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Texas city staunchly right wing, just saving money with 100% renewable energy

Flag-USATexas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet, Guardian,  in Georgetown, 29 Mar 15 Georgetown, Texas decision not about going green: ‘I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,’ says city official News that a Texas city is to be powered by 100% renewable energy sparked surprise in an oil-obsessed, Republican-dominated state where fossil fuels are king and climate change activists were described as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers” by US senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

“I was called an Al Gore clone, a tree-hugger,” says Jim Briggs, interim city manager of Georgetown, a community of about 50,000 people some 25 miles north of Austin.

Briggs, who was a key player in Georgetown’s decision to become the first city in the Lone Star State to be powered by 100% renewable energy, has worked for the city for 30 years. He wears a belt with shiny silver decorations and a gold ring with a lone star motif, and is keen to point out that he is not some kind of California-style eco-warrior with a liberal agenda. In fact, he is a staunchly Texan pragmatist.

“I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,” he says. “We didn’t do this to save the world – we did this to get a competitive rate and reduce the risk for our consumers.”

solar,-wind-aghast

In many Texas cities the electricity market is deregulated, meaning that customers choose from a dizzying variety of providers and plans. In Houston, for example, there are more than 70 plans that offer energy from entirely renewable sources.

That makes it easy to switch, so in a dynamic marketplace, providers tend to focus on the immediate future. This discourages the creation of renewable energy facilities, which require long-term investment to be viable. But in Georgetown, the city utility company has a monopoly.

When its staff examined their options last year, they discovered something that seemed remarkable, especially in Texas: renewable energy was cheaper than non-renewable. And so last month city officials finalised a deal with SunEdison, a giant multinational solar energy company. It means that by January 2017, all electricity within the city’s service area will come from wind and solar power.

In 2014, the city signed a 20-year agreement with EDF for wind power from a forthcoming project near Amarillo. Taking the renewable elements up to 100%, SunEdison will build plants in west Texas that will provide Georgetown with 150 megawatts of solar power in a deal running from 2016 or 2017 to 2041. With consistent and reliable production the goal, the combination takes into account that wind farms generate most of their energy in the evenings, after the sun has set…….

while west Texas is an oil driller’s paradise, it is also sunny and gusty, making it a perfect corridor for renewable energy.

The region bordering New Mexico is one of the prime solar resource sites in the USand the wind whistles across the plains to such an extent that, as Scientific American pointed out last year, the state is America’s largest wind power producer – as well as leading the nation in the production of crude oil and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Renewable energy also uses much less water than traditional power generation – a bonus in a state where half the land and more than nine million people are affected by drought conditions, though Briggs said that for Georgetown, water conservation was only a “side benefit”………

Outside, Jon Klopf, a barber, sat on a bench enjoying a splendidly sunny Thursday afternoon.

“They were just looking out for the cheapest deal. That’s just business,” the 50-year-old said. “I don’t really think we should be relying too much on oil, even though they have to right now. That don’t last forever.

“Sun will, though. Long as the sun comes up, the wind will blow.”http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/28/georgetown-texas-renewable-green-energy

March 30, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Dow Chemical’s purchase of wind energy shows the big shift to renewables

What Dow Chemical’s Huge Wind Deal Says About Our Energy Landscape, Clean Technica March 27th, 2015 By Mira Inbar Recently, The Dow Chemical Company signed an agreement to purchase 200 MW of wind output from a wind farm under development by a subsidiary of Bordas Wind Energy in South Texas. The wind power will power the company’s Freeport, Texas manufacturing site.

Everything about this announcement is huge: Freeport is the largest integrated chemical manufacturing complex in the Western Hemisphere. The wind farm will encompass nearly 35,000 acres of land, and annually supply an amount of electricity that could power more than 55,000 Texas homes.

Dow is the first chemical company in the US to power a manufacturing site with renewable energy at this scale. Their decision to do so is a clear sign that the energy landscape in the United States continues to evolve and that companies today have far more choice when it comes to accessing sustainable sources of power than they did just a few years ago.

