Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

100% renewable energy worldwide isn’t just possible, it’s more cost-effective than existing system

December 23, 2017

62
LORRAINE CHOW, ALTERNET12.23.2017•2:29 PM
0 Comments

 
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
Transitioning the world to 100 percent renewable electricity isn’t just some environmentalist pipe dream — it’s “feasible at every hour throughout the year” and is more cost-effective than the current system, which largely relies on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, a new study claims.

The research, compiled by Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Berlin-based nonprofit Energy Watch Group (EWG), was presented Wednesday at the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase, a stand-alone event coinciding with the COP 23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

The authors say that the existing renewable energy potential and technologies coupled with storage can generate enough energy to meet the global electricity demand by 2050.

 

The researchers estimate that the switch will bring the total levelized cost of electricity on a global average down to €52 ($61) per megawatt-hour (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs) compared to €70 (82) megawatt-hour in 2015.

“A full decarbonization of the electricity system by 2050 is possible for lower system cost than today based on available technology,” said Christian Breyer, the lead author of the study.

“Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will,” added Breyer, who is also a professor of Solar Economy at LUT and serves as chairman of EWG’s Scientific Board.

According to the study, solar power and battery storage are critical parts of the transition. Falling prices will also lead to widespread adoption of the technologies. The researchers predict that the globe’s electricity mix by 2050 will consist of solar photovoltaics (69 percent), wind energy (18 percent), hydropower (8 percent) and bioenergy (2 percent).

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By following this path, greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector will come down to zero and drastically reduce total losses in power generation, the study found. Not only that, the renewable energy transition would create 36 million jobs by 2050, 17 million more than today.

“There is no reason to invest one more dollar in fossil or nuclear power production,” EWG president Hans-Josef Fell said. “Renewable energy provides cost-effective power supply. All plans for a further expansion of coal, nuclear, gas and oil have to be ceased. More investments need to be channeled in renewable energies and the necessary infrastructure for storage and grids. Everything else will lead to unnecessary costs and increasing global warming.”

This is the not the first time researchers have suggested that the planet’s road to 100 percent renewables is possible. Earlier this year, Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and 26 co-authors published a study and created clean energy roadmaps for 139 individual countries. The chosen countries emit more than 99 percent of all carbon dioxide worldwide.

Here are the key findings of the current study:

Existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage can generate sufficient and secure power to cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050. The world population is expected to grow from 7.3 to 9.7 billion. The global electricity demand for the power sector is set to increase from 24,310 TWh in 2015 to around 48,800 TWh by 2050.
2050年までに地球全体の電気受容を賄う更新可能エネルギー潜在能力も技術もある。
Total levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) on a global average for 100% renewable electricity in 2050 is €52/MWh (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs), compared to €70/MWh in 2015.
平準化電気コストは2015年で70ユーロ/MWh, 2050年で52ユーロ/MWh.
Due to rapidly falling costs, solar PV and battery storage increasingly drive most of the electricity system, with solar PV reaching some 69%, wind energy 18%, hydropower 8% and bioenergy 2% of the total electricity mix in 2050 globally.
エネルギーミックス 2050年 光力69%、風力18%、水力8%、バイオ2%。
Wind energy increases to 32% by 2030. Beyond 2030 solar PV becomes more competitive. The solar PV supply share increases from 37% in 2030 to about 69% in 2050.
Batteries are the key supporting technology for solar PV. The storage output covers 31% of the total demand in 2050, 95% of which is covered by batteries alone. Battery storage provides mainly diurnal storage, and renewable energy based gas provides seasonal storage.
Global greenhouse gas emissions significantly reduce from about 11 GtCO2eq in 2015 to zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, as the total LCOE of the power system
排出ガス 2015年11GtCO2eq, 2050年またはそれ以前に0,
The global energy transition to a 100% renewable electricity system creates 36 million jobs by 2050 in comparison to 19 million jobs in the 2015 electricity system.
100%更新可能エネルギーは2050年までに3千6百万の仕事を生むが、2015年システムでは1千9百万の仕事しか生まない。
The total losses in a 100% renewable electricity system are around 26% of the total electricity demand, compared to the current system in which about 58% of the primary energy input is lost.
100%更新可能エネルギーシステムでのエネルギー損失は26%だが、現在のシステムでは58%。

 
 
The research was co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator.

 

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100% Renewable Energy: What We Can Do in 10 Years

February 24, 2016

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/02/23/100-renewable-energy-what-we-can-do-10-years

State of Emergency now underway for L.A. gas blowou

January 9, 2016

ENENews


t — Oil begins raining down on homes — Official: “It’s on the brink of pandemonium” — Many worry plume will ignite, cause explosion — Concern over geysers, sinkholes being created — Company: Experts have “never seen anything like this” (VIDEO)

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 08:40 AM PST

Economic & Energy Conversion / Nuclear Weapons Abolition

December 21, 2015

Urge Congress to pass the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act


U.S. House Resolution 1976 would “provide for nuclear weapons abolition and economic conversion … while ensuring environmental restoration and clean-energy conversion.”

Click here to let your representative know you want them to support it.

If this bill becomes law, “The United States Government shall provide leadership to negotiate and enter into a multilateral treaty … for … the dismantlement and elimination of all nuclear weapons in every country by not later than 2022 …, and

“redirect resources that are being used for nuclear weapons programs to use in converting all nuclear weapons industry employees, processes, plants, and programs smoothly to constructive, ecologically beneficial peacetime activities …, [and]

“in addressing human and infrastructure needs, including development and deployment of sustainable carbon-free and nuclear-free energy sources, health care, housing, education, agriculture, and environmental restoration, including long-term radioactive waste monitoring; [and]

“undertake vigorous, good-faith efforts to eliminate war, armed conflict, and all military operations.”

Please click here to help make this happen.

After taking action, please forward this message to your friends. You can also share it from the webpage after taking the action yourself.

Background:
Full text of H.R. 1976

Partners:




Sign the Declaration of Peace.

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Ditching Fossil Fuels and Switching to 100% Renewables No Problem, Says Stanford Study

June 22, 2015

| June 11, 2015 12:30 pm | Comments

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Is it possible for the U.S. to ditch fossil fuels? The answer is yes, according to researchers and engineers from Stanford University and U.C. Berkeley, who have developed a state-by-state plan to convert the country to 100 percent renewable energy in less than 40 years.

Stanford researchers have developed 50-state road map to a clean, renewable energy U.S. by 2050. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Stanford researchers have a developed 50-state roadmap to a clean,

renewable energy

future. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The study, published in the Energy and Environmental Sciences, showcases how each state can replace fossil fuels by tapping into renewable resources available in each state, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and even small amounts of tidal and wave power.

The report, led by Stanford civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson and U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, argues that converting the current energy infrastructure into renewable energy will help fight climate change, save lives by eliminating air pollution, create jobs and also stabilize energy prices.

You can check out an interactive map summarizing the plans for each state at The Solutions Project, an organization of scientists, business leaders and other forward-thinking minds with a mission of accelerating the world’s transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

The project’s concept has attracted high-profile funders including the Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, according to The Plaid Zebra.

muskdicap
The Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation are helping to fund this project.

Board members of The Solutions Project include notable environmental advocates including filmmaker and founder of the the International WOW Company Josh Fox, co-founder and president of Mosaic Billy Parish, and actor and noted environmentalist Mark Ruffalo.

Undoubtedly, the plan involves a lot of difficult and expensive changes, but the authors believe that the complete transition to renewables is economically and technically viable.

“The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible,” Jacobson said. “By showing that it’s technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation.”

According to a news release, the study’s authors examined each state’s current energy usage in four sectors: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. For each sector, they then analyzed the current amount and source of the fuel consumed—coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewables—and calculated what the fuel demands would be if replaced with electricity. (This includes all the cars on the road becoming electric, as well as homes and businesses fully converting to electric heating and cooling systems). They then calculated how this new electric grid could be powered using only

renewable energy

resources available in each state.

“When we did this across all 50 states, we saw a 39 percent reduction in total end-use power demand by the year 2050,” Jacobson said. “About 6 percentage points of that is gained through efficiency improvements to infrastructure, but the bulk is the result of replacing current sources and uses of combustion energy with electricity.”

Check out South Carolina, for instance (you can see the infographics for the other 49 states here):

Not only is a fossil fuel-free South Carolina is possible, doing so would create nearly 100 thousand clean-energy jobs. Photo Credit: The Solutions Project
Not only is a fossil fuel-free South Carolina possible, doing so would create nearly 100,000 clean-energy jobs. Photo Credit: The Solutions Project

The good news is that several states are already on their way. For example, Washington state already meets 70 percent of its current electricity needs from existing hydroelectric sources.

