Renewables 2017: 5 energy trends shaping a sustainable future

In a year in which President Trump seemingly did his best to roll back all the emission-reducing inroads of the Obama administration, the worldwide demand for low-cost, low-carbon energy continued to climb at unprecedented rates.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and still a major player in coal, is now on target to lead international investment in the sector, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Closer to home, a surge in solar PV installations – Australia set a new record in 2017 for the fastest time to reach a commissioned 1GW of solar in a calendar year – and widespread investment in wind farms has restored sector confidence.

Australia’s Clean Energy Council reveals that 43 renewable energy projects were under construction or due for completion by the end of 2017. The CEC believes these projects will deliver $8.8 billion in investment, more than 4,469 MW of new renewable energy capacity, and create more than 4,930 direct jobs.

In a watershed year for renewable energy around the globe, below are five other highlights to get excited about.

1. Australia now has the largest lithium-ion battery

When Elon Musk makes a promise, he delivers. In response to ongoing power shortages in South Australia, Musk tweeted Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes in March saying he could create a 100MWh battery storage farm within 100 days as a solution. If not, he’d foot the bill for his troubles.

The batteries were sent and installed well before the Australian heat waves hit – and well ahead of Musk’s self-imposed deadline.

Tesla’s Powerpacks are connected to a wind farm in Hornsdale, owned by French renewable energy company Neoen.

Thanks to Musk’s pledge, South Australia’s premier Jay Weatherill says it’s the first time the state has been able to reliably dispatch wind energy to the grid 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

2. China opens the world’s biggest floating solar farm

A Chinese city once famous for coal became the home to the world’s largest floating solar farm in 2017.

In a symbolic nod to where its energy commitments now lie, Chinese authorities also built it atop a former Huainan coal mine, which had become a lake after being flooded with groundwater.

The 40-megawatt power plant consists of 120,000 solar panels covering an area of more than 160 American football fields. The US$45-million facility could help power 15,000 homes.

Its tenure as a record-breaker, however, is to be short-lived. China, now the global leader in renewable energy investment, started building a 150-megawatt project in the same province in July. The entire facility is expected to be come online by May 2018.

3. SA green-lights the largest single-tower solar thermal power plant

The state once beset by energy woes, is fast becoming the renewable energy leader in Australia. Hot on the heels of the Tesla-built battery farm launching in South Australia, came news of the final stage of government approval for the building of the world’s largest solar thermal plant.

solar is an exciting new energy trend
Pic credit: Solar Reserve Facebook

It works by using multiple heliostats – which are in essence turning mirrors – to focus solar energy onto a single central tower.

This tower uses molten salt technology to store the heat, which it can later use to create steam to turn a turbine and generate electricity. The Government contract with United States operator Solar Reserve plant will displace the equivalent of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The news is accompanied by new figures showing South Australia has successfully shut off its energy reliance on Victoria. Every week since July, South Australia has sold more power to Victoria than it’s brought in.

4. Offshore wind farms

Unencumbered by the usual noise and space limitations of their land-based equivalents, giant turbines rose up from the sea in record numbers in 2017. In May, Dutch officials opened what was billed as one of the world’s largest wind farms – a 150-turbine behemoth in the North Sea. Over the next 15 years, the windpark, which lies some 85 kilometres off the northern coast of The Netherlands, is tipped to meet the energy needs of about 1.5 million people.

With the benefits of more consistent and higher wind speeds at sea it has a peak generating capacity of 600 megawatts, and will help supply 785,000 Dutch households with renewable energy.

TenneT, the Dutch equivalent of the UK’s National Grid, also proposes to construct a man-made island on Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea to act as a distribution hub for wind farm electricity (see video above).

Now Australia is looking to jump on the bandwagon with an even bigger project. Melbourne-based Offshore Energy announced in December that it is partnering with Copenhagen Infrastructure Projects to build the country’s first offshore windfarm off the coast of Victoria.

When completed the $8 billion, 2GW, 250 turbine wind farm – dubbed Star of the South – would have the capacity to power 1.2 million homes, or 18 per cent of the state’s current electricity usage.

