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Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy

Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The Renewables 100 Policy Institute, Inc. is a non-profit organization, the mission of which is to study and advance the global shift to 100 percent renewable sources for all energy sectors.

 

100% renewable energy is rapidly becoming the new normal energy mix. Are you ready to be part of the biggest energy evolution of our time?

Come and see how international cities like San Francisco and Munich, as well as businesses and communities around the world are setting, achieving, and benefiting from 100% renewable energy targets.  Hear from top global experts about cutting edge technical, policy, and financial solutions, on the ground experiences, and the added value of transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

April 16, 2013 | San Francisco


It is a fact that traditional fossil fuels, by definition, will run out and that they are causing multiple time-sensitive global crises. Therefore, the time is now for all of us and for our communities to understand how to technically, financially, and politically switch to renewable resources.

This is not a pipe dream. Millions of people on the local, regional, and national levels are stepping into a new 100% renewable reality. And reaping economic, environmental, and personal benefits.

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Renewable Energy Could Fully Power Grid by 2030

Renewable Energy Could Fully Power Grid by 2030 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College. A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.


“These results break the conventional wisdom that renewable energy is too unreliable and expensive,” said co-author Willett Kempton, professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. “The key is to get the right combination of electricity sources and storage—which we did by an exhaustive search—and to calculate costs correctly.”


Unlike other studies, the model focused on minimizing costs instead of the traditional approach of matching generation to electricity use. The researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours—in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours—would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand.

 

“Aiming for 90 percent or more renewable energy in 2030, in order to achieve climate change targets of 80 to 90 percent reduction of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the power sector, leads to economic savings,” the authors observe.

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Big Bank Says It’s Going To Cost A Lot To Do Nothing On Global Warming

Big Bank Says It’s Going To Cost A Lot To Do Nothing On Global Warming | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

A new report from Citibank found that acting on climate change by investing in low-carbon energy would save the world $1.8 trillion through 2040, as compared to a business-as-usual scenario. In addition, not acting will cost an additional $44 trillion by 2060 from the “negative effects” of climate change.

 

“Overall, we find that the incremental costs of action are limited (and indeed ultimately lead to savings), offer reasonable returns on investment, and should not have too detrimental an effect on global growth,” the report’s authors write. In fact, they found that the necessary investment, such as adding renewable energy sources and improving efficiency, might actually boost the global economy.


“We believe that that solution does exist,” the report states. “The incremental costs of following a low carbon path are in context limited and seem affordable, the ‘return’ on that investment is acceptable and moreover the likely avoided liabilities are enormous. Given that all things being equal cleaner air has to be preferable to pollution, a very strong ‘Why would you not?’ argument begins to develop.”

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The tide is turning, as the world's wealth begins to flow more rapidly away from fossil fuels and wasteful pollution and towards increasingly sustainable development based ultimately on 100% renewable energy and 100% recycling of all resources.

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6 Myths About Renewable Energy, Busted!

6 Myths About Renewable Energy, Busted! | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The evidence is in: Renewable energy is viable, reliable, and ready to go! Here are six of the most common myths about renewable energy – myths that simply don’t stand up to reality.

 

MYTH 1 RENEWABLE ENERGY IS TOO EXPENSIVE

 

In recent years the costs of wind and solar energy have declined substantially. Today renewable technologies are the most economical solution for new capacity in a growing number of countries and regions, and are typically the most economic solution for new grid-connected capacity where good resources are available.

 

 

MYTH 2 RENEWABLE ENERGY IS NICE TO HAVE BUT NOT BIG ENOUGH

 

Renewable energy technology is ready to go, and it is working reliably in countries around the world.

 

1. International Energy Agency: Any country can reach high shares of wind, solar power cost-effectively. 
2. By 2050 almost all of global energy needs can be met with renewables. 

 

MYTH 3 RENEWABLE ENERGY CAN’T SUPPLY ELECTRICITY 24/7

 

Renewable energy can meet all our energy needs in a safe and reliable way. When the shares are small, balancing supply and demand goes with the flow as part of the overall grid management. As shares of wind and solar approach 30% and more, smart integration becomes important. 

The key is to have a mix of sources spread over a wide area: solar and wind power, biogas, biomass and geothermal sources. In the future, ocean energy can contribute too.

