Friday, October 31, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 31 October 2014

Renewables & Energy Efficiency Responsible For 70% Of Carbon Emission Drop Since 2007
October 29th, 2014 - Renewable energy development and implemented energy efficiency measures are responsible for 70% of the the drop in US carbon dioxide emissions seen since 2007 (when a slow decline began), according to a new report from Greenpeace.

The findings stand in contrast to some of the arguments put out there by detractors of renewable energy — some of who have argued that the drop in carbon emissions was the result of the natural gas tracking boom. The numbers say otherwise, of course.

The numbers come from Greenpeace energy analyst Lauri Myllyvirta who published them recently on the Greenpeace Energydesk website. read more>>>

Europe’s Ambitious Climate Goal
OCT. 28, 2014 - The European Union continues to lead by example on the issue of climate change. Last week, the union’s 28 members agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030.

This is, of course, just a number. Goals are easy to set but harder to meet, and many details of how Europe gets from here to there remain undecided. But the plan is an important step forward as well as a clear signal to other big emitters of greenhouse gases to set ambitious goals of their own in the months leading up to the next United Nations summit meeting on climate change scheduled for December 2015 in Paris.

Europe has already made impressive progress.

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Minnesota regains a top-tier ranking for policies promoting energy efficiency
10/28/14 - Minnesota has returned to a top-10 ranking among the states for its investments that promote energy efficiency, according to new national rankings by the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy.

The rankings are worth attention because ACEEE is a respected analyst as well as advocate on the subject of efficient energy use, consistently making the case that the wisest use of each energy dollar is not to spend it at all — and that every dollar invested in averting energy consumption can be worth several dollars invested in increased energy production, no matter how clean and green the source.

Or, as the organization puts it in the introduction to its 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard: read more>>>

Generating Power From Tidal Lagoons
OCT. 28, 2014 - Harvesting energy from the tides is hard to do, and the development of a new generation of sea-based power arrays lags far behind more widely used renewable technologies like wind and solar.

But the company pushing a new project on the coast of Wales thinks its twist — a 21st-century update of traditional dam-based hydropower — will be much easier to bring to fruition. If it wins government permission to go forward, Tidal Lagoon Power Limited says the approach, known as tidal lagoon generation, could provide as much as 10 percent of Britain’s power from six of its projects within a decade. read more>>>

While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar
Oct 29, 2014 - Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change.

After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states -- in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year.

Even if the tax credit drops to 10 percent, solar will soon reach price parity with conventional electricity in well over half the nation: 36 states. read more>>>

DOE pushing new efficiency rules for furnaces
10/29/14 - Furnaces could be the latest household appliance facing new energy conservation standards.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to propose new efficiency rules for residential non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces in the coming weeks.

DOE is waiting for the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to finish reviewing the energy conservation standards before it proposes the new rules for these furnaces. read more>>>

EU renewable heating sector remains confident
24 October 2014 - The European Council’s new target for renewables falls short of the needs of Europeans say AEBIOM, EGEC, and ESTIF.

The European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) and European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) have expressed disappointment in the new renewable energy goals agreed by the European Council yet they remain confident in the continuity of renewable energy development.

The EC’s target of 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases (GHGs) incorporates a 27 percent goal for renewables, but the three industry groups believe that this is far too low a target for the needs of most Europeans. The target is also only binding at EU level and only includes an indicative 27 percent for energy efficiency. read more>>>

HyperSolar achieves breakthrough in hydrogen separation process
21 October 2014 - Hydrogen technology company HyperSolar has developed a novel system architecture to efficiently separate and produce pure hydrogen from sunlight and water.

The company has achieved a significant technological milestone in its pursuit of clean hydrogen fuel production by eliminating an expensive hydrogen-oxygen separation process. This in turn will dramatically reduce the overall system cost of producing hydrogen from sunlight.

Self-contained sunlight driven water-splitting technology, known more generally as “artificial photosynthesis”, typically produces hydrogen and oxygen gas bubbles in the same reactor. This mixture is potentially explosive and the two gases must therefore be quickly separated from each other. However, current gas separation technology, which uses selective membranes, is very expensive and the membranes themselves also need to be regularly replaced. read more>>>

Cork launches electric car initiative in aim to become European Green Capital
23/10/2014 - The increasing popularity of electric cars is set to have a major effect on transportation in Ireland, according to the Evening Echo.

Cork wants to be at the forefront of the adoption of electric cars in Ireland, helping the region become greener while also creating new jobs.

To do this, companies and bodies have come together to encourage more people to adopt electric vehicles and to make it easier for them to charge them at home, work or in public places.

Called Drive4Zero, the initiative was launched in Cork today. read more>>>

Two years after Hurricane Sandy, recognition of Princeton's microgrid still surges
October 23, 2014 - In the nearly two years since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, darkening swaths of the nation's most densely populated state for days, Princeton University has emerged as a national example of how to keep power running for residents, emergency workers and crucial facilities when the next disaster strikes.

Specifically, attention has fallen on Princeton's "microgrid," an efficient on-campus power generation and delivery network that draws electricity from a gas-turbine generator and solar panel field southeast of campus in West Windsor Township, New Jersey. Capable of producing 15 megawatts (or 15 million watts) of electricity, the University's microgrid enjoys a give-and-take relationship with the main grid available to the general public and maintained by the utility company PSE&G. When campus power use is high or utility power is inexpensive, the microgrid draws from the PSE&G grid, and when campus demand is low, Princeton's microgrid can contribute power to the main grid. read more>>>

Solar Cluster proposes transitioning Brazilian island to 100% renewable energy
22.10.2014 - Members of the German industry association Solar Cluster have submitted a proposal to José Antônio Bertotti, the Minister of Science of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. They are suggesting completely switching the power supply of the archipelago Fernando de Noronha to renewable energies.

Most of the twelve smaller islands as well as 8 km² of the main island are nature reserves, and the Marine National Park Fernando de Noronha, which covers a total area of 112 km², is even a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. There are 3,000 residents living on the island, who currently obtain their energy almost entirely from diesel generators. That is now set to change: the island, which is famous for its status, will soon switch to solar energy. "Sun, beaches and solar energy fit together perfectly," says Carsten Tschamber, the Managing Director of Solar Cluster. "The location is ideal for our project." read more>>>

Industry emissions fall in Scotland
23 October 2014 - The closure of Cockenzie Power Station led to an 8 per cent drop in greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland, new figures have revealed.

According to a new report from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, carbon dioxide emissions from industry fell from 22.9bn kg in 2012 to 21.1bn kg in 2013.

In edition methane emissions dropped from 47.5m kg to 47.3m kg, nitrous oxide fell from 192,447 kg to 173,848kg and sulphur hexafluoride fell from 304 kg to 241 kg.

The main reason for the fall has been attributed to the coal-fired power station at Cockenzie in East Lothian shutting down in March 2013. read more>>>

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