5. Harnessing Blockchain technology for cheaper power

A WA start-up capitalised on the surge in solar panel and battery installation in Australia with a new peer-to-peer way to buy and sell renewable energy. Power Ledger is a blockchain-based trading platform – bitcoin uses the same technology – that allows trading of renewable electricity without the need for a midd

blockchain has joined the energy industry
Power Ledger chair and co-founder Dr Jemma Green.

leman.

In October, the energy tech start-up made Australian history with the nation’s first initial coin offering through the Ethereum cryptocurrency network after raising $18.9 million in capital in the lead up to its launch, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Since the ICO, the value of Power Ledger’s 351 million POWRs – cryptocurrency tokens – in circulation increased to $US225 million, according to coinmarketcap.com.

The Perth-based company also recently shared a $2.25 million federal grant with CSIRO, Landcorp and Curtin and Murdoch universities to demonstrate a sustainable energy and water housing project in Fremantle, and is using its cash to employ more software developers and build its staff to about 25. Other trial partners include India’s Tech Mahindra, Origin Energy and New Zealand utility Vector.

Snowy Hydro 2.0: Government makes $6 billion buy-out commitment to power project

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has underlined his commitment to the Snowy 2.0 Hydro scheme by striking a deal to buy the iconic power plant outright.

Conditional on sign-off in the May 8 federal budget, the government will pay NSW around $4 billion for its 58 per cent share and Victoria $2 billion for its 29 per cent stake, giving the Commonwealth (a 13 per cent shareholder) total ownership and control.

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg said the sale was “fair value” and promised to never sell the asset, which was valued at $7.8 billion in the deal, to a private buyer.

“The Commonwealth is absolutely committed to keeping it in public hands. There’s no talk about anything different to that,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC Radio.

Mr Turnbull insists the proposed expansion of the Snowy Hydro system will help make the electricity grid more reliable by increasing the amount of energy to be stored from intermittent generators like wind and solar farms.

Studies give the go-ahead

A new independent economic study recently rubber-stamped the government’s decision to press ahead with the ambitious scheme, despite the project’s budget blow-out.

The report, conducted by Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA), considered the state of the market “with or without” Snowy 2.0, which could cost up to $4.5 billion – a $2.5 billion increase on the original estimate.

Key findings of the MJA findings confirmed that Snowy 2.0 would:

  • Lead to better price outcomes for retailers, customers and large energy users.
  • Help future proof the National Electricity Market at the least possible cost against the intermittency of wind and solar generation as they continue to grow their market share.
  • Build on the Snowy Scheme and see greater utilisation of existing dams and increase operating capability.

The Snowy Mountains hydro scheme, built between 1949 and 1974, is made up of 16 dams, seven power stations and 225km of tunnels.

The expansion proposal – dubbed Snowy Hydro 2.0 – involves boring 27km of tunnels linking the Talbingo dam, at an elevation of 552 metres, to the Tantangara reservoir, at 1,233 metres, so energy can be generated by pumping water uphill to the higher reservoir when energy is cheap (say, in the middle of the night) and releasing it back downhill when energy is in high demand and prices are higher.

The upgrades would add 2,000 MW to the hydro scheme’s 4,100 MW capacity, enough to power 500,000 homes. Engineers also say you’d need to build more than 35 million domestic batteries to match its 350,000MWh storage capacity.

One of the technical features of this project is the reversible turbines which can draw water back through the system so it can be reused, lessening the impact on downstream releases and on the supply during drought.

“Snowy Hydro 2.0 is a nation-building project,” a spokesman for the prime minister said before the release of a $29 million feasibility study at the end of 2017.

“It will not only deliver a more affordable and reliable energy system but will also generate jobs and grow our economy.

“The feasibility study clearly demonstrates that Snowy 2.0 is a viable pumped hydro project that will futureproof the National Electricity Market (NEM), helping stabilise the system and deliver lower prices.”

Future-proofing power supply

If construction gets underway shortly, the Snowy 2.0 scheme could begin operating from 2024.

Mr Frydenberg believes that building Snowy 2.0 is vital for the future of Australia’s energy supply.

In a recent opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review, he warned that without Snowy 2.0 the east coast would have “a weaker and more expensive system and we would have failed to future-proof the grid for the inevitable arrival of more intermittent renewables”.

