The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

A city that produces 4 times more energy than it consumes – solar Sonnenschiff

Sonnenschiff: Solar City Produces 4X the Energy it Consumes by , 07/27/11 Sonnenschiff solar city in Freiburg, Germany is very much net positive. The self-sustaining city accomplishes this feat through smart solar design and lots and lots of photovoltaic panels pointed in the right direction. It seems like a simple strategy — but designers often incorporate solar installations as an afterthought, or worse, as a label. Designed by Rolf Disch, the Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) emphasize power production from the start by smartly incorporating a series of large rooftop solar arrays that double as sun shades. The buildings are also built to Passivhaus standards, which allows the project to produce four times the amount of energy it consumes!


The project started out as a vision for an entire community — the medium-density project balances size, accessibility, green space, and solar exposure. In all, 52 homes make up a neighborhood anchored to Sonnenschiff, a mixed-use residential and commercial building that emphasizes livability with a minimal footprint. Advanced technologies like phase-change materials and vacuum insulation significantly boost the thermal performance of the building’s wall system.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy – Ukraine’s road to energy independence

renewable_energyflag-UkraineRenewables seen as Ukraine’s road to energy independence from Russia April 18, 2014  As a way of becoming less reliant on Russian conventional energy Ukraine is talking to US investors who want to put money into alternative energy like wind and solar.

Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine indeed brought energy security concerns to the fore,” as Bloomberg quotes Olexander Motsyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US said at a renewable-energy conference in Washington on Thursday. “I strongly believe the time has come for US investors to discover Ukraine, especially its energy.

To get away from Russian natural gas as the primary source for heat and electric power, Ukraine seeks wants to invest in biomass heat plants, wind and solar power.

US and European officials have been trying to find ways to help Ukraine limit its dependence, including the possibility of US approval to export liquefied natural gas.

Vadym Glamazdin, the managing director of the Energy Industry Research Center (EIRC) suggests heating in Ukraine accounts for about 40 percent of all gas imported from Russia. This could be replaced with renewable energy within three to five years.

According to his words by 2030, renewables could account for about 15 percent of Ukraine’s electricity supply, currently it is only 2 percent.

The EIRC research shows that the most likely and adoptable form of renewable energy for Ukraine are biomass and biogas, as the nation’s network of electric-power lines and substations can’t easily adjust to the addition of significant amounts of wind and solar energy.

The resources are there,” now the major challenge is to attract investment, Todd Foley, a senior vice president for policy and government relations at the American Council on Renewable Energy said.

One biomass plant could replace 24,000 natural gas boilers EIRC officials said.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

A sort of a comeback for renewable energy loan guarantees in USA

Loan Guarantees for U.S. Renewables Making a Comeback, National Geographc by Pete Danko on April 17, 2014 Federal loan guarantees for renewable energy, which spurred the development of massive projects like the recently completed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California – and roiled the 2012 elections – are emerging from hibernation.

More than two years after closing the last such loan guarantee, the U.S. Department of Energyannounced on Wednesday that it intends to make up to $4 billion available “for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases.”

The announcement sets the stage for the DOE to offer support for projects that incorporate one or more of five broad technology types [PDF]:

  • “advanced grid integration and storage,” a key need in getting more intermittent renewable energy on the grid;
  • “drop-in biofuels,” which could directly replace conventional fossil fuels in cars, planes and ships and function within the current distribution system;
  • “waste-to-energy,” where waste gases and discarded materials are used in commercial-scale energy production;
  • “enhancement of existing facilities,” such as adding power-production to existing dams that don’t have it;
  • and “efficiency improvements,” a catchall that could range from residential building improvements to the recovery of energy from curtailed renewable energy systems……….

“The Loan Program Office portfolio is strong,” Reicher said. “You have a piece of this as a taxpayer, and it’s doing quite well.”

The portfolio is heavy with solar – the DOE notes that it backed the first five 100-megawatt-plus photovoltaic plants to go online in the United States – but will move into new realms now. That’s good news for companies like Wisconsin-based Virent, a developer of advanced biofuels technology……

April 19, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

2014 A leap ahead for renewable energy businesses?

solar-panels-and-moneyClean energy: Is a boom coming in 2014?, Christian Science Monitor, 16 April 14 Clean energy is off to a strong start in 2014, with global investment rising as prices for wind and solar power continue to drop. Renewables still hold a small share of total energy mixes, but clean-energy growth is picking up momentum.

