Solar park turns Mexican desert green, massive Kiwi support for climate action

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 largest solar park in Latin America (pictured above) is also the largest outside China and India. It will supply enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes in northern Mexico when it reaches full capacity later this year, reports

More than 8.6 million households in India have been electrified through a scheme which seeks to provide solar, storage, LED lighting and other amenities to every willing household across the country, reports PVtech.

Battery storage is becoming a serious challenger to the perceived dominance of natural gas in our current and future energy system, reports Renewable Energy World.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Apple is establishing a US$300 million fund with ten of its suppliers for investing in renewable energy projects in China, reports PVtech. Meanwhile global clean energy investment is expected to fall a little in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency.

The NZ government is making a grant of about $1 million to Taranaki company Hiringa Energy to develop zero emission hydrogen transport fuel, reports Newsie. And a new gas-fired power plant in Taranaki will be a $100 million mistake for New Zealand, says Greenpeace.

A Rotorua-based timber mill is using its waste wood as renewable fuel and generating its own electricity in amounts sufficient to power a town the size of Whakatane, reports the NZ Herald.

Climate change

Kiwis overwhelmingly think New Zealand should take action on climate change even if other nations don't, according to a new survey, reports the NZ Herald. And, around 10,000 people and organisations have expressed their views on New Zealand's proposed Zero Carbon Bill, reports Newshub. Prior to public submissions closing, The Conversation reported that we could become the first country in the world to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

The head of Forest & Bird is giving the newly formed Climate Leaders Coalition the benefit of the doubt on greenwashing. But he has a message for all businesses: we’re watching you, reports The Spinoff. And the union representing rail workers says KiwiRail is a "green-washing hypocrite" for signing up to the coalition after scrapping electric locomotives in favour of diesel trains, reports the NZ Herald.

Record high temperatures were set across much of the world last week as an unusually prolonged and broad heatwave intensifies concerns about climate change, reports the Guardian.

Power prices

Electricity rates increased by 2.9% over the past 12 months - almost double the annual inflation figure of 1.5%, reports Stuff.

Electric vehicles

To increase the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand we need price signals influenced by tax incentives and cash grants, writes Victoria University’s Lisa Marriott in The Spinoff.

Vector reports that it has seen a 190 per cent increase in EV charging sessions over the past year. And Auckland Council reports it is reducing its vehicle fleet and going green with the purchase of 10 new electric vehicles.

Formula E, a global electric auto racing series is helping to promote the shift to EVs for everyday use, reports the NZ Herald.