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Author Topic: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth  (Read 9758 times)

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AGelbert

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How Scotland is powering the renewables revolution  ;D

Michael Gray   

Scotland remains on track to produce the equivalent of 100% of its electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, according to a recent report by WWF Scotland.



http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/how-scotland-is-powering-the-renewables-revolution/
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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2014, 01:08:53 pm »
Chile's New Energy Agenda Lays the Foundation for Sustainable Growth


 Amanda Maxwell, NRDC 
 May 29, 2014

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet released a new Energy Agenda on May 15th, which her administration will use as the foundation for a national energy policy. The much-anticipated document outlines seven pillars, or key areas, where new and specific efforts are needed if the country is to grow sustainably and stably over the coming decades. Overall, the agenda is right on target regarding several broad issues –and a few specific ones as well— and if Bachelet and Energy Minister Máximo Pacheco are able to execute these plans, Chile’s renewable* energy and energy efficiency sectors should be able to compete with conventional energy –dirty fossil fuels and large hydroon a more even playing ground than before. 
 


A wide variety of people have been calling for more strategic and coherent government direction of the energy sector for years, and with good reason: existing and proposed plants have caused significant social and environmental damage; many new conventional projects are stalled in legal appeals; the booming growth of renewable energy has been stifled by a variety of regulatory obstacles; and energy efficiency—the energy sector’s “low-hanging fruit”—has been languishing in the background. As a result, experts warn of an impending energy crisis in the next few years, when the country will not have enough generation to power continued growth in the mining sector in particular and the economy at large. The Energy Agenda is this administration’s answer to those calls.


There are four high-level themes in the Energy Agenda which are particularly encouraging:


1.The government will take a more active role in the energy sector.
This is, in fact, the first pillar of the agenda (“A New Role of the State”), but is also present throughout the document. The historic lack of government engagement in planning and overseeing the energy sector has led to an industry in which most of the power and influence is highly concentrated in three powerful companies, resulting in the problems listed above. The agenda recognizes that the government’s role in areas such as zoning and strategic planning is fundamental if things are to improve.

2.Stakeholder participation will be incorporated into key processes.
This is major. Participatory processes are critical to making decisions that are trusted, transparent and supported by the public – and for which the decision-maker (i.e. the government) can be held accountable. The Energy Agenda describes the role of participation in several of its objectives, ranging from specific processes such as setting the new natural gas tariff in the distribution market, to more broadly creating the new “Participation and Dialogue” Section within the Ministry of Energy, to dedicating the entire seventh pillar to “Citizen Participation and Territorial Planning.”

3.Energy efficiency gets the attention it deserves. Energy efficiency was largely ignored during the past four years, although it is the fastest and most economical way to help meet future energy demand. The fifth pillar of the Energy Agenda is dedicated to energy efficiency and management, and it gets a number of things right. It is also largely in line with NRDC’s report, “From Good to Great: The Next Steps in Chilean Energy Efficiency.” First and foremost, the government will prioritize passing an Energy Efficiency Law, a “legal framework to convert [energy efficiency] into a long term State policy.” This would ensure that energy efficiency efforts are no longer at the whim of any given administration, but that they would instead be a permanent institutional priority. The document reasserts the goal of reducing national energy consumption by 20 percent by 2025 compared to BAU projections, and specifies objectives for various sectors. I’ll go into detail on this in another blog, but in the meantime here is a review from the good folks at Opower.

4.Addressing concrete obstacles to renewables. The renewable energy sector is poised to penetrate the Chilean energy market in a huge way, with over 17 GW of projects in the pipeline. Yet some key obstacles stand in the way. For example, the current system used for energy auctions heavily favors conventional projects. Financing is also more difficult for renewables –particularly geothermal – and speculation prevents real projects from going forward.  The Energy Agenda addresses them specifically. It also focuses on improving conditions for geothermal power companies, which face unique regulatory and financial barriers in Chile despite the country’s vast geothermal resources. The document also reaffirms the national commitment to meet Chile’s renewable portfolio standard of producing 20 percent of its energy with renewables by 2025. The Chilean Renewable Energy Association (ACERA) has written an excellent summary here about how the Energy Agenda’s items will benefit renewables.

There are two more specific items in the Energy Agenda that I want to call attention to as well.

First, the document calls for the creation of a government entity devoted to the collection and analysis of energy data, similar to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Although it was mentioned just briefly in the Energy Agenda, I cannot underscore the importance of this action enough. Presently, data about the energy sector in Chile is either difficult to find, outdated or different depending on which government agency database you are using. This makes it nearly impossible for academics, private companies, the media, civil society and the government itself to know the real, accurate status of energy generation, consumption, and other indicators – information necessary to make decisions about the future of the sector.

Second, the Energy Agenda’s first two annexes list the legislative bills and regulations that the administration will pursue, as well as when the government aims to pass or adopt each one. This provides civil society and the private sector with a clear schedule of the government’s agenda, for which it can be held accountable.

