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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Desalinising water for drinking, by use of a Solar-powered Pipe

solar pipe desalinate California

Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for
California, http://inhabitat.com/solar-powered-pipe-desalinizes-1-5-billion-gallons-of-clean-drinking-water-for-california/ Inhabitat, by , 29 aug 16 
The infrastructure California needs to generate energy for electricity and clean water, which will be significant, need not blight the landscape. Designs like The Pipe demonstrate how the provision of public services like these can be knitted into every day life in a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing way. A finalist of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Pier, the solar-powered plant deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for the city and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the Pacific Ocean.

“LAGI 2016 comes to Southern California at an important time,” write Rob Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian,co-founders of the Land Art Generator Initiative. “The sustainable infrastructure that is required to meet California’s development goals and growing population will have a profound influence on the landscape. The Paris Climate Accord from COP 21 has united the world around a goal of 1.5–2° C, which will require a massive investment in clean energy infrastructure.”
For this particular competition, LAGI asked designers to submit proposals that incorporate either an energy or drinking water component, since they are inextricably intertwined, or both. Khalili Engineersfrom Canada chose to power an electromagnetic desalination device using solar power. And – in keeping with the public art and educational aspect of LAGI’s overall environmental and social crusade – The Pipe is a beautiful design that allows people to seamlessly interact with their source of drinking water without any of the unpleasant side effects typically associated with energy generation.
“Above, solar panels provide power to pump seawater through an electromagnetic filtration process below the pool deck, quietly providing the salt bath with its healing water and the city with clean drinking water,” the design team writes in their brief. “The Pipe represents a change in the future of water.”

According to Khalili Engineers, their design, a long gleaming thing visible from Santa Monica Pier, is capable of generating 10,000 MWh each year, which will in turn produce 4.5 billion liters (or 1.5 billion gallons) of drinking water. Given the current drought throughout California, and the dearth of water in general, a variety of urban micro generators such as this can complement utility-scale energy generation.

“What results are two products: pure drinkable water that is directed into the city’s primary water piping grid, and clear water with twelve percent salinity. The drinking water is piped to shore, while the salt water supplies the thermal baths before it is redirected back to the ocean through a smart release system, mitigating most of the usual problems associated with returning brine water to the sea.”

The winners of LAGI 2016 will be announced on October 6, 2016 at Greenbuild 2016.  + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica  + Khalili Engineers

August 29, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA, water | Leave a comment

In 2016 every month has been a record breaker for Renewable Energy Generation

Sun and wind.Flag-USARenewable Energy Generation Breaks Records Every Month in 2016 http://www.ecowatch.com/renewable-energy-breaks-records-1987755555.html   DeSmogBlog  By Mike Gaworecki, 29 Aug 16

Electricity generation from wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies have set monthly records every month so far in 2016, based on data through June released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Wednesday.

“Both hydroelectric and nonhydroelectric renewables have contributed to this trend, but in different ways. After a lengthy West Coast drought, hydro generation has increased and is now closer to historical levels. Nonhydro renewable generation continues to increase year-over-year and has exceeded hydro generation in each month since February 2016,” the EIA said.

According to EIA’s data, net U.S. electricity generation from non-hydroelectric, utility-scale renewables—biomass, geothermal, solar and wind—through June 2016 was 17 percent higher than in the first half of 2015. Electricity generation from conventional hydropower also rose, by nearly 12 percent. Combined, production from all utility-scale renewable sources was up 14.5 percent compared to the same period in 2015.

Not only has electricity generated by renewables exceeded previous levels in every month so far in 2016—in other words, more renewable energy was produced in January 2016 than any other January on record, more renewable energy was produced in February 2016 than any other February and so on—but renewable utility-scale electricity generation hit an all-time high of 16.55 percent of total domestic generation.

Those weren’t the only records broken, either. Utility-scale wind rose 23.5 percent in the first half of 2016, setting a new six-month record of 5.96 percent of total generation.

Meanwhile, generation from utility-scale solar thermal and photovoltaics grew by 30.3 percent and accounted for 0.87 percent of total utility-scale electrical output. The EIA also estimates that distributed solar photovoltaics or rooftop solar systems, expanded by 34.3 percent. Combined, utility-scale and distributed solar comprised 1.26 percent of total generation. A year ago, solar was responsible for just 0.94 percent of electricity generation.

