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Nearly 140 Countries Could Be Powered Entirely by Wind, Solar and Water by 2050

Nearly 140 Countries Could Be Powered Entirely by Wind, Solar and Water by 2050

‘Our findings suggest that the benefits are so great that we should accelerate the transition to wind, water, and solar, as fast as possible, by retiring fossil-fuel systems early wherever we can’

By: Ian Johnston

More than 70 per cent of the countries in the world – including the UK, US, China and other major economies – could run entirely on energy created by wind, water and solar by 2050, according to a roadmap developed by scientists.

And they pointed out that doing so would not only mean the world would avoid dangerous global warming, but also prevent millions of premature deaths a year and create about 24 million more jobs than were lost.

One of the scientists said the social benefits of following their roadmap were so “enormous” and essentially cost free that human society should “accelerate the transition to wind, water and solar as fast as possible”.

Rooftop solar panels and major solar power plants; offshore and onshore wind turbines; wave, hydroelectric and tidal schemes; and geothermal energy would also be used to replace fossil fuels to generate electricity, power vehicles and heat homes.

The UK is about to publish its own Emissions Reduction Plan, which is supposed to set out how Britain will meet its international commitment in the fight against climate change – to cut emissions by 57 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.

While the UK has been making good progress on decarbonising electricity generation, the transport and domestic heating sectors remain problematic.

As part of its attempts to improve air quality, the Government has announced it will ban the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in 2040. It remains to be seen how radical it will be in encouraging the switch from gas-central heating to low or zero-carbon methods.

Writing in the journal Joule, a team of researchers led by Professor Mark Jacobson, of Stanford University in the US, warned the stakes were high.

“The seriousness of air-pollution, climate, and energy-security problems worldwide requires a massive, virtually immediate transformation of the world’s energy infrastructure to 100 per cent clean, renewable energy producing zero emissions,” they said.

“For example, each year, four to seven million people die prematurely and hundreds of millions more become ill from air pollution, causing a massive amount of pain and suffering that can nearly be eliminated by a zero-emission energy system.

“Similarly, avoiding 1.5C warming since pre-industrial times requires no less than an 80 per cent conversion of the energy infrastructure to zero-emitting energy by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050.

“Lastly, as fossil-fuel supplies dwindle and their prices rise, economic, social, and political instability may ensue unless a replacement energy infrastructure is developed well ahead of time.”

The roadmaps were developed for 139 countries for which information about energy systems was available, out of the total of 195.

They “describe a future where all energy sectors are electrified or use heat directly with existing technology, energy demand is lower due to several factors, and the electricity is generated with 100% wind, water and sunlight (WWS)”, the researchers said.

“The roadmaps are not a prediction of what might happen. They are one proposal for an end-state mix of WWS generators by country and a timeline to get there that we believe can largely solve the world’s climate-change, air-pollution, and energy-security problems,” they added.

Professor Jacobson, director of Stanford’s atmosphere and energy programme, said political leaders needed reassurance that the transition to a zero-carbon economy would work.

“Both individuals and governments can lead this change. Policymakers don’t usually want to commit to doing something unless there is some reasonable science that can show it is possible, and that is what we are trying to do,” he said.

“We are not saying that there is only one way we can do this, but having a scenario gives people direction.”

Fellow researcher Mark Delucchi added: “It appears we can achieve the enormous social benefits of a zero-emission energy system at essentially no extra cost.

“Our findings suggest that the benefits are so great that we should accelerate the transition to wind, water, and solar, as fast as possible, by retiring fossil-fuel systems early wherever we can.”

The researchers decided to exclude nuclear power, coal with carbon-capture-and-storage, biofuels and bioenergy from their vision of the future.

On nuclear, they highlighted the risks of weapons proliferation and the chance of a power plant meltdown.

“There is no known way at this time to eliminate these risks. By contrast, WWS technologies have none of these risks. Thus, we are proposing and evaluating a system that we believe provides the greatest environmental benefits with the least risk,” the researchers wrote.

