Solar Power production and storage

In our article A Clean Energy Revolution is Underway  we tried to elaborate on Solar Power production and storage that is getting preponderant in our life literally by the day.  We are increasingly seeing how Energy is more and more appreciated but from as clean a source as it can be mustered by the available technology and like for anything else, it is no more a matter of generation but rather of storing or stock piling what has been produced.  In this particular case it is about batteries and / or different types of batteries. Here are some of the most noteworthy ones to date.
“To smooth out the production of a solar plant on a 24 hours basis, store a day production of electricity at night. For this batteries are a Classic solution.”  said André Gennesseaux of Energiestro, specialist in the field for 15 years explaining in an article in French of EDF’s Electrek  post.  This is Voss, rewarded by EDF Pulse 2015 priced invention.
Alternatives abound such as for instance the beautiful promises of the hydrogen to address the Intermittency of renewable energy, hydrogen could be the ideal solution to store excess production of wind turbines or solar power stations. EDF has also committed on this topic via its Electranova program.
More recently, Tesla TESLA TESLA BATTERY  commissioned researchers hit good results with a revolutionary battery system.  This is elaborated in this proposed article of electrek posted on May 9, 2017 written by Fred Lambert .  Here it is reproduced for its obvious interests, etc.

Tesla battery researcher says they doubled lifetime of batteries in Tesla’s products 4 years ahead of time [Updated]

@FredericLambert

Almost a year into his new research partnership with Tesla, battery researcher Jeff Dahn has been hitting the talk circuit presenting some of his team’s recent progress. We reported last week on his talk at the International Battery Seminar from March and now we have a talk from him at MIT this week.

He went into details about why Tesla decided to work with his team and hire one of his graduate students, but he also announced that they have developed cells that can double the lifetime of the batteries in Tesla’s products – 4 years ahead of schedule.

Update: Dahn reached out to clarify that the cells in question were tested in the lab and they are not in Tesla’s products yet.

During the talk titled “Why would Tesla Motors partner with some Canadian?” – embedded below, Dahn explained how they invented a way to test battery cells in order to accurately monitor them during charging and discharging to identify causes for degradation.

Like he admitted in his talk at the International Battery Seminar in March, Dahn doesn’t claim that he understands perfectly the chemistry behind the degradation, but the machines that they developed enabled them to test new chemistries more accurately and much faster – resulting in significant discoveries for the longevity of the cells.

One of his students working on the project went on to work for Tesla’s in-house battery cell research group and another started a company to commercialize the battery cell testing machines that they developed. Their client list includes Tesla, but also Apple, GM, 24M, and plenty of other large battery manufacturers and consumers.

In the second half of the talk, he explained how their new testing methods led them to discover that a certain aluminum coating outperformed any other material. The cells tested showed barely any degradation under high numbers of cycles at moderate temperature and only little degradation even in difficult conditions.

When it was time to talk about how those discoveries are impacting Tesla’s products, Dahn asked to stop recording the talk in order to go into the details.

While we couldn’t get that valuable information, when they started recording again, it was for a Q&A session and the first question was about his team’s ultimate goal for the lifetime of li-ion batteries.

He hesitated to answer, but then he said:

“In the description of the [Tesla] project that we sent to NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) to get matching funds from the government for the project, I wrote down the goal of doubling the lifetime of the cells used in the Tesla products at the same upper cutoff voltage. We exceeded that in round one. OK? So that was the goal of the project and it has already been exceeded. We are not going to stop – obviously – we have another four years to go. We are going to go as far as we can.”

This is impressive, especially since their research partnership started only in June 2016 and in February 2017, Dahn said that his team’s research is already “going into the company’s products“ – just a month after Tesla and Panasonic started production of their new ‘2170’ battery cell at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

It’s not necessarily related, but the timing is certainly interesting. It can take some time for products successfully tested in the lab to make it to production products.

It’s also important to note that Dahn’s research was focusing on Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) battery cells, which Tesla uses for its stationary storage products (Powerwall and Powerpack), and the first cell production at Gigafactory 1 was for those products.

