All over the world, renewables are beating nuclear David Elliott, 18 Dec 2014, The Ecologist http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2681228/all_over_the_world_renewables_are_beating_nuclear.html
As flagship nuclear projects run into long delays and huge cost overruns, solar and wind power are falling in price, writes David Elliott. Renewables already supply twice as much power as nuclear. It’s just too bad the nuclear-fixated UK government hasn’t noticed.
Renewables are winning out just about everywhere. They now supply over 19% of global primary energy and 22% of global electricity. Nuclear is at 11% and falling. Continue reading
In light of these figures, clean energy trade association RenewableUK claims that David Cameron was wrong to attack onshore wind earlier this week, when he claimed that the public was “fed up” with onshore windfarms and said the country did not need any more subsidised turbines on land now that the energy source was capable of providing 10% of UK energy.
“Their understanding of the importance of generating clean power from home-grown sources stands in sharp contrast to the misguided and quite frankly ignorant comments by the Prime Minister earlier this week, when he wrongly suggested that people are fed up with wind.”
According to a BBC article, the average person in the UK uses 10% less electricity than five years ago ……..http://www.edie.net/news/6/Cameron-was-wrong-to-attack-onshore-wind–says-RenewableUK/
Renewable energy-powered vehicles can save lives http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/auto/news/auto-technology/renewable-energy-powered-vehicles-can-save-lives/articleshow/45533794.cmsBy IANS | 16 Dec, 2014,NEW YORK: Driving vehicles that use electricity from renewable energy instead of gasoline could reduce the resulting deaths due to air pollution by 70 percent, says a study.
Switching from gasoline to those fuels would increase the number of resulting deaths due to air pollution by 80 percent or more.
“These findings demonstrate the importance of clean electricity, such as from natural gas or renewable sources of energy, in substantially reducing the negative health impacts of transportation,” said study co-author Chris Tessum from University of Minnesota, US.
Air pollution increases rates of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory disease.
The researchers estimated how concentrations of two important pollutants – particulate matter and ground-level ozone – change as a result of using various options for powering vehicles. They looked at liquid biofuels, diesel, compressed natural gas, and electricity from a range of conventional and renewable sources.
“Our work highlights the importance of looking at the full life cycle of energy production and use, not just at what comes out of tail pipes,” co-author of the study Jason Hill pointed out.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The move by state-owned China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN), set to be announced on Monday, would be its first big acquisition of onshore wind generating capacity in the west………
The agreement with EDF could help smooth talks on a bigger deal to build Britain’s first nuclear power plant in a generation, at Hinkley Point in Somerset………
The Chinese group will pay EDF more than £100m, analysts estimate, for an 80 per cent stake in the sites. Together, the sites generate more than 70 megawatts of electricity — enough to serve nearly 40,000 homes.
EDF will retain a 20 per cent stake in the three wind farms and continue to operate the turbines. It will also buy the electricity generated……….
The deal’s timing is significant: it comes as EDF, one of the Britain’s “big six” energy suppliers, looks to finalise agreement with possible investors, including CGN and China National Nuclear Corporation, on the financing of Hinkley Point C, the new nuclear power plant expected to cost £24.5bn.
The Chinese companies have been pushing for a bigger role in the plant’s construction and want a substantial share of the supply contracts, a demand that has complicated negotiations.
They also want ownership of another nuclear site, at Bradwell in Essex, with the aim of building their own reactor. Discussions over that have been a stumbling block. EDF is aiming to make a final investment decision early next year.http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/db8c9540-838f-11e4-9a9a-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3LzcYrpGa
Energy Co. are expected to propose new community solar projects starting in 2015, although officials for the two largest utilities in Michigan say they can’t yet be precise on the amount of renewable energy they will generate.In a filing with the Michigan Public Service Commission in late November, Jackson-based Consumers Energy said it intends to submit an amended renewable-energy plan to the commission by Jan. 23. The filing proposes up to 10 megawatts over three years through unspecified community solar pilot projects.
Detroit-based DTE, which had its two-year renewable-energy plan approved last December, is also expected to submit a community solar plan in 2015, following a commission-ordered solar work group report.
This year, DTE has been studying how to add large-scale community solar to its blend of renewable-energy projects. Depending on customer demand, DTE could add more than 22 megawatts of energy in community solar projects over the next few years, said David Harwood, DTE’s director of renewable energy.
Earlier this year, the commission work group report said DTE and Consumers easily could double their collective 28-megawatt solar power customer programs by at least 50 megawatts over the next 18 months.
The work group suggested DTE and Consumers could do so by expanding their customer-owned solar projects and add community solar for customers unable to participate in rooftop solar.
A community solar program, an alternative to rooftop solar panel systems, allows customers, investors and utilities — or a combination — to build large solar panel arrays on neutral sites to share power generation and cost savings. ………….
