Alternative energy

The big picture

Video: The long, slow march toward renewable energy dependence

Limitations of renewable energy sources have hampered speedy growth.

Apr 6, 2020
Wind and solar would struggle to replace coal-mining jobs

Renewable energy helps combat climate change, but the jobs potential is less clear.

Feb 5, 2020
Why some in Big Oil are looking to go big in offshore wind

European oil and gas majors are leading the way.

Oct 30, 2019
As wind and solar energy grow, so do their challenges

When it's not windy or sunny, issues can arise.

Aug 16, 2019

All Alternative energy stories

The long road to clean energy innovation

Adapted from IEA; Note: We simplified three names and some of these technologies are commercial. More info below. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Scaling up technologies key to combating climate change will take anywhere between 18 years to more than 100, the International Energy Agency found in a recent report.

Why it matters: Scientists say the world must find ways to drastically cut heat-trapping emissions over the next 30 years, but the path of innovating and scaling is stubbornly long, even in the best of scenarios.

Bucking trend, offshore wind builds with unions

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Unions are going offshore to find a receptive renewable energy.

Driving the news: America’s nascent offshore wind industry, which requires uniquely complex infrastructure, is being built out with strong labor agreements that were largely absent from their onshore counterparts.

The money case for offshore wind

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Rapidly falling offshore wind power prices in key European markets could also bode well for the emerging U.S. sector, according to findings from a peer-reviewed study in Nature Energy.

Why it matters: This is a turning point in the economics of offshore wind — a potentially massive source of carbon-free power.

Europe's power inflection point

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European Union power generation from renewables exceeded fossil fuel-based electricity for the first time in the first half of 2020, per new analysis Wednesday from the U.K.-based climate think tank Ember.

Why it matters: It appears to be an inflection point. Ember electricity analyst Dave Jones tells Axios that he does not expect fossil generation to regain a bigger share than renewables.

Column / Harder Line

Biden's climate plan tries to bring unions into clean energy

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden’s latest climate change and clean energy plan mentions the word union more than it does the climate itself.

Why it matters: Wind and solar energy have grown immensely across America over the last decade, but associated union jobs have not. The Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee is trying to change that, which politicians and others say is key to tackling climate change.

Offshore wind surge powers renewable capacity despite coronavirus

Reproduced from BloombergNEF; Chart: Axios Visuals 

A big rise in offshore wind power deals pushed global investment in new renewable power capacity in the first half of 2020 above the same period last year, new data shows.

Why it matters: It signals how the renewables sector as a whole has proven rather resilient to the pandemic, despite some declines in onshore wind and solar investment, BloombergNEF analysts said.

Head of House Democrats' climate panel defends nuclear inclusion

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The head of House Democrats' climate change panel has a simple reason why their wide-ranging plan includes nuclear power despite misgivings in some corner of the left.

What they're saying: “That’s what the scientists advised as we listened across the spectrum, that’s where we landed — that nuclear power needs to be part of the portfolio going forward,” Rep. Kathy Castor said on the new episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast.

Sunrun's deal for Vivint Solar brings significant consolidation to U.S. market

Solar panels are installed on a roof in Washington, D.C. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sunrun, the largest U.S. home solar provider, is buying rival Vivint Solar in a $3.2 billion all-stock transaction, the companies announced Monday.

Why it matters: The deal between major players brings new consolidation to the U.S. solar sector, a growing market that has been hindered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Europe pushed to finance natural gas, nuclear as part of Green Deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Europe is facing pressure to include natural gas and nuclear power as part of its plan for sustainable finance.

Why it matters: Europe represents the progressive edge of the world’s response to climate change and controls a lot of finance in developing nations, so what it does on these controversial energy sources could set the bar globally.

Amazon's big new $2 billion climate VC fund

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Amazon is creating a $2 billion venture fund that will stake companies working on climate-friendly technologies in transportation, storage, food, power generation, waste and more, the tech giant said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The new fund will help Amazon and other companies meet the "climate pledge" that Amazon announced last year to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

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