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Solar’s stunning journey from lab curiosity to global juggernaut wiping out fossil fuels

One of the four Australian solar researchers who have won the world’s most
prestigious engineering prize says it won’t be long before solar is at a
cost level across the world where it will “wipe fossil fuels out of the
global economy.

Renew Economy 10th Feb 2023


February 11, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, renewable | Leave a comment

Young people want to work in genuinely clean industries

MILLIONS of youngsters want a career in the green industries with many
planning to pursue roles in renewable energy and engineering. A poll of
1,000 people aged between 15 and 25 found 71 per cent want to work towards
a career which doesn’t have a negative impact on the planet.

The Sun 9th Feb 2023

February 11, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewables In China Trend Upward While Nuclear Trends Flat.

The blue line at the bottom is nuclear, and not particularly sharp eyes will note that it’s trending to flat. The red line at the top is wind, water, and solar cumulative additions to annual TWh of electricity flowing into China’s grid, and not particularly sharp eyes will note it’s curving upwards.

The natural experiment of renewables vs nuclear continues in China, and it continues to unfold in renewables’ favor. 

Clean Technica, ByMichael Barnard, 7 Feb 23,

I’ve been publishing assessments of the poor performance of nuclear compared to wind and solar in China for years (2014201920212022). My premise nine years ago was a first principles assertion with limited empirical results that wind and solar would radically outstrip nuclear in China. Why? Modularity reducing long-tailed risks, as Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, global expert and go to person for megaprojects, puts it in his new book How Big Things Get Done, where he includes my assessment of the natural experiment.

Subsequent assessments found that was true. Every year, the combination of wind and solar, and usually both individually, outstripped new nuclear generation, both in raw nameplate capacity and in additional TWh of annual generation. But as Professor Mark Z. Jacobson likes to remind us, it’s not WS, it’s WWS, that is wind, water, and solar. And so, today I spent a bit of time looking at hydroelectric generation capacity additions around the world since 2000, which turned out to be almost entirely in China. Of the 132.5 GW of new big hydroelectric projects connected to the grid in the world since 2000, 113 GW were in China. Unsurprising to anyone paying the slightest attention, but still, big numbers.

But what does that mean when added to wind and solar and compared to nuclear, leveraging the 2010 to 2022 data set I already had?…………………………………….

there is an interesting question about all forms of electrical generation, which is what capacity factors they are operating at. China’s wind and solar were historically curtailed by transmission connection challenges, which have been being resolved every year. Last year’s bumper crop of offshore wind, of course, were connected with HVDC to the grid without challenges.

What about hydro? It has different challenges for capacity factors, typically having a spring spate with often far too much water to use for generation, and a fall lull where generation is low. In the case of China, the best data I have at present is from the International Hydropower Association (IHA) which lists 1,355 TWh of electrical generation from 370,160 MW of capacity in 2020. That’s a 42% capacity factor, which I used for the generation.

I was somewhat surprised by this, and would be interested in better data, should anyone have some at hand. What it does mean is that while nuclear added a total of about 243 TWh of net new electrical generation from 2010 through 2022, hydro only added about 229 TWh of new generation. It was an interesting result which I’ll spend a little time assessing in a bit. Of course, wind energy added about 711 TWh of new generation annually over that period and solar added about 474 TWh. Both outstripped nuclear and hydro.

For purposes of wind, solar, and nuclear, I’d been simply presenting the new TWh of generation added each year. But in adding water to the data set, it seemed reasonable to make it cumulative.

In the graph above , the blue line at the bottom is nuclear, and not particularly sharp eyes will note that it’s trending to flat. The red line at the top is wind, water, and solar cumulative additions to annual TWh of electricity flowing into China’s grid, and not particularly sharp eyes will note it’s curving upwards.

Poking at the disparity between additions of actual TWh by renewable generation source a bit more, there are a few things to note.

