Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows

June 21, 2017 by  
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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

Weaving clean energy into low-income communities

June 15, 2017 by  
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The challenges of including disadvantaged households and communities in the renewables movement haven’t largely gone unaddressed.

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Weaving clean energy into low-income communities

Weaving clean energy into low-income communities

June 15, 2017 by  
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The challenges of including disadvantaged households and communities in the renewables movement haven’t largely gone unaddressed.

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Weaving clean energy into low-income communities

Navigating clean energy innovation in the age of Trump

May 16, 2017 by  
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A new study shows who’s leading the pack in the renewables leadership race.

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Navigating clean energy innovation in the age of Trump

Stanford researchers pioneer world’s first affordable urea battery

February 13, 2017 by  
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Stanford University researchers have designed a new battery that could revolutionize renewable energy storage . Using urea , an affordable, natural and readily available material found in mammal urine and fertilizers, their battery is notably more efficient than past iterations. The battery, developed by Stanford chemistry professor Honjie Dai and doctoral candidate Michael Angell, uses an electrolyte made from urea – a material already produced in mass industrial quantities for use in plant fertilizers. Non-flammable and made with electrodes from abundant materials like aluminum and graphite, the battery presents a low-cost way for storing energy from many sources – including renewables . “So essentially, what you have is a battery made with some of the cheapest and most abundant materials you can find on Earth. And it actually has good performance,” says Dai in a press release. “Who would have thought you could take graphite, aluminum, urea, and actually make a battery that can cycle for a pretty long time?” Dai and his team were the first to make a rechargeable aluminum battery in 2015, which charged in less than a minute, while lasting for thousands of charge-discharge cycles. And they’ve improved on both the performance and cost of their latest model, which is about 100 times cheaper than the 2015 battery, with a higher efficiency of 1,500 charge-discharge cycles and a charging time of 45 minutes. This is also the first time that urea has been used to make a battery. Related: MIT researchers invent ingestible battery powered by stomach acid Energy storage is a huge challenge for solar power and other renewables, as users need a reliable way to store power for when their systems aren’t producing energy. The batteries currently on the market, including lithium ion and lead-acid batteries tend to be quite costly and don’t last that long. But Dai and Angell believe their battery might be the solution to the conundrum of renewable energy storage. “It’s cheap. It’s efficient. Grid storage is the main goal,” says Angell. “I would feel safe if my backup battery in my house is made of urea with little chance of causing fire,” added Dai. The researchers have licensed their battery patents to AB Systems, a company founded by Dai, and a commercial version of the battery is on the way. They’re planning to work on increasing its life span down the road by further investigating its internal chemical processes. Via Stanford Images via Pexels , US Navy and Tea Horse Trade Guest House , Wikimedia Commons

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Stanford researchers pioneer world’s first affordable urea battery

New York approves nation’s largest offshore wind farm

January 26, 2017 by  
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It’s official – New York just gave the green light for the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. The new South Fork Wind Farm will generate 90 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity from 15 turbines — enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes. Offshore developer Deepwater Wind, fresh off its successful completion of the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, won the contract to install the turbines 30 miles southeast of Montauk. The turbines will be connected to a substation in East Hampton by a 50-mile undersea cable. The Long Island Power Authority voted Wednesday to move forward with the state’s first commercial offshore wind development. The project is the second in the US after the 30-megawatt, 5-turbine Block Island Wind Farm – which began operating off the coast of Rhode Island six weeks ago. “New York leads the nation in pioneering clean energy innovation, and this bold action marks the next step in our unprecedented commitment to offshore wind, as well as our ambitious long-term energy goal of supplying half of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement . “This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy, but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change and help preserve our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers.” Related: America’s first offshore wind farm is now powering 17,000 homes In his State of the State address in Albany earlier this month, the governor pledged to build 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 – enough to power 1.25 million homes. The $740 million project on the eastern end of Long Island is the first step in developing the 256-square-mile area that could potentially contain as many as 200 wind turbines generating up to 1,000 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is working on an Offshore Wind Master Plan to be released this year that will identify additional New York coastal areas where offshore wind can be developed. “Offshore wind needs to be a significant part of the energy mix. It is key to putting the Empire State on a path toward an economy powered entirely by renewable energy,” Heather Leibowitz, director of Environment New York, said in a statement. “The 90-megawatts of energy produced off east Montauk will get us one step closer to this goal.” + South Fork Wind Farm Via Environment New York Images via UK Department of Energy and Climate Change , Vattenfall

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New York approves nation’s largest offshore wind farm

Elon Musk supports former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

January 26, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk is a well-known clean energy advocate – but he shocked many followers this week when he threw his support behind former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Acknowledging his support could be startling, Musk took to Twitter to say the oil mogul actually ” supports a carbon tax .” https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/824010489449431040 The Economist tweeted a December 2016 article titled ” Give Rex a chance ” on the occasion of Tillerson’s narrow approval as Secretary of State. Musk responded to the article, saying “This may sound surprising coming from me, but I agree with The Economist. Rex Tillerson has the potential to be an excellent Sec of State.” Related: Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change Naturally Musk followers were quick to ask him why he’d support Tillerson, and he said , “Rex is an exceptionally competent executive, understands geopolitics and knows how to win for his team. His team is now the USA. I share The Economist’s opinion that he should be given the benefit of the doubt unless his actions prove otherwise.” Musk also pointed to statements from Tillerson’s confirmation hearing where Tillerson said the United States should “maintain its seat at the table in the conversation on how to address threats of climate change . They do require a global response.” https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/824149662366126087 Several hours after he sparked the conversation Musk tweeted , “Rex Tillerson supports a carbon tax. This is what is really needed to move the needle.” He included a link to a December 2016 Bloomberg article , which back then noted Musk and Tillerson agreed on a carbon tax as the “best tool for fighting climate change.” It remains to be seen if Musk’s backing will be justified and if Tillerson will follow through on a carbon tax. Images via NASA Kennedy on Flickr and Archive of the Official Site of the 2008-2012 Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