Together, wind and solar grew by nearly 25 percent over the first half of 2015 and now provide almost as much electricity as conventional hydropower. Biomass and geothermal were the only renewable sources tracked by the EIA that have experienced declines so far in 2016.

Of course, renewables aren’t the only record-breakers out there. July 2016 was the 15th record-breaking month in a row in terms of global temperatures, data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association showed. And Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, reported that July 2016 was also “absolutely the hottest month since the instrumental records began.”

Electricity generated from coal plummeted by more than 20 percent and nuclear power stagnated, growing just one percent, per the EIA data. Generation fueled by natural gas, on the other hand, was up by 7.7 percent.

Still, Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, noted that renewable energy has continued to defy projections.

“Renewable energy’s share of net electrical generation for the balance of 2016 may dip a little because electrical output from wind and hydropower sources tends to be highest during the first six months of each year,” Bossong said. “Nonetheless, the data thus far is swamping EIA’s earlier forecast of just 9.5 percent growth by renewables in 2016.”

August 29, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Tech giants investing in clean renewable energy

How Google and other tech giants are betting big on clean energy,   https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/google-is-betting-big-on-clean-energy?utm_content=buffer34c08&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer Joe Myers, Google has bought the future output from two huge wind farms in Norway and Sweden.

Part of the company’s drive to power itself entirely using renewable sources, the electricity will be used to run its European data centres. The farms are yet to be built though.

The Norwegian project, consisting of 50 turbines near Stavanger, will be ready late next year. The 22 turbines near Mariestad in Sweden, are set to be completed in early 2018.

Google going green The announcement is the latest in a series of power purchase agreements completed by the Silicon Valley giant. With seven agreements in place in Europe, and 18 deals across the globe, Google is set to have 2.5 gigawatts of energy at its disposal.

This is “the equivalent of taking over 1 million cars off the road,” said Marc Oman, EU Energy Lead, Google Global Infrastructure, in a blog post.

It’s a tech thing Data centres need a lot of power – around 2% of US consumption according to Berkeley Lab research – so Google is not alone in trying to use cleaner energy.  According to Fortune, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon have all been shifting to greener sources, by buying wind and solar power.

In fact, Apple is generating so much energy that it wants to start selling some directly to consumers, reported USA Today in June.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

USA’s potential for immense electricity source, in offshore solar power

Arkona offshore wind power project.Flag-USAThe Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds, NYT By THE EDITORIAL BOARDAUG. 27, 2016 The first offshore  wind farm in American waters, near Block Island, R.I., was completed this month. With just five turbines, the farm won’t make much of a dent in the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, but it shows the promise this renewable energy source could have. When the turbines start spinning in November, they will power the island, which currently relies on diesel generators, and will also send electricity to the rest of Rhode Island.

Putting windmills offshore, where the wind is stronger and more reliable than on land, could theoretically provide about four times the amount of electricity as is generated on the American grid today from all sources. This resource could be readily accessible to areas on the coasts, where 53 percent of Americans live.This technology is already used extensively in Britain, Denmark, Germany and other European countries, which have in the last 15 years invested billions of dollars in offshore wind farms in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas. In 2013, offshore wind accounted for 1.5 percent of all electricity used in the European Union, with all wind sources contributing 9.9 percent of electricity. By contrast, wind power made up only 4.7 percent of electricity in the United States last year.While electricity generated by offshore wind farms is more expensive than land-based turbines, costs have fallen with larger offshore turbines that can generate more electricity. Construction firms have also become more efficient in installing offshore farms……http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/opinion/the-unlimited-power-of-ocean-winds.html?ref=opinion&mtrref=www.nytimes.com&assetType=opinion&_r=0

August 29, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Making more efficient use of space with “solar trees”

flag-indiaIndian Scientists Design Solar Tree to Save Space for Solar Power Generation VOA, 26 Aug 16 NEW DELHI Indian scientists have designed a “solar tree” that they hope will help overcome one of the key challenges the country faces in the generation of solar power.

With photovoltaic panels placed at different levels on branches made of steel, “solar trees” could dramatically reduce the amount of land needed to develop solar parks.

