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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Solar Investment To Surpass Coal In India

Reported today on our main page, we continue to trend heavy investments on the clean energy side and moving away from new or expanded fossil fuel plants.  Great news.  Across the world we are building a new infrastructure for growth.  Amen.



Deutsche Bank has painted a sunny picture for solar in India, stating annual investments in the clean power technology could surpass investment in coal by 2019.

In its India 2020: Utilities & Renewables report, the Bank has raised its solar power forecast for India by 240%; to 34GW by 2020.

This is on the back of strong commissioning (4.5GW), even stronger pipeline – under construction (~5.1GW), and new projects (~15 GW),” says the report.

By 2020, renewables could account for 20% of the nation’s power generation capacity  – and the electricity will be cheaper than coal.


With regard to India’s goal of adding 100GW solar power capacity by 2022 (40GW rooftop installations, 60GW large-scale), Deutsche Bank feels that while it is technically feasible, a comprehensive strategy is still needed to achieve it.

India had installed ~4.5GW of solar capacity by June this year will likely add 3 – 5GW annually.

It is expected to continue to grow at a healthy pace, but may still not be sufficient to achieve the 100GW target by 2022,” says the Bank.

If India is somehow able to meet the 100GW target, the nation will be among the largest renewable energy producers globally, outpacing several developed countries.

India is not short on sunlight – it’s bathed in solar radiation levels of 5-7KWh/m2 and has an estimated installed solar potential of 748,990MW.

For consumers, based on recent bids for solar and coal, tariff parity has already almost arrived. For commercial consumers, solar power without capital subsidies is already competitive or cheaper than grid electricity in states including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The nation has attracted a great deal of attention from international developers, who will invest USD $35bn+ in renewable energy in the country.

SunEdison’s president and chief executive officer, Ahmad Chatila, said last month India is a core market for the company. Among its many projects in the country, SunEdison signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government of Karnataka in January to develop 5GW of wind and solar over the next five years.

- See more at: http://www.renewablenow.biz/investing-green.html#sthash.iwy38ovn.dpuf

What Is Climate Change Doing. to your health?

Last week we ran a story that confirmed most people's concern around climate change is around the impact on their health.  Not surprising, right?

With that we plan to bring you more information and insight into what the heal risks look like.  If that is the driver of passion around transformation, we are happy to fuel the fire and bring change in as many folks as possible.

We spoke with EPA rep Gina McCarthy at Senator Whitehouse's annual event and she was great...passionate, factual, advocating specific solutions.  We look forward to bringing her back for a full interview on an upcoming radio show.

What Is Climate Change Doing to Your Health?




Temperatures are rising. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. Air quality is decreasing. Climate change is not only taking a toll on the environment, but on our health. It's no longer a question of what will happen; it's what's happening right now. 

The 2014 National Climate Assessment, conducted by a team of more than 300 experts and a federal advisory committee, concluded that new health threats will emerge and existing ones will only get worse. Increased global temperatures, ground-level ozone and air pollution are expected to limit lung function and increase emergency room trips for those with asthma, whose ranks have substantially increased in the past decade. What's more, longer and fiercer pollen seasons are expected to worsen respiratory symptoms, leading to more missed school days and time off from work.
That's why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps now to educate the public and policymakers on the dangers and effects of climate change on health.
"Climate change is as big an environmental challenge as we have ever faced," Gina McCarthy, administrator of the EPA, said in a written statement to U.S. News. "It supercharges risks not only to our health, but to our economy and our way of life. From stronger storms and longer droughts to increased allergy seasons, insurance premiums, and food prices, climate impacts affect all Americans' lives."
Here's how experts say climate change is expected to impact human health, with tips for those at risk:
"We're seeing a rise in asthma and allergic diseases across the globe and [are] looking at many influences and factors contributing to that – one of them is rising pollen," says Dr. Jeffrey Demain, director of the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska and an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle.

Not only are plants producing more pollen, but the pollen being churned out is more allergenic, he says. Research suggests these changes are being driven by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, a consequence of burning fossil fuels and changes to land use.

Longtime allergy sufferer Patti Schwartz, of Catonsville, Maryland, has noticed an increasingly early and severe allergy season, compared with previous years.

