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France’s plan for 1,000 kilometers of road paved with solar panels

sunflag-franceFrance to pave 1,000 kilometers of road with solar panels http://inhabitat.com/france-to-pave-1000-kilometers-of-road-with-solar-panels/?newgallery=true by Lucy Wang In a major step forward for green energy, the French government has announced plans to installsolar photovoltaic panels on 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of road over the next five years. The goal is to supply renewable power to 5 million people—or about 8 percent of the French population. The solar roadways will use Wattway panels, a photovoltaic technology unveiled last October by the major French civil engineering firm Colas. According to Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology and energy, the “Positive Energy” project will be funded by raising taxes on fossil fuels, a decision Royal says is “natural” given the low prices of oil.

 
Although France isn’t the first country to pave roads with solar panels—the Netherlands installed the world’s first solar panel-paved bicycle path in 2014—their plans for 1,000 kilometers of solarized roads are the most ambitious. According to France’s Agency of Environment and Energy Management, four meters (13 feet) of solarized road is enough to power one household’s energy needs, not including heating, while one kilometer (3,281 feet) can supply enough electricity for 5,000 inhabitants.
The solarized roads will be covered with Wattway panels, a technology that took five years to develop and can be glued directly on top of existing pavement. The panels harvest solar energy using a thin film of polycrystalline silicon. The seven-millimeter-thick strips are rugged enough to withstand all types of traffic, including the weight of a 6-axle truck, and provide enough traction to prevent skids.According to Colas CEO Hervé Le Bouc, the Wattway panels have been successfully tested on a “cycle of one million vehicles, or 20 years of normal traffic a road, and the surface does not move.” The panels have also withstood the snowplow test, though the company recommends operating the machines with “a bit more care” than on conventional pavement.
The locations for deployments have yet to be revealed. The fossil fuel tax is expected to bring in between 200 to 300 million euros ($220 to 440 million) of funding for the project. While there remain many concerns on solar road concepts, including safety and cost effectiveness, the project remains an exciting step forward in exploring the potential of renewable energy. Tenders for the “Positive Energy” initiative have been issued and tests on the solar panels will begin this spring.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewabl eenergy is winning the world – University expert

renewable-energy-world-SmWorld is embracing clean energy, says expert http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160201123053.htm  Source: University of Exeter

Summary:
An expert argues that investment in renewable electricity now outstrips that in fossil fuels, and that increasing numbers of policies to improve the efficiency of energy use and to make energy systems more flexible are pointing to a global momentum in the adoption of sustainable energy systems.
Renewable, energy efficient and flexible electricity sources are being adopted by policy makers and investors across the globe and this is sign of optimism in the battle against climate change, a University of Exeter energy policy expert is suggesting.

In a journal article published in Nature Energy, Professor Catherine Mitchell from the University’s Energy Policy Group argues that investment in renewable electricity now outstrips that in fossil fuels, and that increasing numbers of policies to improve the efficiency of energy use and to make energy systems more flexible are pointing to a global momentum in the adoption of sustainable energy systems.

“While the world is still dependent on fossil fuels, because energy systems have long lives, it has got to the point where more than half of global electricity system investment is in renewables rather than fossil fuels investment. It is a sign that globally we have moved our public policy discourse and investor preferences from the old ‘dirty’ energy system to a clean one,” she said.

The adoption of renewable electricity by a few countries like Denmark and Germany in the 1990s, has led to improved understanding of energy system operation and a fall in prices which has had a knock on effect. A few countries, like the UK, remain dominated by conventional energy systems but most are supporting the move to sustainable energy systems.

“They are just trying to act as good global neighbours and have realised that meeting their climate change reduction commitments is no longer as expensive as they thought, and it helps, rather than makes worse, the security of their energy systems, ” added Professor Mitchell, who us based at the University’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

While the changing discourse is welcome, Professor Mitchell stresses that the challenge of climate change has not yet been met and that policy statements need to be backed up with firm action

“The recent United Nations meeting on climate change in Paris and its agreements has led to strong support for individual country’s sustainable energy policies. However, these statements need to be backed up with appropriate governance — policies, institutions, incentives and energy system rules — to make sure they are implemented and are successful.”

