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.”
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.
Hinkley C’s future is in doubt. Let’s turn our sights to offshore wind
Falling costs and increased reliability mean this clean power now offers a mature part of the solution for the UK’s energy mix Guardian 15 Aug 16 Huub den Rooijen Director of energy, minerals and infrastructure at Crown Estate
With the government re-examining the case for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, it’s a good time to reflect on recent breakthroughs in another low carbon technology: offshore wind.
Offshore wind is already meeting about 5% of the UK’s electricity demand, more than any other country globally, and is on course to meet 10% by 2020. The sector has undergone a sea change over the last few years, driven by rapid advances in technology, cost, and industry’s ability to deliver on time and to budget.
In fact, over the last three years, construction costs have come down by more than 40% in the UK alone. And by 2025, industry and government expect UK prices to be comparable with new gas generation at about £85 per megawatt hour (MWh).
In the Netherlands, there has been an even bigger step change. Although there are differences in terms of regulation, most would agree that after a recent offshore wind tender the Dutch are now going to be paying the equivalent of about £80 per MWh for their 700MW windfarm. That is significantly lower than Hinkley Point C at £92.50per MWh.
As active managers of the UK seabed, including awarding leases for offshore wind, we take a keen interest in this result. After all, the Dutch windfarm is only about 75 miles away from UK waters, and has very similar conditions like water depth, wind speeds, and distances to ports. If costs can be slashed in the Netherlands, geography tells us they can be slashed here too……..
As the Committee on Climate Change urges government to consider alternatives if there are delays to renewing our nuclear fleet, we should remember our seabed is a powerful energy asset.
At present, we have 2,200 wind turbines in operation and under construction, taking up less than 1% of our total seabed. National Grid estimates that nearly half of all power could be generated from our seabed by 2030 through offshore wind, combined with tidal power lagoons and strong electrical connections to our neighbouring countries.
We have an inexhaustible supply of reliable and clean power right on our doorstep, and competitively priced offshore wind now offers a mature part of the solution for the UK’s energy mix. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/14/hinkley-cs-future-is-in-doubt-lets-turn-our-sights-to-offshore-wind
Renewables jump 70% in shift away from fossil fuels, http://www.iran-daily.com/news/166891.html The share of electricity that the world’s 20 major economies are generating from the sun and the wind has jumped by more than 70 percent in the space of five years, new figures show.
In a sign of the shift away from fossil fuels that is starting to take hold in some regions, G20 countries collectively produced eight percent of their electricity from solar farms, wind parks and other green power stations in 2015, up from 4.6 percent in 2010, FT reported.
Seven G20 members now generate more than 10 percent of their electricity from these sources, compared with three in 2010. The seven were led by Germany, home of the Energiewende — a policy shift towards green power. Renewables made up 36 percent of its electricity mix, according to data compiled for the FT by the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research group.
The UK, Italy and France all generated more than 19 percent of their electricity from renewables while Australia and Brazil reached 11 percent and 13 percent respectively. For the 28 members of the EU, the number was 18 percent.
The figures do not include hydropower, one of the oldest sources of renewable electricity.
Instead, the data underline the growth of newer forms of green energy such as solar and wind farms that have been heavily subsidized in many countries as governments try to combat global warming.
This growth has been especially striking in the UK, which generated 24 percent of its electricity from such renewables last year compared with just six percent in 2010.
Still, fossil fuels continue to dominate the electricity supply in many countries, including the US and China, two of the most powerful proponents of the UN climate change accord struck in Paris in December.
China is the world’s largest clean energy market, accounting for nearly a third of the $329 billion invested in clean energy globally last year as the government continued to boost its renewables industry.
Second phase of world’s biggest offshore windfarm gets go-ahead Multibillion-pound Hornsea Project Two, 55 miles off Grimsby coast, would see 300 turbines span an area five times size of Hull, Guardian, Josh Halliday, 16 Aug 16, Plans for the world’s biggest offshore windfarm off the Yorkshire coast are to be expanded to an area five times the size of Hull after being approved by ministers.
The multibillion-pound Hornsea Project Two would see 300 turbines – each taller than the Gherkin – span more than 480 sq km in the North Sea.
