The Earth’s Fire in Iceland

no coal fireWe came into Iceland yesterday morning and I saw this poster at the airport.  I thought it was great.  Today, after visiting Þingvellir National Park, we were driving back and came across this geothermal power station.  It’s nestled just below and off to the right from where I took this picture of the biggest lake in Iceland, Lake Þingvallavatn. Continue reading

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Unlimited Power

hywind postcardOne of the core messages I have tried in my writing and my teaching to convey is that the Big Lie from the energy special interests that want to see renewables fail is that wind, solar, geothermal and their cousins can’t get the job done.  Utter piffle!  Here are two examples of what Andrew Leonard called “Exajoules of Hope” several years back in referencing a seminal paper on the Potentials of Renewable Energy. Continue reading

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Driving Die Energiewende

DruckThe revolutionary “energy transition” that Germany is undergoing is being driven by a lot of forces:  a very progressive public that fully embraces the concept of high tech and far fewer GHGs, a political establishment that backs the project – across the entire spectrum from right to left, and a number of visionaries like the late Hermann Scheer.  I have written about the Energiewende for my old blog and for the new one.

Another one of Scheer’s generation of leaders on renewables is Rainer Baake.  He’s heading up a project called the Agora Energiewende which is, among other things, supporting the transition with advanced technical thinking on a range of issues and is also helping to spread the gospel of 100% renewable electricity globally. Continue reading

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Wind Power – Action This Day!

During World War II, Winston Churchill would stamp vital messages “Action this day.”  That is the level of concern that we need to bring to bear on the distinct possibility of the cutoff of the federal Production Tax Credit for wind. The American Wind Energy Association, and hundreds of others, want Congress to extend this vital support for wind power. Continue reading

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After Sandy – Smarter Power and Transportation

It seems more and more evident every day, with storms like Sandy upon us, that business as usual is no longer an option.  It’s certain that we have to accelerate our efforts to mitigate the greenhouse gases that are exacerbating, day by day, global climate change.  But we also have to adapt.  The sad reality is that we are seeing the unmistakable signs of a warming world and that the impacts of climate change are here to stay, probably for a hundred years or more.  As no less a personage than the New Yorker’s David Remnick writes this week, we can have No More Magical Thinking. Continue reading

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Germany’s Energy Transition

I’ve written about Germany’s remarkable transition to renewable energy a number of times.  I had the opportunity to hear Jochen Flasbarth, the President of the Federal Environment Agency of Germany, speak about this last April.  I followed up with the stunning news in June that Germany had, for one day, supplied half of its power from photovoltaic.  The Germans continue to set the pace for the rest of the world. Continue reading

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“The winds that will be howling at all hours”

William Wordsworth would have had us wonder at the power and beauty of nature.  It is now, finally, becoming apparent that we are getting that message.  Instead of drilling and digging for our power, with all of the attendant environmental nightmares that accompany that, or fissioning it, a manifestly dangerous and wasteful process, we are learning how to work with nature and its bounty.  As the late Barry Commoner would’ve said, we are finally “making peace with the planet.”

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The Sun Shines on Germany

I wrote in April about Germany’s ambitious goal of deriving 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2050.  It seems to me that they’re going to get there a lot sooner than 2050.

Solar electricity world record: Germany cranks half its power with PV was the headline recently from SmartPlanet.  Germany hit a breathtaking 22.15 gigawatts of PV output on May 25th.  There are several astonishing things about that, one of which is that the US may get to 3 GW of installed capacity this year, a drop in the bucket compared to Germany’s herculean output. Continue reading

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