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Author Topic: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth  (Read 9453 times)

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AGelbert

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Grist

We know what the Kochs 🦕 want. What about major foundations?

By Nathanael Johnson on May 23, 2018

SNIPPET:
 
Big charitable foundations that shape the climate movement dole out cash for renewables and energy efficiency. 

But where’s the love for nuclear power, carbon capture, and geoengineering? 

It’s nonexistent. That’s the finding of a new paper published this week by Matthew Nisbet, a professor at Northeastern University who studies climate change communication.

Full article:

https://grist.org/article/foundations-pour-money-into-tackling-climate-change-but-not-curbing-carbon/

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AGelbert

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MAY 27, 2018 JUAN COLE

China’s Green Shift Positions It to Overtake U.S. in Energy, Security

SNIPPET:

The Guardian reports that air pollution in 62 Chinese cities fell by 30 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to the World Health Organization. Beijing, the capital, fell from a global fourth-place ranking on polluted air to 187th.

I was in Beijing in March 2015 for a conference, and did a jaunt out to the Great Wall, bringing my camera. I needn’t have bothered. That day, at least, you couldn’t see more than 50 feet away from your face, and my dreams of photographs of the wall stretching out into the distance were dashed. I was there for a week and my throat got sore from just breathing the air. Things are quickly improving, though. The smog in those 62 cities was largely being caused by burning coal, for household heating and industrial purposes. Coal is the worst emitter of carbon dioxide among the hydrocarbon fuels, but it also puts out, when you burn it, lots of particulate matter that causes lung problems, heart attacks, mercury poisoning and cancer.

Last year, the concentration of PM2.5, or tiny motes of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, which can lodge in the lungs, was down about 40 percent in greater Beijing, compared with 2012.

China’s coal use has fallen enormously as a proportion of its electricity generation. It used to provide 80 percent of China’s electricity, but that is down to 65 percent and falling rapidly as a proportion. Even in absolute terms, despite a minor uptick in 2017, coal use has been declining since 2013.


A recent Brookings study by Wenjuan Dong and Ye Qi says,

“In 2017, renewable energy encompassed 36.6% of China’s total installed electric power capacity, and 26.4% of total power generation. According to Energy Production and Consumption Revolution Strategy 2016-2030, by 2030, 50% of total electric power generation will be from non-fossil energy sources, including nuclear and renewable energy.”
These are astonishing statistics for one of the world’s two largest economies.

Although nuclear energy remains important, most new electricity generation in China in the past six years has come from renewables, according to a just-published paper by John A. Matthews with Xin Huang in the Asia-Pacific Journal that a friend sent me this morning.

This is its key chart:


Matthews argues that massive Chinese adoption of solar panels is the major cause for the rapid decline in their price since 2012, and that this price drop will continue. Likewise, he argues that for all the hype about China building new nuclear plants, it has in fact put most of its eggs with regard to new energy generation in the wind power basket.

New solar power bids are now being occasionally let for less than 3 cents a kilowatt hour. Coal is at least 5 cents a kilowatt hour, if you don’t count its environmental damage. If you take that into account, it is likely closer to 80 cents a kilowatt hour. With regard to China, the Brookings study notes, “In the most recently concluded Third Photovoltaic venture base bidding in China, the bid price for electricity continuously came in new lows. For example, the last two bids for cities Golmud and Delingha, both in Qinghai, came in at 0.31 RMB per kWh, which is even lower than the 0.3247 RMB per kWh price for on-grid desulfurized coal-fired electricity.” Even today, Chinese solar is cheaper than coal, and the competitive advantage of solar will only increase over the next decade.

Matthews further makes an important set of arguments about China’s green shift and global power. By generating its own electricity through renewables and by switching in a big way to electric cars, China is preparing for a vast reduction in its imports of hydrocarbons. In turn, that move makes China less vulnerable to hydrocarbon blackmail or blockade and increases its energy security.

The United States uses about 20 million barrels of petroleum a day. Despite the new production enabled by hydraulic fracturing, its own oil production is about half that. Some oil produced in the U.S., especially in Alaska and the West, can be more cheaply exported abroad than sent to the East Coast where the demand is. You see pundits and Big Oil propagandists hype U.S. production and U.S. exports, but the fact is that the U.S. still imports nearly half of the oil it needs to run its economy, and some of those imports come from unstable places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. On transportation (the major use of petroleum), the U.S. is highly vulnerable.