“Instead of falling electricity prices we will see upward pressure on price as volatility continues, there is less competition and other more costly gas peakers and batteries are pursued to stabilise the system,” he wrote.

Mr Frydenberg said the lack of storage and dispatchable power was “playing out painfully today in Victoria and South Australia”.

He cited the use of “expensive, polluting diesel generators using up to 80,000 litres of fuel an hour [which] have been called in just to keep the lights on this summer”.

As for budget blowout, Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said taxpayers needn’t worry about the revised estimated cost of $3.8 billion – $4.5 billion.

“Snowy 2.0 can be funded off our balance sheet, while delivering a healthy internal rate of return of 8 per cent,” he wrote recently in The Australian.

“While, historically, we have not often used our pumping capability, we’re progressively pumping more and will be at capacity when Snowy 2.0 comes on line.

“In fact, our analysis shows that future storage demand will surpass Snowy 2.0’s capacity from 2031, when we can again deliver by expanding the scheme, using the same reservoirs as Snowy 2.0, to benefit future generations.”

He also told ABC TV that the Snowy 2.0 board is committed to doing another $60 million worth of work in the next few months to refine the expansion costs.

“We expect [the cost] is at the lower end of the spectrum,” he said.

“It’s expensive, but it stacks up economically.”

Climate change goals at risk if new coal plants go ahead, says study

Just days after government data confirmed that Australia is on track to meet its 2020 Renewable Energy Target, a new study finds our climate control headway could be undone by other countries’ continued coal reliance.

Ottmar Edenhofer of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin, and three colleagues, say that if all the world’s planned coal plants are built we are closing the door on the Paris Agreement’s target of restricting temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius this century.

The research was published in Environmental Research Letters, with co-authors from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Technical University of Berlin.

The study is based on a concept of “lock-in” or “committed” emissions: Once a coal plant is completed and put into service, the thinking goes, it’s likely to operate for long time to justify the cost of the investment, reports The Washington Post.

The research finds that five countries — India, China, Turkey, Vietnam and Indonesia — are home to “nearly three quarters (73 percent) of the global coal-fired capacity that is currently under construction or planned.”

Vietnam, if plans are carried forward, could see 948 percent growth in coal emissions, the research asserts, by 2030.

The study is based on a database by CoalSwarm, a project of the Earth Island Institute, which carefully tracks coal plants in varying stages of completion across the globe, in collaboration with Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

Christine Shearer, a researcher with CoalSwarm, said it’s important to bear in mind that not all coal plants are actually completed.

“Since we started doing this work, since 2010, only about a third of proposed coal plants ever begin construction or are commissioned,” she said.

China, the world’s biggest consumer of fossil fuels, is a classic example.

Just last October it announced it was stopping or postponing work on 151 coal plants that were either under, or earmarked for, construction.

A month earlier India reported its national coal fleet on average ran at little more than 60% of its capacity – among other things, well below what is generally considered necessary for an individual generator to be financially viable.

Study author Mr Edenhofer, however, countered that the current building plans are important information.

“This does not mean we are doomed, but these announcements are announcements which should be taken into account very seriously,” he said.

“These are not just paper plants, these are real plants.”

Cameron Hepburn, a professor in environmental economics at Oxford University, also weighed in on the recent study with a gloomy outlook.

“If we don’t stop building coal plants now, we will have four unpalatable options,” he tells The Washington Post by email.

“We either (1) shut down coal plants early, (2) retrofit expensive carbon capture technologies, (3) suck even more CO2 out of the atmosphere, potentially at high cost, or (4) burn through the 2 degree C target.”

Biogas from waste can oust fossil fuel

A recent analysis shows that waste can now be used to generate biogas as an alternate form of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Waste is now found to have economical uses and countries have begun utilizing their forest and agricultural waste to transform them into sustainable energy.

Industries are using waste to produce heat and turn it into biogas. Whenever wind and solar energy are scarce, biogas can be used along with natural gas in pipelines, create power supply and power transport. Switzerland and Sweden have been making use of biogas to eliminate nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Although Sweden has an abundant supply of straw, it has so far been facing difficulties in using straw efficiently.