So, what does Dow’s huge wind deal say about our energy landscape and the future of power generation? Three things:

1. Accelerating technological innovation and deployment at scale is driving down the cost of renewable energy.,……..

2. Wind energy is a perfect hedge against fossil fuel cost volatility……..

3. Deals like this represent an efficient use of electricity markets……..

Earlier this year, Texas completed a ten-year, $6.8 billion effort to build a huge network of new high-voltage power lines to connect all corners of the state to a robust electricity market that has become one of the most efficient and transparent in the world. These new transmission lines create better access to the market for all forms of electricity generation and allow for more efficient real-time operations and trading. This visionary investment has fostered competition and innovation, giving manufacturing companies more choice in their electricity supply so that they can better manage their costs.

Access to a reliable supply of cost-effective energy is a key ingredient to revitalizing manufacturing in America. Powering manufacturing with renewable energy is just one smart move to secure a future of sustainability, growth, and huge long-term competitive advantage.

Mira Inbar is an independent consultant who works with energy and clean technology companies. She can be reached @mirainbar or mira.inbar@gmail.com    http://cleantechnica.com/2015/03/27/what-dow-chemical-huge-wind-deal-says-about-our-energy-landscape/

March 30, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Tea Party leader joins environmentalists to form GREEN TEA COALITION

Dooley, Debbie T PartyDuring the first 15 years of nuclear — nuclear subsidies from the federal government accounted for one percent of the federal budget. Despite all the talks about the subsidies solar has received, solar during its first 15 years has only accounted for one tenth of one percent of federal subsidy. 

to these elected officials who want the solar tax credit to expire, I say let’s expire all of the direct and indirect subsidies and tax credits that coal, nuclear, and oil are receiving as well. If they want to continue with the fossil fuel tax credits and the nuclear tax credits, then they should continue with the solar and wind tax credits. For every Solyndra they can point to, you can point to a nuclear reactor that’s over budget. 

Conservatives need to do their research. Do your research and you’re going to come to the same conclusion that I have, that we’ve been manipulated by groups with interests in fossil fuel into believing that green energy is bad

Why This Tea Party Leader Is  Seeing Green on Solar Energy As a founder of the Tea Party movement, Debbie Dooley may be an unlikely advocate for renewable energy. But in an e360 interview, she explains why she is breaking ranks with fellow conservatives and promoting a Florida ballot initiative that would allow homeowners to sell power produced by rooftop solar. 26 MAR 2015: INTERVIEW Environment 360 by diane toomey

Debbie Dooley’s conservative credentials are impeccable. She was one of the founding members of the Tea Party movement and continues to sit on the board of the Tea Party Patriots. She also serves as chairperson of the Atlanta Tea Party.

But on the issue of solar power, Dooley breaks the mold. To the consternation of some of her fellow conservatives, she has teamed up with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, first in  Georgia and now in Florida, to form the Green Tea Coalition. It’s an unlikely mix of conservative, environmental and other groups whose focus includes campaigning against the maintenance fees that utility companies charge solar customers. In Florida, the group is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would allow individuals and businesses to sell power directly to consumers.

In this interview with Yale e360, Dooley explains her motivations behind the solar energy campaign and why she’s willing to go up against conservative organizations when it comes to this issue. …

Debbie Dooley: My foray into becoming a strong advocate for decentralized energy began with a fight with a government-created monopoly in Georgia, Georgia Power. I believed that they had far too much power. Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, politics, USA | Leave a comment

India to get $1 Billion ExIm Bank Credit, nearly all of it for renewable energy development

piggy-ban-renewablesRenewables to Get Most of $1 Billion ExIm Bank Credit  (Bloomberg) 27 Mar 15 – Renewable energy developers will receive “the vast majority” of a $1 billion credit line the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. extended to India, the institution’s president said.

Regulatory policies in India, including terms for selling power, are conducive to financing solar- and wind-power projects, and make it easier for the bank to ensure it will be repaid, said Fred Hochberg, who is also chairman of the Washington-based lender.

