Power trends: Renewable energy leads Twitter mentions in August 2020

10 September 2020 (Last Updated September 10th, 2020 21:47)

Power Technology’s list of the top five terms tweeted about power in August 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform.

Power trends: Renewable energy leads Twitter mentions in August 2020
VG Foto, Shutterstock.com

The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Renewable energy – 1045 mentions

Renewable energy being blamed for blackouts in California, new renewable energy plans proposed in the US, and the increase in investments in renewables in Europe were some popularly discussed topics in August. According to an article shared by Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Beyond Coal Campaign, the recent power cuts in California were wrongly attributed to the unreliable power supply from renewable sources. The blackouts were actually the result of heat wave generated by climate change due to increase in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. The heat wave strained California’s power system as consumers used air conditioners and fans leading to blackouts.

Further, Mark Z. Jacobson, a climate researcher, shared an article on the US Democratic National Council’s proposal to make renewable energy the key source of electricity in buildings and transportation by 2030. The council also plans to take carbon emissions in US to zero by 2040, ban fracking and stop the sale of diesel and gas cars. Approximately $2tn is planned to be spent on increasing clean energy usage in the country and $1.7tn on tackling climate crisis during the next decade.

In other news, Carl Siegrist, a renewable energy strategist, shared an article on how investments in renewable energy sources are planned to be increased in Europe after the ongoing pandemic. The European Union’s (EU) policy is also set to support investments into the renewables sector such as hydrogen projects, batteries and electric vehicles. The economic recovery plans for the region have been devised in line with the EU’s goal of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050, the article noted.

2. Solar – 700 mentions

The launch of the first solar powered ferry in India, community solar becoming prevalent in the US and completion of 1GW solar project by an energy firm in the US were some popularly discussed topics during the month of August. Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace activist, shared a video of India’s first solar powered ferry named Aditya. The $100,000 ferry derives 60% of its electricity from solar panels. It also reduces water and air pollution, leaving no carbon footprint.

Carl Siegrist, a renewable energy strategist, meanwhile shared an article on how community solar is catching on in the US. Currently community solar projects are present in 39 states and they account for 2.08GW of total installed capacity. Further, the cumulative capacity of community solar increased by 130% every year over the past decade.

In other news, Tor Valenza, a solar communication thought leader, shared an article on CS Energy, an integrated energy firm, reaching the landmark of installing 1GW of solar energy projects in US. The company constructed 200 projects including utility-scale and energy storage projects in 16 states.

3. Coal – 413 mentions

The decline in coal demand and coal generation capacity across the world and the losses faced by some of the biggest coal companies were popularly discussed in August. According to an article shared by Mike Cannon-Brookes, an energy investor, coal generation capacity declined in 2020 as power stations reduced their dependence on coal.

A report published by Global Energy Monitor showed that 21.2GW of coal plants were decommissioned during the first half of the year, the article noted. Majority of the closures were in Europe particularly the UK, which decommissioned one third of its fleet. Fall in demand due to the covid-19 pandemic was another reason for the decline in coal generation capacity.

Further, Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Beyond Coal Campaign, shared an article on how reduction in natural gas prices and protests against coal pollution led to drop in coal demand. Peabody Energy reported $1.54bn in losses during the second quarter of 2020 as demand for coal dropped during the pandemic. The article noted that instead of bailing out the failing coal industry, the government should focus on transitioning towards renewable energy.

4. Gas – 357 mentions

Dangerous gas leaks, BP’s plan to reduce gas production and experts’ objection to Australian chief scientist’s support for the use of gas were popularly discussed topics in August. Bill McKibben, an environmentalist, raised concerns about frequent gas leaks from domestically used gas in the wake of a gas explosion in the city of Baltimore, which left one dead and seven injured. He recommended the need to supply air source heat pumps to the underprivileged instead of using natural gas.

Ketan Joshi, a climate and cleantech author, shared an article on a group of Australian climate scientists protesting against Dr. Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, support for gas as an energy source. Finkel noted that gas is important for decarbonising the economy, while experts viewed gas as unsafe for the climate and a global warming agent.

In other news, Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital, shared BP’s tweet on the company’s goal to increase its low carbon investment to approximately $5bn per year. BP also aims to reduce oil and gas production by 40% by 2030, as part of its policy to become a net zero company.

5. Wind – 262 mentions

The UK government slashing its wind and solar cost estimates, first power generated at an offshore wind farm in Holland and the impact of tax credit extensions on wind projects in the US were popularly discussed in August. According to an article shared by Ketan Joshi, a climate author, the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced that the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources was much lower than previously estimated. The reduction in the cost of renewables means that wind and solar will be 50% cheaper by 2025.

Further, Mark Z. Jacobson, a climate researcher, shared an article announcing power generated from the first turbine of the 731.5MW Borselle offshore wind farm located off the Netherlands coast. With 36 of 77 turbines installed, the construction of the project is set to be completed in October this year. The project is expected to generate 3000GwH of energy per year.

In other news, Tor Valenza, a solar and storage communications expert, shared an article on how the wind sector in the US will be impacted by the proposed Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC) extensions. An analysis by GlobalData states that the extension will have a positive influence on both wind and solar projects, which are expected to make up 25% of installations in the power sector by 2025.