NOTES FOR ADVERTISERS:

Solview360º blog provides a personal perspective on solar energy developments around the world, selected from media reports.

Requests to feature solar products or services will not be accepted. SORRY. Chris Dove

Follow on 'X' (Twitter) @dovechris1

Read blog posts at Ecoadvocate https://www.facebook.com/Ecoadvocate-106622091258545

 

[02/07/24]: Solar power, cheap as chips

One of the biggest suppliers of solar storage batteries says:

"In most countries, solar power is the most economic and least carbon emitting way to generate low-cost electricity. You don't need subsidies."

Now there's no excuse…

SOURCE: Bruce Flatt, CEO, Brookfield, 'Leaders with Lacqua', Bloomberg, 1/7/24

 

[27/06/24]: Lightning bolts – blessings at bedtime

I resisted doing an African Rain Dance at 10 o'clock last night.

Swapping English TV in my living room for the comfort of Spanish TV in bed, a small but dim glare of light through the window stopped me in my tracks.

Curtains undrawn and hypnotised on the edge of my bed, thick cloud cover cushioned a series of silent bolts of lightning on the horizon – sporadic, muted nanoseconds illuminated the night sky in a mysterious, slow-moving lightshow displaying nature's enigmatic energy.

This felt like a much-diminished outer-body experience equivalent (I imagine) to seeing the Northern Lights for the first time.

Confused for 10 minutes by the absence of the sound of distant thunder, the glare patterns got bigger, turning into flashlights filling the sky with white-hot rods.

By now I was on my feet. A frightening thunderstrike an hour later shook me from my trance, blitzing the surface of the sea like an electrically charged neon blanket.

During 18 years in a high-rise apartment, I'd never watched a thermal thunder storm develop over the sea.

Bringing a welcome but limited downpour, we're enjoying the calm after the storm, blessed with less humid air and a much cooler morning.

 Rain Dance wasn't required.

  

[05/06/24]: Floods, fire, future?

Massive rain storms over the weekend continue to flood vast swathes of Europe with loss of life reported in Italy, Germany, among others.

Battered Bavarian cities were declared Disaster Zones during a visit to Heidelberg by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Parts of California and Spain are already suffering wildfires – destroying precious forests, killing animals, and forcing thousands of flee to safety.

While election campaigning politicians promise to water down their climate commitments – citing voter unpopularity, expense, rapid implementation – TODAY, the most severe climate change warning yet claims we have ONLY FIVE YEARS LEFT to avert the dreaded 1.5º global temperature rise.

HAVE A NICE DAY, YEAR, LIFE.

 

[03/05/24]: Spain's sweet solar spies!

Hidden wildlife spy cameras powered by solar panels have been installed on Spanish rooftops – including Madrid's Big Wheel – and mounted on stilts in the sea.

Capturing highly privileged scenes of Peregrine Falcons stealing unhatched eggs from other birds' nests to feed their own chicks; Iberian Lynx kittens sucking on the mother; and marine mammals and fish fighting over scraps beneath the waterline.

“They show a fascination for Spanish wildlife”, explained the founder of Directo Natura (Nature Direct) and an SEO Birdlife director.

SOURCE: 'Wildlife spying' ('Espiando la vida silvestre'), Objetivo Planeta, RTVE, 02/05/24

 

[08/04/24]: Far-out solar spectacle – THEN???

It's great millions of people across Mexico, northeast US and Canada will wear anti-glare solar specs to safely watch the once-in-how-many-years total solar eclipse tonight.

And millions more will watch on screens far and wide.

Scientists studying sun-moon interactions under these special conditions will have unique insights into weather patterns and climate activity – important findings for everyone on the planet.

But, apart from the well-deserved media hype, how will the millions of mere mortals discover the true-Earth benefits of this dazzling display???   

 

[29/03/24]: Solar survival struggles

Heartbreaking death and destruction in the Israel-Hamas war was compounded by well-meant packages of emergency food aid not reaching starving families sheltering in a church.

Instead of safely delivering life-saving supplies, clumsy air crew dropped the heavy packs on the church roof – smashing its solar panels.

A British church official lamented the inability to share Christ's Easter message with all faith communities in the area, and explained that not only are they suffering constant bombing, but they now ALSO lack the solar energy that provided some degree of power.

The survivors “are lucky to eat three warm meals per week”, said the official, “so they aren't starving.”

YET.

SOURCE: Interview, Canon Richard Sewell, Dean of St George's College, Jerusalem, 'Today', BBC Radio 4, 29/03/24

 

[02/02/24]: New Year, few renewables

A New Year resolution no one wants to make:

While visible progress is being made, STILL only 12% of global energy comes from renewable sources.

SHAMEFUL!

Executive Director at REN21, Rana Adib, explained the pushback and misinformation partly to blame for this sorry state of affairs.

"We need to build common ground," she told France 24, to encourage those opposing solar installations on agricultural land.

Farmland mixing food production and solar power generation is her solution, “good for agricultural yields under current climate conditions.”

As farmers protest Europe-wide against increasing green regulations, high input prices and an unfair share of supermarket profits – rightly backed by the public – Adib says green policies "Aren't about too much regulation, it's about the right regulation."

What % renewables mix NEXT New Year?... The ONLY way is UP.

SOURCE: 'Climate action', Business, France 24, 31/01/24

 

[07/01/24]: Brightening lives @SolarAid

“Light should be a right, but too many people – especially across sub-Saharan Africa – are deprived of it once the sun goes down.”

So began a radio appeal by SolarAid to raise funds which will empower woman and mothers in rural Africa to buy and distribute hand-held solar lights within their local communities.

Long after the sun goes down the powerful bright lights allow children to study and play, as well as providing power for essential work and domestic activities.

London-based SolarAid cite on 'X' (Twitter): Lighting up every home, school and clinic in Africa by 2030 using safe, clean, solar power.”

What could be more enlightening to help meet the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy?

While fundraising myself for an educational children's book, I'm more than happy making a small donation to SolarAid.

Readers, please do likewise for this important, life-enhancing cause!

SOURCES:

*SolarAid, Radio Four Appeal, BBC, 07/01/24 https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001v2vm  

*SolarAid, https://solar-aid.org/

 

[06/01/24]: England and India – differing climate priorities

After holding onto a Conservative Party constituency which voted against green policies, British PM Rishi Sunak is running the 2024 General Election campaign with environmentally-unfriendly policies, including the issuing of new gas and oil drilling licences in England.

Clearly clutching at straws to remain in power, Sunak's former Environment Minister resigned on 05/01/24 saying he couldn't continue serving in a government which is rolling back on its climate change commitments – a rare display of political integrity.

Over in India, however, they've decided to extend their Moon and Sun space exploration missions including investing millions in a five-year programme of solar tracking in order to stay at the “frontier of knowledge”, as an Indian commentator describes it.

Yes, I fully support research into new and more efficient uses of solar power, but feeding and educating millions of Indian citizens at the frontier of abject poverty should be the Government's real-world priority.

 

[11/12/23]: Bad News, good news

The expensive talking shop that COP Climate Change Summits have become leave many asking what is the point of these gatherings?

1. COP28 in Dubai – hosted by UAE oil barons – included written proof that reducing fossil fuel production was NOT on UAE representatives' agenda.

Their innovative energy storage ideas are welcome, but we have to tackle the problem at source. STOP GAS AND OIL.

2. Apart from generating incalculable levels of income for the host country's hospitality industry, the 5,000+ official representatives including 70,000+ accredited attendees – who flew in from more than 80 countries – turned a serious environmental meeting into a seedy exhibition space to flog greenwashed products and services.

ON THE OTHER HAND… GLOBAL CARBON EMISSIONS ARE FALLING.

A Sky News chart of emissions targets by tonnage and timeline clearly showed we are ahead of predicted CO2 emissions. “Increased use of wind, solar and electric vehicles are contributing to real reductions.” (10/12/23).

Naturally very good news, but NOT an excuse to slow down.

And there's NO need for yet another person-to-person COP: VR meetings in virtual environments will suffice.

 

[26/11/23]: Tap into Spain-Europe's biggest floating solar plant

Caught a glimpse of Canal de Isabel II floating solar plant in Torrelaguna, Madrid.

In its final stages of construction and coming on-stream at the end of the year, more than 3,700 solar panels will generate 1.696 Kw of clean electricity for 1,300 homes annually.

Europe's biggest such installation is co-financed by €2.1m of REACT-EU funds and a €55m 'Plan Solar' investment from publicly-owned company Canal de Isabel.

Their objective is to produce energy from renewable or high-efficient sources in line with the UN's  2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

When I lived on the River Thames at Baltic Quay 25 years ago, I worked for publicly-owned London Docklands Development Corporation on an EU Combined Heat and Power project bid (CHP) to provide clean energy to homes and businesses across the East End of the capital.

Solar panels weren't an option and the concept of floating renewable energy sources was too far out!

SOURCES:

*Canal de Isabel II, 'EUROPA', 24h, 23/11/23

*Canal launches first floating photovoltaic installation to produce renewable energy (Canal estrena su primera instalación fotovoltaica flotante para producir energía removable), iagua, 27/09/23, https://www.iagua.es/noticias/canal-isabel-ii/canal-estrena-primera-instalacion-fotovoltaica-flotante-producir-energia

 

[22/11/23]: JapTech light years ahead

Japan is regaining its place as a global tech leader.

Medical researcher Professor Yuki Sudo at Okayama University has discovered a colourful spectrum of 100s of light molecules called protein rhodopsins following years of cell structure experiments on mice.

The rhodopsins act as a new form of photosynthesis – absorbing or releasing natural light with the potential to generate solar power or eliminate cancer cells, among other revolutionary, cost-saving applications.

Early days yet but there's light at the end of the test tube.

SOURCE: Science View, NHK World-Japan, 21/11/23

 

[08/11/23]: Andalucía shines @Amazon

Seventeen solar plants and five rooftop solar arrays are among Amazon’s environmental expansion plans across Spain.

Andalucía in the sun-soaked south will benefit from three solar projects, contributing to Amazon’s combined capacity of 2.3 GW of renewable energy in the country.

Fuengirola, in Andalucía, was awarded the national EcoPlayas (EcoBeaches) 2024 Flag for coastal management, adding to the town’s Blue flag, Q for Quality, S for Sustainability and Accessibility.

Solar panels on drone surveillance towers monitoring beaches were also recognised.

The region is also targeted for an early learning initiative to encourage interest in nature and animal welfare among Spanish 4-8-year-olds, as well as helping them to read and spell in English.

‘A Puppy’s Tale by Rex’ is an educational resource for parents, grandparents and teachers, available as an ebook and paperback.

SOURCES:

  • ‘Prime expansion’, the Olive Press, 1-14/11/23

  • Fuengirola, Awarded the EcoPlayas Flag 2024’ (translated), Málaga Hoy, 30/10/23
  • Sunrays image, ‘A Puppy’s Tale by Rex’ (Un Cuento de un Cachorro por Rex’), Amazon, https://www.amazon.es/dp/B08PCCX8CZ

[29/10/23]: Solar sales soar, Spain, Germany

Spain's sunny disposition begs the question, Why aren't there MANY MORE solar installations across the country?

