NewEnergyNews: 08/01/2019 - 09/01/2019/


Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.



  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The IRA And The New Energy Boom
  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The IRA And the EV Revolution

  • Weekend Video: Coming Ocean Current Collapse Could Up Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: Impacts Of The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current Collapse
  • Weekend Video: More Facts On The AMOC

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 15-16:

  • Weekend Video: The Truth About China And The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: Florida Insurance At The Climate Crisis Storm’s Eye
  • Weekend Video: The 9-1-1 On Rooftop Solar

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 8-9:

  • Weekend Video: Bill Nye Science Guy On The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: The Changes Causing The Crisis
  • Weekend Video: A “Massive Global Solar Boom” Now

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 1-2:

  • The Global New Energy Boom Accelerates
  • Ukraine Faces The Climate Crisis While Fighting To Survive
  • Texas Heat And Politics Of Denial
  • --------------------------


    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish



    WEEKEND VIDEOS, June 17-18

  • Fixing The Power System
  • The Energy Storage Solution
  • New Energy Equity With Community Solar
  • Weekend Video: The Way Wind Can Help Win Wars
  • Weekend Video: New Support For Hydropower
  • Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart




      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.


    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, August 24-26:
  • Happy One-Year Birthday, Inflation Reduction Act
  • The Virtual Power Plant Boom, Part 1
  • The Virtual Power Plant Boom, Part 2

    Saturday, August 31, 2019

    Maher Offers Olive Branch To Pres

    “If you embrace the environment, think about the A-listers who overnight would become your biggest fans…Billions of children will be grateful and one of them could be your next wife…”From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube

    A Huge Battery Made Of Water

    Excess New Energy pumps water up to a storage pond until, when energy is needed, the stored water is released to flow down through turbines that generate electricity. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    The Food-Energy-Water Nexus

    The picture gets bigger as the crisis deepens. From the University of Maryland School of Public Health via YouTube

    Friday, August 30, 2019

    The Climate Crisis And The Tipping Point

    What Does '12 Years to Act on Climate Change' (Now 11 Years) Really Mean? It doesn't mean the world can wait until 2030 to cut greenhouse gas emissions, or that chaos will erupt in 2030. Here's what the science shows.

    Bob Berwyn, August 27, 2019 (Inside Climate News)

    “…[The idea that the climate crisis fight must be turned by 2030] began drawing attention in 2018…[The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showed that to cut carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by around 2050,] emissions would have to start dropping ‘well before 2030’ and be on a path to fall by about 45 percent by around 2030…Mid-century is actually the more significant target date in the report, but acting now is crucial to being able to meet that goal…[That is clear in basic] physics and climate science…[It is a misrepresentation to conclude life can continue] normally for the next 11 years and then the world ends…

    [The 2030 target shows] what success looks like rather than what failure means…[It shows the importance of investment now] in a new global energy infrastructure…Missing the target doesn't imply the onset of cataclysmic climate change in 2030…Things just keep getting worse…[with] more dangerous and costly disruptions to global societies and ecosystems, including longer, hotter heat waves and more frequent crop-killing droughts…In some ways, the ‘12 years’ narrative may set up a deadline that's too lenient, because some key part of the climate system may already be at or past tipping points…The world will still exist if we breach 1.5°C and 2°C…[but] impacts and risks will be higher and the temperature will be higher…[but we] should have started mitigating decades ago…” click here for more

    New Highs For New Energy Demand In Europe

    The European market for renewable energy reaches new heights

    27 August 2019 (ECOHZ)

    “…[Europe’s supply of Guarantees of Origin for New Energy neared 600 TWh in 2018, demand passed 500 TWh, and the surplus gap] seems likely to diminish in the near future…[Guarantees of Origin for the first half of 2019 grew] by 14 TWh while demand grew significantly faster, with 60 TWh…[The Netherlands doubled its Guarantees of Origin during H1 2019] compared to issued volumes in H1 2018…France had a 5 TWh increase in issued volumes from H1 2018 to H1 2019…[but demand] increased faster…[Norway’s share of Guarantees of Origin in Europe fell from 2018’s 22% because dry weather] during the first half of 2019 led to lower hydro power production than normal…

    [but this suggests] a more robust and diversified European market…[Hydropower’s share of issued Guarantees of Origin in Europe is dropping] due to increased availability of solar and wind…[P]rices were at historic high levels…Guarantees of Origin 2019 wind wholesale price is EUR 0.40 – 0.50 and for 2020 EUR 0.75 – 0.85 per MWh…The corporate sector is the main driver for renewable electricity although households and organisations also contribute to the market growth…” click here for more

    What Global New Energy Investment Trends Show

    Global renewable energy investment is slowing down. Should we worry? Does this point to the continued fall in cost of renewable energy production? Or a slowdown in the global energy transition?

    Yongping Zhai and Yoonah Lee, 14 August 2019 (Eco-Business)

    “Investment in renewable energy around the world is entering a new phase…[G]lobal investment in renewable energy peaked in 2017 at $326.3 billion, and in 2018 fell by 11.5 per cent to $288.9 billion…[and it] dropped 14 per cent in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018…[The slower growth is mainly due] to falling costs in solar and wind globally, and to the change in market conditions with reduced subsidies in many countries…The global weighted average of installed cost for solar PV was $4621/kW in 2010 and in 2018 was $1210/kW—a reduction of 73.8 per cent…The installed cost for onshore wind power declined nearly 22 per cent from $1913/kW in 2010 to $1497/kW…In other words, the needed investment is lower for installing the same level of solar or wind power capacity…[Both 2017 and 2018 had 171 GW of new] installed capacity…

    By 2030, solar PV will be the cheapest electricity source with its levelised cost at around $0.046/kWh, followed by onshore wind at $0.050/kWh, both will be much lower than coal power at $0.096/kWh…So, the fall in renewable energy investment isn’t a cause for concern…[But] 2018 was the first time since 2001 that growth in renewable power capacity addition failed to increase year-on-year…[To beat the climate crisis,] we need to do more…we need to develop other renewable power generation technologies…we need to invest more in transmission and distribution systems with smart grid technologies and energy storage systems…we need to develop other forms of clean energy applications…[and] we need to tackle the potential of demand-side energy efficiency…” click here for more

    Thursday, August 29, 2019

    New Energy, The Climate Crisis, And Time

    Can We Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy in Time to Avert Climate Catastrophe?

    Daniel Ross, August 24, 2019 (TruthOut)

    “Ten years ago, two climate scientists, Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi, published a groundbreaking article in Scientific American outlining a road map for becoming 100 percent reliant on energy generated by water, wind and sun by 2030…Jacobson is less depressed than he was a decade ago, despite the precarious position that climate change puts us in…[He is now targeting 80 percent New Energy] by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050…[But these goals] face enormous political, social, financial and regulatory obstacles… [Investment in energy efficiency and New Energy] stalled in 2018, while capital spending on oil, gas and coal supply rebounded…[Last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reported that] carbon emissions must be slashed to net zero by around 2050…[and New Energy] must make up 70 to 85 percent of electricity by 2050…[But it] generated only 24 percent of the electricity consumed in 2017, and by 2023, [New Energy is] forecasted to meet only 30 percent of electrical demand…

    [Some scientists say New Energy] can be scaled up in time to meet the world’s energy demands across the three main sectors (electricity, heating and transportation)…[Others argue the world needs] nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to help buttress the power grid…Delucchi’s recent cost analysis of clean energy systems didn’t include options like nuclear and CCS…Reaching zero or near-zero carbon emissions is best achieved by harnessing a diverse portfolio of low-carbon resources…Climate change forecasts widely demand the adoption of renewables on a much larger and more urgent scale, which is why many experts call for broadly encompassing ideas that recognize the scale of the problem.” click here for more

    Why New Energy Is Beating Old Energy

    Why are the Costs of Renewable Energy Lower than Fossil Fuels?

    Sarah Moore, August 28, 2019 (AZO CleanTech)

    “Latest statistics predict that renewable energy will be cheaper than that of non-renewables by next year…making the once futurist possibility of powering the world on renewables now a firm reality…[S]ince 2010, prices of onshore wind have reduced by roughly 23%, and solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity prices have dropped by 73%. Other renewables have followed this pattern, which is expected to continue…[Fossil fuel generation has been around for a long time…[There] is little chance of innovations…[Instead, as] the limited fossil fuel resources become depleted, their costs increase…[and] the cost of running power plants is rising…

    …[But innovations are driving down the cost of New Energy and] energy storage…Batteries have been devised with the capabilities of storing large amounts of renewable energy..[and] the price of the essential components for these batteries, such as lithium, has dropped, allowing savings to be passed onto the consumer…[Efficiencies for using New Energy to generate and store hydrogen is also] catalyzing the price drop of renewable energy is that of hydrogen power…[These price reductions can] be sustained into the future. The natural progression of more efficient and cost-efficient technologies has been the main driver…[and the] change in price points is set to support renewables’ use on large scale settings across the globe…” click here for more

    The Success Of New Energy Mandates

    The ten-year, 73 gigawatt renewable energy business plan; Renewable portfolio standards across 29 US states represent significant, legally required additions of wind and solar – including 15 states whose requirements will drive more than 11 GWac of solar power.

    John Weaver, August 26, 2019 (PV Magazine)

    “Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are laws in 29 states plus Washington DC that require utilities to source an increasing amount of the energy they generate or sell from renewable sources…[T]he majority are more than a decade old, are regularly updated by implementing states and represent more than 73 GW of new renewable capacity by 2030…Meeting these values will represent 12% of all U.S. electricity sales, which means [because there is more New Energy capacity is outside mandates] greater than 17% of all electricity will come from renewables…Texas and the Midwest have requirements of roughly 20 TWh, but are producing greater than 60 and 100 TWhs/year, respectively. The Southeast, as of the time of this report, had essentially zero requirements, but was producing almost 20 TWh/year of non-hydro renewables…

    Over the past decade, roughly 50% of the 154 GW of renewables deployed were to meet RPS standards…9 GW of RPS requirement meeting renewables have been built in non-RPS states, and wheeled into the state via power lines…The cost of these programs increased the cost of electricity by 1.8¢/kWh, and roughly $4.7 billion in 2018. These values increased from 1.5¢/kWh and $4.0 billion in 2017. This represents a weighted average of 2.6% of electricity bills…The actual capacity that will be deployed by 2030 to meet these requirements is projected to be 73 GW…[That includes 11 GWac of solar power and 10 GW of] offshore wind…” click here for more

    Wednesday, August 28, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solutions For California’s Renewable Procurement Gaps

    Renewable procurement gaps pose risk for California's climate goals, but what solution is best? A new bill may capture broad agreement about the need for a central backstop procurement entity, but doubts about it remain.

