This week in renewable energy: 1/24/14

Every Friday, Community Renewable Energy shares important clean energy developments– and some that are just plain cool.

Here’s what we were reading this week.

Global progress

  • At Community Renewable Energy, we believe in Africa’s incredible potential as the next forefront of the renewable energy revolution. As Ghana has been struggling with power shortages, the nation has wisely been pursuing renewable, clean, safe sources of electricity. This week, the country announced plans to construct what will be the largest-ever solar power plant on the continent. (Ghana Web)
  • Commerzbank recently published the second edition of their report, “Renaissance in Sub-Saharan Africa,” and, as John Parnell points out, “curing the region’s energy problems could have a dramatic effect on some countries’ fortunes.” From the report (their wording, my emphasis):

“The imbalances in the domestic energy markets could be overcome by a more intense use of renewable energies, such as solar, wind and water energy, which could catapult even underdeveloped rural areas into a new age. […] Technological ‘leapfrogging’ allows for the use of environmentally friendly, inexpensive and effective technologies, providing foreign investors with the necessary know-how with opportunities as well: current energy shortages are a major drag on economic growth. […] Blackouts are fairly common, even in economically well-developed South Africa. Over the past several years, energy supply problems have even increased because of robust economic growth in many countries and a subsequent increase in energy demand.”

  • Gulf Coast nations are also capitalizing on their solar power capacity. Al Jazeera sums up their recent progress:

For the Gulf’s solar industry, 2013 was a year of firsts: In addition to the opening of Abu Dhabi’s Shams 1 plant, Dubai’s first solar power plant became operational, and Kuwait and Oman decided to build their first as well. In Saudi Arabia, one energy analyst found the cost of generating electricity from solar there had become as cheap as generating electricity from oil-fired power plants.

Community-owned solar

  • In the Huffington Post, Peter Dreier lauded the rise of community-owned solar in Minnesota as one of the greatest environmental victories of 2013.
  • This week, we read about community-owned solar gardens sprouting up in Colorado and Massachusetts.
  • America isn’t the only country embracing community-owned solar gardens. Australian towns may be able to be produce 100% of their energy independently according to a new report by Energy for the People and the Alternative Technology Association.

The Midwest goes green

  • Community Renewable Energy is based out of Ohio, so we always love hearing about the progress the state makes toward going green. This January, we learned that a massive Honda plant will install wind turbines that could provide 10% of the plant’s power needs. (Bloomberg)
  • Environmentalists are still buzzing about a Minnesota court’s decision that solar power offers a better value than natural gas. Danny English writes, Officials at Geronimo Energy say if Lipman’s decision is approved, the company will spend approximately $250 million to fund its Aurora Project, which would consist of 20 solar parks across 17 counties, including one that would cover up to 70 acres of land.” In 2013, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill ensuring that by 2020, 1.5% of Minnesota’s power should be derived from solar sources– and 10% by 2030. (Today’s Energy Solutions)
  • Environmentalists in Kansas, meanwhile, are fighting to protect their state’s renewable energy standard. (Midwest Energy News)

What do you think was the most important renewable energy story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about sustainable community and economic development, visit Praxia Partners’ blog.

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