Momentum is increasing towards a flexible electricity system based on renewables by Catherine Mitchell is published in Nature Energy.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Exeter.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. Journal Reference:

  1. Catherine Mitchell. Momentum is increasing towards a flexible electricity system based on renewablesNature Energy, 2016; 1 (2): 15030 DOI: 10.1038/nenergy.2015.30

February 3, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

New research shows USA could economically cut emissions by 80% with wind and solar energy

Could wind, solar slash carbon emissions affordably?, Christian Science Monitor,
 Scientists thought solar and wind power were prohibitively expensive options to cut carbon emissions. But new research suggests these green technologies might be an affordable solution if employed on a national scale in a ‘superhighway of electrons’.  By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer JANUARY 29, 2016  
Green technology is often thought of as prohibitively expensive. Solar and wind power, for example, were once estimated to double or triple electricity costs.

But that might not be the case anymore. New research suggests it might actually be feasible to use solar and wind power across the United States. In fact, researchers propose a new model that could cut emissions by up to 80 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, without developing new technologies or raising prices.

How would it work? Power from solar, wind, and other existing technologies would all contribute to a grid across the continental United States to share the burden of power production. That combination would make it economically feasible to cut carbon emissions significantly in the electricity sector, according to a study published Monday in the journalNature.

……The trick, according to this model, is to use multiple power sources together on the national scale.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, scientists built this model based on the weather system. Some regions, like the southwest, might be particularly sunny. Others, like the Dakotas, might have just the right wind conditions.

“If you can trade power over the whole US at the same time, then there’ll always be someplace that’s generating power like crazy,” study co-lead author Alexander MacDonald tells the Monitor. …..

MacDonald adds that it will be up to policymakers and the people. “Our job is to show that there is a system that is possible with existing technology, technology available right now.”

It could all hinge on that political will, Jeff Deyette, assistant director of energy research at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who was not involved in the study, tells the Monitor. He explains that creating a national scale power system would “require a major shift in how we transmit and distribute power across the country.” Currently, the electricity sector is largely controlled by regional transmission organizations. To employ the system proposed by the NOAA researchers, discussion would have to happen on the federal level too. “I think it comes down to the political will to make it happen,” Mr. Deyette says……

With new systems like these, all hope is not lost. “Technological advances can take us a long way toward solving the climate crisis,” Deyette says. This new model “is certainly a very strong positive step in the right direction.”http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0129/Could-wind-solar-slash-carbon-emissions-affordably

January 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | 1 Comment

Conservative South Carolina leading USA trend to wind energy?

Why conservative South Carolina could actually be a sign of the future of U.S. energy WP, By Chelsea Harvey January 28 Coastal South Carolina has long been recognized by locals and tourists alike for its warm waters, dazzling natural landscapes and prime seafood cuisine. But lately, communities up and down the shoreline have been making a name for themselves in another way: They’re leading the historically conservative state in a shift toward support for alternative energy and away from fossil fuel energy development.

………It’s a trend that’s been growing throughout the rest of the nation as well. Despite tumbling oil prices, the U.S. has been increasing its expansion of renewable energy, making major investments in both solar and wind energy. The country saw $56 billion worth of investments in clean energy last year, according to an analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and wind energy — alongside solar — is a growing interest. There are about 50,000 operating utility-scale wind turbines in the U.S., according to the American Wind Energy Association, with $100 billion invested in new projects since 2008.

And protests against the idea of offshore drilling, which has been proposed in regions up and down the Atlantic coast, have cropped up in many of the other Southeastern states as well, some of which have also been involved in talks with the federal government about the development of wind energy……..https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/28/why-conservative-south-carolina-could-actually-be-a-sign-of-the-future-of-u-s-energy/

January 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable | 1 Comment

Solar business India: coal develop makes the switch to solar

India Coal Plant Developer Switches to Solar for Site in Punjab, Bloomberg Business,  29 Jan 16 

  • RattanIndia to convert 800-acre site to PV instead of coal
  • Company to raise 6 billion rupees for current solar projects
  • A prominent developer of coal-fired power plants in India is seeking to switch to solar for an 800-acre (324-hectare) site in Punjab it had earmarked for another thermal plant, saying the economics of photovoltaics are more attractive.

