New York sues big oil over global warming, 2017 was second-hottest year on record

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

Following the success of the world's largest battery, South Australia is aiming to build the world's largest thermal solar plant. And, by the end of 2017, Australia had 1,778,687 rooftop PV systems, totalling just more than 6.29GW in capacity, reports PV Tech.

As many as 20,000 schools in Pakistan are to be powered by solar. And a new city being built in the US state of Florida will rely 100% on solar energy.

Last year China opened a solar park in the shape of a panda when viewed from the air. Now Poland plans to build a solar park shaped like a deer.

The Nelson region was the sunniest location in 2017, recording 2633 sunshine hours, followed by Marlborough (2605), and Hawke’s Bay (2504), according to Niwa figures.

Climate change

New York City is seeking to lead the assault on both climate change and the Trump administration with a plan to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue the world’s most powerful oil companies over their contribution to dangerous global warming.

According to Nasa data 2017 was the second-hottest year on record. Last year's extreme weather events revealed the future of global climate change, reports MIT Technology Review. And Niwa says 2017 was a year of weather extremes in NZ with some areas experiencing record rainfall, dryness and temperatures. Climate scientists have predicted the year will again be among the warmest ever - and, for the next few months at least, hotter than normal in our corner of the planet.

Rising sea temperatures due to climate change are having a bizarre and potentially catastrophic effect on the sea turtle population.

Renewables and fossil fuels

A shipping collision in the East China Sea could lead to the biggest oil spill from a ship in 50 years.  Belize is the first developing country to permanently suspend oil operations in its ocean waters.

Replacing India’s expensive coal plants with solar and wind could save billions of dollars. Wind turbines delivered power equivalent to 43.6 percent of Denmark’s electricity consumption in 2017.

One of the UK’s eight remaining coal power stations is expected to cease generating electricity this year, the government has said as it laid out new rules that will force all the plants to close by 2025. An independent energy agency has rejected a Trump administration plan to bolster coal-fired and nuclear power plants in the US. 

Power prices

Power consumers may need to get used to higher electricity prices this year as 2018 starts with the lowest hydro lake levels since 2008 - when New Zealand last experienced extremely low lake levels for a prolonged period, reports the NZ Herald.

Electric vehicles

The latest concepts in electric vehicle design were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Sales of electric and hybrid cars in Norway outpaced those running on fossil fuels last year, cementing the country’s position as a global leader in the push to restrict vehicle emissions.

The city of Shenzhen, in China, has switched its 16,359 buses to all-electric models and its fleet of 17,000 taxis is next.

Electric vehicles are predicted to make up about 40% of the NZ fleet by 2040, reports Stuff.