A new report has found that renewable energy power capacity
around the world grew more in 2015 than in any other year in
history. A majority of the new additions
to sources of renewable energy in the power sector came through wind,
solar and hydropower. And that’s good news for those down on their luck.
Costa Rica is pulling off a feat most countries just daydream about: For two straight months, the Central American country hasn’t burned any fossil fuels to generate electricity. That’s right: 100 percent renewable power.
This isn’t a blip, either. For 300 total days last year and 150 days so far this year, Costa Rica’s electricity has come entirely from renewable sources, mostly hydropower and geothermal. Heavy rains have helped four big hydroelectric dams run above their usual capacity, letting the country turn off its diesel generators.
Now, there’s a huge, huge caveat here: Costa Rica hasn’t eschewed all fossil fuels entirely. The country still has more than 1 million cars running on old-fashioned gasoline, which is why imported oil still supplies over halfits total energy needs. The country also has cement plants that burn coal.
What Costa Rica’s doing is nevertheless impressive — and a reflection of how serious the tiny Central American country is about going green.
Project of the Day—Blue Freedom is the world’s smallest hydropower plant. It’s portable, which means you can bring it to areas where there isn’t any electricity at all and, a long as you’ve got access to running water, you can power a number of devices for hours on end.
The costs of growing populations. One of the toughest environmental arguments to make. Do you side with 23 million people who need electricity, or do you side with 20,000 indigenous people and a sliver of the Amazon rainforest and all its riches? Should they turn to nuclear power, and if so, how to pay for, monitor, and maintain it?
The proposed Belo Monte Dam in northern Brazil would be the third largest hydro-electric dam in the world in terms of electrical output. The dam would be 3.75 miles long and generate over 11,000 megawatts, which could power up to 23 million homes. Government officials say that the dam is an essential step in supplying energy to the nation’s growing population. However, the project is rife with environmental conflicts. The project requires the clearing of 588 acres of Amazon jungle, the displacement of over 20,000 indigenous people, flooding a 193 square mile area, and drying up a 62 mile stretch of the Xingu River.
Four local companies have acquired 22 struggling power plants in a
massive public auction. Under the deal, the micro-dams will be managed
by new owners for the next 25 years, KT Press has learnt.
The new buyers include four individual local companies and ten other
companies in joint ventures between local and international firms.
Ngali Energy Ltd. acquired Base I and II, Ngororero, Rwondo and
Ntaruka III while Rwanda Mountain Tea purchased Gihira and Rugezi Power
plants. Rural Energy Promotion Ltd acquired Mutobo plant and Prime
Energy Ltd purchased Rukarara 6.
Under the deal, the companies are obliged to commit to rehabilitation
and upgrading the dams to ensure sustainable power production.
The government committed purchasing the power generated. The partners
have also signed a 50% revenue sharing agreement, after calculating the
The EU created 23.4% of its electricity from renewable energy sources in 2012, with a total electrical output estimated at 763.5 TW. This represents an important increase from 2011, when these energy sources brought “only” 20.4 % of total electricity.
Austria and Sweden pave the way in what is possible for renewable energy with 68.3 and 67.1 % of their total electricity coming from renewables in 2012, respectively. The remaining 25 EU countries are following suit. Nine countries generated 20-50% of their electricity through renewables, including: Latvia (43.4%), Denmark (41.7%), Portugal (35.6%), Finland (32.5%), Spain (31.7%), Slovenia (29.5%), Italy (26.6%), Romania (25.2%) and Germany (24%).
In terms of the chosen technology, the statistics, taken from Euro Observer, have shown that hydropower represents 43.9 % of the total renewable energy produced in 2012. Wind follows with 26.6%, biomass (19.5%), and solar energy (9.2%). Geothermal and ocean energies make up the remaining 0.8 %. The renewable energy industry in the EU has employed more than 1.22 million people in 2012.
These figures show that the EU 27 are well on their way to achieving the 2020 goal of “20 % of renewable energy in the total energy consumption.”
hydropower by .freeside. Via Flickr : 330MW Francis-type turbine in operation. Bottom half of photo is showing the wicket gate thrust collar, and wicket gate pivots. Upper half of photo is lube oil piping for thrust bearing.
Drop-in-stream pumps require minimal upfront installation. This river pump from Rife Hydraulic Engine Mfg. can lift water up to 82 feet vertically without using electricity or fuel.
Photo courtesy Rife Hydraulic Engine Mfg. Co.
By Richard Freudenberger