Yes, the upfront cost of the massive conversion would be expensive, however the study’s authors argue it would even out over time and the environmental benefits are clear.

“When you account for the health and climate costs—as well as the rising price of fossil fuels—wind, water and solar are half the cost of conventional systems,” Jacobson said. “A conversion of this scale would also create jobs, stabilize fuel prices, reduce pollution-related health problems and eliminate emissions from the United States. There is very little downside to a conversion, at least based on this science.”

Check out Jacobson’s 2013 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he explains his plan of transitioning the country to clean energy.

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Costa Rica Powered Entirely by Renewables So Far This Year

March 24, 2015

The country's tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. (photo: Shutterstock.com)
The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. (photo: Shutterstock.com)

By Tierny Smith, tck tck tck

23 March 15

 

or the last 82 days, Costa Rica has powered itself using only renewable energy sources.

That means the Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015.

Last week, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced that 100 percent of the country’s electricity came from renewables for the first 75 days of the year, as heavy rains boosted the country’s hydroelectric power plants.

Wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy have also helped power the country.

Costa Rica is one of the most developed countries in Latin America and ranks above some European Union countries in annual prosperity rankings.

The country also boasts strong green credentials on energy policy.

In 2009, it announced a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021, and the country already gets around 88 percent of its total electricity from renewable sources.

The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy.

Its reliance on renewables prompted the country to lower electricity rates by 12 percent, and the ICE predicts they could continue to drop in the second quarter of the year.

However, the country’s reliance on hydroelectricity—which provides 68 percent of the country’s electricity—also makes it vulnerable to climate change. Any change to rainfall patterns could disrupt its supply.

In addition to hydroelectricity, Costa Rica receives 15 percent of its electricity needs from geothermal plants, while five percent is supplied by wind.

Solar and biomass also contribute to the country’s energy mix.

A Clean Energy Future Is Possible: A Message for the 4th Anniversary of Fukushima

March 15, 2015
Published on
by

‘The Fukushima disaster shows us exactly why we cannot and should not try to rely on nuclear energy to solve the climate crisis.’

“Ringing the bell on climate change.” (Photo: Light Brigading/flickr/cc)

Just ahead of the four-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, five organizations have issued a message that the only way to avert climate disaster is by embracing a clean energy future.

It was March 11, 2011 when the Great East Japan earthquake caused a massive tsunami which triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and destroyed thousands of lives and livelihoods.

Signs that the disaster is ongoing are clear: nearly a quarter-million Japanese people arestill displaced, radioactive trash has piled up in the affected region, radiation levels remain elevated, and clean-up efforts at the plant continue amid leaks.  And despite public opposition, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues his push to restart nuclear plants.

But “there is a better way,” the Make Nuclear History website states.

The new site, which offers a humorous new video launched by the organizations—Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Nuclear Information and Research Service (NIRS), Public Citizen and Sierra Club—adds: “There is a way to power our lives without fossil fuels. There is a solution to climate change without nuclear energy. There is a future where we can solve the climate crisis and power our lives from 100 percent renewable sources and energy efficiency. Now is the time to create our fossil and nuclear-free future.”

“Now is the time to create our fossil and nuclear-free future.”The interactive video shows three energy paths—fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable energy—to highlight the problems, like higher carbon footprints and environmental and health impacts, of failing to switch to wind and solar.

The projected future under the fossil fuel and nuclear energy scenarios are depicted as apocalyptic.

“If the goal is heading off climate change, nuclear power and next generation fossil fuels are just an expensive and dangerous distraction,” the video’s renewable champion states.

The new site also invites viewers to take action on specific campaigns from the groups, like Public Citizen’s campaign to urge the NRC to enforce a dozen safety recommendations for nuclear reactors that were issued after the Fukushima disaster; and Sierra Club’s campaign to urge members of Congress to phase out nuclear power and commit to 100% renewable energy.

“The Fukushima disaster shows us exactly why we cannot and should not try to rely on nuclear energy to solve the climate crisis,” said Tim Judson, Executive Director of NIRS. “Japan’s decision to invest in nuclear rather than renewables left the country totally unprepared when calamity struck. Clean, renewable energy sources are abundant, affordable, and ready to go. They can replace nuclear and fossil fuels, which are two sides of the dirty, extreme energy coin.”

Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard adds: “The Fukushima disaster is a constant reminder that nuclear energy is a dirty and dangerous distraction from real solutions like wind and solar. We should commit to rejecting costly nuclear pipe dreams and supporting the renewable efforts that can help avert our climate crisis.”

Watch the introductory video below:

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FUKUSHIMA4 FUELS SOLARTOPIAN REVOLUTION

March 13, 2015

Harvey Wasserman, The World Community Must Take Charge at Fukushima Campaign

Mar 11

http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/11/fukushimas-anniversary-renewable-energy-soars/

Harvey Wasserman EcoWatchThe catastrophe that began at Fukushima four years ago today is worse than ever.

But the good news can ultimately transcend the bad—if we make it so.
An angry grassroots movement has kept shut all 54 reactors that once operated in Japan.

It’s the largest on-going nuke closure in history. Big industrial windmills installed off the

Fukushima coast are now thriving.
Five U.S. reactors have shut since March 11, 2011. The operable fleet is under 100 for the first time in

decades…..

 

Read the rest at http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/11/fukushimas-anniversary-renewable-energy-soars/

 

California communities seize control of their energy futures

February 26, 2015
CCA, OMG

An energy revolution is breaking out in California and a few other states, one that could radically increase the amount of renewable energy available to citizens and end the tyranny of foot-dragging utilities. Outside of the rapidly falling costs of solar power, it’s just about my main source of domestic optimism these days.

I’m talking about community choice, or, in the horrid legalese, “community choice aggregation.” I’ve discussed it before in passing, but it’s starting to seriously catch on, so I want to take a closer look.

Say a town, city, or county is dissatisfied with the power it gets from its utility — it’s too expensive, or too dirty. One option would be for each municipality to leave its utility and form its own “municipal utility.” That has its advantages, but it’s a pretty huge step, since the municipality would have to take over not only power procurement but grid operation and maintenance, billing, customer service, etc. In many smaller towns, it’s not practical.

The other, emerging option is community choice aggregation, whereby a county or municipality takes over only the job of buying and selling power, leaving grid management and billing to the utility. It aggregates customers from every participating city, town, and county and uses their collective purchasing power to procure exactly the kind of electricity it wants.

The two main motivations to opt for CCA are cheaper power and cleaner power. At least to date, those two goals have not come into conflict. In most cases, CCAs get power that’s cheaper and cleaner than what they were getting from their utility. (Whether those goals conflict in the future will be of keen interest.)

CCA must be enabled by legislation and it has been in six states: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island. According to the website Local Power, which tracks these things:

Today, 5% of the U.S. population is under CCA service for electricity in 1300 municipalities, including well-known population centers like City of Chicago, Cincinnati, Cape Cod, Sonoma County as well as hundreds of less known small towns and rural counties. CCA formation by municipal ordinance or local election is allowed and provided for under state laws governing 25% of the U.S. electricity market.

California has been particularly on the ball. Marin County startedthe state’s first CCA program — it now serves 125,000 customers. Sonoma County has followed suit. San Mateo County isconsidering it; county supervisors just voted to do a study of the proposal. The mayor of San Francisco, who’s running for reelection this year, has reversed his previous opposition to the city joining a CCA. Now he says his only objection was that there wasn’t enough local power required!

Perhaps the most interesting battle is happening in San Diego. Whereas San Francisco represents only about 5 percent of utility giant PG&E’s customer base, San Diego represents over 40 percent of San Diego Gas & Electric’s. That’s a big chunk to lose!

CCA is a key part of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which among other things commits the city to a legally binding target of 100 percent renewables by 2035. There is effectively no way for it to hit that target if it has to accept whatever power SDG&E sees fit to buy for it.

There have been various efforts to kill CCA at the state level, some supported by the state chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), many of whose members work for utilities. The local San Diego chapter of IBEW, however, supports the city’s 100 percent renewables target. The fate of the San Diego’s climate plan, or at least CCA’s place in the plan, remainsuncertain. It if did go through, it would represent something of a watershed for the CCA movement.

CCAs vary from place to place, but Cali’s share a few common features. They are opt-out rather than opt-in — customers can choose to remain with the utility, but they have to affirmatively indicate as much. That alone ensures high participation rates (readers of Nudge will understand why).

