Renewable Energy

Science • Physics & Engineering
Ballast stones store energy in the port of Hamburg
Ballast stones store energy in the port of Hamburg
Credit: Courtesy of Siemens

In the Port of Hamburg, ballast stones with electrothermal energy storage systems can store renewable energy from wind or sun in the form of heat. The project, in which Siemens Gamesa and the Technical University of Hamburg, among others, have been involved since June 2019, is called ETES. ETES stands for Electro-Thermal Energy Storage and could be used in the future to become independent of weather conditions. This would make it possible to draw on the energy generated even when the sky is overcast or there is no wind.

Climate & Environment
The Philippines stops accepting proposals for coal-based power plants
The Philippines stops accepting proposals for coal-based power plants
Credit: Lawrence Ruiz (Epi Fabonan III) / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Filipino Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has announced a moratorium on endorsements for greenfield coal-powered plants.

Instead, the government will pursue natural gas as a major source of energy, not just for power generation but also for industrial, commercial and household sectors.

However, with the coal-based projects that are already in the works and proposals already submitted to the government not covered by the moratorium, coal is set to remain the dominant power source for years to come.

Cusi stated that "We see that we have enough supply for baseload power and we're looking at a more flexible source like gas, geothermal, hydro and others,".

Climate & Environment
Japan aims for zero emissions by 2050
Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga
Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga Credit: 内閣官房内閣広報室 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Japan will aim to become carbon-neutral by 2050, said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in his first policy speech since taking office in September. The country emitted 1.24 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018.

Environmental groups have criticized Japan in the past for its slow progress in cutting emissions. This new commitment was commented by Greenpeace as "precisely the kind of action the world needs" while cautioning that it must be met by the policy.

Climate & Environment
South Korea commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
South Korea commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
Credit: unsplash.com / Shawn Ang

Following a visit by Cop26 president-designate Alok Sharma, president Moon Jae-in has announced that South Korea will commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. “By replacing coal power generation with renewable energy, we will create new markets and industries and create jobs,” he said.

Earlier this year, Moon presented plans for a Green New Deal investing $37 billion in clean energy, green infrastructure and electric vehicles by 2025. A further $7 billion investment in carbon-cutting measures was announced last week.

Climate & Environment
Report: Solar energy now cheapest form of electricity
Report: Solar energy now cheapest form of electricity
Credit: unsplash.com / Science in HD

International Energy Agency has reported that solar is now the cheapest form of electricity for utility companies to build.

In their report, they claim that risk-reducing financial policies around the world have benefited this development and underlines the importance of these for the future development of renewable energy sources.

Climate & Environment
Norwegian study shows black turbine blades reduced bird mortality by 72%
Smøla Wind Farm
Smøla Wind Farm Credit: Statkraft (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A study led by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research observed a reduction of 71.9% of bird deaths from turbine collisions if one of the three blades was painted black. The study was conducted at the Smøla wind farm, along the West Norwegian coast.

Bård Stokke, one of the study's lead authors, stated: "Our hope is therefore that these measures, given their positive effects on birds and the fact that they are relatively simple and low cost, will be used in future wind energy developments both in Norway and abroad."

Regional News • Africa
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Credit: Hailefida (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Under the leadership of the African Union the three in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) involved countries Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have announced that they'll continue negotiations over the management of the dam.

The water and foreign ministers of the countries have agreed "to work on unifying the texts of the agreements submitted by the three countries" according to the water ministry of Sudan.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Credit: unsplash.com / American Public Power Association

Apple has announced the self-commitment to become a carbon-neutral company for all products it produces and its supply chain, stating that the company is already carbon neutral worldwide in regards to its corporate emissions.

The communicated date to hit the goals is 2030 and Apple aims to achieve this by reducing its emissions by 75 percent and in addition using technology to remove carbon from the environment. These "innovative carbon removal solutions" will be developed by Apple themselves with the aim to close the remaining 25 percent of carbons.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that "climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change".

Climate & Environment
Australia: Sydney switches to 100% renewable electricity
Australia: Sydney switches to 100% renewable electricity
Credit: Azri (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The city of Sydney has announced that it has begun switching 100% of the electricity for the city to energy from renewable sources. According to the official announcement on the cities website they struck a deal to purchase energy from three different generators in New South Wales that is equivalent to 100% of the city's usage. The electricity comes in 3/4 from wind generation and 1/4 from solar generation and will be added to the electricity grid of the city.

Since the 1st of July, the city has started getting electricity from these generators with the aim of completing the switch to getting 100% of the cities electricity from these sources in 2021.

