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August 26, 2022

Top tweets: World’s largest coal plant becomes solar farm – and more

Power Technology lists five of the top tweets on solar power in Q2 2022 based on data from GlobalData’s Power Influencer Platform.

The top tweets are based on total engagements (likes and retweets) received on tweets from more than 155 solar power experts tracked by GlobalData’s Power Influencer Platform during the second quarter (Q2) of 2022.

1. Mike Hudema’s tweet on Canada turning the world’s largest coal plant into a solar farm

Mike Hudema, director of communications at Canopy Planet, an environmental non-profit organisation, shared a video on Canada converting the world’s largest coal plant into a solar farm. The coal plant was one of the largest air polluters in North America, the video illustrated, but it has now been demolished to deploy 200,000 panels, which started supplying electricity to the grid in 2019. Ontario, a province in east-central Canada, went coal free in 2014, which is equal to removing seven million cars off the road, the video highlighted.

In 2005, Ontario had reported 53 smog days, but none in 2015. Hudema further tweeted that it was time to switch to renewables, and that the solutions for the climate crisis were in plain sight but subsidies had to be shifted for them to be realised.

Username: Mike Hudema

Twitter handle: @MikeHudema

Likes: 1,279

Retweets: 416

2. Simon Evans’s tweet on IEA’s raised forecasts for wind and solar growth

Simon Evans, a journalist, shared an article on the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous intergovernmental organisation, raising its forecast for wind and solar growth again. The report highlighted that renewable capacity additions in 2021 increased 6% and broke yet another record, reaching almost 295 GW. In addition, the 17% decline in annual wind capacity additions worldwide was offset by an increase in solar photovoltaic (PV) and growth in hydropower installations in 2021, the article detailed.

Renewable capacity is forecasted to increase over 8% in 2022 compared to 2021, crossing over the 300 GW mark for the first time, the article further highlighted. Additionally, solar PV is estimated to account for 60% of the rise in global renewable capacity in 2022, with the commissioning of 190 GW, a 25% gain from 2021. Utility-scale projects will account for almost two-thirds of the overall PV growth in 2022, primarily driven by China’s strong policy environment and the European Union’s (EU) push for faster deployment. Wind and solar PV is also expected to reduce the European power sector’s reliance on Russian gas by 2023, the article noted.

Username: Simon Evans

Twitter handle: @DrSimEvans

Likes: 151

Retweets: 60

3. Mark Z. Jacobson’s tweet on Mahi Two crossing the Atlantic Ocean

Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, shared an article on the first autonomous solar-electric boat, Mahi Two, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The all-electric vessel embarked on the journey without a crew but powered by a Torqeedo electric motor and solar power, the article detailed. The Mahi Two team claims that this is the first solar-electric autonomous vehicle to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel departed from the Spanish coast in September 2021 and arrived on the island of Martinique in the French Antilles after six months.

The German commercial company provided a Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 Pod electric motor that never stopped, and there were two 24-volt (V) batteries on board that were continuously being recharged by Solbian solar panels, the article noted. The journey was covered in six months as the vessel travelled at speeds of nine knots to ten to 15 kilometres per hour (kph). The Mahi Two boat kept upright with the help of cameras, satellite connectivity, sensors, and an onboard computer that helped it to cover nearly 8,000 kilometres.

Username: Mark Z. Jacobson

Twitter handle: @mzjacobson

Likes: 125

Retweets: 53

4. Tom Steyer’s tweet on President Biden invoking the DPA to protect solar project developers

Tom Steyer, an environmentalist and entrepreneur, shared an article on the Biden administration invoking the Defence Production Act (DPA) for the solar industry, which is expected to kickstart US manufacturing, accelerate solar innovation, and also create new jobs. Solar developers stated that the ongoing trade enforcement probe has been stalling US solar projects, adding to the supply chain woes and other headwinds. However, the White House claimed that the administration’s plans to invoke the DPA will protect solar project developers from the costs of potential trade tariffs and will also offer new federal support for domestic solar panel manufacturing, the article detailed.

According to a recent assessment by the energy consultancy firm Rystad Energy, 64% of the country’s solar additions for 2022 were in trouble due to the possibility of increased tariffs. While the Commerce probe would continue, the administration’s actions would include ramping up federal procurement for clean energy, including solar, the article highlighted.

Username: Tom Steyer

Twitter handle: @TomSteyer

Likes: 90

Retweets: 15

5. Scott Thomasson’s tweet on Florida voters wanting Governor Ron DeSantis to veto the anti-solar bill

Scott Thomasson, clean energy lawyer and policy strategist, shared an article on a recent poll that revealed that 86% of Florida voters wanted Governor DeSantis to veto the anti-solar net metering bill, regardless of their political affiliation, while only 3% stated that he should sign the bill.  The Florida state legislature passed the House Bill 741 in May 2022, which would phase down the value of solar net metering, thereby allowing utilities to add fixed charges to solar customer bills, the article noted. Net metering is a critical policy that supported the value of rooftop solar, paying customers for transferring surplus solar power generation to the grid, the article further detailed.

If passed by Governor DeSantis, the law would come into effect in 2023, with payments to solar consumers regressing from a retail rate, similar to the one they pay utilities at approximately 10 cents per kilowatt. The phase out would reduce payment rates to solar customers by half in about four years and would keep dropping to the avoided cost rate by 2029, article noted. The poll also found that Floridians were uncertain about electricity in their state, with about 84% of the respondents stating that they were concerned about their utility bills increasing over the next year.

Username: Scott Thomasson

Twitter handle: @scotthomasson

Likes: 54

Retweets: 24

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