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Saving Earth: Costa Rica goes completely green; hasn’t burnt a drop of fuel for 75 days

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

In a move that has got the world applauding for Costa Rica, the country has completely given up reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation. So far this year, it has maintained itself on hydropower supplemented by geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources.

The Latin American country has had a good record of using clean and renewable energy. The country generated almost 80% of energy last year using hydropower. It has also invested $958 million in various geothermal projects.

Costa Rica is already well placed in terms of energy consumption as the small population size of 5 million and the absence of a lot of manufacturing industries hardly create a huge power demand. The presence of renewable sources of energy especially, geothermal has also facilitated the move.

The move towards renewable energy is imperative for the sustenance of the environment and life on earth. It is inevitable too as conventional sources of energy are limited. Apart from Costa Rica, Bonaire, a Dutch island territory off the coast of Venezuela is also in line to completely do away with fossil fuels. Iceland produces 85% of its energy from geothermal and hydropower plants. European Union has also set a goal of producing 20% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020. Denmark, which produces 40% of its energy from wind energy has decided to bid adieu to fossil fuels by 2050.

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India along with others moving towards centre stage of clean energy transition: Clean-energy leadership begins in China

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Solar panels absorbing sunlight. Pixabay

China, May 30, 2017: There is a new reality in clean energy. The world’s major emerging economies — including China, India, and several others — are moving to the centre stage of the clean energy transition. By betting heavily on energy efficiency, on wind, solar and other renewables, as well as other less carbon-intensive technologies, these countries are increasingly leading the way.

This is the significance of the top-level meeting of energy ministers from the world’s biggest economies in Beijing next month. The fact that representatives from fossil-fuel producers like Mexico and Saudi Arabia will join renewable-energy pioneers like Denmark and Germany for a top-level meeting in China is not a coincidence. We are witnessing a global consensus that the key to energy transition will reside with decisions made in emerging economies.

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There are many reasons to stand for clean energy today. These can range from reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also battling the scourge of air pollution, improving energy security by reducing the dependency on fossil fuels, diversifying supply, creating high-tech jobs or fostering innovation. As such, approaches to clean energy will vary from country to country.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), all of the projected growth in energy demand in the next 25 years will take place in emerging and developing countries. This means that implementing the right kind of policies and technologies will be critical to ensure stable supplies as well as meeting desirable environmental outcomes.

The good news is that this is happening. India was the first country to set comprehensive quality and performance standards for light emitting diodes (LEDs), and it expects to save as much as 277 terawatt-hours of electricity between 2015 and 2030, avoiding 254 million metric tons of CO2 emissions or the equivalent of 90 coal-fired power plants.

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Another upshot is that by committing to these new clean technologies, countries like China are helping drive down costs for the benefit of the world. China is now the undisputable global leader of renewable energy expansion worldwide, and the IEA forecasts that by 2021, more than one-third of global cumulative solar PV and onshore wind capacity will be located in China.

Recently announced renewable projects have broken new records, with power purchase agreements for several onshore wind and large solar PV farms now below $50/MWh.

As clean energy is increasingly driven by the emerging economies, global political leadership in advancing clean energy will be increasingly shared. This is precisely the function of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), which was created in 2010, and whose goal is to form a partnership that brings together major industrialised and emerging economies to focus on clean energy technologies and policies, reduce environmental impacts, and ensure reliable and affordable supplies.

Our timing is critical. Action by the 25 CEM members, representing 90 per cent of global energy investment and 75 per cent of global emissions, is crucial for making the world less carbon-intensive than today.

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In Beijing, our focus will be to provide a collaborative environment to tackle these challenges in areas ranging from transportation, buildings to the power sector. Our governments will seek to increase electric mobility, with a target to reach 30 per cent of the new vehicle fleet by 2030. The recent announcements of the Indian government will go a long way towards this end. Another challenge for CEM governments will be to increase EV charging providers by a factor of 10 in the next five years. Other priority areas include improving efficiency in buildings, which account for nearly a third of all energy consumption and 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

In the power sector, the CEM is seeking to move away from the coal-or-renewables paradigm. Coal was the fuel of the last 100 years, and renewables will likely be the dominant fuel of the next century for many countries. At the same time, we must recognise that so-called dispatchable power plants — including thermal generation — are key for many countries to ensure energy security during the transition to a cleaner energy system. And so, the Beijing meeting will launch new work to address this challenge.

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To succeed, this energy transition will require the full backing of industry. This is why the CEM includes top-level executives from companies involved in all aspects of the energy field who offer a unique on-the-ground perspective and ultimately determine where investments end up going. They are often the first to recognise what drives clean energy uptake.

