Energy News

Is the UK’s Surge into Offshore Wind a Glimpse of Things to Come?

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — It’s a great example of how regulation can lead to innovation. When the UK government took the surprising move of first ending subsides for onshore wind and then banning new development outright, it raised howls of protest from environmental groups, among others, as a step backwards in the march to a clean energy future.

Few could have anticipated that, only a short time later, the UK would become the world leader in offshore wind. A precipitous drop in costs, along with a strong determination to not lose ground on the renewables front, has led to a point where the Hornsea project, capable of powering one million homes, has come in at a cost of £57.50 ($76) per MW, a price that is competitive with natural gas in the US.

Danish Oil and Natural Gas (DONG), which is now, as a sign of the times, changing its name to Ørsted, in honor of Hans Christian Ørsted, the Danish physicist who first discovered the relationship between magnetic fields and electric currents, the principle at the heart of wind turbines, was instrumental in achieving these prices. Their Hornsea project 2, will cover some 185 square miles.

There is a great deal of excitement around these developments. Paula Cocazza waxes poetic in a Guardian story Wild is the Wind, suggesting that wind power is, “the resource that could power the world.”

Analysis Shows that Pruitt’s Proposed New Clean Power Plan Will Do More Harm Than Doing Nothing

There’s a lot we don’t know about what EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is up to these days, as he recently spent $25,000 of taxpayer money to have a “cone of silence” placed around his desk. We don’t know exactly what he’s saying, but it’s not hard to guess.

Emerging Economies Overtaking the Establishment on Renewables

You might be surprised to learn that renewable energy growth in emerging economies could soon outstrip the gains made in the developed world.

Three Aspirations for Long Distance EVs

Guest Blog by Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman, IDTechEx

All the publicity currently goes to the race to make regular and premium cars have longer range. This is because most people want only one car so it must be capable of the long distance trip however rare. That must be achieved despite the inadequacy of charging points in number, speed and compatibility of interface and payment means.

Aquafil Initiates Carpet Recycling in the US

(3BL Media) — The carpet industry has traditionally been a large source of emissions. First, most of the fibers used, such as nylon are derived from fossil fuels.

Top Companies Join Hands to Improve Policy Landscape in Clean Energy

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Clean energy is one of the most effective tools in the fight against climate change. At the same time, clean technologies save money and make better business sense as they displace fossil fuel emissions. As a result, major companies are increasingly inclined to use clean energy for their global business needs.

Europe Shows a "Staggering Increase" in Demand for Renewables

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Last week, ECOHZ, the Oslo-based renewable energy advocacy and certification organization, committed to changing energy behavior, reported a “staggering increase” in the growth of European renewable power generation.

Based on data from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB), an organization that guarantees the origin of European power, the group reported a second quarter surge of 39% in demand for renewable power. “The YTD figure of 377 TWh is already exceeding the total volume for all of last year.”

Both businesses and residential users are specifying renewable power, an option provided by every supplier, though not the default. While many have installed rooftop panels, the majority remain connected to the grid.

Ten countries were largely responsible for the recent surge. The are shown below with the percentage renewable contribution (in parentheses). Note that these rankings may not include guaranteed renewables. (Based on 2015 data)

  • Romania (24.8)
  • Lithuania (25.8)
  • Portugal (28.0)
  • Estonia (28.6)
  • Croatia (29.0)
  • Denmark (30.8)
  • Austria (33)
  • Latvia (37.6)
  • Finland (39.3)
  • Sweden (53.9)

How the Dutch Are Moved By Wind

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Man’s first use of wind technology goes back some 5,000 years when wind-powered boats were first seen on the Nile. For centuries wind-driven ships plowed the waves, as some still do. In time, wind was put to work pumping water and grinding grain. The Dutch refined this technology in the 15th Century, using it to drain lakes and reclaim land that had eroded into the ocean, creating polders, where millions now live. The first wind turbine for electric generation was invented by Charles Brush, in Cleveland, Ohio in 1888.

Wind power. Transportation. Holland. In a nutshell, that’s our story for today.

The Royal Schiphol Group, the aviation company that owns and operates several major airports in the Netherlands, including the Amsterdam airport bearing its name, the 14th busiest in the world, has just made an announcement. As of January 1, 2018, all their business units will run on sustainable power.

The announcement states that the group will purchase 200GWh of electricity from Eneco Group of Rotterdam for the next 15 years. The intent is that, in time, all of the wind power will be produced in the Netherlands. Eneco, while not well known in the US, has interests in Germany as well. The company was ranked #8 in the 2017 Sustainable Brands Top 100.

Included in this agreement are Schiphol (Amsterdam), Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport and Lelystad Airport. All will receive sustainable power. Together, the airports consume around 200 GWh, which is roughly equivalent to the consumption of 60,000 households.

Renewables on the Rise: A Look at How Far We’ve Come

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — When you’re climbing a big mountain, sometimes it’s good to turn around and see how far you’ve come, even if you still have a long way to go. Certainly, the transition to a clean energy economy is a huge mountain, but the folks at the Environment New York Research & Policy Center, have given us a breathtaking look back on what has been accomplished on this climb over the past ten years. At a time when so little is getting done in Washington, and what little movement there has been, has been in the wrong direction, it’s heartening to see how much has been accomplished, primarily as the result of efforts by other actors.

The group reports in Renewables on the Rise, that “Clean energy is sweeping across America, and is poised for further dramatic growth in the years ahead. “

Here are some highlights.

  • America produced almost 8 times as much electricity from sun and wind as we did in 2007, and those two sources combined to produce 10% of the nation’s total for the first time this past March.
  • At the same time, the country is using nearly 10% less energy per capita than a decade ago. Nearly all of that decline was in fossil fuels. [in 2007, fossil fuel consumption was 85.927 quads, compared to 2016 when it was 78.569].
  • Breaking it down further, solar produced 43x more power than ten years ago, while wind produced 7x as much.
  • Energy consumption fell 14% relative to GDP, which should put to rest the idea that more energy is needed to grow the economy.
  • Electric vehicle sales surged in 2016 by 40% to 157,000 vehicles
  • Utility scale energy storage grew twenty-fold between 2007-2016.

The report also breaks down the data along several dimensions including geography. Not only did no one region of the country dominate the renewable scene, neither did political affiliation. A number of traditional “Red states,” including Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina played leading roles in the deployment of solar or wind technology.

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