The comments are an indication that the ExIm bank’s funding for renewables is poised to rise ….. The credit line sealed during President Barack Obama’s visit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January is part of the U.S. effort to back an unprecedented expansion of clean energy in developing nations and check rising pollution blamed for global warming.

India’s Ambitions

Modi wants to install by 2022 five times as many photovoltaics as the U.S. has now, an ambition that may cost $160 billion, according to the Council on Energy, Environment & Water, a research group in New Delhi. Obama wants India to join in a global deal limiting greenhouse gases, and India’s ministers are seeking financial support from the West to cut the cost of emissions.

The U.S. developer SunEdison Inc. announced in January plans to build as much as 5 gigawatts of wind and solar power in India, and First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. solar manufacturer, is also developing power plants in the country. Regulations in India permit power purchase agreements that extend as long as 20 years. That makes it easier for banks to finance solar and wind projects…….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-26/renewables-to-get-most-of-1-billion-exim-bank-credit

March 28, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, India, renewable | Leave a comment

UK’s official data show how renewable energy has overtaken nuclear

sun-championflag-UKUK: Solar grows 93% in 2014 as renewables overtake nuclearhttp://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/uk–solar-grows-93-in-2014-as-renewables-overtake-nuclear_100018792/#axzz3VWyAXbwj Renewable energy generated 19.2% of the U.K.’s electricity in 2014, government figures show, surpassing nuclear generation for the first time ever

Official data from the U.K. government has confirmed that renewable energy contributed more to the grid than nuclear power for the first time ever in 2014.

The statistics show that renewables accounted for 19.2% of electricity generation last year, ahead of nuclear power, which generated 19% of the country’s electricity.

Total renewable electricity capacity at the end of the year stood at 24.2 GW, which was 4.5 GW – or 23% – more than a year previously.

Although solar PV’s share of renewable generation was a mere 6%, the industry’s participation in electricity generation grew a massive 93% last year, boosted by the 2.8 GW of solar PV capacity added over the course of 2014. Solar PV powered 3.9 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity. No other renewable energy source grew as fast. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

50% of power from renewables in Scotland 2014

renewable_energyScotland: 50% powered by renewables in 2014 http://www.edie.net/news/6/Scotland–50–powered-by-renewables/ 26 March 2015, source edie newsroom Lucinda Dann
Scotland has met its 50% renewable electricity target a year ahead of schedule after a surge of 11.7% in the past year alone.

Figures published today (26 March) by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for renewable energy generation in 2014 reveal that 49.6% of gross electricity consumption came from renewable sources in Scotland last year – an increase from 44.4% in 2013.

The figures show that renewables generated 32% more electricity than any other single source of power in Scotland.

In total, the renewables sector generated a record 10.3TWh, compared to 7.8TWh2 from nuclear generation – previously Scotland’s main source of electricity. The figures also show that coal and gas-fired electricity generation produced 5.6TWh and 1.4TWh respectively over the same six-month period.  Historic  Wind made the most significant contribution to the total with 11,592 GWh, up 4% from 2013, and making it another record breaking year for wind. Bioenergy saw the biggest increase in output – rising 11.7% in the last year.

Scottish Renewables chief executive Niall Stuart said: “The announcement that renewables have become Scotland’s main source of electricity is historic news for our country, and shows the investment made in the sector is helping to deliver more power than ever before to our homes and businesses.

“Every unit of power generated from renewables means less carbon emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, decreases our reliance on imported energy and supports jobs and investment in communities across Scotland.”

Top priority  Energy Minister Fergus Ewing added: “2014 was also another record breaking year for wind output and the Scottish Government remains committed to continuing this upward trend. The recent independent survey by YouGov shows further support for the development of wind power, with an increase to 71 per cent in public backing.

“The Scottish Government has made its energy policy a top priority and has achieved great progress, despite being limited in terms of its devolved responsibilities. We look forward to proposals for more powers encompassing the necessary levers to deliver Scottish priorities.”