Dahn explained that by increasing the lifetime of those batteries, Tesla is reducing the cost of delivered kWh for its residential and utility-scale projects. He gave examples of the costs at $0.23 per kWh for residential solar with storage and $0.139 per kWh for utility-scale, based on Tesla’s current projects:

For the batteries in its vehicles, Tesla uses Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA) and Dahn said that they are also working on this chemistry. Tesla and Panasonic are planning to start production of battery cells for vehicles, starting with the Model 3, at Gigafactory 1 by June 2017.

He added that considering Tesla’s use of aluminum in its chassis, there’s no reason why both the cars and the batteries couldn’t last 20 years.

Here’s the talk in full (update: MIT made the video private after we published our article):

Further reading :

How clean is solar power? The Economist wondered in an article dated December 10, 2016 http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21711301-new-paper-may-have-answer-how-clean-solar-power where all production parameters were critically reviewed in the light of their impacting Climate Change in the process of manufacturing of the necessary hardware.

Solar Power plants from Morocco to Oman

Following the COP21 conference in Paris in December 2015, the MENA countries kick-started their part of the Agreements, otherwise known as their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs). Meanwhile, all renewable energy related hardware costs dropping as pushed by ever increasing advances in technology, most of these [ . . . ]

Following the COP21 conference in Paris in December 2015, the MENA countries kick-started their part of the Agreements, otherwise known as their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs).  Meanwhile, all renewable energy related hardware costs dropping as pushed by ever increasing advances in technology, most of these countries embarked on development programs mainly in the solar power sector. These programs have started to be concretised and are now showing in the diverse landscapes as the 2016 crop of Solar Power plants from Morocco to Oman.

A MENA region focused organisation (MESIA) specialising in renewable energy produced a report titled Middle East Solar Outlook 2016 in which it reviews all countries that had substantial realisations to date whether on the ground or still on the drawing board.

The specialist website Renewables Now has reviewed the MESIA report and published its views on it on February 17, 2017.  Here are some excerpts.

 

MENA reaches 885 MW solar in operation, several tenders coming

Solar power in Algeria Source: russavia on flickr.com (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region had 885 MW of operational solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal (CSP) parks at the end of 2016, and there are now about 5 GW of projects in the pipeline, according to the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA).

A bit over 3.6 GW of projects are under execution, with Egypt leading the list with 1.5 GW. MESIA expects financial close for Egyptian projects this year.

Details on several tenders for solar capacity are expected soon. MESIA said the bid submission date for Dubai’s 200-MW concentrated solar power project is to be scheduled in May. The award and closing of the auction is seen to take place in the second half of the year. Saudi Arabia is expected to tender 300 MW later in 2017 and Oman is to issue a request for proposal (RfP) in mid-year for a PV project of around 200 MW.

Solar tenders or plans for such have also been announced in Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Iran.

The table shows the operational capacity and under execution projects at the end of 2016. All figures comes from MESIA’s annual report and all are in megawatts (MW).

“2017 looks like a promising and busy year for those active in the solar industry.”MESIA expects this year to see further adoption of batteries, pumped-hydro and other energy storage technologies across the region.

 

Electric and / or Self-Driving cars and in which part of the World

Electric and / or Self-Driving cars vs Conventional ones?

The oil and gas giant British Petroleum (BP) predicted in a report that was published last week that although electric cars are increasingly being put on the roads and renewable energy growing at exceptional rates, fossil oil extraction, production, etc. which needless to remind is BP’s main business line, would not only remain in demand but see this latter rise to unprecedented levels.  The reason for this unabated level in demand would be according to this report the greater numbers of the Third World countries (cum Emerging) populations reaching levels of prosperity allowing car ownership.  The question beside that of the validity of fossil oil demand predicted not to decrease in the future, is which direction the automotive manufacturing industry would take in the future.  Would it be Electric and / or Self-Driving cars and in which part of the World would these be on the roads?  And most importantly, which type of energy would be used in which type of vehicle ?

We republish the following Brookings article on driveless cars as these obviously will be marketed mainly in the so-called First World.

