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Energy and Resources - Renewables 45 Items

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Micropower Database 2014 (July)

Guide, 2014

2014 (July) Edition: The purpose of the micropower database is to present a clear, rigorous, and independent assessment of the global capacity and electrical output of micropower (all renewables, except large hydro, and cogeneration), showing its development over time and documenting all data and assumptions. With minor exceptions, this information is based on bottom-up, transaction-by-transaction equipment counts reported by the relevant suppliers and operators, cross-checked against assessments by reputable governmental and intergovernmental technical agencies. For most technologies, historic data runs from 1990 through 2013. Available information includes installed capacity (GW) and electricity generation (TWh/y) per generating technology. The Micropower Database Methodology is also included in this ZIP-file. For previous versions, please see the 2008 Micropower Database (RMI ID E05-04) and the 2010 (May) Edition (RMI ID 2010-06).


Global Energy Affairs

Report or White Paper, 2013

The current issue of Global Energy Affairs features two unique perspectives on nuclear energy. Amory Lovins highlights how Germany, unlike Japan, utilized its decision to abandon nuclear energy to create a revolution in efficiency and renewable energy. Malcolm Grimston contends that despite a highly favorable environment for nuclear development in the UK, the market response remains weak. Sheril Kirshenbaum highlights how the public opinion in the U.S. contributes to defining global energy priorities. Audi’s e-gas car and tracking progress of Masdas City are the projects of this month. News highlights, innovations, and briefs cover recent major developments in the field of energy and environment. Roel Sweirenga’s reflections on the on Sustainable Mobility for the Decade 2014- 2024 and the profile of Quale Hodek, a young leader in renewable energy, completes this issue


Reducing Solar PV Soft Cost: Focus on Installation Labor

Report or White Paper, 2013

Distributed solar energy is a key enabler of the affordable, resilient, secure, and low-carbon electricity future Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) advocates in Reinventing Fire.1 However, in order for distributed solar to play its role, a number of changes must transpire. The most pressing of these changes is for solar costs to come down to U.S. Department of Energy SunShot levels that enable deployment of cost-effective solar systems across the U.S. Between 2008 and 2012, the price of sub-10-kilowatt rooftop systems decreased 37%. However, over 80% of the cost decline is attributable to decreasing solar PV module costs.2 Of the average $4.93/W3 cost of a residential rooftop solar system, over 60% of the total is now attributable to “soft costs,” including those associated with installation labor; permitting, inspection, and interconnection (PII); customer acquisition; financing costs; and installer / integrator margin.4 With module and inverter costs predicted to stabilize at relatively low levels between now and 2020, these soft costs must come down in order for solar energy to be cost competitive across the U.S.


Building the Electricity System of the Future: Fort Collins and FortZED

Report or White Paper, 2013

Fort Collins Utilities has been working to meet its clean energy goals including a flagship effort, called FortZED, to build a net zero energy district in downtown Fort Collins. Fort Collins Utilities and its partners worked with the Electricity Innovation Lab (e-Lab) to design and carry-out a two-day charrette on November 7th and 8th, 2012. The charrette team identified innovative solutions to some of Fort Collins’ most difficult challenges around planning, investment, and execution of efficiency and renewable energy.


The economics of a US civilian nuclear phase-out

Journal or Magazine Article, 2013

In the United States, which trades three-fifths of its electricity in competitive markets, the prohibitive capital cost of new nuclear power plants ensures that only a handful will be built. Nonetheless, with 40-year licenses being extended to 60 years, the 104 existing reactors’ relatively low generating costs are widely expected to justify decades of continued operation. But the generating costs of aging reactors have been rising, while competitors, including modern renewables, show rapidly falling total costs—and those opposed cost curves have begun to intersect. An expanding fraction of well-running nuclear plants is now challenged to compete with moderating wholesale power prices, while plants needing major repairs or located in regions rich in wind power increasingly face difficult choices of whether to run or close. Thus, even without events that might accelerate nuclear phase-out, as the Fukushima disaster did in Germany, shifting competitive conditions have begun to drive a gradual US nuclear phase-out. Its economics are illuminated by a detailed energy scenario that needs no nuclear energy, coal, or oil and one-third less natural gas to run a 158 percent bigger US economy in 2050—but cuts carbon emissions by 82 to 86 percent and costs $5 trillion less. That scenario’s 80-percent-renewable, 50-percent-distributed, equally reliable, and more resilient electricity system would cost essentially the same as a business-as-usual version that sustains nuclear and coal power, but it would better manage all the system’s risks. Similarly comprehensive modeling could also analyze faster nuclear phase-out if desired.


