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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

One of world’s largest floating solar plants opened in Japan

JAPAN OPENS MEGA FLOATING SOLAR POWER PLANT, CLIMATE GROUP, 26 APR 15   LONDON: JAPAN HAS JUST OPENED ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST FLOATING SOLAR POWER PLANTS, SIGNALLING INCREASING ADOPTION OF THE EFFICIENT AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY IN THE COUNTRY, WHICH IS DUE PARTLY TO LACK OF SPACE ON LAND.

As highlighted in a report released this week by The Climate Group, regions with more land space, specifically the UAE with its huge solar resources, are primed to benefit from the fast-growing low carbon economy.

solar floating Kagoshima Nanasujima

The giant plant in Japan was inaugurated last March but has only just opened, as announced by Kyocera and Ciel et Terre International, two manufacturers that are heavily investing in this technology. The system is made up of two solar parks, at Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, with a capacity of 1.7 megawatts (MW) and 1.2 MW respectively.

CLEAN TECHNOLOGY

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is becoming more wide-spread in Japan, driven in part by the closure of the country’s fleet of nuclear plants following the Fukushima disaster – even if there are some concerns about the possibility the country could soon reopen them.

… total solar PV capacity has moved from just 19 MW in 1992 to 13,532 MW in 2013 –more than double the previous year.

FLOATING SOLAR

However, with a landmass slightly smaller than California and a population density closer to India, this expansion in PV collides with the lack of space. Thankfully, Japan is surrounded by sea and has many water reservoirs to cater for its seasonal variation in rainfall levels, so is experimenting more frequently with floating PV systems.

Not only is floating solar more convenient, it is also more energy efficient. A study by Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) claims the technology is more efficient because it has a lower temperature during the day when compared to overland PV modules. This should be achieved due to the reflection of light from the water surface, which keeps the PV modules cooler………http://www.theclimategroup.org/what-we-do/news-and-blogs/japan-opens-mega-floating-solar-power-plant/

April 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Call for BP to disclose its archive on renewable energy research, as they promised

secret-agent-SmBP renewable energy archive still closed despite promise to open to public, Guardian, , 24 Apr 15  Critics call for BP to provide immediate access to Warwick University archive containing billions of pounds worth of scientific research by the oil group from the 80s and 90s  BP archive containing scientific knowledge on renewable energy projects collected over decades as a result of a multi-billion-pound research programme is still closed to the public despite promises to the contrary.

Critics said BP’s integrity was at stake and the archive held next to the Modern Records Office at Warwick University must be opened immediately……

a spokesman at the company’s headquarters later confirmed what the Guardian had already reported: that no material for the last 40 years was available to the public.

“The National Records Office has a 30-year rule. We just have a longer one,” explained the company spokesman, while Peter Housego, the BP archive manager at Warwick, said the opening period was under regular review with (these) internal stakeholders.

Catherine Howarth, the CEO of Share Action, who challenged BP at the AGM to open the archive as part of a wider demand to be more transparent about the issue of climate change, said she was disturbed to hear the company was apparently not opening the archive.

“I’m truly disappointed if it turns out that BP’s archive of research is not in fact open, or due to be opened imminently. The chairman not only told us about BP’s general commitment to ‘sharing our knowledge’ but explicitly responded to my question by confirming that nothing would be ‘locked away’……..

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, said: “It looks as if burying decades’ worth of energy research is too embarrassing a policy for BP’s boss to defend, even in front of his own shareholders.

“Fossil fuel giants already have a humongous credibility gap to fill when it comes to climate and clean energy. Making a mockery of transparency in this way will only make it bigger.”

BP now spends almost all its $20bn (£13bn) per annum capital expenditure on oil and gas, but in the 1980s and early 1990s it spent large amounts of cash building wave power prototypes and researching energy efficiency products.

At one stage, under the then chief executive, John – now Lord – Browne, BP promised to go “beyond petroleum” but the strategy was ditched and the company reverted to focussing on fossil fuels.

Students at Warwick University, who have already seen 100 staff call for the academic authorities to withdraw their pension fund from all fossil fuel companies, said they were taking the issue up with the local BP archive staff.

“We are pressuring them to explain the contradictions apparent from the chairman’s statement and will continue to pressure them as much as possible to open up their files,” said Alex Clark from Fossil Free Warwick University……..