 

 

MYTH 4 ELECTRICITY GRID CAN’T HANDLE RENEWABLE ENERGY

 

An electricity grid – the system that connects power stations to consumers – can handle large shares of variable renewable energy if it is designed to do so. Adding wind and solar on top of ‘business as usual’ is not how it works. What’s needed is a gradual transformation of the whole energy system to accommodate modern energy production and consumption.

 

 

MYTH 5 RENEWABLE ENERGY IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

 

Busted regarding: Birds and bats, Noise, Land use, Footprint of renewables.

 

 

MYTH 6 GREENPEACE WANTS TO TURN OFF ALL COAL AND NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS TODAY

 

Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution model is about a gradual transition to renewable energy. 

 

 

The good news is that clean energy revolution has already started – but we must speed it up. Given the incredible renewable energy potential the world has, the millions of jobs that could be created and millions of lives that could be saved from air pollution and other hazards of the current energy system, the benefits of a clean energy future are indisputable. 


Via Maxwell Tech
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Maxwell Tech's curator insight, December 17, 2013 2:28 PM

Is renewable energy expensive? Can it really supply electricity 24/7? Well, it seems Green Peace can answer those questions and bust these six typical myths about renewable energy - check it out!

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The Continuing Exponential Growth Of Global Solar PV Production & Installation

The Continuing Exponential Growth Of Global Solar PV Production & Installation | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

By Mike Shurtleff. For years, I’ve been following the exponential growth of Global Solar PV production/installation, starting with this article in 2007: “PV production up 50% in 2007,”...

 

There is a good plot of PV production growth from 1975 to 2007 included. A number of commenters suggested the high rate of growth (48%) seen in the preceding seven years would not be as easy to maintain at higher volumes of production going forward. I was not as sure. I was also not sure they were wrong. I made a resolve to watch this. Now, seven years later, they have not been completely wrong, but pretty dang close to completely wrong.

 

If a growth rate of over 41% continues until 2022, then the world will be producing/installing over 0.5 terawatts of solar PV panels per year and maybe as much as 1.0 terawatt per year. At this rate, solar PV will become THE major source of power throughout the world. Further, when including any additional growth in production/installation, this will happen in a few years, easily within the next decade. Total global power use is less than 20 terawatts. (This is all of the world’s power use, not just electricity.)


For the last 14 years, almost a decade and a half, global solar PV production/installation has grown faster than 41% per year (compound annual growth rate, aka CAGR). This means global solar PV production/installation has been more than doubling every two years.


If this high growth rate continues for another 8 years, till 2022, then we will be already well on our way to providing most of the world’s power using solar PV.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

There is no particular reason why the huge solar PV growth will slow down any time soon, at least while it continues to get cheaper as fossil fuels continue to get more expensive.  

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Wind and Solar Will Soon Become the ‘Least-Cost Option Almost Universally’ : Greentech Media

Wind and Solar Will Soon Become the ‘Least-Cost Option Almost Universally’ : Greentech Media | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Two new reports on global demand for renewables forecast dramatic growth in nearly every region of the world over the coming decades. While promotion policies are still important for supporting the industry in some countries in the short term, conventional technologies like wind and solar are becoming cheap enough to compete without direct subsidies.

 

BNEF and GTM Research both predict that solar will make up most of the new generating capacity installed after 2020.

 

The broad swath of renewable energy technologies -- including wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal -- will account for 46 percent of generation by 2040, according to the BNEF report. Wind and solar alone will account for 30 percent of global generation.

 
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

If we could reduce or eliminate the enormous subsidies for fossil fuels, renewable energy could grow that much faster.

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Australia Could Reach 100% Renewables By 2040

Australia Could Reach 100% Renewables By 2040 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Originally published on RenewEconomy
by Sophie Vorrath

Australia could reach 100 per cent renewables as early as 2040 by adding 1.9 GW of solar PV and 1.9 GW of wind power capacity a year, according to one of Australia’s top renewable energy experts.

“PV and wind could, essentially, do the whole lot fairly easily,” Blakers told the conference on Thursday. “There are no more economic constraints,” he said, with PV and wind now costing the same as new-build fossil fuels. The issue was ensuring that fossil fuel generators actually exited the market.

