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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #350 on: April 19, 2014, 05:46:12 PM »
OK, prepare for another patented Sigmetnow head-'splody idea:   :D

Navy Rear Adm. David Titley (US, retired):  "People working on climate change should prepare for catastrophic success. I mean, look at how quickly the gay rights conversation changed in this country."

I thoroughly enjoy your usually optimistic view of what is possible. It will often pull me out of the quagmire of dread I find myself trudging through.  :)

I absolutely agree with the Admiral's point. Opinions about an idea can shift rapidly and  I actually believe there is just such a shift occurring. The majority of Americans  are certainly waking up to the fact of AGW.

This does not mean rapid change will occur in our economy, however. No one stood to make  trillions exploiting and repressing gay rights. Once opinions shift, policy can quickly follow. This is not true for the economy. Every single human being whose livelihood depends on fossil fuel consumption will fight to the death to preserve the status quo.

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #351 on: April 19, 2014, 06:37:29 PM »
This does not mean rapid change will occur in our economy, however. No one stood to make  trillions exploiting and repressing gay rights. Once opinions shift, policy can quickly follow. This is not true for the economy. Every single human being whose livelihood depends on fossil fuel consumption will fight to the death to preserve the status quo.

There are all sorts of barriers to action.

Right now we're still fighting the "is it happening" battle, closely followed by the "how bad it is and how much time do we have" one (as if we ought to dally another decade or two if we think we can - but I guess our parents generation did it in the 70s).

Trouble is - getting the idea out there to get enough people to agree that it is happening and that it needs to be addressed quickly is still only a first and early step.

Then you need to get into the details of solutions, and here lies another major argument - people who think the all powerful market will correct it all, people who think little incremental changes will be enough, those who are unprepared to let go of their energy hungry lifestyles, those who demand other people sacrifices first (think US vs China and the propaganda around China overtaking the US for absolute emissions).

Worse - such discussions and processes must happen in the vast majority of the earths population, split as it is into different nations, religions, histories, starting positions, etc.

Considering it has taken as long as it has to start to become optimistic that the first step can be surmounted soon (probably with an empirical demonstration of collapse imminence), do we seriously think there will be much progress in all the other steps needed?

It is not just opposition to changing the status quo that is the issue - but also the confusion and lack of consensus on next steps. We see this in the vague pledges of various governments making promises on behalf of future people - "we'll cut 20% in 20 years" - nice soundbite, but you should cut the first % in the first damn year if so... (and it would still fall far short of requirements).

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #352 on: April 21, 2014, 01:52:44 AM »
"Ukraine is seeking U.S. investment in its biomass, wind and solar power industries. The idea is to use renewable energy to curb its reliance on fuel imports from Russia..."

"According to the research center, biomass and biogas are the most promising forms of renewable energy for Ukraine, in part because the nation’s network of electric-power lines and substations can’t easily adjust to the addition of significant amounts of wind and solar energy.

"Biomass may help replace natural gas used in the nation’s 24,000 boiler plants, officials from the Energy Industry Research Center said." ...

"Glamazdin of the Energy Industry Research Center said Ukraine’s heating supply accounts for about 40 percent of all gas imported from Russia, which could be replaced with renewable energy within three to five years.

"By 2030, renewables could account for about 15 percent of Ukraine’s electricity supply, up from about 2 percent now, with adequate investment, he said."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/ukraine-seeks-to-boost-biomass-to-lessen-dependence-on-russia.html
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #353 on: April 24, 2014, 01:47:32 AM »
Reclaimed landfills and polluted "Superfund" sites are fitted for solar and wind power generation in the US.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/22/3428958/solar-superfund/
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #354 on: April 27, 2014, 01:43:05 PM »
General Electric to invest $1 billion a year in renewable technology. 
According to the UN, another 1,000 companies like this and we've got it made!   :D

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/26/3430973/ge-to-invest-1-billion-a-year-in-renewable-projects/

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2014/jan/14/christiana-figueres-investment-clean-energy-1-trillion
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #355 on: April 27, 2014, 02:49:33 PM »
According to the UN, another 1,000 companies like this and we've got it made!   :D

Just a pity there's only 24 companies that size or larger: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_companies_by_revenue
Open other end.

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #356 on: April 28, 2014, 12:31:01 AM »
According to the UN, another 1,000 companies like this and we've got it made!   :D

Just a pity there's only 24 companies that size or larger: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_companies_by_revenue

So... 2,000 companies investing 500 million dollars.... ;)
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #357 on: April 28, 2014, 02:40:09 PM »
According to the UN, another 1,000 companies like this and we've got it made!   :D

Just a pity there's only 24 companies that size or larger: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_companies_by_revenue

So... 2,000 companies investing 500 million dollars.... ;)
Sigmetnow - big utility investions in renewables are insignificant and will stay insignificant. Big utilites only playing fields are hydropower and wind off-shore - everything else has same efficiency in small or large scales, so the profit can also be made by farmers and private poeple. There is no need to give the profits to a few companies anymore. If you do not have your own roof (like the majority of poeple here) you may join one of the >900 lokal cooperatives to invest in renewables and to participate from the profits.

