Renewable Energy Boosts Profits for UK Farmers

Farmers in the UK have benefited from complimenting their growing of crops with renewable energy production. Some farmers have installed wind turbines and others solar, but the result is the same: farmers can keep farming and profit from energy production.

Renewable energy is promising to overtake rural tourism as a secondary income for the agricultural sector, with 200 megawatts of power – enough for 40,000 households – installed, according to joint research by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and NatWest bank.

They found that one in six farmers will have solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in place by the middle of this year and one in five will be producing clean electricity by this date. If this trend continues, as much as 15% of all UK electricity from renewable sources come from the land by the end of this decade, they believe.

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Germany Achieves 50% of Power Consumption from Renewable Sources

Germany continues to show the rest of the industrialized world how to be economical successful thanks to sound energy policy. This past week the country achieved a symbolic victory in their campaign to be a more efficient country and had 50% of the energy consumed come from renewable energy sources.

Government-mandated support for renewables has helped Germany became a world leader in renewable energy and the country gets about 20 percent of its overall annual electricity from those sources.

Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone. It aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

Link to Reuters article.

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Japan’s Largest Solar Power Plant: 70MW

Japan is about to build a new solar power plant and it’ll their largest one to date. The country is trying to improve their power grid and make it more sustainable after the nuclear disaster last year. Great to see progress!

The new plant, which will be called the Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant, is expected to take up approximately 314 acres, though drawings show most of that space will be over water, either by constructing a floating barge or building up the seabed below. Once completed, the plant is expected to produce 70MW of electricity (enough to power 22,000 homes) which would make it Japan’s largest such facility, and perhaps more tellingly, would amount to 40% of Japan’s total current solar electrical output.

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Over 50% of Germany’s Renewable Energy Production Owned by People

Consumer-ready renewable energy can destabilize the traditional energy utility structure in a similar way to how the internet destabilized a lot of other old school industries. This is a good thing because it makes the production of resources (be it knowledge or energy or physical goods) more democratic and resilient to externalities.

Over in Germany the shift from corporations to people has begun in their energy sector. Over 50% of renewable energy production is coming from farmers and regular citizens and not large corporations!

The thing that got me though, other than the huge lead in solar PV installations Germany has over the US, thanks to good policy, and the fact that so much wind power isn’t owned by utilities, is what slightly over half of renewable energy being owned not by corporations but by actual biological people means—obviously a democratic shift in control of resources and a break from the way electricity and energy has been produced over the past century.

A good thing: Decentralized power generation, more relocalization and reregionalization of economic activity, the world getting smaller while more connected and therefore in a way bigger at the same time… taking a step backwards, and perhaps sideways, while moving forwards.

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USA Can be 100% Powered by Geothermal Energy

Here at Things Are Good we like geothermal energy and countries that use it. The USA could be on the list in the future!

Researchers from SMU that have received funding from Google have released a map that shows the potential of geothermal energy production in the continental United States. The conclusion is that there is more potential energy in geothermal than previous thought and the technology exists today to access it and provide more than enough energy for the nation’s consumption on geothermal alone!

In this newest SMU estimate of resource potential, researchers used additional temperature data and in-depth geological analysis for the resulting heat flow maps to create the updated temperature-at-depth maps from 3.5 kilometers to 9.5 kilometers (11,500 to 31,000 feet).

This update revealed that some conditions in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. are actually hotter than some areas in the western portion of the country, an area long-recognized for heat-producing tectonic activity. In determining the potential for geothermal production, the new SMU study considers the practical considerations of drilling, and limits the analysis to the heat available in the top 6.5 km (21,500 ft.) of crust for predicting megawatts of available power.

This approach incorporates a newly proposed international standard for estimating geothermal resource potential that considers added practical limitations of development, such as the inaccessibility of large urban areas and national parks. Known as the ‘technical potential’ value, it assumes producers tap only 14 percent of the ‘theoretical potential’ of stored geothermal heat in the U.S., using currently available technology.

Read the rest of the article at SMU.

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