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In 2017 Solar Power Investment Outstripped Coal, Gas And Nuclear Combined

Solar Power Investment Outstripped Coal, Gas And Nuclear Combined In 2017   https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikescott/2018/04/09/solar-power-investment-outstripped-coal-gas-and-nuclear-combined-in-2017/#7b702bfd1237

  • More money was invested in solar power in 2017 than in coal, gas and nuclear power combined, according to a new report for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    The report says that global investment in solar rose 18% to $160.8 billion, driven by the Chinese market, which was responsible for more than half of the world’s 98GW of new solar capacity.

    Solar power made up 57% of last year’s total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of $279.8 billion, and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, at an estimated $103 billion.

    A record 157GW of renewable power were commissioned last year, up from 143GW in 2016 and far higher than the net 70GW of fossil-fuel generating capacity added (after adjusting for the closure of some existing plants) during the same period.

    The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, released by UNEP and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that falling costs for solar electricity, and to some extent wind power, are continuing to drive deployment of renewable technologies.

    A separate report from the International Renewable Energy Agency said that renewable capacity including large hydro grew 167GW, or 8.3%.

     The world added more solar capacity than coal, gas, and nuclear plants combined ,” said Nils Stieglitz, President of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. “This shows where we are heading, although the fact that renewables altogether are still far from providing the majority of electricity means that we still have a long way to go.” In addition to the rapid growth of the solar PV market, the amount of wind power capacity grew by 10%, IRENA said.

    Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables, excluding large hydropower, exceeded $200 billion – and since 2004, the world has invested $2.9 trillion in these green energy sources, the study found.

    “This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment, said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Renewable energy is now the solution for countries looking to support economic growth and job creation, just as it is for those seeking to limit carbon emissions, expand energy access, reduce air pollution and improve energy security.”

    Chinese investment in solar jumped by 58% to $86.5 billion, leading to the addition of 53GW of capacity. China, the world’s biggest emitter, has set itself the target of sourcing a fifth of its electricity by 2030. Its investment in all renewable technologies was a record $126.6 billion, 31% higher than the year before.

    Asia as a whole accounted for almost two thirds of new capacity, with a tenth of the global total coming from India, mostly in solar and wind.

    The burgeoning renewable power market came in spite of the anti-clean energy sentiment of the administration of President Donald Trump and significant falls in investment in markets such as the UK. US investment fell 6% to $40.5 billion while European funding slipped by 36% to $40.9 billion, mainly because of a 65% drop-off in the U.K. to $7.6 billion and a 35% decline to $10.4 billion in Germany. Japan followed a similar trend in Japan, which dropped off 28% to $13.4 billion.

    As well as the Chinese surge, this was compensated for by sharp increases in investment in Australia (up 147% to $8.5 billion), Mexico (up 810% to $6 billion), and in Sweden (up 127 per cent to $3.7 billion).

    Angus McCrone, Chief Editor of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and lead author of the UNEP report, said: “In countries that saw lower investment, it generally reflected a mixture of changes in policy support, the timing of large project financings, such as in offshore wind, and lower capital costs per megawatt.”

    The $2.7 trillion invested in clean energy from 2007 to 2017 have increased the proportion of electricity generated by wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, marine and small hydro globally to more than 12%, from 5.2% in 2007, BNEF said, and has avoided the emission of about 1.8 gigatonnes of CO2, about the same as is emitted by the entire US transportation system.

    UN Environment head Erik Solheim said that “the extraordinary surge in solar investment shows how the global energy map is changing and, more importantly, what the economic benefits are of such a shift. Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs. Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development.”

    However, IRENA’s Amin added that “despite this clear evidence of strength in the power generation sector, a complete energy transformation goes beyond electricity to include the end-use sectors of heating, cooling and transportation, where there is substantial opportunity for growth of renewables

 

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April 11, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

California producing a surplus of renewable energy

California Has Too Much Green Energy, Daily Caller , TIM PEARCE,  Energy Reporter
03/10/2018 

California has frozen development on any more renewable energy sources as it wrestles with what to do with all the extra electricity it’s currently producing, Quartz reported.

Solar energy production has risen from less than one percent of California’s energy mix in 2010 to around 10 percent in 2017. On certain days when conditions are favorable, solar has supplied as much as half the energy used by Californians, according to Quartz.