The first, of course, is that wind and solar siting is much simpler than major hydroelectric siting. They just need flattish areas with good wind and sun, and wind likes ridge lines where flat bits can be made. Big hydro needs a big river with a reasonably significant drop along its length and at least one place where it’s carved a big valley. Meandering rivers like the Mississippi need not apply, although they are much better for inland shipping. The combination means that it’s typically easier to get materials and workers for wind and solar farms to the sites, easier to move construction vehicles around them and the like.

And hydroelectric reservoirs have another reality: you can’t live or work where they are. Unlike solar farms which can simply be built around existing buildings or roads, or wind farms where turbines can be built in the non-productive corners of farm fields, hydroelectric reservoirs displace everybody and everything where they exist. …………………………………

Still, China has managed to construct and attach 16 of them [hydro-electric dams] to the grid since 2000. I was aware of the Three Gorges Dam, of course, but was unaware that it was a small portion of the hydroelectric China had constructed. And while each project’s cost and schedule results vs plans are unavailable, China did succeed in building them.

The natural experiment of renewables vs nuclear continues in China, and it continues to unfold in renewables’ favor.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Four separate reports show that the UK could save over €120 bn by 2050 by switching to a renewable energy strategy

LUT University in Finland has found that a 100% renewable energy/storage
mix would save the UK over €120 bn by 2050 compared with the UK
Government’s current net zero plan.

That’s one conclusion from a series of
scenarios in a new LUT report. Its ‘Best Policy Scenario’ (BPS), aims for
100% renewable energy in 2050, with offshore wind as the main resource,
limiting onshore wind and solar according to available land area, but it’s
backed up by a second scenario called ‘Inter-Annual Storage’ (IAS) which
adds on to the BPS the required inter-annual storage needed to provide good
levels of insurance against the possibilities of low-wind years.

A third scenario (BPSplus) tests the limits of higher land area availability for
onshore wind and solar photovoltaics, and where also renewable
electricity-based e-fuel imports are allowed. And finally, a fourth scenario, called ‘Current Policy Scenario’ (CPS), looks at the UK Government’s strategy for net zero as published in 2020.

A very worthwhile assessment exercise – all credit to Dr David Toke and the ‘100%
Renewables’ lobby group for supporting it. It does clearly show that a zero
carbon 100% renewables scenario is possible, at lower cost than any other
scenario. As Toke notes the implications are that ‘all public and
enforced consumer spending on new nuclear power and carbon capture and
storage should be scrapped and instead funding should be put into renewable
energy, energy efficiency and storage capacity.’

Renew Extra 21st Jan 2023

January 23, 2023 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Renewable energy is the only credible path forward -António Guterres

Renewable energy is the only credible path forward if the world is to avert
a climate catastrophe, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on
Saturday, outlining a five-point plan for a just transition.

“Only renewables can safeguard our future, close the energy access gap, stabilize
prices and ensure energy security,” he said in a video message to the
13th Session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly,
taking place this weekend in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. “Together,
let’s jumpstart a renewables revolution and create a brighter future for

UN 14th Jan 2023

January 17, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Germany aims for faster expansion of wind energy, not nuclear

Germany Targets Three New Windmills a Day for Energy Reboot. Chancellor
Scholz says faster expansion of renewables needed. He rules out further
nuclear power extension to ease crunch.

Bloomberg 14th Jan 2023

January 16, 2023 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

The renewable energy transition is creating a green jobs boom

12.7 million people now work in the global renewable energy sector, according to the
International Renewable Energy Agency. It says the biggest growth has been
in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, especially in Asia, which employs
79% of the global total. Wind and hydropower, as well as liquid biofuels
make up most of the rest of the growth in renewable energy jobs. China
dominates employment in most renewable energy sectors, however Brazil has
the most biofuel jobs.