Scientists at RISE Scientific Research Institutes and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have concluded that straw could be turned into biogas by breaking down microbes in a digester. Straw could also be combined with food waste to create biogas.

Since straw is a dry substance, it would take less time to generate a high amount of gas. Biogas production could be profitable to biogas industries and agricultural sectors. Over 30 countries have signed up for the Biogas 2020 Project.

Switzerland, being rich in agriculture and forestry, is already using biogas from wood to fulfil 5% of its energy needs. An assessment showed that manure, sewage mire and agricultural waste could also be used as energy sources. Furthermore, it was possible for Switzerland to use biofuel and yield around 20% energy.

The current issue is that Switzerland cannot extract all wood because some of it is in unreachable locations of mountains. Moreover, the far-flung agricultural sectors produce only little amounts of valuable materials for energy. Therefore, their best options include forest wood and manure as barely half of other resources are sustainable.

Switzerland can use merely 2% of its biomass to produce electricity and heat. Biomass can generate energy more efficiently than solar or wind power. Thus, it can be used efficiently without obstacles when there are fluctuations in other sources of renewable energy.

Biogas sector is expected to grow rapidly for the next 20 years in generating sustainable energy as some countries take measures to preserve the environment. Countries are expecting a growing demand for biogas in the upcoming years. Currently, Asia Pacific is the leading market for biogas-derived global market due to rich, rural agricultural sectors and growth of biogas industries.

A study by Global Market Insights reported that the European Biogas Market is expected to expand by $2 billion by 2024 as governments now devise policies for environmental protection and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The EU 2020 aims to lower emissions and increase renewable energy emissions by 20%.

Research concludes that biomass is potentially a valuable source of energy; however, more assessments need to be conducted on how these raw materials can be made profitable. As awareness about waste management and urbanization increase, businesses are investing more on biogas-derived renewable energy.

Renewables will be cheaper than coal in the future

A study by Morgan Stanley shows that renewable energy would become cheaper than coal by 2020. Markets have now attained an inflection point – renewable resources are being used to generate power supply at lesser costs. Between 2016 and 2017, the price for solar energy fell by half.

With improvements in technology and economies of scale, the costs of transmitting renewable energy decrease – known as the “learning rate.” Jacobs Group recently illustrated how prices of wind and solar power are likely to fall within the next three years and following up to two decades. Wind prices were shown to be falling rapidly.

Prices of renewable energy drop due to improvements in materials and design for wind turbines. Just a small increase in the length of the wind turbine blade can maximize output. Utilizing sustainable energy can thwart air pollution, health problems and decelerate global warming in addition to being less costly than coal.

According to Swanson’s Law, for every 20% increase in global solar energy, there would be a corresponding reduction in the prices of solar. As industries keep expanding their renewable energy, prices fall. The costs of installing solar have fallen by about 70% since 2010. Prices fell 12% in 2015, which is recorded as the year with the highest solar installation globally. When solar panels and wind turbines are installed, sunshine and wind can be obtained free of cost; contrarily, it is expensive to extract coal since it is a finite resource.

Wind and solar energy are the least costly sources for generating energy as compared to nuclear gas and coal. The impact would be prevalent in Australia as well as international markets. The BNEF analysis shows that the notion of “baseload” would now come to be referred to as “base-cost renewable.” This means that wind and solar power would produce energy at the lowest cost and the base cost would be then replaced by the more expensive sources of energy.

The report also estimated that the price for renewable energy sources would be around 8% less than the price of coal. According to economists, this could be achieved with the help of carbon pricing strategy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  The price of carbon can be increased because just an hour of coal-generated power supply yields one ton of CO2.

When countries are increasingly putting carbon-pricing into effect, Australia would be required to impose the same or face heavy duties on its carbon exports. Countries need to take precaution when more than half of the renewable energy resources are being utilized. To make renewable energy readily available in different locations, businesses would need to invest in power generation lines and energy storage. This would increase costs of energy transmission.

Investment would also require maintaining voltage and frequencies. The cost of electricity generation increases with extra needs.

