The Great Transition

The Great Transition is the title of the preeminent sustainability theorist and activist Lester Brown’s last book.  The Energiewende – energy transition – is what the Germans call their brilliant initiative to reshape the energy economy.  Call it a transition, revolution, mobilization or transformation, or what you will.  Call it clean tech, green tech, the green economy, sustainable development, or even the Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services Sector (LCEGSS).  Whatever you want to call it and however you slice it, we are in the midst of a series of remarkable breakthroughs. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

The Hydrogen Economy

We’ve been hearing about the “hydrogen economy” for a long time.  NASA was developing fuel cells in the 1960s and United Technologies started commercializing stationary power plants in the 70s.  Jeremy Rifkin wrote about it in 2002.  The Bloom Box got a lot of attention in 2010.  In 2013, several US states agreed to pursue a mandate for a percentage of zero-emission vehicles, including fuel cell electric vehicles, to be sold in their jurisdictions.  The Hydrogen Initiative was launched in Europe in 2018, building on the work of the EU’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a robust public-private partnership begun in 2008.  An even broader international consortium was launched only last month.  Companies, governments, and research institutes around the world have been pursuing the vision of a hydrogen economy at an increasing pace and with more tangible breakthroughs every year.  I was struck early this year, for instance, by the fact of South Korea’s enthusiastic embrace of hydrogen.

Now there’s a new, comprehensive report just out from the International Energy Agency:  The Future of Hydrogen.  You’ll find it at the IEA’s web page for hydrogen.   Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

The German Sustainability Revolution

Energiewende-500x333I just wanted to flag the fact that I led a group of grad students to Berlin at the end of May and we had a fabulous six-day series of tours and briefings.  I’ll be writing with a bit of depth about the trip here soon, but in the meantime, you can see my post at our NYU Center for Global Affairs blog, The Global Citizen.


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Confidence

cga logoI had the distinct pleasure this past Tuesday of moderating a panel of top experts on clean tech and the state of its global development:  Clean Energy For All was a part of the “Fueling Our Future” series at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs where I teach.  Our guests were Travis Bradford, from SIPA and the Prometheus Institute; Vignesh Gowrishankar, from NRDC; and Minoru Takada from the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.  CGA’s Dean, Vera Jelinek, welcomed our guests and the full house of audience members. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

You Don’t Need A Weatherman…

cape wind logo…to know which way the wind blows.  It’s blowing against the reactionary forces spearheaded by the relatively unsung member of the Koch family, Bill.  Although not in the same league as his two protofascist brothers, Bill nevertheless gets high marks for doing what he can to undermine both democracy and a sane approach to energy in his obdurate opposition to a superb renewable energy initiative, Cape Wind.  The list of supporters for this project is, however, long and prestigious. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

O Brave New World

Amory-Lovins-Reinventing-Fire-browserThis is an eye-catching graphic, wouldn’t you say?  It’s for a talk that Amory Lovins gave at Yale exactly two years ago.  (See also the companion interview from the superb online journal Yale Environment 360.)

I use Reinventing Fire from Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute as a textbook for my graduate and continuing ed classes on clean tech.  There is no more comprehensive, Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

Ivanpah

4250 IvanpahJoe Romm had an article about concentrating solar power (CSP) going back six years now called “The technology that will save humanity.”  He gave a great overview, including a history and an eminently lucid rationale for its deployment.  About five years ago I was driving west of Seville and was knocked out by the sight of the CSP plant that Abengoa has built there. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF

The EU Takes the Next Step

2030_320x266The Europeans are on the move.  Building on the successes of their existing “20/20/20” plan, they are moving onward and upward.  The old plan called for a 20% reduction of greenhouse gases economy-wide in the EU from 1990 levels by the year 2020.  They are far advanced on this track.  According to the EU here:  “While EU GDP grew by 45% between 1990 and 2011, total greenhouse gas emissions from today’s 28 Member States – including emissions from international aviation, which are covered by the EU’s unilateral commitment – were 16.9% below the 1990 level in 2011 and an estimated 18% below 1990 in 2012. Member states’ latest projections show that total emissions in 2020, including international aviation, will be 21% below the 1990 level.” Continue reading


Print pagePDF page
Download PDF