    Herman K. Trabish, April 15, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Procurement challenges appear to be very slowly clearing as CCAs take on more responsibility.

    Gaps in resource procurement by California's proliferating load serving entities (LSEs) could prevent the state from achieving its nation-leading renewable energy and climate goals. The state's massive renewable resource portfolio has gaps in it that threaten the reliable delivery of electricity, according to a March 18 proposed decision in the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) integrated resource planning docket. The docket was designed to address reliability in planning by assuring that variable resources are adequately balanced by resources that are available when needed.

    The CPUC must decide whether the LSEs' combined plans will deliver "a reliable and affordable electric system" while meeting California's mandated climate goals, Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch wrote in the March 18 proposed decision. That will require balancing "existing and new resources" with "baseload and intermittent resources" made up of "renewable, storage, and conventional fossil-fueled resources," Fitch wrote. In the LSEs' filings, "there is inconsistent, and in some cases, nonexistent, recognition of these realities."

    Participants in the planning process were concerned that California was going off course, until agreement began to emerge that Assembly Bill (AB) 56's "backstop procurement entity" points toward a solution to the gaps in procurement. The bill got a big boost when an April 12 report from Governor Gavin Newsom's specially-appointed "Strike Force" endorsed the backstop concept as a way to make procurement more efficient.

    In 2015, California had three investor-owned utilities (IOUs), two community choice aggregation (CCA) programs and a few electric service providers (ESPs), but over 40 LSEs' filings were evaluated in Fitch's proposed decision. Many factors contribute to the gaps in procurement, but the key is this proliferation of California LSEs.

    IOUs have not been procuring new generation because their customers are departing to community choice aggregators (CCAs) and electricity service providers (ESPs). But many LSEs are new and still getting financial and organizational foundations in place for procuring generation, many stakeholders, including CCA spokespeople, told Utility Dive.

    With these changes impeding progress, prospects for meeting California's 60% by 2030 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and its aspirational, economy-wide zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045 goal are threatened, despite some smaller LSEs procuring more aggressively, stakeholders told Utility Dive. Reliability remains the big concernclick here for more


    Tuesday, August 27, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Real World Heath Impacts Of The Climate Crisis

    From Townsville To Tuvalu; Health and climate change in Australia and the Asia Pacific region

    Mason Littlejohn and Misha Coleman, July 2019 (Monash University)

    Overview: addressing climate change’s health challenge

    Most people accept that climate change is transforming the global atmosphere and environment. Yet far fewer understand the significant impacts that climate and environmental change are having on human health. In the Asia Pacific region, climate change is raising sea levels, exacerbating the severity of natural disasters, reducing nutrition levels in food2 and increasing disease produced by unclean water. All present substantial risks for the health of humans, including Australians.

    This policy paper by the Global Health Alliance Australia highlights evidence and case studies to show how climate and environmental change will affect human health in the Asia Pacific region. It provides proposals for how Australian Governments - Federal, State and Local - might respond to this challenge, arguing that Australia’s aid, health and agricultural portfolios have an opportunity to develop policies that build resilience in our region to the impacts of climate change on human health. Such an approach would elevate Australia’s standing in the region. The benefits are also closer to home, in terms of reduced health risks, and improved political, health and economic security for Australians.

    Australia has longstanding commitments to the region, notably through its Official Development Assistance program, but also through a host of government and non-government initiatives. Australia has a major opportunity to build on these efforts by supporting its partner countries to develop their resilience to the health impacts of climate change. This paper identifies three areas in which climate change will have a major impact – on political, economic and health systems, on the risk of disease, and on vulnerable populations – before proposing potential policy responses.

    The paper uses the concept of planetary health to show that environmental and human health cannot be separated. It also argues that climate and environmental change will affect the health of all citizens of the Asia Pacific region, including Australians. The health effects will be different across the region and Australians are also vulnerable to many climaterelated health issues, including heat stress, air pollution, and cardiorespiratory illness caused by burning fossil fuels and fires.

    Disease knows no borders. For example, the Nipah virus, a bat-borne disease that causes fatal infections in humans and pigs in South-East Asia is largely unknown in Australia today. But climate change and loss of natural habitat are pushing it closer to human populations. By 2050 Northern Australia will be at a far greater risk of this deadly virus becoming established domestically. In addition, if neighbouring health systems prove inadequate, pressure on Australia to provide assistance, even a safe haven for climate refugees, will grow.