“It takes about four-square meters of space to produce energy which otherwise would have required 400 square meters of space. So almost 100 times the space is saved, which as you know is very valuable,” said Daljit Singh Bedi, chief scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi, whose laboratory in Kolkata developed the tree.

A scarce resource in India, acquisition of land to develop roads, factories and other infrastructure is a sensitive issue that has led to frequent and sometimes violent protests from displaced people.

Scientists estimate the energy generated by a solar tree would be sufficient to light up five homes. They say the space-saving tree would not only make it easier to increase solar power generation to light up homes and streets in cities, but also in rural areas where farmers are unwilling to give up large tracts of land for solar panel installations.

The solar tree will also harness more energy compared to rooftop panels. “This design, it facilitates placement of solar panels in a way that they are exposed more towards sun and that way they are able to harness 10 to 15 per cent more energy, which is more or less equivalent to one hour more than the conventional format,” said Bedi……http://www.voanews.com/a/indian-scientists-design-solar-tree-to-save-space-for-solar-power-generation/3481641.html

August 29, 2016 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

Desk sized turbine could be more efficient than batteries for storing energy

 https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601218/desk-size-turbine-could-power-a-town/  GE sees its new turbine as a strong rival to batteries for storing power from the grid. by David Talbot, April 11, 2016  GE Global Research is testing a desk-size turbine that could power a small town of about 10,000 homes. The unit is driven by “supercritical carbon dioxide,” which is in a state that at very high pressure and up to 700 °C exists as neither a liquid nor a gas. After the carbon dioxide passes through the turbine, it’s cooled and then repressurized before returning for another pass.

The unit’s compact size and ability to turn on and off rapidly could make it useful in grid storage. It’s about one-tenth the size of a steam turbine of comparable output, and has the potential to be 50 percent efficient at turning heat into electricity. Steam-based systems are typically in the mid-40 percent range; the improvement is achieved because of the better heat-transfer properties and reduced need for compression in a system that uses supercritical carbon dioxide compared to one that uses steam. The GE prototype is 10 megawatts, but the company hopes to scale it to 33 megawatts.

In addition to being more efficient, the technology could be more nimble—in a grid-storage scenario, heat from solar energy, nuclear power, or combustion could first be stored as molten salt and the heat later used to drive the process.

While such a heat reservoir could also be used to boil water to power a steam turbine, a steam system could take 30 minutes to get cranked up, while a carbon dioxide turbine might take only a minute or two—making it well-suited for on-the-spot power generation needed during peak demand periods.

GE’s system might also be better than huge arrays of batteries. Adding more hours of operation just means having a larger or hotter reservoir of the molten salt, rather than adding additional arrays of giant batteries. “The key thing will come down to economics,” says Doug Hofer, the GE engineer in charge of the project. While there’s work ahead, he says, “at this point we think our economic story is favorable compared to batteries.”

August 29, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

New report shows that Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station is not essential

Hinkley planHinkley Point C nuclear plant not essential – think tank, BBC News 26 Aug 16, The Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is “not essential” for the UK to meet its energy and climate change targets, according to a think tank.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) also said opting for “established” approaches instead would save bill payers £1bn a year in total.

EDF Energy, which has agreed to back Hinkley, said the ECIU report did not offer “credible alternatives”.

The government is due to make a final decision on Hinkley in the autumn………

One of the report’s authors, former Npower chief executive, Paul Massara – who now runs North Star Solar – said: “You are looking at a deal which is two and half times the current price, it goes on for 35 years and effectively this report today shows we can transition to a low carbon, affordable secure option without Hinkley and that’s what we should be doing.”

Mr Massara said a more “flexible” cost saving approach was needed that “includes things like demand-side management, which means people can turn down their electricity demand and manage their demand, with smart meters and batteries which are going to come in the next five to six years”…….

In its report, the not-for-profit ECIU made the assumption that “the total annual cost of Hinkley will probably be about £2.5bn”.

It then calculated the cost of a basket of alternative measures to meet the country’s energy and climate change targets, and concluded that bill payers, both domestic and business, would end up paying a total of £1bn less per year for their energy if they were adopted than if Hinkley C were built.

