Monday, October 24, 2011

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Latest from: CleanTechnica

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China Plans Astonishing Nuclear Power Surge by 2035

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 06:01 PM PDT

According to the US Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2011, China plans to add far more new nuclear capacity than any other nation. China will add 106 GW of nuclear capacity by 2035. Despite some temporary delay after Fukushima, China aims to have 40 reactors by 2020 and, by 2030, enough additional reactors to generate more power than all 104 reactors in the US.

For clean energy readers, familiar with China’s incredibly rapid deployment of solar and wind power, compared to the rest of the world, this kind of investment intensity may be less jarring, because we have already seen China’s level of commitment and effective implementation of its clean energy policies resulting from its pragmatic acceptance of the realities of a carbon-constrained future.

China has been competent in implementing effective climate policy. It rearranged the national grid to be able to accept long distance transmission within two weeks, for example – something that would not be possible here.

China’s nuclear power surge might seem less shocking in the context of the rest of its low-carbon energy investment – its new wind power is growing 1,000 times faster than its new coal power for example. The US invested just $90 billion on clean energy in the Recovery Act after the 2008 crash, but their renewables surge totaled $800 billion.

But I’ll bet that to many people – this level of investment in nuclear power might be a little frightening.

However, other than its being drily noted within this report from the US Energy Information Administration forecasting energy needs and use over the next thirty odd years, there hasn’t been any corporate media scaremongering over China developing nuclear power like there was about the so-called “Axis of Evil” nations or India or Pakistan doing so.

As with its equally ambitious renewable energy plans, China is making the right moves to make nuclear power big. It has an ambitious plan to train an army of nuclear engineers, unlike the US which has an aging nuclear workforce and few new nuclear engineers. State ownership of the industry guarantees capital and relatively quick approvals of new plants.

Among non-OECD countries, China will have the highest percentage increase in emissions per capita, according the forecast, from 5.1 metric tons per person in 2008 to 9.3 metric tons per person in 2035, an average annual increase of 2.2 percent. In 2035, China’s energy demand is projected to be 68% higher than US energy demand.

In the 20th century, China perhaps did more than any nation to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. Its extremely draconian one child policy, intended to curb overpopulation (for economic development reasons) indirectly benefited all mankind. Human energy use adds heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which causes increases in the number and frequency of climate extremes. The more people there are, living at a first world standard of living (which China is headed for) the more global greenhouse gases will destabilize our fragile climate balance.

And in the 21st century, if its carbon-free energy plans are ambitious enough, China will perhaps do more than any nation in this century too, to help reduce the spectre of climate change.

Susan Kraemer@Twitter
Copyright

 

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Upcoming Cleantech Events

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 04:06 PM PDT

Let us know if you have more to share.

cleantech conferences events

Renewable Energy HR Conference and Exhibition

London – December 6-7

This two day conference, the first of its kind to focus on this critical issue, will enable industry players to share experiences and develop strategies to ensure the strongest growth of the market.

Over the two days, 20-25 experts will present case studies of their solutions to 10 of the top renewable energy industry HR challenges in the context of traditional HR sectors:

Organisational Design & Talent Management / Employee Engagement / Employer Branding / Rewards & Benefits / Leadership. These will be covered through a combination of presentations, roundtable discussions and Q&A sessions.

Contact: Green Power Conferences, London, UK. +44 (0)20 7099 0600, Samantha Coleman samantha.coleman@greenpowerconferences.com, http://www.greenpowerconferences.com/renewablehr

 

Clean Tech India-USA Business Conference 

Irvine, CA — Oct 27-28

Complimentary tickets to qualified readers of CleanTechnica are available for the upcoming India-USA Business Conference. The event is described in detail at: http://365consultant.com/events.html

This event is designed to educate about clean technologies via a variety of world class speakers and connect American clean tech companies with business delegates from India. These Indian delegates that will be attending the event are looking for clean tech resources to help them with specific projects in India.