    The threat is great, but so is the opportunity. “Tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century,” argues the medical science journal, The Lancet.”3 Models produced for a 2018 study published in The Lancet Planetary Health found that savings from health benefits alone would compensate for the costs of mitigating the effects of climate change in line with the Paris Agreement.4

    The link between environmental and human health has not been at the centre of Australian policymaking. This paper hopes to redress that gap, and to inspire effective policy solutions to an issue of vast and growing significance to Australia, its region, and the world.

    Recommendations for Australian Governments at a glance: summary

    A nine-point plan

    1. Publicly recognise the health impacts of climate change.

    2. The priorities articulated by Health Ministers in the Pacific should drive Australia’s investments there.

    3. Equip the current and future workforce in Australia and across the Asia Pacific region for emerging threats to health from climate change.

    4. Devise an implementation agenda for addressing the health impacts of climate change by:

    a. Undertaking a benchmark National Health Survey in Australia which includes questions to understand the environmental drivers of poor health, including the impacts of climate change;

    b. Including the impacts and responses to climate change as a Standing Item on the agendas of all the COAG Councils;

    c. Requiring that all Cabinet Submissions contain a climate change impacts analysis;

    d. Tasking the Productivity Commission to assess the cost-effectiveness of action on climate change and the associated co-benefits on our health;

    e. Giving high priority to the impacts on health of climate change in the Department of Foreign Affairs and trade forthcoming climate change action strategy for the aid program, and implement this strategy urgently;

    f. Reviewing and discussing the Climate and Health Alliance’s Framework for a National Strategy (outlined in Annex One)

    5. Support direct action in Australia through State and Local Government Area-based public health strategies.

    6. Establish a multi-institutional Health and Climate Change Research Facility, based in rural Australia

    7. Increase financial investment that would facilitate innovation and opportunities to develop effective health adaptations and low/zero-emissions initiatives – focusing on rural Australia and the Pacific. \

    8. Support proven solutions that address the impact of climate change on health.

    9. Support policy initiatives that involve the community and citizens…

    Climate change and health: three emerging themes…Theme 1: How climate change threatens political, economic and health systems…Theme 2: Climate change’s impact on environmental health and the risk of disease…Theme 3: How climate change threatens vulnerable populations…

    Policy Considerations for Australian Governments

    The Australian Federal Government could design and implement a whole-of-government strategy that enables Australia to respond to the health impacts of climate change, both in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

    The Climate and Health Alliance has recommended that the Australian Government design and implement a unified National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being. The Global Health Alliance supports this proposal, and suggests the Australian Government consider and extend this framework by introducing a core component dedicated to international development and global health. This strategy should address Australia’s role in building capabilities within the Asia Pacific region to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

    Australia’s Official Development Assistance program has an opportunity to develop a strategic approach to global health and climate change by elevating and linking these policy areas within the agenda, narrative and planning of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and between other Australian Government departments, such as Health, Defence, Agriculture, ACIAR and Home Affairs.

    These departments and Australian non-government organisations already have internationally recognised capabilities, relationships and technical skills essential for addressing climate change’s impact on health. However, a robust framework is needed to guide the partnerships, investments and programmatic activities of Australian Government departments and other organisations and to ensure they are effective. Such a strategy, properly implemented, could establish Australia as a leader in the field of climate change, environmental and human health.

    Federal Departments could also recognise and partner with State, Territory and Local Government Areas to implement initiatives that are domestically-focused, and with State-based jurisdictions with international strategies and capacity, such as the Department of Health and Human Services through the Victorian International Health Strategy.105

    It should be noted that some work on climate change and health policy is being progressed by some states such as Queensland,106 NSW107 and Tasmania.108

    Finally, the strategy would address the relationships between climate change, and human, animal and environmental health set out in United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and 13 (Climate Action)…

    QUICK NEWS, August 27: U.S. Pres Head In Sand As G7 Leaders Face Climate Crisis; Timing A Move To New Energy

    U.S. Pres Head In Sand As G7 Leaders Face Climate Crisis …[U.S. president] skips G7 talks on climate crisis and Amazon fires…[and] misses key meeting as summit agrees €20m fund to fight wildfires

    Angelique Chrisafis, 26 August 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “…[The U.S. president] did not attend Monday’s crucial discussion on climate and biodiversity at the G7 meeting of international leaders [of the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Canada] in Biarritz, missing talks on how to deal with the Amazon rainforest fires as well as new ways to cut carbon emissions…[When asked why, he seemed to be misinformed about when it was held and French president Emmanuel Macron confirmed that only his team] had been present…[Macron said the U.S. president ‘shares’ G7 objectives and is] ‘fully engaged’ in the joint G7 effort to help Brazil put out the fires and reforest…

    Macron had placed the climate emergency and protection of biodiversity at the heart of the summit, even before the Amazon rainforest fires…Reports in the US said senior [U.S. presidential] aides felt Macron was seeking to embarrass his US counterpart by making the summit focus on ‘niche issues’ such as climate change or gender equality…Macron announced that the G7 had agreed to an immediate fund of at least $20m (£16m) to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest…He said the Amazon was the “lungs” of the planet and leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests…Macron had shunted the Amazon fires to the top of the summit agenda after declaring them a global emergency…” click here for more

    Timing A Move To New Energy Facing Charges: What's your renewable tipping point?

