Tag Archives: peak oil

Cayman Renewable Energy Association Launches

Cayman Renewable Energy Association launched last week. In this segment we learn more about the group’s mission and what they see as the next step in implementing alternative energy in Cayman.

James E. Whittaker of GreenTech Group of Companies and Jim Knapp of Endless Energy talk to Vanessa Hansen of Cayman 27 about the premise of the organiization and why it’s important to have the association in Cayman.

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Goodbye gasoline… first green LEAF arrives in the Cayman Islands

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — The NCB group in the Cayman Islands has purchased the very first new all-electric Nissan LEAF in the Caribbean, reinforcing its commitment to environmental sustainability.

“NCB Group is proud to be a part of the innovative movement towards electric cars in the Cayman Islands,” said Matthew Wight, managing director.

Considered the premier residential developer in the Cayman Islands, the NCB group is seeking to further reduce its ecological footprint in an effort to protect the Caribbean and the planet from harmful greenhouse gasses.

Wight said that he drives electric vehicles because he knows that he is helping the environment.

“As a company, we strive to employ sustainable and green technologies when we build our residential and commercial projects and we wanted to carry this mission through to the vehicles we drive,” he explained.

Driving a Nissan LEAF – a 100% electric car — has been extremely rewarding “in the sense that the LEAF does not use a single drop of gas. It has no tailpipe, no fumes and produces zero emissions,” he said.

“As we build with Cayman’s future in mind we are also looking to alternative energy sources in everything we do with the goal to be as eco-conscious as possible,” Wight added.

For nearly a decade John Felder, president and CEO of Cayman Automotive Leasing, has been at the forefront of the burgeoning electric vehicle industry in the Caribbean.

His hope is to see electric vehicles being driven in every country in the Caribbean and eventually the world in years to come.

“I applaud Mr Matthew Wight and NCB for investing in the future for a cleaner and healthier environment. The energy generated to power the Nissan LEAF and the energy to move the car is 97% cleaner in terms of noxious pollutants,” Felder said.

The Nissan LEAF boasts one of the quietest and smoothest rides ever experienced. The vehicle does not have a gas tank and drivers will never have to pay at the pumps again. The motor is powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery, which is half the weight and twice the power of the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in hybrids, and can easily be charged at home, or at any solar panel charging station in Grand Cayman.

Felder is certain that electric cars are the cleanest, most efficient, and most cost effective form of transportation around.

“Electric cars are high performance vehicles that will continue to meet new challenges in the future,” he said. More

 

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Energy Efficiency Simply Makes Sense

What simple tool offers the entire world an extended energy supply, increased energy security, lower carbon emissions, cleaner air and extra time to mitigate climate change? Energy efficiency. What’s more, higher efficiency can avoid infrastructure investment, cut energy bills, improve health, increase competitiveness and enhance consumer welfare — all while more than paying for itself.

Maria van der Hoeven - IEA

The challenge is getting governments, industry and citizens to take the first steps towards making these savings in energy and money.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has long spearheaded a global move toward improved energy efficiency policy and technology in buildings, appliances, transport and industry, as well as end-use applications such as lighting. That’s because the core of our mandate is energy security — the uninterrupted availability of energy at an affordable price. Greater efficiency is a principal way to strengthen that security: it reduces reliance on energy supply, especially imports, for economic growth; mitigates threats to energy security from climate change; and lessens the global economy’s exposure to disruptions in fossil fuel supply.

In short, energy efficiency makes sense.

In 2006, the IEA presented to the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations its 25 energy efficiency recommendations, which identify best practice and policy approaches to realize the full potential of energy efficiency for our member countries. Every two years, the Agency reports on the gains made by member countries, and today we are working with a growing number of international organizations, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the German sustainable development cooperation services provider GIZ.

The opportunities of this “invisible fuel” are many and rich. More than half of the potential savings in industry and a whopping 80 percent of opportunities in the buildings sector worldwide remain untouched. The 25 recommendations, if adopted fully by all 28 IEA members, would save $1 trillion in annual energy costs as well as deliver incalculable security benefits in terms of energy supply and environmental protection.

