Renewable Revolution

Energy => Renewables => Topic started by: AGelbert on October 10, 2013, 10:36:24 pm

Title: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 10, 2013, 10:36:24 pm
A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today: Güssing, Austria

Laurie Guevara-​Stone

Writer / Editor

Bringing Economic Growth to a Dying Town

A small town in Austria that had no significant industry or trade business is now thriving thanks to local renewable resources.

Güssing (population: 4,000) sits in eastern Austria. In 1988 the region (population: 27,000) was one of the poorest districts in the country. It relied on agriculture, there was no transportation infrastructure, unemployment was high, and 70 percent of those who did have work were commuting to Vienna, 100 miles away. The town, where two-thirds of the working population was out of work and young people were moving away, was referred to as a dying town. Due to a lack of connections to the railway network and to the Austrian Autobahn (freeway) system, energy costs were extremely high. At the time the town of Güssing was said to be hardly able to afford its $8.1 million annual fossil fuel bill.

Several of the town leaders realized that $8 million dollars going to pay for fuel oil (mostly for heating) and other fossil fuels (such as coal for electricity) from outside the region could stay in the local economy if they could produce their own energy. However, they realized if they wanted to be energy self sufficient the first step was reducing energy use. In 1990, the town implemented an energy efficiency program, retrofitting all public buildings with new insulation and replacing all streetlights with energy-efficient bulbs, reducing energy expenditure in buildings in the town center by almost 50 percent.

With greatly improved efficiency, the town then adopted a policy calling for the complete elimination of the use of fossil fuels in all public buildings, in an attempt to keep more money in the local economy.

Heating with Local Resources

There is not a lot of wind in Güssing, but biomass is abundant—the town is surrounded by 133 hectares (328 acres) of forest. Some local residents, realizing that wood in the forest was decomposing and not being used, started to run a district heating station for six homes. With the success of that project, more small district heating systems were built. The mayor, who was looking for a way to revitalize the town, took notice. In 1996, the heating system was expanded to the whole town and was also generating electricity, all from renewable raw materials gathered from within a five-kilometer radius through sustainable forestry practices.

Then, in 2001, with the help of the federal government, Güssing installed a biomass gasification plant, that runs off of wood chips from wood thinned from the forest and waste wood from a wooden flooring company. This was the first utility-scale power plant of its kind in the world. The plant uses steam to separate carbon and hydrogen, then recombines the molecules to make a form of natural gas which fuels the city’s power plant. It produces on average 2 megawatts of electricity and 4.5 megawatts of heat, more than enough energy for the town’s needs, while only consuming one-third of the biomass that grows every year. The town also has a plant that converts rapeseed to biodiesel, which is carried by all the fueling stations in the district.

Becoming a Model Community

In 2007 the New York Times reported Güssing was the first community in the European Union to cut carbon emissions by more than 90 percent, helping it attract a steady stream of scientists, politicians, and eco-tourists. One year later, Güssing built a research institute focusing on thermal and biological gasification and production of second-generation fuels. That same year a solar manufacturer started producing PV modules in Güssing, producing 850 megawatts of modules a year and employing 140 people. Several other photovoltaic and solar thermal companies have relocated to Güssing, installing new demonstration facilities in the district.

The little town has become a net energy producer—generating more energy from renewables than it uses. Altogether, there are more than 30 power plants using renewable energy technologies within 10 kilometers of the village. Now the goal is to take the lessons from the small town of Güssing and make the entire 27,000-person district an energy-self-sufficient net producer.


Currently around 400 people come to Güssing each week to visit the numerous demonstration plants. Even Austria’s favorite celebrity, former California governor, and renewable energy advocate Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Güssing in 2012. “Güssing has become a green island,” he said when he spoke at the Güssing renewable energy demonstration plant. “You have built your own district heating [system]. You are generating your own electricity. You are operating a biomass power plant, produce synthetic natural gas from wood and develop new fuels at the research lab. I have seen all of this with my own eyes. Everyone should follow your example. The whole world should become Güssing.”

The town now has 60 new companies, 1,500 new jobs, and annual revenues of $17 million due to energy sales, all resulting from the growth of the renewable energy sector. The downtown has been rebuilt and young people picture themselves staying there in the future. And other areas are following Gussing’s lead. More than 15 regions in Austria are now energy independent with regard to electricity, heating, and/or transportation. The town of Güssing has shown that not only is a high-renewables future possible, but also economically advantageous. Schwarzenegger must agree, because when he left he said, “I’ll be back.”
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 14, 2013, 03:40:00 pm
Renewable Energy Patents Are Surging

by Pete Danko
The world of patents is a bit screwy these days, with trolls warping a system that was designed to encourage innovation by protecting and rewarding innovators. Still, it has to be seen as an encouraging sign for renewable energy that the number of patents issued in the broad field has skyrocketed of late.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Santa Fe Institute said that annual renewable-energy patents in the United States increased fivefold from the quarter-century preceding 2000 to the decade that followed, from fewer than 200 per year to more than 1,000 annually by 2009. Fossil-fuel-related patents were also up, but just threefold, from 100 per year pre-2000 to 300 per year in 2009.

Perhaps the most hopeful news in the study was the suggestions that increases in research funding can have a cumulative, long-lasting impact that can help keep innovation rolling along even through investment ups and downs.


For instance, a large increase in energy research following the oil shocks of the 1970s and 1980s was followed by a steep dropoff, the researchers said. But report co-author Jessika Trancik, an assistant professor of engineering systems at MIT, said the effect of those investments has helped drive this current patent boom. From the study:

We find that both market-driven investment and publicly-funded R&D act as base multipliers for each other in driving technological development at the global level. We also find that the effects of these investments persist over long periods of time, supporting the notion that technology-relevant knowledge is preserved.

The two most prominent forms of renewable energy (excluding hydropower) have not surprisingly been getting a lot of the innovation focus. “(B)etween 2004 and 2009, the number of patents issued annually for solar energy increased by 13 percent per year, while those for wind energy increased 19 percent per year, on average; these growth rates approach or exceed the rates for technologies such as semiconductors and digital communications,” MIT said.


But while growing markets can help bring about the investment necessary for innovations in these technologies, the researchers said markets alone won’t do the job.

To the extent that markets for these technologies grow fast enough, economic opportunity drives an increase in patenting and knowledge creation. It is important to emphasize that the growth of markets for low-carbon energy technologies, which improve on an aspect of performance (carbon emissions) not commonly captured by market price (and therefore not visible to the consumer), has depended strongly on public policy. We also note that policies are likely needed to fund research and incentivize market growth further until these technologies become cost-competitive and can take off on their own.

The paper, “Determinants of the Pace of Global Innovation in Energy Technologies,” was to published in the open-source, peer reviewed journal Plos One. A submitted version is available online as a PDF.
Title: The Big Question: Can Countries Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy?
Post by: AGelbert on October 17, 2013, 02:40:27 pm
Several countries, including Scotland and the Philippines, have recently announced impressive plans to obtain all of their power from renewable energy. With many countries setting their sights on much lower, incremental goals, these lofty aspirations have jarred the industry and sparked a debate.

Renewable Energy World asked industry executives to share their thoughts and insights on this controversial question:

What are the major barriers that countries face in order to reach 100 percent renewable energy — is this goal always achievable or desirable?

We want to hear your opinion. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Kevin Smith
 Global Director, Renewable Energy, DNV KEMA

Goals serve an important purpose to ensure effort achieves a larger objective. Yet there's a difference between ambition and goals. Ambition provides inspiration, a rationale for why we want to achieve an objective. Ambition is a stretch, transformational. Goals are practical, measureable actions necessary to achieve the ambition.

Powering a country entirely with renewables can be inspirational, and may be achievable where the environment is blessed with abundant renewables that can be utilized safely, reliably and cost effectively — such as Iceland. But we should examine why we want to achieve a 100 percent renewables goal. Is this the best goal to achieve a larger ambition? Iceland isn't renewable-powered due to a specific goal. It's their best option given local conditions.

Ambition should focus on countries doing their utmost to address global warming for current and future generations with one (of many) goals being the lowest carbon emission system possible while ensuring reliability, safety, and cost efficiency. Power supply diversity that takes advantage of local resources and regional/cross-border transmission grids is a proven method for ensuring system objectives are met. 100 percent supply solutions fail to adequately acknowledge the technical, societal, and costs risks associated with an absolute goal - regardless of the generating technology.

Achieving the final incremental percentages of any goal (speed records, altitude records) is usually difficult, high risk, and impractical given alternatives. Plus, 100 percent renewable goals can quickly become politicized, resulting in delays, distractions or flawed policy that impedes progress toward our ultimate ambition.

As a dedicated, renewable energy professional, I'd like as much zero carbon emitting, renewable generation brought online as possible while ensuring a robust, secure, reliable, and cost effective system for society and our economies. Thus, 100 percent renewable goals will not be the best solution. But we should accept various goals that support the higher ambition.

As global segment director for renewable energy services, Mr. Smith develops and implements the global renewable energy business strategy for DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability. He is a veteran of the wind industry with 14 years of service performing a wide range of engineering, advisory and project management activities.

Dr. Geoffrey Kinsey
 Director of Photovoltaic Technologies, Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE)

Fossil fuels are exhaustible. Therefore, a transition to an economy that runs on sustainable energy sources is both necessary and inevitable. However, a near-term focus on "100 percent renewables" runs the risk of attracting more criticism than support. An approach that focuses on high penetration (greater than 50 percent) of renewables will provide a more effective path to a sustainable energy future.

Thanks to the technological progress and cost reduction that has occurred over the last decade, renewables are now reaching grid parity in more and more areas around the world. In tandem, on-going technology developments in energy efficiency pay for themselves and reduce the load that must be carried by renewables.

Managing energy usage and large swings in supply through automated demand response will be essential — particularly in buildings, which drive peak electric demand. The advent of low-cost smart electronics in the last decade offers a means of enabling the necessary energy management.

High penetration of renewables will also require investments in both grid storage and transmission to re-distribute power across time zones and to smooth out supply intermittency. Pumped-storage hydroelectricity remains the most cost-effective storage method, though the arrival of low-cost electric vehicles adds the potential for substantial storage via vehicle-to-grid architectures.

The remaining challenge is to create the regulatory framework, standards, and incentives to enable economies to make dramatic shifts in their energy mix and invest the capital that is required. While the necessary investment is substantial, the benefits include economic development and job creation.

Dr. Geoffrey Kinsey is the director of photovoltaic technologies at the Boston-based Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE), a leading provider of contract research and development services to the U.S. renewable energy industry.

John Deasey
 Renewables Sales Manager, Trelleborg Offshore and Construction

Within the petroleum industry, energy sources such as oil, gas, coal and nuclear are still the main players, and while I doubt it would be feasible to replace these entirely with renewable energy, there is certainly a place for this type of natural resource.

The industrial-scale wind farms that are being installed off the UK coast clearly indicate that renewables can be a major power source. However, it is unlikely that they would be able to replace the current enormous capacity coming from fossil sources. Although wind farms — particularly offshore — have their place as part of a healthy energy mix and are a significant new development in the energy sector (even after years of challenges, installation issues, insurance claims and legal wrangling).

The wave and tidal sector, however, is lagging behind offshore wind. Many projects are delayed as companies re-structure, re-design and struggle to find the balance between design ideas and commercial reality. This sector is facing a tough time with just one or two serious designs coming to market that offer decent potential. This issue, plus the associated power output costs, suggests that we are many years from commercial wave-tidal plants that can operate and produce sizeable power.

The main barriers to renewable energy are really cost and commercial scalability, notwithstanding the legal ramifications of objectors — both political and environmental. Wind power is advancing, but when you consider the EU targets of 20 percent renewables by 2020, the 100 percent targets of countries such as Scotland and the Philippines tend to look like well-meant pipedreams.

John has 23 years of sales experience, six of them specializing in renewable energy. During his ten months at Trelleborg, John has grown and developed the company's renewables offering in line with wind, wave and tidal opportunities in this growing sector.

Tony Clifford
 CEO, Standard Solar

A decade ago I doubt if any national leaders would have considered it even a remote possibility that their country could be powered 100 percent by renewables. The fact that some countries have now publicly set near-term goals to do just that is nothing short of amazing. It is truly an indication of how quickly solar, wind and other renewables have advanced in the past several years.

Many countries have the renewable resources to meet 100 percent of their energy needs. Scotland has abundant sources of hydro, wind and wave power. The Philippines have excellent solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass potential. However, the barriers to attaining such large-scale utilization of renewables remain daunting.

Getting to 100 percent renewables faces technical, economic and political challenges. Technically the development of a truly smart grid and the integration of storage and micro-grids into that smart grid are substantial challenges. On the policy side, one must ask if getting to 100 percent renewables quickly is the best use of the financial resources of a country like the Philippines or Scotland. Also, the political will to accomplish such a challenging goal must exist.

Getting to 100 percent renewables is certainly a laudable goal, but political leaders should plot a course that makes economic sense. Go for the low-hanging fruit first — efficiency and hydropower are great initial steps.

Target renewables into the most cost-effective locations first, such as those without an extensive grid, create micro-grids and utilize energy storage. Build towards 100 percent renewables gradually, allowing for technical advancements and cost reductions that will be driven by global markets.

Actually reaching 100 percent renewables is not really the point. Renewables are a domestic energy source. Getting to 60 or 70 percent renewables would have a dramatic economic effect — not to mention significant positive impact on the environment and global warming.

Since 2007 Tony Clifford has led Standard Solar's rapid growth into a nationally known PV developer/ EPC. He is an elected board member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), serves on SEIA's Executive Committee and also served as the president of the regional chapter of SEIA, MDV-SEIA, from 2009 to 2012.

Agelbert's response to this overly conservative analysis.  ;D

In the year 1900, what would these gentlemen have opined about the possibility of getting the USA to 100% fossil fuel use for homes, transportation and industry by 1920 through massive government subsidies (both direct and indirect by the building of a massive highway network and giant electric grid)?

Yes, friends, that took only TWO DECADES! True, the population was smaller but the USA and several other developed countries in the world were also much less capable of large industrial ventures then they are today.

Number of Auto friendly roads:
1900 = ZERO (except a few that were that way by chance in major cities)
1920 = 36,000 miles (still a drop in the 3 million mile "bucket" but nevertheless a huge expansion from 1900. The expansion accelerated with a highway building law in 1916). Rockefeller did not pay a red cent to make these roads that helped make him rich; WE-THE-PEOPLE DID!

So, we could engage at the national level in massive infrastructure costs that help make big oil rich but we can't do the same for a massive Renewable energy transition that will provide ALL of Homo sapiens with a sustainable civilization???

I believe these experts will be pleasantly surprised with the pace of renewable energy replacement of dirty and polluting energy sources within the next two decades. The overwhelming mindset up to the year 2000 was basically that fossil fuels are "IT" as to being the only cost effective way to run a civilization. The overwhelming mindset NOW is that our fossil fuel powered civilization is unsustainable.

This sea change in mindset is the most important engine for rapid change, just as embracing the automobile and heavy industry modernity was in the decades from 1900 to 1920.

Historic proof that manufacturing all the renewable energy machines and infrastructure needed to transition to a 100% Renewable Energy world economy can be achieved in two decades or less

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 17, 2013, 04:10:51 pm
My response to this article:

In the year 1900, what would these gentlemen have opined about the possibility of getting the USA to 100% fossil fuel use for homes, transportation and industry by 1920 through massive government subsidies (both direct and indirect by the building of a massive highway network and giant electric grid)?

Yes, friends, that took only TWO DECADES! True, the population was smaller but the USA and several other developed countries in the world were also much less capable of large industrial ventures then they are today.


1900 = ZERO (except a few that were that way by chance in major cities)
1920 = 36,000 miles (still a drop in the 3 million mile "bucket" but nevertheless a huge expansion from 1900. The expansion accelerated with a highway building law in 1916). Rockefeller did not pay a red cent to make these roads that helped make him rich; WE-THE-PEOPLE DID! *

Electrification of the cities went just as fast for the benefit of fossil fuel powered utilities (which were NOT private at the time so we-the-people AGAIN shouldered most of the costs).

NOTE:Rural electrification only came later when the massive renewable energy dam building (over 1,500 dams) project of the 1930s (paid for by we-the-people) pushed renewable energy penetration of the rapidly expanding electricity grid up to over 30% - a level we have yet to regain in our present day, much larger, grid.

So, we could engage at the national level in massive infrastructure costs that helped make big oil rich but we can't do the same for a massive Renewable energy transition that will provide ALL of Homo sapiens with a sustainable civilization?  ???(

I believe these experts will be pleasantly surprised with the pace of renewable energy replacement of dirty and polluting energy sources within the next two decades. The overwhelming mindset up to the year 2000 was basically that fossil fuels are "IT" as to being the only cost effective way to run a civilization. The overwhelming mindset NOW is that our fossil fuel powered civilization is unsustainable.

This sea change in mindset is the most important engine for rapid change, just as embracing the automobile and heavy industry modernity was in the decades from 1900 to 1920.

Historic proof that manufacturing all the renewable energy machines and infrastructure needed to transition to a 100% Renewable Energy world economy can be achieved in two decades or less

Title: The relationship of the Mesquite Tree with Saguaro cactus
Post by: AGelbert on October 21, 2013, 03:40:15 pm
Solar Decathlon 2013: Arizona State/New Mexico

Learning from the relationship of the Mesquite Tree with Saguaro cactus to design a SHADE (Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium) house

The SHADE (Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium) house from the combined team of Arizona State U. and The U. of New Mexico, inspired by the desert and majestic Saguaro cactus, features independent configurable modules, a prominent solar canopy, and multiple patios with microclimates for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Features include phase-change materials throughout the house with a capillary radiant system for passive heating and cooling, and a thermal battery that concentrates low temperatures at night and thaws ice to cool the space during the day.

Video here (

Title: 3 Reasons Germans are Going Renewable 'At All Costs'
Post by: AGelbert on October 23, 2013, 01:38:50 pm
3 Reasons Germans are Going Renewable 'At All Costs'

John Farrell 
 October 23, 2013

Germany is racing past 20 percent renewable energy on its electricity grid, but news stories stridently warn that this new wind and solar power is costing "billions." But often left out (or buried far from the lede) is the overwhelming popularity of the country's relentless focus on energy change (energiewende).

How can a supposedly expensive effort to clean up the energy supply be so popular?

1. It's about the cost, not the price

Most news stories focus on the cost of electricity in Germany, which has some of the highest rates per kilowatt-hour in the world.  But they don't note that the average German electricity bill – about $100 a month – is the same as for most Americans.  Germans are much more efficient users of energy than most, so they can afford higher rates without having higher bills.  (Note to self: check out options for energy efficiency).

2. It's about vision

Germany doesn't just have an incremental approach to renewable energy, but a commitment supported by 84 percent of residents to get to 100% renewable energy "as quickly as possible."  A few U.S. states have renewable energy visions (e.g. 33% by 2020, 25% by 2025) that approach Germany's, but they're mired in the notion that despite enormous savings to society in terms of health and environmental benefits, renewable energy shouldn't cost any more today than conventional, dirty energy on the utility bill.  Germans have taken the long view (about energy security, price volatility, etc).

3. It's about ownership

I lied in #1.  Support for Germany's renewable energy quest isn't about cost of energy, but about the opportunity to own a slice of the energy system.    Millions of Germans are building their retirement nest egg by individually or collectively owning a share of wind and solar power plants supplying clean energy to their communities. Nearly half of the country's 63,000 megawatts of wind and solar power is owned locally, and these energy owners care as much about the persistence of renewable energy they own as they do about the energy bill they pay. Not only do these German energy owners reduce their own net cost of energy, every dollar diverted from a distant multinational utility company multiplies throughout their local economy.

Ownership of Germany's Renewable Energy CapacityJohn Farrell, ILSR

Not only does local ownership flip the notion of energy costs as consumers become producers, it also flips the notion of political ownership. Three-quarters of Germans want to maintain a focus on "citizen-managed, decentralized renewable energy."

The tunnel vision on cost so prevalent in the press reflects the perspective of incumbent utilities, whose market share declines as their former customers produce their own power. It's a story that plays out in the U.S., when debates over new power plants focus narrowly on the cost per kilowatt-hour rather than how an individual or community can retain more of their energy dollar.

It may seem that Germany is going renewable "at all costs," but only if we are resigned to being energy consumers.  Because their and our energy transition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take charge of our energy future.  That's priceless. (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on November 02, 2013, 02:00:22 am
A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today: Samsø, Denmark

On a small island off the coast of Denmark, a group of potato farmers have turned into power brokers, owning the wind turbines that have made their island a net energy producer. In less than ten years, Samsø went from producing 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year, one of the highest carbon emissions per capita in Europe, to just 4.4 tonnes (the U.S. is at 17.6), and has proven that running on 100 percent renewable electricity is possible. (

Full story here:
Title: Shocked into Pursuing Renewables: What Will Jolt Us Next?
Post by: AGelbert on November 06, 2013, 03:01:43 pm
Shocked into Pursuing Renewables: What Will Jolt Us Next?

 Elisa Wood, Contributing Editor 
 November 06, 2013 

Virginia, U.S.A. -- Historical events have a way of jolting us – again and again and again – into the reminder that energy plays a big role in our well-being.

October marked two such events for the U.S. It was the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the massive storm that knocked out power for days to millions in the Northeast. And it was the 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the first time America experienced oil as a weapon used against it. In the time between, we’ve seen other altering experiences — Three Mile Island, natural gas price spikes of the 1990s, Enron, the Northeast Blackout, Fukushima, to name a few.  We often stagger away with new resolve to secure a cleaner or more independent energy supply; to redouble renewable energy efforts.

Are there circumstances percolating now that will spill over and alter our energy future? What will give us the next jolt?

William Prindle, vice president at ICF International, sees it coming from today’s euphoria over natural gas, what he calls the collective “fracking delusions.”

“Especially in North America, but in many other regions of the world, hydraulic fracturing technology is pushing oil and gas production to levels not in any forecaster’s range even ten years ago,” he said. “The fracking boom is driving prices down for natural gas, and to some extent oil, and creating in some quarters a sense of ‘problem solved — game over’ when it comes to energy policy.”  (

Such nonchalance carries risk.  It can lead to a turning away from renewables and energy efficiency and “let the worthy policies of the last 40 years wither,” ( he warned.

Natural Gas Loses Momentum?

In truth, today’s hoopla over natural gas might mask important market realties, according to Jigar Shah, author of the new book, ‘Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy’ and former CEO and founder of SunEdison. While many see these as glory days for natural gas, Shah says the industry may be about to enter its waning stage after a four-decade run as America’s defining fuel.

Shah defines four stages to the growth of an industry: 1) Pioneering: the industry first forms and technology is deployed. 2)  Growth: Many companies enter the market with widespread acceptance of the product or service. 3)  Maturation: Marked by company consolidation either through merger or attrition, the stage Shah puts natural gas in now.

The fourth stage is decline. “This is where a market runs its course — the predictions on when this will happen for natural gas vary, but most agree the momentum is largely gone,” he said.

Natural gas is inexpensive today, but the industry requires higher prices for profitability, Shah says “Almost every expert in the country puts a profitable natural gas industry at a price of at least $5.50/MCF.  At that price, coal, wind, and solar is cheaper than new natural gas.  This price will happen in the next five years and when that happens natural gas will forever be labeled a volatile fuel that can be hedged and therefore has no place as a mainstay in the electricity industry.”

What does this mean for renewable energy?

“All the while, renewable energy will be underappreciated and under the radar screen until like in Germany the incumbents are staring death squarely in the face.  It is in that moment that people will realize that natural gas is not a bridge fuel of the future, but instead has already played the role of bridge fuel for the past 25 years,” Shah said.

The Sharp Tack

Fossil fuels have a history of economy-rattling price volatility. Price spikes often cause national and international soul-searching about energy resource balance. Stephen Cowell, chairman and CEO of Conservation Services Group, points to what happened between 2005 and 2008 when gasoline prices doubled.

 “The rise in fuel price was the sharp tack that burst the bubble, causing a credit crisis and severe recession among other effects. From 2003 to 2008 the rise in energy costs was the only substantial change to the economy, and it pushed American homeowners on a tight budget over the edge. This situation ignited the sub-prime mortgage crisis,” Cowell said.