By Staff writer / April 16, 2014 he first quarter of 2014 may ease any worries about clean energy’s future. After two years of annual declines, investments in clean energy worldwide jumped 9 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2014, according to data released Wednesday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), a London-based energy analysis firm. Solar power led the way with a 23 percent increase, more than offsetting a 16 percent decline in wind power. All told, investors spent $47.7 billion on renewables and energy efficiency in the first three months of this year.

Global investment in renewable energy is up, technology costs continue to drop precipitously, and markets are expanding into emerging economies in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The industry still has a long way to go, and many say a shift to cleaner energy is happening too slowly to offset the downsides of carbon-heavy fuels. Even so, the broad, global outlook for renewables is bright, and deployment of the technology verges on rapid acceleration.

It is too early to say definitively that 2013 was the low point for clean energy investment worldwide and that 2014 will show a rebound, but the first-quarter numbers are encouraging,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement Wednesday.

The bulk of the gains came in the form of small-scale solar installations, like residential rooftop solar panels. It suggests that falling prices and new financing options are quickly eroding the barriers to entry that long discouraged consumers from home solar. The cost of a rooftop solar array has dropped from nearly $7 per watt in 2008 to $4 or less in 2013, according to an April report by McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm.

Clean-energy growth isn’t limited to the world’s developed economies. Brazil saw the biggest investment gain, jumping 211 percent year-over-year to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2014, according to BNEF. Investment grew 82 percent to $2.4 billion in the Middle East and Africa.

“In Q1, we saw two of the top four asset finance deals happening in Indonesia and Kenya,” Mr. Liebreich said in a statement……..

April 18, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Obama does what he can to promoter solar energy

Obama to challenge private companies to boost solar power use WP, By  and ,   April 16 E-mail the writers

President Obama will challenge companies Thursday to expand their use of solar power, part of his ongoing effort to leverage the power of his office to achieve goals that have been stymied by Congress. The new initiative comes as the White House is hosting a Solar Summit aimed at highlighting successful efforts on the local level to speed the deployment of solar energy…….

“Now is the time for solar,” said Anya Schoolman, executive director of theCommunity Power Network, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps communities build renewable energy projects. She will be honored at the summit Thursday.

“The costs are affordable, in reach of middle America and above. We know how to do it now, we know how to scale it, and we kind of just need people to let it go and encourage it,” she said.

In an effort to make it easier for state, local and tribal governments to expand their solar portfolios, the Energy Department is launching a $15 million-dollar “Solar Market Pathways” program………

States are starting novel ways to help commercial tenants access solar energy. In Connecticut, the state set up a green bank with taxpayer dollars. When a building owner wants to access capital for solar projects, the state puts a tax lien on the building and gives the owner a loan that must be paid back over 20 years, said Jessica Bailey of theConnecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.

Rhone Resch, president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, said solar is no longer an “afterthought” in the renewable energy conversation, accounting for nearly 30 percent of new electric in 2013.

“Without question, the Obama administration has been the most solar-friendly ever,” Resch said.

April 18, 2014 Posted by | politics, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

A promising new storage system for distributed solar energy

sunBreakthrough could help solve solar power’s biggest problem: Power generation at night Extreme Tech, By  on April 16, 2014 

One of the most fundamental barriers to the widespread adoption of renewable energy has been the inconvenient truth of planetary rotation. Solar power has advanced enormously over the past few decades but panel efficiency and solar concentration plants are of limited assistance when Apollo is busy elsewhere on the Earth. Now, researchers think they’ve found a partial solution to that problem by combining the known properties of one substance with everyone’s favorite technological advance: carbon nanotubes……….

What’s needed is a simple method of converting energy gathered during the day into a resource that can be tapped at night — and Timothy Kucharski, a post-doc at MIT and Harvard, thinks his team has found it.

