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EGEB: Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot’s new short film: ‘We need to stop burning fossil fuels’; more

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

  • Activists Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot launch a short film about how to fight climate change.
  • The UK holds a $25 billion offshore wind farm auction.
  • EnergySage releases their 2019 consumer solar report.
  • Duke Energy says it will eliminate carbon emissions by 2050.

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

Environmental activists Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot have released a short film about how to tackle the climate crisis. (On Wednesday, Thunberg appeared with other young people in US Congress at a climate change hearing, where she told politicians to “listen to the scientists.” Tomorrow, she leads the global youth strike.)

Thunberg states in the film: “To survive, we need to stop burning fossil fuels, but this alone will not be enough.”

Monbiot calls trees “a natural climate solution” because “they take carbon out of the air and lock it away.” He says they can make a “massive difference,” but “only if we leave fossil fuels in the ground.”

Thunberg then continues, “We spend 1,000 times more on global fossil-fuel subsidies than on natural-based solutions.”

They break it down into three steps on what we must do: protect, restore, and fund. Watch the video below to see what they mean. Because, as Thunberg says, “What you do counts.”

Britain’s first major offshore wind auction in a decade

Britain is the world’s largest offshore wind market, and it’s launching its first major offshore wind auction in a decade in four seabed areas. The auction is expected to attract as much as £20 billion ($25 million).

The sites have the potential to host a total of 7 GW to 8.5 GW of electricity generation — that’s enough to power more than 6 million homes. The UK plans to generate one-third of its electricity from offshore wind farms by 2030.

The tender process will begin in October and is expected to take around a year, and The Crown Estate, who manages the seabeds, says the first rights could be awarded in early 2021.

Groups expected to bid include offshore wind developers and European oil companies, who are under pressure from shareholders to cut emissions. Shell told Reuters earlier this year that it plans to participate.

Latest 2019 consumer solar trends

Solar comparison-shopping marketplace EnergySage released its ninth semi-annual “Solar Marketplace Intel Report” today. The residential solar trends report on H2 2018 and H1 2019 is based on their own data.

Key takeaways from EnergySage’s report are:

  • In the first half of 2019, average gross cost per watt of solar dropped to $2.99 nationally for the first time. The highest cost is in New Mexico, at $3.41 per watt, and the lowest is in Florida, at $2.72 per watt.
  • Consumers are now paying 23% less than they were for solar five years ago.
  • In leading solar states, solar companies design systems to offset over 95% of a customer’s electricity usage.
  • Solar costs decreased in 8 out of the top 10 states for residential solar, but solar payback periods
    decreased in only 4 of those top 10 states.
  • EnergySage did some state case studies. Michigan leads the US with the highest interest in energy storage; Connecticut is most interested in energy efficiency and assessments; and California has the most interest in electric vehicle charging options.

Duke Energy: carbon free by 2050

Duke Energy, who provides electricity for nearly 8 million people in six states, says it will slash its carbon emissions in half by 2030 and go 100% carbon free by 2050. Green Tech Media says it’s “the largest carbon reduction commitment yet from a US utility, due to the company’s size.”

“A diverse mix of renewables, nuclear, natural gas, hydro, and energy efficiency are all part of this vision,” said Lynn Good, chairman, president, and CEO of Duke Energy.

Further, the company says that “new natural gas infrastructure will be required to fuel this transition and balance renewables. We’ll continue expanding energy storage, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle infrastructure.”

It’s good to see a utility company of this size make the move toward renewables. But natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and from an economic perspective, it probably won’t pay in the long run to further invest in gas. That’s because natural gas will become less competitive with renewable energy within 15 years — well before 2050.

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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.