Senior researchers who used to be employed by the company have privately said the archive could document the huge amount of work done by BP on all sorts of issues, such as climate change and renewable energy technology including solar and wave power……..http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/24/bp-renewable-energy-archive-still-closed-despite-promise-to-open-to-public

April 25, 2015 Posted by | renewable, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Growing global movement for 100% renewable energy

100% Renewable Energy: The new normal?  Huffington Post,  
Director on the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors 04/24/2015 It’s not always easy to find examples of what’s working in the fight against climate change, but a shining one is the growing global movement for 100% renewable energy.

The most optimistic predictions for the UN COP21 climate negotiations in Paris at the end of this year center on an “80 by 50″ scenario — a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2050. In my opinion, that scenario is less a call-to-action than a call-to-arms. Previous global negotiations have shown that as long as there is any percentage of fossil-fuel energy left on the table, countries will fight for access to it, and productive discussions will come to an end. So we need to change the narrative. Instead of a call-to-arms, we need a doctrine of “mutually assured survival” — a doctrine in which all commit to the goal of 100% renewable energy.

Since 2013, renewable energies have been winning the race against fossil resources: the world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than for coal, natural gas, and oil combined. The question is no longer if the world will transition to sustainable energy, but how long it will take. And there’s no going back.

This transition is being driven largely by local governments.

A growing numbers of cities, communities and regions are proving that meeting 100% of our energy demand with renewable energy is viable. As urban areas are responsible for 70-75% of energy related CO2 emissions and 40-50% of global GHG emissions, this is an encouraging trend. My city — Vancouver, Canada — recently voted in favor of a target of 100% renewable energy.

100% RE Is Already a Reality Today

Other cities and states — from Hawaii and Georgetown, Texas, in the USA to Coffs Harbour in Australia — have already shown that making the transition to 100% renewable energy is a political, not technical, decision. The necessary technology and knowledge exists.

In Germany, in a network of 140 100% RE regions, 80 communities and municipalities have already reached their goal. One of them is the Rhein-Hunsrück District. As of early 2012, the District, which has around 100,000 inhabitants, officially began producing more than 100% of its electricity needs. In early 2014, it is estimated that Rhein-Hunsrück already produced more than 230% of its total electricity needs, exporting the surplus to the regional and national grid, or re-directing it to meet other energy demands.

The city of Greensburg (Kansas, USA) powers all local homes and businesses with100% renewable energy, 100% of the time. The story of Greensburg is one of tragedy to triumph: a tornado destroyed or damaged 95% of the town’s homes and businesses on May 4, 2007. The community — with a strong leader in Mayor Bob Dixon — turned disaster into opportunity and created a vision to rebuild Greensburg as a sustainable community.

Building efficiency and local wind, complemented by small solar installations and biogas, are the cornerstones of their master plan. The town has gathered a diverse group of experts to make their vision a reality.

Similarly, local governments across Japan are seeking to supply their regions with 100% renewable energy. The Great East Japan earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and the disaster at the Fukushima-daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, encouraged the people of Fukushima to reassess their energy system and to revitalize industry in the shattered region. This led to a vision of transition to renewable energy. Fukushima prefecture now has an official commitment to cover 100% of primary-energy demand in Fukushima with renewable resources by 2040.

Joining them are another 13 cities or regions that have registered a 100% renewable-energy target in the carbonn Climate Registry:……http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrea-reimer/100-renewable-energy-the-new-normal_b_7126906.html

April 25, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy now being produced globally, on an industrial scale

In developing countries, where renewables are best positioned to address the chronic lack of energy access, clean energy investment rose 36% to $131bn. It’s well on track to surpass investment in developed countries, which amounted to $139bn last year.

The world is finally producing renewable energy at an industrial scale’, Guardian Achim Steiner, 21 Apr 15 Clean energy has spread to every corner of the globe, with more than 100,000 megawatts of capacity installed last year Renewables are finally becoming a globally significant source of power, according to a United Nations Environment Programme report released in March by Frankfurt School UNEP Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Driven by rapid expansion in developing countries, new installations of carbon-free renewable power plants in 2014 surpassed 100,000 megawatts of capacity for the first time, according to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report. It appears that renewable energy is now entering the market at a scale that is relevant in energy industry terms – and at a price that is competitive with fossil fuels.

The numbers are compelling. Renewables such as wind, solar and biomass generated an estimated 9.1% of the world’s electricity in 2014, up from 8.5% in 2013, according to the report. These sources made up the majority of new power capacity in Europe, and also brought electricity to new markets.

