Can A City Run On 100% Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy

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Can A City Run On 100% Renewable Energy?

In 2014 Burlington, Vermont became the first city in the United States to run on 100% Renewable Energy. But how do they actually do it? What’s their secret?



Two-Thirds Of Germany Was Powered By Renewable Energy On Easter Sunday

German Solar Array

Two-Thirds Of Germany Was Powered By Renewable Energy On Easter Sunday

by Tom Hale

On the last weekend of April, as the breeze was blowing and the sunshine was beaming, two-thirds of Germany’s electricity came from renewable energy sources.

On Sunday, April 30, an average of 64 percent of electricity consumed in Germany came from renewable sources, according to data by German think-tank Agora Energiewende. At around 2pm, the share of renewables rose to 85 percent and from 10am to 6pm over 75 percent of demand was covered by clean energy.

Most of this push came from solar power plants, closely followed by a large contribution from wind farms (see graph below). That weekend also saw the least amount of coal the country has burned up “in recent history” and nuclear power plants reduce their output by up to 40 percent.

This situation will “be completely normal” by 2030, according to Dr Patrick Graichen, the director of Agora Energiewende.

Germany Solar

These goals have been made a reality through the government’s policy of Energiewende, one of the most extensive pushes towards low-carbon energy sources in the world.

In recent years, this initiative has seen the country pump €1.5 billion ($1.63 billion) a year into clean energy research. As a result of all this work, they hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels, and slash them by at least 80 percent by 2050. A key part of this program is to totally phase out nuclear power by 2022.

“By 2022, the nuclear energy exit will be completed, so that in 2030 there is no longer a problem,” added Graichen. “In addition, inflexible, old coal power plants have to be looked into. Along with the climate protection and the future EU limit values for nitrogen oxide emissions, this is another German Solar Arrayreason to take them off the grid in the foreseeable future.”

So much energy was produced on April 30, it was accompanied by “negative prices” for several hours at the electricity exchange. This means that people were effectively being paid to consume electricity, in a roundabout way. Although that’s good news for the average Joe, it shows that the issue of energy transition can be a thorny one.

“Events like this highlight that eventually we may need to start curtailing because of market-wide oversupply,” Monne Depraetere, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, told Bloomberg. “In the long-run, that may provide a case to build technologies that can manage this oversupply – for example more interconnectors or energy storage.”

Outside of Germany, many other countries are pushing to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and move towards clean energy. Just last month, the United Kingdom experienced its first day since the Industrial Revolution when it didn’t burn coal.


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Lawmakers in California and Massachusetts have recently introduced bills that would require their states to get all of their electricity from renewable energy sources.

ECOWATCH — California Senate leader Kevin de León, who introduced Senate Bill 584 last Friday, would require the Golden State to have a carbon-free grid by 2045. It would also accelerate the state’s current goal of hitting 50 percent renewables by 2030 to 2025.

“The California Energy Commission says the state got about 27 percent of its electricity from renewables last year, slightly better than the 25 percent required by law. Capacity has more than doubled over the past decade. California’s largest utilities have also said they are ahead of schedule for meeting their 2020 goal.”

Massachusetts legislators have also announced a measure requiring the state to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035. All of its energy needs, including heating and transportation, would have to come from renewable sources by 2050.980x

So far, the only state that has an official 100 percent renewable energy standard is Hawaii. Hawaii’s aggressive clean energy mandate—requiring the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources no later than 2045—was enacted back in 2015.

Many renewable-energy loving states—as well as town and city governments—are ramping up their clean energy goals in spite of the federal government’s favoritism of fossil fuels and indifference towards fighting climate change.

This month, Nevada assemblyman Chris Brook introduced a bill to ramp up the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 80 percent by 2040. Nevada’s current standard calls for 25 percent by 2025.

Transitioning to 100 percent clean energy is not far-fetched

Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson, a Stanford University professor and cofounder of The Solutions Project, has created a state-by-state roadmap to convert the country to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Last year, The Solutions Project team published a study explaining how each state can replace fossil fuels by tapping into renewable resources available in each state such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and even small amounts of tidal and wave power.

Image:The Solutions Project

The authors found that converting the nation’s energy infrastructure into renewables is ideal because it helps fight climate change, saves lives by eliminating air pollution, creates jobs in the rapidly booming renewable energy sector and also stabilizes energy prices.

“It is now established that such a transition is possible state by state and country by country,” Jacobson commented to EcoWatch in December.

Also, as USA TODAY pointed out from a University of Texas at Austin study, wind turbines and big solar farms are the cheapest sources of new electricity generation across much of the U.S.

I had the chance to take a deeper dive with Jacobson via email on Wednesday. He took the time to answer these following questions:

What do you say to the critics who say it is not feasible for California, Massachusetts (or any other state) to get to 100 percent clean energy?

Jacobson: They speak without having ever studied the issue or examined the numbers, including the ability to keep the grid stable or the costs of energy.

What are some of the specific benefits for California and Massachusetts if they transition to clean energy?

Jacobson: Create more net long-term jobs than lost, stabilize energy prices because the fuel costs of wind and solar are zero, reduce the costs of energy since onshore wind and large-scale solar are the least expensive forms of new energy in the U.S. today, eliminate 13,000 air pollution deaths and hundreds of thousands of illnesses in California alone saving 3 percent of the GDP, reduce terrorism and catastrophic risk because of the more distributed nature of the grid and reduce dependence on foreign energy.

What are some of the biggest obstacles (i.e. technology, politics, fossil fuel industry) for states to get to 100 percent clean energy?

Jacobson: Lack of information and people with a financial interest in the current infrastructure. Once people have full information about the transition and its benefits, most are likely to support the transition. Ninety percent of the blockade to faster progress is due to individuals and companies that have a financial interest in the current infrastructure thus profit over it not happening.

Are you working with any of the legislators who have proposed these 100 percent clean energy bills? If so, who? And, what role is The Solutions Project playing in helping states advance renewable energy policies?

Jacobson: We provide information to all parties who request it, thus our goal is not partisan. It is purely to help facilitate the healthiest and cleanest future for Americans and the world.

Thank you to our friends at EcoWatch for providing the original article below:



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