Energy transitions – headlines

•The global outlook for renewable power in one graph •US joins elite 10GW solar club •Behind the Tea Party Push For Solar in Georgia •China Raises Target for 2015 Solar Power Capacity •Delivering Stability in the Renewable Energy Transition •U.S. court says biofuel producers must face carbon emissions rules •MEPs deal a blow to crop-based biofuels •Re-Engineering Energy: A Dutch Perspective •Geothermal Plants Can Cause Earthquakes, Say Scientists

ODAC Newsletter – Apr 13

The IEA poured oil on troubled waters, so to speak, in its April Oil Market Report this week, suggesting a possible “turning of the tide for market fundamentals”. The agency said supply is ahead of demand for the first time since 2009, though geopolitical threats remain…

The alternative energy matrix

Breathe, Neo. I’ve been running a marathon lately to cover all the major players that may provide viable alternatives to fossil fuels this century. Even though I have not exhausted all possibilities, or covered each topic exhaustively, I am exhausted. So in this post, I will provide a recap of all the schemes discussed thus far, in matrix form. Then Do the Math will shift its focus to more of the “what next” part of the message.

Warm and fuzzy on geothermal?

The Earth started its existence as a red-hot rock, and has been cooling ever since. It’s still quite toasty in the core, and will remain so for billions of years, yet. Cooling implies a flow of heat, and where heat flows, the possibility exists of capturing useful energy. Geysers and volcanoes are obvious manifestations of geothermal energy, but what role can it play toward satisfying our current global demand? Following the recent theme of Do the Math, we will put geothermal in one of three boxes labeled abundant, potent, or niche (puny). Have any guesses?

Review: Life Without Oil by Steve Hallett With John Wright

“Imagining a world without oil” describes in stark detail what might happen if one day the world decided to decommission all its oil tankers, rigs, pipelines and strategic reserves. The authors, environmental scientist Steve Hallett and journalist John Wright, expect that we’d initially see sky-high prices and long lines at pumps. After a few weeks, fuel wouldn’t be had at any price and even first-world citizens would struggle to stay fed and out of the elements. This is no Hollywood doomsday scenario—it’s a levelheaded extrapolation from current trends in the fast deteriorating world energy situation. [An essay prefiguring the book originally appeared in The Washington Post.]

The roads to our alternative energy future

How fast do we need to transition off of fossil fuels? What industrial capacity is available today for different alternative energy technologies and what is likely to be available in the future? What might we do if we can’t replace fossil fuels with alternatives fast enough, and what might the consequences be? I finally got around to re-doing these calculations, and wanted to go through the numbers.

Renewable energy zealots must understand ‘Net Energy’

Was I surprised that last issue’s column, Can Renewables Outshine Fossil Fuels?, elicited a strong reaction, with written responses of support and derision? Not at all. It’s an issue that continues to divide the environmental community, and one which keeps us from moving forward as quickly as possible to conserve resources and relocalize as an era of cheap, concentrated, easy-to-get energy comes to an end.

As nuclear falters, here is a practical, affordable (and safe) clean electricity plan

In the wake of the Japanese nuclear debacle, we need a practical and affordable clean electricity plan that does not rely on new nuclear power. This article presents just such a Plan. New nuclear is absent from the Plan not because of any safety concern, but simply because it fails the “practical and affordable” test. President Obama called for “80% Clean Energy” by 2035. This Plan presents how we can do it right.