Local governments also benefit from clean energy, most often in the form of property and income taxes and other payments from renewable energy project owners. Owners of the land on which wind projects are built often receive lease payments ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 per megawatt of installed capacity, as well as payments for power line easements and road rights-of-way. They may also earn royalties based on the project’s annual revenues. Farmers and rural landowners can generate new sources of supplemental income by producing feedstocks for biomass power facilities.
The risk of disruptive events will also increase in the future as droughts, heat waves, more intense storms, and increasingly severe wildfires become more frequent due to global warming—increasing the need for resilient, clean technologies.
Solar energy utilization requires solar (i) capture and conversion and (ii) storage. Solar capture and conversion may be accomplished by photovoltaics (PVs). The challenge here is to dramatically reduce the cost per W of delivered solar electricity. Compared with fossil energy, solar energy is diffuse, and hence materials costs must be very inexpensive to make a solar-based process economical. Knowing the insolation striking an area of the earth for a 30-yr period, it is relatively simple to calculate the sale price of the converted energy that is needed to pay back at least the initial cost that is required to cover that area with the solar energy conversion system. At 10% efficiency, and a cost of $300 m−2, both typical of current Si-based solar electricity modules, along with a balance of systems cost of $3 Wp −1 (peak W), an electricity price of $0.35 [kW-hr]−1 is required to cover the initial system costs (13). By comparison, fossil-derived electricity (high-value energy) now costs approximately $0.02–0.05 [kW-hr]−1, and that cost includes storage and distribution costs. To reach a cost point near that of fossil-derived energy will thus require improvements in efficiency but additionally will require large decreases in cost, into a range below $100 m−2. For comparison, the cost of paint is about $1 m−2, so the solar energy conversion system can cost ≈10 times more than the cost of paint, but not much more if it is to provide cost-effective primary energy.
Some photovoltaic systems, such as rooftop installations, can supply power directly to an electricity user. In these cases, the installation can be competitive when the output cost matches the price at which the user pays for his electricity consumption. This situation is sometimes called ‘retail grid parity’, ‘socket parity’ or ‘dynamic grid parity’. Research carried out by UN-Energy in 2012 suggests areas of sunny countries with high electricity prices, such as Italy, Spain and Australia, and areas using diesel generators, have reached retail grid parity.
So rates would rise by 20 percent for those without solar panels. Can you imagine the political shitstorm that would create? (There are reasons to think EEI is exaggerating this effect, but we’ll get into that in the next post.)
Federal, state, and local governments and electric utilities encourage investing in and using renewable energy, and in some cases, require it. Many programs and incentives are currently available. The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on the types and the status of government and utility requirements and incentives for renewable energy.
Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. It most often refers to plants or plant-derived materials which are specifically called lignocellulosic biomass. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by different methods which are broadly classified into: thermal, chemical, and biochemical methods. Wood remains the largest biomass energy source today; examples include forest residues – such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps –, yard clippings, wood chips and even municipal solid waste. In the second sense, biomass includes plant or animal matter that can be converted into fibers or other industrial chemicals, including biofuels. Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, bamboo, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil).
Below is a recent list of 2017/2018 articles that have had the most social media attention. The Plum Print next to each article shows the relative activity in each of these categories of metrics: Captures, Mentions, Social Media and Citations. Go here to learn more about PlumX Metrics.
As of 2007, the total installed capacity of solar hot water systems was approximately 154 thermal gigawatt (GWth). China is the world leader in their deployment with 70 GWth installed as of 2006 and a long-term goal of 210 GWth by 2020. Israel and Cyprus are the per capita leaders in the use of solar hot water systems with over 90% of homes using them. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, heating swimming pools is the dominant application of solar hot water with an installed capacity of 18 GWth as of 2005.
Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are well matched to summer noon peak loads in prosperous areas with significant cooling demands, such as the south-western United States. Using thermal energy storage systems, solar thermal operating periods can even be extended to meet base-load needs.
The Solar America Initiative (SAI) is a part of the Federal Advanced Energy Initiative to accelerate the development of advanced photovoltaic materials with the goal of making it cost-competitive with other forms of renewable electricity by 2015.
Most current solar power plants are made from an array of similar units where each unit is continuously adjusted, e.g., with some step motors, so that the light converter stays in focus of the sun light. The cost of focusing light on converters such as high-power solar panels, Stirling engine, etc. can be dramatically decreased with a https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=qgvaBpQ1tWY and efficient rope mechanics. In this technique many units are connected with a network of ropes so that pulling two or three ropes is sufficient to keep all light converters simultaneously in focus as the direction of the sun changes.
