solar

Carlsberg Aims To Produce Beer With Renewable Energy

(3BL Media/JustMeans) — When someone takes a swig from their favorite beer, they may not realize that brewing beer is an energy intensive process. But brewing companies that want to reduce their carbon emissions are well aware of the issue.

That's why Carlsberg Group, a global brewer headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, has set the lofty goal of powering its breweries with only renewable energy by 2022. 

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.

India Working Towards A Future Powered By Renewables

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – India is committed to protecting the climate, irrespective of the Paris agreement. That’s what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last month, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), just as President Trump pulled America out of the pact. Modi stated, “It is not a question of which way I go.

L’Oréal USA Invests In Renewable Energy

L’Oréal USA is investing big time in renewable energy. Recently, the company that sells cosmetics and personal care products announced that it will build two solar power projects at its manufacturing facilities in North Little Rock, Arkansas and Florence, Kentucky. The projects will help accelerate the company’s goals to reduce its carbon emissions by 60 percent from a 2005 baseline by 2020.

Samsung's SmartThings Future Living Report Reveals A Startling Future

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The environments we live in today are almost unrecognizable from those that existed a century ago, as new technology through the smartphone revolution is having a huge impact on not just how we stay connected, but how to save energy. We are just at the beginning of this know-how, which is spilling into larger communities and countries.

Arizona’s Solar Wars Pits Utilities Against Rooftop Installers

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - You would think that Arizona, with its vast expanses of desert and abundant sunshine would be one of the best places in the US for solar power. Geographically speaking, you would be correct, but unfortunately. that is not the whole story.

Solar Continues to Exceed Expectations and Defy Predictions

(3BL Medial/Justmeans) - Recently, I went to an event hosted by one of our local solar providers. The building and those around it were covered with solar panels. As I stood in the parking lot looking up, I thought about how the panels were quietly generating power and I reflected that I may have emitted more carbon in getting there in my car than the building did all day, or perhaps even in several days.

The reality of solar power is surprising, perhaps amazing, to anyone who stops to notice. And given solar’s phenomenal rate of growth more and more people will be noticing, until eventually it will simply become the new normal. According to GTM Research, more solar will be installed globally in the year 2020 than was cumulatively installed in the 40 years preceding it. That will bring the cumulative solar market past the 700 GW mark. That’s well over 10% of the current worldwide capacity, and more than two-thirds of what we generate here in the US. This is consistent with the MIT study that found solar potential in the multi-terawatt range, predicting as much as 25 TW of solar by 2050. That’s about a hundred times what is installed today. So much for those who say that solar will never be more than a tiny portion of our energy mix.

Let’s do a little math. According to Ramez Naam, although it took 40 years for solar to reach 1% of US capacity, the second 1% was added in just 3 years. At that rate of growth, we can expect solar to reach 50% (of today’s demand) in 17 years. Of course, demand will continue to grow, but even if it doubles, just add another three years. But it gets even better than that. Says Naam, the next 1% will take only 2 years. At that rate, it could reach 50% of capacity in just 11 years. (For comparison, the more conservative MIT study showed the installed capacity doubling roughly every five years.)

Exclusive Q&A with Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environmental Officer, TD Bank

TD continues green strategy with the first bank-led green bond in Canada

Rural India to Get Solar Too

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Last week I wrote about India’s ambitious plans for solar development. The country seems ready to mobilize its growing industrial prowess to show the world that it can accomplish the leap to clean energy without sacrificing its dynamic economic growth rate. The new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced ambitious goals for massive centralized solar plants that could, if completed, catapult India to the forefront of the solar horse race.

Considering India’s very large rural population, many of which are still without reliable power, this raises the question that has been emerging as renewables continue their broad development across the globe. Will the renewable revolution take place in a centralized manner, as plug-in substitutes for the coal and natural gas plants of today, or will they usher in a total new paradigm of decentralized generation that will leapfrog today’s distribution infrastructure, much as the cell phone revolution has done in the communications sphere across Asia and Africa?

The answer is clearly some of each, at least in the near term. But as things shake out over time, which paradigm will dominate?

Aside from India, Japan also seems to be following a large scale centralized solar development plan, in their case, as a replacement for the nuclear path that they had intended to follow up until the Fukushima disaster. Three quarters of their new solar installations, comprising some 10 gigawatts, has been in the form of large scale projects.

But, that is only one part of the solar story. In India, for example, there is another path being blazed by, among others, the Rockefeller Foundation, CSE India, and the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency. The Rockefeller Foundation has committed $75 million to its Smart Power for India initiative. The initiative will focus on promoting sustainable business models for renewable power generation with an eye towards spurring economic development among India’s poor, underserved rural population.

India’s Solar Ambitions Could Put It in the Lead

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Last week, we wrote about the Lima conference and some of the challenges that were faced there. Among these were the fact that certain developing countries were reluctant to make commitments that they felt would adversely impact their economic growth. One of these was India. Indeed, India was heavily pushing for, and successfully achieved, some revisions to the terms of the agreement that included the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

This, says Indian Environmental Minister Prakash Javadekar. "gives enough space for the developing world to grow and take appropriate nationally determined steps.”

This bottoms-up approach is a departure from the original top-down target setting mechanism. It leaves unanswered the question of the total carbon reduction, in essence trusting that what the developing countries say is the best they can do, will be good enough.

There is some reassurance on that note, with some rather bullish announcements regarding India’s solar initiative. The program was first introduced in 2010 with a target of 20GW by 2022. The announcement was met with skepticism; indeed, in the first years, performance has lagged expectations with only a little over 3 GW installed as of this past March, about 85% of which is grid-connected. However, things seem ready to take off after the election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and the decision not to impose tariffs on the import of American and Chinese solar panels.

Mercom Capital is now estimating additional installations of 1.8GW for the year 2015.  Says Mercom CEO, Raj Prabhu, “The Indian solar industry is visibly upbeat since the elections and especially after getting past the anti-dumping case.” Also contributing to the optimism are “recent cancellations of coal mining licenses by the Supreme Court amid rising coal imports and increasing costs, and continuing power shortages.”

To date, most of the progress has been state driven. Gujarat is in the lead with the highest installed capacity 916.4MW, followed by Rajasthan 734.1MW. Those two states with their incentive programs, account for roughly half the national total.

Now the Central Government is stepping, with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announcing their own interim goal of 15 GW by 2019. This will be achieved with a series of huge utility scale 500MW to 1 GW solar parks. They also announced 12 locations in seven states where additional “ultra-mega solar projects” could be built. These alone could account for 20 GW.

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