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Clean Energy | Green and Alternative Energy Information

Clean energy – Definition

Finding an adequate definition for clean energy isn’t an easy thing to do, mostly because of the issue with nuclear power categorization. While some energy experts believe that nuclear power should be also categorized as a clean energy source because harnessing nuclear energy doesn’t emit harmful greenhouse gas emissions others say that nuclear power shouldn’t be considered as a clean energy source because of radioactive nuclear waste.

What does this “clean” mean? The clean means environmentally friendly, or given our current energy situation, environmentally more acceptable compared to fossil fuels. This somewhat explains why there is such a big debate whether we should include nuclear power among clean energy sources or not, as energy experts first need to agree whether nuclear power is environmentally more friendly option compared to fossil fuels.

The question about nuclear power categorization is really a question of setting up the limit for term “clean”. If clean energy refers only to energy sources that are not connected with greenhouse gas emissions then nuclear power should be considered as one of the clean energy options, and if clean refers to energy sources that are not hazardous for environment then nuclear power cannot be categorized as a clean energy source.

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Green energy – Definition and meaning

The simplest green energy definition would be energy produced from energy sources that are environmentally more friendly (or “greener”) compared to fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). Green energy therefore includes all renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, hydropower), and by definition should also include nuclear energy though there are many environmentalists who oppose the idea of talking about nuclear energy as the green energy because of the nuclear waste issue, and its harmful environmental effects.

Green energy term was coined to separate highly polluting fossil fuels from other less polluting, environmentally friendlier energy options such as renewable energy sources. Climate change has become a global threat, and world needs to find cleaner (less emitting) energy options, and thus the importance of green energy keeps growing.

Green energy is still not powerful enough to compete with fossil fuels. This is mostly because green energy is still significantly more expensive energy option compared to fossil fuels, and thus many countries, especially developing ones, rather stick with cheaper fossil fuels such as coal.

It also has to be said that term green energy doesn’t include only renewable energy sources but can in more broader term also include the conservation of energy (for instance a green energy example is also a building constructed in a way that it keeps itself cool in the daytime and heated in the night through its architectural design instead of relying on air-conditioning or a heating system).

The promotion of green energy does not only include using more renewable energy sources in years to come but also to make currently dominant fossil fuels energy technologies more greener and less polluting (such as clean coal technologies).

Term green energy is sometimes identified with the term sustainable energy but this is not entirely correct because sustainable energy also includes technologies that improve energy efficiency. Green energy doesn’t refer to efficiency of renewable energy sources but is only interested in their positive environmental impact (compared to fossil fuels).

Posted byNed Haluzan

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Financing Renewable Energy

Stephen Lacey’s podcast this week on Crossing the Valley of Death was simply terrific. In the first 10 minutes or so, he delivered interview snippets with several top players in the financing of energy innovation, each pointing to a singular basic fact:

There is a gap between the interests of venture capitalists (who want to invest a few million dollars in projects that are likely to produce large short-term profits) and the interests of institutional investors and banks (who, while they will take long-term positions, do so only in mature, risk-free technologies).

The show went on to discuss a variety of different work-arounds to the challenge, including an initiative now working its way through Congress: the creation of a new entity housed in DOE, the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA). Supporters claim that CEDA would bring strong financial expertise and a specific purpose to create an attractive investment environment for the development and deployment new clean energy technologies.

The only thing I would add is that this entire discussion is occurring in the context of renewable energy that is currently expensive vis-à-vis fossil fuels. A few of the folks Stephen interviewed mentioned this casually, but it’s really at the crux of the entire issue; I know I’ve mentioned this “level playing field” concept before, but this is where the central problem lies. If you a solution that makes a bloated government even bigger, go for it. But if you you believe that “that government is best that governs least,” and you want market-based capital formation to drive the clean energy industry, all you really have to do is remove the subsidies given to fossil fuels, the problem will take care of itself more or less instantly.

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Worst Excuses for Not Using Solar Power

Over the past couple of months as the team at Clean Energy Experts has talked to a number of friends and other colleagues about solar power, we’ve been hearing a lot of the same excuses for not going solar.  Time and time again, we have to explain to them why their reasoning is unfounded but still we find the same excuses wherever we go.  So we thought we’d take a little time to dispel the four most common excuses for not utilizing solar power.

First Excuse: It’s Too Expensive

Everyone seems to know that federal and state governments have significant financial incentives in place to help promote the adoption of solar power.   Even after these incentives, the average residential solar system costs between $10,000 and $30,000 and for most people, this represents a major capital investment.  As a result, most people stop there and say, “I can’t afford it.”