WWF Scotland said that for Scotland to meet its next renewable target in 2020, the offshore wind sector would have a major role to play.

WWF Scotland’s head of policy Dr Sam Gardner said: “To ensure the continued growth of this industry, attract supply chain investment, and continue to bring down costs, the next UK Government must provide a stable and sustained funding pipeline for offshore wind and clear volume signals in the 2020s.”

Scotland is significantly ahead of the rest of the UK, where renewables still only account for a fifth of all UK electricity. However this increase in greener energy generation has still contributed to an 8% drop in total emissions.

March 27, 2015 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Wind turbines in tree shapes to be installed in Paris

TREE SHAPED WIND TURBINES TO BE INSTALLED IN PARIS A French company called New Wind is installing tree-shaped wind turbines at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The company’s founder, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière came up with the idea while in a Paris square, when he “saw the leaves tremble when there was not a breath of air.” He hopes the trees can be used to exploit small air currents flowing along buildings and streets, and could eventually be installed in people’s yards and urban centres………http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/tree-shaped-wind-turbines-paris/

March 25, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, France | Leave a comment

France brings in law ordering solar or plant rooftops for new commercial buildings

Agua-Caliente-solar-projectFrance Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/20/3636746/franch-rooftops-go-green/ BY ARI PHILLIPS  MARCH 20, 2015  

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT UNDER FRANCE’S NEW GREEN ROOFTOP LAW.According to a new French law approved on Thursday, rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones across France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels.

Green roofs, which cover rooftop space with a layer of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other forms of flora, offer a number of benefits. They create an insulating effect, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building depending on the season. They increase local access to green space, which often comes at a premium in urban environments. They retain rainwater, thus decreasing runoff and any related drainage issues. They provide a space for urban wildlife, such as birds, to congregate and even nest, and they reduce air pollution by acting as natural filters.

 Green rooftops also significantly reduce the urban “heat island” effect in which urban areas are noticeably warmer than their surroundings. The heat island effect can cause large cities to get 1.8°F to 5.4°F warmer than surrounding areas in the day, and 22°F warmer at night,according to the EPA. This effect happens when buildings, roads, and other developments replace formerly open land and greenery, causing surfaces to become moist and impermeable, and to warm up.

Approved by French Parliament, the law was scaled back from initial proposals by environmental groups asking for green roofs to cover the entire rooftop surface of all new buildings. The compromise gave businesses a choice to install solar panels instead or to only cover part of the roof in foliage.

Even in a trimmed-down form, the law is trailblazing and will both change the urban landscape of cities across France as well as potentially inspire other countries to follow suit, especially with the United Nations’ climate summit coming to Paris at the end of the year.

France has lagged behind other major European countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in solar power development. As of last summer, France had just over five gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, accounting for around one percent of total energy consumption. Germany has nearly 40 GWs installed. France is heavily reliable on nuclear power for its energy, and nuclear generation in 2012 made upabout 83 percent of the country’s total generation.

March 22, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, France | Leave a comment

Rapid expansion of renewable energy predicted for Middle East

Renewables Poised For Massive Growth In The Middle East, Oil Price.com.  By Darrell Delamaide 19 March 2015 

Growing scale in renewable energy projects has sharply reduced the price of sustainable energy to near parity with fossil fuels, creating new opportunities for energy companies but also for investors.

This is the thrust of a report published this month by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi entitled “Financing The Future Of Energy,” prepared by the University of Cambridge and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report focuses on renewable energy prospects in the wider Gulf region – the ‘West-East corridor’ stretching from Africa into Central Asia – in the context of global energy development…….

Prices for new sustainable energy have fallen so dramatically in the past few years that perceptions have failed to keep up, the report says. The price for solar PV has fallen by 80% in six years, and onshore wind by 40%.

A new global benchmark for utility scale solar PV was set at the end of 2014, the report says, as the 200 MW Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) bid in Dubai showed that photovoltaic technologies are competitive with oil at US$10 per barrel and gas at US$5 per MMBtu.