‘Not essential’

The think tank’s alternative proposals include building more wind farms and gas-fired power stations than are currently planned and laying more cables connecting the UK grid with other countries.

“Our conclusion is that [Hinkley Point’s] not essential,” said ECIU director, Richard Black.

“Using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower cost,” he added……..http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37191222

August 27, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear station unnecessary – wind and solar can do the job faster and cheaper

poster renewables not nuclearflag-UKWhy Use Nuclear When We Have Wind and Solar Power? http://trendintech.com/2016/08/26/why-use-nuclear-when-we-have-wind-and-solar-power/  By T.Henry August 26, 2016  The Hinkley Point nuclear project has been a topic of discussion recently with the time getting closer for a decision to be made about the future of the project.  While once upon a time, nuclear power was thought to be the best form of renewable energy, with the recent developments in solar and wind energy, this isn’t the case any longer.  Cheap lithium-air batteries can also be used that are long life and can store five times the energy as the lithium-ion ones that are used today.
One of the main arguments against Hinkley going ahead is not its £18.5 billion price tag, but its constant power generation is no longer what we are looking for.  With the cost of renewables like wind and solar reducing daily and the ability to store extra energy produced, doesn’t it make more sense to invest in these forms instead of nuclear?  If the UK was to accelerate renewables, we could achieve 100 percent renewable power well before 2050 advises Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury.

There are already 1000 cities and 60 giant corporations across the globe that are committed to a 100 percent renewable supply.  Portugal showed how it could be done in May when it ran for four days on an only wind, solar, and hydropower.  Britain also made the headlines that same month as it produced more electricity via solar energy than coal-fired stations.  In Brussels, wind energy alone reached an installed capacity of over 430 gigawatts, which is more than the 382 gigawatts of nuclear.

Senior research fellow at the Energy Institute at University College London, Paul Dorfman, states, “Hinkley will not come online in time to help with the critical UK electricity gap or with our carbon emission commitments.  In fact, due to inevitable delays and cost overruns, Hinkley will block scarce resources going to necessary UK renewables, grid upgrades, and energy efficiency.  Don’t believe the hype: it’s not ‘nuclear and renewables’ – because of the sheer cost of nuclear, it’s ‘nuclear or renewables.’”

Even the people at The Economist have lost faith in Hinkley and headlined a recent article, “Hinkley Pointless”, pointing out that it makes much more sense to use the time and resources set aside for it to improve electricity storage. But, on the other end of the scale, Tom Greatex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association and former MP feels that we need to use all available technologies to meet our energy needs and that includes both renewables and nuclear.  Hinkley Point is projected to supply around 7 percent of the UK’s electricity needs with a look to more than double this by the mid-2020’s.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

France to launch 6 tenders for solar energy projects

sunflag-franceFrance ushers in 3 GW solar tender across six rounds, PV Magazine, 25. AUGUST 2016, BY:  IAN CLOVER

Energy ministry confirms series of six tenders of 500 MW each to be launched between 2017 and 2020 as country gradually reignites efforts to boost its solar PV sector.  “……the government appears to at least be coming to terms with its solar shortsightedness, and this week announced that it will launch a series of solar PV tenders next year to support an additional 3 GW of PV by 2020.

The energy ministry will oversee a series of six tenders of 500 MW each, beginning in 2017. This steady and regular roll out of available projects will, the ministry said, provide stability and visibility to the French solar industry, delivering jobs and aiding the country’s carbon reduction efforts.

The tenders will be available to ground-mounted PV systems between 500 kW and 17 MW in size, and the first round of bidding ends on February 1, 2017.

During each of the six, 500 MW rounds, 300 MW capacity will be reserved for solar farms larger than 5 MW, while 135 MW of capacity will be for plants with a capacity between 500 kW and 5 MW. The remaining 65 MW will be offered to developers looking to build PV systems on carports, provided they are sized between 500 kW and 10 MW.

France is famously largely nuclear-powered, but a new solar support mechanism introduced in May – whereby bidders receive a premium on top of the market price for the PV power they feed to the grid – will hopefully deliver the types of revenue guarantee that can help the country make the transition towards more renewables.

