• Wind and solar costs declined by more than 10% in 2019, according to a new WEMO report.
  • A wealthy Florida town votes for a $100 million climate tax.
  • Shell decided to hold a “Great Energy Debate” on Twitter on Monday — and it didn’t quite go as planned.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and Americans’ bank accounts — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card — *ad.

Wind and solar costs dropped

Wind and solar costs declined by more than 10% in 2019, according to the 22nd edition of Capgemini’s latest World Energy Markets Observatory (WEMO) report. Renewables now account for more than half of the worldwide electricity generation investments.

Meanwhile, Li-ion batteries used in stationary storage and electric vehicle markets dropped by 19%. There are 115 mega-factory battery projects, and 88 of those are in China. Japan, China, and South Korea are dominating the battery market.

It also reports that generation from green energy and storage technologies are maturing quickly. However, grid stability has become an industry concern. Further, pressure on oil giants has forced them to diversify and commit to net zero by 2050.

And finally, Europe is leading the charge on hydrogen development. In July 2020, the European Commission decided to invest between €180 and €470 billion by 2050 in order to reach a share of 12-14% in 2050 for green hydrogen in the European energy mix. 

Florida sea-level rise

Key Biscayne, an island-town in Miami-Dade County and one of Florida’s wealthiest towns, is also very vulnerable to rising seas. And last night, in the 2020 election, it soundly voted to approve a $100 million bond to protect itself from sea-level rise. Its decision driver? Staving off dropping property values.

The “Village of Key Biscayne,” as it’s known, which is made up of around 7,100 households and expensive hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, released a “Flood Vulnerability Assessment & Adaptation Report” in April 2017. Unsurprisingly, the low-lying town is in Evacuation Zone A, which means that homeowners pay very high insurance, and it’s one of the first areas to be evacuated in a serious storm. The report’s conclusion states:

The regions vulnerable to tidal flooding will increase substantially over the next 30 years as sea levels continue to rise. By 2045, if no adaptation steps are taken, most roads within the Village will experience tidal flooding during king tides, as will many low-lying residential and commercial properties. Increasing sea levels will also increase the likelihood of rainfall-induced flooding as the water table rises, thereby reducing the water holding capacity of the ground.

So what drives the residents of Key Biscayne to spend $100 million on their resiliency plan? Their property values. Shame green energy or climate change isn’t mentioned anywhere in the town’s report.

Shell’s “Great Energy Debate”

In what was probably thought up by oil giant Shell’s marketing department/social media team, Shell decided to hold a “Great Energy Debate” on Twitter on Monday. It turns out they didn’t quite read the Twitter room carefully enough.

Shell posted a green energy poll, in which a large majority of the nearly 200 people (and that’s not very many, seeing how there were 7.5K quote tweets) said they’d embrace renewable electricity. But Shell then tweeted that the “energy system requires everyone to play their part.” That’s the bit where it all went wrong.

Journalism initiative Covering Climate Now, which is made up of over 400 media outlets, tweeted in response:

More pointed responses to Shell included:

And a special mention came from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):

To see more reactions, search Shell’s own hashtag, #EnergyDebate. Shell, tell us what YOU are quantifiably doing to reduce emissions. You’re the big giant corporation.

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