Media reports provided an answer revealing a huge hike in solar investments throughout the year.

Meanwhile Germany's photovoltaic capacity beat the government's 9GW national grid target having added 919MW of energy in the year to September, providing a total 10.72GW to date.

SEE German solar installations below, 06/09/23.

SOURCES:

  • Solar energy, CanalSur Noticias, w/e 27/10/23
  • Solar power, EUROPRESS, Euro Weekly News, 26/10-01/11/23

[25/09/23]: NASA's OSIRIS-REx – exciting solar success!

NASA's king capsule #OSIRISREx successfully landed at Utah Test Range yesterday, returning the biggest and oldest asteroid sample, Bennu.

I was watching Facebook Live and Sky News as the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer re-entered Earth's atmosphere following its seven-year mission to collect a sample from Bennu's surface – in pristine condition after 4.5 billion years.

In the decades ahead, 200 research scientists around the world will study fragments of the 250-gram asteroid, and big questions they hope Bennu will answer include:

  1. How our planet was formed and the foundations of the solar system.
  2. Identifying Earth's organic composition that may literally be the origins of life.
  3. How the earliest building blocks of carbon-based humans were formed.

Bennu is a carbon-rich asteroid containing valuable organic materials, so NASA, Britain's Natural History Museum and others see it as a “forever” resource children and all of us can use.

There was “a surprise at every corner”, said NASA's Planetary Science Division Director, explaining how they thought Bennu had a moon-like surface with tiny pebbles and dust. Instead they discovered massive metre-high boulders, further complicating OSIRIS-REx's landing and collecting processes.

Educational children's book 'A Puppy's Tale by Rex' is another “forever” resource children can use. Like king capsule OSIRIS-REx, cartoon puppy Rex is the king canine for kids growing up in his loving forever home, teaching 4-8-year-olds valuable early life lessons.

'A Puppy's Tale by Rex' https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PCCX8CZ

SOURCES:

*OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return, Official NASA Broadcast, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and NASA Solar System Exploration, Facebook Live, 24/09/23

*NASA, Natural History Museum, 'Today', BBC Radio 4, 25/09/23

 

[06/09/23]: British onshore wind farms – Bring 'em on

Britain “bigged-up” British Energy Bill Day yesterday. Rightly and literally.

After the Conservative-Liberal coalition inexplicably banned onshore wind farms in 2015, the Tories performed a welcome U-turn allowing these elegant, efficient, green electricity generators to boost energy security while adorning Britain's green and pleasant landscape. Well-managed, of course.

On the outskirts of Hamburg, Germany yesterday, Km after Km of dairy farms, potato farms, corn fields and horse paddocks are interspersed with solar farms and wind farms stretching across the horizon.

These AREN'T a menace to the countryside or an eyesore or noise polluters – as silent and vocal objectors claim.

They're ESSENTIAL.

The Labour Party retaliated saying the move is better late than never, but estimated wind-generated power could have saved 1.5 million British households an average £182 (€212/US$227) in energy bills if the bonkers ban had been BANNED.

Crowd-farming – and crowdfunding – could help get wind farm education, acceptance and adoption as natural a part of our energy mix as the (clean) air we want and deserve to inhale.

SOURCES:

  • British Energy Bill Day, House of Commons, 05/09/23, fully reported on 'Yesterday in Parliament', Today, BBC Radio 4, 06/09/23
  • Neuminster-Hamburg motorway, 05/09/23

[06/08/23]: More solar panel rooftops, PLEASE!

We've been shaken out of complacency – finally waking up to increasing environmental threats now that we're seeing the frightening fatal consequences affecting more and more communities, every minute, every day.

In Puerto Rico, women's community group Casa Pueblo have been trained to install solar panels on new-build homes and other facilities.

Described as an “energy oasis”, the panels provide power for cooking and urban lighting for an energy secure and sustainable future for their families.

Over in the UK, a radio listener phoned to a climate debate and encouraged the take-up of domestic energy saving practices – living in an eco-home, he first installed a heat pump and solar panel roof 10 years ago. Another caller desperately wanted to know why rooftop solar installations aren't obligatory on new-builds.

Good question – we have the solutions – even in sun-starved Britain.

SOURCES:

 

[28/07/23]: “Global boiling”? GLOBAL BURNING

The UN Secretary-General says our destructive contributions to climate change have led to “global boiling”. Deadly raging wildfires on every continent except Antarctica look like GLOBAL BURNING.

  • Global coal production was the highest ever last year.
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions are rising.
  • Global land and sea temperatures this July are the highest levels recorded.
  • There've been 600 heat-related deaths in America alone.

Supporting climate concerned citizens in Spain's tinder-dry south, one town hall is ramping up solar panel installation with a 50% reduction in property rate tax (IBI).

The three-year incentive will reduce energy consumption by 30%, at least.

Welcome small steps by authorities and all of us before Stevie Wonder's hit 'Hotter Than July' leads to global burnout.

SOURCES:

*Newshour, TRT World, 27/07/23

'*Town Hall incentivises renewable energies lowering IBI 50% for solar panel installation' ('El Ayuntamiento incentiva el uso de energías renovables bajando el 50% del IBI por la instalación de placas solares', El Noticiero, Fuengirola, Spain, 27/07/23

 

[01/07/23]: Solar robots arm The Amazon

I'm glad I enjoyed an ecotour in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest decades before ex-President Jair Bolsonaro's climate crime – allowing 4,000 square kms of priceless nature to be plundered FOR PROFIT in the past six years alone.

In an international first, a Swedish-Swiss company and Peruvian Amazon NGO have developed “the world's most remote robot” – their words – aiming to reforest 55,000+ acres of damaged jungle.

From a solar-powered jungle lab, robotic arms open a small biodegradable soil bag, extract a seed, place it in the opening, then seal it and compact the soil before each bag is planted in deforested areas. The robot can plant up to 600 trees in a single morning say the team – the size of two football stadiums.

This innovative robot collaboration is called a “cobot” with a simultaneous engineering team in Sweden monitoring the outcomes, performance and implementing necessary adjustments through cloud computers.

The Amazon is – and will always be – Amazing, and this 'FUTURE NOW' regenerative approach gets my applause.

SOURCES:

 

[18/06/23]: UK targets space-based solar

Speaking during London Tech Week 2023 (12-16/06), Grant Shapps, UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, explained his policy which aims to beam wireless radio waves from space by taking advantage of “24-hour sunshine with no changeable weather.”

Shapps went on: “We have as much solar power as France which has better weather, and we are geographically on half the land area.”

Using the sun's natural power is imminently sensible – but we need assurances that the integrity and security of space infrastructure withstands wireless attacks from a growing number of malicious forces.

Only a fortnight ago (07/06), a cyberattack affected British Airways, High Street chemist Boots and the BBC – all at the same time.

Imagine such an attack on a nation's wireless energy supply…

Precisely.

SOURCE: Climate Show With Tom Heap, Sky News, 17/06/23

 

[06/06/23]: Costly climate for Costa Rica

Twenty-odd years ago, this ecoblogger visited #CostaRica – Central America's Rich Coast – one of the world's most environmentally sustainable destinations.

Trekking through Monteverde – Green Mountain – its lush cloud forest is home to some 100 varieties of flora, 400 bird species and 1,200 types of amphibians.

THAT WAS THEN.

THIS IS NOW:

“We used to have about 30 sunny days each year, now there are about 130,” a Monteverde guide explained.

Undeniable climate change is affecting humidity levels, causing streams, mosses and trees to dry up in this most delicate, treasured ecosystem.

THE GOOD(ish) NEWS:

Climatologists predict Monteverde's prime cloud forest and its inhabitants can adapt to and survive these drier conditions.

MY VIEW:

At the moment there's no escape from the frequency and intensity of sunlight for Monteverde and millions of the world's species, us among them.

With continued environmental management, committed human resources, research and monitoring technologies, and controlled ecotourism, Costa Rica's truly Rich Coast can withstand the test of time – and nature.

Adapt or die as another dry summer season starts…

SOURCE: News, France 24, 05/06/23

 

[01/05/23]: Spain suffers drought AND floods…

As southern Spain suffered its hottest April on record – a sizzling 38ºC with farmers across Andalucía fearing the worst – Barcelona and Cantabria in northern Spain suffered torrential rainstroms, flooding streets and farmland.

Water sports have been banned due to the low level of dams, a spokesman for appropriately named 'Intrepid Kayaks' regretted the loss of clients but acknowledged the dangers.

In a report from Madrid's rain-starved San Juan Dam – the capital sits dead centre of the huge country – dead fish and exposed rocks compete for our heartstrings with scenes of La Fuente de Piedra lagoon (The Stone Fountain) turned into a snow-white salt lake, bare of all but 100 of its normal 8,000 pink flamingos struggling to survive.

Repeat. HEARTBREAKING.

SOURCES:

*News, Channel 24h, 30/4/23

**'Drought crisis': Famous flamingo lagoon dries up, SUR in English, 28/04/23-04/05/23, page 6

 

[24/04/23]: States' solar shares rise – and stall…

“Solar names trading higher today: SUNRUN and ENPHASE ENERGY.”

No rising star at FIRST SOLAR.

SOURCE: Closing Bell, CNBC, 24/04/23

 

[22/04/23]: #EarthDay every day, please

“You can put up solar panels and stop eating meat, but that doesn't help at industrial scale… solar and wind are cheaper but intermittent.”

– Mark van Baal, Dutch shareholder activist challenging the power of Big Oil, especially Russian supplies.

This on Earth Day and Extinction Rebellion's four-day protests in London against oil and gas investments.

XR are also demanding the Government set up a citizen-led green action group which will take real action to tackle global environmental problems – rather than the greenwashing, hot air and excess profits of air polluting fossil fuel companies.

EARTH ACTION EVERY DAY IS THE ONLY WAY.

SOURCE:

'Breaking the Oil Stranglehold', Direct Talk, NHK-World Japan, 21/04/23

+ SEE BELOW Crisis? What crisis? [08/04/23]

 

[16/04/23]: Green light for solar projects in Spain's sunniest province

Located in the southern Spanish region of Andalucía, Málaga enjoys 3,059 hours of sunlight per year, according to AEMET State Meteorological Agency.

Regional government body the Junta doesn't have a speedy track record, but got its finger out to sign off two big solar projects in record time – signifying the urgency of renewable installations to combat climate change.

Grupo Ubago

Aiming for full energy self-sufficiency, smoked foods pioneer Grupo Ubago will install 3,000+ solar panels on the roofs of buildings across its two sites in Cádiz and Málaga city head office.

Investment: €310,000.

Power output generated: 0.3MW.

Mondat Baker

Known for bread and pastries baked in open-hearth ovens, Mondat Baker plans to install 1,260 solar panels on its factory's rooftops.

Investment: €370,000

Power output generated: 0.65MW.

