Who’s the best universal adaptor? Plug in here for a world-wide renewable energy update
The watts, where and why of renewable energy uptake all over the globe: how eight little islands scored 100%, how China plans to turbine back the tide of climate change … and everything in between.
State of the nation addresses climate change
California Governor Jerry Brown has proposed an ambitious new clean-energy target for his state: 50% renewable energy by 2030. California leads at least 12 US states in bucking the national Clean Power Plan recommended targets by setting their sights significantly higher. Hawaii is blasting the CPP’s 10% standard by shooting for 40%. Colorado pooh-poohs the CPP suggestion of 21% by 2030—setting itself up for 30% by 2020.
Sun-soaked emirate saves water with renewables
Dubai looks set to ramp up its target for renewable energy to 15% of the overall generation mix by 2030, from its current level of 5%. In addition, it is targeting a reduction in energy consumption of 30% by 2030. In Dubai, renewables are naturally more about solar parks than wind farms, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is reported by PV Tech to next year be launching a tender for a 500-megawatt solar power project. Water saving is said to be partly behind Dubai’s push into renewables. The International Renewable Energy Agency this year published a report that showed water needs for generating solar and wind power are 200 times less than the water required by a coal-fired power plant to produce the same amount of electricity. Arid-country bonus!
Islands max out the grid with rays and sea breezes
The World Bank is backing Tuvalu's goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2020, with a US$7 million grant that will see the implementation of a new Energy Sector Development Project (ESDP). The resulting renewables infrastructure will include solar and wind-generating capacity, alongside systems to provide grid stability and to store excess energy. Energy-efficiency measures, such as smart meters for large energy consumers, and prepayment meters for domestic customers will also play a part in the plan to reduce the eight-island nation’s reliance on imported fuel.
China builds a dyke out of wind turbines
As part of its plans to flick the switch from fossil fuels to 50% renewables by 2020, China aims to increase its wind installations to 150 GW of total wind capacity by the end of 2017. Last year it led the world in new wind installations, adding 23,351 megawatts. In January 2015, GE kicked off the new year of Chinese wind flowering with a contract to provide 55 of its 2.75-120 brilliant wind turbines, capable of generating 151 megawatts of power, for China's Huaneng Dali Longquan wind project in Yunnan.
Policy created to support India’s renewable dreams
India has substantially revised an earlier solar energy target of achieving 20,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity by 2022 to 100,000MW. It also plans to put in place 60,000MW of wind power capacity by then. The world has been sceptical about India’s ability to attract the capital necessary to fund such an increase in renewable infrastructure, but the country’s Secretary of New and Renewable Energy, Upendra Tripathy, recently announced that a Renewable Energy Act or National Renewable Energy Policy would be in place, hopefully by February this year, to boost investor confidence. The Act or Policy is expected to streamline many aspects of supply, tariff and grid usage, and present a vision for India’s renewable-fuelled future, rather than just targets.
One wind farm: 20% of Kenya’s power
In Kenya, a single massive wind-farm project of 400 turbines producing 300 megawatts of electricity is set to provide 20 per cent of the country’s electricity generating capacity when it comes online in 2016. The Lake Turkana Wind Project, after several false starts, achieved sign-off on the necessary financing in December 2014. It is expected to save the country US$78 million in fuel imports each year, and represents a significant component of Kenya’s ambitions to add 500 megawatts of power to its grid over the coming three years.
Resourceful Scots export clean energy
In 2011, Scotland set a target for 100% of its electricity demand to be provided by renewable energy by 2020, and it’s well on track. In the first six months of 2014, wind and hydropower accounted for 41% of Scotland’s needs. During the first month of 2015, wind turbines alone produced enough average daily electricity to meet the needs of 146% of Scottish households. One might not envy Scotland that intensity of windy weather, but look to the country’s lofty goals! The tides are also being harnessed: this year, construction of the world’s largest tidal energy project will see installation of 269 turbines on the seabed at Ness of Quoys in Caithness, in the north-east of Scotland. Much of its projected capacity of almost 400 megawatts of power will be exported—power is money.
Solar traders flock to desert north
The northern African country of Algeria is set to double its previous goal of 12 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030, according to a recent release by Algeria’s state press agency, reported in Clean Technica. The new goal is likely to be set at 25 GW by 2030. This sun-blessed country currently runs a feed-in tariff for solar, offering a guaranteed flat rate of 5% for the first five years of a project and a performance-based rate for the following 15 years. More than 350 megawatts of solar PV projects are now under development in Algeria.
Dam water down, Brazil turns to wind
Last year Brazil's investment in renewables almost doubled to US$7.9 billion. Some 80% of Brazil’s electricity generation already originates in renewable sources — a legacy of decades of investment in hydroelectricity which supplies 65% of the country’s power. As more frequent and severe drought episodes threaten hydro-electric dam levels, Brazil has increased its investment in wind power in particular. At the end of 2014, it boasted 6 GW of installed wind capacity, which places it in 10th place in the world for installed wind power, according to recently released Global Wind Energy Council data. As part of its bid to increase its wind feed to the grid the Brazilian renewable energy developer Casa dos Ventos signed a deal with GE in January this year for the supply of 346 megawatts of wind turbines, worth around US$490 million.
The Europa cup of offshore wind runneth over
In a battle of two offshore-wind-energy-producing titans, waged largely in the wind-whipped North Sea, Germany is set to overtake the UK this year as Europe’s biggest installer of offshore turbines. In 2014, the UK kicked a winning renewable goal, having installed more than 54% of all Europe’s new offshore wind farms; Germany lagged at 35.7%. This year, Germany will take home the cup. Overall, Germany has invested more in renewable power generation than any other European country, and may exceed its declared aim of achieving 35% renewable power by 2020. In January this year, Australian clean-energy news and analysis website Renew Economy reported that Germany’s “renewable targets are on track, have lowered emissions, decoupled energy consumption from economic growth, pushed wholesale prices down to record lows, and are now pushing retail prices down”.
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