Just a few of the speakers profiles are shared below:

Surya Prakash a Professor and the holder of George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry at the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. He also serves as the-Director of the Institute.

Dr. Rajit Gadh is a Professor at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA, and the Founding Director of the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center or SMERC – http://smartgrid.ucla.edu/.

Michael Hamilton is an Applications Engineer for FlexEnergy, Inc, of Irvine, CA. FlexEnergy is an industrial growth company and manufacturer of gas turbine electric generators, including Flex PowerstationTM, a breakthrough technology that generates clean power from waste gases with near zero emissions.

Delegates include:

• BGIL (BHARATIYA GLOBAL INFOMEDIA LTD) http://www.bgil.in/
• H.R. Logistics
• Gold Max/ NATURE’S ESSENCE PVT. LTD (Cosmetics/Pharmaceuticals)
• Trimiti Technologies Pvt. Ltd
• With others being confirmed

The event is described in detail at: http://365consultant.com/events.html

If interested in attending, e-mail Rachel Perlmutter at Rachel@artofonline.com with your name, title, company, and phone number, along with how many tickets they require.

ONLY SUSTAINABLE 2011

2nd International Conference on Renewable Energy for the Americas (Miami, FL — November 7-9)

40 top-level executive speakers, including:

· Francisco Javier Salazar, President of the Energy Regulatory Commission , Mexico
· Ronald A. Brisé, Florida Public Service Commission and member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), United States
· Jorge Vasconcelos, World Bank Consultant
· Margaret M. Cullen, Development Commissioner for Energy, Canada
· Jorge Dezcallar, Ambassador of Spain
· Felipe de Vivero Arciniegas, Professor, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
· Sebastien Fox, Vice-President, Dalkia, Spain and Mexico
· Arthur Whittemore, CFO of Gamesa
· Joseph M. Velez Gonzalez, President of APPA, Spain
· Adam Putnam, Commissioner of Energy, Florida, United States
· Barry Moline, Director of the Municipal Electric Association of Florida

Additionally, political personalities from Spain, Mexico, Peru and Colombia are expected to attend and participate in the Conference. Also present will be senior executives from leading international firms as Bankia, Gamesa, NextEra/FPL Energy, FCC, Banco Sabadell, and Baker & McKenzie, among others. In summary, this International Conference will give awareness and report the potential of Florida, USA and Latin America in the renewable energy sector.

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Cost of War.. Spent on Solar Power Instead

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 02:37 PM PDT

This is an awesome guest post from yet another one of our awesome readers, Rich Loomis. Rich offered the data and idea, and then, with a little nudge, actually went ahead and wrote the whole post. While he points this out below, I just want to highlight that while there’s an initial cost to the solar power alternative, the savings that result from it are tremendous, as well as the jobs that would be created and would feed back into the U.S. economy. Also, mass deployment of solar would bring the cost of solar down (actually, probably the best solution to bring the cost down at this point), so I think his 2nd scenario is likely to be much more realistic than the 1st. cost of war solar When the US engaged in war with Iraq, and then Afghanistan, the bill started running and hasn't stopped. The wars have cost over $2.33 trillion and will cost over $4.53 trillion before they’re over. The cost is so unbelievably large, it's hard to grasp. In order to get some context on what $2.33 trillion means, let's look at what the money could have achieved for Americans, if spent differently. Let's use the money to install solar panels on every home in America. Is $2.33 trillion enough money to give every home in America a solar panel system? If so, how much solar power would every home in America get? First, let's look at the cost of a 3kW solar system for a single home. I'm using the Sharp NU-Q235F4 Mono-crystalline Silicon solar panel for price and efficiency calculations. The Sharp panel is made in the USA. The panel is neither the most efficient nor the least efficient panel on the market. I found the Sharp solar panel for $405.38 each. Using $3.85 per watt to cover labor and panel hardware/inverter, the cost of a 3kW system installed (panels + installation) would run $17,032 per home. This cost does not include tax incentives. The price is around $5.57/watt installed. There are 130,590,000 homes in the US. At $17,032 per home (retail price), the cost to install a 3kW solar system on every home in the US would be $2.22 trillion. Remove this cost from the $2.33 trillion we started with and we're left with roughly $107 billion that could be used for government administration and fraud prevention. OK, so the US decided to go down the fossil-fuel-energy-independence path instead of war and has installed a 3kW solar panel system on every home in the country. What did we get for our $2.33 trillion? So what does this mean to the average home owner? Using the Sharp solar calculator in a conservative solar radiation state, a single home will save 3,576 kWh/yr. Using a cost of $0.10 / kWh, the average home in the US will save $357/year in electricity for the next 20 years. What do we get as a nation? Using Google stats from 2008 (the newest available)

