TED Talks Worldchanging.com founder Alex Steffen argues that reducing humanity’s ecological footprint is incredibly vital now, as the western consumer lifestyle spreads to developing countries.
Via Anne Caspari
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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.
“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.
RegenVillages, which is a spin-off company of Stanford University, is working on a pilot development of 25 homes in Almere, Netherlands, beginning this summer, with the aim of integrating local energy production (using biogas, solar, geothermal, and other modalities), along with intensive food production methods (vertical farming, aquaponics and aeroponics, permaculture, and others) and 'closed-loop' waste-to-resource systems, along with intelligent water and energy management systems.
"We're really looking at a global scale. We are redefining residential real-estate development by creating these regenerative neighborhoods, looking at first these greenfield pieces of farmland where we can produce more organic food, more clean water, more clean energy, and mitigate more waste than if we just left that land to grow organic food or do permaculture there." - James Ehrlich, CEO of ReGen Villages
Via David Rowing, Alan Yoshioka, THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*, Marc Kneepkens, Mário Carmo
Is 2016 the year that switching to 100 percent renewable energy becomes mainstream?
It took just three years for three U.S. cities to make the transition to 100 percent clean energy — and experts in the field of renewable energy, as well as several prominent environmental groups, expect that pace only to quicken in the coming years.
In total, 12 U.S. cities — including San Francisco, CA, Georgetown, TX, and Ithaca, NY — have made commitments to transition to 100 percent clean energy, though many have yet to solidify those commitments as law.
But even if cities pledge to make the transition, there are still a number of barriers to overcome before 100 percent renewable energy can become a widespread reality. While the price of renewables has been falling in recent years — with solar dropping 70 percent since 2009 and wind becoming cost-competitive with natural gas — there are still technological barriers to overcome, especially in the area of energy storage.
The numbers support the economic argument for transforming a city’s energy infrastructure — over the last year, the solar industry added jobs twelve times faster than the rest of the economy. Many experts and elected officials also view the Paris climate agreement reached last December as sending a clear signal to global markets that the world will be moving towards renewable energy.
Stanford study says that 139 countries could power their economies with 100% renewable energy - wind, water and sunlight - by 2050, create millions of jobs and save trillions.
The Stanford study focuses on what is has dubbed “WWS” – wind, water and sunlight. And it includes not just electricity but transportation, heating and cooling, industry, and agriculture, forestry and fishing.
They have even broken now the equipment and installations needed into each country. It appears eye watering, but Stanford says the land use requirements are minimal – just 0.29 per cent of the land area, mostly for solar PV, not including reclaimed fossil fuel plants.
Stanford says the major benefits of a conversion to WWS are the near-elimination of air pollution morbidity and mortality and global warming, net job creation, energy-price stability, reduced international conflict over energy because each country will be energy independent.
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:
Basically, it would be stupid NOT to switch to 100% renewables ASAP!
Global action to reduce carbon dioxide has produced at least $60 billion in economic benefits to the U.S. in the last five years, according to a new analysis. It also concludes that current rates of emission reductions worldwide could contribute another $2 trillion in the next 15 years.
"A lot of people have advocated for climate action based on moral and environmental reasoning," said Peter Howard, the institute’s economics director and co-author of the report. "This demonstrates there’s an economic sense to agreeing to reach a climate agreement."
The report counters arguments often used by opponents of climate action in the U.S. that taking the lead in reducing carbon emissions will allow developing nations to continue to pollute with few consequences.
If anything, Howard said, the U.S. is the free-rider, enjoying the benefits of global emissions reductions, particularly in Europe.
Although the full extent of climate change’s damage is unknowable, Howard said his report and research by others help policymakers and the public understand the scale of the economic risks of not taking action.
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:
More evidence that we have crossed a threshold, where now it is cheaper to shut down the fossil fuel industry and switch to 100% renewable energy. In fact, we can't afford NOT to transition as soon as possible.
Since the concept of planetary boundaries was first published in 2009 it has generated enormous interest and debate. Our scientists have spoken at the United Nations. Businesses have asked, how do we apply “planetary boundaries” to our business models? The World Wildlife Fund has adopted planetary boundaries as a core part of its strategy.
The reason is clear: the last decade has seen an explosion in scientific knowledge about our planet. Now, the world is waking up to the realization that our relationship with our planet is changing rapidly. There is a new responsibility emerging for humanity to ensure the long-term stability of Earth’s life support system.
This course, Planetary Boundaries and Human Opportunities: The Quest for Safe and Just Development on a Resilient Planet, is designed to provide people everywhere with the latest science in clear simple modules accessible to all. We believe this knowledge will help empower more people to view themselves as “global citizens” and become “planetary stewards.”
The course will provide a basic understanding of each component of the Earth system - the atmosphere, oceans, forests, waterways, the rich diversity of life on our planet and our global economy. The course will focus on the processes of change and how these components interact, often in unexpected ways. The course will also include solutions from the community level to the global. Finally, the course will equip participants with a set of tools for thinking differently about the challenges and opportunities in the field of global sustainability.
Via Kim Flintoff
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.
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 "
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.’
Via Greenconflict Solutions
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The next few decades will see a profound and all-encompassing energy transformation throughout the world. Whereas society now derives the great majority of its energy from fossil fuels, by the end of the century we will depend primarily on renewable sources like solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power.
Fossil fuels are on their way out one way or another, and nuclear energy is a dead end. That leaves renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass, to shoulder the burden of powering future society. While it is probably an oversimplification to say that people in the not-too-distant-future will inhabit a 100 percent renewably powered world, it is worth exploring what a complete, or nearly complete, shift in our energy systems would actually mean. Because energy is implicit not only in everything we do but also in the built environment around us (which requires energy for its construction, maintenance, and disposal/decommissioning), it is in effect the wellspring of our existence.
Via Share The World's Resources
Canada could become 100 per cent reliant on low-carbon electricity in just 20 years and reduce its emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, a new study shows. The report calls for bold policies to be adopted immediately in order for Canada to transition to a sustainable society. “Twenty years ago Canada was a leader on the climate change file. But today our reputation on this issue is in tatters,” James Meadowcroft, political science professor at Carleton University and one of the report’s authors told DeSmog Canada. “It is time for us to get serious and take vigorous action to move towards a low carbon emission economy.” The report is a collaboration between 60 Canadian scholars and outlines a 10-point policy framework to achieve dramatic emission reductions. At the top of the list is the need to put a price on carbon which was unanimously recommended by the report’s authors.
Via Organic Social Media
World's largest EV maker says market will double every year for next three years, and sees strong growth in battery storage for homes.
Wang said that the EV market is growing “very fast”, a development that enabled it to become the number one EV maker in the world, outpointing Nissan and Mitsubishi with more than 43,000 units until the end of October.
“Every year will double for next three years,” Wang said when asked about the size of the market.
“This is not about competition. The market is so huge, it needs more people’s participation in the market. Tesla is targeting high end, there is a bit of an overlap, but we are focusing on electric cars and buses in different markets.
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:
This 100% growth per year is a little faster than recent projections, but still very reasonable. Elon Musk also projects doubling the number of Teslas this year, and perhaps into the future: "Every year we are doubling our total cumulative production so at the beginning of last year we had fifty thousand cars in total on the roads worldwide and then last year we produced another 50,000 cars so the total fleet of Tesla vehicles doubled last year and will approximately double again this year" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlidB40aoTI
A new report reveals that the G20 spent an average of $452 billion each year in 2013 and 2014 to support fossil fuel production, despite pledging to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies every year since 2009.
“G20 governments are paying fossil fuel producers to undermine their own policies on climate change,” said Shelagh Whitley, of the Overseas Development Institute. “Scrapping these subsidies would rebalance energy markets and allow a level playing field for clean and efficient alternatives.”
A report published in September by the Carbon Tracker Initiative found that not only are governments around the world subsidizing coal production to the hilt, but that some of these subsidies are opening coal reserves that would not have been touched without existing subsidies, therefore heavily distorting the market.
A similar report published again in September, this time by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), revealed more than 800 spending programs and tax breaks currently used by governments throughout the 34 OECD countries, as well as 6 additional emerging G20 nations (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa) to subsidize fossil fuel production.
The absurdity of fossil fuel subsidies, beyond the obvious, was made quite clear in October by another report which showed removing fossil fuel subsidies in 20 countries would reduce national fossil fuel emissions by 11%.
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:
Quite the opposite of a carbon tax, these fossil fuel subsidies amount to a *negative* tax because the government is giving our tax dollars to the fossil fuel companies, thus accelerating our own destruction. How insane!
How about we, at the very least, eliminate these subsidies, so we end up with a 0 tax? Or equivalently, tax the producers of fossil fuels exactly the same amount as the subsidies.
But as long as we continue to burn fossil fuels, the amount of the carbon tax should be equal to whatever it costs to sequester the emissions that result from the burning. Then we should use those tax dollars to actually sequester the carbon, and we will be carbon neutral, at least regarding future fossil fuels.
We still have to find a way to pay for restoring the environment back to the way it was before all this started, a few hundred years ago.
Craig goes to Biosphere 2--the largest closed system ever created--and learns about the science of recreating the Earth's ecosystems. Special Thanks to: John Adams, deputy director of Biosphere 2
Written up in this blog:
The project has had a rocky past. In the early 90s, eight brave souls pledged to live in Biosphere 2 for a full two years. A second mission began in 1994, but ended only six months later [...]
“What they did learn, and in my opinion the single most important lesson, was just how little we truly understand Earth’s systems,” says Adams.
Although people don’t live there anymore, the ecosystems have been growing for more than 20 years now, and researchers have been able to learn a lot from the project. In fact, although it was theorized for a long time, ocean acidification “was first demonstrated on a large-scale by researchers from Columbia University at Biosphere 2.” And now the University of Arizona is getting ready to conduct the world’s largest Earth sciences experiment at Biosphere 2.
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:
We still know very little about many of the fundamentally critical ecological systems of Biosphere 1, the Earth, and we will have to learn fast to deal with the global crises that are now confronting us. In order to achieve the goal of Zero Footprint and rebalance the ecosystem on a global scale, it will help to understand ecological systems on a much smaller scale, such as the experimental laboratory of Biosphere 2.
The carbon-capturing abilities of dirt will be the main subject at the International Soil Not Oil Conference in Richmond California this weekendWhy is soil so important? Both humans and animals depend on it almost exclusively for food. The fiber that clothes and shelters us is grown in it, as well as the fuels that power our cars and heat our homes.
The Earth stores carbon, or carbon sinks as they are called, in three major places: the atmosphere, the ocean, and the soil. The first two are reaching saturation. Most of us understand the effect increased carbon — in the form of greenhouse gases — is having in our atmosphere. And oceans around the world are experiencing unusual die-offs due to acidification from increased carbon absorbed in the waters.
The Soil Not Oil Conference will be looking at Regenerative Agriculture as a local solution to this global problem. Through permaculture techniques, such as no-till farming, composting, planned grazing, and cover crops, farmers can see higher yields with less chemical inputs while increasing their soil’s fertility and capturing more carbon in it. Carbon Farming it is called. These and other techniques can also help the ground retain water more efficiently. We can reduce the levels of carbon in the atmosphere while producing healthier foods, combat the drought, aid farmers, and reverse climate change!
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:
Storing carbon in soil through regenerative agriculture will probably not be enough by itself. Of course we need to also shut down the fossil fuel industry as soon as possible, and recycle 100% of the resources we extract from the earth. And we need to go further than that, to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. Regenerative agriculture is part of the solution. Restoring grasslands and forests is another essential part. Restoring the oceans might be the most difficult task.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Originally published on RenewEconomy
“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.
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.
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.
Via John Casey