News Archive:

Actualizing the Vision of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

Actu­al­iz­ing the Vision of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Com­mon Home 

Round­table at the Pon­tif­i­cal Acad­emy of Sciences

Novem­ber 2, 2016

 

On the Vat­i­can web­site: click here.

 

Laudato Si’ is a pow­er­ful text, polit­i­cal and poetic, and deeply inspir­ing.  It addresses the most crit­i­cal issues of our time in vision and sub­stance.  It elu­ci­dates the neces­sity and means of “indi­vid­ual eco­log­i­cal con­ver­sion”, to see the “world as a sacra­ment of communion.”

Two of its guid­ing tenets are “the human envi­ron­ment and the nat­ural envi­ron­ment dete­ri­o­rate together”, and that we have mutu­ally rein­forc­ing oblig­a­tions to the earth and to each other.  The Beat­i­tudes pro­vide the phi­los­o­phy to shape our work of trans­form­ing and heal­ing soci­ety and our planet.  The Encycli­cal pro­vides the blueprint.

The fol­low­ing means and prin­ci­ples to actu­al­ize the vision of Laudato Si’ were put for­ward at the 2 Novem­ber 2016 Round­table at the Pon­tif­i­cal Acad­emy of Sciences:

Action Rec­om­men­da­tions:

  1. Expand the dia­logue with those with influ­ence and power (not­ing specif­i­cally those who drive invest­ment deci­sions) on the dove­tail­ing of envi­ron­men­tal and social issues  — “the book of nature is one and indi­vis­i­ble” — and its rel­e­vance and impli­ca­tions; toward that end estab­lish a sus­tain­able invest­ment advi­sory com­mit­tee for the Vatican’s own invest­ment activities.
  1. Con­tin­ued per­sonal engage­ment and pres­ence of the Pope in deliv­er­ing and keep­ing cur­rent the mes­sage of Laudato Si’. The more Pope Fran­cis speaks about cli­mate change and Laudato Si’, the more he will influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion around the world.
  1. A detailed and well resourced com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mes­sag­ing strat­egy for Laudato Si’, tar­geted to diverse audi­ences, which stresses the urgency of the chal­lenge.  A plan, dif­fer­en­ti­ated in style, tone, pace and sug­gested terms of engage­ment for the four dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions that are active at this moment in his­tory. The dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions should be addressed on their own terms, and with their input. Engage lead­ers in social media to spread and evolve the mes­sage of Laudato Si‘.
  1.  That the insti­tu­tion of the Catholic Church, serv­ing as spir­i­tual guide and moral mes­sen­ger, also serve as phys­i­cal and behav­ioral exam­ple, mod­el­ing in micro­cosm, the plan­e­tary vision of Laudato Si’ by accel­er­at­ing the con­ver­sion to sus­tain­able stew­ard­ship of its own land and assets, the Church’s train­ing pro­grams for priests being a pow­er­ful, inte­gral aspect.
  2. Pro­mote an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary inter­faith for­est, land and cli­mate ini­tia­tive — which acknowl­edges the “mys­te­ri­ous rela­tions between things” — con­vened and directed by an inclu­sive pub­lic pri­vate partnership.
  1. Be aware of and address the emo­tional and spir­i­tual impli­ca­tions and sor­row deriv­ing from our “dis­fig­ure­ment” of our com­mon home, which we have “bur­dened and laid waste,” and from dis­tress­ing com­mer­cial­ism, which “baffle[s] the heart.” Laudato Si’ needs to be widely dis­cussed, shared and acted upon in pub­lic and men­tal health cir­cles, for which it has pro­found relevance.

