This Week in Cleantech is a new, weekly podcast covering the most impactful stories in cleantech and climate in 15 minutes or less. Produced by Renewable Energy World and Tigercomm, This Week in Cleantech will air every Friday in the Factor This! podcast feed wherever you get your podcasts.
This week’s episode features Associated Press climate change reporter Matthew Daly, who reported on President Biden’s controversial pause on considering new LNG export terminals.
This week’s “Cleantecher of the Week” is Jimmy Rogers, Manager of Communications at Redaptive.
The residential solar industry faced challenges in 2023 due to inflation, higher interest rates, and new net metering rules in California that reduced earnings from sending power to the grid. They’re also dealing with increasing blowback for high-pressure sales tactics, adding to their financial difficulties.
In Martin County, Texas, frackers’ daily energy use is equal to that of 4x Seattle’s. Oil drillers are increasingly pressured to cut their carbon pollution footprint, so they’ve started sourcing electricity from wind and solar rather than from gas-fired generators. But the grid is struggling to handle this new demand, so companies who cannot wait for infrastructure upgrades are constructing their own substations and gas-powered microgrids.
Global clean energy spending increased 17% last year to $1.8 trillion. But, according to BNEF, we need to be investing 170% more in clean technology to reach net-zero by 2050. China spent $676 billion last year, a 6% increase, while the US, UK, and Europe saw a combined investment of $718 billion, driven by Inflation Reduction Act incentives, strong EV sales in the UK, and growing demand for renewables in Europe.
The EV sector had the largest investments – with global spending climbing 36% to $634 billion. This surpassed renewable energy, which increased 8% to $623 billion.
Watch the full episode on YouTube
Thermal batteries, large stationary units storing heat in thermally conductive rocks or bricks, are gaining prominence for providing a means to power industrial processes with clean energy. With changing economics in clean energy and support from tax credits, startups like Antora Energy and Rondo Energy are rapidly scaling up production. The technology captures renewable energy to store as heat for later use in industrial facilities as hot air or steam. This innovation holds significant promise in addressing the decarbonization challenges of industries heavily reliant on high-temperature processes.
President Biden has decided to delay the consideration of new natural gas export terminals in the United States, a move aligned with environmental concerns about the increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and their potential impact on climate change. The decision comes amid heightened gas shipments to Europe and Asia following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Industry groups and Republicans argue that the pause benefits Russia and harms American allies, jobs, and global climate progress. Environmentalists and Democrats applaud the decision, viewing it as a step towards addressing climate change and fulfilling Biden’s commitment to reducing climate pollution. The pause is expected to have no immediate effect on existing U.S. gas supplies but could delay pending LNG projects, with the length of the permitting pause unspecified.