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MUST READS for July 1, 2013

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must readsRedesigning The Electricity Market For Wind And Solar

June 26, 2013 | Giles Parkinson | CleanTechnia

Late last year, RenewEconomy wrote an analysis entitled the energy markets are broken. We were pilloried by some for exaggeration and being overly dramatic. But we simply drew on insight from the experts, and now they are quite open about the problem: the world’s energy markets do need to be redesigned, otherwise they cannot cope with the impact of wind and solar.

The International Energy Agency, in its recent special update of progress on climate policies, noted that liberalised energy markets (such as Australia’s) should be able to encourage a “significant decarbonisation” of the energy mix. The problem was that these markets – created to support incumbent, centralised fossil fuel generators, were not suited to deliver the sort of energy transformation that was needed to meet climate change targets.

Part of the problem is that the current “energy” markets are designed to allow baseload fossil fuel generation to trundle through at relatively low cost – but no environmental accounting. When demand rises, more expensive peaking plant generation is brought in, with prices rising for all generators. This has underpinned much of the revenues and profits for the incumbents.

 

Why Is China Investing So Much in U.S. Solar and Wind?

June 20, 2013 | Yingzhen Zhao | insights

The world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters—the United States and China—have been forging a growing bond in combating climate change. Just last week, President Obama and President Xi made a landmark agreement to work towards reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a potent greenhouse gas. And both the United States and China are leading global investment and development of clean energy. The United States invested $30.4 billion and added 16.9 GW of wind and solar capacity in 2012. China invested $58.4 billion and added 19.2 GW in capacity.

U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy was the topic of discussion at an event last week at the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s China Environment Forum. Experts from the World Resources Institute and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) looked at this cooperation from a seldom-discussed viewpoint – China’s renewable energy investments in the United States.

New Spin On Wind Turbine Adds Solar Element

June 7, 2013 | Pete Danko | earthtechling

Go big or go home, right? That seems to be the thinking at the University of Bath, which has headlined a report on a new renewable energy device design with the not-so-timid claim: “New hybrid technology set to change the future of renewables.”

The university is touting a design that combines wind and solar in a vertical-axis turbine configuration. It was developed by a company called McCamley Middle East, with input from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Bath, we’re told.

Bath and McCamley make assertions of superiority over horizontal-axis turbines: the turbine, they say, starts up in lighter winds, handles variations in wind direction better and can continue operating at very high wind speeds. These are familiar claims for vertical-axis turbines – as Michael Barnard points out in his excellent overview of VAWTs – and theoretically defensible to some degree. But why this design would be superior to other VAWTs, none of which have yet passed muster with the Small Wind Certification Council, BTW, isn’t clear.

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