 

“The PV learning curve continues,” said Blakers, noting that the historical pattern has been that every time you double cumulative production of solar panels, the cost comes down about 25 per cent.

 

“Renewables are well on track to push fossils fuels and nuclear out of the picture within the next 10-15 years,” he said.

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How the zero-waste economy benefits everyone

How the zero-waste economy benefits everyone | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
In a truly circular economy where waste becomes nutrients, economic growth would be decoupled from environmental restraints. See who is leading the way.

 

Welcome to the emerging world of the circular economy. Faced with rising prices for energy and raw materials, along with pressures from environmentalists and regulators who have passed “extended producer responsibility laws” in Europe and some U.S. states, forward-thinking companies are finding ways to take back, reuse, refurbish or recycle all kinds of things that otherwise would be thrown away. In contrast to the traditional “take-make-dispose” linear economy, which depletes resources, a circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. Inspired by nature, a circular economy aspires not merely to limit waste but to eliminate the very idea of waste: Everything, at the end of its life, should be made into something else, just as in the natural world, one species’ waste is another’s food.

 

No wonder companies see the circular model as a business opportunity. The transition to a circular economy could generate savings of more than $1 trillion in materials alone by 2025, according to an analysis by the U.K.-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation,  McKinsey & Company  and the World Economic Forum,  which are collaborating to promote circular thinking.

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Clean Energy Seeing Global ‘Renaissance’

Clean Energy Seeing Global ‘Renaissance’ | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Cheap oil and increasingly cheap renewables are ushering in an era of abundant energy.

 

That is one of the central messages of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Future of Energy Summit taking place this week in New York City. Bloomberg analysts, government regulators and industry officials in attendance are debating how far renewable electricity has come as prices have fallen, and where it’s going as countries prepare for the Paris climate negotiations in December.


Renewables, mainly including hydropower, solar and wind, reached 28 percent of the total electric power supply in Germany in 2014, 19 percent in the United Kingdom, 22 percent in China, 76 percent in Brazil and 13 percent in the U.S., as investments in renewables increased more than 15 percent globally last year, BNEF Chairman Michael Liebreich said Tuesday.


The cost of solar photovoltaic installations has fallen an estimated 59 percent since 2009, and the cost of onshore wind farms has fallen 11.5 percent, Bloomberg estimated in March.

 

Energy efficiency as a way to both cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is also gaining ground across the globe. Government-sponsored energy efficiency measures amounted to nearly $50 billion in 2013, mostly in the U.S., Germany and China, up from just over $40 billion in 2012, Liebreich said.

 

The trend of wind, solar, energy efficiency and other low-carbon energy sources taking substantial hold in both developed and developing nations worldwide — in addition to the U.S. and China agreeing to a climate pact — bodes well for the Paris climate negotiations, Liebreich said.



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Australia could source 100% of power from renewables by 2050, report finds

Australia could source 100% of power from renewables by 2050, report finds | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Australia is well placed to reduce emissions at low cost because the costs of carbon-free technologies such as wind and solar have fallen significantly in recent years.

 

A WWF report produced in collaboration with the Australian National University argues Australia could source 100% of its power from renewables by 2050 – without incurring massive adjustment costs or depressing economic growth – if there were clear and stable national policy settings to support investment in renewables.

 

The report’s author, Australian National University associate professor Frank Jotzo, said the evidence suggested deep cuts to Australia’s emissions could be achieved at low cost.

 

“With our abundant renewable resources we are one of the best placed countries in the world for moving to a fully renewable electricity supply,” he said. “Australia can achieve zero net emissions by harnessing energy efficiency, moving to a zero-carbon electricity system, switching from direct use of fossil fuels to decarbonised electricity, and improving industrial processes.”

 


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Hawaii is On Course to Go 100% Renewable by 2040 - SolarEnergy.net

Hawaii is On Course to Go 100% Renewable by 2040 - SolarEnergy.net | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The sun-drenched state is about to strengthen its energy legislation to require 100 percent renewable energy by 2040

 

“Even our utility is saying we can hit 65 percent by 2030, so 100 percent is definitely doable,” Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), sponsor of the Senate bill.


As recently six years ago, more than 90 percent of Hawaii’s yearly electricity generation came from coal and oil. With renewable technologies rapidly advancing, Hawaii’s abundant solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal sources are moving in quickly as replacements for costly fossil fuels.


“We shouldn’t forget that Hawaii has some of the world’s steadiest wind resources, sun that shines almost every day, waves that pound our shores, and a volcano in our back yard,” he said. “So if anywhere can solve these challenges, Hawaii can.”

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» Carbon-Sequestering Agriculture

» Carbon-Sequestering Agriculture | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

To save the planet we may need to turn it into an edible paradise…

 

Climate change is already making our planet less inhabitable, with droughts, floods, and severe weather events on the rise. Stabilizing the climate is perhaps the central challenge for humanity in the early decades of this century. Globally, a massive switch to regenerative practices, perennial crops, and regional self-reliance are essential to sequester carbon and reduce emissions. 

Stabilizing the Climate with “Permanent Agriculture”

Trees are one of our most powerful tools to pull carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil for long-term storage. This is why reforestation and protecting intact forests are such important parts of plans to address climate change. 

 

Trees are fundamentally more efficient than annual crops, with greater net primary productivity. 


Intuitively it makes sense that forest-like agriculture will sequester carbon somewhat like a “real” forest. 


The amounts sequestered vary hugely, depending on several variables.  Allowing for these factors, Nair and Montagnini report estimates of the world carbon storage potential of agroforestry ranging from 9 to 228 tons of carbon/hectare under different circumstances – tremendous variation. They report an estimate of current sequestration by agroforestry at 1 million tons/year. Their document estimates the amount of land that could be converted to agroforestry practices as roughly 585 million to 1.2 billion hectares (the U.S. including Alaska is 770 million hectares).


Even at a fairly conservative 25 ton/hectare average, that would sequester 14-20 billion tons – over its lifetime as much as 10% of the total 200 billion tons many experts estimate needs to be removed from the atmosphere even if we stop emissions tomorrow.

 


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Divestment is Working. Now It’s Time To Escalate the Fight

Divestment is Working. Now It’s Time To Escalate the Fight | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

It seems that every day now there’s another editorial, study, rant—even animations!—criticizing the fossil fuel divestment campaign. The pieces, usually written by lobbyists associated with fossil fuel companies, stodgy academics, or conservative politicians, usually cite the same arguments: divestment won’t make a financial difference, it’s a distraction from the “real work” of climate solutions, the world needs fossil fuels and we should be thanking Exxon for their generosity in providing them, etc.

 

When you hear someone shouting “those people don’t matter!” it’s usually a good sign that “those people” are beginning to make a serious impact. Which is exactly what the divestment campaign is doing.  Everywhere you look, the campaign is spreading like wildfire.


This is especially exciting at the international level. This February 13th and 14th, 350.org is hosting Global Divestment Day, a series of events around the world to highlight just how global the divestment fight has become. 


Thanks to the amazing activism of all these people around the world, the divestment campaign is having exactly the impact that we hoped it would. Together, we’ve begun to chip away at the industry’s social license, successfully turning Big Oil into a pariah industry like Big Tobacco.


Now, it’s time for us to turn up the heat. On Global Divestment Day, people around the world are going to be taking action on their campuses, in their communities, or at their places of worship, to push public institutions to divest from fossil fuels.


Solving the climate crisis is a race against the clock. In the fight against climate chaos, there is such a thing as ‘too late.’ Over the last year, the divestment movement has hit its stride. Now, it’s time to pick up the pace.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

What are you doing to divest yourself from fossil fuels?

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Solar and wind will be cheapest form of electricity in Asia

Solar and wind will be cheapest form of electricity in Asia | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

A new study has found that renewable energy systems will prove to be the most economically viable in the future, specifying that solar and wind will prove the cheapest forms of energy production for Asia’s largest energy markets by the end of the next ten years.


The study, conducted by the Lappeenranta University of Technology, shows that North-East Asia and China will particularly benefit from switching entirely to renewable energy systems over the next 5 to 10 years.


The report presents a “spatially and hourly resolved energy system model” that shows how 100% renewable energy could work in the region, interconnected by a high voltage transmission grid.


