Power tech trends: Solar leads Twitter mentions in April 2020

11 May 2020 (Last Updated June 15th, 2020 12:18)

Power tech trends: Solar leads Twitter mentions in April 2020

Solar features as Power Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on power in April 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Solar – 951 mentions

Solar innovations and the need for governments to spend on renewable energy than fossil fuels, was greatly emphasised by influencers this month. For example, an article shared by Mike Hudema, a climate campaigner, California is requiring all new homes to be built with solar panels, all public buses to be emission free, and is also in the process of building new batteries to provide 24 hours of renewable energy.

Mark Z Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, shared an article on solar and wind being the cheapest sources of power in two-thirds of the world’s population, further threatening the fossil fuel majors – coal and natural gas. The prices are even lower in countries like China, the US, and Brazil. A drop in equipment costs, improved technologies, and government initiatives are further eating into coal and natural gas shares.

In other news, Dr Thomas Hillig, an energy consultant, tweeted on Southern Germany having decentralised solar energy everywhere.

2. Renewable energy – 565 mentions

From countries switching to renewable energy to combat the current Covid-19 economic crisis, to innovations, and renewable energy outstripping fossil fuel, were some of the popularly discussed topics during the month. For instance, Mark Z Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, shared an article on the world’s 11th-biggest economy pitching for renewable energy for recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. The article noted that New York State announced the passage of enabling legislation for its new clean power plans, which also makes the connection between renewable energy and economic recovery from the global virus.

Mike Hudema, a climate campaigner, meanwhile listed four countries namely Iceland, Paraguay, Norway, and Costa Rica being entirely powered by renewable energy such as geothermal energy, wind power, and hydro power.

In other news, Arik Ring, an energy engineering expert, tweeted on the importance of energy transition, with the renewable energy capacity having grown in 2019. The article shared detailed that the world had added 176 gigawatts of renewable generating capacity in the previous year, with renewable power accounting for 72% of the total power expansion.

3. Climate action – 463 mentions

From economic recovery being the need of the hour to boost climate action, to efforts in aligning all of companies’ actions with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and the lack of leadership and governance in the US causing the nation to fall back on climate action and clean energy innovation, were popularly discussed topics in April 2020. According to Jesse Jenkins, a macro-scale energy systems engineer and professor tweeted on the importance of fighting the virus first, as economic security was a precondition for robust climate action. He added that clean energy investment can help power recovery.

Julia Pyper, a contributing editor at Greentech Media covering clean energy policy, shared an article on experts’ views on the future of sustainable finance, clean energy deployment and government stimulus efforts. She added that the economic downturn, global supply chain disruptions, and cheap oil and gas, could severely impact climate action and clean energy investments.

In other news, Chris Fox, a climate change advocate, shared an article on the Climate Action 100+ initiative, which is backed by $41 trillion in assets, urging 161companies across industries to align their goals according to the Paris Climate Agreement. The article noted that utilities that address climate risks stand to gain and attract more investors, while others lose market value.

4. Coal – 395 mentions

The complete phasing out of coal, countries getting nervous about coal financing, and the Covid-19 crisis witnessing a fall in coal demands as against rise in renewable share of supply, were widely discussed topics during the month. For instance, Assaad Razzouk, a clean energy entrepreneur and investor, tweeted on Sweden becoming the third European country, after Austria and Belgium, to completely phase out coal power after its last coal plant closed two years ahead of its schedule.

Dr Simon Evans, the deputy editor and policy editor for Carbon Brief, tweeted on Great Britain having broken the record for the longest period of time (18 days, six hours, and 15 minutes) to use coal to generate electricity towards the end of April. The influencer further added that data showed a remarkable shift from more than 40% coal power use in 2012 to less than 3% as of today.

In other news, Julia Pyper, a contributing editor at Greentech Media covering clean energy policy, shared an article on Seoul setting a 2050 carbon neutrality goal and ending coal financing, after the Democratic Party’s landslide victory in one of the world’s first Covid-19 elections. This makes South Korea the first in East Asia to make a pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

5. Energy transition – 386 mentions

Hydropower playing a key role in the global energy transition, and the Covid-19 crisis hurting renewable supply chains and energy transition, were popularly discussed during the April month. According to Dr Thomas Hillig, an energy consultant, hydropower could play a key role in the global energy transition. He further added that digitalisation and flexibilisation of existing plants should be key in achieving this goal.

Julia Hamm, the president and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), further shared an article on utilities being at the top of their transition game. The article noted that utilities addressing climate risks would stand to gain, and earn higher valuations from investors. Meanwhile, companies that do not respond to climate change would face more scepticism and higher cost of capital.

In other news, Glenna Wiseman, a marketing communications PR expert, shared an article on the global coronavirus pandemic casting a shadow over the renewable energy supply chains and factories, thereby slowing down the global energy transition. The article noted that there were deep concerns over the pandemic negatively impacting clean energy investments, while a sudden drop in oil prices could make renewables less attractive for some markets.