Water & Energy Solutions

Can We Awaken the Sleeping Giant?

Friday, December 1, 2006
A Renewable Future for US is Achievable by Daniel Kammen Dec. 2006 World Rivers Review The sorry statistics are by now well-known: the United States has just 5% of the world's population, but produces 25% of its greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts to reverse this trend have lagged significantly, and the US continues to block efforts toward international progress. Here, Dan Kammen – one of the nation's top energy experts – lays out a plan to de-carbonize the US economy.Renewable energy science and technology has undergone dramatic advances over the past several decades. Renewab

China Speeds Up Renewable Energy Development

Friday, December 1, 2006
Statistics show that in 2005, a total of US$38 billion was invested in renewable energy development worldwide. China topped the list with a commitment of US$6 billion, excluding spending on large hydropower projects. China has good reason to speed up its renewable development, as the country is fairly poor in many energy resources in per capita terms. China's proven reserves of petroleum, natural gas and coal could last 15, 30, and 80 years, compared with world averages of 45, 61, and 230 years. At a Sino-European economic summit held in September in Germany, Chinese Premier Wen J

Harvesting Sweet Energy from Africa's Sugar Industry

Friday, December 1, 2006
Sugar is king in Mauritius, accounting for 90% of cropland, 25% of foreign exchange earnings, and supporting 1 in every 18 residents of this tiny island nation. But sugar is not the only export coming from the cane fields – electricity is a valuable byproduct of the harvest.For nearly 50 years, Mauritius has been using agricultural waste from its sugar industry to help electrify the nation. Not only does Mauritius have the highest electricity access rate in Africa – often cited at 100% – but more than a third of its electricity comes from power plants using bagasse, the fibrous waste fr

The Crisis of the 21st Century is...Water Supply

That and sanitation (water supply's poor cousin for infrastructure and aid). Clearly climate change will continue to dominate the news. But my prediction for the new year (and those to follow) is that we'll be seeing a lot more water issues on the (web)page. International Rivers has covered water supply in the Himalayas, followed the water politics between nations like India and Pakistan, and tracked emergent water storage solutions (such as rainwater harvesting). News agencies worldwide are also picking up the stories as well, especially on how water relates to climate change, hea

Snakes, Dragons, Buoys and Bobs: Daily Kos' Ocean Hydro Digest

Pelamis Wave Energy Converter at Agucadoura, Portugal
Pelamis Wave Energy Converter at Agucadoura, Portugal S. Portland / flickr.com Renewable energy blogger Unergy has a recent diary posting on Daily Kos with a list of 20 emerging ocean hydropower technologies. Presumably many of these technologies will never emerge from the prototype stage, but given the clean energy imperative it's likely some of these inventions - or something similar - will become common features of our coastlines in the future. The Pelamis "sea snake" technology is now in commerical operation. The Guardian covered the installation of the first Pelami

Biomimicry Inspires New Hydro Technology

SeaGen tidal current generator. Portaferry, Co. Down.
A slew of emerging technologies are redefining the concept of "hydropower." For almost a century, hydro has been synonymous with river-killing dams. But now a range of "hydrokinetic" technologies that convert into electricity the kinetic energy of flowing water - rather than the potential energy in falling water - offer the hope that in future "sustainable hydro" could offer more than big hydro industry greenwashing. The US National Hydropower Association has recently expanded its remit beyond the promotion of traditional dam-based hydro. It now defines hydro

Continental Divide: Are African Energy Investments On Target?

Africa at night.
Monday, September 15, 2008
September 2008 World Rivers ReviewAcross Africa, millions of businesses and residential consumers have been hit by costly energy blackouts -an ongoing problem now exacerbated by a major energy shortage in South Africa. Poor planning, decades of under-investment, a slowness to adopt energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources, and stalled large supply projects are all to blame. But because of the continent's huge "electricity divide" - only one in four is plugged into the grid - the electricity crisis affects just a sliver of all Africans. Away from the grid, lighting, cooking and

First, Do No Harm: A Water Conservation Expert Describes Alternatives to New California Dams

Monday, September 15, 2008
In recent drought years, California has considered building new, controversial water supply dams. Heather Cooley, a senior researcher with the Pacific Institute's Water and Sustainability Program, argues that dams should be our last resort, not first.

Clearing the Air: A Growing Movement to Stop Climate Change

2008 "Dams, Rivers and People" Report There is no silver bullet that will bring a quick fix to the climate change problem - but a buckshot approach might just blow enough holes in it to make it more manageable. Here we feature just a handful of the many, many good initiatives that are tackling the problem head-on. A Technological Shift A Mighty Wind: In 2007, about 33,000 MW of new renewable-energy capacity was added worldwide, including 21,000 MW of new wind power and 2,700 MW of grid-connected solar photovoltaics - a 500% jump from just four years earlier. Wind contin

World Bank behind the curve on renewable energy

A new report shows that investment in wind and solar energy surpassed support for large hydro projects in 2007. The World Bank has missed the trend on emerging renewable technologies, and continues to focus its support on large dams. According to its latest status report on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the World Bank spent $1,433 million on hydropower, new renewables and energy efficiency projects in FY 2007. The figure somewhat overstates the case in that it includes $151 million in carbon finance and $128 million in resources from the Global Environment Facility, neither o


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