Can California deliver Carbon-Free electricity by 2050?

In August this year, Legislators in California voted that the power requirements of the state will be fulfilled by renewable and zero-carbon resources。 A new home will be built with solar panels and auto manufacturers will only make vehicles with zero carbon emission。

Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill that is dubbed SB 100 (Senate Bill 100) and did what the whole world should do.

One of the most aggressive steps to counter climatic changes has time until 2045 to complete the goal. California has already made it mandatory to produce 50 percent of the required power from renewable sources by 2030, SB 100 pushed the amount to 60 percent. The state is planning for carbon-free electricity by using solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower.

The obstacles

It seems that California is determined to be a leader on climate issues, but SB 100 is a bill, not a plan。 A lot of hard work and planning will be needed to meet this tall task by 2045。 Some obstacles are mentioned:

  1. California is the world’s fifth largest economy. Within the next 27 years, its population will increase by millions and the economy will be almost double, intensifying the electric power requirements. Electric vehicles will also join in the electricity demand.
  2. Renewable energy source such as solar and wind demands storage and that will involve real technical planning and huge cost. In the case of spikes, the storage system has to be capable to store all the extra power.Keeping these obstacles in mind, they will be careful how to create a master plan. Let us talk a walk through what are or what can be the steps that can make California carbon-free by 2045?

Zero carbon, not only renewable resources

Voltaic cells will only produce power when the Sun is activeSB 100 is not limiting any technology to be used as it is not only about renewable energy, but it is also about going carbon-free. Officials following the bill are working on clean energy generation without restricting their resources.

Renewable energy means fuel-free, which is why it makes less impact on the environment。 But, most of the renewable energy is limited。 Voltaic cells will only produce power when the Sun is active。 Same goes with wind energy, which will be produced if and when the wind blows。 At a winter night in California, neither wind nor solar energy would be available。

California has one of the biggest economies not only because of the power generation capacity but also delivering the power required by the population。 So, they have kept the door open for all kind of technologies that are expert in generating carbon-free electricity。

SB 100 is betting on innovation, the governor hopes that the technical department will develop some large batteries able to conserve energy when required。 The bill’s think tank and drafters can also include a nuclear reactor, fusion or any new technology that will be available in the coming years。

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We could fund the transition to green energy with 10-30% of the world’s fossil fuel subsidy

A new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) estimates the cost of subsidizing a full transition to clean energy, and comes out with a figure that is only 10-30% of the subsidy presently given to the planet-destroying fossil fuel subsidy#renewableenergy #cleanenergy #renewables

A  from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) estimates the cost of subsidizing a full transition to clean energy, and comes out with a figure that is only 10-30% of the subsidy presently given to the planet-destroying fossil fuel industries.

That is to say, a full green energy transition is a steal.

The coal/oil/gas sector currently rake in $370bn in global, annual subsidies.

“Almost everywhere, renewables are so close to being competitive that [a 10-30% subsidy swap] tips the balance, and turns them from a technology that is slowly growing to one that is instantly the most viable and can replace really large amounts of generation,” said Richard Bridle of the IISD. “It goes from being marginal to an absolute no-brainer.”

The transition from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy is already under way. Annual investment in renewables has been greater than that in fossil fuel electricity generation since 2008 and new renewable capacity has exceeded fossil fuel power each year since 2014.

But progress is slow compared with the urgency required, said Bridle. “There is no question that renewables can power the energy system,” he said. “The question now is can we transition quickly enough away from fuels like coal, and subsidy reform is a very obvious step towards that.” Very few ways of cutting emissions actually save governments money, he said.

