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World can halt fossil fuel use by 2090: study

Alister Doyle, Reuters
OSLO – The world could eliminate fossil fuel use by 2090 by spending trillions of dollars on a renewable energy revolution, the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and environmental group Greenpeace said on Monday.

The 210-page study is one of few reports — even by lobby groups — to look in detail at how energy use would have to be overhauled to meet the toughest scenarios for curbing greenhouse gases outlined by the U.N. Climate Panel.

“Renewable energy could provide all global energy needs by 2090,” according to the study, entitled “Energy (R)evolution.” EREC represents renewable energy industries and trade and research associations in Europe.

A more radical scenario could eliminate coal use by 2050 if new power generation plants shifted quickly to renewables.
(27) October 2008)

IEA cites gains from energy efficiency

Fiona Harvey, Financial Times
Developing countries could save hundreds of billions of dollars by investing in energy efficiency rather than focusing on energy production, a new report has found.

To achieve a 22 per cent increase in energy availability in developing countries by 2020 would cost about $2,000bn, according to the International Energy Agency.

But McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the consultancy, has found that the same end could be achieved for $90bn a year by focusing on energy efficiency improvements with positive returns.

The study found that developing countries could halve the growth in their energy demand each year using simple measures.

… developing countries could choose more energy efficient products and means of generating electricity, the researchers said, rather than going down the same high-energy demand and high-emissions path to economic growth that developed countries took in the past.
(29 October 2008)

A Solar Gold Rush Is Spreading From California to New Jersey

Dara Colwell, AlterNet
Solar power is exploding in America, particularly in California. San Luis Obispo’s Palm Theatre and Berkeley’s Shotgun Players are now the first solar-powered theaters in the country; FedEx’s distribution center in Fontana has a solar system covering 20,834 square feet; and Google’s Mountain View campus boasts America’s largest corporate solar installation. True to its pioneering spirit, California is leading the way — but that’s not to say other states aren’t tagging quickly behind.

“California has a comprehensive approach to solar. We have an aggressive, proactive environment that allows legislators to go ahead and do things — the mentality is definitely here,” says Andrew McAllister, director of programs at the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating clean energy technologies and practices. McAllister muses that the state’s energy crisis several years ago, when deregulation led to unpredictable electricity prices, goaded California into collective action. “Worldwide, solar is still driven by policy more than any other factor, and what makes California attractive is its political commitment to taking the lead.”

In America, most of the policies that affect the solar industry are created at the state level. California, which is now poised to become the world’s second-fastest-growing solar market behind Germany, has a long pioneering history, which has fueled the solar industry as much as the state’s abundant sunshine…
(30 October 2008)