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The world’s first solar train and 36,000 schools in Ghana plan to go solar

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

The world’s first fully solar powered train is expected to be running in Australia by the end of the year. One in four Queensland households use solar energy, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Overall 17% of Australian homes had solar panels in 2015-16.

Ghana has joined the International Solar Alliance giving it access to funds that it plans to use to hook up more than 36,000 of the country’s schools to solar. A group of London graduates has helped thousands of people in Africa access energy from the sun. Future Now asks if their idea could teach power providers in the West a thing or two?

Puerto Rico has taken a step towards revamping its power grid using Tesla technology after it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. The ability to make vehicle batteries part of the national grid will become reality in the UK next year, forcing utility firms to rethink their relationship with customers, reports the Guardian. And, in NZ, Vector is looking at the potential for EVs to become mobile energy sources to make its network smarter and more resilient, reports the NZ Herald.

Renewables and fossil fuels

France’s largest bank will no longer do business with companies whose main activity stems from oil and natural gas obtained from shale or oil sands, reports Bloomberg.

China has held on to its spot as EY’s most attractive renewable energy country after taking the top spot earlier this year, leaving room for India to step into second place as the United States stalled at third due to new political headwinds. You can read the full report here.

Large protests were held across Australia last weekend against a proposed coal mine in Queensland that would be the largest in the country. Environment groups say the mine would contribute to global warming and damage the Great Barrier Reef, reports Stuff.

Climate change

A decade of science has revealed how climate change is slowly shifting the chemistry of New Zealand's oceans, threatening the multitude of life found in our waters, reports the NZ Herald.

One challenge awaiting the next NZ Government is how to address - and especially, how to fund - the need to adapt to climate change, says NZ Herald columnist Brian Fallow. In her final week as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright is calling on the incoming Parliament to make passing a Climate Change Act a top priority. A statutory climate commission to set and monitor New Zealand’s carbon budgets was recommended by delegates at the 10th Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference.

The prospect of climate change refugees arriving in New Zealand is very real. Potentially, millions of people fleeing the Philippines, or hundreds fleeing Tuvalu, will see New Zealand as a wealthy, welcoming, sparsely populated lifeboat, says Unicef.

The International Monetary Fund has warned the world’s richest nations to have a greater sense of urgency about climate change.

Electric vehicles

When future auto historians look back, they may pinpoint 2017 as the year electric vehicles went from a promising progressive fad to an industry-wide inevitability, reports the Washington Post.

The new Dutch government plans to make all new cars emission-free by 2030 – virtually banning petrol- and diesel-powered cars in favour of battery-powered vehicles. Adoption of electric vehicles and improved fuel efficiency could wipe out 3.5 million barrels a day of demand from cars by 2025, say Barclays analysts. A European Union proposal to promote electric cars will shy away from quotas and instead include carbon credits that carmakers can use to offset emissions targets, EU sources told Reuters.