Prin­ci­ples to incor­po­rate in the var­i­ous work of our com­mu­ni­ties, and addi­tional points of discussion:

  1. Under­stand the rela­tion­ship between “veloc­ity” of cur­rent cul­ture and the loss of inter­nal, spir­i­tual time and time for reflec­tion, which is nec­es­sary for build­ing a just and com­pas­sion­ate society.
  1.  Rec­og­nize that energy poverty is a major imped­i­ment to equity and har­mony both within and between com­mu­ni­ties and nations, and greatly impedes our progress in sus­tain­ing the Earth as our com­mon home.
  1. Sup­port grass roots activist move­ments and indi­vid­u­als, as pow­er­ful coun­ter­vail­ing as well as spir­i­tu­ally enrich­ing forces that make the need for global stew­ard­ship vibrant and accessible.
  2. Assure that indige­nous for­est inhab­i­tants have mean­ing­ful work that arises from their val­ues, and their rela­tion­ship to the land.  Assure that there are spe­cific avenues for the wis­dom of these com­mu­ni­ties to per­me­ate our atom­ized civil societies.
  1. Encour­age down to earth dia­logue among faith com­mu­ni­ties and civil soci­ety on the sub­ject of envi­ron­men­tal mar­ket mech­a­nisms which, like any other tool, can be used either for good or ill, remain­ing mind­ful that the Econ­omy is a sub­set of Nature, and not the other way around.
  1.  Sup­port gov­ern­ments in craft­ing poli­cies and laws which reflect our moral and spir­i­tual oblig­a­tions to each other and to Nature, as they trans­late into phys­i­cal and mate­r­ial obligations.
  2.  Work to estab­lish local and national com­mit­ments to use-​​inspired basic research, required for sus­tain­able energy and water sys­tems and valu­ing forests. Research and inno­va­tion is a vital tool in imple­ment­ing the Encycli­cal, will fos­ter benef­i­cent new tech­nolo­gies, nar­row the gap between Nature and tech­nol­ogy, and allow peo­ple and Nature again to “extend a friendly hand to one another.”
  1. We need a change of heart; we need to increase ten­der­ness towards each other and the envi­ron­ment, and the way we will get there is not built solely on greater ana­lyt­i­cal insights and new pol­icy, but also mov­ing aes­thetic expe­ri­ences that raise our minds, hearts, and souls towards the good the tran­scen­den­tal, and the holy.
  1.  Diets of those con­sum­ing indus­tri­ally pro­duced meat, notably cat­tle, require a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of arable land, and water. This extrav­a­gant inequity high­lights that, as with what we pur­chase, what we eat is a moral choice. Nature’s bounty can be suf­fi­cient for all needs, but not all greed.
  1.  Engage the spir­i­tual infra­struc­ture of our world geo­graph­i­cally, and include geo­re­li­gious dynam­ics in dia­logues about envi­ron­men­tal pro­grams and pol­icy. Keep the spirit of Laudato Si’ alive, repeated, and deeply ingrained in com­mu­ni­ties of faith through com­mu­ni­ca­tions media, action­able geography-​​relevant mate­ri­als (like maps with guided land-​​use and land/​facility main­te­nance sug­ges­tions for var­i­ous dio­ce­ses), and through sci­en­tific, and NGO partnerships.
  1.  Dis­sem­i­nate a cen­tral les­son of Laudato Si’: that we bear moral respon­si­bil­ity for the full life­cy­cle of activ­ity result­ing from our indi­vid­ual eco­nomic actions. We each have per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity for the envi­ron­men­tal harm caused by the energy we use or the food we eat, any inequity or injus­tice in the prod­uct sup­ply chains that pro­vide us goods and ser­vices, and the byprod­ucts and waste we create.
  1.  Oper­a­tionally cap­i­tal­ize on and expand the com­mon­al­i­ties between reli­gions, com­mu­ni­ties, and beliefs around the planet, a shared lan­guage that can build under­stand­ing and coop­er­a­tion to sup­port sustainability.
  1.  Laudato Si’, explic­itly and implic­itly, grounds our mate­r­ial real­ity in a cos­mo­log­i­cal view of inter­re­lat­ed­ness — in the tra­di­tion of St. Fran­cis, Teil­hard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, among oth­ers — pro­claim­ing the Uni­verse a “com­mu­nion of sub­jects,” and not “a col­lec­tion of objects.” (Thomas Berry, 1999)

