Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Renewable energy is on track to take over the world, if Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s predictions are correct. This month they released their annual New Energy Outlook (NEO) report, which reveals 51 percent of the world’s power generation could come from renewables by 2040. During the next 23 years, 72 percent of the $10.2 trillion spent on new power generation will go into solar power and wind power . The future sure looks bright for renewable energy. NEO 2017 lead author Seb Henbest said their report indicates “the greening of the world’s electricity system is unstoppable” as costs for wind and solar continue to plummet. Batteries will also play a role in the shift of the world from polluting fuels to clean ones. Related: Dropping costs in renewable tech spurs rapid shift to clean energy Coal is on its way out, if the NEO 2017 predictions are correct. The BNEF team wrote in Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, and the United States, solar is at least as cheap as coal, and in just a few years – by 2021 – it will be less expensive than coal in Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, and India. And while the report suggests 51 percent of the world’s power could come from renewables in 2040, Greentech Media pointed out that’s an average. Some countries could get more than 51 percent energy from renewables – countries like Mexico, Italy, Brazil, and Chile could get as much as 80 percent of their energy from clean sources. Wind and solar on their own will account for more than 50 percent of power in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Mexico. Green technology adoption – like rooftop solar – will be on the rise. Electric vehicles will “bolster electricity use and help balance the grid .” Henbest told Greentech Media, “The cost declines that we are seeing with these technologies are so steep that it becomes a matter of time as to when they start crossing over and becoming competitive in different ways. These things are getting cheaper faster than we thought even a year ago.” Via Bloomberg New Energy Finance ( 1 , 2 ) and Greentech Media Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows

Seattle’s beloved Space Needle slated for much-needed makeover

June 21, 2017 by  
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Seattle ‘s famed Space Needle – a 55 year-old icon – is finally getting a much-needed makeover. Helmed by local architect Olson Kundig , the ambitious project will update the structure’s physical systems while renovating the restaurant with a rotating glass floor. In addition, a slanted, all-glass enclosure will be installed around the observation deck to enhance the already stellar views. Space Needle Chairman Jeff Wright, whose family owns the building, hailed the project as a necessity to keep the famed landmark up-to-date: “I believe we’ll look back at this as a pivotal moment in the history of the Space Needle. This project both connects us back to our roots, to the vision that my father and his partners had when they built the Space Needle in 1962, and guides us forward into the future for generations to enjoy.” Related: Olson Kundig Designs Office Made From Wind Turbine Parts In addition to renovated structural elements and more elevators, the proposal calls for adding lots more glass to the beloved structure. The walls surrounding the observation deck, which currently has a cage-like enclosure, will be replaced with massive floor-to-ceiling glass panels to provide uninhibited views of the Puget Sound . A rotating, all-glass floor in the restaurant will give visitors a view of Seattle from above. Although there is no specific time frame for the project, the privately-funded renovation will most likely take years. However, the revamped restaurant and observation deck are slated to be opened by summer of 2018. + Olson Kundig Via Fast Company Images via Olson Kundig and video via Brooklyn Digital Foundry

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Seattle’s beloved Space Needle slated for much-needed makeover

Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home

June 21, 2017 by  
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Slovenian firm Styria Arhitektura worked pure architectural magic by transforming a 150-year-old hay barn into a gorgeous contemporary home. After carefully gutting the old barn, the architects salvaged as many materials as they could to create an amazing residence that preserves the building’s traditional vernacular. Although the existing structure was almost completely dilapidated on the inside, the architects decided to retain as much as the barn’s original materials as possible to “preserve the cultural heritage of the Slovene countryside”. They began the ambitious process by organizing the structural details, such as wooden beams and oak nails, to be repurposed in the finished design, now reborn as the Vrhe House. Related: Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home To rebuild the structure as a home, the architects decided to shift the location to a more appropriate “landscape coordinated base” that would give the home more stability. The new home, which retains the original barn shape , is situated on the same expansive meadow, but with an improved orientation. A large, bright living space now sits over a half basement, nestled into the landscape. Although the exterior pays homage to the rural vernacular of the area, the interior of the home is thoroughly modern. A minimalist interior design theme runs throughout the home, which is enhanced by the exposed ceiling beams and other wooden features. The architects clad the interior of the home’s wooden frame with glass panels and installed a large skylight in the ceiling to let in as much natural light as possible throughout the home. + Styria Arhitektura Via Ambienti TV Photography by Miran Kambi?