They also caught the eyes of investors: in 2014, energy investment in rose 17% over the previous year, surging to $270bn, according to the report.

Conventional wisdom meets unconventional growth

Some experts still predict that fossil fuels will supply the majority of our energy for decades to come, but the evidence strongly points in another direction. As the Global Trends report points out, the clean energy investment that funded almost half of all new power plants in 2014 came at what would, seemingly, be a very bad time for renewables. While oil prices were rapidly falling and China’s coal consumption was decreasing, both commodities were, if anything, more economically viable.

But at the same time, renewables appear to be increasing rather than decreasing in competitiveness. For example, a large-scale solar plant in Dubai has recently bid to provide electricity at less than $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. To put this in context, this is less than what the vast majority of consumers around the world pay to keep the lights on. It’s a third of the cost of electricity in Africa. Grid parity for solar is already available in many countries; in others, it’s just around the corner.

In developing countries, where renewables are best positioned to address the chronic lack of energy access, clean energy investment rose 36% to $131bn. It’s well on track to surpass investment in developed countries, which amounted to $139bn last year.

When it came to investment, China led with $83bn in clean energy funding, but many other countries followed closely behind. Some of the most promising states – like Brazil, India and South Africa – are expected to lead the way. Others, like Kenya, which boasts one of the largest solar rooftop system on the continent and shortly the largest wind farm, are more of a surprise……..http://www.theguardian.com/vital-signs/2015/apr/20/renewable-energy-global-trends-solar-power

April 22, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Economic advantages: the feasibility of going 100% renewable energy

renewable-energy-world-SmThe adoption of targets for 100% renewables by 2050 could deliver combined energy savings of more than $500 billion a year to the major economies of the EU, the US and China, and create millions of new jobs, a new study has found. The study, released this week by New Climate Institute and commissioned by Climate Action Network, also found that if all countries took action on renewables at this scale, global warming would not cross the 2°C threshold beyond which scientists predict would result in dangerous and irreversible changes to the earth’s climate.
when City staff examined their options last year, they discovered something that seemed remarkable, especially in Texas: renewable energy was cheaper than non-renewable. By January 2017, all electricity within the city’s service area will come from wind and solar power.
NuClear News, April 15  A report written by the French Environment and Energy Agency (Ademe) has concluded that supplying the nation’s electricity demand with renewables by 2050 would cost about the same as the plan currently favoured by the President and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, which is to meet France’s power needs with 50% nuclear, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuel by 2050. (1)
Vancouver has become the latest city to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. The city of 600,000 on Canada’s west coast aims to use only green energy sources for electricity, and also for heating and cooling and transportation. Cities and urban areas are responsible for 70-75% of global CO2 emissions and that’s where “real action on climate will happen” said Park Won-Soon, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea at the ICLEI World Congress 2015, the triennial sustainability summit of local governments where Vancouver made the announcement. (2)

Continue reading

April 18, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Success of wind energy in reducing USA’s greenhouse gas emissions

Wind energy blows US emissions onto right track for 2025 target http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27361-wind-energy-blows-us-emissions-onto-right-track-for-2025-target.html#.VTBP5tyUcnl  16 April 2015 by Fred Pearce Is Uncle Sam going green at last? US carbon emissions from power stations this year are set to be the lowest for 20 years, as decrepit coal-fired power plants shut and clean wind farms and less-dirty natural gas plants replace them.

And back in 1994, the US economy was only 42 per cent of its current size, adding evidence to the idea that an economy can grow while its emissions go down.

This year’s emissions are expected to be 15.4 per cent below 2005 levels. The startling projection comes from analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It suggests that the US may now be on course to meet the promise that the Obama administration will take to UN climate negotiations in Paris later this year, to cut total CO2 emissions by 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.

So what is going on? Most attention has focused on the replacement of coal in conventional power plants by natural gas, much of it from fracking. Burning gas emits only half as much CO2 as burning coal.

 But Greenpeace energy analyst Lauri Myllyvirta says that wind farms have played an even bigger role. She says that since 2007, the rapid growth of wind farms in the US has been responsible for 37 per cent of the cut in power-sector emissions, compared with 30 per cent from the growth of gas, with solar power and efficiency gains making up most of the rest.