The California Public Utilities Commission has proposed the state hold off on any further investment into renewable energy as individuals and businesses throughout the state continue to buy their own private sources of energy, such as solar panels secured to the tops of buildings. As more individuals invest in private energy, demand on the state’s grid lessens, Greentech Media reported.

California also has trouble predicting how much renewable energy will be needed at a certain time and controlling the power supplied. On several occasions, California paid Arizona utilities and others to take excess solar energy to avoid overloading its own grid, according to the Los Angeles Times.


“It’s really disappointing,” Independent Energy Producers Association CEO Jan Smutny-Jones told Greentech Media about California’s decision to halt renewable energy investment. “They’re basically saying, ‘There’s too much going on; we don’t know what to do, so we’re not going to do anything for a while.’” ……….http://dailycaller.com/2018/03/10/california-green-energy/?platform=hootsuite

April 11, 2018 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

International Energy Agency underestimates renewable energy

Is the IEA underestimating renewables? Spreading nuclear weapons cost, DW, 26 Mar 18   Gero Rueter  Scenarios from the International Energy Agency (IEA) have failed to predict the growth of renewables and overestimated the role of nuclear. Critics say that’s a political choice.

Last year, the world’s photovoltaic power capacity overtook nuclear for the first time – reaching 402 gigawatts, compared to 353 (GW). Wind power outstripped nuclear back in 2014, and by the end of 2017 amounted to 539 GW.

According to the World Wind Energy Association, 2017 saw the installation of 52.6 GW of new wind capacity. The latest estimates from Solar Power Europe put PV capacity installed in that year at 98.9 GW.

New nuclear power facilities going online were modest in comparison – amounting to just 2.7 GW, according to Mycle Schneider, lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Report.

Back in 2010, you might not have predicted such a shift in the global energy mix – at least, not if you were basing your predictions on the International Energy Agency’s annual Word Energy Outlook (WEO), which estimated annual deployment of less than 10 GW of photovoltaic capacity.

According to this scenario, globally installed solar capacity would hit around 85 GW last year – 315 GW less than the actual figure.

Critics say this is part of a pattern of the IEA consistently underestimating the growth of renewables while making unrealistic assumptions about the development of nuclear.

The 2010 WEO estimated that nuclear capacity would reach 470 GW by the end of 2017, over 110 GW more than the current global figure.

And that imbalance has, according to a 2015 study, has continued in subsequent annual WEOs from the IEA, which ignores facts such as “climate protection and divestment of finance from the conventional energy sector.”

Political bias?

Claudia Kemfert, head of the German Institute for Economic Research’s energy and environment department, told DW the IEA has underestimated drop in renewable power costs, as well as the cost of nuclear and fossil alternatives.

“Probably for political and economic reasons, neither the external costs of fossil fuels nor the cost increases of nuclear energy have been factored in,” Kemfert said. “The fossil fuel and nuclear industries have an interest in artificially exaggerating the cost of renewables in order to influence policy in their favor.”

Sven Teske of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at Sydney University, an advisor to the International Panel on Climate Change, told DW he’d been told unofficially that how much nuclear power was included in IEA scenarios was “basically dictated.”

Hans-Josef Fell, president of the Energy Watch Group, says the IEA acts “on behalf of the OECD governments that ultimately oversee it,” and reflects their ongoing commitment to the fossil fuels sector.

And that has serious consequences, Fell says. “It is likely these scenarios are a major culprit in the global community’s failure to put a sufficiently intensive focus on renewable energy over the last ten to 20 years,” he told DW. “It paints a picture of renewables as too expensive and unable to expand fast enough.”…………http://www.dw.com/en/is-the-iea-underestimating-renewables/a-43137071

April 9, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

In 2017 global investment in renewable energy outstripped thatn in coal, gas and nuclear combined

World invested more in solar energy than coal, gas and nuclear combined in 2017, UN report revealsNew figures show ‘how much can be achieved when we commit to growth without harming the environment,’ says UN Independent UK, Josh Gabbatiss Science Correspondent @josh_gabbatiss

Global investment in renewable energy shot up last year, far outstripping investment in fossil fuels, according to a UN report.

As the price of clean energy technology plummets, it has become an increasingly attractive prospect for world governments.

China was by far the world’s largest investor in renewable energy in 2017, accounting for nearly half of the new infrastructure commissioned.

