Renewable Energy Closing In On Natural Gas As Second-Largest Source Of Electricity Worldwide

Renewable energy will soon beat out natural gas as the second-largest source of electricity worldwide, according to projections from the International Energy Agency.

Electricity from solar, wind, hydropower and other renewable sources will increase by 40 percent in the next five years, making up about 25 percent of the world’s energy sources by 2018. Renewables will provide the second-largest amount of global electricity by 2016, topped only by coal, the number one supplier of electricity around the world. Today, hydropower dominates the renewable energy mix, supplying 80 percent of the world’s renewable electricity, but IEA projects non-hydro sources of renewable energy will double over the next five years, comprising about 8 percent of the world’s energy sources by 2018.

Lower costs are a major contributor to the spike in renewable energy — in many developing countries in Africa and Asia (and some developed ones, like Australia) renewables like wind are actually cheaper than coal. These costs are helping drive higher levels of investment in renewable energy from developing countries looking to meet rising energy demands. Reports published earlier this month found developing countries invested a total of $112 billion in renewable energy in 2012, an increase of 19 percent from the year before. China led the way in this area, upping its investment to $67 billion — an increase of nearly a quarter compared to 2011. The total invested by countries in the Middle East and Africa was much smaller — about $12 billion — but compared to 2011, their investment surged upward by 228 percent.

But renewable energy investment isn’t growing everywhere — it’s actually dropping off in developed nations. The IEA notes that despite the renewable sector’s rapid growth, worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels are still six times higher than subsidies for renewables (the U.S.’s spending reflects the world’s average — in 2011, U.S. fossil fuel subsidies were $523 billion, about six times higher than the $88 billion spent on renewable energy). President Obama pledged in his climate speech Tuesday to double the country’s wind and solar energy and to allow enough private renewable energy development on public lands to powqer 6 million homes by 2020. But governments in Europe, meanwhile, are cutting renewable energy subsidies as austerity measures take hold

Obama also addressed coal’s role in the U.S. energy mix on Tuesday, announcing he would be imposing limits on carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants in the U.S., as well as stopping government financing of coal plants overseas. Despite new investments in renewables, coal still dominates the energy market in developing countries like China and India. But its hold on the market may slowly be slipping. In a draft energy strategy statement, the World Bank revealed Thursday that it would be cutting back on the number of coal plants it finances, limiting its support to “rare circumstances where there are no feasible alternatives available to meet basic energy needs and other sources of financing are absent.”

IEA: Renewable Energy Sources to Top Natural Gas by 2016

by Justin Loiseau, The Motley Fool Jun 28th 2013 4:29PM Updated Jun 28th 2013 4:30PM

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Energy produced from renewable sources such as hydro, wind, and solar will exceed that from natural gas and more than double the outupt from nuclear by 2016, according to a recent International Energy Agency report, making it the second most important global electricity source, after coal.

According to projections, renewable power will increase by a whopping 40% over the next five years, despite what the report calls a “difficult economic context.” Renewables are currently the fastest-growing electricity source, and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, according to the IEA, up from an estimated 20% in 2011. Non-hydro sources (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) are expected to double by 2018, reaching 8%, according to the Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (link opens in PDF).

“As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation,” said Agency Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven during a presentation. “This is good news for a global energy system that needs to become cleaner and more diversified, but it should not be an excuse for government complacency, especially among OECD countries.”

In 2012, global renewable energy generation exceeded China’s overall electricity consumption. Van der Hoeven pointed to increased investment in emerging markets and cost-competitiveness as the two main drivers behind renewables’ ramp up.

The article IEA: Renewable Energy Sources to Top Natural Gas by 2016 originally appeared on

The $1 Trillion Choice

Posted February 22, 2013 By Mark Green

While the White House talks again about raising taxes on oil and natural gas companies, let’s look at a chart that captures the starkly different outcomes – in terms of revenue for government – from two policy paths: higher energy taxes vs. increased energy development:1Trillion_Government_Revenue_Potential_v2_(3)

You read it right: The difference between the two policy choices, in cumulative dollars for government from now until 2030, is more than $1 trillion.

According to a 2011 study by Wood Mackenzie, increased oil and natural gas activity under pro-access policies would generate an additional $800 billion in cumulative revenue for government by 2030. The chart puts into perspective the size of these accumulating revenues – enough to fund entire federal departments at various points along the timeline. By contrast, Wood Mackenize also found that hiking taxes on oil and natural gas companies would, by 2030, result in $223 billion in cumulative lost revenue to government.

Another way to look at it: The chart below shows that the higher-taxes policy path would add about $16 billion in cumulative revenue for government at first, but that sharp revenue losses would follow as increased taxes slow energy development (costing about 22,000 jobs in the process).


The choice is a no-brainer. Yet some in Washington continue to push for the higher taxes path – the less-energy, fewer-jobs, less-revenue-for-government path. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney this week:

“If we have one fundamental goal here in Washington, it should be to work towards growing the economy and increasing job creation, not doing unnecessary, arbitrary things to halt or reverse that process.”

Carney’s right. We need policies that help the economy. Yet, working against the economy and job creation is the likely result from the course the administration keeps pushing: discriminatory tax increases on our industry – one that already contributes an average of $86 million a day to the federal government in income taxes, bonus bids, rental payments, royalties and other fees. API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin, in a recent conference call with reporters:

“When it comes to taxes, singling out our industry for tax increases is bad economic policy, it’s bad tax policy and it punishes one of the few industries that has created jobs and grown our economy throughout the economic downturn. We pay more than our fair share, and despite repeated allegations, we receive no subsidies. We pay federal taxes at an effective rate – 44 percent – that is well above the 29 percent effective rate paid by other S&P Industrials.”

