Renewable Energy

Climate & Energy

Humanity's energy dilemma in three easy charts

According to a new report from BP, our current energy path leads to catastrophe, and it's hard to even envision a scenario in which catastrophe is avoided.

Is natural gas becoming a cover for the same old dirty fossil fuels industry?

One of the great ironies of the transition to renewable energy is that it's going to require a great deal of fossil fuels to build all those wind turbines, solar panels, and smart grids — because we simply don't have enough renewables already in the mix to bootstrap them up to the level we need to continue even a semblance of our 21st century civilization. So why not make that transition with the "cleanest" fossil fuel available, goes the argument — namely, natural gas. So far so good. But lately, in op-eds in places like The New York Times and …

Why you’ll soon have solar panels, in three easy graphs

The cost of silicon solar panels has been falling precipitously, with no end in sight. Naturally, falling costs mean solar installation has been exploding worldwide. By the time new coal-fired power plants come on-line in the U.S., solar will already be cheaper. If you want to understand what kind of revolution this will bring about in power production, check out this analysis from Jonathan Koomey of Stanford University: Here's an interesting thing for people to contemplate: As solar reaches grid parity based on retail prices we'll start to see big changes in what is now called the peak demand period …

Climate & Energy

Three energy developments that are changing your life — and not in a good way

This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. Here’s the good news about energy: Thanks to rising oil prices and deteriorating economic conditions worldwide, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that global oil demand will not grow this year as much as once assumed, which may provide some temporary price relief at the gas pump. In its May “Oil Market Report,” the IEA reduced its 2011 estimate for global oil consumption by 190,000 barrels per day, pegging it at 89.2 million barrels daily. As a result, retail prices may not reach the stratospheric …

Renewable Energy

Apollo and BlueGreen Alliance merge — a smart move at a time of clean-energy trouble

Last week, the Apollo Alliance and the BlueGreen Alliance, two of the most important national nonprofits supporting clean energy development and good jobs, announced that as of July 1, they would merge. The much larger Minneapolis-based BlueGreen Alliance, a five-year-old collaboration of big green groups and unions, will become the parent of San Francisco-based Apollo, which was founded in 2003 and gained its renown for being the first organization to understand that the transition to an economy primarily fueled by something other than oil and coal could produce a flurry of useful results — jobs, climate action, energy security, and industrial …

Renewable Energy

How to get to a fully renewable power system

How can we scale up the clean and phase out the dirty?What’s it going to take to substantially ramp up the amount of renewables in the electricity system? There are many nerdy discussions of that question on the interwebs, but lemme try to talk about it in reasonably non-nerdy language. There’s a certain amount of demand for electricity that is steady and reliable. Above that, there are fluctuating “peaks” of demand each day, usually evening, when everyone gets home and starts watching TV and running the dishwasher, or in hot areas, the afternoon. For that steady core of demand, we …

Renewable Energy

Michigan to grid operator: We prefer to generate our own renewable energy

Michigan would rather pay a little more for energy if it’s better for the local economy.Photo: Alex GorzenThis post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. The large transmission authority serving the upper Midwest — the Midwest Independent System Operator — has plans for new high-voltage transmission lines leading from windy states like the Dakotas to places like Michigan. The purpose is to bring renewable energy from big western wind farms to places East. Some of these places — like Michigan — would rather do it themselves: Michigan’s share of $16 billion …

Norway plans billion-dollar clean energy fund for world’s poor

What is it about those hoar-frosted Scandinavians that makes them crazy ambitious when it comes to clean energy? First it was Denmark's promise to go 100 percent renewable; now their buddies in Norway want to launch a billion-dollar fund for building renewable energy in the developing world. Norway has already pledged more than $500 million a year to stop deforestation in Indonesia, so they're probably for real when they say that they want the "Energy+" initiative to attract billions in investment from developed countries, all of it aimed at building solar, wind, and hydro in the developing world. Only problem …

Pippa Middleton an ass … et at her ex’s geothermal energy firm

Everyone's favorite bridesmaid Pippa Middleton likes hot, wet … underground energy sources. The younger sister of the newly crowned Princess of Wales just took a job at ex-boyfriend's geothermal energy firm, which is looking to use underground stores of hot water to generate electricity. Pippa will be lobbying the British government for a licensing system for the company's work. We hear she has a nice butt, and since government bureaucrats have little light in their lives, that'll probably be an asset in her new gig. (Her other jobs include running a party planning firm and an online magazine for Party …