Courtesy: http://www.independent.co.uk

 

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Published at Tue, 29 Aug 2017 07:09:11 +0000

Otterburne Farm Gets Manitoba’s Biggest Solar Power Installation

Otterburne Farm Gets Manitoba’s Biggest Solar Power Installation

Solar panels will bring farm’s annual energy consumption to net zero

By: Cameron MacLean

Workers install solar panels at a dairy farm in Otterburne, Man. The firm doing the installation says when it’s complete, it will be the biggest solar project in the province. (Pierre Verriere/CBC)

A dairy farm in southern Manitoba will soon boast the largest solar energy installation in the province.

Hans Gorter is getting 540 panels, each with an area of 1.4 to 1.6 square metres, installed on his 130-cow dairy farm in Otterburne, about 45 kilometres south of Winnipeg.

The system, which cost Gorter $500,000, received a $175,000 rebate through a program offered by Manitoba Hydro. It will generate close to 200,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually.

If everything works properly, the system will bring Gorter’s annual energy consumption to net zero.

“For us, that is a logical choice. If there’s technology out there that is beneficial for that, then we are looking into it to see if we can use it.”

The installation costs will be paid off in the next eight to 10 years, Gorter said.

In addition to reducing his carbon footprint, Gorter said the solar system gives him control over his energy costs.

“We know for the next 25 years what Hydro will cost us. If this thing works, the investment we make today will pay off. We will [have] zero electricity bill until these panels are worn out,” he said.

Winnipeg-based Sycamore Energy, which operates as Solar Manitoba in this province, is installing the panels on Gorter’s farm. Sycamore president Justin Phillips said the company has either installed or plans to install solar panels on close to 60 farms in Manitoba.

Over the last six months, the company has repeatedly broken its own records for the largest solar projects in Manitoba, Phillips said, starting with a 20-kilowatt job in MacGregor in February, then a 70-kilowatt project in Rivers completed in April.

“Solar technology is new here in the province. We’re not used to seeing this type technology, but it’s not new to the world. This is 30-, 40-year-old technology that has been around a long time.”

Gorter, who moved to Canada from the Netherlands in 1987, said friends and family in Europe are already familiar with solar technology.

“Europe seems to adapt quite quickly and in Canada we seem to think that we’re very comfortable the way we are. I think that there is a change coming and there’s a benefit for my farm to change energy from a commodity to a production thing,” he said.

Wayne Clayton, chair of the Manitoba Sustainable Energy Association, said farmers can benefit from solar energy in a variety of ways.

“Manitoba farmers are very conscious about their impact on the environment as well as the impact the environment has on them and their businesses, as they live in it every day,” he said.

“Just with the sun that we have in Manitoba, we’re an ideal place to put solar panels in Canada.”

The economic benefits of switching to solar also extend to the rest of Manitoba by reducing the amount of money flowing out of the province through the purchase of carbon fuels, potentially saving money and creating jobs, Clayton said.

Manitoba Hydro’s solar energy program, which ends in 2018, has approved 368 applications for funding. As of Aug. 10, 2017, the program has given $1,083,415 to 88 completed installations, generating a combined total of one megawatt of DC power, a Manitoba Hydro spokesperson said.

For comparison, the total capacity of the Limestone Generating Station is approximately 1350 megawatts (AC), the spokesperson said.

Courtesy: http://www.cbc.ca/

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Published at Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:00:28 +0000

Renewable Energy Explained in 2 1/2 Minutes

Renewable Energy Explained in 2 1/2 Minutes

This is an unofficial explainer video I created for a college project. I decided to gear it toward TheSolutionsProject.org. The assets went from Adobe Illustrator to After Effects. This animation explains the different types of energy such as, fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear and renewables.

Written, animated and illustrated by Dane Bliss
Music by: Essa: https://soundcloud.com/essa-1
Voiceover by: Mike Porter: https://goo.gl/GNouYE

German translation by Robert Orzanna: http://www.sheetstosucceed.today/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/orschiro

Visit my online portfolio to see some more work at http://www.DaneBliss.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DaneBlissDesign
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dane-Bliss-Graphic-Design-813194572110628/timeline/

Solar Glasses Generate Solar Power

Solar Glasses Generate Solar Power

Organic solar cells are flexible, transparent, and light-weight — and can be manufactured in arbitrary shapes or colors. Thus, they are suitable for a variety of applications that cannot be realized with conventional silicon solar cells. In the Energy Technology journal, researchers from KIT now present sunglasses with colored, semitransparent solar cells applied onto lenses that supply a microprocessor and two displays with electric power. This paves the way for other future applications such as the integration of organic solar cells into windows or overhead glazing.