“Economic viability” has long been an issue in the minds of those looking to transition Asian regions to renewable energy. It has only been over the past 18 months that solar and wind have started measuring comparably with traditional energy generation methods — but the good news is that many believe the economic viability of solar and wind will continue to increase, past where traditional generation techniques sit. 

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IEA: Fossil fuels losing price advantage to renewables

IEA: Fossil fuels losing price advantage to renewables | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Renewable energy sources can now produce electricity at a price very close to the cost of electricity generated by fossil fuels, according to a new report released yesterday by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

 

"The costs of renewable technologies - in particular solar photovoltaic - have declined significantly over the past five years," the report stated. "These technologies are no longer cost outliers."


The cost of electricity is expected to change dramatically over the coming years, according to the report. In sunny regions, utility-scale solar could provide electricity for under $100/MWh by 2025, making it cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Meanwhile, electricity from coal could become up to 70 per cent more expensive if new regulations are enforced requiring new plants to capture carbon emissions.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

A fair assessment of *all* the costs of burning fossil fuels would show that renewable energy is *already* a far better deal. We can't afford *not* to shut down the entire fossil fuel industry as soon as possible, as fast as feasible.


We don't have to think about waiting any longer, until another decade when the IEA says utility-scale solar will become competitive, and in fact, the world is not waiting.  Both solar and wind energy have been growing for several years at a very fast rate that is expected to continue, and fossil fuel technologies are stalling out and beginning to collapse.  

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The Clean Power Plan Is Barely Better Than Kyoto; IPPC Says: We Must Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere

The Clean Power Plan Is Barely Better Than Kyoto; IPPC Says: We Must Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The grand contradiction between the latest climate science and current climate policy is that since about the beginning of the Kyoto Era, we have emitted as much climate pollution as we emitted since mankind first began altering the carbon dioxide content of our atmosphere to a noticeable degree in the mid-1700s.

 

The IPCC tells us: "A large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from carbon dioxide emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over a sustained period."

 What these statements mean is that we must begin to remove some of the accumulated carbon dioxide climate pollution we have emitted all of these years directly from our atmosphere. Emissions reductions alone are no longer enough. A "large net removal" and "strong negative emissions" mean that we must "largely," or "strongly" remove more carbon dioxide than we emit every year.

To read between the lines and get to the bottom of the reasoning that emissions reductions alone are no longer adequate, if we stopped 100 percent of carbon dioxide emissions today, because of what has become known as "warming in the pipeline," our climate will continue to warm by 2.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. This warming comes from the greenhouse gases already in our sky and the reason it is yet to come is because of the great air conditioning capacity of our cool ocean waters.

 The methods [of removing CO2] could be agricultural, reforestation and/or industrial and energy smokestack capture, but one thing is certain; all of these things combined will not create a large net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Direct atmospheric removal of carbon dioxide is required.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

In other words, we are forced to consider some manner of geoengineering to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere.  I believe we should urgently investigate 'fertilization' of the oceans with iron dust, which first removes excess CO2 from the oceans (because the CO2 makes the oceans more acidic than they should be) and doing so will feed the fish as well. This will subsequently cause more CO2 from the atmosphere to dissolve in the oceans.  

 

The oceans have actually been been lacking the iron dust they have grown accustomed to because the excess atmospheric CO2 has resulted in more land-based plant growth which holds down the dust that otherwise would have blown into the air. So helping to restore what nature was already doing before we messed things up is exactly the kind of thing we need to do to achieve Zero Footprint.   We still have to be careful how we go about it, of course.  See https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/series/ocean-iron-fertilization

 

A significant comment by Mark Hathaway : "Soil is by far the largest land-based carbon sink. If we move away from industrial agriculture methods that have turned soil into a net carbon emitter, we may indeed be able to sequester carbon in the soil fairly quickly. Work has been done on this by the Rhodale Institute and investigations into the possible use of biochar are also encouraging. See the following paper for more analysis:  https://www.academia.edu/12968274/Agroecology_and_Permaculture_Addressing_Key_Ecological_Problems_by_Rethinking_and_Redesigning_Agricultural_Systems ";

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Major study shows biodiversity losses can be reversed

Major study shows biodiversity losses can be reversed | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Most people would probably agree that human pressures on the land are bad news for wildlife. Practices such as agriculture can introduce pollutants to the environment, force out wildlife, and change local ecosystems forever.