Achieving even a small fraction of those gains does not require new technological breakthroughs or ruinous capital outlays: the know-how exists, and the investments generate positive returns in fuel savings and increased economic growth. What is required is foresight, patience, changed habits and the removal of the barriers to implementation of measures that are economically viable. For instance, as the World Energy Outlook 2012 demonstrates, investing less than $12 trillion in more energy-efficient technologies would not only quickly pay for itself through reduced energy costs, it would also increase cumulative economic output to 2035 by $18 trillion worldwide.

While current efforts come nowhere close to realizing the full benefits that efficiency offers, some countries are taking big steps forward. Members of the European Union have pledged to cut energy demand by 20 percent by 2020, while Japan plans to trim its electricity consumption 10 percent by 2030. China is committed to reducing the amount of energy needed for each unit of gross domestic product by 16 percent in the next two years. The United States has leaped to the forefront in transportation efficiency standards with new fuel economy rules that could more than double vehicle fuel consumption.

Such transitions entail challenges for policy, and experience shows that government and the private sector must work together to achieve the sustainability goals that societies demand, learning what works and what does not, and following the right path to optimal deployment of technology. Looking forward, energy efficiency will play a vital role in the transition to the secure and sustainable energy future that we all seek. The most secure energy is the barrel or megawatt we never have to use.

Maria van der Hoeven is the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, an autonomous organization which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. This commentary appeared first this month in IEA Energy, the Agency’s journal.

 

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Caribbean Energy Experts Recommend Creation Of New Caribbean Centre For Renewable Energy And Energy Efficiency

Caribbean energy experts recommend creation of new Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) – A Centre of Excellence to Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Energy Industries and SE4ALL

The technical design and institutional set-up of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) was successfully validated by energy experts and specialists of CARICOM Member States in a regional workshop, held from 21 to 22 July 2014 in Roseau, Dominica. The event was co-organized by theSmall Island Developing States (SIDS) Sustainable Energy Initiative – SIDS DOCK, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Dominica, with financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).

The workshop follows-up on the official request of SIDS DOCK to UNIDO in August 2013, to assist the small island developing states in the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian Ocean and Africa, in the creation of a SIDS network of regional sustainable energy centres. With technical assistance from UNIDO, a consultative preparatory process for the Caribbean centre was launched in close coordination with the Energy Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat. The process included the development of a needs assessment and project document on the technical and institutional design of the centre. With the inputs received at the regional workshop, the needs assessment and the project document on the technical and institutional design of the centre will be finalized.

It was recommended to create CCREEE under the umbrella of the existing institutional framework of CARICOM. It was agreed to submit the final CCREEE project document for consideration by the next Ministerial Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) of CARICOM. It was suggested to launch a competitive selection process for the host country of the Secretariat of CCREEE.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, endorsed the establishment of the CCREEE, and announced Dominica’s interest in hosting the centre. “Dominica has the highest percentage of renewable energy (RE) in its energy mix among the Caribbean countries, therefore, Dominica would be the ideal location,” he said. By 2017, Dominica will become the only Small Island Developing State to export electricity. A partnership between the Government of Dominica and a French Consortium will develop a geothermal power plant for export and subsea transmission lines to French neighbours – Guadeloupe to the north, and Martinique to the south.

Ambassador Vince Henderson, Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations, and Chair of the SIDS DOCK Steering Committee, who spearheaded the initiative for the establishment of regional RE and EE centres, expressed gratitude on behalf of the small island developing states to the government of Austria for providing the funding for the establishment of the regional centres in the Pacific and the Caribbean and the support to African SIDS through the ECREEE. “The establishment of regional centres for RE and EE is one of the most progressive steps that UNIDO, SIDS DOCK and our governments can take towards the transitioning from fossil fuels to RE, and CCREEE will work with regional institutions, like the OECS, CARICOM, CREDP and CDB, to pool human and financial resources to transform the regional energy sector,” he noted.