 

Leslie Parker, REIL; and Pro­fes­sor Daniel M. Kam­men, Found­ing Direc­tor, Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory, http://​rael​.berke​ley​.edu, Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley

Sustainable Design of Communities, in Scientific American

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Sus­tain­able Design of Communities:

Mov­ing beyond a focus on solar roofs for single-​​family homes, ambi­tious projects are attempt­ing to join blocks of build­ings into sus­tain­able units

 Pub­lished in Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can and in the RAEL pub­li­ca­tions list here.

June 26, 2017

Mov­ing beyond a focus on solar roofs for single-​​family homes, ambi­tious projects are attempt­ing to join blocks of build­ings into sus­tain­able units

In the past decade, the con­struc­tion and retro­fitting of indi­vid­ual homes to reduce energy and water use has grown explo­sively. Yet apply­ing green con­struc­tion to mul­ti­ple build­ings at once may be an even bet­ter idea. Shar­ing resources and infra­struc­ture could reduce waste, and retro­fitting impov­er­ished or moderate-​​income neigh­bor­hoods could also bring cost sav­ings and mod­ern tech­nol­ogy to peo­ple who would nor­mally lack such oppor­tu­ni­ties. Work­ing at the neigh­bor­hood level does add com­plex­ity to plan­ning, but these neigh­bor­hood efforts offer rewards that even green single-​​family homes can­not offer.

One pow­er­ful exam­ple is the Oak­land EcoBlock project, which I lead at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, with my col­league Har­ri­son Fraker, a pro­fes­sor of archi­tec­ture and urban design. It is a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary endeavor involv­ing urban design­ers, engi­neers, social sci­en­tists and pol­icy experts from city, state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments, acad­e­mia, pri­vate indus­try, non­prof­its and grass­roots organizations.

The pro­gram, which has been planned in great detail but has not yet begun con­struc­tion, will retro­fit 30 to 40 con­tigu­ous old homes in a lower– to middle-​​income neigh­bor­hood near California’s famous Golden Gate Bridge. It aims to apply exist­ing tech­nol­ogy to dra­mat­i­cally reduce fos­sil fuel and water con­sump­tion and green­house gas emis­sions. We expect to rapidly recoup the money spent on infra­struc­ture with sav­ings from oper­at­ing expenses while at the same time ensur­ing res­i­dents’ long-​​term com­fort and security.

On the energy front, we will install solar pan­els on build­ings through­out the com­mu­nity, send­ing the energy to a smart micro­grid; excess solar energy will be stored via fly­wheels housed in a shared build­ing. The com­mu­nity will also share elec­tric cars, which will have access to more than two dozen local charg­ing sta­tions. These mea­sures should reduce annual elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion by more than half and bring car­bon emis­sions to zero—a valu­able feat, con­sid­er­ing that more than a quar­ter of U.S. green­house gas emis­sions emanate from residences.

The Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency esti­mates that as much as 50 per­cent of California’s home water con­sump­tion goes to lawns and gar­dens. Our esti­mates sug­gest that the EcoBlock’s system-​​level redesign will cut demand for potable water by up to 70 per­cent. We will treat and reuse waste­water from toi­lets, as well as gray water sent down drains and released by wash­ing machines. The recy­cled fluid will go to gar­den­ing and irri­ga­tion. We will col­lect rain­wa­ter and deliver it to toi­lets and wash­ers, and we will install effi­cient fix­tures and taps. Treated solid wastes, mean­while, will be incor­po­rated into compost.