“We bring solar power to places where other solar technologies fail,” says Dr. Alexander Colsmann, Head of Organic Photovoltaics Group at KIT’s Light Technology Institute (LTI). The “smart” Solar Glasses designed as a case study by the scientist and his team at KIT, is self-powered to measure and display the solar illumination intensity and ambient temperature. The solar cell lenses, perfectly fitted to a commercial frame, have a thickness of approx. 1.6 millimeters and weigh about six grams — just like the lenses of traditional sunglasses. The microprocessor and the two small displays are integrated into the temples of the Solar Glasses. They show the illumination intensity and the ambient temperature as bar graphs. The Solar Glasses also work in indoor environments under illumination down to 500 Lux, which is the usual illumination of an office or a living area. Under these conditions, each of the “smart” lenses still generates 200 milliwatt of electric power — enough to operate devices such as a hearing aid or a step counter.

“The Solar Glasses we developed are an example of how organic solar cells may be employed in applications that would not be feasible with conventional photovoltaics,” stresses PhD student Dominik Landerer who largely contributed to the development of the solar glasses at the Material Research Center for Energy Systems of KIT. In the eyes of the engineer, these solar cells, which are based on hydrocarbons, are very exciting devices due to their mechanical flexibility and the opportunity to adapt their color, transparency, shape, and size to the desired application.

According to Colsmann, another field of application is the integration of solar cells into buildings: Since the glass facades of high-rise buildings must often be shaded, it is an obvious option to use organic solar modules for transforming the absorbed light into electric power. A future vision for the engineer, who works on the basic understanding of organic solar cell and semiconductor components at the Material Research Center for Energy Systems, is to coat large surfaces with organic solar cells using reel-to-reel technology. The KIT researchers present their study on solar sunglasses, entitled “Solar Glasses: A Case Study on Semitransparent Organic Solar Cells for Self-Powered, Smart Wearable Devices,” in the Energy Technology journal. Their research was funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) within the scope of the POPUP project which is aimed at developing novel materials and device structures suitable for competitive mass production processes and applications in the field of organic photovoltaics.

Courtesy: https://www.sciencedaily.com/

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Published at Sun, 13 Aug 2017 07:09:43 +0000

Solar Power Will Exceed Thermal Output by 2027: Economic Survey

Solar Power Will Exceed Thermal Output by 2027: Economic Survey

India has set itself the goal of 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022 and 275 GW by 2027.

NEW DELHI: India’s renewable energy programme is proceeding at such a rapid pace that its contribution to total power generation will equal that of coal in 2026 and surpass it the following year, according to projections made in the second volume of the Economic Survey released on Friday.

At present, India’s installed power capacity is 327 GW of which thermal power from coal comprises 192.16 GW or 55% of the total, while renewable energy capacity is 57.26 MW or 18% of the total. India has set itself the goal of 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022 and 275 GW by 2027.

But coal capacity is expected to increase by only 50 GW by 2022 and thereafter remain almost constant, as a result of which by 2027, coal-based power capacity will 248.51GW, or a shade less than that of renewables.

However, that will depend on the ambitious yearly energy targets being persistently achieved.

Already in 2016-17, installed renewable capacity increased by 24.5%, while thermal went up by merely 5.3%.

The survey notes that the cost of renewable energy has fallen drastically in recent years putting economic cost of solar and wind power almost on par with that of thermal power.

It points out that the levelised cost of electricity from solar halved between 2010 and 2014 and has fallen further since to a record low of Rs 2.44 per kwH at a solar auction in Rajasthan in May. It notes that wind tariffs too have dropped, though not as dramatically. But the survey also provides a detailed analysis of the social costs of both coal–based energy and renewable energy.

In all, it estimates that currently the social cost of renewables is around Rs 11 per kwH, three times the social cost of coal. However, in coming years, the balance is expected to change considerably as the cost of stranded assets becomes less important.

The report also notes that India is well on its way to achieving the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) goals it had committed to at international climate conferences.