Appreciation of renewables often heightens when fossil fuel prices rise. So it’s little surprise that in 2008, alone, wind energy installations increased by 50 percent and the U.S. surpassed Germany as the leader in wind capacity.

This year brings a far more depressing story for the wind industry, largely because Congress has not renewed the federal production tax credit that is set to expire at the end of December.  The U.S. installed only 1.6 MW of wind in the first half of this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

“Our behavior toward energy makes it appear that we are not taking renewable energy seriously. And that’s scary,” ( Cowell said.

We are failing, Cowell explained, to fully consider the repercussions of what he calls the fossil fuel cliff.

“The physical market structure for energy is fragile and prone to disruption, and this can have catastrophic effects. If the rest of the world catches up and starts consuming as much fossil fuel as the U.S. we will hit the fossil fuel cliff in 50-100 years,” he said. “That is a species-threatening reality. We’ll no longer have the ability to transport food and half of the human population will starve. The recent debt crisis may be a serious issue for future generations, but the fossil fuel cliff threatens our very survival.”

This is a big worry and a direction energy could take. But are there points of hope as well?

Prindle points to the rise in new energy management technologies and better energy analytics. “We are seeing intelligence (or at least the hope of it!) creeping into our devices, from GE’s smart appliances to the Nest thermostat, to remotely controllable lighting circuits. Meanwhile, cities and states are beginning to mandate energy performance data disclosure for larger buildings, and utilities are beginning to provide enhanced energy usage data to customers.”

These intelligent devices bring greater visibility and increase energy efficiency, opening a door for greater appreciation and adoption of renewable energy. (

“I think that the biggest relevant historical event of the last 40 years has been the emergence of the energy efficiency resource across the entire U.S. economy,”(
said Ralph Cavanagh, co-director of the energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Ultimately, it exceeded the contribution of all other resources combined in meeting the energy needs of a growing US economy.  It helped make renewable energy more consequential (by cutting sharply the quantity of fossil fuels that needs to be displaced), and it drove improvements in energy security and reliability that make us far less vulnerable today to volatile fossil fuel prices.”

Of course, it is often hard to see a pivotal event until it’s behind us.  Some are hard to predict, like natural disasters. And technology is changing so fast, we are not always sure what questions to even ask about the future. But if history tells us anything, renewable energy will be one of the answers. (
Title: What IS sustainability in Business?
Post by: AGelbert on November 09, 2013, 02:02:57 am

This video covers SO MANY BASES it is mind boggling!

The concepts and proofs presented here show the way to a sustainable future by carefully tracking those pioneers that have influenced some businesses (e.g. 3M) to switch the predatory capitalist mindset of quick profits and high toxic waste and externalisms to long term gratification and the biosphere as the STARTING POINT for business profitability through truly SUSTAINABLE practices.

Did you know that in our linear processes economy, fully 90% of the energy used to manufacture and market a product is LOST TO WASTE!!? ??? (

Consider what that means to the global energy use if MOST of that waste was ELIMINATED?

( PLUS --->(

RIGHT! MUCH LESS ENERGY USE with the SAME amount of services while eliminating most pollution and toxins.

All this flies in the face of "greed is good" and REQUIRES cooperation, collaboration and acute respect for the biosphere as a NECESSITY in order to have a TRULY PROFITABLE BUSINESS VENTURE!

This video makes a laughing stock out of the LIBERTARIAN, TOP PREDATOR BALONEY that has practically destroyed the biosphere and made businesses continually shoot themselves in the foot! (

How can this be, you may ask?   ???  Well one of the key components of the inefficiency of our current system is that MOST of the ENERGY spent to create products goes into mining raw materials where the LEAST humans are employed.

Conversely, a SMALL percentage of the total ENERGY spent is on manufacturing the finished product, where MOST humans are employed. 

We need to STOP using so much energy in mining and extraction by making products that, when they wear out, go back to the factory, NOT THE GARBAGE CAN and LAND FILL WASTE SITE! The factory THEN can use this product designed for recycling to refurbish it and sell it again and again!

This does THREE things.
1. It reduces high energy mining and extraction.
2  Creates more human employment.  :
3. Preserves the biosphere for future generations.   (

More people have jobs, less energy is wasted and less pollution hits the biosphere. If we make it, THIS IS HOW WE ARE GOING TO DO IT!  (  (

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 02, 2013, 02:10:21 pm
City-Owned Texas Utility Already Serves 40% Renewable Energy

Is having local control of a utility the key to ramping up renewable energy?

In 2011, Boulder citizens voted to have their city take over the electric utility, joining 1 in 7 Americans served by municipal electric utilities. Their feasibility study suggests they can more than double renewable energy on their system to over 50%, slashing greenhouse gas emissions. A study in Santa Fe, NM, suggests a similar increase (to 45% clean energy) is possible, while reducing electricity costs. Other cities, like Minneapolis, MN, are also studying the option.

Many of these communities are inspired by examples like Denton, TX, a municipal utility that already gets 40% of its power from renewable energy. The presentation to the Boulder city council is from Mike Grim, the head of the Denton city utility.
Vimeo video at link:

Agelbert COMMENT: Excellent! The money savings is in Renewable Energy harvested near the user, the more distributed, the greater the energy efficiency per collected kilowatt.

Smart people follow the Renewable Energy Money. Dumb people talk nonsense about "gross output" of nuclear power plants while they studiously ignore massive transmission losses and really massive energy costs of baby sitting "used" fuel rod assemblies for at least a century. A fuel rod assemby lasts, get this, about 6 to 8 years, period. Anyone that tells you they are "carbon neutral" is a liar.

A MW of solar or wind power collected near the user is worth much, much more than a MW of fossil fuel or nuclear power from a centralized power plant hundreds of miles from the user.

But that doesn't stop clever intelli-morons from trying to wow ignorant people about the "massive concentration of energy (poisonous energy)" you can get from the "non-intermittent" (LOL!)" nuclear and fossil fuel centralized, poisonous, water hogging and water polluting, rate rigging, investor favoring, "privatized"  power corporations.

Renewable Revolution (

Title: The Fossil Nukers are the REAL CRAZIES!
Post by: AGelbert on December 05, 2013, 12:27:20 am
( (  (

“Crazy” Becomes The Norm In Germany After Tremendous Green Progress

GERMAN renewable energy "craziness"

(Note: This is part of a series of interviews and stories that will run over the next few weeks looking at Germany’s Energiewende, and the transition of Germany’s energy grid to one dominated by renewable energy).

“They told us we were crazy.” (

It is a phrase you often hear from Dr Dieter Salomon – the Australian-born mayor of the German city of Freiburg – a city so much at the vanguard of the green transformation that is currently underway in Germany that it calls itself – Green City Freiburg. It probably feels that it needs the extra words to reinforce the point – because green, or at least green energy, is now mainstream in Germany.  (

Salomon, who was born in Melbourne but moved back to Germany with his family at the age of 3, has been mayor of this city of 220,000 people at the edge of the Black Forest since 2002. And in many ways, the story of Freiburg and its attitude to renewables, energy, and sustainability, is a microcosm of what is now occurring in the broader economy.

It goes back to the 1970s, when an unlikely coalition of farmers — many of them wine makers, academics and students — forced the state government to cancel plans for a new nuclear power plant at Wyhl, just 25kms north of the city. It was a ferocious battle  (
(see a video at link at end of article), culminating in a showdown that attracted a rally of 50,000 people. It remains, Salomon says, the only nuclear power plant that has been successfully prevented from going ahead, even thought the country has now committed to closing all by 2022.

Dieter Salomon, the Australian-born mayor of Freiburg

“The prime minister of the state (of Baden-Württemberg), told us we were crazy and said that we don’t build this plant the lights will go off,”  ::) Salomon says in his offices in the heart of the Medieval old quarter of the city. “That was 40 years ago, people still remember that comment because the lights haven’t gone off.” (

More than a decade later, the “crazy” accusation was leveled at the city again, this time by the local newspaper when the council decided, six weeks after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, to install a long-term program to wean the city off nuclear and fossil fuels, and into renewables, energy saving, and energy efficiency. (

 (“They told us it was a crazy decision,” Salomon says. Despite preventing a new power station, the local utility still relied on nuclear for 90 per cent of its electricity needs. “They told us it was not possible (” Now, the local utility contracts almost all its outside needs from hydro-electric sources in Austria.  ;D

Freiburg argues that it earns its “Green City” sobriquet from that initial spirit of defiance against nuclear and its subsequent focus on innovation, and sustainability.

The Solar Ship in Freiburg

It boasts a carbon neutral quarter known as Quartier Vauban, where in some sections the citizens voted against the use of cars; the “Solar City” and “Sun Ship” (pictured above), a residential area that features “energy plus” housing, meaning the houses and adjoining commercial buildings produce more solar electricity than they consume during the year.

There is the famous “Heliotrop”, a unique circular home that rotates so that its massive solar PV array and solar thermal collectors can follow the sun.

The town has more than 100 “passive houses”, has retrofitted a high-rise residential building to “passive house” status (see another ); and new homes have a requirement that restricts the consumption of heating oil to 1.5 litres per square metre per year. That compares to the average consumption of 30 litres/sqm/year a decade ago. Space heating in Germany consumes twice as much energy as electricity.

New housing projects are not begun until a tram line is built. The city estimates that 30 per cent of journeys are done by public transport and 27 per cent by bicycle. Car movements account for just 30 per cent of movements within the city. It is building three new tram lines to ensure that every home is within 500m of public transport.

Freiburg has also become a hub of innovation and industry. I lunched at Solar Fabrik, the first carbon-neutral solar module manufacturing facility. The city is also the home of numerous research facilities, most notably the Fraunhofer Institute for Sustainable Energy, which has grown from 60 people to more than 1,300, and is the second largest solar research institute in the world.

“Freiburg was quite different from rest of Republic,” Salomon says. “They thought we were the crazy guys from the Upper Rhine Valley. But now it is mainstream.” (
But, he concedes, “a lot of people complain that we don’t do enough, that what we have done is nothing, that we have to do more.”

Indeed, despite its credentials, Freiburg now trails other cities in the deployment of renewables. It gave itself what seems to be a modest target of generating 10 per cent of its own electricity needs through renewables by 2010, but came up well short.  ???


It has six turbines on the hills overlooking the town, and solar PV on the stadium, and virtually every other public building that can support it, as well as many private homes. But it still only generates 6% of its own electricity needs through these means. Despite being in the sunniest region in Germany, there is just not that much wind and sun to go power the city within the narrow boundaries of the city, and few biomass or hydro opportunities. About 50 per cent of its energy needs (mostly heat) comes from combined heat and power plants.

Now it has set a target of 100 per cent renewables for the Freiburg region, which includes the surrounding areas that have 650,000 people.  (  It aims to do this by 2050. It will use the open spaces and resources of the surrounding areas for more wind turbines and solar farms, biomass plants and run-of-river hydro. And, Salomon hopes, geothermal. (Some smaller towns scoff at such targets, saying that they have already reached 100 per cent renewables, or even more, in some villages. The region of Emmendingen, which forms part of Freiburg and has 25,000 people, aims to be 100 per cent renewable by 2030).

The Green Conundrum: Fundies vs Realos

Salomon was elected mayor in 2002 – the first Green mayor of a large city in Germany — and re-elected in 2010 (they have eight-year terms). He’s what is knows an a “Realo”, as opposed to a “Fundie”, or fundamental Green that refuse the corridors of power.

It’s been a battle that has raged with the Green Party since it was founded more than three decades ago. The Green Party shared power with the Social Democrats in Berlin a decade ago, and the same arrangement is in place in Badem-Wurrtemburg, where Freiburg is located. The state’s capital, Stuttgart, also has a green mayor.

But in the federal level, the Greens have snubbed the opportunity of forming a Coalition with Angela Merkel, despite being the first party approached. Some say it is because the Fundies rule again in Berlin, others say it is because the centre-right has stolen its thunder by rejecting nuclear and supporting renewables. Still, others are frustrated that the Greens are not sharing power, because the energy transition would likely be quicker than with a centre right/centre left coalition.
For Salomon though, being Green and in government is “quite normal”. “When I was re-elected 3 years ago, I represented the mainstream of Freiburg.”

He says he needs to be a “realo” in more ways than one, because his party has just 13 out of 48 councillors. There are 10 parties represented to the council. “I have to have majority support in the council or I cannot govern,” he says.

Salomon is confident that the Energiewende – the national energy transition that will see it phase out nuclear altogether by 2022 and become a nation predominantly powered by renewables — will succeed. This is despite a lot of vested interests trying to make political capital out of rising electricity prices.

“A lot of countries are looking at Germany
,” Salomon says. Some of them don’t want us to reach our targets, others are hoping that we do. When it works in Germany, a lot of other countries are going to copy it.

“I know some countries think we are crazy, including the British. But now they are building new nuclear power plants with the French and the Chinese. The money they guarantee for every kilowatt hour is more than we pay for solar. Now, that is really crazy.” ( (

See also our story Should Australian communities buy back their grids, which traces the history of Schönau, which was the first village to do so in Germany.

(Thanks to Craig Morris, a Freiburg based journalist who writes the Energy Transition blog (, for allowing us to share some of his videos. More will be featured in our other stories. They can be found here).
Title: Renewable Energy Displacing Fossil Fuel Baseload Energy
Post by: AGelbert on December 18, 2013, 02:14:10 pm
Renewables To Account for All New Power in Australia through 2020, Says AEMO   (

 Dorothy Davis, Content Director, PennEnergy 
 December 17, 2013 

New renewable generation that comes online displaces existing baseload generation and adds to the current oversupply of generation capacity in the NEM signaling potential generation reductions.  (

A new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts 100 percent of new power in Australia will be generated from renewable energy sources through 2020.

The AEMO’s National Transmission Network Development Plan (NTNDP) The AEMO’s National Transmission Network Development Plan (NTNDP) 2013, predicts the majority of new electric generation will be based on wind power (84 percent), followed by solar (13 percent) and finally biomass (3 percent). This includes 168 MW of new wind generation that has recently come online in Tasmania, and a further 131 MW in Victoria, 270 MW in South Australia, and 386 MW in New South Wales committed to come online from 2014–15. AEMO said it is aware of close to 15,800 MW of proposed wind generation projects.

The NTNDP estimates approximately 8,700 MW of new wind generation to connect to the transmission network by 2020, resulting in a total installed National Electricity Market wind generation capacity of around 11,000 MW.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on February 23, 2014, 12:53:23 am
Title: El Hierro’s next goal is to replace all 4,500 of El Hierro’s cars with EVs.
Post by: AGelbert on March 01, 2014, 12:06:41 am
Feb 13, 2014

Laurie Guevara-​Stone

Writer / Editor

A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today: El Hierro, Canary Islands

Islands confront some of the most difficult energy challenges. Their size and remoteness means they pay extremely high energy costs for often unreliable and dirty energy. Yet many islands are blessed with large amounts of sun, wind, and water, making renewable energy a promising solution. One small island off the coast of Africa has embraced these resources, most notably through an innovative hybrid hydro-wind system.

The smallest and most remote of Spain’s Canary Islands, El Hierro (pop. 10,700) is a land of lava-sculpted rocks, cliff-lined shores, and crystal clear waters. It is a diver’s paradise, yet remains relatively untouched by tourism. In the early 1980s, the island took its first environmental stance, opting for a development model based on respect for the island’s heritage and conserving its natural resources. “At the time, these guidelines seemed to be in contradiction to the social and economic dynamics of the Canary Islands that were seeking to attract mass tourism built on a foundation of a spectacular real estate business,” the President of the El Hierro Island Council, Tomas Padrón, said in a presentation to UNESCO. “It now gives us great satisfaction to be able to say that we have seen that the road chosen by the people of El Hierro was the right one and we are proud of living in harmony with a natural habitat that has remained largely unaffected by the hand of man.”

In 1997, El Hierro was the first in the Canary Islands to adopt a sustainable development plan to protect its environmental and cultural richness, prompting UNESCO to declare the entire island a biosphere reserve in 2000. Yet the island was still importing and burning 6,000 tonnes of diesel per year, emitting 18,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Twenty percent of the electrical energy consumed ran three desalination plants to generate water for drinking and irrigation. So a lack of energy on El Hierro not only meant not being able to turn on the lights; it also meant suffering from a scarcity of water and thus food.

The government of El Hierro realized conservation wasn’t enough; it needed to take things a step further and become a 100 percent energy-self-sufficient island. Fortunately, Padrón was not only president of El Hierro’s local government, but also knew a bit about electricity as he worked at the island’s electric company. With some research and education, Padrón and the new Department for Alternative Energy Research convinced people of the viability of a hydro-wind system.

A public-private partnership was formed between the Island Council, the Spanish energy company Endesa, and the Canary Islands Technological Institute to develop the project, called Gorona del Viento.

El Hierro now has five wind turbines with a combined installed capacity of 11.5 megawatts soon to provide the majority of the electricity for the island.   ;D When wind production exceeds demand, excess energy will pump water from a reservoir at the bottom of a volcanic cone to another reservoir at the top of the volcano 700 meters above sea level. The upper reservoir stores over 132 million gallons of water. The stored water acts as a battery. When demand rises and there is not enough wind power, the water will be released to four hydroelectric turbines with a total capacity of 11 MW.

The entire project, expected to come online this year, is projected to generate three times the island’s basic energy needs—for residents, farming cooperatives, fruit and fish canneries, and the 60,000 tourists who visit every year.  :o  ;D Any excess electricity will be used to desalinate water at the island’s three desalination plants, delivering almost 3 million gallons of water a day, enough for drinking water and to cover part of the irrigation needs.

While energy storage via pumped hydro is not new—plants already exist in numerous countries around the world—El Hierro’s is the first major plant not to use conventionally generated electricity. The hydro-wind plant had to pass rigorous environmental criteria to make sure it didn’t negatively affect the ecosystem of the area. The project developers had to remove and replant Macronesian heaths—native shrubland habitat, replant protective embankments, and protect a certain variety of cypress.

Besides reliable electricity, more fresh water, and improved agricultural opportunities, the Gorona del Viento partnership expects to earn over $5 million a year in electricity sales, and save almost $2.5 million a year in diesel imports. Since the whole project cost about $93 million, half of which was funded by a European Union government grant, project partners will recoup their investment relatively quickly. Once the system is paid off, the revenue from the project, aside from the amount used for system maintenance, will be put back into the local economy.

El Hierro’s next goal is to replace all 4,500 of El Hierro’s cars with electric vehicles  ;D. According to Javier Morales, El Hierro’s councilman for sustainability, if they sell electricity at the same price as gas, they can recoup the necessary $90 million in infrastructure costs in 10 years. The EV batteries will be charged with excess energy from the hydro-wind plant. "The whole system will be integrated," Morales told TIME magazine. "It's beyond green. When the power plant and the car system interact, it will be like galaxies colliding." (

The island has also embarked on a solar thermal program to replace electric water heaters and a PV rooftop program. Future plans include having all the island’s agricultural cooperatives convert their fields to organic production (they have already signed on to the plan), with each farm having a biodigester that converts waste into methane for fuel and fertilizer.

"At first, it was simply an issue of becoming more self-sufficient," Padrón told TIME. "We were completely dependent on outside deliveries and could be cut off at a moment's notice. But then with the global energy crisis, and climate change, and everything else that's happened, we've realized it has a lot more value."

El Hierro’s hydro-wind plant does have a lot more value. It is serving as a role model for renewable energy projects in other isolated communities. Similar projects are under consideration in the Greek islands of Icaria and Crete, and Portugal’s Madeira. “The ‘El Hierro 100% Renewable Energies’ Project will make our island the first in Europe to be supplied with renewable energies,” Padrón said in his presentation to UNESCO, “turning it into a worldwide benchmark in implementing energy self-sufficiency and autonomy systems based on clean energy sources.”  (
Title: This Island Is The First In The World To Be Powered Fully By Wind And Water
Post by: AGelbert on May 01, 2014, 03:45:14 pm

This Island Is The First In The World To Be Powered Fully By Wind And Water

By Ari Phillips May 1, 2014 at 9:29 am Updated: May 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

The smallest and southernmost of Spain’s Canary Islands is about to make an outsized mark on the path toward a more renewable energy-powered future.

With the opening of a new wind farm next month, El Hierro, population just over 10,000, will become the first island in the world to be fully energy self-sufficient through combined wind and water power. The five wind turbines will provide 11.5 megawatts of power, enough to meet the demand of the population and the desalination plants on this small crop of land off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.
When the wind isn’t blowing, hydropower will fill the void. When the wind is blowing, power will be used to pump water into a reservoir in a volcanic crater about 2,300 feet above sea level. Then when power is needed, that water will be released down to a lower reservoir and used to generate electricity on the way. This process is known as pump-storage hydroelectricity, and is used in many other countries across the globe — including the world’s largest outside of Washington, D.C.

“This system guarantees us a supply of electricity,” said the director of the Gorona del Viento wind power plant, Juan Manuel Quintero.

With the $75 million project set to come online, El Hierro will no longer have to rely on costly and dirty diesel generators for electricity   ;D — although it will maintain an oil power station just in case. According to, the island’s transition to renewable energy will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20,600 tons per year and save the island from using 40,000 barrels of oil a year.

Other islands are taking advantage of renewable resources to become wind- and solar-powered, but El Hierro is believed to be the first to do so exclusively with wind and hydro power and without having any connection to an outside electricity grid. (
Title: Why a Vermont Utility CEO Is Embracing Solar and Net Metering
Post by: AGelbert on May 06, 2014, 04:10:31 pm
Why a Vermont Utility CEO Is Embracing Solar and Net Metering (

 Tor 'Solar Fred' Valenza,  UnThink Solar
 May 06, 2014  |  4 Comments 

While many utilities are producing slick commercials that devalue distributed solar, Vermont’s Green Mountain Power is completely  ;D embracing big and small solar with a giant Vermont bear hug. Representing 75 percent of Vermont’s utility customers, GMP recently worked with legislators to nearly quadruple the state’s net metering cap to 15 percent of peak load.

Even before that, GMP was one of the first utilities to support community solar, and it launched one of the first solar FiTs in the U.S. in 2009. And now it’s Mary Powell announced that it wants Rutland, VT to be the solar capital of New England with a goal of 10,000 kW (10 MW).

Given the Edison Electric Institute’s utility death spiral warning, you’d think GMP would be putting up barriers to expanding net metering and residential solar. Nope. In fact, GMP recently received Vote Solar’s 2014 Utility Solar Champion Award in March 2014 and was named Utility of the Year by SEPA in 2013.

To find out why GMP wasn’t afraid of ramping up distributed solar growth, I recently interviewed its CEO, Mary Powell, pictured, after she received the Vote Solar award on behalf of GMP. 

My first question: Unlike other utilities, why is Green Mountain Power embracing solar?

Powell said that GMP understands other utility’s concerns, but that there are two key drivers for why GMP is whole heartedly embracing solar and accelerating adoption in Vermont.

The first driver is that GMP’s leadership team is made up of many people coming from very different industry backgrounds and different perspectives on running a business—not a regulated monopoly. With that business background, Powell says that GMPs leadership team is constantly trying to figure out what GMPs customers want and to create a value stream around those desires. Since around 2005, GMP recognized that their customers increasingly wanted more renewable energy options and to go solar, so instead of fighting it, they worked to help make that happen with solar incentives.

“It’s kind of like trying to design the future,” said Powell. “While we feel like we are evolving and we are trying to play with all the different value propositions we can provide customers, we were really clear that the best way to be a part of that renewable energy future is to be a fast adopter, not an organization that’s resisting the change that’s organically happening.”

All well and good, but what about GMP’s bottom line? Isn’t fast solar adoption going to eat away at GMP’s revenues, as most utilities fear?

Powell responded that GMP was confident that it can both encourage distributed solar and maintain a healthy financially strong utility. “Those are both really important goals. The challenge is for customers—and so too for the developers and utilities—to find that appropriate healthy business relationship and the regulatory means to identify and understand value streams in a DG world.”

Powell emphasizes that if you build a really valuable customer model, then there will be a value steam that comes back in the form of revenues.

