Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 2 December 2014

Editorial: Florida, nation cannot ignore climate change
November 28, 2014 - No one needs to be a scientist to grasp the dire implications that a warming Earth poses to everyday life. That's the message from the latest in a yearlong series of reports from the world's leading science body, which finds that climate change is "clear and growing" and an immediate risk to people and ecosystems. The report should be wakeup call to industrial nations and coastal states such as Florida to start seriously addressing climate change before the impacts pose even greater threats to security, population centers and the food and water supply.

The report released last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an agency formed by the United Nations that brings 195-member states together with the world's leading scientists, found that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases were the highest in history, that warming is unequivocally happening and that the changes since the 1950s have been the greatest in thousands of years. read more>>>

Florida “Gutting” Energy Efficiency Goals, Terminating Solar Power Rebates
November 30th, 2014 - Florida’s state regulators have approved the previously put forward proposals to completely gut the state’s energy efficiency goals and to end its solar rebate programs by the end of 2015, according to recent reports.

The approval means that the state’s major, investor-owned utility companies have more or less gotten exactly what they wanted — energy efficiency goals will be cut by over 90%, and the state will cease supporting rooftop solar at all.

The decision came, reportedly, after about two hours of debate — with members of the state Public Service Commission voting 3–2 in favor of the proposal that had, ultimately, backing from Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric, and Florida Power & Light. read more>>>

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The GOP's strategy to block Obama’s regs
11/30/14 - The GOP is preparing to mount a full-scale assault on President Obama’s regulatory agenda, using the party’s strengthened hand in Congress to delay, soften or block contentious administration rules at every turn.

As long as Obama sits atop the executive branch, Republicans’ power to derail scores of rulemaking efforts now under way is limited. But control of both the House and Senate in the next Congress will enable GOP lawmakers to ratchet up their attacks on what they view as overzealous regulation.

“So long as we have this president the federal agencies can go around Congress," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) "But we can make it very, very difficult for them." read more>>>

Report: climate change to impact severity and frequency of extreme weather
November 28th, 2014 - Both the severity and frequency of extreme weather events are likely to increase because of climate change, according to a report from the Royal Society. The study argues that action needs to be taken now to reduce future vulnerabilities.

The report – Resilience to extreme weather – highlights the impact extreme weather has had in past decades. Between 1980 and 2004 the economic cost of dealing with extreme weather is estimated to stand at $1.4 trillion (£890bn), with climate change likely to increase extreme weather, from floods to droughts, and the world’s population growing this figures will continue to rise in the future. read more>>>

China at forefront of clean-energy market
Nov. 30 2014 - China has emerged as the leader in the race to dominate the fast-growing, global clean-energy market, an economic strategy that promises to deliver huge dividends as world governments work toward an agreement to rein in greenhouse gases in the battle against climate change.

China is leaving its competitors in its wake as all countries look to gain advantage in the emerging low-carbon economy, according to new analysis by Ottawa consultant Céline Bak.

That commercial success, in turn, is contributing a new openness to a global treaty that would bind China to its commitment to halt the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. read more>>>

Idaho Power to greatly expand its solar resources
November 19, 2014 - Idaho Power is adding a lot of solar to its renewable energy portfolio lately. Idaho regulators okayed two contracts Friday and neighboring Oregon approved three that will generate 60 megawatts of electricity the utility will buy.

Idaho Power has about 500,000 customers in its territory that spans southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. The utility also has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve an additional 11 solar developments that could generate 281 megawatts of power and add 460 megawatts of solar by sometime in 2016.

An Idaho Power spokespersib said the utility would have 1,253 megawatts in total new renewable energy added. Renewable sources account for 37 percent of its energy mix, according to an Idaho Statesman article. read more>>>

Barnes & Noble

Financing renewable energy in international markets
25.11.2014 - Just in time for the fourth Renewable Energy Industry Day, the consulting firm Rödl & Partner (link is external) has published a study on financing renewable energy in international markets. The study explains how the underlying conditions in 17 international markets differ due to legal and economic circumstances.