Fifty-five miles off the coast of Grimsby, the project by Denmark’s Dong Energy is expected to deliver 1,800MW of low-CO2 electricity to 1.8m UK homes. The development would represent a large boost to the UK’s wind energy industry, with Dong Energy pledging to invest £6bn in the UK and create more than 2,500 jobs……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/16/hornsea-project-two-windfarm-second-phase-grimsby
Solar and wind ‘cheaper than new nuclear’ by the time Hinkley is built https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/11/solar-and-wind-cheaper-than-new-nuclear-by-the-time-hinkley-is-built
UK government’s own projections expect onshore wind power and large-scale solar to cost less per megawatt hour than new nuclear by 2025, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 11 Aug 16, The government expects solar and wind power to be cheaper than new nuclear power by the time Hinkley Point C is completed, its own projections show.
Theresa May’s government last month made a surprise decision to delay a deal on Hinkley, prompting a renewed look at what alternatives could power Britain if ministers this autumn fail to back new reactors in Somerset.
An unpublished report by the energy department shows that it expects onshore wind power and large-scale solar to cost around £50-75 per megawatt hour of power generated in 2025. New nuclear is anticipated to be around £85-125/MWh, in line with the guaranteed price of £92.50/MWh that the government has offered Hinkley’s developer, EDF.
The NAO cited the forecasts as coming from the energy department in March 2016. The department said the NAO had been provided with an early draft of its report, and the full version would be published soon.
Niall Stuart, chief executive of the trade body Scottish Renewables, said: “These numbers speak for themselves: onshore wind and solar will be significantly better value than all other large scale sources of power in the UK by 2025.
“It is time to start backing the two technologies to deliver the clean power we need to hit our climate change targets and the cheap electricity required to keep bills down for consumers.”
Molly Scott Cato, a Green party MEP, said: “These latest figures confirm what many of us have been saying for years: that the Hinkley project is a dud.
“The cost of renewables is tumbling and Hinkley will become a giant white elephant as it struggles to compete with cheaper renewable options. Research has shown that solar power would be a less costly way of generating the equivalent amount of power, and now the government’s own projections show that onshore wind too will be cheaper than nuclear by the time Hinkley is built.”
Since coming to power in May 2015, the government ended onshore wind subsidies and allowed communities to veto turbines near them, as well as axing and cutting various subsidies for solar.
Government data published on Thursday showed that renewables generated 25.1% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter of this year. Around half of that came from on and offshore wind combined.
Winds of spare change, Breaking Views, 8 August 2016 By Olaf Storbeck Theresa May should look to Denmark instead of France to secure Britain’s future energy needs. ……As things stand, the UK is proposing to guarantee French state-controlled utility EDF a minimum price of 92.50 pounds for each megawatt-hour of electricity produced at the 18-billion-pound Hinkley Point project. Back in 2013, when the deal was struck, offshore wind was almost 50 percent more pricey.
Wind technology’s costs have plummeted since then. The latest generation of wind farms on the ocean is producing electricity for less than 85 pounds per megawatt hour rather than 130 pounds, new data from state-controlled Danish utility DONG Energy shows. Bigger and more efficient turbines contribute, as well as improvements in construction and grid connection.
This progress, which is faster than even DONG expected, is undermining the economic case for Hinkley Point. Offshore wind is already 8 percent cheaper. And the gap is likely to widen, as the industry continues to be on a steep learning curve, while construction costs for nuclear plants have a notorious tendency to creep upwards.
Renewable energy’s usual issue is intermittency. But offshore wind out at sea is strong and steady, so turbines generate power 98 percent of the time. Replacing Hinkley Point’s planned capacity of 3.2 gigawatts with offshore wind would admittedly require building wind parks of twice that size – offshore turbines on average deliver only around half of their nominal capacity. But as there is no shortage in potential locations for offshore wind farms, such a large scale ramp-up is technologically possible.
Offshore wind is not just cheaper, but also less risky than Hinkley Point. Wind parks usually go on the grid within four years, compared to at least a decade for planned nuclear plants. Similar reactors in Finland and France are dogged by a tripling of costs and years of delay. And the UK taxpayer would have to pay the nuclear subsidies over 35 years, while those for wind farms usually run less than half that long.
That’s before the wind turbines’ other obvious benefit: they don’t leave toxic radioactive waste behind. If May wants to pull the plug on Hinkley Point, she has a ready-made case. https://www.breakingviews.com/considered-view/cheap-wind-energy-can-deal-final-blow-to-hinkley/
As nuclear power plants close, states need to bet big on energy storage Skeptical Science 9 August 2016 by dana1981 Eric Daniel Fournier, Post Doctoral Researcher, Spatial Informatics, University of California, Los Angeles and Alex Ricklefs, Research Analyst in Sustainable Communities, University of California, Los Angeles This article was originally published on The Conversation . Read the original article.
