Category Archives: Renewable energy

Shift to green energy will be tiny brake on growth: U.N.

Read the full story from Planet Ark.

Many governments had complained that an earlier draft was not clear in its estimate of the costs of low-carbon energy, which include solar or wind, nuclear and fossil fuels whose greenhouse gas emissions are captured and buried underground.

The new draft, which is being edited by government officials and scientists in Berlin before publication on Sunday, indicates that world economic losses would be small compared to projected costs of heatwaves, floods, storms and rising sea levels.

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Climate change, Renewable energy


3 pathways to a clean energy future

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In this final installment of our eLab Accelerator blog series (read part 1 and part 2), we are reviewing three teams who are focused on developing strategies to understand and achieve clean energy futures.

The increasing capability and affordability of renewables and distributed resources, the pressure to combat climate change, and the need for a more resilient electricity system are creating opportunities as well as challenges the likes of which our electricity system has never faced before. By working together, these teams recognize that successful solutions must address not only the technical but also the social and creative complexity facing the electricity system.


EPA releases two climate and energy strategy guides for local governments

EPA has released two climate and energy strategy guides for local governments.

On-Site Renewable Energy Generation. A growing number of local governments are turning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, and landfill gas, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve air quality and energy security, boost the local economy, and pave the way to a sustainable energy future. Local governments can work with utilities, local businesses, nonprofit groups, residents, state agencies, and green power marketers and brokers to plan and implement on-site renewable energy generation projects at local government facilities and throughout their communities.

Combined Heat and Power. Combined heat and power, also known as cogeneration, refers to the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source. Simultaneous production is more efficient than producing electricity and thermal energy through two separate power systems and requires less fuel. Reductions in fuel use can produce a number of benefits, including energy cost savings, reduced GHG emissions, and reductions in other air emissions.

These guides provide comprehensive information for local government staff and policy makers on how to implement these GHG reduction strategies, including:

  • Products/technologies and their applications
  • Environmental, energy, and economic benefits
  • Steps for designing procurement plans/installations
  • Key stakeholders to engage
  • Policy mechanisms for initiating programs
  • Implementation strategies for success
  • Costs and funding opportunities

Key features of the guides include:

  • Case studies and examples from communities across the United States
  • Links to technical resources, analytical tools, and sources of funding

These guides are part of EPA’s Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, which is designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits.

To access these guides and others in this series, please visit the Local Climate and Energy Strategy Series page.

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Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Publications, Renewable energy


Green Power Procurement: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new climate and energy strategy guide for local governments: Green Power Procurement– a Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs. According to EPA, green power is a subset of renewable energy produced with no greenhouse gas emissions, typically from sources such as wind energy. Key features of the guide include case studies and examples from communities across the United States, as well as links to technical resources, analytical tools, and funding sources.


The energy transition tipping point is here

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

The economic foundations supporting fossil fuels investments are collapsing quickly, as the business case for renewables such as solar and wind finds a new center of balance.

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Renewable energy


Projected Impacts of State Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Policies

EPA has released updated draft projections of energy impacts from key state energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) policies not captured in the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). These policies include:

  • Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) and EE funding policies that reduce electricity demand through the use of energy efficient equipment, technologies and practices, and
  • Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements beyond what is assumed in AEO 2013

EPA encourages state representatives and other interested parties to submit comments on these draft projections. EPA will carefully consider all comments received, and will make appropriate changes to our analysis on the basis of your input. Please submit your comments by April 1, 2014.

Background: EPA and many states rely on the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) demand forecast for power sector modeling and emissions planning. The AEO forecast includes some EE/RE policies, but does not explicitly account for several key EE/RE policies currently “on the books” in many states.  With this announcement, EPA is providing draft impact projections for these policies.

How These Projections Help States: States may use EPA’s EE/RE projections to quantify the associated emissions reductions, and then include these reductions in their SIP submittals. Jurisdictions not currently preparing a SIP but interested in better understanding the energy and emissions impacts of EE/RE policies may likewise use EPA’s methodology and estimates to identify strategies for staying in attainment with the NAAQS.