Developing Solar Friendly Communities: Permitting, Interconnection, and Net Metering: An Overview of Model Standards and Policy Design Criteria

Report or White Paper, 2012

Over the past several years, procedures and policies surrounding permitting, inspection, interconnection, and net metering of distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems have been the subject of extensive analysis and scrutiny, given their substantial contribution to solar costs. This ongoing period of critical analysis has produced a wide variety of process innovations and model standards capable of streamlining processes for local governments and reducing solar PV costs. As a member of the Colorado-based “Solar Friendly Communities” team under the Rooftop Solar Challenge, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has evaluated a number of these standards, innovations, and policy design criteria and developed some specific recommendations. This document surveys a subset of existing permitting, interconnection, and net metering processes and is meant to serve as an initial point of inquiry for interested local governments and communities.


Reinventing Fire in Southern California: Distributed Resources and the San Onofre Outage

Report or White Paper, 2012

The prolonged shut-down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California could mark an important turning point for the region’s electricity system. Distributed and demand-side resources offer a portfolio of solutions to help fill the near-term supply gap, while also advancing California’s long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting local economic development and job creation. This discussion paper assesses the role the following distributed energy resources could play in the absence of SONGS: behavioral savings; demand response; energy efficiency; solar photovoltaics; combined heat and power and fuel cells; storage. That paper includes information on what the potentials for these resources are, how their economics affect adoption, how much time it takes to install them, and how long we expect them to persist. We also offer recommendations to unlock these resources and encourage their adoption by utilities and their customers.


Sustainable Zero Net Energy: Identifying the Essentials for Solutions

Conference Proceedings, 2012

This paper explores the challenges and opportunities available for the electricity and buildings industries as the adoption of distributed generation, energy efficiency, and zero net energy designs grow.


Net Energy Metering, Zero Net Energy, and the Distributed Energy Resource Future

Report or White Paper, 2012

On behalf of PG&E, Rocky Mountain Institute organized and facilitated a roundtable of experts to evaluate the potential implications for the utility and its customers of a future business environment characterized by high levels of customer energy efficiency, growing numbers of Zero Net Energy buildings, and increased adoption of distributed generation (largely solar PV) by utility customers. The political and policy environment surrounding distributed resources is highly charged, with strongly held beliefs and assumptions about distributed generation benefits and impediments to customer adoption. At the same time, there are myriad complexities in analyzing the costs and benefits to the utility system of installing these technologies. Costs and benefits will shift over time as markets evolve, penetration rates increase, and new technologies are deployed. The roundtable worked to build a shared understanding of the problems and challenges facing stakeholders in the electric system and to identify the essential characteristics of workable long-term solutions.


Soft Energy Paths for the 21st Century

Journal or Magazine Article, 2011
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Amory Lovins to outline his reaction to the Fukushima disaster and his suggestions for Japanese and U.S. energy policy for its house magazine Gaiko (Diplomacy). An abridged version was published 30 July 2011 in Japanese and is cited in this unabridged English version. It's a timely contribution to the rapidly growing movement in Japan to accelerate the strategic shift from nuclear power to efficiency and renewables, as Germany is already doing—an approach consistent with sound economics and with RMI's U.S. findings in Reinventing Fire. The abridged version of the article is available at http://www.gaiko-web.jp/ in Japanese.


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