    RattanIndia Power Ltd. which has 1.6 gigawatts of thermal capacity in central India, asked government permission to install solar panels at the site in Punjab instead of the coal plant it was planning, said Rajiv Rattan, chairman of RattanIndia Group.

    “In the next three to four years, you will see the entire 800 acres getting used for solar,” Rattan said in an interview.

     The decision highlights increasing interest in India’s solar program after Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out a target to install 100 gigawatts of capacity by 2020 at an estimated cost of $100 billion. Incentives and regulations designed to draw finance from companies to help meet the target have attracted a handful of overseas developers to bid in auctions for power contracts in India, reducing the cost of solar electricity to a record low.

    RattanIndia is the only domestic firm to take on large foreign companies in Indian government auctions for solar contracts, which were dominated by SunEdison Inc. of the U.S., SoftBank Group Corp. from Japan, Fortum OYJ of Finland and Solairedirect Group from France.

    RattanIndia has made a bold statement by making aggressive bids and competing with foreign companies in large government solar tenders where most Indian corporates were out, the solar research firm Bridge to India said……….

  • The cost of solar power touched a record low of 4.34 rupees (or 6 cents) a kilowatt-hour for contracts awarded on Jan. 19 in the sunny southern state of Rajasthan, where a total of 420 megawatts of capacity was granted…….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-29/india-coal-plant-developer-switches-to-solar-for-site-in-punjab

January 30, 2016 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

Solar power an economic winner for Chile

Green Energy Boom Helps Chile Contain Surging Power Prices [excellent graphs] ,Bloomberg Business,  Philip Sanders Vanessa Dezem  January 28, 2016

Chile leads Latin America in installation of solar power
Success achieved without the help of government incentives

solar-aghast

Chile’s solar industry is proving a win win. Not only has it cut emissions of the global warming gas carbon dioxide, but it has also helped slash some of the highest electricity costs in Latin America. Those benefits have come at no expense to the government, which refused to offer any of the subsidies that drained resources in countries such as Spain and Japan. Looking ahead, the industry could even turn into a major export earner.

At an auction of electricity supply contracts in October, three solar parks offered distributors energy at $65 to $68 per megawatt-hour, while coal power was offered at $85 megawatt-hour, according to a report by Deutsche Bank. Two wind farms bid at $79 megawatt-hour. Unsurprisingly, the contracts went to renewable energy suppliers.

Just seven years earlier it was a very different story. ……..

In the Shade

Chile’s solar industry is putting the rest of the continent in the shade.

The reason for that turnaround lies in the sun baked northern desert of the Atacama, where some towns have had almost no rain in living memory. It is a natural advantage that Chile will continue to exploit. As of November last year, the Energy Minister had registered solar projects with an additional capacity of 1.3 gigawatts.

 The government is now looking into the expansion of the electricity grid, allowing the power to be exported to neighbors such Argentina, Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco says.

“We feel very proud to be a country that is leading the energetic transition in Latin America and to have reached this renewable boom without fiscal subsidies,” Pacheco told Bloomberg on Dec. 15. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-28/green-energy-boom-helps-chile-contain-surging-power-prices

January 28, 2016 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | 1 Comment

Japan starts work on ‘world’s largest’ floating solar farm

solar-floating-panels-JapanJapan begins work on ‘world’s largest’ floating solar farm, Guardian, , 28 Jan 16 
Electronics firm builds floating solar farm on a reservoir due to a scarcity of land for utility-scale solar in Japan. 
The Japanese electronics multinational Kyocera has begun work on what it says will be the world’s biggest floating solar farm.

The power plant is being built on a reservoir in Japan’s Chiba prefecture and is anticipated to supply enough electricity for nearly 5,000 households when it is completed in early 2018.

Space-starved Japan has already seen several floating solar farms built as part of the country’s drive to exploit more renewable energy in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster……..

