Sunday, October 30, 2016

What We Need to Do

Heather Mills at Grist sketches out what we could do if Ameria's politicians made a real commitment to renewable energy. And she's absolutely right. Her article is the "Clean Tech" section of Grist's 2016 election guide.

Imagine if the $5 billion we spend every year on new energy research and development was more like the $30 billion we spend on health care research, or the $80 billion we spend on defense. What could we accomplish?

Link: Launching the cleantech space race: A preflight checklist for candidates

Deepwater Wind: America's First Wind Farm

Heather Mills at Grist has the story on America's first offshore wind farm, the Deepwater Wind project off of Rhode Island.

But there’s a big difference between the East Coast and the West Coast. On the east coast you have a continental shelf that keeps water a few hundred feet deep for miles and miles. We could have farms from Maine down the Atlantic coast.

Link: Offshore wind is finally — finally! — coming to the U.S.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Renewable Energy Versus Renewable Electricity

If I were President Obama I would give Dave Roberts some kind of medal before I left office. Roberts easily wins any competition to combine serious, in-depth knowledge of the challenges of the conversion to renewable energy with clarity of communication.

In this most recent piece on Vox he makes the point that we are not as far along with our conversion to renewable energy as people think, because most of our progress has been in electricity generation, while a lot of our fossil fuel use consists of burning oil products for transportation.

But wind and solar are only for electricity, so they only displace coal and natural gas. Oil is used for transportation and industry, and it still completely dominates those categories. It’s not going anywhere, at least until we figure out a way to electrify everything, which won’t happen in the next five years.
Link:  America isn’t using nearly as much renewable energy as Americans think

Sunday, October 23, 2016

US Solar Capacity Triples in Three Years

Discovery News, which seems to be re-branding itself as Seeker, has the update.

Solar power has been on a tear in recent years partly because of cheaper solar panels and a federal tax credit for solar installations. Congress extended the solar tax credit early this year, helping to fuel a 39 percent annual growth rate for solar power-producing capacity, to 27 gigawatts by next year from about 10 gigawatts in 2014, or enough to power about 3.5 million homes, the data show.

Link:  US Solar Capacity Triples in Three Years

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Electric Cars Could Trash the Oil companies Sooner Rather Than Later

A brief article in Grist by Heather Smith reports that at least one credit rating agency is warning that breakthroughs in battery costs for electric cars could send the oil industry into a death spiral.

There is going to be a tipping point where the world wakes up from its carbon drunk. The longer that people take to put the bottle down, the worse the hangover is going to be.

Electric cars are a particular threat, according to Fitch, because transportation is a huge user of oil — it accounted for about 55 percent of total oil use in 2014. But a leap forward in batteries would also hit utilities hard, since it would eliminate the need to keep coal and natural gas plants running in order to balance the intermittent electricity generated by wind and solar installations.

Link:  Oil companies should be scared of electric vehicles

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Electric Car Transition

If you replace internal combustion engines with electric vehicles, you get rid of one quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions. And it looks like several nations are moving towards taking that step.

Joe Romm at ThinkProgress has a very informative article on the movement in several nations towards banning the sale of internal combusion vehicles by 2030. I had no idea this was going on but I'm jazzed. And if we get enough momentum going on this, then maybe we can get them banned sooner.

As noted above, Germany’s Bundesrat (senate) passed a resolution that would ban ICE cars as soon as 2030. A resolution is far from law, but as Forbes noted earlier this month, “the EU auto industry seems to be ready to switch to electric power, and politicians just signaled their willingness to force the switch to zero-emission, if necessary.”

Link:  Which will be the first country to ban fuel-burning cars: Norway, Germany, India?