Such projects will please one former Young Engineer of the Year who commented on British radio: “I see new houses going up but they haven't even got solar panels!”

SOURCES:

*'Projects fast-tracked by the Junta in Málaga province: two billion euros and 7,600 jobs', SUR in English, 14-20/04/23, pages 2-3

*'Any Answers?', BBC Radio 4, 15/04/23

 

[08/04/23]: Crisis? What crisis?

In a CNBC repeat, young female climate activists from Germany, Uganda and the Amazon joined Greta Thunberg and the International Energy Agency's Executive Director at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to “treat the climate crisis like a crisis.”

The girls demanded action to stop fossil-fuel polluting oil CEOs getting all the media attention rather than listening to the youthful voices who'll be forced to clean up our piles of *rap.

The girls displayed their 'CEASE & DESIST' banner calling for a ban on all fossil fuel investment projects – especially given the increasingly rapid uptake of wind and solar energies forecast to 2035.

SOURCE: IEA chief Fatih Birol, Greta Thunberg and other youth activists discuss the climate crisis at Davos, Sustainable Future, CNBC, first broadcast 19/1/23 then 7/4/23, https://www.cnbc.com/video/2023/01/19/davos-iea-chief-fatih-birol-greta-thunberg-and-other-youth-activists.html?&qsearchterm=davos%202023%20+%20greta

 

[04/03/23]: Costa Rica sun and ICE

Central America's natural gemstone shines brightly in solar panel supply, clean electricity generation and power distribution.

Senior citizens are touting the benefits of an always-on solar energy source for charging phones and powering appliances.

Carlos Quirós, head of engineering and construction at electricity and telecoms supplier Grupo ICE, is working to export the country's solar generated electricity to Latin American countries.

With its long-established green credentials, I was an early ecotourist to Costa Rica in the 90s. Even then the country's well-developed education system and pacifist policies were respected worldwide – its solar solutions are an example to us all.

SOURCES:

Business, France 24, 03/03/23

Grupo ICE, https://www.grupoice.com/wps/portal/ICE

 

[20/02/23]: Spain – Centre of the 'ecoverse'

In his inaugural speech launching Genera 2023: the International Renewable Energies Conference, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said:

We have converted Madrid into the renewable energy capital… for a just and sustainable world, energy transition has to be fairer so no one is left behind.”  

Starting 21/2 and ending 23/2 at Madrid's exhibition centre IFEMA, Genera 2023 is a broad group of professionals related to the world of energy efficiency and renewable energies in the commitment to climate neutrality”.

The event comprises international exhibitors from as far afield as Canada, and a full activity programme including solar sector manufacturing, supply and distribution.

This exciting and important event is a great start to the week – generating widespread trade and public interest about the most important global challenge of our time.

SOURCES:

*Pedro Sánchez inaugural speech, Genera 2023, 24h TV, 20/2/23

*Genera 2023, IFEMA, https://www.ifema.es/en/genera/what-is

 

[12/02/23]: For and against Cheshire's solar farm, England

Protest against a large-scale solar farm in the borough of Crewe and Nantwich, Cheshire, Northwest England, spotted this morning on Facebook:

“So Labour run Cheshire East [Council] can build an almighty, huge, thirty acre Solar Farm near Crewe, which nobody asked for……but can't fill the mounting total of dangerous potholes, which people are crying out to be done ????

What an absurd sense of priorities.

Cheshire East shouldn't be putting a solar farm on good farm land…

Cheshire East should be encouraging owners to put solar panels on their homes and commercial buildings and on new build……. not developing an unsightly Solar Farm on good agricultural land…” (click link below for full Facebook post).

This blogger was the first to COMMENT:

Twice in the past year I’ve heard the Radio 4 6am weather bulletin declare Nantwich as England’s sunniest location the previous day.

SOURCE: Nantwich and Crewe news and banter, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/2472532296345005/?multi_permalinks=3337770506487842&notif_id=1675952770763895&notif_t=group_activity&ref=notif

 

[10/02/23]: Solar space race saves Earthlings

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering was awarded to British scientist Professor Martin Green at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

During the oil embargo of the 70s, he and two colleagues started solar research based on the types of solar panels used in space satellites.

Using silicon for solar cells, they adapted the technology to allow normal citizens to benefit from cheaper, highly efficient and easy to install panels for terrestrial homes and businesses.

“Solar is growing in leaps and bounds”, said Professor Green.

SOURCE: 'Today', BBC Radio 4, 8/2/23

 

[05/02/23]: Ronda's 64,000 solar solution in Málaga, Spain

Millions of international tourists visit the beautiful town of Ronda to admire its dramatic deep Tajo gorge set in the Málaga mountains – a cultural asset any location would be proud of. This blogger first visited the town in the 90s during a tour of southern Spain, and has made many subsequent day trips as a year-round resident in the municipality.

The town's outskirts are now the exciting focus of a planned 154-hectare solar farm forecast to generate 100MW of electricity to power 64,000 homes with residents gearing up to enjoy reduced electricity bills.

Towards the end of 2024, energy giant Cepsa plans to start work on the €62 million Acinipo plant (£57.5m/US$69.2m), promising “urban compatibility” with Ronda's urban masterplan, and taking account of the region's cereal crop farm land and Grazalema natural park without blocking the unmissable view of the gorge.

This blogger looks forward to a future Ronda visit – this time as an “eco tourist”.

SOURCE: Energy giant Cepsa plans huge solar farm near Ronda, the size of 150 football pitches, SUR in English, 3-9/2/23, page 12

 

[06/01/23]: World on fire – AGAIN

Countries across the globe experienced their fourth ever hottest year in 2022, according to Carbon Brief – and as every living being was painfully aware.

Yet despite devastating floods, drought and wildfires reaping havoc on attempts to mitigate global warming, local authorities are happy to waste thousands of taxpayers' dollars/euros/pounds showing off extravagant firework displays, emitting countless tonnes of unnecessary carbon into the air and all our lungs.

The very same authorities who've banned the decreasing number of cigarette smokers from damaging their own lungs, but are happy to collect billions in revenue from tobacco sales.

BLATANT HYPOCRISY IF EVER I HEARD IT.

SOURCE: State of the climate: 2022 is currently tied for fourth warmest year on record, Carbon Brief, 07/12/22, https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-2022-to-date-is-fourth-warmest-year-on-record/

 

[01/01/23]: Float on2! + SEE 06/12/22: Float on!

One of my favourite 70s' disco tracks is 'Float On' – by US group The Floaters! I bought the 7'' single one Saturday morning and played it non-stop all weekend.

No wonder floating solar plants are a source of fascination and viable green energy.

In Málaga, southern Spain, the La Viñuela seawater desalination plant will be “powered

by floating solar panels which will produce around 250 megawatts” – enough to meet the needs of the desalination system and other local companies.

Electricity generated by the solar panels “will pump the water from the plant to the reservoir, keeping it permanently full.”

The planned plant will be operational within a year and capable of producing treated water three months after the relevant regional government permits are approved.

SOURCE: Floating solar panels for proposed desalination plant, SUR in English, 30/12/22-5/1/23, page 12

 

[16/12/22]: Japan, land of the rising solar

Japanese authorities will make solar panels compulsory on new residential buildings from April 2025.

New-builds will be strictly monitored with failures to comply facing stiff fines.

Measurements will gauge the amounts of electricity generated.

A new dawn awaits in the land of the rising sun.

SOURCE: Newsline Biz, NHK World-Japan, 15/12/22

 

[06/12/22]: Float on!

While the public debate about onshore windfarms rumbles on in the UK, floating solar power plants could be a viable solution.

As recently re-broadcast by the BBC, the innovate idea by French company Ciel et Terre is to install floating solar panels on vast areas of water to avoid conflicts where land-based solar farms are controversial “or receive opposition from those who don't enjoy the view.”

Not only does water cover 70% of the Earth's surface, but there's potential for the floating farms to partner with hydrodams.

Win-win all round.

SOURCE: 39 Ways to Save the Planet: Floating Solar Power, BBC Radio 4, 20/10/21, re-broadcast 3/12/22, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0010p1h

 

[23/11/22]: Spaced out SOLARIS

A bright start to everyone's week hearing the European Space Agency is moving full steam ahead with its Space-Based Solar Power concept for Earth's clean and safe energy needs.

Under the ESA's proposed R&D programme SOLARIS, critical technologies will be researched with the aim of decarbonising Europe's energy sector over the coming decades – a topic high on everyone's agenda with renewable energy sources the only viable solution to ever increasing climate change challenges, and the real world impacts of energy security, supply, distribution and pricing adding pressure to our daily lives, pockets and future existence.

International Energy Agency Director Fatih Birol wrote in the Financial Times: “Nothing short of a total transformation of our energy infrastructure is required – a worldwide undertaking of unprecedented speed and scale…. Almost half the emissions cuts required to move us on to a path to net zero by 2050 may need to come from technologies that are not on the market yet.”

 

SOLARIS concept in a nutshell

We've all seen images of gleaming rectangular solar panels spanning several kilometres on land-based solar farms, creating clean electricity for households, businesses and public institutions. SOLARIS takes space exploration into an exciting new dimension.

Leading the SOLARIS proposal, Doctor Sanjay Vijendran explained on BBC radio that giant solar farms comprising many similar parts and using low-cost reusable rockets will be assembled in space using advanced robotics.

These satellites will continuously orbit space, absorbing the sun's energy 24/7 and delivered wirelessly using radio frequency waves from space to receiver stations which will convert it into power for the electricity grid.

While the radio presenter expressed credulity, asking “wirelessly?”, Dr Vijendran went on to explain how abundant sunlight provides an inexhaustible, truly sustainable and scalable energy solution.

Over the next three years, this huge engineering task will require rigorous credibility checks and R&D investment, building on the technological capacity of the ESA and its global partners.

According to an ESA press release, significant technical advancements are required “in areas such as in-space manufacturing, robotic assembly, high-efficiency photovoltaics, high power electronics and radio frequency beam forming”, as well as ground-breaking research “to confirm benign effects of low-power microwaves on human and animal health and compatibility with aircraft and satellites.”

Dr Vijendran says: “These are the kind of technical questions that SOLARIS will look into so that Europe could make an informed decision in 2025 on whether to proceed with a Space-Based Solar Power programme in the future.”

Anyone previously doubting the value of solar sector investments or space-age endeavours can finally appreciate how blue-sky thinking truly benefits life on Earth.

SOURCES:

*Today, BBC Radio 4, 22/11/22

*Plan to research solar power from space, ESA, 26/09/22, https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Space_Engineering_Technology/SOLARIS/Plan_to_research_solar_power_from_space

*SOLARIS video, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ScTbb-43A4

 

[05/11/22]: Sunak side down

Many readers recognise the phrase “sunny side up” in reference to fried eggs – flipping the phrase on its head describes the undignified U-turn by new UK PM Rishi Sunak, who finally decided to attend the COP27 Climate Change conference starting tomorrow in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (6-18/11/22, see blog 5/10 below).