And there is much more to come from wind, says William Nelson, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. He expects 9 gigawatts more wind generating capacity to be commissioned during 2015, much of it in Texas. It is a wind of change that he calls a giant, permanent step towards decarbonising out entire fleet of power plants.

April 17, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

How BP started, then stopped renewable energy projects

fossil-fuel-fightback-1BP dropped green energy projects worth billions to focus on fossil fuels, Guardian, , 16 Apr 15  Oil firm invested billions of pounds in clean and low-carbon energy in the 80s and 90s but later abandoned meaningful efforts to move away from fossil fuels and locked away the research BP pumped billions of pounds into low-carbon technology and green energy over a number of decades but gradually retired the programme to focus almost exclusively on its fossil fuel business, the Guardian has established.

At one stage the company, whose annual general meeting is in London on Thursday, was spending in-house around $450m (£300m) a year on research alone – the equivalent of $830m today.

The energy efficiency programme employed 4,400 research scientists and R&D support staff at bases in Sunbury, Berkshire, and Cleveland, Ohio, among other locations, while $8bn was directly invested over five years in zero- or low-carbon energy.

But almost all of the technology was sold off and much of the research locked away in a private corporate archive.

Facing shareholders at its AGM, company executives will insist they are playing a responsible role in a world facing dangerous climate change, not least by supporting arguments for a global carbon price.

But the company, which once promised to go “beyond petroleum” will come under fire both inside the meeting and outside from some shareholders and campaigners who argue BP is playing fast and loose with the environment by not making meaningful moves away from fossil fuels.

In 2015, BP will spend $20bn on projects worldwide but only a fraction will go into activities other than fossil fuel extraction.

An investigation by the Guardian has established that the British oil company is doing far less now on developing low-carbon technologies than it was in the 1980s and early 1990s. Back then it was engaged in a massive internal research and development (R&D) programme into energy efficiency and alternative energy……..

A major group of shareholders have called on the company to address climate change more robustly through a resolution to be heard at the AGM…….

Suzanne Dhaliwal from the UK Tar Sands Network said support for the AGM resolution looked hollow when the company was still engaged in carbon-heavy extraction activities. “It looks like a stalling mechanism to get large shareholders on board but from a grass roots level commitments to tackling climate change and continuing with tar sands are incompatible.”

Many leading environmentalists such as Jonathan Porritt believe fossil fuel companies will never play a leading role in any move to a low-carbon economy…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/16/bp-dropped-green-energy-projects-worth-billions-to-focus-on-fossil-fuels

April 17, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

100% renewable energy economically feasible for France: government report

renewable-energy-pictureflag-franceFRENCH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: 100% RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY BY 2050 IN FRANCE WOULD NOT COST MORE THAN 50% NUCLEAR    http://www.go100percent.org/cms/index.php?id=45&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=395&cHash=c49d899dffe50003b28e67bc8ffa6655The following is a brief summary of a piece that appeared in France’s center-left newspaper Le Monde, which reported on a piece published by Mediapart:

 A report written by the French Environment and Energy Agency (Ademe) has concluded that supplying the nation’s electricity demand with renewables by 2050 would cost about the same as the plan currently favored by President and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, which is to meet France’s power needs with 50% nuclear, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuel by 2050.

Ademe was reportedly to have shared the document with the public on April 14-15, but postponed it was not ready. However, a copy of the report was obtained by the French media and released to to the public, with the aim of raising the debate on French energy policy.

The 120 page report was written with the contribution of the General Direction of energy and climate, which functions under the French Minister of Ecology, and with “an objective of robustness and scientific solidity, the hypotheses and results were vetted by a scientific committee of national and international experts.”

Other highlights from the report, include:
– The potential for electricity generation by renewables in France by 2050 (1268 TWh a year) is triple the nation’s projected electricity demand for that time (422 TWh). Reaching this goal would require demand management that lowers consumption by 14%, despite a projected population increase of 6 million inhabitants.

– Achieving a 100% renewable electricity mix will require diversity of sources. The study projects a mix of 63% offshore and onshore wind, 17% solar, 13% hydro, and 7% thermal energy (including geothermal). The regions with the strongest renewable development potential are the Aquitane, Brittany, Midi-Pyrénées, the Pays de la Loire, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Rhône-Alpes.
– The report assumes that pre-tax consumer electricity costs will rise about 30% by mid century whether France opts for a 100% renewable power mix, or a combination of 50% nuclear power, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuel (primarily gas).

