Germany exports more energy than ever. The surplus is due to the massive development of renewable energies.
Germany exported the equivalent of the output of two large power stations – 12.3 terawatt hours – during the first three quarters of the year, according to a preliminary report from the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), seen by the business weekly Manager Magazin.
By comparison, Germany had to import more than it exported over the first three quarters of last year, when the balance was -0.2 terawatt hours. But that was the exception during recent years – since 2006, Germany has consistently exported well over five terawatt hours more than it has imported.
Teenage girls from Africa invented a new kind of generator.
How’s this for an innovative startup: four African girls — the eldest of which is just fifteen years old — have worked together to invent a generator that’s powered by urine. The group presented their creation at this year’s Maker Faire Africa, and it’s so freaking brilliant it makes me want travel back in time and punch 15-year-old me right in the solar plexus.
Germany produced a record high amount of renewable energy in the first half of 2012, an increase of 19.5 percent from the same period last year.
Renewables now account for 25 percent of energy production, up from 21 percent last year, the country’s energy industry association (BDEW) said in a statement that reinforced Germany’s position as a leader in green technology.
Wind energy was the largest contributor of green power, accounting for 9.2 percent of all energy output, BDEW said.
Germany has decided to pursue ambitious greenhouse-gas reductions — while closing down its nuclear plants. Can a heavily industrialized country power its economy with wind turbines and solar panels?
What’s coming next won’t be so easy. In 2010, the German government declared that it would undertake what has popularly come to be called an Energiewende—an energy turn, or energy revolution. This switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the most ambitious ever attempted by a heavily industrialized country: it aims to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent by midcentury.
Denmark aims to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables by 2020 and 100% by 2050.
The deal aims to see Denmark cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and decrease energy consumption by more than 12% compared to 2006.
It also aims to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables, with half of its electricity delivered by wind farms. The agreement also covers advances in renewable heat, smart grids, and biogas among other green technologies.
German solar power plants are now able to produce electricity equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity, enough to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices are closed.
Wind power without the blades.
Noise from wind turbine blades, inadvertent bat and bird kills and even the way wind turbines look have made installing them anything but a breeze. New York design firm Atelier DNA has an alternative concept that ditches blades in favor of stalks. Resembling thin cattails, the Windstalks generate electricity when the wind sets them waving.
Nicaragua’s push to generate 94 percent of its own electricity from renewable resources by 2016 without damaging the environment has united the country.
“The energy issue is an essential component for our sustainable development to assure the wellbeing and progress of the current and future generations,” says Emilio Rappaccioli, Nicaragua’s minister of energy and mines.
Ortega worked with Nicaragua’s private sector and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez to fix its immediate energy problem by installing an additional capacity of 343 megawatts of power – 41 percent more power than Nicaragua was producing five years ago.
That means that for the first time in more than a decade, Nicaragua is producing a comfortable surplus of energy.
A new solar cell that achieves 41 percent efficiency
The 41-percent efficiency rating is one of the highest recorded at this (light) concentration, and is challenged only by Stanford University spinoff Solar Junction’s multijunction GaAs cells, confirmed at 43.5 percent efficiency. The company is hoping for a DOE loan guarantee to expand production.
Camelina-based jet fuel reduces carbon emissions from jets by about 80
The first transatlantic flight powered by biofuel landed Saturday at Paris-Le Bourget Airport after a seven hour flight from New Jersey.
One-quarter of the fuel used to carry the Gulfstream G450 jet across the Atlantic Ocean was biofuel derived from camelina. A 50/50 blend of camelina-based Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and petroleum-based jet fuel powered one of the plane’s two Rolls-Royce engines.
We’re just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal. The progress in solar panels has been dramatic and sustained.
Solar Is Getting Cheaper, but How Far Can It Go?
Here Comes the Sun
California Solar Industry Booming: Report Finds State’s Solar Capacity Has Doubled Over Past Five Years
The usual take on solar power is that it’s a niche energy source, too pricey and erratic to meet more than a sliver of our electricity needs. Bill Gates has mocked solar as “cute.” But, as Paul Krugman reminds us today, that’s changing far more quickly than people realize. “In fact,” Krugman writes, “progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, ‘there’s now frequent talk of a Moore’s law in solar energy,’ with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.”
Brazilian wind power now cheaper than natural gas
Seventy-eight wind power projects won contracts in last week’s energy auctions held by Brazil’s National Electric Power Agency, totalling 1,928MW and priced at approximately 99.5 reals (£37.4) per MWh.
By comparison, the average price for power generated with natural gas is currently 103 reals (£38.7) per MWh in Brazil, while the average price for energy determined through the auctions was 102.07 reals per MWh.
Turning olive waste into “ecologically perfect” fuel.
Olives are being looked at as a renewable energy source, since its wood produces 2.5 times more energy than others, the smoke it releases has no negative impact on neighbors or the environment, and the ash left can be used for fertilizing gardens.
Researchers are reporting they have successfully made a high quality biodiesel from spent coffee grounds. They estimate that the coffee ground biodiesel industry could generate huge profits annually using waste from US Starbucks stores alone.
Wind could provide 20% of the nation’s energy: “This is the equivalent of taking 140 million cars off the road”