In the UK, water company United Utilities started work last year on a floating solar farm on a Greater Manchester reservoir, which will be Europe’s largest once complete. Kyocera said it was turning to water because of a scarcity of land for utility-scale solar in Japan……

Kyocera has already built three floating solar farms, which are much smaller than the new one, which was first announced in October 2014.http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/27/japan-begins-work-on-worlds-largest-floating-solar-farm

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Japan, renewable | 1 Comment

The growing climate problem of data farms’ consumption of energy

the only long-term solution to the energy problem will have to involve significant cuts to our internet use at some point in the future. This could be through some kind of tax or charge on data use – for example, imposing a fee for uploading photographs on to Facebook – or even a straightforward rationing of activity

data farm

Global warming: Data centres to consume three times as much energy in next decade, experts warn 416.2 terawatt hours of electricity world’s data centres used last year was far higher than UK’s total consumption,The Independent  Tom Bawden Environment Editor @BawdenTom 24 January 2016 The amount of energy consumed by the world’s data centres – the repositories for billions of gigabytes of information – will treble in the next decade, putting an enormous strain on energy supplies and dealing a hefty blow to efforts to contain global warming, experts say. 

Whether you’re “liking” something on Facebook, streaming the latest Tarantino movie or posting an instagram from the pub, every internet activity involves huge amounts of data that needs to be stored somewhere. And as the “internet of everything” brings innovations such as driverless cars and high-definition video watches ever closer, the vast network of data centres that have sprung up in the past decade will spread.

This wouldn’t be a problem if these facilities – which range from a small room with a few servers to vast 150,000 square metre “farms” – didn’t consume such enormous amounts of energy.

  • Already, data centres have mushroomed from virtually nothing 10 years ago to consuming about 3 per cent of the global electricity supply and accounting for about 2 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. That gives it the same carbon footprint as the airline industry.
  • To put the size of this consumption into even sharper relief – the 416.2 terawatt hours of electricity the world’s data centres used last year was significantly higher than the UK’s total consumption of about 300 terawatt hours.Massive as data centre energy use may already be, this is nothing to what lies in store, analysts warn. Ian Bitterlin, Britain’s foremost data centre expert and a visiting professor at the University of Leeds, says the amount of energy used by data centres is doubling every four years – despite the innovations in hardware that massively increase their capacity to store data. As a result, analysts forecast that data centres will consume roughly treble the amount of electricity in the next decade.

    One way to curb their carbon footprint is to increase the amount of renewable energy they use – a development that is already under way but has much, much further to go to offset the exponential growth in internet traffic, experts say. Even if the industry were able to shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity, the volume of energy they would need would put intolerable pressure on the world’s power systems.

  • “If we carry on going the way we have been it would become unsustainable – this level of data centre growth is not sustainable beyond the next 10 to 15 years. The question is, what are we going to do about it?” says Professor Bitterlin.He points to a study focused on Japan which suggests that its data centres would consume its entire electricity supply by 2030 if growth continues at today’s rate.

    “We need to be more responsible about what we use the internet for … Data centres aren’t the culprits – it’s driven by social media and mobile phones. It’s films, pornography, gambling, dating, shopping – anything that involves images. It’s a great example of the Jevons paradox – the easier you make it to consume the product the greater the consumption will be.”

  • Unless there is some kind of game-changing breakthrough on data storage – such as the development of a far-superior alternative to silicon – the world’s internet use is eventually going to have to be significantly rationed. Professor Bitterlin added that a form of carbon known as graphene could potentially revolutionise data storage.But even with a revolution in data storage capacity, he believes the only long-term solution to the energy problem will have to involve significant cuts to our internet use at some point in the future. This could be through some kind of tax or charge on data use – for example, imposing a fee for uploading photographs on to Facebook – or even a straightforward rationing of activity; but he acknowledges that these kind of moves would probably be “political suicide”. Other measures – such as switching from colour to black and white photographs – could also go a long way to reducing data consumption.

    Governments across the world, including the UK, are starting to wake up to the data centre problem at the same time as they encourage the roll-out of data-hungry broadband networks to ever remoter locations. The roll-out is primarily designed to help small businesses, but the bulk of the faster internet access is enjoyed by consumers. And some internet companies – such as Facebook, Google and Apple – are leading efforts to be more environmentally responsible. The measures being taken include housing data centres in cold climates – which dramatically reduces the energy needed to cool the facilities – with a ready supply of renewable energy. …..http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/global-warming-data-centres-to-consume-three-times-as-much-energy-in-next-decade-experts-warn-a6830086.html

January 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, ENERGY | 1 Comment

Solar panel costs to fall 10% every year

piggy-ban-renewablesSolar panel costs predicted to fall 10% a year  Climate Home: Power from the sun could supply 20% of energy worldwide by 2027 on current technology trends, say UK researchers, Guardian, Megan Darby, 27 Jan 16,  Solar power costs are tumbling so fast the technology is likely to fast outstrip mainstream energy forecasts.That is the conclusion of Oxford University researchers, based on a new forecasting model published in Research Policy.

