Wind energy and other renewables to power 25% of world within 5 years – IEA

» By | Published 02 Jul 2013 |

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), stating that global power generation from hydro, wind, solar and other renewable sources will exceed that of gas and be twice that of nuclear by 2016, is receiving widespread news coverage.

Renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years, according to the IEA’s second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report launched last Wednesday in New York.

According to the report, renewables are now the fastest-growing power generation sector and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, up from an estimated 20% in 2011.

In addition, the report found that the share of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, bioenergy and geothermal in total power generation will double, reaching 8% by 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and just 2% in 2006.

“As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said as she presented the report at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum.


Obama’s faith in emissions-free wind power will create more green electricity

» By | Published 22 Jun 2010 |

US President Barack Obama’s belief that wind power and other renewable energy sources can help cure America of its addiction to expensive, polluting, imported oil has been translated into a $200-million stimulus grant that will help further expand a Washington State wind farm.

The cash grant is from the Department of Treasury through the American Recovery and Reimbursement Act. It will allow California-based Cannon Power Group to begin a third phase of its Windy Point/Windy Flats project in rural Klickitat County in southeast Washington.

“This grant constitutes a significant recognition of the increasingly important role renewable energy development has for our country — not only in terms of producing clean, safe and domestic energy for our citizens, but the enormous economic impact and jobs it provides for our local communities,” a Cannon press release quoted Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire saying last week.

“I applaud President Obama for his vision and leadership, and I am proud that the state of Washington is home to a project that is helping spur billions of dollars in private ‘green’ investment and creating thousands of jobs,” Gregoire added.

Gary Hardke, Cannon’s president and managing director, also commended Obama for making renewable energy development in the US a priority. “As an American-based company,” said Hardke, “we are up to the challenge.”

The company says it has already spent in the past 18 months close to $1 billion on the existing 400 megawatt project along the Columbia River. Cannon says that upon completion, the 500-MW wind farm near the Oregon border is expected to create electricity for about 250,000 homes and displace each year more than 800 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. It has been said that it will become one of the largest wind energy facilities in the nation.

The expansion will add over 250 new jobs, providing $32 million in community benefits to the local area over the life of the project, Cannon says, adding this is in addition to the more than 350 jobs and $145 million in overall economic benefits created by the 400 MW the company has already installed.

Cannon says it already has at least 3,000 MW of wind projects in Europe and western North America.


Gulf oil spill highlights the need for more wind power

» By | Published 01 Jun 2010 |

On the same day last week, two groups of entrepreneurs, manufacturers and environmentalists who are alarmed at the worst oil spill in US history sent petitions to President Barack Obama stating that his administration should get on with the proposed climate change bill as a first step in helping America become a low-carbon economic power.

“The United States has an opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions and become the world’s leader in a burgeoning clean energy economy,” said a letter to the White House from 60 major corporations, including DuPont, Ford Motor Company and PepsiCo. “We face a critical moment that will determine whether we will be able to unleash homegrown American innovation or remain stuck in the economic status quo.”

A second petition also noted the need for new renewable energies.

“Your administration and Congress should commit the nation to a path that ends our dependence on oil,” said the petition, which was signed by 23 organisations, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Sierra Club. “You should immediately put policies in place to dramatically cut our oil use. Most urgently, you should speed the transition to a clean energy economy by enacting comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that creates jobs, makes America energy independent, and reduces global warming pollution.”

As the two petitions indicate, the appalling environmental catastrophe that continues to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico can provide the US the opportunity to finally substitute its costly and unhealthy addiction to oil with an innovative energy revolution that taps into the power of wind energy and other renewables.

Such a transformation is badly needed for the world’s largest economy and the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses caused by burning fossil fuels.

This realization is highlighted by the unwelcome news that it may now take until August to fully curtail the massive pollution caused by BP’s offshore oil drilling.

In addition to severely restricting important and lucrative Gulf fisheries, destroying marshes and beaches used by birds and other animals, the plumes of toxic oil are sure to sharply curtail a vibrant tourism industry. Simply put, the shorelines in at least four American states may never be the same again.

A disaster of this scale is a wake-up call to US lawmakers slow to change the way the nation produces and uses energy. Even those stubbornly refusing to budge from the destructive business-as-usual scenarios must now admit that oil has met its end game.

In comparison to the worsening nightmare now being played out on US coastal shores, emissions-free wind power continues to show it is at the forefront of a new green revolution for a growing, and electricity-hungry, world.


Wind power on Earth Day

» By | Published 23 Apr 2010 |

US President Barack Obama was promoting wind power on Earth Day. Saying that Americans have worked hard to clean up the environment in the past 40 years, Obama said there is still much to do.

As a result and calling it a “historic step,” he said the Department of the Interior is announcing for the first time the leasing of federal waters to projects such as wind power facilities and other clean technologies that can generate green electricity, especially off the east coast of the US.

“It is estimated that if we fully pursue our potential for wind energy on land and offshore, wind can generate as much as 20% of our electricity by 2030 and create . . . 250,000 jobs in the process, jobs that pay well and provide good benefits,” Obama said.

“It’s a win-win. It’s good for the environment and great for the economy,” he said.