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Westward Group Alternatives

Westward Group Alternatives

Communication, Community, Environment

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  • Westward_group_renewable_energy_news_paris_about_eco_stuff_expensiveness_and_green_energy_savings_177_

    Everyone thinks eco stuff is expensive – but green energy could save us $71 trillion by 2050

    Yes: we’ll have to invest a lot but in the long term this could save the planet as well as huge sums of money, according to the IEA.

    According to the International Energy Agency if the world replaced fossil fuels with renewables as its primary source of energy by 2050 the global economy will have saved US$ 71 trillion.

    The IEA’s soberly named biennial report Energy Technology Perspectives 2014 casts a look at the energy sector over the next 40 years.

    While these are the long term net gains, there are also some seriously costly investments needed to spur these changes.

    The IEA estimates that an additional US$44 trillion of investment will be needed to meet 2050 carbon reduction targets.

    This represents an increase of 22% from the figure the Agency gave two years ago ($36 trillion).

    The investments would guarantee that the average temperature rise since the industrial revolution is limited to 2-degrees Celsius.

    According to the Agency investments in renewables, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage would – in the long term – yield more than $115 trillion in fuel savings.

    According to Maria van der Hoeven - executive director of the Paris-based IEA – coal use if still growing and outpacing that of renewable energies, while the intensity of electricity emissions has remained stable for the past two decades, though there has been some progress in certain areas.

  • Img_1117_177_

    The Tokyo Cement Group recently opened its second Biomass power plant to supply the largely rural region of Mahiyanganaya with 5MW of energy.

    This Rs. 2.4 billion plant by Tokyo Power, the energy arm of the nation’s leading cement and concrete manufacturer, Tokyo Cement Group, is an initiative to build on its expertise in sustainable biomass power. “Tokyo Power launched the Mahiyanganaya plant after successfully pioneering the first plant of its kind in Sri Lanka that provides 10MW of clean energy to their factory in Trincomalee,” according to a company statement.

    This 5MW Dendro power plant is expected to contribute approximately 40 million kWh annually to the national grid using sustainable green energy sources, notably Gliricidia, a fast growing tree legume, which is available in abundance in the country’s dry zone. The fuel-wood is obtained from plantations of Gliricidia sepium, or from farmers in the region who grow these trees through Tokyo Cement’s out-grower agricultural programmes.

    The expected generation capacity of 40 million kWh per year or 3.33 million kWh per month should enable the supply of electricity to reach an additional 30,000 rural households, thereby allowing the farmers that grow and supply Gliricidia, to directly benefit from their involvement in supplying biomass for the community’s energy consumption, the company said.

    “Our success with our initial Biomass plant in Trincomalee, gives us confidence that this plant will not only supply...

  • Nuclearjapan_177_


    The government of Japan finally came to the conclusion that the same nuclear energy that played a powerful role in modernization, is once more to be part of the energy policy of this nation. Prime Minister Abe is focused on rejuvenating the economy therefore a pragmatic energy policy is needed. Abe therefore made it clear that nuclear pragmatism is required based on the negative side effects of using dirty energy alongside having extremely limited natural resources. Not surprisingly, the utilization of the nuclear sector is a way out of the current stalemate within the body politic of Japan.

    Irrespective of anti-nuclear media outlets in Japan, green environmentalists espousing doom, the blatant manipulation of facts about the stance of the majority of Japanese nationals by the international media and other areas related to negativity, it is clear that nuclear favored political parties and politicians have been re-elected locally and centrally. Indeed, anti-nuclear candidates and the main opposition party have been beaten time after time collectively in relation to national politics and local government on the whole. This doesn’t imply that the majority of Japanese nationals are pro-nuclear but it does show that other concerns are deemed to be more important.

    This isn’t to downplay anti-nuclear feelings within Japan but the reality is that more people will go shopping in trendy Shinjuku, Harajuku and Ikebukuro on an average day, than the numbers that usually turn u...

  • Scottwiater-133x200_132_

    The latest monitors can help homeowners track their energy consumption in greater detail than before. It’s the middle of a steaming hot summer afternoon. You’re at home, blasting the air conditioner, washing your clothes, and standing in front of the open freezer while the TV plays in the background.