China put 680,000 electric vehicles 👀 on the road last year, and plans to be doing 2 million a year by 2020. These EVs will increasingly be fueled by renewable energy, reducing Chinese dependence on Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Full article:

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/chinas-green-shift-is-positioning-it-to-overtake-u-s-in-energy-technology-and-security/
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AGelbert

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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #317 on: June 07, 2018, 01:49:01 pm »


June 6, 2018: Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy says it will be the first investor-owned utility to get 100% of its power from renewables. A record amount of wind and solar capacity was installed globally in 2017 with new investment reaching nearly $279 billion. In a first, California’s grid got more power from solar than gas on a monthly basis.

TEXANS LIKE TO DO THINGS BIG!

Tallest Wind Turbine in the U.S.  installed at West Texas A&M University
WTAMU Graduate School

Published on May 18, 2018

Installation of the GW 3MW(S) Smart Wind Turbine at the UL Advanced Wind Turbine Test Facility at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.



For the first time, California’s grid got more power from solar than gas on a monthly basis. In May, utility-scale solar provided nearly 17% of generation on the state’s grid, while gas provided around 15%. That data does not include rooftop solar or other distributed solar generation. While May is the third-sunniest month of the year, the long-term trend shows solar and other renewables replacing gas. (PV Magazine)




Tesla has installed a gigawatt-hour of energy storage (that’s a lot), which has helped bring down costs.
Industry-wide, the cost of battery storage fell 73% between 2010 and 2016, and it is predicted to continue to drop. In Australia, Tesla has installed the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, which is saving consumers millions of dollars. In Puerto Rico, the company has installed microgrids on more than 1,000 households. Tesla thinks its battery scale-up has increased public awareness of the technology. In other storage news this week, Arizona announced it is building the country’s first standalone battery peaker  ;D outside of California. (Fast Company, Greentech Media)



Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy is going 100% renewable, saying it will be the first investor-owned utility to meet that milestone. The utility plans to invest $922 million in new wind power, with the added capacity allowing the company to freeze consumer rates, potentially up to 15 years. MidAmerican owns 27 wind farms across Iowa. If the plan is approved by regulators, the company will have invested around $12.3 billion in wind in the state since 2014. This new project would create about 300 construction jobs, 28 permanent jobs, and add around $7 million more in state property tax payments. (Des Moines Register)
 

A record-breaking amount of wind and solar power was installed globally last year, a new report says, as the price of renewables continues to fall. An estimated 178 GW of renewable power was added worldwide in 2017 - representing 70% of net additions - according to a new report from the renewables policy organization REN21. New investment in renewables was nearly $279 billion, more than double what went to new fossil fuel and nuclear power capacity. Despite the progress, carbon emissions rose last year for the first time in four years, as population and energy demand grew. The authors of the report noted that while renewables are surging ahead in the electricity sector, they still have a ways to go when it comes to heating, cooling and transport. (Reuters)



The Environmental Protection 👹Agency advanced its plan to weaken pollution standards for passenger vehicles, by submitting its proposal to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The new rules would roll back an Obama-era requirement that automakers nearly double the fuel efficiency of cars to an average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025, which would have significantly lowered emissions from the transportation sector. The proposal also calls into question California’s right to require tougher fuel standards than those set by the federal government - a right granted to the state under the 1970 Clean Air Act. California has said they will fight the new rules if they are approved. (New York Times $)


As many 100,000 jobs could be lost in Germany as the electric vehicle market grows, a new study says. The country’s automakers and IG Metall labor union commissioned the study, which found that the transition away from gas and diesel vehicles could affect more than half of the 210,000 workers in that country that develop and produce powertrains for cars. The head of the labor union said that despite the challenges, the transition can be managed with strategies from politicians and industry that address retraining and industrial employment policy. (CNN Money)


"With wind, we don't need to buy fuel to make the energy ⚡," said Adam Wright, MidAmerican's CEO, on the utility’s plan to cover 100 percent of their consumer electricity demand with renewable energy. "This is a big reason why MidAmerican Energy's rates are 37 percent below the national average."   
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AGelbert

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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #318 on: June 11, 2018, 01:21:11 pm »
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Reinventing Power Documentary Highlights Community Benefits Of Renewable Energy

June 11th, 2018 by Steve Hanley

Fear is one of the primary human emotions. Fear of the unknown. Fear of new ideas that disrupt conventional wisdom. Fear is a significant factor in the concerns people have about electric vehicles and renewable energy. Those who have a stake in the status quo🐉🦕🦖 play on our fears to protect their vested interests. They talk about range anxiety and grid resiliency to make us believe the way we did things years ago is the way we should continue doing things in the future.

