Despite the political insufficiency to address the climate challenges of our time – debating endlessly about whether climate change is engraved by human activity or not – solutions are here today and they’re working. The IPCC has calculated the global “carbon budget” we can spend until 2050. If we want to stay under the 2°C temperature rise, which is generally accepted as the tipping point to unleash feedback loops in our climate system, we can only burn fossil fuels for another 17 years at the current rate (see blue scenario on graph below). It’s obvious we need to shift to renewable solutions, now. Luckily there are more and more investors who seem to have noticed this. Get ready for some nice facts and figures about the solar photovoltaic power industry. Unless otherwise stated, all graphs are produced by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century (REN21) and published in their global status report 2014. (more…)
By examining data from the Suomi NPP satellite, scientists of NASA have identified interesting patterns in nighttime light intensity during holiday seasons. In the Western World an increase of 30-50% in suburban areas is noted during Christmas and New Year’s time, while an increase is seen in the Middle East during the holy month of Ramadan. The data reveals patterns in the usage of energy in different societies and cultures. When we want to reduce greenhouse gases, it is necessary to understand such social phenomena that drive energy consumption. The data of the Suomi NPP satellite and processed by an algorithm which filters out reflection of the moon and influances of the clouds, will help scientists to do so.
In March 2009, the Andasol-1 solar thermal collector opened in Spain, the first of its kind in Europe. Later that year Andasol-2 was opened and in 2011 another Andasol collector became reality. In contrast to the common photovoltaic systems we see on rooftops, the thermal collectors store the sun’s heat in a big heat reservoir of molten salt, by reflecting the sunlight with parabolic mirrors pointed at the reservoir. Via thermal turbines this heat is be transformed into electricity, enough for up to 200 000 people.
Today I want to share with you an article which illustrates how we can use energy more sufficiently. As street lighting takes up to 6% of electricity use in modern countries, it’s worth to think about smarter ways to light urban areas. That’s exactly what they try to do in Copenhagen. Read the article.
Global energy demand is ever growing. A few years back China was opening a new coal plant every day on average to keep pace with its demand. Luckily they are considering other means of energy production these days, as air pollution is a worsening problem in the country. Most countries – including China – still tend to build more power plants to tackle their shortage on energy. But why not using the available energy more efficiently?