Since the 1980s, panels to generate electricity from sunshine have got 10% cheaper each year. That is likely to continue, the study said, putting solar on course to meet 20% of global energy needs by 2027.

By contrast, even in its “high renewable” scenario, the International EnergyAgency assumes solar panels will generate just 16% of electricity in 2050. Its widely cited future energy scenarios in previous years failed to predict solar’s rapid growth.

Mathematics professor Doyne Farmer, who co-wrote the paper, said the research could help to shape clean energy policy.

“Sceptics have claimed that solar PV cannot be ramped up quickly enough to play a significant role in combatting global warming,” he said.

“In a context where limited resources for technology investment constrain policy makers to focus on a few technologies… the ability to have improved forecasts and know how accurate they are should prove particularly useful.”

Farmer’s model, jointly developed with economist Francois Lafond, draws on historical data from 53 different technologies……http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/26/solar-panel-costs-predicted-to-fall-10-a-year

January 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy development hindered in Japn

The powerful nuclear industry, frozen in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, has since reasserted itself.

the so-called “nuclear village” — a term applied to the various intersecting groups with an interest in the industry — has deliberately thwarted renewables progress, through things like grid access refusal and misrepresenting costs. 

nuclear-village-

Despite nuclear fears, Japan solar energy sector slow to catch on, Aljazeera America    January 23, 2016by Joe Jackson  FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Morihiko Shimamura has a vision for the future, depicted in a cartoonish community map on his partially biomass-powered truck. In the drawing, solar panels sit atop self-sufficient buildings, as waterways generate hydropower alongside wind turbines, and transmission cables are buried underground.

As he drives around this large prefecture, teaching schoolchildren how to make rudimentary photovoltaic cells, the 57-year-old cofounder of an umbrella of not-for-profit sustainability organizations advertises his optimistic vision.

But current reality is very different. The landscape here still bears the scars of a 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear reactor meltdown. Piles of black bags containing contaminated topsoil litter hillsides; display panels along an expressway show high radioactivity readings; and some villages remain ghost towns, largely off-limits to residents.

“I want people to know that the technology, we can make it, and then also we can make by ourselves the energy … [and] create the society without nuclear plants,” Shimamura explained through a translator.

Local officials endorse his plan, in theory. They too want Fukushima to get all its energy from renewables by 2040. Solar panels are already visible on rooftops, in backyards and open spaces, while green enterprises and research institutes are encouraged to locate there. Nor is the prefecture is alone in its hope to use the tragedy as the catalyst for change. In opinion polls, a majority of Japanese citizens consistently support the goal of abandoning nuclear power while harnessing more renewable energy. Former prime ministers, leading businessmen and a one-time nuclear industry executive are among those urging rapid transformation. Continue reading

January 23, 2016 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Record $329BN GLOBAL INVESTMENT IN 2015 in RENEWABLE ENERGY

renewable-energy-pictureCLEAN ENERGY DEFIES FOSSIL FUEL PRICE CRASH TO ATTRACT RECORD $329BN GLOBAL INVESTMENT IN 2015, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, JAN 14, 2016

View this press release in PDF.

2015 was also the highest ever for installation of renewable power capacity, with 64GW of wind and 57GW of solar PV commissioned during the year, an increase of nearly 30% over 2014.

London and New York, 14 January 2016 – Clean energy investment surged in China, Africa, the US, Latin America and India in 2015, driving the world total to its highest ever figure, of $328.9bn, up 4% from 2014’s revised $315.9bn and beating the previous record, set in 2011 by 3%.

The latest figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show dollar investment globally growing in 2015 to nearly six times its 2004 total and a new record of one third of a trillion dollars (see chart on page 3), despite four influences that might have been expected to restrain it.