– Between 2019 and 2025, almost half of France’s 58 nuclear reactors will reach the 40 year lifespan for which they were designed. Even if they are granted a license extension, they must be replaced by newer technology that has continually been rising in price. Decommissioning of the reactors also adds to costs.

 

April 15, 2015 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Wind power rising fast in China, once again producing more electricity than nuclear power is

flag-ChinaWind Power Beats Nuclear Again in China. Earth Policy Institute
J. Matthew Roney. 5 Mar 15 China, the country that is building more nuclear reactors than any other, continued to get more electricity from the wind than from nuclear power plants in 2014. This came despite below-average wind speeds for the year. The electricity generated by China’s wind farms in 2014—16 percent more than the year before—could power more than 110 million Chinese homes.

graph-Wind-China-14

China added a world record 23 gigawatts of new wind power capacity in 2014, for a cumulative installed capacity of nearly 115 gigawatts (1 gigawatt = 1,000 megawatts). Some 84 percent of this total—or 96 gigawatts—is connected to the grid, sending carbon-free electricity to consumers.

As China’s wind power installations took off in the mid-2000s, electric grid and transmission infrastructure expansion could not keep pace. But the situation is improving: China is building the world’s largest ultra-high-voltage transmission system, which is connecting remote, wind-rich northern and western provinces to the more populous central and eastern ones. At the same time, the government is providing incentives for wind farm development in less-windy areas nearer to population centers. Advances in wind power technology can allow greater capture of energy in spots without the strongest wind resources.wind resources.

China’s wind power goal is to have 200 gigawatts connected to the grid by 2020. According to China’s National Energy Administration, the country has some 77 gigawatts of wind capacity now under construction, bringing this goal that much closer to being realized. Efforts to bolster the grid and connect more turbines are reducing the amount of potential wind generation lost each year due to curtailment, when turbines must stop producing because the grid cannot take on any more electricity. Since 2012, the rate of this curtailment at China’s wind farms has dropped by more than half; however, further improvements are still needed……..ttp://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2015/highlights50

 

April 13, 2015 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Vancouver the latest of 50 cities to commit to %100 renewable energy

More than 50 cities have announced they are on their way to 100% renewable energy including San Diego and San Francisco in California, Sydney Australia, and Copenhagen. Some are aiming for 2020, others by 2030 or 2035.

Vancouver commits to run on 100% renewable energy http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/vancouver-commits-to-run-on-100-renewable-energy
Canadian city of 600,000 people is the latest to announce it will use only green energy for electricity, transportation, heating and air conditioning within 20 years 
Vancouver has become the latest city to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. The city of 600,000 on Canada’s west coast aims to use only green energy sources for electricity, and also for heating and cooling and transportation. Continue reading

April 13, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

China’s energy development: renewables now looking more likely than nuclear

sun-championAs China looks to energy solutions to reduce the air pollution choking its cities, to conserve water,flag-China and to rein in its carbon emissions, it is becoming clear that renewables offer a more expeditious path than nuclear power does. 

Wind Power Beats Nuclear Again in China. Earth Policy Institute, J. Matthew Roney. 5 Mar 15 “…………Even as it pursues the world’s most ambitious wind power goal, China also highly-recommendedundeniably has the world’s most aggressive nuclear construction program, currently accounting for 25 of the 68 reactors being built worldwide. Six reactors totaling 6 gigawatts of capacity went online in China in 2013 and 2014. Another reactor connected to the grid in January 2015, bringing national nuclear capacity to 20 gigawatts at 24 reactors. But to meet the government’s nuclear target of 58 gigawatts by 2020, China will not only need to complete the reactors now under construction—most of which are behind schedule—it will need to start and finish another dozen or so by then.

Several factors stack the odds against China meeting its nuclear power goal. After a massive earthquake and tsunami induced the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, the Chinese government suspended approvals for new reactors as it conducted safety reviews of those operating and under construction at the time. The moratorium was lifted in late 2012, yet for more than two years no new reactors received permission to build. In February 2015, a nuclear plant in northeastern Liaoning province reportedly got the go-ahead for a two-reactor expansion. Once construction begins, it typically takes six years to complete a reactor in China (compared with one year or less for the average wind farm).

Further complicating China’s nuclear picture is that suitable real estate for new reactors along the coast—with ready access to cooling water—is in increasingly short supply. Following the Fukushima disaster, public opposition to reactors in China’s earthquake-prone inland provinces grew, prompting officials to put off consideration of proposed reactors in non-coastal provinces until 2015 at the earliest. Regardless of when the government decides to begin approving inland reactors, nuclear developers will face dwindling freshwater resources.

