Nicaragua’s renewable energy plan shows significant progress

Central American nation seeks energy independence via renewable energy

In 2005, Nicaragua planned to reduce dependence on oil. Renewable energy may soon provide 80% of Nicaragua's power.
In 2005, Nicaragua planned to reduce dependence on oil. Renewable energy may soon provide 80% of Nicaragua’s power.

In 2005, the Nicaraguan government generated a long-term plan to allow its country to be significantly independent from oil.

Ten years later, those plans show significant progress, and experts say that more than half of the country could be powered by renewable energy in just a few years.

Back when Nicaragua was completely dependent on oil, 12-hour blackouts plagued the country — severely affecting the livelihoods of the people. The problem wasn’t an oil shortage but Nicaragua’s lack of thermal plants that could convert oil to electricity.

With the installation of wind farms and other renewable energy facilities in the country, Nicaragua’s energy is set to be more stable than ever. The country may not have enough facilities to create energy from oil, but it has strong winds, scorching weather, and blistering volcanoes – factors that could generate a lot of electricity from renewable energy.

Constructing wind farms and photovoltaic power stations in Nicaragua should not be a problem given the fact that there are many companies around the world that supply parts for renewable energy facilities. Sulzer, Unaoil’s partner in servicing oil and gas companies in Southern Iraq, is a major supplier of pumps for renewable energy companies around the world. Constructing such facilities is also economical now since the cost for building solar panels has severely dropped in recent years.

“You have all the opening here from the lake all the way to the Caribbean, so it’s like a tunnel. And it’s very steady. It’s not too gusty.” — Javier Pentzke, manager of the Amayo wind farm

Nicaragua’s biggest wind farm, Amayo, lies on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. According to Javier Pentzke, manager of the Amayo wind farm, the wind in the area is perfect for rotating three-bladed wind turbines.

Nicaragua is expecting to reduce its dependence on oil from 80% to less than 10%

If everything goes according to plan and facilities are constructed quickly, the country can become an international leader in renewable technology by next year.

In-pipe Hydropower Produces Clean, Renewable Energy

PRESS RELEASE – January 20, 2015 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

The Portland Water Bureau “Put a Turbine In It” and began generating renewable energy for Portland General Electric earlier this month

The in-pipe hydropower system will generate $2 million worth of clean electricity over 20 years, in Portland, Oregon.

The new four-turbine LucidPipe™ Power System project in Portland, Oregon is the first in the U.S. to secure a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy from in-pipe hydropower.
The new four-turbine LucidPipe™ Power System project in Portland, Oregon is the first in the U.S. to secure a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy from in-pipe hydropower. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and Lucid Energy, a provider of renewable energy systems for in-pipe hydropower and smart water infrastructure, have flipped the switch, officially turning one of the city’s major water pipelines into a generator of renewable energy.

The LucidPipe™ Power System uses the gravity-fed flow of water inside a PWB pipeline to spin four 42” turbines that are now producing electricity for Portland General Electric (PGE) customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the utility, helping promote renewable power development and resource diversity for Oregon.

LucidEnergy three-turbine system. Image for illustrative purposes only. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.
LucidEnergy three-turbine system. Image for illustrative purposes only. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.

The system, which was installed at no cost to PWB or the City of Portland, is the first project in the U.S. to secure a 20-year PPA for renewable energy produced by in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline.

The Water Bureau welcomed the opportunity to explore the innovative use of a Portland pipe delivering water to create hydroelectric power as well. — Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff

The system will begin full energy production within the next two months. LucidPipe has been tested and Certified by NSF International to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for use in potable water systems. It does not disrupt pipeline operations and has no environmental impact.

PGE’s goal is to be our customers’ partner in helping to build a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for Oregon.

We’re pleased to integrate new generating technologies and applications like this into our system when they offer cost-effective solutions for our customers and the environment. — Brett Sims, PGE director of origination, structuring and resource strategy

The Portland LucidPipe system was fully financed in October 2014 with capital from Harbourton Alternative Energy, a subsidiary of Harbourton Enterprises.

The Water Bureau welcomed the opportunity to explore the innovative use of a Portland pipe delivering water to create hydroelectric power as well [as delivering water].

Water and energy are closely linked. The Lucid pipe system provides a way for the Water Bureau to contribute to generating electricity for our community in a clean, low-cost and renewable way. — David Shaff, Water Bureau Administrator

The project will generate approximately $2 million worth of renewable energy capacity over the 20-year PPA period, enough electricity for more than 150 homes in Portland. The Portland Water Bureau and Harbourton will share in the revenue.

