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Alternative Energy / Renewable Energy

  • The High Cost Of Renewables

    In this post I present “back of envelope” style calculations on the capital costs of renewables globally since 1998 and deduce that roughly $1.3 trillion has been spent installing wind turbines and solar panels. Is this a lot of money? Is it a wise investment? What else may we have we got for our money?There are different ways to view this. For example UK annual GDP is roughly double this sum and in that perspective it is not a huge amount for the world to spend over 15 years. Some would argue that we should be spending a lot more.…

  • IEA Says Investment In Clean Energy Will Keep Growing, Slowly

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) says overall investment in renewable energy will continue to grow through 2020, but at a slower rate than it has in recent years.The IEA’s annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report for 2014, issued Aug. 28, anticipated investment in biomass, wind and solar energy will total $1.61 trillion through the end of the current decade, even as the rate of investment begins to lag.The report says funding for clean energy reached a peak of $280 billion in 2011 and was still a generous $250 billion in 2013. But that is expected to decline to an average…

  • U.S. Warms To Clean Energy

    A review of monthly figures for new installations of electric power capacity in July shows that renewable energy is quickly becoming the energy source of choice in the U.S. New data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows that 100 percent of new capacity installed in July came from renewable energy. For the month, there were 21 megawatts of new solar, 379 megawatts of wind, and 5 megawatts of new hydropower. Natural gas still accounted for more than half of new capacity for the first half of this year, but renewable energy is quickly catching up.The data is confirmation…

  • Why Air Bags May Be the Answer to Clean Energy’s Viability

    Stop a dozen people on the street and ask them what the biggest challenge facing alternative energy is, and most would probably answer along the same lines. There would be some vague notion of finding, or maybe developing, clean energy sources to prepare for the day when we exhaust the Earth’s supply of fossil fuels. Ask many experts, though, and they will tell you that we already have viable solutions and now just need to solve one central problem: storage. The answer to that may be something as simple as giant bags of air.Clean energy sources have a major storage…

  • Unlikely Bedfellows: Mines That Run On Solar Or Wind Power

    Mining companies are often seen as dinosaurs when it comes to making changes that will benefit the environment, but that perception may be shifting as some companies turn to renewable energy to cut costs and lighten their carbon footprint.At first blush, mining and renewable energy seem incongruous. Mining's reputation as a voracious consumer of fossil fuels is well deserved, especially surface mining, where diesel-sucking haul trucks perform endless loops to and from gigantic pits scraped ever-deeper by immense earth-moving machines belching greenhouse gases.Contrast that with solar panel installations, with their acres of gleaming panels and gently humming generators, or wind…

  • Germans Happily Pay More For Renewable Energy, But Would Others?

    While Germany is breaking world records for the amount of sustainable energy it uses every year, German energy customers are breaking European records for the amount they pay in monthly bills. Surprisingly, they don’t seem to mind.In the first half of 2014, Germany drew 28 percent of its power generation from renewable energy sources. Wind and solar capacity were hugely boosted, now combining to generate 45 terawatt hours (TWh), or 17 percent of national demand, with another 11 percent coming from biomass and hydropower plants. This proves that Germany’s controversial Energiewende policy is on target to meet highly ambitious goals…

  • Top 10 Things To Know About Tesla At The End Of Q2

    Tesla’s Q2 earnings report was released on July 31 while they exceeded expectations, it had people talking. Tesla, the manufacturer of the world’s most-coveted electric vehicles (the Model S), has come a long way since its inception in 2003. Last year, it posted its first profits in 10 years. So, at the halfway point of 2014, what are the most important things to know about Tesla going forward?10. Better batteries are coming.One of the major things detractors of Tesla point to is the limited battery life of the vehicles. That may not be true for much longer, however. Tesla is…

  • Has Battery Technology Just Taken A Huge Leap Forward?

    A California firm called Imergy believes it’s hit on a new chemistry that can drastically reduce the costs of certain advanced battery systems.In this case, it’s what’s called a “flow” battery. Most batteries create an electric current by shuttling ions between two positively and negatively charged solids. Flow batteries use two positively and negatively charged fluids, and create the ion reaction by pumping the fluids across either side of a membrane. This comes with several advantages: they’re long-lasting, they can be built to different scales and uses, and the tanks can be easily swapped to recharge the battery. And because…

  • Does Vanadium Hold the Key to Energy Storage Conundrum?

    Renewable energy – solar and wind – works like a charm when the wind is blowing strongly enough to whip windmill blades into a frenzy, or the sun is baking down onto strategically-placed solar panels. The trouble, of course, is that the power they produce is intermittent. Wind has an annoying habit of dying down, as does the sun in hiding behind clouds.Harnessers of wind and solar power face another dilemma, and that is how to store the energy they produce, before it is fed into the electricity grid. A good example is what is happening in Hawaii. The island…

  • Oil Giants Gassed Out On Renewable Energy

    Could the future of renewable energy be reliant on the efforts of big oil companies? They would certainly like you to think so. In the first decade of the 21st century, it seemed like the likes of BP and ExxonMobil had realized that the winds of change were blowing as they begun massive investment programs in renewable source of energy. Renewable Energy World reports that from 2000 to 2010, American oil and gas companies contributed 20% of all US investment in renewables, amounting to around $9 billion. The Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 shattered BP’s public image, but it came…