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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.

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Tuesday
Oct192010

Farewell to a Michelangelo of the renewable renaissance

It is with great sadness that we must note the passing of a pillar of the renewable energy movement, Hermann Scheer. As Kate Connolly writes in The Guardian, Scheer, of Germany, "who died unexpectedly aged 66 after suffering from chest pains, was a tireless campaigner for the promotion of renewable energies, in particular solar power, a cause he championed long before it was fashionable to do so, even in a country with such long-established environmental consciousness as his native Germany. He is credited with boosting the status of alternative energy, both at home and abroad, thanks to his visionary zeal." Scheer was the creator of the feed-in tariff by which individuals and businesses that generate power through renewable energies are able to sell it back to the grid at above-market prices, thus encouraging the spread of wind, solar and hydro power. It is now used around the world. More recently, he founded the International Renewable Energy Agency to counter-act the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was about to publish a book that showed it was technically and economically feasible for renewable energy to fully replace fossil and nuclear energy within just a few years, if the political will existed. (Pictured are Scheer and IRENA executive director Hélène Pelosse, at IRENA’s headquarters, in June 2010).

Monday
Oct182010

The U.S. doesn't need new nukes

An excellent conclusion (see headline) and a great lead in this excellent piece in Green Energy News by Bruce Mulliken: "Why would anyone in his right mind want to build a large, complicated conventional power plant when simpler, more sophisticated technologies to generate power are available?"

Sunday
Oct172010

Low prices for natural gas undermine new reactors, but also renewables like wind

As the Associated Press reports, low prices for natural gas associated with "hydraulic fracturing" ("fracking") have helped make new atomic reactors even less economical than they already were. However, wind power is also feeling the competition, as the hazardous chemicals used in "fracking," and their risks to drinking water supplies, seem to be getting a pass, as is the prospect of even more widespread natural gas usage becoming "the next big climate problem." Of course, Arjun Makhijani's Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy has shown since 2007 that phasing out not only nuclear power, but also all fossil fuels, including natural gas, is not only technically feasible but also affordable. Those dirty, dangerous and expensive energy sources can be replaced with efficiency and renewables, it's simply a matter of political will.

Sunday
Oct172010

Efficiency and renewables can replace cancelled Calvert Cliffs 3 reactor

Johanna Neumann of Maryland Public Interest Research Group, an ally of Beyond Nuclear and others in the Cheseapeake Safe Energy Coalition which has fought against the proposed new reactor in Maryland, writes in a Baltimore Sun op-ed that efficiency and renewables like wind and solar can now flourish if the white elephant of Calvert Cliffs 3 is allowed to die.

Saturday
Oct162010

South Africa could develop world's largest solar park

South Africa is set to invest heavily in a new solar park that could become the largest of its kind in the world. The potential 5-gigawatt solar park development in the Northern Cape for South Africa's Department of Energy is being considered by the South African government with the assistance of Fluor – a specialist company for engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and operations of complex power-generation facilities.