Thousands of years ago, prosperous conditions in fertile river locations throughout the world motivated nomadic people to form sedentary, agrarian communities. The inhabitants of these areas built cities, learned to fabricate pottery and to use metals, invented writing systems, domesticated animals and created complex social structures. In short, civilization was born when hunters and gatherers became settlers and farmers.
Except for energy: today’s civilization is still based on gathering different forms of fossil energy, just like our ancestors, that collected berries and hunted animals until resources were depleted and they had to move elsewhere. Today, fossil energy resources are still sought and gathered until the last drop is spent. It becomes more and more evident that this is not a civilized behaviour, and certainly not a sustainable one, because there is no other planet in view to move to after resources are depleted and the atmosphere is spoiled.
However, our hunting and gathering ancestors found a solution to that dilemma: they became farmers, sowing seeds in springtime and harvesting corn and fruits in autumn, making use of technical know-how and the abundance of solar energy for their survival. That’s exactly what is overdue in the energy sector: we must become farmers for energy, sow wind farms, wave and hydropower stations, biomass- and geothermal co-generation plants, photovoltaic arrays, solar collectors and concentrating solar power plants and harvest energy for our demand.
(Franz Trieb, Stuttgart, November 12, 2007)
RENEWABLE ENERGY – GENERAL (Policies, Events, Reports, Financing AND OTHER STUFF…)
What is coal’s true cost? http://www.grist.org/article/2011-02-16-what-is-coals-true-cost and read “The Toll From Coal”: http://www.catf.us/resources/publications/view/138
Could somebody please carry out a similar study for South Africa?
Ambitious targets on RE and how they can be achieved: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/02/european-us-renewable-energy-targets??cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-March2-2011
German solar installations double 2010 target with new installations totalling over 7 GWp and accounting for approximately half of the world market: http://www.electroiq.com/index/display/pv-wire-news-display/1359403848.html
Due to progressive promotion policies, Upper Austria has become a world leader in the use of solar thermal for heat and hot water. Watch this promotional video-clip: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/video/upper-austria-a-leader-in-solar-thermal?cmpid=SolarNL-Thursday-March3-2011
DISTRIBUTED ENERGY SYSTEMS / SMART GRID / SMART METERING
Distributed renewable energy comes in small bites, but it makes mouthfuls – gigawatts – of renewable energy capacity: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/02/distributed-generation-is-makes-big-numbers?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-March2-2011.
Another related article on how distributed energy systems might affect utilities in the future: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/02/will-distributed-solar-drive-utilities-into-bankruptcy?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-March2-2011
The center of the wind universe is moving from North America and Europe to Asia: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/01/the-wind-industry-blows-steadily-over-to-asia?cmpid=WindNL-Thursday-January27-2011
Costs falling faster. Total c-Si module material costs will drop by 16% through 2014, says GTM Research: http://www.electroiq.com/index/display/photovoltaics-article-display/6346316178/articles/Photovoltaics-World/equipment-and_materials/general/2011/2/pv-materials_costs.html
CSP market set for 2011 solar boom. See this report from Lux Research: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/15617/csp-market-set-for-2011-solar-boom/
Solar dish-turbine systems generate electricity with low-water use due to compressed air technology, making it ideal for desert and other low-water locations.
Check this link for a recently commissioned installation in Phoenix, Arizona: http://www.worldofrenewables.com/renewables_news/solarthermal/solar_technology_innovation/largest_commercial_solar_dish_in_north_america.html
This article gives you an overview about modular, scalable CSP technology: http://social.csptoday.com/industry-insight/modular-scaleable-csp-technology-poised-grab-marketshare
A portable CSP-power plant can be shipped worldwide in cargo containers and deployed within 48 hours: http://www.worldofrenewables.com/renewables_news/solarthermal/concentrated_solar/nanogen_power_systems_announces_the_nanocsp_portable_solar_power.html
ENERGY STORAGE – The missing link for RE as base-load.
High-tech batteries are an essential part of micro-grid, distributed energy community housing projects: http://www.worldofrenewables.com/renewables_news/transmission_distribution/53573.html
Charging time for electric cars cut by 50%: https://service.gmx.net/de/cgi/g.fcgi/application/navigator?CUSTOMERNO=22047196&t=de1199499780.1298976294.d0eafb04
LARGE-HYDRO: BIG – BIGGER – BIGGEST – BIGGESTER?
Brazil: 11,200-MW Belo Monte hydro project gets green light for construction.
The planned installed capacity of the dam complex would be 11,233 Megawatts (MW), which would make it the second-largest hydroelectric dam complex in Brazil and the world’s third-largest in installed capacity, behind Three Gorges Dam (China) and Itaipu Dam (Brazil-Paraguay): http://www.powergenworldwide.com/index/display/articledisplay/0544748059/articles/hrhrw/News-2/2011/01/11_200-mw-belo_monte.html
In case you think this is not the development you would like to see – Take action: http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam