Denmark Success! Turns Climate Goals into Climate Law

by Joshua S Hill.

Denmark has officially enshrined their climate goals into law, as has been reported in several locations over the past 24 hours.

The official Danish Twitter account (@denmarkdotdk) linked to a post on website ‘tcktcktck.org’, confirming reports that the ruling party — the Social Democrats — along with the Conservative People’s Party, the Socialist People’s Party, and the Red-Green Alliance, had made the country’s climate goals a legislative reality.

Denmark have committed to reducing their country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. In December of 2013, wind power accounted for 55% of the country’s electricity — a first for any country.

Renewable Energy. Offshore wind power. Horn's Reef, Denmark. Image courtesy of: Whatsupwiththat.com
Renewable Energy. Offshore wind power. Horn’s Reef, Denmark. Image courtesy of: Whatsupwiththat.com

Denmark has long been a powerhouse when it comes to renewable energy — most prominently thanks to their wind industry. A 2012 report from the American Wind Energy Association noted that the country acquired 26% of their yearly electricity demand from wind — a figure which will only have grown since then.

Denmark’s Climate, Energy and Building Minister, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, noted that the decision made it “truly a great day.”

“The broad agreement on the 40% reduction of greenhouse gasses, to ensure meeting the ambitious targets that the government has set, will continue, even after an election,” Petersen said. “The Conservatives have announced their commitment to an agreement among the parties who take responsibility for the climate.”

Hopefully decisions like this will push other countries in the European Union — and around the world — to similarly make climate goals more than simple PR stunts to attract voters. The need for legally binding decisions like this is paramount as we move forward.

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This article, Denmark Turns Climate Goals Into Climate Law, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy. Joshua S. HillJoshua S Hill I’m a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we’re pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.

U.S. Fossil Fuels Losing to Wind and Solar Power

by Giles Parkinson.

Wind turbines
Fossil Fuels, Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas, are losing the electrical generation battle to Solar and Wind Power.

Originally published on RenewEconomy

The price of new power purchase agreements for wind farms and new solar projects in the US continue to defy all expectations, making some energy experts wonder why anyone would contemplate a new fossil-fuel plant.

A new report by UBS analysts in the US has crossed our desk. It is basically a write-up from a webinar hosted by UBS and Declan Flanagan, head of local renewable energy group Lincoln Energy, but  it provides some fascinating insight of what is happening in that market.

The first notable conclusion is the declining cost of wind energy. Contracts in Texas, which accounts for around one quarter of all US installations, are regularly below $30/MWH, and some are at $25/MWh. Even with a tax incentive, this still put wind well below $50/MWh.

Why is this happening? New equipment is lifting capacity factors by 5 percentage points, and Texas’ excellent wind conditions mean that wind farms are getting capacity factors in the high 40s or low 50’s (per cent). Nearly half of this occurs during peak load, defying most characterizations of wind as essentially an off-peak power source.

What does this mean? Greentech Media recently quoted Stephen Byrd, Morgan Stanley’s Head of North American Equity Research for Power & Utilities and Clean Energy, speaking at the Columbia Energy Symposium in late November.

“Compare that to the variable cost of a gas plant at $30 per megawatt-hour. The all-in cost to justify the construction of a new gas plant would be above $60 per megawatt-hour.” So who would build gas?

Not as many people. Citigroup recently reported that some peaking gas plants were already being replaced by solar PV plants.

Why is this so? The UBS research note says that in Colorado, local utility Xcl has just announced new contracts for solar PV plants below 6c/kWh ($60/MWh). This, UBS said, was the lowest reported solar pricing it had seen in the US, although it confirms a recent survey by the National renewable Energy Laboratory, which found pricing in that range and with no inflation kicker, meaning that the solar plants would be producing for an effective $40/MWh by the end of their contracts.

That would match even depreciated fossil fuel plants. The variable costs of gas fired plants are likely to be at least $30/MWh, and that does not include their capital costs.

This article, US Fossil Fuels Losing Out To Wind And Solar, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Giles ParkinsonGiles Parkinson is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia’s energy grid with great interest.

California’s Top Solar Cities are Median-Income Cities

Originally published on Cost of Solar by Zachary Shahan

Sunible, a company started by solar market data resource PV Solar Report, has a report on which California cities are installing the most solar power.

Completely in line with the what I wrote yesterday when discussing California solar leasing, and the day before when discussing the $34,260 or so in savings that an average California solar homeowner can enjoy (over 20 years), the report found that it’s not just the rich who are going solar anymore. Many households with average incomes are also now going solar, especially through solar leasing.

California's top solar cities are inland, and with median income.
California’s top solar cities are inland, and with median income.

The cost of solar is so much lower than it was even 2 or 3 years ago that many people have realized it’s not great for their pocketbook if they switch to solar power. $0 down or close to $0 solar leases also don’t hurt.

Many of the leading Solar Cities in California are median-income communities like Fresno, Clovis, El Cajon, and Chico,” Rosana Francescato of Sunible writes.

According to the most recent census data, Fresno’s median annual income was just over $41,000. Yet Fresno is near the top of the Solar Cities list, at #3 in installs for Q1 2013.

