All things environmental

Musings about the environment and all it touches, from education to city planning

Energy news this week

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The Temple University solar project announcement

The Temple University solar project announcement

There has been a flurry of energy news this week, particularly with respect to solar, so instead of cluttering up everyone’s Facebook page, I thought I’d collect them all in a single post (and not clutter up everyone’s facebook feed!).

Science Dev has a nice feature on two elderly women from Cameroon trained in solar technology in India.  They are now working installing solar panels, providing electricity to their village.  If nothing else, this shows the reach of distributed solar electricity; rural regions in the tropic may get electrified without the need of a costly grid.

There was also big news from Kenya; the Guardian announced that the country was planning to generate 50% of its electricity through solar panels by 2016, a highly ambitious plan.  Too ambitious, probably; the news has since been retracted and blamed on miscommunication.  Oh well.

But despite this, solar is very healthy.  China announced that it has installed more solar panels this year than all other countries put together.  This is remarkable, considering that Japan is installing giant off-shore solar farms, that the oil rich Gulf states are embarking on solar in a big way, or that the first solar bridge (Blackfriar’s) is underway in London.  In the US, California is looking at solar to make up for a shuttered nuclear plant, and Philadelphia’s Temple University announced the completion of the first customer-driven, university partnership solar project in the city.

The Blackfriars station solar bridge in London

The Blackfriars station solar bridge in London

In other energy news this week there also a remarkable photo of the world’s largest offshore wind farm circulating over the internet, and a report that Texas is on the brink of a major wind milestone.  Also, a report on magma enhanced geothermal in Iceland, and an article on Växjö in Southern Sweden, with its remarkable biomass-fuelled district heating.

This offshore wind farm, the London Array, provides electricity for half a million Britons.

This offshore wind farm, the London Array, provides electricity for half a million Britons.

Finally, if economics is your thing, there are some articles worth a good mulling over: Slate reports on green investing, and Forbes – yes, Forbes! – endorses the idea of a carbon tax.  This nicely follows the announcement by the UN climate chief that divestment from fossil fuels is essential, which has made ripples in the market (funds managers are afraid of what is now referred to as stranded assets).  But can the market (under the moniker “green capitalism”) ever be effective at tackling climate change?  That is the question adressed head-on by an article making the rounds of environmental circles this week.   

Happy reading! 

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  1. […] now and again there is a flurry of news about energy.  I did a previous round-up a while back; this week, the news are pretty positive.  Here’s a quick […]


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