Sunshine Recorder

Link: Dept. of Energy finds renewable energy can reliably supply 80% of US energy needs

A report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Renewable Electricity Futures Study (RE Futures), is an initial investigation of the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the continental United States over the next several decades. This study explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels—from 30% up to 90%, focusing on 80%, of all U.S. electricity generation from renewable technologies—in 2050. At such high levels of renewable electricity generation, the unique characteristics of some renewable resources, specifically geographical distribution and variability and uncertainty in output, pose challenges to the operability of the nation’s electric system.

Key Findings

  • Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.
  • Increased electric system flexibility, needed to enable electricity supply-demand balance with high levels of renewable generation, can come from a portfolio of supply- and demand-side options, including flexible conventional generation, grid storage, new transmission, more responsive loads, and changes in power system operations.
  • The abundance and diversity of U.S. renewable energy resources can support multiple combinations of renewable technologies that result in deep reductions in electric sector greenhouse gas emissions and water use.
  • The direct incremental cost associated with high renewable generation is comparable to published cost estimates of other clean energy scenarios. Improvement in the cost and performance of renewable technologies is the most impactful lever for reducing this incremental cost.

RE Futures provides initial answers to important questions about the integration of high penetrations of renewable electricity technologies from a national perspective, focusing on key technical implications. The study explores electricity grid integration using models with unprecedented geographic and time resolution for the contiguous United States to assess whether the U.S. power system can supply electricity to meet customer demand on an hourly basis with high levels of renewable electricity, including variable wind and solar generation.

RE Futures, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is a collaboration with more than 110 contributors from 35 organizations including national laboratories, industry, universities, and non-governmental organizations.

As the most comprehensive analysis of high-penetration renewable electricity of the continental United States to date, the study can inform broader discussion of the evolution of the electric system and electricity markets towards clean systems. RE Futures results indicate that renewable generation could play a more significant role in the U.S. electricity system than previously thought and that further work is warranted to investigate this clean generation pathway.

Link: State of Green Business Report

The fifth annual edition of our State of Green Business report continues our efforts to measure the environmental impacts of the emerging green economy. In addition to documenting what progress companies are making — if any — in improving their environmental performance, we track larger trends that will affect corporate America in 2012.

This free, downloadable report measures 20 aspects of environmental performance, from carbon emissions to paper use and recycling, and attempts to answer the question, “Are we bringing a green economy into being?”

For the first time, this year’s report includes essays from industry experts, including Amory Lovins, Jigar Shah and many others, exploring the trends that shape the commitments and success of the business world.

There’s good and bad news in this year’s report; the good news is that companies continue to dedicate time, money and staff to setting and meeting ambitious environmental goals.

The bad news is that, despite this, our research shows a slowing of momentum — or even backwards motion, in some cases — on some of the indicators. Among the downgraded topics include investments in clean technology innovations, overall energy intensity, certifications of LEED buildings, and paper use and recycling.

Link: IEA Confirms The End Of Cheap Oil

International Energy Agency (IEA) realeased its 2011 World Energy Outlook today in London. The report warns that if urgent action is not taken the world is headed for irreversible climate change within five years. “If we do not have an international agreement whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door will be closed forever,” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol warned.

The report also confirms the end of cheap oil. In its executive summary, under the sub-heading “Rising transport demand and upstream costs reconfirm  the end of cheap oil. We assume that the average IEA crude oil import price remains high, approaching $120/barrel (in year-2010 dollars) in 2035 (over $210/barrel in nominal terms) in the New Policies Scenario although, in practice, price volatility is likely to remain.”

The report also confirms the arrival of peak oil when it states that by the year 2035 there will be a shortfall of 47 mb/d, about twice the current total oil production of all OPEC countries in the Middle East. The report says that it can be compensated by the production of natural gas liquids (over 18 mb/d in 2035), unconventional sources (10 mb/d), biofuels 4 mb/d. Even if we believe that such much magical numbers are reached from unconventional sources, the numbers still fall short of demand.

(Source: azspot, via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)