“Our investor and our board of directors really like the direction we’re going, and I think they really see this disruptive world and they see it coming, whether or not we embrace it or we don’t. So, we feel like we have a much better shot at creating new and different value streams that come back into the regulated utility infrastructure if we embrace solar. It’s not just a protectionist strategy versus a non-aggressor strategy, but an assertive strategy that’s trying to be a part of the solution.”

As for net metering, Powell says it definitely has a role in Vermont, but she adds…. “Does that mean that we see a future where that structure will always stay the way it is? Maybe, maybe not. But what we do see right now is that it’s an effective way to accelerate value in solar and accelerate the adoption, and we’re very fortunate that we’re working very closely with regulators on how we can do this in a way where you don’t just rapidly disrupt existing utility models. If you do that, then it can have unfortunate unintended consequences for customers, as well.”

Powell likens solar’s disruption to how cell phones disrupted traditional phone lines. The telecommunication companies that thrived were the ones that adapted and embraced cellphones, worked with regulators, and became the leading communication leaders rather than protecting their old business models.

Similarly, GMP is embracing not only solar, but the new technologies that complement solar, such as storage.  They’ve already started an energy storage project in Rutland and are working with a Vermont based storage company about partnerships that can provide value to the utility and all stakeholders.

Storage is just one way Powell and GMP are thinking about changing the traditional utility business model. She also foresees more partnerships for not only storage and solar, but also for energy efficiency, on-bill financing, air source heat pumps, and integrating electric vehicles and smart grid technologies.

“It’s not just ‘go net metering, go solar,’” says Powell. “We’re kind of making sure we’re innovating at the same time and working with our regulators to try to create a very new and different model for how regulations could have value to customers. … Our dream is to embrace this disruptive future, but in a way where we’ve been smart enough to think of the things that you would actually pay us to do for you.” ( (

Powell was also optimistic about GMP continuing to be a significant energy provider to customers, despite solar and other technology advancements. She predicted that even 15 years from now, the bulk of GMP customers will still want grid-tied power in the same way they have it today.

Asking for any constructive criticism of the solar industry, Powell is also positive, complimenting solar installers for working with GMP and regulators, as well as for cutting their installation prices as solar panels have come down instead of padding their profit margins. “I think that the more we can work together in the most collaborative ways possible, the more we’ll produce the best, most effective outcome for our customers.”

I finished up my conversation with Powell by asking her if she had any words of advice for her fellow utilities. As one of the smallest utilities in the United States, however, she was reluctant.  ;)

She said, “It’s very different when you’re very small and working in a small state, and you have better access to partnering, etc. But I think Jim Rogers, [the former chairman and CEO of Duke Energy] and others have stated it very well, which is that you can either be part of the solution or be part of the problem. So at its core, I think it’s beholden on us to try to figure out how to be part of the solution.”  (

Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” is a solar marketing and communications consultant and the author of Solar Fred's Guide to Solar Guerrilla Marketing. Sign up for the Solar Fred Marketing Newsletter, or contact him through UnThink Solar. You can also follow @SolarFred on Twitter.



 A. G. Gelbert   
 May 6, 2014 

GMP is my power company. They are thinking properly about HOW to transition to a renewable energy future and still remain profitable. This is SMART! An excellent example of their "getting real" policy about reducing customer electric use (which avoids having to provide a higher minimum baseload and an increase in dirty fuel engine infrastructure investment) is their program to RENT efficient water heaters and Mini-Split Heating and Cooling Systems like the Mitsubishi MSZ-FE18NA/MUZ-FE18NA Mr. Slim H2i Wall Heat Pump Air Conditioner 18,000 BTU heating and cooling Super High Efficiency Mitsubishi Mini-Split Heating and Cooling System (M -Series). It consists of an outdoor unit, an inside air handler and a wireless remote control. This unit is pre-charged with the environment friendly R-410a refrigerant. No additional refrigerant is needed if the line set is 49 feet in length or shorter. It is rated at an incredible 20.2 SEER efficiency!

The customer rents the system for a price that, when added up to their new LOWER electric bill, is LESS than the total blll before getting rid of the fossil fuel fuernace and the inefficient compressor air conditiners. PLUS, the total electricity demand for both base and peak goes DOWN for GMP while they make a profit renting mini-split heat pumps. IT's what I call ENERGY PRUDENCE!

Good for Green Mountain Power!  (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 11, 2014, 02:19:01 pm
MA Gov. Deval Patrick Calls For ‘Future Free Of Fossil Fuels,’ And Zero Coal In Four Years ( ( ( (

By Ryan Koronowski May 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm

After Patrick’s speech, Craig Altemose, Executive Director of the Better Future Project, told ClimateProgress that “Governor Patrick’s historic acknowledgement that the future can, should, and will be a future free of fossil fuels has set the bar for what climate hawks should expect from their champions.” He said he had not heard of any other governor saying something similar.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 17, 2014, 01:09:30 am
May 7, 2014

Jonathan Koehn

Guest Author

Boulder's Bold Ambition (

Tackling climate change and energy head-on in a Colorado community

 Climate science has identified the need for a rapid transition to a fossil-fuel-free future, yet Boulder, Colorado, has one of the most carbon-intensive electric portfolios in the nation. Our electric supply accounts for approximately 60 percent of city greenhouse gas emissions. Through the passage of the nation’s first carbon tax in 2006 and ballot measures in 2011 and 2013 asking the City of Boulder to explore options for clean, reliable, low-cost, local energy, Boulder voters have expressed a strong commitment to addressing climate change.

Reports released this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate that climate change is happening faster than anticipated. As a result, the panel has made the unprecedented call for a rapid and systematic disinvestment from all fossil-fuel-based energy infrastructures. The rise in extreme weather events around the world underscores both the immediacy and urgency of this mandate.

We’ve felt the immediacy and urgency of this mandate acutely in and around our community. The four most destructive fires in Colorado history all occurred within the last five years. Meanwhile, the devastating September 2013 floods resulting from what meteorologists called a 1,000-year storm caused damages potentially surpassing $2 billion.

That’s why City of Boulder staff are proposing an approach that addresses both the causes of climate change (climate mitigation) and prepares Boulder for the likely continuation of impacts (climate resilience).

Questions and challenges

The process of creating the “utility of the future,” while worthwhile, is neither simple nor easy. The City of Boulder was thus delighted when RMI invited it to send a team to this year’s eLab Accelerator. The theme was “A Boot Camp for Electricity Innovation,” a perfect match for the city’s ongoing research and projects.

The event provided an opportunity to explore questions such as:
•What are emerging best practices for rate design and utility services?
•What are customers’ expectations for energy supply and energy needs?
•What opportunities exist and what challenges must be overcome?
•How can the city, the community, and other stakeholders effectively partner on next steps?

By bringing together a diverse team, the city was able to broach these questions and design four guiding principles:

1. Ensure safe, reliable, and secure energy—The first priority of Boulder’s approach will be to ensure the community has access to safe, clean, reliable, and secure energy. This includes investments and system enhancements so that energy services can withstand local and regional disruptions and provide increased opportunities for individuals, businesses, and institutions to develop additional reliability and resilience through technologies such as microgrids and on-site energy generation and storage.

2. Prioritize a rapid transition from fossil fuels—The only way to achieve the scale of emission reductions necessary to stabilize the climate must involve a rapid transition from fossil fuels. This transition also protects and restores the environmental health on which our outdoor-oriented community depends.

3. Invest in our local economy—A fundamental objective is to direct substantial revenues back to the local economy, supporting existing businesses, creating new jobs, and expanding business opportunities.

4. Design a marketplace for innovation—Central to achieving these principles is the creation of a new energy services marketplace to foster innovation and the development of new energy products and services that serve local needs and can then be applied in regional, national, and international settings.

Breakthrough concept: an energy innovation marketplace

A major breakthrough the team realized at Accelerator was the potential for the utility to provide a platform for innovation, allowing the private sector to engage in entrepreneurial actions resulting in an “energy services market.” The graphic below, developed at Accelerator, illustrates a new relationship between the utility and the private sector, similar to smartphone companies providing a platform for innovation by application developers:

Sharing outcomes with the City of Boulder and residents

The Accelerator experience and resulting outcomes were tremendously valuable to the Boulder team. The ideas generated at Accelerator were first shared with colleagues in the City’s Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development department and subsequently with Boulder City Council and the community through a council briefing. The work at Accelerator helped inform the structure and content of a council memo integrating work across several city departments and many projects.

We have already seen significant excitement around the concept of an energy innovation marketplace in local media and through conversations, emails, and phone calls with engaged residents. A new grant program, the Boulder Energy Challenge, has additional significance within the conceptual framework of an energy marketplace; each of the project submissions could potentially be scaled up and more broadly deployed if successful in generating significant improvements in greenhouse gas reductions.

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy will not be easy. However, Boulder has already begun building a foundation for a new energy economy that will position the community for economic, environmental, and social benefits. The growing cleantech and clean energy sectors employ a significant local workforce and generate an increasing share of the local economy. This could grow with more community-based energy infrastructure. Increasingly clean local energy will also reduce local pollution and improve air and water quality for human and wildland communities. By creating an energy system that supports local generation and intelligent application of energy efficiency, Boulder can also create an energy marketplace that opens the door to new entrepreneurial ideas for energy goods and services. The extensive analyses conducted to date have demonstrated that Boulder can create the utility of the future, which will provide stable, safe, and reliable energy while leading a transition to a dynamic, prosperous, and healthy way of life.

There is a sea change underway in the electric utility market and, in collaboration with RMI, the City of Boulder intends to ride the wave to a clean energy future.
  (  (

Jonathan Koehn is the regional sustainability coordinator for the City of Boulder, where he works to implement the city’s sustainability agenda, specifically in relation to climate action and energy. He was a city staff member of the City of Boulder team for the 2014 Accelerator. Koehn has over 10 years of experience working with state, regional, and local governments and their constituencies domestically and internationally to develop strategic and tactical solutions to energy, economic, and climate challenges.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 19, 2014, 12:37:34 am
Renewables Surged to 74% of German Demand Last Sunday ;D
Renewables accounted for nearly three-quarters of peak demand in Germany on Sunday; overall renewables share reached 27% in the first quarter of 2014.( (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on September 30, 2014, 12:08:45 am
Tiny Spanish Island Nears Its Goal: 100 Percent Renewable Energy  ;D


.. machinery attached to the wind and water turbines, isn't new or revolutionary. But the island combined the water and wind power in an innovative way, insuring an uninterrupted energy supply for the island's residents.

"The wind machines, we basically ordered out of catalog; we didn't invent the technology. Same with the water turbines," Quintero says. "The innovation we made is hooking up the two systems together."  (

Full article here:
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 23, 2014, 03:39:43 pm
Vermont’s Largest Municipal Utility Goes 100-Percent Renewable

Burlington, Vermont thumbs its nose at fossil fuels!

 (  (  (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 26, 2014, 06:46:12 pm
Gaviotas - Sustainable Village

100% Renewable Energy Goal Achieved:

100% Renewable Energy and Self Sufficiency


Las Gaviotas, Colombia

Reforestation in Las Gaviotas


In 1971, Paolo Lugari gathered a group of visionary scientists, artists, and former street kids to see if they could create a sustainable village in the middle of the environmentally and politically harsh desert of Llanos Colombia.

Home schooled in South America, Lugari had a vision as he flew over the region as a young man that the lushness of the Amazon region had once been present in the vast Llanos, but was interrupted by geological events. Later, he set out to prove that he was right. His philosophy was that if it could be done there, it could be done anywhere.

The group he brought to create Gaviotas experimented,  innovated, and ultimately recreated a thriving ecosystem and eco-village of 200 people that resisted drug wars and violence (the village has a no guns rule and remains apolitical) and that became a UN model for ecological development. Gaviotan energy is drawn from varied renewable sources, including solar panels, wind turbines, and a water pump powered by children on a seesaw. They grow their own food and have seen a return of wildlife that had not inhabited the area for many generations.   ;D

When funding began to dwindle in the 1990s, the villagers figured out that their pine trees were producers of valuable resin, which they could export along with other goods they had created like clean water.

While some may call Gaviotas a utopia, Lugari prefers "topia" because "u" in Greek means "no," so utopia literally translates to "no place." Gaviotas, however, is an actual place, where dreams became real
(  (

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 26, 2014, 06:55:35 pm
City of Ithaca, NY

100% Renewable Energy Goal Achieved: (

Municipality of Ithaca Purchases 100% Renewable Electricity Using Credit System

Location:  Ithaca, NY



Beginning in January 2012, the City of Ithaca, NY made a commitment to cover all the electricity consumption of its municipal buildings, street lights and traffic lights with renewable electricity. To accomplish this, the city is purchasing third party Green-e Energy  certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) that represent the total of its electricity usage. The REC purchase was conducted through Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance Inc., or MEGA , a non-profit aggregator of gas and electricity in which Ithaca participates. Energy aggregators like MEGA bundle participants in order to be able to build buying power and bid for lower prices.

The city also has  a two year power purchase agreement - that is, a contract that sets a fixed price for renewable electricity - with Integrys Energy Services of New York Inc.

Ithaca's efforts to purchase renewable energy are helping the city to achieve its  carbon reduction target of 20 percent below 2001 levels by 2016. The city reports that the benefit of its renewable energy purchases is comparable to not driving 12,000,000 miles in a car or planting more than 14,000 acres of trees.   ;D
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 26, 2014, 08:27:16 pm
Kansas Town combines Wind, Solar and Geothermal Renewable Energy to go 100%!
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 31, 2014, 01:44:03 pm
10/29/2014 02:38 PM   
University Celebrates Shut Down of Coal Plant, Transitions to Geothermal  ;D News

Another university is shutting down its coal plant because it's shifting to geothermal energy - West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

 At this year's "Sustainability Day," on October 22 (which is apparently observed at universities across the US), they celebrated the decommissioning of the university's coal-fired power plant. Yea!

 Geothermal heats, cools and provides hot water for 15 campus buildings, including apartments and residence halls, and the 10-year plan is to reach 25 buildings. Besides eliminating about 40 million pounds of annual emissions, the university will save $1 million a year on electric bills.   (

"We are committed to geothermal energy for both new  construction and renovation of existing buildings," says Greg Cuprak, Executive  Director of Facilities Management.  ;D

When the entire district system is completed, there will be 1200 wells - mostly under parking lots - and 20,000 feet of pipe that distribute clean energy throughout the campus. The goal is to shut down the central heating plant, which will eliminate all coal (7000 tons a year) and most fuel oil (200,000 gallons a year) burned on campus.

Geothermal West Chester University

Like so many universities today, this is just one element of West Chester's Climate Action Plan. Sustainable practices are being implemented into every aspect of university life, including curriculum, purchasing and buildings. Green roofs are sprouting on rooftops in addition to protecting land around campus.

Read Indiana's Ball State University is converting from coal to the nation's biggest geothermal system.

Read our article, Chevy Does It Right! Supports Clean Energy at Colleges, Retires Carbon Credits.

Learn about the sustainability efforts on campus:



As part of being responsible, caring human beings, we have to pressure our government to take major action to stop the degradation of the biosphere from climate change. This is causing death and disease to both domestic animals and wildlife, all of which have done nothing to deserve such a horrible fate at our hands. It's time to eliminate the excuse our fossil fuel loving oligarchy uses for "resources" wars for oil that bring nothing but misery to us and profits for them.

I started a petition on Care2: Demand Liberty From Fossil Fuels Through 100% Renewable Energy WWII Style Effort. I'm hoping that if enough people sign my petition, we can make a difference. I have over 370 signatures. Once I reach 500, Care2 will publicize it more. Will you help me collect more by adding your name?

Here's a link to the petition (You can sign anonymously if you have privacy concerns):

Thank you and please pass it on. The biosphere you save may be your own.

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on November 08, 2014, 03:52:36 pm
Powering Maine’s Fox Islands (


Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on November 16, 2014, 05:13:25 pm
The State of U.S. Renewable Energy in Vermont 

 The Green Mountain State is indeed very green, so much so the EPA has excused it altogether from the Clean Power Plan since the state has no reliance on fossil fuel power plants.  ;D Check out our interactive map to learn more about how Vermont stacks up in the clean energy revolution.

Chapter Three of A Climate Solution Within Reach

Coming Clean:
The State of U.S. Renewable Energy

Clickable map HERE:

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 05, 2015, 05:56:53 pm
01/05/2015 11:48 AM     
Scotland: On Track to 100% Renewable Energy  ( News

Let's start the year off with some good news. At least one country is on track to getting all its electricity from renewables, and that's Scotland.

 In December, the country's wind farms produced 107% of its electricity, according to utility National Grid. And World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a study showing Scotland's electricity can be entirely fossil-free by 2020, meeting its ambitious target.

Throughout the year, wind provided all the power for 98% of households  (, and renewables matched fossil fuels for the first time  ;D. Renewables supplied 32% of all electricity, equal to oil, coal and gas, and coming close to nuclear (34.9%) - the top electricity source in Scotland  :P.

In October, renewable energy quietly kept the lights on while nuclear reactors were closed because of cracks  ;D. And the government approved four huge offshore wind farms that will generate another 2.2 gigawatts of power for 1.4 million homes (  (

Even without strong solar resources, there's enough to meet demand for most households during June and July, and for 60%-plus in March, April, May, August and September, according to WWF's report.

"Scotland has plenty of renewables in the pipeline to cut the carbon from its power supply by 2030, particularly if we see progress on reducing electricity demand. And crucially, Scotland can continue to be an electricity exporting nation," notes lead author Paul Gardner. "There is no technical reason requiring conventional fossil and nuclear generation in Scotland."

 Wind is breaking records across the UK, growing 15% in 2014. It supplies 9.3% of all electricity, up from 7.8% in 2013. In December, wind hit a record 14% of total electricity.

 All this comes when Prime Minister Cameron  ( has said "enough with onshore wind," promising to block further development if Conservatives win in May's election, as he promotes fracking.  (
Globally, offshore wind is expected to grow fivefold by 2020, to 40 gigawatts, up from 7.1 GW in 2013, according to GlobalData, largely in the UK, Germany and China.

Read our articles, UK Approves 5 Offshore Wind Projects, Powering 3 Million Homes and Wind Can Supply Half the World's Power.

Marine Energy

This month, the world's largest tidal energy project breaks ground in Scotland, with 400 megawatts of energy eventually supplying 175,000 homes. About 60 of 269 turbines in the MayGen project will be running by 2020, says developer Atlantis Resources.

That's even while marine energy is experiencing growing pains, with leaders like Scotland's Pelamis Wave Power bankrupt after running out of money, and Siemens exiting the industry for faster developing sectors. Most marine energy companies are struggling. :(
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 08, 2015, 11:38:38 pm
A Caribbean Island Says Goodbye Diesel and Hello 100% Renewable Electricity


Jan 7, 2015

Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, is famous for its beautiful marine reefs, which are visited by 70,000 tourists every year. What many of the tourists don’t realize is that the majority of the electricity powering their needs comes from renewable energy. Yet for the residents of Bonaire, the switch from fossil-fueled to renewable energy systems has made a world of difference.


Like many Caribbean islands, Bonaire originally relied on diesel fuel to generate electricity for residents, with a peak demand of 11 MW. This fuel had to be shipped in from other nations, resulting in high electricity prices for Bonaire residents, along with uncertainty about when and how much prices might increase with changing fuel costs.

In 2004, everything changed when a fire destroyed the existing diesel power plant. Although tragic, the situation provided an opportunity for Bonaire to consider what kind of new electricity system to build. Temporary diesel generators were rented to provide power for the short term. Meanwhile, the government and local utility began working together to create a plan that would allow Bonaire to reach a goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Bonaire’s Electricity System Transformation

The result is a transformed electricity system on Bonaire. The island is now home to 12 wind turbines with a total of 11 MW of wind power capacity, which contribute up to 90 percent of the island’s electricity at times of peak wind, and 40–45 percent of its annual electricity on average. Battery storage (6 MWh) is included in order to take advantage of available power in times of excess wind, and provide that stored electricity in times of low wind. The battery also boosts the reliability of the overall system—it is capable of providing 3 MW for over two minutes, allowing time for additional generation to be started when there is a sudden drop in wind.

The Bonaire system also includes 14 MW of diesel generation, five total generators, which provide the necessary power to meet the load when there is not enough wind power available. The generators are equipped to run on both traditional diesel as well as biodiesel.    (

The next steps in the island’s energy transformation involve using local algae resources, grown in the large salt flats on the island, to create biofuel, which can then be used in the existing generators. This will allow Bonaire to operate a 100 percent renewable electricity system—with on average 40–45 percent from wind and 55–60 percent from biodiesel.

The new electricity system led to more reliable electricity, more employment opportunities, reduced dependence on oil (and its fluctuating prices), and a reduction in electricity bills. Bonaire residents currently pay $0.22/kWh for electricity, much lower than prices on other nearby Caribbean islands, which are often $0.36/kWh or above. When oil prices spiked in 2008, while Bonaire was still using temporary diesel generators before making its transition to renewables, electricity prices on the island reached $0.50/kWh. The new electricity system also created jobs for the construction and ongoing operation of the wind farm, and for research and development of algae production capabilities and conversion to biofuel. Additional employment opportunities will be created for continuing algae production and operation of the biodiesel plant.

The success of the updated electricity system on Bonaire provides an important example to other nearby islands of the opportunity to achieve high levels of renewable energy penetration.

Why Did Bonaire Make the Switch to Renewables?

Two aspects unique to Bonaire’s situation may have contributed to the decision to switch to a 100 percent renewable electricity system. One driver may have been Bonaire’s status as a special municipality within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This provides a connection with the Netherlands and Europe in general, where many countries have incorporated large amounts of wind and other renewable sources of electricity. Nearby Aruba, also a Dutch Caribbean island, has a wind farm as well, which provides up to 20 percent of the island’s electricity. There may be a common theme of islands with ties to European countries moving to renewables more quickly than others. In the case of Bonaire, the consortium that is developing the project, Ecopower Bonaire BV, is made up of Dutch and German companies.

Secondly, Bonaire’s government and local electricity provider were presented with an opportunity to build a new renewable electricity system since they needed to replace the plant that was damaged. Many other Caribbean islands still have existing diesel resources that are not at the end of their lifetime. These existing generators may remain a part of the electricity system, especially as renewables are incrementally added to the system, and may even remain as backup power for a transformed system that operates mostly with renewables. However, if some or all of the existing diesel resources on an island are completely shut down before the end of their available lifetime, that island will need to consider the sunk costs involved and incorporate that into their overall energy transformation plan.

Bonaire as Inspiration for the Caribbean  (

RMI and Carbon War Room’s ongoing Ten Island Challenge works with Caribbean islands to utilize their local renewable resource potential to transform electricity systems and provide a renewable, reliable, secure, and affordable energy supply for their citizens. One of the participating islands is Aruba, which neighbors Bonaire and forms part of the ABC islands in the Netherlands Antilles, along with Curacao. Although the shift to renewables on Bonaire is not part of the Ten Island Challenge, RMI and CWR’s ongoing work in the area will strive to spread the success that Bonaire has achieved to the rest of the region, so that more Caribbean islands can take advantage of efficient and renewable .

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 09, 2015, 04:26:16 pm
Very interesting info. My first thought was it'll blow away, but Bonaire, along with Curacao and some other "down island" locations are fairly unlikely for that to happen.

I don't think PV would be great for USVI and nearby, due to storms. It's not like they happen all that often, but when they do it's so intense that not a leaf is left on a tree, and hardly any rooftops (other than the newer high-tech concrete roofs) are spared.

Bonaire just moved up on my sustain-o-meter, though.

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 09, 2015, 04:27:40 pm
I hear ya. However, I think you should consider these facts: St. Thomas has a hotel called the Frenchman's Reef that had solar powered air conditioning in 1964. All you need is 240 degrees F to make steam. The rest is refrigeration physics. They are still there and have lots of PV as well. PV is more efficient  down there than up here. The roofs are mostly flat so the panel can be secured quite well in case of a storm. And yes, the solar panel there has the sun DIRECTLY ABOVE with zero angle during a large part of the summer at 18 degrees north latitude.

The Caribbean has the trade winds. They NEVER stop. They are generally mild from 12 to 20 mph, depending on the elevation. Wind power is a no brainer BASE LOAD power source. Hurricanes can be dealt with by feathering the blades like an aircraft propeller. High winds are not an issue.