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Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home

Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Although the mahogany cladding on the Tonke Woodline Camper may seem like a blast from the past, this camper is designed for the modern road warrior. The camper is entirely powered by solar energy , and it comes with a large battery bank and water tank for those looking to go completely off-grid . Hand built in the Netherlands, the camper offers a compact, but comfortable living space. The interior comes with all of the basic necessities – a spacious sleeping area, kitchenette with a large, double-door fridge, and small latrine. Strategic storage throughout the interior helps keep the space clutter free. The dining table with ample seating backs up to the rear doors, which open to provide stellar views. The camper also has a number of windows, which flood the interior with natural light , making the living space light and airy. Related: Solar-powered EarthCruiser camper expands at the push of a button Designed to be used as a sturdy ride for on-the-go travel or just a simple home addition, the camper van’s Mercedes Sprinter base comes installed with four remote-controlled electrical jacks that can lift the camper off its base in order to use the truck’s cargo bed. This feature, along with its compact size, makes the Tonke Camper convenient to ship virtually anywhere in the world. + Tonke Woodline Camper Via Uncrate

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Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

U.S. just generated 10% of electricity from solar and wind for the first time

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Would anyone still like to claim renewable energy can’t power our world? It may take a while, but America is getting more and more of its energy from renewables, according to data from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA). In March 2017, the country generated 10 percent of total electricity from solar power and wind power . This week the EIA reported more than 10 percent of the country’s total electricity generation came from wind and solar. In 2016, those two renewable sources made up seven percent of America’s electricity generation. Increased generating capacity enabled the U.S. to get more clean power . The figures include utility plants and small-scale systems. Related: The sweet moment California got a record 50% of its electricity from solar The EIA noted seasons impact how much clean energy will be generated from renewables. Wind electricity generation usually reaches its height in the spring in places like Texas and Oklahoma , but in California it usually peaks in the summer. Solar output is unsurprisingly best in the summer due to longer daylight hours. The EIA predicted the country would again generate over 10 percent of power from renewables again in April based on weather patterns from other years, but the numbers would dwindle to under 10 percent during the summer. Solar and wind combined tend to generate more power during either the spring or the fall, the administration said. Data from 2016 shows wind generated more power than solar in nearly all of the states, according to the EIA. Looking at the top 12 states, only California and Arizona obtained more power from solar than wind. The prize for most wind energy generated goes to Texas. And energy received from renewable sources was highest in Iowa , which generated 37 percent of power from renewables. Six other states got around 20 percent of power from wind and solar. Via the United States Energy Information Administration Images via U.S. Department of Energy on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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U.S. just generated 10% of electricity from solar and wind for the first time

Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

U.S. President Donald Trump may believe coal is the future , but newly-released statistics by BP Statistical Review of Energy state otherwise. According to the data, global coal production fell by an astonishing 6.2 percent last year — the largest annual decline on record. Additionally, consumption decreased for the second year in a row, dropping 1.7 percent. In wake of these findings, it should come as no surprise that once again, renewables were the fastest growing energy source, growing by a whopping 12 percent — a statistic which represents the largest annual incremental increase in output on record. The report , entitled “Energy markets in transition: BP Statistical Review shows long-term shifts underway,” concluded that the oil market is declining because fast-growing markets are shifting “towards lower carbon fuels as renewable energy continues to grow strongly and coal use falls.” The report also showed that the shift from coal is widespread. The UK, for instance, consumed 52.5 percent less in 2016, the U.S. experienced an 8.8 percent dip in consumption and China’s reliance dropped by 1.6 percent. Evidence to support these conclusions abound. For instance, the UK recently experienced its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution. India also intends to halt all coal plant production in the near future, as renewable technologies have become more affordable. Related: U.S. coal production dips to lowest point in 35 years due to rise of renewable energy sources Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, said, “Global energy markets are in transition. The longer-term trends we can see in this data are changing the patterns of demand and the mix of supply as the world works to meet the challenge of supplying the energy it needs while also reducing carbon emissions . At the same time markets are responding to shorter-run run factors, most notably the oversupply that has weighed on oil prices for the past three years.” As was previously mentioned, renewable energy was the fastest growing of all energy sources, increasing by 12 percent. Though solar, wind and other renewable energy sources provide only 4 percent of the world’s total energy, the increase represents almost one-third of the total growth in energy demand in 2016. Despite certain leaders’ opposition to renewable energy investments, it seems clear the future is green and that consumers will continue to invest in energy sources that are beneficial for the environment, wildlife, and future generations – and their bottom line. + BP Statistical Review of Energy Images via Pixabay

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Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

NRG Energy’s VP: Why sustainable innovation makes business sense

June 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Less than a year into his role as vice president of NRG Energy, Bruno Sarda is helping the largest independent power producer in the country transition to sustainable sources of energy. “Part of the evolution to a sustainable energy future is to be at the leading edge of the transition to new technologies,” he said. “We may not invent the next solar cell, but what we’re really good at is bringing proven technology to scale in a commercially economical way.” 

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NRG Energy’s VP: Why sustainable innovation makes business sense

Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade

June 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Germany, Denmark, and Belgium just announced a landmark agreement to boost their offshore wind power capacity five fold within the next decade. This means that by the year 2027, the countries will increase energy generated via wind from 13.8 gigawatts to more than 60 gigawatts. Because the prices for offshore wind continue to decline (in 2016 alone, there was a 22 percent decrease ), the move is being hailed as an economic and environmental win. To accomplish the task, the governments of all three nations have pledged to work with more than 25 private companies, such as Dong Energy. As The Independent reports, Germany has already proven the viability wind power. In April, bids for offshore wind in Germany fell below the cost of conventional power for the first time — and without the benefit of government subsidies. Related: World’s largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands The agreement, signed on Tuesday in London, builds on a partnership between 10 northern European countries to collaborate on cutting the cost of installing offshore wind turbines. The seven countries absent from the signing will be asked to support the new statement. Some delays are expected as several nations need to wait until after their general elections are held — such as the UK . “With this joint statement, leading businesses and governments are taking the next step by committing to cooperate on the deployment of big volumes for offshore wind energy,” said Giles Dickson, chief executive officer at WindEurope. “Today’s statement is a clear recognition of the strategic importance of offshore wind as a clean, competitive and reliable energy source for Europe.” Via The Independent Images via Pixabay

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Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade

Scientists unveil first printable, stable perovskite solar cell good for 10K hours

June 12, 2017 by  
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The mineral perovskite has been touted as the next big thing for renewable energy , potentially giving solar cells a 31 percent maximum efficiency – but water-soluble and perovskite solar cells typically don’t last long in the real world. 11 scientists at institutions in Switzerland and Italy may have finally achieved what researchers have been working towards since around 2009: a stable perovskite solar cell. Their solar cells stayed stable in real world conditions for longer than a year. Perovskite solar cells have already been built with an efficiency of more than 22 percent, but that’s in a laboratory. Oxygen and moisture go to work on the cells once they’re outside. But this team led by scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne drew on a new type of structure in the solar cell to create one the university says is ultra-stable. Related: Austrian scientists create a cheap, flexible solar cell just 3 micrometers thick They designed a hybrid 2D/3D perovskite solar cell. According to ScienceAlert, the 2D perovskite serves as a protective window to guard against moisture, so the 3D perovskite can generate electricity . The solar cells were built up layer by layer – like a sandwich, according to ScienceAlert – by putting different ingredients atop one another. The team built 10 by 10 centimeters squared solar panels , with what the university described as a fully printable industrial-scale process. The hybrid 2D/3D perovskite solar cells are resistant to oxygen and water, while still able to transport electrical charges. They absorb light from the whole visible spectrum, according to the university. The efficiency isn’t great yet – just 11.2 percent. But the university noted that efficiency was constant for over 10,000 hours, with zero loss in performance. Project leader Mohammad Khaja Nazeeruddin told ScienceAlert, “The important finding in this manuscript is identifying the presence of multi-dimensional 2D/3D interface. We believe [this] will trigger many further studies…widening the prospects for perovskite photovoltaics .” The journal Nature Communications published the advance online the beginning of this month. Via ScienceAlert and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Images via PublicDomainPictures.net and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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Scientists unveil first printable, stable perovskite solar cell good for 10K hours

Gargantuan lace sea urchins light up the night along Singapore’s marina

June 12, 2017 by  
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A swarm of gigantic, glowing sea urchins recently appeared on Singapore’s waterfront for the iLight Marina Bay Festival. Choi+Shine Architects constructed the larger-than-life creatures as “lacy rooms” that invite visitors to walk inside and enjoy their intricate structure and visual effects. The structures are inspired by sea urchin shells, which are elnclosed yet lightweight and porous. The architects recreated the intricate patterns of urchins using white double-braided polyester chord woven in 20 segments and attached to a metal frame. It took 50 people to assemble the structures by hand over a period of two months. Related: Robots helped build and sew together this amazing sea urchin-inspired pavilion Each sea urchin measures 56 feet in size and weighs around 220 pounds. The lacy pavilions are illuminated by white spot lights, creating the illusion that they glow in the dark. The calming effect and simplicity of the installation visually contrasts Singapore’s skyscrapers and celebrates the city’s cultural diversity. + Choi+Shine Architects Photos © 2016, 2017 Choi+Shine Architects

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Gargantuan lace sea urchins light up the night along Singapore’s marina

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