Saturday, March 25, 2017

Which Countries Run On 100% Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy Explained in 2 1/2 Minutes

Great Report by REN21

A network for Renewable Energy was formed in 2004 as an outcome of the International Conference for Renewable Energies in Bonn, Germany (Source). REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, is a global renewable energy multi-stakeholder policy network that provides international leadership for the rapid transition to renewable energy. See their global status report here. They have a nice graphic on page 28 of the report which depicts the energy mix. Read the report if you get a chance

Based on REN21's 2016 report, renewables contributed 19.2% to humans' global energy consumption and 23.7% to their generation of electricity in 2014 and 2015, respectively. This energy consumption is divided as follows:
  • 8.9% coming from traditional biomass
  • 4.2% as heat energy (modern biomass, geothermal and solar heat)
  • 3.9% hydro electricity
  • 2.2% is electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass.
Worldwide investments in renewable technologies was at US$286 billion in 2015, with countries like China and the United States leading the charts with heavy investment in wind, hydro, solar and biofuels. The best part of the statistics was that more than half of all new electricity capacity installed was renewable. That's a good sign!

As per REN21, there are 3 categories under which they put renewables:
  • Power: Hydro, Bio, Geothermal, Solar PV, Solar Concentrating, Wind 
  • Heat: Solar hot water
  • Transport: Ethanol, Biodiesel
They also talk about Ocean energy (wind, tidal).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Three Gorges Dam: It took 90 years but it's a marvel

It was first proposed in 1919 by Sun Yat-Sen, a Chinese political leader and finally in 2009, the dam started to create hydroelectricity. Later, 6 new power generators were added in 2011 and in 2012, the project was deemed complete.

It went through a lot of ups and downs, protests, ownership chnages etc over the years but eventually came through.

It generates a massive 22 GW of hydroelectric power. To give an idea about how big that is, only 35 countries in the world have installed capacity bigger than that. Even a country like Singapore has installed capacity lower than that.

It's a true engineering marvel...Take a look at one of the turbines.

Image result for the three gorges dam

Image Source:

By Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation ( [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Saturday, March 18, 2017

How will this chart look like in 20 years?

It's hard to believe that 150+ years ago, wood supplied most of the energy needs for US. Coal, then petroleum, then natural gas broke the dependence on wood for energy!

Fast forward to 2015, 10% of energy needs for US are supplied by renewable sources of energy (In absolute terms, this much energy would have been enough to supply total energy needs and more back in 1850). This was hard to believe even 10 years ago. Some of it is driven by government incentive which might change under the new administration but the momentum will be the balancing factor. Hope the trend continues and we break our reliance on sources which are not good for environment. Advances in technology will drive the cost of reneawables lower but that would also require significant funds in research. This still needs some regulatory support and government funding before we can take the training wheels off.

How do you think the chart below will look like in 2037? Projections are part of the chart but it can go either way.

Also, see this chart for some positivity:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Apple's floating solar island brings renewable energy to Japan

On Wednesday, the iPad and iPhone maker said supplier Ibiden has committed to using 100 percent renewable energy to manufacture Apple components, the first partner to do so in Japan.

In total, the Apple supplier says over 12 MW of solar power will be produced, which is more than enough to cover Apple manufacturing processes in Japan.

Another article on macdailynews reported,

Apple and its suppliers will be generating over 2.5 billion kilowatt hours per year of clean energy for the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018 — equal to taking over 400,000 cars off the road for a year.

Apple has taken significant steps to protect the environment by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Today, the company is powering 100 percent of its operations in 23 countries, and more than 93 percent of its worldwide operations, with renewable energy.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

China’s world-beating solar farm visible from space!

China’s world-beating solar farm is almost as big as Macau, Nasa satellite images reveal

The US space agency Nasa has released spectacular satellite images of the world’s biggest solar farm, which sits on the Tibetan Plateau in China.....

.......The images of the 27 square kilometre solar farm (4 million panels) – the world’s largest – were captured by Nasa’s Landsat 8 satellite in April 2013 and last month.

Read the rest of the article and see the pictures here:

Solar energy is definitely going places. If you look at the energy mix of China, Solar now constitutes 4.7% (77GW) [LINK]. This was less than 1 GW 6 years ago. They are now the world leader in installed capacity followed by Germany and Japan. Germany leads the chart when you look at per capita production.

Total world capacity as of 2015 was 256 GW which is a mere ~3.5% of world capacity but is definitely moving up.

Saturday, March 4, 2017