Driverless cars are coming: Here are 8 useful facts about them

By Fred Dews / Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

“Driverless cars are a transformative technology that could have important implications for society, national security, the economy, and the environment,” Darrell West and Hillary Schaub wrote in a 2015 piece that outlined a number of challenges, benefits, and policy recommendations related to autonomous vehicles. West, vice president and director of Governance Studies, and Schaub, a program coordinator, addressed specific issues for the continued development of this technology, including: cybersecurity and liability, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing traffic fatalities, and addressing international safety and testability. “The discussion surrounding driverless cars involves a great deal of uncertainty,” West and Schaub observed. “There are huge ethical decisions that must be made regarding these new technologies. It is the responsibility of policymakers to help decide these issues.”

Here are analyses and data about driverless cars drawn from recent Brookings research.

Computers can be considered legal drivers of vehicles

Noting that in early 2016, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration determined that under federal law computers could be considered legal drivers of vehicles, Darrell West and Jack Karsten of the Center for Technology Innovation write that, “With the combined efforts of the technology industry, automakers, and federal regulators, driverless cars could achieve widespread use sooner than many drivers and policymakers might expect.”

With technology companies and automakers continuing to make advances on driverless cars, and with increased federal research, companies like Toyota are saying they aim to deliver driverless vehicles around 2020. Given this pace of development, West and Karsten argue that “creating a national strategy for driverless cars is a crucial task for federal transportation officials.”

Pittsburgh is a leader in driverless car technology research and testing

Bruce Katz, the Brookings centennial scholar, writes of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mayor Bill Peduto being the first person to hail and ride a driverless taxi. The former steel manufacturing center has become, Katz notes, “the research lab and test bed for this revolutionary technology” due to an “ecosystem” that includes the robotics research unit at Carnegie Mellon University, plus start-ups and large firms, and Uber’s Advanced Technology Center. “But what has made Pittsburgh especially effective,” Katz says, “is public, private and civic leadership that is willing and eager to make the city itself a laboratory for technological invention and testing.”

The U.S. military has an interest in self-driving vehicles

Automated vehicles are not just for civilian passengers. As Nonresident Senior Fellow Kenneth Anderson explains in a Lawfare blog post, “the U.S. military has a keen interest in self-driving vehicles that can be deployed in combat for many possible functions, such as logistics and re-supply.” Anderson discusses some of the unique technological, reliability testing, and regulatory issues the Department of Defense faces as it develops this technology for warfare.

Autonomous vehicles are expected to comprise 25 percent of the global market between 2035 and 2040

In a wide-ranging 2016 paper, Darrell West explores the different types of autonomous vehicles, their impact, and cross-national issues involved with their development. He looks in detail at the technology, budgetary, regulatory, legal, and policy frameworks for autonomous vehicles in China, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the United States. “In each nation,” West argues, “government officials and business leaders have to resolve these matters because within a foreseeable period, the technology will have advanced to the point where intelligent vehicles will spread into key niches such as ride-sharing, taxis, delivery truck, industrial applications, and transport for senior citizens and the disabled.”

“People and businesses will have driverless options for taking them safely to their destinations,” he says, “and it is important for leaders to provide reasonable guidance on how to commercialize advanced technologies in transportation.”

Fragmented regulatory framework the biggest challenge to driverless cars in America

In a briefing paper included in the Election 2016 and America’s Future series, and now part of the “Brookings Big Ideas for America” book meant to inform the new Trump administration, West explains that the “biggest American challenge” for autonomous vehicles “is overcoming the fragmentation of 50 state governments and having uniform guidelines across geographic boundaries. Public officials should address questions such as who regulates, how they regulate, legal liability, privacy, and data collection.”

In the briefing paper, West reviews the benefits and needed policy actions—including better national technical standards, addressing legal liability, and improving data protection and security. “Governments can accelerate or slow the movement towards self-driving vehicles by the manner in which they regulate,” West writes. “Addressing relevant issues and making sure regulatory rules are clear should be high priorities in all the countries considering autonomous vehicles.”

