Scott Sklar

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Burning the Future

In Burning the Future: Coal in America, writer/director David Novack examines the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia.

Burning The Future: Coal in America
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Featured Factoid

A Congressional Research Service (CRS) 2008 Report to Congress entitled "Renewable Energy R&D Funding History: A Comparison with Funding for Nuclear Energy, Fossil Energy, and Energy Efficiency R&D" by Fred Sissine, Specialist in Energy Policy Resources, Science, and Industry Division tells us:

" Over the 30-year period from the Department of Energy's inception at the beginning of fiscal Year (FY) 1978 through FY2007, federal spending for renewable energy R&D amounted to about 16% of the energy R&D total, compared with 15% for energy efficiency, 25% for fossil, and 41% for nuclear. For the 60-year period from 1948 through 2007, nearly 11% went to renewables, compared with 9% for efficiency, 25% for fossil, and 54% for nuclear. "

Critical Facts
Renewable Energy Fact Sheet
Written by Scott Sklar   
May 01, 2008


Compiled by Scott Sklar, The Stella Group, Ltd., Washington, DC (April 2008)

Global use of renewable energy is on track with becoming the dominant global energy source. The World Energy Outlook 2004," released by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Under the IEA's "Reference Scenario," electricity generated from renewable energy will increase by a factor of six,. Currently, non-hydro renewable sources make up about 2 percent of the United States' generating portfolio of 770,000 megawatts. Platts Research, however, says that the potential residential demand within three to four years in markets where green energy is offered could be 6 percent—provided that renewables are marketed effectively.

As of January 2008 the global installed wind energy capacity exceeded 94 gigawatts (GW) in 2007. Companies installed 20 GW of new wind power last year, causing a 27% increase in wind energy capacity. The United States is currently the best market for wind power, featuring 5.2 GW of new wind energy capacity installed in 2007, followed by Spain and China with 3.5 GW and 3.4 GW, respectively. Europe has the most installed wind power of any continent, at 56.5 GW, but North America and Asia are both growing fast, each capturing about a quarter of the market for new wind turbines. China's jump to number three in the wind energy market is particularly impressive, as the country installed more than 1.5 times as much wind energy capacity in 2007 as it did in 2006.

World solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 1,744 megawatts (MW) in 2006, representing growth of 19% over the previous year.

Germany's grid connect PV market grew 16% to 960 Megawatts in 2006 and now accounts for 55% of the world market. While Japan's market size barely advanced last year, Spain and the United States were the strong performers. The Spanish market was up over 200% in 2006, while the US market grew 33%.

World solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 2,204 MW* in 2006, up from 1,656 MW a year earlier. Japanese producers lost ground over the past 12 months, dropping from 46% to 39% share, to the benefit of Chinese cell Global industry revenues were $10.6bn in 2006, while capital investment through the PV business chain totalled  $2.8bn.  The industry raised over $4bn in equity and debt financing, up from $1.8bn the previous year.

Concentrating solar power systems have been in operation in California since the mid-1980s, providing the 354 MWs. Another 200 MW of concentrated solar power will be added to the US energy mix in 2009-12 with a 64 MW CSP generation facility operating in Boulder City, NV, 1 MW solar trough plant built in 2006 for Arizona Public Service and 1 MW worth of solar driven stirling engines also being erected in Nevada. In November 2004. The International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme published new statistics on the global use of solar thermal energy. The new data – expressed for the first time in GWth, rather than in square meters of installed collector area – shows the global installed capacity to be 70 GWth (70,000 MWth).

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that biomass will generate 0.3 percent of all generation by 2020. If renewable portfolio standards are enacted that mandate 20 percent of all generation offered be comprised of green sources, those projects could increase substantially. Among non-hydro renewable sources, biomass plays a key role today with 7,000 MW of installed capacity and producing 37 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year. By 2060, Shell Renewables forecasts that traditional and new forms of biomass will provide 30-40 percent of the worldwide energy demand. That includes fueling everything from power generation to automobiles to industrial facilities. There are estimates of about 35,000 MW of installed electric capacity using biomass worldwide, with about 7,000 of that in the United States. Most of this capacity is in the pulp and paper industry in combined heat and power systems.

Geothermal power can produce 9,000 MW and some of the world leaders for geothermal electric generation (in MWs) are: Iceland 170 , Indonesia  589.5 , Italy  785 , Japan  546.9, Mexico 755 , New Zealand 437 , Philippines 1909 , and the USA 2228 for a global total of 7974.06 MWs. The amount of new geothermal power now under development in the United States will roughly double U.S. geothermal capacity, according to a survey that will be released Wednesday by the Geothermal Energy Association, GEA.

These projects, when developed, will provide up to 3,368 megawatts of new electric power capacity for the grid, more than doubling U.S. geothermal power capacity from 2,936 MW to almost 6,304 MW - enough to meet the needs of six million households.

Geothermal power is energy generated by heat stored beneath the Earth's surface. New projects are underway in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming

Twenty percent of the world’s electricity comes from hydropower. Norway produces more than 99% of its electricity with hydropower. New     Zealand uses hydropower for 75% of its electricity. In the U.S., hydropower produces enough electricity to serve the needs of 28 million residential customers. And my own prediction is that water power including freeflow hydropower, wave and tidal power over the next 50 years will meet another 10 percent of the world’s energy. According to EPRI, there's currently around 2.3 MW of installed offshore wave energy capacity worldwide, coming from four locations: a 1 megwatt facility at Lexious, Portugal; a 0.75 MW system at Orkney, Scotland; a 0.5 MW generator at Port Kembla, Australia; and a 0.04 MW -- 40 kilowatt -- unit at the naval station in Hawaii. EPRI goes on to argue that, if the states of Hawaii, Oregon and California were to enact policies to stimulate ocean power construction, the US capacity could increase to over 100 MW by 2010, at which point the cost of power will be between 8 and 16 cents per kWhr, "substantially less than the entry point for wind technology when it reached a capacity of 100 MW back in the early 1980s."

  • During 2008, over 6,781 MW of new renewable capacity is scheduled to come online, 91% of which will be wind powered.
  • Non-US companies will own over 15,000 MW of installed US renewable capacity by 2012.
  • Over 19,000 MW of wind capacity is scheduled to come online from 2007 through 2012, out of a total of 23,000 MW of new renewable capacity.  Total renewable energy US capacity will approach 55,000 MW by 2012.

Last Updated ( May 28, 2008 )
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