Montana Judge Rules On Climate Rights // Energy Bills Flog American Wallets // Chinese Solar Giant’s Profits Jump 325%
Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: a Montana judge rules that young people have the constitutional right to a clean environment, Americans are feeling the pain of high electricity costs, a Chinese solar giant sees booming profits this year, and more.
Montana Judge Rules On Climate Rights
Yesterday, a Montana judge ruled that young people in the state possess a constitutional right to a healthy environment that Montana’s “fossil fuel-based state energy system” has sullied.
“The case, brought by a group of young Montana residents ranging in age from 5 to 22, is the first of its kind to go to trial in the United States,” reports the New York Times. “While the state has contended that Montana’s emissions are minuscule when considered against the rest of the globe’s, the plaintiffs argued that the state must do more to consider how emissions are contributing to droughts, wildfires and other growing risks to a state that cherishes a pristine outdoors.”
A district court judge, Kathy Seeley, found that Montana’s emissions “have been proven to be a substantial factor” to climate change, contra the state’s position. She ruled state laws that keep regulators from weighing climate effects are unconstitutional.
Our Children’s Trust, which brought the case, also scored a victory in June when a judge in Oregon ruled its case against the federal government could go to trial. Montana is one of a few states that have enshrined environmental rights in its constitution.
Energy Bills Flog American Wallets
The sweltering summer heat has driven up electricity consumption and put the hurt on American wallets nation-wide.
“Close to 90% of U.S. households use air conditioning (AC), with two-thirds of U.S. households using central AC or a central heat pump as their main AC equipment. In 2020, the Midwest Census Region and South Census Region had the highest percentages of households using AC, at 92% and 93%, respectively,” reports Oilprice.com. “The lowest percentage of households using AC was 73% in the West Census Region, a census region that includes households in several climate areas, such as the marine climate region along the Pacific Coast, where residential AC use was 49%.”
The average household spends about $262 a year keeping cool with air conditioning, with costs rising as high as $525 in the Southeast.
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Chinese Solar Giant’s Profits Jump 325%
Chinese solar titan Jinko reported a 325% profit jump in the first half of this year thanks to plummeting resource costs and rising demand.
“Net income jumped to 3.84 billion yuan ($530 million) in the six months to June 30 from 905 million yuan in the same period a year earlier,” reports Bloomberg. “China’s world-beating solar installations are already outpacing last year’s record, while a wave of new production capacity has lowered costs of polysilicon, a key material in panels.”
“Major projects were initiated and started construction in China. The low prices of modules also led to a surge in module demand in some overseas markets,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Xiande Li said in a statement.
Li added that sales and production in the solar market are expected to rise this half.
According to the company’s earnings statement, Jinko’s sales hit 31 GW of solar modules in the first half of this year—over 60% of it was solar outside of China. Jinko forecasts full-year shipments for up to 75 GW.
Indonesia considers air quality regulations. “Indonesia is considering measures to improve Jakarta’s air quality, which deteriorated to become the worst in the world on Sunday,” reports Bloomberg. “President Joko Widodo is considering imposing a pollution tax and requiring vehicles with 2.4-liter capacity or more to use the highest octane fuel. The extended dry season, vehicle emissions and fumes from nearby factories especially those relying on coal for power have worsened the capital’s air quality, he said in the cabinet meeting on Monday.”
Sudan’s crude exports are on the rise. “Crude exports by South Sudan have climbed to their highest level in almost two years despite an ongoing war between Sudan’s government forces and a paramilitary group that erupted in April. Crude shipments now average 154,839 barrels per day, about double March’s figure at 77,419 barrels per day,” reports Oilprice.com. “Experts have grown increasingly worried that East Africa's oil hub will be plunged further into chaos and leave it without its main source of livelihood ever since clashes broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) over demands by the army and pro-democracy groups for RSF to become integrated into the regular armed forces.”
California’s grid operator braces for heatwave. “California's Independent System Operator (ISO) warned of high temperatures and increased electricity usage during the coming week as the grid operator prepares for tight conditions works to ensure adequate supply. In a notice released on Saturday, ISO said it is closely monitoring the power grid as widespread heat waves can cause supply shortages, with resources stretched thin across multiple Western states,” reports Reuters. “ISO said energy supplies are sufficient to meet demand. But if weather or grid conditions worsen, it may issue emergency notifications to secure additional resources, and prepare for potential shortages and conservation. The operator could also issue a Flex Alert, urging consumers to reduce power use during the late afternoon and evening on some days.”
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