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.
Energy policy think tank Energy Innovation Policy & Technology issued a new report earlier this week looking at the relative cost of operating coal plants versus renewable energy. What they discovered in looking at the basic economics is that “the cost of new clean energy technologies has plummeted over the past decade while coal costs have stayed flat or risen. The upshot of their analysis? They found that out of the 210 U.S. coal plants they investigated, 209 of them – over 99% – are more expensive to run than if their generation capacity was replaced with solar or wind power.
The cost savings would be significant, too–the analysts behind the report determined that the cost of new wind or solar would be at least thirty percent cheaper than running over 75% of the existing coal plants. The savings are so significant that they can even cover the cost, in many cases, of adding battery storage to those solar plants to improve the reliability of the grid.
“The economics are clear,” the authors of the report wrote. “Solar and wind offers much cheaper power compared to coal and without compromising the reliability of our electricity system.”
The Big Read
Inside The Audacious Plan To Use 10,000 Nuclear Microreactors To Wean The World Off Coal
Bret Kugelmass of Last Energy aims to build his first 10 inexpensive, off-the-shelf fission reactors in Poland, which currently gets 70% of its electricity from burning coal.
Discoveries And Innovations
Greentech startup Heirloom announced it has successfully captured carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, turned it into limestone, and then worked with CarbonCure to store it in concrete in a way that prevents the CO2 from escaping to the atmosphere even if it’s demolished.
Planting more trees in cities could cut the number of people dying from high temperatures in summer, according to a new study, a strategy that could help mitigate the effects of climate change as it continues to drive temperatures upwards.
Sustainability Deals Of The Week
Fusion Funding: Nuclear Fusion power company NT-Tao announced it raised a $22 million series A round to develop its compact and scalable fusion reactor for potential commercialization.
Car Charging Collaboration: EV charger company Electrify America and fuel-service company TravelCenters of America announced a deal whereby Electrify America will be providing EV charging at select locations across the country. The goal is to have 1,000 chargers at 200 locations within the next five years.
On The Horizon
As industrial meat production grows, the global use of antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs in animals will rise by the end of the decade, according to new research, a move that could help render the lifesaving drugs useless and accelerate the spread of hard-to-treat, resistant superbugs.
What Else We’re Reading This Week
Pricier Burgers Are Coming for Diners as US Cattle Herd Plummets (Bloomberg)
Breathless oceans: Warming waters could suffocate marine life and disrupt fisheries (Science)
Airlines and Cattle Farmers Have Beef With Google’s Climate Math (Wired)
Green Transportation Update
Recycling of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and consumer electronics is an urgent priority given tight global supplies of pricey metals like lithium, nickel and cobalt, but it has a downside: current techniques like controlled burning can release toxic chemicals. Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, however, say they’ve found a solution: a new material that allows old lithium-ion cells to be recycled with just water. And it could soon make battery recycling cheaper and safer.
The Big Transportation Story
GM Not Interested In EV Price War, Mary Barra Says
Mary Barra’s not playing. Tesla and Ford Motor Co. may be engaged in an EV price war but General Motors Co. CEO isn’t going there. That comes as overall auto loan interest rates are likely to rise adding further challenges to financially-stressed consumers.
More Green Transportation News
Big Road Schemes Will Be Scrapped, Hints U.K. Department For Transport
‘Lifestyle Rail’ And Other Lessons From North Carolina’s DOT
2024 Mazda CX-90 Gets Upsized And Electrified
This Radar Tech Startup Just Raised $17 Million To Make Automated Driving Cheaper And Safer
Ford Europe’s 2030 All-Electric Target Poses Harsh Questions
Following Tesla Price Cuts, Ford Slashes Mach E EV Prices As Well
This Robot Electric Cargo Plane Could Be The Start Of A Wave That Transforms Shipping
Milan Mayor’s Desire To Cut Car Use Shared By Luxury Real Estate Developers