So what we need instead are 100 million poeple investing 10,000 dollars. 1-2 million poeple allready did that in Germany, two more doublings and we will be at >80% renewables here - with further linear increase of capacity that will be around 2040. The time for exponential growth is over here for renewables, too and it is now the time for linear growth of capacity and thus de-growth in investments.

So please do not rely on big utilities, since it would not fit to their business models anyway. Their time for big profits is over since everybody can participate now with similar efficiency. GE, E.ON and the like may build the off-shore wind parks, water pump storage facilities and of course the long range power lines - since transmission is allways more efficient than storage.

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #358 on: April 28, 2014, 03:29:23 PM »
Surprisingly they have found a natural material suitable for wind-resistant large constructions like wind mills ;)

Since wind energy plants with > 100 m hub height can not be made of steel and concrete (to heavy, not strong enough) they use now: wood http://www.timbertower.de/news-en/

That may also count for another step towards a bit more sustainable renewable energies and reduces costs and increases efficiency, too.

Please find attached a picture of a 100 m high wooden tower with the wind turbine

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #359 on: April 28, 2014, 04:58:02 PM »

Sigmetnow - big utility investions in renewables are insignificant and will stay insignificant. Big utilites only playing fields are hydropower and wind off-shore - everything else has same efficiency in small or large scales, so the profit can also be made by farmers and private poeple. There is no need to give the profits to a few companies anymore. If you do not have your own roof (like the majority of poeple here) you may join one of the >900 lokal cooperatives to invest in renewables and to participate from the profits.

So what we need instead are 100 million poeple investing 10,000 dollars. 1-2 million poeple allready did that in Germany, two more doublings and we will be at >80% renewables here - with further linear increase of capacity that will be around 2040. The time for exponential growth is over here for renewables, too and it is now the time for linear growth of capacity and thus de-growth in investments.

So please do not rely on big utilities, since it would not fit to their business models anyway. Their time for big profits is over since everybody can participate now with similar efficiency. GE, E.ON and the like may build the off-shore wind parks, water pump storage facilities and of course the long range power lines - since transmission is allways more efficient than storage.
SATire, GE is much more than a "big utility."  It has a huge financial arm. I doubt they are investing in renewables purely for altruistic reasons.
http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/companyProfile?symbol=GE.N

And it's clear to pretty much everyone that energy companies must divest from fossil fuels and move strongly into renewables to survive.
http://unfccc.int/files/press/press_releases_advisories/application/pdf/pr20140304_ipieca.pdf
http://mobile.businessweek.com/news/2014-04-03/un-tells-fuel-producers-to-abandon-reserves-amid-record-output

So the big companies have a huge part to play -- and not just utilities, but any large company.  Like Walmart:
http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/environment-sustainability/renewable-energy

You wrote:
"So what we need instead are 100 million poeple investing 10,000 dollars.”

That would be great!  As prices for solar and wind continue to drop, of course individual consumers and builders will increase their participation.  No argument there.  But the big companies (and governments) with the big bucks are what is needed to lead the way and ramp us up to the $1T/yr investments as quickly as possible.
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SATire

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #360 on: April 28, 2014, 06:22:01 PM »
Sigmetnow, you are right GE is more like our Siemens (a bank producing also some electric stuff ;-)) and not like an E.ON (big utility) - so it just invested its money in such projects as everybody may do, too. Nevertheless, poeple can easily outperform such big players. At least they did it allready - 40% of renewable investments here are by private poeple, 20% by farmers and the rest by a lot of companies, cooperations, banks and such. So - no reason to wait for 1999 big companies acting like GE since the poeple can do it (and a lot did it in countries where that was made possible by making other poeple pay for that profit - but better make them pay for other poeple then for the big companies). 
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 06:41:06 PM by SATire »

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #361 on: April 29, 2014, 12:06:54 PM »
~~ poeple can easily outperform such big players. At least they did it allready - 40% of renewable investments here are by private poeple, 20% by farmers and the rest by a lot of companies, cooperations, banks and such. So - no reason to wait for 1999 big companies acting like GE since the poeple can do it (and a lot did it in countries where that was made possible by making other poeple pay for that profit - but better make them pay for other poeple then for the big companies).
SATire,
It's will be some time for the people in the USA to achieve what you're experiencing across the pond.

