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Green News Round-Up

This article summarizes top three green energy news headlines that caught our eye this week, from scientific developments in solar technology to electric vehicle (EV) growth to American’s perceptions of renewable energy sources.

Solar Technology

A Time article explores research into an experimental technology that could, if proven to be commercially viable, transform the science of solar power. Solar cells made from a little-known class of materials called perovskites appear to balance flexibility with efficiency that has not been possible to achieve in the past. Perovskite solar cells are easy to make and thin enough to paint or spray onto almost any surface, possibly even to existing silicon modules to boost production. A test last year achieved 22.7 percent efficiency, which is on the high end silicon cell technology, and theoretically they could reach 40 percent efficiency.

Perovskites are still too new to have been thoroughly tested for long-term durability, but this appears to be a very promising technology.

Electric Vehicle Growth

CNBC reports on International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that show electric vehicles growing from 3.1 million in 2017 (up 54 percent from the prior year) to 125 million by 2030. That equates to a 33 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) but would still represent less than ten percent of all cars worldwide, which are forecast to be at 2 billion between 2035 and 2040.

IEA notes that there is a potential to see 220 million EVs by 2030 if governments use policy to stimulate EV demand to consumers. Current policy suggests that China (which reached 1 million electric cars in 2017) and Europe will enable EVs to grow to about a quarter of all cars in those markets. In the United States, IEA believes that some states such as California will continue to rapidly adopt EVs while growth will lag elsewhere due to low fuel taxes and planned changes to vehicle emissions standards.

Americans’ Views on Energy

CNBC also recently published an article about Americans’ commitment to green energy, based on the results of the annual Deloitte Resources Study. Here are the highlights:

  • 53 percent of respondents say that getting part of their electricity supply from renewable energy sources is extremely or very important to them.
  • 64 percent of millennials ranked renewable energy sources among their top three most important energy-related issues (vs. 52 percent of overall respondents), and increasing solar power ranks as a top-three energy issue for more people than wind energy at all age groups.
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76 percent of respondents think renewables can be extremely or very impactful for achieving energy independence, up +5 points from last year, and there were gains in the perceived effects on climate change/cleaner air, job creation, and national and local economies.

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Residential solar is reported to be on 4 percent of homes, chosen primarily because it saves homeowners on electricity bills (noted by 59 percent of respondents) and because solar panels produce clean energy and do not contribute to climate change (58 percent of respondents)

57 percent of respondents say ensuring electricity during power outages is an important consideration for solar. And 49 percent of respondents would be more interested in rooftop solar if they could combine the panels with battery storage.

Resistance to residential solar declined last year among all four of the top perceived barriers to solar panels, including cost, concerns about efficacy, lack of knowledge, and unattractiveness.

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As reported by CNBC, the study was conducted by Harrison Group for Deloitte in March and was based on online interviews with decision-makers in 1,500 households and 600 businesses.

Another recent Ernst & Young study of energy industry perceptions finds stronger support for green energy sources such as wind and solar compared to any other energy source.

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The views of the oil and gas industry in particular have strong generational differences. Teenagers are the first generation to have a net negative view of oil & gas.

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