Beyond serv­ing as a model for sus­tain­abil­ity, the Oak­land EcoBlock project will pro­vide local con­struc­tion jobs and revi­tal­ize a com­mu­nity. If it is as suc­cess­ful as we expect, it will serve as a model to be repli­cated else­where in the U.S. and beyond. To date we have received inquiries from Europe, North Africa and Asia, con­firm­ing wide­spread inter­est in tar­get­ing and redesign­ing com­mu­ni­ties, not just indi­vid­ual homes.

Daniel Kam­men is a pro­fes­sor in the Energy and Resources Group, and in the Gold­man School of Pub­lic Pol­icy, and in the Depart­ment of Nuclear Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, where he also directs the Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory (RAEL: http://​rael​.berke​ley​.edu).

For the arti­cle link, click here, and for the RAEL pub­li­ca­tion, click here.

Twit­ter: @dan_kammen

Proceedings of the National Academy publishes our critique of “WWS” model

Our paper now avail­able from the Pro­ceed­ings of the National Acad­emy of Sciences:

Pre­vi­ous analy­ses have found that the most fea­si­ble route to a low-​​carbon energy future is one that adopts a diverse port­fo­lio of tech­nolo­gies. In con­trast, Jacob­son et al. (2015) con­sider whether the future pri­mary energy sources for the United States could be nar­rowed to almost exclu­sively wind, solar, and hydro­elec­tric power and sug­gest that this can be done at “low-​​cost” in a way that sup­plies all power with a prob­a­bil­ity of loss of load “that exceeds electric-​​utility-​​industry stan­dards for reli­a­bil­ity”. We find that their analy­sis involves errors, inap­pro­pri­ate meth­ods, and implau­si­ble assump­tions. Their study does not pro­vide cred­i­ble evi­dence for reject­ing the con­clu­sions of pre­vi­ous analy­ses that point to the ben­e­fits of con­sid­er­ing a broad port­fo­lio of energy sys­tem options. A pol­icy pre­scrip­tion that over­promises on the ben­e­fits of rely­ing on a nar­rower port­fo­lio of tech­nolo­gies options could be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, seri­ously imped­ing the move to a cost effec­tive decar­bonized energy system.

Or, down­load it from the RAEL Pub­li­ca­tions page: here.

Press cov­er­age of this paper:

June 20, 2017 - Power Mag­a­zine: Experts debunk 100% Renew­able Energy Decar­boniza­tion Study by WWS Team

June 20, 2017 - The Chicago Tri­bune: A bit­ter sci­en­tific debate just erupted over the future of America’s power grid

June 20, 2017 - The New York Times: “Fisticuffs Over the Route to a Clean Energy Future

June 19, 2017 - The Wash­ing­ton Post: A bit­ter sci­en­tific debate just erupted over the future of America’s power grid

June 19, 2017 - MIT Tech­nol­ogy Review: Sci­en­tists sharply rebut influ­en­tial renew­able energy plan

June 19, 2017 - Sci­ence Daily:Fight­ing global warm­ing and cli­mate change requires a broad energy port­fo­lio

June 19, 2017 — Green­tech Media: “100% renew­able energy plan as ‘sig­nif­i­cant short­com­ings’ say cli­mate and energy experts”.

Sum­mary:

miracle_cartoon

 

Student Spotlight: Brooke Maushund

This pro­file of ERG under­grad­u­ate con­cen­tra­tor and RAEL stu­dent Brooke Maushund, appeared in the Col­lege of Nat­ural Resources newslet­ter here.

Best study spot on campus?

I’ve spent a lot of time on the 4th floor of CITRIS, but East Asian Library has been my stead­fast home — you can’t beat those giant glass walls.

Best Cal memory?

Wow, there are a lot, but I’ve got to say my first semes­ter in the Berke­ley Stu­dent Coop­er­a­tive sys­tem, at Steb­bins Hall, was cumu­la­tively my favorite Cal mem­ory. Now at the end of my three-​​year stint in the co-​​ops, I see the flaws in the sys­tem, but I can­not express how grate­ful I was for the sense of com­mu­nity I expe­ri­enced my first semes­ter in Steb­bins. Com­ing home to house­mates who gen­uinely cared about my day, had such dif­fer­ent inter­ests than my own but were just as pas­sion­ately dri­ven to pur­sue them, crafted such a cre­ative and open space to chal­lenge one another, and made a house a home was not some­thing I knew I could find here.