We (the people) Are Actually Restricted - Prevented by State Regulations
Not all states are as restrictive as mine, but, about a mile out my backdoor
South Carolina prevents Furman University from using more Solar Power
mostly under the name of all users of public utility paying an equitable amount for "grid maintenance."
Also, a "google" if more interest
https://www.google.com/#q=furman+university+solar+panels+power
And, highly recommend more about obstacles
Introducing Freeing the GRID 2012 from http://freeingthegrid.org/

EDIT:  BTW;
Forgot to include big electric utilities (power companies) are usually not restricted in capacity when building solar - wind farms which are part of their generation to supply the grid.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 01:37:30 PM by JackTaylor »

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #362 on: April 29, 2014, 02:39:32 PM »
ALEC is a fossil-fuel-funded organization acting all over the US to block and roll back clean energy initiatives, with some success.

"The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization known for helping to advance corporate interests by writing and then pushing to pass conservative legislation at the state level, has created a new initiative with the goal to expand its influence in cities, towns, villages, and other local municipalities throughout the country. ALEC has actively pursued an anti-clean energy and anti-climate agenda in states across the country and its vast network of donors include the notorious petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/10/3383411/alec-infiltrate-cities-towns/


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/24/3430258/us-solar-capacity-418-percent/

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/02/3110731/california-rooftop-solar-2013/

http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2014/04/07/in-defeat-for-alec-kansas-lawmakers-pass-net-metering-plan/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #363 on: April 29, 2014, 04:52:09 PM »
"Too big to fail" just failed.  The once-largest energy holding company files for bankruptcy.  Even the natural gas price spikes last winter couldn't save it. 

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/04/29/big-texas-utility-files-for-bankruptcy/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #364 on: April 29, 2014, 06:02:14 PM »
"Too big to fail" just failed.  The once-largest energy holding company files for bankruptcy.  Even the natural gas price spikes last winter couldn't save it. 

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/04/29/big-texas-utility-files-for-bankruptcy/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Sigmetnow

Your post sort of implies that the reason for the failure of this company is the growth of renewables and low natural gas prices.  If that was your intent I want to disagree.

Reading your link about how this company was taken over by a leveraged buyout at the height of the economic bubble and then was run over by the 2008 economic crash would lead to a different conclusion.  The prime reason for this companies demise was that its takeover was highly leveraged and this large bet was dependent on a continuation of the economic boom which would result in high natural gas prices.

Quote
Indeed, while it faced a total debt load of about $38 billion, much of which was taken on to complete the buyout in 2007, its underlying business – the generation and sale of electricity – deteriorated sharply. In the deregulated Texas market, electricity prices are strongly related to those of natural gas. That fact, essentially, made the buyout of Energy Future Holdings a towering bet on the price of natural gas.

With the crash and very deep recession this turned out to be a bad bet.  While the growth of renewables certainly had some effect on this deal the real killer was economic stagnation at the same time a glut of natural gas hit the market thus resulting in natural gas prices plummeting. The new owners obviously worked hard to extend out as long as they could while waiting for an economic rebound but the writing was on the wall and it was unlikely they  could make it once the crash occurred. 

Quote
And even while natural gas prices spiked sharply higher last winter as bands of arctic air froze broad swaths of the country, it was simply too little, too late for Energy Future Holdings, analysts say.

“You’d need to see higher natural gas prices for a sustained period of time to get the company out of trouble, and they just ran out of time,” James Hempstead, an analyst with Moody’s Investors Service, said in an interview in early March. “There was simply too much debt on this organization.”


The real bottom line is that this bankruptcy will not result in any benefit to the electricity consumer in Texas.
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #366 on: April 30, 2014, 02:37:48 PM »
Your post sort of implies that the reason for the failure of this company is the growth of renewables and low natural gas prices.  If that was your intent I want to disagree.

The point is not that renewables crushed the company, but rather that high-flying fossil fuel companies are no longer the unquestionable success they once were.  Even big ones can fall....
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #367 on: April 30, 2014, 02:39:03 PM »
"For 100 years, [US] state and local infrastructure finance agencies have issued trillions of dollars’ worth of public finance bonds to fund the construction of the nation’s roads, bridges, hospitals, and other infrastructure—and literally built America. Now, as clean energy subsidies from Washington dwindle, these agencies are increasingly willing to finance clean energy projects, if only the clean energy community will embrace them."

http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2014/04/16-clean-energy-through-bond-market
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #368 on: April 30, 2014, 03:09:12 PM »
Quote
World's Biggest Fund Manager to Help Create Index That Bars Fossil Fuel Companies
Apr 30, 2014
(Financial Times, sub. req.'d)
BlackRock, the world's biggest fund manager, has teamed up with London's FTSE Group to help investors avoid coal, oil and gas companies without putting their money at risk.

