renewable energy

  1. Energy
  2. Energy and Environment

As the world grapples with climate change, governments are looking for greener ways to produce energy. Geothermal stands out because it is inexhaustible, domestic and produces no emissions. Although only a handful of states have geothermal power plants, Alaska and Texas sit atop a largely untapped geothermal resource, making them good candidates for future power stations.

  1. Home

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Necessary Features to Make a Container Home More Environmentally Friendly. 

Container homes are more sustainable alternatives to traditional homes. However, it’s necessary to add certain features that increase a container home’s efficiency and reduce the environmental impact.   

  1. Use a Secondhand Container
  2. Source Local Materials
  3. Install Sustainable Sourced Insulation
  4. Reduced AC and Heating to Suit Space
  5. Self Sufficiency with Solar Panels
  6. Use a Non-Toxic Sealing Primer
  7. Add a Rainwater Catchment System
  8. Energy Efficient LED Bulbs
  9. High-Performance Windows
  10. Space saving Appliances

Beyond green buildings, you also have to commit yourself to live in a greener way. Ultimately, housing itself isn’t what will save the planet — it’s how you act that makes or breaks a sustainable lifestyle.

Dig deeper —> 7 min

  1. Politics and Policy

Busy? Try the speed read.

Providing further insight into common perceptions about the costs of Fossil Fuels:

  • 1. “Rising energy costs demand more fossil fuel production"
  • 2. “Fewer regulations would lower fuel costs"
  • 3. “Weaning ourselves off fossil fuels is impractical"

What are the inherent costs of delaying our transition from conventional energy sources? Relying on fossil fuels as our primary energy source isn't sustainable and inevitably just drives prices up even further as sources become more scare.

The US Government spent $1 trillion in subsidising fossil fuels which ultimately hinders our progress to transition to cleaner energy sources, and relaxing corporate regulation comes at great risk to our environment as seen in the fracking industry.

However, our approach to everyday living and the small changes and decisions we make now can have huge impact and help drive off our reliance on fossil fuels as our primary energy source.

Dig deeper —> 7 min

  1. Energy and Environment

Big picture Solar PV and onshore wind (for new-build generation) is now cheaper for 2/3 of the global population, including the US and China.

Downsides of solar-wind Critics of widespread wind & solar point to its over-hyped environmental prowess and inefficiency.

  1. Capacity factors and values: The sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow.
    • The capacity factor of renewables are lower than that of coal, gas and nuclear, who have a capacity factor of 85-90 percent. Onshore wind units place 40 percent capacity, whereas solar facilities use 30 percent or less.
    • Capacity values are “the ability to reliably meet demand.” Using capacity values as a metric, the price of wind & solar spikes due to the unreliability during peak demand and necessary back-ups on stand-by to ensure contingent power. As reliability and capacity values go ↑, the price of renewables will go ↓
    • If widely adopted, renewables would cost higher on average. Less efficient geographic regions need to build solar and wind infrastructure, reducing economies of scale.
    • The Institute for Energy Research estimates that wind power is about twice as expensive as conventional gas-fired power, and that solar power is almost three times as expensive (relative to its capacity value).
    • Capacity factors/values summarized: wind & solar is cheaper in 2/3 of the world, but when you factor in reliability and contingency, it is still more costly.
  2. Environmental cost: It's better than oil, it's serious. Let's talk about it.
    • Heavy land use: The Green New Deal would require over 100 million acres to power America at the same capacity as oil & gas. That’s larger than the state of California. With all that space needed, it would inevitably spill into ecologically sensitive areas.
    • Production and disposal: We would probably import metals for the wind turbines and solar panels from China. Even with tariffs, it makes more economic sense. As much as 78 million metric tons worldwide by 2050 will come from solar panel waste.
    • Impact on wildlife: hundreds of thousands of birds die every year at the hands of wind turbines.
    • Weak regulation: Wind energy development, for example, has voluntary, non-mandatory federal guidelines (even during the Obama years). Assuming that wind energy companies would behave better than their fossil fuel predecessors and willingly regulate themselves is a mistake.
  3. Reliability: Frequent backups still use fossil fuels.
    • When wind and solar can't produce enough electricity, fossil fuels are used as backups.
    • The problem? Based on today's reliability of renewables, the climate impact of a GND-sized solar-wind market would be near net-zero.

Bottom line We can now say wind & solar are cheaper (at face value) than oil & gas (in most of the world). But that's just the first step. If we want to continue the shift away from fossil fuels, we still need better solutions.

  1. Energy and Environment
More than 50 countries have made net-zero pledges, and there are numerous avenues to realizing that ambitious goal. One way humans can reach net zero faster is through electricity deregulation, which means energy suppliers can’t monopolize the energy sector. Countries with deregulated energy include the U.S., England, Wales, Portugal, and many more. By enabling consumers to choose their electricity supplier — a concept known as a market system — people can select greener options. But will they? Dig deeper → 3 min
  1. Business
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a sustainable option for transportation in America, but why are there so few on the highway? How long will it take for them to become prevalent? Key highlights of the current EV market: America sold 7 million EVs in 2021, but EVs are only 1% of all cars in the U.S. Domestic manufacturers like Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford have unveiled plans for popular models to turn electric. Buyers are hesitant to buy EVs because of price, charging stations, and driving range. Some experts predict EV sales will outpace gas-powered vehicle sales by 2040. States like California, New York, and Washington have already set deadlines to ban the sale of gas cars by 2035. Dig deeper → 4 min

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