Urban heat islands (UHI) are metropolitan areas with higher temperatures than that of the surrounding environment. The higher temperatures result from increased absorption of solar energy by urban materials such as asphalt and concrete, which have lower albedos and higher heat capacities than those in the natural environment. A straightforward method of counteracting the UHI effect is to paint buildings and roads white, and to plant trees in the area. Using these methods, a hypothetical “cool communities” program in Los Angeles has projected that urban temperatures could be reduced by approximately 3 °C at an estimated cost of US$1 billion, giving estimated total annual benefits of US$530 million from reduced air-conditioning costs and healthcare savings.
The International Geothermal Association (IGA) has reported that 10,715 MW of geothermal power in 24 countries is online, which is expected to generate 67,246 GWh of electricity in 2010. This represents a 20% increase in geothermal power online capacity since 2005. IGA projects this will grow to 18,500 MW by 2015, due to the large number of projects presently under consideration, often in areas previously assumed to have little exploitable resource.
Nuclear fission is one method, but it would require widespread implementation of breeder reactors (11). Estimated terrestrial U resources are sufficient to produce ≈100 TW-yr of electricity using conventional once-through U reactor technology. Hence, if 10 TW of power were obtained from conventional nuclear fission, the terrestrial U resource base would be exhausted at that level in less than a decade (in fact, it would be exhausted after the first 30 yr of reactor construction because of the fuel consumed during the rampup phase). Moreover, construction of nuclear power plants would need to proceed at a very rapid rate by historical standards (one 1-GWe (gigawatt-electric) power plant every 1.6 days for the next 45 yr). The international tokamak (magnetic confinement fusion) experiment (ITER) is now scheduled to demonstrate an energy breakeven point in 35 yr for a few minutes of operational time. Although fusion might possibly provide significant commercial energy late in the 21st century, the ITER time line is much too far in the future to provide a credible option to make a significant contribution to the amount of cost-effective carbon-neutral energy production needed to meet any reasonable atmospheric CO2 concentration target in the next 40–50 yr.
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Still, says Kimbis, as with any major home improvement project, you should get bids from multiple installers and compare the results. The solar company should give you an estimate of how much power that system is going to produce based on annual statistics they know from a variety of different factors: the weather in your region, the angle of your roof, and its ordinal orientation, he says. Those factors will determine the size of the system and how much electricity, on average, it will produce every year.
Third-generation technologies are not yet widely demonstrated or commercialised. They are on the horizon and may have potential comparable to other renewable energy technologies, but still depend on attracting sufficient attention and RD&D funding. These newest technologies include advanced biomass gasification, biorefinery technologies, solar thermal power stations, hot dry rock geothermal energy and ocean energy.
Following to RMI, Balance-of-System (BoS) elements, this is, non-module cost of non-microinverter solar modules (as wiring, converters, racking systems and various components) make up about half of the total costs of installations.
The Japanese government through its Ministry of International Trade and Industry ran a successful programme of subsidies from 1994 to 2003. By the end of 2004, Japan led the world in installed PV capacity with over 1.1 GW.
The IEA 2014 World Energy Outlook projects a growth of renewable energy supply from 1,700 gigawatts in 2014 to 4,550 gigawatts in 2040. Fossil fuels received about $550 billion in subsidies in 2013, compared to $120 billion for all renewable energies.
We believe that the optimal solution lies in gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies, which can transform off gas streams, which would otherwise be flared, and CO2 streams that are often vented, into valuable liquid transportation fuels and chemicals, including high-quality gasoline or methanol.
Utility investors are accustomed to large, long-term, reliable investments with a 30-year cost recovery — fossil fuel plants, basically. The cost of those investments, along with investments in grid maintenance and reliability, are spread by utilities across all ratepayers in a service area. What happens if a bunch of those ratepayers start reducing their demand or opting out of the grid entirely? Well, the same investments must now be spread over a smaller group of ratepayers. In other words: higher rates for those who haven’t switched to solar.
Those not satisfied with the third-party grid approach to green energy via the power grid can install their own locally based renewable energy system. Renewable energy electrical systems from solar to wind to even local hydro-power in some cases, are some of the many types of renewable energy systems available locally. Additionally, for those interested in heating and cooling their dwelling via renewable energy, geothermal heat pump systems that tap the constant temperature of the earth, which is around 7 to 15 degrees Celsius a few feet underground and increases dramatically at greater depths, are an option over conventional natural gas and petroleum-fueled heat approaches. Also, in geographic locations where the Earth’s Crust is especially thin, or near volcanoes (as is the case in Iceland) there exists the potential to generate even more electricity than would be possible at other sites, thanks to a more significant temperature gradient at these locales.
