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Solar energy sector lost 8,000 jobs in US last year, but future looks bright – report

The Guardian > Energy

The solar energy sector lost 8,000 jobs in the US last year, the second consecutive year of declines, hit by uncertainty over the Trump administration's energy and trade policies and a 30% tariff on imported solar panels, according to a report released on Tuesday. But according to the Solar Foundation the future is still bright for solar. Despite the two-year dip, solar employment has grown 159%, from just over 93,000 to more than 242,000 jobs in all 50 states over the past nine years and the report concludes the long-term outlook for solar energy production is positive. Solar, which currently represents about 2.4% of overall US electricity generation, already employs twice as many workers as the coal industry and almost five times as many workers as the nuclear industry. States hit hardest by the slowdown were some of those with well-established solar industries, including California, with almost 10,000 job losses, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Arizona, while 29 states – many with less established solar penetration, including Florida, Texas and Illinois – continued to see job growth.

Trump's climate order puts 'China first' in clean energy


President Donald Trump is vowing to put "America First" -- just not when it comes to the global clean energy race. The president on Tuesday signed a sweeping executive order that experts say could leave the United States lagging behind China and other nations as manufacturers and investors throw trillions of dollars into renewable energy projects. The order will start unraveling the Obama administration's key efforts to address climate change. Flanked by coal miners and cabinet officials, Trump vowed to revamp fossil fuel production and erase "job-killing" restrictions on power plants and pipelines. SEE ALSO: Looking for hope on climate change under Trump?

New energy forecast has good news for Elon Musk, but spells trouble for Trump


President Donald Trump can forget reviving America's fossil fuel sector, because the future belongs to renewable energy titans like Tesla's Elon Musk. According to a new report, there may not be any growth in oil and coal use worldwide after the year 2020. This contrasts with Trump's vision of a revived coal, oil and gas sector in the U.S., which was central to his electoral victory in states such as Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. The report, co-authored by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, found that solar and wind power plus electric vehicles will each experience explosive growth in the coming decades, to the point where electric vehicles alone could slash global oil use per day by 2 million barrels by 2025. This may rise to 25 million barrels per day by 2050, the report states.

Growth in solar power beat all other energy sources in 2016, but Trump still wants more coal


Listening to the Trump administration advocate for reviving coal, one might get the impression that a fossil fuel resurgence is taking place in the U.S. and abroad. However, the global statistics tell a far different story about where the world is getting its energy, with unprecedented thresholds crossed by renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power. A major new report released Wednesday morning shows that, for the first time ever, 2016 saw solar photovoltaics, or solar PV, take the lead for the fastest electricity capacity growth when compared to any other fuel, beating the net growth in coal. The rapid expansion of solar and wind energy in global electricity markets is a positive sign for those working to limit the severity of global warming, which is caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. The report, by the International Energy Agency (IEA), finds that renewables represented almost two-thirds of new net electric capacity additions in 2016, with almost 165 gigawatts coming online worldwide.

China is about to kick America's butt in renewable energy


China says it will drastically boost its spending on renewable energy over the next four years. The United States, meanwhile, may head down a different path under Trump. China's energy agency said Thursday it would plow 2.5 trillion yuan, or $361 billion, into clean electricity projects by 2020 as part of a broader effort to shift the nation away from fossil fuels. SEE ALSO: China announces a'game-changing' step for elephant conservation Although coal-fired power plants have helped drive China's manufacturing growth in the past decade, the facilities have also created a slew of public health crises, such as dangerous smog in northern China and toxic water pollution. The country in recent years has started shuttering coal plants near Beijing and scrapped plans for new ones, all the while investing more in alternative sources.