Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 15 October 2014

Renewable Energy Share In Sub-Saharan Africa Could Reach 45% By 2040, IEA Reports
October 14th, 2014 - “A better functioning energy sector is vital to ensuring that the citizens of sub-Saharan Africa can fulfil their aspirations. The energy sector is acting as a brake on development, but this can be overcome and the benefits of success are huge.”

So said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in conjunction with the release of the Africa Energy Outlook report, a part of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2014 World Energy Outlook series of reports.

According to the report, more than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living without electricity, while nearly 730 million people rely on what the IEA describe as “dangerous” and “inefficient” forms of cooking. The use of solid biomass, in the form of fuels like fuel wood and charcoal, outweighs that of any other fuel, combined. read more>>>

Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change
OCT. 13, 2014 - The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.

The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking Monday at a meeting of defense ministers in Peru, highlighted the report’s findings and the global security threats of climate change. read more>>>

BlueGreen Alliance calls for strong US methane reduction strategy
10/13/2014 - The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of 10 national labor unions and 5 environmental organizations, urged the Obama administration to adopt a strong methane reduction strategy with the US oil and gas industry as a major component.

The goal is to advance the administration’s climate action plan and meet its goal of reducing the nation’s global warming pollution 17% by 2020, the group’s executive director, Kim Glas, said in an Oct. 10 letter to US President Barack Obama.

“The oil and gas industry is the nation’s largest industrial source of methane, the main component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas,” she maintained. “Reducing methane emissions throughout the industry’s operations needs to be a key part of our nation’s strategy to address climate change.” read more>>>

Insights on climate and energy from the newest Nobel Prize winner
October 13th, 2014 - Today we celebrate the accomplishments of French economist Jean Tirole, winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. His work is particularly relevant for those of us concerned with the leadership of electric utilities, their regulators, and the growing number of us who are trying to respond to the growing impacts of global warming. Below are a few tidbits from his work that relate to each of these issues.

Writing on regulatory capture, Tirole and of his several colleagues have explored the balance between the altruistic regulator, who wants to “do the right thing,” and the self-interested (even corrupt) regulator who has been “captured” by the monopoly that s/he is entrusted to oversee. (See p. 18 of the Economic Sciences Prize Committee’s background paper). read more>>>

Clean Energy Benefits Virginia
Oct. 14, 2014 - Today, Governor McAuliffe is expected to outline his vision for a “New Economy of Virginia” through implementation of the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan. While we don’t support all of the plan’s recommendations, the McAuliffe administration should be applauded for its strong leadership and bold commitment to spurring economic growth through the creation of renewable energy jobs in the wind and solar industries and reducing costly energy waste through smart investments in energy efficiency measures.

What’s more, the clean energy policies in the Virginia Energy Plan can be leveraged to help meet Virginia’s carbon pollution reduction target set in EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which will be finalized next June.

Based on existing projections from Virginia’s utilities, we are already 80 percent of the way to meeting Virginia’s carbon pollution target under the Clean Power Plan. read more>>>

Frome’s green revolution is gathering pace
October 14, 2014 - FROME is fast becoming one of the greenest towns in the UK. A whole range of ground-breaking initiatives in recent months have put Frome firmly on the map as a leading environmently friendly town.

And the town’s efforts have been recognised with Frome Town Council picking up a prestigious nomination in this year’s South West Green Energy Awards, following on from the Cheese and Grain winning a Green Apple Award earlier this year. read more>>>

Opportunities and challenges of nanotechnology in the green economy
2014-10-07 - In a world of finite resources and ecosystem capacity, the prevailing model of economic growth, founded on ever-increasing consumption of resources and emission pollutants, cannot be sustained any longer. In this context, the "green economy"concept has offered the opportunity to change the way that society manages the interaction of the environmental and economic domains.

To enable society to build and sustain a green economy, the associated concept of "green nanotechnology"aims to exploit nano-innovations in materials science and engineering to generate products and processes that are energy efficient as well as economically and environmentally sustainable. These applications are expected to impact a large range of economic sectors, such as energy production and storage, clean up-technologies, as well as construction and related infrastructure industries. read more>>>

Energy efficiency targets could boost UK economy by £62bn
October 6th, 2014 - The figures, part of a costs and benefit assessment disclosed after an access to information request and now released by the Guardian, reveal that a curb of energy consumption could increase GDP while helping to tackle climate change.

Significantly, they also reveal that the stronger the targets, the more substantial the benefits. A 40% cut in energy use would increase GDP by £62 billion, while a 30% cut would deliver a boost of just £17.3 billion – more than three times less.

This comes shortly after the release of a report that hailed energy efficiency as “a hidden fuel” that could boost economic growth and sustainable development. read more>>>

Barnes & Noble

RenewableUK welcomes additional government funding for renewables
03 October 2014 - Additional funding for renewable energy project will provide a welcome stimulus to wind, wave and tidal projects in the UK says trade association RenewableUK.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced an extra £300 million for all low-carbon technologies, supported under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism, an increase of £95 million from the initial budget announced in July.

Established technologies, such as onshore wind, will now compete for £65 million in annual support, up from £50 million, while less established technologies, including offshore wind and marine energy will share £235m, up from the initial £155m. read more>>>

Renewable energy will be key to Paris climate talks, IRENA says
19 September 2014 - As France prepares to host the make-or-break Paris Climate Conference in December 2015, and with expectations that the outcome will define global climate efforts in the future, renewable energy is increasingly taking centre stage in the climate discussion.

REthinking Energy, a new report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA) this week, underlines that renewables must be part of any solution to avoid catastrophic climate change. IRENA presented the new report at the Senate of France on Tuesday highlighting the economic, social, technological, environmental, and climate dynamics of the global energy transition.

“Renewable energy provides an answer to many of the most pressing socio-economic challenges faced by governments today, including energy access, energy security, health and environmental concerns,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA. read more>>>

It paid to go ‘green’ for owners of a Houston energy-efficient house
October 6, 2014 - The Braes Heights home looks like a typical house for a family of four in the well-to-do neighborhood. It has three stories, six-bedrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen, arching doorways and a sweeping staircase.

But what owner Ker Thomson, a Houston anesthesiologist, and his wife Rachel, a retired ballerina for the Houston Ballet, wanted was more than a typical house when they set out to build roughly three years ago. And now, the house at 3730 Drummond is possibly the first in Houston to earn a LEED Platinum certification, a “Fortified Rated” designation from the Institute for Building and Home Safety and the Zero Energy Ready Home certification from the Department of Energy.

“It represents a fundamentally different way to build a home and was designed for the U.S. Gulf Coast,” Ker Thomson said. ”It still has all the amenities and appearances of an elegant custom home, but we have changed the game behind the sheet rock. The short and long term benefits from this type of construction become obvious, especially when viewed as a complete package, or a system.” read more>>>

Why New Hampshire could be the next state to take on microgrids
October 08, 2014 - New Hampshire soon may be charting a course toward electric grid modernization — and microgrids — if it follows the advice in a 10-year energy strategy issued by the state Office of Energy & Planning.

The advisory agency recently recommended that the Public Utilities Commission investigate grid modernization, in keeping with similar action in Massachusetts and New York. The states are looking at how to make the grid more storm-resilient, economic and efficient with microgrids, distributed energy, smart meters and other approaches that foster local energy.

The report noted that in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, “microgrids have gained national prominence,” with Princeton University’s microgrid serving as a model. read more>>>

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