This was mainly a result of its massive support for solar power, which globally attracted nearly a fifth more investment than in the previous year. Other countries including Australia, Sweden and Mexico more than doubled the amount of money they pumped into clean energy projects……..https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-energy-world-investment-higher-coal-gas-nuclear-combined-2017-un-report-a8290051.html

April 6, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, renewable | Leave a comment

France’s EDF to spend 8 billion euros ($9.8 billion) by 2035 on energy storage

Utility Dive 29th March 2018. French national utility EDF says it plans to spend 8 billion euros ($9.8
billion) by 2035 in a move to become “the European leader” in energy
storage. EDF’s goal is to develop 10 GW of storage around the world by that
same timeframe. The company already operates 5 GW of storage facilities. In
particular, EDF is targeting the residential sector in France and Europe
with a variety of self-consumption services that use batteries, as well as
Africa where the utility company hopes to develop a portfolio of 1.2
million off-grid customers by 2035 through local partnerships.
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/edf-to-invest-nearly-10b-in-energy-storage-by-2035/520212/

April 4, 2018 Posted by | energy storage, France | Leave a comment

Wind and solar make more electricity than nuclear for first time in UK

In 2017 Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions also fell 3% as coal use dropped and renewables climbed, Guardian,  Adam Vaughan  , 30 Mar 18 

Windfarms and solar panels produced more electricity than the UK’s eight nuclear power stations for the first time at the end of last year, official figures show.

Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions also continued to fall, dropping 3% in 2017, as coal use fell and the use of renewables climbed.

Energy experienced the biggest drop in emissions of any UK sector, of 8%, while pollution from transport and businesses stayed flat.

Energy industry chiefs said the figures showed that the government should rethink its ban on onshore wind subsidies, a move that ministers have hinted could happen soon.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of the big six lobby group Energy UK, said: “We need to keep up the pace … by ensuring that the lowest cost renewables are no longer excluded from the market.”…….https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/29/wind-and-solar-made-more-electricity-than-nuclear-for-first-time-in-uk

 

March 28, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia to build the world’s biggest solar power project

Times 29th March 2018, Saudi Arabia has announced a $200 billion plan to build the world’s biggest
solar-power project, which would end the country’s dependence on oil. The
project, which would result in panels taking up vast tracts of the desert
equivalent to a million football pitches, has been secured by Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman and could mark a change in the world’s environmental
management.

Under the terms of the arrangement, solar-power plants would
supply enough electricity not only for Saudi Arabia but much of the Middle
East. In doing so it would allow the country to export more oil for money
and, it is claimed, help in the spread of renewable, low-carbon energy
worldwide.   https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/saudi-arabia-plans-200bn-solar-park-for-an-oil-free-future-ghzsnhxt7

Telegraph 28th March 2018, Saudi Arabia has cast light on its $200bn (£141bn) plans to cut its
reliance on oil by rolling out the world’s most ambitious solar power
project through a deal with SoftBank. The agreement will drive investment
in a series of solar parks across the kingdom to be built by 2030, capable
of generating enough power for 150 million homes.   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/03/28/saudi-arabia-curb-oil-addiction-141bn-softbank-solar-deal/

March 28, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

France to make a huge investment in energy storage

French Nuclear Giant Gambles Big On Energy Storage , Forbes, William Pentland  

Forbes, Electricite de France said today that it plans to invest a whopping $9.93 billion in electricity storage by 2035.

“Electricity-storage technologies have a potential to radically change the energy sector,” said Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy.

The French utility company said on Tuesday that the planned investment would be used to develop an estimated 10 gigawatts of additional energy storage projects, or roughly twice the total amount of capacity it currently operates.

The utility said it would target energy storage projects in the European market, especially in France, but that it would also pursue opportunities in Africa, including battery storage and storage plus solar projects in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Over the next two years, EDF said it would use roughly one third of its investment in energy storage to acquiring projects and start-up companies focused on energy storage projects and grid applications. A portion of the investment – about $87 million – will also be used to support research and development activities in the energy storage space. ……https://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2018/03/27/french-nuclear-giant-gambles-big-on-energy-storage/#f013703d8ff7

 

March 28, 2018 Posted by | energy storage, France | Leave a comment

UK considers Tidal Power Contract, with assistance from Welsh government

U.K. Weighs Tidal Power Contract Aping Hinkley Nuclear Deal, Bloomberg ,By  Alex Morales, 
  • Swansea Bay plan could open up 40 billion pounds of spending
  • U.K. and Welsh ministers seek to forge deal to enable project

U.K. officials are in intensive talks with their Welsh counterparts to kick-start a tidal power plan by copying the controversial contract awarded to Electricite de France SA for its Hinkley Point nuclear power project.

 Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd.’s Swansea Bay project would tap the ebb and flow of the tides to generate electricity. It’s been in limbo for 15 months since a government-commissioned review recommended giving it the go-ahead. The delay reflects a reluctance by ministers to accept costs for consumers that were once estimated at double the power price EDF will get.

Amid pressure from more than 100 backbench lawmakers who want the tidal plant to move ahead, ministers are grappling with how to make it palatable. The developer had proposed an initial power price a third higher than Hinkley’s. But an offer of assistance from the Welsh government has changed the game. Officials are now debating a deal on the same terms as Hinkley, according to Richard Graham, a lawmaker with the ruling Conservatives who chairs Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Marine Energy. ……..https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-27/u-k-weighs-tidal-power-contract-matching-hinkley-nuclear-deal

March 27, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

UK: renewable energy becoming cheaper than nuclear power

Times 21st March 2018,Onshore wind and solar farms capable of generating more than three times as much power as the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant could be built without any subsidy from taxpayers in Britain by 2030, energy analysts have forecast.

The plunging costs of the technologies, which were reliant on very high subsidies just a few years ago, could enable investors to build them without any government intervention by the early 2020s, said Aurora Energy Research.

The government has ended subsidy schemes for new onshore wind and solar farms, slowing their development, amid concern about their cost to consumers. Aurora, an Oxford-based consultancy, predicts that the fall in costs has brought the industry to the “cusp of breakthrough in Britain”, whereby such projects could be commercially viable even without subsidies.

It predicts that solar farms capable of generating up to 9 gigawatts and onshore wind farms with a maximum output of 5 gigawatts are likely to be built on this basis by 2030. The prediction is likely to further increase pressure on nuclear developers to show they can be cost competitive. The 3.2-gigawatt Hinkley Point C plant is only viable thanks to a subsidy contract that commits consumers to pay its developers well above the market price for power for 35 years — potentially costing tens
of billions of pounds. Renewables have only been made viable by similar commitments from government.     https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/wind-farms-on-course-to-be-free-of-subsidy-qfmpmm8dh

March 22, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Why renewable energy is beating nuclear – an unexpected alliance

In effect, we are now seeing an egalitarian-individualist alliance against the conservative hierarchists.

even hierarchists cannot ignore economic reality entirely. The South Carolina project has beenabandoned and the Georgia project only survives through a very large federal loan bailout.

Contrast this with casino complexes in Nevada like MGM Resorts not only installing their own solar photovoltaic arrays but paying many millions of dollars to opt out from the local monopoly electricity supplier. They have campaigned successfully to win a state referendum supporting electricity liberalisation.

The unholy alliance that explains why renewables are trouncing nuclear http://reneweconomy.com.au/the-unholy-alliance-that-explains-why-renewables-are-trouncing-nuclear-96079/ By Dave Toke on 20 March 2018   The Conversation  

If recent trends continue for another two years, the global share of electricity from renewables excluding hydropower will overtake nuclear for the first time.

Even 20 years ago, this nuclear decline would have greatly surprised many people – particularly now that reducing carbon emissions is at the top of the political agenda.

On one level this is a story about changes in relative costs. The costs of solar and wind have plunged while nuclear has become almost astoundingly expensive.

Culture wars

The seminal text in this field, Risk and Culture (1982), by the British anthropologist Mary Douglas and American political scientist Aaron Wildavsky, argues the behaviour of individuals and institutions can be explained by four different biases:

  1. Individualists: people biased towards outcomes that result from competitive arrangements;
  2. Hierarchists: those who prefer ordered decisions being made by leaders and followed by others;
  3. Egalitarians: people who favour equality and grassroots decision-making and pursue a common cause;
  4. Fatalists: those who see decision-making as capricious and feel unable to influence outcomes.

