A new survey finds that a majority of Arizonans support requiring Arizona electric utilities to generate 100% clean energy by 2050, why electric trucks are the inevitable future, how technology and digital transformation are key to modernization in the energy industry, ‘cool pavement’ experiments in Los Angeles are helping urban planners find ways to ease rising temperatures, GM’s million-mile electric vehicle battery, renewable energy is poised to eclipse coal in United States for the first time, and more.
Arizona Technology Council op-ed: Renewable energy a powerful solution to restore Arizona’s economic security
While COVID-19 has fundamentally changed us, what remains constant is our foundation as a technology and innovation hub driven by big ideas, talented entrepreneurs and a welcoming business environment. This is especially true in our renewable energy sector. Renewable energy is a powerful solution to restoring economic security at a time when Arizonans need it most. Our state must get on a fast track toward modernizing our energy rules. And to do so, the Arizona Technology Council is calling on the Arizona Corporation Commission to increase the state’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff, or REST, to at least 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2050. Read more why renewable energy is the answer to moving toward a cleaner, more prosperous and healthy future.
Will renewable energy supersede fossil fuels in a post-coronavirus world?
While COVID-19 remains the most immediate threat to our health and the global economy, there are still some who argue that the so-called ‘climate emergency’ should remain the biggest concern amongst legislators. This is certainly likely to remain the case post COVID-19, while it can also be argued that the subsequent economic fallout may also encourage governments to shift their approach to fossil fuels and increase investment in renewable energies. Are we seeing a more seismic shift towards renewable energy? It’s fair to say that the markets surrounding energy sources such as oil have also experienced significant demand destruction, partially as a result of Covid-19 and also an excess of supply that has spiralled out of control in recent years. The fallout from COVID-19 and the disruption caused to the status quo could well help usher in change in the global energy markets, while increasing demand for relatively advanced renewable sources such as wind and solar. READ MORE HERE.
Fueling energy’s smart-tech revolution
The energy industry is undergoing significant transformation. The utility grid is moving from a legacy one-way structure to a dynamic, predictive, data-driven network. Simultaneously, the growth in renewable energy technology is driving even more transformation in the electric utilities industry. Renewables now deliver 33% of global energy and the power capacity of renewables is set to double between 2019 and 2024. Technology and digital transformation are key to modernization in the energy industry. All energy businesses need to become digital businesses, and for the energy industry there are four key digital transformation goals. Read more how smart technology can be used to heighten energy security.
Majority of Arizonans support 100% clean-energy requirement
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that a majority of Arizonans (65%) support requiring Arizona electric utilities to generate 100% clean energy by 2050, while just 30% oppose it. In addition, 61% think the Arizona Corporation Commissioners should act quickly to expand the state’s energy efficiency goals, which are set to expire next year. Opposition is minimal, with only 23% who disagree. Additionally, 54% think the Arizona Corporation Commissioners should continue to vote to advance a 100% clean energy future for Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic. Another 59% support an interim goal of expanding Arizona’s renewable-energy standard to require 45% renewable energy in Arizona by 2030. View more detailed information on the survey results here.
Electric trucks are the ‘inevitable future,’ fleets say
With 1.3 million electric vehicles on the road in 2020, and with lawmakers pushing for more adoption, fleets have been looking at Class 7 and Class 8 vehicles carefully—kicking the tires and doing the math. Ceres and the California Trucking Association, in a May 5 study, found battery cost “has declined as much as 80% over the last eight years. Further cost declines of over 50% are expected in the next decade, which should put upfront costs of many EVs below their conventional competitors by 2030.” The survey found 85% of electric truck owners said traditional vehicles cost more than electric trucks to maintain. And 53% of managers said they will use savings to increase driver wages. Read how more and more fleets are making the decision to pivot away from fossil fuels.
‘Cool pavement’ experiments help urban planners find ways to ease rising temperatures
Los Angeles has piloted an experiment that city officials hope can help lower surface and air temperatures by coating street surfaces with solar reflective “paint,” which reflects the energy from sunlight, rather than storing it and converting it into heat. As Phoenix, Tempe, and other Arizona cities work with tools to mitigate the effects of rising temperatures fueled by climate change and the urban heat island effect, scientists from ASU and UCLA are trying to understand how “cool pavement,” which lowers the surface temperature of streets, also affects how a person walking along that street feels the heat. Learn more about the research and to see how the technology was working at the ground level.
