The first edition of REthinking Energy, the flagship series from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), analyses the transformation of the global power sector while reviewing progress in the transition to a sustainable energy future. An alignment of economic forces, global population growth, the threat of climate change and rapid technological advances has set in motion a transformation of the global energy system. A new system based on renewables would enhance energy access and security, create jobs and safeguard health and the environment, IRENA’s report argues.
* Renewable energy has moved from the margins to the majority in both investment and new capacity additions.
* It now represents a major portion of the global power supply – and is growing at unprecedented scale.
* Financing renewables is becoming cheaper and easier. read more w/full report>>>
August 29, 2014 - Minnesota Power is joining forces with the Minnesota National Guard to build a major solar energy project at the state's largest military base, Camp Ripley. If approved, the project will be the largest solar energy installation on military property in the state.
A recently signed memorandum of understanding between the two outlines plans to build a 10 MW utility-scale solar array at the central Minnesota camp, which would cover nearly 100 acres of underutilized government property with photovoltaic panels on racks. The National Guard and Minnesota Power will work together to identify and complete programs that will help Camp Ripley meet its energy savings goal of 30 percent over 2003. In fact, they have already identified more than 50 energy conservation measures. read more>>>
August 27, 2014 - The global solar industry is predicted grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3 percent -- from 37.5 GW in 2013 to 65.6 GW in 2019, according to Lux Research. China will lead the growth, but Lux warns that emerging trade disputes and global policies could cast a shadow over short-term prospects.
In 2013, China became the largest solar market in the world with 11.8 GW installed -- key, Lux says, to faster-than-expected global recovery.
"With solar now fairly common in most parts of the world, it reaps the rewards of direct incentives but also faces uncertainty due to pressure on trade activity with China," read more>>>
Aug. 28, 2014 - Moving away from fossil fuels to a low-carbon economy could generate tens of millions of jobs globally, top U.N. officials said from Geneva.
Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labor Organization, and Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, issued a joint statement on the economic benefits of a low-carbon economy.
Ahead of the climate summit scheduled later this year in New York City, the leaders said they were putting momentum behind the narrative in response to questions about the job prospects. read more>>>
August 28, 2014 - While there may always be room for debate concerning clean energy initiatives and the long-term merits of a low carbon driven economy, what remains is the fact that the renewable industry is growing rapidly and it requires a substantial workforce.
As renewable energy continues to establish itself in the global market, an emerging concern is how to fill the industry’s need for skilled workers. According to a poll conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 40 percent of HR professionals say their organization is currently focused on creating green jobs or adding green duties to existing jobs. Further, a comprehensive report from the American Solar Energy Society forecasts that more than 17 percent of all anticipated U.S. employment could be generated from the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries over the next two decades. The need and opportunity for a green workforce is apparent, but are there enough skilled workers to meet demands? read more>>>
August 26, 2014 - New construction energy standards for Oregon went into effect July 1, 2014 and far exceed the building requirements of the last decade. The U.S. Green Building Council for LEED Certified Spaces ranks Oregon as sixth in the nation, behind other states like Illinois, Maryland and Virginia who have been at the forefront of sustainable building design and transforming communities for years. This update to the Oregon building code is a trend occurring in other states as well.
By all accounts, U.S. homeowners around the country feel these changes, which affect financial and environmental aspects of a newly constructed home. Adhering to the new standards will result in significantly lower energy consumption and water use, reducing the cost of those resources over the life of the home. read more>>>
08/28/14 - There are many ways for Gov. Cuomo to promote his new prize competition, a $40 million contest to inspire businesses and utilities to work on ways to generate and distribute power more locally in something called “microgrids.”
Making the announcement this week was a smart idea because it coincided with the third anniversary of Hurricane Irene, a storm that lives both in bad memories and in lingering inconvenience such as the yet-to-be-repaired Forge Hill Road bridge in New Windsor. read more>>>
August 26, 2014 - UGE (TSX VENTURE: UG), a leader in renewable energy solutions for global enterprise customers, has received a purchase order to deploy hybrid microgrid energy systems for remote telecommunications towers. The telecoms site operators will utilize UGE's expertise and equipment to increase the reliability and security of their energy supply while dramatically lowering the costs of powering the sites.
The telecoms towers are powered by UGE's modular technology platform, designed to capture the specific renewable energy resources available at each site. Each site location incorporates an optimized combination of solar panels, energy storage, and wind turbines for fully integrated off-grid hybrid systems. The telecom towers will also utilize UGE's monitoring and control technology to ensure constant system uptime. read more>>>
August 26, 2014 - The small and sunny town of Del Norte, and most of southwestern Colorado’s San Luis Valley, is served by one major power line. It comes in the valley through stretches of the Rio Grande National Forest, where long periods of drought and spruce beetle infestations have led to significantly higher fire danger in the last 15 years.
Del Norte is the example of a community at risk, one that needs to find creative solutions to a possible electrical grid disaster.
“If that line was to go down, then most of the valley I think would lose electrical power,” said Del Norte Public Works Supervisor Kevin Larimore, standing among a field of solar panels which help power the city’s water supply. read more>>>
August 30, 2014 - As the cost of solar energy has fallen, it has opened up new markets that were once unimaginable in energy. Five years ago, it seemed impossible that a million homes in the U.S. could be powered by solar energy, but that's the goal of just one company -- SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY ) -- and it hopes to accomplish this goal by 2018.
As the cost of solar energy falls and new technologies like energy storage, smart meters, and demand response advance, new opportunities open up, like microgrids, which can create a self contained energy ecosystem. If designed right, microgrids can produce more renewable energy, cause less strain on the grid, and even provide technology that could change energy around the world.
What's a microgrid? read more>>>
2014/08/31 - Climate change isn’t a problem just for your grandchildren. Or polar bears. The dreaded rise in temperatures is already threatening entire economies.
Costa Rica knows this well. Situated in a vulnerable region, this nation is in a race against the weather to preserve its famed biodiversity and keep the economy afloat.
The bread-and-butter effects of climate change in the country are getting harder to ignore. According to a Ministry of Agriculture study, between 2005 and 2011, increasingly common floods and drought attributed to climate change cost Costa Rica at least $710 million, due to damaged roads and agricultural loss. read more>>>
August 31, 2014 - At first, Baldwin Homes didn't build green. Then it dipped its corporate toe in -- one home here, another there.
Now the Gambrills company is constructing an entire green neighborhood. It's the story of U.S. home building writ small.
Green accounted for 2 percent of the new-home market in 2005, according to a report by industry data provider McGraw Hill Construction. By last year it had ballooned to 23 percent -- nearly a quarter.
"I don't think green is a niche market anymore," said Michele A. Russo, director of green content at McGraw Hill Construction. read more>>>