The first three categories help explain different actors in the electricity industry. For governments and centralised monopolies often owned by the state, read hierarchists. For green campaigning organisations, read egalitarians, while free-market-minded private companies fit the individualist bias.

The priorities of these groups have not greatly changed in recent years. Hierarchists tend to favour nuclear power, since big power stations make for more straightforward grid planning, and nuclear power complements nuclear weapons capabilities considered important for national security.

Egalitarians like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth usually oppose new nuclear power plant and favour renewables. Traditionally they have worried about radioactive environmental damage and nuclear proliferation. Individualists, meanwhile, favour whichever technologies reduce costs.

These cultural realities lie behind the problems experienced by nuclear power. To compound green opposition, many of nuclear power’s strongest supporters are conservative hierarchists who are either sceptical about the need to reduce carbon emissions or treat it as a low priority.

Hence they are often unable or unwilling to mobilise climate change arguments to support nuclear, which has made it harder to persuade egalitarians to get on board.

This has had several consequences.

Green groups won subsidies for renewable technologies by persuading more liberal hierarchists that they had to address climate change – witness the big push by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for the feed-in tariffs that drove solar uptake in the late 2000s, for example. In turn, both wind and solar have been optimised and their costs have come down.

Nuclear largely missed out on these carbon-reducing subsidies. Worse, greens groups persuaded governments as far back as the 1970s that safety standards around nuclear power stations needed to improve. This more than anything drove up costs.
As for the individualists, they used to be generally unconvinced by renewable energy and sceptical of environmental opposition to nuclear. But as relative costs have changed, they have increasingly switched positions.

The hierarchists are still able to use monopoly electricity organisations to support nuclear power, but individualists are increasingly pressuring them to make these markets more competitive so that they can invest in renewables more easily.

In effect, we are now seeing an egalitarian-individualist alliance against the conservative hierarchists.

Both sides of the pond

Donald Trump’s administration in the US, for example, has sought subsidies to keep existing coal and nuclear power stations running.

This is both out of concern for national security and to support traditional centralised industrial corporations – classic hierarchist thinking.

Yet this has played out badly with individualist corporations pushing renewables. Trump’s plans have even been rejected by some of his own appointments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In similarly hierarchist fashion, electricity supply monopolies in Georgia and South Carolina started building new nuclear power stations after regulatory agencies allowed them to collect mandatory payments from electricity consumers to cover costs at the same time.

Yet even hierarchists cannot ignore economic reality entirely. The South Carolina project has beenabandoned and the Georgia project only survives through a very large federal loan bailout.

Contrast this with casino complexes in Nevada like MGM Resorts not only installing their own solar photovoltaic arrays but paying many millions of dollars to opt out from the local monopoly electricity supplier. They have campaigned successfully to win a state referendum supporting electricity liberalisation.

The UK, meanwhile, is an example of how different biases can compete. Policy has traditionally been formed in hierarchical style, with big companies producing policy proposals which go out to wider consultation.

It’s a cultural bias that favours nuclear power, but this conflicts with a key priority dating back to Thatcher that technological winners are chosen by the market.

This has led policymakers in Whitehall to favour both renewables and nuclear, but the private electricity companies have mostly refused to invest in nuclear, seeing it as too risky and expensive.

The only companies prepared to plug the gap have been more hierarchists – EDF, which is majority-owned by France, and Chinese state nuclear corporations.

Even then, getting Hinkley C in south-west England underway – the first new nuclear plant since the 1990s – required an extensive commitment by the UK treasury to underwrite bank loans.

There is also an embarrassingly high price to be paid for the electricity over a very long 35-year period. Such has been the bad publicity that it’s hard to imagine a politician agreeing to more plant on such terms.

Where does this reality leave hierarchists? Increasingly having to explain prohibitive nuclear costs to their electorates – at least in democracies. The alternative, as renewable energy becomes the new orthodoxy, is to embrace it.

In Australia, for example, a big utility company called AGL is trying to seduce homeowners to agree to link their solar panels to the company’s systems to centralise power dispatch in a so-called a “virtual power plant”.

When the facts change, to misquote John Maynard Keynes, you can always change your mind.