    David Fraser, 25 August 2019 (BBC News)

    “…The humble battery is emerging as a financially viable pivot around which much of the new energy sources can work…Prices have plummeted and density has soared, meaning battery back-up can compete with more conventional sources of power…New developments include giant industrial battery parks as well as home cells, letting householders automatically sell power into the grid as prices rise…[Also, the high capital and lower running costs of an EV now] undercut the lower upfront and higher fuel costs of an ICE (internal combustion engine)…

    …[Car batteries still must find a way to] offer a longer range, to reassure owners they won't get stuck on a long journey with a powerless car…[and charging infrastructure must be developed and built out so that] the notional 'cost' of finding a charging point, finding it available, plugging in, the time spent waiting, minus the activities to keep you busy while it charges, fall below the alternative ‘cost’ of refuelling at a conventional petrol station…[Estimates range from 3 years to 2 decades for when the EV tipping point will] be reached…” click here for more

    Monday, August 26, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Big Benefits From Swapping Old Energy For New Energy

    Fossil Fuel to Clean Energy Subsidy Swaps: How to pay for an energy revolution

    Richard Bridle, Shruti Sharma, Mostafa Mostafa, Anna Geddes, June 2019 (International Institute for Sustainable Development)

    Executive Summary

    When governments reform fossil fuel subsidies, there are many competing demands for how to reallocate resources, including spending on public health, education and social protection. This report makes the case for placing the promotion of clean energy1 alongside these other priorities and describes the economic, social and environmental benefits that such a move would bring, through a “subsidy swap.” The report sets out the international context of subsidy swaps; summarizes notable country experiences with swaps in India, Indonesia, Zambia and Morocco; and calls for policy-makers to include swaps as part of their fossil fuel subsidy reform implementation strategies.

    Key Findings

    1. Fossil fuel subsidies are a key barrier to a transition to a clean energy system. Although linked to a reduction in emissions, their reform alone will be unlikely to deliver the permanent emission reductions necessary to meet climate change targets. A “swap”— reallocating some of the savings from subsidy reform to fund the clean energy transition—could magnify the contributions to long-term, permanent emission reductions, the economy, jobs, public health and gender equality.

    2. Swaps are already taking place—at a global level, fossil fuel subsidies have declined while renewable investments are now greater than investments in fossil fuel-based energy generation. But the pace of change needs to accelerate considerably—almost 70 per cent of total energy demand growth in 2018 was still met through fossil fuels.

    3. There are still significant political barriers to reform, however, that are country specific. For reformers, the challenge is to change the political dynamic by increasing the engagement of already supportive, influential actors and developing policies that address the concerns of actors that are neutral or moderately opposed to change.

    4. Sharing experience between countries is a key tool to show how swaps can be implemented and that a clean energy transition funded by subsidy reforms is a feasible and possible option for other countries.

    5. Going forward, there are opportunities for governments to focus on higher-impact swaps by supporting large-scale on-grid renewables and implementing mechanisms that mobilize private finance into clean energy projects. 6. Following subsidy reforms, governments can increase taxes on fossil fuels to continue to generate fiscal resources for clean energy while simultaneously reducing carbon dioxide emissions.


    The term “subsidy swap” is a shorthand term for a wide range of policies that redirect government support in the form of subsidies, from fossil fuels to clean energy.2 The goal of the subsidy swap is to bring subsidy policy in line with social, economic and environmental priorities and promote a transition to clean energy systems. A definition of the concept is provided in Box 1.

    Box 1. The definition of subsidy swap

    The swap concept is simple: it refers to redirecting government support from fossil fuels to clean energy. This does not need to involve explicit earmarking (or “hypothecation”) of funds: savings from fossil fuel subsidy reform and spending on clean energy could happen independently in the government budget. There is also no expectation that all reform savings be reallocated to clean energy; governments have many priorities. However, sufficient reallocation should take place to make an appreciable difference to the rate of clean energy deployment.

    The core concept of a clean energy swap is that it accelerates the replacement of fossil fuel-based energy systems with sustainable energy through a shift in government priorities as expressed through funding or fiscal policy changes.

    The two key elements are that: 1) fossil fuel subsidies are reduced and that 2) this happens alongside measures that increase the deployment of sustainable energy.

    The Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) uses a definition of the term “subsidy” based on the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. The agreement determines that subsidies exist where governments:

    • Provide a transfer of funds or liabilities

    • Forego or fail to collect revenue

    • Provide goods or services below market rates

    • Provide income or price support.

    Source: Beaton et al., 2013.

    This report summarizes the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s experience of developing and documenting subsidy swaps over several years, sets out the international context of subsidy swaps, and makes the case for policy-makers to include subsidy swaps as part of their fiscal and energy policies.

    Figure 1 shows how swaps fit into the broader subsidy reform debate. Some subsidies just do not make sense: they support fossil fuel-based energy, they are costly to governments and they undermine clean alternatives. They may also fail to achieve their objectives or have perverse, unintended consequences. In such cases, the policies can be removed. In other cases—largely, consumer subsidies for electricity and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)—the policies may have important linkages with energy access, poverty reduction and health. Here, targeting is an important consideration of the subsidy reform process. Finally, it may be possible to continue to support energy access by swapping from a fossil fuel subsidy to a clean energy subsidy. Regardless of whether subsidies are removed or better targeted, reform can create savings to fund the clean energy transition. This is a subsidy swap: shifting government resources away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy transition.