For the study, Rödl & Partner interviewed experts at its various subsidiaries on how they assess market entry opportunities, investment opportunities and framework conditions for renewable energies in their regions. The authors focused primarily on the following areas: political development goals, the degree of liberalisation of the market for renewable energy production, current consumer prices, the legal framework for investment decisions, the existence of funding systems, security of investment, financing conditions for investments, and the political and social acceptance of renewable energies. The study also includes a market assessment by the Unicredit Group. read more>>>

Solar and Wind Energy are Finally Cheaper than Fossil Fuels in the United States
11/24/14 - Solar and wind energy have long struggled to compete with conventional energy sources on two fronts: dispatch and cost. However, new U.S. industry data outlined in the New York Times reveals the cost of these renewable energy sources has fallen dramatically in the last five years, making them competitive with — and sometimes even undercutting — fossil fuel-sourced energy.

The New York Times reports the closing of the gap in costs has particularly accelerated in 2014, according to utility executives. In the Great Plains and Southwest regions, companies are signing power purchase agreements for renewables at rates below that of natural gas. While subsidies are still contributing to reduced prices for renewables, in September, 2014, financial advisory firm Lazard released figures demonstrating that wind and commercial solar PVs could still be competitive with gas and coal without the subsidies. read more>>>

Nanotechnology in the 'green' economy - opportunities and risks
Nov 18, 2014 - There is a general perception that nanotechnologies will have a significant impact on developing 'green' and 'clean' technologies with considerable environmental benefits. The associated concept of green nanotechnology aims to exploit nanotech-enabled 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.

A recent review article in Environmental Health ("Opportunities and challenges of nanotechnology in the green economy") examines opportunities and practical challenges that nanotechnology applications pose in addressing the guiding principles for a green economy. read more>>>

Italy bets on green economy
11/18/2014 - As much as 10.2% of the Italian economy is related to green economy that has provided €101 billion added value together with 234 thousand new jobs in 2014 alone. This data is reported in GreenItaly 2014, the yearly report on green economy prepared by Unioncamere and Symbola Foundation.

According to the report, over one company out of five has bet on green economy since the beginning of the crisis, with the purpose of creating innovation, research, knowledge, quality and beauty. There are 341,500 Italian companies in the industry and service sectors that, since 2008, have invested in green technologies to reduce the environmental impact, save energy or limit carbon dioxide emissions. This percentage reaches 33% in the manufacturing industry. read more>>>

The green economy works
2014-11-24 - As far as I’m concerned, the prospect of a planet not wrecked by run-away climate chaos is enough of an incentive to have us move from our existing, dirty, fossil fuel driven economy to a greener, low-carbon alternative.

But if you’re not persuaded by such sentimental treehuggery and require cold, hard figures involving rands, cents and job creation statistics, read on.

Last month, a study released by the Imperial College London Business School showed that public policies which encourage innovation in businesses that use clean technologies – think electric cars and wind mills – lead to greater positive impacts on economic growth than the polluting industries they replace, because green tech innovations tend to result in more frequent knowledge ‘spillovers’ in which novel developments benefit not only the originator but many other companies as well. read more>>>

Air quality in Europe - 2014 report
Nov. 19, 2014 - Despite considerable improvements in the past decades, Europe is still far from achieving levels of air quality that do not pose unacceptable risks to humans and the environment. Air pollution is the top environmental risk factor of premature death in Europe; it increases the incidence of a wide range of diseases and has several environmental impacts, damaging vegetation and ecosystems. This constitutes a substantial loss for Europe: for its natural systems, its agriculture, its economy, the productivity of its workforce, and the health of Europeans. The effects of poor air quality have been felt most strongly in two main areas. Firstly, inhabitants in urban areas have experienced significant health problems. Secondly, air pollution has led to impaired vegetation growth in ecosystems and agriculture, as well as to biodiversity loss, for example in grassland ecosystems, due to eutrophication. read more>>>

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