 

March 21, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

France to commit 700 million euros to International Solar Alliance 

13 Mar 18
France will commit 700 million euros to the International Solar Alliance (ISA), President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday at the founding conference of the organization, reiterating the European country’s commitment to the alliance and clean energy.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-solar-alliance/france-to-commit-700-million-euros-to-international-solar-alliance-idUSKCN1GN0JU

March 14, 2018 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Fukushima and the move towards renewable energy

“The nuclear disaster was not a natural disaster, it was a very man-made disaster,” Watanabe says. “So we felt that there was now a need for clean energy and greater energy independence.”

“It was at that symposium that I started to really think about the need for an energy shift away from nuclear power and about how rich the prefecture of Fukushima is in renewable resources,” Sato says.

“Nuclear power companies are not prepared for the cost of decommissioning and could in some cases go bankrupt. Banks and pension funds have lent them a lot of money because they have been regarded as stable, so bankruptcies could become a national financial problem. This would be difficult for the government to handle and might directly hurt pensioners,” he says. “But now the government is just hiding the problem and postponing managing it.”

 

Fukushima looks to renewable energy sources in the aftermath of nuclear disaster, Japan Times, BY KAJSA SKARSGÅRD  ,
Yauemon Sato | CHRISTINA SJOGREN11 Mar 18,

Steam rises from outdoor pools overlooking a waterfall at a 90-year-old hotel in Fukushima Prefecture’s Tsuchiyu Onsen.

“What has saved us since the disaster are the loyal regular guests and the new visitors who have come to study our town’s renewable energy plant. Without them, I’m sure we would have had to close,” says Izumi Watanabe, who has been director of Sansuiso Tsuchiyu Spa for 37 years.

“People come from other onsen areas all over Japan to learn how they can become energy independent and how the binary plant we have doesn’t affect our hot springs,” she says, challenging the preconception that onsen communities, fearing a negative impact on their tourism business, typically hold back the development of geothermal energy in Japan.

Watanabe was at a meeting in the city of Fukushima when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck seven years ago. She returned to Tsuchiyu Onsen to find her hotel intact, but two other hotels in the area damaged and the entire community without power.

or three snowy days, Watanabe sheltered 70 of her own and other hotels’ guests without electricity, telephones or working internet. Gathered together, they ate whatever stored food they could find. Over the next six months, her spa served as accommodation for police and rescue workers, grieving families and people displaced by the tsunami and nuclear crisis.

In total, this town of about 340 residents took in around 1,000 evacuees after the 2011 disasters. Five of the 16 hotels in Tsuchiyu Onsen have since gone out of business: two as a result of earthquake damage, the others on the back of a decline in visitor numbers from approximately 230,000 a year to about 70,000 as rumors of elevated radiation levels swirled. Members of the local community gathered together in October 2011 to discuss their future at what was dubbed the “Tsuchiyu Onsen reconstruction conference.” The locals decided they couldn’t simply go back to doing what they had done before — something new was needed to revive the town and create a safer future.

“The nuclear disaster was not a natural disaster, it was a very man-made disaster,” Watanabe says. “So we felt that there was now a need for clean energy and greater energy independence.”

A renewable energy plant and shrimp farm……….

A local, national concern

An hour’s drive inland, past Mount Adatara and Mount Bandai in the city of Aizu-Wakamatsu, people also started organizing after the nuclear disaster. In July 2011, around 200 people met in the sake brewery owned by Yauemon Sato, a ninth-generation brewer, to discuss the disaster and the future.

“It was at that symposium that I started to really think about the need for an energy shift away from nuclear power and about how rich the prefecture of Fukushima is in renewable resources,” Sato says.

Sato had no background in electricity production, but he did have experience in trying to get small breweries into markets dominated by larger manufacturers. He took one of the leading roles in the growing community power movement.

With the help of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, which had also worked to promote locally owned renewable electricity production before the disaster, Aizu Electric Power Co. was established to manage the planned solar parks.

Today, the company has 70 solar power sites and Sato has become a vocal critic of the large nuclear- and fossil-fuel companies that control the grid through regional monopolies,  thereby hindering the new renewable energy companies from getting into the market.

The monopolies argue that they are protecting the stability of the grid, so at present newcomers in some regions can only connect a maximum voltage of 50 kilowatts onto the network.

“This is a severe problem,” Sato says. “In 2020, the government is going to separate the power transmission business from the power production business, but these big electric companies are creating sister companies to run the grid, so it will still be in the control of the same big companies and continue to be difficult for other producers to use.”

