You Are Viewing Renewables

“What would you rather do: burn 714 pounds of coal or put up 100 square meters of solar power?”

Posted By Lowell F. on October 6th, 2014

“What would you rather do: burn 714 pounds of coal or put up 100 square meters of solar power?” That’s the question Michael Kanellos asks at Forbes magazine, with regard to “how much energy it would take to keep a 100 watt light bulb burning for an entire year.” The answer truly sheds light (pun intended) on how, to quote Kanellos, “A Light Bulb Shows How Solar And Wind Beat Coal.” Check out the graphic below, and note that you could power your hypothetical light bulb either with: a) 2 hours, 20 minutes and 9 seconds from a 1.5 MW wind turbine at 25% capacity; b) “8 days, 8 hours and 14 seconds of energy from 100 square meters of solar panels”; or c) 714 pounds of coal.  When you consider the environmental devastation caused by coal, and the fact that wind and solar are clean, renewable, and essentially free (when it comes to the power source itself), the answer should be a no-brainer for just about anyone besides the Koch brothers.

Comments Off

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (10/6/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on October 6th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (10/6/14).

  1. RenewEconomy reports: “The Australian government – and ministers Greg Hunt and Ian Macfarlane in particular, like to tell everyone how much they support renewable energy. But they seem to be doing their level best to trash the industry in Australia.”
  2. Greentech Media addresses the question, “How Are Electric Utilities Really Using Grid Edge Analytics?”
  3. The Guardian reports, “A 40% cut in energy use by 2030 through efficiency measures would increase the UK’s GDP by £62bn and create 40,000 new jobs, according to unpublished EU figures.”
  4. Renewable Energy World editor Jennifer Runyon lists “7 Renewable Energy Lessons from Germany.”
  5. The Lynchburg (VA) News & Advance reports: “Five Nelson County residents filed a lawsuit against Dominion Transmission in an attempt to keep the 550-mile pipeline, also known as the Southeast Reliability Project, out of Nelson County. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the United States District Court in Charlottesville, asked the court to declare unconstitutional a Virginia statute relevant to the pipeline proposal.
Comments Off

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (10/3/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on October 3rd, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (10/3/14).

  1. On Earth reports on “The Tar Sands Bubble,” and how “Without KXL, tar sands are a bad investment. By fighting the pipeline, activists have disrupted the industry’s bottom line.”
  2. According to Climate Progress: “Baker Hughes, which is one of the world’s largest companies providing drilling and other services to oil companies, pledged Tuesday that it would disclose 100 percent of the chemical makeup in the fluid it uses for fracking, ‘without the use of any trade secret designations.’ The company said in a statement that it hopes its decision to disclose its chemical mix will help instill more public trust in the fracking process.”
  3. The Chicago Tribune reports: “In 2010, nearly 20 percent of [Kankakee, Illinois] was out of work, and the county also faced double-digit unemployment. The county’s Economic Alliance decided to woo the renewable energy sector to the area to create jobs. Today, city unemployment has dropped by half, helped by those efforts.”
  4. David Doniger writes at NRDC’s Switchboard blog: “Researchers from Harvard, Boston and Syracuse universities have published new estimates of how many lives can be saved each year by EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards for the nation’s 1500 fossil-fueled electric power plants. They’ve concluded these first-time carbon limits can save the lives of 3,500 Americans each year in 2020 and thereafter.”
  5. RenewEconomy reports: “US solar company SunEdison claims to have come up with a way to produce polysilicon – a key ingredient for efficient solar panels – using a method that is far cheaper and more energy efficient than the current industry standard. The company has predicted that the high pressure fluidized bed reactor (HP-FBR) solar technology,in action as of this week at its new joint venture facility in Korea, will provide source polysilicon to enable 400 watt peak PV panel performance at a cost of $US0.40 per watt peak by 2016.”
Comments Off

Investment in Clean Energy Rising; Coal and Tar Sands Economics Increasingly Dubious

Posted By Lowell F. on October 3rd, 2014

Earlier this week, we highlighted a recent study by leading financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard which showed how cheap clean energy has gotten.  We also noted the International Energy Agency  (IEA) forecast that “solar energy could be the largest source of electricity by mid-century,” as the “rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades.” Now, Bloomberg has more good news, fully consistent with the Lazard and IEA analyses.

About $175 billion was spent globally on renewable energy projects during the first three quarters, up 16 percent from the same period last year, with Chinese solar investment at a record, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.

Spending in the third quarter gained 12 percent to $55 billion from $48.9 billion a year earlier, the London-based research company said today in statement. Almost $20 billion of that was in China, where solar investing soared to $12.2 billion from $7.5 billion.

The world’s largest solar market may add 14 gigawatts of capacity this year, almost a third of the global total, as more large-scale projects are built, BNEF said. Japan, the second-biggest solar market, increased spending 17 percent to $8.6 billion in the third quarter.

We should also add that in the United States, wind power has tripled and solar has increased tenfold (!) just since 2008. In short, clean energy is on a roll. In stark contrast, see the headine at DeSmogBlog, “Tide Turning Against Global Coal Industry: New Report;” and the Bloomberg story, “Alpha Sees as Few as 2 Large U.S. Coal Miners After Slump.” And finally, check out “The Tar Sands Bubble,” which demolishes the shaky economics of tar sands oil. In sum: renewable energy is ramping up, with the wind (pun intended) at its back; fossil fuels are entering their inexorable decline. Which side would you rather be on at this point?

Comments Off

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (10/2/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on October 2nd, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (10/2/14).

  1. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports, “World clean energy investment in the first three quarters of this year was 16% ahead of the same period of 2013, at $175.1bn, making it almost certain that 2014 will produce a bounce-back in dollars invested after two years of decline.”
  2. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Asian owners of a billion-dollar Canadian coal mine are in talks to sell a majority stake of the mine for $2, underscoring the impact of slumping coal prices world-wide.”
  3. The Guardian reports, “The [UK] government on Thursday outlined plans to provide £300m worth of support subsidies to the renewable power industry this autumn but has angered the solar industry and been accused of not providing value for money.”
  4. According to InsideClimate News, “FEMA will soon require states to examine the impacts of global warming on their communities as a condition for receiving federal disaster preparedness funding, according to draft guidelines released by the agency earlier this month.”
  5. The Hill reports, “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won another legal round a case regarding its controversial veto of a West Virginia mountaintop removal mining permit.”
Comments Off