California’s Investment in Clean-Tech is Paying Off

by Melanie Paty

A recent article on Renewable Energy World by Bloomberg’s Mark Chediak and Miachel B. Marois proves that Governor Jerry Brown’s goal to “show that decarbonizing is consistent with economic abundance financial stability” is becoming a reality. Since Brown came to office in 1975, he has been pushing for policies that support green technology and today, California has the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the nation. Within the next 15 years, Brown has proposed increasing electricity supply by renewables from 30% to 50%, reducing petroleum use in cars and trucks by 50%, increasing energy efficiency of existing buildings by 200%, and putting 1.5 million zero emission cars on the roads. While most governments are hopping on the sustainability bandwagon in recent years, California’s early investment seems to be paying off. Continue reading

Changes in Clean Energy Investment in 2014: End of Year Recap

by Melanie Paty

On January 9th, 2015, Bloomberg New Energy Finance submitted a press release on the strong performance of clean energy investments in 2014. The overall investment in clean energy reached $310 billion, a 16% increase from 2013, but 2011 still holds the record at $317 billion. However, it was the biggest increase of new investment in clean energy since 2011. Government funded research and development increased 14% and corporate increased 15%. Private equity and venture capital investments increased 16%, but overall investment is still three times below 2008 levels. In terms of region, the most investment came from the United States, China, and Europe. European investment increased only 1% since 2013, but is still the highest at $66 billion. China increased a whopping 32% to $89.5 billion. Clean energy investment in the United States experienced a smaller increase of only 8% reaching $51.8, $15.5 billion of which went to utility scale asset finance. U.S. investment in solar increased by 39% whereas investment in wind decreased by more than 50%. India and Brazil both reached $7.9 billion in clean energy investments, an 88% increase for the former and a 14% increase for the latter. French investment increased by 26% due to the installation of Europe’s largest solar PV plant with 300MW capacity. Continue reading

Underground Storage of CO2 : Attempts to Eliminate Carbon Emissions

by Nour Bundogji

Postdoctoral researcher Yossi Cohen and Professor of Geophysics Daniel Rothman, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently published an article in the Royal Society Proceedings on the effectiveness of storing carbon dioxide underground in an effort to decrease carbon emissions in our atmosphere. When I first read this I immediately envisioned suction cups elevated high into earth’s atmosphere connected to long pipes extended deep within earth’s crust. Yet, you guessed it, the technology is quite different. Instead, greenhouse gases emitted by coal-fired power plants would be pumped into salt caverns 7,000 feet underground where these gases would react with the salt water and solidify (Cohen and Rothman, 2015). The U.S. Environmental Protection agency estimated that this technology could eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon emissions from coal-fired facilities. Considering the current state of our ozone layer and the drastic climate changes we’ve been experiencing these past years, this seems like a promising step forward in saving our environment. However, commentators on this technology, like Christopher Martin from Bloomberg, pointed out a few flaws. I knew it was too good to be true. Continue reading