In the end, the solution might lie on a smaller scale: giving everyone the power to store their own power. Tesla is one company of several in this game: it recently announced a device called the Powerwall, designed for homes and businesses. It uses the same batteries as electric cars to store energy, either from renewables or cheap night-time electricity, ready to be used during the day.
If such systems become commonplace, we might all become a little more aware of where our energy is coming from, and how our own behaviour affects its use and production
The battery revolution that will let us all be power brokers, New Scientist 22 July 15
Companies are racing to find better ways to store electricity – and so provide us with cheaper energy when and where we want it “……... Although they are still dwarfed in most respects by the bulky lead-acid batteries found in almost every car on the road today, in 2015, lithium-ion batteries will account for around a third of the money spent on rechargeable batteries globally (see “Turn it on”), and just under a sixth of the total energy stored, according to French research firm Avicenne.
Half the world already gets more power from renewables than from nuclear, Quartz, 17 July 15 The dream of a low-carbon future thanks to nuclear power is already looking dated. The two most populous countries in the world—China and India—plus Japan, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Brazil already generate more electricity from (non-hydro) renewable sources than they do from nuclear, according to a global nuclear industry report (pdf). That’s 45% of the world’s population that rely on wind, solar, and other green energy more than they do on radioactive atoms.
the trend toward more renewable power will likely continue for some time. First, global opinion on nuclear energy soured after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, and as a result plenty of potential nuclearpower plants aren’t getting built. Power-hungry China, for instance, isslow to approve new nuclear power plants due to both government and public safety concerns. At the same time, though, it is investing heavily in wind power.
Faced with power crisis, Africa looks to renewable energy technology PCWorld 18 July 15
PV-Tech Storage-16 Jul 2015
12 miles from Fukushima’s shattered nuclear reactors, World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine gives hope
World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine Comes Online Near Fukushima Daiichi -bureau EnviroNews World News by Emerson Urry on June 28, 2015 – http://environews.tv/world-news/worlds-largest-offshore-wind-turbine-comes-online-near-fukushima-daiichi/ Fukushima Prefecture, Japan — A mere 12 miles from the full-blown triple nuclear reactor “melt-through” at Fukushima Daiichi on the eastern coast of Japan, sits a bafflingly huge, 620-foot-tall, 1,500-ton bladed beast — floating on a 5,000 ton platform in the water. The world’s largest floating wind turbine has three 270 foot long blades, can withstand 200 mile-per-hour winds, and will be able to generate “up to 7 megawatts of electricity,” making it the biggest offshore wind turbine on earth, according to Gizmodo, a popular science and technology blog.
Additionally, the downright lies and coverup perpetrated by both TEPCO and the Japanese Government surrounding the Fukushima crisis, have left a bad taste in the mouth of the population, leaving trust in the government at an all time low. Perhaps more government-backed, non-lethal energy innovations like the one just activated in Fukushima can start to rebuild the people’s trust in the government. Time will tell. – http://environews.tv/world-news/worlds-largest-offshore-wind-turbine-comes-online-near-fukushima-daiichi
- Switzerland has a long history of trying to be as self-sufficient and energy independent as possible. Although its energy supply system has served it well in the past, the country is now looking to turn away from its reliance on nuclear power and seeks to compensate for the energy lost from hydropower as a result of climate change……
In the latest issue of theBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, Dominic Notter of Empa discusses how the country aims to address this transition, finding a new supply mix that combines energy conservation, greater efficiencies, alternative energy sources, the “smart grid,” and the introduction of new technologies, so that Switzerland can secure its energy independence for the future……..
“The goal is to gradually phase out of nuclear power and into renewables by 2034, and to be largely independent of fossil fuels. Reaching it is based upon the idea of combining highly efficient energy production processes with substantial reductions in energy consumption.”Notter concludes: “Over the next four decades Switzerland faces a restructuring of its entire energy supply system. The new supply mix will be free from nuclear power, rather low in carbon intensity, and resting upon much higher efficiencies based on the newest and the most energy- efficient technologies- along with the developments of smart grids, decentralized power suppliers, hydropower, wind power, photovoltaics, biomass, wood, and the rigorous use of burning waste to generate energy whenever materials cannot be recycled […] A single “magic bullet” suitable for every purpose is not available. Switzerland most likely has to find its own energy supply mix, with the biggest sustainability potential.” Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by SAGE Publications. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150707102025.htm
Norway Could Be Europe’s ‘Green Battery’
Norwegian hydropower could make Norway the “green battery” of Europe — not by building new power plants, but by further developing the hydropower installations that were built out beginning at the ..
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Irena off to a clean start with new renewable energy app, The National Business LeAnne Graves June 30, 2015 The renewable energy sector has been growing fast, and more and more people – particularly potential investors – are seeking information on little known areas to venture into.
Although some forms of renewable energy have been around for decades, there has been almost no mapping of the industry. Sure, companies have looked into their particular areas of interests, but until the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, launched in 2009, there was little aggregated information available.
The organisation has now created an app to feed hungry minds on the subject – allowing users to search for renewable energy resources anywhere in the world, from sources such as wind, solar or marine, hydro, geothermal and bioenergy. And all this from their smartphone.
