Published on December 7th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan0
EU Energy Company Interest In US Offshore Wind; Renewables Account For 46% New US Electrical Generating Capacity Since January (+ More Cleantech News)
December 7th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
Aside from the solar energy news roundup and clean transport news roundup I just published, here’s one more roundup of big cleantech news from the past couple days:
Clean Energy (In General)
Germany’s Network Agency Says Power Outages “Unlikely” Amidst Renewable Energy Growth: “The President of the Network Agency, Jochen Homann, told the German press yesterday that there is “no indication” that the switch to renewables is causing more power outages.”
Germany Energy Transition: A new website on… (hold your breath) the clean energy transition in Germany (aka Energiewende).
Israel Moves Renewable Energy Quota From Wind To Solar: “A 300MW quota for renewable energy development in Israel will move from the wind energy sector to that of solar power…. The move came after a top-level meeting on Sunday which included members of the country’s Ministerial Committee for Promoting Renewable Energy.”
Expanding The WindMade Label To Renewables: The folks behind the WindMade label, as well as other renewable energy leaders, had a press briefing and discussion at COP18 this week. Noting the success of the program to date, there is a plan to create a broader label for products produced using renewable energy.
France Installed Solar Capacity Hits 4,000 MW, Wind Energy Now Cheaper Than Nuclear There!: “According to French General Commission on Sustainable Development (CGDD) data, France’s solar PV capacity was up to 3,923MW at the end of September (2012). There was a 241 MW increase in solar power capacity in Q3 of 2012, 34% higher than Q3 2011. Over 1,ooo MW of solar were added in the first 9 months of this year. Unfortunately, that amounted to a 24% decrease from what was installed in the first 9 months of 2011. Hopefully the Q3 increase is a sign of a shift.”
Renewables Account For 46% New US Electrical Generating Capacity Since January: “The latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects states that renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 41.14% of new electrical generating capacity installed in October 2012 and 46.22% for the first ten months of 2012.”
Italy Abandons RPS, Adopts System of Feed-in Tariffs: “This past summer Italy not only adopted new feed-in tariffs for solar, but also radically revised its program for wind and other renewables. The complex new Italian policies go into effect at the beginning of the new year.
“While the trade press has focused on revisions to the solar tariffs, the abandonment of Italy’s Renewable Portfolio Standard in favor of feed-in tariffs may be far more significant for what it says about the future of such policies in Europe.”
In-Depth Analysis: How A Progressive Carbon Tax Will Fight Climate Change And Stimulate The Economy: “Superstorm Sandy. Massive droughts. Devastating tornadoes. Horrific wildfires. The United States has certainly seen the dramatic weather-related effects of climate change in 2012, and every American has in some way been negatively impacted. Unfortunately, unless we start taking action now to curb the greenhouse gas pollution that’s causing this extreme weather, things are only going to get worse. Depending on which actions we choose to take, this year will either be the new normal or it will be a glimpse into a future where conditions are much, much worse.”
U.S. Energy Outlook: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: “New projections released by the Department of Energy show a mixed — but mostly scary — picture for America’s energy and environmental future. This week, the Energy Information Administration released its “AEO 2013 Early Release Overview.” It is the preview version of its complete Annual Energy Outlook 2013 due next spring. This updates AEO 2012 by factoring in newly adopted policies – such as the 2017-2025 fuel economy standards for light duty vehicles – for EIA’s projections of energy production, consumption, and carbon pollution between now and 2040.”
Carol Browner: ‘Stunning’ Climate Denial In The House Prevents Any Action On Climate In Washington: “Former EPA Chief and White House Climate Czar Carol Browner says that climate deniers in the House of Representatives are the biggest impediment to getting a price on carbon. When asked what the most significant obstacle in passing climate change legislation is during an event in Washington on the Clean Air Act yesterday, former EPA Chief Carol Browner pointed to Republicans in the House and their ‘stunning’ denial of the reality of earth’s changing climate.”
World Climate Change Talks At Mid-Session: “As usual with international climate negotiations in recent years, dissension and near-deadlock have characterized the initial days of this year’s meeting in Doha, Qatar (pronounced like ‘cotter.’). The summit involves 195 nations. It began on November 27 and is scheduled to conclude this Friday, December 7. A nearly half-day time difference delays reporting in the U.S.”
Proliferation warnings on nuclear ‘wonder-fuel’, thorium: “Thorium is being touted as an ideal fuel for a new generation of nuclear power plants, but in a piece in this week’sNature, researchers suggest it may not be as benign as portrayed…. Writing in a Comment piece in the new issue of the journal, Nature, nuclear energy specialists from four British universities suggest that, although thorium has been promoted as a superior fuel for future nuclear energy generation, it should not be regarded as inherently proliferation resistant. The piece highlights ways in which small quantities of uranium-233, a material useable in nuclear weapons, could be produced covertly from thorium, by chemically separating another isotope, protactinium-233, during its formation.”