The Caribbean also is the best place on the PLANET (excluding offshore Scotland) for 24/7 ocean current power potential.

But up here where it is cold, people that don't swallow the fossil fueler line are doing the fossil fuel free math. We are getting there.  :icon_mrgreen:

... real-life example to illustrate physics and environmental science concepts in the classroom. While students are originally “incredulous,” most have become enthusiastic about the project.

Professor’s Solar-Powered Passive House a Real-life Physics Lesson

Ann Kenda, Mount Holyoke College
 January 09, 2015  |  2 Comments

Assistant Professor of Physics Alexi Arango has been telling students in his Renewable Energy class for years about a little house in Maine that’s so energy efficient that it heats itself without a furnace.

The home of physics professor Alexi Arango operates entirely by solar power.

"I love the reaction,” he said of students in the physics andenvironmental studies course, which is open to all majors. “There's disbelief, and the concept almost seems magical. Then you go through it and talk about the physics, and it's really not some wild idea."

Arango, whose research focuses on highly efficient solar energy systems, now is bringing the course’s lessons home, in the true sense of the word. He recently built and moved into a 1,000-square-foot “Passivhaus,” or "passive house," in Amherst, which operates entirely by solar power.

Arango, who writes a blog about the house, uses the real-life example to illustrate physics and environmental science concepts in the classroom. While students are originally “incredulous,” most have become enthusiastic about the project.

"It's unconventional to do what I did," Arango acknowledged, but noted that passive houses are almost mainstream in Germany. "Culturally, we may be a little behind the times in how we think about our buildings."

The Science of Renewable Energy

The Renewable Energy course (PHYS/ENVST 104) focuses on the risks associated with burning fossil fuels to the ecosystem, human health, and global economic vitality as well as methods of converting the energy infrastructure for use with renewable sources. In the course, students build an understanding of the science and mathematics behind renewable energy and learn how to communicate effectively about possible solutions to energy challenges.

Mount Holyoke senior Indira Rakhimzyanova, who is from Russia, said she found the course and Arango’s project inspiring—so much so that she wants to pursue a career in the renewable energy field and build a passive house some day.

"If every person made this choice, we could have a dramatic impact on trying to mitigate climate change, since buildings are a large fraction of our carbon footprint," she said.

The project architect, Matthew O'Malia of Belfast, Maine, credited the professor for committing to a real passive house rather than implementing a few energy-efficient measures.

“It's great that he made that goal and stuck to it," O’Malia said, comparing the efficiency of the house with a car that gets 200 miles per gallon of gas. "It's hard to understand a passive house until you live in one. Part of the story is the technical side but the other side is the comfort. It's just a better way to live."

Arango called the house "amazing in every sense of the word,” not only for its energy efficiency but also its comfort. In addition to the health benefits of not burning fossil fuels around the home, the perks of the passive house include uniform temperatures, ample fresh air, “floods of sunlight in every room,” low energy bills, and the quietness of not having a heater switch on and off at night.

Arango also kept his students in mind while developing the construction plan.

"I designed certain aspects of the home to serve a pedagogical purpose,” he said, noting that he invited students to test certain items to see firsthand how they conserve energy. A real-time energy-monitoring system allows students to download an application on their phones or computers and see the energy use of ordinary tasks.

"The point is to remove the mystery of energy usage and understand the impact of one’s behavior,” Arango said. “It’s fascinating to walk around the home, turn on a faucet or appliance, and see exactly how much energy is being used."

Senior Bahia Marks of South Africa, an architecture major, said she was intrigued by Arango's house project because of her interests in renewable energy and affordable housing.

"The way our homes are built can really shift our attitudes about the environment, and even our connection to each other," she said. ( (

Renewable energy= (                                ( Fuelers
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 10, 2015, 01:35:25 am
Agelbert NOTE: Picture of Frenchman's Reef Hotel - They have energy conservation measures (which gives them a "green" brownie point in their ad pitch) but no PV, as far as I know.

New Renewable Energy Products Announced (2012)

Quality Electric Supply Inc. has signed a distribution agreement with JLM Energy Inc., Rocklin, California to supply two new energy-efficient and renewable energy products throughout the USVI, BVI, Kitts & Nevis and Anguilla.

Zefr ™ Wind Turbines with Wind Array Turbine System (WATS) Technology: Small 36” wind turbines with WATS circuitry are installed in series to collectively harness the power of the wind by routing the power of 20 turbines into a single smart inverter. The power created flows through the same tethered cable harness without disrupting the power generation of neighboring turbines. The power is then converted into common AC electricity by the 3.6kW smart inverter that seamlessly generates the maximum amount of power.

A typical system of 20 turbines produces around 4,000 kWs of electrical energy per year or $1,880 at the current commercial power rate of $.47 kW.

The small size of the Zefr and easy mounting make it feasible to install multiple units on a roof-line, parapet, or other structural surfaces. It is easy to scale up energy production by adding more turbines later. Issues of wind speed and direction are controlled by the WATS circuitry and allow the turbines to cut in at 3.5 MPH.  :emthup:

Gyezr ™ Commercial Grade Solar Thermal Collectors with Micro-Controlled Array Thermal System (MATS) Technology: The first solar thermal collector with commercial requirements of reliability, scalability and flexibility generates hot water directly from the sun. The temperature of each channel is self-powered using energy harvesting technology.  The micro-controller wirelessly communicates real-time data about system performance to an internet based system. If over or under temperatures are sensed, the computer actuated drain-back system will automatically initiate steps to protect itself.

The light-weight, low profile and innovative solar hot water heating system is easy to install. MATS technology makes the Gyezr ™installation completely wireless, which gives the system the ability to handle complex commercial projects. Providing up to four times the efficiency of standard PV per square foot the product has a 30 year life expectancy.

Quality Electric Supply has an installation of 12 Zefr wind turbines planned on its 22,000 sq foot building located in Peters Rest, Christiansted, St. Croix. An introduction of the technology will be provided at a St. Croix Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event, October 18, 2012, 5:30-7:30 PM. Representatives of JLM Energy, Inc will be on hand to discuss the technology and its adaptability for tropical installations. ( 

Agelbert NOTE: Electricity hourly rates in the Caribbean, like in Hawaii, are EXTREMELY HIGH. So renewable energy is even more of a cost no brainer there than it is here!

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 10, 2015, 01:38:04 am
To the left side of that drawing is (I believe) Charlotte Amalie and the cruise ship docks. Across the street are the welfare projects. I noticed that they (the apartments) all have this kind of hot water heater up on the rooftops, which I like and have been wanting for my place. I don't think they'll survive a hurricane, though.


I don't know. I'll do some research and get back to you.
(  8)

I had a weird experience in St, Thomas one time. I was walking from the airport to the town with my first wife. We were going by some boats anchored near the road as we neared the town. In those days I would co to St. T to get duty free cigarettes and all kinds of wonderful liquors (mandarinetto - orange colored liqueur made from tangerine oranges - great stuff! - Amaretto di Saronno, apricot brandy, pineapple cordial liqueur and a banana liqueur - yellow color, of course! - in a long tall bottle - They looked great in my home bar and I drank them sparingly. You could put colored water in them afterwards and use them as decorative items.).    (

So there we were, walking down the street looking at the boats when this fellow in one of the boats say, "HEY MAN, GIVE ME YOUR WOMAN!".  ( did a double take. He was about 30 yards from me and looked quite serious. We just ignored him and picked up our pace. The blackies down there don't mind a good piece of white tail every now and then and seem to be rather direct about soliciting one.    (

Of course, this is the sort of experience that affects race relations down the line, to put it mildly.  :evil4: Nevertheless, I tried to NOT stereotype all blacks because of one vulgar ****'s behavior.

I used to fly to St. T about once a month when I had my own piper colt. It was a 108 horse power dog but I got it cheap from a friend. Every takeoff from St. T was an interesting experience not for the feint of heart due to the sad climb rate of that canvas covered dog. I would go between a couple of hills (you have to take off into the wind because the tower won't allow downwind takeoffs due to incoming traffic), fly over the harbor area and turn around to head west back to PR. The turbulence and down drafts between those hills is an excellent way to cure low blood pressure.  ;D

You are trying to climb with full throttle and the correct pitch attitude but the plane starts DESCENDING.  :P And it does it in a rather bumpy fashion.  You start figuring out which trees you are going to dodge and don't DARE pull back on the stick because down drafts increase the relative wind angle of attack over the wing surface and can cause you to stall. If you raise the nose trying to stop the descent and stall, you are REALLY in deep **** because you have to nose it down and your rate of descent increases.

So you just aim for the lowest spot between the two hills and wing it. NOW you KNOW where that expression came from, ground pounder!  ;) The turbulence and own draft ceases when you are abeam the two hills and you resume your casual, debonair climb pretending all this is no big deal. My wife would ask, "is that normal?". I would say, "Sure, hey look at the neat cruise ships! It's great to be  lower so we can see all this pretty scenery better!".  (  (  Oh well, I cheated death a few times down there and had some fun doing it.  (
Gee, I used to own an airplane just like that one (pa-22-108)! MKing will have a field day calling me a fossil fuel burning piggy!    ;D
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 10, 2015, 01:39:17 am
Virgin Islands and Hurricane damage risk to Renewable Energy Infrastructure

One web site explains what they are doing down there (St. Thomas specifically but the same government runs St. Croix) and how they handle risk thus:

All residences are constructed with cisterns for the collection of rainwater from the roof and some waterfront properties have residential size desalinization systems. Potable water produced commercially through desalinization may also be purchased and delivered via trucks if you have run out of water in your cistern.  Electric power is provided by the Water and Power Authority.   Most residences and businesses also have generator back up power in the event of an outage.   Many homeowners employ solar hot water heaters and in recent years, some homeowners are also employing solar to generate power for other needs.

Hazard Insurance
Hazard insurance (covering casualty from hurricane, earthquake, flood) will cost approximately 2% -3% of the replacement cost of the property annually. (If you are going to finance your home, your lender may require that the insurance calculation is based on the loan amount vs. the replacement value.) Certain factors can aid in securing a lower insurance rate such as concrete construction, hurricane shutters or high impact glass, type of roof structure and even the history of the home. (

So what REALLY happens when they get smacked with a hurricane?   :icon_scratch: I believe this study does the math:  :emthup: I have prepared a "readers digest" version below.

NOTE for Eddie: It appears that the scientists that wrote it DO NOT favor the solar water heater you mentioned. This is a quote from the recommendations:
Lack of renewable energy
- Install solar voltaics to power water heaters in each house

Title of Thesis: Revealing Risk & Redefining Development:
Exploring Hurricane Impact on St. Croix, USVI (

This thesis is based on a review of existing literature in order to explore disaster reduction in the built environment. Academic literature, conference papers, journal and have been used for the review of hurricane impacts on a wide range of locations.

“Disaster” is derived from the Latin word of astrum, meaning star.2 In ancient times, it was believed that earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.. were mandated by the heavens. In today’s world, nature is still something that we, as humans, have no control over.

 However, we are beginning to understand how to change our environment in order to have a better control over their outcomes.   8)

Parker identified a disaster as “an unusual natural or man-made event, including an event caused by failure of technological systems, which temporarily overwhelms the response capacity of human communities, groups of individuals or natural environments and which causes massive damage, economic loss, disruption, injury, and/or loss of life”.4

“Much of the physical damage from disasters occurs to infrastructure and therefore engineers and landscape architects have a vital role in the rectification of physical damages of disasters.”11

According to Kibert16 “the academics and professionals in planning, civil engineering, economics, ecology, architecture, landscape architecture, construction and related fields are responsible for discovering ways of creating a more sustainable built environment.” There is clearly a high relationship between the designing for disasters and the built environment disciplines.

St. Croix

St. Croix is an island found in the Caribbean Sea, and the largest of three unincorporated Islands that are part of the United States. The Virgin Islands of the United States consist of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, and these three islands are about 135 square miles and have a population not exceeding a quarter of a million people. This comprises about 75 percent African descent, 13 percent U.S. mainland expatriates, 5 percent Puerto Ricans, and the rest are a mix of Danish, French and people from the Caribbean. St. Croix is seven by 28 square miles (45 by 11 km) and is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie, which is the capital of the territory, is located on Saint Thomas. 24


With the abolition of slavery in the middle of the 19th century, the Virgin Islands became unprofitable for the Danish. The Danish government tried to sell the islands to the United States, a move which was unsuccessful. But since it was during World War I, the United States was concerned that the Germans would possibly use the islands as a submarine base, and hence offered Denmark $25 million for the islands. Denmark agreed to this deal and signed it on January 17, 1917. The United States took official possession of these islands on March 31, 1917 and renamed them "The Virgin Islands of the United States." The inhabitants of the island were granted U.S. citizenship ten years after this takeover.

Hurricane Activity of St. Croix

The major concern with the weather in St. Croix is the hurricanes. The season for these Hurricanes runs from July to November every year and most tourists plan their getaways to these islands accordingly since temperatures are almost constant throughout the year.

Electrical distribution systems were another undertaking implemented after past hurricanes. Power is essential for the territory to begin the recovery and reconstruction process after a large hurricane. After the impact of Hurricane Hugo (1989) and Hurricane Berthas (1996), there was a complete failure of the power system on all three Virgin Islands.

Agelbert NOTE:
The CENTRALIZED fossil fuel power infrastructure FAILED. That is one of the big reasons distributed (AND RENEWABLE) energy is a better choice. After the above, they beefed up the centralized power system.

That was stupid.  :emthdown: They should have spent the money on making every home and factory a small Renewable energy Power plant. That way the law of probabilities alone would give these islands more resiliency in a hurricane. But that would have meant the $.53 /Kw hour they GOUGE Virgin Islanders for could not have come about.   ( (

As a result of these changes, in 1998 after Hurricane Georges, there was power interruption to only 15% of St. Croix and full restoration was accomplished in three weeks.37

“The Green Island”

Island communities everywhere are looking towards alternative to fossil fuels because of abundant renewable energy resources. The U.S. Virgin Islands has set ambitious targets to reduce oil consumption and has lead the effort to reduce oil imports and to aid in the energy crisis currently plaguing the island through renewable energy technology.

Access to affordable, secure sources of energy for economic, environmental, and social development is necessary for the future of their nation. “They typically have few conventional energy resources (i.e., oil, natural gas, and coal), and their remoteness and relatively small size lead to diseconomies of scale.”53

Developing a Strategic Energy Road Map

A basic feasibility assessment was conducted to determine what energy technologies were advanced enough to be installed and possibility both financially and maintenance wise that they would endure the test of time.

Wind power solar photovoltaics, and solar water heating (SWH) are resource abundant in the USVI.

4.3 Three Energy Scenarios
This section outlines three energy scenarios (base case, high energy efficiency, and renewable energy) as possible roads to achieve the 60x25 goal. They combine a mixture of private and public partnerships at different degrees of participation all aimed at reducing the fuel consumption of St. Croix.31

The high efficiency scenario looks that the impact that an extremely aggressive, both financially and technology wise, energy system could have on the efficiency of the current energy grid. Basically, it takes the base case and applies a much higher dose of the infrastructure associated with the base case. A balance between energy efficiency and renewable energy is envisioned in the high efficiency case. Due to its relative cost effectiveness, deployment of energy efficiency measures could have a lower cost than the base case.

Potential for an aggressive energy scenario does exist to achieve the 60x25 goal. However, the difficulty associated with such a dramatic change in 25 to 50 percent of end-user electricity consumption would be difficult to impose on the residents. The alternative would be building a renewable generation system.

The three scenarios portrayed vary principally in cost and the mix of equipment needed to reach their desired outcomes. However, in any of the cases, the outcome of reaching the 60x25 goal would mean so much for this small island nation. More than $100 million annually would be conserved if these scenarios can be implemented.57

Solar Technology

Because of its proximity to the equator the sun in most parts of the Caribbean can be extremely strong. The abundance of solar resources can prove to be very useful in reaching the 60x25 goal by utilizing solar power as a key source of energy.

From a design stand point solar PV and SWH systems do not have an large impact on view sheds because majority of them will be situated atop building structures out of site. The 451 kW PV system at the Henry E. Rolsen Airport is an example of a typical large-scale PV system.


The limited resources of St. Croix make energy a challenging dilemma. However, they are poised to be able to demonstrate the benefits of installing large scale energy efficiency and renewable practices. Island communities have the potential to take the lead and become a showcase for how to transform largely oil dependent nations to ones of self-sufficiency.

Reducing oil consumption 60 percent by 2025 is ambitious and will only be accomplished through the use of efficient, renewable, green energy technology. The outcomes that work well within this process can be used for other island communities that face similar challenges in the energy crisis. Obtaining a sustainable energy future will only be achieved if existing initiatives and resources are identify and used to maximize their potential within the system.


Put Sustainable Design at the Forefront of Redevelopment
Reinvent the energy system to more efficiently use natural energy to power the island primarily through wind and solar technology.


3. Outdated Energy Systems
- All power lines are above ground and are easily destroyed during hurricanes.

4. Deconstruction of Hess Oil Refinery
- Unused land that is now a brownfield.
-No access to this land because of current ownership


3. Outdated Energy Systems
- Offer incentives to use and install new power options.
- Install energy harvesting techniques in public spaces for people to understand and learn about the methods.
- Identify ideal spaces where solar and wind can be harvested throughout the island
- Government buildings account for 36 percent of energy needs on the island.
- Current Water and Power Authority is opposed to new forms of sustainable energy and wants to just continually update the current system
- Install solar water power heaters in each house.
- Utilize the south shore of the island for solar and wind harvesting because of the expansive flat and protected land.
- Mandate that commercial/ government buildings be powered by solar energy.

4. Deconstruction of Hess Oil Refinery Site
- Clean and repurpose site.
- Utilize site to store supplies for disaster relief.
- Maintain port entry in case of disaster.

* The current electrical distribution configuration is susceptible to damage by both wind and water damage. Their proximity to coastal areas that are susceptible to flooding coupled with their outdated infrastructure reinforces the urgency for new techniques and process to be introduced to the Virgin Islands. The image below depicts locations where a wind farm would be most suitable as well as a perspective of land area the wind turbines would cover.


The "footprint" of the turbine can typically be averaged around 0.25 acres per machine, however, that number does not include the diameters of space needed between turbines to avoid collisions. To account for necessary room between the turbines the boundary perimeter is typically around 1-2 acres from base to base of all machines. It is important to understand that all space between the turbines can still be obtained for its
Figure 8: Areas of wind turbine generation [Abraham]
original purpose of wildlife habitat, farming, or in the aftermath of a disaster, for moveable shelters.
61 The other option for energy collection is by solar panels. The private and commercial buildings can both install solar panels of different sizes and to accomplish different purposes. One of the main drawbacks of solar energy is that they require large areas of land for solar farms. As noted in previous chapters, there are not many locations where solar would be a suitable option at that scale, however new technology has created alternatives to consider.

The image to the left depicts a floating solar farm that can be anchored to maintain its general position, but moves with the tides to prevent heavy storm surge damage. In the event of a hurricane, the “solar islands” can be brought to a more protected location and then put back in place once the storm subsides to provide additional energy needs. (

Agelbert NOTE: There's lots more with details on making man made reefs and other community protecting measures with drawings and pictures. The bottom line is that Renewable energy is, not just doable in the Virgin Islands, but will make them more resilient to hurricanes than with their current centralized fossil fuel infrastructure that gets severely damaged in hurricane FORCE high winds.  8)


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Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 10, 2015, 01:42:09 am
Damn runway makes my butt pucker. On the right approach you can see a passenger plane that once crashed into the bay.


And it's a LOT LONGER now than it used to be! They extended it quite a bit. Pan American painted a big white stripe on the runway. They called landing in St. T a "carrier" landing. they would fly the b27 right down to that white stripe. If they weren't ON THE GROUND with spoilers deployed by that white stripe, it was GO AROUND time!

I was working the boards when an American Airlines B727 floated too long before landing, tried to go around and ended up "landing" on the hill. The fuselage broke up  and the people came out like ants. The c o c k p I t broke off and the crew just got up and walked away. The only fatality was a small child trapped in a seat and his father. they were both burned to death when the fire came.  :(

St. T is a strange airport. Aircraft approaching the airport at night sometimes see lights that look like runway lights. One B727, that the public knows nothing about, tried to land 5 miles short in the water. The pilot claimed he saw runway lights. One of my brother controllers repeated his distance from the airport with vigor (  and the crew avoided disaster.

I took off one night from ST. T when I was an air taxi pilot with a manifold to deliver to St. Croix. It was quiet so I requested permission for a downwind takeoff to save taxi time (length of time going down the taxiway to end of the runway). It was approved. I was flying an Aztec.


When you take off from St. Thomas at night heading west, you go from lights all over the place to pitch dark. I started a climbing left turn and got ready to light a smoke. The gear was up and the flaps were up. I had the props set to climb pitch so I began to relax. Both the 250 horsepower honeys were humming along just fine. I happened to glance at my altimeter and it said 250 ft and going down.  :o YIKES! My nose had fallen just below the horizon. I had been lulled by the crystal clear weather to think I didn't need to keep my instrument cross check going as fast as when I was in the soup. I shallowed out the bank and pulled that nose up to where it was supposed to be (using the artificial horizon) and kept my eyes on the panel until I was at 4000 feet cruising altitude and in level flight. At that point I could make out St Croix island lights.      (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 14, 2015, 06:34:28 pm
Cuban Province Well on Its Way to 100% Renewable Energy  ;D

Laurie Guevara-​Stone, Rocky Mountain Institute | January 14, 2015 12:33 pm


Granma province (pop. 836,000), located in the eastern part of the island, is home to the Sierra Maestra, and is named after the boat from which Fidel Castro and his rebel soldiers disembarked to begin the Cuban Revolution. The Cuban government wants to make Granma province 100-percent renewably powered, a project the Cubans call “The Solarization of Granma Province,” as a model the rest of the island can follow.

 They are well on their way. In 2013, renewables supplied 37 percent of all the energy consumed in Granma province, and the province currently has 3,664 renewable energy systems in operation.

These include everything from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to biogas digesters to solar food dryers.  (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 15, 2015, 01:40:55 am
Alaska Energy Authority and Kodiak Electric Association Developing a 99 Percent Renewable Community   (


 Maria Blais Costello 
 January 14, 2015

With support from the Alaska Renewable Energy Fund, strong local leadership, and sustained effort, the Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), a cooperative electric utility, has achieved over 99 percent renewable energy electric generation in the town of Kodiak, Alaska. KEA has developed a renewable energy grid that includes hydro power, wind, and battery storage technologies. The success of the Kodiak project demonstrates both the effectiveness of utility’s vision and management, and the importance of the assistance provided by the Alaska Renewable Development Fund.

Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund has made it possible for communities and villages across the state of Alaska to study their renewable energy resources, conduct proper engineering designs for those projects that are economically and technically feasible, and construct their projects for the greatest public benefit possible. The Fund, managed by the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA), has catalyzed a movement towards renewable energy across the state by funding 277 renewable energy grants, totaling $250 million over the past seven years.

In the case of Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), which serves about 6,400 people on Kodiak Island, prior to the Renewable Energy Fund’s start in 2008, KEA generated approximately 60 percent of its electricity from hydro power and 40 percent from diesel. Through multiple successful applications to the Renewable Energy Fund, KEA was able to conduct feasibility studies, design, permit, and construct two phases of wind development, adding six 1.5MW wind turbines on Pillar Mountain, just above the City of Kodiak during the first phase of this project.

During phase two of the project, KEA added two 1.5-MW (1 MWh) battery storage systems that provide 30 to 90 seconds of bridging power to allow ramping up of output of the Terror Lake hydroelectric system at times when the wind output decreases rapidly.

A Commitment to Ramping Up Renewable Energy

The Terror Lake Hydro facility had been built in the early 1980s with state funding. Water from a nearby high elevation lake is conveyed through a 5-mile tunnel and penstock to a near sea level 20 MW power plant. The designers of the facility had the forethought to include a possible addition of a third turbine in the future if demand surpassed the original hydro capacity. The addition of the battery systems has allowed the wind power from the turbines to be used without curtailment, and it allows more water to be stored at the Terror Lake hydro facility during times when the wind blows. Additionally, and with the financial support of the Renewable Energy Fund, a third hydroelectric turbine was added to the existing Terror Lake powerhouse to increase output by an additional 13.8 MW.

