SpaceX sends an electric car to space, South Australia plans worlds largest virtual solar power plant

We're all about saving you energy and have rounded up the latest solar, climate and energy news so you don't have to.

A Tesla electric car goes to space on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. Credit: SpaceX

Solar and batteries

The state of South Australia has announced that it will create a network of up to 50,000 solar-powered homes with batteries to create the “world’s largest virtual power plant,” reports Reuters.

The Mayor of London has launched a new scheme to increase the amount of solar power and other clean energy technology in the city.

When Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico in September 2017, the island’s entire electrical grid was knocked out. Brad Stanhope talks about how the solar industry stepped in to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Companies, led by tech giants including Apple and Facebook, are snapping up more clean energy than ever, even as shifting environmental policies from the US to Europe threaten the economics of renewable energy, reports Bloomberg.

A new Pioneer Energy hydro scheme on the Fraser River, on Earnscleugh Station, will generate enough electricity to power 4000 households, the Otago Daily Times reports.

The NZ government has blocked the sale of 19 hectares of land on the West Coast to a coal mining company. Forest and Bird's chief conservation advisor Kevin Hackwell said the decision was consistent with the government's policy of no new mining on conservation land.

Climate change

From record-breaking heat to flooding and gale force winds, New Zealand had more than its fair share of extreme weather last week. However, scientists are warning this could be the new norm. They're pushing for a better understanding of what climate change will entail for New Zealand and the measures to adapt, reports RNZ.

And NIWA's chief climate scientist says it is extremely likely that last month's powerful storms were the result of climate change.

The impact of recent major storms demonstrate the government's huge responsibility to prepare the country for the impacts of climate change, says our Prime Minister.

People are being advised to take care of their health as this summer's temperatures continue to soar, amid warnings the effects of climate change will pose increasing challenges in the years ahead.

Electric vehicles

SpaceX has launched a Tesla electric car into orbit with a “Starman” at the wheel. The car is now in an elliptical orbit around the sun that will stretch out beyond the orbit of Mars.

Aston Martin, the legendary British brand immortalized by James Bond movies, is seeking a joint venture in China to help break into the world’s biggest market for EVs.