December was another month filled with new technological milestones for renewable energy. From breakthroughs in battery design to consolidation activity, the renewables industry continues to grow fast.
U.S. Solar Group Says Trump Tariffs Killing Jobs; White House says “fake news”
That being said, politics don’t always move in sync with technology. At the beginning of December, Reuters published an article detailing the impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported solar panels. It is estimated that they will cost the United States 62,000 jobs and $19 billion in investment, something which the White House has dismissed as fake news.
The tariffs imposed will last four-years, starting at 30% and dropping by 5% each year.
This creates devastating impacts on the U.S. solar space, as “most panels installed in the United States are made in Asia”.
First Fully Electric Aircraft Makes Commercial Flight
The first flight of a fully electric commercial aircraft took place in Vancouver, Canada and lasted just 15 minutes. The plane itself was 62 years old and had been retrofitted with an electric motor. The entire project was designed by Australian engineering firm MagniX and tested in partnership with Harbour Air: the world’s largest seaplane airline.
Harbour Air says it plans to electrify the entire fleet by 2022. This is exciting news due to the aviation sector being a major contributor to global carbon emissions. While this is a small step, it is also the first.
New Battery Design Alleviates Environmental Concerns of Heavy Metals
Batteries decay, and afterwards, can become an environmental hazard. New research at IBM, however, has unveiled a discovery that could help eliminate the need for heavy metals in battery production and transform the future for battery storage.
Using three new proprietary materials, the IBM Research team has discovered a new chemical design for a battery that does not use heavy metals. For more information on the topic, visit the IBM article here.
Prototype of World’s Most Powerful Offshore Wind Turbine Becomes Operational
Eneco, a Dutch utility company, has started to purchase power produced by the prototype of GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X 12 MW wind turbine.
That’s right, 12 MW from one turbine, not an entire wind farm. The prototype is installed in Netherlands and boasts a height of 260 meters with blade length of 107 meters. Recently, 262 MWh of energy was produced across a 24 hour period, indicating potentially higher capacity factors in the near future.
Sun Life Financial Obtains 80% stake in InfraRed Capital Partners and London Resort Signs Deal with EDF Energy
InfraRed Capital Partners is a real estate and infrastructure investment manager. Now, it will become a part of SLC Management and have 80% owned by Sun Life Financial Inc. The deal will “further broaden SLC Management’s Alternative solutions to include infrastructure equity.” The transaction is expected to close in 2020.
On another note, London Resort has signed a renewable energy deal with EDF energy to off-take renewable energy from EDF for the global destination entertainment resort that would be opening in 2024.
All the energy needed by the park will be generated onsite with low-carbon and renewable technologies such as solar panels. This will help London Resort further reach its Net Zero emissions goal and become a more environmentally sustainable entity.