Top Ten Green Energy Good News Stories, 6/1/13

1. Scotland Goes Ahead With World’s Largest Wave Energy Project. “At 40 megawatts (MW), it will provide energy to nearly 30,000 homes” once the requisite cable is laid, by 2017.

2. Gujarat’s wind power capacity has grown to be the highest in India over the past 4 years. “Installed wind power generation capacities in the state has increased by 36 per cent during 2011-12″ to nearly 3 gigawatts. Tamil Nadu comes in second among India’s wind-powered states.

3. Brazil Receives Requests For 392 megawatts Of Solar Power Projects Within One Week. “Brazil… is building several solar-powered football/soccer stadiums for the [World Cup], the first of which just opened up. The stadium hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup final will be capped with over 1,500 solar panels.” Solar in Brazil is now cheaper than grid electricity (i.e. cheaper than coal, gas or petroleum).

4. World’s Largest Solar Powered Hospital Opens In Haiti. It “boasts over 1800 solar panels on its elegant and otherwise, stark, white rooftop.” Haiti suffers from rolling electricity blackouts that interfere with medical care where hospitals are dependent on the conventional grid.

5. Phoenix Solar completes a floating photovoltaic system in Singapore. “The solar island is set at a 10 degree angle with UV resistant floating structures. With the help of marine-grade submersible cables, the tetragonal array provides electricity that goes directly to the land.”

6. Renewable energy is empowering women. Even small solar kits help villagers in India, e.g. “Without power, many women are fearful of going out after sunset, drop out of school because they cannot study after dark, and spend hours every day gathering wood for fuel. . .”

7. 3 Best Things Minnesota Just Did For Solar: A state target for 2020, rebates, and community solar…

8. What do the oligarchs know? Russia’s Renova invests $400 million in African solar energy. Renova subsidiary “Avelar plans to build its first power station in South Africa this year. It has signed its first $ 500,000 contract with the Dawn Group, which owns a network of logistics facilities. ”

9. Xcel could add 550 megawatts of wind power in Colorado in the next 2 years. “Xcel Energy Inc. is asking state regulators to add 550 megawatts worth of wind-generated power to its Colorado grid ­— boosting its amount of wind power by 25 percent. If state regulators approve the request, Xcel (NYSE: XEL) will have more than 2,700 megawatts of wind power in Colorado, it said Thursday.” Nearly 3 gigawatts! That’s like two small nuclear plants.

10. 110% increase year over year: REC Solar Completes 10,000 Residential Solar Installations. “Since the company’s founding in 1997, REC Solar has installed more than 160 megawatts of residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar throughout the U.S. and its territories, with 50 megawatts coming online in the past year alone.” In other words, nearly a third of the energy being produced as a result of all this installation activity over 15 years has come on line in only the past year, which shows how the pace of solar installations are accelerating. Prices of solar panels have plummeted since 2008.

11 Responses

  1. Every single one of the 7 nuclear reactors currently under construction in India is more important than 9 of those 10 developments combined. Only the number two in your list is significant.

    • The items are not chosen on the basis of macro numbers but as indications of change. Nuclear is not insignificant but it doesn’t present the scalable and grassroots opportunities that solar increasingly does, and it is doomed to be phased out over the next half-century. There aren’t going to be any nuclear plants in Haiti, but there could end up being quite a lot of small scale solar kits and arrays, which will have a big impact on people’s lives.

      Solar and wind in many markets are already at or below grid parity, and it will be fun to watch the market do the rest.

      Unfortunately it won’t be fast enough to avoid a destabilized climate.

      • Nuclear will likely still be needed in 50 years. There are places that don’t get enough sun or wind to run a city. It’s fossil fuels or nuclear. On top of that, solar and wind energy require some sort of backup, be it storage systems, backup natural gas fired generators, or baseload nuclear power. Nuclear power is steady and reliable and it remains up and running during storms.

        • I’m all for anything that reduces fossil fuel use, but Fukushima showed that nuclear power also requires backup, can also be knocked offline, and the consequences of the backup failing at the same time are extremely dire.

      • I agree solar might be a good option in remote places where grid connection is unlikely or very unreliable, or where the maturity necessary for nuclear power isn’t available. So it is definitely an option to rapidly alleviate some energy poverty. But the big fossil polluters do have the maturity to implement nuclear power.

        The US and Germany could easily have been rid of all coal and most NG at the turn of the millenium if they had kept scaling nuclear power. It would have saved tens of thousands of lives each year in air quality improvements alone. Today, the promises of renewables keeps losing us time – every day that goes by is still a lost day in the battle against AGW.

  2. Prof. Cole – thank you for some encouraging stories about how renewable sources of energy can work for us. Unfortunately, there is a sizeable percentage of Americans who think solar and wind energy are all about dirty hippies and they think they are being cool and manly by burning huge amounts of fossil fuels. We have a serious stupidity problem in the U.S., not a lack of renewable energy technologies!

  3. Thank you for posting this story, but it must be said that the U.S. could be doing much, much more in renewable energy. What we are doing now only scratches the surface of what’s possible.

  4. We have a stupidity and denial problem. Already too late to avoid huge environmental damage. Middle of Pennsylvania will have the climate of southern Georgia–southern Georgia–uninhabitable. Much of Florida underwater. Utah–no water. Bangaladesh–lower islands under water putting 60 million people at risk. The big oil companies and those legislators they have bought will some day be understood to be criminals. But it will be too late.

  5. The best news is that American politicians are discussing the end of ethanol subsidies and required ethanol use for gasoline.

    If that happens, it’ll be a good day for America.

  6. Solar power condo project in Dominican Republic. The Colinas De Coson is a 55 unit condo project powered by a 50kw solar power plant. The project also has a 4 story waterfall that is powered 100% by solar power. Each conod unit has access to a solar power golf cart to drive to the beach or into Las Terrenas.

  7. -
    yes, up here, in vermont
    we have some discussion going on

    about wind turbines,
    and hydro-electric

    [small scale, canada [ian interests] bought all
    the big dams/gas co./elect. co. etc…]

    about vt yankee [entergy]
    down at the corner of vt/nh/mass

    i see a lot of small/medium scale solar,locally
    and also a natural gas pipeline ? [under the lake]

    as always a balance ? between local and corporate
    i would much rather see where my power comes from
    -

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