3 Best Renewable Energy Stocks for 2015 Nasdaq By Motley Fool, December 14, 2014 We’re halfway through the 2010’s and renewable energy is no longer an uneconomical pipe dream conjured up by wishful thinkers. Wind energy, solar energy, and first-generation biofuels for blendstock applications are all competitive with incumbents in their respective markets — and the economics will only improve throughout the remainder of the decade. It may take
another several decades for each technology group to steal a substantial market share, but advances in wind turbines, rooftop solar, and efficient fuel production processes promise to add competition to fossil fuel projects. We’ve asked some of our top energy analysts which renewable energy stocks they’re eying for 2015. Here’s what they’re focusing on……..http://www.nasdaq.com/article/3-best-renewable-energy-stocks-for-2015-cm423026
Solar Rises in Malaysia During Trade Wars Over Panels, NYT, By KEITH BRADSHERDEC. 11, 2014 KULIM, Malaysia — Tucked away in this former tin-mining town, past the small farms of banana trees and oil palms, is one of the solar industry’s best-kept secrets.
The six factories here with cavernous rooms up to one-third of a mile long constitute the production backbone of First Solar. Working alongside minivan-size robots adapted from car assembly plants and other industries, 3,700 employees produce five-sixths of the American company’s solar panels. Workers in Ohio make the rest.
The list of manufacturers is long. Panasonic of Japan has a solar panel factory a mile down the road. SunEdison makes wafers 60 miles away in Chemor. Hanwha Q Cells and SunPower have giant factories even farther south, while Solexel, a Silicon Valley start-up, is preparing to build an $810 million solar panel factory in stages.
Malaysia, a Southeast Asian nation with just 30 million people, is the biggest winner in the trade wars that have embroiled the solar sector. As Chinese companies have been hit with American tariffs and European quotas, Malaysia has increasingly attracted multinationals with its relatively low labor costs, lucrative tax breaks, warm relations with the West and abundance of English-speaking engineering talent.
Malaysia is now the world’s third-largest producer of solar equipment, trailing China by a wide margin but catching up rapidly with the European Union. And Malaysia’s role in the global solar trade is only likely to increase in the coming months if the American government broadens tariffs on panels made in China next Tuesday as expected……
The solar manufacturing boom in Malaysia has been almost invisible, a rarity in an industry known for heavily promoting even the smallest factory opening or new solar panel farm as progress toward cleaner energy……..
Trade wars have helped some American companies. SolarWorld, a big manufacturer that has led trade litigation against China, recently said that it was expanding capacity by 150 megawatts and adding 200 jobs at its main solar panel factory in Hillsboro, Ore. It partly pointed to the trade actions that had slowed the flood of Chinese imports.
But production in Malaysia, already triple the United States’ output, is rising faster. The latest project underway in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, is an 800-megawatt solar module factory for Hanwha Q Cells. First Solar is putting the finishing touches on a 100-megawatt factory here to supply the Japanese market.
Malaysia is a beneficiary of the complex interaction of global trade rules, economic competitiveness and environmental policies in the solar industry. Tariffs have had the most immediate effect………. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/12/business/energy-environment/solar-rises-in-malaysia-during-trade-wars-over-panels.html
Wind Power Provided 107% of Scotland’s Home Electricity Needs In November http://sustainnovate.ae/en/industry-news/detail/wind-power-provided-107-of-scotlands-home-electricity-needs-in-november 10 December 2014 | Posted by Zachary Scotland is an amazing leader in the renewable energy space. As I wrote last month,renewable energy provided more electricity than either nuclear energy, coal, or natural gas in the first half of 2014 in Scotland. It aims to get 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025, one of the most ambitious targets in the developed world.
In October, wind energy provided 126% of home electricity demand. While that was a great month for wind energy, it wasn’t a wild fluke. WWF Scotland reports that, in November, wind power again provided over 100% of the country’s residential electricity needs, 107% this time. Producing 812 TWh of electricity, that’s enough for 2.6 million Scottish homes.
Scotland has excellent wind resources, but it also has great political leadership and is attractive to industry leaders.
“While Torness nuclear power station had to be shutdown unexpectedly, November turned out to be another big month for wind power in Scotland, with enough pollution-free electricity generated to supply 107 per cent of Scottish households with the electricity they need,” said WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks. “Even on calmer days, when wind wasn’t at its strongest, wind still supplied the equivalent of almost a third of electricity needs of every home. It’s clear that wind is now a critical and growing part of our current power sector.”
The highest wind power output during the month was on November 11, when 55,611 MWh of electricity were produced by wind turbines. That was enough to supply 5.34 million homes with electricity, or 221% of Scottish homes.