In a sign that a global campaign against fossil fuels is entering the financial mainstream, companies that extract or explore for such fuels are excluded from a new set of indices created by FTSE, a large provider of stock market indexes

Several market benchmarks have already been developed to cover companies likely to profit from tougher environmental regulations, such as renewable energy or water management groups.

But the FTSE ones are believed to be the first from a leading index group that specifically bar fossil fuel companies.

http://insideclimatenews.org/breaking-news/20140430/worlds-biggest-fund-manager-help-create-index-bars-fossil-fuel-companies
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SATire

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #369 on: April 30, 2014, 03:37:44 PM »
Quote
But the FTSE ones are believed to be the first from a leading index group that specifically bar fossil fuel companies.
That is really funny since FTSE is the market with the largest fossil share (>30%, as posted a few pages above). When fossils start tipping / poeple with some money start taking AGW seriously we will recognize that first by a sudden drop in London...

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #370 on: May 01, 2014, 05:32:02 AM »
More on the power companies fighting back

Arizona May Impose Unusual New Tax On Customers Who Lease Solar Panels

Quote
A new interpretation of state law in Arizona could force customers to pay property taxes on leased solar panels. In a state with an estimated 20,000 solar customers and 85 percent of new solar installations being leased systems, the implications of an extra charge are tremendous. The new tax could result in an additional $152 per year for a residential solar array and even more for larger installations, the Arizona Republic reported. What’s more, the tax would apply to both new and existing customers...

If the Arizona Department of Revenue’s interpretation stands and solar customers are faced with an additional charge, “it would help the utilities like APS to meet their longstanding goal of severely injuring the solar industry,” Craven said....

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/30/3432172/arizona-solar-property-tax/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #371 on: May 01, 2014, 04:41:03 PM »
"With the opening of a new wind farm next month, El Hierro, population just over 10,000, will become the first island in the world to be fully energy self-sufficient through combined wind and water power. The five wind turbines will provide 11.5 megawatts of power, enough to meet the demand of the population and the desalination plants on this small crop of land off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/01/3433002/spanish-island-renewable-energy/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #372 on: May 01, 2014, 05:06:38 PM »
Quote
As part of their commitment to cover 42 percent of their energy needs with renewable sources by 2020, Morocco is about to launch construction on the largest wind farm in Africa.

Tarafya, a city situated in southwestern Morocco, is home to this wind farm which stretches over 100 square kilometers. As of October 2014, the facility will generate up to 300 megawatts of electricity, which is enough power to fulfill the electricity needs of thousands of Moroccans. GDF Suez, a French energy company supporting this project, says this wind farm will help reduce CO2 emissions by 900,000 tonnes.
...
This 690 million dollar wind farm will also be instrumental in creating jobs, requiring 50 employees and the assistance of 700 construction site staffers until the project is complete. The announcement of this project also comes to light just a couple of months after the Moroccan government pledged to invest $11 billion dollars into clean energy.
http://tcktcktck.org/2014/04/morocco-launches-largest-wind-farm-africa/61839
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #373 on: May 06, 2014, 07:30:58 PM »
Utilities see big changes in the near future:

Quote
In a 2013 survey of global utility companies by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the results revealed that the utility industry leaders anticipate major changes to their business model in the near future. Ninety-four percent of international industry representatives surveyed predict that the power utility business model will be either completely transformed or significantly changed between today and 2030, while only 6 percent expect that the utility business model will stay "more or less the same."

In North America, 40 percent of respondents believed that utility companies' means of making a profit will see major changes over the next two decades.  A strong majority — 82 percent — of North American respondents also said future energy needs will be met by a mix of traditional centralized generation and distributed generation, which feeds power from a mix of sources.
Quote
But while renewable on-site energy generation offers a major challenge to the electric utility business model, the lower capital cost energy efficiency approaches, will be the hardest hurdle. Not only because the initial capital costs are lower, the payback is faster, and the energy savings are huge. In fact just four effiency options can cut building electricity use by 50 percent, and there are many more options than what I cover here.
He discusses Smart Thermostats and Controls, Lighting, "Vampire loads," Solar Water Heating (And Others).

And then this:
Quote
Commercial Energy Storage Set to Rise to 2.3 GW in 2017

According to a new report from IHS Inc., global installations of photovoltaic storage systems for commercial use, currently the smallest part of the global solar energy storage business, are projected to expand by a factor of 700 in the coming years and become the largest market segment in 2017, from only 3.2 MW in 2012. And thus will increase the commercial segment’s share of PV installations to 40 percent in 2017, up from 5 per cent in 2012.

North America is expected to lead the world in commercial PV storage, accounting for more than 40 percent of installations in 2017. So if electric utilities attempt to stifle net metering, energy users will just dedicate renewable-powered battery banks to dedicated loads, pulling them off the electric grid forever since and storage prices are beginning to fall low enough and systems are becoming more standardized and reliable. And since these storage systems do not need utility back-up, and thus no electric grid interface, utilities will be unable to throw up regulatory roadblocks.