For the last few years, the report says, more than half of the total investment in new electricity generation worldwide has been in renewable technologies. In 2014 alone, US$150 billion was invested in solar and US$100 billion in wind globally.

This kind of scale means that renewable energy projects can now draw on the full panoply of financing used for large infrastructure projects.

Recent wind and solar projects have used new financing approaches, such as securitization, aggregation and green bonds. These projects can also lend themselves to Special Purpose Vehicle financing, with the advantages this brings for limiting liability but also for channeling government input.

Government policies have an important role to play, not only in setting energy and environmental goals, but in providing guarantees in the form of power purchase agreements or procurement frameworks……http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Renewables-Poised-For-Massive-Growth-In-The-Middle-East.html

March 21, 2015 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, renewable | Leave a comment

Over 70 experts produce report showing Canada can have100% renewable energy

Complete shift to renewable energy within Canada’s reach, academics say IVAN SEMENIUK AND SHAWN MCCARTHY TORONTO and OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Mar. 18 2015, Canada could shift entirely to renewable sources of electricity by 2035 and eliminate 80 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, says a group of Canadian academics that is aiming to spur government action on climate change.

To get there, they recommend a national carbon-pricing plan, and greater effort to move electricity produced from low-carbon sources such as hydro dams across provincial borders.

In a 56-page policy document scheduled for release on Wednesday, more than 70 scientists, engineers and economists say Canada is in a more favourable position than most countries for a switch to renewable power, including large-scale hydroelectric. The most significant barrier is not technical or economic, but a lack of political will, they said.

The report says 77 per cent of Canada’s electricity is already produced without burning fossil fuels, and it has many sources of renewable energy.

“This is within reach. We could be the world leader … that’s a very important message for Canadians to understand,” said Catherine Potvin, an ecologist and Canada Research Chair in climate change mitigation at McGill University, who led the writing of the document.

The plan includes improvements to the east-west electrical grid so that energy that is produced where hydroelectric sources are abundant, such as Quebec, Labrador, British Columbia and northern Manitoba, to supply the rest of the country more efficiently.

Topping the list of policy recommendations is a move that would be anathema to Prime Minister Stephen Harper: a national program that would put a price on emitting carbon, either through a tax or a cap-and-trade system……..http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/complete-shift-to-renewable-energy-within-canadas-reach-academics-say/article23513579/

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Canada, renewable | Leave a comment

All ratepayers are helped by solar rooftops

Rooftop solar benefits all ratepayers http://safeenergy.org/2015/03/18/rooftop-solar-benefits-all-ratepayers/ Michael Mariotte The utility and fossil-fuel industries continue to spread a crude canard against the growing popularity of rooftop solar across America.

The lie goes something like this: Households and business that install photovoltaic panels are doing so at the expense of other electricity ratepayers because they are “subsidized” by those that don’t have solar panels.

The truth is this: Rooftop solar provides substantial benefits for everyone, regardless of who installs it. It helps power the homes and shops that adopt it, to be sure, but it has far-reaching benefits for other customers as well. If Jane Doe in Anywhere, USA, puts a solar panel on her roof, every other electricity ratepayer within the footprint of whatever regional grid Jane Doe is tied into will benefit as well.

solar rooftops

Honest purveyors of utility-industry fact know this, of course, and say it quite often. So, more and more, does Wall Street.No less a titan than Sanford Burstein & Co., one of the perennially best-rated firms in Institutional Investor’s annual rankings of investment researchers, has studied the issue deeply over the past couple of years and comes away with an unequivocal take on the issue: Rooftop solar, aka photovoltaic solar, means lower peak-hour energy prices for all.

Bernstein lays out the supporting research in a reported published last month that found that the rapid increase in the amount of solar PV available on the electricity grid in California—a seven-fold expansion in only four years, from 0.7 gigawatts in 2010 to 4.8 GW in 2014— had helped reduce system loads so much that peak prices were put off until later in the day, when demand was lower. Lower demand means lower prices.