   USA Solar panels manufactured1,697,670,000
   Solar Nameplate capacity in MW398,952
   Nationwide solar home electricity generation in MWh/yr466,989,840
    Electricity usage per capita kWh/yr – 200813,654
   U.S.A. population – 2008304,060,000
   Nationwide electricity usage in MWh/yr4,151,635,240
   % of nationwide electricity generated from home solar panels11.25%

Yep, that's right. The United States would have manufactured and installed 1.7 billion solar panels and would have reduced fossil fuel energy used for electric generation by 11%. All of the numbers used so far are based on retail costs and current panel efficiencies. The real fun starts when you look at what could have been done. What if the President said the US will only buy solar panels that are 40% efficient and will only pay $2/watt installed (achievable through economies of scale). The picture dramatically changes. Installing a 6kW solar system installed on every home in the US would only cost $1.67 trillion (which includes the 107 billion for administration). The home solar panels would generate 62.5% of home electricity usage in the United States. Each home would benefit from a $1,986/year reductionin electricity costs for the next 20 years. I'll vote for the person pushing the $2/watt installed, 40% efficient, Made in the USA, 6kW solar systems on every home in the USA Act. References:

  1. Cost of War Watson Institute For International Studies Conservative ($2,331,100,000,000) Moderate ($2,657,300,000,000) Middle Ground ($2,494,200,000,000)
  2. Google population in 2008
  3. Electric usage per capita — Google
  4. Solar panel cost
  5. Solar panel efficiency

Image Credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page

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Solar-Powered Plane/Blimp Cargo Hauler (VIDEO)

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 11:19 AM PDT

Infographic: Power the Economy and Grid with Local Solar Power

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 09:31 AM PDT

Occupy K St., Wall St. & Main Street, Citizens United and “Republic, Lost”

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 08:49 AM PDT


If the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ (#OWS) movement is about ridding American politics and government of undue corporate influence – the corruption of the US political process and government by corporate money – then it’s emerging counterpart in Washington, D.C. – the ‘Occupy D.C.‘ (#OccupyDC) or ‘Occupy K St.’ (#OccuypKSt) campaign – should assume a rightful place as a second center around which other campaigns can draw focus and revolve.

It’s long been recognized that D.C.’s K Street is “lobbying central” for corporations, foreign governments, and others keen and eager to sway and influence member of Congress, government bureaucrats and the broad public on behalf of just about anyone who can come up with the money to buy their influence peddling and media spinning acumen.

Wall St. and K Street have become symbols the corrupting influence unfettered corporate money flows has come to have throughout the American political system and the US republican democratic form of government, an evolution that Congressional members and presidents themselves have been the agents of.

Occupy K Street March from McPherson Square – “Republic, Lost”

Occupy D.C.-K Street protestors marched on K Street yesterday and gathered round a bank branch guarded by two DC police officers as two members of the protest proceeded inside and closed their bank accounts.

Upon exiting, one said that although he was doing alright financially he acted in sympathy with the OWS and ‘We are the 99%’ movements. The other emphasized that the growing protest movement isn’t about the workers, it’s about the corporation.

