The Clear Reality of the Clean Tech Revolution

Oil companies and OPEC insist that we are going to need their product ad infinitum, but the International Energy Agency said in June this year that “a peak in oil demand is on the horizon” and “Growth is set to reverse after 2023 for gasoline and after 2026 for transport fuels overall.”

The IEA’s latest “World Energy Outlook,” out this week, makes what appears to be a bulletproof case for the looming demise not only of oil, but of coal and natural gas.  Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, is unequivocal:  “The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide and it’s unstoppable. It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s just a matter of ‘how soon’ – and the sooner the better for all of us.” (This echoes what the IEA reported in December of last year in “Renewables 2022.” ) Continue reading


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The Green Electric Trifecta

see note at end of post

I wrote a year ago about what our plans were for the new house we’d bought:  Watching the Meter Run Backwards.  Well, we just completed the plan a few weeks ago:  We picked up our new EV.

The plan was to install solar photovoltaic panels.  We did that in December.  After that the heat pumps went in in January.  Then we went shopping for an electric vehicle and made our choice in May. Continue reading


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Renewables Are Powering Ahead

(Click on the graphic to open it in a new window.)

Here’s a headline for you:  The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the past 20.

Maybe you didn’t see that coming.  Well, Amory Lovins, among others, saw it coming.  I heard him speak at a conference in New York City in the fall of 2009 and he said then:  “The Renewable Revolution has been won.  Sorry, if you missed it.”

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One Giant Leap Toward A Newer World

The premise of my book from way back when (2012) was that, stipulating that we were then (and are now) in a climate crisis, there were nevertheless heroic efforts underway to bring us back to some degree of climate health.  I wrote then:  “Some of my students and others have asked me over the last several years if we are addressing the climate crisis in time and with sufficient force and focus to avoid a planetary catastrophe. I tell them I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that we are forging new tools for much more sustainable, much cleaner and smarter ways to live. We have been realizing progress in areas like renewable energy that even ten years ago people in the field would have told you was not possible by now. We have a long way to go, but what we are seeing happen is incontrovertible evidence that there is a path to sustainability, that we can, in the words of the environmental prophet Barry Commoner, make peace with the planet.” Continue reading


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Hydrogen Rising

Hydrogen appears, finally, to be well along in realizing its enormous potential to substantially decarbonize our energy.  I wrote about The Hydrogen Economy last year and this week I sat in on a compelling webinar, “Opportunities for Hydrogen in the Northeast,” presented by the NECEC.  NECEC includes the Northeast Clean Energy Council and NECEC Institute. Continue reading


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Natural Gas Revisited (Again) – Part Two

I wrote the other day about some of the manifest benefits of natural gas in our economies.  There are also, without question, many negatives.  Let me count the ways here.  I also, however, want to note that there are ways to capitalize on gas in our transition to fully decarbonized energy economies.  I’ll do that in a third post. Continue reading


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Offshore Wind

I was discussing renewables with my class the other day and recounted an event I moderated a few years back in which one of the panelists, Minoru Takada, observed that there was much to celebrate on the renewable energy front, very much including the fact that policy makers, both in governments and the private sector, and general publics around the world, have been steadily gaining confidence in our ability to transition away from fossil fuels.  I think we can all draw a great deal of hope as energy economies around the world continue to build confidence in this critical transition in which we are engaged. Continue reading


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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


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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


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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.


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