By Andy Rowell
The annual survey by REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, found that "Newly installed renewable power capacity set new records in 2016, with 161 gigawatts (GW) added, increasing the global total by almost 9% relative to 2015."
Renewable Energy Booming After a Decade of Progress https://t.co/0xYvbCaBWk @EnergyCollectiv @cleantechnica— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1501279513.0
The good news for people fighting the fossil fuel industry is that for "the fifth consecutive year, investment in new renewable power capacity (including all hydropower) was roughly double the investment in fossil fuel generating capacity, reaching USD 249.8 billion."
And "the world now adds more renewable power capacity annually than it adds in net new capacity from all fossil fuels combined."
The report also blows another argument often used by the fossil fuel industry that because renewables are intermittent, on the days the sun does not shine and wind does not blow, that you need a baseload provided by fossil fuels to back them up.
"The myth that fossil and nuclear power are needed to provide 'baseload' electricity supply when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing has been shown to be false," said the report.
In 2016, for example, Denmark and Germany successfully managed peaks of 140 percent and 86.3 percent of electricity generation from renewable sources. In several countries, including Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus, they were able to achieve annual shares of 20 to 30 percent electricity from variable renewables without additional storage being added.
The new data was released just as it was announced that, despite the best efforts of Donald Trump to promote fossil fuels, California has set an ambitious goal to be 100 percent renewable by 2045.
We know Trump is an oil man through and through. As Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, recently pointed out: Trump is "working in every way imaginable to increase the production of fossil fuels domestically, even as he engages in a diplomatic blitzkreig to open doors to American fossil-fuel exports abroad … The president is remarkably consistent when it comes to pushing coal, oil, and gas on foreign leaders."
But back home, the states are fighting back.
A bill introduced by California Senate President Kevin de León (D) would simultaneously limit California's hydrocarbon consumption as well as set strict renewable targets, 60 percent by 2030, and 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.
It has officially cleared the committee stage, with reports that it will be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. As one commentator noted, "Perhaps most striking is that Californians want this bill. They have come out en masse to support it, and with this kind of public support and commercial potential, the bill has a great chance of success."
Backed by people power rejecting Trump's fossil fuel agenda, once again the Sunshine State leads the way.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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