    You may not realize it, but you’re racking up kilowatts, increasing your utility bill, and adding to Earth’s pollutants.

    In the past, consumers didn’t have the resources or education to know how to use energy efficiently. But thanks to big data, they now can reduce costs and help save the planet, all with the click of a button.

    Analyzing Energy Usage Home and commercial monitors are showing customers just how much energy they’re using at any time of the day.

    Efergy, a power tracking company, sells monitors and hardware that connect to fuse boxes via a wireless signal. Users can see the energy usage on the monitor or their computer screens through a platform created by the company. The devices show customers the past 255 days’ worth of hourly energy consumption, usage trends and how those translate into dollars and cents.

    “It makes you realize when you’re using too much electricity and see how you can reduce,” says Juan Gonzalez, president of Efergy USA.

    Efergy’s system sends out an audio alert to let customers know when they’re reaching their maximum consumption target. That helps them save on their energy bills while preventing the electricity grid from...

  • 20140301_wbp003_0_132_

    EUROPEAN climate policy has spent vast amounts of public money, sent power utilities to the brink and done little to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, an impressive display of multi-pronged incompetence. But might all that money at least have built a robust, world-beating European renewables industry?

    Not yet. European makers of solar panels have been largely wiped out by a combination of the financial crisis and competition from cheaper Chinese rivals. Q-Cells of Germany, once the world’s largest solar manufacturer, went bust in 2012. SolarWorld, Germany’s largest remaining maker, begged successfully for investors’ patience to avoid bankruptcy late last year. The EU, like America, is bringing anti-dumping complaints against Chinese firms, but even if these were to succeed it is clear that the future of solar-panel manufacturing lies beyond Europe.

    Besides barely-green biomass, geographically limited hydropower and unproven tidal power, that leaves wind turbines as the best hope for European green energy. The picture is brighter than for solar. But Prokon, a German wind-park developer that offered generous profit-shares to small investors, filed for bankruptcy in January. And Europe’s makers of wind turbines have gone through a dark few years, shedding jobs and racking up losses.

    Vestas, of Denmark, was once the pin-up of the wind-turbine industry. But it overinvested just as others piled into the market. As its balance-sheet deteriorated, investors took fright, ...

  • 10-alt-energy-1_177_

    At Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, researchers are working on a novel, albeit somewhat distasteful, alternative to fossil fuels. They've developed a state-of-the-art toilet for use in developing countries that employs microwaves to chemically alter human waste into syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This syngas can then be used in stacks of fuel cells to generate electricity. Hypothetically, one toilet could generate enough juice to power several village households, freeing them from dependence on coal or oil.

    At first glance, Delft's scheme to turn poop into power may seem a bit daft. But drastic times call for drastic measures, and many people categorize the state of our environment as drastic. We live on a planet of finite resources -- some of which are crucial to our survival, and others that harm the environment every time we use them.

    Rather than wait for the oil wells to run dry and coastal cities to disappear beneath rising sea levels, many people are looking ahead to cleaner alternative sources of energy. Some of these energy sources, like solar power, hybrid-electric vehicles and small, hand-powered gadgets have already caught on. Others, however, like feces-fueled water heaters, may take a little getting used to.

    Here, for your reading enjoyment, are 10 of the wackier ideas for alternative energy. Some of them are already available; others need a few more trial runs before they hit the market. Either way, if you're reading this...

  • 01_177_

    They were two winningly sustainable houses, designed at Harvard to use little or no energy.

    A presentation at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) celebrated this pair of prize-winning student designs: one in France (wholly a computer simulation, created in pixels) and the other in Japan (wholly real, made of native timber).

    The setting was “Innovate,” a periodic series of noontime presentations, this one moderated last Thursday by Inaki Abalos, who chairs GSD’s Department of Architecture.

    Zero-House was the simulation, created on a computer in stages, from design, to analysis, to redesign, to re-analysis, until it had theoretically met the challenge to transform a commonplace two-story suburban house in eastern France so that it created more electricity than it used, becoming what experts call a “surplus-energy house.”