Actions taken over recent decades have expanded and strengthened the corrupting influence of ‘Big Money’ from banks and big corporations on Congress and threatens the heart of the American republic, as Harvard professor, cyber-law expert and author Lawrence Lessig writes in an Oct. 5 Huffington Post column.

It’s a subject that he delves much deeper into in his recently released book, “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It.”

The next evolutionary step for the ‘Occupy’ and ‘We Are the 99%’ movement are ‘Occupy Main St.’ campaigns, Lessig writes in the Huffington Post column.

A Long, Sordid Legislative Trail; ‘Democracy is for People’

A long series of government legislation and court rulings over the past two decades has brought the US republic to this point. One recent event stands out in terms of the corrupting effects it’s had on US politics and government: the US Supreme Court upholding “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” legislation that gave for-profit corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack political candidates.

The decision prompted Citizens United to launch its “Money and Democracy” weekly e-newsletter. Through the “Money and Democracy” campaign, Public Citizen — founded by Ralph Nader — is monitoring and distributing news and information about how campaign finance rules and government lobbying efforts are being co-opted by corporate money to an even greater extent than has ever been the case. The ultimate goal is to get the Supreme Court to overturn its initial decision in the “Citizens United v. Federal Electoral Commission.”

Check out Citizens United and “Democracy is for People” websites for more.

Related posts:

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Texas Wind Power to Double by 2013

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 05:12 AM PDT

wind turbines set new electricity generation record in texas

A new $6.8-billion project is expected to help Texas double it’s total installed wind power by 2013. The project isn’t a wind farm, though. It’s a transmission project that would connect more remote areas (where wind is likely to be generated) to major cities, like Dallas and San Antonio.

Laborers are working overtime on the project. The Texas Tribune reports:

"We're going to work 12 hours a day through Thanksgiving," said Pat Hogan, a consultant with McCurley Enterprises, a company helping with the construction. The only real break comes around mid-afternoon on Sundays when, he said, "you can get your clothes cleaned or go to the grocery store."

As reported last week, Texas just broke a wind power output record on October 7 when wind turbines in the service territory of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) produced 15.2% of the region’s electricity (7,400 megawatts).

Wind power is cheap as heck and brings the cost of electricity down (as also reported last week, it brought the wholesale cost of electricity down to $0.00 a week and a half ago), so I don’t think too many Texans will complain about the state’s ambitious goals.

Currently, Texas has about 10,000 MW of wind power installed (much more than the second-biggest wind power state, Iowa, which has under 4,000 MW). It gets about 8% of its electricity from wind power. Will we see 20,000 MW of wind power producing 16% of Texas’ electricity by 2013?

Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by danishwindindustryassociation

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$20 Trillion for Urgent Climate Change Action

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 04:35 AM PDT

investors urge urgent climate change clean energy action

Say what?

285 top investors who represent $20 trillion in assets pushed leaders of the world to take urgent climate change and clean energy action in a letter last week.

The 2011 Global Investment Statement on Climate Change starts out with the intro (which is then followed by domestic policy recommendations and international policy recommendations):

Climate change presents major long-term risks to the global economy and to the assets in which we invest. At the same time, well designed and effectively implemented long-term climate change and clean energy policy ("investment-grade policies") will not only present significant opportunities for investors in areas such as cleaner and renewable energy, energy efficiency and decarbonisation, but will also yield substantial economic benefits including creating new jobs and businesses, stimulating technological innovation, and providing a robust foundation for economic recovery and sustainable long-term economic growth.

In the Cancun Agreements in 2010, governments agreed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius. To achieve this goal, massive investment in low-carbon energy will be required. For example, in its 2010 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast that US$13.5 trillion (or some US$500 billion per year) in clean energy investment and spending, in addition to the commitments that have already been made by governments, will be needed between 2010 and 2035.

