Public Art or Renewable Energy? New Designs Aim to Produce Both

Read the full story at E360 Digest.

As cities look to incorporate sustainable technologies into their infrastructure, a design competition is challenging artists and architects to create artwork that can both generate renewable energy and enlighten the public on environmental issues.

Secretary Moniz Releases Report Showing the Cost Reductions and Rapid Deployment of Clean Energy Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released a new report that highlights the accelerated deployment of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, solar technologies for both utility-scale and distributed photovoltaic (PV), electric vehicles (EVs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The report, Revolution…Now, was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz during a discussion at The Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum.

Revolution…Now is annually updated and describes the decreasing cost and increasing deployment of clean-energy technologies in the United States. As the world continues to move toward a low-carbon economy, this 2016 update released today builds upon last year’s edition and details the economic and environmental benefits our nation is already starting to realize thanks to the increased deployment.

“This report is further proof that our commitment to clean energy and American innovation can lead to steep cost reductions and sharp increases in the deployment of advanced technologies,” Secretary Moniz said. “We need to continue pushing the innovation agenda that leads to these kinds of dramatic cost reductions for all low-carbon technologies and increases America’s competitiveness and independence in the global clean energy economy.”

DOE’s continued investments in the research and advancement of the five clean energy technologies highlighted in Revolution…Now have contributed to price reductions from 40 percent to as high as 94 percent since 2008. Highlights from the report detail the dramatic increases in America’s clean energy deployment, which include:

  • Land-based wind accounted for 41 percent of all new capacity brought online in 2015. Overall, wind generated enough electricity to power more than 17 million households.
  • Utility-scale solar PV represented 15 percent of all newly installed electricity generation capacity in 2015. Overall utility-scale PV generated enough electricity to power over 2 million homes.
  • Distributed solar PV has reached one million rooftop installations on homes and businesses after experiencing a 54 percent reduction in overall costs since 2008.
  • In total, wind and solar accounts for two-thirds of all new, U.S. installed electricity capacity.
  • Installation of LED A-type bulbs exceeded 200 million through 2015 – growing 160 percent over 2014.
  • Total sales of electric vehicles (EV) has soared closer to the half million mark with 490,000 EVs on the road as of August 2016.

Increased deployment of clean energy technologies is already revealing real-time benefits. Solar power saved 17 million metric tons of CO2 in 2014 – leading to reduced water consumption and decreased air pollution that equate to nearly $700 million in environmental savings.  LEDs use 85 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and projections show that increased installation could allow for up to $630 billion in energy saving for American’s between now and 2035.

In addition to these five rapidly growing technologies, the report also discusses four emerging technologies. These additional technologies – fuel cells, grid-connected batteries, energy management systems and big area additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3-D printing – are on the cusp of wider deployment in the coming years. As these technologies become even more cost-effective and widely available, the economic and environmental benefits will grow.

DOE will continue its research and development for these core and emerging technologies as it works to further reduce market barriers and continue innovation that strengthen the clean energy revolution and transform the way in which our nation produces and uses energy.

The full copy of the Revolution…Now report can be found here. A short fact sheet on the Revolution…Now report can be found here. And a video on the report can be seen here.

The government just decided the future of California’s desert, and solar companies aren’t happy

Read the full story from the Washington Post.

After eight years of work, federal land managers Wednesday finalized a sweeping plan apportioning nearly 11 million publicly owned acres of the California desert among different uses — including recreation, conservation, and the development of renewable energy projects.

And while the decision by the Bureau of Land Management largely satisfied some stakeholders — particularly conservationists who have been battling to protect iconic species that inhabit this ecosystem like the desert tortoise and bighorn sheep — clean energy interests protested upon learning that only 388,000 acres would be explicitly set aside for renewable energy. That’s the same amount of area as in an earlier draft of the plan that these groups had strongly criticized.

Wind, solar and electric cars are booming. Too bad that’s not enough to stop climate change

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The tough thing about halting climate change is that it means altering pretty much everything about how we get and use energy. We have to change how we generate electricity — how we power our homes, our buildings and operate the grid. We have to change transportation, how we get around, travel, transport goods.

And you can’t really miss anything. If any change lags behind, then suddenly a specific sector — say, the airline industry — will come to stand out as the next big emissions problem.

It’s in this context that it’s worth thinking about a new report on global patterns of energy investment — $1.8 trillion worth in 2015 — just released by the International Energy Agency. Because what that report essentially says is that although there’s clear progress, we’re also missing some things. Some very big things.

Monthly U.S. renewable electricity generation in 2016 surpasses previous years

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

Renewable electricity generation has surpassed levels from previous years in every month so far this year, based on data through June. Both hydroelectric and nonhydroelectric renewables have contributed to this trend, but in different ways. After a lengthy West Coast drought, hydro generation has increased and is now closer to historical levels. Nonhydro renewable generation continues to increase year-over-year and has exceeded hydro generation in each month since February 2016.

Making The Cloud Green: Tech Firms Push For Renewable Energy Sources

Read the full story from NPR.

At Green House Data in Cheyenne, Wyo., energy efficiency is an obsession.

When someone enters one of the company’s secured data vaults, they’re asked to pause in the entryway and stomp their shoes on a clear rubber mat with a sticky, glue-like finish.

“Dust is a huge concern of ours,” says Art Salazar, the director of operations.

That’s because dust makes electronics run hotter, which then means using more electricity to cool them down. For data centers, the goal is to use as little electricity as possible, because it’s typically companies’ biggest expense.

In 2013, data centers consumed 2 percent of all U.S. power — triple what they consumed in 2000. Wendy Fox, Green House Data’s communications director, says the sector has a responsibility to source that electricity sustainably.

The power Green House Data draws from the grid mostly comes from coal. The company offsets that by purchasing green energy credits that support renewable energy development elsewhere.

But larger companies are no longer interested in simply buying credits. Instead, they want to get more of their power directly from renewables.

10 climate change-fighting energy apps to tap

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

There seems to be an app for everything, whether you’re looking for a ride across town, finding a place to crash for the night or even hoping to advance renewable energy.

Energy is responsible for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from burning fossil fuels for electricity. A cornerstone of the Paris Agreement coming out of the U.N. COP21 climate talks was investing in renewable energy, such as solar and wind, alongside energy efficiency.

Want to be a part of expanding the renewables economy? Here are 10 nifty apps for businesses and consumers alike.