What is your favorite CNR class or pro­fes­sor and why?

This has got to be a tie between Pro­fes­sor Call­away & Dr. Sager’s ERG 290 “Micro­grids and Decen­tral­ized Renew­ables for Global Energy Access” and Pro­fes­sor Kammen’s ERG C271 “Energy and Devel­op­ment.” Both were grad­u­ate sem­i­nars I took spring semes­ter my junior year, and really were the first time I could see every­thing I have learned tie together. The sem­i­nar style of the classes, espe­cially with the heavy the­o­ret­i­cal focus in ERG C271 and then applied project focus in ERG 290, allowed me to explore the roots of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, then apply them directly to a micro­grid project while con­vers­ing with my much more expe­ri­enced peers.

What advice do you have for an incom­ing CNR student?

Fol­low your inter­ests, don’t be afraid to make mis­takes, and—at your own discretion—don’t always fol­low the rules. If you want to take a grad class and the pre­req­ui­sites online don’t let you enroll, and you don’t have “x, y, and z classes” under your belt, but feel qual­i­fied: email the pro­fes­sor with a resume. Read some of their pub­li­ca­tions and go into their office hours. Start a con­ver­sa­tion. Cal can be a bit soul-​​crushing if you see it in black and white, but never under­es­ti­mate what can come out of start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion: you never know what you don’t know. Work­ing around the lines, find­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ties in the grays is how you pave your own unique path here. And that doesn’t come with­out a healthy amount of fail­ures; trust me, I have plenty. Regard­less of what you’ve been told, it’s not sheer tal­ent or brains that will get you through this place bet­ter on the other side: it’s resilience.

What is your plan for after graduation?

I’m still weigh­ing some options, but as of right now my plan is to move out to Yosemite Val­ley to work as a gar­dener for the con­ces­sion­aire —and rock climb/​trail run a lot—for the sum­mer with my best friends from high school. In August I’ll come back to the Bay and work full time in energy access.

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What have been the most mean­ing­ful activ­i­ties you’ve been involved with while at Berkeley?

This is a hard one, but I’ve got to say that join­ing the Cal Ski Team—the best ski team—was the best choice I made at Cal. After grow­ing up in a place where I could surf most days or go some­where new to trail run, being in such an urban area fresh­man year with­out a car or friends who enjoyed the out­doors was a bit weird at first. I also knew that Greek life wasn’t for me, but wanted to be social. Join­ing ski team gave me a social cir­cle, and I met so many peo­ple who were pas­sion­ate about the out­doors, get­ting rad, and were very intel­lec­tu­ally tal­ented at the same time. I got some awe­some pow­der days out of it and learned how to climb, but more impor­tantly I learned a lot about aca­d­e­mics and work­ing hard to advance in the work world from a lot of the older mem­bers on the team. Unfor­get­table expe­ri­ence. CAL SKI TEAM #1!

Brooke Maushund speaking at a conference

We heard that you pre­sented at the COP22 Con­fer­ence in Morocco — tell us about that experience.

Through a series of very serendip­i­tous events, Jessie Knap­stein, who was the co-​​president of Berke­ley Energy and Resources Col­lab­o­ra­tive (BERC) the same time I was co-​​president of the under­grad­u­ate arm of the club (BERC-​​U), offered for me to fill her spot to go to the Africa Renew­able Energy Forum (AREF) to author the offi­cial report on the state of renew­able energy in Africa going into COP22 in Mar­rakech, Morocco.