The Aizu region is where shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu’s rebels fought one of the last big battles against government troops in 1868. The people’s rights movement flourished here after the civil war. It matters here that it is the people of Fukushima who have paid the ultimate price for the nuclear power that was sold mainly to Tokyo.

Aizu Electrical Power Co., its logo a fist held up in the air over the letters AiPower, is challenging the electricity establishment of Japan, and is part of a bigger movement.

The first World Community Power Conference was held in the city of Fukushima in November 2016 on the same day as the Paris climate accord came into force. One of the organizers was the Japan Community Power Association, in which Sato is a board member. He is also the vice president of Genjiren, an anti-nuclear power association that, with the help of the former prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa, pitched a bill to the opposition parties in January calling for an immediate halt to nuclear power, together with a more ambitious national goal for renewables.

“Finally I feel that we have a political movement for an energy shift,” Sato says. “We want to make this a national citizens’ movement.”

Unsustainable politics defied

The grass-roots movement pushing for renewables is not alone. Both at home and abroad, the Japanese government has been criticized for failing to embrace broader renewable energy policies in the wake of the 2011 disasters while remaining open to the construction of additional coal plants and nuclear reactor restarts.

……… Tomas Kaberger, executive board chairman of the Renewable Energy Institute in Tokyo.  believes the government is willing to restart more reactors because it fears the financial consequences of failing to do so. The reactors are valuable for the balance sheets of the power companies, but in reality they represent a significant decommissioning liability.“Nuclear power companies are not prepared for the cost of decommissioning and could in some cases go bankrupt. Banks and pension funds have lent them a lot of money because they have been regarded as stable, so bankruptcies could become a national financial problem. This would be difficult for the government to handle and might directly hurt pensioners,” he says. “But now the government is just hiding the problem and postponing managing it.”…….https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2018/03/10/environment/fukushima-looks-renewable-energy-sources-aftermath-nuclear-disaster/#.WqWVhx1ubGg

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

The UK Energy Research Centre (Ukerc) wants a change in funding renewable energy projects, to make the system fairer

Guardian 2nd March 2018, The richest households should pay £410 a year more towards supporting
energy subsidies for wind farms, solar rooftops and home insulation
schemes, government-funded researchers have urged.

The UK Energy Research Centre (Ukerc) said that shifting environmental and social levies off
electricity bills and instead loading them on to general taxation would
reduce the cost of energy for more than two thirds of households. The
researchers argued the current approach to funding low-carbon power and
energy efficiency was regressive.

The poorest households spend 10% of their income on heating and keeping the lights on, compared to 3% for the
richest.

The report by Ukerc found that shifting the costs to taxation
would save the poorest 10% of households £102 a year, “a significant
difference for them”. Meanwhile the 10% of the country with the highest
income would pay an extra £410 a year, “a relatively small difference”
for such earners.

The two high income brackets below the richest group
would see rises of between £26 and £102 a year, while the remaining 70%
would see no change or a decrease.

John Barrett, professor of energy and  climate policy, who worked on the analysis, said the status quo was hurting
the switch to greener energy. Subsidies for low-carbon power cost
billpayers £5.2bn in 2016-17 but are projected by the Treasury to rise to
£8.6bn in 2024-25 as new wind farms and other projects come online.
Campaigners have said for years that funding green energy subsidies through
energy bills is regressive because the poor are disproportionately
affected, but there has been little political appetite for a change.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/02/richest-uk-households-should-pay-more-to-fund-clean-energy

March 3, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Global energy business is being transformed by cheap renewables

IEEFA 21st Feb 2018, We’ve just posted a research brief explaining through a telling combination of charts (and some written analysis) how the fast-growing
uptake of wind and solar around the world continues to shape
electricity-generation trends.

The phenomenon is unfolding across diverse
groups of markets that include ones in Latin America, the Middle East, and
the U.S. We note in the brief— “Cheap Renewables Are Transforming
Global Electricity Business”—how installations of wind and solar
totalled almost 155 gigawatts (GW) last year, actually outpacing coal-fired
power plant development.

We also note how lowest bids for solar dropped a
remarkable 50 percent from records set in 2014 and 2015, as solar power
continued its long-established expansion.
http://ieefa.org/ieefa-update-cheap-renewables-transforming-global-electricity-business/

February 27, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | 1 Comment