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Renewables: Solar to dominate 2016

For the first time ever solar PV will add more capacity to the US grid than any other type of energy, new govt data covered by Think Progress reveals.

Solar projects are expected to generate 9.5GW of new energy, natural gas will grow by 8GW and wind will provide an additional 6.8GW.

Looking beyond 2016, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report claims nearly 100 million homes around the world may be solar powered by 2020, with special mention of the exploding off-grid solar market.

And solar panels are becoming more efficient in a hurry. Business Green reports that, with an efficiency of 23.8%, Panasonic has created the best crystalline silicon-based solar module out there.

To get a sense of how fast things are moving, the record Panasonic just broke was set just last week — by rival SunPower.

Meanwhile, new data shows that wind power is also continuing to grow, particularly in the US and China.

Climate Central says that China built 30,500MW worth of wind turbines in 2015, more than any other country and which saw it overtake the EU’s wind capacity. The US produced the most wind power, however, with its 190 million megawatt hours just topping China’s 185.5.

Good Energy in the UK is planning to build the country’s first subsidy-free wind farm in Cornwall, with part funding by the community, reports The Guardian.

But in Poland wind turbine operators face fresh fines and even jail sentences with the government introducing a strict new set of rules on the industry, reports Bloomberg.

UK: Tory energy policy has frightened green investors, will raise bills

Sudden subsidy cuts to renewable energies have ‘spooked’ green energy investors and could lead to higher energy bills in the long run, according to a report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The Guardian puts that additional billpayer cost at £120 per household per year.

Meanwhile the Green Investment Bank, a government project to fund renewable energy projects in the UK, may be snapped up by foreign buyers to fund renewable energy projects in Germany instead, reports The Guardian.

And finally there’s an Anglo-French summit today, where there may be discussion about the plans and problems of the Hinkley nuclear power station.

The FT reports on Labour’s call for a Plan B to the oft-delayed reactor whileBloomberg reports on the reputation risk the project poses to the French nuclear industry.

In other news

Climate: Food scarcity caused by climate change could cause half a million deaths by 2050, according to a new study covered by the Washington Post.

Nigeria: A UK court has ruled that two Nigerian communities can sue Shell over its oil spills, The WSJ reports.

US: The Justice Department has involved the FBI in the Exxon investigation, reports Inside Climate News.

Fracking: Major US energy executive Aubrey McClendon has died in a car crash, just a day after he was indicted for allegedly rigging bids for oil and gas drilling land,reports Reuters.

China: Country faces pressure from US to do more on climate if its targets are too easy, reports SCMP.

US: Oregon state legislature has passed a bill to scrap coal power by 2030, reports local media outlet KTVZ.

UK: London named worst city at exploiting renewable energy potential, reports Business Green.

Coal: ‘Obama’s not really waging a war on coal, but China is’, writes Vice.