Solar makes radio history in NZ and Exxon’s climate change cover up

Last week solarcity helped RadioLIVE make history as it produced New Zealand’s first ever solar-powered national broadcast. For three hours Duncan Garner hosted the station’s drive show from an off-grid studio, on Auckland’s Wynyard wharf, using only solar power from our purpose designed system.

Seventeen NZ mayors have signed a declaration committing to a tougher stance on tackling climate change. They are asking the government to make it a priority to develop and implement a transition plan for a low carbon NZ. Their councils are committed to promoting walking, cycling and public transport, as well as renewable energy and the uptake of electric vehicles. As we move closer towards the Paris climate talks something interesting is happening, says Tobias Engelmeier in CleanTechnica. He says building a low carbon world is both technologically feasible and economically attractive.

Genesis Energy has told its shareholders that NZ's overall energy security is not its concern and its decision to stop burning coal at its Huntly Power Station in 2018 was based on economic problems connected with under-utilisation of its boilers.

Herald energy reporter Grant Bradley travelled to Norway to see what effect the slump in oil prices is having on the nation which relies heavily on oil exploration. Thousands of Norwegian workers have lost their jobs but Norway says it's in for the long haul. One of its largest oil companies, Statoil, has started exploration in deep water around NZ.

Electric cars are set to get a boost in NZ with the government hoping to release a package of measures to increase their uptake by the end of the year. The Electricity Networks Association, which represents the 29 companies responsible for electricity distribution, is also planning a nationwide network of vehicle charging points. Toyota is predicting the end of petrol and diesel cars. The world's best-selling auto maker says that by 2050, gas-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell cars and electric vehicles will account for most of its global vehicle sales. In the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, VW says it is accelerating plans to develop battery-driven and hybrid electric vehicles.

Dutch team placed first and second in a 3000km solar car race in Australia this week. There were 46 cars from 25 countries taking part in the 2015 World Solar Challenge which started in Darwin and finished in Adelaide. And, in US, the 2015 Solar Decathlon for designing, building and operating the most cost effective, energy efficient and attractive solar powered house has just finished. See a virtual tour of the winning house here.

The Obama administration is cancelling its plans to sell oil drilling rights in the Arctic Sea through 2017 just weeks after Shell's decision to suspend its oil exploration in offshore Alaskan waters. Environmental groups are calling it "an essential reprieve" for Arctic waters. Two investigations have revealed that oil giant ExxonMobil knew all that there was to know about climate change decades ago and, instead of alerting the rest of us, denied the science and obstructed the politics of global warming, writes Bill McKibben in the Guardian

There are no subsidies for rooftop solar installation in NZ but plans by the British Government to cut subsidies there have caused some solar companies to go bust. In response, the British solar power industry has proposed an emergency plan to become subsidy-free, preserve up to 20,000 jobs and enable hundreds of thousands more homes to become solar powered. Thailand is becoming the centre of mega-solar power facilities. The Southeast Asian nation is leveraging its abundant sunshine to attract solar power companies to the country.