You're busy, we get it. GTM’s readers are some of the hardest-hustling people in the clean energy industry. Maybe you missed an important story or two over the course of the summer. We’re here to help you catch up.

It’s not easy keeping up with the flood of clean energy news these days. But skipping an important story is like missing a puzzle piece in the increasingly interconnected renewables, storage and grid edge sectors.

With that in mind, here are six of our must-read stories from the past few months. Happy Labor Day, and thanks for all the important work you do.

What Comes Next After Batteries Replace Gas Peakers?

Is California finished building gas-fired power plants? It sure looks that way, as the pile of scrapped projects stacks ever higher. And it’s happening amid record U.S. natural gas production.

Batteries can provide many of the same services as gas peaker plants, and they come with many other benefits. But today’s storage technology cannot take over the bulk-power function served by larger gas plants.

What could plug that hole as huge markets like California add more renewables? Gravity storage? Pumped hydro? Compressed airSome other electrochemical design? All have received big votes of confidence from investors in recent months.

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US Solar Executives Break Down the Odds of an ITC Extension

This is it: The bedrock of the U.S. solar market — the 30 percent investment tax credit — is set to begin phasing down at the end of 2019, ushering in a new era. And it’s not going down without a fight from the solar industry.

What are the odds of an extension? Not particularly great in this political climate, although they seem to have brightened a bit since the introduction of extension legislation last month. The ITC is set to be the defining story of the U.S. solar market in the second half of the year. Anyone in the power-generation business should be paying attention.

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Shell New Energies Director on Investing in Clean Energy: ‘It’s About Survival’

Of all the traditional energy companies undergoing a 21st century makeover, few stand out quite like Royal Dutch Shell. Over the past 18 months, Shell New Energies acquired U.S. solar developer Silicon Ranch, German storage specialist sonnen, and California EV charging startup Greenlots. And it paid serious money for two massive offshore wind development zones along the East Coast.

In an interview, Maarten Wetselaar, director of the integrated gas and new energies divisions, discusses the tensions between Shell’s core business and its cleaner ambitions, and why it wants to transition into the world’s biggest power company.

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Tendril Merges With Simple Energy to Form Uplight

Speaking of clean-energy acquisition sprees, much of the recent action in the grid edge sector stems from Tendril. The revived and recapitalized company acquired a trio of U.S. grid edge vendors in the first half of 2019. Then, in a final flourish, it announced a merger with Simple Energy to form a new company known as Uplight.

Uplight and its predecessor companies may not be household names. But together they form a one-stop shop for utilities seeking ways of better understanding and engaging with their customers. As grid edge technologies mature, the sector is attracting investment from a broad range of oil and utility companies.

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GE Finishes First Nacelle for 12MW Offshore Turbine

The offshore wind industry keeps scaling up, and in more ways than one. General Electric recently finished manufacturing the first nacelle of its new 12-megawatt Haliade-X offshore model, set to be the world's largest wind turbine. A single Haliade-X installed off the coast of Germany would generate enough power for 16,000 homes. Let that sink in.

Slated for commercial production in 2021, the turbines will be tall enough to stand out in Manhattan’s skyline. Their estimated capacity factor of 63 percent is beyond many hydropower and combined-cycle gas plants. 

Offshore wind farms are not your grandfather’s centralized power plants. But they’re a reminder that distributed renewable energy does not always mean going small.

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Global Energy Transition at Risk from US-China Trade War

Finally, amid the fountain of intoxicating news about clean energy technologies are sobering reminders of the immense challenges ahead. As Wood Mackenzie’s inaugural Energy Transition Outlook points out, we are nowhere near keeping a lid on runaway climate change.

WoodMac’s growth predictions for renewables are eye-popping: 3,000 gigawatts of new solar and wind over the next two decades — six times more than new gas-fired capacity during that period. But as the ETO makes painfully clear, renewable power alone isn’t going to be enough.

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