Renewable Energy Developments

Renewable energy solutions continue to contribute to solving the world’s energy crisis. Below are recent articles highlighting recent news and developments in the space.

Renewable Energy Capacity Grows at Fastest Ever Pace Terry Macalister on The Guardian

A recent report by the International Energy Agency revealed that renewable power capacity grew at its strongest ever pace last year and now produces 22% of the world’s electricity. More than $250 billion was invested in “green” generating systems in 2013 yet the speed of growth is expected to slow due to politician’s concerns over the costs of deploying renewables. Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA, said: “Renewables are a necessary part of energy security.” She advised: “Governments must distinguish more clearly between the past, present and future, as costs are falling over time.”

The level of investment in renewable is lower today than it was at its peak of $280 billion in 2011. It is expected to average only $230 billion annually going forward unless governments make increasing policy commitments to increase spending. The growth rate will need to improve to meet climate change targets.

Powering the World’s Poorer Economies: A Response to Bill Gates and Jigar Shah Carl Pope on Green Tech Media

There is an ongoing debate between Bill Gates and Jigar Shaw over the best way to provide energy access to the world’s poor. Gates is an advocate for centralized, fossil-fuel-based electrification while Shah calls for prioritizing distributed renewable solutions yet neither can provide evidence to support which is the cheapest, most reliable solution to reach the 3.2 billion people living in energy poverty. Carl Pope, former executive director of Sierra Club, weighs in with the facts.

New fossil-fuel electricity can reach the poor cheaply, quickly and reliably, if:

  • The households or businesses have already been wired to the grid
  • The coal (or natural gas) is local, easily extracted and doesn’t require massive disruption of existing communities.
  • The population to be served is small enough that plants don’t need pollution-control equipment
  • The region has a sufficient water surplus

Fossil fuels won’t work in most energy deprived regions because the costs of grid extensions, fuel importation, pollution clean-up and water shortages are too high to hope to provide affordable and reliable electricity.

The idea that renewable electricity costs more than fossil fuel power is simply no longer true. Renewables are increasingly cheaper than fossil alternatives for both on-grid and off-grid customers.

Let’s Stop Just Consuming and Become Part of the Internet of Energy on CleanTechies

When Ryan Wartena started our portfolio company GELI, his ultimate goal was the boost the use of energy storage so that “we can run the world on renewable energy,” he said. To achieve this, he created an “operating system” for decentralized energy. With this energy storage platform, companies that are generating more power than they need using renewable energy (i.e. achieving energy decentralization) are able to generate and store power, track energy price changes, and ultimately sell it back to the grid.

The company’s business model focuses on getting energy storage out there as quickly as possible. GELI provides integration software and allows its customers to go to their OEMs to get components, saving them money. The system can control electric vehicles, solar, storage, diesel backups and mechanical systems and there are many opportunities for to better integrate resources and focus on the “Internet of Energy”. “We need to focus on being producers, rather than consumers,” said Wartena.

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