Existing products liability law is adaptable to new issues in autonomous vehicles

John Villasenor, a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies, examines the liability issues associated with autonomous vehicles as new technologies continue to advance us into an era of widespread commercial use of vehicle automation. In 2012, Villasenor notes, motor vehicle accidents caused over 33,000 deaths in the United States alone. Just as existing vehicle automation technologies have provided safety improvements, additional automation promises to improve safety even more. In this context, Villasenor argues that “broad new liability statutes aimed at protecting the manufacturers of autonomous vehicle technology are unnecessary.”

In this paper, Villasenor offers a set of guiding principles for legislation. “In short,” he writes, “the liability concerns raised by vehicle automation are legitimate and important. But they can be addressed without delaying consumer access to the many benefits that autonomous vehicles will provide.” He concludes that the U.S. “has a robust products liability law framework that, while certainly not perfect, will be well equipped to address and adapt to the autonomous vehicle liability questions that arise in the coming years.”

The adoption of driverless cars can save thousands of lives each year

Drawing upon research that shows that as unemployment rises, more dangerous drivers drive less and safer ones drive more—thus decreasing traffic deaths—Senior Fellow Cliff Winston and Vikram Maheshri of the University of Houston argue that policymakers “could allow the most dangerous drivers … to continue to have access to an automobile provided it is driverless or at the very least has more autonomy than current vehicles.” Doing so, they say, “will not only save lives but also would “expedite the transition to driverless cars and help educate the public and build trust in the new technology.”

Automated vehicles will save government billions of dollars

As Kena Fedorschak of Arizona State University and Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Kevin Desouza observe, state and local governments derive billions of dollars in revenue from speeding tickets, DUIs, towing fees, and other driver-related laws. They argue that while the safety improvements offered by autonomous vehicles will remove these sources of revenue, the technology will save taxpapyers an estimated $10 billion per year by eliminating “inefficiencies” in the transportation system such as congestion, road damage, and deaths.

“Even if the public sector refuses to innovate, government entities will save big bucks from the impending driverless car revolution,” Fedorschak and Desouza conclude. “Billions will be saved as a result of increased safety and the reduction of transportation inefficiencies. The future is bright for autonomous vehicles.”

Morocco : By the numbers, a Macroeconomic Data and Trends

The Financial Times, a British daily newspaper produced Analyse-Africa recently published the second of its new series on African countries report. It is about Morocco in a Report that is proposed as put in its title Morocco : By the numbers by all relevant numbers, graphics, charts and of course all related explanatory notes, etc. as per leading global sources on African countries, etc. on its economy, political stability, foreign direct investment, trade, banking [ . . . ]

The Financial Times, a British daily newspaper produced Analyse-Africa recently published the second of its new series on African countries report. It is about Morocco in a Report that is proposed as put in its title Morocco : By the numbers by all relevant numbers, graphics, charts and of course all related explanatory notes, etc.

as per leading global sources on African countries, etc. on its economy, political stability, foreign direct investment, trade, banking & finance, infrastructure, telecoms, labour, education and healthcare.

An introductory text sets the background by giving some key dates of the country’s contemporary history such as those of the short and ephemeral French protectorate prior to independence in 1956 before dwelling at length on its relationship with its immediate neighbour Algeria.  It reviews also some of the most obvious aspects of its internal political life to end by Morocco’s reinsertion into the African Union.

Some description of the land and resources held therein are covered in one page.  Demographics details on life expectancy, natality rates, religion, languages, ethnicities, etc. are splashed around for a better visualisation of the country’s human characteristics. Population estimated in 2016 at 32.84 million preponderantly young and with a penchant for emigrating has been noted towards Europe.

Politics and stability ensued in some detail on governance quality with details of the central and local authorities and ranking according to the proposed Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance.  Morocco comes second to Tunisia after the passage of the Arab Spring.  Corruption and freedom of the press are schematically reviewed as being somewhat lacking in girth and depth.  Not forgetting the importance women in the country’s politics, the status is that these have some way to go to catch up with its neighbours.