Given that about 75% of new California solar homeowners choose solar leasing over ownership, it’s also not surprising that the top solar cities in California are also places where solar leasing has seen the strongest growth.

In the cities with the most solar growth since 2008, TPO solar has increased substantially — an average of more than 104% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013.

In that period, the city of Chico experienced a 153% increase in TPO solar installations.

Before rolling out the Top 25 California Solar Cities list, check out the following infographic, which Sunrun put together to display the rapid growth of solar in inland cities with median incomes… despite decreasing government incentives for solar.

It’s pretty clear — if you live in California and you own your roof, going solar is a no brainer (unless you’re insane… or have some unique issues with your roof that make going solar impractical).

Join the solar rooftop revolution! Just do it!

Now that we’ve done our best to get you to do the obvious, here’s the Top 25 California Solar Cities list for Q1 2013:

  1. San Diego
  2. Bakersfield
  3. Fresno
  4. Los Angeles
  5. San Jose
  6. Murrieta
  7. Clovis
  8. Corona
  9. Escondido
  10. Temecula
  11. Palm Springs
  12. El Cajon
  13. Santa Clarita
  14. Apple Valley
  15. Chico
  16. Palmdale
  17. Rancho Mirage
  18. Northridge
  19. Palm Desert
  20. Visalia
  21. Ramona
  22. Pleasanton
  23. Lancaster
  24. Riverside
  25. Rancho Cucamonga

This article, Top California Solar Cities Are Median-Income Cities, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary ShahanZachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

U.S. Fuel Subsidies Chart

Image courtesy of Cleantechnica.com
Image courtesy of Cleantechnica.com
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Wind Power: Healthy and Growing!

Wind Power: Healthy and Growing! | 04/02/13
by John Brian Shannon John Brian Shannon

Global wind power growing at an exponential rate

For example, China has now installed more wind turbines than any other country. China began 2011 with 41.5 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity and is adding more wind turbines to their grid almost daily.

And by 2015 (one year ahead of schedule) China’s citizens will enjoy 100 gigawatts of clean, wind powered electricity. Wind power surpassed nuclear energy in 2012, to become China’s 3rd largest source of electrical power.

By 2020, they plan to have 200 gigawatts of wind power, which will displace many billions of tons of airborne emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Screen-shot-2012-11-29-at-8.28.09-PM

The United States is second with 47 gigawatts of wind power capacity (at the end of 2011) and must add 305 gigawatts of wind power by 2030 to reach the goals set out in the U.S. Department of Energy 2008 report 20% Wind Energy by 2030 (downloadable PDF) which predicted that wind power could meet 20% of all U.S. electricity demand by 2020.

The use of wind power in the United States has expanded quickly over the last several years. Construction of new wind power generation capacity in the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled 8,380 megawatts (MW) bringing the cumulative installed capacity to 60,007 MW.[1]

This capacity is exceeded only by China.[2] For the 12 months from November 2011 to October 2012, the electricity produced from wind power in the United States amounted to 137 terawatt-hours, or 3.4% of all generated electrical energy.[3]

The United States produced enough electricity from wind in the 12 months [prior to] November 2012 to power over 11 million US households annually[4] or meet the total energy demands of Poland.

The U.S. wind industry generates tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity.[9]

Wind projects boost local tax bases, and revitalize the economy of rural communities by providing a steady income-stream to farmers with wind turbines on their land. – Wikipedia

Wind_Power_Generation_and_Percentage

Wind energy has grown exponentially in the last decade, with an average increase of 29.7%/year. At an exponential growth of 29.7%, the U.S. would obtain 20% from wind by 2020. — Image courtesy of Wikipedia

If you think that only large countries can use the wind to create clean and fuel-free electrical energy, read: Denmark Sets Goal of 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. Denmark has proven to the world that when citizens back government efforts towards sustainable energy — the transition to 100% green energy is possible. The Danes are making it look easy.

It is time to harness that wind and produce clean electricity from it, create jobs and make profit by it, while enjoying the benefits of clean air as more wind farms displace fossil-fuel power plants!

The following information is courtesy of Wikipedia, click to read here:

Complementary power

Solar power tends to be complementary to wind. On daily to weekly timescales, high pressure areas tend to bring clear skies and low surface winds, whereas low pressure areas tend to be windier and cloudier. On seasonal timescales, solar energy peaks in summer, whereas in many areas wind energy is lower in summer and higher in winter.[nb 3][95]

Thus the intermittencies of wind and solar power tend to cancel each other somewhat.

In 2007 the Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology of the University of Kassel pilot-tested a combined power plant linking solar, wind, biogas and hydrostorage to provide load-following power around the clock and throughout the year, entirely from renewable sources.[96] 

Pumped-storage hydroelectricity or other forms of grid energy storage can store energy developed by high-wind periods and release it when needed.[103]

Cost trends

Wind power has low ongoing costs, but a moderate capital cost. The marginal cost of wind energy once a plant is constructed is usually less than 1-cent per kW·h.[113] This cost has reduced as wind turbine technology improved.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory projects that the levelized cost of wind power in the U.S. will decline about 25% from 2012 to 2030.[112]