Of course, the devil is in the details; these objectives and ideas will only be successful if the government can follow through and make them a reality. But if President Bachelet and Minister Pacheco are able to do so, this Energy Agenda would put Chile on the path to be an innovative, sustainable energy leader in the region and around the globe.


*The term “non-conventional renewable energy” is used in Chile to exclude large hydro (over 20 MW) from the category. For the sake of space in this blog, I use “renewable energy” though with the same intention of excluding large hydro, which I include in the “conventional energy” category.


http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/05/chiles-new-energy-agenda-lays-the-foundation-for-sustainable-growth
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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2014, 03:05:52 pm »
Germany's Wind Energy Nexus: A Tour Around Hamburg

 James Montgomery, Contributing Editor 
 June 02, 2014


Microalgae biogas system sitting in the sun at E.ON's Reitbrook facility, affixed to a solar tracker.
                             

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/06/germanys-wind-energy-nexus-a-tour-around-hamburg#comment-132125

Demand Destruction of Fossil Fuels continues accelerating due sustainable, biosphere defending, human ingenuity in the Service of Future Generations, not calloused, conscience free greed.

Good!

It's time for Americans in the Service of Future Generations to GET WITH THE PROGRAM!
We did it with the massive, industrial scale building of Liberty Ships in WWII. We can do it again with the massive, industrial scale building of Liberty Renewable Energy Machines.


Country of Origin: United States of America

Manufacturers: Alabama Dry Dock Co, Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc, California Shipbuilding Corp, Delta Shipbuilding Co, J A Jones Construction Co (Brunswick), J A Jones Construction Co (Panama City), Kaiser Co, Marinship Corp, New England Shipbuilding Corp, North Carolina Shipbuilding Co, Oregon Shipbuilding Corp, Permanente Metals Co, St Johns River Shipbuilding Co, Southeastern Shipbuilding Corp, Todd Houston Shipbuilding Corp, Walsh-Kaiser Co.

Major Variants: General cargo, tanker, collier, (modifications also boxed aircraft transport, tank transport,
hospital ship, troopship).

Role: Cargo transport, troop transport, hospital ship, repair ship.
Operated by: United States of America, Great Britain, (small quantity also Norway, Belgium, Soviet Union, France, Greece, Netherlands and other nations).

First Laid Down: 30th April 1941
Last Completed: 30th October 1945

Units: 2,711 ships laid down, 2,710 entered service.

Despite being initially labelled an 'ugly duckling' by the newspapers, and intended to be expendable if necessary, the ships eventually caught the imagination of the public. They proved to be easy to build, reliable and versatile, exceeding even the most optimistic expectations for their overall contribution to the war effort.

It was a project on a massive scale, undertaken with great speed and efficiency. The first Liberty ship (the Patrick Henry) was launched on 27 September 1941 (and completed on 30 December 1941), which was an incredible feat considering that just seven months previously neither shipyard nor workforce existed to build her. 


Average Liberty Ship deadweight = 12,500 metric tons. (33,875,000 metric tons of ships built!).


Convert short tons to metric tons by multiplying the number of short tons by 0.907184

On the GE 1.5-megawatt model the total weight is 164 tons. The corresponding weights for the Vestas V90 are 75, 40, and 152, total 267 tons, and for the Gamesa G87 72, 42, and 220, total 334 tons.

164 x 0.907184 =  148.8 metric tons 

33,875,000 divided by 148.8 =  227,655  wind turbines X 1.5 MW =  341,482 MW = .3415 TW x 20% capacity factor = 68.3 x 24 hours X 365 days = 598.3 TWh/year.

2012 wind power production   United States 140.9 TWh  26.4 % of world total wind power.

1 TWhour per year = 1,000,000 MW / 8765.8 hours in a year) 114 megawatts per hour.

USA total annual electric consumption = 3,886,400,000 MWh = 3,886,400 = GWh = 3,886 TWh.


3886.4 / 598.3 =  20 to 40% of US electrical demand just from Wind Turbines in less than five years of Liberty Ship scale manufacturing wind turbine tonnage.



Liberty Ship scale manufacturing wind turbine tonnage can provide  25 to 40% of US electrical demand  in less than five years. Double that in ten years and add in Solar Panels, Geothermal, Tide and Undersea Current and we have MORE than 100% Renewable Energy!    



WE can use the excess to bioremediate the environmental damage done in the last 100 years.  WE can rid ourselves of Planet Polluting Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Poison Plants in a decade and win the Climate Victory for Future Generations! We can set an example for all the nations on the Earth of the Proper Path to a Viable and Vibrant Bounty filled, harmonious Biosphere.


Let's GET IT DONE! Our children and grandchildren are counting on us!




http://renewablerevolution.createaforum.com/general-discussion/historical-documentaries/msg1214/#msg1214

« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 02:15:23 am by AGelbert »
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Developing Countries Lead Global Surge in Renewable Energy Capacity
Yale Environment 360 | June 3, 2014 4:34 pm | Comments

The number of developing nations with policies supporting renewable energy has surged more than six-fold in just eight years, from 15 developing countries in 2005 to 95 early this year, according to a report from REN21, an international nonprofit renewable energy policy network.