Of photoswitches and nanotubes

Kucharski’s work is based on the well-known properties of azobenzenes. These are molecules, dubbed photoswitches, that have one particular molecular configuration by default but, when struck by certain frequencies of ultraviolet light, assume a new configuration, as shown below. (diagrams) ……..

The goal would be to create a short-term thermal battery that could be used to power a stove or other heat sources during the night after charging all day. A gravity system would be simple, with few moving parts. The long-term goal is to create a system that could be used to provide thermal power for entire buildings and to further increase efficiency.

While it’s not a full-scale solar battery, discoveries like this could make solar power far more useful in developing nations, which still rely primarily on wood or peat for cooking fuel.

April 18, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, energy storage | Leave a comment

$4billion boost to renewable energy and energy efficiency in USA

sunFlag-USAUS Plans New $4 Billion Renewables Support Program  17 April 14 The USA’s Department of Energy (DoE) has issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that could make as much as USD $4 billion in loan guarantees available.

  “Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” said Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.”
The five key technology areas of interest to the DoE are : advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities and efficiency improvements.
The Department’s Loan Programs Office has been no slouch in supporting renewables and energy efficiency; with more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments supporting dozens of projects throughout the nation. 
Among the beneficiary projects was the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, an 845 MW wind farm located in eastern Oregon. The Department of Energy provided a $1.3 billion partial loan guarantee that was crucial to the project’s success. Another project to benefit was the Agua Caliente Solar project, a 290-megawatt solar panel based power station Yuma County, Arizona. The Department of Energy provided a USD $967 million loan guarantee for this project.
Before the latest program is rolled out, the Department is inviting public comment; which will be considered in defining the scope of the final solicitation. The draft solicitation can be viewed here.
The DoE’s Loan Programs enables the body to work with private companies and financiers to mitigate the financing risks associated with clean energy projects, “and thereby encourage their development on a broader and much-needed scale.”

April 17, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Germany’s renewable energy output lowers European electricity prices

flag-EUflag_germanyElectricity Prices Fall In Europe As German Renewable Energy Output Increases  Gina-Marie Cheeseman | Tuesday April 15th, 2014  For the fifth consecutive month, electricity prices in countries neighboring Germany have decreased, recently released Platts data reveals, due in large part to increased solar and wind generation in Germany.

The Platts Continental Power Index (CONT), described as a “demand-weighted base load average of day-ahead contracts assessed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands,” dropped steadily in early 2014. The index decreased to €35.06 (or about $48.50) per megawatt hour in March, an 18 percent drop from February. Overall, the index is down by more than 39 percent since peaking at €50.50/MWh in November of last year.

“A mid-March surge in German wind output followed seven days of peak solar output, which rose above 20 gigawatts (GW) to a new monthly record of 23 GW on March 20,” Andreas Franke, Platts managing editor of European power and gas said in a news release.

“German power prices for March 16 delivery turned negative as wind power output rose above 24 GW combined with stronger solar production,” Franke continued. “Further along the curve, German year-ahead power prices fell below €34/MWh in March for the first time in more than nine years as the price CO2 fell drastically and coal prices retreated.”

Germany currently gets about 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and the goal is to increase that number to at least 80 percent by 2050. German wind and solar output for the first three months of 2014 increased by 40 percent — or 6.5 terawatt-hours — compared with last year, according to the Platts data. Wind power increased 31 percent from the first quarter of 2013, while solar power increased 74 percent from more than a year earlier. Germany’s combined wind and solar portfolio is more than 70 gigawatts, making them the country’s largest sources of power when measured by installed capacity.


Data for the past three years from the Fraunhofer Institute shows that wind and solar power generation increased, while energy generation from natural gas fired power plants decreased significantly. Solar and wind power generation in Germany in 2013 increased by 36 percent in export surplus from 2012 levels. Photovoltaic power also increased by 44 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Reuters reported last week that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a reform measure for the country’s renewable energy law. The reform measure “will slow the growth of green energy…and force new investors in green power to take some risk,” according to Reuters. The German government wants to keep electricity affordable while allowing the renewable energy sector to grow. And growth in renewables is something that the government wants. Under the reform measure, the government wants to increase renewable energy generation to 40 to 45 percent of total electricity production by 2025 and 55 to 60 percent by 2035.