Only AFTER ex-PM Boris Johnson confirmed his attendance did Sunak do a last-minute about turn, ending up with an outside egg on his face while leaving Britain looking like a reluctant player after its fanfare hosting of COP26 in Glasgow last year.

Trying to compensate for his absence at COP27, King Charles hosted a “reception” at Buckingham Palace last night for heads of state, leaving Sunak to address the dignitaries in a keynote speech.

Attending climate conferences is not a beauty contest; implementation of climate policy is not an in-out option.

Assessing climate action since COP26, US Climate Envoy John Kerry told the BBC: “There's been significant progress but not consequential enough.”

ENOUGH SAID.

SOURCE: Today, BBC Radio 4, 05/11/22

 

[11/10/22]: Spain's solar footprint increasing

This blogger frequently moans about the surprising lack of solar panels on Spain's residential, industrial and public buildings – in Europe's sunniest geographical location. However, two new facts prove the country's solar footprint is steadily increasing.

In its Top 10 stats about Spain's greatest achievements, environmental campaign paper the Olive Press lists positive point 7:

“For several years Spain has led the world in having the most storage capacity for solar energy. That's 6,850MWh compared to 5,200MWh in the US, 2,699MWh in sunny South Africa, and 1,000MWh in China.

“That doesn't mean Spain produces the most solar energy – not even close. We're just good at storing it… commendably, almost half the nation's electricity came from renewable energy last year.*

Backing this up, independent Spanish broadcaster TRECE gave viewers four good reasons to install solar panels:

  1. Low entry costs – 5,000 to €7,000
  2. Electricity bill savings
  3. Public grants/subsidies
  4. Simple mobile apps track solar output, electricity generated and hourly/daily consumption. **

Not to mention the obvious – URGENT – need to save our precious planet.

Weather forecasts promise much-needed rain across much of Spain this week – this won't put a damper on the country's ever-increasing solar footprint.

SOURCES:

*Top of the pile, the Olive Press, 5-18/10/22, pages 6-7  

**The 'boom' in solar panels, TRECE TV, 10/10/22

 

[05/10/22]: Green, green growth of home?

In sharp contrast to the UK Labour Party's green economic growth plan announced a week ago today (blog 27/09), Conservative Party Leader/PM Liz Truss poured scorn on environmentalists, among others, during her maiden conference speech in Birmingham.

Describing Greenpeace protestors who'd interrupted her speech as “belonging to the anti-growth coalition” – their banner read 'WHO VOTED FOR THIS?' – Truss conveniently failed to mention her controversial fracking policy for shale gas extraction, proven to cause earth tremors while producing limited volumes of gas.

This is the same Conservative Party which lauded its global role hosting the UN COP26 Climate Change conference in Glasgow last year.

The same Conservative Party that's banned King Charles from attending the upcoming COP27 Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (6-18/11/22), much to green campaigners' frustration.

Decades ago, the new monarch was among the first prominent personalities to promote environmental awareness.

Today, tomorrow and for years to come, economic growth at home and abroad can ONLY be achieved through root and branch commitments to sustainable green developments.

 

[27/09/22]: Solar power to the people

During the UK Labour Party conference in Liverpool, party Leader Sir Keir Starmer's keynote speech promised to triple solar power usage by 2030 and establish a publicly-owned energy company in which British citizens will have a stake.

As part of a major push towards renewables, 'Great British Energy' will cut electricity bills and deliver energy independence from foreign suppliers.

“British power to British people!”, Starmer declared.

 

[02/08/22]: BURN OUT

Scientists from Cambridge and Exeter Universities, UK, predict catastrophic climate change could bring worse outcomes for humanity than we already experience or forecast.

Models of 3ºC temperature rises will bring more intense floods, wildfires and heatwaves – extreme heat would fatally affect millions by 2070, massively exceeding the thousands of global casualties clocked up so far this year.

Even human extinction is a distinct possibility.

This research puts a severe damper on summer holidays with sea temperatures along Spanish coasts causing beachgoers to complain about an uncomfortable rather than cooling dip or swim.

Crucially, the 31ºC sea water has undeniably tragic consequences for fish species.

 

[29/07/22]: Solar now, solar later

Russia's restricted global fuel supply during its ill-conceived war against Ukraine has propelled solar power as the preferred alternative energy source.

No more so than in Nigeria – Africa's biggest economy with the continent's largest population of 218 million and a land mass of 924 km2 (3562 miles).

Solar panel suppliers are enjoying a huge spike in demand supported by Nigerian Government predictions that only 1% of the nation's land covered with solar panels could generate clean, cheaper electricity for the whole country.

Q: WHAT ON EARTH HAS TAKEN THEM SO LONG TO ACT???

A: Better late than never…

SOURCE: Eye on Africa, TRT World, 28/07/22

 

[28/07/22]: Spanish communities, collective responsibility

Residents in cultural capital Seville have become the country's first community cooperative to buy, install and manage solar panels on the roofs of homes and businesses.

Insolac Renovables (Renewables) are behind the innovative scheme, pointing the way for many more collectively responsible solar investments.

SOURCE: 24h News, RTVE, 25/07/22

 

[25/07/22]: Kenya’s solar strawberries

Adapting to climate change, one Kenyan farmer uses an electric-powered well costing US$1,000 per month on her drought-hit strawberry farm, so is in the process of building three new wells and installing solar panels to combat the eye-watering cost and more effectively manage water supply.

SOURCE: How Kenyan farmers are adapting to climate change, Business Daily, BBC World Service, 25/07/22

 

[05/07/22]: Solar innovations Japan, Finland

An innovative lightweight strip of solar energy cells is helping children in West Africa to continue after-school studies and complete homework in rural areas with no electricity.

Japans Kawaguchi Steel manufactures the patented strips to form solar panels with lightweight frames for installation on school roofs as well as forming portable lanterns only kids attending school are allowed to take home in exchange for a small fee.

Other public buildings have installed the solar panels while enterprising communities use the portable lanterns attached to street poles to provide light throughout the night and extend business hours.

Complete with a re-charging station, the panels and lanterns also provide power for mobile phones.

Already in use in Ghana and Benin, the company promotes the innovations’ convenience, safety and security through “the power of light”.

Over in Western Finland, researchers have developed the world’s first sand battery using 100 tonnes of sand heated to 500ºC with the capacity to store heat for months.

As an add-on to wind and solar energy, the long-lasting sand battery is ideal for use when the wind doesnt blow and the sun doesnt shine.

The Finnish researchers are keen to further enhance the sand battery technology as Europe commits to reducing its reliance on Russian oil and gas.  

SOURCES:

‘Illuminating Lives in Rural Africa’, Direct Talk, NHK-World Japan, 04/07/22

‘Today’, BBC Radio 4, 05/07/22

 

[06/06/22]: US-China solar tariffs

Headline spotted on France 24 TV: “White House suspends solar tariffs on several Asian countries, but not China.”

This just days after one Chinese commentator pledged support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine saying US aggression in its trade war against China must be stopped and Russia was showing leadership in standing up to the US.

Other brave yet enlightened Chinese commentators wholeheartedly disagree with this view.

 

[01/05/22]: Smart solar Holland-China, South Korea

A pioneering Dutch-Chinese design team have devised a small, all-weather solar storage system allowing energy to be stored for 15+ years without batteries.

Using a molecule called an isomer which changes shape when reacting with sunlight, it's an innovative electricity generator for the small electronics market for use any time of day, season or geographic location.

Meanwhile, residents in South Korean capital Seoul highlight the benefits of rooftop solar panels allowing them to monitor home appliance usage and daily electricity consumption via smartphone.

The move forms part of the Government's 3rd Basic Energy Plan 2040 with 100 energy-independent communities already existing and providing decentralised microgrid electricity generators.

The solar panels function with only three hours' sunlight per day, produce only 3% carbon emissions, are subsidised 90% local government funds and reduce residents' electricity bills by an average US$38 per month.  

From hi-tech research scientists to enlightened individual citizens, every solar investment counts – anytime, anywhere.

SOURCES:

  • Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Department, Chalmers University, Holland
  • 'Energy for the Future for Energy Independence', Arirang TV, 01/04/22

[16/04/22]: New solar solutions

While British scientists are promoting easily explained new developments in affordable, manageable solar tech, the Government has been criticised by Solar Energy UK for ignoring the huge potential of solar power as part of the nation's energy mix.

Companies such as Sunnica Energy Farm are investing in a new 1,536-acre site in Cambridge comprising four separate sites of 57 to 633 acres.

“If you want to move quickly, solar is the best solution”, Solar Energy UK explained.

Solar panel prices have dropped dramatically in a decade  by 80% overall.

Currently in the planning stage, this much-needed venture will create 1,685 new jobs during the construction phase of which 1,483 will be within 45 minutes driving time, while the operational phase will generate 29 new jobs, the vast majority of which will be within a 45-minute drive.

SOURCES:

[17/03/22]: Simple solar solutions

Live TV broadcast from San Agustín de Guadalix in Madrid interviews local people explaining the ease, low costs and environmental benefits of solar installations for homes and businesses.

Average investments of €6,000-€9,000.

From 29/03/22, the Spanish Government will introduce measures to reduce high energy bills.

SOURCE: La Hora de La 1, La 1, 17/03/22

 

[01/03/22]: Solar solidarity now more than ever

EU Energy Ministers made the right sympathetic noises as gas and electricity prices sky-rocketed to levels where few households were able to enjoy a “Happy New Year”.

Today, forced to act in the face of Russia's inexplicable war against Ukraine, they've finally decided to convene with the aim of ramping up efforts to reduce the bloc's dependence on Russian gas.

Solidarity with solar energy producers is needed now more than ever.

 

[04/02/22]: Extreme energy conservation

Exactly 25 years ago, I moved into an East London apartment my best friend had recently bought – he dealt in stocks and shares at Chase Manhattan Bank in the City while I freelanced as a writer working in my bedroom.

Shocked to see the number of electrical appliances he needlessly kept on standby, I decided to switch off ALL the sockets except the fridge/freezer in an attempt to save energy and reduce his (and my) electricity bill.

When I went to take a shower, however, the water was so cold, I phoned his office to ask him to send a plumber round – forgetting I'd switched the boiler off as well!

In London yesterday, amid the highest cost of living crisis for 30 years, residents told TV reporters how they were reduced to heating their homes for one hour in the morning and two hours in the evening to avoid crippling energy bills which have risen four-fold in just 12 months. Others described shivering in their living rooms having resorted to wearing layers of jumpers, hats and gloves.

It's illogical that during these intervening years, little or no progress has been made on stabilising energy supply, prices and consumption.

Yesterday, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer promised £350 to every British householder despite the £700 hike in energy bills they can look forward to this April. That same day, the likes of Shell reported a “marvellous” jump in profits to the obvious delight of greedy shareholders.

If author Charles Dickens were alive today, he'd have a field day writing about fuel poverty and the treacherous conditions people are forced to suffer during the supposedly technologically advanced 21st century.

