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The Top 5 Energy and Climate Stories of 2014

Oil prices are plummeting, the United States and China made a major joint climate announcement, and renewable energy reached price parity with coal in a growing number of markets. Iconic tech companies—including Google and Apple—are playing a larger role in both renewable energy and home energy efficiency.

Against this backdrop, 2014 is on track to go down as the world’s hottest year ever recorded. Already, the first 10 months of 2014 have been the hottest on record globally. This is a troubling trend.

Washington, DC (November 18)—India is revising its solar power generation target to 100,000 megawatts for 2022, five times greater than India’s current solar generation, according to remarks by made by Power and Renewable Energy minister Piyush Goyal on Monday. Goyals’ remarks came at a time when at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for enhanced collaboration on clean energy research and development during the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia.

Helping Clean Energy Entrepreneurs Turn on the Lights in Poor Countries

A social entrepreneur invests the little working capital she has to bring solar electricity to a community that –like 1.2 billion people worldwide– lacks access to electricity. The community used to use dirty, expensive and choking kerosene for light to cook by and for children to learn by. The entrepreneur knows she can recoup her costs, because people are willing to pay for reliable, high-quality, clean energy – and it will be even less than what they used to pay for kerosene. Sounds like a good news story, right?

Three months later, the government utility extends the electrical grid to this same community, despite official plans showing it would take at least another four years. While this could be good news for the community, one unintended consequence is that this undermines the entrepreneur’s investment, wiping out their working capital, and deterring investors from supporting decentralized clean energy projects in other communities that lack access to electricity.

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