“……due to negative opinion and costly renovations, we are now observing a trend whereby long-running nuclear power plants are shutting down and very few new plants are being scheduled for construction in the United States.
Utilities are moving toward renewable electricity generation, such as solar and wind, partially in response to market forces and partially in response to new regulations that require utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In California, in particular, the shift toward renewable energy for market and environmental reasons, along with the public’s negative perception of nuclear energy, has caused utilities to abandon nuclear power.
While opponents can view the shutdown of nuclear power plants as a health and environmental success, closing nuclear plants intensifies the challenges faced by utilities to meet electricity consumption demand while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. PG&E, for example, has pledged to increase renewable energy sources and energy efficiency efforts, but this alone will not help them supply their customers with electricity around the clock. What can be used to fill the sizable gap left by Diablo Canyon’s closing?
Solar and wind energy sources are desirable as they produce carbon-free electricity without producing toxic and dangerous waste byproducts. However, they also suffer from the drawback of being able to produce electricity only intermittently throughout the day. Solar energy can be utilized only when the sun is out, and wind speeds vary unpredictably.
In order to meet customer electricity demand at all hours, energy storage technologies, alongside more renewable sources and increased energy efficiency, will be needed.
Enter energy storage
Energy storage has long been touted as the panacea for integrating renewable energy into the grid at large scale. Replacing the power generation left by Diablo Canyon’s closing will require expansive additions to wind and solar. However, more renewable energy generation will require more storage.
There are many different energy storage technologies currently available or in the process of commercialization, but each falls into one of four basic categories: chemical storage as in batteries, kinetic storage such as flywheels, thermal storage and magnetic storage.
The different technologies within each of these category can be characterized and compared in terms of their:
- power rating: how much electrical current produced
- energy capacity: how much energy can be stored or discharged, and
- response time: the minimum amount of time needed to deliver energy. [excellent graphs provided here on original]
The key challenge that utilities are now faced with is how to integrate energy storage technologies for specific power delivery applications at specific locations.
This challenge is further complicated by the electric power transmission system and consumer behaviors that have evolved based on a energy supply system dominated by fossil fuels. Additionally, storage technologies are expensive and still developing, which makes fossil fuel generators look more economically beneficial in the short term.
Implementing storage technologies
Currently in California, energy storage is effectively provided by fossil fuel power plants. These natural gas and coal-powered plants provide steady “baseload” power and can ramp up generation to meet peaks in demand, which generally happen in the afternoon and early evening.
A single energy storage device cannot directly replace the capacity potential of these fossil fuel sources, which can generate high rates of power as long as needed.
The inability to perform a like-for-like replacement means that a more diversified portfolio strategy toward energy storage must be adopted in order to make a smooth transition to a lower carbon energy future. Such balanced energy storage portfolio would necessarily consist of some combination of:
- short-duration energy storage systems that are capable of maintaining power quality by meeting localized spikes in peak demand and buffering short term supply fluctuations. These could include supercapacitors, batteries and flywheels that can supply bursts of power quickly.
- Lower speed energy storage that can supply a lot of power and store a lot of energy. These systems, such as pumped hydro and thermal storage with concentrated solar power, are capable of shifting the seasonality of solar production and servicing the unique power requirements for large scale or sensitive power users in the commercial and industrial sectors.
This set of storage technologies would have to be linked up in a kind of chain, nested and tiered by end use, location and integration into the grid. Additionally, management systems will be needed to control how the storage technologies interact with the grid.
Currently without sufficient energy storage in place, utilities now use natural gas to fill in the gaps in electricity supply from renewable sources. Utilities use “peaker” plants, which are natural gas-fueled plants that can turn generation up or down to meet electricity demand, such as when solar output dips in the late afternoon and evening, while producing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the process.
With natural gas consumption for electricity generation on the rise, would it be better to keep nuclear power while energy storage technologies mature? Although less polluting than coal, natural gas produces greenhouse gas emissions and has the potential to causeenvironmentally dangerous leaks, as seen in Aliso Canyon.
With nuclear, it is still not clear what to do with nuclear waste, and the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 highlights how catastrophically dangerous nuclear power plants can be.
Regardless of which situation you believe is best, it is clear that energy storage is the major limitation to achieving a carbon-free electricity grid.