Dr. Pradeep Monga, Director of the Energy and Climate Change Branch of UNIDO, said the importance of the regional energy centre is to boost inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Caribbean islands. “The centre will play an important role in empowering the local private sector and industry to take advantage of growing job and business opportunities in the sustainable energy sector,” Mr. Monga stressed.

The over 60 Caribbean experts and specialists, development and private sector partners in attendance recommended that the centre focuses particularly on policy implementation, capacity development, knowledge management, awareness raising and the creation of business opportunities for the local sustainable energy industry. The centre will act as a think-tank and hub for sustainable energy and will play a key role in creating economies of scale and a competitive sustainable energy market and business sector. It will address existing barriers and strengthen drivers through regional methodologies and tools. It will act as central service provider for the development and implementation of SIDS DOCK and Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) activities.

The centre will become part of UNIDO´s Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres. The SIDS centres will be announced as an innovative south-south partnership at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa.

Further information on the workshop is available at: www.ccreee.org

For more information:

Mr. Al Binger, Energy Advisor, CARICOM Climate Change Centre, abinger@sidsdock.org

Mr. Martin Lugmayr, Sustainable Energy Expert, UNIDO, m.lugmayr@unido.org

 

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World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’

A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 mpa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F).

CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.

“It's like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director, told Colin Jeffrey for Gizmag.

The Energy Centre uses a field of more than 600 mirrors (known as heliostats) which are all directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, Gizmag reports.

This supercritical steam is used to drive the world’s most advanced power plant turbines, but previously it’s only been possible to produce it by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

“Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result,” Dr Wonhas explained.

Currently, commercial solar thermal or concentrating solar power power plants only operate a “subcritical” levels, using less pressurised steam. This means that they’ve never been able to match the output or efficiency of the world’s best fossil fuel power plants – until now.

The commercial development of this technology is still a fair way off, but this is an important first step towards a more sustainable future. More

Watch the video to see the plant in action.


 

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Lebanon, Hezbollah Cut off from Iran

Juan Cole writes ‘With the alleged fall to the Islamic State of Iraq, and [in] Syria of Qa’im on Saturday, and of Talafar a few days ago, the border between Iraq and Syria has now been effectively erased.

A new country exists, stretching from the outskirts of Baghdad all the way to Aleppo.

The first thing that occurred to me on the fall of Qa’im is that Iran no longer has its land bridge to Lebanon. I suppose it could get much of the way there through Kurdish territory, but ISIS could ambush the convoys when they came into Arab Syria. Since Iran has expended a good deal of treasure and blood to keep Bashar al-Assad in power so as to maintain that land bridge, it surely will not easily accept being blocked by ISIS. Without Iranian shipments of rockets and other munitions, Lebanon’s Hizbullah would rapidly decline in importance, and south Lebanon would be open again to potential Israeli occupation. I’d say, we can expect a Shiite counter-strike to maintain the truck routes to Damascus.

He goes on to say ‘Syrian jets bombed eastern positions of ISIS near the Iraqi border, perhaps signalling a likely alliance of Damascus and Baghdad to put the Sunni radical genie back in the bottle’.

From a petro-political perspective I find myself asking the following questions;

  • What will be the reaction of Saudi Arabia with the Sunni forces in Iraq having both Damascus and Baghdad allied against them?
  • What will Iran now do to support Bashar al-Assad?
  • What will Iran do to keep their supply route to Hezbollah open?

The answer to these three questions will inform the price of oil going forward. According to Reuters Libya’s oil output has sunk back to a current 1.16 million barrels per day of oil due to disruption at fields and terminals, a senior industry source told stated on Tuesday. Iran put OPEC on notice of its plans to raise output swiftly with the help of foreign investors immediately after any lifting of sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Iran could increase oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day immediately after any lifting of sanctions. “Very quickly we can increase by half a million and after a couple of months we can increase it to 700,000 barrels per day,” he told reporters ahead of OPEC’s Wednesday meeting. He said Iran could pump 4 million bpd in less than three months after any lifting of restrictions. When sanctions may be lifted is the unknown factor.