Input Requested: EPA is requesting comments on its draft impact projections and supporting documentation, including:

  • Background and Methodology Document - explains EPA’s approach to projecting the impacts of “on the books” EE/RE policies that are not explicitly reflected in the EIA’s AEO 2013 electricity projections.
  • Embedded Methodology Document – provides detail on EPA’s approach to identifying the fraction of total annual energy savings from state EE policies already embedded in AEO 2013.
  • Annual Energy Savings and Generation Estimates – provides EPA’s numeric estimates of the policy impacts not explicitly accounted for in AEO 2013 forecast, as determined by applying the previous two documents to the current EE/RE policy landscape in the United States.

Key Questions: EPA encourages state representatives and other interested parties to submit comment on the draft resources described above. The following questions are provided to help guide your review:

  • Is EPA’s description of EE/RE policies currently “on the books” in your state accurate, and are the energy impact projections reasonable? If not, what changes are needed?
  • Is EPA’s overall approach to projecting energy and peak demand impacts from state EE/RE policies analytically sound and consistent with industry practice? Why or why not?
  • Are there uncertainties, issues, or limitations related to estimating EE/RE impacts that are not identified and addressed in this analysis? If so, what are they?
  • Are the EE/RE projections presented in a clear and understandable way, given that the key audiences include both air and energy regulators? If not, what changes are needed?
  • Do you have suggestions for modifying or improving the ways that EPA makes its impact projections available for download, analysis, and manipulation by the states?

Questions? Contact EPA by email.


Alternative Energy in Concessions

Read the full post from National Park Service Commercial Services.

In today’s society, a trend is starting: parks and other businesses are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, and supply energy in a sustainable manner. It is estimated that by 2050 one-third of the world’s energy will need to come from solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable resources.Alternative energy refers to energy sources that have fewer undesired consequences than fossil fuel sources, namely lower carbon emissions. In addition to renewable alternative energy sources, many parks are also using alternative fuels.

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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Renewable energy


Scientists harness cows’ ‘burp-power’ as alternative energy

Watch the full story from the BBC.

Argentine farmers have long raised cows for meat, but now the country’s cattle may soon be hailed for their contribution to saving the environment.

A team of scientists from the National Institute for Farming Technology in Buenos Aires has found a way of harnessing the methane gas which builds up in the animals’ stomachs and converting it into an alternative energy source.

Ignacio de los Reyes reports.


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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Agriculture, Renewable energy


A Scarcity of Rare Metals Is Hindering Green Technologies

Read the full story at Yale Environment 360.

A shortage of “rare earth” metals, used in everything from electric car batteries to solar panels to wind turbines, is hampering the growth of renewable energy technologies. Researchers are now working to find alternatives to these critical elements or better ways to recycle them.


What’s in the bioslurry? Find out with ion chromatography and a special heating regime

Read the full story from SeparationsNOW.

Heating plant biomass in the absence of oxygen, known as pyrolysis, produces a mixture of solid residue known as biochar, liquid bio-oil and gas, primarily a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen known as syngas. The exact proportion of each of the three products depends on the temperature the biomass is heated at and for how long: heating briefly at high temperatures (above 700°C) produces mainly bio-oil and gas, while heating at lower temperatures (400–500°C) for longer produces more biochar.

All three products have their uses, however. The syngas and bio-oil can be converted into various liquid fuels and industrial chemicals, while the biochar can be used as a solid fuel (indeed, it is basically just charcoal) or as an additive to improve soil quality. In addition, scientists have recently discovered that mixing the biochar and bio-oil together also produces a very good fuel, known as bioslurry.

It may have a rather unattractive name, but bioslurry offers an elegant solution to a problem that has long bedevilled bio-oil, which is that converting bio-oil into a useable liquid fuel is currently an expensive and time-consuming process. In contrast, mixing bio-oil with biochar offers a much simpler way to utilize it as a fuel, with the resultant bioslurry able to replace coal in power stations.

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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Biochar, Renewable energy


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