Winds of Change in Power Generation

Infographic: Offshore Wind Farms Continue Growth | Statista

Wars fought over oil and wars funded by oil sales are both problems we’ve seen in the 21st century. Fighting over a depleting planet-destroying energy source may soon be a thing of the past as we increase the use of renewable energy the world over. Expect the use of wind power to continue to grow in the coming years, already the rate of installation of these efficient systems has increased. Some countries that didn’t embrace wind before due to a lack of land are now building offshore installations which allow for bigger, better turbines.

Help bring peace to the world by cutting back gas use while increasing renewable energy sources.

The potential to deploy both onshore and offshore wind capacity depends on a country’s geography.

Among the leading offshore wind locations, Britain has plentiful coastlines, Germany can take advantage of its location between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and China uses its expansive coastal regions to good effect.

But when offshore and onshore wind capacity are combined, a different picture emerges.

Global onshore and offshore wind generation totalled 732 gigawatts by the end of 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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How to Free Yourself from Gas at Home

the suburbs

When it comes to emissions we often think of cars and factories, but we can’t ignore the impact we can make at home. In much of the northern hemisphere houses are built with infrastructure supporting the burning of non-renewable fuels which destroy the planet. The decisions made by people who are now retired will cost us, but the faster we change houses to renewable the greater the savings for the planet and homeowners. But how can we make the change from subsidized gas to market rate renewables?

Over at the National Observer Seth Klein records how he switched his house from natural gas to all electric. He outlines the process and how one can save money and the planet at home by changing their energy source.

A couple of years ago, my family’s home — a 12-year-old, 1,400-square-foot, well-insulated duplex in East Vancouver — was heated with a high-efficiency gas boiler. The boiler produced hot water for both our direct water needs and for pipes that provided lovely radiant heated floors in the winter. We also had a gas fireplace in the living room we rarely used, and we cooked on a gas stove.

No doubt this conversion has also increased the value of our home, as future owners will not face the inevitable need to fuel swap down the road once robust climate policies are in place, and they will benefit from the upfront capital costs we assumed for the solar panels and heat pump.

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One Way Maritimers can Drastically Reduce their Energy Consumption

Solar panels on grass

Canada’s Maritime provinces are blustery, cold, and powered by coal. The weather is fine for most people (and lovely in the summer), but they know they need to transition to renewable energy quickly or risk losing more land to the seas and worsening storms due to climate change. The work to get the power grid to be a green one is underway.

Researchers and policy makers are looking into ways to make their power grid more robust by incorporating modern battery technology. The technology varies from smart water heaters to store heat to phase-change energy storage which is gaining popularity around the world.

Several companies in the Maritimes are investigating the possibility of integrating phase-change materials into heat sources to allow more integration of renewables. 

One is Fredericton-based Stash Energy. Dan Curwin, director of business development, said they’ve developed heat pumps with phase-change material storage built in, to store energy from renewable sources like hydro when it’s plentiful, such as overnight, and discharge it in the morning when demand is high, to be stored up again from renewables like solar during the day. 

This can help with the integration of renewables and with greater adoption of electric heat pumps, which are the most efficient heating option but risk overburdening the grid. 

Curwin said the company has partnerships with efficiency agencies across Atlantic Canada and New England, as well as housing authorities such as Housing Nova Scotia that recognize the particular burden posed by heating costs. 

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Thanks to Mike!

Tasmania is the First Part of Australia Powered 100% by Renewables

wind turbine

When it comes to energy in Australia your first thoughts are likely to be about coal and exporting coal. Despite the amble sun hitting the country, Australia has been slow on adopting renewable energy. Except for the island of Tasmania.

The rather large island has completed the push for energy self reliance by completing a wind farm. Now people on the island have limitless power thanks to a mixture of renewable resources. With luck the conversation about energy in the country will change following the success of Tasmania.

“We have reached 100 per cent thanks to our commitment to realising Tasmania’s renewable energy potential through our nation-leading energy policies and making Tasmania attractive for industry investment, which in turn is creating jobs across the State, particularly in our regions,” Barnett said.

Tasmania has long had one of the greenest supplies of electricity in Australia, with the state’s significant hydroelectricity resources supplying the bulk of the state’s power. Tasmania’s history with hydroelectricity dates back to 1895, with the Duck Reach power plant in Launceston becoming the first publicly owned hydroelectric power station in the southern hemisphere.

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Renewable Energy Keeps Growing While Oil Companies Shrink

Solar panels on grass

Without a doubt all business have been negatively impacted by the pandemic with some being hit more than others. The dirty and climate-destroying fossil fuel industry has really been hit hard (unfortunately it’s the workers who have been hurt by this and not the lying executives) and the industry isn’t even benefiting from reduced gas prices at the pump. On the other hand renewable energy companies are doing fine with only a slow down and not an industry-stopping problem. Renewable energy growth is expected this year with more utilities investing in renewable instead of fossil fuel because renewable are still cheaper than carbon-intensive alternatives.

Even the decline in electricity use in recent weeks as businesses halted operations could help renewables, according to analysts at Raymond James & Associates. That’s because utilities, as revenue suffers, will try to get more electricity from wind and solar farms, which cost little to operate, and less from power plants fueled by fossil fuels.

“Renewables are on a growth trajectory today that I think isn’t going to be set back long term,” said Dan Reicher, the founding executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University and an assistant energy secretary in the Clinton administration. “This will be a bump in the road.”

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