Posts filed under ‘Renewables’

Is 100% renewable energy realistic? Here’s what we know.

The world has agreed to a set of shared targets on climate change. Those targets require deep (80 to 100 percent) decarbonization, relatively quickly.

What’s the best way to get fully decarbonized? In my previous post, I summarized a raging debate on that subject. Let’s quickly review.

There are plenty of criticisms of current models of how climate change and human politics and economics interact. Let’s touch on a few briefly, and then I’ll get to a few takeaways.

Above all, the haziness of the long-term view argues for humility on all sides. There’s much we do not yet know and cannot possibly anticipate, so it’s probably best for everyone to keep an open mind, support a range of bet-hedging experiments and initiatives, and maintain a healthy allergy to dogma.

Read Is 100% renewable energy realistic? Here’s what we know. by David Roberts at Vox.

April 17, 2017 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Despite Trump, Canada’s budget stays the course on climate change

Some industry groups and politicians worry about making a clean energy transition in Canada when President Trump still “digs coal.”

So perhaps the most important test for this budget was whether Canada would stick to its guns, or whether Trump’s influence would spur a change in course.

The budget’s clean technology section opens by saying that the “global campaign against climate change is an economic opportunity for Canada,” an opportunity where Canada “can be a true global leader.”

The government zeroes in on clean tech, along with digital industries and agri-food, as growing industries that are key to Canada’s economic success.

The clean power sector alone employed over 9 million people in 2015, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (and including large hydro).

Canada has a strong clean tech foundation. According to data from Analytica Advisors, a consultancy tracking Canada’s clean tech sector, Canada had over 700 companies, $11 billion in revenues, and 55,600 people working in the sector in 2016. But we’ve also been losing market share to our peers, falling from 14th to 19th among the world’s top 25 clean tech exporters in 2016.

Read Despite Trump, Canada’s budget stays the course on climate change by Clare Demerse at cleanenergycanada.

March 27, 2017 at 10:56 am Leave a comment

Jeff Dahn, battery researcher wins $1M Herzberg Medal

A leading researcher of lithium-ion batteries has won the prestigious Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering.

We use lithium-ion batteries every day, in everything from our smartphones to laptops to electric cars to drills. Jeff Dahn has played a large part in making these batteries increasingly efficient.

Working now in collaboration with electric car company Tesla, Dahn aims to make a battery that lasts 30 years.

The focus of the new research is threefold: increasing the lifetime of cells; helping to reduce cost of cells; and increasing the energy density of the battery. If energy density is increased, the battery could maintain its size and weight but store more energy or store the same amount of energy with less weight or in a smaller package.

Read Jeff Dahn, battery researcher wins $1M Herzberg Medal by Nicole Mortillaro at CBC News.

 

February 22, 2017 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

Canadian investor profiles

solar88Canadians who want to invest in environmental solutions and clean technologies (cleantech) – the sector of companies that minimizes the impacts of non-renewable resource use – have several options. Some of these are available to retail investors wary of choosing individual stocks or volatile passive funds characterized by hype and cynicism.

Read Canadian investor profiles by Jason Visscher at Corporate Knights.

January 18, 2017 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

Sun Solution Rises as Solar Fast Becoming World’s Cheapest Electricity Source

solarwindFor the first time, solar power is becoming the cheapest form of electricity production in the world, according to new statistics from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released Thursday.

While unsubsidized solar has occasionally done better than coal and gas in individual projects, 2016 marked the first time that the renewable energy source has out-performed fossil fuels on a large scale—and new solar projects are also turning out to be cheaper than new wind power projects, BNEF reports in its new analysis, Climatescope.

Read Sun Solution Rises as Solar Fast Becoming World’s Cheapest Electricity Source by Nadia Prupis at Common Dreams.

December 28, 2016 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

Why Electrification Matters Now

ElectrificationToday, we’re seeing a combination of government action and market forces that could help push clean energy out of the background and onto centre stage. This blog digs into some of those trends.

The basic recipe goes like this: cut energy waste as much as possible, and clean up your electricity supply so that it’s as low carbon as possible. Then use that clean electricity as your source of energy for activities that we largely power with fossil fuels today.

Instead of fuelling cars with gasoline, power them with clean electricity. Build super-efficient homes, and then use electric pumps to heat and cool them. Design cutting-edge industrial processes that run on renewable power.

Right now, officials from governments across Canada are hard at work compiling policy choices for a national climate plan. (In the weeks ahead, officials will give their lists of options to ministers, and the political deal-making will begin in earnest ahead of a First Ministers’ Meeting later this fall.) The analysis that’s underway includes buildings, transportation, and heavy industry—all sectors where electrification is an important part of the solution. They’re also assessing options in the electricity sector itself, where we’ll need to see more clean power come online as electrification creates new demand.

Read Why Electrification Matters Now by Clare Demerse at Clean Energy Canada.

November 21, 2016 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

Building an Affordable, Sustainable Home

green_homeThe Endeavour House racks up big savings compared with a conventional, similarly sized home in Ontario.

Several years ago, an empty urban lot in the city of Peterborough, Ontario, sparked an interesting and exciting debate among our faculty at The Endeavour Centre, a nonprofit sustainable-building school based in the city: What would it take to build the “greenest” home in Canada? And could such a home blend into an existing neighborhood and meet conventional cost and building code expectations?

In 2012, we set out to answer those questions, as the design and construction of such a house became the focus of our six-month Sustainable New Construction program. A group of eight students joined our faculty and guest instructors to attempt to meet the highest standards we could imagine for a residential construction project.

Read Building an Affordable, Sustainable Home by Chris Magwood at Mother Earth News.

November 2, 2016 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

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