    “One small step was made at a time, and then evaluated,” read the student briefing paper on Zero-House, which noted the “swift, but accurate, feedback” that computer simulation afforded.

    The student team of Apoorv Goyal, Keojin Jin, Saurabh Shrestha, and Arta Yazdanseta are master of design studies (M.Des.) students set to graduate in May. They worked with adviser Holly Samuelson, D.Des. ’13, an assistant professor of architecture at GSD who, among other things, studies the energy performance of buildings. Assisting her was D.Des.S. candidate Diego Ibarra.

    The biennial competition they won, sponsored by the International Buildi...

  • Melissa_177_

    On February 25, the White House convened a conference on environmental stewardship and climate change with leaders of religious communities from around the U.S. There was a noticeable absence of panelists representing some groups, such as the Native Americans, the Jews and the Buddhists. There were references to God's Earth and Creation as unifying concepts throughout the event although such concepts are not universally accepted by all religions. Still, the event was highly significant in the consensus it conveyed: The climate is simultaneously an environmental, social justice and moral issue that requires urgent action. The White House is to be commended for convening this timely gathering to mobilize support from faith leaders to address the deepening climate crisis.

    The event highlighted President Obama's Climate Action Plan which focuses on cutting carbon pollution in the U.S., preparing the country for impacts of climate change and leading international efforts to combat global climate change. The statistic that in 2012 U.S. carbon emissions fell to the lowest level in two decades, "even as the economy continued to grow," was reiterated as a sign of progress in the right direction. There was an exhortation to embrace a bottom-up approach to climate protection throughout the event. Faith based leaders were encouraged to motivate their congregations to participate in the ENERGY STAR Program of the government which seeks to reduce energy costs and related greenho...

  • Iea_chief_-_only_a_decade_left_in_us_shale_oil_boom_177_

    A surge in US oil and natural gas production has lifted hopes about North American energy security, but that growth will plateau and will be difficult to replicate elsewhere, says Maria van der Hoeven, chief executive of the International Energy Agency, in an interview with the Monitor.

    The United States is awash in hydrocarbons, the result of good geology, supportive prices, a favorable regulatory and investment climate, and technology innovation. But the US energy boom is temporary, and not easy to replicate in other parts of the world, Maria van der Hoeven, chief executive of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), says in a Feb. 22 interview with The Christian Science Monitor. Here are edited excerpts:

    Q: The energy industry has undergone a revolution in drilling techniques that has opened up vast new sources of so-called “tight oil” and “shale gas,” particularly in North America. Is the promise of this unconventional oil and gas overhyped?

    A: The light tight oil revolution in the United States is changing the geographical map of oil trade. But we also mentioned [in an IEA analysis] that this growth would not last – that it would plateau, and then flatten and go down. That means that from 2025 onward, it’s again Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states that will come back. Because of the changing trade map, this oil will almost completely go to Asia – China, India, Korea and Japan.

    There are some people who really think they can replicate the Unite...

  • Green_bulb_2_132_

    BRUSSELS, March 3 (Reuters) - Thirteen ministers on Monday urged the European Union to reach agreement on the main elements of 2030 environment and energy policy this month or risk deterring investors and delaying efforts to get a global deal on climate change.

    Among the rest of the 28 EU member states, the most prominent opposition has come from Poland, which says there is no hurry to reach a political deal.

    "We can work with Poland to get an agreement in March," Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey told reporters. "I'm not saying it's going to be easy."

    But he said the early agreement of the 13 ministers, including from France, Germany and Britain, provided a chance to make an agreement with Poland and others.

    The Commission, the EU executive, in January outlined its vision of 2030 climate and energy policy to succeed the existing set of 2020 goals.

    The Commission suggested a single fully binding 2030 target to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels, plus an EU-wide goal to get at least 27 percent of energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar. In broad terms, the Green Growth Group supports the Commission view.

    A full legislative proposal is not expected until next year, when a new set of Commissioners will have taken office, so it will take years to finalize a 2030 law, but an outline agreement from all leaders would be a strong signal.

    Europe's economic fragility, however, has increased the d...

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