Sunday, August 16, 2015

Renewable Energy Solutions and Micro-Energy Technologies

There are no technological or economic reasons why the US and the rest of the world cannot largely completely replace fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy over the next 20 years.

  • A recent study by Stanford researchers found that using existing technology, the world can abandon fossil fuels and adopt renewable energy in as little as two decades.
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) also released a study on Renewable Electricity Futures which found that using a diverse array of commercially available technologies, the US could easily supply 80 percent of its electricity needs with renewables by 2050.
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists also recently published a plan for renewable energy to provide 80 percent of our electricity by 2050.

  • As of 2014, Europe accounted for 90% of the installed global offshore wind turbine capacity.
  • China has installed more wind capacity than the US and has half the global market in solar cells.
  • Currently, German and China lead the world in clean-energy exports.
  • US power plants used renewable energy sources to generate about 13% of its electricity in 2014.

With regards to cost/benefits, in addition to curbing climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy will also contribute to improved human health. Minimizing climate impacts and reducing health costs would generate trillions of dollars of cumulative savings and generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

Cost and political will are challenges that will need to be addressed, but the bottom line is that its going to happen - it's just a matter of time. For all our sakes, though, the sooner the better.

Germany currently generates about 25% of its electricity by renewable energy sources and expects to generate 35% of its electricity from renewables by 2020. This has created a problem during certain times of day when the surge of solar and wind power flooding into the grid exceeds the demand for electricity, resulting in negative prices. Similar situations are starting to occurr in Hawaii, Texas, New Mexico, etc. - Read "The Zero Marginal Cost Society"

The following are a few selected links to alternative energy sources that we need to consider using in cities and states across the U.S.

Several alternative energy technologies that are often forgotten in discussions include Micro-Hydro and Micro-Wind solutions. Check out these recent articles:

Micro-Hydro Energy


Finally, South Carolina is actually in pretty good shape as we move forward with the transformation of our state's Energy infrastructure - and our citizens seem to be very receptive to the changes that need to be made. See collection of recent news articles.


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