With data from the IEA indicating that global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2010 were the highest on record, it is clear that the need for action is urgent. However, current levels of investment in low-carbon technologies fall far short of what is needed. Private investment will only flow at the scale and pace necessary if it is supported by clear, credible and long-term policy frameworks that incentivise investments in low-carbon technologies rather than continuing to favour carbon-intensive energy sources. Therefore, as we approach the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa, in November-December 2011, we wish to reiterate the calls we have made in previous Investor Statements about the importance of both domestic and international climate change policy in catalysing the required levels of investment needed to transition to a low-carbon economy, and to outline the elements of "investment-grade climate and energy policy" necessary to attract large scale investment in solutions to climate change.

Yes, there’s money in a clean energy transition. And there are jobs in a clean energy transition. And a clean energy transition would save the world tremendously in averted disaster and destruction. The technology is ready and urgent action is needed.

Really, there’s only one thing missing: the political will.

All of this is painstakingly clear to CleanTechnica readers, I think, so there is nothing new there. But it’s nice to hear that investors with $20 trillion in assets are telling our world leaders that!

Money Photo via Shutterstock.

Related posts:

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Harry Reid Slams Tar Sands Pipeline ($$ Better Spent on Clean Energy)

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 03:57 AM PDT

harry reid tar sands proposal

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is weighing in on Keystone XL, the controversial 1,700 mile pipeline that would bring carbon-intensive crude across the U.S. from Alberta's tar sands to refineries in the Gulf Coast.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month, Reid expressed concerns about the environmental impact of the project. TheWashington Post reported on the October 5th correspondence:

"The proponents of this pipeline would be wiser to invest instead in job-creating clean energy projects, like renewable power, energy efficiency or advanced vehicles and fuels that would employ thousands of people in the United States rather than increasing our dependency on unsustainable supplies of dirty and polluting oil that could easily be exported," Reid wrote.

Reid has been a strong supporter of clean energy and has maintained that support during a time of severe Congressional backlash against government incentives for the sector. But this is the first time he has publicly given his opinions on the Keystone XL Pipeline — a project that has united environmental activists and split the Democratic party.

Some Congressional Democrats have remained silent on the issue, waiting for the State Department to make a decision. Others have thrown their support behind the pipeline, which they say will create jobs and boost tax revenues.

Meanwhile, the environmental community is putting heavy pressure on the Obama Administration to delay or abandon Keystone XL, calling it "game over for the climate." They're also highlighting the immense conflicts of interest within the State Department and the proposed builder, TransCanada — pointing out that the agencyoutsourced the environmental review of the project to a TransCanada contractor.

Many see this as the ultimate test of the Obama Administration's commitment to combating climate change. Harry Reid, one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, appears to see it that way too.

This post originally appeared on Climate Progress. It has been republished with permission.

Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by studio08denver

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NIMBYism Kills 45% of Clean Energy Projects

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 03:36 AM PDT

nimby wind power

Almost half of clean energy projects proposed in recent years have been delayed or abandoned due to local opposition, according to a March report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That's a lot of development potential denied.

The causes of this opposition are diverse: Environmental concerns, worries about property values, suspicion of outside developers, and many more. Lots of these concerns are legitimate; many others come from a lack of understanding of the sector, poor communication by local officials and developers, or even from fake "astroturf" opposition funded by corporate special interests.

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems is that much of that economic potential is not going directly to citizens. If people don't have a direct financial stake in a project, they're more likely to oppose it. That's why I've called for feed-in tariffs on the local and state level as a way to stimulate more community and individual engagement in the clean energy economy. It's what drove community development in Germany, Denmark and other European countries — and it's more important than ever in the U.S. given how much clean energy we need to deploy in people's backyards if we're going to truly address the climate crisis.

EnergyNOW had a piece worth watching on some of the barriers holding up clean energy projects in the U.S. It doesn't touch upon how incentives like feed-in tariffs can influence public attitude, but it does look at some unique problems project developers and individuals face.

This post was originally published on Climate Progress. It has been reposted with permission.

Wind NIMBY photo via Shutterstock.

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