The electric utility industries are not monolithic, and in fact the municipal utilities have been ardent supporters and leaders in energy efficiency, distributed generation, storage, and smart controls. In States with pro-active state utility commissions, traditional independently-owned utilities (IOUs) have also jumped on board.
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/04/utility-nightmares-halving-electricity-consumption-and-distributed-generation
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #374 on: May 10, 2014, 01:51:19 PM »
The solar panels on top of the White House are mostly symbolic, but I've been waiting for them to return for a long time.
Quote
Barack Obama will on Friday unveil several new initiatives intended to expand the deployment of solar power on Friday, as officials confirmed that a set of solar panels on the roof of the White House was now operational.

Obama will – once again – bypass a deadlocked Congress and use his executive authority to announce $2bn funding for energy-saving measures at federal government buildings, as well as new financing and training programmes for solar installations.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/09/obama-solar-power-initiatives-california

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #375 on: May 10, 2014, 08:30:25 PM »
Surprisingly they have found a natural material suitable for wind-resistant large constructions like wind mills ;)

Since wind energy plants with > 100 m hub height can not be made of steel and concrete (to heavy, not strong enough) they use now: wood http://www.timbertower.de/news-en/

That may also count for another step towards a bit more sustainable renewable energies and reduces costs and increases efficiency, too.

Please find attached a picture of a 100 m high wooden tower with the wind turbine
Any commercial built yet?

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #376 on: May 11, 2014, 04:07:16 PM »
New York state plans a radical shift in power.
Quote
Gov. Cuomo envisions moving from big, centralized power stations controlled by utilities to de-centralized power options that families, businesses and towns can control. This would change the landscape in New York — and serve as a model for the nation.
http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Cuomo-s-energy-plan-is-worthy-of-praise-5466412.php?cmpid=twitter
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #377 on: May 12, 2014, 08:29:57 PM »
In India, solar is replacing diesel generators, widely used off-grid:

Quote
Jakson Group, one of India’s biggest suppliers of diesel generators, expects about half of its sales to come from the solar business within three years as rising fuel costs make sun-based power more attractive.
...
“It’s no longer sustainable to use diesel generation as a continuous source of power” as the government unwinds subsidies for the fuel and its import-cost surges, Gupta said. “There’s no constraint on solar radiation in India. Sooner or later people will realize that.”

Factories, homes and businesses in India fire up diesel engines daily to combat chronic blackouts that can last eight hours in some areas. Those machines amount to an estimated 60 gigawatts of capacity, according to New Delhi-based consultant Bridge to India Energy Pvt. That’s roughly equal to Australia’s total power generation capacity and a quarter of India’s official capacity.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-12/jakson-expects-solar-to-match-diesel-sales-by-2017.html
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #378 on: May 12, 2014, 08:39:24 PM »
The price of moving slowly:  IEA says the cost to decarbonize the energy sector ($36t two years ago) has increased to $44t.
Quote
The cost of cutting carbon emissions from power generation enough to restrict global warming to safe levels is rising because growing coal use outweighs the progress in renewables, the International Energy Agency said.

Investments of $44 trillion through 2050 are needed to decarbonize the energy sector, the Paris-based agency said today in an e-mailed report, up 22 percent from the figure it gave two years ago. The spending would ensure the average temperature rise since the industrial revolution is limited to the 2-degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) target world leaders have endorsed.

The cost of containing global warming is growing because of the “bleak” progress made in reducing emissions, the IEA said. The agency previously estimated the decarbonization cost was $36 trillion, and today it said “the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes to transform our energy system.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-11/power-decarbonization-cost-rises-22-to-44-trillion-iea-says.html
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #379 on: May 13, 2014, 01:40:21 PM »
A new Greenpeace Report describes a path for the US to transition to 97% renewables by 2050.
Quote
Washington DC - The United States can quickly transition to nearly 100% renewable energy and phase out coal and nuclear power, according to a major new report from Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council. Energy [R]evolution - A Sustainable USA Energy Outlook provides a blueprint for transforming our electricity, transportation, and heating systems to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, and demonstrates to policymakers and investors that rapid changes in the way we produce, distribute, and consume energy are possible and cost effective.
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/news-releases/Energy-Revolution-report-details-how-US-can-transition-to-nearly-100-renewable-energy
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SATire

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #380 on: May 13, 2014, 02:17:00 PM »
Surprisingly they have found a natural material suitable for wind-resistant large constructions like wind mills ;)

Since wind energy plants with > 100 m hub height can not be made of steel and concrete (to heavy, not strong enough) they use now: wood http://www.timbertower.de/news-en/

That may also count for another step towards a bit more sustainable renewable energies and reduces costs and increases efficiency, too.