If Australia starts utilizing its wind and solar power, it has the potential to regain its reputation for utilizing cost-effective, sustainable energy, which would be equivalent to India and China that already have energy-intensive factories. Within two decades, solar and wind power would make up about 50% of the world’s power generation.

Australia Has Great Potential to Get Electrified In Just Two Decades

According to the researchers’ analysis at the ANU – Australian National University – Australia is capable of storing a lot more renewable energy, even thousand times more than it would conceivably ever need.

The engineering professor of ANU – Andrew Blakers- conducted a study and visited the hydro pump sites. After the analysis, he confidently concluded that there are almost 22,000 locations across Australia that are extremely suitable for the purpose.

The professor suggested that even if Australia utilizes a tiny fraction of these locations, the country will be able to transit 100% renewable power in just two decades.
“No matter where you are in Australia, you will find a good pumped hydro site not very far away from where you, or your wind or your solar farm is located. We only need to about one or two dozen to support a 100 percent renewable electricity grid” – said Blakers

The fellow engineering researcher Mathew Stocks also said that the pumped hydro facility is capable of providing maximum power in between five hours in one day. And power can easily and quickly be dispatched to the grid in times of need.
Dr. Stock stated;

“It can go from zero to full power in about one minute”

The pumped hydro technology is not new

The system of pumped hydro in itself is not new, in 1970 the same facility was started at the power station – Tamut 3, at Talbingo in New South Wales.

Besides this, pumped hydro technology is being used by many other countries and is widespread in the alpine parts of Italy and Europe. Countries like France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries such as Norway, as well as the United States and Japan, are too, making use of this technology.

Blakers believes that if the investment in terms of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind increases across Australia, the pumped hydro storage need will grow.

“We have so little solar and wind in the system at the moment that we don’t need the storage. Maybe now South Australia, at 50 percent wind and solar PV, is just getting to the stage where it does need either strong interconnection or a pumped hydro or both. But the other states will catch up and will be at the 50 percent level by the early 2020s I think, so they also need to start planning with pumped hydro now.”- said Blakers

Australia can become completely electrified in just two decades

Both the engineering professors found that the density of these pumped hydro sites is mostly in New South Wales. They estimated that the potential of these sites is to create 29,000 giga watt hours of storage capacity across as many sites as 8,600.

However, Josh Frydenberg – Energy and Environment Minister – welcomed the findings and confirmed that the Government has already been delivering major expansions in terms of the Snowy Hydro scheme along with ongoing feasibility studies in South Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland.

He further indicated that the Australian government is striving for many flexible capacity projects which include pumped hydro along with new and priority funding for large-scale storage.

World Bank Assisting Pacific Countries to Go Solar

The bank is bringing new mapping tools to identify the best sites to produce solar energy

At the regional energy summit held in Samoa, the World Bank has announced that it is finalizing the potential for its online solar atlas. This mapping tool can help governments and utilities in the Pacific to identify and locate geographical sites where the solar power potential is more abundant.

Riccardo Puliti, the head of the bank’s energy and extractives arm, has been witnessing an increased interest in solar power of his clients. He contributes this development to the remarkable drop in solar prices during last few years.

He is hoping their solar atlas can help in driving and devising crucial planning and investment decisions related to the shift from conventional to alternative forms of energy.

 

Climate changes are greatly affecting the Pacific region

Many of the low-lying Pacific islands have been threatened by the early calamities of climate change. The Marshall Islands is an island country comprising 1,156 islands and islets in the northern Pacific Ocean, with a population of around 68,000, spread over low-lying coral atolls. This small Oceana country is already experiencing unfavorable effects of change in climate. Since the average height of the islands is only six feet above the sea, rising sea levels have caused flooding in the area. The government authorities have warned that if recent trends of climate change continue, they will force 2 million people from the Pacific region to become refugees.

According to a report from the Asian Development Bank, if necessary measures are not taken, the situation might spiral out of control, and lead to a loss of about $52 billion per annum for regional economies of the Pacific.

 

Asia Pacific will fill up the space left vacant by the US

Due to the US’ decision to distance itself from the Paris Climate Agreement, the way for other economic powers to get behind the momentum building around renewable energy sources has been paved. The analysis from consultant group suggests that countries from Asia Pacific will take the lead to steer environmental decisions and plans in the backdrop of recent shifts of global policies.