Since the end of 2013, KEA has been able to shut off the diesel generators and allow the battery/hydro mix to fulfill their spinning reserve requirement.   (  They also have enough hydro redundancy to allow for maintenance of hydro turbines without burning diesel fuel to generate power. For the first seven months of 2014, KEA generated 99.7 percent of its power from renewable energy, resulting in significantly lower energy costs for the community by reducing its diesel fuel purchases to nearly zero. KEA had exceeded its goal of 95 percent renewable energy by 2020 ahead of schedule.

Impressive Return on Investment (

KEA estimates that it saved its small community about $13 million in reduced fuel costs through the end of 2013. Over $4 million per year is now saved by the community, to the benefit of residents, seafood processors, the Coast Guard Base, and all other electrical customers.
It has also cut diesel emissions to zero   ;D except for a few hours per year, resulting in cleaner local air and dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Further, Kodiak Electric closely manages and monitors its wind, hydro and battery resources. It has trained its former diesel engine technicians to now work on the hydro, wind and battery systems.  ;D The utility technicians trained with the wind turbine manufacturers on site during initial maintenance procedures, and have become expert in conducting most of their own maintenance.

The Renewable Energy Fund provided a total of $16 million of grant funding to launch Kodiak’s renewable energy projects. The Alaska Legislature provided an additional $7.7 million for the hydro construction phase, and the utility covered the remaining $12 million of the roughly $37 million project through loans and Clean Renewable Energy Bonds. Without the AEA’s Renewable Energy Fund and the state’s earlier funding of the Terror Lake hydroelectric project, these projects would have been delayed or reduced in scope, or may not ever have come to fruition.

An Example for Others to Consider

For the hundreds of other non-connected electric utilities in Alaska, this set of KEA’s renewable energy projects demonstrates that the right resources and good utility management can result in a clean energy portfolio with reduced or predictable energy costs. The replicability of Kodiak’s renewable energy projects would depend upon available local, renewable energy resources as well as outstanding utility commitment. This approach, though typically on a smaller level, is being replicated in many other small remote communities in Alaska; typically, wind-diesel systems or hydro-diesel systems are being installed. Both the funding mechanisms and the evaluation process used by these projects could be replicated by any state, local government or even a utility, to competitively find and fund the most cost-effective renewable energy projects.


•This project proves the effectiveness of the Renewable Energy Fund as a tool to help achieve the state’s 50 percent renewable energy goal by 2025. For the first seven months of 2014, KEA has generated 99.7 percent of its power from renewable energy, reducing its diesel fuel purchases to nearly zero  (  and resulting in significantly lower energy costs for the community.

•KEA has saved its small community about $13 million in reduced fuel costs through the end of 2013. Over $4 million per year is now saved by the Kodiak community.

By restricting diesel use to a few hours per year, the project has resulted in cleaner local air and dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions.  (

The AEA and KEA were honored with one of the eight 2014 State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards, an initiative of the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) to highlight exemplary state and municipal programs that advance clean energy markets. (See my previous blog from November 24, 2014.) CESA will be hosting a webinar featuring the KEA’s Kodiak, Alaska projects on January 23rd. The webinar is free to attend, but registration is required. You can learn more and register here. More information can be found here.

Agelbert NOTE: The Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) is NOT a cornucopian outfit. They DO the RENEWABLE ENERGY MATH!

Renewable energy= (                                ( Fuelers
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 22, 2015, 06:38:03 pm
Put your fossil fuel dirty energy where the sun don't shine, "amigo"... (  ;D

01/21/2015 06:30 PM     

La Paz, Mexico: 100% Solar Powered News 

An entire city in Mexico will soon be getting all its electricity from solar energy.   (

Costa Baja Mooring area of La Paz, Mexico

La Paz, in the Baja region (where there's 50% more sun intensity of San Diego), shut down a polluting thermoelectric plant because two solar plants are replacing it. (

The first - the only utility-scale solar plant in the country - is online, Aura Solar 1. This year, Grupotec 1 starts operating. They are both 30 megawatt projects, taking up about 144 acres combined.

 They will send electricity to the local utility under a long term power purchase agreement that says it will be sold at the same price as "the current local cost of generation by two diesel thermoelectric plants." 

Amazingly, Aura Solar 1 can generate 82 gigawatts of electricity a year because of the intense sun there, supplying 162,000 people. The $100 million project consists of 131,800 tracking PV  modules on 100 acres.


You can see La Paz at the bottom of the Baja Peninsula - the solar projects are next to the airport. Besides reducing fossil fuel emissions and cleaning the air, it will halt the logistical dangers of importing and transporting hydrocarbons through environmentally protected areas such as the Sea of Cortes, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on February 09, 2015, 02:14:18 am

Burlington Vermont Has Gone Green, But Can the Rest of Us?

by Lizabeth Paulat
February 7, 2015

The city of Burlington in Vermont is now running a fully renewable electricity source for all their residents. From factories to homes, wherever a plug can be found so can a surplus of clean energy.

It’s been called the ‘gold standard’ that other states can look to when they implement their own environmental reforms. Burlington is Vermont’s largest city with around 42,000 residents, and for many US cities the demand is far higher. But by following their approach in diversification of clean energy sources, larger cities can still follow Vermont’s example. To study this, let’s break down how Burlington harvests its energy.


About 30% of their energy is produced by a biomass facility just outside the city where the smokestack emits steam, not smoke. Biomass energy means, essentially, burning waste and harvesting the energy that is released in that process. Biomass has garnered some criticism because carbon emissions from the process must be carefully monitored and mitigated to ensure it is a clean and renewable energy source.

Yet, according to those who study it’s potential, biomass could have an important future in America: “In a study of the implementation of a 25 percent renewable electricity standard by 2025, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) assumed that 598 million tons of biomass would be available, and that it could meet 12 percent of the nation’s electricity needs by 2025.”

For states and cities, identifying renewable sources of biomass, including certain forms of garbage and thick grasses (which are easily replenished) will be key for creating sustainable biomass energy.

Wind and Solar

Another 20% of energy in Burlington is taken through wind and solar panels, which are scattered in and around the town. Wind energy, which is often seen as the cleanest way to harvest energy, has very few of the concerns that come with other environmentally friendly methods of energy production. There are no carbon emissions to be concerned with, no heat that could be released later into the atmosphere, and it is obviously naturally renewable.

In 2008, the US Department of Energy found that as wind turbines increase in sophistication, “it estimated that achieving this goal would create over 500,000 new U.S. jobs, reduce global warming emissions by 825 million metric tons per year (about 20 percent), and save 4 trillion gallons of water.”

The main focus should be creating easier ways to implement and eliminate waste in wind energy, as well as identifying key spots that have naturally windy atmospheres, including the ocean. Although some are uncomfortable spreading out into the world’s waters, it should be noted that we already have a number of oil rigs off our shores. Most of us would be far more comfortable with wind turbines rather than drills.

Solar power also has some concerns, particularly the waste that is created in the production of solar energy cells. Yet, again, as our sophistication in their creation is growing, we are now discovering new production methods which have cut down on many of those pollutants. With future investment in the sector, it is likely we can reform the methods even further.

Hydroelectric Power

Hydroelectric power closes up the gap in Burlington’s power needs by tapping into nearby dams. As the water goes through the structure, large blades spin and thus create energy that emits zero greenhouse gases or pollutants. Hydroelectric energy has long been used to power the nation’s homes, but some don’t see it as particularly ‘green’. So let’s take a look at how it can be used and improved.

The main issue with hydroelectric power is that dams can negatively impact the environment and people around them. The production of a dam often means that homes and local habitat will be disrupted and removed. Dams can also block fish migration and have a negative impact on water quality.

However, the amount of power emitted by hydro-power is incredibly impressive. So to reform the method, it’s important that we put pressure on states to join the Low Impact HydroPower Institute (LIHI). Here they’ve created a number of methods that keep the natural species around dams in tact and have even come up with a way to mimic the natural flows of rivers.  ( 

Fish-friendly turbines as well as fish-ladders that create passages around dams can protect species migration. Such methods, when combined with transparent yearly re-certifications by the LIHI and impact studies on the local flora, can help move hydropower into a new era where it will provide clean energy with little environmental impact.

Although all cities vary in their ability to harness the same methods used by Burlington, many do have the ability to tap into and use at least a few of these methods. Further, buying clean energy from neighboring states should be considered before investing in oil or petrol based energy methods. The case study of Burlington shows us that the USA, and cities within it, can and should rely on environmentally friendly methods of energy before considering a petrol based energy economy.    (

Read more:
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on March 18, 2015, 02:32:02 pm
03/18/2015 11:58 AM     
Georgetown, Texas Runs on 100% Solar & Wind Next Year  ;D News

Last week we wrote about a small town in Michigan opting for 100% renewable energy, and we touted it as a way to get off fossil fuels from the bottom up.

 They hope to provide a model for other towns to follow and already we've heard that Georgetown, Texas will run solely on wind and solar next year. 

While Michigan's Leelanau Township has just 2000 residents, Georgetown has 50,000.  :o  ;D

 How are they doing it? It's simple. Last year, the town contracted for 144 megawatts (MW) of Texas wind for half the electricity and the other half will come from solar.  They contracted with SunEdison to build 150 MW of solar - which takes about six months - and they will pay for all the output under a 25-year power purchase agreement. 

Both contracts will deliver electricity to Georgetown over the long term at a lower cost than previous wholesale power contracts for natural gas, they say. And there are no upfront costs. (

Georgetown, TX

"They're using solar and wind as a hedge  ( against rising fuel costs," Paul Gaynor, Executive Vice President of North America for SunEdison, told Bloomberg. 

When the project is finished, it will be rolled into SunEdison's Yieldco, TerraForm Power.

"Wind and solar now cost less than building a new coal or natural gas plant and have no risks related to fuel costs or water shortages. We in Texas know the excruciating pain that comes when natural gas prices spike and electricity bills go through the roof," Tom Smith, director of Public Citizen's Texas office, told Bloomberg.

"The combination of solar and wind power allows the City to provide energy from complementary renewable sources to meet demand patterns," the city says. Solar produced in West Texas  provides a daily afternoon supply peak that matches Georgetown's daily energy demand peak, especially during hot summer months. Wind production in West Texas tends to be highest during off-peak, evening or early-morning hours. This means wind power can most often fill power demand when the sun isn't shining," the city explains.

And while nuclear and fossil fuel power plants consume large amounts of water
, turning to solar and wind will eliminate impacts on the water supply  ;D, another key goal for the city.

We hope many more towns and cities will take this cue because it could bring a much faster transition off fossil fuels. While most states shoot for 10-20% renewable energy in the coming years, imagine how that can be speeded up by each town converting to 100% during that time.   

About 20 towns/ cities in the US are on this path, including: Aspen, CO; Burlington, VT (already there, but too much reliance on big hydro); Greensburg, KS; Ithaca and East Hampton, NY; Lancaster and Palo Alto, CA.

 You can track them and those around the world here: 

Put your fossil fuel dirty energy where the sun don't shine, "amigo"... (  ;D
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on April 12, 2015, 02:26:47 pm

04/08/2015 03:50 PM       

New Goal: Shut Down Half of US Coal Plants News

The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign has been so successful at shutting down coal plants that Bloomberg Philanthropies is donating another $30 million on top of its initial $50 million grant.

 The goal is to replace half the US coal fleet with renewable energy by 2020 - and locked in by the end of 2017.

Not only have they blocked construction of 153 new coal plants, they have shut down 23% of the US coal fleet ( - either closed now or scheduled to close. 187 down (78 GW) and 336 (265 GW) more to go, according to Sierra Club's tracker. (

The initial goal was to close a third of US coal plants by 2020, beginning with the oldest and dirtiest. The biggest polluter in New England will close in 2017, for example.

"Coal is a self-inflicted public health risk, polluting the air we breathe, adding mercury to our water, and the leading cause of climate disruption," says Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg is raising another $30 million from about a dozen philanthropies.   

•Coal now supplies about 38% of electricity, down from 52% in 2011.

•The US cut emissions 7.7% since 2006, with closing coal plants a major contributor. Emissions have been edging up again because of fracking.  (

If Beyond Coal meets the goal of shutting down half of US coal plants, we will cut mercury emissions 90% and exceed President Obama's climate target of cutting emissions 28% by 2025. 

In addition to using grassroots organizing and litigation to close coal plants, Sierra Club helps impacted communities to transition to clean energy. 

"The coal industry has had a tight grip on US energy policy for decades, with devastating consequences for both public health and our environment. Overreliance on fossil energy is also keeping solar and wind out of the market, delaying the transition to a power grid fueled by cleaner energy sources," says Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The ultimate goal is to end coal burning no later than 2030 and replace those plants with renewable energy. Another goal is to keep the massive US coal reserves underground and out of world markets as part of Sierra Club's largest campaign in its 114-year history.

Read our article, Closing Coal Plants Don't Need Full Replacements, Thanks to Energy Efficiency.

 Learn more at the Beyond Coal website.

Want to see where the closing/closed coal plants are? Here's a map:
Website: ( (


Agelbert NOTE: THIS is a small part of the externalized costs and INVISIBLE subsidies that people like MKing (and all the other benighted victims of big oil brainwashing that claim "we are all gonna die without fossil fuels" ( ) REFUSE to COMPUTE when they DO THEIR "MATH":

Coal’s hidden costs top $345 billion in U.S.-study. Public cost is greater than the cost of coal itself! ( None of the above is new info. It's been KNOWN for almost a century what burning coal DOES as well as what all the other fossil fuels DO to our health AND the environment.

 WE NEVER NEEDED COAL OR ANY OTHER FOSSIL FUEL. ( But a few people NEEDED us to BELIEVE (via government sponsored Agnotology  ( that we needed them so a FEW BASTARDS could get rich, PERIOD. 

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 20, 2015, 06:34:11 pm
Second Largest Island in U.S. Goes 100% Renewable (  (


Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on July 17, 2015, 05:45:16 pm
07/16/2015 12:46 PM      print story email story    ShareThis 

Washington DC Signs for 35% Wind Power ( News

Washington DC will soon be running on 35% wind power thanks to the biggest renewable energy contract signed by any US city.

 Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the city signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for the entire 46 megawatt output  at Iberdrola Renewables South Chestnut wind farm in Pennsylvania. Taxpayers will save an estimated $45 million on energy over the next 20 years.

 Under Sustainable DC, the goal is to reach 50% renewables by 2032.

"Directly sourcing renewable power costs 30% less than fossil fuel-based sources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 100,000 tons, and protects our city from volatile energy price increases," explains Mark Chambers, Sustainability and Energy Management Director at the Department of General Services.

 Washington DC will continue buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to cover the rest of its power.  The district has the most LEED-certified buildings per capita, ranks #2 among cities for energy efficiency and #3 for parkland as a percent of city area.

Read our article, Washington DC Unveils Game Changing Sustainable DC Plan.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on August 20, 2015, 08:33:08 pm

by Nicholas O'Keeffe on Aug 17, 2015

Iceland has a population of just above 300.000 inhabitants and annual electricity production of around 17 TWh. All electricity sources are 100% renewable; geothermal (20%) and hydro power (80%) (some diesel backup generators exist to serve a limited number of fisheries and hospitals). Iceland is the world’s largest green energy producer per capita and largest electricity producer per capita.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on September 03, 2015, 02:39:49 pm
Aspen balloon ride  (

Third U.S. City Goes 100% Renewable

Cole Mellino | September 3, 2015 10:27 am

Aspen is one of three U.S. cities to run on 100 percent renewable energy as of today, according to city officials. The Colorado mountain town is best known for its posh ski resorts, but this beautiful town also has established itself as a leader in environmental stewardship.

The city had been using about 75 to 80 percent renewable energy until Thursday when it signed a contract with wholesale electric energy provider Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, in order “to achieve this final leg of our goal,” David Hornbacher, utilities and environmental initiatives director, told The Aspen Times.

The goal was proposed 10 years ago as part of the city’s Canary Initiative, which “identifies Aspen and other mountain communities as canaries in the coal mine with respect to their sensitivity to the effects of climate change.”

The city’s “100 percent” goal is just one component of its larger strategy to reduce both operational and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2004 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 2004 levels by 2050, said Chris Menges and Will Dolan from Aspen’s sustainability and utility departments. As of February, the city has reduced its operational emissions by 42 percent, while (as of July) community-wide emissions have been reduced by 7 percent (from 2004 levels).

“It was a very forward-thinking goal and truly remarkable achievement,” Hornbacher said. “This means we are powered by the forces of nature, predominately water and wind with a touch of solar and landfill gas.” (

“We’ve demonstrated that it is possible” and that a small, progressive community can work together to be a pathway for others, he said. “Realistically, we hope we can inspire others to achieve these higher goals.” The first two U.S. cities to reach the goal were Burlington, Vermont  ;D and Greensburg, Kansas, which decided to make the move after it was devastated by a powerful tornado in 2007.

Aspen plans to celebrate with an “electric-pride party” and also wants to “launch a big national campaign” to show other cities that running a city on 100 percent renewable energy is possible.   (

Colorado balloon ride video
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 02, 2015, 03:52:56 pm
10/01/2015 01:56 PM     

California Blasts Through Historic Climate Legislation  ;D News

California's legislature has been busy lately passing historic climate bills, the latest of which brings solar to low-income communities - typically the last to benefit. 

Notably, this summer, the legislature passed Senate Bill 350, which puts Governor Brown's proposed new targets into law. The Renewable Portfolio Standard now requires 50% renewable energy by 2030 (up from 33%) and calls for doubling building energy efficiency by then.

 At this year's inaugural address, Governor Brown said, "With California on track to reach 33% renewable energy by 2020, a cap-and-trade system that prices carbon, and strong incentives for cleaner transportation, "it is time to establish our next set of objectives for 2030 and beyond." 

He proposed 3 goals for 2030, two of which are now law:
•50% renewable electricity!
•50% cut in petroleum use in cars and trucks
•Doubled efficiency in existing buildings and cleaner heating fuels.

Since then, he issued an executive order that requires California to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, below 1990 levels, making it possible to reach the ultimate goal of 80% cuts by 2050, said Brown. The goals are the same as the European Union and are what's needed to keep temperature rise from exceeding 2 degrees C.

The state is already following through, having signed contracts to convert 23 state office buildings - including the Capitol - to 100% renewable electricity.  ;D

New Laws Benefit Low Income Communities  (

Under the Multi-Family Affordable Housing Solar Roofs program, the state will spend up to $100 million a year for at least a decade to install solar systems on 210,000 affordable housing units.

Another bill returns a portion of fines levied against polluters to the communities they polluted, usually low-income neighborhoods.   (

And another bill makes it more difficult to locate hazardous waste facilities in poor neighborhoods. (

Poor neighborhoods will also benefit from building retrofits that make their homes more comfortable, while significantly lowering energy bills.

Cutting Oil Consumption   ;D

But the oil lobby managed to kill the third leg of Governor's Brown's proposal - cutting oil consumption 50% by 2030. As usual, they spent millions of dollars on misleading television ads and mailers convincing people that "minivans would be banned" and gasoline would be rationed.

Governor Brown responded: "This is one skirmish, but it's increasing the intensity of my commitment to do everything I can to make sure we reduce oil consumption in California. My zeal has been intensified to a maximum degree."

Since then, however, the California Air Resources Board re-adopted the low carbon fuel standard - a key part of meeting the Governor's goal. It requires transportation fuels to decline in carbon intensity 10% by 2020. It works by setting annual carbon intensity targets (based on a lifecycle analysis of various fuels), which decline each year.

California also has goals for zero emissions vehicles (elec­tric, fuel cell), requiring 2.7% of new cars sold this year, and reaching 22% in 2025. 

If the state were a country, it would rank #2 for its low-carbon economy.

Impact on Manufacturing?  ???

For those who wonder whether these policies are harming the economy, a report by Next 10 shows otherwise.

 Utility bills are dropping for homes (among the lowest in the US) and businesses, and California continues to be the top state for manufacturing  - leading on productivity, exports, and jobs. Costs are not rising for manufacturers and there isn't a mass exodus as lobbyists - such as the oil industry front group, Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy (CARE), warn.

In fact, California's manufacturing sector has grown three times faster than the rest of the US over the past decade at 15% versus 5%, and more offshore businesses have returned to California than any other state.

Read our article, Most Ambitious Climate Goals Lead to Greatest Economic Growth. (

Agelbert NOTE: The above statement is the best kept secret that the fossil fuel industry tries to KEEP secret 24/7. WHY? Because fossil fuels were NEVER cheap. Renewable energy IS, and ALWAYS WAS, and ALWAYS SHALL BE, more cost effective than poisoning the biosphere for short term gain! (

Read the report, California's Manufacturing & Benefits of Energy Efficiency:
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 04, 2015, 03:06:12 pm
Uruguay Powers Nearly 100% of Electricity From Renewables

Cole Mellino | December 4, 2015 9:39 am
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 15, 2015, 03:43:33 pm
This U.S. Town Plans to Disconnect From the Grid and Go 100 Percent Renewables  ;D

Cole Mellino | December 15, 2015 1:56 pm

Nassau, New York, a town of 5,000 people just outside of Albany, New York, plans to disconnect from the electrical grid. Last week, the town board voted to get 100 percent of its power from renewables by 2020. The town is making the move both as a way to “increase its reliance on renewable sources of energy and to gain some energy independence,” Politico New York reported.

Nassau, New York plans to use a combination of rooftop solar, ground-mounted solar systems, wind turbines and methane-capture at landfill to generate its electricity.

“If all goes as planned, within the next four years, all six of the town buildings will be disconnected from the grid,” said Nassau Supervisor Dave Fleming. The rest of the town is developing a plan to get all of its power from renewable sources in the next four years.

“It’s not the be-all to end-all for what we should be doing as a state and a nation, but it’s a good first step,” he said. “From a practical perspective, it’s possible,” he added. “We have a lot of ‘people resources’ in our community.”

The town plans to use a combination of rooftop and ground-mounted solar, wind turbines and methane-capture from the landfill to generate its energy.

Though the tiny town’s transition to renewables may not have the impact of, say, New York City going fossil-fuel-free (Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged for municipal operations to run on 100 percent renewable energy before 2050), it’s just one of many cities and towns around the world making the transition.

New York State even has a program to help municipalities make that transition. Spokesman Jon Sorensen told Politico:

“The state Department of Public Services wants more towns to follow Nassau’s lead. Through its Reforming Energy Vision (REV) initiative, the Cuomo administration is actively working to help municipalities—especially towns and schools—move toward getting a significant portion of their power from renewable resources. REV is designed to make the energy grid more efficient and increase its reliance on renewables, and it is intended to give consumers more choices than they have now. This is exactly the kind of thing REV is hoping to encourage. Smaller, cleaner power systems are less costly and cleaner alternatives to the bigger power stations that have made up the power grid.”

And it’s not just New York. More than 350 U.S. state and local elected officials from nearly every state signed a letter during the Paris climate conference calling for 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Today, San Diego, California’s city council is voting on a proposed plan to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. It’s expected to pass. Vancouver, Las Vegas and other major cities around the world want to go 100 percent renewable, too. Hawaii pledged to go 100 percent renewable by 2045—the most ambitious standard set by a U.S. state thus far. Several other islands, including Aruba, Belize, St. Lucia, Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and San Andres and Providencia have pledged to go 100 percent renewable, as well, through the Ten Island Challenge, created by Richard Branson’s climate group the Carbon War Room.

Several countries around the world have hit impressive benchmarks for renewables in just a few short years. And many places have already made the transition to fossil-fuel-free electricity. Samso in Denmark became the world’s first island to go all in on renewables several years ago. Most recently, Uruguay, three U.S. cities—Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; and Greensburg, Kansas—along with Kodiak Island, Alaska, have all made the transition.

Greenpeace and researchers at Stanford and UC Berkeley have laid out plans for every state in the U.S. to adopt 100 percent renewables and a Greenpeace report published in September posits the world can achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Mark Jacobson, one of the researchers from Stanford, said the barriers to 100 percent clean energy are social and political, not technical or economic.

