Costa Rica to Ban use of Fossil Fuels

forest and river

Back in 2015 Costa Rica ran on only renewable energy for the first quarter of the year, and since then they have improved. The country now regularly runs their power grid using only renewable sources and their new president wants to take that to the next level. The government announced that the long-term goal of Costa Rica is to decarbonize their entire energy consumption. Yes that means cars, boats, and anything else that currently consume fossil fuels.

“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” said Alvarado, a former journalist and political scientist.

At 38, making him Costa Rica’s youngest ever president, Alvarado is keen to lead the way in environmental initiatives as “the world’s decarbonization laboratory,” meeting the demands of the Paris Climate Agreement.

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New Zealand Bans New Offshore Drilling, Plans Fully Renewable Future

maps

While Canada continues to condemn the future to climatic destruction by supporting the tar sands, their common wealth partner has decided to plan for the future. New Zealand has declared an all out ban on new offshore drilling projects and have even taken a step further to ban exploration for more stored hydrocarbons. Exploration for oil and gas greatly disturbs marine life forcing whales and fish to leave entire areas because the noise is so deafening.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to do what every other national leader should be doing – acknowledging the current and oncoming challenges of climate change and reacting to it by creating a sustainable economy. It’s great to see New Zealand set itself up for future success while protecting the planet!

“We’re protecting industry and protecting future generations from climate change,” said Ardern.

“This is a responsible step, which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels.”

Ardern and the ministers are expected to outline plans for their version of a managed transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Bird Brains Avoid Wind Farms

wind turbine

Opponents of clean energy try to find any reason to stop renewable installations (I guess they hate the planet?) and when it comes to wind farms they suddenly start caring about birds. Their argument is that birds will fly into the blades of wind turbines. This argument was recently studied on the shores of the UK and found to be marginally correct, instead of killing thousands of birds a wind farm found only an average of one every four months. This death rate is notable less than the amount of birds killed by flying into windows on skyscrapers. Hopefully the anti wind energy people now redirect their own energy to protecting birds from pointless deaths from lights being left on in towers.

Tim Frayling, Senior Environmental Specialist Ornithology, Natural England said: “Natural England acknowledge the significant achievement of providing empirical evidence of bird avoidance in relation to an offshore wind farm for the first time, and the progress in starting to address some key questions in this area.

“The proof of concept has been successfully demonstrated and we would look forward to seeing similar studies in different locations, including wind farms closer to seabird colonies.”

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Floating Wind Farm in Scotland is a Success

ocean shore

Oil and gas companies have seen the writing on the wall about the future of energy: it’s all about renewables. The Norwegian state-owned company Statoil installed a massive wind farm off the coast of Scotland and it’s a roaring success. The wind turbines float in the water and are operating more efficiently than their land-based counterparts. What’s more is that they survived hurricane force winds.

Hywind in particular was built much like a floating offshore oil drilling rig, with the platform anchored down to the seabed using suction anchors. These eliminate the need to construct expensive fixed structures under water and allow Statoil and others to site the turbines farther out to sea in deeper waters. Hywind specifically is 15.5 miles out from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. At maximum capacity, it can power 20,000 homes.

Despite its “floating” moniker, Hywind is well-equipped to withstand violent storms without capsizing. The system performed as expected during the extreme storms that hit it over the winter. In October, the proximity of Hurricane Ophelia exposed Hywind to wind speeds of 125km/h (80mph), and, later in December, another storm delivered “gusts in excess of 160km/h (100mph) and waves in excess of 8.2m (27ft).”

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Solar is Booming in Australia

solar

Solar in places with a lot of sun might seem like a no-brainer; yet in Australia it’s taken a long time for the idea to take off. This year is clearly going to be a turning a point for solar in the sunny nation based of the already exploding demand for solar installations. It’s great to see that solar has gotten so cheap that it’s being installed at such a high rate and that at least one nation has reached a tipping point around the culture acceptance of solar power.

“These solar farms can be built within a matter of weeks,” he said. “They’re really quick and simple.”

Together, the new large-scale projects could add between 2.5GW and 3.5GW to the national grid and rooftop installations could add another 1.3GW, according to the Smart Energy Council’s estimates. This would nearly double the nation’s solar energy capacity, currently 7GW, in a single year.

“The train tracks are about to converge,” Grimes said. “Rooftop installations and utilities are both booming and could turbo-boost the solar numbers overall.”

In Queensland, residential solar panels are already the state’s largest source of energy, producing more combined than the 1.7GW Gladstone power station. Just under a third (30%) of residential homes in the state have solar installed – the most in the country.

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