 

A successful example of going completely off-grid with the help of solar power

The island of Ta‘ū in Samoa, an independent state in the Pacific, has gone 100% solar with the help of 1.4 megawatt micro grid. The micro grid in Ta‘ū is spread over 2.8 hectors on the northern coast of islands with more than 5000 solar panels.

The storage battery incorporated with the grid can power the island without any sunlight for up to three days. The system is also designed to handle extreme humidity levels of the island. The grid can also survive tropical storms, it can endure category 5 hurricane winds.

The island is on the frontline of climate change but has now come out of the fossil fuel dependency. This progress has undeniable environmental benefits for the region. 400 kiloliters of diesel is not going to burn to pollute the environment every year to produce electricity. Also the island is no longer in need of shipping diesel – fuel that poses high environmental risks.

Tunisian Desert Solar Project – Tapping the Sahara Sunshine to Power Europe

With a little done in past years, there have been several attempts to tap Sahara desert sunshine to effectively power Europe. After the high profile yet flopped Desertec initiative, that was not only funded by 19 shareholders but also had a budget of €400 billion, another massive project is now coming up in Tunisia.

Tunisia Desert Solar Project

This Tunisian solar project, on its successful completion, will be the first project to export solar power and making a dream come to reality. TuNur is basically a project that aims at exporting solar power from Tunisia to Europe.

With the filed request by the developers to the energy ministry operating in Tunisia, the project will build as well as operate with almost 4.5GW i.e. 9000GWh/annum, solar power plant in the country’s southwest, near Rjim Maatoug.

The power plant is expected to be spread over 10000 hectares in Tunisia (southern). And this will consist of molten salt storage with circa 18 x 125MW CSP Towers. The generated electricity, with the help of this power plant, will then be transmitted to Europe using cables that will be laid under the ocean to Italy, Malta and France.

Considering the smooth execution of the project, the first 250MW phase of the project, with connection to Malta, is likely to be running by the year 2020 with an estimated investment of €1.6 billion – says Kevin Sara, TuNur chief executive.

She further adds that on completion of the project, the development will cover nearly 3 x the area of Manhattan i.e. 25000 hectares. The area has so much marginal land which is not appropriate for agriculture purpose, the land is just sitting there idle and there is so much appreciation and excitement amongst the local people as we are going to do something about that land.

 
 

The Challenges Faced by the Tunisia Desert Solar Project

In the year 2014, Tunisia ranked as the 3rd country in the entire world to ink into their constitution – climate protection. This was then followed by the renewable energy law, in the year 2015.

While the Tunisian ministry has not yet responded to the request, Sara remains optimistic about the execution of the project and claims that the opening up of the renewable export industry was also the will of the parliament.

On the other hand, a few North Africans are already wary of the entire enterprise. In 2015, Algerian activist – Hamza Hamouchene literally accused its proponents, calling it as neo-colonialism. He said that Sahara is a vast idle land, which is also sparsely populated and that constitute a great opportunity for providing Europe with power, so that it can add more to it extravagant consumerist lifestyle, also profligate consumption of energy.

He also claimed that the same tactics were actually used by colonial powers in order to justify their civilizing missions. Hamza takes Tunisian project as a well intended and suspicious project whereas Sara believes in the results of the project and the development of the solar export sector, hoping the timely and successful completion of the project in the coming years.

Apple Expands into Australia’s Energy Market

The giant of global technology Apple stated that it is planning to expand into the energy market of Australia, including a stake in wind and solar projects.

The technology giant is already renewable by 100 percent in Australia i.e. purchasing power from many renewable energy sources of existing retailers. While Apple is striving to purchase solar farms from all around the world, to achieve its target in becoming 100 percent renewable, the company is also looking at all other options in order to reduce the carbon footprint in Australia.

The Senior Vice President of environment, Lisa Jackson said that the company was actually looking to come closer to the electricity supply in Australia. This was, however, to be done as a direct stake in terms of an energy project instead of investing in a totally new power project, on its own.

