Reaching India’s Energy Goals With Renewables

February, 2011
"The Great Energy Challenge Blog" at National Geographic
Almost 400 million Indians—about a third of the subcontinent’s population—don’t have access to electricity. This power deficit, which includes about 100,000 un-electrified villages, places India’s annual per-capita electricity consumption at just 639 kilowatthours—among the world’s lowest rates.

The access gap is complicated by another problem: more than three-quarters of India’s electricity is produced by burning coal and natural gas. With India’s rapidly-growing population— currently 1.1 billion—along with its strong economic growth in recent years, its carbon emissions were more than 1.6 billion tons in 2007, among the world’s highest.

This is unsustainable, not only from a climate change standpoint, but also because India’s coal reserves are projected to run out in four decades. India already imports about 10 percent of its coal for electricity generation, and this is expected to reach 16 percent this year.

Environmentalists and locals win fight against coal plant in Borneo

February, 2011

Read Kammen's reportMalaysian locals, environmentalists, and RAEL Director Dan Kammen have won the battle against a controversial coal plant in the Malaysian state of Sabah in northern Borneo. The Malaysian State and Federal government announced today that they would "pursue other alternative sources of energy, namely gas, to meet Sabah's power supply needs." Proposed for an undeveloped beach on the north-eastern coast of Borneo, the coal plant, according to critics, would have threatened the Coral Triangle, one of the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystems, and Tabin Wildlife Reserve, home to Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos and Bornean orangutans. Local fishermen feared that discharges from the plant would have imperiled their livelihood.

Efficient energy cooperation

February, 2011
China Daily

RAEL researchers Dan Kammen and Gang He have published their second Op-ed in the China Daily: This time they promote stronger cooperation between the US and China in the field of energy efficiency standards:

While there has been high profile conflict between the United States and China over energy issues, quiet cooperation does exist, in the form of decades of joint work on energy efficiency standards and through a new, but under-funded, US-China Clean Energy Research Center.

2009 ended with an unproductive US-China standoff at the Copenhagen Climate Summit and high-level tensions have developed over China's rapidly scaled-up production and global sales of renewable energy technology - specifically solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries for the burgeoning electric vehicle markets - and China's dominance in the production of rare earth elements for advanced electronics.

However, China's incredible acceleration of production and sales of clean energy technology is the result of necessity. China has become the world's largest energy consumer, and while its coal resources are vast, 70 percent of China's energy and 80 percent of its electricity come from coal, no other nation pays as high an environmental cost for energy than China, which has no other path to continued growth and energy security than through renewable energy efficiency. To meet the rising demand, China invested more than $50 billion in clean energy in 2009, twice as much as the US.

Conference: Physics of Sustainable Energy II- Using Energy Efficiently and Producing It Renewably

Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 8:30am - Sunday, March 6, 2011 - 5:30pm
Evans Hall 10, University of California at Berkeley

This second workshop on Physics of Renewable Energy is being organized because of the enthusiastic reception of the first such workshop, held in March 2008. Once again, international experts will give the technical background to understand the issues connected with using energy more efficiently and producing it renewably.

The attachments have registration information and the agenda for both days.  If you're interested in attending, don't delay getting registered since this event is almost sold out.

Ecosystem Services: Seeking to Improve Human and Ecological Health Together

February, 2011
The Great Energy Challenge Blog

Kenya's first wind farm, Ngong Hills, near Nairobi

Kenya's first wind farm, Ngong Hills, near Nairobi

While attending the CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan, late last year, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that we must foster development and reduce poverty, and at the same time preserve and improve the planet’s biodiversity and ecological resilience. He noted during a speech at the Cancun COP16 Climate Convention that “empty forests are greatly diminished.” He is completely right, but globally efforts to achieve ecologically sustainable development have been difficult and fraught with failure. Sadly, to some the issue is yet another complication to be ignored or avoided.