France’s solar installation aims target 10.2 GW of PV by the end of 2018, with anywhere between 18.2 GW to 20.2 GW by 2023.   http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/france-ushers-in-3-gw-solar-tender-across-six-rounds_100025903/#ixzz4IPyzWiC8

August 26, 2016 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Germany’s green power going strong, with more renewable energy than it ever had nuclear

In short, Germany is paying coal to shut down, ramping up renewables far faster than nuclear shrinks, and enjoying unparalleled power reliability—while New York fails to move with solar and wind, pays nuclear to stay on, and has as much downtime a month as Germany has in a year.

logo-EnergiewendeGermany already has more green power than it ever had nuclear, Energy Transition 24 Aug 2016   by   “….. Craig Morris takes a look at the data……In Germany, however, solar and wind are reducing the wholesale prices that baseload nuclear and coal sell at—because green power is growing fast. In 2002, the country adopted a plan to phase out nuclear by around 2022 (this is still the target). Most onlookers thought it would be impossible to ever offset nuclear power with renewables in such a short time. In fact, Germany hit that target last year—seven years early.

What about the charge of a “large increase” in coal? To account for Chancellor Merkel’s sudden phaseout in 2011, we could compare the figures from 2010 to 2015 (see chart on original) ). We then see a rise of less than one percent in power from hard coal and around six percent for lignite. Judge for yourself whether this is a “large increase,” and keep in mind that power from both hard coal and lignite were down further in the first half of 2016 by 1.9 and 1.6 percent, respectively (PDF in German)—in a year when the German population grew by more than one percent because of refugees. Also keep in mind that net power exports (orange line), which reached a record high last year at nearly 10 percent of total power supply, increase demand for non-renewable electricity because renewable power has priority dispatch. To quote German utility umbrella group BDEW (not a pro-renewables organization), foreign demand for German power increases domestic generation from fossil fuels. Throw in the other fossil fuel, natural gas, and you have an overall decrease—so much that fossil fuel consumption in the power sector reached a 35-year low in 2014 (even with rising exports)…….
where do the claims of rising German carbon emissions come from? There were minor upticks in 2012 and 2013 (an argument that reminds me of the famous face-palm graphicfor global warming). And though we don’t have the CO2 numbers yet, energy consumption rose overall in 2015 and the first half of 2016—due, as the official explanation reads, to colder weather, economic growth, and the sudden population growth from refugees. Essentially, the pro-nuclear camp mistakenly attributes a rise in emissions from oil and gas for heat supply to coal consumption in the power sector (which is flat to down).
In their attempt to promote nuclear, some New Yorkers thus overemphasize the role of coal in Germany and exaggerate the limits of wind and solar. For instance, the New York Times recently claimed that the German government “will pay billions to keep coal generators in reserve, to provide emergency power at times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.” In reality, these plants will have 11 days to ramp up. No weather forecast extends that long, and no power shortage announces itself that far in advance. Experts doubt this lignite reserve will be used at all. It is a political compromise: to meet the 2020 carbon targets, Berlin has paid coal firms to shut down old coal plants. The payoff for a shutdown is called a “reserve” to make it more palatable to the public.

“Unless we’re willing to go back to candles, which would be uncomfortable and inconvenient, we need energy generation,” New York’s Governer Cuomo said in explaining the nuclear bailout. In doing so, he unwittingly reiterated the long-disproven claim by German nuclear proponents that the lights would go out without nuclear. Like the rest of the US, New York State counts downtime (SAIDI) in hours (PDF), with New York coming in at around two hours of power outages annually—or just over 10 minutes a month. Germany had 12 minutes a year in 2014.

In short, Germany is paying coal to shut down, ramping up renewables far faster than nuclear shrinks, and enjoying unparalleled power reliability—while New York fails to move with solar and wind, pays nuclear to stay on, and has as much downtime a month as Germany has in a year.

