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Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear and Grid Reliability?

           

Lessons from the Lone Star State: A surge in wind power on the Texas grid didn’t cause reliability problems (and brought down electricity prices) because regulators improved the efficiency of wholesale electricity markets. Sarah Fields Photography/Shutterstock.com

theconversation.com - by Joshua D. Rhodes, Michael E. Webber, Thomas Deetjen and Todd Davidson - May 11, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.

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As Solar Booms, Utilities Look to Build New Business Models With Strategic Investments

           

Image credit: Flickr user 10 10

utilitydive.com - by Herman K. Trabish - March 14, 2017

Beyond simply contracting for solar, utilities are increasingly investing in the sector to ‘position themselves to be the utility of the future'

Solar energy is becoming a generation resource so ubiquitous that utilities are looking beyond simply contracting for new capacity and are increasingly moving into the sector themselves.

Solar added a record-breaking 14,762 MW of capacity in 2016, nearly doubling its 2015 growth. The resource added 39% of all new U.S. generation capacity in the year, making it the leader among all resources for the first time.

Growth was dominated by utility investment in 2016, a trend that’s expected to continue, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

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Shell Sells Oil Sands Assets as Boss Warns on Clean Energy Challenge

           

An excavator at the Athabasca project near Fort McMurray in Alberta. Shell has cut its interest in the project as part of a retreat from tar sands. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Carbon-heavy assets offloaded for $8.5bn as company ties 10% of directors’ bonuses to how well it manages emissions

theguardian.com - March 9, 2017

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell most of its carbon-heavy Canadian oil sands assets for $8.5bn (£7bn) as the chief executive warned that the industry risked losing public support without progress towards cleaner energy.

The world’s second largest publicly-traded oil company plans to increase its investment in renewable energy to $1bn (£800m) a year by the end of the decade, Ben van Beurden said on Thursday, although it is still a small part of its total annual spending of $25bn (£20.5bn). 

Shell also said that 10% of directors’ bonuses would be tied to how well it manages greenhouse gas emissions in refining, chemical and upstream operations.

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Weak Federal Powers Could Limit Trump’s Climate-Policy Rollback

A wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa. The wind power industry is booming in the United States, with wind-farm technician projected to be the country’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Image: A wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa. The wind power industry is booming in the United States, with wind-farm technician projected to be the country’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

nytimes.com - January 2nd 2017 - Justin Gillis

With Donald J. Trump about to take control of the White House, it would seem a dark time for the renewable energy industry. After all, Mr. Trump has mocked the science of global warming as a Chinese hoax, threatened to kill a global deal on climate change and promised to restore the coal industry to its former glory.

So consider what happened in the middle of December, after investors had had a month to absorb the implications of Mr. Trump’s victory. 

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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

           

Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.

bloomberg.com - by Tom Randall - December 15, 2016

A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. 

This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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Before the Flood

nationalgeographic.com - October 30, 2016

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award®-winning actor, environmental activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent the disruption of life on our planet.

CLICK HERE - National Geographic - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - YouTube - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - About the Film - Before the Flood

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Utopian off-grid Regen Village produces all of its own food and energy

inhabitat.com - May 27th 2016 - Lacy Cooke

Danish architectural firm EFFEKT envisioned a future where self-sustaining communities could grow their own food and produce their own energy. They incorporated that vision into the ReGen Village, a planned off-grid community that addresses issues ranging from climate change to food security through sustainable design. They plan to start building these utopian communities this summer.

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The struggle for Water Is Sickening!

By Beny Sam
Thursday April 14, 2016

With all the efforts made by our ministry of water resources, the bulk of our compatriots are still thirsting for water. In Africa, many communities go without electricity for ages, but they cannot afford to go without water. If the United Nations perhaps knew March month is the driest month in most West African countries, may be they would have shifted the World Water commemoration from a day in March.  Why I see the date disturbing is that when our Ministry each year mobilizes resources to mark the World Water Day, I see it as a biting irony since that is the time Sierra Leoneans forage all over the place to have a drop of water to utilize for various purposes.

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A Renewable Energy Boom

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016

nytimes.com - by The Editorial Board - April 4, 2016

Some world leaders, especially in developing countries like India, have long said it’s hard to reduce the emissions that are warming the planet because they need to use relatively inexpensive — but highly carbon-intensive — fuels like coal to keep energy affordable. That argument is losing its salience as the cost of renewable energy sources like wind and solar continues to fall.

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Why Solar and Wind Are Thriving Despite Cheap Fossil Fuels

          

Wind turbines provide energy for the residents of Samso Island, a Danish island that gets all its power from renewable sources. PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW HENDERSON, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Low oil prices are rattling stock markets, but investors remain bullish on solar, wind, and other clean energy. Here are three reasons why.

nationalgeographic.com - by Wendy Koch - January 22, 2016

The prolonged plunge in fossil fuel prices is rippling across the globe. Yet it’s barely put a dent in the booming market for clean energy, heralding perhaps a new era for wind and solar.

Oil prices of less than $30 a barrel—the lowest in 12 years—have shaken stock markets and ravaged the budgets of major producers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Along with falling gas prices, they’ve slashed the profits of fossil fuel companies, which are delaying dozens of billion-dollar projects and laying off thousands of workers. . . .

. . . But solar, wind, and other clean energy? They’re expanding.

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