renewable energy transition

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pages: 358 words: 93,969

Climate Change by Joseph Romm

carbon footprint, Climatic Research Unit, decarbonisation, demand response, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge worker, mass immigration, performance metric, renewable energy transition, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, the scientific method

That means that solar power can be a sustainable source of very low carbon power in the coming decades. It is ironic, as one of the Stanford authors noted, “At the moment, Germany makes up about 40% of the installed market, but sunshine in Germany isn’t that great. So from a system perspective, it may be better to deploy PV systems where there is more sunshine.” Germany has done the world a great favor by investing so heavily in its renewable energy transition, which has helped to bring down the cost of solar energy for every country. However, solar power is considerably more cost-effective in places where it is sunnier longer during both the day and year, such as the Southwest United States and the Middle East. This is another reason we can expect the amount of solar PV generated to continue its rapid increase. Concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) is the use of mirrors to focus sunlight to heat a fluid that runs an engine to make electricity.


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, different worldview, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jones Act, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, renewable energy transition, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

The cities of Frankfurt and Munich, which had never sold off their energy grids, had already joined the transition and pledged to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and 2025, respectively. But Hamburg and Berlin, which had both gone the privatization route, were lagging behind. And this was a central argument for proponents of taking back Hamburg’s grid: it would allow them to get off coal and nuclear and go green.5 Much has been written about Germany’s renewable energy transition—particularly the speed at which it is being achieved, as well as the ambition of its future targets (the country is aiming for 55–60 percent renewables by 2035).6 The weaknesses of the program have also been hotly debated, particularly the question of whether the decision to phase out nuclear energy has led to a resurgence of coal (more on that next chapter). In all of this analysis, however, scarce attention has been paid to one key factor that has made possible what may be the world’s most rapid shift to wind and solar power: the fact that in hundreds of cities and towns across the country, citizens have voted to take their energy grids back from the private corporations that purchased them.

Of course the oil majors want in.29 So in 2006, the environmental group Acción Ecológica (the same group that made an early alliance with the anti-oil movement in Nigeria) put forward a counterproposal: the Ecuadorian government should agree not to sell the oil, but it should be supported in this action by the international community, which would benefit collectively from the preservation of biodiversity and from keeping planet-warming gases out of our shared atmosphere. That would mean partially compensating Ecuador for what it would have earned from oil revenues had it opted to drill. As Esperanza Martínez, president of Acción Ecológica, explained, the “proposal establishes a precedent, arguing that countries should be rewarded for not exploiting their oil. . . . Funds gathered would be used for the [renewable] energy transition and could be seen as payments for the ecological debt from North to South, and they should be distributed democratically at the local and global levels.” Besides, she writes, surely “the most direct way to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide was to leave fossil fuels in the ground.”30 The Yasuní plan was based on the premise that Ecuador, like all developing countries, is owed a debt for the inherent injustice of climate change—the fact that wealthy countries had used up most of the atmospheric capacity for safely absorbing CO2 before developing countries had a chance to industrialize.


pages: 469 words: 132,438

Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet by Varun Sivaram

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, carbon footprint, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, demand response, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, financial innovation, fixed income, global supply chain, global village, Google Earth, hive mind, hydrogen economy, index fund, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, M-Pesa, market clearing, market design, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Negawatt, off grid, oil shock, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, renewable energy transition, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, time value of money, undersea cable, wikimedia commons

Each year, a new curve graphed the power that Californian consumers would expect the grid to deliver after they had consumed all of the solar power generated in the middle of the day. Plotted together, the various curves took on the unmistakable shape of … a duck. Excited to have boiled a complex concept down to a tractable bath toy, CAISO adopted the “duck curve” as the mascot of its campaign to educate the public about the difficulties of the renewable energy transition. Figure 3.4 California’s duck curve. This is an updated version of the original figure created by the California grid operator (CAISO) to predict the increasing strain on California’s grid as the penetration of solar power increased. CAISO’s original projection of a more than 1,000 MW/h ramp requirement in 2020 arrived three years ahead of schedule. By 2026, the requirement could be more than 4,000 MW/h.


pages: 469 words: 142,230

The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Elon Musk, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, renewable energy transition, Scramble for Africa, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus

There is simply no precedent for a wholesale change that doesn’t offer users appealing new possibilities in terms of the way they use the energy – for a change that is pushed through rather than pulled along. And as far as the end user is concerned, renewable electricity is just another form of electricity – it offers no advantage as a means of powering things, even if generating the electricity that way has various charms. Its benefits are felt at the level of the system, not at the level of the individual buyer. That means a renewable-energy transition will need significant pushing. As with Grübler’s observations about the time transitions take, this points merely to decarbonization being unprecedented, not impossible. But the best example in recent history of an energy transition that governments tried to push through, rather than simply letting users pull, is not very encouraging. Governments in various countries pushed quite hard for a transition to nuclear power in the 1960s and 1970s.


Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, Corn Laws, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy transition, failed state, Gary Taubes, global value chain, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, land tenure, Live Aid, LNG terminal, long peace, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, renewable energy transition, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Y2K

One pioneering study found that in the case of Germany, where nuclear and hydroelectric dams produce seventy-five and thirty-five times more in energy, respectively, than is required to make them, solar, wind, and biomass produce just 1.6, 3.9, and 3.5 times more.89 Coal, gas, and oil return about thirty times more energy than they require.90 Just as the far higher power densities of coal made the industrial revolution possible, the far lower power densities of solar and wind would make today’s high-energy, urbanized, and industrial civilization impossible. And, as we have seen, for some advocates of renewables, that has always been the goal. In its 2019 exposé, Der Spiegel concludes that Germany’s renewable energy transition was just done incorrectly,91 but that’s misleading. The transition to renewables was doomed because modern industrial people, no matter how romantic they are, do not want to return to pre-modern life. 6. Why Dilute Energy Destroys Since the 1970s, when the renewable energy agenda was proposed as an alternative to nuclear, most scenarios for 100 percent renewables depended heavily on burning biomass when the sun wasn’t shining and the wind wasn’t blowing.