April 16, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, Germany, renewable | 1 Comment

Renewable energy an effective, relatively cheap, weapon against global warming

UN Touts Ambitious (But Cheap) Investment in Renewable Energy Epoch Times, By | April 15, 2014 The world is warming rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, threatening everything from our food supply to our ecosystems, but the solution may be surprisingly cheap, according to the third and final reportfrom the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report recommends a rapid and aggressive switch from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables. While this isn’t exactly surprising, the new report finds that an ambitious green revolution would shave only 2-4 percent off total economic growth over the century, a figure that doesn’t take into account the economic benefits of shifting to clean energies.

“There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual,” Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, said. The IPCC’s Working Group III was responsible for the new report, which focuses on climate change mitigation; the first report explored the science behind current warming, while the second reported on the impacts.


The new report finds that global society must more than triple investment in green energies by 2050 in order to have a reasonable chance of keeping temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a goal agreed on by the world’s governments. However such a revolution–which would need to cut emissions to near zero by 2100–need not break the bank as some critics of climate change action have warned in the past.

“It is actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living,” co-chair Jim Skea told the Guardian. “It is not a hair-shirt change of lifestyle at all that is being envisaged and there is space for poorer countries to develop too.” According to the report, ambitious mitigation of climate change would reduce global economic growth–set at around 1.6 to 3 percent–by just 0.06 percent over the century. Moreover this analysis doesn’t take into effect the economic pluses of clean energy, such as reduced air and water pollution, new jobs, increased efficiency, and greater stability for energy prices.

“The loss in consumption is relatively modest,” the chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, told the Associated Press.

The report finds that this shift would reduce profits for the coal and oil industries, though may not hurt gas in the near-term; in fact, fossil fuel investments would need to drop by around $30 billion annually. Not surprisingly, lobbying from the powerful fossil fuel industry has proven one of the largest obstacles to governments taking bolder action on greenhouse gas emissions……..

according to the IPCC, the bulk of emissions reductions must come from a sped-up and scaled-up clean energy revolution and a phase-out of fossil fuels.

The IPCC, the world’s global authority on the science of climate change, releases new reports every six years meant to guide current negotiations over the global crisis. Nations are set to sign a new treaty on tackling global climate change in 2015….

April 16, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | 1 Comment

South Africa’s growth in renewable energy

Africa: South Africa to Procure Still More Renewable Energy APRIL 2014 South Africa’s Department of Energy is to increase the amount of energy it will be procuring under the third window of its renewable energy programme for independent power producers, Energy Minister Ben Martins announced on Tuesday.

In November, the department signed agreements with 17 new preferred bidders in the third round of the programme, following the signing off of 47 projects in the first and second rounds, bringing to 64 the total number of renewable energy projects approved by the government since December 2011.

Once they are all operational, the 64 projects – representing foreign and domestic investment of over R100-billion – will add around 3 900 megawatts (MW) of wind, solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power to South Africa’s energy mix.

On Tuesday, Martins said in a statement that this department would be allocating additional megawatts to the third window of the programme, thus including additional bidders, due to the increasingly competitive pricing offered by the round three bids.

Business Day reported in November that the average price offered for power generated from wind – which received the bulk of the third-round allocation – had dropped from R11.43 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the first round to R6.65/kWh in the third round.

“The department will, in this regard, follow due procurement process to include additional bidders under window 3,” Martins said, giving no further specifics.

He added that submissions for the fourth window of the programme, which entails the procurement of a further 1 000 MW of renewable energy, was on track to close in August. The programme has five windows altogether.

While renewable energy accounted for less than 1% of South Africa’s energy mix in 2012, this is expected to reach 12% by 2020. According to research released in October by analysts Frost & Sullivan, this would place South Africa in the “global top 15 countries” with regard to the implementation of renewable energy projects.

Announcing the latest 17 preferred bidders in November, Martins noted that South Africa was currently rated as the 12th most attractive investment destination for renewable energy.

“This bodes very well for South Africa, as the programme has achieved international acclaim for fairness, transparency and certainty of programme,” Martins said, adding that there had been a progressive increase in the local content and job creation numbers offered by the bidders.

