Science

Wind And Solar Production Grow As AI Fights Wildfires And Tesla Stares Down Its Chinese Rivals

This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.

Last week, BP released its annual Statistical Review of World Energy, which provides a comprehensive look at the global energy industry. One of the most interesting statistics within it was the growth of renewable energy, consumption of which grew 15% in 2021. Hydroelectric, nuclear and renewable energy accounted for about 18% of energy consumption around the globe, with the balance being provided by fossil fuels. Wind and solar power combined accounted for 10.1% of total global energy production, the first time that number has been above 10%. “Together, wind and solar power provided 2,894 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2021,” writes Forbes senior Energy contributor Robert Rapier. “For perspective, in 2010 that number was 380 TWh.”


The Big Read

Can AI Predict If Your House Is Going To Burn To The Ground?

As summer fire season looms in California, Zesty.ai is using machine learning to help insurers and homeowners to make realistic risk assessments—and reduce damage to homes and property. Read more here.


Discoveries And Innovations

Rising temperatures and related changes to climate might increase the prevalence of landslides, avalanches and rock-fall incidents in mountains.

Researchers from Yale determined that many current climate models may be underestimating the future impacts of flooding, due to the way they account for the physics of raindrop formation.

Scientists at the University of Washington have designed a new type of switch that could dramatically improve the energy-efficiency of large data centers.


Sustainability Deals Of The Week

Spanish construction startup 011h raised a $25 million series A round to expand its business of helping developers build with more sustainable materials, reports Techcrunch.

Energy giant Shell announced that it finalized its plans to build a renewable hydrogen plant in the Netherlands, which the company says will be the largest in the world when it begins operations in 2025.

French biorecycling company Carbios announced that it has signed a two-year deal with On, Patagonia, PUMA, and Salomon to develop recycling solutions for the company’s products.


On The Horizon

The European Parliament gave a thumbs up to allowing some nuclear and natural gas energy projects to qualify as being “green.” The upshot of the policy is now some of these projects may qualify for access to low interest loans and even subsidies. While controversial, the move might make a difference on emissions goals in the context of Russian sanctions, which have led countries like Germany to reopen coal plants.


What Else We’re Reading This Week

The green revolution is coming for power-hungry particle accelerators (Popular Science)

Toxic Slime Contributed to Earth’s Worst Mass Extinction—And It’s Making a Comeback (Scientific American)

The Infamous 1972 Report That Warned of Civilization’s Collapse (Wired)



Green Transportation Update

U.S. media coverage of potential challengers to Tesla’s EV dominance focuses mainly on big automakers like GM, Volkswagen and Ford, as well as promising startups including Rivian and Lucid. But it turns out that the company is already being challenges by China’s fast-growing manufacturers, including BYD, SAIC and NIO. In fact BYD topped Tesla in global rechargeable vehicle sales in the year’s first half, though that includes plug-in hybrids which still use small gasoline engines. Elon Musk’s EV powerhouse will hold onto its global lead for another year in 2022 but he’s got a raft of competitors intent on shrinking Tesla’s dominance.


The Big Transportation Story

Tesla Delivery Pace Drops In Second Quarter On China Slowdown

Part of the reason BYD edged ahead of Tesla in the first half arose from the U.S. company’s production headaches at its Shanghai plant, which was hobbled in the second quarter by tough local Covid-related lockdown rules. As a result the company’s quarterly vehicle deliveries dropped by a bigger-than-expected 26% sequentially from the first quarter though they were up 18% from a year earlier. Read more here.



More Green Transportation News

The Pillars Of A Net-Zero Transportation Sector: EV Adoption And Clean Energy

Tevva: A Universal Battery-Hydrogen Delivery Truck Out Of London

China’s Assault On European Electric Car Market Gathers Momentum

King Car Deposed On Rue Royale As Works Start To Remove Motor Traffic From Central Brussels

Warren Buffett-Backed BYD’s EV Sales More Than Tripled In June


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