After my AREF respon­si­bil­i­ties had con­cluded, I had the rest of the con­fer­ence to sim­ply absorb and process all of the hap­pen­ings at COP22—a real treat. After study­ing and dis­cussing all of these top­ics for years, even par­tic­i­pat­ing in mock cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions for a class at Berke­ley, actu­ally being at a COP was noth­ing short of the one of the best applied edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ences I’ve ever had. You can only imag­ine my thrill, excite­ment… and ner­vous­ness and feel­ing of respon­si­bil­ity when Pro­fes­sor Dan Kam­men, who I also hap­pen to work under on research in the Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory, offered for me to step up twice more, due to some speak­ing engage­ment con­flicts he had. I filled in and spoke as a pan­elist on my work at an event put on by the Clus­ter Indus­triel pour les Ser­vices Envi­ron­nemen­taux (CISE), and spoke as a rap­por­teur at a much larger event: the Women Lead­ers and Global Trans­for­ma­tion Summit.

After facil­i­tat­ing dis­cus­sion amongst some of the most pow­er­ful, strong women I’ve had the plea­sure to be around at the Women Lead­ers and Global Trans­for­ma­tion Sum­mit, we drafted rec­om­men­da­tions in a smaller work­ing group for how the UN Sec­re­tariat could empower women while address­ing cli­mate change through inno­va­tion. Shortly after, I spoke on stage regard­ing our out­comes. As the youngest per­son in the room I was of course ner­vous, but get­ting to work with women among the ranks of those at this con­fer­ence was a truly remark­able expe­ri­ence that I will not forget.

My expe­ri­ences at AREF, COP22, and espe­cially the Women Lead­ers and Global Trans­for­ma­tion Sum­mit are some­thing I know I’ll carry with me through­out the rest of my career. I can­not thank BERC, Jessie, Dan, or Energ­y­Net enough.

KQED Forum: California Defiant as President Trump Withdraws from Paris Climate Accord

 

 

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Forum with Michael Krasny — Fri­day, June 2: Lis­ten live or down­load the podcast

 

Trump is AWOL but Cal­i­for­nia is on the field, ready for bat­tle.” That’s how Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor Jerry Brown responded to Pres­i­dent Trump’s announce­ment Thurs­day that the United States will pull out of the 2015 Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment. Gov­er­nor Brown also announced Thurs­day that Cal­i­for­nia, together with Wash­ing­ton and New York, will form the United States Cli­mate Alliance, a coali­tion of states com­mit­ted to uphold­ing the Paris agree­ment and reduc­ing green­house gas emis­sions. We dis­cuss what the U.S. with­drawal from the agree­ment will mean for California.

Guests:
Paul Rogers, man­ag­ing edi­tor, KQED’s Sci­ence; envi­ron­ment writer, The Mer­cury News
Tom Steyerbusi­nessper­son and founder of NextGen Cli­mate
Dr. Dan Kam­men, pro­fes­sor of energy, UC Berke­ley; sci­ence envoy for the State Depart­ment; direc­tor, Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory at UC Berkeley

RAEL Holds First Experts Workshop on the Peace Renewable Energy Credit

May 1, 2017, San Fran­cisco — The Pro­gram on Con­flict, Cli­mate Change and Green Devel­op­ment, part of UC Berkeley’s Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory, con­vened on April 28, 2017, the first of two expert work­shops on the Peace Renew­able Energy Credit (PREC). A newly devel­oped financ­ing mech­a­nism, the PREC is designed to encour­age renew­able energy invest­ment in con­flict and cri­sis set­tings. The work­shops pro­vide for lead­ers in the fields of cli­mate change, renew­able energy/​finance and humanitarian/​peacebuilding to exam­ine, refine and help develop the PREC concept.

The San Fran­cisco work­shop was hosted by the Law Offices of Wil­son, Son­sino, Goodrich & Rosati, and brought together a range of experts with national and inter­na­tional expe­ri­ence on cli­mate and energy issues, renew­able energy devel­op­ment and finance, and envi­ron­men­tal markets.