GM says it is ‘almost there’ on million-mile electric vehicle battery
General Motors Co. is “almost there” on developing an electric vehicle battery that will last one million miles, a top executive said recently. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra reiterated earlier this year that the automaker intends to sell 1 million electric vehicles a year in 2025 in the United States and China. The automaker also is working on next-generation batteries even more advanced than the new Ultium battery that it unveiled in March 2020, according to GM Executive Vice President Doug Parks. He did not specify a timeline for introduction of the million-mile battery, but said “multiple teams” at GM are working on such advances as zero-cobalt electrodes, solid state electrolytes and ultra-fast charging. Current electric vehicle batteries typically last 100,000 to 200,000 miles. Read more here.
ASU solar energy startup shines in national competition
A bright idea developed through the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering has been selected for the final stage of a national contest meant to expand solar energy manufacturing in the United States. SunFlex Solar is a new startup venture co-founded by ASU Assistant Research Technologist Kate Fisher, Associate Professor Zachary Holman, Assistant Research Professor Zhengshan “Jason” Yu and doctoral student Barry Hartweg. The group entered its Sunfoil solar panel enhancement in the second round of the American-Made Solar Prize competition initiated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. Read more how ASU is unique in its ability to produce solar components.
Renewable energy is poised to eclipse coal in United States
The United States is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record, new government projections show, a transformation partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic, with profound implications in the fight against climate change. It is a milestone that seemed all but unthinkable a decade ago, when coal was so dominant that it provided nearly half the nation’s electricity. The latest report from the Energy Information Administration estimates that America’s total coal consumption will fall by nearly one-quarter this year, and coal plants are expected to provide just 19 percent of the nation’s electricity, dropping for the first time below both nuclear power and renewable power, a category that includes wind, solar, hydroelectric dams, geothermal and biomass. Read more here.
Tackling grid challenges from rising EVs as mobile chargers bring new flexibility
While the impacts of COVID-19 likely mean flat electric vehicle (EV) sales this year, a trio of new reports say the long-term outlook is for strong growth. As EV adoption grows, newer vehicles will put greater stress on the electric grid due to their larger batteries and capacity for faster charging, according to Rhombus Energy Solutions. A new white paper from the company predicts the cost of lithium-ion batteries will drop by 60% over the next decade, helping enable a new set of charging solutions. Meanwhile, mobile and temporary EV charging will grow from 0.5% to 2% of the charging market by 2030, according to new Guidehouse research. The overall charging market is expected to reach reach almost $16 billion in revenues in 2020 and more than $60 billion by 2030. A third report finds long-range EVs are growing their share of the market as well, and charging them could cause stress to electric distribution systems. Read more here.
Shifting to clean energy: Green recovery can revive virus-hit economies, study says
Massive programs of green public investment would be the most cost-effective way both to revive virus-hit economies and strike a decisive blow against climate change, top U.S. and British economists said in a recent study. With co-authors including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz from Columbia University and prominent British climate expert Lord Nicholas Stern, the findings are likely to fuel calls for “green recoveries” gathering momentum around the world. With major economies drawing up enormous economic packages to cushion the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, many investors, politicians and businesses see a unique opportunity to drive a shift to a low-carbon future. Read more here.
Clean energy could get Americans back to work post-pandemic
“Right now is the ideal time to be investing in renewable energy that can produce millions of family-sustaining wage jobs across the United States,” says Mark Paul, a political economist at New College of Florida. Transforming America into a country that runs on clean energy is one way experts hope to alleviate the devastating economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With unemployment soaring and oil prices in a free fall, it’s looking highly unlikely that the US will simply step back into “business as usual.” Even though the pandemic is still raging, policy experts, climate action advocates, and scientists have all started drawing up plans that could save Americans from both the ravages of climate change and the economic fallout of COVID-19. Read more here.
New report shows key actions utilities can take to accelerate corporate transition to electric vehicles
In collaboration with the California Trucking Association and Navigant Research, Ceres has released a new report on how utilities, regulators and policymakers can better enable corporate fleet owners to electrify commercial transportation and reduce emissions. The report is based on a survey of companies that are beginning to electrify their fleets, and illuminates some common challenges they face. It recommends steps that utilities and their regulators can take to ease these challenges, from increasing availability of and access to renewable energy, to developing alternative rate structures that make fleet electrification attractive, to streamlining regulations and processes. Access the full report here.
In the middle of a pandemic, renewables are taking over the grid
The reduction in driving, flying, and industrial activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic has cleared the air in typically smog-choked cities all over the world, inspiring awe in residents who are seeing more blue skies and starry nights than ever before. While the drop in pollution doesn’t necessarily mean we’re making progress in mitigating climate change, it’s now proving to be a boon for solar energy generation. The pandemic has depressed the price of coal and natural gas, so it remains to be seen whether and how quickly wind and solar will push them off the grid. Read more here.