"You talk to people, and everybody is suffering. Something is changing," Schwartz says.
Also a certified asthma educator for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, she and her family control their symptoms with a plethora of medications, from nasal sprays to decongestants and antihistamines. Yet on bad pollen days, there's no escaping the triggers. It's on those days she and her family keep the air conditioning cranked on and the windows shut tight.

Demain recommends that people like Schwartz take similar steps to control their symptoms. It's key to understand the environment and limit time outdoors if you're in a high-pollen area.

"Tree pollens, for example, are going to be worse in the morning, so the afternoon or evening is a better time for that bike ride," Demain says.
Grass pollens kick up in mornings and evenings, while weed pollens, like ragweed, are typically fiercest before noon.

Pollution and extreme temperature changes can increase the risk for heart attack or stroke, says Dr. Rani Whitfield, a family medicine physician in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and spokesman for the American Heart/Stroke Association.

The culprit? Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution, or simply PM, which the EPA defines as a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Their increasing numbers are courtesy of droughts and wildfires. The harmful concoction of acids – such as nitrates and sulfates – along with organic chemicals, metals, soil and dust particles is associated with inflammation of the blood vessels, Whitfield says.

"If they swell and become inflamed, it's the same as having a blockage from plaque formation or if you have a blood clot. How long that might last or happen depends on exposure," Whitfield says.

And because it's linked to inflammation and subsequent blood vessel dysfunction, PM can increase the risk for coronary artery disease – damage to the blood vessels – and atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. The risk is greater if you're living in an urban area due to higher levels of outdoor air pollution from energy consumption and exhaust emissions from cars and other vehicles.

To lower the risk of damage, Whitfield recommends the elementary rules for heart health: move more, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking and eat a balanced diet.

When Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey beaches in 2012, residents returned to find their beloved homes destroyed. Stress weighs heavily on those who lose their roots, says Dr. Susan Clayton, a psychology professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

Although a warming climate may decrease the overall number of storms that form, it could increase the number of more intense, damaging storms. Melting glaciers and ice caps can also lead to increased sea levels, making coastal flooding a recipe for disaster should a storm reach a coastline. For example, Demain says that Alaska's permafrost – the foundation for many homes and roads – has begun to melt, leading to the relocation of 12 villages. "It's not something most people are aware of because it's not them. Mostly, we tend to be concerned with what's outside our window. That's human nature," he says.

If you've been the victim of a natural disaster or have been displaced due to weather, you could be more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, though not everybody does, Clayton says. However, stress, anxiety and depression  can all be consequences of these kinds of disasters.

​"It might not sound like a health issue, but our community support networks are one of the things that can make a difference [in whether] we're resilient to a stressor or not," Clayton explains.

What people can do to offset their risk of experiencing this type of stress depends on where they live and what their occupation is. If you are a farmer, think about how your agricultural practices might need to change in response to climate conditions, Clayton says. If you're living in an area prone to flooding, know what you can do to prepare your home for the worst and map out exit routes. In the longer term, it may be beneficial to think about living in an area that's not prone to flooding, she explains.

Sometimes being proactive to reduce the potential emotional impact of climate change can be just as important as having a battery operated radio or a supply of bottled water to ride out the storm​; optimism can go a long way.
Other steps include reducing your carbon footprint and developing a community group that can come together in emergencies.

When Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey beaches in 2012, residents returned to find their beloved homes destroyed. Stress weighs heavily on those who lose their roots, says Dr. Susan Clayton, a psychology professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

Although a warming climate may decrease the overall number of storms that form, it could increase the number of more intense, damaging storms. Melting glaciers and ice caps can also lead to increased sea levels, making coastal flooding a recipe for disaster should a storm reach a coastline. For example, Demain says that Alaska's permafrost – the foundation for many homes and roads – has begun to melt, leading to the relocation of 12 villages. "It's not something most people are aware of because it's not them. Mostly, we tend to be concerned with what's outside our window. That's human nature," he says.

If you've been the victim of a natural disaster or have been displaced due to weather, you could be more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, though not everybody does, Clayton says.

However, stress, anxiety and depression  can all be consequences of these kinds of disasters.
​"It might not sound like a health issue, but our community support networks are one of the things that can make a difference [in whether] we're resilient to a stressor or not," Clayton explains.