 

[15/01/22]: Spain's sun-baked pork

Solar panels are being used to heat pig feed barns in Huelva following successful results from solar thermal energy research at the Centre for Advanced Renewable Energy Technologies (CTAER Andalucía).

While feathers fly within Spain's meat industry after the Minister of Consumer Affairs slammed poor quality meat, bad livestock industry practices and advised people to reduce meat consumption, the CTAER cite solar-heated barns as an efficient, low-cost, carbon-free contribution towards mitigating the considerable volumes of methane emissions farm animals produce.

Spain is now among the world's top five meat exporters with pork seeing a 21% increase in exports between 2016 and 2020 – 34% of Spanish pork is exported to China.

SOURCES:

Centro Tecnológico Avanzado de Energías Renovables, 'El Rey Sol' ('The Sun King'), Documental Andaluces, CanalSur, 15/1/22

“No porkies”, The Olive Press, page 5, 12-25/1/22

 

[03/01/22]: Sun and sighs

Happy New Year, Everybody.

Or is it?

The tiny town of Nantwich in Cheshire, Northwest England, reached a record-breaking 15.8ºC on New Year's Eve – the country's highest temperature and the highest ever recorded for 31 December.

Málaga's Costa del Sol basked in 24ºC, unseasonably high even for the Sun Coast with swimmers taking to the Med for a New Year dip.

While Germany and Austria stand firm in decommissioning nuclear plants in favour of electricity generation using sustainable sources, the EU is pushing ahead with a proposal to INCREASE nuclear capacity across the bloc.

A proposal roundly rejected by Spain.

Hurray.

SOURCES:

  • UK Weather, BBC Radio 4, 1/1/22
  • Spanish TV weather reports, 1/1/22
  • Nuclear proposals, France 24 News, 2/1/22

[07/12/21]: Solar power steals the limelight

Without a shadow of doubt, a quick glance at the International Energy Agency's Renewables 2021 report reveals stimulating news for the global solar sector.

Driven by the increase in solar panel installations, renewable power capacity is on track “to set yet another annual record in 2021” with a 3% rise to nearly 290 gigawatts (GW) compared to 2020.

The solar sector alone accounts for more than half of this renewable power expansion while wind and hydropower output are on a similarly positive trajectory. 

The IEA's analysis and forecasts to 2026 show no sign of this pace slowing down, in fact growth will “accelerate to account for almost 95% of the increase in global power capacity.”

Due to COP26 public commitments by some of the most reluctant climate-denying governments – which climate campaigners will rightly be monitoring every step of the way – the growth in renewables across the EU “is set to outpace current National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030.”

Leading the charge (somewhat surprisingly given its no-show at COP), China is set to reach a combined wind and solar capacity of 1,200GW by 2030 while at the other end of the scale, renewable electricity in Africa and the Middle East is forecast to increase from 25GW in 2020 to 75GW by 2026.

According to the report, and relative to existing capacity, India's renewable power is growing faster than any other, “solar PV is expected to lead the way, aimed at achieving the government’s ambitious target of 500GW by 2030.”

And despite the shaky start to the decade under fervent climate denier Trump, “renewable capacity in the US is 65% greater over the 2021-26 period than in the previous five years.”

With UN SDGs 7, 11 and 13 in mind – Affordable and Clean Energy; Sustainable Cities and Communities; and Climate Action, respectively – reaching those 2030 targets should be a priority for each and every one of us.

SOURCE: Executive summary, Fuel report December 2021, Renewables 2021, IEA, https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2021

 

[18/11/21]: SunPower and Solax Spain

…THIS IS NOT AN ADVERT…

As a copywriter, I love snappy, descriptive brand names.

Saw solar panel supplier SunPower and solar battery manufacturer Solax in an exhibition feature about Spain's sky-rocket electricity price rises – “por las nubes” (“in the clouds”). TOO RIGHT.

The TV debate quoted 5,000-8,000 home installation costs, a 50%+ subsidy and 40%-60% savings on energy bills.

One reporter's 70-year-old mum easily controls solar generated electricity at home via a simple hand gadget.

SOURCE: La Hora de la 1, 18/11/21

 

[17/11/21]: Spain's solar brain cells

Great to see so many high-minded professionals talking about solar panels this morning.

Research scientists from the Universities of Laguna, León, Málaga, Nebrija and Salamanca were singing the benefits of solar energy installations while being interviewed on Spanish rooftops.

The universities explained new developments in solar panel efficiency in a non-technical way – making it easy to understand for TV audiences now more engaged than ever in the global climate challenge and the urgent need for a faster transition to renewable energies.

SOURCE: La Aventura del Saber (The Adventure of Knowledge), La 2, 17/11/21

 

[14/11/21]: COP26 takeaways and a toast to Italian food

Co-hosted by the UK and Italy, the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit concluded in Glasgow, Scotland today having been extended beyond its 12 November deadline – leaving a bitter taste in the mouth for developing countries bearing the brunt of increasingly ferocious climate events developed nations are unwilling to help finance.

On Day 5, leaders of 45 of the 197 countries attending pledged to create sustainable agriculture and land use, calling for “urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming” targeting 100 million farmers, backed by a £500m Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Roadmap and a £65 million ‘Just Rural Transition’ fund as we move towards 2030 development goals and keeping global temperature rises to 1.5oC. (SOURCE: COP26, 06/11/2021, https://ukcop26.org/nations-and-businesses-commit-to-create-sustainable-agriculture-and-land-use/)

 

Italy – one of Europe’s most culturally important food producing countries

In London, I had the pleasure of living next door to a woman born and raised in Rome. She invited me to a two-week holiday in the Italian capital where I was treated to its delicious world famous foods.

Read full blog on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/prowriteandedit

 

[02/11/21]: Big bucks behind people-planet promise

Day 2 of the COP26 Climate Change Summit jointly hosted by Glasgow and Rome: the Green Earth Foundation fronted by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has hooked up with IKEA and the US Rockefeller Center to launch the Global Alliance for People and Planet.

Speaking in Rome, World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said: “We need the world's billionaires to step up to the challenge.”

WTS for details about the GAPP and what it will really mean for Earthlings…

 

[24/10/21]: Solar panel protests, Málaga to Madrid

Citizens across Spain were up in arms last week, marching through Madrid holding protest banners against plans for new large-scale solar panel installations.

Organised by campaign group Aliente (Alianza Energía y Territorio/Energy & Territory Alliance), dozens of Málaga residents, businessowners and 170 organisations gathered in the Spanish capital to make their voices heard in a peaceful street demonstration.

Located in the middle of the Spanish mainland, Madrid is a sunspot like few others with summer temperatures regularly exceeding 45ºC. Málaga meanwhile, on the appropriately named Costa del Sol, produces 3,059 hours of sunlight per year, according to State Meteorological Agency AEMET.

With a green post-Covid recovery a key focus of the COP26 Climate Change Summit starting 1 November in Glasgow, Scotland, it's little wonder Spain's abundant sunshine is being harnessed for solar power generation, however, the Madrid protestors demand “a distributed, fair and more democratic” model of energy transition taking into account “the locations, their biodiversity, their rights and their real options for the future.”

As quoted in my blog [05/07/21], “Renewables, yes, but not like this” is the protestors’ principal concern with 10 million+ square metres of land across Málaga province alone earmarked for solar power plants.

SOURCE: 'Málaga protesters take part in Madrid march against solar megaparks', SUR in English, 22-28/10/21

 

[10/10/21]: “Solar panels are the solution”

According to Spain's laSexta TV, communities of residents could lower crippling electricity prices by 30% over two years by investing in solar panels.

Kill two birds with one stone – save the planet AND pocket the expense.

SOURCE: laSexta Noticias, 10/10/21

 

[06/10/21]: COP26 countdown continues…

…While Europe's gas and electricity prices reach new heights.

Rarely since the 1970s has power generation undergone the current level of scrutiny and need for transparency.

Key structural issues at corporate and consumer levels include the current and future energy mix, reliable storage and energy security given fluctuating weather conditions hampering wind and solar generation, and unpredictable impacts on grid capacity, output and costs.

The introduction of electric cars, buses, trains and planes, digital meters and the prevention of energy poverty need to be addressed as identified risks with COP26 offering opportunities to apply innovative, sustainable solutions.

 

[28/09/21]: Through the roof, volcano style

Spain beats new daily wholesale electricity price record at €182.71 per MW/h, rising to €189,90 tomorrow (29/09).

Having extinguished ferocious forest fires surrounding Estepona last week, authorities in Málaga are ramping up solar panel installations across the Province. These can't come into operation too soon.

Natural and manmade events have formed a “perfect storm”… while we can't escape the harrowing experiences and damage done to communities in the Canaries powerless against the La Palma volcano, we NOW have the need, the power AND the money to launch the Green Revolution into overdrive.

 

[20/09/21]: Blue Monday2

Solar solutions NOW!

Extortionate energy prices have spread to France and the UK…

BBC World Service just reported wholesale UK gas prices have risen four-fold since January!

Smaller gas suppliers collapsing like dominoes leaving corporates to run the show!!

Price for a tin of baked beans rising from 20p yesterday to 80p today!!!

Gas shortage strangling chicken production, could be only half the number of Christmas turkeys on the table!!!!

“It's about whether we can keep the lights on before we even get to Christmas,” one observer commented.

Energy mismanagement proves they're ALL TOTAL TURKEYS.

 

[13/09/21]: Blue Monday

Spain’s sky-high wholesale electricity price has broken yet another record today reaching €154.16 per MW/h.

What was €40.39 per MW/h in Sept. 2020 has shot up above Friday's €152.32 per MW/h (see 11/09/21).

Up, up and away… This is by far the most expensive in Europe – probably the world.

I sent solar panel queries to neighbours in my apartment block last week, much interest raised, unsurprisingly.

While we wait for a potential solar installation, I’m changing my Endesa supply tariff THIS WEEK.

 

[11/09/21]: Solar sharing

During the week Spain recorded its highest ever electricity price – 152.32 per MW/h compared to the previous record-breaking rip-off €140.89 MW/h a day earlier – Enel solar plant in Carmona, Andalucía featured in the new weekly series of agriculture programme, Agrosfera.

Land on which the solar plant operates “shares not competes” with sheep farmers and commercial beehives where bee-attracting flowers help to produce a singular brand of “miel solar” (solar honey).

Hopefully the sweet price of solar honey doesn't give consumers electric shocks like they see in their massive monthly bills.

SOURCE: Espacio Protegido (Protected Space), Agrosfera, CanalSur, 11/09/21, https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/agrosfera/ 

SEE below [19/05/21]: Solar bees honey buzz

 

[06/09/21]: More panel power

Bright start this morning watching a profile of Núñez de Balboa solar plant in Badajoz, Spain.

Generating 500Mw of installed capacity, it's Europe's biggest photovoltaic plant, managed by international energy company Iberdrola.

SOURCE: Escarabajo Verde (Green Beetle), La 2 TV, 6/9/21

 

[03/09/21]: Panel power

Reports of dramatically efficient solar panels on the horizon can only be good news.

A fine layer of a special crystal substance called perovskite is placed on each panel surface, massively pumping up the power output of standard panels.