Courtesy: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

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Published at Tue, 15 Aug 2017 07:04:29 +0000

Bill Gates and the Quest for Sustainable Energy

Bill Gates and the Quest for Sustainable Energy

“We need an energy miracle,” says Bill Gates in this interview with Atlantic editor in chief James Bennet. “That may make it seem too daunting to people, but miracles in science are happening all the time.” So, what are the solutions to climate change? Gates has pledged to invest $2 billion in new alternative energy technologies. In this discussion with Bennet, he extolls the necessity of investment in vast and varied technologies to change such a massive infrastructure quickly. Read more about Gates’s commitment to moving the world beyond fossil fuels in the November 2015 issue of The Atlantic.

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Sustainable energy: New energy innovations to make the future brighter – Compilation

Sustainable energy: New energy innovations to make the future brighter – Compilation

1. An Australian company has been working on a system that uses underwater buoys to convert sea waves into zero-emission energy and desalinated water.

2. Scientists in China are producing solar panels that can produce energy from the last source you’d expect — rainwater.

3. A Japanese engineer has designed a new type of wind turbine that he believes would be able to harness power from typhoons.

4. Researchers at Binghamton University have come up with an interesting way to harness energy, using a resource we have far too much of — bacteria.

5. US scientists have developed a bionic leaf that can convert solar energy into liquid fuel.

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4 benefits of using solar energy at home

The solar market is growing in the U.S and the rest of the world. Many people now realize the benefits of using solar power for their building. Here are the top benefits of using solar energy at home.

Save money

1

If you add solar panels to your home, you can save $100 monthly in many states. Within two decades, you can save more than $30,000. In Hawaii, $64,000 is saved in the first 20 years.

Good financing options

2

The Solar Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs) has made it possible that homeowners choose to finance their solar panels with ‘pay-as-you-go’ option. So, a third party owns the solar system and handles all the installation, maintenance, monitoring, and repairs. You just need to pay the solar provider. The payback period is only 10 years if you pay in cash. In Hawaii, it takes only 5 years.

Increase value of your home

3

If you buy a home with solar panels, you will spend less on electricity bills. Solar panels will make your home more attractive. A recent study conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has revealed that solar panels sell 20% faster and at a 17% more price. The average price of home increases by $17,000 once solar panels are installed.

Consider the incentives

4

Different states are providing incentives to use solar energy. You get a waiver on Federal Solar Tax Credit. You will also get part of the total system costs back. You will save a lot of money by installing solar panels on your house.

With solar panel, the price is fixed for at least the next 20 years. So, there is nothing to worry about the fluctuating energy prices. Solar panel manufacturers give 20 to 25-year warranty with their solar panels. You can lower the carbon footprint by using solar energy.

Samso: World’s First 100% Renewable Energy-Powered Island

Samso Island is the world’s first island to be completely powered by renewable energy. The island is situated near Copenhagen, Denmark. Samso is the result of the 10-year Renewable Energy Island Project. The project started after Denmark’s Minister for the Environment, Svend Auken, attended the Kyoto Climate Talks is Japan. In 1997, Auken held a competition where local communities were asked to provide the most realistic plan for a 100% transition to self-sufficiency using renewable energy. One peninsula and four islands participated in the competition. Samso was the winner and received funding from the Danish Energy Authority to come up with the details of their master plan. Here are the highlights of the project:

1. Samso generates more electricity from renewable energy than it consumed from 11 onshore and 10 offshore wind turbines which total 34 megawatts.

2. Samso’s Carbon dioxide footprint is negative 10 tons per inhabitant. This includes 10 offshore turbines built to compensate for carbon emissions from traffic.The average carbon dioxide footprint in Denmark is 10 tons per inhabitant.

3. Nine of the 11 onshore wind turbines were bought by farmers, and the other two were purchased by the 500 residents of Samso. Every 1-megawatt wind turbine can power about 630 homes.

4. The ten, 2.3-megawatt offshore wind turbines were installed two miles away south of Samso to stay away from the carbon dioxide emissions from cars, ferries and farming equipment on the island. Five of the offshore wind turbines were bought by the Samso municipality; three were purchased by the farmers, and the other two were bought by an investment company.

By making the local people part of the project has made the master plan successful. Samso is now a global example to create a sustainable community.