What people can do to offset their risk of experiencing this type of stress depends on where they live and what their occupation is. If you are a farmer, think about how your agricultural practices might need to change in response to climate conditions, Clayton says. If you're living in an area prone to flooding, know what you can do to prepare your home for the worst and map out exit routes. In the longer term, it may be beneficial to think about living in an area that's not prone to flooding, she explains.

Sometimes being proactive to reduce the potential emotional impact of climate change can be just as important as having a battery operated radio or a supply of bottled water to ride out the storm​; optimism can go a long way.
Other steps include reducing your carbon footprint and developing a community group that can come together in emergencies.

  The emergence of infectious diseases like Ebola in new places c​ould be the result of climate change, says Daniel Brooks, a senior research affiliate at the Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Increasing temperatures can also promote water-borne illnesses in shellfish, which can be transmitted to humans through consumption, Brooks says​. If traveling outside the U.S., he recommends avoiding drinking unfiltered water and eating any fruits or vegetables you haven't peeled yourself to stave off sickness. If going to a malaria zone, be sure you and your travel companions are appropriately vaccinated against the disease, he says.

Humans aren't the only ones susceptible to these climate change-induced health risks. Forty years ago, dog heart worm appeared to be restricted to the Southeastern U.S., but now it is all over North America, he says. "It's the single biggest disease problem that dog veterinarians in Ontario deal with now, and it's been allowed by climate change," Brooks says. As it has moved north, the disease has come into contact with coyotes, wolves and even foxes. "Now all of those organisms are infected as well," he explains.

Brooks, who is also an emeritus professor at the University of Toronto, and Eric Hoberg​, a zoologist with the U.S. National Parasite Collection of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, authored a paper on the "parasite paradox," published February in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

The study explains that different carriers and the pathogens they host​ have migrated to locations with increased rainfall or fluctuating temperatures. The authors suggest that the increasing cases of West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever ​in typically unheard of geographic locations, including the U.S., can be traced back to mosquitoes.

"This is a problem because it not only expands the range of hosts that can be infected with the pathogen, but those new hosts also tend to get sicker because they've never been exposed before," Brooks explains.

The West Nile Virus was introduced to the U.S. as a result of tourism, he says. Now that it's here, it has spread rapidly. "It's simply moving north with climate change," he says.
​Brooks says it's prudent to use insecticide whenever outdoors during mosquito season, and to check yourself diligently for ticks whenever at risk for encountering them.

They say the only constant is change, which is especially true today. Safeguarding your health against the changing threats, for now, is no more advanced than employing tried-and-true, common-sense strategies.
 ​
"We've seen enormous changes, and what's really frustrating is we feel like the world has wasted almost two generations blithering on about this," Brooks explains. "Now it's right at us, and hopefully it's not too late. That's why we always say, 'be really afraid but don't panic.'"





Monday, July 27, 2015

Climate 'vice' constricts bumblebees'

At least quarterly we update our coverage on the plight of pollinators, including bees, trying to survive the shrinking habitat, mites, insecticides and general toxins that are threatening their very existence.

In the US bees are transported very long distances, from FL to CA, depending on the growing season in each region, and that further stresses their immune system and makes them vulnerable to colony collapse.  The question is, will we kill them off completely?  And, if we do, what happens to our food supply? 

Climate 'vice' constricts bumblebees' natural ranges - researchers


bumble bee
Across Europe and North America bumblebees have lost ground to climate change

Climate change is threatening the survival of bumblebees, significantly reducing the habitats in which they can survive, researchers say.
They say the natural ranges of these key pollinators are being compressed in both Europe and North America.

The analysis indicates that warming is having a greater impact than pesticides or land use change.

To ensure bees survive, humans may have to help move them to cooler areas, the European and American researchers add.

Century of data

Many creatures, including butterflies, have responded to a warming climate by moving towards the poles or towards higher ground.
Bumblebees have dealt with the increasing heat by disappearing in large numbers from portions of their southern ranges, but the insects seem to have baulked at moving north. survive
The study was carried out by a team of scientists from Europe, the US and Canada.

They examined more than 420,000 historical and current records of bumblebee observations between 1901 and 2010 relating to 67 different species.