The International Energy Agency released a report in October that found a quarter of the world will be powered by renewables by 2020. And a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that the transition to a sustainable energy future by 2030 is “technically feasible and economically viable.”


Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 15, 2015, 07:01:02 pm
This U.S. Town Plans to Disconnect From the Grid and Go 100 Percent Renewables  ;D

Cole Mellino | December 15, 2015 1:56 pm

Nassau, New York, a town of 5,000 people just outside of Albany, New York, plans to disconnect from the electrical grid. Last week, the town board voted to get 100 percent of its power from renewables by 2020. The town is making the move both as a way to “increase its reliance on renewable sources of energy and to gain some energy independence,” Politico New York reported.

Nassau, New York plans to use a combination of rooftop solar, ground-mounted solar systems, wind turbines and methane-capture at landfill to generate its electricity.

“If all goes as planned, within the next four years, all six of the town buildings will be disconnected from the grid,” said Nassau Supervisor Dave Fleming. The rest of the town is developing a plan to get all of its power from renewable sources in the next four years.

“It’s not the be-all to end-all for what we should be doing as a state and a nation, but it’s a good first step,” he said. “From a practical perspective, it’s possible,” he added. “We have a lot of ‘people resources’ in our community.”

The town plans to use a combination of rooftop and ground-mounted solar, wind turbines and methane-capture from the landfill to generate its energy.

Though the tiny town’s transition to renewables may not have the impact of, say, New York City going fossil-fuel-free (Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged for municipal operations to run on 100 percent renewable energy before 2050), it’s just one of many cities and towns around the world making the transition.

New York State even has a program to help municipalities make that transition. Spokesman Jon Sorensen told Politico:

“The state Department of Public Services wants more towns to follow Nassau’s lead. Through its Reforming Energy Vision (REV) initiative, the Cuomo administration is actively working to help municipalities—especially towns and schools—move toward getting a significant portion of their power from renewable resources. REV is designed to make the energy grid more efficient and increase its reliance on renewables, and it is intended to give consumers more choices than they have now. This is exactly the kind of thing REV is hoping to encourage. Smaller, cleaner power systems are less costly and cleaner alternatives to the bigger power stations that have made up the power grid.”

And it’s not just New York. More than 350 U.S. state and local elected officials from nearly every state signed a letter during the Paris climate conference calling for 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Today, San Diego, California’s city council is voting on a proposed plan to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. It’s expected to pass. Vancouver, Las Vegas and other major cities around the world want to go 100 percent renewable, too. Hawaii pledged to go 100 percent renewable by 2045—the most ambitious standard set by a U.S. state thus far. Several other islands, including Aruba, Belize, St. Lucia, Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and San Andres and Providencia have pledged to go 100 percent renewable, as well, through the Ten Island Challenge, created by Richard Branson’s climate group the Carbon War Room.

Several countries around the world have hit impressive benchmarks for renewables in just a few short years. And many places have already made the transition to fossil-fuel-free electricity. Samso in Denmark became the world’s first island to go all in on renewables several years ago. Most recently, Uruguay, three U.S. cities—Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; and Greensburg, Kansas—along with Kodiak Island, Alaska, have all made the transition.

Greenpeace and researchers at Stanford and UC Berkeley have laid out plans for every state in the U.S. to adopt 100 percent renewables and a Greenpeace report published in September posits the world can achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Mark Jacobson, one of the researchers from Stanford, said the barriers to 100 percent clean energy are social and political, not technical or economic.

The International Energy Agency released a report in October that found a quarter of the world will be powered by renewables by 2020. And a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that the transition to a sustainable energy future by 2030 is “technically feasible and economically viable.” (


edpell SAYS:
The NY town completely off grid is BS. It has been cloudy for the last two months here in New York. Their dump better make lots of methane. They make no mention of storage. Since they are disconnected they can not use the grid for backup.

It is complete BS. They will discover how expensive it will be to go it alone. My guess $0.80/KWh versus grid rate of $0.08/KWh. If they can get low rate loans. 


Listen carefully, Edpell. When you come here to post, you will provide a substantive argument for your allegations. You have not done that. You have, instead, used the term "BS" TWICE, along with the pejorative descriptive adjective (in this particular case) of "complete".

First of all, any methane harvesting technique, BY DEFINITION, can provide smoothing of grid demand when other renewable energy from wind and solar is not available. So they did not need to even mention storage, although they probably will get the Tesla powerwall versions for residents or the larger version Musk is marketing for businesses and factories.

Your "guess" of $0.80/KWh versus grid rate of %0.08/KWh is disinformation. Even when I lived at Syracuse, New York in the 1980's the grid rate was ALREADY $0.11/KWh. It's a LOT more than that now. And the mix of renewable energy that you claim will cost $0.80/KWh is grossly in error.

Not only will 100% renewable energy for Nassau be doable in the projected timeframe, but it will be CHEAPER than the fossil fuel industry CRAP they are forced to buy now.

Before you try to call "BS" on what I just wrote, you had better read the details about solar, the most expensive, relatively speaking, of the renewable energy mix including methane and wind - but still MUCH cheaper than fossil fuels! (

As to wind, that has, with 50,000 plus wind turbines now up and running in the USA, PROVEN to generate energy at LESS than $0.08/KWh.

Vermont is using what it calls "cow power", along with wind, solar and hydro, to make the transition. Green Mountain Power charges $0.18/KWH for methane generated renewable energy to those customers who want to pay it. The normal retail rate is $0.15/KWH here in Vermont and it is already generated from, at least in Colchester, over 70% renewable energy.

In Vermont, our days are every bit as cloudy as Nassau's, but we are already using solar power extensively BECAUSE IT IS CHEAPER than fossil fuel dirty energy, in addition to environmental concerns.

I am patient with people that simply disagree respectfully. I have no patience for hyperbole, disinformation and fallacious debating techniques.

It is clear that you are misinformed about the actual costs of renewable energy. You owe me an apology.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 17, 2015, 04:47:15 pm
On the independent town. I have seen no budget numbers for the project. Let's agree until some one put numbers to paper we are just talking dreams.

Let's remember cost includes salaries for linemen and executives, retirement pension and retirement medical for same. The cost of the distribution network which will have to be bought from the grid or build anew in parallel. When the temperature is -20 how much methane does the dump put out? How long will the dump last until it is completely digested? Show me one town in the US northeast that is off gird. So far all we have are assertions with no facts or figure or costs. 

Fossil fuel generated energy includes all the costs you just mentioned, and does so less profitably than when renewable energy is employed. The "fossil fuels provide jobs" claim is true for the fossil fuel industry jobs, not for jobs and retirement security for the rest of the community. That is why they are "subsidized". It is curious that you don't mention that.

When you do an apples to apples comparison of renewable energy technology with fossil fuel based energy, fossil fuel comes out more expensive. I can point you to a very detailed article explaining exactly why that is. It has a lot to do with the external combustion process versus the internal combustion process. The enthalpy given fossil fuels was deliberately conflated with that of external combustion processes to give it a higher enthalpy. That is false because ALL the waste heat is lost in the internal combustion process and ALL that heat is accounted as a plus in the external combustion process. Charles Hall and friends for the old "Oil Drum" fossil fuel propaganda web site pushed that bullshit 24/7 to make a case for their disingenuous and duplicitous claim of a higher EROEI for fossil fuels versus Renewable energy.

I gave you quite a bit of data about renewable energy and access to more. The fact that it was not stated in the article about Nassau does not mean they are not making use of it.  Renewable energy technologies are now mature enough to be competitive with the artificially cheap fossil duels. The fossil fuel industry is the one that has given us groundless assertions.

As to methane, a pig farmer in the Midwest generates methane all year round, including during subzero temperatures in the winter. Just Google it. If you want to cling to some "it can't be done" hypothesis, then you are the one into baseless assertions.

Finally, what Nassau is doing, while claiming it is going "off grid", is actually creating a large microgrid. I'm surprised you did not discern that immediately. And, as soon as the utility companies see that they cannot coerce Nassau into doing what the power companies want, they will acquiesce to Nassau's microgrid plan by offering to buy the excess capacity during the day (and certain times of the year) in order to provide smoothing for the larger grid and avoid the power company costs of peak demand which might require building another natural gas power plant. Renewable Energy PREVENTS those plants from being built. THAT is the main reason Green Mountain Power is pushing renewable energy so hard; it saves them money and increases the stock price. Renewable energy is money in the bank. That is NOT a baseless assertion.   
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 17, 2015, 08:43:03 pm
When the article said "plans to disconnect from the electrical grid". I thought they meant what they said.

You may be from New York State, but you do not understand New York politics. WHY do you think they said that, HUH!!? THINK! It's a huge loss of revenue for the power company if they do. But on the other hand, Nassau would have to provide their own power smoothing infrastructure, something all power companies already have.

The only reason NOT to go off grid is the smoothing cost, NOT whether enough Renewable energy can be generated (as you incorrectly assume). Town power smoothing is a duplication of effort. THAT is the power company's bargaining chip. But the town has a stronger bargaining chip BECAUSE Renewable Energy is so cheap and the power company does not want to lose the revenue. I predict the end result will be a microgrid that CAN be disconnected if need be but will, except in an emergency, normally remain part of the larger grid. 

If they are dealing with Niagara Mohawk, the power company that MADE SURE all new houses way back in the 1980's in Syracuse (one of which I bought) were 100% electrically heated, then you would begin to understand HOW IT WORKS there. Back in the early 1980's Niagara Mohawk had just started up a nuclear power plant and they needed to sell JUICE to the people. So, they had some nice meetings with Mufaldi home builders of Buffalo and Syracuse (and surrounding locations). The rest is history.

NOW that renewable energy technologies are mature, they want to strong arm communities to pay for dirty energy, whether it be from fossil fuels or nuclear power, at rates that ARE MORE EXPENSIVE than towns like Nassau can get If they resort to renewable energy.

Nassau responds by offering them the finger. It's a PLAN at this stage, not a REALITY. This is a New York Style bargaining technique. This is not hard to understand. It is also enough to bring the power company back to the negotiating table BECAUSE, unlike your incorrect assumption, it is DOABLE and cost effective.

That is where this conversation started. YOU cannot get it through your biosphere math challenged head that Renewable Energy is cheaper than dirty energy.

So, I will not continue to attempt to convince you of that fact. Cling to the propaganda about "cheap" fossil fuels, retirement plans, jobs, etc. ad nauseum all you wish. If you wish to be willfully ignorant, I cannot stop you.

 Renewable is the cheaper energy option without fossil fuel and hidden nuclear subsides. (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 18, 2015, 03:53:12 pm
12/16/2015 01:24 PM   

San Diego Joins 100% Renewable Energy Club    ( News

On the heels of the Paris Climate Agreement San Diego is following through, voting unanimously to run on 100% renewable energy by 2035.

And to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% by then.

Other US cities have a 100% goal, but San Diego is the largest and the first to make it legally binding. San Francisco and San Jose, for example, plan to reach the same goal much faster - by 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Renewable Energy 100%   (

Steps San Diego plans as part of its comprehensive Climate Action Plan include:

•aggressive build-out of renewables, attracting green corporations and jobs

•aggressive moves to net zero energy/water buildings

•advancing the "City of Villages" concept of walkable neighborhoods

•greater use of bicycles and public transit

•electric vehicles will comprise half the city's fleet by 2020 and 90% by 2035

•moving toward zero waste through more recycling and composing

•98% of methane produced by sewage and water treatment plants will be recycled instead of vented into the atmosphere

Many details have to be worked out, but the first step is done - to commit to the goal, says Mayor Faulconer. 

One of the great things about the vote is that it is non-partisan. While Democrats have a majority on the City Council, the Republican Mayor led the charge, calling it "the right thing to do." He sold the plan to conservative businesses by showing how it will improve the economy, create jobs and transform the electric grid, reports the NY Times. 

"100% clean energy is the new standard for climate leadership. On the heels of an historic climate agreement in Paris, we are about to see many American cities follow San Diego's leadership by going all-in on clean energy," says Michael Brune, Executive Director of Sierra Club.

Last year, San Diego Gas & Electric reached 33% renewable energy, six years before the state's 2020 deadline.

California's new goal is to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, since it is on track to reach 33% by 2020. And the goal for emissions cuts is 40% by 2030 below 1990 levels, putting the ultimate goal of 80% cuts by 2050 within reach.   

Read our articles, Most Ambitious Climate Goals Lead to Greatest Economic Growth and

100% Renewable Energy Gaining Traction As Worldwide Goal.

Here is San Diego's Climate Action Plan:

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 08, 2016, 09:45:08 pm
400% Renewable Electricity

Community owned solar power plant Großbardorf, Photo credit: Agrokraft

Project: 100% Renewable Energy Goal Achieved - 400% Renewable Power

Bioenergy for Großbardorf: The new biogas plant with central heating and district heating network is a joint project with many participating farmers and citizens. 120 connected households are supplied with heat, the electricity will be fed into the grid, Photo credit: ReginaVossenkaul,


Location: Großbardorf, Germany


In the small Bavarian village of Großbardorf, local citizens invested and leveraged outside capital worth $19 million over four years to develop rooftop and larger scale solar systems, along with a biogas plant that feeds both a combined heat and power (CHP) plant and a district heating network. Combined, the projects generate 400% of the electricity the village’ needs and 50% of its heating demand. Großbardorf is considering expanding to new business opportunities that rely on its advanced heating network. One example is local fish farming tanks that use heat from the biogas plants to heat the water.   

Großbardorf has been clever at motivating citizens to pitch in. For instance, when the town’s home football team moved up in the ranks, regulations called for a new stadium roof. Rather than turn to a bank or big business to finance the project, the town solicited its citizens to invest in solar panels for the new roof, in exchange for season tickets to the popular football "soccer" games. The locals went for the deal, leaving the income from the electricity produced by the solar panels to pay off the expense of  the new roof.   

Solar grandstand roofing at the soccer stadium Großbardorf, Photo credit: Agrokraft

The village's renewable energy progress would not have been possible without the Renewable Sources Act (EEG), the German feed-in tariff (FIT) law that guarantees interconnection of renewables into the grid, payment of any needed grid upgrades by the utilities, and adequate, long term payment to renewable power generators for any electricity they feed in to the grid. 

Ground-breaking ceremony for the heating network Großbardorf 01/06/2011, Photo credit: Agrokraft

Agelbert NOTE: The feed-in tariff (FIT) that boosted Renewable energy infrastructure in Germany was frequently and vociferously OPPOSED by the "energy expert" Nicole Foss for allegedly "increasing energy costs"  ( Of course, the FIT has actually helped REDUCE energy costs while it STOPPED the fossil fuel generated POLLUTION by helping to fund the switch to Renewable Energy. If you didn't know Nicole Foss is a SHILL for fossil fuels in general (and Fracking in particular), now you do know. Sorry Foss, Germany DOES understand energy and cost efficient thermodynamics, unlike YOU.  (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on March 07, 2016, 10:18:53 pm
Bike Washing Machine Gives Whole New Meaning to ‘Spin Cycle’     (

Cole Mellino | March 5, 2016 11:58 am

Want to get a good workout and get a mundane chore out of the way—all while not using electricity? Now you can, thanks to the Bike Washing Machine, designed by students at Dalian Nationalities University in China

The Bike Washing Machine allows you to wash your clothes while you work out. Photo credit: Bike Washing Machine

Colin Levitch of BikeRadar praised the concept:

“The Tuvie Washing Machine gives the term ‘spin cycle’ a whole new meaning. Targeted at the time-starved athlete or those wishing to cut down on their utility bills, it’s essentially a spin bike, where the front wheel has been replaced with a laundry drum. As you pedal, the drum spins and gets your clothing clean.

We’re dreaming of spin class rooms filled with these, where patrons get a workout and a clean basket of clothing after their 45 minute session. Got a stubborn stain? We’re sure someone will create ‘stain intervals’ to see those gone.”

According to the designers, any excess energy generated would power the display screen or be stored for later use.

Its small size would probably require multiple loads to complete your laundry, The Huffington Post pointed out. And Levitch noted there are a few key details missing: Do you need to run a water pipe to the bike or does it need to be manually filled? How do you drain the water?    (

Still, the concept offers a promising way to combine exercise and a carbon-free energy source to clean your dirty clothes.

There are other pedal-powered washing machine designs, including one designed specifically for the billions around the world without access to running water or electricity.  ( (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 17, 2016, 12:16:44 am
Portugal powered for 4 days by 100% Renewable Electricity  ;D

from May 7th (6:45am) to May 11th (5:45pm)

Portugal was powered by 100% renewable electricity, according to the  National Energy Network (REN) and the Portuguese  Renewable Energy Association (APREN). (Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável em colaboração com a Associação Portuguesa de Energias Renováveis (APREN) -)
"the consumption of electricity in Portugal was fully covered by renewable sources" (ZERO)

António Sá Costa, President ASREN, points out that this milestone "is also a testament to what is possible for all the doubters ," adding that
" today , more than half of the electricity consumed in about half a year is from renewables

More information in Portuguese (ZERO)

& (Dinheiro)
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 17, 2016, 03:45:34 pm
57% of Scotland’s energy came from renewables in 2015

The very clever (and penny pinching) people in Scotland have been making good use of all kinds of renewable energy, including tidal power.

New Undersea Turbines Harness Enormous Power From Local Tides (


Scotland closed its last coal burning power plant last month. They now generate more than 50% of their power from renewable sources. Scotland`s intermediate term goal is to obtain 100% of their power from renewable energy. Their longer term goal is to get 100%+ of their power from renewable energy with the excess power being exported to England and Wales.  (

”Clean energy proponents are praising the success of the Scottish National Party’s renewable energy initiatives, and holding up the new statistics as proof that the nation could become the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030. WWF Scotland’s director, Lang Banks, told Herald Scotland
Independent research has shown that it is possible for Scotland to have a secure, efficient electricity system, based on almost entirely renewable electricity generation,
by 2030. Embracing that vision would maximize the opportunities to create new jobs, empower communities and support local economic renewal   ( throughout the country.”  (

Agelbert NOTE: There is NO WAY that the fossil fuel industry will EVER be able to recapture their lost energy use market share in ANY of the high Renewable Energy percentage countries like Scotland (and Portugal and Costa Rica and Spain and the Netherlands and Sweden and Norway and Germany - and so one, etc.), no matter how many politicians they BUY to make fossil fuels artificially cheap through hidden and not so hidden "subsidies" (free passes on pollution and government money coerced from we-the-people).

And smart people in the USA, England, France, Australia, south Africa, Italy, Japan (and so on - you get the idea) are certainly NOT going to go back to fossil fuels with a ZERO fuel cost on their current Renewable energy Infrastructure (which gets cheaper to manufacture and install every year). Even the "natural" gas fired power plants used for peak power grid demand balancing that now use Fracked gas can be run from TRULY NATURAL gas produced from methane harvesters on cattle and pig farms in these countries. Germany is already doing quite a bit of animal based methane harvesting with a nice side benefit that pumps out a NON-fossil fuel based NATURAL fertilizer product added profit stream.  ;D

Continually shrinking market share is a death sentence for an energy producer. That is why the fossil fuel industry is doomed to shrink into bankrupt welfare queen, has been irrelevance.       (     

Anybody that thinks we are in a repeat of the 1980's doesn't know their ass from a hole in the ground.

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 31, 2016, 03:39:17 pm
Santiago’s Metro System to Become World’s First to Be Powered Largely by Solar and Wind

Lorraine Chow | May 31, 2016 10:49 am

The subway system in Chile’s capital will soon be the world’s first to run largely on renewable energy sources.

Santiago’s metro has 103 kilometers of tracks and 108 stations, making it the second-longest metro system in Latin America after Mexico City.

The Metro de Santiago, the second-longest metro system in Latin America after Mexico City, has signed two agreements, one with a solar energy provider and another with a wind power company, which will provide 60 percent of metro’s energy needs by 2018.

An announcement of the $500 million deal was made last week by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet during a visit to the National Stadium station that’s currently under construction.

“More than two and a half million passengers use the Metro daily,” she said. “[They] will not only be able to travel faster and safer; they will also be able to travel in a means of transport that cares for the planet, which reduces our carbon footprint and that makes possible a sustainable future for all.”

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet announces on May 23 that the Metro de Santiago will become the world’s first metro to run mostly on renewables. Photo credit: SunPower Corp (graphic at article link)

California solar company SunPower, an affiliate of French oil company Total, will begin construction of the El Pelícano Solar Project, a 100-megawatt facility near the municipalities of La Higuera and Vallenar. The solar plant, expected to go live by the end of 2017, will supply 300 gigawatt hours per year of clean energy to Metro de Santiago, or 42 percent of its annual energy demands.

“SunPower is proud to serve Metro of Santiago’s growing energy demand with cost-competitive, renewable solar power,” Eduardo Medina, the executive vice president of SunPower’s global power plants, said. “Solar is an ideal energy source for Chile because of the country’s high solar resource and transparent energy policies. In partnership with Total, SunPower is committed to the continued growth of our business in Chile.”

As for wind power, the metro will receive 18 percent of its energy needs from a 185-megawatt San Juan wind project developed by Spain-based Elecnor and owned by Brazilian renewable energy firm Latin America Power, according to Quartz.

Quartz noted that both solar and wind projects will start service in 2018 and supply the metro for the next 15 years. The metro will receive its remaining 40 percent of its energy needs from the Chilean electric distribution company Chilectra.

The Natural Resources Defense Council noted that the amount of energy generated by the wind and solar projects for the metro will be equivalent to the energy needs of 104,000 homes. Not only that, the impressive initiative is expected to mitigate 130,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on September 17, 2016, 01:37:47 pm


(Editor’s note: The following comes from the recent Vermont Folklife Center exhibit, Portraits in Action: Pioneers in Renewable Energy, Environmental Conservation, and Land Use Planning. For more, visit their website.)
Bob Klein, the first director of Vermont Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, makes an argument for thinking big and stretching beyond our comfort collective zone—listen below (at article link) —then read his response to the question: What will bring us to the next level in meeting the energy and environmental challenges we are facing today?

What will bring us to the next level in meeting the energy and environmental challenges we are facing today?

Whatever energy sources we utilize in Vermont inevitably will have cultural and environmental consequences. Whether we like it or not, with energy development there’s no free lunch. There have always been tradeoffs.
Having discovered that the environmental cost of burning fossil fuel is unacceptable, we’ll transition to other energy sources, and make new tradeoffs over the decades to come.
Meeting “the next level of environmental and energy challenges” should involve confronting these tradeoffs consciously. There’s room to decide what impacts we’re willing to accept. We can weigh the consequences of certain energy choices against things we value – local control, scenery and open space, prime ag soils, natural areas, and recreational access to land, for example. Some energy choices could even have an impact on Vermont’s rural character itself.

We may be facing a climate emergency, but this need not lead to a suspension of the rules. We do not have to leave the adoption and siting of alternative energy sources to chance. Like other kinds of development, state, regional, and local planning can steer renewable energy installations away from other things that we value. Geographic Information Systems and resource mapping tools have never been more widely available. We just need to use these tools, together with an enabling policy framework, to meet the challenges before us.

Portraits in Action: Pioneers in Renewable Energy, Environmental Conservation, and Land Use Planning brings together a diverse cross section of twenty-five pioneers, activists, and leaders in renewable energy, environmental conservation, and land use planning, and invites them to speak to the issues at hand. It is both an oral history and a call to action.

The Vermont Folklife Center’s mission is to broaden, strengthen, and deepen our understanding of Vermont and the surrounding region; to assure a repository for our collective cultural memory; and to strengthen communities by building connections among the diverse peoples of Vermont. For more, visit us.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on September 29, 2016, 07:21:49 pm

September 16, 2016 | 11:32 AM

Video: Costa Rica’s Last Green Mile  (

Read the story of how Costa Rica became a clean energy leader and one of the greenest nations on Earth

Imagine an entire country powered by 100-percent renewable energy. For Costa Rica, that’s nearly a reality.

Costa Rica’s environmental minister, Edgar Gutiérrez, recently explained to us that "Costa Rica is on a path that seeks development, but only development in a healthy environment.” As part of this effort, the country has plans to go carbon neutral by 2021, and officials have stated that it has already reached 81 percent of this goal. If Costa Rica succeeds, it will be one of the few carbon-neutral countries in the world.

