Mar 28, 2018

Saudis and SoftBank go big on solar

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed the agreement Tuesday night. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and the SoftBank Group Corp. of Japan announced plans last night for what would become the world's largest solar power project in the kingdom, developing 200 gigawatts of new solar power capacity by 2030, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: If the plan actually comes to pass, well, that's a lot of solar. By way of comparison, the U.S. added a total of 10.6 GW of new solar PV capacity last year, according to a recent industry report. Plus — it also underscores Saudi Arabia's efforts to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

One level deeper: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son jointly announced the plan in New York.

  • According to the WSJ and other reports, the total costs are estimated at $200 billion, with an initial $5 billion stage beginning construction this year that's designed to bring 7.2 GW online in 2019.

Huge: Bloomberg points out Saudi Arabia only has small-scale solar projects there now. And, Reuters has more good context on the project's projected scope.

  • "That would add to around 400 GW of globally installed solar power capacity and is comparable to the world’s total nuclear power capacity of around 390 GW as of the end of 2016," Reuters writes.

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Queen Elizabeth addresses U.K. amid coronavirus crisis: "We will meet again"

In a rare televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II urged the United Kingdom to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the "self-discipline" and "resolve" that have defined the British people in moments of crisis.

Why it matters: It's just the fifth time that the queen, who traditionally speaks to the nation once a year on Christmas Day, has addressed the British people in this way during her 68-year reign.

Go deeperArrow2 mins ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,237,420 — Total deaths: 67,260 — Total recoveries: 252,944Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 312,762 — Total deaths: 9.132 — Total recoveries: 15,044Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Employees still going to work face temperature checks, distanced work stations, protective devices and mass absences.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo says New York is "literally going day-to-day with our supplies"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.