“So we’re scouting, so we’re looking for more opportunities. I think there’s always a way to change the way we lower our carbon footprint in Australia, whether it be solar or wind” said Ms. Jackson in an interview conducted at Apple’s headquarters in California.

She further adds that the company does not really wish to own their personal generation facility however it feels nice to always inform your customers the source from where the energy comes including which field.

 

Apple take measures to exploit renewable sources wisely

As part of the environmental initiatives taken by Ms. Lisa Jackson to deal with climate change, Apple is asking its many suppliers including the ones in China to become renewable – 100% in order to keep business with the global tech giant. About 75% of the company’s carbon footprint indeed comes from their wider supply chain.

To aid its requirements of renewability, Apple has also set up a platform in the form of a website to assist suppliers in becoming ‘green’ with the tech giant i.e. helping suppliers in securing affordable deals of power purchasing with many potential retailers all around the world.

Apple is also attempting and searching for further ways to source its product components, including the parts of iPhone (almost 20000 parts), from renewable and reusable products. Moreover, Apple which holds a market capitalization of almost $976 billion, is about to complete its new headquarters in North America which is also going to be the largest LEED Platinum-certified building.

At the newly built corporate campus, built on the Hewlett-Packard site (old) and constituting on 80% land which is occupied mostly by concrete and buildings, only 20% is used for buildings and the remaining 80% is used as open spaces, including drought-resistant trees i.e. almost 9000 in quantity

In addition to that, Apple Park will likely to cost up to $6 billion for the 12000 company employees. This park will also be renewable – 100 percent whereas the energy needs of up to 75% will be generated at the building’s roof and car park with solar panels.

With such an extensive planned measures, to be taken by Apple in the near future, the tech giant is successfully adapting its operations and environment in accordance with the troubling challenge of climate change.

Tesla Completes its First Solar Roof Installation

Along with its popular electric car – the Model 3, Tesla is now focused on ramping up the solar roof as the conventional solar business of the company shrinks.

Tesla at first showed off their solar roof in last October and literally wowed the crowd with its textured solar tiles, giving the look of high-class shingles. While the company unveiled the cost and started taking orders with regards to solar tiles in May, currently during second-quarter earnings report of Tesla, Musk stated that they have recently finished the installation of their first solar roof.

Their first solar roof customers are however their own employees. Tesla decided to conduct the installation on the roof of their employees so that they can effectively work out the possible kinks in the installation process and sales before the product is finally offered to a large public.

Referring to the Chief Technology Officer – J.B. Straubel, Musk said; “I have them on my house, JB has them on his house. This is version one. I think this roof is going to look really knock-out as we just keep iterating”

In May, Tesla opened its online store and took $1000 deposits for textured glass and smooth black roof tiles. These roof tiles are virtually indistinguishable from high-class roofing. From almost all angles, these modern slick shingles feels like standard materials but in actual they allow the light to get through onto a wide solar cell which is embedded under a tempered surface. While Tesla didn’t inform when the installation took place, the first installation was likely to initiate in June.

 

Tesla adopting solar power strategy of Apple Store

Since the acquisition of SolarCity Corp, for $2 billion last year, the company is working on to the idea of cutting down the high cost associated with identifying new customers and rather passively attracts them through their upscale auto stores in high-traffic locations and other shopping malls. Analyzing the results of initial trials, it was evident that the new approach is almost 100 percent more effective than at the best, selling Solar City products at non-Tesla locations.

The production of solar tiles began at solar plant – Tesla Fremont in California, however, it will be shifted to Buffalo, New York later this year and to its new factory. Tesla will also receive additional investment from its tech partner – Panasonic. Considering the initial limitations on sales, Musk said that sales will be in accordance with the manufacturing capacity.

As per the previous reports of the company, production ramps up in the year 2018 and with that, sales will start in Australia, UK and elsewhere. This will also include the introduction of sculpted terra cotta additionally and also solar roof’s slate versions.

With all these endeavours, Tesla is looking ahead to make solar ownership a lot more affordable and attractive by clearly eliminating the need of installing both the solar panels and roof. Tesla is planning to manage the whole process of the installation of solar roof, including existing roof removal, permits, design, maintenance and installation. As per the company estimation, the installation is likely to take about one week to be effectively carried out.