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Tuesday, May 19, 2015


The field has attained a new maturity with the digital May/June edition of Renewable Energy World Magazine.  Sixty-one pages in glorious color, sound and music, with wide coverage of the general subject matter.  Yes, a lot of ads, but easily skip over them if you wish.  You can subscribe to this publication for FREE.  Here are the latest contents:


The editor is Jenny Runyon (left), and REWM has 52,000 subscribers from 174 countries, covering industry, policy, technology, finance and markets for all renewable technologies.  Let me repeat, for six issues/year, you can get REWM to your e-mail address...for FREE.   View Jenny describing REWN by clicking on her name.  She reports that there are more than 369,000 MW of wind power capacity in the world.

While that is the equivalent of around 369 nuclear power plants, keep in mind that there is something called capacity factor, the percentage of electricity actually produced compared to the nameplate capacity.   The average capacity factors were (%):

Nuclear            90
Coal                 64
Hydroelectric   40
Wind power     20-40
PV                   13-19 (low in Massachusetts and high in Arizona)
Solar farm       33 (California)
Bioenergy        58.0

Thus, you could say that the wind:nuclear equivalence is not 369, but 123.  Further, NextEra likes large solar farms over residential photovoltaics, and the data here clear favor their point of view.

Returning to REWM, you can read those 61 pages yourself, but let me summarize just page 13 with the headline, Costa Rica Running on 100% Renewable Energy Since Start of 2015, for here is a country doing what other countries, and Hawaii, are daring to do by 2030 or 2050 or whatever.  First, keep in mind that Costa Rica is only talking about electricity, which means that at least 60% dealing with aviation, other transport, etc., still needs to be met, and a lot of R&D remains.  To summarize:
  • Hydroelectricity          1000 MW
  • Geothermal                  200 MW
  • Wind, solar biomass         ?
Something is missing, though, for the article goes on to say that their government is moving forward to make the country carbon neutral by 2021, which is another way of saying the 100% electricity goal has not yet been reached.  But I went to another source, which said that 100% was met because of good rains and peak hydro production.  However, they need to additional sustainable facilities to meet the demand during times of low rainfall.  Further, and most importantly, electricity rates have been reduced by 15% by abandoning fossil fuels.  The keys to their success are, one, government attitude, and two, a lot of accessible hydropower.  You got to wonder a bit, though, about the environmental/societal impacts.  Anyway, here is a nice six minute video from COLDFUSTION TV.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average again broke an all-time record, up 14 to 18,312, as housing starts surged, and energy declined.


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