There are numerous organizations within the academic, federal, and commercial sectors conducting large scale advanced research in the field of sustainable energy. This research spans several areas of focus across the sustainable energy spectrum. Most of the research is targeted at improving efficiency and increasing overall energy yields. Multiple federally supported research organizations have focused on sustainable energy in recent years. Two of the most prominent of these labs are Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), both of which are funded by the United States Department of Energy and supported by various corporate partners. Sandia has a total budget of $2.4 billion  while NREL has a budget of $375 million.
Although the precise future effects of such anthropogenic CO2 emissions are still somewhat uncertain, the emission levels can certainly be viewed rigorously within a historical perspective. The data from the Vostok ice core indicate that the atmospheric CO2 concentration has been between 210 and 300 ppm for the past 420,000 yr (8), and more recent studies of Dome Concordia ice cores have extended this time period to 650,000 yr (9). Over this same time period, the atmospheric CO2 concentration has been highly correlated with, but is not necessarily the cause of, temperature swings that have repeatedly caused ice ages on the planet. The CO2 concentrations in the past 50 yr have been rising because of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption, and they are now in excess of 380 ppm. Without intervention, even the Table 1 scenario produces, within the 21st century, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that are more than double the preanthropogenic values (4, 6). The exact levels vary depending on the assumed composition of energy sources, the efficiency of energy production and consumption, the global economy, and different intervention scenarios to control CO2 levels. Modestly stringent interventions are based on stabilizing atmospheric CO2 in the 550- to 650-ppm range, with substantially higher values projected (>750 ppm) if the Table 1 scenario is followed. Climate models predict a variety of different global responses to levels of CO2 at or in excess of 550 ppm in the atmosphere. In some models, moderate changes are predicted, whereas in others, relatively serious sea level rises, changes in the hydrological cycle, and other effects are predicted (10). Tipping points involving positive feedback, such as the accelerated loss of permafrost, which could release further CO2 which then could accelerate still further permafrost loss, are of substantive concern. What can be said with certainty is that the atmospheric CO2 concentrations are being increased and without severe intervention will continue to increase, because of anthropogenic sources, to levels that have not been present on the planet in at least the past 650,000 yr and probably in the past 20 million yr.
In 2011, a report by the International Energy Agency found that solar energy technologies such as photovoltaics, solar hot water and concentrated solar power could provide a third of the world’s energy by 2060 if politicians commit to limiting climate change. The energy from the sun could play a key role in de-carbonizing the global economy alongside improvements in energy efficiency and imposing costs on greenhouse gas emitters. “The strength of solar is the incredible variety and flexibility of applications, from small scale to big scale”.
Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.
Plant energy is produced by crops specifically grown for use as fuel that offer high biomass output per hectare with low input energy. Some examples of these plants are wheat, which typically yield 7.5–8 tonnes of grain per hectare, and straw, which typically yield 3.5–5 tonnes per hectare in the UK. The grain can be used for liquid transportation fuels while the straw can be burned to produce heat or electricity. Plant biomass can also be degraded from cellulose to glucose through a series of chemical treatments, and the resulting sugar can then be used as a first generation biofuel.
The EPA named the top 20 partners in its Green Power Partnership that are generating their own renewable energy on-site. Combined, they generate more than 736 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy on-site each year, enough to power more than 61,000 average U.S. homes.
Renogy 50 Watts 12 Volts Polycrystalline Solar Panel. Compatible with different Renogy mounting systems such as Z-Brackets, Pole Mounts and Tilt Mounts. Renogy 50 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel has several uses including marine, dry camp, and other off-grid applications.
The number of days that California dumped its unused solar electricity would have been even higher if the state hadn’t ordered some solar plants to reduce production — even as natural gas power plants, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, continued generating electricity.
Despite Off-Grid’s Silicon Valley vibe, it faces challenges unfamiliar to software companies. Aidan Leonard, Off-Grid’s Arusha-based general counsel, told me that the company “requires a lot of people walking around selling things and installing things and fixing things. There’s a lot of hardware—someone’s got a physical box in their house, and a panel on the roof, and they have to pay for it on a monthly basis.” Poindexter, of Black Star, put the problem more bluntly. “We’re a utility company,” she told me, and utilities are a difficult business.