Forbes: Why Apple Energy Is a Wake-Up Call for Businesses

Last week, Apple quietly dropped a bombshell in the energy industry, launching an entirely new subsidiary called Apple Energy that will manage the complexities of its renewable energy efforts.

The only information available on Apple Energy is in the company’s filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but what can be gleaned from that illustrates a foundational shift underway in the energy world.

Apple’s decision to go this route might be unique, but a close look at the path it took to get here reveals a broader shift in the way businesses think about energy. And whether you’re a bleeding-edge company with substantial financial resources like Apple, or a smaller-scale enterprise that’s just starting to dip your toes in the water, there are a few lessons to learn from Apple’s energy evolution.

PV-Tech: Investments in Solar Energy Grow to $9.4 Billion in 2015, Says World Bank

Private infrastructure investment insolarenergy during 2015 grew to $9.4 billion, 72% higher than the average of the previous five years, according to new World Bank figures.

Solar also accounted for one-quarter of all energy investments last year, as reported by the World Bank Group’s Private Participation in Infrastructure Database.

Fernanda Ruiz Nunez, senior economist, World Bank Group, told PV Tech: “As markets mature and gain experience on renewable energy projects, and in solar in particular, we expect to continue to see solar investments' growth, but we do not particularly expect a rapid rise in 2016 for solar projects.”

MIT Technology Review: The Road to Solar Fuels Hits a Speed Bump

Hosted at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley Lab, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis was originally funded with $122 million over five years, and its funding was renewed (albeit at a lower level) last year. Now headed by Harry Atwater, a Caltech professor of applied physics, it has made some impressive achievements in its six years of existence.

Most notably, JCAP scientists have succeeded in building devices like the one I saw, prototypes that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen at 10 times the efficiency of photosynthesis. That is an important first step to artificial photosynthesis; the next step would be combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide to produce “solar fuels” that could replace fossil fuels.

In the last year, though, JCAP has made a significant shift in direction. The Department of Energy renewed its funding last year at $15 million a year, nearly 40 percent below the rate for the previous five-year period.

Climate Central: Scientists Urge Obama to Halt Oil Leasing in the Arctic

In a letter being delivered to the White House on Thursday, nearly 400 scientists from more than a dozen countries are urging President Obama to stop future oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean because of the significant environmental and climate risks associated with further fossil fuels exploration there.

“No new oil and gas leasing or exploration should be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the foreseeable future,” the scientists said.

RenewEconomy: Greens Unveil Plan to Put 2 kW of Solar on Australian Public Housing

The $240 million scheme -- announced on Thursday as the latest plank of the party’s plan to achieve 90 percent renewables and to double energy efficiency by 2030 -- would also retrofit Australia’s 421,000 community and public dwellings with energy efficient appliances, lighting and other fittings, including screen doors and windows for passive cooling by cross-ventilation.

The four-year policy -- which would target the least energy-efficient housing first -- would also provide residents with advice on energy-saving measures and provide a training, employment and education package for those interested in developing skills in clean energy, with the aim of employing at least 5,000 tenants over the lifetime of the scheme.