Craig Morris (@PPchef) is the lead author of German Energy Transition. He directs Petite Planète and writes every workday for Renewables International. He is co-author of Energy Democracy, the first history of Germany’s Energiewende.   http://energytransition.de/2016/08/germany-already-has-more-green-power-than-it-ever-had-nuclear/

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Utilities, commercial purchasers benefit from wind energy’s improvements and lowered prices

piggy-ban-renewablesAnnual wind report confirms tech advancements, improved performance, and low energy prices, Eureka Alert,  DOE/LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY, 17 Aug 16  Wind energy pricing remains attractive to utility and commercial purchasers, according to an annual report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by the Electricity Markets & Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Prices offered by newly built wind projects are averaging around 2¢/kWh, driven lower by technology advancements and cost reductions.“Wind energy prices–particularly in the central United States–are at rock-bottom levels, with utilities and corporate buyers selecting wind as the low-cost option,” said Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist Ryan Wiser. “Moreover, enabled by technology advancements, wind projects are economically viable in a growing number of locations throughout the United States.”

Key findings from the U.S. Department of Energy’s reflective “Wind Technologies Market Report” include:

  • Wind power represented the largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2015. Wind power capacity additions in the United States surged in 2015, with $14.5 billion invested in 8.6 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity. Wind power constituted 41% of all U.S. generation capacity additions in 2015, up sharply from its 24% market share the year before and close to its all-time high. Wind power currently meets about 5% of the nation’s electricity demand, and represents more than 10% of total electricity generation in twelve states, and more than 20% in three of those states.
  • Bigger turbines are enhancing wind project performance……
  • Low wind turbine pricing continues to push down installed project costs. Wind turbine prices have fallen 20% to 40% from their temporary highs in 2008, and these declines are pushing project-level costs down. …..
  • Wind energy prices remain very low. Lower installed project costs, along with improvements in capacity factors, are enabling aggressive wind power pricing. ….
  • The manufacturing supply chain continued to adjust to swings in domestic demand for wind equipment. …. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/dbnl-awr081716.php

August 26, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Climate friendly future – 6 countries giving a renewable energy lead – World Bank

Six stories show renewable energy underpins a climate-friendly future http://blogs.worldbank.org/energy/six-stories-show-renewable-energy-underpins-climate-friendly-future  [INCLUDES VIDEOS]  BY ANDY SHUAI LIU ON TUE, 01/05/2016  In 2015 the world saw great momentum for climate action, culminating in a historic agreement in December to cut carbon emissions and contain global warming. It was also a year of continued transformation for the energy sector. For the first time in history, a global sustainable development goal was adopted solely for energy, aiming for: ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, SUSTAINABLE AND MODERN ENERGY FOR ALL.

 To turn this objective into reality while mitigating climate change impacts, more countries are upping their game and going further with solar, wind, geothermal and other sources of renewable energy. As we usher in 2016, these stories from around the world present a flavor of how they are leading the charge toward a climate-friendly future.

Ending Energy Poverty

2: In Bangladesh, the number of solar-powered homes is surging, making it the world’s fastest expansion of solar energy. About 3.5 million homes—or 18 million Bangladeshis— now have electricity thanks to solar home systems. This means that besides reducing carbon emissions, these systems will help children at home, make it safer for women to walk at night, assist families to receive remittances more easily, and help more peoplefind jobs.
3: China is turning 800 primary and middle schools in Beijing into “sunshine schools.” Once the project is completed, the rooftops of these schools will be covered with 100 megawatts of solar panels to power classrooms for teachers and students, making way for bluer skies and healthier air for local residents and more awareness about the environment in young hearts and minds. This will also help bolster China’s efforts to scale up renewable energy and reach its ambitious climate targets set at COP21.

4: Mexico’s efforts to promote more efficient household lighting have gone nationwide. 
The country hasachieved an energy efficiency milestone by distributing almost 23 million energy-saving light bulbs for free. More than 5.5 million Mexican families now use energy-saving lamps. This helps these families save up to 18 percent on their electricity bill, and prevents an estimated 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions each year.
5: Tanzania holds immense potential in solar and wind power, according to an energy mapping study taking place in 12 countries. The study finds that the country has solar resources equivalent to Spain’s and its potential for wind power exceeds that of the U.S. state of California. What does that mean for those who lack electricity access in Tanzania? One potential success story is the hundreds of rural water points that will soon be powered by solar energy, making it more affordable for farming communities to operate and maintain rural water systems.
6: Turkey has achieved a substantial growth of renewable energy in recent years. Since 2001, the country has commissioned 16,000 MW private sector hydro, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources. Today, more private investment continues to pour into Turkey to propel its power sector modernization. Supported by the Clean Technology Fund, private sector renewable energy and energy efficiency projects financed by EBRD, IFC and the World Bank are helping avoid an estimated 5 million tons of CO2 emissions each year.Similar results are being achieved in IndiaKenyaMongolia and many other countries around the world. Now that the climate deal has been struck, it’s time for countries to scale up action to make their economic development more sustainable and fully climate operational.