Taking the period between 1901 and 1974 as their baseline, the researchers found that in recent decades when temperatures have increased, the bees started to die off in the southern part of their ranges in both Europe and North America, at the same time.

"These species are at serious and immediate risk, for rapid human induced climate change," said lead author Prof Jeremy Kerr from the University of Ottawa.

'Impacts large'

"The impacts are large and they are under way - they are not just something to worry about at some vague future time."

The researchers say the losses amount to a retreat of around 300km or around 9km a year from the bumblebees' traditional southern limits in Europe and North America.

"This is a surprise," said Dr Leif Richardson, one of the authors, from the University of Vermont.
"The bees are losing range on their southern margin and failing to pick up territory at the northern margin - so their habitat range is shrinking."

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Researchers say that temperatures are having a greater impact than pesticides or land changes
The researchers argue that the bees are "hitting a wall" on their northern ranges. They believe the insects are struggling to go further towards the pole because the lack the capacity to rapidly grow a new population when they move.

"This population growth rate limitation we suspect may be implicated as the key limitation on their capacity to track shifting climate conditions northward and into colder areas," said Prof Kerr.

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  • Bumblebees are seen as critically important for pollinating not just food crops but many wild plants and flowers as well.
  • Pollination by insects is a key to the production of around one third of the food and drinks that humans consume.
  • The larger bodies of bumblebees allow them to generate more heat so they can fly earlier and later in the day and in colder weather than most bee species, including honeybees.
  • Many species have been in decline in recent years, with two - Cullem's bumblebee and the Short-haired bumblebee - going extinct in the UK this century.
The authors believe that the squeeze has not been caused by two other significant threats to the bees' survival: pesticides and land use changes.

In the US, spatially detailed annual pesticide measurements including neonicotinoids have been available since 1991. The researchers say that they have been unable to relate these data to the observed shifts in the bees' range.

"The result is widespread, rapid declines of pollinators across continents - effects that are not due to pesticide use or habitat loss," said Prof Kerr.

"It looks like it's just too hot."

Assisted migration

The authors say that bumblebees may need the help of humans to overcome the challenges of warming.

Scientists believe that moving the insects to cooler climates, a process called assisted migration, might be necessary.

"If we are serious about preserving species like bumblebees for the future, it is possible we will need that to intervene in a significant and extensive way to help them adapt," said Prof Kerr.

But not everyone is convinced that human intervention is the best plan. Some researchers point to the fact that not every species of bumblebee has been affected in the same way by warming.

"There seem to be some interesting level of variation in bumblebee species' response to changes in climatic conditions, something that isn't discussed in the paper," said Dr Nathalie Pettorelli from the Zoological Society of London.

"This level of inter-specific variability might be important to consider when thinking about mitigation strategies, as one solution might not fit all."

The research has been published in the journal, Science.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Efficiency Technologies

These are the stories we love.  Advances in efficiency change industries.  No competitor wants to be left behind in the pricing-expenses war.

The maritime industry has a huge impact on our environment.  We know special attention needs to be spent on our fragile ocean health.  The global economy needs to keep humming.  International shipping will not abate, it will grow.  Seeing steamship companies drive cleaner for financial gain is the win-win we look for in all sectors of business.

We wish Norsepower Oy good luck in harnessing the wind to help move their mighty ships.

Efficiency Technologies Ready To Set Sail

by Helen Marks and Bianca Wachtel
       


Last week, as the world’s leading maritime players gathered in Oslo for the 50th Nor-Shipping conference, Norsepower Oy Ltd. shared the successful trial of its Rotor Sail Solution, a wind propulsion technology for maritime ships. Verified by ship design and operation software modeling firm NAPA and supported by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Norsepower’s trials confirm fuel savings of 2.6 percent using a single small Rotor Sail on a route in the North Sea. With these fuel savings, this new wind propulsion technology has a payback period of just four years.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a modernized version of the Flettner rotor—a spinning vertical cylinder that harnesses wind power to propel a ship. The rotor generates thrust for the same reason that a spinning baseball curves through the air after it’s thrown—the Magnus effect. When air moves across a rotating body, it exerts a force perpendicular to the direction of the air. In favorable wind conditions, Norsepower Rotor Sails allow the vessel to throttle back the main engines, supplying the power needed to maintain speed and voyage time while reducing fuel and emissions.