The dis­cus­sion took stock of the grow­ing link­ages between cli­mate change and con­flict and looked at the poten­tial for renew­able energy to con­tribute to pro­mot­ing peace and devel­op­ment in the world’s con­flict regions.   They exam­ined the ratio­nale for devel­op­ing the PREC, includ­ing the lim­i­ta­tions of the cur­rent inter­na­tional toolkit to effec­tively address con­flict and human­i­tar­ian crises, and were pre­sented with sce­nar­ios of how the PREC might be applied in exist­ing con­flict set­tings. Par­tic­i­pants devel­oped strate­gic and tech­ni­cal rec­om­men­da­tions for oper­a­tional­iz­ing the PREC mech­a­nism in the near term. The sec­ond work­shop is sched­uled to be held on June 1, 2017 in Wash­ing­ton DC.

As the world strug­gles to cope with the grow­ing human­i­tar­ian cri­sis which cli­mate change exac­er­bates, there is an urgent need for new think­ing and new solu­tions”, said Pro­fes­sor Dan Kam­men, Direc­tor of the Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory. “The PREC is an impor­tant inno­va­tion that can help make sure that the ben­e­fits of the renew­able energy rev­o­lu­tion are also reach­ing the places of great­est need, and poten­tially great­est impact. We seek part­ners to refine the idea and to fund the pilot phase projects in South Sudan, Myan­mar, and elsewhere.”

We can already see a num­ber of con­flict and cri­sis set­tings where new invest­ment in renew­able energy could pro­vide mul­ti­ple eco­nomic, social, polit­i­cal and peace ben­e­fits, but this is not cur­rent prac­tice” said David Moz­er­sky, Direc­tor of the Pro­gram on Con­flict, Cli­mate Change and Green Devel­op­ment. “The PREC can pro­vide new impe­tus and financ­ing solu­tions to help unlock the many near and longer-​​term ben­e­fits that renew­able energy can offer in regions that suf­fer most from con­flict risk, cli­mate change vul­ner­a­bil­ity, and energy poverty.”

The Peace Renew­able Energy Credit (PREC) is one of sev­eral key ini­tia­tives that the Pro­gram has devel­oped. More infor­ma­tion is avail­able at rael​.berke​ley​.edu/​c​o​n​f​l​ict. For infor­ma­tion con­tact: David Moz­er­sky (dmozersky@​berkeley.​edu); Dan Kam­men (kammen@berkeley.edu).

 

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Kosovo must do more for renewables, European Union says

April 27, 2017, PV News.

Kosovo must do more for renew­ables, Euro­pean Union says

Cit­ing a RAEL study, authored by Noah Kit­tner and Daniel Kam­men along with col­leagues from KOSID in Kosovo, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has said that Kosovo’s gov­ern­ment needs to increase efforts to improve its energy sys­tem, and to pro­vide more sup­port for renew­ables, although it has recently revised its energy (and renew­able energy) strat­egy up to 2020.

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The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (EC) has said that Kosovo should make more invest­ments in the energy sec­tor, and add fur­ther gen­er­a­tion capac­ity from both ther­mal and renew­able energy sources, in order to become able to plan the decom­mis­sion­ing of the country’s two coal power plants, which cur­rently still cover almost all of its power demand.

In the report on Kosovo’s Eco­nomic Reform Pro­gramme for the period 2017–2019, pub­lished on the web­site of the Aus­trian Par­lia­ment, the EC said that the energy reforms recently imple­mented by the local gov­ern­ment are not suf­fi­cient to improve the country’s trou­bled power mar­ket, which still relies heav­ily on coal and elec­tric­ity imports.

Under its long-​​term energy strat­egy, which was approved last sum­mer, Kosovo is expected to add 240 MW of power gen­er­a­tion capac­ity from renew­ables, of which only 10 MW is for solar PV, while wind and bio­mass will account for 150 MW and 14 MW, respec­tively, with other renew­able sources account­ing for the remain­ing share.