Countries with renewable energy policies or targets in place in early 2014 (top), versus 2005 (bottom). Graphic courtesy of REN21, Renewables 2014 Global Status Report via Yale Environment 360 .

Those 95 developing nations today make up the vast majority of the 144 countries with renewable energy support policies and targets in place. The report credits such policies with driving global renewable energy capacity to a new record level last year—1,560 gigawatts, up 8.3 percent from 2012. More than one-fifth—22 percent—of the world’s power production now comes from renewable sources.

Overall, renewables accounted for more than 56 percent of net additions to global power capacity in 2013,  ;D the report says. Although financial and policy support declined in the U.S. and some European countries, China, the U.S., Brazil, Canada and Germany remained the top countries for total installed renewable power capacity. China’s new renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity for the first time, the analysis found.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/06/03/developing-countries-renewable-energy-capacity/
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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #49 on: June 05, 2014, 01:30:28 am »
A truly amazing, concise (and filled with hard data easy to understand  ;D) about how we CAN transition to 100% Renewable Energy and NOT have a civilizational collapse along the way!

Presented as a series of slides. Enjoy! 
 


Profitable Solutions to Climate, Oil, and Proliferationby Amory B. Lovins


http://environment.harvard.edu/video/future_of_energy/lovins/lovins__profitable_solutions_to_climate_oil_and_proliferation.pdf
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Inside the Book Resource Revolution



Jun 3, 2014

Authors Amory B. Lovins Chief Scientist


Jules Kortenhorst CEO

From patterns of scarcity to patterns of abundance    ;D

During the first Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, economic growth and societal progress faced a problem of relative scarcity—not of resources, which were then considered inexhaustibly abundant, but of people. Making people (and the labor processes by which they manufactured goods and provided services) radically more productive, the Industrial Revolution unlocked orders-of-magnitude gains in economic growth.

Today, patterns of scarcity have shifted. People are now abundant, but many of the resources that metaphorically and literally fuel our economy, and the nature that absorbs their wastes and impacts, are becoming scarce. Continued progress must thus liberate consumption and scarcity from economic growth. We must define the next Industrial Revolution, one that makes business and the environment mutually supportive, rather than one buoyed at the expense of the other.

Natural Capitalism,
published in 1999, charted just such a pathway, based on four principles: 1) radically increase the productivity of natural resources, 2) shift to biologically inspired production models and materials with closed loops, no waste, and no toxicity, 3) move to a “service-and-flow” business model that rewards the first two shifts, and 4) reinvest in natural capital. Along the way, companies will necessarily adopt new technologies, new manufacturing processes, and new management practices—all of which will drive innovation faster.

Now the new book Resource Revolution, by Stefan Heck and Matt Rogers, similarly argues that companies have enormous opportunity to improve resource productivity dramatically, sparking the next industrial revolution. Companies like Tesla Motors, Zipcar, Opower, SolarCity, and Nest Labs, write Heck and Rogers, have capitalized on the resource revolution through five approaches: substitution, optimization, virtualization, circularity, and waste elimination.

Substitution

As Heck and Rogers explain, many new materials have begun to reshape industrial and consumer products. Companies must consider every resource they use and substitute higher-performing and less expensive, less risky, or less scarce materials. One example is carbon fiber. As we showed in Reinventing Fire, automotive manufacturing investment can be cut by 80 percent with carbon fiber-based autos vs. steel-based ones, while providing lighter, more efficient, better performing, cleaner, and as safe or safer cars.

Optimization

The second approach to resource revolution is optimizing a resource’s use, akin to Natural Capitalism’s charge to radically increase the productivity of natural resources. Through fundamental changes in technology, design, and processes, farsighted companies are developing ways to make natural resources—energy, minerals, water, forests—stretch five, ten, even 100 times further than they do today. For example, UPS rerouted its trucks to avoid left turns, thus reducing fuel consumption, improving safety and speed, and saving the company money. Similarly, OPower has used behavioral science and cloud-based software to motivate consumers to cut their energy consumption by two to four percent annually. RMI’s integrative design further expands the resource-productivity potential, often at lower cost and hence with expanding returns.

Virtualization

Virtualization encompasses moving processes out of the physical world, or not doing things actively because they’ve been automated. In some regards this is similar to Natural Capitalism’s service and flow model, in which businesses shift from selling physical goods to delivering a flow of virtual service. Why sell light bulbs when customers really want illumination? (Thomas Edison figured this out, but was overruled in 1892, and apart from street lighting, utilities have been selling kilowatt-hours ever since.)

Heck and Rogers highlight Nest Labs as one of the companies that has practiced virtualization with great success. The company took a traditional thermostat and turned it into a digital platform that provides multiple dynamic energy and security services. Another example of virtualization is telecommuting. The need to physically commute by car, bus, or train is replaced by the ability to virtually commute via telephone, email, video chat, and other forms of connectivity. Meanwhile, commuting’s resource consumption is replaced by more productive time for employees.