What they don’t know is that there are a number of financing options available to help ease the cost of solar.  For example, a number of solar installers offer financing programs, similar to small loan or mortgage, where there is little to no up front cost and finance the balance of the purchase price through a loan.  As a result, the homeowner does not have to come up with cash upfront but can amortize the cost of the solar system over time.  What’s great is that when you factor in a your reduced utility bill from solar and the amortization cost of the panels, this amount is most likely still less than your electric bill without solar power.  So you save immediately and that savings grows over time as electricity rates increase.

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China to increase renewable energy investment

Solar Feeds reports that China has announced it will invest $3 billion in the development of biofuels over the next ten years.

The plan is part of a wider program to decrease greenhouse gas emission levels. These also entail reforesting the country to a 23% level, up from the current 20%, which will help the country absorb its carbon emissions. Besides offsetting carbon emissions, forests can provide biomass for biodiesel and ethanol.

China draws two thirds of its energy for coal. For that reason the country has been pushing clean technologies and has become the world’s biggest investors in renewable energy and clean tech.

Europe

Meanwhile, a new report released by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, called Statistical Aspects of the Energy Economy in 2009, found that between 2008 and 2009 the use of renewable energy in the European Union increased 8.3 percent.

In total, renewable energy accounts for 18.4 percent of energy production in the European Union, trailing right after natural gas at 19.3 percent.

Energy derived from hard coal and natural gas decreased by 9.2 and 10.1 percent, respectively. Besides, energy consumption in Europe decreased by 5.5 percent. The report notes that the reduction could be related to the global recession.

Via Solar Feeds and NY Times BlogsBookmark

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10 common energy questions and answers

1. Why is renewable energy called renewable, what does this mean? This means that renewable energy (unlike fossil fuels) can be replenished in relatively short periods of time.

2. Which fuel is the most common source of electricity in the world. The answer is coal, coal despite being very dirty fuel is also the cheapest energy option in much of the world. For instance, 49% of the United States electricity comes from coal.

3. Why solar energy, despite the enormous potential still counts for such a small share of global energy supply? Solar energy, indeed has enormous potential but solar power technologies are still very expensive, and also do not provide adequate efficiency to be used on a wider scale. This means that solar energy sector definitely needs cheaper and far more efficient solar cells in order to compete with fossil fuels.

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Surf’s up: tidal power in Scotland

Via Renewbl.com

A Norwegian tidal energy company, Hammerfest Strom, which is partially owned by ScottishPower Renewables, has entered a $6.25 million deal with Burntisland Fabrications in order to build a 1-megawatt tidal turbine.

Tidal power means harnessing energy from the flow of sea tide, which in some parts of the world can provide significant amounts of renewable energy. It is estimated that Scotland harbours one-fourth of the Europe’s offshore tidal and wind resources.

The 10 turbines will be set up in the Sound of Islay and by 2013 could make the Island of Islay a 100% renewable energy place. The project will be the largest demonstration tidal power initiative in the world.

Earlier this year, Hammerfest Strom announced that it received a $6.07 million grant from the Carbon Trust for the construction and testing of a 1 MW tidal power device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, also in Scotland.

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Large photovoltaic solar station to be built in Washington State, U.S.

Via: Renewbl.com

A 75-MW photovoltaic solar Project is to be built in Washington State by Teanaway Solar Reserve (TSR) The permit was issued with a majority vote.

The facility will be located 90 miles east of Seattle, in Kittitas County. “With this decision, Kittitas County is in the forefront of the nation’s new renewable energy industry,” says Howard Trott, TSR’s Managing Director. “TSR’s vision to generate green jobs and energy is now a reality, and it marks the start of a new future for Kittitas County and Washington state.”

Besides generating clean energy, TSR says it will bring more than 200 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs to an economically depressed community The project will also produce a revenue stream of more than $97 million in purchases of goods and services during construction, and more than $1.5 million annually in property tax revenues to support local schools, roads and hospitals.

Source: Solar Daily

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Another step towards carbon neutral at Cwmbiga Farm, mid-Wales

No rose-tinted spectacles for Good Energy customers Peter Bayliss and Susan Kilgour. These two have been wearing green-tinted binoculars for years, determined to bring into sharp focus their vision for a more sustainable world. In fact, the couple’s first weekend away together was to the Centre for Alternative Technology (C.A.T), a Good Energy partner. It was the completion of Open University courses in alternative technologies, however, that was

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