    In practical terms the vision of the swaps concept means moving from where we are today, where fossil fuels receive huge subsidies in much of the world, to an end point where most of our energy is derived from unsubsidized clean energy. Globally there are still more subsidies directed toward fossil fuel consumers and producers than toward renewable energy: currently around USD 372 billion is spent on producer and consumer fossil fuel subsidies, overshadowing the USD 100 billion in support to renewable energy (Best et al., 2015; International Energy Agency [IEA], 2018b; Merrill et al., 2017).

    However, at a macro level, we can already see a swap in financial flows beginning to take place: fossil fuel subsidies are down and investment in renewable energy is up, as illustrated in Figure 2 and Figure 3. Figure 2 shows that fossil fuel subsidies have fallen overall since 2012, but progress has not been linear: following the rebound in crude oil prices in 2017, fossil fuel consumer subsidies started rising again. Figure 3 shows that renewable investments have exceeded fossil fuel investments every year since 2008, a key inflection point. The falling cost of renewables over recent years and increasing investment implies that the same dollars can now fund more renewable-powered generation: every year since 2014 the world has installed a greater capacity of renewables than fossil fuel-based generators (Figure 4), a second inflection point. Figure 5 shows that the overall share of electricity production from renewable energy is growing, but there is still a long way to go to reach a third inflection point where renewable energy starts to generate most electricity. In 2016, 57 per cent of the gross electricity production was from fossil fuels in Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation countries. Outside the electricity sector, the situation was less positive: 70 per cent of total energy demand growth in 2018 was met through fossil fuels (IEA, 2019a). Despite the progress made, in absolute terms, government subsidies and investments in fossil fuels still far outweigh clean energy…


    Fossil fuel to clean energy subsidy swaps are already taking place—at a global level, fossil fuel subsidies have declined while renewable investments are now greater than investments in fossil fuel-based generation. But the pace of change needs to accelerate considerably. Although fossil fuel subsidies are linked to emission reductions, their reform alone will be unlikely to deliver the permanent emission reductions necessary to meet climate change targets. A swap, reallocating some of the savings from subsidy reform to fund the clean energy transition, could magnify the contributions to long-term, permanent emission reductions while bringing additional economic and social benefits, in particular in relation to jobs, public health and gender equality.

    Four countries—India, Indonesia, Zambia and Morocco—have already been taking concrete action and leading the way by implementing fossil fuel to clean energy swaps. Sharing their experiences is a key tool to show how swaps can be implemented and that a clean energy transition funded by subsidy reforms is a feasible option for other countries. Going forward, governments have an opportunity to focus on higher-impact swaps by redirecting support to large-scale on-grid renewables and implementing mechanisms to leverage private finance for clean energy projects.

    QUICK NEWS, August 26: Automakers Risk Business To Back Emissions Cuts; Research Shows 100% New Energy Works

    Automakers Risk Business To Back Emissions Cuts Automakers snub Trump to side with climate crisis, says Obama-era official; Companies are considering years of regulatory uncertainty when aligning with California’s mileage standards deal

    Emily Holden, 22 August 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “…[Automakers are pushing back against the president’s rollbacks to mileage standards because they are expected to lead to years of regulatory uncertainty that could end with judges deciding against them and producing] cars that use more gasoline could make it harder for American companies to compete in the US and abroad…[Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW are instead] aligning with California for stricter rules [that require them to reach] an average fuel economy for new cars and trucks of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2026…[A presidential tweet criticized the ‘politically correct Automobile Companies’ and argued] his proposal would lower car costs and have ‘very little impact on the environment’...

    The president is seeking to cripple the country’s only significant policy to stem the pollution that heats the planet, which would cut carbon dioxide levels by about 6bn tons – equal to a year of US emissions…Transportation is responsible for 29% of US climate pollution…Increasing fuel economy, as well as expanding mass transit and electric bikes and vehicles, would help reduce that footprint…[I]t would be a win for oil companies and refiners of gasoline…[Some power companies also opposed efforts] to nix a climate rule for coal and gas plants without replacing it with another regulation…[because of the] regulatory uncertainty of Trump’s war against climate policies. And even the most conservative trade groups have not supported his bids to challenge climate science and the legal underpinnings that require the US government to lower emissions…” click here for more

    Research Shows 100% New Energy Works Opinion: We now have the technology to create a grid of cheap fully renewable electricity; All that’s missing is the political will

    David Timmons, August 22, 2019 (MarketWatch)

    “The main solution to climate change is…[stop burning fossil fuels,] make electricity with renewable sources and electrify almost everything…That means running vehicles and trains on electricity, heating buildings with electric heat pumps, electrifying industrial applications such as steel production and using renewable electricity to make hydrogen (similar to natural gas) for other requirements…There is debate, though, about whether fully renewable electricity systems are feasible and how quickly the transition can be made…There are a number of ways to make renewable electricity: hydro, wind, solar photovoltaics, geothermal and burning various forms of biomass (plant matter), besides improving efficiency to use less energy. These are mature technologies with known costs…[Unproven possibilities include wave, tidal and concentrating solar power, but] the mature technologies suffice…[Detailed computer modeling shows] the United States does not need nuclear energy to retire fossil fuels…