World Economic Forum 13th Jan 2023

January 15, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Analysis Shows U.S. Wind and Solar Could Outpace Coal and Nuclear Power in 2023

EcoWatch By: Common Dreams, January 8, 2023, By Jake Johnson

A new analysis of federal data shows that wind and solar alone could generate more electricity in the United States than nuclear and coal over the coming year, critical progress toward reducing the country’s reliance on dirty energy.

The SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable energy development, highlighted a recently released U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) review finding that renewable sources as a whole—including solar, wind, biomass, and others—provided 22.6% of U.S. electricity over the first 10 months of 2022, a pace set to beat the agency’s projection for the full year.

“Taken together, during the first ten months of 2022, renewable energy sources comfortably out-produced both coal and nuclear power by 16.62% and 27.39% respectively,” the SUN DAY Campaign noted Tuesday. “However, natural gas continues to dominate with a 39.4% share of total generation.”…………………… more

January 8, 2023 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear fusion may change our world but renewable energy sources will save it: experts

Harnessing nuclear fusion could take more than 40 years, while some solutions already exist

Rossland News, Jan. 8, 2023 By Rachel Morgan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer

We are living through unprecedented times……………. we are also.. living through unprecedented technological times…….

But experts are already warning that `nuclear fusion’ technology, suddenly being heralded by many as the panacea, the great answer to our planetary climate problem, should not distract from the critical role renewable energy sources are already playing in our quest to cleanse Earth.

While some forms of renewable energy have been used as far back as 2,000 years ago when the Greeks built water mills to turn grains into flour, modern renewable energy technologies first began to take shape over the 19th and 20th centuries. It wasn’t until the turn of the 21st century that technologies like wind turbines and solar panels reached the point of viability as wide scale sources of energy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable sources of energy are now, collectively, on track to surpass coal as the number one generator of electricity by 2025.

A month ago, everything changed. Suddenly, the entire conversation around alternative energy has been shifted, forever……………..

When news broke [of a “breakthrough ” in nuclear fusion] there was a sigh of relief across the globe. Immediately, articles began circulating about salvation for the planet as fusion would, inevitably, power a clean energy grid.

But as the novelty of the remarkable breakthrough begins to wear off, researchers and scientists are already wary of the potential negative consequences.

“I was not overly optimistic,” Jean-Thomas Bernard, a visiting professor in the Department of Economics and the Institute of the Environment at the University of Ottawa, says. His expertise deals with the economics of energy use and he addressed the potential of nuclear fusion. “It is a good idea to proceed with developing, doing research on that line. But we are very far from seeing commercial plants being built.”

His concern, like many others in the growing fields dedicated to finding solutions for the most pressing environmental issues, is the danger of being distracted by a silver bullet, especially one that might arrive too late.

It could take more than 40 years before nuclear fusion can be harnessed and scaled to create the amount of electricity needed to change the game. Meanwhile, alternatives that are already doing this, could be suddenly overlooked, in favour of a technology that won’t be ready before catastrophic climate change alters Earth, forever.

Currently, there is research and testing into two different methods to create the type of nuclear fusion the California experiment produced. Both rely on heavy forms of hydrogen which are compressed until they fuse together emitting energy that can create steam to turn a turbine. The process used at the NIF lab relied on laser beams directed at the elements, which needed about 99 percent more energy to actually operate them than what was ultimately produced (the ignition event only measures the energy gain from the laser output, not the electricity required to run the laser machines).

Another process being experimented with across the globe, including in British Columbia, uses magnetic force to create the pressure and heat needed for the elements to fuse. It is unclear which process will result in the biggest gains, using the least amount of initial energy input. It’s also unclear which of the two methods might be realistically scalable, to use for global electricity production. Scientists have also said it is hard to predict how long it will take to advance current technology around each method to the point when nuclear fusion can be widely generated to create energy for everyday human use.

Experts agree it could still be decades before we see fusion contributing to our electricity grid…………

One fear is the nuclear fusion breakthrough will siphon off investments and detract attention from current renewable alternatives, just as those technologies are becoming more and more viable.