The material is so dynamic it can be taped onto the sides of buildings and soaks up light from the ground, reducing carbon emissions and energy costs.

SOURCE: Bloomberg Markets, Bloomberg TV, 2/9/21

 

[25/08/21]: Small solar solutions

Caught the re-run of a heated debate, Can we run the world on electricity?

Highlighted African women successfully running tiny home businesses using solar-generated electricity.

Way to go world, let's speed up the scale and pace.

SOURCE: The Inquiry, BBC Radio 4, released 12/8/21, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct1z2b

 

[06/08/21]: Green grass gas solution

Interviewed on UK Channel 4 News this evening, Dale Vince OBE, Director of Ecotricity Group Ltd, said 28 million homes could be powered by biogas derived from Britain's copious hectares of grassland – a wholly new resource to complement the wind and solar energy mix.

Adding a new dimension to the concept of harvesting the land, there is, apparently, enough of this abundant untapped fuel source to produce the green gas of the future.

Why on earth hasn't this been thrown into the mix before?

The news comes as UK households brace themselves for an average £150 energy bill price hike this autumn, which explains why the nation is now clutching at straws to introduce cost-effective clean alternatives.

Necessity really is the Mother of invention.

 

[26/07/21]: Cancel culture dream comes true

There's much criticism about student campuses cancelling appearances by speakers they're opposed to.

Casares council in Málaga has listened to residents' complaints about inconvenience and environmental impacts by temporarily suspending new solar parks and wind turbine projects.

Controlled, regimented planning is the priority.

 

[12/07/21]: More anti-solar anger

See 03/06 and 05/07 below for the anti-solar resentment building up among several Spanish communities.

Local press report that residents in five more Andalusian towns have united against solar panel farms citing environmental concerns.

One person's green energy makes others see red.

Councillors in Álora have gone so far as to open a special office to process complaints – 300+ received by the deadline, leaders decided to keep it open.

They also voted to freeze new solar park projects and planning permission for a year.

It's a few steps forward, many steps back in the developing solar debate.  

I repeat my question: Why can't the EU's most sun-laden nation – blessed with a massive landmass – strike a balance between solar plant demand and environmental protection?

There's collective fury over Spain's recent electricity price hike, so cheaper, greener solar-powered electricity generation must form part of the solution.

 

[05/07/21]: Spain's anti-solar protestors march on

In Europe's sunniest country – where solar energy use is way below what it should be – street protestors came out in force again (see 03/06 below), this time across inland areas of Málaga covering the Guadalhorce Valley and Sierra de las Nieves skiers' paradise.

Demonstrators gathered outside regional government offices in central Málaga with banners proclaiming “Yes to renewables but not like this!”

With 100 solar schemes in the pipeline, the protestors cite compulsory land purchases and “the destruction of valuable natural environments.“

Spain is blessed with a huge landmass. A balance has to be struck between protecting valuable natural environments and harnessing the enormous potential of the sun's natural energy.

This will not be the last anti-solar campaign in this or other parts of the country.

 

[29/06/21]: World's first solar-powered hearing aids

Innovation knows no bounds when it comes to solar energy.

Over the weekend, CNN profiled Deaftronics CEO Tendekayi Katsiga from Botswana who designs customised solar-powered hearing aids for children.

Each bright yellow device features a cartoon character to help destigmatise children with disabilities, helping to inject a sense of fun into the serious subject of youth education.

Applause all round for Katsiga and his team – this invention is bound to see demand increase across the world.

SOURCE: African innovators help empower children with disabilities, CNN, 26/06/21

Watch the video here, https://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2021/06/25/botswana-tendekayi-katsiga-deaftronics-nigeria-crystal-chigbu-irede-spc.cnn

 

[15/06/21]: Dramatic drop in solar panel financing

The sun continues to shine on American households as they take advantage of the dramatic drop in solar panel financing.

According to New York-based Bankrate, solar panel installation costs have plummeted 70% in the past decade – dropping 5% in the past year alone.

Who wouldn't invest in future-proof home improvements while saving the planet at bargain prices?

Bankrate have created a new guide to help Americans keen to join this solar revolution.

The guide uses non-technical terms and breaks down everything they need to know to finance residential solar power installations, including installation costs and savings homeowners can make, explaining how solar panel financing works, and the attractive tax benefits solar power generates.

The guide is available at https://www.bankrate.com/loans/home-improvement/solar-financing/
SOURCE: Bankrate, Inc., 14/06/21

 

[05/06/21]: WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

A day to remember – every day of the year.

A day for real action by every man, woman and child.

Humanity and biodiversity depend on it.

 

[03/06/21]: Electric fault lines

Following consumer complaints of extremely high electricity bills in April – and the highest ever price increase in May – it's been a highly charged week for Spain's electricity companies.

Sunday: Attempts to generate clean electricity were shot down with residents and business owners taking to the streets of Castellar de la Frontera in Cádiz protesting over plans to create Europe's biggest solar energy plant covering 2,400 hectares of agricultural land. Complaining about the risk of hundreds of job losses among citrus and avocado growers, including compulsory land purchase orders, protest banners read 'Sustainable energy, yes – but not like this! and 'YES to agricultural producers, NO to electric substations'. SOURCE: Andalucía Directo, CanalSur2, 02/06/21  

Monday: A new pricing system was introduced for households and businesses based on when electricity is consumed rather than how much.

The most expensive rate applies between 10am – 2pm and 6pm – 10pm.

Standard rate applies from 8am – 10am, 2pm – 6pm and 10pm – midnight.

The cheapest time to use appliances runs from midnight to 8am, and during weekends and holidays.

We're repeatedly encouraged to switch to electric cars and public transport yet electricity price hikes are understandably a big turn off.

Tuesday: Responding to the outcry over people forced to change daytime consumption patterns, witty social media pundits posted photos of washing machines moved into bedrooms to take advantage of cheaper overnight usage with one showing Frankenstein waiting till midnight to plug power into his monster.

Wednesday: Adding insult to the injury felt by users forced to do the ironing at 4am, a female Government Minister found time to joke that the issue isn't about when to do the ironing but who does this hated chore. Intending to make a point about women's inequality, Spanish media was not im-'pressed'.

 

[19/05/21]: Solar bees honey buzz

A pioneering project using temperature-controlled beehives is creating a buzz in Spain and beyond.

In the town of Carmona, Sevilla, fourth generation beekeeper Juan Ignacio and his son are producing honey under the brand name Loramiel on-site at electricity company Endesas solar plant in Las Corchas.

Combining tech and “the purest tradition” to create intelligent hives, honey produced at the solar apiary is not only used by the local Santa Clara Convent and Garcia Martin bakery, but features a product label designed by local disabled people.

Wishing them sweet success!

SOURCES: Canal Sur Noticias, CanalSUR, 15/05/21 & ABC de Sevilla, 04/05/21, https://sevilla.abc.es/provincia/sevi-colmenas-inteligentes-endesa-producen-miel-solar-acaban-establecimientos-carmona-202105041629_noticia.html

 

[03/05/21]: Spain-Africa climate change challenges

Extracts from Spains “Focus on Africa 2023” programme:

“Africa and Europe are facing realities that we already viewed as pressing before the pandemic. The reality of climate change, not just as regards the need to reduce the effect of climate change, but also to adapt to a reality that exists, which is the climate change in our countries.

We want everyone to feel affected and involved in this great disruptive transition for our societies that digitalisation presents…both from the perspective of climate change and the fight against discrimination or in favour of equality and the eradication of poverty, these are also priority challenges for the Government of Spain.

We also want to see sustainable, just and inclusive economic development of all societies in Africa by supporting regional African integration, the fight against climate change [and] boosting the ecological transition.”

SOURCE: “Focus on Africa 2023” programme, Spanish Government, https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/presidente/intervenciones/Paginas/2021/20210329focus-africa-speech.aspx

 

[23/04/21]: ‘Green back’ investments – US returns to climate talks

Earth Day 2021 couldnt be more significant.

As Earths second biggest polluter, seeing US President Joe Biden host Washington’s two-day virtual Leaders Summit on Climate signalled the way forward following Trumps reckless ignorance of the pressing climate agenda.

Biden repeatedly focused on the socio-economic opportunities environmental action offers rather than the threats of continuing inaction.

Anyone whos anyone in the global leadership league didnt fail to make an appearance alongside bold promises to clean up their act.

Having covered up coronavirus until it was too late to contain, Earths biggest polluter China was keen to play a starring role, promising to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060.

Trumps fellow climate denier Jair Bolsonaro even spoke of greater guardianship of Brazils Amazon Forest having claimed for years that the Earth’s lungs are his nations property to be exploited by greedy commercial interests.

”Wind, water and sun will get us out of this climate crisis”, said Michael Dorsey from the Sunrise Movement.

Weve abused Earths natural assets for far too long – ITS FINALLY TIME TO PUT THEM TO GOOD USE.

 

[06/04/21]: 10,000 years of soil and solar

Fascinating history explaining how agriculture developed.

“The grain we harvested turned the suns rays into energy currency…likes the grains, animals were converting solar energy captured by pastureland into high-protein food.”

More food energy meant more people – the origins of population growth... “a solar energy revolution.”

SOURCE: A Pyrotechnic History of Humanity: Agriculture, BBC Radio 4, 6/4/21, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000tt7x

 

[02/04/21]: NOT a Good Friday…

People are slowly starting to resurface after weeks and months of sporadic lockdowns, plans in place to celebrate a second Easter with reduced friend and family gatherings.

Spring itself is cause for celebration, bringing sunlight, warmth, the sight and sound of migrating birds, and flowers starting to bloom in all their colourful splendour.

Yet it was horrifying to hear an analysis of global wildfires on Spain’s LaSexta News: 2020 was a record-breaking year which saw the catastrophic destruction of trees, woods and forests – human (mis)behaviour on a scandalous scale, choking the lungs of the Earth we all rely on to live and breathe.

While it was pleasing to see people strolling through streets with palm fronds in hand on Palm Sunday, will there be palms or other plants for us to enjoy in the near future?...

 

[23/03/21]: Essential education for 9 to 99-year-olds

Fact-filled forecast of our future, ’2030: Climate in Crisis’, @NHKWorld, https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/tv/documentary/20210321/4001388/

 

[01/03/21]: Climate criminals – GUILTY!
Insightful interview with Paul Polman, CEO of climate change coalition IMAGINE, discussing the “intergenerational crime we have committed against the environment.”

With offices in London, Amsterdam, New York and LA, IMAGINE brings together CEOs of the worlds largest companies to use their “collective power to drive change on tipping points in their industry – from greenhouse gas emissions to labour standards to biodiversity.”

SOURCES: Newsline, NHK World-Japan, 01/03/21; https://imagine.one/

 

[02/02/21]: Extreme weather conditions…

With Spain experiencing a dramatic chopping and changing of weather conditions – unprecedented levels of snow and tennis ball hailstones one week followed by sweltering 22ºC winter temperatures the next – wildfires have become the hallmarks of Australians daily life as the southern hemisphere summer unfolds.