WWF Report: “Cutting energy related emissions the right way”: “Based on research by CE Delft, this report assesses the five decarbonisation scenarios presented in the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050. It shows that the Energy Roadmap only considers a relatively narrow range of decarbonisation options, all with roughly similar levels of renewable energy by 2030, and a significant residual fossil fuel liability through to 2050.
“WWF’s report also demonstrates that the European Union could reap greater rewards from more ambitious options, such as 95% emissions reductions combining high renewable energy generation and high energy savings.”
Wind & Wave Energy
UK Economy Will Fare Better With More Wind Power Than Natural Gas: Report: “Large-scale investment in offshore wind would generate more wealth for the economy and create more jobs than relying on gas-fired power plants, a report suggested on Tuesday.
“Substantial deployment of offshore wind by 2030 would have only a marginal impact on electricity prices but would boost growth, cut dependence on gas imports and reduce emissions, the report for WWF-UK and Greenpeace said.”
U.S. Offshore Wind Market Becoming ‘Real’ With European Interest: “European energy companies are considering participating in U.S. offshore wind-farm auctions, a sign of increasing confidence in the viability of marine-based wind power off U.S. shores, according to Arcadia Windpower Ltd. President Peter Mandelstam.”
Replacing Fossil Fuels: Utilizing Sea Wave to Generate Electricity: “Researchers Dr Ismail, Dr Muhammad Murtadha and Baharin Abu Bakar from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia have carried out a conceptual study on mathematical modelling for sea wave in electricity generation.
“This conceptual study focused on using Oscillating Wave Column (OWC) which is considered as the most efficient way to utilize sea waves, the largest power source on earth, to generate electricity. Previous studies have revealed that global wave power is estimated to be 1TW (1 terrawatt=1012W).”
Wave Power to Prove Its Mettle with 30 Megawatts to be Built Off Mexico’s Coast: “Marersa, based in Mexico City, will install about 450 floating buoys that harness the movement of waves to create hydraulic pressure which is converted into electricity…. It has pledged to sell the energy at 20 percent lower prices than electricity bought from state power utility Comision Federal de Electricidad.”
Wave-Powered Robot Completes Record-Setting 9,000-Mile Journey Across the Ocean: “Liquid Robotics, a Silicon Valley startup behind the surfboard-sized robots known as Wave Gliders, announced today that the Papa Mau robot completed a record-breaking 9,000 mile trip across the Pacific Ocean from California to Australia. During its more than 365 days at sea, the robot reportedly survived shark attacks, weathered gale-force storms and battled the East Australian Current. But the wave-powered robot it reached its destination, setting a new world record for the longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle.”
sustainablog’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: “Struggling with gift ideas? Definitely want to stay away from the mall? I’m with you on both counts – Christmas shopping is right up there with major dental work on my list of favorite things. But there are people in you life whom you want to give a gift during the holiday celebrations, and you want that gift to be something that’ll be meaningful. If you’ve got a good greenie on this list, here’s our small list of some unique ideas (which can all be bought online!).”
Eco-Friendly Home-Improvements: Britain to Show the World How it’s Done!!: “People often over-spend on energy bills for years without realising how much money they could be saving from making a few staple improvements to their homes. The UK government has acknowledged this and decided to take a major move in the right direction in helping people stop their houses from draining their bank accounts and energy resources.”
Whirligig Beetles Inspire Energy-Efficient Robots: “Whirligig beetles are named for their whirling movement on top of water, moving rapidly in and taking off into flight. While many may have found the movements curious, scientists have puzzled over the apparatus behind their energy efficiency — until now, thanks to a study performed by a team led by Mingjun Zhang, associate professor of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.”
Omron Releases “D6F-D” 2-Axis MEMS Flow Sensor Designed to Help Optimize Air Conditioning Energy Efficiency: “OMRON Corporation (TOKYO:6645)(ADR:OMRNY) today announced the release on December 10, 2012 of a 2-axis MEMS flow sensor designed for high-precision measurement of airflow velocity and direction aimed at contributing to reducing the electricity consumption of air conditioning systems. Air conditioning accounts for 30% to 40% of the power consumed by cleanrooms and data centers, so the ability to provide optimal air conditioning while consuming the minimum possible amount of power can make a substantial difference to overall power consumption in such facilities. However, it is not currently possible to fully grasp the environmental parameters needed to truly optimize air conditioning settings.”
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