Rotor Sails can be installed on new vessels or retrofitted on existing ships without requiring the vessel—a potentially multi-million-dollar asset—to be out of service, known as off-hire.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution was installed on the 9,700 dead weight tonnage roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) carrier MS Estraden. Owned by Bore, the leading Finnish RoRo shipping company, MS Estraden operates in a continuous service between the Netherlands and the UK, sailing through the North Sea’s windy corridors at speeds of 16 knots. The installation on the MS Estraden was completed in two parts: the required foundations were installed during a normal dry-dock stay, followed by the 18-meter-high rotor during an ordinary seven-hour harbor stay.

Norsepower’s target installation for vessels is four large rotors installed on one vessel. With these larger installations, Norsepower forecasts substantial savings of 20 percent for vessels traveling on favorable wind routes. Norsepower’s announcement is heralded as a major advancement for shipping.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR EFFICIENCY

Of course, this is just one technology. However, the announcement comes at an important time—when efficiency solutions finally have the opportunity to take off in the shipping industry.

Historically, when fuel prices have risen, the focus on technologies like Norsepower’s in the shipping industry has intensified. But, as soon as fuel prices drop, attention drifts back to other priorities, even though these technologies offer returns no matter the fuel price.

Now, market trends are converging to create promise for efficiency technologies, despite low fuel prices. A growing number of stakeholders are prioritizing efficiency, including charterers (those that rent ships), banks, port authorities, and ship registries. With this growing prioritization, these parties are starting to shift money towards and reward more-efficient vessels.

For example, today, charterers representing 20 percent of global shipped tonnage have policies in place to avoid using the most-inefficient ships based on the GHG Emissions Rating, developed by maritime risk-management specialist RightShip and Carbon War Room. That’s a 450-percent increase in the past 2.5 years, and we expect that number to continue growing in the coming years.

Alongside the shift from charterers, shipping banks are starting to acknowledge the development of a two-tier market, in which efficient vessels are able to command a premium rate over less-efficient vessels. As a result, banks are recognizing the impact that ship efficiency has on assets on their books, and are using efficiency data to assess risk and return, and inform credit approvals and re-sale and scrapping decisions. As banks encourage efficiency retrofits where they make sense, and demonstrate to shipowners that efficient ships are more profitable, this financial lever in the industry will act as a powerful incentive for shipowners to retrofit for greater efficiency.

Complementing this progress, ambitious leaders, such as those behind Norsepower and Bore, are demonstrating the viability of efficiency technologies—as well as the financial gains they offer—and creating greater credibility for emerging technologies. In fact, with the results from the single-rotor trial, Bore is already looking ahead to the opportunity of two rotors on one ship. “We are proud to be the first shipowner to install the Norsepower Rotor Sail, and demonstrate that wind propulsion technology has verifiable five-percent fuel savings on a yearly basis, can be retrofitted without any off-hire costs, and is extremely easy to use in practice. It’s our goal to find ways to establish sustainable shipping with minimal impact on our environment,” say sJ√∂rgen Mansnerus, vice president of Bore.

The Norsepower announcement is one of many such trials that can pave the way to a low-carbon shipping industry. However, finding companies willing to pioneer technologies on their vessels is no easy feat. Building such confidence in emerging technologies is the integral focus of Carbon War Room and University College London’s Shipping Innovation Fast-Tracker (SHIFT), in which Norsepower participates alongside other technology companies. The program matches innovative technology companies, shipowners and operators, and investors to boost the profile of low-carbon opportunities and promote investment in the industry.

WHY CHARTERS SHOULD RIDE THIS WAVE

Fuel buyers can buttress their balance sheet by adopting fuel-saving technologies, automatically protecting them from the pressures of a tenuous oil market. What makes the proposition even more enticing is the fact that successful technologies, like the Rotor Sail Solution, exist today, and can be deployed and scaled quickly.

“Modern wind systems are demonstrating measurable and meaningful fuel savings for ships. As wind propulsion, air bubble systems, and other ground-breaking technologies are increasingly adopted and become mainstream, the industry will reap the rewards of lower fuel costs—more sustainable than those from short-term price decreases, and be able to stay ahead of external pressures,” says Jose Maria Figueres, chair of the board of Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room.