 

A new study published today in the journal Nature gives a global view of this damage since the 1500s. It shows that by 2005, worldwide land use change had caused a drop of 14 per cent in the average number of species found in local ecosystems. Most of this loss came in the last 100 years.


Some of this damage can be reversed, however. But this would need worldwide action to tackle climate change, specifically establishing a strong carbon market where high biodiversity habitats are given an economic value, say the authors.


‘If we carry on as we are, numbers of species will fall by nearly 3.5 per cent on average by 2100. But if society takes concerted action, and reduces climate change by valuing forests properly, then by the end of the century we can undo the last 50 years of damage to biodiversity on land.’


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Solar accounts for 1% of global electricity, how long will the next 1% take? | PV-Tech

Solar accounts for 1% of global electricity, how long will the next 1% take? | PV-Tech | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Solar energy now accounts for 1% of all global electricity demand but the next 1% will come much sooner. Tom Kenning investigates just how much quicker.

 

GTM Research solar analyst Adam James told PV Tech that he expects global installed capacity to double by 2017. Thus, while it took 14 years to reach the 1% figure, solar will take just two years to reach close to 2%. 


Josefin Berg, senior analyst solar power at IHS Technology told PV Tech that she also expects global installed capacity to double in 2017/18, however, in the same period, overall power generation will increase worldwide.


James said that when you aggregate all of the smaller developing markets together, they will go from accounting for 1% of solar today to 17% over the next five years, marking a significant shift in the spread of the market.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The global total for PV is a small 1%, but the growth rate is huge, 41% - 48% per year over the last decade, and assuming that rate of growth continues, we should expect the global total will double in about 2 years, and double again in another 2 years, etc.  I.e. 1%, 2%, 4%, 8%, 16%, 32%, in just 10 years.   PV and wind power continue to get cheaper while fossil fuels will be under increasing pressure to raise prices (partly to pay for the damage they do) until they are priced out of the market.

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How The US, UK, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, & Italy Can Each Go 100% Renewable

How The US, UK, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, & Italy Can Each Go 100% Renewable | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

As you are probably well aware, the good folks at The Solutions Project have published plans for how each of the 50 states in the US could switch to 100% renewable energy.  Importantly, they didn’t just paint a broad stroke — they actually looked at electricity needs by region in 15-minute segments for the entire year and matched those with the most logical renewable energy resources in the region.


What you might not know is that The Solutions Project crew (led by Mark Z Jacobson on the research end) has been doing the same thing for countries across the world.

 
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Emerging Economies Surge Forward with Renewables

Emerging Economies Surge Forward with Renewables | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Why is renewable energy adoption in the world's emerging economies growing nearly twice as fast than in industrialized nations?

 

A recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and several partners shows that renewable energy adoption is growing in the world’s emerging economies nearly twice as fast than in industrialized nations. Not only are renewable energy technologies now cost competitive with fossil fuels in many developing nations, but they are often more reliable, safer, and at times cheaper than conventional grid power.


When renewables such as solar and wind compete with expensive energy coupled with inadequate infrastructure, renewables reach grid parity and are more reliable and secure for populations connected to the grid.

 

The case is even stronger for the 1.3 billion people in the world without access to electricity. Many of these people rely on kerosene lamps that are not only costly—poor households typically spend 10 percent of their income on kerosene—but also an extreme health hazard. Access to distributed solar systems or other renewable technologies could not only bring cleaner, healthier, and more reliable power to rural areas, but can do so much more economically than trying to extend the grid.

 

This is thus a critical time for emerging economies around the world. Will their current dirty, expensive, unreliable grids be built out with fossil-fueled power? And how will they electrify the 1.3 billion beyond the reach of that grid? Encouraging examples and early successes from these countries and others demonstrate that distributed solar PV and other renewables could provide an answer, but much work remains left to do in the transition from fossil fuels to clean, reliable, affordable renewable electricity.

 


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Investments in Renewables Herald 'Paradigm Shift' | Climate Central

Investments in Renewables Herald 'Paradigm Shift' | Climate Central | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Global renewables investments increased 17 percent in 2014 as solar and wind costs fell dramatically, new UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows.

 

Amid rising concern about the role of fossil fuels in climate change, there was an unprecedented boom in renewables across the globe in 2014, suggesting that countries are already shifting toward more low-carbon energy as the cost to build solar and wind farms falls quickly.

 

That’s one of the conclusions of a United Nations  and Bloomberg  New Energy Finance report published Tuesday showing that global renewable energy investments in 2014 totaled $270 billion, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year.

 

Less money bought more renewables in 2014 — sometimes without subsidies — as costs of building solar and wind farms fell even as fossil fuels became cheaper to use with the plunge in oil prices. Bloomberg estimates that the cost of solar power projects have fallen 59 percent since 2009, and the cost of onshore wind farms has fallen 11.5 percent.

 

“The numbers seem to be telling a story of an energy paradigm shift well underway,” Eric Usher, head of the United Nations Environment Programme finance initiative, said during a news conference Tuesday. “There is a climate story: Renewables definitely seem to be contributing to the stabilization of CO2 emissions.”

 

“There is now nobody who thinks the energy system of the future will look like the energy system of the past,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said. “Renewable energy is now not seen as an indulgence or something that is to be tolerated at the fringes of a network.

 

Renewables are growing rapidly in both the developed and the developing world, with China leading the way. China saw more than $83 billion in investments in renewables, 39 percent over 2013. The U.S. came in second worldwide, with about $38 billion in investments, up 7 percent in 2014. Japan ranked third with nearly $36 billion.

 

The rationale for building renewables in many of those countries may be related to lower costs of wind turbines and solar panels as much as it is a need to slash CO2 emissions as a way to tackle climate change, Liebreich said.

 

“It’s partly around favorable policy environments, but also energy shortages and high costs of electricity for businesses and consumers,” he said. “At these now-lower costs of wind and solar, it just makes sense to build those resources. Renewables in those countries are not just a question of slavering on subsidies — in many cases, subsidies are not needed at all.”

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China Can Cut Cord on Coal (Mostly) by 2050 | Climate Central

China Can Cut Cord on Coal (Mostly) by 2050 | Climate Central | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

From a climate change perspective, China’s carbon footprint is huge: It consumes nearly as much coal as every other country in the world combined. And it’s the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.


But it may be possible for China to shake most of its reliance on fossil fuels, in part by producing more than 85 percent of its electricity and more than 60 percent of its total energy needs from renewables by 2050, according to a study published Monday.

 

It’s both technologically and economically feasible for China to rely on renewables for more than 60 percent of its total energy needs, including transportation, by 2050, the study says. On the way there, China has the ability to reach the peak of both its fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. China in 2050 could get more than 85 percent of its total electricity from renewables, 64 percent of of which could be from wind and solar power. Under that scenario, only 7 percent of its power would come from coal after having developed more than 200 gigawatts of electric power storage.


The Chinese study builds upon the U.S. Department of Energy’s research showing that it’s technically feasible and cost-effective for the U.S. to obtain at least 80 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2050, and that wind can supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030.

 

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Groundbreaking Permaculture Film Offers Bold New Solution in Regenerative Agriculture » EcoWatch

Groundbreaking Permaculture Film Offers Bold New Solution in Regenerative Agriculture » EcoWatch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Everywhere you hear that we need to minimize our footprint and reduce our impact. But what if we turned that kind of thinking on its head? What if, as Bill McDonough says, instead of trying to be “less bad,” we try to be “more good.” What if our footprints became beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise of a new movie Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective,which will have its worldwide digital premiere on Earth Day, April 22.


Inhabit investigates today’s pressing environmental problems and offers solutions through a permaculture lens. For those who aren’t familiar, permaculture is defined many different ways, but it is generally defined as a method of ecological design that develops regenerative agricultural systems by mimicking natural ecosystems. “Permaculture is a design process that’s applicable in any landscape for any set of objectives,” said the film.


You can watch the trailer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL-4RoDvqUaChQL8YaWsTiGuf6gI8PZFDM&v=9U56O6LDyLQ

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Public Utilities Should Embrace Renewable Energy Revolution, Not Get Run Over By It » EcoWatch

Public Utilities Should Embrace Renewable Energy Revolution, Not Get Run Over By It » EcoWatch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The U.S. electricity sector will be unrecognizable in 20 years. How fast it changes will be a big factor in how large a price is paid for having disrupted climate equilibrium—but it is not the climate threat that will drive the changes.


Three major threats undermine the value of the classic U.S. utility model: big power plants linked to big transmission grids operated by monopoly companies with guaranteed profits.

 

1. SLUMPING DEMAND:  The historic link between total economic production and electricity demand has shattered. Not only is electricity consumption rising slower than the economy grows, in the U.S. it is actually shrinking.


2. DISECONOMIES OF SCALE AND AGE: Now the arrival of distributed generation—mostly in the form of rooftop solar—is enabling customers to become generators, and to replace precisely those electrons which create utility profits—peak afternoon and early evening load.


3. EMPOWERED CUSTOMERS: Demand response technologies, recruiting consumers whose power needs can be shifted by a few hours to shave peak demand are now a significant part of the total management strategy of many utilities.


They (utilities) have three huge business opportunities the environmental community would love to support. Most of the industry is desperately trying to throw them away.


1. Rooftop solar. Who in the marketplace possesses cheap capital, intimate customer relations with every electricity user, and detailed knowledge about roofs and substations?


2. EV saturation. EV’s are the perfect solution to provide demand growth, while simultaneously enabling balancing load—because the average car is parked 95 percent of the time, available to charge or discharge.


3. The Storage Breakthrough. Having a grid with lots of distributed rooftop solar and demand manageable EV load means that the volume of storage needed is much smaller than would be required to meet the needs of remote solar and wind.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The electric utilities WILL necessarily change, and we can all shift more quickly to 100% renewable energy if we work together.

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Could better soil management reverse global warming?

Could better soil management reverse global warming? | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
How we manage our soil may be as important as how we generate our energy.

 

The very things we need to do to adapt to a changing climate are exactly the same actions we need to take to slow down, or even reverse, global warming in the first place.

 

During his keynote, Peter Bane—author of The Permaculture Handbook—made this astounding statement: Better farming could not just slow, but reverse, the buildup of atmospheric CO2.  Noting that rock star farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has built up 6.5% of additional carbon in his soils, Bane argued that truly maximizing soil carbon sequestration across all the world's agricultural soils could literally soak up more carbon than we release each year.


In cultivating our ability to "farm carbon," we would simultaneously be reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers, increasing our farm lands' ability to retain nutrients and hold water, we'd be mitigating flooding and protecting against drought, and we'd be enhancing biodiversity too. There's even some research to suggest that small-scale agroecology could increase yields compared to conventional farming.


Via John Casey
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Musk: Utilities & Solar Can Exist Together

Musk: Utilities & Solar Can Exist Together | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Elon Musk believes solar and utilities can exist together, despite uneasy feelings among many within the utility sector.

 

Speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, Musk said that expanding electric vehicle markets, along with businesses and homes as solar power generators, will change how we view electricity demand.


“As we transition to electric transport, we’re going to see a significant increase in the demand for electricity,” SolarCity’s chair and Tesla’s CEO said, hinting that utilities will have a good future.


Musk told the Detroit press conference that he sees future electricity demand doubling. Half of supply would come from solar while half would come from the current utility, while the demand from current utilities would remain more or less unchanged.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Electric utilities will be reduced to maintaining the grid, unless they transition their own generation capacity to 100% renewable energy.

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Global wind industry grows 44% in 2014

Global wind industry grows 44% in 2014 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
New figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council show that the global wind industry grew by 44% in 2014, installing over 51 GW.

 

“Wind power is the most competitive way of adding new power generation capacity to the grid in a rapidly increasing number of markets around the world, even when competing against heavily subsidized incumbents,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.


“Wind is a rapidly maturing technology, with proven reliability and competitiveness. Not only the low prices but also the cost-stability of wind power makes it a very attractive option for utilities, independent power producers and companies who are looking for a hedge against the wildly fluctuating prices of fossil fuels."

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

With a long term average growth rate of about 26% (Wikipedia says 30%), total wind capacity is expected to double every 5 years. 

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