New Zealand aims for grid completely powered by renewables by 2035

November 8, 2017 by  
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New Zealand’s new prime minister has ambitious goals to seriously slash carbon emissions . Jacinda Ardern, who became prime minister in late October, wants to transition the grid to 100 percent renewables in less than 20 years. Her ultimate goal for New Zealand is zero carbon emissions by 2050. New Zealand’s 4.7 million people already obtain over 80 percent of electricity via sustainable sources, according to Bloomberg . But Ardern – now the world’s youngest female leader – seems to think they can do even better. She wants the country to move over to obtaining electricity completely from renewable energy by 2035. Related: New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal status as a person The move won’t be without its challenges. New Zealand generates around 60 percent of their power from hydropower , according to 2016 figures. But when dry conditions cause lake levels to drop, gas and coal have helped out. Without those fossil fuels , electricity consumers could experience price hikes. But the country still has made a lot of progress towards the ambitious goal; in the winter of 2016, renewable energy generation actually peaked at 93 percent, according to Bloomberg. Ardern hasn’t put out full details of her plan to get New Zealand to a carbon-free status. She has suggested an independent commission to help meet the 2050 goal. New Zealand’s independent advisory body Productivity Commission has an inquiry into transitioning to a low carbon economy. Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson told Bloomberg Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar .” Contact Energy chief executive officer Dennis Barnes also pointed to solar – and batteries and electric vehicles – as technology that could help New Zealand move towards a greener future. Via Bloomberg and Futurism Images via Depositphotos and Good Free Photos

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New Zealand aims for grid completely powered by renewables by 2035

Frank Lloyd Wright’s mushroom-esque Usonia home hits the market for $1.5M

November 8, 2017 by  
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In the late 1940s, Frank Lloyd Wright was hired to design a planned community near Pleasantville, New York. Today, the Usonia Historic District is a picturesque neighborhood filled with houses that were designed by Wright – including a round stone home with two circular rooftops reminiscent of the fungi that cover the forest. It’s called the Sol Friedmen Home – and it just hit the market for a cool $1.5M . Located just 50 minutes outside of Manhattan, Usonia is a 100-acre cooperative founded by NYC couples. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the neighborhood layout in a circular fashion to preserve the natural forest setting, encouraging “the flow of the land”. The architect then designed three of the 47 homes himself and contracted the remaining work out to some of his most admired colleagues. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright beach house listed on Airbnb for under $150 per night The Sol Friedmen Home, which was built in 1949, is a round structure with overlapping concrete slab rooftops. The two intersecting mushroom-like rooftops are complimented with a fungi-inspired carport adjacent to the home. The circular building is supported by a wall of exposed stone ashlar masonry topped with metal-framed glass panels. The home’s materials were selected to blend into the surrounding forestscape. On the inside, nature is again the focus. The home’s curvature and abundance of windows allow views of the evergreen forest from virtually every angle. A large great room is lined with built-in oak shelving and furniture designed by Wright. A beautiful stone fireplace holds court at the center of the room. The new owners of the three-bedroom home will join the unique 100-acre Usonia community , which was named a national historic district in 2012. Along with the three Wright homes, the remaining 44 homes were designed by innovative architects including Paul Schweikher, Wright students Kaneji Domoto and Theodore Dixon Bower, Ulrich Franzen, Aaron Resnick and Wright apprentice David Henken. + Sol Friedman House Via Archinect Images via Houlihan Lawrence

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s mushroom-esque Usonia home hits the market for $1.5M

A mix of energy sources advance Hawaii’s renewables goal

August 21, 2017 by  
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Once Hawaii publicized its goal to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2045, the state’s options to get there expanded greatly. “We saw a slew of different solutions that can help Hawaii get to its renewables goal,” said Luis Salaveria, director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). That includes the renewables mix of hydro, wind and solar, as well as the technology to get power on the grid. 

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A mix of energy sources advance Hawaii’s renewables goal

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

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