In addition, by incorporating these successful technologies into new builds and existing vessels, shipowners can stay ahead of policy. While the industry’s existing fleet is not currently subject to stringent policy measures or mandates to meet efficiency requirements, such policy could arrive and leave the industry in a pinch, if it is not prepared. And, if such policy arises, shipowners that have already retrofitted will stand to gain additional competitive advantage.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

FOOD WARS! Are they coming?

Ouch...no a happy consequence to putting Mother Earth under duress.  Of course, mankind loves to fight and go to war.

Go to our main site for the full story and more updates at Renewable Now.biz



Climate change will "lead to battles for food," says head of World Bank

Battles over water and food will erupt within the next five to 10 years as a result of climate change, the president of the World Bank said as he urged those campaigning against global warming to learn the lessons of how protesters and scientists joined forces in the battle against HIV.

Jim Yong Kim said it was possible to cap the rise in global temperatures at 2C but that so far there had been a failure to replicate the "unbelievable" success of the 15-year-long coalition of activists and scientists to develop a treatment for HIV.

The bank's president – a doctor active in the campaign to develop drugs to treat HIV – said he had asked the climate change community: "Do we have a plan that's as good as the plan we had for HIV?" The answer, unfortunately, was no.

"Is there enough basic science research going into renewable energy? Not even close. Are there ways of taking discoveries made in universities and quickly moving them into industry? No. Are there ways of testing those innovations? Are there people thinking about scaling [up] those innovations?"

Interviewed ahead of next week's biannual World Bank meeting, Kim added: "They [the climate change community] kept saying, 'What do you mean a plan?' I said a plan that's equal to the challenge. A plan that will convince anyone who asks us that we're really serious about climate change, and that we have a plan that can actually keep us at less than 2C warming. We still don't have one.

"We're trying to help and we find ourselves being more involved then I think anyone at the bank had predicted even a couple of years ago. We've got to put the plan together."

Kim said there were four areas where the bank could help specifically in the fight against global warming: finding a stable price for carbon; removing fuel subsidies; investing in cleaner cities; and developing climate-smart agriculture. Improved access to clean water and sanitation was vital, he added, as he predicted that tension over resources would result from inaction over global warming.

"The water issue is critically related to climate change. People say that carbon is the currency of climate change. Water is the teeth. Fights over water and food are going to be the most significant direct impacts of climate change in the next five to 10 years. There's just no question about it.

"So getting serious about access to clean water, access to sanitation is a very important project. Water and sanitation has not had the same kind of champion that global health, and even education, have had."

The World Bank president admitted that his organisation had made mistakes in the past, including a belief that people in poor countries should pay for healthcare. He warned that a failure to tackle inequality risked social unrest.

"There's now just overwhelming evidence that those user fees actually worsened health outcomes. There's no question about it. So did the bank get it wrong before? Yeah. I think the bank was ideological."

The bank has almost doubled its lending capacity to $28bn (£17bn) a year with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 and spreading the benefits of prosperity to the poorest 40% in developing countries.

"What we have found is that because of smartphones and access to media, and because everybody knows how everyone else lives, you have no idea where the next huge social movement is going to erupt.

"It's going to erupt to a great extent because of these inequalities. So what I hear from heads of state is a much, much deeper understanding of the political dangers of very high levels of inequality," he said.

"Now that we have good evidence that suggests that working on more inclusive growth strategies actually improves overall growth, that's our job."

Kim said he was shaking up the bank's structure so that it could lend more effectively and to end a culture in which the organisation's staff did not talk to each other. Instead of being organised solely on a geographic basis, the bank will now pool its expertise across sectors such as health, education and transport so that ideas could be shared across national borders.

The bank's private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, will be encouraged to work with the public-sector arm.

Kim said the changes had come about because knowledge was not flowing through the organisation.

"We were working at six regional banks. The six regional banks were working pretty well, but there was not the sense that there was any innovation in tackling a problem – that if you went to the World Bank you'd have access to that innovation."
- See more at: http://www.renewablenow.biz/eating-green.html#sthash.ePCSr12A.dpuf

An Alaskan Island

Great piece and another fabulous illustration of renewables amazing potential to transform our communities and economies.