After 20 years, PWB will have the right to own the system and all the energy it produces.

Water agencies are looking for ways to be more energy efficient, energy utilities are seeking more renewable sources of energy and investors are seeking opportunities in smart water and energy infrastructure.

The industry is looking to Portland as an example of how all of these entities can partner to take advantage of in-pipe hydropower to generate investment returns and reduce the cost of delivering clean, safe drinking water. — Gregg Semler, President and CEO, Lucid Energy, Inc.

The first installation of the LucidPipe Power System is at Riverside Public Utilities in Riverside, California. Lucid Energy is currently exploring opportunities with municipalities, water agencies and renewable energy investors from around the world.

Lucid Energy has secured private funding from a very active syndicate of investors including Northwest Pipe Company, the Israeli hybrid venture capital/crowdsourcing platform OurCrowd, Star Energy and the Harbourton Fund as well as more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. The funding is being used to accelerate commercialization of the LucidPipe Power System worldwide.

Close-up of the LucidPipe Power System turbine. Renewable energy from municipal water supply systems. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.
Close-up of the LucidPipe Power System turbine. Renewable energy from municipal water supply. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.

About Lucid Energy

Lucid Energy, Inc. is a provider of renewable energy and smart water management solutions that improve the economics of delivering water. Lucid Energy’s patented LucidPipe™ Power System enables industrial, municipal and agricultural facilities to generate clean, reliable, low-cost electricity from their gravity-fed water pipelines and effluent streams.

Lucid Energy codeveloped the technology with Northwest Pipe Company (NASDAQ: NWPX), the largest manufacturer of steel water transmission pipe in the United States. www.lucidenergy.com.

NCCETC Releases Guide to Going Solar in America’s 50 Largest Cities

NCCETC Releases Residential Customer Guide to Going Solar in America’s 50 Largest Cities | 13/01/15
by North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center

RALEIGH, NC (January 13, 2015) – Today, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs), the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (formerly the N.C. Solar Center) announced the release of the second report in its Going Solar in America series:

Going Solar in America: A Guide for Homeowners Considering Solar PV in America’s 50 Largest Cities

The first Going Solar in America report, released last week, ranked America’s 50 largest cities by the financial value rooftop solar offers residential customers. According to the authors’ calculations, a financed solar PV system can be a better investment than the S&P 500 in 46 of the 50 cities.

Going Solar in America report, ranks America’s 50 largest cities by the financial value rooftop solar offers residential customers. Image courtesy of NC Clean Energy Technology Center, N.C. State University.
Going Solar in America report, ranks America’s 50 largest cities by the financial value rooftop solar offers residential customers. Image courtesy of NC Clean Energy Technology Center, N.C. State University.

The second report, released today, provides actionable information to homeowners as a follow-up to these rankings. This customer-facing guide includes descriptions of the policy and incentive options available to homeowners considering solar and information on how to get started. Among topics addressed are solar PV technology, financing options (loans, leases and power purchase agreements), and net metering and “value of solar” tariffs.

Many Americans are not aware of the degree to which solar costs have declined, and the emerging value that solar offers as a savings and investment opportunity, so the Going Solar in America reports are intended to build support and awareness by providing estimated values for each of America’s largest cities. Contrary to popular belief, rooftop solar is already cheaper than utility rates in 42 of the 50 cities, and this is set to increase as the cost of solar continues to decline and utility rates increase.

“We wanted to first draw attention to the financial value that solar offers today and then have a resource available to assist homeowners who are interested in taking the next step,” said Autumn Proudlove, co-author of the Going Solar in America reports.

Another reason why many homeowners are unaware of solar PV’s value is due to the fact that most people do not have a point of reference for understanding how much it costs them. This report provides customers with a common point of reference most Americans can understand well – the cost of a new (and best-selling) car.

“It may surprise many homeowners, but the fact is, the upfront cost of a typical size solar PV system, even without various policies, incentives, tax credits, and other low-cost financing options, is about the same as the upfront cost of a 2015 Toyota Corolla™ in all regions of the country,” said Jim Kennerly, the lead author and project manager for the Going Solar in America reports.

“Given that a car’s upfront cost does not include ongoing gas and maintenance costs, it really shows that going solar right now is a great financial value, no matter who you are, or where you live.”

