Globally, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas, with 54% of the world’s population residing in urban areas in 2014. By 2050, 66% of the world’s population is projected to be urban. About half of urban dwellers reside in relatively small settlements of less than 500,000 inhabitants, while nearly one in eight live in the 28 mega-cities of 10 million inhabitants or more. The number of mega-cities has nearly tripled since 1990; and by 2030, 41 urban agglomerations are projected to house at least 10 million inhabitants each. Whereas several decades ago most of the world’s largest urban agglomerations were found in the more developed regions, today’s large cities are concentrated in the global South, and the fastest-growing agglomerations are medium sized cities and cities with 500,000 to 1 million inhabitants located in Asia and Africa.

The New Mangalore Port Trust has become the first among 12 major ports in India to rely completely on renewable energy. The port is receiving solar power generated from 2 facilities that produce 5.2 megawatts. Another facility which can add another 850 kilowatts is under construction.

We may soon see fleets of autonomous cargo ships navigating the world’s busiest shipping lanes using artificial intelligence. Several shipbuilders and shipping firms in Japan (including Mitsui OSK Lines and Nippon Yusen) have united to develop 250 remote-controlled cargo vessels that could be launched by 2025. The ships would use the Internet of Things – connecting a range of devices over the Internet – to gather data, such as weather conditions and shipping information, and plot the shortest, most efficient and safest routes. The companies believe the technology could dramatically cut the number of accidents at sea. Norway plans to launch an autonomous and fully electric cargo ship next year that will carry fertilisers between three ports in the country’s south.

An auction in the United Arab Emirates for 200 megawatts of solar thermal power and 15 hours of storage capacity attracted a new low bid of $US94.50/megawatt-hour (9.45 US cents per kilowatt-hour), The lowest bid is believed to have come in nearly 40% below the previous world-record low price. The auction is for a solar park in Dubai, which is part of Dubai’s goal of generating 75% of electricity from renewable sources by 2050. The solar park will have a total capacity of 5 gigawatts by 2030.

The fact that solar power prices in India have hit rock bottom is not all good news for the electricity-starved country. Intense competition at solar auctions has driven prices down to potentially unsustainable levels and undermining the booming sector’s viability at the time the government has promised a huge renewable energy program. The low prices are leading to buyer’s remorse for projects already built and under development. These earlier entrants might not be able to compete and may decide not to continue with their energy supplies. In addition many wonder if the latest low price auction winners can actually deliver on their low price promise. Meanwhile, some states that got good prices last year are now holding off entering into contracts with the winners unless they match the latest low prices. India is the fastest growing of the world’s major economies and needs uninterrupted electricity to maintain its expansion. Moreover, delays in generating more electricity would mean that the 250 million Indians without power will remain in he dark. See DAWNSolar power price slump casts shadow on India’s green future

The US city of Los Angeles will be using geothermal energy. This is part of the city’s goal to be relying completely on renewable energy by 2025. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has entered into a 26 year agreement with Southern California Public Power Authority to receive enough geothermal electricity to power 208,000 homes throughout the city. Unlike solar and wind, geothermal energy is not intermittent.

Los Angeles will be using buses powered by renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) made from organic waste. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has entered into a contract to purchase the gas from Clean Energy Fuels Corp. The trial contract is for one year for 200 buses. If successful, the contract will be extended 4 years to all 2200 buses in the fleet. The biogenic methane or biogas is methane that is naturally generated by the decomposition of organic waste. The gas is processed, purified and sent into the country’s interstate natural gas pipeline and transported to refueling stations owned or operated by Clean Energy.

The city of Los Angeles is also beginning the operation of an electric car sharing program. The “BlueLA Electric Car Sharing Program,” is a pilot project that will deploy 100 electric cars and 200 electric vehicle charging stations.  The service will serve disadvantaged communities in the area including downtown Los Angeles. The cars will be available 24/7 at self-service kiosks and can be rented by the hour or via a monthly subscription. Exact rates haven’t been set, but city officials said prices will range from 15 cents to 80 cents per minute of drive time.

 

 

In order to stave off power black outs next summer in the state of Victoria, Australia’s electricity grid operator is offering to pay big industrial energy users such as smelters to shut down during heatwaves. The objective is to free up 600 megawatts of electricity from early January to the start of March. This would be the equivalent of saving about half the electric power generated by a typical coal-fired plant. The offer comes amid alarms about the security of the state’s energy supply following the shutdown of the Hazelwood coal-fired plant this past March. The mechanism has only been issued three times in the history of the national energy market and never on such a scale. Earlier this year it was reported that Victoria was facing an unprecedented 96 days of possible power supply shortfalls over the next two years, with potential breaches of minimum energy reliability.

 

 

 

 

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