Pay particular attention to the last part of the story that describes how local, clean energy can become a foundation, a stabilizing factor, for a city or towns financial base.  With that piece in place, as the story details, jobs and job creation follow.

Also, important to note that Kodiak, a place Arpin has been doing business for many years, is not acting alone in their transition away from fossil fuel.  It is part of Alaska's plan to be 50% renewable by 2025.  We bet they will get there sooner.  The Fund they set up to seed this rapid evolution, and the amazing changes in efficiency and technology, will get the State to that level sooner.  Meaning, across the board, they will see economic benefits similar to those experienced in Kodiak.

Is your community and state doing the same?

An Alaskan Island Goes 100% Renewable

by Laurle Guevara Stone
As most Alaskans can attest, energy in The Last Frontier is expensive. The average residential electricity rate of more than 18 cents per kWh is a full 50 percent higher than the national average, ranking among the highest in the country. That’s in part because outside the 50 hydro plants throughout the state, most of Alaska’s rural communities rely on imported diesel for their electricity.

But the folks of Kodiak Island (pop. 15,000) in southern Alaska—powered almost 100 percent with renewable energy—have a different story to tell.

Although Kodiak Island, the second-largest island in the United States, relied on hydropower for 80 percent of the electricity production, it was also burning 2.8 million gallons of diesel per year, at an annual cost of $7 million. In the face of climate change and high electricity costs, the board and managers at Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) set a goal of producing 95 percent of the community’s electrical needs with renewable energy by 2020. They actually arrived there well ahead of time, and are now 99.7 percent renewably powered by wind and hydro.

Making the Transition

The State of Alaska has a renewable energy fund created in 2008 by the Alaska Energy Authority to help finance renewable energy projects and reduce and stabilize the cost of energy. KEA received $16 million in grant money through the fund, and $39.6 million through clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs). The CREB funds gave KEA a near-zero-interest loan for the project.

The first step was to purchase three General Electric (GE) 1.5 MW wind turbines. The turbines were installed in 2009, which was challenging according to Kodiak Electric Association CEO Darron Scott. “There was not a lot of information back then on how to keep the grid frequency and voltage steady with an influx of variable wind power,” Scott told RMI. “It was uncharted territory.” But after a grid integration study, which assessed the technical and economic impacts on the grid, the first three wind turbines were installed.

Upgraded Hydro for Grid Stability

A second modeling study was performed with real data from the first phase, and a second phase of three more wind turbines was proposed. But before installing the second phase of wind turbines, KEA wanted to upgrade the existing hydropower system. KEA felt that to ensure grid stability, the amount of wind power being put onto the grid had reached its maximum. The 20-MW, two-turbine Terror Lake hydroelectric plant was built in 1984, and forward-thinking engineers left an empty bay for a third turbine in case Kodiak’s load grew. In 2011, Kodiak’s peak load grew to over 26 MW, and the increased load, along with a desire to rely on more renewables, led to the installation of a third 10-MW turbine.

Besides covering peak loads, this turbine provided the necessary capacity and enhanced grid stability to allow more variable renewable power, like the three new proposed wind turbines, to come online.

The new turbine also provided system redundancy, as the 30-year-old turbines require maintenance, which can now be done during low load seasons without switching to diesel.

A Role for Storage

For smaller electricity grids with quickly fluctuating demand and variable renewable energy inputs, a way to store the energy can be a great asset. In 2012, the three additional 1.5-MW wind turbines were installed, along with 3 MW of battery storage. The battery storage systems provide 30–90 seconds of bridging power when the wind output decreases, in order to ramp up the hydro system. Now, the Kodiak port wants to install a new 2-MW crane, potentially causing destabilizing power fluctuations leading to undesirable cycle of the batteries and the potential for consumption of more diesel to provide spinning reserve. Instead, KEA plans to add an additional flywheel energy storage system in about two or three months that will help compensate for the peaking crane loads. The PowerStore flywheel units from ABB will provide voltage and frequency support, will help manage the variable wind power, and will mean fewer cycles through the batteries, extending the life of the battery systems.