The economy as it is expected takes up few pages, starting with an evaluation of the country’s GDP and its ranking over time as compared to other North and sub Saharan African countries.  It is dominated by the agricultural sector and the automotive industry.  The renewables industry has sprung to be an asset which the authorities are tabling on for the future development of the country. Other sector of the economic activities such as trade, banking and finance, state of the infrastructure, the telecoms generally are reviewed and statically ascertained.

Labour, education and healthcare are reported in great details as compared to other neighbouring countries.  The great leap forward is without any doubt the ICT infrastructure that allows an ever increasing number of the population access to the Internet media, social, e-commerce, e-government, etc.

Certain of the trends are highlighted in Morocco’s estimated GDP of $105bn that grew by 1.85%.  Morocco is ranked as the third easiest place in Africa to do business in and that it has in 2016, approximately 11.28 million people employed, with a labour force participation rate of 49%.

Problems of the Rif’s populations enduring difficult relationship with the central authority were not covered though some mention of the Spanish establishments of Ceuta and Melilla were. Conversely, Western Saharan peoples striving for auto determination long lasting issue was duly reported with however a certain impartiality.

Global Clean Energy Investments at $287.5 billion

As per reliable sources, declining solar equipment prices, and a slowdown in major markets such as China led to an 18% dropping in 2016 to a Global Clean Energy Investments at $287.5 billion.  Although a smaller market than the United States, China or Japan, the Indian solar energy sector is in the middle of unprecedented growth, fed by rapidly declining tariffs, improved technology and a global oversupply of photovoltaic panels and other material, made mainly in China per Soumya Sarkar  in her India’s solar dream rests on Chinese imports on 17 August 2016. India is nevertheless expanding as the fastest among those major nations. With over 300 million houses in India, over 300 days of sunshine, and an ambitious target of 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2020, there should have been a solar revolution in Indian homes. Yet, the situation on the ground is quite different as reported by Juhi Chaudhary , author of our proposed article, reproduced here below. The above trends would of course be relevant to the MENA region due if only to all Non-Residents Indians (NRIs) flow of remittances from [. . .]

As per reliable sources, declining solar equipment prices, and a slowdown in major markets such as China led to an 18% dropping in 2016 to a Global Clean Energy Investments at $287.5 billion.  Although a smaller market than the United States, China or Japan, the Indian solar energy sector is in the middle of unprecedented growth, fed by rapidly declining tariffs, improved technology and a global oversupply of photovoltaic panels and other material, made mainly in China per Soumya Sarkar  in her India’s solar dream rests on Chinese imports on 17 August 2016.

India is nevertheless expanding as the fastest among those major nations. With over 300 million houses in India, over 300 days of sunshine, and an ambitious target of 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2020, there should have been a solar revolution in Indian homes. Yet, the situation on the ground is quite different as reported by Juhi Chaudhary , author of our proposed article, reproduced here below.

The above trends would of course be relevant to the MENA region due if only to all Non-Residents Indians (NRIs) flow of remittances from the GCC countries somehow helping in the process described in this article.

 

Best of 2016: Big Delhi push to rooftop solar

Solar panels installed on Indira Paryavaran Bhawan in New Delhi. (Image by Central Public Works Department, Government of India)

 

India’s capital has a new target to generate a gigawatt of solar power by 2020 and 2 GW by 2025 through rooftop installations, with the government announcing a slew of incentives.

 

Delhi may be the next big solar city, if the government of India’s National Capital Territory has its latest wish fulfilled. It has set a target of generating 1 GW of solar power a day through rooftop installations by 2020 and 2 GW by 2025. That’s far higher than targets set by states many times the size of Delhi.

“Making Delhi a solar city is on our 70-point agenda,” says Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s Chief Minister. “This policy which is very progressive will help in providing clean and green energy. Rooftop solar systems offer sustainable energy, environmental benefits, low gestation period and minimum transmission and distribution losses.”