Perhaps the biggest question facing the future of nuclear power in China is the fate of the 1-gigawatt Sanmen reactor under construction in Zhejiang province. Designed by Westinghouse, this is a “Generation III” reactor billed as much safer than previous nuclear technologies, due to its earthquake and flood resistance features and its ability to continue cooling in the event of a prolonged loss of power. Sanmen is both the basis for Chinese-designed third generation reactors and a test case for the technology closely watched worldwide.

When construction got under way at Sanmen in 2009, completion was projected by the end of 2013. Blaming increased safety concerns and design changes post-Fukushima, the developer pushed this date back to 2015. Then in January 2015, the chief engineer of China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp., Wang Zhongtang, announced that Sanmen would not generate electricity until 2016, if that soon. As the project runs further behind schedule and goes further over-budget, more doubt is cast on the design’s ability to catalyze faster nuclear power growth in China.

China’s energy landscape is changing rapidly. Consumption of coal, which supplies about 75 percent of Chinese electricity, dropped nearly 3 percent in 2014, according to official datafrom China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Meanwhile, in addition to the impressive growth in wind power, China is quickly expanding its solar generating capacity. With 28 gigawatts by the end of 2014 and plans for another 15 gigawatts in 2015, China may overtake Germany for the top solar spot in a matter of months. As China looks to energy solutions to reduce the air pollution choking its cities, to conserve water, and to rein in its carbon emissions, it is becoming clear that renewables offer a more expeditious path than nuclear power does.

J. Matthew Roney is a Research Associate with Earth Policy Institute and co-author of The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy .  (W.W. Norton, 2015). Visit the Table of Contents to download Chapter Changing Direction, or pre-order your copy from the EPI Bookstore. More resources are available at www.earth-policy.org.

 

 

April 13, 2015 Posted by | China, ENERGY, renewable | Leave a comment

UK plan for solar panels on every school roof

solar-jobCrowdsourcing funds will put solar panels on every school roof http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/05/solar-panels-school-energy   Labour says schools would benefit by average of £8,000 a year and spread understanding of sustainability Every school in the country will be offered help with installing solar panels on their roofs under plans being considered by Labour. Schools would not only be able to reduce their bills, but could also raise revenues by selling surplus electricity back into the national grid. It is estimated that the initiative could earn schools involved an average of around £8,000 a year.

The government’s role would be in helping headteachers to crowdsource funds for the panels. Civil servants would also deal with linking up schools to the national grid and payments.

Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP mooted as a potential Labour candidate for London mayor in 2016, said the policy could help to free schools from reliance on the big six energy firms.

Thomas, who is promoting the policy as chairman of the Co-operative grouping of MPs within Labour, said: “Britain needs to expand community energy to give people more control over the energy they depend on. Helping schools to set up energy co-operatives to get a self-financing solar roof is a great way to spread understanding about sustainability.”

Friends of the Earth says that if every school installed solar panels the amount of energy generated would be the same as that used by 380,000 homes and would cut carbon emissions by the same amount as taking 110,000 cars off the road. A charity called Solar Schools is helping 66 schools raise a target of £851,000 and has crowdsourced half the target in six months.

The education sector represents a major potential market for the solar industry, as schools typically have large rooftops ideal for panels and rarely face planning difficulties. Current government regulations stop schools from borrowing to fund solar installations, even though ministers had said they wanted more solar panels installed on the roofs of public sector buildings.

April 6, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Offshore wind energy is already cheaper than gas or nuclear

wind-turbine-oceanThe myth of expensive offshore wind: it’s already cheaper than gas-fired and nuclear [informational graphs] REneweconomy By  on 2 April 2015 Analysing public data on offshore wind in Denmark, energy consultant Mike Parr concludes that existing offshore wind is already cheaper than gas-fired power plants. Future offshore wind farms will be cheaper still – and up to 60% less expensive than the proposed nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C in the UK. This means, writes Parr, that government support for offshore wind can be quickly and substantially reduced. ……..

Financial (R)Evolutions?When we analyse the available data, we can draw some interesting conclusions about the evolution of costs in offshore wind. Offshore wind turbines already appear to be cheaper than combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT’s), although this is not yet reflected in the subsidies that the operators get……

Cheaper than gas-fired power and nuclear

What is interesting to note, in addition to the high profitability of Anholt in particular, is that the Danish auctioning process seems to be successful at driving prices down (26% reduction over 5 years Anholt vs Horns Rev 3).