August 26, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy, energy efficiency would create over 145,000 jobs in Alberta, Canada

green-collarAlberta could produce over 145,000 jobs by going green: report HTTP://EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM/BUSINESS/ENERGY/ALBERTA-COULD-PRODUCE-OVER-145000-JOBS-BY-GOING-GREEN-REPORT GORDON KENT April 22, 2016 Alberta could create more than 145,000 jobs by investing more heavily in renewable energy, energy efficiency and public transit, a report by three environmental organizations says.

The move would boost employment when oil prices have dropped, reduce carbon emissions and help shift the economy toward green industries, according to the report released Friday by Greenpeace, the Alberta Green Economy Network and Gridworks Energy Group.

“The government can start putting people back to work without having to wait for the price of oil to go back up,” co-author David Thompson said Friday, which was also Earth Day.

The report estimates 68,400 positions are available from energy efficiency upgrades on more than 183,000 older homes and other buildings, requiring spending of $1 billion over five years.

Another 30,000 to 40,000 places would come from building LRT lines at a cost of more than $3.6 billion, along with the unpriced expansion of bike lanes, sidewalks and other sustainable transportation.

As well, there could be 46,780 jobs created by 2020 by almost doubling the amount of wind power to seven per cent of the electricity grid, boosting solar and geothermal production, and improving energy efficiency and storage.

No price tag is attached to this development. The provincial budget calls for investing $6.2 billion raised by the new carbon levy in green infrastructure, renewable energy, energy efficiency and other work over five years.

Many communities are already shifting toward renewable power.

The Lubicon Lake First Nation of Little Buffalo, 465 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, put in an 80-panel, 20.8-kilowatt solar electricity system next to its health centre last summer. The Louis Bull First Nation at Maskwacis, 70 kilometres south of Edmonton, will start installing 340 solar panels on four public buildings next month, training residents to work in this field and cutting electricity bills, councillor Desmond Bull said.

The approximately $300,000 cost is being covered with money from the federal government.

The project is intended to help the environment as well as produce economic development, Bull said.

“There’s not really any template or model for how First Nations can move in this direction.”

City of Edmonton chief economist John Rose cautioned this week that governments need to be prudent about major investments in renewable energy, but Thompson said Alberta has big wind and solar resources.

“We can learn from the mistakes others have made … We can go down the tunnel and hopefully get less scratched.”

gkent@postmedia.com

twitter.com/GKentEJ

August 24, 2016 Posted by | Canada, employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Cheapest unsubsidized power plant in the world – Chile leads in the solar age

Solar Delivers Cheapest Electricity ‘Ever, Anywhere, By Any Technology’ https://thinkprogress.org/solar-delivers-cheapest-electricity-ever-anywhere-by-any-technology-c2ef759ac33f#.mxa8earjt Dr. Joe Romm , Founding Editor of Climate Progress, “the indispensable blog,” 24 Aug 16 

Half the price of coal!  Chile has just contracted for the cheapest unsubsidized power plant in the world, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reports.

In last week’s energy auction, Chile accepted a bid from Spanish developerSolarpack Corp. Tecnologica for 120 megawatts of solar at the stunning price of $29.10 per megawatt-hour (2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour or kwh). This beats the 2.99 cents/kwh bid Dubai received recently for 800 megawatts. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“Solar power delivers cheapest unsubsidised electricity ever, anywhere, by any technology,” BNEF Chair Michael Liebreich said on Twitter after this contract was announced.

Carlos Finat, head of the Chilean Renewable Energies Association (ACERA) told Bloomberg that the auction is “a strong warning sign that the energy business continues on the transition path to renewable power and that companies should adapt quickly to this transition process.” Indeed, in the same auction, the price of coal power was nearly twice as high!