There are tiers of participation: in Marin, you can choose a base level 50 percent renewables or pay a premium for 100 percent renewables; in Sonoma, it’s 33 percent or 100 percent. Some also include a premium option for 100 percent local renewables. The tiered system allows low-income customers to choose an affordable option while more eco-minded or well-off residents can indulge their aspirations.

CCA can also give a huge boost to a bunch of other policies that utilities typically fight or slow-walk, including net metering, feed-in tariffs, and efficiency programs. This post by Woody Hastingslists a few of the benefits that came along with the Sonoma County CCA. In addition to the basic benefit — giving those consumers more choices in energy — it also has 30 percent lower emissions than the utility, and it boasts rates that are 5 to 8 percent lower than the utility’s (depending on the tier).

Sonoma’s CCA features a robust net metering program, “NetGreen,” that compensates solar customers better than the utility. It features a version of my own favorite policy, feed-in tariffs, in the form of “ProFiT,” which guarantees clean energy developers favorable terms for the power they feed into the grid. It has doubled the amount of solar in Sonoma County’s energy mix and established power purchase agreements for 70 megawatts of new solar. And it will bring the level of geothermal in the county’s mix up to around 23 percent by 2018.

Perhaps best of all, enrollment in the plan’s phase-one rollout was much higher than expected: 85 percent of customers stayed with the CCA.

Not every CCA is going to spur all those policies. But that’s kind of the point: they will enable the exact mix of policies that best expresses the needs and values of their customers. It will give consumers some power and agency in the process, something they haven’t had for some time.

Is CCA power really cheaper? At least in California, at least so far, yes. These charts come via San Diego reporter Lisa Halverstadt:

As you can see, the Marin and Sonoma CCAs are charging slightly lower rates than the utilities they left behind, despite providing substantially more clean energy.

How do they do it? This post from lawyer Ty Tosdal hits the basics. First, CCA represents competition for utilities, putting pressure on them to keep costs down and keep customers happy. (Utilities aren’t used to competition, to say the least.) And this:

An alternative energy provider behaves differently than a utility. CCA programs, for example, have used the political and legal process to advocate for lower transmission and distribution charges, utility fees and rates in general. You’re not going to see that kind of advocacy from utilities, who must serve shareholders, or regulators that are struggling with proper oversight.

(If you read the linked story, you’ll see that “struggling with proper oversight” is a rather charitable characterization.)

In other words, CCA provides not just an economic and environmental but a civic counterweight to utilities. It enables electricity consumers to organize on behalf of their interests and values. Why, you could almost call it democratic.

Naturally California utilities hate this. Just hate it. In all the stories I read, this passage was the most poignant:

A PG&E representative did not respond to a request for comment. A 2011 law prohibits the company from using ratepayer revenue to market against community choice aggregation.

Aww. I doubt utilities will be similarly restrained in other states. Watch for them to go after CCA with even greater fury than they’ve attacked net metering. It is a strike directly at the heart of their business model.

For all the same reasons utilities hate CCA, I love it. It completely cuts through the utility Gordian knot — the tangle of restructured and unrestructured regions, corrupt PUCs and broken business models, obscure political maneuvering and big-money deals — and puts power directly in the public’s hands. It opens up opportunities for all the talk about Utilities 2.0 to become reality, to start experimenting in the real world.

Most of all, it enables citizens who want clean energy to get it. That seems like the kind of thing Americans could rally around.

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Portland Installs Turbines in City Water Pipes, Powers City by Flushing Toilets

February 26, 2015

Greg Semler, the CEO of Lucid Energy. (photo: Mind)
Greg Semler, the CEO of Lucid Energy. (photo: Mind)

By Minds

26 February 15

 

he turbines work where water is flowing downhill, and are already recouping some of the energy cost in keeping the water system running. When fully in place, these pipe generators can power hundreds of thousands of homes.

Gregg Semler, CEO of Lucid Energy, followed his dream of “helping water become more sustainable” by developing this smart piping system. Not only are they electricity generators, they also have state of the art sensors to detect change in water pressure to keep pipes from bursting, and the ability to detect if drinking water is contaminated.


http://inhabitat.com/portlands-water-pipes-are-the-newest-source-of-clean-energy/
http://www.fastcoexist.com/3041300/portlands-new-pipes-harvest-power-from-drinking-water