The Renewable Energy Renaissance

The real Renaissance is in renewable energy whose sources could meet 25% of the nation's energy needs by 2025. Renewable technologies can help restore political and economic stability as well as save money…and the planet.



National Geographic: Germany’s energy transition as a model for the world

The October 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine with the cover photo of Earth and “Cool It” features an informative article by Robert Kunzig entitled “Germany Could be a Model on How We Get Energy in the Future.” Kunzig provides the straight story on the evolution of Germany’s pioneering path to “energiewende” which translates to an energy transition from centralized power from coal and nuclear to distributed energy with renewable solar and wind power.  

The story is part of a National Geographic series on climate change and the latest installment under “Fix It.”  In line with Beyond Nuclear’s agenda, the story marks to birthplace of the “energiewende” in Whyl, Germany and the coalition of southwestern German farmers and nearby Freiburg university students who by direct action occupied and halted the construction of the Whyl nuclear power plant.  The coalition grew with antinuclear power movement merging with the citizens movement to oppose nuclear weapons in Germany and then even larger with the renewable energy movement.  What has evolved is a German energy revolution from the growth of grass roots individual investments in wind and solar power to larger citizen associations and cooperatives that now combine to make up fully half of the current national investment in renewable energy.  The struggle to democratize energy and ownership has arrived a country’s conventional centralized power utilities with coal and nuclear look to slow down the transition to renewables.


"France Plans to Reduce Nuclear in Favor of Renewables"

As reported by Eric Marx and ClimateWire/E&E, reprinted in Scientific American:

"France, one of the world’s leaders in nuclear energy production, plans to draw down nuclear’s share of electricity generation from 75 to 50 percent by 2025—giving itself a 10-year time frame equivalent to the complete shutdown now ongoing in Germany."

The article concludes:

“Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come,” said Jedliczka [of the environmental advocacy group Négawatt Society], quoting Victor Hugo. “In the medium to long term, I am very optimistic that PV—both small and large—and wind will develop on their own without public support,” he said.

“Even in France,” he added, “where the opposition has proven itself adept at inventing, testing and improving all kinds of pitfalls for postponing the development of renewables technologies.”


"Renewable Energy is Killing Nuclear Power"

Jeff Siegel at Energy & Capital has admitted "I changed my mind," and that there is "No hope for nuclear." Siegel cites data from the 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report to reach his conclusion that the "renaissance" is in renewables, not nuclear.


UBS: "solar with eventually replace nuclear and coal"

As reported on page 90, in the July 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report:

"UBS, the largest Swiss bank says of large-scale power plants that they will become 'the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible; not even relevant for backup power in the long run.'

...UBS, in a report published in June 2015, stated: 'We believe solar with eventually replace nuclear and coal, and [be] establish[ed] as the default technology of the future to generate and supply electricity.'"

(citing: UBS, "Will solar, batteries and electric cars reshape the electricity system?", August 20, 2014)


Innovative Tesla battery paves way for solar energy revolution

Tesla Energy CEO Elon Musk introduced “Powerwall” as a scalable, stationary battery power storage system for homes, commercial businesses and even electric utilities. The Tesla battery storage system is a major breakthrough for the 21st Century distributed energy revolution powered by the sun and wind. It marks the beginning of the democratization of energy and the end of reliance on an antiquated and unreliable electric grid centrally powered by dirty fossil fuel and dangerous nuclear power plants.

About the size of a large suitcase, each Powerwall unit is a wall-mounted, stackable unit complete with integrated safety systems, temperature control and DC to DC converter for controlling power flow all specially designed for storing electricity generated by sunshine. It can also store electricity from the grid gathered at peak hours for reliable energy use later at reduced cost or as an emergency backup system during a power outage.

Each Powerwall comes in two power solutions: a 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) option ($3,500 plus installation) and a 7 kWh option ($3,000 plus installation) that can be used for the daily cycling of photovoltaic power to offset net consumption from the electric grid or disconnect from the grid entirely.  

Tesla Energy plans to also market the “Powerpack” which is a utility-scale version to store electricity in gigawatt-hour class systems capable of powering entire cities with sustainable renewable energy.

Tesla Energy is partnering with photovoltaic system manufacturers like Solar City for their joint October 2015 rollout in Hawaii for the off-the-shelf residential solar arrays integrated with out-of-the box Powerwalls.