Two countries with a significant landmass, both heavily dependent on agriculture, what can we learn from authorities’ current and future climate policies?

 

[25/01/21]: America reawakened

After four years in the wilderness, the US is back where it belongs – leading the fight against catastrophic environmental disaster by signing up to the Paris Climate Agreement Donald Trump unceremoniously withdrew from.

Under President Bidens sensible stewardship, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry humbly apologised for Americas absence, promising “significant” funding during todays virtual Climate Adaptation Summit to mobilise finances, attended by 120 countries.

As always, actions speak louder than words – more so now than ever as extreme weather events ratchet up across the globe.

The world is watching and waiting – online and in real time.

 

[19/01/21]: Spain, Portugal share solar solutions

Spanish-owned Grenergy Renovables is building one of Spains largest solar parks in Los Escuderos, Cuenca, featuring some 342,000 solar panels.

When completed, the annual 385GWh of electricity generated will be supplied to Portugal for the first 12 years then sold on the open market.

The plant is estimated to prevent 107,800 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Headquartered in Madrid, the company operates in Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Argentina – a growing global presence providing green solutions beyond European borders.

SOURCE: https://grenergy.eu

 

[09/01/21]: Extreme weather is NOT a bad dream

Climatologists and environmentalists were right: extreme weather warnings resulting in hotter summers, uncontrollable forest fires, flash floods, landslides and freezing winters are affecting all corners of the globe.

The EUs Copernicus Climate Change Service confirmed on 08/01/21 that 2020 and 2016 were the warmest on record.

Already a bleak beginning in practically every social aspect, January 2021 has seen “Storm Filomena” leave three dead in Spain among -36ºC temperatures and up to 2 metres of heavy snow across the country.

Regions including Andalucía, Castilla la Mancha, Catalonia and Toledo recorded their lowest winter temperatures since 1961.

In Madrid, thousands of residents are unable to leave their homes, vehicles trapped on motorways for days. Spain’s Minister of Transport enacted a state of emergency, train operator RENFE was forced to suspend all trains in and out of the city while international flights were grounded.

Normally sun-drenched Málaga experienced four days of non-stop torrential rain and biting winds made headlines around the world – a brief respite before more battering (forecast to continue for a week), streets cleared of even the most resistant Covid lockdown citizen. Two of the victims were sadly from the province.

Global society stubbornly refuses to heed natures warnings. The combined effects of a man-made pandemic and extreme weather events might finally wake us up.

 

[03/01/21]: Thumbs down for greenwashing

Theres no better way to welcome 2021 than news of the massive reduction in greenhouse gases resulting from global Covid lockdowns.

Sceptical of how long it will take before normal human activity resumes and reverses natures good work, Bloomberg Green hoped authorities were genuinely trying to tackle climate change with a holistic, sustainable approach rather than “just installing solar panels”.  

BG singled out “climate laggers” including the US and Australia for their slow uptake of renewables and “20-year” climate objectives.

Why the long wait to convert warm words into action? The US Biden-Harris administration has vowed to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement on entering the White House on 20/1.

Three cheers to that!

SOURCE: Bloomberg Green, 2/1/21

 

[30/12/20]: Nigeria exploits solar resources

As West Africas economic powerhouse, Nigerian entrepreneurs are generating global news for fuelling the countrys increased solar energy take-up.

Highlighted by CNN, some of the nations schools are enjoying the advantages of green electricity supplied by rooftop solar panel installations by Arnergy Solar Limited who “provide clean, reliable, affordable solar energy solutions to homes and businesses,” covering industries/sectors including education, financial institutions, SMEs, healthcare and hospitality.

Reliability is fundamental in a region experiencing frequent power cuts and heavy reliance on noise polluting generators.

Affordability is vital in a country ranked 27th for GDP by the International Monetary Fund.

Having remained in 27th place since 2019, @arnergy and other solar operators should soon begin to contribute to Nigerias increased GDP growth.

SOURCES: Inside Africa, CNN, 28/12/20 + IMF World Economic Outlook (Nov. 2020), Statistics Times, http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-ranking.php

 

[27/12/20]: Solar soars in the Land of the Rising Sun

Japan TV highlighted a new 10Kw solar panel installation supplying green electricity to 300 homes and junior schools.

I missed the mountain village name – who cares?

They care for the environment = we care.

SOURCE: The Signs, NHK-World Japan, 26/12/20

 

[13/12/20]: Green jobs on the horizon

Against a backdrop of elegant trees decked in lights, festive walls adorned with tinsel, and sprigs of holly dotted around homes and stores, the 12 days of Christmas countdown coincided with the UN Climate Ambition Summit, co-hosted by the UK and France in partnership with Chile and Italy.

Reporting “A Surge in Ambition and Action” on the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, UN Sec-Gen Gutteres declared: “We need to make a net-zero carbon world a reality now.”  

A reality echoed by CNBC in its call to educate the new workforce for green jobs of the future, highlighting the solar sector with abundant opportunities for Latinos, Africans and Asians – “the fastest growing global workforce.”

As the lights go down on a dismal year for all, we are united in a Christmas wish for a healthier, more sustainable 2021.

SOURCES:

Climate Ambition Summit, UN, 12/12/20, https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/get-ready-climate-ambition-summit

The Path Forward – Race & Opportunity in America, CNBC, 12/12/20

 

[25/11/20]: Sun down, sun up…

Across two sides of the Med:

Spain – People power backed by green campaign group Ecologistas en Acción are petitioning to stop construction of a solar farm near the Río Grande in Coín, Málaga. Locals claim the plan will destroy 2,000,000m2 of wildlife habitats, olive groves and fruit trees, a change in air currents will interfere with birds' flight path, and surface water and soil will be at risk from pollution.    

Greece – With German carmaker Volkswagen in the driving seat, the Greek government will transform Astypalaia into a unique green island of electric cars, buses and trucks powered by wind and solar farms for its 1,334 residents.

All renewable energies have pros and cons – the dilemma is weighing up the benefits to the environment vs. humans.

SOURCES: Greek Reporter + SUR in English

 

[08/11/20]: Climate change commitments

As the world breathes a sigh of relief that Terrible Trump is OUT, the planet welcomes the breath of clean, fresh air brought in by President and Vice President Elect, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

The pair have made climate change one of their four key priorities, vowing to re-join the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement Trump abruptly withdrew.

WTS for updates.

 

[02/11/20]: Fireguards international

Climate change concerns have been wiped off the face of front-page news – replaced with Words of the Year: Covid. Fire. Racism.

While the latter is a matter for an entirely different blog, Covid and fire are linked through politicians' current language.

Having made the fatal mistake of relaxing national lockdowns this summer, we're told new regional restrictions and nationwide lockdowns are two-to-four week “firebreaks” – conjuring up nature's fearsome power to combat the “second wave” of a made-made disaster. Like climate change itself.

Britain's Fire Brigade Union (FBU) raised the alarm this morning over their ability to attend simultaneous emergencies under tighter operational budgets. As the double whammy of climate change and Covid casualties continue wreaking havoc, there'll be demand for stronger fireguards in months and years to come.

Elsewhere, in a display of ultimate devotion to the Fire Gods, Japanese festival goers undertake a rite of passage carrying heavy flaming straw torches on their shoulders to the top of a steep mountain forest, cleansing the path without pause en route to a dramatic waterfall where a serene ceremony is performed.

While people in the West talk of fire as a tool to slow down or stop, those in the East toast its healing properties and symbolic significance with collective cultural respect.

SOURCES:

  • FBU, Today, BBC Radio 4, 02/11/20
  • Japan Fire Festival, Spanish TV broadcast, 02/11/20

 

[13/10/20]: Fairy tale forests on fire

Talk about blue Monday – extremely worrying listening to 'Costing the Earth: World on Fire'.

California, the Brazilian Amazon, South Asia, Siberia…

Notably:

“The Arctic Circle is warming 3 times faster than anywhere else.”

With an area “about the size of England” raging through Siberia's Boreal forests: “These two years have been very unusual – there used to be fires every 80 years, now it's every 10 years.”

Since the levels of carbon released aren't captured, the programme concludes telling us what we already know: “These fires are the ultimate warming – this is climate change in action.”

SOURCE: BBC Radio 4, 13/10/20

SEE below: [02/08/19]: Hot, hotter, hottest

 

[05/10/20]: Future focus US

“Why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?”

US Presidential candidate Joe Biden on the planet's four-year prospects if Trump is re-elected 29 days from now.

California-based environmental law specialist Jody Freeman said climate change represents an opportunity: “Infrastructure designed for the 20th century needs to be adapted for the 21st century. A leader on international climate change is a leader like Joe Biden.”

SOURCE: US Election: Climate Change, Roundtable, TRT World, 05/10/20

 

[24/09/20]: Spanish sun splash

Proving it knows where its priorities lie, Spain's Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITECO) launched a €316m package of subsidies for renewable energy projects including €181m for solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, biomass and renewable gas.

Aimed at saving the equivalent of 712,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, MITECO's mission is to increase renewables usage across all sectors.

Mission possible.

SOURCE: Green cash, The Olive Press, 16-29/09/20

 

[23/09/20]: Fire alarm

“Our planet has entered an age of fire.” – AL Jazeera news report on the unstoppable blazes ravaging West Coast USA, the Amazon, Australia and last year's first mass burning of Siberian forests.

 

[15/09/20]: Sunblock

Donald Trump's climate change denial is wholly to blame for some Republicans swapping sides, bent on voting for Biden.

Campaigning for the Democrats, former Republican Governor of New Jersey, Christine Dodd, told BBC News how fires raging from Canada to Mexico have blocked sunlight and stopped solar power production.

Double whammy for planet and people.

SOURCE: Newshour, BBC World Service, 15/09/20

 

[10/09/20]: Up in smoke, stuck in snow

As fires continue to rage across California – exercising the efforts and emotions of hundreds of fire crew and residents – America's entire west coast from Canada to Mexico received urgent wildfire warnings.

And as The Rockies reached the record-breaking September temperature of 100º – followed 18 hours later by snow storms – a hard winter has arrived early.

Denying climate change now?

 

[02/09/20]: Star gazing, sun worshipping

Broadcast the day scientists announced the biggest black hole yet – created as two massive black holes merged in space – The Sun, Our Star profiled the Big Bear observatory managed by New Jersey Institute of Technology, US.

Big Bear's solar astronomers share images from "the world's most powerful solar telescope – but you never put your eye to it."

Describing the sun's surface "churning with yellow bubbles", light emitted represents the solar photosphere – visible heat spots.

The Big Bear telescope features advanced image processing via mirrors especially equipped to diffuse heat using “adaptive optics” to show the sun's natural image – the highest resolution through the 63-inch lens measures the sun emitting 2 kilowatts of energy.

As we bid a fond farewell to a strained but sunny summer, we're told the sun will run out of hydrogen and expand many times its size before disaster strikes in 5 billion years. Let's use it – not abuse it – while we have time!