As Durbin noted, higher taxes would impact the significant stimulus our industry provides to the broader economy – $545 billion in 2012. That figure represents jobs, investments in facilities and operations and energy development that generates millions in revenue for government – stimulus that doesn’t require legislation from Congress or a new federal program. Here’s how industry’s investments, measured in capital spending, stacked up from 2006-2011:



“Short-sighted, punitive tax proposals could put at risk those investments, diminishing what we can do for economic growth, sacrificing potential jobs and, paradoxically, sacrificing revenues that could come from new development and new jobs.”

If the goal is more revenue for government from the oil and natural gas industry, there are two paths: One that produces a sizeable net loss over the next two decades – as well as job losses and less energy – or one that, through increased energy development, generates hundreds of billions of additional dollars for government while adding jobs, growing the economy and producing more of the energy our country needs: the $1 trillion choice.


Solar power captured in fuel

19 October 2012


Solar power captured in fuel







Note To Readers: Our Comments: An abundant FREE source of energy … that is limitless … and GREEN to boot! Quoting from the news release:

” … “Our future scientific goal is to establish a solar water splitting system operated only by abundant sunlight and sea water,” Associate Professor Tachibana remarked. “Fortunately these resources are freely available on this blue planet.

“The key to improving efficiency will be in the development of new “nano-materials” (microscopically small components), along with efficient control of charge transfer reaction processes, and improvement to the structure of devices.”

Cheers! – BWH

It has long been a dream of scientists to use solar energy to produce chemicals which could be stored and later used to create electricity or fuels.

A recent scientific breakthrough is providing hope that this may soon be possible.

The development would offer many benefits, including the ability to store chemicals until needed – current solar power technology has difficulties in this area.

In the laboratory, a new technology mimics photosynthesis, the process used by plants, by combining sunlight and water in such a way that promises storable fuels.

The “solar to chemical energy conversion” process is outlined in an article just published in a prominent journal, Nature Photonics, authored by RMIT University researcher Associate Professor Yasuhiro Tachibana, from the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.

Inspired by photosynthesis, in which oxygen and carbohydrates are produced from water and carbon dioxide, the newly developed technology emulates this process using man-made materials.

According to Associate Professor Tachibana, it remains a challenge to construct a device capable of producing molecular fuels like hydrogen at a scale and cost able to compete with fossil fuels.

The key to improving efficiency will be in the development of new “nano-materials” (microscopically small components), along with efficient control of charge transfer reaction processes, and improvement to the structure of devices.

Recent developments in the field of nanotechnology have been leading to promising improvements in cost and effectiveness of the conversion process, Associate Professor Tachibana said.

“Our future scientific goal is to establish a solar water splitting system operated only by abundant sunlight and sea water,” Associate Professor Tachibana remarked.

“Fortunately these resources are freely available on this blue planet.”

Professor Xinghuo Yu, Director of RMIT’s Platform Technologies Research Institute, said the latest research was significant, but challenges remained in how to translate laboratory-scale academic research into a practical, economically viable technology.

In addition to using solar energy, other commercially available renewable energy sources like wind and tidal power could also conceivably be applied, Professor Yu said.

Associate Professor Tachibana’s review paper was published in the August 2012 edition of Nature Photonics, world-renowned as a pre-eminent platform for publication of international research in photonics.

Editor’s Note: Original news release can be found here.


South Korea to Invest $35 Billion in Renewable Energy by 2015

Published on Date October 14th, 2010 by ecopolitology

The South Korean government has announced that it intends to invest $35.4 billion in the renewable energy sector over the next five years as it aims at reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and build a green economy for the future.

The announcement was made by a presidential task force which is responsible for the drafting the country’s green energy policy. According to the announced plans, the green energy thrust to the economy would be provided through a combination of public and private initiatives.

The South Korean government announced the ‘Green Korea‘ plan in September 2008 which identified nine key areas for green investment: solar and wind power, light-emitting diodes (LED), hydrogen fuel cells, gas-to-liquid energy, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and energy storage.

Solar Energy

The South Korean government plans to increase the solar power generation capacity to 400 MW by 2012. In addition to large-scale power plants the government is also looking to investment in home-basedsolar power systems. According to the ministry of Knowledge Economy, a total of 100,000 homes will have solar power systems installed by 2012 these will include all government-planned buildings and 60 percent of privately-owned homes will have solar power systems.

South Korea already has one of the largest solar PV power plants in the world — the SinAn power plant, capable of generating 33,000 units of electricity annually.

And seeing a local market opportunity, South Korean manufacturing giants like Hyundai, Samsung and LG have also invested heavily in solar.

Wind Energy

The country aims at increasing the installed wind energy capacity to 1000 MW by 2012. There are plans for creating local manufacturing hubs which would supply wind turbine components to the local as well as foreign markets. The aim is to grab 10 percent share of the world’s wind energy technology supply chain by 2020.

The local companies like Hanjin Corporation are installing there own medium-sized wind turbines in the existing wind farms and are also looking to develop wind turbines of more than 5 MW generation capacity.

Green Transport

The new automobile policy has been designed keeping in mind Korea’s strong automobile sector. The government has outlined a policy which targets development of next-generation engines which are fuel flexible, that is, can be operated with several combinations of fuels. Several automakers in Korea are preparing to launch fuel cell-based cars in the near future and many, including Hyundai Motors, have launched hybrid cars which runs on cleaner fuels like natural gas.

The government will invest $5.6 billion in the automobile sector by 2013 as it aims at becoming one of the four largest green cars manufacturing nations.

Green Jobs

The government believes that the green industry can generate more jobs than conventional industries. If these projects are executed as per plans the government expects to generate more than 100,000 jobs by 2012 which can increase to 950,000 by 2030.