What do I think, What can I do?

Posts tagged ‘solar power’

Nicaragua plans 70 % of renewable energy production

Nicaragua map from Wikipedia

This link in spanish explains these news. They will install wind power,, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal energy. It will not change the climate change game as Nicaragua is a small country of 6 million inhabitants that only emit 0.8 Tons CO2 per capita (in 2009). So they are not only well below the world average, they are even close or below the secure emission path. If we all humans would emit like them climate change problem would be close to be solved. They have not created this problem, they could feel quite reassured in their position and ask others for action with solid ethical grounds but, in the contrary, they plan to get most of their electricity from renewable sources. And these are good news because it shows that a low-carbon growth is not only meaningful for poor countries, it is also profitable and more reliable. They are not part of the problem now but can be and should be part of the solution, more if we consider that they are the countries bringing more humans to this stressed world

Renewable Electricity, many reasons for hope

In a previous post, I mentioned the rough figure of 42% of the energy in the world devoted to electricity production, sometimes,  when we talk about energy and climate change we only think in electricity. It is a mistake I do frequently. So, OK it is just 42%, it is not all but it is almost half of the problem. So it seems a good starting point for the solution as well. And though the situation is not wonderful and we are in a hurry, there are some sings for hope just in the electricity production data by country. They are in the following figures:

Share of renewable electricity by country, divided in the top consumers (80% of world electricity) and the rest

Share of renewable electricity by country, divided in the top consumers (80% of world electricity) and the rest

Share of Hydro power in the total renewable electricity by country, divided in the top consumers (80% of world electricity) and the rest

Share of Hydro power in the total renewable electricity by country, divided in the top consumers (80% of world electricity) and the rest

The so-called top producers correspond to the 16 countries that concentrate the 80% of consumption, the data come from the Wikipedia and are from 2009-2010, in this moment they should be better for many places.

Anyway, my hope comes from those facts:

  • The top producers are less renewable than the rest. But even there, there  are 2 countries with most electricity from renewables, so it is possible to maintain a “big” electricity system this way.
  • “The rest” show a lot of countries very renewable. It is hopeful because they should be the ones needing more new energy, so they can install it renewable. In th other hand this confirms that the problem and solution is concentrated in a few bunch of countries.
  • Among “the rest” hydro power is their main source of renewable energy, among top consumers too, but with significant amount of others as wind, solar or even Geothermal. This is interesting as the future and present should come from them.
  • Finally, electricity can be the way to decarbonize other sectors as transport (the road is the most important contributor there)

Renewable possibilities in the third world


Bangladesh location in the earth from Wikipedia

Bangladesh location in the earth from Wikipedia

The installation of solar panels to electrify 1 million houses in Bangladesh is in my opinion great news, not just for the KWh produced for those people by clean means reducing some CO2 tons.

It also means that for poor people off-grid solar energy makes more sense than whole big investment in new grid systems fed by fossil fuels with uncertain costs in the future.

Al also means that the technology developed in rich countries (and not so rich ones) after a fossil fuel based 200 year industrialisation maybe effectively used to start using low-carbon electricity in places that have not known it before.

Symbolically means that it is possible to start improving every day  life conditions based on solar energy of small-scale without going the fossil way from the beginning, becoming rich and after that reducing emissions.

And finally, it means that for many people living with almost nothing in many places, they can dream of improving their living standards without spoiling the climate of their grandchildren.

Qatar government announcing big solar investment.

Qatar Coat of Arms, source: Wikipedia

Qatar Coat of Arms, source: Wikipedia

COP18 conference held in Qatar has produced at least a first beneficial output. The government has announced an important investment to produce 1800 MW by solar power out of a total electricity capacity of 7000 MW. Even better, they will encourage particulars to produce electricity at home by small solar panels with a feed-in-tarif.

As they explained, the official reason to such a political impulse in one of the mayor producers of liquefied gas is the reduction of cost and the abundance of sun in their home. Good reasons, I suppose that holding the COP18 being the biggest emitter (mentioned in many blogs) is another one.

I hope it will become true, because we need the commitment of everyone in this big challenge of climate change, and the competitions to avoid last places in this shameful classification could help.

Science Fiction and Climate Change: Matrix

I am going to start my small, personal review of science fiction and climate change with Matrix. Although this is not a film anyone would relate with climate change it deserves a place in the hearts of science fiction lovers, at least for me. The nightmare of being harvested and artificially entertained by a quite imperfect world not so different from the real one was terrible and fascinating at the same time and the visual effects were a step beyond in 1999. Incredible.

But I am not here to comment the film, just to find a subtle connection with climate change.  Lets read the scrpit:

Morpheus : A singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines. We don’t know who struck first – us, or them. But we know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time they were dependent on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

In this case not exactly climate change but solar energy. As Morpheus explains to Nero the machines were powered by solar energy, all of them, and humans induced a kind of black out of it to destroy the machines. The situation in the film of humans as energy sources, comes from that. Of course, scientifically a human body is not very effective to produce energy, it produces heat but wasting energy that comes from plants, and eventually from the sun. So this idea is nonsense but the faith of solar power in the late nineties is remarkable. I wish it was more widespread now.