Germany led the world for the number of solar installations during 2012. This relatively small European nation added 7.60 GW of capacity to the grid. Then their numbers started going downward: 3.30 GW of new solar capacity in 2013; 1.56 GW in 2014; 1.4 GW in 2015. As of October 31, only 0.79 GW of new capacity has been added this year. Germany’s critics are once again hailing the imminent demise of this nation’s renewable revolution. What happened to Energiewende?
Germany added 2.3 GW of new onshore wind capacity in the first half of 2017. Though it failed to meet the target last year, the Renewable Energy Act set annual target of installing 2.5 GW new solar capacity. Add in a warm autumn and the winter storms Xavier and Herwart, and it is easy to see how renewables supplied 44.1 per cent of Germany’s energy in October.
The joint study from Stanford University and UC Riverside reads like a report card. The authors recognized that, “solar energy has one of the greatest climate change mitigation potentials” of all renewable energy sources. It can play a leading role in helping the United States reach its’ goal of reducing emissions to 80% of 1990 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This would require covering a great deal of land surface. Using current technology, close to 71,428 square kilometres (44,383 sq. miles), or an area roughly comparable to South Carolina, could be covered with panels. Rebecca R. Hernandez et al examined more than 160 sites in California to find out how utility scale solar impacts the land. Continue reading How Utility Scale Solar Impacts The Land→
Aside from the cold winter of 2012, Europe’s electric consumption has been declining the past five years. A combination of milder winters, advances in energy efficiency and some industry relocations have brought the numbers down. It is against this background that the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) point to the marked growth of wind and solar energy. According to their report Electricity in Europe 2014, renewables supplied 32.9% of the EU’s electricity.