The NIMBY stat that clean energy can’t ignore — This Week in Cleantech

The NIMBY stat that clean energy can’t ignore — This Week in Cleantech
FILE - Farmland is seen with solar panels from Cypress Creek Renewables, Oct. 28, 2021, in Thurmont, Md. A new report says climate-altering pollution from greenhouse gases declined by nearly 2% in the United States in 2023, even as the economy expanded at a faster clip. The report from the Rhodium Group said the decline is a step in the right direction but far below the rate needed to meet President Joe Biden's pledge to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

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 USA Today national correspondent Elizabeth Weise, who reported on overwhelming local opposition to clean energy projects.

This week’s “Cleantecher of the Week” is Tom Matzzie, CEO of CleanChoice Energy, which has just been recognized by Real Leaders as one of the 2024 Top Impact Companies in the world for their work in expanding access to clean energy.

1. Summer Has Long Stressed Electric Grids. Now Winter Does, Too. — New York Times

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation reports that winter electricity demand might outpace summer demand by 2050. The shift from heat generated by oil and gas to electric heaters strains utilities, especially because they are less efficient below 30°F, increasing the load during extreme cold. Having high demand in multiple seasons might make it harder to repair and improve aging systems.

2. ‘Gold’ hydrogen: The next clean fuel? — E&E News

There’s a new way to produce hydrogen called ‘gold’ hydrogen – by drilling for it underground, similar to how we drill for gas and oil. According to Geoffrey Ellis, a research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, there is about 5 million megatons of gold hydrogen across the globe – if just 2% were extracted, that could produce the amount of hydrogen needed to get to maintain net-zero pollution for 200 years. 

This is early days – right now, a village in Mali has the only well on the globe that can drill for hydrogen, providing only enough electricity for a small village. The tricky part could be finding these deposits. It seems right now, we don’t have the models that get us past the exactness of throwing darts with a blindfold on.

3. How bad is Tesla’s hazardous waste problem in California? — The Verge

Twenty-five counties sued Tesla this week for allegedly disposing of hazardous waste in places where it’s not authorized. The suit also claims Tesla “failed to determine” if the waste was hazardous in the first place, “failed to properly mark, label, and store” the materials, and did not properly train their employees on how to handle the materials. And this didn’t just happen at one facility, this happened across 101 California facilities.

Watch the full episode on YouTube

4. EV Slowdown Turns the Table for Leaders and Laggards — Bloomberg

Tesla hit a speed bump, warning last week of slower sales growth, resulting in a 12% stock drop and an $80.1 billion loss. Stock in BYD, the Chinese automaker that briefly overtook Tesla in EV sales, also declined after reporting underwhelming results as they face a price war in China’s car market.

But context tells another story: North America, including the US and Canada, saw EV sales increase by 48% year on year in 2022. The EV share of light-vehicle sales is forecast to reach 19.5% in 2025, increasing to 45% in 2030 and 77% in 2035. 

5. Across America, clean energy plants are being banned faster than they’re being built — USA Today

If the renewable energy industry needed a reason to ramp up investment in community engagement practices, look no further than this story. Here’s the big takeaway: clean energy projects are blocked already in 15% of all U.S. counties.

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Join us every Friday for new episodes of This Week in Cleantech in the Factor This! podcast feed, and tune into new episodes of Factor This! every Monday.

This Week in Cleantech is hosted by Renewable Energy World senior content director John Engel and Tigercomm president Mike Casey. The show is produced by Brian Mendes with research support from Alex Petersen and Clare Quirin.