1. South Korea plans to introduce new rules for construction of solar plants after landslide destroys the array
The South Korean government has revealed plans to introduce new environmental guidelines and rules on where and in what capacity PV projects can be built after a recent landslide smashed into an operational solar array south of the city of Daegu.
The Ministry of Environment plans to put the new rules into effect from the beginning of August. Developers will no longer be permitted to install solar panels in areas that are susceptible to natural disasters, especially in mountainous parts of the country that are prone to landslides and will also prohibit the construction of PV plants in areas that have been demarcated for protection on environmental grounds amongst other areas mentioned in the new guidelines.
2. BMW, Tesla open factories in China
After the Chinese government loosened its policy on ownership caps for factory sites for foreign car brands which could only retain 50% of the ownership of a factory and had to set up a joint venture with a Chinese partner. Tesla and BMW are the first foreign car manufacturers to have opened factories in the nation with an ongoing trade dispute with the US.
The manufactures can now avoid import duties on their cars, and cater to a broader customer base in China, the largest EV market in the world. Both, BMW and Tesla highlighted the strategic importance of the Chinese EV market, Tesla for example ships 17% of its total sales volume to China. The largest EV market is only expected to grow in the coming years.
3. Renewables overtake coal for the first time in Germany
For the first time in their history, renewable power sources have overtaken coal in Germany’s energy mix, the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) reported. They claim the share of wind, solar, hydro, and biomass in the country’s energy production mix reached 36.3 percent as of end-June this year, versus a combined 35.1 percent for hard coal and lignite coal.
Total electricity production from renewables in the first half of 2018 in Germany was reported to be around 118 billion kWh, which when compared with the 114 billion kWh generated from coal indicates the surge and the rise of renewables. And that coal is on its way out!
4. Spain achieves almost half of its power from renewables in the first half of 2018
A bumper half-year for wind power has helped to deliver nearly 50 per cent renewables for Spain in the first six months of 2018, joining forces with hydro and solar to cover 45.8 per cent of the European nation’s electricity demand.
Spanish grid operator Red Electrica de Espana (REE) claimed that the nation’s wind farms generated a 22.6 per cent share of total power in Spain to July, beating out nuclear (20.6 per cent) to be Spain’s leading energy source.