Despite these plans, the local gov­ern­ment is cur­rently putting most of its efforts in the con­struc­tion of the new coal power plant “Kosova e Re”, an invest­ment that the EU itself con­sid­ers nec­es­sary to replace the 40-​​year old Kosovo A Power Sta­tion (345 MW) near Pristina, and upgrade the 27-​​year old lignite-​​fired Kosovo B Power Sta­tion (540 MW) in Obilić. The future Kosovo Power Project (600 MW), which is being backed by the World Bank, includes the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Kosovo B power plant, in order to bring it in com­pli­ance with EU standards.

Accord­ing to the EC, Kosovo’s energy mar­ket suf­fers from the above-​​mentioned out­dated pro­duc­tion capac­ity, as well as low energy effi­ciency, a non-​​liberalized energy mar­ket and a tar­iff sys­tem that does not reflect real costs. The EC added that it is not clear if recent reforms of the energy mar­ket are aligned with the reforms included in the Energy Strat­egy. “Progress in 2016”, the EC stressed, “was mainly lim­ited to leg­isla­tive mea­sures and the intro­duc­tion of some energy effi­ciency mea­sures.” The Com­mis­sion also stressed that cost esti­mates of the new planned actions for 2016, which include the future coal power plant, three unspec­i­fied solar projects, 20 hydropower facil­i­ties and two wind power instal­la­tions, “are very rough, and with­out a clear reg­u­la­tory frame­work.” The EC also spec­i­fied that all the work required by these actions was not done, except for the fea­si­bil­ity study for the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Kosovo B ther­mal power plant.

Accord­ing to a report from Kosovo’s Min­istry of Energy, solar had only a few hun­dred kW con­nected to the grid as of the end of 2015. The first solar PV projects with total installed capac­ity of 102.4 kilo­watt were brought online in 2014. Under the FIT pro­gram run by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture (MAFRD), 101 PV sys­tems total­ing 77 kW were installed in 2014, while fur­ther 135 instal­la­tions with a com­bined capac­ity of 364 kW came online in 2015.

Accord­ing to another report pub­lished in Envi­ron­men­tal Research Let­ters by sci­en­tists of Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley on the sci­en­tific research jour­nal IOP­science last year, at the end of 2015 the coun­try had around 3 MW of solar installed under the FIT scheme, which was issued in 2014. The pro­gram is grant­ing a 12-​​year FIT of €85 ($92.5)/MWh.

A strik­ing aspect of Kosovo is its sub­stan­tial solar energy resource, yet com­plete lack of devel­op­ment of solar power,” said the report’s authors. “It receives about 80% of Arizona’s solar inso­la­tion. That’s a higher level of sun­light than Ger­many, which has exten­sive solar energy facil­i­ties.” Kosovo, indeed, has a con­sid­er­able solar poten­tial with an aver­age of 278 sunny days and 2000 hours of sun per year.

The authors of IOPscience’s report also believe that dis­trib­uted renew­able and solar can bet­ter help Kosovo man­age the nec­es­sary growth of installed gen­er­a­tion capac­ity com­pared to large cen­tral­ized projects. While PV sys­tems can be installed incre­men­tally on a per kW or MW scale, a coal plant requires full com­mit­ment to hun­dreds of MW capac­ity dur­ing one invest­ment period, the report explains. “As demand for elec­tric­ity changes,” the US researchers said, “the deploy­ment of dis­trib­uted renew­ables pro­vides investors with increased flex­i­bil­ity to extend capac­ity in smaller sizes as to not leave the investor with large-​​scale stranded assets.”

With 2 mil­lion inhab­i­tants, Kosovo is still a dis­puted land between Repub­lic of Ser­bia, which claims it as it’s own ter­ri­tory after, and the Repub­lic of Kosovo. Cur­rently, 111 out of 193 mem­ber states of the United Nations have rec­og­nized Kosovo as an inde­pen­dent state.

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