CoalSwarm’s new report details how India has a total of 243 GW of coal plants under development, threatening to derail its renewable energy ambitions, leading to either locked-out renewables or stranded coal plants. It would push the country towards more expensive and underutilized coal plants at the expense of lower cost and cleaner renewable energy.
Chris Martenson writes: The main issue is simple: putting in steel reinforcing bars lowers the cost and weight of installing reinforced concrete, but at the severe expense of reducing its lifespan. In other words, literally everything you see today that’s made of concrete will need to be replaced within a hundred years of its installation.
The introduction to Our Renewable Future, a new book on the profound, all-encompassing energy transformation that will be witnessed throughout the world over the next few decades. Two irresistible forces will drive this historic transition: the necessity of avoiding catastrophic climate change and the ongoing depletion of the world’s oil, coal, and natural gas resources.
The Centre’s recent directive to state-owned power generation firms to stop coal imports and instead buy domestic coal, saw skeptical voices warning against seeing it as a sign of new commitment to reduce coal consumption. However, there’s good reason to the hope that India may be moving away from coal, irrespective of the government’s intent.
The way we get electricity is about to change dramatically, as demand for fossil fuels comes to an end— in less than a decade. According to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast, massive shifts are coming soon to power markets because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected.
David Blittersdorf writes: Our industrial society can handle about a 10% voluntary energy reduction across the board, doing things like walking more and carpooling. To get to the necessary level (which, by some estimations, will be about a 60-80% decrease in energy usage), will be impossible unless we change the way we think about things.
Bloomberg reports that cheaper coal and gas will not derail the decarbonisation of world energy. By 2040, ‘zero-emission’ energy sources will form 60% of installed capacity. Wind and solar will account for 64% of the 8.6TW of new power-generating capacity added over the next 25 years, and for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested.
Post the Paris climate agreement, the world looks to solar energy more than ever to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change, with multi-billion dollar solar programmes announced by just about every major country. But just how efficient, and environmentally sustainable is the celebrated solar photovoltaic technology? Here’s what some leading voices have to say.
Ugo Bardi writes: I am reporting the results of a small survey that I carried out last week among members of a discussion forum; mainly experts in renewable energy. The question was about the possibility of obtaining a society 100% based on renewable energy sources, before it is too late to avoid the climate disaster.
The Indian Express reports: Last week, a Solar Pump Irrigators’ Cooperative Enterprise (SPICE) was up and running in Dhundi, a village in Gujarat’s Anand district. Members of this cooperative —the first of its kind in the world— are using solar power not only to run pumps, but also sell their surplus energy to the grid.
India in its INDC pledged to achieve 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030. The carbon cess will help provide a clear and direct indication to the market of rising regulatory risks that hover over the fossil fuel industry and build business confidence in the non-fossil fuel industry.
Jeremy Leggett writes: A Saudi Prince talks of his nation’s “dangerous addiction” to oil. A Bloomberg guru talks of renewables “crushing” fossil fuels. Arguably the most successful entrepreneur ever turns the unveiling of an electric car into the most successful product launch in history. Plus much more that would have been unimaginable a year ago.
Juan Cole writes: In 2015 energy companies invested more in new renewables power plants than in fossil fuel plants for the first time in history. The majority of these plants were planned for developing countries, a sign that the technology is now viewed as less expensive. It is clear there is a secular trend upwards.
Since the renewable energy revolution will require trading fossil fuels for alternative ones (mostly wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass), there will be some hefty challenges along the way. Therefore, it makes sense to start with the low-hanging fruit and with a plan in place, then revise our plan frequently as we gain practical experience.
Bill McKibben reports: On March 3, across the northern hemisphere, the temperature, for a few hours, crossed a line: it was more than two degrees Celsius above “normal” for the first time in recorded history and likely for the first time in the course of human civilization. Two degrees Celsius is the must-not-cross red line.
Al Gore, former US Vice President and Founder, The Climate Reality Project, spoke at the recently concluded 2016 TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to him, the future of our planet looks very different today than it did when he last spoke on the TED stage nearly a decade ago.
Unlimited growth and consumerist culture is incompatible with a finite world. We call for an urgent paradigm shift, from the currently dominant model of consumption-led development, to creating frameworks of human and ecological well being. This transition should be defined by the principles of sustainability, equity, and justice. (Adopted at the Bijli Vikalp Sangam, Bodh Gaya)
Common Dreams reports: A new analysis, published in Science Advances journal, reveals that global water scarcity is a far greater problem than previously thought, affecting 4 billion people—two-thirds of the world’s population. Previous analyses looked at water scarcity at an annual scale, and had found that water scarcity affected between 1.7 and 3.1 billion people.
India, Colombia and Nigeria have the most cases of conflict caused by climate change and environmental disputes, according to a map of global ecological conflict. The Environmental Justice Atlas, released last month, shows that more than 200 conflicts in India are caused by ecological disputes and scarcities of basic resources such as water and forests.
The Times of India reports: Distress conditions forced about 6 lakh people from Rayalaseema, where the major crop is groundnut, to move to cities in 2015. It works out to migration of around 1,600 persons per day last year. Although the rate dipped in November and December due to the ongoing cultivation, the trend continues.