[International Institute for Sustainable Development]

[Damian Carrington/Guardian]

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斗地主达人Better renewable energy storage could cut emissions

With proper policy support, investment in batteries and other energy storage technologies can make money and cut greenhouse gas emissions, researchers report… #renewableenergy #solarenergy #cleanenergy #windpower #renewables

Drive through nearly any corner of America long enough and giant solar farms or rows of wind turbines come into view, all with the goal of increasing the country’s renewable energy use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions。

But what some may not realize is at times these renewable energy sources can produce more power than what is needed, leaving some solar or wind energy to, in a sense, go to waste。 This oversupply condition is a lost opportunity for these clean energy resources to displace pollution from fossil fuel-powered plants。

Investment could reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases by up to 90%, according to one scenario researchers examined of power systems in California and Texas。 It could also increase the use of solar and wind energy at a time when climate change takes on greater urgency。

“The cost of energy storage is very important,” says study coauthor Maryam Arbabzadeh, a postdoctoral fellow at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. “But there are some incentives we could use to make it attractive economically, one being an emissions tax.”

“Electricity generation accounts for 28% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and given the urgency of climate change it is critical to accelerate the deployment of renewable sources such as wind and solar,” says coauthor Gregory Keoleian, director of the Center for Sustainable Systems and a professor of environment and sustainability and civil and environmental engineering。

“This research clearly demonstrates how energy storage technologies can play an important role in reducing renewable curtailment and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel power plants.”

The researchers created complex models analyzing nine different energy storage technologies。 They looked at the environmental effects of renewable curtailment, which is the amount of renewable energy generated but unable to be delivered to meet demand for a variety of reasons。

They also modeled what would happen if each state added up to 20 gigawatts of wind and 40 gigawatts of solar capacity, and how a carbon dioxide tax of up to $200 per ton would economically affect all of this.

What they found was striking.

Adding 60 gigawatts of renewable energy to California could achieve a 72% carbon dioxide reduction. Then, by adding some energy storage technologies on top of that in California could allow a 90% carbon dioxide reduction. In Texas, energy storage could allow a 57% emissions reduction.

But for all of this to happen, utility companies would need a reason to invest in energy storage systems, which require large amounts of capital investment。 That is where the use of a carbon tax could be helpful, Arbabzadeh says。

All nine of the energy storage technologies studied, including high-tech batteries, require a significant capital investment and all had different pros and cons。 Also adding to the complexity of the research is the different types of generation mix in Texas and California。

Texas uses some coal and natural gas-fired units. California uses more inflexible resources, like nuclear, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric energy units, which make its renewable curtailment rates much higher than Texas.

The study appears in .

Additional researchers from Ohio State University and North Carolina State University contributed to the work. The National Science Foundation, the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, and the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship Program funded the study.


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A solar-powered system can turn salt water into fresh drinking water for 25,000 people per day

It could help address the world’s looming water crisis.

People have been trying to turn seawater into drinking water for thousands of years, but the process is not usually energy-efficient or affordable. At a newly constructed facility in Kenya, however, a nonprofit called GivePower is tackling that challenge u… #solarenergy #solarpower #renewableenergy #cleanenergy #technology

People in Kiunga, Kenya drink water from GivePower’s solar-powered desalination plant. GivePower


  • A  new  device turns salt water into fresh drinking water.
  • , the nonprofit behind the technology, is debuting the system in a coastal community in Kenya.
  • Half of the world’s population could live in  by 2025. The ocean offers an abundant source of water if the salt-removal process can be made energy- and cost-efficient.
  • .

People have been trying to turn seawater into drinking water for thousands of years, but the process is not usually energy-efficient or affordable。

At a newly constructed facility in Kenya, however, a nonprofit called GivePower is tackling that challenge using solar power。

The desalination system, which started operating in the coastal area of Kiunga in July 2018, can create 19,800 gallons (75,000 liters) of fresh drinking water each day — enough for 25,000 people。


“You have to find a way to pull water out of the ocean in a scalable way, in a sustainable way,” Hayes Barnard, the president of GivePower, told Business Insider.

solar water farm Kenya
GivePower’s solar-powered water farm in Kiunga, Kenya.