Even more importantly perhaps are the actual costs of offshore wind, which are lower than the bid prices. …….

If we compare the offshore wind farms to the cost of the nuclear power project proposed at Hinkley Point, which will get £92.50 (about €125) per MWh for 35 years, Anholt delivers electricity that is 40% cheaper, Horns Rev3 will deliver electricity that is 58% cheaper and Saeby 60% cheaper. Of course the authorities should ensure that they will get competitive bids.

The only uncertainty in this is how wholesale prices in Denmark will evolve in the next 25 – 30 years. What is certain is that once 10 years have elapsed, the owners of Danish wind farms will be at the mercy of the markets and the wind. By contrast, owners of UK nuclear plants seem to have been granted certainty on both price and market access. Whilst the UK talks about energy markets, the socialist Danes seem to have implemented them. Funny that. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/the-myth-of-expensive-offshore-wind-its-already-cheaper-than-gas-fired-and-nuclear-99353

April 4, 2015 Posted by | Denmark, renewable | Leave a comment

Refrigeration, air-conditioning done cheaply by solar cooling system

Solar cooling system keeps water at 9 degrees Celsius for up to three monthshttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150402081756.htm April 2, 2015 Source: Investigación y Desarrollo

Summary:
Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost,  it is now possible with new technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system.

Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost, it is now possible with Mexican technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system designed by Susana Elvia Toledo Flores.

The prototype developed in the Research Department in Zeolites, at the Institute of Science of the Meritorious University of Puebla (BUAP), in center Mexico, works 24 hours and keeps the cold for up to three months.

The researcher developed the prototype in the Black Mountain Range of the state, where she has achieve to maintain water at nine degrees Celsius “with that temperature we can cool food, though the goal is to get as low as five, with this fish can be preserved without denaturing its proteins.”

The BUAP design is inexpensive, easy to manufacture and environmentally beneficial. “Normal cooling systems use chlorofluorocarbon chemicals that destroy the ozone layer and contribute to greenhouse gases, ours is friendly to the environment,” explains Toledo Flores.

It works with solar radiation and the cooling is achieved by means of a thermodynamic adsorption-desorption cycle lasting 24 hours. Methanol is used as a refrigerant and as zeolite (mineral) as an adsorbent.

Toledo Flores says the system has two stages, during the day “warming, desorption and the period of condensation happens. Solar energy heats the zeolite and increases the methanol vapor pressure, the refrigerant is condensed and stored in a tank flowing to the evaporator. ”

Overnight the cooling process is achieved, adsorption and evaporation period is performed. “The adsorbent bed temperature decreases after sunset, therefore, the refrigerant pressure is reduced and evaporates while the absorbent is cooled. During this period the coolant begins to evaporate and is again adsorbed by zeolite generating cooling temperatures of five degrees Celsius. The adsorption process continues all night until morning. ”

The equipment is composed of a solar collector, adsorbent bed, condenser and evaporator. To build it, the researcher calculates the amount of water to be cooled, thereby knows how many zeolite to use. She also considers the room temperature, in this case of 20 degrees Celsius.

Furthermore, the system “is not only designed to cool foods. It may also serve as an air conditioning, for example, in communities like Tecali de Herrera, Puebla, where there are areas without electricity and the system could adapt well to preserve their foods and medicine, bringing them better quality of life,” says Toledo Flores.

The project was presented at the International Congress of Solar Energy at Germany.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Investigación y Desarrollo

April 4, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Americans want green energy, rather than nuclear power – Gallup poll

Poll: Americans Pick Green Energy Over Nuclear Power, vocatv, 30 Mar 15 According to a new Gallup poll, American support for nuclear energy number has sunk to 51 percent, with 43 percent of the U.S. in full opposition to its use. Acceptance of the power source a high point in 2010, when 62 percent of Americans were in favor of it.

The poll also reveals that majority of Americans believe that the U.S. should shift its focus to green energy and invest in natural gas, solar and wind power. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed said the country should put greater emphasis on producing solar domestic energy, making it the most favored source in the poll. Wind power was the runner up with 70 percent…….. http://www.vocativ.com/culture/society/green-energy-nuclear-power/

April 1, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

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