    ...[A] diversity of renewable sources can reduce costs…[A combination of larger scale solar and wind] reduces cost…[In addition, the grid must grow and] some form of electricity storage is needed. Batteries work well for smoothing short-term fluctuations, but for storing energy for many hours or days, pumped hydroelectric storage is less expensive…[That] shrinks the energy storage need and reduces cost…[Environmental effects] must be managed…[Government policies like a price on carbon] are needed to make a transition to renewable energy…[They will return money to the economy and create jobs…[B]arriers to using renewable electricity are more political and cultural than technological or economic.” click here for more

    Saturday, August 24, 2019

    Maher, Engel Talk Climate Crisis, Melting Planet

    They start with the climate crisis and move to other global horrors. Just the usual Maher hilarity. From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube

    Health In The Heat

    Climate crisis health impacts can happen too slowly to notice until its almost too late. From Natural Resources Defense Council via YouTube

    Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Are Coming

    Rooftop solar and electric vehicles are two kinds of DER. Others are smart thermostats and electric water heaters. In a decade, everybody will own 4 or 5 kinds of DER and controlling them will be a challenge. These guys are getting ready for it. From GE Digital via YouTube

    Friday, August 23, 2019

    Australia’s Six Sentences Of Hope

    Six sentences of hope: defining a unifying vision in the face of the climate crisis; A sense of futility haunts us all, so I sought to distill in as few words as possible what could be done by us as a people. Writing them, I felt my despair lift

    Richard Flanagan, 21 August 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “…[W]e find ourselves alone in the universe without illusions. There are no leaders, no parties, no nation, no gods that will save us...[And each of us finds within ourselves only] a despair at our general weakness…This sense of futility haunts us…And yet within that failure is hope. Having only ourselves we finally discover bedrock: ourselves…[A]t the moment, we can still keep climate change within the 1.5C change. It is difficult. But it remains possible. And science tells us that at 1.5C we can still exercise control over our future…[If we choose not to act now, within a decade we will be looking at between 2C and 6C of warming by 2100. And at that point science tells us that we can no longer control anything…

    [1]...Australia can be an affirming light in a time of despair, a global leader in transitioning to a carbon-free and socially just society, and that is why we wish our government to –

    [2] Work with Australian land managers to stop land clearing, protect existing forests and grow new forests to absorb existing carbon pollution…

    [3] Work with Australian farmers and graziers to make farming carbon neutral…

    [4] Work with Australian miners to ensure a transition into 21st century minerals (nickel, rare earth) and end thermal coal mining and gas fracking in Australia…

    [5] Work with Australian regulators to make all Australian ground transport powered by renewable energy by 2030…

    [6] Work with Australian industry to make Australia a renewable energy giant and carbon-neutral economy by 2050, funded by progressive pollution tariffs on global heaters…

    …[These six sentences are not new ideas, all are founded in science, and all are being fought for in various ways. But everywhere we see them dismissed and attacked. Yet, when conceived as a mutual and national endeavour how possible they become. It] is time to take our future back. It’s time to stand and fight…[W]e will discover the language of hope in the quality of our courage.” click here for more

    Building Electrification Goes Global

    Global Effort to Decarbonize Buildings Is Accelerating

    Matt Flaherty, August 21. 2019 (Natural Resources Defense Council)

    Momentum is growing in the global effort to eliminate carbon emissions in buildings, especially from fuel burned for space and water heating…[C]ountries like the Netherlands and Ireland, as well as municipal coalitions, are already leading with ambitious plans to achieve net-zero emissions buildings sectors—meaning all the energy running them comes from emissions-free renewable resources—by 2050 at the latest…[Buildings] often accounting for around 50 percent of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions...from burning fossil fuels on site primarily for space and water heating, and from generating electricity for lighting, air conditioning, appliances, or space and water heating…

    We can eliminate emissions by electrifying heating and hot water with super-high efficiency heat pump technology and ensuring our electricity increasingly comes from renewable resources...[T]o reach zero emissions in the most cost-effective and practical way, it’s crucial that we also lower energy demand...[through] weatherization, high-efficiency appliances, and LED light bulbs...It’s easier to avoid emissions in new buildings through such tools as energy codes that require more insulation or fully electric appliances. Building all-electric often costs less than connecting to gas and avoids the need for infrastructure that would likely become under-utilized or unused before the end of its life…Retrofitting existing buildings can be more difficult, but decarbonization is still achievable. The European Union (EU) estimates that 80 percent of its 2050 buildings are already built, highlighting the importance of retrofits…” click here for more