The department’s director-general, Nelly Magubane, said that some bidders had exceeded the local content requirement of no less than 40%, with some indicating that their projects would involve up to 56% local content.

Martins said the energy sector was expected to play a major role in creating green sector jobs, developing skills and transferring technology into South Africa’s economy.

April 16, 2014 Posted by | renewable, South Africa | Leave a comment

Employment boost for South Africa due to renewable energy projects

Green energy IPPs create 14 000 jobs April 14 2014  Independent power producers (IPPs) using renewable energy had created about 14 000 jobs over the past three years, Energy Minister Ben Martins said on Friday. “One of the imperatives of government is to ensure that all departments assist in job creation. Through the independent power producers programme, more than 14 000 have been created,” Martins said following a summit with 61 IPPs. “At the meeting, we acknowledged and expressed appreciation of the fact that to date more than R100 billion has been invested into this particular sector.” IPPs are entities which either own and or operate facilities that generate electric power. They then sell the power to a utility, central government buyer or to end users. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Eskom and the Public Investment Corporation. Diplomats representing Denmark, Spain, Germany, Norway, and the UK were also present at the Pretoria meeting. Martins said the IPP project had brought significant direct foreign investment. – Sapa

April 16, 2014 Posted by | employment, renewable, South Africa | Leave a comment

Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute opened

renewable_energyFukushima embracing renewable energy research Apr 10, 2014   Fukushima, the area in Japan which felt the brunt of what is now one of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, is now hopefully turning over a new leaf amidst the struggle to rebuild and start the process of renewing that which was destroyed by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. It is now giving renewable energy a chance. On April 1, Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has just launched a renewable energy research and development center in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.

The Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, as it is called, opens three years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered catastrophic meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit east Japan in March 2011. Much of Japan took a negative view of nuclear power starting from that time, and it is a testament to that negativity that 48 of Japan’s commercial nuclear reactors are offline at the moment. In the meantime, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power have been in vogue in Japan. All of Japan’s renewable power sources are supplemental to fossil fuel-driven thermal energy at this point, but the situation may start to change.

Fukushima’s new R&D center will be at the center of a major project to develop the world’s most advanced energy technologies and make renewable energy Japan’s primary power source. Aside from the two new buildings, a solar power and wind power generation facilities also sit within the site. Major Japanese technology companies such as HitachiSharp and Panasonic have jumped into the project and will conduct R&D at the center. The goal of the center is to develop state-of-the-art renewable technologies for implementation in various areas of the country. These new technologies will include new solar power innovations that improve energy conversion efficiency and a wind power generation system using laser lights — all of it exciting for Japan if all goes according to plan.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Japan, renewable | 1 Comment

Japan’s energy efficiency success

energy-efficiency-manHow Japan Replaced Half Its Nuclear Capacity With Efficiency

flag-japanIs new coal really necessary in Japan? Lauri Myllyvirta and Justin Guay April 10, 2014 After the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011, Japan was in a seemingly impossible situation. A tremendous amount of conventional generation capacity, including the entire nuclear fleet, was unavailable, and the country faced the risk of power cuts during summer consumption peaks.

But miraculously, or seemingly so, in just a few short weeks Japan managed to avert the rolling power cuts that many believed inevitable. Even more impressive, the Japanese have turned these emergency measures into lasting solutions.

So how’d they do it without forcing people back to the Stone Age? Japan overcame this daunting task by tapping the cheapest and most widely available source of energy: energy efficiency and conservation. Much of the electricity savings were initially driven by a popular movement known as “Setsuden” (“saving electricity”). This movement emerged to encourage people and companies to conserve energy and prevent rolling power cuts. Simple measures such as increasing temperatures in homes and offices, “thinning” lighting by removing some of the bulbs and tubes, shutting down big screens and cutting exterior lighting enabled Japan to dramatically reduce power demand almost overnight (albeit at the cost of a small amount of personal comfort).

In addition to these measures, the dress code in offices was eased to reduce the need for AC, while commercial facilities were audited to identify potential savings.