Circularity


Finding value in products after their initial use is what happens in closed-loop, cradle-to-grave product management. Producers of goods need to be responsible for their fabrication, maintenance, and ultimate complete reuse and recycling, with zero waste. In closed-loop production systems, modeled on nature’s designs, every output either is returned harmlessly to the ecosystem as a nutrient, like compost, or becomes an input for manufacturing another product.

Heck and Rogers use the example of cars to show how circularity can produce greater gains. Systems or components can be upgraded, refurbished, reused, or materials reclaimed and recycled, leading to multiple uses, longer life, and much higher productivity. Tesla created a recycling program for its battery packs, recapturing the cobalt and separating out the lithium, allowing for much greater reuse. Another example is DuPont, which actually transforms its industrial scrap and post-consumer waste into higher-value products.

Waste Elimination


In this country the amount of material we dig up and move around and process and use and throw away amounts to about twenty times one’s body weight per person per day. Worldwide this amounts to close to a half trillion tons per year—and yet only 1 percent of it is going into durable products; the other 99 percent is waste. The second principle in Natural Capitalism, a shift to biologically inspired designs, seeks not merely to reduce waste but to design out the very concept of waste. So too write Heck and Rogers in Resource Revolution. With 3-D printers, they note, many manufacturing processes can drastically cut waste because material will only be used exactly where it’s needed, and “subtractive” manufacturing will become a thing of the past. Another example is Interface, a global manufacturer of carpets and interior furnishings. Interface built the least oil-dependent cost structure in the industry while cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 82 percent in 11 years. A quarter of its profit comes from systematically eliminating waste.

The Next Industrial Revolution

The next industrial revolution, perhaps, will be not about shifting patterns of scarcity—from people to resources—but about shifting to a new pattern of abundance and resourcefulness. Natural Capitalism offered one such pathway, creating abundance by design. Now, Resource Revolution offers a resounding and renewed call for such a shift, highlighting the necessary steps and the innovative companies leading the way.

Book cover courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2014_06_03_inside_the_book_resource_revolution
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Eye-Opening Map of Front Groups Attacking Renewable Energy   :o  >:( 


06/06/2014 03:59 PM     

SustainableBusiness.com News

President Obama took a pretty big risk in directing the EPA to announce power plant emissions rules before the 2014 election.

Democratic candidates in coal states are reeling, but it goes much farther than that as the fossil fuel industry ramps up campaign contributions to help Republicans win the Senate majority.

They want Keystone and natural gas exports approved, and they want to expand fracking. And the last thing they want are any regulations.

You can be sure, the Koch Bros are angry about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's quest to expose what these two men are doing to our country: among his many recent attacks, he called them out for being a main cause of climate change. And he said, they are "waging a war against anything that protects the environment."

Which is true, as we have laid out in multiple news stories. The Koch Bros back some 93 groups working across the country on local, state and national levels. They are not alone, of course. Coal, oil, gas and utilities are all pushing to keep the status quo.

This powerful infographic should make it crystal clear, if you have any doubts about the extent of their influence.



Map of Front Groups Attacking State Renewable Energy Policies 2013-2014

Koch Attack Web 


Read the report by the Energy and Policy Institute, which details what's happening in each of these states:

Website: www.energyandpolicy.org/renewable-energy-state-policy-attacks-report

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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #52 on: June 09, 2014, 02:23:12 pm »
Renewed Energy



Nature | Editorial

Reforms at the US Department of Energy are recharging research.


04 June 2014

When physicist Steven Chu took over as head of the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 2009, he vowed to reform its research culture. Many felt that the department had become much too bureaucratic — too rigid, too unresponsive to new opportunities, too divided into disciplines and too isolated from the needs of the marketplace.


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The following year, Chu launched five Energy Innovation Hubs intended to mimic the research style that he remembered from his time working at the AT&T Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Each hub would focus on a well-defined challenge in the area of renewable energy — a top priority for the then-new administration of US President Barack Obama. It would bring together all the necessary expertise, from basic and applied research to engineering and early product development.

Four years later, there is justified, if cautious, optimism about the outcome of Chu’s experiment. Viewed purely as research projects, most of the hubs seem to be doing well. In the next few months, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, headquartered at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, hopes to demonstrate a first-generation prototype of an ‘artificial leaf’ — a cheap, robust and highly efficient system able to make liquid fuels out of sunlight, air and water (see page 22). The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, headquartered at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago in Illinois, is likewise making good progress towards its goal: devices that can store much more electricity in much less space than the current champions, lithium-ion batteries (see Nature 507, 26–28; 2014).

Only one of the five hubs has fallen by the wayside. The Energy Efficient Buildings hub, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was eventually judged to be too diffuse in its goals for DOE purposes, and too oriented towards trying to get people to use currently available technology. But it still exists. In April it took a new name — the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation — and relaunched itself as an independent research and demonstration centre.

There are also grounds for optimism about the hubs’ larger purpose of transforming the DOE research culture — although in this case, the progress is less clear-cut. In some ways the agency is as bureaucratic as ever. And talk of change within the department has provoked its share of resistance from individuals who feel that their programmes are threatened.


“There is considerable excitement in the Department of Energy — a sense of new opportunities, new ventures, new people.”

Nevertheless, there is considerable excitement in the DOE — a sense of new opportunities, new ventures, new people. The hubs are responsible for some of that feeling, as are innovations such as the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E), established in 2009 to fund speculative, high-risk, high-reward investigations, and a network of Energy Frontier Research Centers, launched the same year to promote cutting-edge basic research.

But at least as important is the sense that the people at the top understand and support reform. Chu’s initiatives have been continued by his successor, physicist Ernest Moniz — who last year told Congress that the hubs would be a good model for reforming the DOE’s network of 17 national laboratories. Last month, Moniz appointed a panel to review the national labs, with a report due early next year.

Obama’s administration has been supportive. In both his 2013 and 2014 State of the Union addresses, Obama called for a US$1-billion National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. An interagency programme modelled in part on the DOE’s energy hubs, this would comprise 15 or more centres looking to cut the energy, time and materials required to make things. The goal is to help US industries to compete with low-cost factories in emerging nations such as China, and to make it easier for start-up companies — including many renewable-energy firms — to bring new products to market. Congress has not yet acted on this proposal, but the administration has established several centres using existing funds from the DOE and other agencies.

Such efforts need to be supported and encouraged — especially by Congress, which holds the federal purse strings, and by the energy industry, which can tap vast amounts of cash for activities it perceives to be in its interest. And even here there is reason for optimism. Despite the ideological warfare that has riven Washington DC in recent years, both parties have generally endorsed the DOE’s reform efforts. And industry leaders seem ready to work closely with researchers to bring innovative products to market. One example is the Clean Energy Trust, a Chicago-based consortium of energy companies that supports renewable-energy start-ups.

Congress and the Obama administration could greatly help this movement by reviving the idea of the Clean Energy Deployment Administration: a ‘green bank’ that would pool public and private money for large-scale investments in clean-energy infrastructure. The idea was proposed a few years ago, but abandoned amid budget wrangles. Now that the federal deficit is easing and the economy has begun to improve, it could find renewed support on both sides of the aisle. The future, for once, is starting to look brighter.

Nature 510, 7–8 (05 June 2014) doi:10.1038/510007b

http://www.nature.com/news/renewed-energy-1.15344
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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #53 on: June 09, 2014, 03:46:11 pm »

How Doubling Renewable Energy Worldwide Could Save $740 Billion per Year                

Brandon Baker | June 6, 2014 12:21 pm         

When combining all of the world’s countries, 18 percent of the world’s electricity consumption comes from renewable sources. A global agency estimates that amount could be doubled in a little more than 15 years while saving a combined $740 billion per year in the process.

The latest study, REmap 2030, from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that amping up renewables to constitute 36 percent of the international energy mix would more than offset the costs associated with fossil fuel pollution. It would also reduce the global demand for oil and gas by about 15 percent, and for coal by 26 percent.

Some of the graphics within REmap include annual investment needs and percentage breakdowns in doubling renewables’ share of the world’s TFEC—total final energy consumption—by 2030.

SLIDESHOW ► (at link  ;D)

To IRENA, the question isn’t if it can be done, but how investment dollars should be spent to ensure that renewable energy doubling happens.

“The central policy question is this: What energy sources do we want to invest in? Our data shows that renewable energy can help avert catastrophic climate change and save the world money, if all costs are considered,” Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of IRENA, said at the report’s unveiling in New York. “In answering this question, REmap 2030 makes a clear case for renewables. It shows the transition is affordable based on existing technologies, and that the benefits go well beyond the positive climate impact.

“Countries today face a clear choice for a sustainable energy future.”  ;D

http://ecowatch.com/2014/06/06/doubling-renewable-energy-740-billion/
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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #54 on: June 10, 2014, 07:20:24 pm »
East Africa Pushes to Adopt Solar Energy

 Renewable Energy World Editors 
 June 10, 2014  |  1 Comments 

LONDON -- Rwanda’s government has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Goldsol II energy consortium for the construction of a 10-MW solar power plant in Kayonza, Eastern Province.



The US$20 million project, which will be among the largest such projects in East Africa, is expected to be operational by 2016.

Comprising of TMM Renewables, Gesto Energy Africa and 3E Power Solar, the Goldsol II consortium will initially carry out a feasibility study which will then develop into a long term agreement to generate, manage and distribute power.

Commenting on the development, Valentine Rugwabiza, the Rwanda Development Board’s chief executive officer, said: “The current installed generation capacity is close to 120 MW. The 2017 energy target is 563 MW to allow for affordable access to power to cover most of the country, which is currently at 19.4 percent to increase to 70 percent by 2017.”

The solar power project was awarded to the consortium through a competitive tender project run by the Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA).

Rwanda has established a solar energy target of 20 MW by 2017.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/06/east-africa-pushes-to-adopt-solar-energy#comment-132362
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Google Aims To "Fundamentally Change the World of Power"


According to sources familiar with the company, Google has set its sights on transforming the delivery of electrons.