California’s commitment to renewable energy sources has helped shift the state to using less fossil fuels and emitting less greenhouse gases. However, careful planning is needed to ensure that energy storage systems are installed to take over the baseline load duties currently held by natural gas and nuclear power, as renewables and energy efficiency may not be able to carry the burden.
Clever payment systems, such as Oxfam’s plan, could revolutionise Zimbabwe with decentralised solar energy
Affordable solar schemes light way to energy for all in Zimbabwe BY TONDERAYI MUKEREDZI HARARE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) Aug 8, 2016 – Innovative ways to pay for solar power systems could make clean energy affordable for many of Zimbabwe’s 1.5 million households that lack electricity, campaigners say. Zimbabwe produces only around 60 percent of the electricity it needs when demand is highest, and relies on costly imports to make up some of the shortage, particularly when drought hits hydropower facilities, as happened this year.
That means solar panels and other clean energy sources not connected to the southern African nation’s power grid are likely the cheapest and fastest way to bring electricity to those without it, say sustainable energy experts. “Only focusing on grid extension and increasing generation capacity will not allow us to attain energy access for all by 2030,” said Chiedza Maizaiwana, manager of the Power for All Zimbabwe Campaign.
To meet the internationally agreed goal, so-called “decentralised” renewable energy is “a critically needed solution”, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is imperative that we create the opportunity for families and businesses to access (these) services rapidly and affordably,” she said.
Getting connected to the grid in a rural area can cost thousands of dollars, a huge obstacle when many people earn between $20 and $100 a month, said Ngaatendwe Murimba, a program officer for Ruzivo Trust, a non-governmental organization (NGO) working to improve rural energy access.
But families without electricity do pay for energy, buying firewood or charcoal – which drive deforestation – batteries, or polluting fuels such as paraffin……..
Jonathan Njerere, head of programs in Zimbabwe for charity Oxfam, said that in Gutu district, 230 km east of Harare, his organization and others had helped set up a community-owned, self-financing solar energy scheme.
It has enabled more than 270 farmers to irrigate about 16 hectares (39.5 acres) of crops.
Oxfam gave the community solar equipment for irrigation and an initial batch of solar lanterns, which were sold to members. The proceeds were pooled in a savings and lending scheme, allowing others to join and buy solar products for home and business use.
Community funds are used to purchase solar equipment for sale to the public through energy kiosks, and the revenue is kept for repairs and relief in natural disasters.
Njerere said the program, assisted by 2 million euros ($2.22 million) from the European Union, had helped chicken farms, fisheries, tailors and shopkeepers acquire hire-purchase solar panels, so they can work in the evening as well as during the day.
Other entrepreneurs use the solar panels to sell mobile phone charging services for $0.20 a time………
Providing subsidized solar equipment would hugely improve uptake, Ruzivo Trust’s Murimba said. Communities are asking for free installation of solar systems, zero taxes on solar equipment, and government-accredited dealers who can provide them with quality solar equipment and technical support, he added.
One local company had to discontinue a popular package including a mobile phone and a $45 solar lamp. It sold some 400,000 lights to around a third of the country’s households, but they were poor quality, and many developed problems with no mechanism for repair or return.
In Harare, vegetable vendor Regina Meki, 40, uses a solar lamp she bought on credit to hawk her wares well into the night. Under a payment plan offered by a local solar company, she pays $1 a day for the $50 rented lamp, which has helped boost her monthly earnings from $70 to $120. “Solar energy has brought nothing but happiness to me, increasing my income. Besides payment for the equipment was easy on the pocket,” she said. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-zimbabwe-energy-solar-financing-idUSKCN10J0L3
France gets a step closer to solar roads http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/france-gets-step-closer-solar-roads-56433 By Ilias Tsagas on 5 August 2016 French energy minister Ségolène Royal has inaugurated a manufacturing plant that will produce the so-called “Wattway” paving, made of solar PV. One of its pilot projects will be a 1 kilometer solar road, built in the same region as where the plant is located.
On 26 July French energy minister Ségolène Royal inaugurated a manufacturing unit for the Wattway photovoltaic panels in Tourouvre, Orne. Wattway is a French innovation and is the result of 5 years of research undertaken by Colas, a transport infrastructure company, and the French National Institute for Solar Energy (INES).
The joint patent for the product is based on crystalline silicon, and although it is very thin, Colas argues it is also “very sturdy, skid-resistant and designed to last,” with the durability to bear all types of vehicles, including trucks. Wattway panels can be applied directly to existing pavements, with the aim of generating green electricity while also allowing traffic to flow.
