Risk Based Planning and Global Insurers Key to a Global Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

The following article was written to answer the question “In your view, what are the policies that governments should take to encourage public-private partnership and enable the private sector to develop the goods and services necessary for a global transition to a low-carbon economy by 2030?” as a submission to the 2016 Masdar Engage Blogging Contest. NASA space program public–private partnerships are frequently recommended as a model to achieve aggressive carbon mitigation goals.   A far more sophisticated approach than used by NASA will be required, involving a much broader array of participants including government; research and development organizations; energy and […]

Guest Post: Ontario Adaption to New Energy Economy

Guest post is from Emma White, as freelance blogger on energy issues. How Ontario is getting ready to join the new energy economy in Canada Canada is not that far behind the U.S. and Europe when it comes to implementing the new energy economy. The city of Ontario is looking forward to have a clean, ground-breaking and profitable energy economy due to the weakening of the oil sector in Canada. If Ontario can make this happen, then Canada will be leading the pack of countries when it comes to a clean and profitable energy sector. It will also be a […]

German Electricity Rates Projected To Return to 2015 Levels by 2035

In 2015 Germany enacted a law whose short title is the Renewable Energy Sources Act of 2014 (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, or EEG 2014).  EEG 2014 formalizes the fundamental shift in energy policy in Germany, the Energiewende, from a coal and nuclear system to one which requires the mix of electricity generation in Germany to reach 40% – 45% renewable sources by 2025 and 55%- 60% renewable sources by 2035.  This is to be encouraged by feed in tariffs that guarantee prices for new renewable entrants while requiring grid operators to receive and purchase electricity from these sources.  As expected, EEG 2014 met […]

The Recent “Mind Bogglingly Stupid”* Arguments Against Fuel Cell Vehicles

During a press conference at the Automotive News World Congress in February Elon Musk was famously quoted saying hydrogen fuel cells are “extremely silly,” and that fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are “incredibly dumb.” He made two arguments to support this view – that electrolysis to generate hydrogen is way less efficient than using solar to charge vehicle batteries and that hydrogen was an unsafe fuel. So this is pretty transparent: it’s just the old slam-your-competition marketing ploy.  Musk’s Tesla must feel pretty threatened by the spate of fuel cell electric vehicles coming on the market, especially in Japan and […]

Is That Fuel Cell Economic? Forget cents/kWh or GGE

It’s very easy to find graphics that compare the cost of several forms of emerging energy technologies.  In the case of fuel cells, since they make electricity to perform a task, the metric used is the cost of a unit of electricity: (pick your currency) per kilowatt-hour or cents/kWh.  In vehicular applications, an attempt is made to equate hydrogen fuel with gasoline, generating the absurdly fictitious “gallon of gasoline (or liter of petrol) equivalent” or GGE.  If you see these metrics used, you are witnessing one of the greatest failures of the fuel cell industry: its inability to articulate its […]

Contrarian Approach to Fuel Cell Powered Forklifts and Scooters in Taiwan 燃料电池发展的逆向操作:台湾叉车及摩托车

The worldwide population of motor scooters is approaching 130 million. China alone produced over 40 million gasoline powered motor scooters in 2011. Many of these engines emit 8 to 30 times the hydrocarbons and particulates emitted by automobiles. Several companies are developing fuel cell powered scooters to reduce these enormous emissions. Fuel cells are devices that make electricity from hydrogen and oxygen, emitting water vapor as the exhaust. When hydrogen is produced from renewable sources, or even from natural gas the emissions are far less than those resulting from oil refining and combustion. Fuel cell powered scooters run on that […]

Energy subsidies | Levelling the Subsidy Playing Field (Guest Post)

Originally published at JBS News by John Brian Shannon By now, we’re all aware of the threat to the well-being of life on this planet posed by our massive and continued use of fossil fuels and the various ways we might attempt to reduce the rate of CO2 increase in our atmosphere. Divestment in the fossil fuel industry is one popular method under discussion to lower our massive carbon additions to our atmosphere The case for divestment generally flows along these lines; By making investment in fossil fuels seem unethical, investors will gradually move away from fossil fuels into other […]

Keystone XL: Run the Numbers, It’s a Bad Business Decision

Only a portion of current inventories of Canadian tar sands oil might make economic sense to pipe through Keystone XL; there is a high probability that new extraction projects or upgrades to existing projects will have delivered cost well in excess of what the market will bear.   An investor in the Keystone XL pipeline is making a very risky bet without a potentially large return.  While the environmental concerns against Keystone certainly have merit, it makes no sense to construct simply on the basis of economics.  Just run the numbers. There are a number of key metrics that, when looked […]

Bloom “Box”: Reverse Engineering the Economics

Last July Bloom Energy announced the placement of a 200 kW “Energy Server” (Bloom’s preferred language for “generator”) at Keio University in Japan, another at a large Softbank building in Fukuoka (Softbank is a major Japanese mobile phone service provider), as well as the creation of a 50/50 joint venture with Softbank to establish Bloom Energy Japan, Ltd.  These announcements were all part of the steady drumbeat of Bloom unit installations.  About the same time, however, Bloom issued a white paper where the President of Bloom Energy Japan, Miwa Shigerumotu, provided some insight into their pricing structure.  Below is a […]

“Open Sourcing” of Fuel Cell Technology: A Call to Action

“Ideas are works of bricolage.  They are, inevitably, networks of other ideas. .. the strange thing is that the past two centuries .. wisdom about innovation has pursued the exact opposite argument .. by assuming…in the long run, innovation will increase if you put restrictions on the spread of new ideas, because those restrictions will allow the creators to collect large financial rewards from their inventions. And those rewards will then attract other innovators to follow in their path. The problem with these closed environments is that they make it more difficult to explore the adjacent possible, because they reduce […]