Energy Efficiency and Climate Change news from TreeZero

Over three billion barrels of Alberta bitumen has become carbon pollution absorbed by the oceans

By Barry Saxifrage
According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), about 28 per cent of all burned fossil carbon has ended up in our oceans causing them to acidify rapidly.4 Known impacts of “ocean acidification” include killing coral reefs; dissolving baby oysters, scallops and other shellfish; and scrambling marine food chains. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/02/07/analysis/over-three-billion-barrels-alberta-bitumen-has-become-carbon-pollution-absorbed

Fact sheets on energy efficiency in the European industry

The EU-MERCI project produced a series of short (2-page) fact sheets on energy efficiency in the European industry. The fact sheets will cover good practices on interventions for energy consumption improvement, sectoral statistics, information on energy efficiency policies, and brief recommendations on accelerating energy efficiency in the sector.

http://www.eumerci.eu/fact-sheets-energy-efficiency-european-industry/

Wind and solar energy jobs now outnumber coal and gas jobs in 30 states.

In addition to providing local jobs across the country, In Demand: Clean Energy, Sustainability and the New American Workforce finds that the clean energy and sustainability economy also pays higher than average wages and offers individuals numerous career and educational pathways. “The clean energy workforce has skyrocketed, launching us into the new clean energy economy while supporting American workers,” said Ellen Shenette, manager of EDF Climate Corps, a summer fellowship program that accelerates clean energy initiatives and spearheaded the new report. “The growth in clean energy sectors can be credited to reductions in costs, increased demand for clean energy and efficiency technologies, as well as policies and investments.” Coauthored by Meister Consultants Group, the report also suggests a strong future for renewable energy and sustainability employment. Solar and wind installations comprised 65 percent of installed electric capacity in 2016 and for the third year in a row, exceeded the installed capacity of all other electricity sources combined. What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statics projects that solar PV installers and wind turbine service technicians will be the two fastest-growing jobs in the United States from 2016 to 2026, roughly doubling during that period. http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/next_economy/sustainable_brands/clean_energy_jobs_now_outnumber_those_fossil_fuel_s_0?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=schtweets&utm_campaign=social

Hydropower is still the cheapest source of electricity

by Baset Asaba
Despite the wide adoption of other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, hydroelectricity maintains its position as the cheapest source of electricity globally at a cost of US$0.05/kWh. A recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), entitled Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017 says that the global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from new projects commissioned in 2017 was US$0.05/kWh from hydropower, compared with US$0.06 for onshore wind, $0.07 for bioenergy and geothermal projects and $0.10 for utility-scale solar photovoltaic. http://www.utilities-me.com/article-5282-hydropower-is-still-the-cheapest-source-of-electricity/

EIA: What Would It Take for Renewables To Surpass Natural Gas In U.S. Power Mix?

By Betsy Lillian
Several cases in EIA’s newly released Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018) show how projected generation and capacity could continue to be affected by fuel price patterns, particularly for the price of natural gas. In a sensitivity case with low natural gas prices, natural gas ultimately provides more than half of all U.S. electricity generation by the mid-2040s. Natural gas recently surpassed coal as the main fuel used to generate electricity in the U.S., EIA points out. In the AEO2018 reference case, natural gas remains the leading source of electricity generation through 2050. By 2050, natural gas accounts for 35% of total electricity generation – representing a slight increase from its 2017 share of 31%. In the reference case, electricity generation from coal and nuclear gradually decline and lose market share to natural gas and renewables. Furthermore, renewable generation surpasses nuclear by 2020 and surpasses coal by the mid-2030s as tax credits and lower capital costs drive solar photovoltaic and wind capacity additions, the report says. https://solarindustrymag.com/eia-take-renewables-surpass-natural-gas-u-s-power-mix

Renewables Now Represent 20% of U.S. Generating Capacity (Up from 15% in 2012)

According to a SUN DAY Campaign press release, renewable electrical capacity continues to be on the rise while other forms of electricity generation, including nuclear and coal, are stagnating or falling. In the past five years, renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind) have jumped from representing 15.4 percent of U.S. generating capacity to 20.21 percent. Every month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) puts out an “Energy Infrastructure Update,” which summarizes developments relating to energy. According to the December 2017 issue, renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, and hydropower, accounted for close to 50 percent of the U.S. electricity-generating capacity added in 2017, while natural gas accounted for about 48.7 percent, making this the fourth year in a row that renewable energy additions surpassed natural gas ones. There was no coal capacity added last year. As a result of these new additions, renewables make up more than a fifth of U.S. generating capacity, and the capacity of non-hydro renewables is nearly 75 percent greater than in 2012. Solar capacity alone grew eight-fold in those five years: by the end of 2017, total installed solar utility-scale capacity was over 30 gigawatts. Solar now accounts for more than 2.5 percent of total install utility-scale capacity, and this does not include small-scale distributed solar such as rooftop PV. If such small-scale installations were included, the capacity figure for solar would probably be at least 30 percent greater. http://www.eesi.org/articles/view/renewables-now-represent-20-of-u.s.-generating-capacity-up-from-15-in-2012

4 Lessons Psychology Teaches Us About Inspiring Climate Action

Social scientists of all kinds have studied the question of how to change human behavior in many different contexts from public health to public policy to environmental psychology and more. In the climate context, environmental psychologists have begun exploring this larger question by trying to understand why, for example, more Americans aren’t taking action with their votes and voices. Especially when the majority agree that humans are causing climate change. There’s no simple answer here. The reality is that changing the behavior of one person is hard enough—let alone millions of citizens around the world. But psychology can give us some insight into better ways to motivate people to change their behavior and stand up for the planet we share. That’s why we’ve compiled four lessons from the field that any activist can take and use to help inspire their friends, colleagues, family members and more to act.

  • 1. Connect the climate crisis to what’s happening in real communities to reduce psychological distance.
  • 2. Make climate action a group experience to promote social norms.
  • 3. Talk about what we’re gaining, not what we’re losing, to avoid loss aversion.
  • 4. Give your friends real ways to take action to prevent “environmental melancholia.”

https://www.ecowatch.com/inspiring-climate-action-2531883295.html

AEP carbon reduction plan calls for more than 8 GW of renewables

By Robert Walton
American Electric Power yesterday unveiled a new carbon reduction strategy that will reduce emissions from its power plants by 60% from 2000 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050, through a focus on boosting renewable energy capacity in regulated and competitive markets. The company’s plans include adding 3,065 MW of solar generation and 5,295 MW of wind generation to the portfolio serving its regulated utility customers by 2030. AEP also has plans to invest in renewable energy in competitive markets. By 2020, the company will invest approximately $1.2 billion in contracted renewables and renewables integrated with energy storage.​https://www.utilitydive.com/news/aep-carbon-reduction-plan-calls-for-more-than-8-gw-of-renewables/516518/

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