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The future is here. With link to the report itself at bottom of article.
Forbes l Erica Gies 7 July, 2011
In the first quarter of 2011, renewable energy production in the United States surpassed nuclear production in overall quantity and percentage. Also, the percentage of natural gas is growing slowly, while coal is declining.
Entrenched energy industries like to say that renewable energy can never provide a significant amount of U.S. energy needs. And while it’s true that some technologies still face barriers to widespread implementation and others, while technically renewable, might not be very green, renewables as a percentage of U.S. energy generation are creeping up steadily — and not just in California, with its target of 33 percent renewables by 2020.
In the first three months of 2011, renewable energy — hydroelectric, geothermal, solar/PV, wind, and biomass — made up 11.7 percent of the U.S. energy production mix, surpassing nuclear at 11.1 percent. The same period last year, nuclear was 11.6 percent, and renewables 10.6, according to a June report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (Table 1.2).
Clean Technica l Zachary Shahan 16 June, 2011
Great discussion of analysis by Paul Gipe of Wind Works on wind versus nuclear and the baseload fallacy, with specific comparisons of nuclear unreliability at Fukushima even before the accident, and ever increasing success with reliable energy generation from wind power, especially in Germany and Spain.
There's a reason Germany is willing to switch to renewable energy from nuclear- it works. And, despite the usual criticisms from the nuclear industry about reliability the author explains why wind works in Europe, and how it is only at the beginning of the curve toward its true potential.
Good news with a call to action.
guardian.co.uk l Fiona Harvey 9 May 2011
Renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world's energysupply within four decades - but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power, according to a landmark report published on Monday.
It would be nice to believe that this is as good as it sounds, but it's hard to imagine a full stop to China's nuclear ambitions. Still, concerns facing China- such as water shortage, coupled with the fact that radiation from Fukushima was measured in every province may have made inroads. Renewable energy is the gold mine of the energy sector, while nuclear sucks down billions of dollars leaving only waste to contend with. Which, in turn, will suck down billions more dollars. It's good news that China is moving forward aggressively on true renewable energy targets. It would be better if the rest of the world was doing the same.
In the wake of the partial meltdown of nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant in Japan, China announced it would shelve plans for vast expansion of its nuclear power capacity, at least temporarily, until more stringent safety checks are performed. Construction will eventually resume, but with a potentially scaled-back role for nuclear power and with solar and wind energy picking up some of the slack. If nuclear remains a small fraction of China’s total energy mix (just 2 percent today, compared with America’s 20 percent), and Beijing looks to solar and wind for future energy growth in the era of climate change, the boost to those industries could make renewables cost-competitive with fossil fuels much earlier than previously projected.
The announcement marked a significant policy change. As recently as January, after reporting a breakthrough in nuclear fuel reprocessing technology, China reaffirmed its commitment to an expansion of its nuclear energy capacity that would be greater than that of all other countries combined. Construction began on twenty-seven reactors, adding to the existing thirteen. Another fifty-two were planned.
Treehugger l Rachel Cermansky 14 April, 2011
TreeHugger: Does Schönau Power Supply receive any support from the government? Where have you been able to get funding?
Ursula Sladek: We never get money from the government, we've never gotten money from any institution. We got money from the people when we overtook local grid. The former grid operator wanted much more money than the grid was worth. We gathered money from people who agreed with our goals and who bought shares. So we had the four million marks we needed to have, but then the former grid operator wanted to nearly nine million deutschmarks, which was more than double. So we had a Germany-wide campaign for donations. People gave us donations to help us buy the grid, so the help we got was really from the people—from companies, from ordinary people, from schoolchildren, from people who refused birthday presents and wanted donations to the Schönau initiative instead. This was really overwhelming and since that, I know that you can nearly do anything, if it is a good goal.
Can you talk more about the process of buying out the grid?
We had two referendums about getting the grid. After the second referendum, the operator said, 'you have the votes, but we have the grid. We want 9 million marks for the grid and if you don't have that, you won't get it.' The grid operator thought we would be frightened and say we cannot do that. But we knew he was wrong, so we had the idea to get donations.
After six weeks, we had the first million marks. Then the former CEO of the grid operator called me and said, 'Mrs. Sladek, you are damaging our reputation.' (The campaign was in all the media in Germany.) And I said, you must be understanding something really wrong. It's not we who are damaging your reputation, it's yourself doing that.
It's been really hard to find good news during this terrible time, but this article gives hope for the future. And what is one of the things people always say about the Germans? They practice efficiency. Let's take a lesson from that. It's time we all did.
Germany is the world leader in installed solar photovoltaic panels -- and they also just shut down seven of their oldest nuclear reactors. Coincidence? Maaaaybe ... Anyway, it's worth noting that just today, total power output of Germany's installed solar PV panels hit 12.1 GW -- greater than the total power output (10 GW) of Japan's entire 6-reactor nuclear power plant.
A story of hope for the renewable energy future we need. It is out there, and in Japan, it is helping to return electricity to the ravaged country.
Huffington Post l Kelly Rigg March 17, 2011
The future is coming. And it is sustainable.
KIPTUSURI, Kenya — For Sara Ruto, the desperate yearning for electricity began last year with the purchase of her first cellphone, a lifeline for receiving small money transfers, contacting relatives in the city or checking chicken prices at the nearest market.
Charging the phone was no simple matter in this farming village far from Kenya’s electric grid...
...That wearying routine ended in February when the family sold some animals to buy a small Chinese-made solar power system for about $80. Now balanced precariously atop their tin roof, a lone solar panel provides enough electricity to charge the phone and run four bright overhead lights with switches.
Given Americans’ increasing anxiety over made-in-Washington socialism, it’s a wonder that the nuclear power industry has escaped scrutiny for so long. The federal government socializes the risk of investing in nuclear power while pri-vatizing profits. This same formula drove the frenzied speculation that cratered the housing and financial markets. What might it cause with nuclear power?
We got a taste three decades ago. Congress grew infatuated with the promises of nuclear promoters. It overrode the risk assessment of private capital markets, and expanded subsidies for nuclear projects to $0.08 per kilowatt-hour—often more than investors risked or than the power could be sold for. This seduced previously prudent utilities and regulators into a nuclear binge that Forbes in 1985 called “the largest managerial disaster in business history.”
Threefold cost overruns amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars. Three-fifths of the ordered plants were abandoned. Many others proved uncompetitive. Steep debt downgrades hit four in five nuclear utilities. Some went broke. Through 1978, 253 U.S. reactors were ordered (none since). Only 104 survive. Two-fifths of those have failed for a year or more at least once.
New nuclear plants, we’re assured, are different—novel enough to merit technology-demonstration subsidies, yet proven enough that investors can rest easy. They’re allegedly so much safer than deep-sea oil drilling that we needn’t fret, yet so risky that one major nuclear operator insured itself eleven times more against nuclear accidents’ consequences than its potential liability to the public. New reactors are supposedly so cheap they crush competitors, yet so costly they need subsidies of 100 percent or more...
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
AFP l Independent
Wind power could meet about a fifth of the world's electricity demand within 20 years, an industry group and environmental watchdog Greenpeace predicted in a new report released Tuesday.
The global market for wind power grew 41.7 percent on year in 2009, beating average annual growth of 28.6 percent over the past 13 years, said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council, or GWEC.
China ranked second in the world in installed wind generating capacity in 2009 and was the largest buyer of wind technology, Sawyer told reporters at the launch of GWEC and Greenpeace's Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010 report.