George C. Dimitriou

Technology and Strategy Consulting
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Archive for the ‘Renewable Energy’

Google Drills $10.25M into Geothermal Technology.

August 19, 2008 By: George Category: Climate, Renewable Energy No Comments →

Today, Google.org announced more than $10 million in investments and grants in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technology. EGS expands the potential of traditional geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam or hot water. The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.

EGS has the potential to provide clean renewable electricity 24/7, at a cost cheaper than coal. The ability to produce electricity from geothermal energy has been thought exclusive to locations such as California and Iceland. However EGS could allow us to harness the heat within the earth almost anywhere. To see the massive size of the US geothermal resource accessible by EGS, check out the Google Earth layer.

EGS is heating up around the world. Australia, Germany, and the European Union are currently leading the technology and commercialization race. All 50 U.S. states, Europe, Russia, China, and India all have substantial thermal resources accessible by EGS.
A recent report by MIT on EGS estimated just 2% of the heat 3 – 10 km below the continental United States is more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use

China’s Clean Revolution.

August 13, 2008 By: George Category: China, Climate, Renewable Energy No Comments →

China is already the world’s leading renewable energy producer (In terms of installed renewable capacity, China leads the world, reaching 152 Gigawatts in 2007) and is over-taking more developed economies in exploiting valuable economic opportunities, creating green-collar jobs and leading development of critical low carbon technologies, says a new report to be published by The Climate Group.

The report – China’s Clean Revolution – shows that China’s transition to a low carbon economy is well underway, led by supportive government policies which are not only driving innovation in low carbon technologies but also diverting billions of dollars of investment into energy efficiency and renewable energy.

(more…)

Giant Leap for Clean Energy.

August 06, 2008 By: George Category: Renewable Energy No Comments →

In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine.

Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. With today’s announcement, MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy.

Read the full story here.

Review of the Indirect Effects of Biofuels.

August 04, 2008 By: George Category: Biofuels, Renewable Energy No Comments →

Earlier last month, the UK Renewable Fuels Agency issued a report recognising the negative impact of biofuels on greenhouse gas emissions and food prices as a result of indirect land-use changes, arguing for an avoidance of the use of productive agricultural land in favour of idle or marginal land, and an emphasis on so-called second-generation biofuels – such as the use of agricultural residues, algae, forest waste or timber industry left-overs – which do not compete with food production.

The report did not however argue for a wholesale abandonment of biofuels or even the dropping of the EU’s 2020 target, but rather to apply the brakes on their development until sustainability can be assured.

The UK government immediately embraced the report’s findings and is pushing for an evolution of the EU biofuels strategies in line with its conclusions.

Al Gore: A Generational Challenge to Repower America.

July 17, 2008 By: George Category: Climate, Renewable Energy No Comments →

To reset the way Americans think about the energy future and the climate crisis, former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore issued a bold challenge today: that 100 percent of U.S. electricity production come from sources with zero carbon emissions within 10 years.

“We are borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.”

“What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don’t cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home? We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy needs for a full year.” Gore said.

Click here to watch the full speech

Solar Plan for the Mediterranean Union.

July 14, 2008 By: George Category: Climate, Renewable Energy No Comments →

The DESERTEC Concept of TREC, the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation, brings deserts and technology into service for global security of energy, water and the climate. To this end TREC propose that the regions of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA) begin to cooperate in the production of electricity and desalinated water using concentrating solar thermal power plants and wind turbines in the MENA deserts. These technologies can supply the growing demands for power and seawater desalination in the MENA region, and produce clean electrical power that can be transmitted via High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission lines to Europe (with overall transmission losses of about 10-15%).

Jobs in Renewable Energy Expanding.

July 10, 2008 By: George Category: Renewable Energy, Trends No Comments →

Driven by the gathering sense of a climate crisis, the notion of “green jobs”-especially in the renewable energy sector-is now receiving unprecedented attention. Currently, more than 2.3 million people worldwide work either directly in renewables or indirectly in supplier indus­tries. The wind power industry employs some 300,000 people, the solar photovoltaics (PV) sector accounts for an estimated 170,000 jobs, and the solar thermal industry, at least 624,000.More than 1 million jobs are found in the biomass and biofuels sector. Small-scale hydropower and geothermal energy are far smaller employers.

Renewables tend to be a more labor-intensive energy source than the still-dominant fossil fuels, which rely heavily on expensive pieces of pro­duction equipment. A transition toward renewables thus promises job gains. Even in the absence of such a transition, growing automa­tion and corporate consolidation are already translating into steadily fewer jobs in the oil, natural gas, and coal industries-sometimes even in the face of expanding production.

A handful of countries have emerged as leaders in renewables development, thanks to strong government support. A study commissioned by the German government found that in 2006 the country had some 259,000 direct and indirect jobs in the renewables sector. The number is expected to reach 400,000-500,000 by 2020 and then 710,000 by 2030.