Jeremy Rifkin wrote about the coming Third Industrial Revolution driven by the merger of energy and communications at Wired. Rifkin believes that the great economic revolutions occur when new communication technologies converge with new energy systems. Now Internet technology and renewable energies are about to merge to create a powerful infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution. In his words: “In the coming era, hundreds of millions of people will produce their own green energy and share it in an “energy internet”, just as we now ­generate and share information online. The ­creation of a renewable energy regime, loaded by buildings, partially stored in the form of hydrogen, distributed via an energy ­internet and connected to plug-in zero-emission transport, establishes a five-pillar infrastructure that will spawn thousands of businesses and millions of sustainable jobs. The democratisation of energy will also bring with it a reordering of human relationships, impacting the way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children and engage in civic life.” Read more at the link.

BP came out with their Energy Outlook 2030 report and Market Watch told us that Asia, and particularly China and India, will play a greater role in the geopolitics of energy as their dependence on oil and natural gas imports increases and surpasses that of the US. China will depend on imports to provide 80% of its oil needs in the next 20 years while the figure for India will be 91%.  Europe will join them in this dependence –importing 94% of its oil needs and 80% of the natural gas it will consume. The US will rely less on imports as its energy needs are met by domestic shale gas and ethanol. China is expected to get more and more of its oil from the Middle East.

The State Journal looked at the BP report and found that the US will become close to self-sufficiency by 2030. The US will also become a net exporter of natural gas. World primary energy consumption is seen growing nearly 40% between 2010 and 2030, with more than 95% of the growth in developing economies. Natural gas and non-fossil fuels gain at the expense of coal and oil. Natural gas will be the fastest growing fuel, meeting about one-third of global energy growth. Renewable energy, nuclear and hydroelectric power account for about another one-third of predicted growth.  By 2030 all renewables (wind, solar, geothermal, tidal) will join hydro and nuclear with global market shares of 6 to 7%  each.

You can read the BP report here.

CleanTechnica told us about a US Dept. of Energy report showing that  hydro, wave, and tidal energy could provide 15% of all the electricity the US needs by 2030. The DOE acknowledges that not all these resources may be economically or technologically feasible. High potential for wave energy development exists on the West Coast, Alaska, and Hawaii while tidal energy is available on both the East and West Coasts.

OILPRICE gave us an overview of geothermal’s potential to provide electricity. It concludes that while it works in certain locations it is really a niche player in the electricity generation business. The Voice of Russia talked about geothermal experiments in Russia while Today’s Energy Solutions told us about Mexico’s geothermal activity. Meanwhile ynet news said that the US state of Oregon is looking at a way of getting geothermal energy from a dormant volcano.

The International Energy Agency said that coal is not going away soon according to AOL Energy. Over the next five years coal will remain the dominant source for generating electricity despite the world’s concerns about climate change. The developing world is scrambling for electricity and coal right now is  the cheapest option. The IEA said worldwide demand for electricity is growing so fast that nothing on the horizon will replace coal, which now supplies 40% of electricity. Most new demand comes from the developing world, and the agency expects coal to supply about half of new power through 2016. China alone has 90 GW of coal generation under construction at this moment.

The Daily Mail reported that the UK’s green energy policies will cost families £400 a year by 2020. Citing research from the think-tank Policy Exchange, the numbers contradict the UK Government’s prediction that average household energy costs would fall about £100 a year by that date.

France’s energy regulator, Commission de Regulation de l’Energie, says that French electricity rates could rise 30% by 2016 we learned from Bloomberg. The increase would reflect inflation, higher wholesale rates at which the state-owned nuclear company sells power to rivals, a subsidy for renewable energy, and transport and distribution costs. With an election this year, the French government has limited electricity increases to 2.9%.

Der Spiegel assessed German’s solar subsidy sinkhole in Re-evaluating Germany’s Blind Faith in the Sun. The paper said that “The costs of subsidizing solar electricity have exceeded the 100-billion-euro mark in Germany, but poor results are jeopardizing the country’s transition to renewable energy…The only thing that’s missing at the moment is sunshine. For weeks now, the 1.1 million solar power systems in Germany have generated almost no electricity.” Part of this assessment includes an interview with a German political leader who discusses the mistakes made in Germany’s solar subsidy program. See also Solar Energy Row Is an ‘Undignified Spectacle’. See also POWERLINE which adds “For this massive amount of money, solar power only provides about 3 percent of Germany’s total electricity.  That is the equivalent of about two of Germany’s nuclear power plants, which cost a lot less than $100 billion to build.”  Canada Free Press adds a useful summary in Germany’s €100 Billion Solar Fiasco.

PRWeb directed us to the UK’s Solar Panels Suitability Checker, an interactive tool designed to help homeowners evaluate potential solar panels for their site.

From Greenbang we became aware of Eight19 or 8 minutes and 19 seconds that could change the world. That is the amount of time it takes for the Sun’s energy to reach the Earth. Eight19 is developing off-grid affordable solar technologies that it hopes will benefit the 2 billion people who do not have access to electricity. Through its IndiGo pay-as-you go model, electricity can be made available to people who don’t have enough money to pay for solar panels. Instead, they can buy electricity in one-dollar increments whenever they need it, ensuring that they’ll always have access to a cellphone charge when they need to make a call. Its target markets are in Africa and India and it hopes to roll out its pay-as-you-go model later this year.

Eight19 has some competition we learned from The Guardian. Mera Gao Power provides low cost lighting and mobile phone charging services to individual houses in poor villages in India by building and operating solar-powered micro grids. Each household that signs up to this service receives two LED lights and one mobile-charging point in their home at a cost of 25 rupees (£0.301) per week. The setup cost is an additional one-off payment of 40 rupees (£0.48). The lights not only allow individuals to work after dark, providing additional time for activities that generate income, but they permit extra time for children to study. Mobile charging, which costs 10 rupees (£0.12) per charge in town, is now far more affordable, allowing villagers to be both connected as well as listen to music or watch movies on the phones. You can visit the Mera Gao Power web site here.

gulfnews noted that Abu Dhabi is replacing 600,000 streetlights with new, low-energy Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures that may save up to Dh500 million in energy costs over 20 years. New LED fixtures’ lifespan is more than twice that of traditional sodium lamps and are 40% cheaper to operate. The conversion across the entire emirate should take up to six years. Millions more will be saved with additional replacement of old lighting fixtures in Abu Dhabi’s public and commercial realms such as parks, squares and architectural monuments throughout the city.



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