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Sustainable Energy

Floating Solar - A Crazy Big Idea?


This is a crazy big idea. But how crazy?

In Japan, Kyocera is building a 13.5 MW floating solar PV plant on a reservoir behind the Yamakura Dam, east of Tokyo, in partnership with the French company Ciel & Terre. When completed in March 2016 it will cover 44.5 acres and power nearly 5,000 energy-conserving Japanese households.[1]

Note: This is not a BCSEA position — just a personal essay exploring a possible new approach. 

Solar PV Will Be Cheapest Form Of Power Within A Decade

Cost of electricity from new solar plants in Central and Southern Europe

February 25, 2015
Clean Technica

A major new study from a leading German think tank and renewable energy specialist says the cost reduction potential of large scale solar is still misunderstood, and predicts that solar PV will be the cheapest form of power within a decade, and cost less than $US0.02/kWh by 2050. The study by the Berlin-based Agora Energiewende says that the end to cost reductions from solar plants is “not in sight”, even after falling more than 80 per cent in recent years.

Burst of warming may end lull in rising temperatures

Warming blast on its way.

February 23, 2015
New Scientist

Consider yourself warned. We can expect a burst of supercharged warming when the pause in rising global temperatures finally ends.

Global mean surface temperatures have not risen significantly since about 1998, which could be thanks to the oceans sucking up the extra heat.

If this turns out to be the case, Chris Roberts from the Met Office in the UK and colleagues have found that there is a 60 per cent chance the hiatus will be followed by a five-year period of rapid warming at twice the usual background rate of around 0.2°C per decade.

Ottawa tax break boosts B.C. LNG

Stephen Harper makes an announcement regarding tax cuts for LNG projects at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday February 19, 2015.

February 19, 2015
Vancouver Sun

A federal government tax break to the liquefied natural gas industry announced Thursday was extolled by industry and Premier Christy Clark as making B.C. more competitive globally.

The federal tax break will last until 2024, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced at a news conference in Surrey.

The break will save the industry a total of about $50 million over five years starting in 2015-16, but savings are expected to increase in later years if the industry grows as expected, said a federal government spokesperson.

The myth of the dark side of Germany’s Energiewende

Development of power generation from coal (lignite and hard coal), nuclear and renewable energy sources (in terrawatt-hours, 2014 data partly estimated)

February 18, 2015
REnew Economy

Critics of renewable energy have mocked the Energiewende, claiming that it has led to an increase in coal power and related CO2 emissions in Germany. But Conrad Kunze and Paul Lehmann of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ show that this is a myth. German coal generation and CO2 emissions rose not because of but in spite of the Energiewende. They would have been even higher if Germany had not phased out its nuclear power and embarked on its remarkable renewable energy path. “There is no dark side to the Energiewende”. 

LNG revenue windfall absent from BC's budget three-year projections

IMAGE: A model shows the proposed LNG liquification plant in Kitimat

February 17, 2015
Vancouver Sun
Liberals said they had expected revenues to begin flowing by 2017

Gone is any expectation in the 2015 budget of a near to medium-term revenue windfall from the development of a liquefied natural gas export industry in British Columbia.

In fact, revenues, through royalties, from the province's existing North American natural gas industry are expected to be lower over the next three years because of falling prices.


Divestment outperforms conventional portfolios for the past 5 years

IMAGE: Five year snapshot of FTSE's fossi fuel free indices

February 16, 2015
Climate Spectator

The Independent Petroleum Association of America recently commissioned and funded a study, covered in The New York Times and elsewhere, which claimed that university endowments would suffer without fossil fuels in their portfolios. The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed calling fossil fuel divestment a "Feel-Good Folly."

‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say

IMAGE: Greenpeace activists hang a large banner off the Lions Gate bridge in Vancouver, B.C. Tuesday, May 29, 2012.

February 17, 2015
Globe and Mail

The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation.

In highly charged language that reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, an RCMP intelligence assessment warns that foreign-funded groups are bent on blocking oil sands expansion and pipeline construction, and that the extremists in the movement are willing to resort to violence.

It might seem unethical but someone has to get rich fighting climate change

February 5, 2015
The Guardian

Is 2015 the year when the world will finally decide on a major new global agreement on climate change? Pundits are beginning to put their cases as to whether the Paris summit in December will “save the earth”, or will end up as another Copenhagen, as in 2009 when massive anticipation resulted in inevitable post-conference disappointment. In a speech this week Prince Charles insisted that 2015 will be a make-or-break year for the climate. But is Paris where the real action will be?