Exxon, again yesterday via its blog, pushing for carbon tax and *government intervention* – Exxon wants a carbon tax because internal combustion vehicles will slowly disappear while natural gas, which Exxon is heavily invested in, replaces coal. A carbon tax on coal is about double natural gas – and Exxon is losing serious money on expensive oil investments. Plus an interesting phrase from a company that constantly attacks government: At ExxonMobil, we’re encouraged that the pledges made at last year’s Paris Accord create an effective framework for all countries to address rising emissions; in fact, our company forecasts carbon reductions consistent with the results of the Paris accord commitments. Governments can help advance the search for energy technologies by funding basic research and by enacting forward-looking policies. If you’re Exxon, you can doubly win – support a carbon tax that hurts your competition, while also making it look like you’tr supportinf international climate change agreements (many say a $40/ton carbon tax will mean we meet both Paris and Clean Power Plan goals). My prior thoughts on this topic.

World’s largest wealth fund urged to consider infrastructure investments – If $900B worth of investment money were pushed to invest 5% in renewable infrastructure, then we’d get the equivalent of 50GW of solar power from Norway alone. Money like this would flow from many soverign wealth funds globally, and it will join private capital from groups like BlackRock. These renewable investments are being considered for two reasons – they’ve shown long term stability, and they align with the fund’s general do no harm matra. Good, clean money being made.

Multiple groups pushing Massachusetts on batteries for energy storage – Its interesting to see the different groups pushing energy storage, and even more interesting is to see the different paths that different groups want to push. As a solar developer in Massachusetts, I get to hear in my office (I work for Solect) different ideas about how we want to be involved with energy storage. This Massachusetts program is going to help drive significant volume in the USA – while saving residents healthy chunks of money.

North Carolina county bans further solar development – Rich people who don’t want to see utility scale solar plants have managed to ban further development. Will this become a thing across the USA?

SunPower signs contract for 5GW solar power plant in China – Two things here 1 – Great to see SunPower still growing. They’re a bellwether and one of the guiding lights in R&D from corporate solar companies. 2. More importantly – the technology being used in this factory is focused on getting solar cells closer to together within a solar panel – yielding more wattage per solar panel. SunPower is known for doing things that increase solar panel efficiency without changing the solar cells itself – like moving the pieces of conducting metal (busbar) to the back of solar cell so they don’t block sunlight. Now, they want to get rid of the tiny spaces between solar cells and connect them via an electricity conducting material. More wattage – same solar panel size – higher effective efficiency lower price per watt. How about them apples?

A breakdown on the almost 15GW of solar power installed in the USA by sector and ownership type (note large chunk of California RPS) –

This tweet follows along my recent chatting about investors and clean energy – first off, even though more renewable energy deals are happening, understand that they are generally smaller in size than the average fossil fuel project. With that – its still extremely valuable that so many lawyers and fund managers are getting used to renewables, because money flows where there is lower risk and experience/trust lower perceived risk.

Thought you might enjoy a wind turbine blade being built –

 

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