The data above was provided by WeatherEnergy and analysed by WWF Scotland.
Record wind power levels as new research shows clear majority back wind energy projects near them, Renewable UK, 9 December 2014
RenewableUK was today celebrating a new daily record amount of electricity generated from wind. Official National Grid figures showed that on Sunday 7th December an average of 7.315GW of power was produced by wind farms. The previous record was 7.234GW. This means that the equivalent of 43% of all GB homes were powered by wind on Sunday.
RenewableUK also commented on research carried out by Accent for the Energy Institute and New Power Magazine which showed that 61% of people would accept a wind turbine, or several turbines, within five miles of their home. The research, which was carried out in November, among householders throughout the UK, found that only 24% of people would welcome a gas extraction site with possible fracking near them, and just 18% backed local nuclear. The only technology with more popular support than wind was solar PV.
The survey also showed that 54% of UKIP voters, and 57% of Conservative voters support wind energy within 5 miles of their home, despite the leaders of their parties opposing onshore wind.
Renewable Energy Growth Opportunities In Latin America & Caribbean Clean Technica, December 12th, 2014 by Joshua S Hill The renewable energy focus has slowly been shifting away from traditional national powerhouses in Europe and North America towards developing nations, primarily across the Southern Hemisphere. A new report published by the Worldwatch Institute has analysed the particular market barriers and growth pathways available for two specific regions, Latin America and the Caribbean, and found that renewable energy growth could address significant economic, social, and environmental challenges.
The report, Study on the Development of the Renewable Energy Market in Latin America and the Caribbean, published Wednesday, was designed to identify renewable energy growth opportunities and barriers, and offer up specific methods to overcome these challenges.
“Our goal was to prepare a concise and comprehensive report on the current status of, and powerful drivers for, renewable energy in the LAC region,” says Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch’s Director of Climate and Energy and the project leader.
“We identify key technology, market, and policy barriers, as well as concrete instruments to overcome them. Because of the region’s high vulnerability to extreme weather events, we specifically address the energy sector’s climate change adaptation needs. And we provide a clear set of recommendations to multilateral banks for how to best fulfil their important role in supporting renewable energy development and deployment.”
Of particular interest were the particular opportunities to address key economic, social, and environmental challenges that investing in renewables will provide Latin America and the Caribbean. The authors of the report identified several such challenges, including:
- Achieving universal access to electricity
- Meeting future electricity demand
- Transforming the electricity system
- Mitigating and adapting to climate change
The report claims that, even dismissing large-scale hydro, Latin America and the Caribbean have the potential to generate more than 78,000 TWh of electricity from renewable energy sources, enough to meet the region’s current and future energy needs many times over.
“The falling prices of renewables, their abundance, their complementarity, and their reliability today make renewable energy an economically favorable alternative to all conventional technologies in almost all countries of the region—if there is open and fair competition,” says Ochs. “But in many places, existing policies still support fossil fuels, and additional hindrances often exist, including social, market, and finance barriers. Governments have a responsibility to address these, and multilateral banks have important tools to support them.” http://cleantechnica.com/2014/12/12/renewable-energy-growth-opportunities-latin-america-caribbean/
South Africa to announce 1,000 MW of renewable energy contracts Fri Dec 12, 2014 JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa will announce a series of renewable energy projects on Monday that will add 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power into the country’s constrained electricity grid, sources close to the deals told Reuters……http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKBN0JQ19W20141212
The international community has at its disposal more than sufficient renewable resources and the technical capabilities to sustainably harvest these sources. And given the total cost calculations mentioned earlier, we have a moral responsibility to do so. The time for a transition, then, is now. An Energiewende by any other name will still smell as sweet
How Germans Go Green Germany is laying out a model for how to gut greenhouse gas emissions.US News.com By Michael Shank and Johann Saathoff Dec. 9, 2014 With the German government’s reaffirmation this month of carbon emissions reduction goals of 40 percent by 2020, and its courageous commitment to phase out coal, the country is now leading the world with an aggressive and unparalleled climate action plan. This sets a new bar for nations gathering in Lima, Peru, for climate talks.
Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende, and its aggressive goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is a direct result of experiencing, firsthand, the risks that come with dirtier and more dangerous fuels. Germany first targeted nuclear and now it’s targeting coal – and for good reason.
Phasing out nuclear energy was a decision based on two factors Germans found so convincing that they now won’t even accept nuclear power as a bridge technology: the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe and the question of nuclear waste storage.
The decision to opt-out of nuclear power started with Chernobyl, and the nuclear contamination of Germany 28 years ago, and it ended with the Fukushima disaster. By then, nuclear power had lost all traction with the German public. Additionally, there was no conclusive evidence of how to deal with nuclear waste responsibly. This meant that the true cost of producing a kilowatt-hour of nuclear energy remained unknown, leaving most Germans skeptical.
