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

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.)

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!

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!

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...

7/4/2014 10:30:06 AM

Climate change is real, it's cyclical, articles like this is mostly propaganda. Coal, natural gas and nuclear should be the top three.

7/4/2014 8:20:47 AM

Let me tell you what the Governor of Oklahoma did. She passed a law for the Electric companies to charge a surcharge to the consumer if they install solar or wind power. Its all about money. Totally wrong.

Nathan Shortridge
12/9/2012 3:54:08 AM

Wind especially (and solar)--what Terrible ideas--all the rare earth mineral mining and other decimation just to F with the earth's natural breath (wind), just to keep business as usual running, so that all the other aspects of our way of living can keep destroying and pillaging. We could use more real questioning and examination. These technologies may play a small part of real workable long term way, and I won't sign on to anything that just keeps business as usual running...

t brandt
11/22/2012 10:48:33 AM

Keep things in perspective: in terms of energy equivalents, the annual INCREASE in world coal consumption is greater than the TOTAL world energy production from wind, solar & biomass combined...We couldn't afford to switch even if it would really make a difference. There isn't enough money and there aren't 7 billion caves for us all to live in.

Chris Ordiway
11/17/2012 3:20:11 PM

Articles like this are why I don't bother subscribing to Mother Earth. I'm unbelievably tired of being told by environmentalists how I need to save the world, and all I need to do is force my version of "social justice" on others, write letters to my non-representing representatives and spend my life savings to install "green" technology. These environmentalists are the first to cry NIMBY, point out how many birds are killed by wind turbines, how much drinkable water is used installing geothermal wells, complain about the aesthetics of acres of solar panels and, most certainly, the first to stick their hands out for a government kickback, at taxpayer expense, for installing these over-priced, inefficient technologies. If this stuff worked half as well as claimed, at an affordable price, people would use it without environmental policy being shoved down their throats. Someday a mix of old and new technologies will solve our energy problems, but trying to simply switch off one and replace it with another that doesn't work well enough is an idiotic proposal. And in the meantime all of the "social justice" nonsense continues to drive average folks further away from what would otherwise be a shared goal of energy independence.

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