 Brian Womack and Mark Chediak, Bloomberg 
 June 11, 2014 

SAN FRANCISCO --  Google Inc. plans a deeper push into the $363.7 billion U.S. power-sales market by working on tools that help utilities deliver electricity to homes and businesses more efficiently, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The operator of the most popular Internet-search engine is in the early stages of building software and hardware tools to manage power lines and other infrastructure, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The technology is being developed by Google’s EnergyAccess team and led by Arun Majumdar, vice president of the company’s energy unit, the people said.

Google, a big consumer of electricity for the computer servers that power its services, is looking at ways to transform the century-old utility industry, which has been struggling to adapt to changing demands for power management and production. As solar, wind and other renewable energy sources come online, the power grids that transmit electricity will need to be more flexible and efficient.

“They recognize there is a huge wide-open space and that the utility companies are not stepping up to the plate,” Steven Chu, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, said of Google during an interview last month at an energy conference in Fremont, California. “They see a huge market opportunity.”

Chu said he isn’t familiar with Google’s plans and was expressing his views on what the company might do. Kelly Mason, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California-based Google, declined to comment on its energy project and who is handling the effort.

Power Projects

Others have pushed into energy-management services. ABB Ltd., Siemens AG and Alstom SA are among the companies offering tools that can help utilities integrate rooftop solar systems and quickly respond to changes in electricity demand such as on hot summer days when air-conditioning units tax the grid.

Google, which is also funding projects in health care, computerized eyewear and self-driving cars, has been stepping up investments in recent years to make energy more clean and efficient. Earlier this year, it spent $3.2 billion to acquire Nest Labs, a digital-thermostat company, and is an investor in Atlantic Grid Development LLC, a project designed to help deliver electricity in New Jersey.

Google has also put more than $1 billion into environmentally friendly energy power projects in the U.S. and around the world. That includes everything from wind farms in Oregon to solar efforts in Germany.

Such investments have given the company experience in the power industry, preparing it to develop new products that could help with managing the increasingly complex power market.

Electric Grid

Already, advances in areas including sustainable power and home energy management have begun to threaten the traditional utility business model.

Most electricity now moves from large, centralized generation stations to homes and businesses, powering heating units, laptops and blenders. While generally effective, that approach has raised concerns for potentially being inefficient, polluting and costly -- especially when compared to the decentralized movement of bits of information on the Internet.

Now, electricity has begun to flow in new ways on the grid, empowering consumers and prompting demand for new services to efficiently manage the distribution of electricity. Technologies are emerging that will allow for more granular control and movement of electricity, similar to how data is processed and moved over broadband networks.

Google’s Energy Access team is part of a larger group looking at infrastructure, Internet access andenergy that is led by Craig Barratt, who recently joined Chief Executive Officer Larry Page’s top team of leaders, one person familiar with the company said.

Energy Control


“Google is working on innovative solutions for access to clean, low-cost electricity,” according to a job posting on Google’s website. “Google is seeking to develop technologies and products to address global opportunities for electricity delivery via new and improved infrastructure.”

The company didn’t hold back in its assessment of the potential, saying it involved “solutions that aim to fundamentally change the world of power.”

Google also has some patents that target power efficiency. One patent published in 2012 cites an apparatus to manage the flow of electricity on the grid with an eye on how the power is being used by electric vehicles, batteries and household appliances.

“Appropriate control of power use over time can compensate for variations in power supply or demand elsewhere in an electrical grid,” the patent said. “Further, such control of energy use can improve the stability of the electrical grid.”   

Mass Production

There are at least two postings tied to the project referred to as “Energy Access/Bottom Up Grid” -- one for a hardware engineer in power electronics and the other for a mechanical/thermal engineer. The project is slated to get to “mass production,” according to one of the job listings.

Majumdar joined Google in December 2012. Before that, he worked with Chu at the Department ofEnergy, where he pushed for innovation and new products through the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy group, known as ARPA-E.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/06/google-aims-to-fundamentally-change-the-world-of-power
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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #57 on: June 15, 2014, 02:18:56 am »
Why the Barclays Downgrade of the Entire U.S. Electricity Sector Means an Upgrade for Consumers   ;D

Barclays recently downgraded the U.S. electricity sector. That’s right, the whole sector. It’s now listed as “underweight,” meaning that if you were to hold a full portfolio of bonds for the U.S. economy, you might want to be a bit light on U.S. electric utilities, as they might not keep up with the broader economic growth trends. Why? One answer is the disruptive threat of solar-plus-battery systems.  From the Barclays report:


Over the next few years… we believe that a confluence of declining cost trends in distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation and residential-scale power storage is likely to disrupt the status quo. Based on our analysis, the cost of solar + storage for residential consumers of electricity is already competitive with the price of utility grid power in Hawaii. Of the other major markets, California could follow in 2017, New York and Arizona in 2018, and many other states soon after.