Please find attached a picture of a 100 m high wooden tower with the wind turbine
Any commercial built yet?
Yes, it is a company and they builded a prototype in 2012 (to see some pictures click on "Gallery" in following link: http://www.timbertower.de/media/ ). You may buy that tower anytime. However, to get a power station you have to add the turbine machine on top of the tower. For every type of turbine machine they have to get through the approval process for the combination tower & machine (by law). That is what they are doing right now - approving the tower for use with some machines.

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #381 on: May 13, 2014, 04:53:53 PM »
In India, solar is replacing diesel generators, widely used off-grid:

Quote
Jakson Group, one of India’s biggest suppliers of diesel generators, expects about half of its sales to come from the solar business within three years as rising fuel costs make sun-based power more attractive.
...
“It’s no longer sustainable to use diesel generation as a continuous source of power” as the government unwinds subsidies for the fuel and its import-cost surges, Gupta said. “There’s no constraint on solar radiation in India. Sooner or later people will realize that.”

Factories, homes and businesses in India fire up diesel engines daily to combat chronic blackouts that can last eight hours in some areas. Those machines amount to an estimated 60 gigawatts of capacity, according to New Delhi-based consultant Bridge to India Energy Pvt. That’s roughly equal to Australia’s total power generation capacity and a quarter of India’s official capacity.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-12/jakson-expects-solar-to-match-diesel-sales-by-2017.html

Distributed energy generation, on grid and off grid, is the most powerful, energy efficient and resilient approach for any community.

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #382 on: May 13, 2014, 06:47:29 PM »
The price of moving slowly:  IEA says the cost to decarbonize the energy sector ($36t two years ago) has increased to $44t.
Quote
The cost of cutting carbon emissions from power generation enough to restrict global warming to safe levels is rising because growing coal use outweighs the progress in renewables, the International Energy Agency said.

Investments of $44 trillion through 2050 are needed to decarbonize the energy sector, the Paris-based agency said today in an e-mailed report, up 22 percent from the figure it gave two years ago. The spending would ensure the average temperature rise since the industrial revolution is limited to the 2-degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) target world leaders have endorsed.

The cost of containing global warming is growing because of the “bleak” progress made in reducing emissions, the IEA said. The agency previously estimated the decarbonization cost was $36 trillion, and today it said “the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes to transform our energy system.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-11/power-decarbonization-cost-rises-22-to-44-trillion-iea-says.html

It is worth pointing out that the Stanford study I mentioned earlier comes up with numbers of around 100 trillion to convert all energy systems over to renewables.  And folks looking into those calculations say the analysis left out a lot of related work which would  be required to support that.  So I think their numbers might be less than 50% of the actual.

I find it completely unrealistic to think we will have that kind of wealth available as we move into the serious effects of AGW and system collapse. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #383 on: May 14, 2014, 02:11:47 AM »
Quote
America's nearly 3,300 electric utilities increasingly are being portrayed as if they are on the proverbial Titanic, futilely rearranging the deck chairs of an ill-fated industry doomed to disappear beneath the powerful waves of 21st century innovation.

The nightmare scenario goes something like this:
As "disruptive challenges" (PDF) gain steam with insurgent energy efficiency, grid management and alternative supply solutions, kilowatt-hour sales will take a dangerous dive, profitability will plunge, and one after another, traditional electric companies will succumb to the frigid and fatal waters of the ominous, impending "utility death spiral."

Customers, meanwhile, awakened to the much-improved "economics of grid defection" through battery-backed solar electric systems, will jump ship in mutinous masses and sail away to the warm shores of blissful renewable energy autonomy.

But if the $370 billion-a-year U.S. electric utility sector truly is on the brink of disaster, then it is very strange indeed to see numerous utilities already deeply engaged with some of the very forces that someday could be their undoing. Here are six innovators defying doomsday prophets.
http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/05/12/6-electric-utilities-charging-new-energy-course
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #384 on: May 14, 2014, 02:28:50 AM »
Quote
Colorado’s renewable energy standard, one of the most ambitious in the U.S., has the distinction of being approved not just by the state legislature but also by voters in a statewide referendum.
Now it’s been approved in the courts.
...
“It confirms that states do have the authority to mandate the use of renewables.”
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/13/3437403/right-wing-attack-on-colorado-res-slapped-down-by-court/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #385 on: May 15, 2014, 01:10:52 AM »
World’s Largest Solar Array: Agua Caliente in Arizona Set to Crank Out 290 Megawatts of Sunshine Power.  Megaplants herald a new efficiency in solar-sourced electricity.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-s-largest-solar-array-set-to-crank-out-290-megawatts-of-sunshine-power/?&WT.mc_id=SA_WR_20140514
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #386 on: May 15, 2014, 04:42:26 PM »
A new study on the EROEI of large scale solar installations indicates that they ONLY have an EROEI of ....2.45..yes 2.45...I am not joking.  This is devastating news for advocates of solar.   