Grid-connected solar power on Chile has quadrupled since 2013. Total installed capacity exceeded 1,000 megawatts this year — the most by far in South America. Another 2,000 megawatts is under construction, and there are over 11,000 megawatts that are “RCA Approved” (i.e. have environmental permits).

Chile is aided by the fact that its Atacama desert is “the region with the highest solar radiation on the planet,” according to the Inter-American Development Bank. So much solar is being built in the high-altitude desert that Northern Chile can’t use it all, and the government is rushing to buildnew transmission lines.

Chile is part of a global trend where solar energy has doubled seven times since 2000. In the U.S. alone, it has grown 100-fold in the past decade thanks to a sharp drop in prices that has brought the cost of solar (with subsidies) to under four cents a kilowatt hour in many places, as I detailed last month.

The future for solar could not be sunnier.

August 24, 2016 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Trends in Europe’s changing energy systems

Europe’s Energy Transition: Megatrends & Tipping Points (Part 3)  Shifting Power-Generating Resources, Forbes, 18 Aug 16 By Mark Livingstone & Jan Vrins In our initial blog on Europe’s energy transition, we discussed seven megatrends that are fundamentally changing how we produce and use power. In this third blog in the series, we discuss the shift in power generation fuel mix and how this is transforming the European power industry.

European electricity-generating facilities that use oil, coal, and nuclear are devaluing and at risk of becoming stranded as generation sources shift to less expensive renewable generation and natural gas generation. This shift is playing out in different ways across Europe.

 Generation Fuel Mix Shift Is Accelerating

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), net European generation capacity will increase by 7 GW in 2016. Much of Europe’s new capacity comes from renewables, with close to 75% of new capacity coming from wind (44%) and solar (29%). While new coal (16%) and gas (6%) capacity was added, far more coal assets were decommissioned. As a result, net new capacity in Europe is virtually 100% renewables. While recent subsidy cuts have tempered solar’s growth, wind is marching onward. There is still no effective utility-scale solution to the inherent intermittency in renewable generation, as storage solutions and grid interconnection/active management are still lacking penetration at scale. Natural gas is the bridging fuel during the shift to renewables, supported by the abundance of natural gas available globally, lower long-term prices, and increasing import capacity in Europe.

What Are the Drivers Behind This Shift?

We see five main drivers for the shift in generation resources described above:

  1. Climate Change Policy: Europe has taken definitive steps to decarbonize its power generation, including relatively generous support for renewables and economic penalties for carbon emitters via the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). See our previous blog on the rising number of carbon emissions reduction policies and regulations.
  2. European Market Coupling: A second aspect of Europe’s power sector is the physical and economic integration of markets. Interconnection growth has been strong, and the economic incentives via use of power exchanges for dynamic price signaling has provided further support for low-carbon generation.
  3. Generation Economics: While policy and regulatory support for low-carbon generation has taken centre stage, the economics of various forms of generation have also been shifting. Within 7 years, solar power has gone from a heavily subsidized resource to a key component of the generation mix, even with zero or minimal subsidies. Europe continues to lead the world in development of offshore wind, particularly in the North Sea. Thermal generation economics have also changed—despite relatively low gas and coal prices, low marginal cost renewables are increasingly forcing thermal plants to shift from stable baseload operation to less efficient cycling and reliance on ancillary service contracts.
  4. Decentralization of Generation: The scale of distributed energy resources (DER) is not yet huge across Europe; however, this trend is already shaking the traditional utility business models. The rise of the prosumer is gathering momentum, be it an industrial customer who invests in combined heat and power, a new commercial building with a biomass boiler, or a housing development with rooftop solar panels.
  5. Public Sentiment: This driver cannot be underestimated given the prevalence of democratically elected governments in Europe. Public support for action to curb climate change despite the costs has been most obvious in Germany, where the changes via nuclear shutdowns and solar growth have been massive—and expensive. In the UK, it is more expensive to construct offshore wind than onshore, but the public and political preference is that location trumps economics.

How Does This Play Out Across Europe?……. http://www.forbes.com/sites/pikeresearch/2016/08/18/europes-energy-transition-megatrends-tipping-points-part-3/#6d68a5b124e8

August 24, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, EUROPE | Leave a comment

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