- Turn Down the Heat - why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided. While some readers may be skeptical of the World Bank generally, this is a worthwhile attempt by their research arm to forecast economic impacts of business-as-usual-scenario global warming. Full report available here.
- The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in the USA released a new free report, Understanding Electric Utility Customers; it took 1.5 years and summarizes research on how much consumers (all types) know about electricity, and willingness/ability to change behaviors therein.
- The American Nuclear Society held a panel on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) at its national meeting in mid-November; the first in over a decade. There's enough evidence for something anomalous going on; and an initial theory being tested; but when and how the phenomenon can be tapped for usable power is anyone's guess.
- The Global Cleantech 100 is an annual report surveying and listing the top firms in clean tech, and also current trends. This year, they believe the 3rd wave of growth is starting amidst short-term pessimism.
- The Nonsense of Biofuels by Chemistry Nobel Laureate Dr. Hartmut Michel, argues that biofuels should not be used because of their highly inefficient energy yield, and destructive socioeconomic and environmental effects. Instead, electric vehicles and infrastructure should be the future of transportation.
- In a starting effort to simplify paperwork, the US National
Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has recently:
- Setup a homepage for renewable energy contracts, which have long varied in their terms and conditions.
- Released a report on the state-of-the-art for residential solar PV financing.
- German and EU Renewable Energy Policy and their employment impact slides from a presentation (given 9/2012) by the global Fraunhofer ISI research group, reporting on socioeconomic benefits of renewables. Short version: lots of good jobs from German policy; EU-wide there's modest positive impact (it's uneven as national policies widely differ).
- Don't Block the Sun op-ed, argues for staying the course with solar and renewables support policy for long-term energy security.
- Inexpensive, scalable, and location-independent energy storage is key to the long-term (in 1-2 decades) deployment of renewable energy. The US Dept. of Energy recently announced the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, with the goal of 5x the energy storage at 1/5 the cost within 5 years. It's been 200 years since Volta invented the first battery and battery progress has been very slow; if JCESR achieves even half its goals it would be stunning.
- Are electric vehicles healthier? So claims this infographic, electric vehicle health benefits.
Smart Grid (SG)
- Do smart meters serve the public? Are they the right emphasis for the smart grid? No and no, argues a new report by Dr. Timothy Schoechle titled Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid. Schoechle makes clear how the public needs its own perspective on the SG and the future of energy, distinct from industry (dominated by incumbent utility thinking) and academia (dominated by technical novelty). Excellent writing, very cogent critiques of current SG assumptions, and compelling solutions here.
- The IEEE commissioned the Zpryme consulting firm to survey 460 SG industry participants on the SG's future: a majority consider distributed generation (i.e. small-scale systems close to users), energy storage, and microgrids to be most important. Read a news article summary, or get the full report.
- SmartGridNews.com hosted a webinar on recent developments with energy in-home-display (IHD) devices. IHDs are useful for demand response capabilities, and some IHDs are already providing real-time energy pricing. Check out the slides.
- Heard the news that the USA will outproduce Saudi Arabia in oil by 2020? Well that's not true, argues this article.
- Wind news: Obama administration opening up Atlantic coast for offshore wind, while the wind production tax credit is still being pushed for renewal.
- SUNY Buffalo Shuts Down Its Institute on Drilling Pressured by a petition from students, faculty, and community who questioned its integrity, and dogged by hidden funding/ties to industry, SUNY's Shale Resources and Society Institute was terminated. A bit less academic prostitution in the world, nice.
- The US EIA has new data on the total amount of solar PV now plugged-in; previously small (less than 1MW) residential/commercial systems weren't reported by utilities via form EIA-861, but an updated version of that form indicates small systems comprise at least 2/3 of the roughly 3.5GW of installed US solar power.
- The Interstate Renewable Energy Council published its annual U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011 report; solar PV growth was very good and should continue.
- Also, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published the 5th edition of their Tracking the Sun report, finding continued price reductions for solar in the US in 2011 and early 2012.
- Solar: the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) recently released a new report large-scale grid integration of solar PV, Connecting the Sun. In brief, solar power could provide 25% of European power demand by 2030.
Middle-East and Central Asia
- Saudi Arabia seeking to produce 1/3 of its power needs from solar by 2032. If you had a ton of sunlight and expected oil to be more expensive, you too would tap the light, and export the oil.
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