Barnard hopes to scale the system up and open similar facilities around the globe to provide clean, fresh water for those who struggle to get it。 Worldwide, one third of people don’t have access to safe drinking water,  (WHO)。 By 2025, half the world’s population is 。 Cities like , South Africa; , India; and, China already face dwindling water supplies。

Limited water access keeps girls out of school

In 2013, Barnard started GivePower as a nonprofit branch of SolarCity, a solar-panel company that Elon Musk helped found in 2006。 SolarCity merged with Tesla in 2016, but Barnard spun GivePower off as its own organization shortly before that。


The nonprofit mostly focuses on building solar-energy systems to provide electricity across the developing world. GivePower has installed solar grids in over 2,650 locations — primarily schools, medical clinics, and villages — across 17 countries, according to its website.

kiunga kenya solar desalination water
Schoolchildren in Kiunga, Kenya enjoy the new solar desalination device.

But regardless of whether or not a school has reliable electricity, limited access to fresh water keeps many girls out of the classroom. Women and children across Africa and Asia walk an average of 3.7 miles per day to fetch water, according to the UN Commission for Human Rights, and those treks take time and energy away from learning.

“So we thought the next thing would be to bring the water to them,” Barnard said。 “That’s where this idea came from。 Could we provide the most affordable, healthy, sustainable water? And at scale?”

Desalination technology is not new, but it uses high-power pumps and is notoriously energy-intensive (and therefore expensive)。 The solar-microgrid system that GivePower has created, however, can produce almost 20,000 gallons of fresh drinking water each day。 It relies on Tesla batteries for energy storage, and it uses two parallel pumps so that the system can run at all times, even if one pump requires maintenance。

斗地主达人Locals pay about a quarter of one cent for every four cups (one liter) of water。

The world’s looming water crisis

Salt water well kiunga kenya
A saltwater well in Kiunga, Kenya.

As sea levels rise,  salt water to  more fresh water sources in coastal areas. That situation isn’t hypothetical in Kiunga: An ongoing  that began in 2014 has forced residents to drink from salt water wells, even though doing so can cause kidney failure, according to GivePower.


Kiunga resident Mohammed Atik said in a about the GivePower project that the “salt water from the wells are not treated,” which is why using it can lead to health issues。

“It was a really dire situation for this community,” Barnard said. “Children walking around the community with wounds — lesions on their body from washing clothes in salt water.”

Woman washing clothes saltwater kiunga kenya
A woman in Kiunga washes clothes with salt water.

Solar desalination around the globe

As GivePower’s first project, the Kiunga facility cost $500,000 to build and took a month to construct。 The organization hopes to generate $100,000 per year from the system, and use that to fund facilities in other places。 Barnard’s goal is to cut the construction cost down to $100,000 per plant in the future。

“We hope that one of these systems funds another additional sister system every five years,” he said.

For now, the funding has come from corporate and private donations, along with a few corporate grants, including a $250,000 grant from Bank of America last year。

water solar desalination kiunga kenya
GivePower’s solar desalination project in Kiunga, Kenya cost about $500,000 to construct.

In the future, Barnard envisions smaller, modular-style solar desalination units that would use a single pump and a 15-kilowatt solar grid with three Tesla batteries。 GivePower could combine the systems “like Legos” to scale up, Barnard said。


His team is already working on its next projects, in Haiti’s Isle de la Gonâve and Mombasa, Kenya. Barnard wants those facilities to be up and running by the end of the year. GivePower is also scouting a site in Colombia for a similar future project.

drinking clean water kiunga kenya
Tahmir, a child in Kiunga who developed sores from clothes washed in salt water, drinks fresh water.

In all of these places, one of GivePower’s major challenges is establishing systems for distributing the fresh water that the plants create. Barnard hopes local people and organizations at each site will volunteer to distribute water, and nearby hospitals, schools, or hotels will pay to take several thousand liters each day. He also hopes some business-minded locals will buy the water and resell it in other towns.

“I want to create a system of water women, like there were milkmen in the 1960s,” Barnard said. “It sounds funny, but water is a women’s issue.”


He added that the desalination plant has already spurred new economic activity in Kiunga. A group of women there started a freshwater clothes-washing business, Barnard said, and one man fills a tank with the water and drives it to nearby communities to sell.

“How awesome would it be if the women could make money off this water and their daughters are sitting in the classroom?” Barnard said.

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