Late last year the International Energy Agency released a report with an accompanying article, headlined: “Renewable power’s growth is being turbocharged as countries seek to strengthen energy security”.

…….. Global renewable power capacity is now expected to grow by 2,400 gigawatts (GW) over the 2022-2027 period, an amount equal to the entire power capacity of China today, according to Renewables 2022, the latest edition of the IEA’s annual report on the sector.”

January 8, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable, technology | Leave a comment

Great Britain produced a record amount of wind-powered electricity in 2022

Great Britain produced a record amount of wind-powered electricity in 2022,
according to the National Grid. More electricity came from renewable and
nuclear power sources than from fossil fuels gas and coal, the second
highest after 2020.

Replacing fossil fuels with green power is a core way
for the world to tackle the impacts of climate change. Sources like wind
and solar are also significantly cheaper and should lead to cheaper bills
in the long-run.

Overall 48.5% of electricity came from renewable and
nuclear power, compared to 40% from gas and coal power stations. On a
single day in November, more than 70% of electricity was produced by wind,
or around 20GW. That’s enough power to heat about 1700 homes for a year.

That record was again broken on 30 December when 20.918GW was generated by
wind turbines. For five months of the year (February, May, October,
November and December), more than half of electricity came from so-called
zero carbon electricity sources renewable and nuclear. And the use of coal
– the most polluting fossil fuel – continued to fall. In 2022 it generated
just 1.5% of electricity compared to 2012 when it was 43%.

BBC 6th Jan 2023

January 7, 2023 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Solar power innovation by two British local councils.

Over 100 council car parking spaces in Sudbury and Stowmarket have been
covered with solar panels to help power and reduce carbon emissions at two
council-owned leisure centres. Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils
have finished building solar carports more than 110 of their existing car
parking spaces to help power two of their leisure centres.

They are among the UK’s first rural local authorities to trial the technology, which will
reduce the centres’ reliance on the grid and cut carbon emissions. Seventy
solar carports are located at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket,
providing up to almost 24% of the centre’s annual electricity demand.

The remaining 40 are located at Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury, providing
over 16% of its annual electricity demand. Each site also includes battery
storage so excess energy produced during sunnier periods can be saved for
later, as well as eight electric vehicle charging points, including two
rapid chargers.

New Anglia 3rd Jan 2023

January 5, 2023 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

As France’s nuclear energy sector falters, Britain’s wind and solar power booms

the continued sharp growth of green power in Britain’s electricity mix. Wind farms generated a record 28 per cent of the country’s needs this year, up from 23 per cent last year. Solar generation increased to 5 per cent this year, from essentially zero a decade earlier.

Britain exported more electricity to Europe than ever before this year while wind and solar generation hit all-time highs, according to the first analysis of the year’s power mix. The energy crisis in Europe prompted by
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and safety problems at French nuclear plants resulted in Britain becoming a net exporter of electricity to the Continent for the first time in more than a decade.

Renewable power sources generated in excess of 40 per cent of Britain’s electricity needs for the first
time as both wind and solar output increased, according to the analysis by Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights and seen by The Times.
Gas-fired power generation also increased, compensating for a sharp drop in imports and helping to supply the rising exports. Soaring gas prices meant power prices were almost twice as high as a year earlier. Iain Staffell, of Imperial College London, lead author of the report, said: “This has been a year like no other for the energy industry.

The public are feeling the pain of high gas prices on their energy bills, even though renewables are
providing the grid with more cheap, green electricity than ever before. The lesson from 2022 is that we need to break our addiction to fossil fuels once and for all if we want lower-cost and more secure energy supplies.”

This reversal was driven by net exports to France, with more than half of the French nuclear fleet forced offline over the summer for maintenance and to repair corrosion and cracking.

