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Energy transitions - June 14

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Community Solar Concept A Big Hit At Michigan Energy Fair

Matt Roush, CBS Detroit
Remember this phrase: Community solar.

It may just be the way solar energy finally fulfills its promise of cheap, clean electricity.

The dedication of a new community solar installation in Traverse City Friday was the buzz on Saturday at the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association’s Michigan Energy Fair in Ludington.

Basically, a community solar installation is a lot like a community garden. A group of people pool their money and labor and enjoy the results...
(9 June 2013)

A Secret Success Story

Chris Nelder, The European
Germany has become the world leader in solar power generation in just 12 years, while phasing out its nuclear power, yet few people in the United States seem to be aware of its success.

Nuclear power fell from 31 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption in 2000 to under 23 percent in 2011 as its renewable power capacity grew. Not only did the feared blackouts that opponents of renewable energy had trumpeted fail to materialize, but the grid actually became more stable as the transition proceeded. Instead of power disruptions, Germany’s grid became the most reliable of the EU member states, with just 15 minutes of unplanned interruptions in 2011. In 2007, Germany had 19 minutes of downtime, while nuclear-heavy France had 62 minutes and the US had 240 — more than 12 times as much as Germany...
(31 May 2013)

Generating interest in homegrown power

Zhao Yinan, China Daily
A new installation at a home in one of China's largest ports could herald an upsurge in domestic use of new energy.

Dong Qiang's neighbors have suddenly become very friendly. Although the 38-year-old knew his neighbors by sight, they have never before paid him a visit. Now, however, they have started to descend on him in droves.

The reason? The "big screens" Dong recently installed on his roof.

The "big screens" are photovoltaic, or PV, cells that generate electricity for domestic use by harnessing solar power. Each panel is roughly the same size as a four-seater dining table and Dong expects the system to reduce his carbon emissions by as much as five metric tons every year.

It's little wonder that Dong's new appliances have attracted so much attention: several silicon batteries affixed to the roof mean the house, in Tianjin's Binhai New Area, stands out among the other dwellings in the area...
(14 June 2013)

Power to the people – and to their homes

Telegraph View, The Daily Telegraph
Next Friday, residents of the Cambridgeshire village of Gamlingay will hold a party to celebrate their newest installation – a 33m diameter wind turbine. While other communities around the land are fighting plans for wind farms, this project has been welcomed by local people, principally because they funded it and will benefit directly from the power it generates and the money it makes. They are not Nimbys but Wimbys: welcome in my backyard...

The story of wind turbine development in this country might be less fractious had the last Labour government encouraged such a community-based approach from the outset. Instead, it relied on heavy subsidies that have made onshore wind farms a lucrative, risk-free investment for landowners and energy firms. Despite this, while wind is a clean energy source, it remains a relatively small one: in 2011, onshore turbines generated just 3 per cent of the UK’s electricity supply...
(7 June 2013)

Brittany villages blazing a trail in energy self-sufficiency

Hervé Kempf, The Guardian
Jacky Aignel, the leader of Saint Gouéno council in Brittany, looks at the cranes hoisting blades to the top of a wind-mast: "We've been waiting so long for this," he sighs. The wind turbine is finally nearing completion, the result of a lengthy struggle by this small locality in Côtes d'Armor. The Enercon E53, with a rated capacity of 850kW and the first of a series of seven, is no ordinary beast. It is the result of a clever financial package that allows local residents to invest in the scheme and aims to invest the benefits in the local economy.

The co-operative investment company Cigale was established in 2008, and there are now 127 individuals who collectively own a 30% share in the venture. But the participatory windfarm is just one aspect of the energy policy being deployed by Mené district council, which represents Saint Gouéno and six other nearby localities (overall population 6,500)...
(5 May 2013)

Four German words

Loehnstana David, Demain je change de vie

Four German words from Craig Morris on Vimeo.

(May 2013)

Want to get in on the Community Energy action? Check out the Community Resilience Guide - Power to the People by Greg Pahl.

Green planet image via shutterstock. Reproduced at with permission.

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