Delhi has a peak power demand of 6.5 GW a day. Quite often, this cannot be met, and people face power cuts in temperatures that cross 40 degrees Celsius. There is enough power in the national grid, but transmission and distribution (T&D) lines are too antiquated to meet peak demand.

Decentralised power generation through rooftop solar installations would take care of T&D problems, and bring down Delhi’s huge carbon footprint.

To turn this dream into reality, the government has proposed tax breaks; 30% subsidy on capital investment; making it mandatory for government and commercial buildings to deploy rooftop solar panels; and for distribution companies to meet at least 75% of their solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) within Delhi.

Individual households can put up their own rooftop panels. They will get an incentive depending on the amount of power they generate. Those who do not want to make the investment can get a firm to install the solar panels free of cost, and then buy the power from the firm.

New electricity meters have to be installed for the scheme to work, meters that turn one way when the utility is selling power to you, and the other way when you are generation excess power and selling it to the utility. The cost and relative scarcity of these ‘net’ meters has been a big obstacle in the rollout of solar power generation at the household level.

In its new policy, the government has tried to solve this by grouping multiple homes, factories or offices under one ‘net’ meter. This should be of greatest help to large consumers with multiple buildings and electricity connections. It may also help avoid arguments about who owns the terrace in a shared building. The efficacy of this group net metering scheme will be keenly watched.

On top of being able to sell power back to the utility, for the next three years there is an incentive of Rs 2 (3 US cents) per additional unit generated. Aruna Kumarankandath of the Renewable Energy Programme in the New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says, “This is a step in the right direction. So far 18 states have drafted solar policy and Delhi has the best additional generation based incentive to boost rooftop solar.”

Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General of CSE, however warns, “The kind of money they have allocated for subsidies will take care of only 100 MW.” That is 10% of the 2020 target.

Challenges ahead

One big problem is that residents do not want to block up terrace space with solar panels. Terraces have clotheslines and water tanks; they are places where people exercise in the morning and party in the evening.

Now the government has amended the building by-laws so that you can erect a frame on your terrace and then put the panels on the frame, without the tax inspector coming and telling you that your house is higher so you have to pay more property tax.

Plus, you do not even need approval from the municipal corporation to put solar panels on your terrace.

Though the government is silent on this, it still makes sense to check if your building can take the extra weight.

Other challenges remain. A solar panel generating one kilowatt per hour costs Rs 1 lakh (USD 1,500) and takes up around 100 sq. feet. To make money in the long run, one ideally needs to generate in megawatts, but most do not have the space, even if specialised firms take care of the investment. Still, every little will help reduce electricity bills, not to talk of the environment.

Ashutosh Dixit, CEO of URJA – the apex body of around 2,500 resident welfare associations (RWA) in Delhi – welcomes the move. Five RWAs have already installed rooftop solar panels in their offices, he says. But he is worried about solar panels adding to the weight on the building. “The safety issue also needs to be looked into as Delhi gets lots of storms and these panels can easily fly off and injure someone.”

Pujarini Sen, campaigner in environmental NGO Greenpeace, calls the move “a trailblazing step towards fulfilling India’s global climate commitments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious national solar targets, and overall sustainable development. If the entire country moves in this direction, then the long overdue energy revolution in India will be achieved soon.”

As a first step, it will help if the average resident knows where to go and buy a solar panel.

The Future is Not in Fossil Fuels

 

An article published on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 by Common Dreams and written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer is reproduced here for its interest to all concerned in the MENA region countries about the Peak-Oil theory being concretised under our eyes and that renewable energy would eventually replace all fossil oil based energy production.  The author asserts rightly that the Future is Not in Fossil Fuels  and that “Solar is also creating jobs at an unprecedented rate, more than in the oil and gas sectors combined, and 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.” (The above Photo is by David Goehring/flickr/cc)

 

Global Economic Realities Confirm, the ‘Future is Not in Fossil Fuels’

While oil and gas companies falter, ‘renewable energy has reached a tipping point,’ says World Economic Forum expert.

 

Underscoring the need for a global shift to a low-carbon economy, a new report finds a record number of U.K. fossil fuel companies went bust in 2016 due to falling oil and gas prices.

