Singapore is the first country on the globe to implement self-driving taxis on the road for public use.  nuTonomy – the company behind the cars and the app that hails them – has implanted six cars that can autonomously pick up passengers and deliver them to destinations. The cars – Mitsubishi i-Mievs and Renault Zoes – traverse a 2.5-square-mile (6.5-square-kilometre) region of Singapore known as One-North and have special drop-off and pick-up zones that passengers.  Riders who are lucky enough to use the service right now will ride for free while testing is happening..

Driverless minibuses will begin taking passengers in the French city of Lyon this week to begin a year-long experiment. Two electric vehicles, fitted with high-tech equipment including laser sensors, stereo vision and GPS, will carry 15 passengers at a top speed of 20 kilometres an hour (12 mph). The minibuses have already been tested in other French cities as well as in Sion, Switzerland, but without carrying passengers.

The lower house of the Dutch Parliament has voted that the sale of petrol and diesel cars should be banned after 2025. To become law, the Dutch upper house, the Senate, has to vote in favour. Presently, electric car sales in Holland are less than 10% of total car sales.

An electric power company in Shetland (off the northern coast of Scotland) has claimed a breakthrough in the race to develop viable offshore tidal stations after successfully feeding electricity to local homes from two 100 kilo-watt offshore tidal turbines . Nova Innovation announced it had deployed the world’s first fully operational tidal power turbines. These are located in the Bluemull Sound between the islands of Unst and Yell in the north of Shetland, where the North Sea meets the Atlantic. The UK Carbon Trust estimates a £126 billion global tidal energy market could be developed by 2050.

Hyundai is planning to bring multiple hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to the South Korean consumer market for 2018. The South Korean government wants to have at least 10,000 fuel cell cars on road by 2020. One Hyundai model will reportedly have a range of up to 373 miles (600 km).

The Australian city of Canberra announced plans to become a world leading hub for emerging hydrogen fuel cell and energy storage technologies. Plans include a hydrogen refuelling station and service centre and a fleet of 20 hydrogen fuelled cars backed by a technical support and research program. The cars will be on the road in 2018 and will be powered by electrical energy created from a windfarm in South Australia fed into a new hydrogen refueler.

The African country of Rwanda has created a project to deliver electricity access to 77,000 people living in poor rural areas. Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency, the project is designed to respond to the country’s electric power challenges and government priorities to reduce poverty and increase energy access in rural areas. The government wants to increase access to electricity to over 70% by 2018, out of which 22% will be through off-grid connections. Off-grid connections presently account for less than 2%.  The focus will be on solar mini-grids and mini-hydro projects.

Research and consulting firm GlobalData reports the installed capacity of global battery energy storage systems will grow from 1.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2015 to 14 GW in 2020. The report finds the introduction of battery energy storage systems will continue to grow as renewable energy installations continue to increase and the focus on grid stability is prioritized. This will provide numerous benefits for the electric power sector, including resolving concerns over energy time shift, load following and frequency regulation, renewable capacity continuity, transmission congestion relief, and energy tariff cost management. Battery energy storage systems are being installed into electricity grids to make the power supply from renewable energy sources smoother and more reliable. Prices for these systems are expected to fall by 50% by 2020.

 

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