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Energy transitions - Mar 26

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You’ll Never Guess Which U.S. State Could Be Fossil-Fuel-Free by 2050

Lawrence Karol, takepart.com
Wouldn’t it be great if someone had a plan that outlined how to convert New York State’s energy infrastructure to one derived entirely from wind, water, and sunlight?

Actually, some scientists have one that’s ready to go.

A new theoretic study lays out how New York State’s entire end-use power could be provided by 50 percent wind, 38 percent solar, 5 percent geothermal and the rest wave and tidal energy. This ambitious goal could be achieved as early as 2030, with 2050 being the deadline when all conventional fossil fuel generation would be phased out completely.
(14 March 2013)


Can we shift to renewable energy? Yes. As to how …

David Roberts, Grist
I don’t know Elisabeth Rosenthal, but I could kiss her for this. Her piece in the Sunday New York Times is one of the few I’ve ever seen in the mainstream media to take the aspirations of climate hawks seriously, at least seriously enough to consider the possibility of a clean energy system an open question. Just by doing that, she bucks the defeatist conventional wisdom being peddled by her colleague Joe Nocera and dozens of other journalists and pundits. So yay for her!

It might seem like a small thing, but it’s not. The most potent weapon in the hands of status-quo defenders is an aura of inevitability: We’re stuck with fossil fuels for the rest of the century whether we like it or not; it’s impossible to change any faster. That aura is an enormous advantage, but it’s fairly brittle. Once rapid, positive change becomes (or becomes seen as) a live possibility, the question shifts from “can we do it?” to “should we do it?” “We can’t do it” — always delivered in a tone of world-weary realism — becomes “we shouldn’t do it,” which is much more difficult to defend...
(25 March 2013)


Los Angeles set to ditch coal power

Staff, Business Green
Los Angeles plans to abandon coal power in favour of renewable energy, natural gas, and a programme of energy efficiency.

The City's municipal-owned utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), yesterday announced it will phase out electricity from the coal-fired 2,250MW Navajo Generating Station and 1,800MW Intermountain Power Project (IPP) in Utah that currently provide just under 40 per cent of the metropolis's power.

"The era of coal is over. Today we affirm our commitment to make Los Angeles a cleaner, greener, more sustainable city," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. "By divesting from coal and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, we reduce our carbon footprint and set a precedent for the national power market."
(20 March 2013)


The Worst Way to Measure Energy Efficiency

Chris Nelder, Slate Magazine
It is widely assumed that over the coming decades, increased energy efficiency will help the world meet its energy needs and reduce carbon emissions. That may be true, but recent research suggests that energy intensity—a widely used way of measuring efficiency—isn't the right metric.

Energy intensity is a simple ratio: energy use per dollar of GDP. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the energy intensity of the U.S. economy declined by 1.6 percent per year from 1985 to 2004, suggesting that we're doing more with less energy...

That sounds pretty good, and to a certain extent it’s true. Numerous changes in the U.S. economy have gradually made it more energy efficient since the 1970s, and it is widely observed that the world's most developed economies are more energy efficient than developing economies. However, it's far from certain that developing economies will achieve enough wealth to attain First World levels of energy efficiency, as agencies like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assert, or that the historical trend of improving energy efficiency will persist into the future, as many other observers, like Credit Suisse, assume. If these assumptions don't pan out, we could encounter a climate and energy supply catastrophe much sooner than imagined in official scenarios...
(21 March 2013)

Green planet image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.

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