Launched last month, the Global Atlas pocket is a free app available for download on all platforms including BlackBerry 10, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
At present it claims to be the only global tool of its kind, combining 1,000 maps from 67 governments and 50 data centres.
The idea is that users can overlay information listed in the catalogue to help identify areas of interest for potential projects or business ventures…….
What are the pros of this app?
It’s important to remember that this is the first of its kind. So to begin with, Irena needed to grab whatever information is currently available on different markets and regions. It’s not an easy task. But you can select any place in the world to find out how much solar irradiation is present, ask if renewable energy could power 100 per cent of a particular island or even whether wind energy is a suitable prospect for the UAE…….. http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-life/irena-off-to-a-clean-start-with-new-renewable-energy-app
Rising number of local governments set targets to cut emissions
Twenty local governments, representing areas producing 5 percent of global climate-changing emissions, have committed to targets to cut those emissions, with the majority also setting goals for renewable energy, a platform uniting them said on Thursday.
Brazil lifts renewable energy target http://kwqc.com/2015/07/03/religious-leaders-want-presidential-candidates-to-discuss-renewable-energy/ Business Spectator-1 Jul 2015 The Abbott Government recently reduced Australia’s Renewable Energy Target significantly. After excluding hydro, the target would represent …
“We haven’t had that honest of a discussion,” said Lonnie Ellis. ” When people on the left are trying to score political points, and people on the right are avoiding the topic. We’ve got to challenge both parties on the issues.”
Last week Pope Francis came out in support of preventing climate change. The document issued by Pope Francis opened up new discussions on the topic. On Wednesday, Catholic and interfaith leaders joined clean energy advocates to ask Iowans to push for a cleaner planet.
“He sees climate change itself as a consequence of other problems, and to be honest, the primary problem the Pope Identified in his encyclical, is over-consumption of the earth’s resources by the wealthy,” said Father Bud Grant.
Report: The world will invest $ 3.7 trillion in solar by 2040,WP, By Chris Mooney June 23 The world’s energy portfolio will get vastly cleaner by the year 2040, says a new long-term energy outlook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance — but not clean enough.
Out to 2040, the world will see a jaw-dropping growth of solar energy, especially on rooftops. BNEF projects $ 3.7 trillion of solar investment in the next 25 years — 35 percent of new electricity-generating capacity. And $2.2 trillion of that investment will be for individual rooftops or other “local” installations, rather than large utility-scale arrays…….http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/06/23/our-solar-future-still-has-a-lot-of-coal-plants-in-the-background/?postshare=3131435158010724
Uganda set for Africa’s largest privately owned solar plant, Business Day, BY MATT SMITH, JUNE 09 2015, DUBAI — Access Infra Africa, a Dubai-based company, will launch what it says will be Africa’s largest privately owned solar plant in Uganda this year, part of plans to develop electricity projects in 17 African countries, mainly based on renewable energy…….. http://www.bdlive.co.za/africa/africanbusiness/2015/06/09/uganda-set-for-africas-largest-privately-owned-solar-plant?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_term=Africa%20big%20solar&utm_campaign=Climate&__surl__=IgD8d&__ots__=1434878107303&__step__=1
Chinese enterprise funds Middle East renewables, Independent Australia Anthony M Horton 18 June 2015, New reports confirm that the future of the Middle East is in renewables, which is already cheaper and more reliable than oil. The region is predicted to become a global green economic hub, reports Anthony M Horton.
FOLLOWING A grant worth US$310 million from Hanergy, a Chinese energy enterprise that produces thin-film solar technology, Jordan will expand its power grid and increase its renewable energy production by 1 Gigawatt. As a result of Hanergy’s assistance, Jordan will achieve its goal of increasing renewable energy capacity to 40 per cent (1.8 Gigawatts) by 2020.
Jordan began removing fossil fuel subsidies and created the country’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Fund a decade ago. This signalled the move to cleaner energy, and other Middle Eastern countries are also looking seriously at them. A report published by The Climate Group earlier this year (reported on 23 April) discussed the potential of the region to become a global green economy hub.
Their analysis, which was supported by the International Renewable Energy Agency, gave an overview of the current and future renewables landscape and explored the role that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would play in reshaping the world’s energy future, given the lessons it was learning from flagship projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in terms of the best opportunities and ways to upscale renewables.
The report also highlighted the increasing adoption of solar energy technologies as evidence of the growing appetite of the private sector……….https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/chinese-enterprise-funds-middle-east-renewables,7839
‘Green superpower’ Germany plots the way to a low-carbon world by closing Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant, SMH, June 20, 2015 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald
Leaving nuclear is not without its critics, especially among big utilities: Sweden’s Vattenfall is reportedly suing the German government for €4.7 billion ($6.9 billion) to compensate for its losses.
And yet, German policymakers seem determined to stick to an ambitious – and unilateral – goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent on 1990 levels, even if that means shutting near zero-carbon nuclear plants along the way. The cuts deepen to 55 per cent by 2030 and 80-95 per cent by 2050.