Many people have gotten very upset with me when I point out the big problems with large scale solar installations and the cost of them.  I have said that there is no chance that we can convert to renewables and run civilization as it exists today.  If you look at the numbers they just do not work out.  And I said this based on information about the EROEI of solar being much higher than this real world performance indicates is the actual EROEI.  This should be the last nail in the coffin for the idea that we can live the way we do now using just renewables.  It is just not possible. 

Please read this full article as it will knock your socks off.
I will read article.

But I tend to agree. I don't see a solution to the problem of forcing utilities to by excess solar-generated power at the same time as they have to provide base-load power for non-sunny periods.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #387 on: May 15, 2014, 05:29:45 PM »
 
[/quote]

But I tend to agree. I don't see a solution to the problem of forcing utilities to by excess solar-generated power at the same time as they have to provide base-load power for non-sunny periods.
[/quote]

Not so sure.  If energy is priced according to load (the utility pays low rates when it's windy/sunny, higher rates when it's hot/cold/dark/still) then all kind of incentives arise for anyone with storage and panels hooked to the grid to adjust when power goes into the grid. 
Utilities can reasonably charge a flat fee for being connected at all, then charge consumers at a load-weighted price.  Ultimately, one could have a "utility" with no generation capacity of its own.

You could have some folks "pay" for all their electricity by savaging old automotive batteries from junkyards and stacking them in their basements.  Then buy low, sell high.

Obviously, there'd need to be regulation of items hooked  to the grid.  Fees for licenses could ultimately be the main income of utilities.  Distributed power could be made to work.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #388 on: May 18, 2014, 09:20:44 PM »
New material looks to improve efficiency of solar cells.
Quote
The new cells are made from a relative of the perovskite mineral found in the Ural Mountains. Small but vital changes to the material allow it to absorb sunlight very efficiently. The material is also easy to fabricate using liquids that could be printed on substrates like ink in a printing press, or made from simple evaporation. These properties suggest an easy, affordable route to solar cells.

By playing with the elemental composition, it is also possible to tune the perovskite material to access different parts of the sun’s spectrum. That flexibility can be crucial, because it means that the material can be changed by deliberately introducing impurities, and in such a way that it can be used in multijunction solar cells that have ultra-high efficiencies. Multijunction solar cells are an NREL invention from 1991, but because of high material costs, standard multijunctions are used mostly in outer space applications such as satellites and the Mars rovers. Cheaper multijunction cells based on perovskites could radically change this.

In four years, perovskite’s conversion efficiency—the yield at which the photons that hit the material are turned into electrons that can be used to generate electricity—has grown from 3.8% in 2009 to just north of 16%, with unconfirmed reports of even higher efficiencies arriving regularly. That’s better than a four-fold increase. By contrast, efficiencies of single-crystal solar cells grew by less than 50% during their first five years of development, and most other types of solar cells showed similar modest improvements during their first few years.
http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113126686/researchers-unlocking-secrets-of-new-solar-material-042214/
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #389 on: May 18, 2014, 09:57:36 PM »
I will read article.

Try reading the book instead. From page 119:

Quote
This book is written assuming fossil fuels, not sunlight, as the fuel we need to invest. We do know that if we take three heat units of coal we can generate one unit of high value electricity in a thermal plant. If we instead were to invest three heat units of coal into a PV system in Spain it would yield some 7.35 units of high value electricity.

The problem is that the first delivers the electricity immediately; the problem for the latter is that these units are delivered over 25 years and need an up front fossil fuel investment of about 2 thermal units in the first year for the solar PV system.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #390 on: May 20, 2014, 03:15:02 AM »
@KrapelsMarco: 88%: Q1 2014 new power production in US coming from solar and wind. No longer "just" a niche power.

Here is the FERC report from which this data was taken:
http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2014/mar-infrastructure.pdf

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #391 on: May 20, 2014, 03:26:32 AM »
"Maryland’s $200 Million Wind Energy Project Will Move Forward Thanks To Governor’s Veto"

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/19/3439187/omalley-vetoes-wind-delay-maryland/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #392 on: May 20, 2014, 03:32:29 AM »
Quote
There were more solar panels installed in the U.S. over the last 18 months than the last 30 years.
...
SolarCity can provide the upfront financing for the solar system so that the customer doesn’t have to put any money down to get the panels, and this is the key that has unlocked the solar panel business. Instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars for a solar panel system, the customer pays SolarCity for the cost of the solar energy on a monthly basis, which can be less expensive than what they’ve been paying the local utility. Depending on the deal, the contract can last a couple decades.
http://gigaom.com/2014/05/16/as-solar-panels-boom-it-was-the-simple-business-model-that-the-big-energy-players-missed/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #393 on: May 23, 2014, 12:16:15 AM »
Australia: Lismore protest blocked coal seam gas drilling; city council sets target of 100% renewable energy within 10 years.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/lismore-city-council-aims-100-per-cent-renewables-2023
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Laurent

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #394 on: May 23, 2014, 10:04:27 AM »

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #395 on: May 23, 2014, 10:27:19 AM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27505207

Quote
One of the finest old mansions in Wales is making history with a new technology that sucks heat from sea water.