For those of us living on Small Island Dveloping States (SIDS) and other states dependant on fossil fuel, the path towards alternative energy, i.e. solar, wind, OTEC and ocean current technologies looks more attractive with every passing day. Editor

 

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US Navy Lab Turns Seawater Into Fuel

 

 

Published on May 21, 2014 • For centuries, alchemists have tried to turn lead into gold. That transmutation has long

been proven impossible, but another similar dream – turning water into fuel – seems to be achievable. Scientists at a

U.S. Naval Laboratory proved it by flying a model airplane burning re-engineered seawater. VGA'S George Putic has the story.

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Renewable Sources Provide Over 20% Of Global Power Production

Global renewable electricity energy capacity rose to a new record level last year — more than 1,560 gigawatts (GW), up 8% from 2012. More than 22 % of the world’s power production now comes from renewable sources. Renewables currently meet almost one-fifth of world final energy consumption.

That is one of the conclusion of the new Renewables Global Status Report published by REN21, “the global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network.”

The Renewables Global Status Report relies on up-to-date renewable energy data , provided by an international network of more than 500 contributors, researchers, and authors.

With developing world’spolicy support, global renewable energy generation capacity jumped to a record level; 95 emerging economies now nurture renewable energy growth through supportive policies, up six-fold from just 15 countries in 2005.

These 95 developing nations make up the vast majority of the 144 countries with renewable energy support policies and targets in place. The rise of developing world support contrasts with declining support and renewables policy uncertainty and even retroactive support reductions in some European countries and the United States.

In 2013, an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide worked directly or indirectly in the renewable energy sector. O ther important developments include:

• Renewable energy provided 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012, and continued to grow in 2013. Of this total share in 2012, modern renewables accounted for 10% with the remaining 9% coming from traditional biomass the share of which is declining.

• Heating and cooling from modern biomass, solar, and geothermal sources account for a small but gradually rising share of final global heat demand, amounting to an estimated 10%.

• Liquid biofuels provide about 2.3% of global transport fuel demand.

• Hydropower rose by 4% to approximately 1,000 GW in 2013, accounting for about one-third of renewable power capacity added during the year. Other renewables collectively grew nearly 17% to an estimated 560 GW.

• The solar PV market had a record year, adding about 39 GW in 2013 for a total of approximately 139 GW. For the first time, more solar PV than wind power capacity was added worldwide, accounting for about one-third of renewable power capacity added during the year. Even as global investment in solar PV declined nearly 22% relative to 2012, new capacity installations increased by more than 32%. China saw spectacular growth, accounting for nearly one third of global capacity added, followed by Japan and the United States.

• More than 35 GW of wind power capacity was added in 2013, totalling just more than 318 GW. However, despite several record years, the market was down nearly 10 GW compared to 2012, reflecting primarily a steep drop in the U.S. market. Offshore wind had a record year, with 1.6 GW added, almost all of it in the EU.

• China, the United States, Brazil, Canada, and Germany remained the top countries for total installed renewable power capacity. China’s new renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity for the first time.

• Growing numbers of cities, states, and regions seek to transition to 100% renewable energy in either individual sectors or economy-wide. For example, Djibouti, Scotland, and the small-island state of Tuvalu aim to derive 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

• Uruguay, Mauritius, and Costa Rica were among the top countries for investment in new renewable power and fuels relative to annual GDP.

• Global new investment in renewable power and fuels was at least USD 249.4 billion in 2013 down from its record level in 2011. More

 

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Proposed seawater-based air conditioning could benefit farmers

Discharged seawater pumped from the ocean and used for a renewable air conditioning system would overload surface waters with minerals that could potentially be captured instead for use in agriculture, according to a noted oceanographer.

Pumps designed to move thousands of tons of water from the sea floor to a proposed Honolulu air-conditioning plant would bring up phosphates located hundreds of feet below the ocean surface, David Karl told an audience of scientists, ocean-policy experts, and students on March 13 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

When phosphate-rich water is discharged, the sudden availability of the nutrient at the ocean surface is known to cause rapid growth and reproduction of phytoplankton, which can change water transparency and color, and impact marine ecosystems. But instead of being discharged into the ocean, the mineral could be extracted and used as fertilizer by local farmers, Karl said.

