Solar leads the world, immediate climate action could save NZ billions

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

Solar power is continuing to surge ahead as the world's emerging energy technology, reports Reuters.

A solar venture in Saudi Arabia will be 100 times larger than any other proposed in the world, and features plans to store electricity for use when then sun isn’t shining with the biggest utility-scale battery ever made, reports Bloomberg.

Coal India Ltd, the world’s largest coal miner, plans to set up 20,000 megawatts of solar projects over the next 10 years, reports

NZ's electricity industry is blocking the entry of rooftop solar and preventing customers from breaking free of the incumbent electricity cartel's price-gouging, writes Geoff Bertram from Victoria University in Stuff.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Coal and gas are facing a mounting threat to their position in the world’s electricity generation mix, as a result of the spectacular reductions in cost not just for wind and solar technologies, but also for batteries – according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The number of new coal plants under development worldwide continues to fall dramatically with a new report revealing a 28 per cent fall in newly completed coal plants in 2017 compared to 2016, reports Renew Economy.

Forest and Bird are ditching ANZ as their bank, due to their investment into fossil fuels, reports RNZ.

Climate change

Immediate action on climate change could save New Zealand tens of billions of dollars, according to a Westpac report. It also shows that New Zealand could simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and achieve economic growth, reports the NZ Herald. In response Sustainable Electricity Association NZ says solar installed with batteries could alone save NZ half a billion dollars in avoided greenhouse gas emission costs but, first, the government needs to do more to encourage new clean energy technologies.

Climate change is affecting the Antarctic more than previously believed and is likely to prompt global projections of sea-level rise to be revised upward, reports the Guardian.

The global flurry of legal campaigns against “big oil” has widened, with Royal Dutch Shell being threatened with legal action unless it steps up efforts to comply with the Paris climate agreement, reports the Guardian.

Satellites watching over New Zealand might show our forests are soaking up more CO2 than estimated, reports Newsroom. And New Zealand needs to take steps to secure food production in the face of climate change, reports the NZ Herald.

Power prices

The cost of supplying electricity to New Zealand households could be cut by an estimated $30 million a year by reducing peak demand over winter evenings, says the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

This government's inquiry into electricity pricing has been captured by the major players in the electricity industry and it's likely monopoly interests will continue to suppress rooftop solar as we'll as household energy efficiency and sustainable home heating, says energy commentator Molly Melhuish.

Electric vehicles

Rising petrol taxes, as high as 25.3 cents a litre in Auckland, may increase demand for electric vehicles and speed up the introduction of electric charging stations, says Volvo.

New Zealand has almost arrived at an electric-car future when charging stations will be dotted every 75 kilometres along our highways, reports Stuff.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is calling on the NZ government to save electric trains on the North Island main trunk.