Plas Newydd, with spectacular views of Snowdon from Anglesey, will in future have its collection of past military uniforms warmed by a heat pump.

The National Trust in the UK (owner of a lot of land and stately homes for the nation) has a mixed relationship with renewables.  On the one hand they are doing there bit with small scale investments such as this and a small hydroelectric plant (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/23/snowdonia-national-trust-hydro-power-hafod-y-llan-grid to minimize their direct emissions.

On the other hand their blanket opposition to just about any wind farm visable from their land (which does not actually leave a lot of prime hilltops to build upon as they own a lot of moorland) shows that they do not grasp the change needed to power the full nation by renewables.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #396 on: May 28, 2014, 08:07:24 PM »
This is a new one, for me.  Other than the first sentence, the article is amazingly positive without being dire or threatening, and there is no questioning the need for renewables.  But the tone of the article is: "yes, we could be 80/90/100% renewables in a couple decades.  The technology is there, and is proven, and cost-efficient.  No biggie.  But... should we really, you know, do it?"

Almost like it would be too easy!  Are we turning a corner?

http://www.theguardian.com/big-energy-debate/uk-renewables-2030-bold-future-energy
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sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #397 on: June 03, 2014, 09:04:35 PM »

Yuha

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #398 on: June 06, 2014, 03:58:15 AM »
Renewables 2014 Global Status Report by REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century) has been published:

http://ren21.net/REN21Activities/GlobalStatusReport.aspx

It's a massive package of (apparently) well researched, up to date statistics on renewable energy. Here's a couple of quotes from the executive summary that drew my attention.

Quote
Some highlights of 2013 include:
◾◾ In the European Union, renewables represented the majority
of new electric generating capacity for the sixth consecutive
year. The 72% share in 2013 is in stark contrast to a decade
earlier, when conventional fossil generation accounted
for 80% of new capacity in the EU-27 plus Norway and
Switzerland.
◾◾ Even as global investment in solar PV declined nearly 22%
relative to 2012, new capacity installations increased by about
32%.
◾◾ China’s new renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil
fuel and nuclear capacity for the first time.
◾◾ Variable renewables achieved high levels of penetration in
several countries. For example, throughout 2013, wind power
met 33.2% of electricity demand in Denmark and 20.9% in
Spain; in Italy, solar PV met 7.8% of total annual electricity
demand.
◾◾ Wind power was excluded from one of Brazil’s national
auctions because it was pricing all other generation sources
out of the market.
◾◾ Denmark banned the use of fossil fuel-fired boilers in new
buildings as of 2013 and aims for renewables to provide
almost 40% of total heat supply by 2020.
◾◾ Growing numbers of cities, states, and regions seek to
transition to 100% renewable energy in either individual
sectors or economy-wide. For example, Djibouti, Scotland,
and the small-island state of Tuvalu aim to derive 100% of
their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Among
those who have already achieved their goals are about 20
million Germans who live in so-called 100% renewable
energy regions.

Quote
Global new investment in renewable power and fuels—not
including hydropower projects >50 megawatts (MW)i—was an
estimated USD 214.4 billion in 2013, down 14% relative to 2012
and 23% lower than the record level in 2011. Including the
unreported investments in hydropower projects larger than
50 MW, total new investment in renewable power and fuels was
at least USD 249.4 billion in 2013.
The second consecutive year of decline in investment—after
several years of growth—was due in part to uncertainty over
incentive policies in Europe and the United States, and to
retroactive reductions in support in some countries. Europe’s
renewable energy investment was down 44% from 2012. The
year 2013 also saw an end to eight consecutive years of rising
renewable energy investment in developing countries.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #399 on: June 06, 2014, 09:33:21 PM »
Quote
It is abundantly clear that the energy transition tipping point is here, and the coal market is in structural, terminal decline.

Wind is already competitive with coal, solar is expected to reach parity with it by 2016, and both will only get cheaper going forward.

For countries like Australia – which is currently one of the biggest exporters of coal to China – failing to decarbonise will leave them with billions in stranded assets and wasted capital if they cannot find another buyer for its coal.
http://tcktcktck.org/2014/06/report-billions-coal-investments-risk-chinas-appetite-coal-wanes/62376
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