“Development of a marine-based, phosphate-capture and reuse process is a major contemporary challenge for science, society, and sustainability,” said Karl, who is a professor of oceanography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, in Honolulu. He discussed the plant during his 2014 Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture as an example of solving a sustainability challenge using oceanographic research.

Farmers around the world are facing an impending shortage of terrestrial phosphate, which is mainly used as an agricultural fertilizer, Karl noted. However, the ocean is a rich reservoir of dissolved phosphate. Marine microbes, such as phytoplankton, take in phosphorus and then sink to the depths when they die. As a result, deeper ocean water contains phosphate in higher concentrations than surface water. The only difficulty is finding a method to access the low-lying phosphate and then concentrate it into mineral form, Karl said.

The proposed seawater air conditioning plant could be a test bed for solving the looming phosphate shortage and making seawater-based air-conditioning more environmentally friendly, he added. Unlike conventional air conditioning, the proposed plant could help Honolulu use less fossil fuel and conserve fresh water by recycling it within the system, Karl said.

Cold seawater drawn from more than 1,700 feet below sea level would be used to cool freshwater at the plant. The system would then pump the low-temperature freshwater into city buildings with existing chilled-water air-conditioning systems. Meanwhile, it would return used seawater to the ocean.

Karl said that his early field research has shown that removing phosphate from the seawater used in such a plant before discharging the effluent would prevent phytoplankton blooms.

The chief science adviser of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, a company contributing part of the cooling technology for the Honolulu plant, downplayed ecological concerns from discharging the plant’s used seawater. The plant would discard it through a diffuser system offshore and in deep water so as not to greatly affect surface waters or coral communities, said Stephen Oney, in a separate interview.

Karl gave his talk as the latest in a long-standing series of lectures in honor of famed oceanographer Roger Revelle, and created by the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council. The series focuses on the connection between ocean sciences and public policy. Revelle served as president for AGU’s Ocean Sciences section from 1956 until 1959. More

 

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Island Nations Build Ocean Thermal Power to Reduce Dependency on Fossil Fuels

Seawater is proving to be one way to combat climate change by reducing fossil fuel dependency for some ocean island nations. Taking a page from land-based geothermal power which uses the coolness below ground in heat exchange systems, islands are using the thermal energy gradient in a column of seawater to generate electricity.

The technology is known as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion or OTEC. A French defense contractor, DCNS Group, is the latest to deploy it in the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. It plans a second project in Martinique which is expected to come online in 2015.

Lockheed Martin, the American defense contractor, has been working with OTEC for over a decade. When I previously wrote about this technology I described apilot project Lockheed was building in Southern China. The company currently plans to have an OTEC power plant operating offshore in Hawaii.

Why offshore? Because OTEC projects need to be on or near the water. The Lockheed and DCNS technology above the water looks very much like a marine production oil platform (see picture below).

Because the ocean is a great energy storage medium, in fact, the largest on the planet, we can take advantage of the temperature gradient that occurs in a column of water and use it to our advantage. Surface water can be as warm as 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) off islands like Reunion and Martinique. At depths of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet), however, that water remains a constant 4-5 degrees Celsius (39-41 Fahrenheit). Go deeper and you approach freezing temperatures or below freezing. The difference in temperature between surface and deep water is what makes OTEC work.

OTEC technology is built using a membrane that serves as a heat exchanger. The warm surface water is exposed to a liquid with a low boiling point. DCNS uses ammonia. When it gasifies the ammonia drives a turbine which is attached to a gemerator. The second part of the OTEC technology involves drawing the cold from below to act as a coolant. This condenses the ammonia back to a liquid state where the process can then be repeated.

Key to OTEC's successful deployment is the finding of island and coastal locations that currently experience high energy costs because fossil fuels need to be imported for energy generation. The second key is locations where there is a sufficiently high temperature gradient in nearby ocean and seas. Japan, China, the Bahamas, Curacao, South Korea and Hawaii are current locations where OTEC is under development or being considered. For countries looking to lower their carbon footprint with all the right keys in place, OTEC may prove to be a strong renewable energy play. More

 

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