In the 100+ year history of the electric utility industry, there has never before been a truly cost-competitive substitute available for grid power. We believe that solar + storage could reconfigure the organization and regulation of the electric power business over the coming decade.

If that language sounds familiar, it’s because Barclays’ logic is very similar to that of our recent report, The Economics of Grid Defection, in which we forecasted the declining costs of solar plus storage and the time—coming soon—when those systems could reach parity with grid-sourced retail price electricity in a growing number of markets, including Hawaii, California, and New York. In fact, the Barclays report cites RMI as a key source in several of its analyses that lead to this conclusion.

Barclays believes we’re entering a post-monopoly world in which distributed energy resources will take a place alongside large-scale central generation as a critical energy resource and a widely available and affordable customer option. In a surprisingly strong prediction for analysts, Barclays views this transition as inevitable: “Whatever roadblocks utilities try to toss up—and there's already been plenty of tossing in the states most vulnerable to solar, further evidence of the pressures they're facing—it's already too late.”

If you’re a utility, or an investor who’s got money in utilities, that’s some ominous language. Admittedly, a downgrade suggests two possible outcomes in the near future: 1) analysts tend to move in herds, so expect more news on the U.S. electric sector soon, and 2) capital is likely to get a bit more expensive for utilities, as millions of dollars shift out of the sector.

It’s not all bad news. As we discussed recently in “Caveat Investor,” this should ultimately lead to a stronger, more resilient power sector with stronger overall valuations, but the transition is likely to be volatile. The Barclays report suggests we’re about to enter that volatile transition phase.

So, what are the major trends we can learn from this, and what does a utility downgrade mean for the future of distributed renewables?

1) Distributed energy is hitting the mainstream.
Historically, it’s renewables’ creditworthiness that has been challenged (while utilities have been considered rock solid), but now this trend appears to be reversing. We’ve seen declining costs of capital in solar (as recent securitizations demonstrate), new financial instruments emerging for related technologies, and lower costs overall. Despite this progress, there is still a large gap between the market acceptance of renewables and the market acceptance of central, fossil-fueled generation. The recent downgrade suggests that people are starting to take distributed renewables seriously, and that utilities and renewables are entering a period of equal (or at least comparable) market strength.

2) Issuing new bonds for thermal fossil generation will become more expensive. While many people focus on the construction costs of new assets (central and distributed generation alike), it’s more often the cost of capital that determines project viability. Traditionally, utilities have almost always been the lowest-cost provider of new energy resources, and part of this advantage has rested on ready access to and favorable terms from the bond market. If that advantage is eroding, then expect new players to be able to compete for providing the nation’s energy, including providers of much smaller, distributed generation.

3) Distributed storage, when combined with already mature trends in generation and energy efficiency, compounds the disruptive threat of consumer-scale investments in energy. Many people have worried that declining demand (through energy efficiency) and distributed generation are putting enormous stress on the traditional business model for investments in central generation. That has not changed at all. So why does the emergence of storage, something that doesn’t reduce consumption or increase generation, suddenly give the markets concern? Simply put, the addition of storage gives customers the option to entirely disengage from their relationship with the utility. While most customers won’t choose to leave, and for good reasons, the threat of grid defection creates consumer leverage that will slow recent upward trends in utility rates out of competitive necessity.

4) These trends are likely to accelerate.
As capital shifts from central to distributed generation, this just improves the economics of distributed resources even further, through scale benefits as well as lower cost of capital. Few people would say that we’ve even come close to market saturation for any customer segment for renewables and efficiency. As the traditional electric sector becomes a more challenging place to park capital (or even just a less certain place), more investors will start to notice that investments in distributed resources have similar risk-reward profiles, and this movement of capital will be self-reinforcing.

Barclays took a fairly surprising stance for an industry not traditionally known for looking years into the future. That’s a great sign for the markets, which need to start responding to global, long-term trends. And while the Barclays report isn’t likely to move markets in the next 6 or 12 months, it does signal an important shift under way—distributed generation is likely to be an affordable and accessible choice for more and more customers alongside traditional utility-provided electricity. More options means more competition and increased relevance of the customer. And that’s an upgrade for users of electricity everywhere.


http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2014_06_10_the_barclays_downgrade_of_the_entire_us_electricity_sector
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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #58 on: June 17, 2014, 07:33:57 pm »
New England Clean Power Link Will Generate Nearly $400 Million Annually  ;D, Says Analysis

During the construction period, planned for 2016 to 2018, the project is expected to create an average of more than 140 direct construction jobs annually in Vermont.

 Corina Rivera-Linares, Senior Analyst, TransmissionHub 
 June 16, 2014

TDI New England’s proposed New England Clean Power Link will generate nearly $400 million annually in new economic activity for the New England region as a whole during the first 10 years of commercial operations, according to a new report by London Economics International.

As noted in the report, the 150-mile underwater and underground HVDC transmission line, to be located in Vermont, will deliver 1,000 MW of clean, low-cost energy into the New England wholesale power market.

