By Laura Gaze, Thomson Reuters
“Carbon emissions know no boundaries. The effects of global warming are extremely urgent. This is a human race epidemic.”
Chris Kibarian, president of Thomson Reuters IP & Science, led a panel of thought leaders at the Aspen Ideas Festival titled “Powering Tomorrow,” on the challenges effecting our transition to clean, renewable energy as a primary source powering our world. The panelists alongside Chris were Dr. Kristina Johnson, CEO of EnduringHydro; Michael Levi, author of “The Power Surge;” Mick Sawka, director of business development at Harvard University; and, Jeff Logan, senior energy analyst for the National Renewable Energy Lab. They focused on solar, wind, hydro and biofuels as the main renewable sources in their conversation.
The panel explored government policies, financing, competition, globalization and other important aspects related to this critical subject. One sentiment that was repeated by all panelists was that government policy pushing renewable use is a vital component of its adoption. However, and unfortunately, as Levi said, “The ‘pulse’ in Washington is the patient is dead.”
A new report from BP suggets that energy produced by wind, solar and other renewable sources will grow by fourfold by 2030, but the clean-energy sector will account for only a small fraction of total output. Here are some more highlights from Wednesday’s report:
- Natural gas is projected to be the fastest growing fossil fuel globally to 2030 at an average annual rate of 2.1%.
- Energy from coal will account for more than a quarter of total energy output by 2030.
- Dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas means global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will rise to levels “well above” what science says is needed to avoid runaway climate change
- 28% increase in global CO2 emissions by 2030
Today’s graphic forecasts energy consumption by resources and region using data from the report: (more…)
Today’s graphic shows the stock performance of 4 notable cleantech IPOs (Tesla Motors, Enphase Energy, Solazyme and A123 Systems). What do you expect this graph to look like in a year from now?
U.S. solar start-up SoloPower opened the doors to its first factory last week, a key step toward allowing the company to collect on a $197 million government loan guarantee. The pace of payments to clean energy companies with government loan guarantees has been slow and uneven. For a group of 19 projects receiving funding from the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank, only 47%, or $4.9 billion has gone out the door. Today’s graphic shows the progress of the government program that gained notoriety from the Solyndra bankruptcy.
The first event that I attended at the Aspen Ideas Festival was titled “Exploring the Rational Middle: How Do We Stay There in the Natural Gas Debate?” The panel was a powerhouse of energy experts: Gregory Kallenberg, Alexis Karolides, Russ Ford, and Richard Newell, and moderated by Thomson Reuters Chrystia Freeland. The inspiration for the title of the session comes from The Rational Middle Energy Series, which is a series of short films created by the team that produced the acclaimed documentary, “Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for An Energy Future.” During the session, we previewed two of the series’ films, “What’s at Stake” and “The Great Transition”. They touched on subjects such as where American energy comes from, renewables and their miniscule representation of total energy consumption, how natural gas can play a role in renewable energy and how patience and innovation can make major changes in our energy future.
Although the title of the session mentioned natural gas, that topic wasn’t really discussed much until the end of the session. The beginning portion focused mainly on our current consumption environment and the role that renewable energy will play in the future. 2050 was the key year that kept coming up as a target date. Alexis Korolides talked about the importance of keeping consumption constant over the next 40 years. This could be done by increasing the use and efficiency of renewables. Richard Newell (described by the panel as an “energy stud”) and Russ Ford weren’t so optimistic about being able to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels by 2050. But an interesting point that Newell made was (more…)
Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings will make its first move into solar energy with the purchase of First Solar’s Topaz Solar Farm power plant in California.