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Faith in Renewable Energy Remains Strong, Even in a Tough Economy

Sustainability News
by Tim Wenger Aug 7, 2020

This is The Climate Win, the most positive sustainability news around the world every week.

The guiding principle of the Climate Win column is this: Increased awareness of sustainability developments shows that progress on the climate crisis is possible. My hope in writing this column each week is that by purveying the good news, instead of the usual destruction and devastation that generally catches headlines, readers will be encouraged to take steps towards sustainable living in their own lives and demand further action from businesses and government officials — because, as we’ve shown, it is possible to make a difference.

There’s no denying the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined, delayed, or otherwise set back many environmental initiatives around the planet. The increased use of styrofoam take-out containers is proof enough of that. Hopefully, these prove to be short-term setbacks. But a long-term win appears to be emerging in regards to renewable energy. We’re going to do some basic stock market talk here, so get ready for percentages and numbers, but the gist is easy to grasp even for the non-investor: Renewable energy is winning the stock market during the pandemic.

On March 9, as the pandemic’s hold increased across the United States, the DOW fell 7.79 percent in a single day, according to financial site The Budget. On April 20, oil prices actually went negative, meaning sellers were paying buyers to take barrels of crude oil off their hands. Many stocks have since rebounded, many haven’t. The climate win here is in the details. London-based oil company BP reported a quarterly loss of $16.8 billion dollars this week, according to a report in the New York Times. Though BP lost a ton of money, its stock price rose over seven percent after the announcement as its CEO promised a shift towards increased renewable energy production over the next decade. The company pledged to invest $5 billion per year into renewable energy development.

And many solar firms are performing even better on the markets. Barron’s reported Tuesday that SolarEdge Technologies hit a record high trading price on Tuesday. Invesco Solar’s ETF, which stands for exchange-traded funds and refers to a fund being traded rather than an individual stock, is up more than 50 percent from the beginning of the year and over 140 percent since December 2018.

This shows us that consumers want renewable energy — for their travels, their homes, their cars — and are increasingly willing to put their money where their mouth is. And as Matador has noted time and again, decision-makers listen when the public speaks up.

More Climate Wins

General Motors and EVGo, a producer of electric vehicle charging stations, announced this week they would triple their cross-country network of EV charging stations. The plan is to add 2,700 fast-charge stations over the next five years to highly trafficked areas — like apartment complexes, commercial centers, and places frequented by ride-hailing vehicles — across 40 metro areas in the United States.

Paris’s 15th Arrondissement is now home to the world’s largest urban farm. The Porte de Versailles opened its massive farm in May with the intention of growing produce for Parisian citizens and restaurants. Should you visit, you won’t have to travel far to experience its harvest — a restaurant has opened on the terrace of the complex, literally serving “farm-to-table” meals.

We close with something of particular interest to vagabonding Matadorians. Tuk-tuks, the three-wheeled, open-air cabs popular in many Asian and Latin American countries, are a rarity in the United States. This could change in a post-pandemic world, however, as commuters increasingly want open-air ride-hailing solutions. As such, electric tuk-tuks could be coming to a city near you. Many cities including San Francisco and Denver already have electric tuk-tuk services, which are more eco-friendly than gas-powered cars. Here’s to hoping for stateside rickshaw stories to tell in the near future. We sign off here, as an overbearing craving for freshly prepared street food has just kicked in.

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