These were: further declines in the cost of solar photovoltaics, meaning that more capacity could be installed for the same price; the strength of the US currency, reducing the dollar value of non-dollar investment; the continued weakness of the European economy, formerly the powerhouse of renewable energy investment; and perhaps most significantly, the plunge in fossil fuel commodity prices.

Over the 18 months to the end of 2015, the price of Brent crude plunged 67% from $112.36 to $37.28 per barrel, international steam coal delivered to the north west Europe hub dropped 35% from $73.70 to $47.60 per tonne. Natural gas in the US fell 48% on the Henry Hub index from $4.42 to $2.31 per million British Thermal Units.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “These figures are a stunning riposte to all those who expected clean energy investment to stall on falling oil and gas prices. They highlight the improving cost-competitiveness of solar and wind power, driven in part by the move by many countries to reverse-auction new capacity rather than providing advantageous tariffs, a shift that has put producers under continuing price pressure.

“Wind and solar power are now being adopted in many developing countries as a natural and substantial part of the generation mix: they can be produced more cheaply than often high wholesale power prices; they reduce a country’s exposure to expected future fossil fuel prices; and above all they can be built very quickly to meet unfulfilled demand for electricity. And it is very hard to see these trends going backwards, in the light of December’s Paris Climate Agreement.”

Looking at the figures in detail, the biggest piece of the $328.9bn invested in clean energy in 2015 was asset finance of utility-scale projects such as wind farms, solar parks, biomass and waste-to-energy plants and small hydro-electric schemes. This totalled $199bn in 2015, up 6% on the previous year.[1]

The biggest projects financed last year included a string of large offshore wind arrays in the North Sea and off the coast of China. These included the UK’s 580MW Race Bank and 336MW Galloper, with estimated costs of $2.9bn and $2.3bn respectively, Germany’s 402MW Veja Mate, at $2.1bn, and China’s Longyuan Haian Jiangjiasha and Datang & Jiangsu Binhai, each of 300MW and $850m………

National trends

China was again by far the largest investor in clean energy in 2015, increasing its dominance with a 17% increase to $110.5bn, as its government spurred on wind and solar development to meet electricity demand, limit reliance on polluting coal-fired power stations and create international champions.

Second was the US, which invested $56bn, up 8% on the previous year and the strongest figure since the era of the ‘green stimulus’ policies in 2011. Money-raising by quoted ‘yieldcos’, plus solid growth in investment in new solar and wind projects, supported the US total……..http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/clean-energy-defies-fossil-fuel-price-crash-to-attract-record-329bn-global-investment-in-2015/

January 22, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy can dramatically cut emissions – International Renewable Energy Agency

Some of those changes are already underway. Global clean energy investment attracted a record $329bn last year, according to a report released on Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The report noted the rise in clean energy investment came despite the drop in oil prices.

sun-power
Rapid switch to renewable energy can put Paris climate goals within logo-IRENAreach http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/16/rapid-switch-to-renewable-energy-can-put-paris-climate-goals-within-reach

Increasing renewables to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C, says International Renewable Energy AgencyGuardian, , 16 Jan 16

Countries can deliver on the promises of the historic Paris climate change agreement by rapid scaling up wind and solar power to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030, an international energy gathering will be told on Saturday.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) meeting in Abu Dhabi – the first major global gathering since Paris – is seen as an important test of countries’ readiness to put those plans into action.

Nearly 200 countries agreed to keep warming below 2C, and work towards a 1.5C limit, during the Paris climate negotiations last month. Some 187 put forward plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Now comes the hard part, government officials admit: making good on those promises by translating emissions cutting targets into policies, and expanding access to clean energy technologies.

Irena said those goals were within reach – if countries move fast. Scaling up renewable energy to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half of the emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C. Energy efficiencycould make up the rest.

“The Paris agreement set a long-term vision for the deep reduction of global emissions and the need to decarbonise the energy sector,” Adnan Amin, Irena’s director general said in a prepared statement. “The Irena assembly must now take the next steps and establish a blueprint for action to meet our climate goals and set the world on a path to a sustainable energy future.”