Power flows on interconnectors are normally decided by the market, travelling in the direction of the highest
bidder. The analysis also shows the continued sharp growth of green power in Britain’s electricity mix. Wind farms generated a record 28 per cent of the country’s needs this year, up from 23 per cent last year. Solar
generation increased to 5 per cent this year, from essentially zero a decade earlier.

 Times 29th Dec 2022

December 31, 2022 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Sunak’s wrongheaded renewables tax risks trashing Britain’s wind and solar ambitions.

DR NINA SKORUPSKA: Sunak’s wrongheaded renewables tax risks trashing
Britain’s wind and solar ambitions. The Government must change course,
otherwise we will see winters even more painful than this one.

Call it what you will – a windfall tax, a clawback, a levy – the fact remains that the
Electricity Generator Levy (EGL), in its current form, is set to cause
irreparable damage to Britain’s green energy industry by stalling
investment. In principle, our sector is certainly not against the
Government’s policy to require generators to help pay for energy bill

However, we would question the wisdom of subjecting the cheaper,
greener renewable power sector to a more punishing tax regime than its oil
and gas counterparts. It is an inexplicable disparity – our sector is key
to tackling the volatile costs of fossil fuels at the heart of rising
energy bills. Treatment should be fair and equitable in relation to the oil
and gas sector.

Telegraph 23rd Dec 2022

December 28, 2022 Posted by | politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Twice as many people support onshore wind compared to nuclear power, according to UK Government survey.

Renewable energy of all sorts is at
least twice as popular with the British public compared to nuclear power
according to the newly released ‘BEIS Public Opinion Tracker Autumn
2022‘. Solar power was supported or strongly supported by 89% of
respondents, offshore wind by 85% and onshore wind by 79%. This was
compared to only 37% for nuclear power, 25% for fracking and 44% for carbon
capture and storage. The survey recorded that just 29% of people believe
that nuclear energy ‘provides a safe source of energy in the UK’.

100% Renewables 15th Dec 2022

December 16, 2022 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Every home and community could be a power station’: the Nuclear Free Local Authorities’s future renewable energy vision for Wales

Every Welsh home and community a renewable power station” was the vision outlined by the UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Secretary for a sustainable nuclear-free Wales at a meeting held in the Senedd Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay yesterday (6 December).

The event was sponsored and opened by Senedd Member Mike Hedges and hosted by CND Cymru to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clwyd Declaration when in 1982 all eight of the original Welsh County Councils declared themselves nuclear-free. Throughout 2022, an exhibition to mark the anniversary has been touring the nation, and yesterday, the exhibition was on display at the Pierhead Building…………………………………….

NFLA Secretary Richard Outram described a vision where Wales could instead be powered by renewables alone.

Richard said: “The Nuclear Free Local Authorities remain implacably opposed to any new nuclear power stations in Wales. Wales is blessed with many natural resources from which to draw power – her rivers, tides, sun and wind, even the untapped geothermal power that can be derived from the earth and the many abandoned coal mines that lie beneath the feet of her citizens!

“If we fitted new and existing homes and public buildings with insulation and energy efficiency measures, each would use less heat and power, reducing customers’ bills and their carbon footprint. And if we fitted them with solar panels, heat pumps, and battery storage they could generate and store their own heat and power, making them energy sufficient and independent of the National Grid. In effect every Welsh home and public building could become an energy efficient, energy generating power station.

“And if this is combined with larger community, Council or business led renewable projects, such as hydro, onshore or offshore wind, tidal, wind, solar, or geothermal schemes, we can create a visionary and sustainable energy future for Wales more cost-effectively, more quickly, more safely and with many more jobs than nuclear. Wales already derives much of its energy from renewables, but we could do much more.”

The event ended with participants being asked to sign the Cardiff Declaration. Signatories included Councillors from Newport City Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, as well as members of the following organisations: CND Cymru; ICAN, We can, Cymru can; Cor Cochion Caerdydd; Wales One World Film Festival; Labrats International; XR Peace; Trident Ploughshares and United Nations Association.

December 9, 2022 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment