Discusses the recent news that renewable energy (including hydro as well) now supplies more electricity to the US grid than does nuclear power. The post then goes on to list some large solar and wind projects in advanced stages of the development pipeline as a reason for being optimistic that the solar and wind side of the renewables is rapidly growing in scale.
While other parts of the world are busy actually building national Ultra High Voltage (UHV) transmission infrastructure the US continues to do noting more substantial than litigate. A UHV super grid would be able to move renewable energy from where it is abundant to where people live and work, and do so at an economic cost. This kind of national electric energy infrastructure would enable solar, wind, hydro and geothermal generated electric power to reach market. It is a critical piece of the kind of future energy infrastructure we will need in order to continue to prosper. John goes into a lot of detail and provides numerous links to examples and more in depth reading on this very important subject.
In this post John outlines two developments in the thermosolar concentrated solar power (CSP) arena that are enabling CSP to fulfill the role of baseload suppliers. Molten salt energy storage is naturally suited for CSP facilities and is quite efficient as an energy store — both in terms of low loss and in terms of capital expenditures (compared with batteries for example). By storing power in this way CSP plants can continue delivering power even after the sun has gone down. In addition by pairing CSP with stand-by combined-cycle natural gas generators greater overall reliability can be achieved.
To shift the global economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require the construction of wind, solar, nuclear, and other installations on a vast scale, significantly altering the face of the planet. Can these new forms of energy approach the scale needed to meet the world’s energy demands?
Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Steven Chu announces $50 million in funding for solar energy grid parity demonstration program for innovative solar technologies leading to cost-competitive solar energy that helps solar reach this important milestone.
Can we really ever move beyond petroleum? Traditional fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are so ingrained in our culture and way of life that eradicating them as fuel sources soon is unlikely. We need to think about what we produce and the costs that go beyond the balance sheet: the costs to the environment, to the people that live where our raw materials originate, the cost of the life of a pelican, gull or fish. It is our personal responsibility to consume less and conserve more.
Many energy experts contend natural gas is the ideal fuel as the world makes the transition to renewable energy. But since much of that gas will come from underground shale, potentially at high environmental cost, it would be far better to skip the natural gas phase and move straight to massive deployment of solar and wind power.
Suntech CEO, Zhengrong Shi, a prime mover in helping to turn China into a global force in photovoltaic technology, has been a major influence in bringing China’s solar PV cost structure down and making China a powerhouse in photovoltaic technology–and became a billionaire in the process. Shi’s ambition is to make solar power as cheap as conventional electricity.
The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reopened the debate over the direction the United States’ energy future is headed. Now more than any other time in history, citizens are beginning to understand the necessity to evolve past our love affair with oil. An economy that is dependent on a non-renewable, quickly fleeting resource can only move towards instability if alternative fuels are not found. The Congressional Budget Office is beginning to analyze how energy policies and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will affect employment in an economy that is trying to pull itself out of a recession. Democrats are pushing for a comprehensive energy bill that will enhance the production of clean energy technologies, put a price on emitting carbon, reduce greenhouse gases by a significant amount over the next 20 years, and influence entry into a range of new renewable energy industries. Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman are due to present their energy bill in the Senate next week. This bill, The American Power Act will be hard-pressed for passage without strong republican backing. The loss of republican Senator Lindsay Graham as a cosponsor of this bill is devastating. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “the oil spill showed drilling alone would not solve U.S. energy problems and that higher summer fuel prices will heighten consumers’ views that the country must move more aggressively into alternatives.” (Cowan & Gardner, 2010) If the country decides to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this will have many significant implications for employment in our country.