That report went on to predict that the effect will be amplified inevitably across the state as growth in solar capacity continues. This will probably reduce the value of incremental additions of solar capacity on the California grid, but that’s not the point. The overarching conclusion is that all power consumers in California benefit from lower afternoon power prices, not just those that have rooftop solar PV panels.

The February report builds on earlier important work by Burstein & Co, notably a report the firm distributed to clients in November 2013. Titled “Tilting at Windmills: How Conventional Generators are Losing the Battle with Renewables,” that research found that the rapid growth of solar and wind resources (rooftop solar included) in four of the nation’s major electricity regions had suppressed the output of conventional coal and natural-gas fired generators. That’s good news because the trend also eroded the price at which the output of those conventional generators could be sold. Solar- and wind- powered electricity, in other words, drove market prices down.

This happened—and continues to happen—because renewable resources, which have zero variable costs, have displaced higher-cost conventional generation, lowering the marginal cost of supplying power competitively in wholesale markets or in states that do not regulate the retail price of electricity.

That particular Bernstein & Co. research also noted that by suppressing the output of conventional power plants, solar and wind generation had reduced demand for coal and natural gas. The firm estimated that some 52 million megawatt-hours of coal-fired generation and 42 million megawatt-hours of gas-fired generation was displaced in 2012 alone by wind and solar resources in the four regions it studied. This translates into a reduction of “coal burn” by approximately 30 million tons and “gas burn” by approximately .07 billion cubic feet/day. Bernstein & Co. also said this trend will continue too.

But back to rooftop solar for a second. In addition to driving energy market prices down, it brings environmental benefits by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and it acts as a hedge against fossil-fuel price spikes.

It’s in every ratepayer’s best interest. And that’s the truth.

Karl Cates is IEEFA’s director of media relations; David Schlissel is IEEFA’s director of resource planning analysis.

The original post on IEEFA’s website is here. http://ieefa.org/truth-rooftop-solar-capacity-benefits-all-ratepayers/

March 21, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

100% renewable energy powered Costa Rica for first 75 days of 2015

Costa Rica powered 100% by renewables for first 75 days of 2015 http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/costa-rica-powered-100-by-renewables-for-first-75-days-of-2015 By  on 19 March 2015 The Latin American country of Costa Rica has achieved the milestone of generating 100 per cent of its energy from renewable resources, with a combination of hydropower and geothermal for 75 days in a row, the the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said.

Boosted by good rains at four of he country’s main hydroelectric plants, ICE said that, according to National Electric System figures, it had not been necessary to use hydrocarbons to supply the country’s grid at all in 2015, for the months of January, February and so far in March.

“With these (rain) conditions and the reserves accumulated to date, the ICE estimates that the downward trend in rates for all consumers will continue in the second quarter,” the power agency was quoted as saying in the Latin American Herald Tribune.

Of course, Costa Rica already has an outstanding record on efficient, clean and cheap electricity generation, ranking No. 2 in Latin America for providing a household coverage rate of 99.4 per cent at some of the region’s lowest prices.

According to the transnational institute, 250kWh would be enough satisfy the monthly needs of low- and middle-income Costa Rican households, at a cost of around 7 per cent of the minimum salary.

And their record on renewables is very good too. The country generated as much as 80 per cent of its electricity from hydro power as recently as last year – although recent droughts had led to the back-up use of diesel fuel.

And in 2010 it was reported that about 13 per cent of the Latin American nation’s energy came from geothermal.

Now, Costa Rica is in the process of adding several big new geothermal plants, after a $US958 million proposal was approved by the government in mid-2014.

The project, which is being co-funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the European Investment Bank, is expected to be located in Guanacaste near Rincón de la Vieja.

The first plants are expected to generate about 55MW and cost around $333 million to build. Two other 50MW plants will be built as well, about 40km from the Pailas II plants.

Once operational, it is expected the plants could generate electricity at about five cents per kilowatt-hour.