Economic Stability

The financial rewards of the project have been great. According to Scott, the community is saving. Electricity rates have gone down, and are now 2.5 percent lower than in 2001. “The stable electricity rates have also brought in more construction, expanded the fishing industry, and brought in more jobs and tax revenue,” Scott told RMI. And, at least one seafood company is capitalizing on the renewable energy to promote its sustainable salmon, as its salmon production plant is powered by wind energy.

The State of Alaska has a goal of reaching 50 percent renewable energy by 2025. Kodiak Island is providing a great example of how to reach and even go beyond that goal. “There are many communities in Alaska with significant microgrid achievement,” George Roe, Research Professor with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, told RMI, “and there is local, national, and global potential for building on Alaskan hard-won experience such as that in Kodiak.” In fact, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Kodiak Electric Association won the 2014 State Leadership in Clean Energy Award for their renewable energy programs. “Both the Alaska Energy Authority and the Kodiak Electric Association are putting into practice five principles that I believe are in our national interest,” said Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski in a congratulatory speech. “And those are to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure.” Kodiak went beyond its reliance on hydropower, adding different renewable resources and storage, making its electrical system more reliable, secure, and a model for other communities looking to add variable renewable sources to their grid.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bernie Sanders’ Plan

In the US, the long run to the presidency has started.  Bernie Sanders is an interesting candidate.  He clearly has shown a knowledge and skill around the new green economy.  We'll talk to him on the radio side, as we hope to do with all candidates for office, local as well.

We like this proposal on pushing solar to low-income housing, including urban rental units.  Everyone must participate in reducing use of fossil fuel.  Renewables bring  real economic value, and that value is increasing daily.  Look at the many facilities around the world that have reached net-zero energy use.  How would you like to have their zero electric bill?

Renewable Now will be a leading media outlet in dissecting each candidate's platform on building the new, green economy.  Soon we will add an expert to our staff to help bring you the best coverage and insight so, collectively, we can make good decisions on our future leaders.

Bernie Sanders’ Plan To Make Solar Power More Accessible

               

   
On Tuesday, Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders introduced legislation aimed at making it easier for low-income families to take advantage of solar power. The bill, called the “Low Income Solar Act,” came the same day that the Obama Administration announced a similar program aimed at installing 300 megawatts of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing by 2020.

The Sanders bill would aid in this effort by providing $200 million in Department of Energy loans and grants to help offset the upfront costs associated with installing solar panels on community facilities, public housing and low-income family homes, according to a press release. The projects would also have to prioritize loans for female- and minority-owned businesses, as well as target specific regions including Appalachia, Indian tribal lands, and Alaskan native communities.

“The scientific community tells us very clearly if we’re going to reverse climate change and the great dangers it poses for the planet we must move aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy,” Sanders said in a statement. “We can achieve this goal, save families money and protect the planet for future generations.”

According to the bill summary, homeowners with suitable roofs would receive grants to help them afford solar panel installation while renters or others without appropriate siting options would get connected through alternative means such as community solar gardens. Solar gardens are designed for those without rooftop access as a way to connect to a shared solar system that guarantees their electricity comes from solar power. Usually these community solar gardens are one or two megawatts in size and operated by third-party solar providers and local utilities.

Environmentalists are pleased that Sanders is running for president, as he is one of the climate change action leaders in the Senate.

Environmental activist and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben recently praised Sanders as “the ultimate what-you-see-is-what-you-get politician.”

“Bernie’s been in the forefront of all the crucial environmental fights of recent years, always willing to knuckle down and do the hard work of fighting the big corporations,” McKibben told the Burlington Free Press.

As ThinkProgress previously reported, after the 2014 election that put the GOP in charge of the Senate, Sanders pushed the chamber to go on the record as to whether climate change is happening, caused by human activity, and resulting in “devastating problems in the United States and around the world.”

In 2015 he attended the People’s Climate March in New York City and told Democracy Now! that climate change is “a huge issue. It’s a planetary crisis. We’ve got to act, and we have to act boldly.”

He has also consistently opposed the Keystone XL pipeline and has talked publicly about the potentially disastrous environmental effects.

While Sanders entered the race an extreme long shot, his popularity has swelled in the early days of the campaign. On a recent visit to Iowa, one of the early caucus states, Sanders drew big crowds as well as the attention of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Sanders is gaining major traction in Iowa polling, and has surpassed Clinton among very liberal voters.