Below is a table from the report that compares the regional price of solar (generously provided to the Center by EnergySage, an online solar marketplace), with the average prices paid for a 2015 Toyota Corolla™ (courtesy of U.S. News and World Report):

Going solar
Cost comparison between a 5kW solar PV system and a new Toyota Corolla (2014). Image courtesy of North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, N.C. State University.

 

To obtain a full copy of the report and rankings, please click here.

For a copy of the Technical Appendix to this report and to “Going Solar in America: Ranking Solar’s Value to Consumers in Americas Largest Cities” (released last week), please click here.
 

About the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training.

For more information about the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, visit: http://www.nccleantech.ncsu.edu.

Twitter: @NCCleanTech

Republished at JBS News with the kind permission of the report’s authours

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases AR5 report

IPCC AR5 Cover IPCC PRESS RELEASE — 2 November 2014

Concluding installment of the Fifth Assessment Report: Climate change threatens irreversible and dangerous impacts, but options exist to limit its effects

COPENHAGEN, Nov 2, 2014 — Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents.

If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. However, options are available to adapt to climate change and implementing stringent mitigation activities can ensure that the impacts of climate change remain within a manageable range, creating a brighter and more sustainable future.

These are among the key findings of the Synthesis Report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Sunday.

The Synthesis Report distils and integrates the findings of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report produced by over 800 scientists and released over the past 13 months – the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC

“We have the means to limit climate change,” said R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”

The Synthesis Report confirms that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea levels have risen and the concentration of CO2 has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report expresses with greater certainty than in previous assessments the fact that emissions of greenhouse gases and other anthropogenic drivers have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20thcentury.

The impacts of climate change have already been felt in recent decades on all continents and across the oceans. The more human activity disrupts the climate, the greater the risks. Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of widespread and profound impacts affecting all levels of society and the natural world, the report finds.

The Synthesis Report makes a clear case that many risks constitute particular challenges for the least developed countries and vulnerable communities, given their limited ability to cope. People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally, or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC

“Indeed, limiting the effects of climate change raise issues of equity, justice, and fairness and is necessary to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication. Many of those most vulnerable to climate change have contributed and contribute little to greenhouse gas emissions,” Pachauri said.“ Addressing climate change will not be possible if individual agents advance their own interests independently; it can only be achieved through cooperative responses, including international cooperation.”

Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II

“Adaptation can play a key role in decreasing these risks,” said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II. “Adaptation is so important because it can be integrated with the pursuit of development, and can help prepare for the risks to which we are already committed by past emissions and existing infrastructure.”

But adaptation alone is not enough. Substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are at the core of limiting the risks of climate change. And since mitigation reduces the rate as well as the magnitude of warming, it also increases the time available for adaptation to a particular level of climate change, potentially by several decades. There are multiple mitigation pathways to achieve the substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades necessary to limit, with a greater than 66% chance, the warming to 2ºC – the goal set by governments.

However, delaying additional mitigation to 2030 will substantially increase the technological, economic, social and institutional challenges associated with limiting the warming over the 21st century to below 2ºC relative to pre-industrial levels, the report finds.

Youba Sokona, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III

“It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Youba Sokona, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III. “But what is lacking are appropriate policies and institutions. The longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost to adapt and mitigate climate change.”

The Synthesis Report finds that mitigation cost estimates vary, but that global economic growth would not be strongly affected. In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption–a proxy for economic growth–grows by 1.6 to 3 percent per year over the 21st century. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this by about 0.06 percentage points.

“Compared to the imminent risk of irreversible climate change impacts, the risks of mitigation are manageable,” said Sokona. These economic estimates of mitigation costs do not account for the benefits of reduced climate change, nor do they account for the numerous co-benefits associated with human health, livelihoods, and development.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC

“The scientific case for prioritizing action on climate change is clearer than ever,” Pachauri said.“ We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes. To keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100. We have that opportunity, and the choice is in our hands.”

Comprehensive assessment

The Synthesis Report, written under the leadership of IPCC Chair R.K. Pachauri, forms the capstone of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. The first three volumes, based on outlines approved by the IPCC’s 195 member governments in 2009, were released over the past fourteen months:

  • The Physical Science Basis in September 2013
  • Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, in March 2014
  • Mitigation of Climate Change in April 2014

IPCC reports draw on the many years of work by the scientific community investigating climate change. More than 830 coordinating lead authors, lead authors and review editors from over 80 countries and covering a range of scientific, technical and socio-economic views and expertise, produced the three working group contributions, supported by over 1000 contributing authors and drawing on the insights of over 2,000 expert reviewers in a process of repeated review and revision.