    Where To Put New Energy

    Renewable energy has space to grow

    20 August 2019 (Physics World)

    “…Low-emission energy sources like wind and solar can have a larger geographical footprint than fossil-fuel plants of equivalent capacity. Even so, the renewable-energy potential of already developed land is more than enough to fulfil pledges made as part of the Paris Agreement and could satisfy the total energy demand projected for 2050…Renewable-energy schemes are not without environmental impact…so it’s important to choose locations and generation techniques that cause the least possible harm…Natural lands are still relatively free from the direct impact of development; they’re typically forests, grasslands and other ecosystems that have not been appropriated for agriculture or other uses. Converting such areas to human use decreases their biodiversity and releases carbon stored in soils and biomass…

    …[A new analysis] showed that the total renewable-energy potential of the world’s converted land is 17 times that required to meet the nationally determined contributions committed to…[and] the 10 largest emitters – including the EU28 as a single region – can all fulfil their pledges using land within their own national boundaries…For a more ambitious target of total fossil-fuel replacement by 2050 (including transport-related energy generation), the researchers found that, globally, converted land has more than one and a half times the potential capacity needed. Fewer individual nations could achieve the goal independently, however, so international agreements and electricity interconnections would be needed…[But because] converted land is already used for other purposes, integrating new energy infrastructure will be challenging…” click here for more

    Thursday, August 22, 2019

    The Climate Crisis And Everyday Life

    Death, blackouts, melting asphalt: ways the climate crisis will change how we live; From power cuts to infrastructure failure, the impact of climate change on US cities will be huge – but many are already innovating to adapt

    Pam Radtke Russell, 20 August 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “Between record heat and rain, this summer’s weather patterns have indicated, once again, that the climate is changing…US cities, where more than 80% of the nation’s population lives, are disproportionately hit by these changes…In urban areas, heatwaves are exacerbated by vehicles, industrial processes and the presence of heat-retaining concrete and asphalt…[And, especially in low-lying poorer areas,] record rainfall often accumulates…[I]f emissions continue at the current pace residents in cities around the nation will...Experience an average temperature increase of 8.2F (4.5C)…[and live] in climates similar to the current climates of cities 528 miles (850kms) south…

    …[C]ities are already dealing with the impacts…[A]n average of 658 people die every year from heat-related causes…[Increased air pollution] can cause respiratory problems…[78 people have died in 2019 as a result of] heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding…[E]xcess demand for electricity for air conditioning can cause the grid – or portions of it – to fail…[These impacts are beginning to have economic consequences. Between 2007 and 2011, Cook County, Illinois, saw] flood losses at a cost of $660m (£545m)…Some cities are taking steps to mitigate the impacts by improved communication with at risk populations, adding trees, plants and green infrastructure, painting roofs and pavement white to cool the city, and increasing access to air conditioning…” click here for more

    Corporates Lead Next Wave Energy Transition

    Corporates usher in new wave of US wind and solar growth; It's not driven only by climate change. It's economics

    21 August 2019 (American Wind Energy Association and Wood Mackenzie)

    The largest corporations in the world are signing agreements for massive amounts of wind and solar power…[It is] the beginning stage of a corporate renewables procurement boom, driven not just by goals around mitigating climate change but also by highly competitive renewable project economics…[A new forecast shows] up to 85 gigawatts of renewable energy demand exists within the largest U.S. companies through 2030…

    …[Corporate leaders such as AT&T, General Motors and Facebook contracted more than six gigawatts of power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2018 alone, representing a new record…[Over the last five years, the power mix for Fortune 1000 companies has remained] at approximately 5 percent. At nearly 1200 terawatt-hours, the non-renewable power demand for these corporations represents an enormous opportunity…C&I customers are procuring more wind than solar power…[but] demand for solar power is growing rapidly…[though] persistent tariffs on solar modules or the expiration of the Investment Tax Credit could hamper solar’s long-term competitive edge…” click here for more

    Billions In Health Benefits From New Energy

    Renewable energy can generate billions of dollars in health benefits, study finds; Researchers at MIT foresee a healthier Rust Belt as a result of renewables

    Justine Calma, August 15, 2019 (The Verge)

    “Ten states across the Midwest and Great Lakes region of the US could see $4.7 billion in health benefits in 2030 [if they build out the wind and solar mandated by] current renewable energy standards…That’s about a 34 percent return on the $3.5 billion price tag…[Health risks associated with the climate crisis range from] annoying allergy seasons to a jump in heat-related illnesses and deaths…[But New Energy offers health benefits, according to new research, because it both limits greenhouse gases and] exposure to fine particulate matter coming from [fossil fuel] power plants. And there’s a vast body of evidence that shows how particulate matter, or soot, can adversely affect respiratory and cardiovascular health…

    …[ In 2016, the Rust Belt generated 42 percent of its power from coal, compared to 30 percent for the US as a whole. And that was before the Trump administration’s push to revive the struggling industry…[I]f those states switch to more renewable energy, air quality will improve. As the pollution rates diminish, so should lung cancer, heart attacks, and strokes among people living there…[which could] reduce the medical bills and lost wages associated with those health effects…[leading to] estimated benefits of $4.7 billion in 2030 if current standards are adopted…[And if states in that region up the percentage of New Energy from 13% to 19.5%,] it would result in $13.5 billion in health benefits in 2030 compared to $5.8 billion in costs…[Going to 26% percent New Energy] would lead to $20 billion in health benefits versus $9 billion in costs to implement…” click here for more