Faster Than Oil, Clean Energy on the Rise

Economists are really bad at predictions, but their views carry sway over large amounts of capital. Their most recent inaccuracies have been in the energy sector. Clean, renewable, energy is making faster progress than previously predicted.

Renewables have seen faster implementation, more investment, and quite massive technical gains in the past few years. And all of these gains have happened despite the fact that oil is so cheap (in terms of money, not carbon).

Each of these trends — cheaper batteries and cheaper solar electricity — is good on its own, and on the margin will help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, with all the geopolitical drawbacks and climate harm they entail. But together, the two cost trends will add up to nothing less than a revolution in the way humankind interacts with the planet and powers civilization.

You see, the two trends reinforce each other. Cheaper batteries mean that cars can switch from gasoline to the electrical grid. But currently, much of the grid is powered by coal. With cheap solar replacing coal at a rapid clip, that will be less and less of an issue. As for solar, its main drawback is intermittency. But with battery costs dropping, innovative manufacturers such as Tesla will be able to make cheap batteries for home electricity use, allowing solar power to run your house 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Canada Can be Fossil Fuel Free

Canada has an international reputation as being a dullard when it comes to the environment. That’s not shocking given that the present “conservative” government has sabotaged international climate meetings, has climate change deniers as leaders, and openly supports the world-destroying tar sands.

All of this can change though.

A group of over 60 scientists in the country have proven that Canada can be powered by 100% renewable, sustainable, energy by the year 2035!

The authors of the report want to place a realistic plan on the table for political and public discussion. And they want this plan discussed before the next election and before the next climate summit in Paris later this fall.

These transitional steps have the potential, the report says, to create a low carbon economy by 2035, and reducing carbon emissions by 21-28 per cent below 2005 levels, just ten years from now.

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Read the full report here.

Costa Rica Only Powered by Renewables

Costa Rica has been 100% powered by renewable energy for the first quarter of the year and this may continue. This is fantastic for the central american country as it has been making huge strides as a an eco-friendly tourist destination. You can see the beginnings of the country’s environmental focus when we looked at it back in 2006.

Costa Rica continues to impress!

This year has been a pretty special one for Costa Rica — for the first quarter, the country’s grid has required absolutely no fossil fuels to run, the state-run power supplier the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has announced. It relied almost entirely on four hydropower plants, the reservoirs of which were filled by fortunate heavy rainfall. The remaining power needs were met by wind, solar and geothermal plants.

Costa Rica, although small at just 4.87 million people, joins a growing number of countries relying on renewable energy. Iceland’s electricity consumption is almost 100 percent covered by renewable energy. Paraguay and Brazil share the Itaipú hydroelectric dam, which serves almost 100 percent of Paraguay’s needs and around 85 percent of Brazil’s. Lesotho, Norway and Albania also rely on renewable energy, with a longer list of countries well on the way of getting there.

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Burlington Vermont Now 100% Powered by Renewable

The community of Burlington, Vermont have gotten their power grid to be fully renewable – they are so good at it that they can sell surplus energy to other places. Burlington is known for being a progressive place and they are clearly leading the renewable energy path in the USA. It’s the first city to be 100% powered by renewable energy in the country.

Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, recently became the first in the country to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. In a state known for socially conscious policies, the feat represents a milestone in the growing green energy movement. NewsHour’s William Brangham reports on the implications for the country’s green movement.

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Renewable Energy Use Grows Fastest in Poor Countries

Renewable resources are good for the environment, good for remote areas, and don’t need expensive infrastructure. All of these benefits of renewable power generation have led poorer countries to embrace distributed renewable energy!

The boom in renewables is often made for economic reasons, Ethan Zindler, a Washington-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst, said in an interview. An island nation like Jamaica, where wholesale power costs about $300 a megawatt-hour, could generate electricity from solar panels for about half as much. Similarly, wind power in Nicaragua may be half as expensive as traditional energy.

“Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of these countries,” Zindler said by telephone. “The technologies are cost-competitive right now. Not in the future, but right now.”

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