It’s no secret that 2017 hasn't been the happiest of starts when it comes to renewable energy policy. The US election looks set to be bad news for advocates of a cleaner energy system and the subject remains just as divisive as ever in Australia.
But hey, enough of the negatives. Let's take a quick look at some of the best renewable energy news to come out of 2016.
On a particularly sunny and windy May afternoon, Germany produced so much electricity that customers were actually paid to use energy! Thanks to a policy that phases out nuclear power and fossil fuels, Germany is home to a large amount of solar and wind generation.
In 2016 China added 34 gigawatts of solar capacity, making it the world’s largest solar energy producer. With the dual pressures of air pollution and climate change, the Chinese government has acted, arresting the construction of new coal plants and rapidly building solar farms across the country.
Home to close to 5 million citizens, the lush Central American country of Costa Rica set an impressive record of going 76 days completely powered by renewable energy. The country generates large amounts of hydro electricity, with geothermal, wind and solar completing the mix.
Battery technology started to take off with costs coming down at a faster pace than almost anyone predicted. Only 9 months after unveiling the Powerwall 1 (a home battery used mainly to store solar energy for night time use), Tesla announced the Powerwall 2. It doubled the storage capacity for only a fractional cost increase!
Alan Finkel is Australia’s chief scientist and is currently conducting a review of the electricity system. The former neuroscientist, engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist should bring a rational and discerning mind to the issue.
To start the year off we are launching our Solar for Schools Campaign. It’s free solar for your school. How. Good. Is. That?