“The New England Clean Power Link is an innovative, privately financed project that will create hundreds of new jobs, save consumers millions of dollars and spur economic growth across Vermont and the wider region,” TDI New England CEO Donald Jessome said in a June 11 statement. “The significant energy savings means more money in the pockets of businesses and homeowners — savings they can then reinvest in communities throughout New England, creating long-term permanent job growth and a stronger regional economy.”

Cable manufacturing could begin as early as 2015, along with some site preparations, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on June 11, adding that construction would begin in early 2016 and be completed by the end of 2018.

The project is expected to begin service in early 2019. The company filed its application for the Presidential permit from the U.S. Department of Energy last month and will apply its application for approval from the Army Corps of Engineers next fall. The spokesperson also said that the company will file for the Vermont 248 siting permit by the end of this year.

London Economics, an economic, financial and advisory firm headquartered in Boston, Mass., noted in a disclaimer that it was engaged by TDI New England to develop an economic impact analysis of the proposed project, adding that the report is based upon current data concerning economic conditions in New England and on current information available concerning construction and operation of the proposed project. Additionally, the report is not intended to be a complete and exhaustive analysis of the proposed project.

London Economics analyzed the potential economic benefits of the proposed project in terms of the employment and gross domestic product (GDP) impacts to Vermont and the rest of New England, using the PI+ model developed by Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI). That model is an economic forecasting model that is widely used in the public and private sectors to simulate the dynamic and interactive effects over time and across industries that result from large investments, policy changes and infrastructure projects like the Clean Power Link, according to the report.

The model generates year-by-year estimates of the total regional effects of any specific policy initiative or large investment. London Economics also said that the model used for the analysis was a 70-sector, state-level model that covers the entire New England region. Those sectors included forestry and logging, fishing, hunting and trapping, as well as oil and gas extraction and nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing.

The model incorporates several modeling approaches, including input-output, computable general equilibrium theory, econometric equations and new economic geography theory to create a comprehensive model that understands detailed interrelated changes in a regional — or state — economy.

London Economics also noted that the model, which is used by government agencies and others, estimates comprehensive economic and demographic effects in wide-ranging initiatives, such as economic impact analysis; policies and programs for economic development, infrastructure, environment, energy and natural resources; and state and local tax changes.

Regarding modeling inputs, London Economics noted that TDI is expecting the project to undergo a 36-month construction phase, starting in 2016 and finishing by the end of 1Q19. The operating life of the project, beginning in 2Q19, is expected to go out 40 years or even longer. For its analysis, London Economics added that it has focused on the first 10 years of operation. Given the significance of the installation costs for the project, more than $80m in capital costs for the project will be spent in Vermont to build and install the project.

Additionally, the project will bring, on average, 140 direct construction jobs annually to Vermont during the construction period. Once commercial operations begin, the project is expected to reduce the wholesale market price of energy in ISO New England (ISO-NE) for the benefit of consumers.

The reduction in retail electricity costs to New England electricity customers is estimated to be about $195 million per year on average for the first 10 years of commercial operation, or 2019 to 2028, according to the analysis. Electricity cost savings are projected based on simulation modeling of the ISO-NE wholesale market — assuming a 95 percent utilization rate on the project. On average over the 10 years modeled, the project produces more than $1/MWh reduction in annual average energy prices across the region.

Based on the analysis, the project is expected to create on average more than 640 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Vermont during its 36-month construction phase and 2,000 jobs across the region, including Vermont, in the first 10 years of commercial operation.

That local employment and spending will expand state economic activity, as measured by GDP, by $58 million per annum on average, or about 0.2 percent of Vermont’s GDP based on 2012 GDP levels.

London Economics added that its analysis suggests that the economic activity that will be generated by the construction phase will ripple through the rest of the region. That phase will generate on average more than 850 jobs, including 670 indirect and induced jobs, across the region, including Vermont, and will increase New England’s regional GDP by about $78 million per year.

Furthermore, during the first 10 years of commercial operation, London Economics estimates that Vermont’s GDP would increase by an average of $30 million per annum due to reduction in energy costs, and an increase in jobs and spending within Vermont for continued operations and maintenance of the line.

Based on London Economics’ analysis of those reduced electricity costs using the PI+ model, together with the ongoing local spending by the project for operations and maintenance of the project, the project will produce an average of more than 2,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs across the region during the first 10 years of commercial operation and lead to an increase in regional GDP by an average of about $400 million per year.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/06/new-england-clean-power-link-will-generate-nearly-400-million-annually-says-analysis

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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2014, 02:27:10 pm »


Renewable Energy Provided One-Third Of Germany’s Power In The First Half Of 2014  ;D


By Kiley Kroh on July 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Quote
Helped along by low demand on a holiday, Germany nevertheless set another solar power record in June, generating 50 percent   of its overall electricity demand from solar for part of the day. And in May, renewable energy sources combined to account for 75 percent of power demand for part of the day. ;D

As a point of comparison, approximately 13 percent of the U.S. electricity supply was powered by renewables as of the end of 2013, roughly half of Germany’s rate.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/08/3456934/renewable-one-third-germany/
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