With the Bakken Oil Fields going bust once again, laid off oil workers are finding steady, long-term employment in renewables like wind and solar.

Each week we summarize three pieces of news that give us hope for a greener, brighter future. Follow Emeraldology on social media or sign up for our weekly newsletter to have Hopeful Headlines sent directly to your inbox!

As fossil fuel jobs falter, renewables come to the rescue

By Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, September 25, 2020

  • Skilled workers left unemployed by the declining oil industry are finding stability in renewables like wind and solar. In North Dakota, former oil workers in the Bakken formation are finding stable employment as wind turbine technicians.
  • From the article: “Prices of renewable energy have indeed fallen dramatically. According to BNEF, the cost of generating power from solar photovoltaic (PV) modules has fallen by 90% since 2010, and the price of wind power has been cut in half. In fact, the prices of onshore wind and solar are now even with gas and cheaper than coal and nuclear.”
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for a wind turbine technician is $53,000 and the median income of a solar installer is nearly $45,000.

Why it matters: Renewables like wind and solar are cheaper, cleaner and on track to provide more stable, good paying jobs than fossil fuels.

Top asset owners commit to big carbon emissions cuts

By Kalyeena Makortoff, The Guardian, October 13, 2020

  • With combined assets reaching $5 trillion (yes, trillion with a “T”), members of the UN-backed Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance “have committed to cutting the carbon emissions linked to companies they invest in by up to 29% within the next four years.”
  • The investment strategy aligns with the goals set by Paris Climate Accord. The members include the BT pension scheme, Allianz, Axa and the David Rockefeller Fund. The alliance is hoping to increase its membership to 200 or achieve collective assets of $25 trillion dollars.
  • From the article: “They will also identify the top 20 emitters responsible for the bulk of their portfolio emissions and set goals for slashing emissions in key sectors including oil and gas, utilities, transport and steel.”

Why it matters: This is some serious, serious investor pressure from the world’s heavyweight asset owners. Let’s keep an eye on the annual progress reports to see if money really talks.

The immense potential of solar panels floating on dams

By Prachi Patel, Anthropocene Magazine, October 8, 2020

  • A recent study in Renewable Energy found “floating solar farms on existing hydropower reservoirs could cut solar costs and meet 40 percent of the world’s energy needs.”
  • Putting solar panels on water bodies already increases their efficiency, as the water regulates their temperate and there is minimal shading. It also benefits the water body by inhibiting algae growth and reducing evaporation. Dam reservoirs provide the additional benefit of having the existing energy infrastructure nearby to store and transmit energy.
  • From the article: “Plus, the two technologies can balance each other since solar power has the most potential during dry seasons while rainy seasons are best for hydropower. So at a hybrid plant, operators could store excess solar power using pumped storage hydropower, where electricity is used to pump water to a higher elevation.”

Why it matters: Floating PV solar panels in existing hydropower reservoirs are kind of sounding like a win-win for the humans and the planet, aren’t they? More efficient land use, solar output, and use of existing infrastructure sound good to me!

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Feature photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash