Global Solar Capacity Now Exceeds 100 Gigawatts. Wind Farms Break Records And Want Some Lovin Too.

Record breaking solar and wind power capacity.Not too shabby. Since 2011, over 60 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity has been installed worldwide. The last 30 GW installed in 2012 push the total solar capacity to 102 GW total. From Smart Planet:

“The preliminary results of the EPIA report shows that growth isn’t just concentrated in well-known solar regions, such as Germany. This year, there was a shift towards a more global PV market, with 13 GW of PV installations occurring outside of Europe, compared to just under 8 GW in 2011. The top three non-European markets were China with at least 3.5 GW and possibly as much as 4.5 GW, the United States with 3.2 GW and Japan with 2.5 GW.”

And not to be forgotten, wind farms added 44.7 GW of capacity in 2012 – beating the industry’s single year record, set in 2011, by 10%. Great to know 2012 was win win for renewable energy and not the end of the world. [Smart Planet and Smart Planet]

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Growing Solar Power Industry Leads To An Increase In Hazardous Waste.

Solar Panel FarmShould you go solar or not? If you read through the AP story, “Solar power boom fuels increase in hazardous waste sent to dumps,” it’s hard to tell which way to go. Here’s an excerpt:

“While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. Fueled partly by billions in government incentives, the industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.”

Translation: renewable solar power is far less polluting than coal and natural gas but thanks to $$$ in government incentives, demand and production are up and so is the associated pollution.

In related news, Scientists in Brazil have determined that “if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass when he’s hopping.” [Grist and Newser]

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Climate Inaction Is Like A Global Ponzi Scheme That Is Paid Into By Future Generations.

Before and After: Tar sands extraction

Uncle Charlie (Ponzi) would be so proud.

There’s a great article, “Global Ponzi Scheme Revisited: How Climate Inaction Betrays Our Children And Future Generations,” by Joe Romm on ThinkProgress. From the article:

“Fundamentally, homo ‘sapiens’ sapiens has constructed the grandest of Ponzi schemes, whereby current generations have figured out how to live off the wealth of future generations. We are all in essence Bernie Madoffs (many wittingly, most not) or at least his most credulous clients.”

It’s an update to an article Mr. Romm wrote in 2009 and the comparison is still spot on. Another powerful quote from the article:

“Madoff is reviled as a monster for targeting charities. We are targeting our own children and grandchildren and on and on. What does that make us?”

[Think Progress]

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Energy Independent Saudi Arabia Is Investing $109 Billion In Solar Energy.

Solar installation in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia just completed a 12,684 panel solar installation that generates 3.5-megawatts of renewable energy. It’s Saudi Arabia’s largest solar installation to date and part of their ongoing plan to invest $109 billion in solar power to reach 41,000 megawatts of solar capacity within two decades.

As the US strives for liquid fuel energy independence, currently liquid fuel energy independent Saudi Arabia is going solar. Maybe the US can learn from the Saudi’s, realize now that the whole liquid fuel energy independence thing is overrated, and skip that middle step and go directly to solar. [Bloomberg]

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Panasonic Hopes Its Artificial Photosynthesis System Will One Day Convert Factory Released CO2 Into Ethanol.

Watch the video. I’m not even going to try to explain how Panasonic’s Artificial Photosynthesis System works. [DigInfo]

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To Keep Future Energy Costs Predictable, IKEA Decides To Double-Down On Renewable Energy.

IKEA solar panelsIkea has always tried to simplify the furniture assembly process. Following that same path, Ikea is now working to simplify how they’ll get their future electricity by doubling their investment in renewable energy to $4 billion. From Ikea CEO and President Mikael Ohlsson (Bloomberg):

“I foresee we’ll continue to increase our investments in renewable energy… looking at how quickly we’re expanding and our value chain, we will most likely have to double the investments once more after 2015.”

Ikea’s goal is to get 100% of the power for their stores from renewable sources by 2020. Ikea’s stores currently get 34% of their electricity from 250,000 solar panels they own and from 126 wind turbines they’ve invested in. [Bloomberg]

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