Reinventing Power is a new documentary produced by Transit Pictures for the Sierra Club. It’s focus is not to preach about the morality of renewable energy — how it will save the Earth, polar bears, and piping plovers — but how renewables are helping people find new economic opportunities that benefit themselves and their communities. It is a film designed to extinguish the fears about renewables fostered by fossil fuel companies and replace it with an acceptance of the benefits that will flow from a transition to renewable energy.

New Jersey Offshore Wind Tubines

“A lot of the arguments you hear about clean energy are moral — like it’s the right thing to do,” Brennon Edwards, head of Transit Pictures, tells Fast Company. “We wanted to go for something different, and show how renewable energy is revitalizing communities and revitalizing industries. There’s basically no political or celebrity attachment to it. These are just real Americans who are having this change affect their lives, and it’s happening all over the country.”

At present, there are more than 800,000 Americans working in the renewable energy sector of the US economy. One of them is Chris Bruce of Michigan, who lost his job in the auto industry in 2008. “After I lost my job, I had about three days of sulking, and then I got up and decided to listen to some of my co-workers’ advice to look into wind turbines,” he says in the documentary. Now he works as a wind turbine engineer.

“We’re telling the story of the clean energy revolution through the voices of the people who are benefiting from it,” says Mary Ann Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “We wanted the viewers to be able to see themselves in these stories, because there’s still a lot of fear and anxiety around transitioning away from fossil fuels.”

The people in the film include Horace Pritchard, a farmer who lives near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He was approached about installing wind turbines on his property a decade ago. Today, the lease he has with the wind energy company pays his bills and he is still able to farm most of the land the way he has always done. Pritchard says some of his neighbors also have wind turbines on their farms. Their only concern is that there aren’t enough of them because the turbines provide a more reliable income than farming.


The film focuses on the first offshore wind project in the United States off the shores of Block Island. Power from that installation has allowed the island to shut down its diesel-powered generating plant, eliminating a source of noise and pollution that interfered with its main economic activity — tourism. In its place, new industries have emerged. Locals now take tourists out on the water to view the wind farm up close. Commercial fisherman report they are catching more fish near the turbines than they ever did before in that area. One segment of the documentary follows Bryan Wilson of Deepwater Wind, the company that built the offshore wind farm, as he tells how wind power has transformed Block Island.


The current political rhetoric in America is that renewables are responsible for job losses and are weakening the industries that made America great decades ago. But those industries are dying of their own accord, says Mary Ann Hitt. Renewable energy benefits all Americans, especially those in so-called red states and rural areas, she adds.

“Renewables will require us to rebuild the entire energy infrastructure,” Brennon Edwards says. “Our energy infrastructure is crumbling and it has to be rebuilt one way or another. This is happening regardless of politics.”

The current administration relies on fear to advance its agenda, including its ill conceived and illegal plan to prop up coal and nuclear power with taxpayer dollars. Reinventing Power seeks to address those fears and show that a nation that aspires to true greatness must embrace the future, not the past. The documentary will be available June 27. You can contact the Sierra Club to learn more about how to screen the film for your friends, family, or members of your community.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/06/11/reinventing-power-documentary-highlights-community-benefits-of-renewable-energy/
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AGelbert

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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #319 on: June 12, 2018, 01:01:16 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: "IEEFA" stands for the "Energy Finance Studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis" in Sydney, Australia. 😎

India’s New 227 Gigawatt Renewable Energy Target Is Ambitious, Challenging, But Possible, Says IEEFA   

June 12th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill

The announcement earlier this month from India’s power and renewable energy minister RK Singh that his country will increase its interim renewable energy target from 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 up to 227 GW has been heavily lauded, and though it “does look excessively ambitious,” according to Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, he nevertheless believes it is possible.

India’s power and renewable energy minister RK Singh announced last week that his government believes it will overachieve on its existing interim renewable energy of having 175 GW worth of renewable energy by 2022. As such, the minister announced that India was increasing its 2022 target by 52 GW up to 227 GW, which he said would require an additional $50 billion worth of investments over the next few years.

Siemens Gamesa India

Already the world’s fifth-largest country in terms of installed renewable energy capacity with 70 GW, and another 40 GW under tendering or construction, India has been one of the leading locations for solar development in the world. As a country designated as “emerging,” India’s economy is growing at a rate which requires significant energy capacity additions, but to remain in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, the country needs to cut down on its reliance upon fossil fuel sources like coal.