These temporary measures have proven to have long-term impact. Continue reading

April 11, 2014 Posted by | ENERGY, Japan | Leave a comment

IKEA to produce nearly twice as much energy as it needs, from Illinois Wind Farm

Ikea’s Wind Farm to Produce More Energy Than Total US Footprint News, 10 April 14, Ikea has bought its first US wind farm, as it steadily moves toward running its stores completely on renewable energy.

At 98 megawatts (MW), Illinois’ Hoopeston Wind Farm is the companies biggest, single renewable energy investment to date. Currently under construction, it comes online early next year.

Impressively, it will produce 165% of the electricity consumed by all of IKEA US – 38 stores, five distribution centers, two service centers and one factory).

Located about 110 miles south of Chicago, the project will consist of 49 Vestas 2 MW wind turbines. “This investment is great for jobs, great for energy security, and

great for our business. Importantly, it’s great for the future of our
climate,” says Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer of Ikea Group.

“We are committed to renewable energy and to running our business in a way that minimizes our carbon emissions, not only because of the environmental impact, but because it makes good financial sense,” says Rob Olson, Chief Financial Officer of IKEA US. “We invest in our own renewable energy sources so that we can control our exposure to fluctuating electricity costs and continue providing great value to our

Apex Clean Energy is building the wind farm and will manage it after it comes online. “This project is an opportunity for Apex to work with a new type of investor and partner to expand wind energy development in this country,” says Mark Goodwin, President of Apex.

Worldwide, Ikea owns 206 wind turbines through its wind farm
investments in nine countries: US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany and Poland.

Ikea is also very active in solar. In the US, 90% of its buildings have rooftop systems, for a total of 38 MW across 20 states. A Colorado store incorporates geothermal and another is planned for a Kansas City-area store that opens this Fall.

And in Britain, Ikea will sell solar systems at all its stores in addition to furniture and housewares.

The company is investing $2 billion in wind and solar by 2015 and has invested $55 million over the past few years on efficiency upgrades. Worldwide, renewables provide 37% of the its total energy footprint right now – 305 stores in 26 countries.

Ikea’s goal is to generate as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes by 2020.

Last year, corporate leaders added over 445 MW of solar on 1000 buildings in 30 states, up 48% from 2012.  Ikea came in 5th place for total solar installed, after Walmart, Costco, Kohl’s and Apple.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Energy use could drop by 73% with Energy Efficiency

Japan Replaced Half Its Nuclear Power With Energy Efficiency. Could The U.S. Do Something Similar? Climate Progress,

“………Several years ago a team of researchers at Cambridge University estimated that the world could save 73 percent of its energy through efficiency measures. Changes like using thicker building installation, installing triple-paned windows, and lowering washing machine temperatures could help demand-side efficiency efforts supplant the slower pace of supply-side implementation of clean energy sources.


The U.S. residential sector consumes about 37 percent of the total electricity production in the country, at a per-household rate of more than double the U.K. does. Andrew Tarantola at Gizmodo recently published a thorough breakdown of why we’re so much more inefficient than our British counterparts:

It’s not just clothes dryers and A/C units. British appliances are also quickly outpacing their U.S. counterparts in terms of efficiency. In the U.K., chest freezers now consume 66 percent less energy than they did in 1990, upright freezers use 59 percent less, and new freezers use 55 percent less. Similarly, wet appliances like dishwashers and washing machines consume 39 percent and 32 percent less power, respectively, than they did in the 1990s.

U.S. appliances, while certainly more efficient than they were in the 1990s, cannot match these gains. Energy Star certified refrigerators, for example, only have to be 15 percent more efficient than non-qualified models or 20 percent more efficient than models that simply meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.

We live in bigger houses, we use more air conditioning and, a surprisingly significant factor — our cable boxes are always on. According to Gizmodo, a cable box and standalone DVR can use as much as 446 kilowatt hours a year, far more than those in the U.K. which go into sleep mode for the two-thirds of the day they’re not being used. However at a certain point the issue is not energy efficient options, but a will to utilize them. Studies have shown that when services get less expensive via gains in efficiency, Americans use more of them, offsetting much of the electricity savings. It took a natural disaster of epic proportions in Japan to change habits. What will it take here?

April 11, 2014 Posted by | ENERGY | Leave a comment


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