<![CDATA[Clean Energy Americas - Blog]]>Thu, 11 Jan 2018 07:34:38 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Brazil Announces End to Amazon Mega-Dams and Accelerates Shift to Wind and Solar]]>Thu, 04 Jan 2018 18:01:48 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/january-04th-2018The Brazilian government announced this week that it would end construction of mega-dams in the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, according to news reports (O Globo, Mongabay).

For years, mega-dams in the Amazon have drawn intense opposition from Indigenous peoples, energy and economic experts, social and environmental organizations, and millions of citizens in Brazil and globally.

In particular, campaigns against the Belo Monte and São Luiz do Tapajós mega-dams mobilized a broad coalition of Indigenous and civil society organizations, who urged the government to develop the country’s wind and solar resources and invest in energy efficiency instead of funding mega-dams in the Amazon. Paulo Pedrosa, Brazil’s Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, acknowledged the impact of this societal resistance, as well as the high costs and risks of mega-dams, in statements to O Globo.
In addition, Brazil’s world-class wind and solar resources, the falling costs of wind and solar technologies, and advances in integrating renewable energy made a compelling economic case for a transition away from new mega-dams toward other sources of energy. For example, solar projects dominated the December 18, 2017, Brazil national power auction, and Brazil’s most recent national energy plan projects more than 40,000 megawatts of wind and solar installed by 2026, a significant increase over prior projections. With this week’s announcement, the national energy matrix is expected to continue to change by integrating more wind and solar power, small hydroelectric, biomass, and decentralized generation.

Heather Rosmarin, Executive Director of the InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute, issued the following statement:
“We congratulate the government of Brazil on this historic decision to end mega-dam construction in the Amazon, and we are profoundly grateful to the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon and the citizens of Brazil for years of dedicated work to protect the Amazon and advance clean, renewable, and affordable energy solutions.”

Photo: "Rivers for Life," a human banner involving 1500 people on Rio's Flamengo Beach, promoted the importance of free-running rivers, truly clean energy sources like solar power and including indigenous knowledge as part of the solution to climate issues during the international Rio+20 conference in 2012. The activity was led by Brazil’s many indigenous peoples organized under the umbrella of the Articulation of Brazilian Indigenous Peoples. At this time, during the height of the Belo Monte protests, the Brazilian government insisted that mega-dams in the Amazon were "green." Credit: Spectral Q/Chico/Paulo (2012)
<![CDATA[U.C. Berkeley Event Focuses on Renewable Energy in Latin America]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:36:30 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/uc-berkeley-event-focuses-on-renewable-energy-in-latin-americaPicture
On December 4, 2017, the Institute was honored to join a panel of experts to discuss renewable energy in Latin America at an event sponsored by the Energy Institute at Haas and Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC). More than 60 students and energy professionals attended the event. The panelists were James Cook, Director of Business Development at First Solar, Heather Rosmarin, Executive Director of the InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute, and Cristian Sjogren, Founder of SolarWatt. Professor Lucas Davis of the Haas School of Business moderated the panel. The discussion covered many aspects of renewable energy in Latin America with a focus on renewable electricity auctions and market trends in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. The Institute thanks the Energy Institute and BERC for hosting this great event.

<![CDATA[Latin American Nations Highly Ranked for Clean Energy Market Conditions and Opportunities: Report]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 21:55:49 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/latin-american-nations-highly-ranked-for-clean-energy-market-conditions-and-opportunities-reportPicture
Four Latin American nations were among the top 10 emerging nations for clean energy market conditions and opportunities, as ranked by Climatescope 2017, a detailed, country-by-country assessment of more than 70 countries worldwide. The top-ranked Latin American nations are Brazil (2), Mexico (4), Chile (7), and Uruguay (9). The top 20 also included Honduras (14), Costa Rica (18), and Argentina (20). According to the report,  Latin America and Caribbean nations can collectively achieve their climate targets by "mitigating emissions from the electricity sector alone." In one scenario, displaced fossil generation could be met equally by solar and wind generation if the region builds a total of 138GW of solar plants and 85GW of wind, which is eight times the region’s current wind capacity and 39 times the solar capacity as of December 2016.

Climatescope 2017 Ranking of Emerging Nations' Clean Energy Market Conditions and Opportunities

<![CDATA[Promoting Community-Driven Renewable Energy Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 19:00:55 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/promoting-community-driven-renewable-energy-projects-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbeanPicture
Renewable energy tenders have been a particularly popular mechanism in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). A new REN 21 report, Renewable Energy Tenders and Community [Em]power[ment], looks at the interface between the tendering process and the role that communities can play in renewable energy uptake in the LAC region. It also proposes a mechanism to promote community-driven renewable energy projects in the context of renewable energy tenders.

<![CDATA[California Grid Sets New Record with 67% Renewables]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 20:52:01 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/california-grid-sets-new-record-with-67-renewablesOn the afternoon of May 13, 2017, 67% of the electricity flowing through the main California grid was from renewable resources such as solar, wind, small hydro, biomass, and geothermal, according to the California Independent System Operator. Overall on that day, 42% of California's electricity demand was served by renewables (not including large hydro) as shown on the hourly chart below.