The authors assessed more than 30,000 scientific papers to develop the Fifth Assessment Report. About 60 authors and editors drawn from the IPCC Bureau and from Working Group author teams have been involved in the writing of the Synthesis Report. Their work was made possible by the contributions and dedication of the Synthesis Report Technical Support Unit.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC

“I would like to thank the hundreds of experts from the world’s scientific community who have given freely of their time and expertise to produce the most comprehensive assessment of climate change yet undertaken,” said Pachauri. “I hope this report will serve the needs of the world’s governments and provide the scientific basis to negotiators as they work towards a new global climate agreement.”

For further information about the IPCC, including links to its reports, go to: www.ipcc.ch

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Norway Alta Dam project considers indigenous Sami people’s rights

Alta Hydro-electric dam project in Norway
The Alta hydro-electric dam project in Norway faced stiff opposition from the indigenous Sami people as far back as the late 1970’s. The government of Norway later acceded to their wishes, building a dam with lower capacity and therefore less impact on the Sami people and the local ecosystem which they depend on for their livelihood.

‘Fight for your rights!’ – Norway’s indigenous Sami people encourage Sarawak dam opposition

Sami Television and Norway’s state radio, NRK, report on Malaysian delegation’s visit to the controversial Alta Dam hydropower plant in Northern Norway

ALTA & KARASJOK, Norway, May 26, 2014 –/WORLD-WIRE/– The Malaysian anti-dam coalition, SAVE Rivers, visited the controversial Alta Dam in the North of Norway late this week. The Alta Dam faced strong opposition in the late 1970s and 1980s by the indigenous people of the Sami.

Tore Bongo, one of the leaders of the uprising, advised SAVE Rivers in solidarity with their current struggle against Sarawak’s twelve planned dams: “You must not be afraid to fight. You need to be willing to negotiate, but above all, you need to fight.”

SAVE Rivers’ three-person delegation is chaired by SAVE Rivers Chairman Peter Kallang and comprises Maria Ajang from Long Palai and Lah Jok from Long Liam, two villages affected by the planned Baram Dam.

The Malaysian delegation’s visit in Northern Norway found significant media interest and was covered by Norway’s state radio, NRK, and the Sami television station, Oddasat.

Watch and listen to the reports under the following links:
http://tv.nrk.no/serie/oddasat-tv/sany80052314/23-05-2014
http://radio.nrk.no/serie/her-og-naa-hovedsending/dmnh01010214/22-05-2014#t=48m47s

Sami representative Tore Bongo said the struggle against the Alta Dam went down in history as a turning point in the Norwegian government’s policy towards the Sami. First of all, the size of the dam was considerably reduced and no village was flooded. Second, after the uprising, the government started to respect the Sami’s rights as indigenous people.

Many new laws have been established since the Alta struggle, allowing the Sami to live and develop their culture and traditions. In 1989, the Sami established their own Parliament in Karasjok.

Sami Parliament representative, Silje Karine Muotka, gave the Malaysian delegation a special reception and a tour through the parliament building.

Maria Ajang from Sarawak expressed her admiration for the Sami’s struggle: “I am impressed how strongly the Sami have fought for the protection of their culture, language and land. They have never hesitated, but fought for their future.”

The exchange between the natives from Sarawak and Norway was perceived as very fruitful on both sides. Indigenous peoples in both countries have faced similar threats to their land, tradition and culture. In Norway, however, things have changed to the better for the Sami, while the traditional livelihoods of Sarawak’s indigenous peoples remain precarious and discriminated.

Peter Kallang, Chairman of SAVE Rivers, commented the situation of Norway’s indigenous people positively: “The Norwegian government is seriously committed to protect the culture and the rights of the Sami who are a minority. The government really allows the Sami to determine their way of life.”

Sarawak representative Lah Jok made his demand clear: “The Malaysian government should respect the rights of the indigenous peoples just as the Norwegian government does.”

The visit to the Alta Dam and the meeting with the Sami marked the end of SAVE Rivers’ two-week-tour through Europe which successfully highlighted the plight of Sarawak’s indigenous people against twelve planned dams in Borneo.

The Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) is committed to protecting the threatened tropical rainforests and the rights of the indigenous forest peoples. The association’s focus lies on Sarawak, the Malaysian state in Borneo. The Bruno Manser Fund was founded by Swiss rainforest advocate Bruno Manser, who has been missing since his last trip to Sarawak in May 2000.