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Simply an E-FANtastic display at ILA 2014. German ministry softens CO2 emission demands for power plants. BERLIN Germany plans to force coal-fired power plant operators to reduce their CO2 emissions by 2020 by less than previously planned, according to an economy ministry document seen by Reuters on Monday, bowing to opposition from within the industry.

German ministry softens CO2 emission demands for power plants

Thousands of coal workers marched in Berlin last month to protest against plans to slap a levy on the oldest and most polluting power plants, which unions say could put 100,000 jobs at risk. The levy is aimed at forcing coal operators to slash their emissions and stop Germany from falling short of its target to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Renewable Energy's Hidden Costs. Because electricity and heat account for 41 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, curbing climate change will require satisfying much of that demand with renewables rather than fossil fuels.

Renewable Energy's Hidden Costs

But solar and wind come with their own up-front carbon costs. Photovoltaics require much more aluminum—for panel frames and other uses—than other technologies do, according to a 2011 study at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Tesla’s Powerwall is the latest step toward our clean-energy future. Most people are skeptical that we’re heading into a clean-energy future.

Tesla’s Powerwall is the latest step toward our clean-energy future

They find it hard to believe that solar energy is fewer than 14 years away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. They argue that today solar energy hardly provides one percent of Earth’s energy needs and that we can’t effectively store sunlight — and therefore have a long way to go. Making Solar Panels in China Takes Lots of Dirty Energy - Businessweek. Manufacturing solar panels can be a dirty business, from the mining of raw materials to the chemical-laced process of purifying silicon to the assembly of silicon wafers.

Making Solar Panels in China Takes Lots of Dirty Energy - Businessweek

Solar energy is a renewable source, of course, but it’s essential to examine the full supply chain to gauge its total environmental impact. One potential concern is the use, containment, and disposal of toxic chemicals. Another is the energy-efficiency of the manufacturing process and the source of the energy used. Researchers at Northwestern University and the U.S. Renewable energy investment heats up worldwide. From China to Mexico, renewable energy investments are hot.

Renewable energy investment heats up worldwide

Global investment in renewable power and fuels reached $270.2 billion last year, nearly 17% higher than in 2013, according to a new study on renewable energy investment from the United Nations Environment Programme. This figure marks the first increase in three years. Together, wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, small hydro and marine power are estimated to have generated 9.1% of the world's electricity in 2014, compared to 8.5% in 2013. China led the pack as the location of the biggest renewable energy investments last year, with $83.3 billion, followed by the U.S. at $38.3 billion and then Japan with $35.7 billion. While solar installation boomed in China and Japan, and offshore wind projects in Europe garnered $18.6 billion, some of the most notable renewable investment increases came from developing countries. How Canada Could Hit 100 Percent Renewable Energy - Solar Energy.

Canada can be a world leader in emissions reductions and renewable energy use, but only if its federal government decides to take climate change seriously, according to a new report.

How Canada Could Hit 100 Percent Renewable Energy - Solar Energy

The report, published Wednesday by 70 Canadian academics, looked at Canada’s potential to shift its electricity production to renewable sources and cut its emissions. It found that the country could get 100 percent of its electricity from low-carbon sources like wind, solar, and hydropower by 2035 and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. To achieve these goals, the report recommended that the federal government implement a nationwide price on carbon and eliminate subsidies to Canada’s fossil fuel industry — particularly, its tar sands industry. Costa Rica to lower electricity rates due to renewables rise. SAN JOSE, March 19 (Reuters) - Costa Rica will lower its electricity rates an average of 12 percent from April because it has met demand this year almost entirely with renewable energy, the state utilities regulator said on Thursday.

Costa Rica to lower electricity rates due to renewables rise

A total of 1.5 million households and businesses in the Central American country will receive discounts of between 7 and 15 percent in their power bills next quarter, depending on the company they use. The measure may offer some relief for Costa Rican business owners, who have long warned that electricity prices put the country's competitiveness and domestic consumption at risk. The price reduction is due to the fact that thermal power generation was "nearly nil" in the past couple of months, the regulator said in a statement. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), a state-run energy firm, predicted that thermal generation could drop to 7 percent of total electricity generation this year, from 12 percent last year, saving nearly $40 million. Sonoma to build the largest floating solar project in the US. Sonoma Clean Power recently announced it has contracted to build the largest floating solar project in the United States, which will produce enough electricity to power 3,000 homes when it comes on-line in 2016.

Sonoma to build the largest floating solar project in the US

Twitter. How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really? As the world seeks cleaner power, solar energy capacity has increased sixfold in the past five years.

How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?

Yet manufacturing all those solar panels, a Tuesday report shows, can have environmental downsides. Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solar's ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics. A new ranking of 37 solar manufacturers, the Solar Scorecard, shows that some companies are doing better than others. The annual scorecard was created by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), a San Francisco-based nonprofit that has tracked the environmental impact of the high-tech industry since 1982. Solar industry grapples with hazardous wastes. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Homeowners on the hunt for sparkling solar panels are lured by ads filled with images of pristine landscapes and bright sunshine, and words about the technology's benefits for the environment — and the wallet.

Solar industry grapples with hazardous wastes

What customers may not know is that there's a dirtier side. While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. Solar_11.2. Renewables and Costs in Germany. In September 2010, the German government announced a new energy policy with the target of increasing the relative share of renewable energy in gross electrical generation to 35% by 2020, 50% by 2030, 65% by 2040, and 80% by 2050. Germany has been increasing its renewable energy generation from 6.6% (mostly existing hydro) in 2000, when the EEG law took effect, to 23.4% of total generation, at the end of 2013.

If current RE growth continues, Germany likely will meet the 2020 target. Renewable Energy Growth in Perspective. Guest post: Roger Andrews Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, continues to set records for electicity generation and installed capacity in many parts of the world, and as shown in Figure 1 wind and solar growth in recent years has indeed been quite spectacular (the data used to construct this and following Figures are from the 2014 BP Statistical Review of World Energy): Figure 1: Electricity Generated from Solar and Wind, 1965-2013 But Figure 1 doesn’t tell the whole story because solar and wind are only two of the four main sources of renewable energy.

Adding the other two – biomass and hydro – puts the solar and wind contributions in better perspective (Figure 2). Electricity generated by renewables has increased by a factor of over five since 1965 but 70% of the increase has come from hydro. Why Tesla's battery for your home should terrify utilities. Earlier this week, during a disappointing Tesla earnings call, Elon Musk mentioned in passing that he’d be producing a stationary battery for powering the home in the next few months.

It sounded like a throwaway side project from someone who’s never seen a side project he doesn’t like.