Category Archives: renewable energy

New study paints rosy future for grid-scale energy storage in UK

The Bloomberg New Energy Finance study finds that rapid falls in the price of technology and appropriate regulatory support could create a significant opportunity for the use of storage in the electricity network.  

Excellent news for all renewable energy fans. 

Another extract from the press release:

The study says that while niche markets for energy storage are already viable in the UK today, mainly to relieve bottlenecks in the transmission and distribution of power, more substantial penetration of energy storage within the grid system will become economic within the next five years. However, the report also points out that the key to the successful roll‐out of energy storage within the UK electricity system in the next few years will be putting in place an appropriate regulatory framework ‐ something
that has not yet been achieved
”.

Fossil fuels vs. renewables: the key argument that environmentalists are missing

"It seems doubtful at this time that future technologies for exploiting fossil fuels will be able to do much beyond softening the inevitable declines. And, given the known trends and data, it seems foolish to wait for these yet-to-be-invented technologies to appear. That means that leapfrogging now past fossil fuels to renewable energy is not just desirable but probably inescapable. The only question is whether we as a society will do it with a focused plan for a rapid transition or whether the transition will be chaotic and marked by violent swings in the economy as the world lurches from one energy-induced crisis to another."   (Source: Energy Bulletin)

Brilliant overview by Kurt Cobb of the reasons why we need to move away from fossil fuels as fast as possible.

The European Power System – Decarbonization and Cost Reduction: Lost in Transmissions?

The French Institute for International Relations (IFRI) has produced one of the best analyses of the inconsistencies in European energy policy.  

"The objective of the Internal Electricity Market is to bring competitive electricity prices to end-users, but as these prices are linked to the composition of the power generation mix, it is easy to see that there is a clear discrepancy in the rationales pushing for corridors aiming at transporting RES across Europe and a market-driven logic that will favor the building of transmission lines based on a competitive power generation mix."

New MIT report: shale gas maybe a bridge but what is at the other side of the bridge?

A new MIT report shows shale gas in the US creates jobs, keeps energy prices low but suppresses the development of the renewables revolution.  

"Shale might provide the flexibility to meet reduction targets at lower costs today, making it a strong “bridge” in the short term to a low-carbon future. But the report concludes that we can’t let “the greater ease of the near term … erode efforts to prepare a landing at the other end of the bridge.”

Read the full MIT report “The Influence of Shale Gas on U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy”.

Clean-Energy Investment Rises to $260B

“Renewable energy investment rose 5 percent to a record $260 billion last year driven by a surge in solar developments and increased spending in the U.S., Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Despite the economic and financial crisis, the Solyndra collapse in the US and reduced government subsidies, the renewables sector continues its growth. That said, Europe risks losing its leadership position as Chinese competition is driving jobs out of the old continent.

EU Energy Roadmap 2050 : time for energy saving and renewable technologies

On 15 December 2011, the European Commission adopted the Communication "Energy Roadmap 2050". The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries as a group. In the Energy Roadmap 2050 the Commission explores the challenges posed by delivering the EU’s decarbonisation objective while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness.“   (Source: European Commission)

Despite some unrealistic assumptions in the modelling (price of oil in 2030-2050; economic growth predictions), the EU Commission study demonstrates that a high renewables and energy efficiency scenarios would not cost Europeans more than business as usual. With the price of fossil fuels most likely going up in the long-term as the industry has to revert to “extreme energy” (hard to extract, expensive, environmentally dangerous) and prices of renewables coming down as technological innovation progresses, the choice for Europe looks pretty clear to me.

3E Intelligency will return later with a more in-depth analysis of the five decarbonisation scenarions. Watch this space.

Solar Power Much Cheaper to Produce Than Most Analysts Realize, Study Finds

“The public is being kept in the dark about the viability of solar photovoltaic energy, according to a study conducted at Queen’s University.”

Joe Romm summarises one of the latest studies on the cost of solar energy in this interesting article.

Wind Power Produces Just 4-14% Emissions of Fossil Fuels, Even With Manufacturing & Decommissioning

A new life-cycle assessment of the environmental impact of wind power confirms the greenhouse gas reduction potential of replacing fossil fuels by wind energy.  

This article from Treehugger summarises anew analysis published in Environmental Research Letters.

European proposals: EU planners hint at fairytale future

Imagine a future in which Europe derives virtually all its power from thousands of windmills and other sources of renewable energy.”

The FT’s Joshua Chaffin calls the renewable energy scenario in the EU’s upcoming Energy Roadmap a "fairytale" and warns that ultimately consumers will have to pay the price for the low-carbon future. Problem is, Joshua, that continuing to rely on "extreme" or unconventional fossil fuel energy will be no less than a "nightmare" (for climate, environment and also in price we will pay for our energy). Sometimes fairy tales do come true.

Predictions for cleantech in 2012

What will 2012 have in store for the cleantech/greentech market? Kachan & Co. offers its predictions for the new year, calling 2012 a mixed bag for cleantech. “ 

This is an incredibly interesting and well-written report about the outlook for the clean technology in 2012. It lists opportunities as well as challenges and is a must-read for anyone interested in this sector.

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