Friday, December 9, 2011

Beyond Energy Independence: German renewables shoot through the roof, San Francisco reaches for new high

Old energy interests (including utilities) and their media and government supporters, often repeat the mantra that renewable energy, especially decentralized, on-site generation, can't be implemented widely or fast enough to meet our energy needs. 

Indeed, it's the only thing that can!  

Spurred by Germany's model Feed-in Tariff (FIT), this small, rural town in Bavaria is 100% energy independent and generates millions in local revenue by producing 3 times more energy than it uses. This could be any town in the San Luis Valley, the Front Range,  eastern Colorado, even your town!   

And today, as the Durban, South Africa climate talks come to a close with no binding agreement (as expected), San Francisco takes a bold step towards 100% renewable energy by 2020 - a new high for the US (story below)

German Village Produces 321% More Energy Than It Needs!

Ok, those Germans are just showing off now. Not only has the nation announced plans to shut down all of its nuclear power plants and started the construction of 2,800 miles of transmission lines for its new renewable energy initiative, but now the village of Wildpoldsried is producing 321% more energy than it needs! The small agricultural village in the state of Bavaria is generating an impressive $5.7 million in annual revenue from renewable energy.

It’s no surprise that the country that has kicked butt at the Solar Decathlon competition (to produce energy positive solar houses) year after year is the home to such a productive energy-efficient village. The village’s green initiative first started in 1997 when the village council decided that it should build new industries, keep initiatives local, bring in new revenue, and create no debt. Over the past 14 years, the community has equipped nine new community buildings with solar panels, built four biogas digesters (with a fifth in construction now) and installed seven windmills with two more on the way. In the village itself, 190 private households have solar panels while the district also benefits from three small hydro power plants, ecological flood control, and a natural waste water system.

Despite only having a population of 2,600, Wildpoldsried produces 321 percent more energy than it needs. It is no surprise to learn that small businesses have developed in the village specifically to provide services to the renewable energy installations.

SF Begins Down 100% by 2020 Clean Energy Path

by Angeli Duffin, December 9th, 2011

By 2020, the city of San Francisco aims to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources – and it just got the green ball rolling by giving Local Power a $390,000 contract to design a plan for moving the city’s power sourcing from centralized fossil fuel plants and toward locally generated renewables.

San Francisco is pursuing its goal using a community choice aggregation system (CCA), which allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction to secure alternative energy supply contracts. Using CleanPowerSF, San Franciscans will be given a choice to purchase green energy from a city-negotiated provider as an alternative to the giant Northern California utility Pacific Gas & Electric.

To fulfill CleanPowerSF’s call for “neighborhood-scaled green power,” Local Power will produce request for proposals (RFPs) to deploy at least 210 megawatts of renewable, localized energy technologies and distributed solar for San Francisco residents and businesses by 2017. Local Power will spend the next year completing a cost model, implementation schedule, and analysis of potential development sites to complete the RFPs by late 2012.

San Francisco is not alone in its local energy initiative. Local Power founder Paul Penn drafted the country’s first community choice aggregation bill, which has since spurred similar CCA laws across the country. Community choice programs currently provide service to over 1 million Americans, with hundreds of U.S. cities in the planning and implementation phase, according to Local Power.

When all is said and done, Local Power believes this project “promises to make San Francisco the world leader in green power, substantially reducing greenhouse gas pollution, and making innovative green technologies the standard rather than the exception, and creating new local green jobs here in San Francisco – all while maintaining competitive power bills.”

Read the New York Times story on San Francisco's new energy goals here


Penny Stock Blog said...

This whole notion of free trade is phoney. We are becoming a nation of financial services companies All these companies do is recycle money. The result is no useful products and services are being produced or sold. The idea that the bedrock of the united states economy can be a country of bankers financial planners financial researchers dealing with numbers marketing consultents' lawyers is completly false. I could go on and on but I need not. The intangable economy of sorts must be replaced with a real economy that produces or provides useful products and services that are really needed. Otherwise we will end up with a few bright CPA's with master degrees siting behind desks making a good living and everybody else cleaning the carpeting and emptying the wast paper baskets. For 6 dollars an hour. Every parents vision of a great job for their own children is someone sitting in front of a computer at some bank. Whats wrong with this picture everything.

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