Weekend news: Embracing renewable energy across the globe

This week we’ll visit France, Boston, Tuvalu, and New York to hear four stories about governments and startups promoting renewable energy. Leading with…parking lots in France!

By Kathleen King

November 25, 2022

covered parking lot - med

French government mandates solar panels over large parking lots

The French Senate recently passed legislation that will require owners of parking lots with 80 or more spaces to cover their lots with solar panels. If passed, this legislation will generate renewable energy quickly - parking lot owners with more than 400 spaces will be given three years to install solar panels, and lot owners with 80 to 400 spaces will be given five years. The government estimates that this may generate the same amount of power as 10 nuclear reactors. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has expressed an urgency to increase the speed of clean energy production, aiming to increase solar power tenfold by 2050. This legislation is now in the hands of the National Assembly, where it awaits final approval.

New startup refines minerals for batteries from mine waste

Nth Cycle, a Boston-based startup, has made big waves in the electric vehicle industry. They are testing technology that uses electric currents to extract and refine much-needed minerals from mine waste and recycled battery waste. Their extraction technology is compact, enabling them to travel to the location of said waste rather than shipping waste to one central facility. According to Nth Cycle’s co-founder, Megan O’Connor, this process uses less than half the energy of traditional mineral refinement methods and only emits a quarter as much carbon.

colorful batteries in rows

Tuvalu is second nation to call for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

At this year’s COP27, the island nation of Tuvalu joined the Republic of Vanuatu in calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. This international agreement takes after the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The agreement would prevent the expansion of fossil fuels and aims to phase out existing production of non-renewable energy, leaving world powers with no option but to phase in renewables. Tuvalu is a small island country in the Pacific Ocean and has faced severe effects from climate change, such as rising sea levels and destructive storms.

un climate change conference banner

New York startup making geothermal energy more accessible for homeowners raises $70 million

geothermal power plant in countryside

Dandelion Energy, a startup based in Mount Kisco, New York, has been enabling homeowners to access geothermal energy to heat their homes. In 2022 they installed geothermal heat pumps in more than 1,000 homes, and they are hoping to double their installations in 2023. Dandelion also utilizes modern methods to improve accuracy and efficiency when drilling geothermal wells. So far, the largest obstacle in the geothermal industry is the cost of purchasing a heat pump. As this technology evolves, we hope to see the accessibility of geothermal heating and cooling increase for homeowners. Dandelion recently raised $70 million in funding, an astonishing feat that signifies that geothermal power is gaining traction.

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