Colas is already taking orders for panels ranging from 10 m2 to 50 m2, however, as of 2017, Wattway panels will be included in the Colas product line and the panel surface will increase.
One of the first applications of the Wattway panels will be a 1 kilometer road in the Onre region, the local council has announced.
France’s energy minister took the opportunity at the event to also announce the mobilization of €5 million in state funding to support the development of the Wattway photovoltaic panel. Royal herself is a great support of the innovative patent and has often spoken publicly of the variety of projects the Wattway can be applied to.
A Wattway panel, said Colas, can last “at least 10 years depending on the traffic, which speeds up wear. If the section is not covered by heavy traffic – a stadium parking lot for example – then Wattway panels can last roughly 20 years.”
Source: PV Magazine.
An entire district in Rajasthan to be powered by solar energy, will end all water woes in the desert state! Rajasthan Electronics and Instrumentation Ltd, the firm currently handling the project has been given the green signal to spend Rs 11.91 crore for the entire project. India.com By Rutu Ladage on August 2, 2016“……..For Rajasthan government, coming up with newer techniques to ensure that the water issues never crop up, Barmer district in Jaiselmer is coming up with a unique solution. While we do have villages and homes in India that boast of solar power and using solar energy to meet their electricity needs, there are hardly any complete districts that boast of running solely on solar power. If the project works out, it will definitely be one of the major firsts in India and set the benchmark for other regions too. The Mukhyamantri Solar Adharit Nalkoop Yojana (MSANY). will provide 70 solar tubewells in Barmer district to help people become reliant on solar energy and use solar power even for agriculture.
What does the public really think of renewables? http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/articles/2016/07/29/what-does-the-public-really-think-of-renewables Did you know that 76% of the UK public support renewables, while just 21% support fracking?
This week the newly named Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) released its latest public attitudes tracker, asking UK residents their opinion on various energy topics ranging from bills to fracking.
The surveys, which first began in March 2012, time and again reveal overwhelming public support for renewable energy.
Strong support for renewables
In the past 18 surveys, support for renewables has never dropped below 75%, and the proportion backing solar has always been 80% or higher.
Seven in 10 of us agree that renewable energy provides economic benefits to the country, something we’re dedicated to delivering through our Renewables Development Charter.
In comparison, support for nuclear and fracking is consistently overshadowed by renewables, with the latest stats revealing that 36% and 21% of the UK public support these technologies respectively.
Good Energy founder and CEO Juliet Davenport was thrilled with the news. She said: “Clean energy has always had the public’s support because it offers good value – it’s local, it’s sustainable and it offers a solution to climate change.”
“The gulf between what the public wants for our energy future and what our Government is imposing is growing.
“The newly formed BEIS department needs to listen to public support, take the lead in seizing new opportunities and keep us on the path to decarbonisation.”
Record breaking clean power These figures are a huge boost to renewables, and come at a time when clean sources of generation are breaking records.
With 2016 a year of political change and uncertainty for the renewable energy industry, it is good news like this which demonstrates the progress we are making towards a truly low carbon future.
Join the clean energy revolution by switching to our 100% renewable electricity and Green Gas
Bill Gates Again Dismisses Solar’s Value In Africa, Clean Technica July 22nd, 2016 by Joshua S Hill Bill Gates, delivering the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on the eve of Mandela Day, has again dismissed the potential global role of solar, and in particular the value it could have in solving energy crises in Africa.
In the long run, what Africa needs is what the whole world needs: a breakthrough energy miracle that provides cheap, clean energy for everyone,” Gates said on the 17th. However, Gates doesn’t believe that that breakthrough has been made in the form of solar.
In an interview with Tech Insider earlier this year in February, which saw the billionaire philanthropist discuss the need to bring electricity to the millions who do not yet have access to reliable grid-provided energy, Bill Gates dismissed the role of solar. Gates discussed the need for an “energy miracle” then as well. “You might say, well, aren’t people saying that about wind and solar today? Not really. Only in the super-narrow sense that the capital costs per output, when the wind is blowing, is slightly lower.”
Gates continued, saying that the reason solar and wind “still needs subsidies, and it can’t go above a certain percentage, is this intermittency — it changes the economics, particularly the requirement that the power company at all times be able to require power.”