That nuclear rationale is relevant to Germany’s current response to coal. While coal’s catastrophic risks may not be as immediately visible as Chernobyl or Fukushima, the costs are equally immense. Both nuclear and coal come with an incredibly high capacity to contaminate natural resources. And nuclear and coal pollutants don’t disappear over time. They accumulate and contaminate quickly and the consequences will be borne most heavily by future generations.
On nuclear, disposing radioactive waste in deep rock formations with high radiation density and little geological activity is not a sustainable option. Leaks are likely and already occurring. On coal, a vast quantity of heavy metals, toxins and radioactive substances are emitted by all power plants that use coal for electricity generation. Even the most modern and effective filters do not enable coal-fired power plants to be zero emission.
Coal-fired power plants, in particular, emit large amounts of greenhouse gases that have a direct impact on global warming and the inevitable rise of sea levels, as well as extreme weather events. And coal’s contaminating potential is indiscriminate, transcending boundaries and borders, and equally culpable for catastrophic consequences…………….
A responsible alternative, then, if carbon taxes and trading mechanisms are unfeasible or fallible, is to ramp up renewable energy investments, as Germany has done with its Energiewende and will continue to do. And why not: The international community has at its disposal more than sufficient renewable resources and the technical capabilities to sustainably harvest these sources. And given the total cost calculations mentioned earlier, we have a moral responsibility to do so. The time for a transition, then, is now. An Energiewende by any other name will still smell as sweet. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2014/12/09/germany-commits-to-alternative-energy-not-coal-or-nuclear
Solar, wind cost-competitive for peak energy, study finds,CBC News 8 Dec 14, Solar and wind power are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional forms of electrical power, including coal and nuclear, even without subsidies, according to a new study.
“The economics of alternative energy have changed dramatically in the last decade,” said George Bilicic, global head of the power energy and infrastructure group at Lazard Ltd. and author of the report.
“Utilities still require conventional technologies to meet the energy needs of a developed economy, but they are using alternative technologies to create diversified portfolios of power generation resources. The cost for utilities to generate energy from photovoltaic technologies has fallen by nearly 20 per cent in the past year, and nearly 80 per cent in the last five years, he said.
China’s entry into the solar panel business has helped push down the cost of solar technologies.
‘What’s most interesting about renewable and the mature area right now is utility-scale wind on land and utility-scale solar on land’- George Bilicic, Lazard
As a source of peak energy — that is, power at times when there is the greatest demand on the electrical grid — photovoltaics are more flexible and cost-competitive than conventional technologies, Bilicic said.
“What’s most interesting about renewable and the mature area right now is utility-scale wind on land and utility-scale solar on land. That is the most financeable and the most cost-effective,” he said in an interview with CBC’s The Exchange with Amanda Lang.
Lazard has published the study, called Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, since 2008 and has a perspective on the fall prices.
It found land-based wind power has dropped in price — as much as 60 per cent in the last five years, though off-shore power remains expensive……….http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/solar-wind-cost-competitive-for-peak-energy-study-finds-1.2781609
Renewable energy overtakes nuclear as Scotland’s top power source, Guardian, Jessica Shankleman 27 Nov 14 Clean energy produced more power in Scotland than nuclear, coal or gas for the first time, in first half of 2014 industry figures show, reports BusinessGreen
Renewable energy in Scotland from wind farms, hydro power plants and other clean technologies provided the single largest source of electricity to the country for the first time, in the first half of 2014, new industry figures will show on Thursday.
Analysis by the trade body Scottish Renewables shows that renewables produced nearly one third more power than nuclear, coal or gas in the first six months of the year, generating a record 10.4 terawatt hours (TWh) during the six-month period.
The analysis was compiled by comparing Energy Trends data produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) on renewable energy output with figures produced by National Grid on coal, gas and nuclear power.
Many renewable energy sources do not feed into the National Grid, and instead are part of a local distribution network, meaning it is difficult for National Grid to compare how renewables are fairing compared to traditional sources of energy.
Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said the record figures marked “an historic” moment for the renewable energy industry, as well as a major milestone for the Scottish government’s plans to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020…….
Scotland’s Business, energy and tourism minister, Fergus Ewing, said the figures highlight the potential that renewable energy has to replace nuclear power.
“The fact that energy from renewables has exceeded that from nuclear in the first half of 2014, highlights the vast potential of renewable generation to provide a safe, secure and cost-effective means of electricity generation for this country, together with appropriate levels of thermal generation,” he said. “It is vital that appropriate support for renewables in Scotland is maintained following the introduction of electricity market reform in the UK.”…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/27/renewable-energy-overtakes-nuclear-as-scotlands-top-power-source
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