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 many divisions over Trump's methane rollback

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

EPA's decision to cut regulation of methane is laying bare an oil-and-gas industry divide and setting the stage for political battles this fall and beyond.

Why it matters: Methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas and the industry is a key emissions source.

Chevron's venture capital arm buys stake in nuclear fusion startup Zap Energy

Photo Illustration: Walid Berrazeg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Chevron is making a Series A investment in the three-year-old nuclear fusion startup Zap Energy, marking the latest foray by an oil-and-gas giant into companies outside a core business.

Why it matters: It's the first nuclear power investment from Chevron Technology Ventures, the company's in-house VC arm that's spreading money around a range of energy technologies.

The tough battle to regain clean energy jobs

Data: BW Research Partnership; Chart: Axios Visuals

The jobs rebound in clean energy sectors, broadly defined, slowed greatly last month, per a newly released analysis.

The big picture: Clean energy industries added just 3,200 jobs last month, far fewer than in June, according to the BW Research Partnership's analysis of unemployment claims.

Wind and solar power hit record global market shares in first half of 2020

Reproduced from Ember; Chart: Axios Visuals

A steep decline in coal-fired power combined with rising wind and solar output drove the carbon-free sources to record global market share in the first half of 2020, per a new analysis from the environmental think tank Ember.

Why it matters: The report shows how the coronavirus pandemic is speeding the ongoing shakeup of the global power mix — but also how it's occurring too slowly to reach international climate goals.

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.

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