This week in renewable energy: 2/21/14

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

Here’s what we we’ve been reading.

Global progress

  • Community Renewable Energy backs Power AfricaWe at Community Renewable Energy have shared our enthusiasm for Power Africa previously on this blog–and this week, we read that the first Power Africa projects are on schedule to begin construction in Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania this spring.
  • Doug Norlen and Daniel M. Kammen’s Power Africa commentary breaks down the many reasons why it makes more sense to back renewables than fossil fuels. According to a Baker McKenzie survey, “Renewables [in Africa] can be installed much more rapidly than conventional fossil fuel generation. Solar PV also has a natural advantage over other renewable technologies in that it can be deployed on a relatively small scale — 85 percent of survey respondents believe that solar PV’s suitability for rural, off-grid applications is a strong driver for its installation.” (Huffington Post)
  • Rwanda announced plans to construct East Africa’s first-ever first utility-scale solar power plant. (Penn Energy)
  • Power outages and plant closings in Ghana have brought to light the need to diversify energy sources and increase the use of renewable power. (Ghana Web)
  • Japan continues to pursue more solar installations. This Thursday, we read about its newest solar power station plans: 5.8-megawatt solar power plant in Fukuoka in Southwestern Japan. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  • Brazil is backing wind power. From the DigiTimes article: “By 2016, Brazil could see yearly installations top 1.5GW as the pipeline of contracted projects comes online and transmission is constructed to connect the plants. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, cumulative installed wind power capacity in Brazil will reach 20.1GW by 2022, more than all the other nations of Latin America combined.”

The Midwest goes green 

  • Community-owned solar power continues to gain traction in the Midwest. In fact, Minnesota’s first shared solar garden has already sold out its shares! (Energy Central)
  • We told you last week about the Midwest’s big gains in green careers— this week, we read about how energy efficiency standards are paying off. The Midwest is actually poised to have a drop in demand for electricity. As Rebecca Stanfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Midwest Region explained, “Energy efficiency is not a sideshow anymore.” As solar and other clean technology becomes more and more efficient, renewables will take center stage. (Midwest Energy News via EnergyWire)
  • Granville, Ohio– home to the Solar Farm Co-op— recently hosted a two-day sustainable food production conference. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer article: “More than 1,000 farmers, shop owners, consumers, chefs and university educators confronted food issues relating to job losses, fracking, government policy, creativity and health.”

Schools, small businesses, and corporations go solar


  • Colleges and universities are leading the way, adjusting to climate change and coming up with innovative approaches to easing its effects. (Green Biz)
  • Nonprofits know the value of renewable energy, too. For instance, this Wednesday, we heard about MassHousing’s plan to add solar power to its affordable housing. (Worcester Business Journal)
  • Major corporations have discovered the power of solar. Check out the top ten list. (Fast Company)
  • The Triple Pundit reminds us that solar power keeps getting more affordable.

Bright ideas

  • Solar power technology is incredibly flexible. Now, solar power is helping to save the lives of mothers and babies. (Clean Technica)
  • The Aqua4™ Concentrated Solar Still addresses the problem of water desalination. (Clean Technica)
  • Legislation in Utah could make it easier for “municipalities and counties to purchase power from renewable sources on behalf of customers, creating new incentives to develop Utah’s ample alternative-energy resources.”  (Salt Lake Tribune)

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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