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Elon Musk supports former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Hawaii bill calls for 100% green transportation by 2045

January 20, 2017 by  
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Hawaii lawmakers want the state’s ground transportation to run entirely on renewables by 2045. As a majority of their imported fossil fuels go towards transportation, if every car on the road was instead powered by clean electricity , it could make a huge difference for the state’s emissions. But there’s still a long way to go. Not only does the bill need to be passed, but just around 5,000 of the one million cars in Hawaii are currently electric . Hawaii already leads the United States in renewable energy goals, with a target of utilities sourcing 100 percent of electricity from clean sources by 2045. But they want to go a step further, now calling for 100 percent renewable ground transportation. Related: 45-ton Azura generator harvests energy from Hawaii’s waves The 2045 clean ground transportation goal wouldn’t be a mandate, unlike the 2045 electricity goal under which utilities will be fined if they do not source all their electricity from renewable sources by the deadline. If you live in Hawaii, you won’t have to turn in your gas-guzzling car; state representative Chris Lee, who’s the Energy and Environment committee chairman, said, “Nobody wants to step in and force people to get rid of cars that they might love now.” The Hawaii Legislature began Wednesday, and there the bill will be introduced. Lawmakers are unsure if funding will be part of the bill. But it is clear that it will focus only on ground transportation and not air transportation, a sector where it’s more difficult to power crafts renewably. For Hawaii to achieve its goals, other states and countries will have to pitch in. Energy consulting company HD Baker & Co. managing director Hugh Baker said, “Our ability to achieve it is really going to be dependent on what happens throughout the entire automotive industry. We can say we want 100 percent clean transportation technology, but the market in Hawaii is not nearly big enough by itself to move the whole global automotive industry. It will really take more than just Hawaii.” Via Phys.org Images via Good Free Photos and Ken Lund on Flickr

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Elon Musk says Trump administration may be "positive on renewables"

January 6, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk , recently selected as a strategic advisor for President-elect Donald Trump , seems hopeful the next administration may be more open to renewable energy than we think. Speaking at the Gigafactory this week, he said we may “see surprising things” from the Trump administration. Even though the President-elect likely won’t be hard on fossil fuels , said Musk, his administration may be “positive on renewables.” After Trump’s tech meeting at Trump Tower last month, which was attended by executives like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the President-elect picked the Tesla and SpaceX CEO as a strategic advisor. Many people welcomed Musk’s selection, hoping it was a good sign Trump was willing to have someone so outspoken on climate change as an advisor. Related: Donald Trump selects Elon Musk to serve as strategic advisor But don’t get too excited – Musk made it clear Trump hasn’t reversed his fossil fuel-loving stance. In a Gigafactory event with investors, Musk reportedly said, “The President-elect has a strong emphasis on U.S. manufacturing and so do we. We are building the biggest factory in the world right here, creating U.S. jobs…I think we may see some surprising things from the next administration. We don’t think they will be negative on fossil fuels…but they may also be positive on renewables.” Trump may go easy on the fossil fuel industry. He may be closed-minded about a carbon tax – an idea Musk recently championed in Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood documentary – but the President-elect might be unable to stop the progress towards a clean energy economy as solar and wind prices plummet . Tesla employs over 25,000 people in the United States, according to Electrek, and aims to add 1,000 jobs at a New York solar panel factory, 3,000 jobs at a California factory, and 6,500 jobs at the Gigafactory. As it would be irrational and irresponsible for Trump to turn his back on a growing industry that could greatly benefit the economy and the environment, job creation could be Musk’s trump card. Via Electrek Images via Steve Jurvetson on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Elon Musk says Trump administration may be "positive on renewables"

Costa Rica ran almost entirely on renewables in 2016

January 5, 2017 by  
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It’s a happy new year in Costa Rica, where the nation’s Electricity Institute has reported that 98.1 percent of the electricity used in 2016 came from renewable energy sources . This is the second consecutive year that Costa Rica has proven the power and reliability of renewables, after hitting 99 percent in 2015. While the achievement isn’t surprising, given that the country’s leaders have been ambitiously pursuing (and coming close to) this goal for several years, it is still important. What Costa Rica has accomplished shows the world that relying on renewable energy is not only possible, but that it can become a reality much earlier than many skeptics believe. The reasons behind Costa Rica ’s high renewable usage are numerous, and sort of complicated. For starters, the per capita electricity consumption in the nation of 4.9 million people is much less than, say, that of the typical American. In fact, the average Costa Rican uses just one-seventh the electricity that Americans do. With less electricity in demand, it’s much easier to supply those needs with renewable sources, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be possible for the United States to reach the same astounding figures with the proper infrastructure. Related: Costa Rica celebrates 113 days of 100-percent renewable energy (and counting) Costa Rica’s climate has also made it a bit easier to become powered almost entirely by renewables . The area’s plentiful rainfall positions hydropower as the primary renewable energy source, supplying around 75 percent of the electricity used each year. Solar and wind power make up most of the remaining portion, again due to the perks of the geographic region. While 99 and 98 percent in 2015 and 2016 are insanely respectable figures, the Costa Rican government is aiming higher for 2017 and beyond, with four new wind farms to generate even more clean energy. Via Grist Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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Costa Rica ran almost entirely on renewables in 2016

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