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EGEB: Green energy will wipe out planned gas plants before they’re paid off, Dutch solar garden fences, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Green energy will push out natural gas by 2035.
  • Solar garden fences are popping up in the Netherlands.
  • Amazon employees will strike to protest climate change.
  • California passes a law that prevents cities and counties from taxing solar rooftop energy.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

In the US, gas beat coal. And in 15 years, renewables and batteries will in turn beat gas.

A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (via Bloomberg) says:

By 2035, it will be more expensive to run 90% of gas plants being proposed in the U.S. than it will be to build new wind and solar farms equipped with storage systems… It will happen so quickly that gas plants now on the drawing boards will become uneconomical before their owners finish paying for them, the study said.

Natural gas currently makes up 35% of electricity generation in the US, with coal trailing behind it at 27.4% as of 2018.

Solar garden fences in the Netherlands

The subreddit Futurology is buzzing about this solar garden fence (left). The description reads, “Solar panels are getting so cheap people have started using them as garden fences that double as electricity generators.” (It was posted on Reddit by u/lughnasadh, aka Ben Mulvey.)

A bit of Twitter searching led me to Gideon Goudsmit, who is the founder of the National Energy Commission in the Netherlands. Goudsmit is described as an entrepreneur on Energy-Positive. It’s an Amstelveen, Netherlands-based company that provides sustainable products such as solar panels, fasteners, and EV chargers. (He’s the company’s main point of contact.)

He tweeted the photo with the caption (in Dutch): “Yesterday a garden wall with 20 x pv Bi Facial 410 Wp delivered good for 11,000 kWh per year… More than enough to run an EV 50,000 km or to provide 3 homes with electricity.”

He also tweeted: “We have had a special frame developed for this so that it can be easily installed in 3 different heights: 2.05, 1.70, and 1.04 meters high” … and that the fence is “150 km-per-hour wind resistant.”

When Mulvey asked Goudsmit on Twitter what the fence cost, Goudsmit replied: “€15.000.00 for 11.000 kWh per year.” Another tweeter asked how much one gets per kWh, and Goudsmit replied, “€ 0.251 cts (25.1 cents)… not subsidized.”

Per capita energy usage in the Netherlands is 6,314.19 kWh. What do you think of the solar garden fence? Let us know in the comments section below.

Amazon employees strike for climate change

Amazon has about 65,000 employees in the US. And nearly 1,000 (and growing) are going to strike on September 20 to demand that “the tech giant lower its climate emissions to zero by 2030,” according to Mashable:

The walkout is a reaction to Amazon’s dealings with the fossil fuel industry, including the company’s funding of $15,000 to the climate change-denying think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The group is also calling on Amazon to stop funding politicians and lobbyists who deny climate change and to discontinue their work with oil and gas companies, which use Amazon’s artificial intelligence technology, such as advanced machine learning, to accelerate oil and gas extraction.

The walkout of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice “will be joining youth and workers in different sectors on this day for a global climate strike.”

The group says this is the tech industry’s first walkout for climate change.

No California city or county tax for rooftop solar

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1208 last week. It’s a state law that prohibits cities and counties from taxing homeowners and businesses for rooftop solar panel energy.

As Solar Power World explains:

Cities and counties have the ability to tax utility services, such as electricity, as one potential source of local revenues. Since 2013, the energy generated by rooftop solar panels has been explicitly exempt from what is called the ‘Utility Users Tax’ or ‘UUT.’ That pre-existing exemption was set to expire December 31, 2019. AB 1208 extended it another seven years.

The bill unanimously passed both the State Assembly and Senate.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.