The big question, therefore, is not whether India has the ambition — India has repeatedly shown it has the ambition for huge renewable energy goals but whether India has the means by which to pull off such a mammoth task, considering how far they have to go in under five years.

To answer this question I spoke to Tim Buckley, the Director of Energy Finance Studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in Sydney, Australia. The IEEFA have been closely monitoring India’s energy sector for years, now, and are regarded as some of the world’s leading experts on the sector and its future. As a whole, “IEEFA remains very confident in the impressively growing renewable energy installation trends evident across India, with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to-date delivering on its ambitious tendering targets that could see 30-40 GW of annual renewable energy tenders finalised in 2018 and 2019 in order to build a pipeline of projects to put India on track for its long-term vision of 275 GW of renewable energy by 2027 as articulated in the National Electricity Plan 2018 (NEP 2018).”


However, the goal-posts under which these projects were awarded have now been extended. Can India deliver on its new target with the work it has already done?

“The suggestion that India will lift its interim renewable energy target for 2022 from 175 GW to 228 GW does look excessively ambitious relative to the installation activity of 16 GW annually in the last two fiscal years,” Tim Buckley explained to me. “But the level of ambition in India to deliver improved energy security, to wean itself off excessive and costly fossil fuel imports and to drive less polluting, more sustainable economic growth over the long term are clear and ambitious goals of the Modi government.”

According to Buckley, one of the biggest issues for India is going to be integrating so much new variable renewable energy into the country’s electricity grid.

“Grid integration is going to be serious challenge for India to achieve its variable renewable targets, no doubt,” Buckley explained. “Grid investment has been significantly accelerated, but even more will be needed to accommodate greater interstate transmission requirements. But India is currently moving domestic coal up to 1,500 km by rail to coal plants in Southern India – and rail capacity constraints are real and growing. Any suggestion that new non-mine mouth coal is cost competitive and sustainable is ridiculous, particularly given it takes over a decade to open up new interstate rail capacity.”

Coal Mine Dhanbad India

Quote
Coal has already taken a hit from India’s renewable energy drive, with net new thermal power added in the last two years averaging only 6 GW annually, according to IEEFA, down two-thirds on the previous four years. 

“If India were to more than double renewable energy installations to over 30 GW annually, India would have no need for any new thermal power capacity other than possibly some replacement capacity for the 48 GW of thermal power capacity coming to the end of its useful life by 2027,” Buckley explained. “With the average coal fired power plant’s utilisation rate averaging just 57% in 2017/18 across India, there is already excess thermal capacity in the system. With new low cost renewables, it is hard to see almost any financial institutions willing to fund new non-mine mouth coal fired capacity in India.”

Another important point worth making is the role that this new renewable energy target can play in achieving other goals and needs in India’s future. Beyond decreasing the country’s reliance on coal, the country is in need of new jobs, economic development and growth, and India is growing — India is expected to overtake China in terms of population by the middle of the next decade — and with that comes a natural growth of the country’s energy capacity, which the IEEFA expects to grow to 619 GW by 2027. While renewable energy will account for 44% of installed capacity (though less in terms of share of production), it will help to push thermal power generation down from 67% in 2017 to 43% in 2027.

“India has a need for some 20 million new jobs annually, so I would ask why can’t India deliver on this RE target to drive more sustainable growth?” Buckley asks.

“India’s electricity system requires production to grow 5-6% annually for at least the next decade, so this level of total capacity growth is entirely justified and needed. If international capital providers like SoftBank, Macquarie Group, Sembcorp and ENGIE and domestic power majors like Tata, Adani, Greenko, Renew Power, NTPC and Power Grid Corp are willing to provide the magnitude of investment required, India has the clear need for clean energy, and the world has a critical requirement for India to show an energy system transformation can be done successfully if the Paris Climate Agreement is to be achieved. Affordable clean energy will also underpin Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India strategy.”

India has also set its renewable energy tariffs at 10% to 20% below the cost of existing domestic Indian thermal power generation which, according to Buckley, is “a key factor” making the new renewable energy target “entirely economically rational … One only has to see the latest 500MW wind tariff result for Gujarat in June 2018. A result of Rs2.43-2.45/kWh (US$36/MWh), equal to the record low tariff set in 2017. A fixed flat with no inflation indexation for 25 years. Brilliant and deflationary.”