In an effort to spur countries to action, an Irena report released on Saturday found doubling the share of renewables by 2030 would increase global GDP by up to 1.1% or about $1.3tn, and provide jobs for more than 24 million in the renewable sector.

The United Nations climate chief, Christiana Figueres, has said repeatedly she was looking to the Paris agreement to send a clear signal to the business community of a shift away from a fossil-fuel driven economy.

Some of those changes are already underway. Global clean energy investment attracted a record $329bn last year, according to a report released on Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The report noted the rise in clean energy investment came despite the drop in oil prices.

Irena officials said they hoped that the Paris climate accord would add momentum to the shift.

“We are not seeing climate change action as a cost, but starting to see it in terms of opportunities,” said Angela Kallhauge, Irena’s climate change officer.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | Leave a comment

Solar is the solution for economic growth in rural locations

sun-powerSolar: The Catalyst for Economic Growth and Improved Health in the World’s Most Rural Locations http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cathy-zoi/solar-the-catalyst-for-economic-growth_b_8919532.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green&utm_content=buffer9ceee&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer,  , 15 Jan 16 

Late last year my colleagues and I visited a remote village in rural Rajasthan, India. We were greeted by village leaders offering fresh flower garland necklaces while a joyous collection of enthusiastic, young boys beat drums and tins of all sizes in the background. Following a few moments of warm “Namastes,” we were escorted up the path to a terrace adjacent to the village’s central building where we participated in a town hall meeting. To discuss what? Bringing electricity for the first time to this community of 400 families.

Solar is the solution. Solar panels are the fastest-to-deploy, most cost-effective and cleanest electricity option available to bring electricity to villages like this one and provide essential, basic services, including clean water, pumps, light, refrigeration, and connectivity. To many of us in developed countries, the simple concept of light is taken for granted. Flip a switch, right? In many parts of the developing world there are no “switches” – to get light, you must burn diesel or kerosene, both of which produce harmful emissions. In fact, kerosene lamps lead to 1.5 million deaths per year– more than five times the annual malaria deaths. Simply replacing those kerosene lamps with solar-powered lamps would save more lives than eliminating malaria.

My company, SunEdison Frontier Power, is in the business of building solar-powered mini-grids in villages like this one. We design, construct and operate rural utilities that offer communities light, water pumping, phone charging, refrigeration, connectivity and other modern amenities. Children can study at night. Water can be purified. Medicines and food can be kept cold. Businesses can expand their operating hours. While this has terrific community benefits, both in terms of human health and the economy, it isn’t charity. The villagers and local businesses – in this case a flour mill and several shops – pay us for the power they consume. And at the town hall meeting in Rajasthan that day, there was overwhelming support for doing just that: the town agreed that the solar-powered mini-grid should be built. We will be starting construction early next year.

Access to non-polluting electricity in the developing world is mission-critical for enabling health and preventing disease, as well as in facilitating commerce. Over 1.3 billion people are completely without power; another billion have electricity for just a few hours a day. The economic upshot is clear: a recent International Monetary Fund report names “severe” electricity shortages as a significant contributor to Sub-Saharan Africa’s reduced economic growth. The sooner the developing world gains greater access to cost-effective clean energy, the quicker these issues will be alleviated. And it all starts with solar power.

In many remote areas, solar power is now more cost effective than diesel or kerosene. With solar now cheaper than kerosene, we can eradicate kerosene lamp deaths and remove the health impacts of burning fuel inside and around homes. By offering cost-effective electricity we can deliver other essential services and catalyze the growth of local economies – without waiting for power plants and transmission lines to be built. It takes only a few months to power a village with a solar mini-grid, whereas extending the electrical grid frequently takes several years.

Just as remote areas leapfrogged wire phone lines for mobile phones, solar can leapfrog the old way of providing electricity by skipping the capital-intensive, centralized power plants and long-distance transmission infrastructure. Solar has been used for decades, often paired with batteries, for a range of remote applications, from telephone stations on mountain tops to villagers requiring water pumping. Today a local solar mini-grid can help provide reliable internet services as well, supporting businesses, clinics, schools and families.