This is a unique time for the CEM, which is entering a new phase of cooperation and growth in our short history. The world of energy is changing. Facts on the ground unequivocally point to the key role of emerging economies in clean energy. Come the meeting in Beijing June 6-8, we are likely to see this reflected in the leadership of the CEM. (IANS)

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Google aims to secure enough Renewable Energy to meet all of its Electricity needs throughout the World

Google is aiming to secure enough renewable energy to meet all of its electricity needs

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Technology Giant Google. Pixabay

San Francisco Dec 7, 2016: Reduction of environmental pollution is a major concern of the entire world today. In an effort to do so, Google has taken a major step in its quest to reduce pollution caused by its digital services that devour massive amounts of electricity.

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In the beginning of next year, Google is aiming to secure enough renewable energy to meet all of its electricity needs throughout the world.

The initiative is of enormous significance since the internet company has the ravenous appetite for electricity to power its offices and the huge data centres that process requests on its dominant search engine, store Gmail, YouTube video clips and photos for more than a billion people.

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According to PTI, nearly 13 data centres and offices of Google consume about 5.7 terawatts of electricity annually, which is nearly the same amount as that of entire San Francisco, where more than 800,000 people live and tens of thousands of others come to work and visit.

Although, this is not an easy task and cannot be accomplished any sooner relying solely on the wind, and solar power for its operations. The complicated way of arrangements of power grids and regulations around the US and rest of the world makes it quite difficult.

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Google instead believes it is now in a position to offset every megawatt hour of electricity supplied by a power plant running on fossil fuels with renewable energy that the Mountain View, California, company has purchased through a variety of contracts.

About 95 percent of Google’s renewable energy deals come from wind power farms, with the remainder from solar power.

Gary Cook, senior energy campaigner for the environmental group Greenpeace said nearly 20 other technology companies also have pledged to secure enough renewable energy to power their worldwide operations.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram with PTI inputs. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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CPI report: Denmark least corrupt country, India ranks at 76

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New Delhi/Mumbai: The rankings of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2015 are out. The report upped India from 85th to 76th position. However, this good news is just an unfavourable one in disguise since there were 168 countries in 2015 survey as compared to 174 in 2014.

This means that India’s score for 2015 in CPI remains unchanged. Despite major changes in both the Central and State governments, mainly due to public hue and cry against governmental frauds and bribery, corruption remains unchanged in the public sector.

CPI measures noted levels of worldwide public sector corruption. It is conducted on the basis of an expert opinion from around the world and measures on a scale of 0-100; higher the score point, lower the corruption in that country.

Observing the rankings of Southeast Asian countries, Bhutan ranked at 27 is seen scoring better than India at 65 points. Other neighboring countries, including China at rank 83 and Bangladesh at 139, have shown no signs of improvement. Scores of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal have increased marginally over the past year.

The CPI report blames shortfall of bold promises by leaders of India and Sri Lanka as one of the main reasons for prevalent corruption there. About governments in Bangladesh and Cambodia, the report claims downfall of civil society by them resulted in the worsening of corruption.

Srirak Plipat, director for Asia Pacific, Transparency International, in an email briefing to reporters said, “India has been flooded with anti-corruption promises especially in the last few years – from the general election in May 2014 to the recent Delhi election in February 2015. The CPI scores, staying firm well below 50 at 38 out of 100 for both 2014 and 2015, show that there has been no improvement. The rhetoric has yet to become action. This year’s CPI sends a message to people of India, as much as to the government. It invites people of India to question their governments and hold them to account for their election promises. If leadership is about delivery in an imperfect environment, this leadership is questionable, to say the least. The Modi government has set a new trend in Asia Pacific: fast and big in anti-corruption promises, while slow and small in delivery.”

The report further declares the failure of China’s prosecutorial approach as the reason behind the absence of a substantial remedy to their situation; while Pakistan’s failure to tackle corruption lies in giving the wind to their ongoing vicious conflicts.

Looking at CPI’s global stature, Denmark, acquiring 91 points, stands as the least corrupt country for the second year in a row now. The position retained is the result of many factors such as high levels of press freedom and integrity among people in power, a full disclosure of nation’s budget information and money flow to the public, revealed a press release by Transparency International. It further told that judiciaries don’t differentiate between rich and poor, and are truly independent of other parts of the government.

Next in line are Finland and Sweden with scores of 90 and 89 points respectively.

North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom with just eight points each. The release adds that Brazil fell 5 points and dropped 7 positions to a rank of 76, becoming the biggest decliner. The big decliners in the past four years include Libya, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Turkey.

Lack of punishment for corruption, public institution’s indifferent behaviour towards citizens’ needs and widespread bribery are the major factors resulting in a poor CPI score.

Other big shifts in the CPI ranking include entry of Netherlands in top five clean countries. Switzerland tumbled to the 7th position from 5th in 2014. Other big improvers include Greece, Senegal and UK.

In the end, the report estimated that around 68 percent of countries face acute corruption problem, globally. Moreover, half of the G20 are among them. (Inputs from Agencies) (picture courtesy: spring96.org)