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Special Feature: Three views from the global economy’s energy cliff

Here are three leading observers on the world’s increasingly shaky energy situation. Minqui Li presents a through-going analysis of the global energy scenario from 2018-2050 based on the latest data, Kurt Cobb suggests that ‘peak oil’ maybe a process, rather than a event, while Chris Martenson issues a stark warning on the coming oil crash.

Coal vs Renewables: An open letter to India’s chief economic advisor

With the national energy policy about to be finalised, a recent lecture by Dr. Arvind Subramanian, India’s chief economic advisor, revealed the government’s thinking on the question of coal vis-a-vis renewable energy. This rejoinder by an energy expert flags crucial issues and suggests alternatives that are vastly more healthier for the country and the planet.

Civil society comments on NITI Aayog’s draft National Energy Policy

From Vikalp Sangam: NITI Aayog has invited suggestion and feedback on its Draft National Energy Policy. Here’s the detailed response sent by a group of civil society groups. Also linked here is energy expert Bhamy Shenoy’s critique of the draft Policy, which he says does not reflect the crucial recent transformations in the energy sector.

Google engineers say today’s RE technologies won’t save us. So what will?

From IEEE Spectrum: At the beginning, engineers at RE<C, Google’s now defunct renewable energy initiative, had shared the attitude of many environmentalists: They felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, society could stave off catastrophic climate change. They now know that to be a false hope—but that doesn’t mean the planet is doomed.

How renewable energy advocates are hurting the climate cause

Paul McDivitt writes: Making wind and solar seem like they’re doing better than they really are could come back to bite proponents —and the climate. If people think we are about to replace fossil fuels with renewables, they will be less likely to demand new policies and take actions to lower their own carbon footprints.

Gail Tverberg: The “wind and solar will save us” delusion

Somehow, most people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion people can get along with a very short list of energy supplies. Given climate change, this short list cannot include fossil fuels, but we believe Wind and Solar can save us. Unfortunately, a transition to such alternative fuels can’t really work. Here’s why.

47 of the world’s poorest countries are aiming to hit 100% renewable energy

As the world’s leading superpowers struggle to make the transition from fossil-based energy systems, 47 of the world’s poorest nations have pledged to skip fossil fuels altogether and jump straight to using 100 percent renewable energy instead. The ambitious goal was laid out during the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Morocco.

Video: This wind turbine costs as much as an iPhone, powers an entire house

Avant Garde Innovations, founded by siblings Arun and Anoop George from Kerala, has come up with a low-cost wind turbine that can generate enough electricity to power an entire house for a lifetime. The size of a ceiling fan, this wind turbine can generate 5 kWh/kW per day— with just a one-time cost of US$750.

How industrial civilisation is (literally) built on a foundation with an expiry date

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.

Bookshelf: Our Renewable Future

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.

Forecast: The world nears peak fossil fuels for electricity

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.

Report: Coal and gas to stay cheap, but renewables still win race on costs

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.

Video & Report: How renewable energy is already taking over the world

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.

Richard Heinberg: 100% renewable energy is possible, here’s how

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. 

Video: Al Gore makes the case for optimism on Climate Change

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.

NEWS UPDATE #83

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.