Climate & Environment
Portugal adjusts plans to end energy from coal by 2021
Portugal adjusts plans to end energy from coal by 2021
Credit: Paulo Valdivieso from Lisboa, Portugal / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

According to the energy company EDP its Sines coal power plant will be shut down in 2021, accelerating the original 2023 shutdown plans. This will make Portugal the third country in the European Union to end the energy production from coal-fired power plants.

EDP has stated that they are "now evaluating the development of a green hydrogen production project in Sines" and are "committed to fulfill all labor obligations towards the 107 workers at the plant".

Regional News • Africa
Ethiopia has started filling the Renaissance Dam after talks end with no deal
Men at work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project.
Men at work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project. Credit: Jacey Fortin (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Dr. Seleshi Bekele has announced that the country has started filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He later stated on his Twitter account that "The inflow into the reservoir due to heavy rain fall and runoff exceeded the outflow and created natural pooling.This continues until overflow is triggered soon".

Talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had ended with no agreement as Ethiopia aims to become a large energy supplier for its' population and generate revenue by exporting the surplus, while Egypt fears that the Nile will provide too little water for the country.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Ride provider Lyft announces that they'll electrify "100 percent" of its vehicles by 2030
Ride provider Lyft announces that they'll electrify "100 percent" of its vehicles by 2030
Credit: unsplash.com/Austin Distel

The ride-sharing provider Lyft has announced that it plans on transitioning to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2030. They stated that "100 percent" are the goal and according to the co-founder and president, John Zimmer "Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities". Lyft did not close how much the project will cost.

Climate & Environment
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Credit: unsplash.com/Nicholas Doherty

The Spanish Government has proposed a new energy plan to surpass the efforts made by the European Union. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas reductions by 20 percent compared to 1990, which would be six points higher than the requirement of the European Union. In addition, Spain aims to revoke all fracking permits after 2040, ban the registration for CO2-emitting vehicles by 2040 and in the same year abolish all subsidies for fossil fuel emissions.

Climate & Environment
Unilever announces it will invest one billion euros in climate change fund

Unilever Plc has announced that it plans to invest one billion euros over the course of ten years into a fund for climate change projects. The goal is to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions for the entire product offering to zero by 2039. The projects include reforestation and water preservation.

Climate & Environment
United Kingdom reaches longest period without coal energy since industrial revolution
Cottam Power Station, viewed from the north in July 2019 - months prior to official closure
Cottam Power Station, viewed from the north in July 2019 - months prior to official closure Credit: Ncary95 / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

With a decreased electricity demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic of 15-20%, the United Kingdom has hit the milestone of two months without the need for coal based energy. In addition to the decreased demand renewable energy sources have generated and contributed more electricity than ever before.

Climate & Environment
Report shows: Costs for solar energy have dropped 82% since 2010
Solar panels at the top of Mt Tripylos, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
Solar panels at the top of Mt Tripylos, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus Credit: Michal Klajban (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has published a report called "Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019". The organization concludes that "Since 2010, the cost of energy has dropped by 82% for photovoltaic solar, by 47% for concentrated solar energy (CSP), by 39% for onshore wind and by 29% for wind offshore".

Climate & Environment
Intel commits to cut waste and greenhouse gas emissions
Intel sticker on laptop computer
Intel sticker on laptop computer Credit: pexels.com/Jordan Harrison

Intel recently announced their environmental goals for 2030. The technology company aims to make the switch to 100% renewable energy and to recycle all its trash by the end of the decade. Currently, Intel does recycle over 90% of its trash and hazardous waste. Even though the company is decreasing its own emissions, they are not counting emission caused by companies and factories in their supply chain.

Climate & Environment
US generated more renewable than coal energy for first month in history

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has announced that the United States have generated more energy from renewable energy sources than coal in April for the first time in history. The streak had already begun end of March and had continued for the whole April until at May 3.

Climate & Environment
The economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic must be a "green recovery" - Germany, UK

Spokespeople from Germany and the United Kingdom said that instead of investing "in technologies of the past" the recovery should be a "green and resilient" one that "leaves no one behind". The German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Svenja Schulze, said that "Unlike in the fight against the coronavirus, we already know the vaccines for the climate crisis".

Climate & Environment
Clear skies lead to record solar power production in Germany

With 32,227 megawatts Germany has reached a new all-time high for the production of solar energy in a single day. On that day 78% of the generated energy in Germany had renewable sources, according to Agora Energiewende.