Speaking last Sunday as he delivered the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, Gates again dismissed the role of solar in bringing electricity to the millions throughout Africa who are without reliable access to electricity……
What’s disappointing is that, at every step along Bill Gates’ arguments, we find reason to disagree with his increasingly-outdated points of view. Integrating energy storage with wind and solar generation mitigates much of the intermittency concerns, while reliance upon fossil fuels such as coal in Africa rely on massive levels of infrastructure — infrastructure which simply doesn’t exist, and would cost billions to develop, in excess of the cost of developing large-scale renewable energy deployment. Already the levelized cost of electricity (LCoE) has seen to be decreasing for both solar and onshore wind, and in some parts of the world are already cost competitive with existing fossil fuel energy sources.
Bill Gates isn’t unable to access this information, so what’s driving his seeming intentional ignorance towards the potential benefits of renewable energy, and solar energy in particular, for providing widespread electricity throughout Africa? http://cleantechnica.com/2016/07/22/bill-gates-dismisses-solars-value-africa/
From swords to solar, a German town takes control of its energy, National Observer, By Audrea Lim in News, Energy | July 28th 2016 The German town of Saerbeck is a swords to solar panels story. Above this former German military ammunition camp, perched atop a metal stem like an oversized stalk of wheat, giant blades rotate in the sky, given life by an invisible breeze.
In 2009, Saerbeck decided to shift its electricity entirely to renewable sources by 2030. Within just five years, they were generating 3.5 times more renewable electricity than the town consumed, not only with the installation of solar panels on private roofs, but through a 90-hectare, 70-million-euro Bioenergy Park that now houses seven wind turbines, a biogas plant, and a sprawling array of solar panels on the roofs of former military bunkers.
These camouflaged bunkers look like charming rows of grass-hatted hobbit holes, but were built to house tank ammunition and grenades. Today they provide the physical foundation for achieving local energy security and self-sufficiency—since 2012, Saerbeck’s entire electric grid has been owned by the community—as well as a canvas for the psychedelic shadowplay cast by the rotating turbine blades.
The key to Saerbeck’s success, explained Mayor Wilfried Roos, is the grassroots nature of these projects, which were conceptualized at weekly community meetings, and have brought in revenue for the town and local investors, as excess energy is sold back into the grid……..
A bunch of PIMBYs (Please, in my backyard)
At the center of the town’s transformation is the local energy cooperative Energy for Saerbeck, co-founded by Roos, which owns the solar plant and a turbine in the Bioenergy Park. By investing in the cooperative (the minimum amount is 1,000 EUR), local townspeople become voting members and earn profits. Since its founding in 2009, the cooperative’s membership has expanded from an original nine members to 384 today. More residents are eager to join—if only the coop could keep pace with enough new projects.
Wallraven credits the opportunity to invest and participate for the townspeople’s embrace of the transition, which some scholars describe with the cringe-worthy acronym “PIMBY”—“Please, In My Backyard”—or, in corporate jargon, as the achievement of “social acceptance.” “The cooperative has been a very important strategic instrument to get the people on board,” said Wallraven………
In Germany, the energiewende has largely been fueled by small and mid-sized investors. Citizen participation accounted for 46 per cent of the nation’s renewable energy capacity in 2012, and there were 973 electricity cooperatives running by 2015.
The Solar Impulse Plane Just Finished Flying Around The World With Zero Fuel,Fast Coexist 27 July 16
Now we know a solar plane works. What comes next for the future of clean aviation? Fifteen months after it took off, the world’s first solar-powered airplane finished a 22,000-mile trip around the world. In theory, the Solar Impulse 2—covered in more than 17,000 solar cells—could have made the trip without stopping. Because it doesn’t need fuel, the plane is capable of flying indefinitely………
Through the project, they wanted to help kickstart change—not just in airplanes, but in transportation in general, in housing, and in all energy-consuming products.
In aviation, some of the ideas used in Solar Impulse are already being used in other projects. Airbus recently announced that it plans to build a 19-seat electric plane. NASA is working on another small electric plane. “If you think about the future of aviation, it’s quite clear we will move in the direction of electric propulsion because of its efficiency,” Borschberg says.
The motor in the Solar Impulse is 97% efficient, compared with about 30% efficiency in a typical car. “Seventy percent of the gasoline that you put in your tank is lost as heat,” he says. “Electric propulsion is what made it possible to fly day and night.”…….
They’re also hoping that the success of their round-the-world flight inspires more people to use renewable energy in general. “If we can do it on a plane, we can certainly do it everywhere on the ground,” he says. http://www.fastcoexist.com/3062222/the-solar-impulse-plane-just-finished-flying-around-the-world-with-zero-fuel
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