The Independent reported the analysis from accounting firm Moore Stephens which found “16 oil and gas companies went insolvent last year, compared to none at all in 2012.” And the trend was not unique to the U.K.—a year-end bankruptcy report from Texas-based Haynes and Boone LLP showed there have been 232 bankruptcy filings in the U.S. and Canadian energy sector since the beginning of 2015.

“As the warnings from climate science get stronger, now is the time to realize…that the future is not in fossil fuels,” Dr. Doug Parr of Greenpeace U.K. told The Independent. “It’s also time for government to recognize that we should not leave the workers stranded, but provide opportunities in the new industries of the 21st century.”

Those opportunities are likely to come in the renewable energy sector, as the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced (PDF) in December that solar and wind power are now the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement at the time. “It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

Quartz reported last month:

In 2016, utilities added 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic capacity to the U.S. grid, making solar the top fuel source for the first time in a calendar year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s estimates. The U.S. added about 125 solar panels every minute in 2016, about double the pace last year, reports the Solar Energy Industry Association.

The solar story is even more impressive after accounting for new distributed solar on homes and business (rather than just those built for utilities), which pushed the total installed capacity to 11.2 GW.

And as Paul Buchheit noted in an op-ed published Tuesday at Common Dreams, “solar is also creating jobs at an unprecedented rate, more than in the oil and gas sectors combined, and 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.”

But it remains unclear how these trends will develop under an incoming Donald Trump administration.

As Moody’s Investor Services reported Tuesday, under Trump’s fossil-friendly cabinet, “U.S. energy policy likely will prioritize domestic oil and coal production, in addition to reducing federal regulatory burdens.”

In turn, according to Moody’s:

Increasing confidence in the oil and gas industry’s prospects will spur acquisition activity among North American exploration and production (E&P) firms, Moody’s says. Debt and equity markets are again offering financing for producers seeking to re-position and enhance their asset portfolios after a lull. [Merger and acquisition activity] will also pick up in the midstream sector. At the same time, integrated oil and gas firms will continue to improve their cash flow metrics and leverage profiles by cutting operating costs, further reducing capital spending and divesting assets.

Even so, the oilfield services and drilling (OFS) sector is in for another tough year, with continued weak customer demand, overcapacity, and a high debt burden.

Bottom line, wrote Buchheit, is that with the rapid expansion of solar power, Trump has “the opportunity to make something happen that will happen anyway, but he can take all the credit, with the added bonus of beating out his adversary China.”
“Unfortunately, Trump may not have the intelligence to recognize that he should act,” Buchheit wrote. “And the forces behind fossil fuel make progress unlikely. But there is plenty of American ego and arrogance and exceptionalism out there. We need some of that ego now, just like 60 years ago, when the Soviet accomplishments in space drove us toward a singular world-changing goal. Then it was the moon. Now it’s the sun.”

Predictions for the World of the Future

One of the most prominent opinion maker, the World Bank (WB) in its article of September 30th, 2016 noted that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region being made of oil importing countries, several of which in either political and / or literally internal / civil war and few relatively stable oil exporting countries have a differentiated economic outlook this year. It would appear, according to the WB, in its reading of Predictions for the World of the Future , that it (this year) will be one of the toughest for the region as MENA governments face serious policy challenges.

The biggest challenge for oil exporters is managing their finances and diversification strategies with oil prices below $45 a barrel.
For those oil importers, the outlook is slightly better but remains weak. Oil importers were badly hit by terrorist attacks, spillovers from conflict in the region and lower financial outflows from the Gulf. Growth is expected to fall to 2.6 percent in 2016 for the subgroup as a whole, before improving slightly to an average of 3.5 percent for the projection period. Fiscal and external account deficits are expected to remain stubbornly high throughout the projection period.
Here is an article of the WEF published on November 12, 2016, on the current hot topic of trying to predict the future of the world.

One of the most prominent opinion maker, the World Bank  (WB) in its article of September 30th, 2016 noted that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region being made of oil importing countries, several of which in either political and / or literally internal / civil war and few relatively stable oil exporting countries have a differentiated economic outlook this year.   It would appear, according to the WB, in its reading of Predictions for the World of the Future , that it (this year) will be one of the toughest for the region as MENA governments face serious policy challenges.  

The biggest challenge for oil exporters is managing their finances and diversification strategies with oil prices below $45 a barrel.  

For those oil importers, the outlook is slightly better but remains weak. Oil importers were badly hit by terrorist attacks, spillovers from conflict in the region and lower financial outflows from the Gulf. Growth is expected to fall to 2.6 percent in 2016 for the subgroup as a whole, before improving slightly to an average of 3.5 percent for the projection period.  Fiscal and external account deficits are expected to remain stubbornly high throughout the projection period.

Here is an article of the WEF published on November 12, 2016, on the current hot topic of trying to predict the future of the world.

8 predictions for the world in 2030

Facing the future

Written by Ceri ParkerCommissioning Editor, Agenda, World Economic Forum

 

More on the agenda

As Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory show, predicting even the immediate future is no easy feat. When it comes to what our world will look like in the medium-term – how we will organise our cities, where we will get our power from, what we will eat, what it will mean to be a refugee – it gets even trickier. But imagining the societies of tomorrow can give us a fresh perspective on the challenges and opportunities of today.

We asked experts from our Global Future Councils for their take on the world in 2030, and these are the results, from the death of shopping to the resurgence of the nation state.

  1. All products will have become services.“I don’t own anything. I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house. I don’t own any appliances or any clothes,” writes Danish MP Ida Auken. Shopping is a distant memory in the city of 2030, whose inhabitants have cracked clean energy and borrow what they need on demand. It sounds utopian, until she mentions that her every move is tracked and outside the city live swathes of discontents, the ultimate vision of a society split in two.
  2. There is a global price on carbon.China took the lead in 2017 with a market for trading the right to emit a tonne of CO2, setting the world on a path towards a single carbon price and a powerful incentive to ditch fossil fuels, predicts Jane Burston, Head of Climate and Environment at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory. Europe, meanwhile, found itself at the centre of the trade in cheap, efficient solar panels, as prices for renewables fell sharply.
  3. 3US dominance is over. We have a handful of global powers.Nation states will have staged a comeback, writes Robert Muggah, Research Director at the Igarapé Institute. Instead of a single force, a handful of countries – the U.S., Russia, China, Germany, India and Japan chief among them – show semi-imperial tendencies. However, at the same time, the role of the state is threatened by trends including the rise of cities and the spread of online identities,
  1. Farewell hospital, hello home-spitalTechnology will have further disrupted disease, writes Melanie Walker, a medical doctor and World Bank advisor. The hospital as we know it will be on its way out, with fewer accidents thanks to self-driving cars and great strides in preventive and personalised medicine. Scalpels and organ donors are out, tiny robotic tubes and bio-printed organs are in.
  2. We are eating much less meat.Rather like our grandparents, we will treat meat as a treat rather than a staple, writes Tim Benton, Professor of Population Ecology at the University of Leeds, UK. It won’t be big agriculture or little artisan producers that win, but rather a combination of the two, with convenience food redesigned to be healthier and less harmful to the environment.
  3. Today’s Syrian refugees, 2030’s CEOs.Highly educated Syrian refugees will have come of age by 2030, making the case for the economic integration of those who have been forced to flee conflict. The world needs to be better prepared for populations on the move, writes Lorna Solis, Founder and CEO of the NGO Blue Rose Compass, as climate change will have displaced 1 billion people.
  1. The values that built the West will have been tested to breaking point.We forget the checks and balances that bolster our democracies at our peril, writes Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.
  2. “By the 2030s, we’ll be ready to move humans toward the Red Planet. ”What’s more, once we get there, we’ll probably discover evidence of alien life, writes Ellen Stofan, Chief Scientist at NASA. Big science will help us to answer big questions about life on earth, as well as opening up practical applications for space technology.

NB : Read more at the original WEF site to notably view all accompanying pictures and graphs.