March 21, 2015 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

100% renewable energy for Hawaii by 2040

renewable_energyHawaii aims for 100% renewable energy by 2040, REneweconmy By  on 13 March 2015 Hawaii is on track to pass legislation this year requiring the state to go 100 percent renewable by 2040.

Earlier this month, committees in the Hawaii House and Senate both unanimously recommended bills that would raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from the current target of 70 percent by 2030 to the ultimate goal of 100 percent by 2040. Hawaii has 100% renewabl eenergy had an RPS since 2001, and right now the state gets just over 21 percent of its power from renewable sources — a 12 percent increase in just six years.

“Even our utility is saying we can hit 65 percent by 2030, so 100 percent is definitely doable,” Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), sponsor of the Senate bill, SB 2181, and chair of Hawaii’s Energy and Environment Committee, told ThinkProgress. “This is huge for our state’s future. Each year, we spend $3 to $5 billion importing fossil fuels to power our economy. Our electricity bills are roughly three times the national average.”

The Aloha state is 2,500 miles from Los Angeles — about the same distance as New York City to L.A. — and its energy situation bears little resemblance to the mainland’s. Along with Alaska and Texas, it is one of only three states to have its own electricity grid — in fact, it has three of them for three different islands. In 2013, the state had the highest electricity prices in the nation due to its heavy reliance on imports. More than two-thirds of electricity generation on the island archipelago comes from imported oil; in the rest of the U.S., oil accounts for less than one percent of electricity generation.

As recently six years ago, more than 90 percent of Hawaii’s yearly electricity generation came from coal and oil. With renewable technologies rapidly advancing, Hawaii’s abundant solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal sources are moving in quickly as replacements for costly fossil fuels.

“We are on the leading edge of the 21st century renewable energy transformation,” Chris Lee (D), Sponsor of the House version of the bill, HB 623, and chair of the House Energy and Environment Committee, told ThinkProgress. Lee said he’s been pushing for a 100 percent RPS bill for three years, but that this is the first year there’s been overwhelming support to move forward……….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/hawaii-aims-for-100-renewable-energy-by-2040

March 18, 2015 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

The advance of solar energy about to disrupt fossil fuel industries

renewable-energy-world-SmIs renewable energy ready to disrupt fossil fuels? CNBC  @LeslieShaffer1 18 Mar 15 Prices of fossil fuels may be plumbing multi-year lows, but that’s not likely to keep them from being displaced by the advance of renewable energy, especially solar, analysts said.

“Renewable energy technologies are far further advanced than many may believe: solar photovoltaic (PV) and on-shore wind have a track record of successful deployment, and costs have fallen dramatically in the past few years,” Alex Thursby, chief executive of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), said in a report published this month. “In many parts of the world, indeed, they are now competitive with hydrocarbon energy sources.”

Read MoreFive crazy things being powered by the sun

Over the past few years, more than 50 percent of new investment in electricity generation capacity has been from renewable sources, with around $260 billion a year invested in renewable-energy technology over the past five years, said the report, which was prepared for NBAD by the University of Cambridge and PwC.

The cost of solar PV is down more than 80 percent since 2008 and modern wind turbines produce around 15 times more electricity than in the 1990s, it said………

The development of cost efficient electricity-storage technology may be the missing link on wider adoption, Deutsche Bank said.

“Solar plus storage is the next killer app that could significantly accelerate global solar penetration,” it said, adding it expects “significant progress” on improving the cost within five years.

—By CNBC.Com’s Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1 http://www.cnbc.com/id/102510242

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

IAE finds that renewable energy and efficiency are significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Renewable energy sources really making a difference! http://www.enn.com/business/article/48343 Global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn, according to new data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climatechange, the most important threat facing us today,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, recently named to take over from Maria van der Hoeven as the next IEA Executive Director.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year. The preliminary IEA data suggest that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought.

The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal.In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth – including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy – are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is both a very welcome surprise and a significant one,” added Birol. “It provides much-needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December: for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions are decoupling from economic growth.”

March 16, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

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