California's renewable electricity target is 33% by 2020, increasing to 50% by 2030. This year, legislation has been proposed to increase the target to 100% by 2045.
<![CDATA[Renewables Global Futures Report Assesses Feasibility of 100% Renewable Energy Future]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 02:32:30 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/renewables-global-futures-report-assesses-feasibility-of-100-renewable-energy-futureThe new REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report compiles the views of energy experts from every region of the world on the feasibility of achieving a 100% renewable energy future. Renewables are now the least expensive option for new power generation in almost all countries, an essential step toward the international goal of decarbonizing the power sector by 2050. While more than 70% of the experts interviewed consider a global transition to 100% renewable energy to be both feasible and realistic, and a growing number of communities are adopting 100% renewable targets, significant barriers to renewable energy deployment remain. These barriers vary widely from region to region and range from concerns about the integration of variable renewables (such as wind and solar) onto the grid to resistance from vested interests to inadequate financing. This report is an essential read for anyone seeking to understand the challenges and opportunities for renewable energy adoption in specific regions.

<![CDATA[Achieving 100% Renewable Power: Renewable Transformation Challenge Proposals Due April 30, 2017]]>Fri, 31 Mar 2017 23:10:31 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/achieving-100-renewable-power-renewable-transformation-challenge-proposals-due-april-30-2017
Elsevier and the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) have launched the Renewable Transformation Challenge in support of a world powered by 100% renewable energy, used efficiently and wisely, and made accessible for all. The winning proposal will demonstrate applicability, impact, sustainability and scalability in how they support the renewable energy transformation to achieve 100% renewables. The winner will receive €20,000.
Proposals can present an ongoing project, a product idea, an innovative technology, a policy initiative, program, research, or analysis, or perhaps a complete solution targeting supply-side or demand-side programs, or both.  The competition is open to all individuals and not-for-profit and commercial organizations worldwide. Guidelines are available on the Challenge website. Submit your proposal by 30 April, 2017.
The winner(s) will be announced at the ISES Solar World Congress (SWC2017) in Abu Dhabi held 29 Oct - 02 Nov 2017. Visit the website for more details: https://www.elsevier.com/physical-sciences/energy/renewable-transformation-challenge
<![CDATA[Clean Energy Employs More Than 3 Million Americans ]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 19:07:58 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/clean-energy-employs-more-than-3-million-americansMore than 3 million Americans were directly employed by the clean energy industry in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The clean energy industry includes the energy efficiency, smart grid, and energy storage industries; electric power generation from renewables; renewable fuels production; and the electric, hybrid, and hydrogen-based vehicle industries. By contrast, the U.S. coal industry provided 160,119 jobs. The Environmental and Energy Study Institute has compiled energy job statistics in the U.S. and worldwide in the Jobs in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fact Sheet.
<![CDATA[2016 Sets New Records for Solar Installation; Overall Clean Energy Investment Estimated at $287 Billion.]]>Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:03:23 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/2016-sets-new-records-for-solar-installation-overall-clean-energy-investment-estimated-at-287-billionPicture
A record 70 gigawatts (GW) of solar were added last year globally, a 25% increase from 56 GW in 2015, according to estimates by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. More than 56 GW of wind was installed, down from 63 GW in 2015 but the second-highest figure ever,

Total investment in clean energy worldwide was estimated at $287.5 billion, an 18% decline from 2015 due in part to falling prices for wind and solar technologies. 2016 was, however, a record year for offshore wind investment which reached $30 billion, up 40% compared to 2015, due to improved economics.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance
<![CDATA[Costa Rica Achieves 98% Renewable Electricity in 2016]]>Wed, 04 Jan 2017 21:52:04 GMThttp://cleanenergyamericas.org/blog/costa-rica-achieves-98-renewable-electricity-in-2016The Central American country of Costa Rica has successfully transitioned to a grid powered by nearly 100% renewable resources, according to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). The primary sources of Costa Rica's power are  hydro, goethermal, wind, biomass, and solar. Fossil fuels function as backup energy generation source, accounting for less than 2% of generation.

In 2016, Costa Rica relied on renewable sources for 98.12% of its electricity, an impressive achievement and consistent with the 2015 total of 98.99%. Costa Rica further reported that in 2016 it went 250 days using only renewable power sources. With the ability to maintain high levels of renewable electricity for two years, Costa Rica's electricity sector is a world leader in clean energy.

It should be noted, however, that Costa Rica's Reventazon Hydroelectric Project, the largest hydroelectric dam in Central America, has generated concerns due to its environmental impacts on river ecosystems and migrating wildlife, including jaguars. Accordingly, it is to be hoped that Costa Rica continues to invest in non-hydro sources of clean energy, such as wind and solar, which also offer the benefit of operating during the dry season, when hydroelectric production is less reliable.