larger capacity battery that would boost the range of its Model S to as much as 610 km. A Chinese-owned carmaker is developing a plug-in hybrid which will include a roof top solar panel to charge the battery.

Ford plans to mass produce driverless cars and have them in commercial operation in a ride-hailing service by 2021. The Netherlands may soon approve of an outright ban on new cars fuelled by gasoline or diesel fuel by the year 2025.