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
Solar energy use is on the rise worldwide

A new report offers a look at the global picture on solar.

Jun 23, 2019

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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.

Updated Jun 18, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Clean energy player Greentown Labs to open space in oil capital Houston

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Greentown Labs, the big Boston-area incubator of clean technology startups, is opening a second space in Houston, the heart of the U.S. oil industry.

Why it matters: It shows efforts to accelerate changes are already underway in the energy ecosystem even as fossil fuels remain dominant, and the cross-pollination between emerging and legacy industries.

Chris Sacca returns to venture capital with clean energy firm

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Photo by Nicola Gell/Getty Images for SXSW.

Chris Sacca was one of the past decade's most successful venture capitalists, with a run that included early bets in such companies as Instagram, Twitter and Uber. Then, in 2017, he quit.

Driving the news: Sacca is good at investing, but bad at retiring. He's now running a new firm called Lowercarbon Capital, focused on startups that are developing "technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, remove carbon from the atmosphere, and actively cool the planet."

Renewable energy had a big 2019, but still isn't meeting long-term Paris agreement goals

Photovoltaic power station operated by State Power Investment Corporation on June 3 in Shanxi Province, China. Photo:Shi Gangze/VCG via Getty Images

Renewables are attracting substantial investment and developers are getting more bang for the buck, but none of it is enough to be consistent with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, per a data-rich new report from the Frankfurt School, the UN and BloombergNEF.

The big picture: Last year saw 184 gigawatts of new capacity added worldwide (excluding large hydro projects) — the most ever — with solar leading the way. The 12% growth came even though total investment was flat, a sign of continued cost declines for wind and solar technologies.

Amid pandemic, smoother sailing for America’s nascent offshore wind industry

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Massive offshore wind farms planned for America’s East Coast are poised to move ahead after the Trump administration inched closer this week to approving the first full-scale project.

Why it matters: The Interior Department has been slow to review the project, signaling regulatory trouble for the nascent sector. Then the pandemic hit, increasing the likelihood of a broad delay.

Report charts path to decarbonized U.S. grids

Reproduced from the Goldman School of Public Policy; Chart: Axios Visuals

Declining costs for renewables and battery storage could enable a nearly carbon-free U.S. electricity mix by 2035 without raising consumers' power bills, a new report argues.

Why it matters: The report's pathway for deeply decarbonizing the electricity mix is faster than what's envisioned under various state-level and power company targets.

Oil giant Total's new push into offshore wind

A wind farm off the Baltic coast. Photo: Axel Schmidt/Getty Images

The huge multinational oil-and-gas company Total plans to acquire a 51% stake in a very large offshore wind project slated for construction off the Scottish coast called Seagreen 1.

The state of play: The project 1.14-gigawatt project is slated to begin operation at the end of 2022 and will produce enough energy for roughly 1 million homes, Total said.

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