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China Builds 24 Billion Watts of Solar in Just Two Months as Trump Attacks Renewables and Defends Coal

Between the present U.S. Executive Branch and China, we can really tell which government is serious about being a moral leader on the critical issue of climate change and which government continues to wallow in the land of backwards thinking and heartless denial. For as the Trump Administration is doing everything it can to defend the coal-fired ‘Satanic mills’ that are so radically transforming the world for the worst while attacking renewable energy, China is continuing to build the solar farms that are capable of replacing them like gangbusters.

More than 10 Billion Watts Per Month

In June, China added a staggering 13.5 billion watts (gigawatts) of solar panels to its present large and growing solar fleet. In July, the country added another 10.5 gigawatts of solar. The two month total of 24 gigawatts is more than half the size of the total U.S. solar fleet of 44.4 gigawatts. In other words, China just added more solar capacity in two months than the U.S. added in all of the past two years.

(New solar market guidance for China shows an expected 180 to 230 GW of solar capacity by 2020. The present build rate indicates that even this range may be conservative. Image source: Renew Economy.)

As a result of this amazing build pace, China has already smashed through its 2020 solar goal of 105 gigawatts. The country now boasts a solar fleet of 112.3 billion watts. Long range forecasters now expect China to approach or exceed 200 gigawatts of solar by 2020 — or more than 20 percent the size of China’s present (and shrinking) coal fleet. And if China somehow maintained its amazing rate of solar installation during June and July, the country would exceed 200 gigawatts of national solar capacity by May of 2018.

No one presently expects that to happen. But China has surprised the world before. This is exactly the kind of surprise that a world wallowing in the ever-worsening impacts of climate change so desperately needs.  And the irony is that this new hope for rapid carbon emissions reductions is coming from China. Not the supposedly enlightened and progressive United States which is presently afflicted by the absolute worst form of backward-looking executive leadership imaginable.

Moral Leadership on Climate Change or Loss Thereof

I’m betting the people of the U.S. don’t want to be led down the path toward a new dark age of every worsening climate change and a fossil fuel resource curse write large by Trump. That we would much rather do our part to save the world from ramping climate destruction while taking leadership roles in the very new industries that U.S. innovation helped to create.

(Whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic about Earth’s climate sensitivity, the pathway toward worst case climate change [otherwise known as business as usual] lies in a world that continues to burn coal. So Trump’s defense of coal and attacks on renewables are, in essence, a defense of the worst case when it comes to climate change related disasters. Image source: The Brookings Institute.)

So what do we do?

We let the world know that Trump’s brand of leadership is not acceptable to Americans. That the true government leaders in the U.S. are those like California and Vermont and New York. That we support the future industries like those being pioneered by Musk and so many others. That we do not fear the future so much as recognize and embrace its mighty and admittedly difficult challenges. That we rise to the occasion by fighting for carbon emissions reductions and we do not falter.

Links:

China Added 10.5 Gigawatts of Solar in July

Trump’s Attack on Renewable Energy

Scott Pruitt’s Big Coal Lie

Renew Economy

The Brookings Institute

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Oklahoma to Build World’s Second Largest Wind Farm as France + UK Pledge to Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles

If we’re going to effectively deal with climate change while maintaining economic prosperity, then it’s absolutely essential to rapidly transition fossil fuel based energy to non-carbon emitting energy. And some of the best options for doing so presently involve leveraging economies of scale with three widely available technologies — wind, solar, and low cost storage and EV batteries.

Oklahoma Wind Capacity to Rise Above 30 Percent of Electrical Generation

Over the past week, serious advances continue to be made on these fronts. In the Oklahoma panhandle, Invenergy has partnered with GE Renewable Energy to build a 2 GW onshore wind farm. Once finished, the farm (named Wind Catcher) will be the largest U.S. wind farm and the second largest such farm in the world. The farm itself will be composed of 800 massive 2.5 megawatt wind turbines. This is GE’s largest wind turbine model and its size will help to lower the cost of producing electricity, some of the benefits of which will then be passed on to energy customers.

(According to the American Wind Energy Association, Oklahoma presently ranks as third in the U.S. for wind electrical generation capacity at 6,645 megawatts. Adding another 2,000 megawatts would considerably increase Oklahoma’s wind energy share by 30 percent. As a result, present Oklahoma wind generation of 25 percent of the state’s electrical supply would likely rise to 32.5 percent as a result of this single large project.)

Pete McCabe, President and CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind business noted in Clean Technica:

“GE is delighted to be a part of the groundbreaking Wind Catcher project with Invenergy and American Electric Power. We look forward to putting our teams to work in these communities as we continue to move toward our goal of ensuring that no one has to choose between sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.”

The project which will cost 4.5 billion dollars hits a pretty amazing price of around 2.25 cents per kilowatt hour installed. And with new wind energy projects costing as little as 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour on average in 2017, it appears that raw economic factors alone are likely to continue driving large and lucrative wind projects like the one now being pursued in Oklahoma. A single project that will increase Oklahoma’s wind energy generation capacity by 30 percent to 8,645 GW and push wind’s total share of state electrical generation to around 32.5 percent (see image and caption above).

France and UK Pledge to Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles

Even as wind gains a larger share of energy production capacity in a red state, the UK and France have now joined a growing number of cities and nations in providing a responsible pledge to ban petrol and diesel based vehicles by 2040. These national moves match a recent initiative by Norway — which aims to sell only electrical vehicles in country by 2025. Meanwhile, India has also recently set a goal to sell only electrical vehicles in its own markets by 2030. Cities such as Madrid, Munich and Stuttgart are also considering diesel bans.

Concerns about worsening air quality, recent cheating by automakers on emissions standards, worries about climate change and a major threat to traditional automaker market share by all-electric manufacturers like Tesla appear to have reached a kind of critical mass.

From the New York Times:

Britain’s decision is, however, the latest indication of how swiftly governments and the public in Europe have turned against diesel and internal combustion engines in general. Automakers, though reluctant to abandon technologies that have served them well for more than a century, are increasingly resigned to the demise of engines that run on fossil fuels. They are investing heavily in battery-powered cars as they realize their traditional business is threatened by Tesla or emerging Chinese companies, which have a lead in electric car technology. The shift away from internal combustion engines is in large part a result of growing awareness of the health hazards of diesel.

According to reports from the BBC, France’s own July 6 decision to ban petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2040 was spurred by the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. France has long aimed to reduce its carbon emissions and the 2040 vehicle ban is part of a larger plan for the country to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Links:

USA’s Largest and World’s Second Largest Wind Farm to be Built in Oklahoma

Britain to Ban New Diesel Cars by 2040

France to Ban Sale of Petrol and Diesel Vehicles

American Wind Energy Association

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