You don’t have to look far to see how Costa Rica is breaking all kinds of renewable energy records. In 2015, the nation achieved 99 percent renewable energy generation, with its grid powered by only renewable sources for a remarkable 285 days. And it’s on a similar track in 2016, powering its grid on 100 percent renewable energy for 150 days and counting.

But Costa Rica wasn’t always as focused on protecting its environment and the climate. In the mid-twentieth century, Costa Rica was losing its native woodlands – mostly tropical rainforests – to logging at an alarming rate, with the country’s  forest cover dropping from 75 percent in 1940 to 21 percent in 1987. In the 1980s and 1990s, Costa Rica’s leaders realized the nation needed to do something to reverse this process. So they developed a program that gave incentives to land owners to protect their environments. The result? By 2010, Costa Rica’s forest cover was back up to 52 percent.

The impulse to protect the country’s extraordinary natural environment has been complimented by a focus on clean energy. So what does Costa Rica use to power its grid? The answer is not as obvious as many people might think. Thanks to its river systems and generally plentiful rainfall, between 70–75 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from hydropower, with the rest of its renewables coming from geothermal, biomass, wind, and solar.

Costa Rica is also focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through major changes with its transportation sector, which makes up 32 percent of the country’s emissions and 67 percent of its fuel consumption. In 2015, Costa Rica established a buy-back program for older cars and trucks in exchange for new, fuel-efficient vehicles. According to Gutiérrez, reducing emissions from the transportation sector is necessary to meet the country’s carbon neutrality goals by 2021.

Costa Rica is a leader in clean energy. Not only has the country reached 81 percent of its carbon-neutrality goal, but it’s done so while reducing overall power costs, which fell 12 percent in 2015 thanks to an abundance of renewables.

[/b]Costa Rica’s energy leaders don’t expect the country to slow down anytime soon when it comes to renewables – and we don’t either. And best of all, Costa Rica’s renewable energy progress shows the rest of the world that transitioning from fossil fuel-based electricity to renewables is possible – and that’s a reason a celebrate.

Help tell Costa Rica’s clean energy success story by sharing the graphic below (at article link)  and networks. Then, be sure to sign up for our email activist list to stay updated with the latest on renewable energy and climate solutions.

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on November 16, 2016, 01:39:19 pm
Energy| Nov. 12, 2016 10:48AM EST

Aruba Commits to 100% Renewable Energy

Yale Climate Connections
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on November 23, 2016, 01:48:29 pm
Energy| Nov. 22, 2016 01:40PM EST


Tesla, SolarCity Power Entire Island With Solar + Batteries 

Lorraine Chow
Ta'u, an island in American Samoa, has turned its nose at fossil fuels and is now almost 100 percent powered with solar panels and batteries thanks to technology from the newly combined Tesla and SolarCity. 

The microgrid is operated by American Samoa Power Authority and was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior.

Radio New Zealand reported that the $8 million project will significantly reduce fuel costs for the island, which is located more than 4,000 miles from the west coast of the U.S. Ta'u's 600 residents previously relied on shipments of diesel for power. At times, a shipment could not arrive on the island for months, meaning the island had to power ration and faced reoccurring outages.

But the new microgrid replaces this reliance on dirty fuels with more affordable solar energy, as Peter Rive, SolarCity co-founder and CTO, detailed in a blog post about the project, adding that the microgrid is designed to optimize system performance and maximize savings. 

"Factoring in the escalating cost of fuel, along with transporting such mass quantities to the small island, the financial impact is substantial," Rive wrote. He pointed out that the microgrid also eliminates "the hazards of power intermittency" and makes "outages a thing of the past."

The microgrid, which only took one year to build, features 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity (or 5,328 solar panels) and 6 megawatt hours of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks. An estimated 109,500 gallons of diesel will be offset per year.

"Before today, every time we turned on the light, turn on the television, turn on maybe the air conditioner, all of the cash registers in China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia go 'cha-ching,' but not after today," SolarCity market development director Jon Yoshimura told Radio New Zealand. "We will keep more of that money here, where it belongs." 

With the Powerpacks, the island can store solar energy at night, allowing for around-the-clock use. The microgrid allows the island to stay fully powered for three days without sunlight and can recharge to full capacity in only seven hours.

A hospital, high school and elementary schools, fire and police stations and businesses will be using the new clean energy source.

"It's always sunny out here, and harvesting that energy from the sun will make me sleep a lot more comfortably at night, just knowing I'll be able to serve my customers," local resident and business owner Keith Ahsoon told SolarCity.

"This is part of making history," Ahsoon added. "This project will help lessen the carbon footprint of the world. Living on an island, you experience global warming firsthand. Beach erosions and other noticeable changes are a part of life here. It's a serious problem, and this project will hopefully set a good example for everyone else to follow."

Ta'u could be an example for other islands around the globe facing similar problems.

"Ta'u is not a postcard from the future, it's a snapshot of what is possible right now,"  ( Rive wrote. "Renewable power is an economical, practical solution for a growing number of locations and energy needs, and islands that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels can easily transition to microgrids powered by solar and storage today."
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on December 17, 2016, 04:01:21 pm
Boone, NC Passes Historic Resolution: Ditch Fossil Fuels, Go 100% Clean Energy (   (

Lorraine Chow
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on March 10, 2017, 01:57:08 pm
March 9, 2017 1:21 PM
Texas  :o   ;D city one of first to be powered solely by wind and solar energy

By Tom Uhler

Who would have thought that Georgetown in conservative red state Texas would be one of the first cities in America to be powered entirely by renewable energy?

It’s true, according to this report on NPR.

But it’s all about the Benjamins, Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross told NPR.


“It’s our love of green — green rectangles and green energy,” ( said, the rectangles signifying dollars. “First and foremost it was a business decision.”

There was never any talk of global warming or climate change during the city’s deliberations in 2012 about its power source going forward.

“I don’t think they’re ever going to accuse Georgetown of being the next Berkeley,” Ross told NPR’s Ari Shapiro.

The city realized that there was enough wind and solar power available, that it was fairly predictable and that the prices wouldn’t fluctuate as much as oil and gas prices.

Texas has led the nation in wind energy for the past decade while under then-Gov. Rick Perry, now the nation’s energy secretary.

But Perry didn’t promote the industry because he was any kind of tree-hugger. As Texas Tribune reporter and former Star-Telegram Austin bureau chief Jay Root told NPR: “I don't think anyone would call Rick Perry an environmentalist, including Rick Perry. ... But the guy knows how to sniff out a dollar. Here's a guy from West Texas who saw that you can make money off of the wind blowing. Like, that's a no brainer."

Tom Kiernan, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association, told the Star-Telegram last month that the outlook for wind energy under the Trump administration looks promising   ( (, largely because it doesn’t cost much, adds jobs and is already being used by major companies such as GM in Arlington, Facebook, which is building a data center in north Fort Worth, Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix and others.

Read more here:

Agelbert NOTE: This is, on the surface, good news. However, if Tom Kiernan thinks Trump gives a hoot about commons sense energy math, he is in for a lot of disappointment. Trump is PRO-DIRTY ENERGY. WHY? Because THEY bought and paid for him!

I have written, as have many others for nearly a decade, that Renewable Energy, when all the costs of burning fossil fuels (See: social Cost of Carbon - S.C.C.) are figured in, ALWAYS HAS BEEN cheaper than fossil fuels. But NOW, with the mass production of wind and solar having lowered the costs so much that they can even beat fossil fuels despite the massive welfare queen "subsidies" they continue to be handed 24/7 by our corrupted government, Trump has to ATTACK Renewables with a frontal attack.

That attack requires two main heinous profit over people and planet steps:

1)  Removing all pollution restrictions on the polluters in a desperate attempt to shore up fossil fuel industry bottom lines.   

2) Place all sorts costly hurdles like onerous "zoning" restrictions on Renewable Energy infrastructure: e.g. "aesthetic" taxes, "fire hazard" dangers along with "required inspections" (for very high fees, of course), etc. all to make life VERY difficult for those who want Renewable Energy in their homes.

Fossil fuels CANNOT compete on a level energy AND cost playing field with Renewables. The Texans have figured that out. Good for them.  ( But that won't stop Trump from trying to shove fossil fuels down American throats.  (

I hope the Texans (and all other Americans, including the Trumpers who were fooled into voting for him) give Trump's welfare queen polices for the fossil fuel burning polluters the rejection they deserve. (

The Fossil Fuelers   DID THE Climate Trashing, human health depleteing CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!    (

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on March 30, 2017, 09:01:06 pm

Is Berlin a Bike-Friendly City?  (

In February 2017, the city of Berlin made good on its commitment to bicycle travel, approving 13 new two-wheel superhighways where bike commuters won’t have to dodge cars, trucks, or pedestrians.

The first two of these new routes will be more than 3.1 miles (5 km) in length and will allow Berliners to get in and out of the city center much faster and much more safely.

Like an interstate highway in the United States, or Germany’s famous Autobahn, cyclists will be encouraged to keep moving on these uber bike paths, which will be at least 13 feet (4 m) in width.

Get your "motor"  ;)  running:     (         (


•There is already a similar thoroughfare dedicated to cyclists in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and another is planned in Munich. These projects are credited with reducing commute times and traffic fatalities.

•Funding for a 64-mile-long (103 km) stretch of bicycle heaven, connecting Dallas and Fort Worth, has been approved in Texas, and a similar route is being considered between Raleigh and Durham in North Carolina.

•The idea of bike superhighways has been discussed since the late 19th century.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on April 25, 2017, 08:50:44 pm
Trump will NOT be able stop the Renewable Energy Revolution.  (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 02, 2017, 02:08:07 pm
Thanks, Trump: ;D  US Army Cranks Up Yuuuuuge Solar + Wind Project

May 2nd, 2017 by Tina Casey


For a coal fan, President Trump sure did chalk up a lot of renewable energy credits during his first 100 days. Barely squeaking in under the wire is the US Army’s largest ever renewables project, a sprawling wind and solar power complex that is expected to fulfill more than half the yearly electricity needs of US Army Garrison Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony isn’t until June 2 but the complex began commercial operation on April 7, so let’s take a look under the hood (so to speak) and see what’s going on.

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 03, 2017, 08:37:11 pm
03 May 2017 | Sören Amelang, Benjamin Wehrmann
Sun and wind squeeze coal power to record low / E.ON & Google team up

Tags: Energiewende ⦁   Fossil fuels ⦁ Renewables
Agora Energiewende

A Sunday almost without coal power (

German coal plants on last Sunday contributed the lowest amount of electricity to the country’s power mix ever recorded in recent times, energy think tank Agora Energiewende* said in a press release. Power production from coal and lignite plants stood at just 8 gigawatt (GW) at the lowest point, while power production from renewables peaked at over 55 GW on the sunny and windy Sunday, according to the think tank. Nuclear plants reduced their production to 5 GW, it added. Solar, wind and other renewable power production on average stood at nearly 36 GW during the weekend, equaling about 64 percent of German power consumption, Agora Energiewende explained. “Constellations like this will be perfectly normal in 2030,” the think tank’s head Patrick Graichen said, adding that “inflexible power plants no longer will have a place in the power system as they only spoil the prices”.

Image showing Germany's power mix on 30 April 2017 (at article link)

Tags: Solar Technology Utilities

E.ON and Google are launching partnership to expand solar energy (

Germany’s largest utility E.ON has struck a partnership with Google to expand its renewable energy business. E.ON will introduce Google’s solar platform Sunroof in Germany, the company said in a press release. The platform uses data from Google Earth to help homeowners to calculate savings from installing rooftop solar panels. Households can then directly order products such as PV modules from E.ON.
Find background on E.ON in the CLEW factsheet E.ON shareholders ratify energy giant's split.

Tags: Cars Transport
Spiegel Online

First city utters driving bans: Hamburg blocks two main thoroughfares for diesel cars  (

Hamburg is the first German city to ban older diesel cars from main thoroughfares all year round to improve local air quality, reports Nils-Viktor Sorge for Spiegel Online. Even though only two roads are affected, the decision “has a highly symbolic significance. The discussion about possible driving bans has already sent shockwaves to the car industry”, writes Sorge.

A survey revealed this week that only two in five diesel car drivers plan to stick with the technology when buying their next car. Stuttgart, the home of carmakers Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, said earlier this year it would ban older diesel cars in the city centre when pollution is heavy from 2018.

Tags: Business & Jobs Cars Technology

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung .

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on May 07, 2017, 06:53:05 pm

Germany Breaks Record: 85% of Energy  :o  ;D Comes From Renewables Last Weekend 

ByLorraine Chow
May. 04, 2017 02:27PM EST


Germany's "Energiewende"—the country's low-carbon energy revolution
—turned another successful corner last weekend when renewable energy sources nearly stamped out coal and nuclear.

Thanks to a particularly breezy and sunny Sunday, renewables such as wind and solar, along with some biomass and hydropower, peaked at a record 85 percent, or 55.2 gigawatts, and even came along with negative prices for several hours at the electricity exchange.

Conversely, coal use was at an all-time minimum. According to DW, on April 30, coal-fired power stations were only operational between 3 and 4 p.m. and produced less than eight gigawatts of energy, well below the maximum output of about 50 gigawatts.

Full article with graphics:
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on August 28, 2017, 07:31:12 pm
Jimmy Carter  ( Talks Solar Energy


I grew up on a farm outside of Plains, Georgia. It was the Great Depression years; we didn't have electricity or running water. The first appliance we had was a windmill, for piping water into our house.

In fact, we didn't have any gasoline or diesel motors for a number of decades; mules and horses did all the work. We got all our energy from growing corn—the animals that we worked, the animals that we ate, and all the human beings depended on corn as just about our only fuel. We were totally renewable back then.   (

So when I became president, it was natural for me to want to extend this capability to people who were in danger of losing their energy supply. Because we had a good relationship with Israel—I tried to bring peace between Israel and Egypt—we had oil embargos. We lost our customary supply of oil, so I was very interested in seeing America be energy secure. It was a national security issue—all our tanks, our ships, our trains depended on oil back in those days.

Full article:
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on August 29, 2017, 02:56:59 pm


Hybrid Office Building Cuts Cord to Electricity Grid (  (

August 29, 2017

By Andrew Spence, The Lead

 hybrid energy

A four-story office building powered by a combination of thermal and PV solar and wind energy in South Australia has cut its connection to the electricity grid in what its owners claim to be a world first. (

The $8 million Fluid Solar headquarters in Adelaide, South Australia’s northern suburbs contains more than 2 MWh of energy storage capacity, comprising about 90 percent thermal storage with the remaining 10 percent provided by conventional battery storage.

Fluid Solar House has been operating without the use of the electricity grid since April to test its technologies before this afternoon’s cord-cutting ceremony.  (

The building will be used as the small company’s headquarters but will also become a co-working space for other innovative northern suburbs’ startups.

Surplus electricity generated at the site will be used as part of Tesla’s car-charging network, with provision of 11 electric vehicle bays that will be charged completely by wind and solar power harvested from a 98 kWp array of 378 PV solar panels on the building’s roof.

A sustainable “tiny house” has also been built — in just three days — in the building’s car park to showcase the company’s low cost, low energy accommodation.

Fluid Solar Managing Director Roger Davies has been working on the technology since 2008 and said the solar thermal element was the key to the building’s success.

He said solar PV cells alone typically could not produce enough energy to run an air conditioning system.

“Even if you could, the cost of the battery pack becomes so large that it’s difficult to pay the battery pack off before it wears out,” he said.

“Storage of heat is dramatically cheaper than battery storage and because we’ve got the other end, which is the devices that use thermal energy directly for their heating and cooling it means that 60-70 per cent of the building’s energy requirements are met using solar thermal as opposed to solar PV technology.

“That allows us to use the rest of the roof — about 60 percent — to do a conventional PV.

So we have a hybrid model between a smaller battery pack running the lights, the lift, the fan systems and so on and the heavy lifting is done by the solar thermal.

Wind turbines on the roof are also in place to fill the void for about 20 days in winter when long stretches of cloudy weather reduce the effectiveness of solar. The surplus electricity will be used to power the car charging station.

The solar thermal collectors have been granted an Australian patent, and we’re in the process of getting an international patent in several jurisdictions including China, India, Japan, North America and Europe.

They work by heating rainwater collected at the site to between 60C and 90C and storing it in a 10,000-liter insulated box. The hot water can be used to directly heat the building in winter and indirectly in summer to dry air and run evaporative cooling.

The building also has a turbine that turns low pressure steam into electricity.

“If you collect solar energy as heat, you store it as heat and you use it as heat, the whole process is intrinsically efficient and cost-effective and that is the trick to moving to a much lower energy consumption society, Davies said. (

The company is working on a system that can be retrofitted to existing office buildings.
“That’s certainly feasible from a technical point of view and once clients accept that it’s also economically attractive to them we see no reason why that technology couldn’t be rolled out across a large percentage of existing buildings.”

Fluid Solar has a 1200sq m factory in the nearby industrial suburb of Edinburgh. It has 24 orders for small houses, which range in size from 40sq m to 160sq m.

The houses are powered by similar renewable energy systems as the office building, can be run off-grid and can be built on site in a matter of days.

“Our order book is probably filled till Christmas but we’re certainly looking to have some projects moving into 2018 to keep the momentum going and build production,” Davies said.

“We’ve looked at 5000sq m as our next step up when demand picks up. I’ve got a joint arrangement with an existing manufacturing business to gear up and help build large volume if we can show the demand.”

Davies said the small modulated houses had a number of markets including as backyard flats, off-grid holiday homes and housing for people on fixed incomes.

He said the fast build times, low or no ongoing electricity costs and a price of about AU$1,000 per square meter compared with $1,200 – $1800sq m for traditional housing made them very affordable.

Fluid Solar has approval to build a 20-apartment complex in Munno Para, which Davies hopes to have installed before Christmas.

“One thing I would very much like to do is build these as medium density urban and suburban housing because we believe we can get the cost down to a point where people on low fixed incomes can afford to rent or buy over time,” he said.

“My belief is that our strategy of using a building that is intrinsically low energy consuming will ultimately become the dominant feature in architecture — we will move away from poorly insulated, glazed energy hot boxes and people will start to accept that the advantages of low consumption and low impact living are more important.”   (

South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and roof-top solar with renewable sources accounting for more than 40 percent of the electricity generated in the state. However, the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years has increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.

Last month, tech billionaire Elon Musk announced his company Tesla would install the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery at a wind farm in South Australia. This month, SolarReserve announced it would construct a 150MW solar thermal power plant in the state’s north.

This article was originally published by The Lead South Australia under a creative commons license.

Agelbert NOTE: The above is admirable, but it is also common sense. I wish to bring your attention to the possibility, which I consider a fact, that the encouragement given the populace over the last century or so to use energy without absolutely any consideration for efficiency has been deliberate by the fossil fuel industry.



WHY? Because the more fossil fuels we burned, the more money they made. All that ubiquitous ego inflating advertizing about "freedom" and "independence" and "doing it your way" energy use bling was a clever appeal to human greed and "do BETTER than the Joneses" base human psychology. (

They convinced an entire generation that the advantages of low consumption and low impact living is something to be scorned, despite the biosphere math FACT that low consumption and low impact living is the ideal all humans should strive to achieve in order to preserve and protect the environment for their children.

IOW, through clever ego inflating ubiquitous advertising propaganda, they made greedy suckers out of most of us.


At the same time, the mendacious crooks that push polluting energy sources claimed, and still claim, that they would be happy to incorporate 'efficiency increases' to reduce fossil lfuel use and would 'support' Renewable Energy sources too.   ( alas, the fossil fuel product is the most "cost effective" and "competitive" product out there.  (

This was a half truth at best. The petroleum pigs certainly do go all out to make oil and gas extraction machinery as efficient as possible to increase profits. But they are totally against more efficency at the consumer level. They are the ones responsible for the minimum furnace size requirements in all buildings and many other code requiring INEFFICIENCIES that guarantee MORE fossil fuel use. And that's just the tip of the mens rea fossil fuel industry turdberg out there.

So, when the FACT that intrinsically low energy consuming architecture has been vigorously shunned by the fossil fuel industry for over a century is exposed, the malice and forethought on their part in encouraging totally unnecessary and massively inefficient high energy use becomes clear.

They WANT us to use a lot of energy so they can turn around and say our "standard of living", if not our very lives, will suffer "grievous harm" without fossil fuels.(

Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote a peer reviewed scientifc paper (Reinventing Fire) making it crystal clear that we can run human civilization on 80% LESS energy than we now use by incorporating various transportation, machinery, building and housing energy efficiency increasing technologies along with Renewable Energy WITHOUT ANY lowering of our standard of living.

So when you hear a fossil fueler claim that intrinsically low energy consuming architecture 'isn't competitive or cost efficient' (i.e. not ready for 'prime time'  ;)) along with their standard crocodile tears about how our "standard of living will suffer grievous harm" (i.e. 'we are all gonna die without our loyal servant the Fossil Fuel Industry') without fossil fuels, please show them the following meter reading in regard to everything they said:


The Fossil Fuelers DID THE Clean Energy  Inventions suppressing, Climate Trashing, human health depleting CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!    (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 04, 2017, 08:20:20 pm
Agelbert NOTE: I lived in Humacao, Puerto Rico. I know what these learned writers are talking about. They are right to take umbrage at Trump's insensitive boorishness. But the article is mostly about viable solutions to the present infrastructure problems in Puerto Rico. Let us hope wise people listen to them. Their recomendations are, in fact, what should be done all over the world, not just in Puerto rico. 


It Is Time to Transform, Not Just Rebuild, in Puerto Rico

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

By Marisol LeBrón and Hilda Lloréns, Truthout | Op-Ed


Toward Energy Sovereignty

In Puerto Rico, "community efforts" -- to use Trump's own language -- to improve the quality of life for local communities have long preceded the current official top-down conversations about how to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged territory. For example, in the Bay of Jobos region, in southeastern Puerto Rico, a number of communities have been hard at work resisting environmental degradation and creating plans for sustainable environmental transformation for more than three decades. These are largely low-income communities that are disproportionately exposed to the toxic pollutants generated by two power plants that bookend Jobos Bay: the Aguirre Power Plant Complex and the AES coal power plant.

A fire that erupted at the Aguirre Power Plant Complex on September 21, 2016, plunged Puerto Rico into a three-day blackout, which foreshadowed the current power crisis and exposed the vulnerability of the power grid. The AES coal plant has been in the news lately as a result of the ongoing protests against the irresponsible disposal of toxic coal ash in the towns of Peñuelas and Humacao. Protesters are demanding that the AES plant be shut down because generating energy using coal inevitably leads to the production of toxic coal ash that is harmful to communities and the environment.

Despite its fertile terrain, Puerto Rico imports approximately 85 percent of its food. Hurricane Maria has revealed the intense vulnerability of Puerto Rico's food supply chain.
Almost all of the electricity generated in Puerto Rico comes from fossil fuels and is imported at a high cost to residents.

Puerto Ricans pay some of the highest energy costs within US jurisdiction. Presently, activists working with community-based environmental watchdog organizations, such as climate advocate and attorney Ruth Santiago of Comité Diálogo Ambiental and Alexis Massol Gonzalez of Casa Pueblo, argue that recovery efforts must entail a complete transformation of the grid itself. Building a resilient electric power grid will require ending the island's dependence on fossil fuels, opting instead for solar power, wind power and other clean energy resources. Additionally, the power grid must be decentralized from the current model   (, which is based on large fossil-fuel dependent power plants with long-distance transmission.

Central Aguirre massively polluting Fossil Fuel Power Plant in Puerto Rico (

The island should instead seek to develop a system of micro-grids, solar communities and other sustainable alternatives that allow residents to manage energy demand at a community level. Environmental justice communities, which have suffered the worst effects of the current model, want to play a central role in the management and production of photovoltaic and wind energy.

(!.png)These are not people "who want everything to be done for them," these are people asking for the resources and commitments necessary to build a better Puerto Rico for themselves and future generations.

Punta de Lima wind farm  (!/2017/09/puerto-rico-hurricanes-irma-maria.html) (above before Hurricane Maria) has 13 Vestas 1.8 megawatt turbines. Many blades were destroyed. Pattern Energy developed and owned the Santa Isabel Wind Farm, with 44 turbines, where no damage occurred.

