Exciting News About Renewable Energy

The world can shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2020 if we adopt the right public policies.

| October/November 2012

  • Exciting Renewable Energy News
    Wind is becoming the focal point of the global energy economy. It uses no water, no fuel and little land. No other energy source can match this combination of features.
    Photo By Digital Vision
  • Solar Photovoltaic Cell
    Founded 35 years ago as SERI,  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has grown from a single building to a modern campus featuring some of the most advanced renewable energy laboratories and one of the most energy efficient buildings in the world, the Research Support Facility, the 3 buildings on the right. The RSF's energy costs are offset by efficient design and PV panels on top of each wing, and parking garages. This photo is taken from the top of the Ingress/Egress Parking Facility on NREL's South Table Mountain campus.
    Photo By Dennis Schroeder/NREL
  • Wind Turbine Construction
    Wind turbine construction is a common sight on the Great Plains. Here, a rig hauls a turbine blade across Colorado.
    Photo By Shawndra and Simon Hayes-Budgen
  • Wind Energy
    Wind turbine construction is a common sight on the North American Great Plains.
    Photo By Frederic Prochasson
  • Wind Turbine Installation
    Crews lift a blade assembly onto the nacelle of Gamesa's G9X-2.0 MW turbine at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). The Gamesa G9X-2.0 turbine is the latest addition to the collection of multi-megawatt wind turbines at the National Wind Technology Center. 
    Photo By Dennis Schroeder/NREL
  • U.S. Electricity Generating Capacity by Source
    Wind is becoming the focal point of the new energy economy. It uses no water, no fuel and little land. No other energy source can match this combination of features.
    Illustration Courtesy Earth Policy Institute
  • Solar Panels on German Home
    Solar panels on a German home. Germany leads the world in solar installations, with a generating capacity of 24,700 megawatts. 
    Photo By Fotolia
  • Global Mean Wind Speed at 260 Feet
    As this map of global mean wind speed at 260 feet illustrates, wind is abundant on the Great Plains of North America.
    Illustration Courtesy 3Tier, INC.
  • Global Mean Solar Irradiance
    Solar resources are strongest in desert regions, such as the U.S. Southwest, according to this map of global mean solar irradiance.
    Illustration Courtesy 3Tier, INC.
  • Wind Power Capacity
    We are investing in sources of energy that can last as long as the Earth itself.
    Illustration Courtesy Earth Policy Institute/Global Wind Energy Council

  • Exciting Renewable Energy News
  • Solar Photovoltaic Cell
  • Wind Turbine Construction
  • Wind Energy
  • Wind Turbine Installation
  • U.S. Electricity Generating Capacity by Source
  • Solar Panels on German Home
  • Global Mean Wind Speed at 260 Feet
  • Global Mean Solar Irradiance
  • Wind Power Capacity

The great energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way. As fossil fuel prices rise, oil insecurity deepens and concerns about pollution and climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal. A new world energy economy is emerging, powered by wind, solar and geothermal energy. The Earth’s renewable energy resources are vast and available to be tapped through visionary initiatives. Our civilization needs to embrace clean energy on a scale and at a pace we’ve never seen before.

Fossil Fuels

We inherited our current fossil fuel-based energy economy from another era. The 19th century was the century of coal, and oil took the lead during the 20th century. Today, global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) — the principal climate-altering greenhouse gas — come largely from burning coal, oil and natural gas. Coal, mainly used for electricity generation, accounts for 44 percent of global fossil fuel CO2 emissions. Oil, used primarily for transportation, accounts for 36 percent. Natural gas for electricity and heating accounts for the remaining 20 percent. It is time to design a carbon- and pollution-free energy economy based on renewable energy for the 21st century.

U.S. Coal Plants Are Being Phased Out. The burning of coal is declining in many countries. In the United States, the No. 2 coal consumer after China, coal use dropped 13 percent from 2007 to 2011 as dozens of coal plants were closed. This trend is expected to continue.

Oil Is Becoming a Relic of the Past. Oil is used to produce just 5 percent of the world’s electricity generation and is becoming ever more costly. Because oil is used mainly for transportation, we can phase it out by electrifying the transport system. Plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars can run largely on clean electricity. Electric motors are so much more efficient than gas engines that wind-generated electricity to operate cars could cost the equivalent of 80-cents-per-gallon gasoline.



Nuclear Is Too Expensive. Although nuclear reactors supply 13 percent of the world’s electricity, nuclear power’s limited role in our future has been clear for some time. It is simply too expensive.

Natural Gas Has Been Oversold. The scientific community is challenging the industry’s claim that natural gas is fairly climate-benign. Natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” (a much-touted key to expanding production), is even more climate-disruptive than coal because of methane gas leakage. (Methane is a potent contributor to climate change.)

HORSELOVER
7/7/2014 4:50:57 AM

No Thanks, Energy that is dependent on the weather. Tried it and didn't work in upstate NY. Had to have SO MANY Solar Panels it would have taken TWO life times to pay for the system. Also, since these systems cost so much, YOUR NEIGHBORS pay for your system also, through some of these solar programs, WHAT!!!!!! Natural Gas is the way to go, until these Weather INFLUENCED electricity producing systems start REALLY WORKING and ya can afford them!!! Then, That Will Be Something!


CE
7/6/2014 7:32:42 PM

To many people, that's the 800lb. gorilla in the room. Deal with that and the earth will heal! Renewable energy is "absurdly" political, talk about rich people screwing the planet, this group wrote the BOOK!


SolarManJD
7/6/2014 1:31:18 PM

Hey Guys...I hate to burst your bubble but..coal, oil and gas is not forever.... sooner...or later even if it is in another 100yrs. We will run out of it to burn...simple facts, not rocket science.... so instead of perfecting better ways now... WE SHOULD JUST SIMPLY WAIT AND SEE WHAT DEVELOPS??? KEEP ON DOWN THE PATH OF EXTRACTIVE ENERGIES... wow NOW THERE'S IS A BRILLIANT IDEA... OF COURSE THERE MAY BE NO SAFE WATER LEFT TO DRINK NO CLEAN AIR TO BREATH AND PROBABLY NO LIVING, BREATHING SPECIES'S ON THIS LITTLE WET ROCK WE NOW INHABIT... AND OF COURSE THOSE SO CALLED SMARTER RICHER HUMANS WILL HAVE LEFT FOR SOME OTHER WORLDS TO POLLUTE...







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