As a global society it is in our collective best interest for the developing world to “develop” in a way that is economically and environmentally sustainable. We want to improve health, build economies and save lives. We want to do this as fast, effectively and cheaply as possible. Looking at the numbers, these objectives add up to solar as an answer. As countries continue to work through the best ways to address climate change, we are hopeful that they realize that reducing greenhouse gas emissions needn’t mean stifling growth or compromising health in developing economies. The opposite is true. Reducing carbon, improving health, enabling commerce and securing access to clean energy are not mutually exclusive; they are in fact, inextricably intertwined.

January 15, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | Leave a comment

Census shows rapid growth of solar industry jobs in USA

green-collarUSA National Solar Jobs Census 2015 Released http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/solar-jobs-census-em5291/ January 13, 2016

The U.S. solar workforce grew to a total of nearly 209,000 last year; adding more than 35,000 workers – the third consecutive year in which growth exceeded 20%.

The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015 states the workforce has increased by 123% since 2010.

“The solar industry has once again proven to be a powerful engine of economic growth and job creation,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. ” Our Census findings show that one out of every 83 new jobs created in the U.S. over the last 12 months was in the solar industry – 1.2% of all new jobs.”

The USA’s solar workforce is now three times the number employed in the coal mining industry and also larger than the oil and gas extraction industry.

Last year, solar industry employment grew 12 times faster than the overall US workforce.

In addition to direct employment, the US solar industry supports an additional 610,650 ancillary jobs throughout the supply chain.

When the first Census was run in 2010, the USA had installed 929MW of solar capacity that year. Last year, 7,430MW of capacity was added.

The installation sector represented the bulk of  jobs in the US solar industry in 2015.

Installation – 119,931
Manufacturing – 30,282
Sales and distribution – 24,377
Project development – 22,452
All others – 11,816

Employment in all sectors grew in 2015, with the exception of solar manufacturing. However, manufacturing jobs are expected grow by 3,800 positions in 2016; supported by industry construction activity.

Approximately 90% of all solar workers are 100% dedicated to solar activities; a percentage that has been effectively unchanged since 2013.

Jobs in the solar industry continue to pay above the median wage of all occupations in the USA.

Looking ahead, a further 14.7% increase in positions is expected this year – an extra 30,000 jobs – bringing the total of U.S. solar workers to 239,625 by the end of 2016. It could perhaps be even higher as Census data collection was completed before the extension of the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was announced.

The sixth annual National Solar Jobs Census can be viewed in full here (PDF).

January 13, 2016 Posted by | employment, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

It’s becoming the ‘new normal’ across the globe – renewable energy

renewable-energy-world-SmNo2 NuclearPower January 2016 “……….Something incredible is happening right now across the globe. Achieving 100% clean energy is becoming “the new normal” in the fight to solve climate change. What’s driving this trend is a flowering of ambition. Cities across the globe are demonstrating what it means to lead with ambition. In Paris at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, the largest-ever global gathering of local leaders focused on climate change, 1,000 mayors issued a declaration which states: “We—the undersigned mayors, governors, premiers, and other local government leaders—commit collectively to support ambitious long-term climate goals such as a transition to 100% renewable energy in our communities.” ………
An organisation called Renewable Cities aims to triple over the next five years, the number of cities that have 100% renewable energy targets. (3)
The world could soon be generating all its electricity from renewable sources, writes Dave Elliott, by harnessing diverse technologies for generation, grid balancing and energy storage. Add to that the use of power surpluses to make fuels, and it could even be feasible to make all our energy – not just electricity – renewable. A clean green future beckons. Some renewables are now cheaper than conventional sources, even when the cost of providing backup to deal with their variability is included.
 Can variability really be dealt with and at low cost? Actually we already do it. Grid systems already cope with quite large variations in supply and demand,  mainly by ramping the output of some power plants up and down. With renewables on the grid, they will have to do that a bit more often, reducing the cost and carbon savings from not using fossil fuel very slightly. We don’t have to build new plants for this extra back up – they already exist. As they age, new, better, ones will have to be built, for example flexible gas turbines using low net carbon biogas as a fuel, produced from farm and home wastes. (4)
As renewables begin to dominate we will need further balancing measures. Energy storage systems, including pumped (hydro reservoir) storage and advanced battery technologies can offer part of the solution, as can other newly developing storage options like liquid air storage. ……..http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo81.pdf

January 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

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