The country is also betting big that renewable energy mainly from wind, solar and hydro power will continue to surge beyond its current share of about 28 per cent of total supply…….
The dramatic plunge in renewable energy prices – with solar panels becoming about 20 per cent cheaper for every doubling of output – has undermined whatever business case existed for nuclear energy, Kraemer says.
“Solar is competitive with new coal and new nuclear [power plants], and even with old coal if you price the carbon emissions properly,” Kraemer says. [Andreas Kraemer, founder and director emeritus of the Ecologic Institute, a Berlin-based think tank.]
Germans freely admit that overly generous feed-in tariffs paid to those supplying renewable energy to the grid meant the country paid billions of euros too much to install solar panels on the roofs of some 3.5 million homes and small businesses in a country not known for its bounteous sunshine. Sunshine hours in Berlin, a relatively northern city, peak at an average of eight hours a day in May-July, but drop to just one hour by December, according to a local tourist guide.
The levy now costs users 6.17 euro cents (9¢) per kilowatt-hour, boosting residents’ costs for power to about 26 euro cents/KW-hour. [By contrast, this correspondent pays about 31¢ in Sydney for 100 per cent renewable power.]
The subsidies underpin Germany’s Energiewende, or energy transition, a policy which is gaining international attention. The word is apparently the most commonly searched-for German word, eclipsing angst and blitzkrieg, according to one local supporter.
Renewable energy’s share of the country’s total electricity supply has almost quadrupled. Nuclear’s share has roughly halved over the same period from 27 per cent to about 14 per cent………http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/green-superpower-germany-plots-the-way-to-a-lowcarbon-world-by-closing-grafenrheinfeld-nuclear-power-plant-20150619-ghpbcf.html
Calculating your renewable energy potential? There’s an app for that GreenBiz-19 Jun e1q5 Businesses and individuals can make use of a free smartphone app to calculate the renewable energy generation potential of a given location.
Town Topics 20 June15
An electric taxi has taken to the streets of Singapore in a bid to make the already green city more eco-friendly — and it’s tailored to the tropics.
Obama commits $4bn to form clean-energy investment clearinghouse, Guardian, Brandon Keim 16 June 15 US energy secretary announces new office of technology transitions to help facilitate financing by connecting would-be investors with clean-energy firms With $4bn and a new government office, the White House has unveiled its latest clean energy initiative and cast a subtle new role for the federal government: not only is it a funder of new research, of the latest solar converter or biofuel source, but it is also a market builder.
“One of the real challenges is the gap in financing clean energy,” said Ernest Moniz, US secretary of energy, at a press conference on Monday. “There is a continuing need for new capital investment.”
The new initiative follows on a White House pledge in February to organize mission-driven renewable energy investors, concentrating their impacts and providing information to would-be investors daunted by an unfamiliar clean-energy landscape.
At the press conference on Monday, Moniz and senior advisor Brian Deese fleshed out the details: $4bn in commitments from pension funds, family foundations and other so-called impact investors, and a newly unveiled office of technology transitions that will serve as an all-purpose informational resource for clean-energy investment…….
The initiative represents the latest stage in the Obama administration’s clean-energy policies. In some quarters, these are still synonymous with Solyndra, the California-based solar cell manufacturer that went bankrupt after receiving $535m from the US department of energy.
Yet that reputation is mostly unfair – and not just because the loan program responsible for the Solyndra deal is expected to turn a $5bn profit. The US now leads the world in wind energy production; the price of solar energy has plummeted, and adoption jumped…..http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/16/obama-administration-clean-energy-investment-initiative
EU on track to meeting 20% renewable energy target https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/news/eu-track-meeting-20-renewable-energy-target EU countries are well on the way to meeting the EU’s target for 20% renewable energy in the overall energy supply by 2020, a new report shows.
Presented on 16 June, the European Commission’s renewable energy progress report reveals that 25 EU countries are expected to meet their 2013/2014 interim renewable energy targets. In 2014, the projected share of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption is 15.3%.
“The report shows once again that Europe is good at renewables, and that renewables are good for Europe. We have three times more renewable power per capita in Europe than anywhere else in the rest of the world. We have more than one million people working in a renewable energy sector worth over €130 bn a year and we export €35 bn worth of renewables every year,” Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said.
The EU’s 2020 renewables target has resulted in around 326 Mt of avoided CO2 emissions in 2012, rising to 388 Mt in 2013. It has also led to a reduction in the EU’s demand for fossil fuels to the tune of 116 Mtoe (2013 figure), boosting the EU’s security of energy supply.
Just three EU countries are falling slightly behind in meeting their targets, and, since the interim targets will become tougher in the coming years, some EU countries will have to intensify their efforts and make use of mechanisms which allow them to cooperate with other EU countries, the report says.
It also noted that renewable energy is now a widely accepted, mainstream source of energy, with the 2020 targets being a key driver for European-led global investments in renewables and a source of inspiration for other countries the world over which now have their own targets.
The report also examined the EU’s target for 10% renewable energy in transport. The 2014 projected share is 5.7% meaning that achieving the target will be challenging but feasible, with some EU countries making good progress.
The EU publishes a progress report on renewable energy every two years.
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