This video shows the destruction of Vestas turbines at the Punta de Lima project in Puerto Rico. The Punta de Lima Wind facility, developed by Gestamp Wind, began operation in April 2013 and includes 13 Vestas 1.8 megawatt turbines for a total capacity of 23.4 megawatts. Puerto Rico hosts a second, larger project, the Santa Isabel Wind Farm, developed and owned by Pattern Energy. Pattern has informed that its turbines did not sustain any damage from hurricaine Maria. The Santa Isabel site began operation in 2012 and consists of 44 wind turbines (each Siemens 2.3 megawatt turbines) for a total capacity of 101.2 megawatts.

Puerto Rico, Hurricanes Irma, Maria & Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (October 2017) | Ililani Media (http://)

Photo: Damaged solar panels are seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico on September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins. (!/2017/09/puerto-rico-hurricanes-irma-maria.html)

Full article: (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 06, 2017, 07:53:30 pm

Elon Musk Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico's Power Grid With Solar ( 

Ocrober 6, 2017 by Lorraine Chow

Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded positively  :o  ( to Tesla CEO Elon Musk's offer to help restore the island's hurricane-wrecked power grid with the company's batteries and solar panels.

"Let's talk," the governor tweeted to Musk Thursday evening. "Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project."  (

Musk tweeted back that he would be "happy to talk."  (

Read more:
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 08, 2017, 05:11:34 pm

5 Cities Reaping The Benefits Of Climate Action  (

October 8th, 2017 by Guest Contributor

Originally published on The Climate Reality Project.


Global warming is a major threat to our planet, but particularly to our cities, in which two thirds of the world’s population are expected to live by 2050.

Even as national leaders make the headlines on climate, more and more, cities are the places turning big-picture objectives into practical steps forward to a sustainable future. In fact, the Trump Administration’s decision in June to withdraw from the Paris Agreement only strengthened the commitment of the world’s biggest cities to lower emissions for a low-carbon future.

This commitment is clear in the new Cities100 report, available now. For the third year in a row, Sustainia, C40, and Realdania have collected the 100 best urban solutions to climate change from cities around the world, and the 2017 edition of Cities100 presents some extraordinary cases of city climate action within the categories of energy, adaptation, transportation, mitigation, and waste.

This year’s Cities100 reveals how more cities are beginning to acknowledge the social, economic, and environmental benefits of climate action and adaptation. By taking climate action, cities can simultaneously future-proof against challenges such as overpopulation, air pollution, and extreme weather events, and save trillions of dollars on, for example, energy and health.

Let’s take a closer look at five cities from the new report that are creating greener, smarter, and healthier urban environments while reducing their carbon footprint.

Full article with nice pictures:    (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on October 14, 2017, 07:10:14 pm
Elon Musk Is Only Somewhat Right That Tesla’s Solar & Storage Can Scale To Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Grid

October 14th, 2017 by Michael Barnard

Full interesting article (he left some rather important advantages of Puerto Rico out, but I added them in a comment 8)):

I am willing to bet if PR could somehow swing an entirely new power grid from renewable energy that Tesla would focus on batteries and limited rooftop solar. I could see Tesla using the funding to quickly bring a second battery factory online and then accelerate their EV program once the grid was done.
At to power generation PR would get a better return with wind power the trade winds are right there perfect source of power.

agelbert  Dan
You are correct in your assessment of what can be done in Puerto Rico.

I understand the situation down there rather well, so let me add something to Michael Barnard's article:

There are other advantages of the latitude (i.e. tropics) where Puerto Rico is located besides day length and lack of winter that I wish Michael had mentioned.

Humans need clean air, clean water, food and shelter to have a viable society. I will list ways that Puerto Rico can provide these basic needs affordably AND Renewably.

The main disadvantage of an island economy is the cost of transporting needed supplies from outside the island. And after said supplies get to the few ports, another cost of transporting from the ports to the homes and businesses is added.

Also, centralized water and electrical power systems further add to the cost of getting potable water and power to the homes and businesses.

Yes, the island is only is only 35 miles by 100 miles. But, it is mountainous. So the claim that a network of water pipes and electrical power lines within the island provides the most efficient way to provide those services is simply not true.

The goal must be to have as much distributed infrastructure as possible in order to reduce any and all costs of moving absolutely anything from point A to point B.

WHY? Because you want to have the smallest islandwide energy demand footprint.

WHY? Because the smaller the footprint, the cheaper it is to power with Renewable Energy. And there is less backup power that you need to store as well.

The procedure to set up this efficient Renewable Energy based system should go something like this:

1) The relative humidity is never below about 60%. That means that a solar power water generator in every home can cost effectively replace the entire water distribution pipe and pump system, which is costly to maintain. The island's water system would then be dedicated to the matter of collecting the sewage and possibly using it to manufacture fertilizer, instead of having a network of costly septic treatment plants using chemicals.

Water generators can, due to the relative humidity there, easily provide all the potable water that is, unlike the present system, not questionable for drinking. All the massive cost of energy now routinely paid by the average Puerto Rican to buy bottled water, plus the waste from bottle plastic, would not exist. Any tank the size of an 80 gallon water heater could hold the water cleanly. Of course people might want to have a large cistern for more water, but the average family would certainly not need one. No hurricane or earthquake would ever interrupt access to clean water anyone who's home was not utterly destroyed. Clean water from solar powered water generators is old technology. This is a must for an island subject to calamities like hurricanes and earthquaqes.

2) With the average family never suffering clean water shortages, the population becomes extremely resilient after a calamity. Disease vectors are stopped in their tracks because the people can bathe with, cook with and drink clean water 24/7. The next need is electrical energy. Since the island is relatively small, the promotion of 100% EV vehicles would mean billions (with a B) of dollars not spent on annually on fossil fuels. So, the best approach here is to solarize all the buildings.

Here, I wish to point something out that everybody seems to have missed. Puerto Rico is at around 18 degrees north latitude. Any solar installer will immediately realize that, for a large portion of the year, solar panels can be nearly flat against a flat roof, and still get nearly 100% efficiency. Beyond the fact that insolation values down there are superior to anywhere in the continental U.S., a flat solar panel, properly secured, will withstand category 5 hurricane winds, unlike a panel in Vermont that sits at about 40 degrees. There are periods of the year in Puerto Rico that the sun is directly above! That's right, you stand and your shadow is directly beneath you at noon. Most of the roofs in Puerto Rico are flat concrete so solarizing them and strongly securing the panels to them is easily done. After the island is solarized, even if 20% are damaged from a hurricane, most homes will have enough power to help their neighbors. This is what a resilient economy is like.

3) The centralized electrical grid should still exist for large cities like San Juan and Ponce, but the high voltage transmisssion lines and the towers vulnerable to hurricanes would no longer be needed over most of the island. That is one less part of the infrastructure to maintain.

4) Unlike the mainland USA, where the grid to EV network should be used as backup and smoothing and storage eventually, I think Puerto Rico should work to subsidize an EV for gasoline polluting clunkers program where a person's EV is charged mostly from their home. Remember, NO ROUND  TRIP to work in Puerto Rico exceeds the range of a Leaf, so the EV can become, for all practical purposes, a zero fuel cost vehicle for Puerto Ricans.

5) The powerwall systems will have their place too. The government should also subsidize them simply to provide resilience and grid smoothing on a 24/7 basis, plus a massive program to train the average Puerto Rican homeowner on how to best care for the system.

6) There is another HUGE advantage that Puerto Rico has that I wish to mention. Puerto Rico has the trade winds. They blow 5 to 15 mph 24/7 continuously (ALL YEAR).

NASA put an experimental wind turbine up on Culebra Island way back in the 1970's. It worked fine. It never stopped generating electricity. Do you know why it was dismantled?

I'm glad you asked. NASA wanted to give it to the power authority of Puerto Rico FREE on the condition that they maintain it. The power authority refused because their "business model" relied on fossil fuels. I'll give you a link to that story if you wish. The stranglehold of the fossil fuel interests in Puerto Rico has fostered tremendous costs, inefficency and pollution on that benighted island. It's time to stop that criminal stupidity by kicking fossil fuels off the island permanently.

7) The island, once it is running on over 50% Renewable Energy, can concentrate on using the advantage of not having winter to grow organic vegetables all year round. The greenhouses can be made to withstand hurricanes. Producing more of its own food will reduce the shipping costs for food coming to the island, which will, in turn, help the citizens prosper sustainably.

Puerto Rico needs fossil fuel powered infrastructure and vehicles like a hole in the head.

Puerto Rico has the geographic position and Renewable Energy resources that can make it the envy of the world. Even the ocean currents are a potential massive source of energy at the level of Japan and Scotland.

But with the Trump misadminstration acting so destructively, I do not see much hope for common sense to prevail in Puerto Rico.
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 05, 2018, 08:21:37 pm
Renewable Energy Pays But You Won't Save a Penny or the Earth Because Of Money In Politics

In Germany the electric companies are paying people to take their energy but that can't happen here... because (

Thom Hartmann  Jan. 3, 2018 2:30 pm

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 10, 2018, 04:51:14 pm
Xcel Attracts ‘Unprecedented’ Low Prices for Solar and Wind Paired With Storage

Bid attracts median PV-plus-battery price of $36 per megawatt-hour. Median wind-plus-storage bids came in even lower, at $21 per megawatt-hour.



The rate is 20 percent lower than the cheapest PV-plus-battery power-purchase agreement seen to date, which came in a NextEra Energy Resources contract for Tucson Electric Power signed in May last year, at $45 per megawatt-hour.

The NextEra deal, which included 4 hours of lithium-ion battery-based storage, saw flow battery maker ViZn Energy Systems promising to deliver solar-plus-storage at a cost of $40 per megawatt-hour, still 9 percent above the median rate seen in the Xcel bid.

GTM Research Advisor Shayle Kann said on Twitter that although the Xcel pricing came with “lots of caveats,” it is “incredible nonetheless.”

Vibrant Clean Energy CEO Dr. Christopher Clack, who last year tangled with Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson over pathways to a 100 percent renewable energy system, tweeted: “What fabulous numbers!”   (

The bids for wind-plus-storage were even lower, with a median price of $21 per megawatt-hour. The Xcel figures are also well below the unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for wind and solar published by Lazard last November.

The financial advisory firm estimated the current LCOE for utility-scale solar-plus-batteries to be $82 per megawatt-hour. Lazard did not calculate an LCOE for wind-plus-storage.

Lazard's estimates for wind LCOE alone were higher than Xcel’s wind-plus-storage median bid rate, with a range of $30 to $60 per megawatt-hour.

GTM Research’s director of energy storage, Ravi Manghani, said it is clear that Xcel’s bidders were expecting significant solar, wind and battery cost reductions between now and when the projects are due to go online, in 2023.  (

Full article:
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on January 22, 2018, 02:14:18 pm

🍀Texas Cities, Businesses, and Schools Know the Economic Upside of Clean Energy 🌼

January 22, 2018

By Sarah Ryan

Sarah Ryan (  is Project Manager, Clean Energy, for the Environmental Defense Fund. Sarah supports the Texas clean energy team and national clean energy technology efforts. She works to demonstrate the case for clean energy solutions through hard data and sound economics. She also assists in the implementation and execution of projects that accelerate innovation and market adoption of clean energy.
Recently, the message on Texas clean energy has been getting clearer — the market is driving the clean energy economy forward. And some of those spreading the message are making it loud and clear.

Case in point, the city of Georgetown, a predominately Republican city  :o  ;D, shifted to 100 percent renewable energy in 2015. Jim Briggs, the city’s General Manager-Utilities, clarified, “We didn’t do this to save the world — we did this to get a competitive rate and reduce the risk for our consumers.” ( ( Additionally, Briggs notes that switching to renewables will hedge against future fuel and regulatory risks.

Even if reducing risk was the primary reason for Georgetown going 100 percent renewable, the move will also slash air pollution and contribute to a healthier Texas 🏵. This shift not only has brought about a significant price decline in electricity, but has also brought millions of dollars of new investment to the city — proving to be a great economic development tool.

And Georgetown isn’t the only example. More and more Texas voices — ranging from multimillion dollar corporations to universities and school districts — are speaking up about their investments in clean energy ( And the motivating reason is the same: economics.

Texas Businesses

Central Texas’ leading grocery chain, H-E-B, has always prioritized being a good steward to the community. And H-E-B is now is the largest private owner of solar power systems in the region. George Presses, vice president of fuel and energy at H-E-B, states, “Part of H-E-B’s responsibility […] is to improve our use of natural resources, which we hope will also lower energy costs.”

The Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a multinational personal care company also headquarted in Texas, is focused on becoming more energy efficient and has an ambitious 2022 greenhouse gas reduction goal of 20 percent. As the first major step towards reaching this goal, the company will purchase 245 MW of electricity from wind facilities in Texas and Oklahoma. The renewable energy will allow for a 25 percent reduction in emissions as soon as this year, surpassing the goal four years ahead of schedule. This huge reduction of 550,000 tons of carbon annually is the equivalent of removing 116,178 passenger vehicles from the road.

"These two renewable energy projects … put Kimberly-Clark on track to deliver significant multimillion dollar cost savings from energy and climate projects by 2022," Lisa Morden, Global Head of Sustainability at Kimberly-Clark, said. "It's a powerful demonstration of sustainability initiatives having both great environmental and business benefits."

Texas Power Players

Texas’ largest power-generator, Luminant, is also taking advantage of clean energy’s promising economics. In 2016 the company added 116 MW of solar power to its energy mix, and just last year purchased a solar development project, through its parent company Vistra, in West Texas with the capacity of 180 MW. Luminant, which has traditionally produced most of its energy using coal, now sees solar as a wise option. Chief executive Mac McFarland explains, “Solar energy was once previously viewed as being an expensive alternative to fossil fuels. Those days are ancient history.”  (

This shift toward renewable fuel sources was accentuated by the announcement that Luminant will be closing three of its coal plants, comprising over half of the generator’s total coal capacity. The decision was made based on challenging plant and market economics, as my colleague John Hall elaborates upon in his recent blog post.

Texas Education

Private entities and cities are not the only ones taking a seat at the clean energy table — increasingly, universities and school districts are realizing the importance of renewables.

Rice University in Houston has worked with power company MP2 Energy to fully integrate several energy management products that have helped curb energy use and costs. The university also has a first-of-its-kind off-site community solar power project, integrating 3 MW of solar into Rice University’s electricity portfolio (or enough to power approximately 600 homes during peak demand). MP2 Energy’s CEO, Jeff Starcher, states, “This deal demonstrates that solar is truly becoming competitive in the most competitive electricity market in the U.S.”

In 2015, Austin-based Huston-Tillotson University became the first private historically black college or university in the nation to power its university buildings using solar energy — 240kW of solar to be exact, which will provide as much as 10 percent of the power used by the school. The resulting clean electricity will cut carbon pollution by more than 260 tons annually, enough to take 32 cars off the road. It may seem small, but it’s a big start: The university has also signed a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2048, increase renewable energy use, and expand energy and water efficiency programs. In addition to reaping the potential savings from reduced energy use and electric bills, Huston-Tillotson’s President and CEO, Colette Pierce Burnette, hopes investing in low-carbon clean energy will help “develop students into leaders prepared for a global future.”

And as for younger students, Austin Independent School District (ISD) made a commitment to purchase 30 percent of its electricity from renewables. Since then, the school district has been one of the largest subscribers to the Austin Energy GreenChoice program — Austin ISD currently gets 13 percent of its electricity from renewable energy and ranks second nationally among K-12 school purchases.

Solar and wind power are more common and affordable than ever, and Texas cities, businesses, and schools are spreading the message. With economics on our side, Texas can build a brighter, more affordable energy future. ( (

Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on June 27, 2018, 07:47:38 pm
A Trump-supporting 🦀 Texas city runs on 100% renewable energy 🍃


Published on Jun 23, 2018

In Texas — the heart of Trump country — the city of Georgetown runs on 100% renewable energy.

Republican Mayor Dale Ross told Axios that the decision was “a no-brainer economically.” ( (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on July 09, 2018, 04:33:59 pm

In Germany, when demand for electricity is low, and weather conditions are right, consumers benefit.

Over the Christmas period in 2017, for example, when demand from major energy consumers was low and unseasonably sunny conditions fueled the country’s wind and solar power plants, the price of power actually dipped below zero  ( , The New York Times reported. Periods of negative pricing can lead to lower electricity bills over the course of a year.

The future of energy production:

֍ Germany has invested more than $200 billion USD in renewable energy sources over the past few decades. So when the weather is windy or sunny, German plants end up with excess electricity.

֍ Traditional power grids, typically powered by fossil fuels like coal, are designed to create enough energy to meet demand. Renewable energy sources produce power based on atmospheric conditions.

֍ The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2040, renewable sources will drive 40 percent of global power generation.  (
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on July 09, 2018, 07:48:33 pm
Sweden Will Reach Its 2030 Renewable Energy Target This Year (

JULY 5, 2018

By Joe McCarthy

Renewable energy can now viably replace fossil fuels. ( 

Why Global Citizens Should Care

Sweden is showing that renewable energy can viably replace fossil fuels, a transition that is necessary to protect the planet from the worst consequences of climate change. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Sweden is on pace to reach its 2030 target for renewable energy more than a decade ahead of schedule, according to Bloomberg — and wind energy 💨 is the driving factor.

For the past several years, windmill installations have soared throughout the country because of government subsidies, Business Day reports.

Sweden will have 3,681 windmills operating throughout the country by the end of 2018, and enough windmill capacity by 2020 for 12 gigawatts of energy, according to the Swedish Wind Energy Association.

In 2011, the country was only producing around 3 gigawatts of energy, Bloomberg notes.

The US, by comparison, has more than 52,000 windmills, but a population that’s more than 30 times greater than Sweden’s.

The other main source of renewable energy in Sweden is hydropower, which accounts for around half of its electricity production. Nuclear energy accounts for the bulk of the country’s remaining electricity supply, which, while not renewable, doesn’t release greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More:
Fighting Climate Change Could Save the World $30 Trillion, Report Finds (

If Sweden reaches its renewable energy target ahead of schedule, it may set more ambitious targets and pursue a wholly renewable electricity grid by 2030.

Other countries are reaching their renewable energy targets early, fulfilling the Paris climate agreement’s vision of countries being able to update their goals every few years.

China, for instance, reached its 2020 emissions target 600 days ahead of schedule earlier this year and is investing three times as much as the US on renewable sources of energy.

Nordic countries, meanwhile, are transcending fossil fuels altogether. Both Iceland and Denmark can produce all of their electricity through renewables, according to the Independent.

Read More: Germany Produced Enough Renewable Energy in 6 Months for the Rest of 2018 (

Elsewhere, Costa Rica gets nearly all of its electricity from hydropower, and Portugal generated 103% of its electricity from renewables in March. (

These achievements show that renewable energy can viably replace fossil fuels 🦖. (

If investments continue to increase in clean energy alternatives, then the Paris climate agreement’s goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels may be within reach.

TOPICS Environment Finance & innovation Current events Wind power Renewable energy Hydropower Paris climate agreement Wind Nuclear energy Wind energy
Title: Re: A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today:
Post by: AGelbert on July 12, 2018, 11:52:36 am
Support CleanTechnica’s work via donations on Patreon or PayPal!

Or just go buy a cool t-shirt, cup, baby outfit, bag, or hoodie. (!/)

5 Ways China’s Now A Global Climate Leader

July 11th, 2018 by Guest Contributor

Originally published on Climate Reality Project.

The world’s biggest emitter decided to take some serious climate action – and in the process renewed our hope that we will beat the climate crisis.


Ten years ago, the idea that China – the planet’s single biggest carbon polluter – would be a global leader on climate in 2018 would have sounded, well, a stretch.

But with terrifying levels of air pollution threatening to spark social unrests in earlier years and the US stepping back from the global stage under President Trump, that’s exactly what’s happened.

The story begins with a massive public health crisis, but how China responded – and five steps in particular – lays out a practical path to a low-carbon future for countries around the world.

Airpocalypse Now ☠️

How did the world’s biggest polluter become the world’s leader on climate?

It all goes back to the “Airpocalypse.”

Not too long ago, many in some of the Chinese cities were going about their business engulfed in a cloud of pollution. The gray haze could be so dense, that buildings and trees would quite literally disappear in front of your eyes. And stepping outside, even for just a minute, required wearing a facial mask to avoid directly breathing the toxic air.

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The source of much of that pollution wasn’t hard to find either: coal-fired power plants and vehicles on the road. Since the early 2000s, China’s economy had been growing rapidly, powered largely by coal.

The unchecked use of coal on such a huge scale didn’t take long to generate real problems. In 2005, China surpassed the United States to become the world’s biggest CO2 emitter (a title that the country has held since the 20th century). And in 2008, 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the entire world were in China, according to the World Bank.

Enough Is Enough

In 2013, the Chinese government finally decided that enough was enough, introducing a national action plan to curb air pollution, including a set of coal consumption limits for key regions including Beijing and the Pearl River Delta.

In 2016, China released its national plan for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and committed to lowering the country’s carbon intensity of GDP by 60–65 percent (below 2005 levels) by 2030 in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to Paris Agreement. As the world’s second-largest economy – and home to nearly 1.4 billion people – that’s a big deal to the world.

Growing Pains and Growing Progress

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Emissions are still rising as the country continues to grow. And although China has halt many coal projects over the past years, environmentalists have called it out for investing coal energy in other countries such as Turkey and Pakistan to satisfy its immense need for energy.

On the other hand, China has made real progress. Between 2013 and 2017, Chinese cities cut the amount of fine pollution particulates(PM2.5) in the air by an average of 32 percent. And the capital Beijing has seen a lot more sunny days as PM 2.5 concentration dropped 54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, in comparison to the same period of 2016.

On a global level, there’s also good news. China has been instrumental in keeping the Paris Agreement process going, continuing to curb emissions and expand renewables even as the US (another huge polluter) has dramatically backed down at the federal level.

So how’s China done it? There’ve been many steps, but five have been especially key.

1. Bye-Bye, Coal

China has been slowly (but surely) moving away from coal energy. Last year, the government announced plans to cancel 103 new plants and closed the very last coal plant located in the capital, Beijing.

From 2014 to 2015, coal consumption reduced after a decade of steady increase.

2. Putting a Price on Carbon

One of China’s most impressive moves was to launch the world’s largest national carbon trading market in 2017. The goal is to encourage companies to become greener by allowing them sell or buy excessive carbon emissions. The first phase of the project only covers the power generation sector, but the initiative is expected to expand across many other areas of the economy.

3. Clean Bus Rides

China is showing the world how to move many people around quickly and cleanly.   Around 17 percent of the country’s municipal buses are electric, and the city Shenzhen holds the record for the globe’s largest electric bus fleet, with all of its 16,359 buses had gone electric last year. The achievement was only possible due to government subsidies. But in the long run, operation and maintenance costs of electric buses are significantly lower than those fueled by diesel.

4. Making the Investment in Renewables

Moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy is not just an effective way to clean up the planet. It’s also a good investment.

In 2017, China invested a staggering US$ 126.6 billion in renewable energy – 45 percent of the total worldwide investment. The country has been using a whole lot of green technology internally  – nearly doubled its solar generation from 2016 to 2017. But it also has its eyes on a much larger international market.

5. New Forests

China is so keen on green that it’s deploying soldiers to plant trees across the country. The goal is to replant many of the forests that were cut down for industrialization and farmland, all with an eye to removing carbon from the atmosphere on a massive scale and doing it naturally.

Sowing seeds is actually one of the country’s Paris Agreement goals – China wants to increase forest stock volume by 4.5 billion cubic meters by 2030, from its 2005 level. China is also planting a different kind of forest on its buildings to help sequester carbon.

The Takeaway

The catalyst was the sight of millions choking on industrial and power sector pollution, but the result has been one of the most influential for emissions reduction and energy transformation the world’s ever seen.

Five steps in the process have been critical:

Cutting coal

Putting a price on carbon

Cleaning up public transit

Investing in renewables

Conserve and rebuild the forest

The good news is that it doesn’t take a public health crisis for countries to embrace these and other practical solutions. The world’s second-largest economy has already shown they work, and now it’s time for other nations to follow its lead.

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