Tag archives for renewables

Thanks to a record year in 2013, the solar industry installed more photovoltaic power over a period of 18 months than it did in the preceding 30 years. It’s a startling fact, and it captures the flavor of a report published on Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research that details…

Renewables are making headway in Europe and bringing a low-carbon electricity system to the forefront. Renewables were 69 percent of new capacity added in 2012 in Europe and 49 percent in the United States. Not surprisingly, this threatens utilities unwilling to let go of outmoded business models and fossil-fuel generation. Laments for Europe’s money-losing electric…

The location of a wind farm can play a key role in the potential for wind energy to add or detract from stability on the electric grid, according to researchers at North Carolina State University and Johns Hopkins University. The paper, released this month,  notes that some wind farms, because of their location and the…

New study concludes that biofuels can be part of climate-energy solution.

The greenish sheen that sometimes appears on still water is actually a potential energy powerhouse–cyanobacteria, a microorganism that manufactures its own energy through photosynthesis. Biotechnology companies today are working to develop cyanobacteria, algae, and even municipal waste as feedstocks for advanced biofuels. But these promising abundant non-food sources lack either the government subsidies or the…

What a difference three years can make. In 2010, First Wind tried to do an initial public offering, but never made it out of the gate. Last Friday, in a sign of wind power’s now-entrenched place on the U.S. energy landscape, Pattern Energy Group had a successful IPO, raising $352 million. Of course, there was more that was different about…

Everyone who works on energy futures – myself included – spends a great deal of time envisioning and then evaluating the scientific, technical, policy, and behavioral factors needed to initiate and sustain these shifts. We recently completed a study of what it would take in western North America to expand the deployment of solar power…

Kenichi Hazawa, a resident of Ofunato in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, moved into his new home this summer—a milestone in and of itself. The rebuilding job has been monumental in this coastal city, where almost one-quarter of the 15,000 homes were destroyed by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, and nearly 8,000 people were forced…

The federal government’s latest international energy projections are out, and there’s no question we’re living in a time of enormous change—and perhaps remarkably little progress. The International Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration tries to identify the big trends and projections affecting the energy world through 2040. Some of the trends include: The…

When President Obama unveiled his long-awaited climate change strategy this week, he never mentioned biofuels. (See “Obama Unveils Climate Strategy.”) But with nearly a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions due to burning petroleum for transportation, a key and controversial question is what role plant-based alternatives can play in cutting the nation’s carbon emissions. As…

Renewable Energy Not Growing as Fast as Necessary, Reports Say

On the road to more sustainable, clean energy, the ride has been bumpy. That’s the message to two reports this week—one from the International Energy Agency and one from the Pew Environment Group—that measured progress on transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Renewable energy has stalled, both analyses point out, for a few different…

  In my recent post, “The Limited Vision of the Pro-Nuclear Energy Argument,” one of the commenters wrote: “it is a fact that only carbon-based energy and nuclear have a high enough energy density to meet our world’s demands. None of the renewables come close.” I responded, “It is far from ‘fact’ that only carbon-based…

Italy’s attempt to drive growth in its renewables sector has given rise to a new line of business for the Mafia, and the government is trying to crack down, according to a fascinating report in The Washington Post. Italy, along with many other countries in Europe, has been ramping up the development of renewable energy…

History suggests he’s wrong.

Advocates scrambling to extend subsidies for renewable energy have wind back in their sails after the re-election of President Barack Obama and Congress’ return to Washington. The renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) gives wind power producers an income tax credit of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour. Without it, wind energy can be too expensive…

Iceland is famous for its breathtaking scenery, its geysers, its Blue Lagoon—and for using its abundant renewable energy, and especially for tapping the volcanic roots of the island in developing its geothermal resources. Iceland today generates 100 percent of its electricity with renewables: 75 percent of that from large hydro, and 25 percent from geothermal.…

Solar is getting its due from the Energy Information Administration, which is now reporting customer-sited photovoltaic capacity, in addition to the utility-scale PV total. Earlier this year we reported on research by Michael Mendelsohn, a market and policy impact analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado, that revealed that EIA reports on the state of U.S.…

Putting more in than it takes out – across the board, that’s a key aspect of the bold sustainability plan the furniture giant IKEA says it will pursue over the next several years. The company on Tuesday vowed that by 2020 it will produce more renewable energy than it consumes in its stores and buildings. But what…

Wooden Wind Tower Claims Green Edge

The tens of thousands of massive towers around the world that hold megawatt-plus turbines hundreds of feet high, where the wind blows unimpede,d are fashioned of multiple steel plates rolled into a cylinder or conical shape, welded into sections of tower, and then bolted together onsite. Except for one. In Germany, the company TimberTower announced it had…

The Caribbean island of Bonaire has been on a pretty interesting path energy-wise since 2004, when the island’s sole power plant burned to the ground. Given an opportunity to rebuild literally from the ground up, the government decided to create a plan that would lead them to 100 percent sustainable energy generation by the end…

How do Obama’s words on energy compare to Team Romney’s? Last week, while the Republicans were celebrating the Romney-Ryan ticket in Tampa, Florida, we posted a count-the-words analysis of their energy plan. The plan’s overall aim is to achieve energy independence for North America. The numbers told us the path to independence for the Romney…

Oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, efficiency. Which are the Republican hopefuls’ priorities? This week, it’s convention time for the Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees. Last week, the Romney-Ryan team rolled out its energy policy [pdf] for the nation. Entitled “The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE,” the new plan, running…

I’ve begun thinking that one of the defining questions for clean energy is, “What’s the plan?” Not a company plan, but a country plan — one that realistically maps us to an economy that gets the vast majority of its energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and that has us drastically minimizing waste. Amory Lovins has taken a…

Despite sluggish growth in most developed countries and the on-going debt crisis in Europe, renewable energy investment showed solid growth of 17 percent in 2011 over the year before, says a new status report on renewable energy. In 2011, renewable energy investment hit a new record of $257 billion, according to “Global Trends in Renewable…

Stretching across Nicaragua’s west coast, the Maribios volcanic chain may harbor a solution to the country’s energy crisis. The power embedded in those volcanoes is being harvested through geothermal projects, which could help Nicaragua wean itself from its dependence on imported fossil fuels and meet more of its energy demand. A report released by the…