India thinks big on solar, NZ considers ending oil and gas exploration

The Pavagada solar park in southern India is expected to generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity when completed, making it the world's largest solar station. (Karnataka Solar Power Development Corp.)

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 biggest solar parks in the world are now being built in India, reports the LA Times.

Norway is a country with a lot of oil and a relatively low solar radiation, in theory not an Eldorado for solar pioneers. Last year, however, the country’s PV market showed it first signs of real growth reports PV Magazine.

Floating solar PV, or ‘floatovoltaics’, is set to move into the mainstream this year according to new market research. And a new floating solar plant in Japan will generate the equivalent of the power consumed by 5,000 homes in one year.

SEANZ clarifies the benefits of solar to low-income earners and NZ electricity sector in response to comments made by the new Energy Minister Megan Woods.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government is 'actively considering' a call to end oil exploration in NZ. Ardern outlines that position in more detail in an opinion piece in Stuff. If NZ can successfully wean itself off fossil fuels, it will help accelerate action in other countries, argues climate scientist James Renwick in The Spinoff. And Royal Dutch Shell is to leave New Zealand as part of a wide-reaching divestment plan, bringing to and end more than 100 years of operation in the country, reports The Verdict.

The UK is well on the way to a new era of subsidy-free renewable energy projects that will largely kill off prospects for new gas power stations, according to industry analysts. No new coal-fired generators were added in America in 2017 for the first year in at least a decade, reports the US Energy Information Administration. And declines in coal power plant construction in the US, China and India are projected to push the heavily-polluting fuel over the edge, reports the NZ Herald.

Climate change

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased in 2017, after three years of remaining flat. That significant growth shows that current efforts to combat climate change are far from sufficient, says the head of the International Energy Agency Dr Fatih Birol.

Climate change will result in a massive movement of people inside countries and across borders, creating “hotspots” where tens of millions pour into already crowded slums, according to the World Bank.

A new interactive map shows which parts of the world have been hardest-hit by climate change, and which will bear the brunt over the next half-century. It uses five decades' worth of weather and climate data collected from 50,000 weather stations around the Earth, including New Zealand.

Scientists have outlined plans to build a series of mammoth engineering projects in Greenland and Antarctica to help slow down the disintegration of the planet’s main glaciers, reports the Guardian. Climate change is threatening the future of Easter Island, and also its past, due to erosion, reports the New York Times.

Power prices

Trustpower's customers in Tauranga will continue to receive an annual cheque of about $500 following a failed proposal to change the payment. NZ First Capital estimates the true benefit for those customers will actually be about $50 to $100 as they pay a higher price for power, reports BusinessDesk.

Electric vehicles

NZ should ban the ban the sale of all new or imported used vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2030, write two academics in the DomPost.

The third annual Leading the Charge EV tour from Bluff to Cape Reinga has kicked off once again to promote and encourage more Kiwi into zero emission electric vehicles. Here’s the full programme that started on March 14 and finishes on April 3.

The era of electric vehicles in India will present a $42 billion opportunity for the battery industry over the next 12 years, reports Business Today.

UPS in London is using batteries to charge its EV fleet. It is piloting a smart grid and battery combination to avoid the need for an expensive power system upgrade.