With the necessary political ambition and economics, what else needs to happen for India to achieve such a mammoth renewable energy target?
Quote
227 GW of RE by 2022 would be a truly herculean task, and probably should be only considered an aspirational direction on the path to the NEP 2027 plan,” Buckley told me.

“Beyond massive interstate grid upgrades, international export markets for Indian generated electricity would need to be created in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar, and a significant step up in pumped hydro storage capacity would also be a must, given the lack of competitively priced domestic gas for peaking capacity.

“But India is transforming its grid, and the level of historic inefficiencies have seen industry build 51GW of captive thermal power capacity, and I’ve seen reports there are upwards of 70GW of backup diesel generators, so far better India invests in the on-grid lower cost alternatives of variable renewables supported by properly costed on-grid peaking generation alternatives.”


http://www.dnaindia.com/business/report-gujarat-urja-vikas-nigam-can-buy-500-mw-wind-power-at-rs-243unit-2622190

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AGelbert

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Re: The Big Picture of Renewable Energy Growth
« Reply #320 on: June 14, 2018, 02:19:01 pm »
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Scotland Hits Annual GHG Emissions Target Third Year Running

June 13th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill

Scotland’s Climate Change Secretary announced this week that the country met its statutory annual greenhouse gas emissions target for the third year in a row in 2016, which resulted in emissions being down 49% on a 1990 baseline.

Wind Farm in Scotland

scotland wind energyScotland announced on Tuesday the publication of its latest report detailing the country’s progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, based on its most recent and complete data, 2016. According to the new Official Statistics report from the Scottish Government, greenhouse gas source emissions were down 49% from 1990 to 38.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2016, representing a 10.3% decline since 2015. When these figures are adjusted to account for Scotland’s participation in European Union-wide emissions trading, they are down 45.2% to 41.481 MtCO2e in 2016, and down 2.5% from 2015.

In comparison to other western European countries, Scotland is second only to Sweden which has decreased its emissions by 51%, and they stand ahead of Finland with 42%, Germany with 25%, and Denmark with 23%.

“These statistics are hugely encouraging and show we have almost halved the greenhouse gases emitted in Scotland – underlining our role as an international leader in the fight against climate change,” said Scottish Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham. “But we must go further and faster if we are to meet our responsibilities to our children, grandchildren, and future generations.

“Our ambitious Climate Change Bill will ensure we do exactly that – by setting a new 90% reduction target for 2050 and paving the way towards achieving net-zero emissions as soon as possible.”

Of the basket of greenhouse gasses monitored by Scotland, it is unsurprising that carbon dioxide accounted for 70.8% of the total. The next closest was methane, which only accounted for 16.8%.

The largest source of net emissions in 2016 was the Transport sector with 14.4 MtCO2e, followed by the Agriculture and Related Land Use sector with 10 MtCO2e. The only sector which was able to display a net emissions sink was the Forestry sector, with -12.7 MtCO2e.


Expanding the timeline out to 1990, the emissions from the Energy Supply sector (such as power stations) from 1990 to 2016 was 15.6 MtCO2e, a 68.5% reduction. Waste Management Emissions such as those from landfills worked out to be 4.4 MtCO2e, a 72.8% reduction, while the decrease in the Business and Industrial Process sector was 5.8 MtCO2e, a reduction of 40.5%.

“It’s fantastic to hear that Scotland has hit its annual climate change target for the third year in a row,” said Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, the country’s renewable energy trade body, speaking in response to the report’s release. “The announcement today shows that setting ambitious targets is the best way to achieve results.

“The energy supply sector has seen the largest reduction in CO2 emissions, with a 68.5% reduction since 1990. This demonstrates that phasing out fossil fuels in favour of clean, green alternatives is having the desired effect.”

“It’s great news that Scotland has hit the annual target and reduced its climate emissions by 45% compared to the 1990 baseline and is well ahead of the 42% 2020 target,” added Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS). “Everyone who has played their part in achieving this reduction should be proud.

Back in 2009, when Scotland’s first Climate Act was passed, there was no clear path to meeting the 42 per cent emissions reduction target and many were sceptical it could be achieved.

Today’s results show that setting stretching targets works by driving innovation and strong policy delivery. This success, along with support from the public, leading scientists and farming groups, should give the Scottish Government the confidence to aim high once again and set a net zero emissions target, by 2050 at the latest   , in the new Climate Change Bill.

“2016 reflects the first full year since the closure of Longannet power station, showing the big impact you can have by phasing out dirty coal and switching to clean renewables.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/06/13/scotland-hits-annual-ghg-emissions-target-third-year-running/
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