SOURCE: The Sun, Our Star: The Compass, BBC World Service, 02/09/20, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csy1qh  

Next week's episode: California – how to really harness the sun's energy

 

[19/08/20]: MIT's “energy triangle” – action not words

Ever faster Antarctic ice melt affecting global sea levels.

Raging forest fires ravaging a British golf course.

As if we need reminding, climate change is here and now – despite sustainable energy action put on the back burner to tackle Covid devastation.

In a new Transformation Map curated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “A transition to a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable, and secure global energy system is imperative while balancing the 'energy triangle': security and access, environmental sustainability, and economic development.”

While placing the onus on public policy and private industry to lead the zero-carbon emissions transition, every individual can and must play a part in shaping our energy future.

To this end – as an economist and renewable energy campaigner – I've submitted my Green CV to Prince Charles's GREAT RESET project.

Managed by the World Economic Forum as part of its Sustainable Markets Initiative, the Prince and WEF Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab foresee “a post-Covid world with a unique but narrow window to put planet and people first."

Action not words are needed to keep this narrow window of opportunity open.

SOURCE: Future of Energy, MIT/WEF, 18/08/20

 

[06/08/20]: Sun rise from nuclear ash

Japanese survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs on 6 and 9 August 1945, reflect 75 years later on the healing power of the sun and deep comfort seeing trees return to growth.

Non-survivors RIP.

 

[07/07/20]: Britain's great green giveaway

BBC Countryfile reports Government efforts to entice us to the countryside where invigorating natural landscapes, stunning scenery and a laidback environment await.

Raised in rural Cheshire and Staffordshire, I couldn't agree more – long-accustomed to simple pleasures surrounded by farmland, fields and allotments, and unexpected neighbourly delights like lunching on lollo rosso salad leaves hand-picked only 20 minutes earlier, and weekly farmhouse gifts of extra rich fresh dairy cream.

Yet I can agree more hearing new tree planting projects, reforestation, green mortgages and grants, giving our public spaces and private places the attention and resources they sorely need.

Part of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan – including a new Nature Recovery Network and exciting Northern Forest.

By 2025, some 75,000 acres of trees will take root; carbon reducing “direct air capture” projects will enjoy £100 million tech investments.

As green financing forges ahead, larger mortgages will become available – around £12,000 for homes with low-energy bills from solar panels, ground source heat pumps and electric car charging points.

Today, £5,000 grants were announced for home improvements including insulation.

Britain's great green giveaway gears up.

 

[05/06/20]: Ghana goes GrEEn

Following my trip to the Ghanaian capital Accra in 2013 to celebrate a milestone family birthday, it's great to hear the country's gone green thanks to a financial lifeline from a partnership between the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and The Netherlands' Embassy.
While electricity supply was sporadic during my two-week stay, generators plugged the gap so life ran pretty smoothly without incident.

Now though, with climate change action at the forefront of Government thinking, Ghana's GrEEn project – short for Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities – is reaping rewards for local communities.

By channelling partnership funds overseen by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development of Ghana, communities “will get the resources they need to implement green and climate resilient investments that will boost the employability of returning migrants, women and youth.”

As Ghana's green credentials continue to grow, a sustainable future is already on the horizon.

SOURCE: Going GrEEn for a Sustainable Future in Ghana, UNCDF, https://www.uncdf.org/article/5600/ghana-goes-green

See blogs below:

[13/09/18]: Ghana's solar sector heats up

[17/01/16]: Solar on the rise in West Africa

 

[28/05/20]: Kents solar star rising

The world’s biggest solar farm was given the green light today, making the north Kent coast the envy of every solar energy investor.

Developed by Hive Energy and Wirsol, Cleve Hill Solar Park near Faversham will supply low-cost, low-carbon power to 91,000 homes.

One million solar panels will carpet 900 acres at a cost of £450 million – lithium battery storage with safety the overwhelming priority will counter local concerns regarding the farm’s super-sized green footprint.

One million pounds in local revenue is forecast together with substantial job creation…the outlook for the region: bright with sunny spells.

SOURCE: BBC Radio 4 News

 

[11/05/20]: Virtual energy savers

The UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department is planning to enshrine in law a legal right to work from home in the wake of unprecedented labour market adaptations due to the coronavirus lockdown.

This “workplace revolution” can’t come too soon, not least for its hugely positive impact on reducing CO2 emissions.

Having been granted the right to work from home for three days by the visionary finance director of a former TEC (Training and Enterprise Council), a six-hour weekly commute from my east London home to my Canary Wharf office was replaced by a notable increase in productivity.

Using a company-bought laptop over a secure private network was a straightforward endeavour back in the Nineties – much more so today.

Germany announced this legal right a week earlier – as one of the world’s most productive nations, its lead would be wise to follow.

SOURCE: Ministers consider giving employees the legal right to work from home, Daily Telegraph, 09/05/20.

 

[04/05/20]: Durham: UK's greenest scene

Durham in northeast England drastically improved air quality and halved carbon emissions to be named the UK's greenest city by The Solar Centre.

Topping the list of 59 cities studied on 10 environmental criteria including CO2 emissions, waste, nature and transport, Durham's carbon emissions dropped 49% between 2009 and 2019, giving it an overall score across all criteria of 7.7 points out of 10.

Swansea in Wales came second with 7.23 points for its high recycling rate with Newcastle upon Tyne in third place with 7.05 points.

St Albans and Exeter occupying 9th and 10th positions respectively each scored 6.7.

London in 53rd place scored 5.16.

Contact me for my article, Green vs Greed.

SOURCE: The UK's Greenest Cities, https://www.thesolarcentre.co.uk/uk-greenest-cities/index.html

 

[24/04/20]: USA – Covid and out?

Talk about comic relief…a rare light moment amid Covid meltdown…

BBC report US Department for Homeland Research show sunlight, heat and humidity destroy the virus in the air and on surfaces while disinfectants slow infection rates.

One would think sun-drenched Spain could have been spared the highest death toll had strong sunlight played any part in defeating this disease.  

Nevertheless, bright spark Trump seized on the findings to suggest people could be purified if injected with disinfectant – “an outlandish” suggestion, according to the BBC with “Trump thinking aloud.” [Again.]

Rapidly rejected by his astonished advisers, I haven't laughed in a while, now I can't stop.

See 'Solar power heals the powerful', blog 07/04/20

 

[10/04/20]: Wind, solar lead the way in UK

Good news despite the lockdown:

“Wind, solar, biomass and hydropower accounted for 44.6% of electricity supplied between January and March, exceeding fossil fuels by 36%. Renewable energy now provides more than a third of the world's power.”

It's taken a long time to get here but we're FINALLY seeing results, so a loud round of applause to every individual and company doing their bit to go green.   

SOURCE: Renewables overtake fossil fuels for the first time, today's Daily Telegraph, front page

 

[07/04/20]: Solar power heals the powerful

“Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles.

One of British PM Boris Johnson's all-time favourite tunes, played as he recovers – we hope – from intensive care treatment for ongoing coronavirus symptoms at St Thomas' Hospital, London.

Solar energy couldn't be put to better use.

SOURCE: The World at One, BBC Radio 4

 

[05/04/20]: Strictly home isolating

Like birds and bees, human beings' natural instincts are to make the most of sunny weather.

Luckily for birds and bees, the spring season continues as nature intended – welcoming the return of warmth and light, they aren't at the mercy of a menacing invisible killer.

Humans, by stark contrast, are forced to stay at home, only daring to venture out in public to buy basic essentials or attend urgent medical appointments.

For the first time ever, I'd swap being a human for the carefree life of a dove...

 

[17/03/20]: GRIDSERVE grabs the headlines

GRIDSERVE – the global green energy company behind the UK's largest solar farm – grabbed national news headlines last night courtesy of ITV Granada Reports.

The ground-breaking  project by Warrington Borough Council, Cheshire, makes me proud to be a 'YIMBY' (Yes In My Back Yard), with Council Leader Russ Bowden explaining its vital role in meeting Britain's clean energy needs and tackling climate change.

An earlier press release saw GRIDSERVE CEO Toddington Harper say: “It’s our collective responsibility to prevent runaway climate change and protect species, so let’s be the change and make it happen.”

Proving the Borough is way ahead of the game, the project is ready for UK-wide rollout to provide direct solar generation during daylight hours and 30MW battery storage for night time use.

With more than 90,000 solar panels installed on an area spanning more than 100 football pitches, and plans in the pipeline for a nature sanctuary promoting biodiversity and protecting species, what's not to like?

Crucially, as confirmation of GRIDSERVE's commercial viability, the 34.7MWp solar farm in York is entirely free of government subsidies and generates millions of pounds for councils to fund essential services.

Topping it all, Nantwich, Cheshire, registered Britain's sunniest weather today – fitting of the region's sun-blessed natural assets.

SOURCES:

 

[07/03/20]: 2020 CD3 – Now you see it…

While “a week” used to be “a long time in politics”, seven days is a fleeting glance when it comes to the universe and solar system.

What's described as a Small Solar System Body, a tiny near-Earth asteroid called 2020 CD3 took space observers by surprise during the astronomical epoch of 1 March 2020 after it was discovered at the Mount Lemmon Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, US on 15 February 2020.

The orbital characteristics of the temporary satellite shows it orbiting around Earth and is expected to continue doing so until April 2020. Future approaches suggest it will orbit the Sun until 2044 with another predicted appearance around 2061.

Fascinating not only because its initials replicate my own (Chris Dove), but because “2020 CD3 has an absolute magnitude around 32, indicating that it is very small in size,” making scientific celebrities of astronomers Theodore Pruyne and Kacper Wierzchoś considering its diminutive diameter of around only 1.9-3.5 metres (6-11 feet).

Described as one of Earth's “mini-moons”, it appears to have remained undetected due to its faintness and “could not be linked to any known artificial object.”

Apparently, “although evidence implies that 2020 CD3 is mostly a dense, rocky asteroid, the possibility of the object being artificial has not yet been fully ruled out.”

SOURCE: 2020 CD3, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_CD3

 

[15/02/20]: Costa Rica-China green team

Watching Costa Rica's President Carlos Alvarado Quesada interviewed on 'Americas NOW' last night, waves of memories flooded back to my great three-week trip in the 90s.

Alvarado explained to China Global Television Network: “Transformation to renewables is a good investment to start now. We need to take people with us, be inclusive and open.”

Enhancing its decades-long reputation as the first to welcome ecotourists, Costa Rica was crowned UN Champions of the Earth 2019.

Its open arms philosophy incorporates China's Belt and Road Initiative – the world's biggest infrastructure project currently underway, dubbed the New Silk Road trade route connecting East, West, North, South and Centre – the right direction of travel.

Now the high-speed London-North of England rail network has been given the nod, China State Railway wasted no time bidding to build HS2 in five rather than 10-20 years with massive cost savings.

An offer any self-respecting rail commuter can afford to sniff at?

SEE Costa Rica renewables blog, 21/09/19

 

[12/02/20]: UK-built Solar Orbiter; UK's HS2 rail network

Literally getting the week off to a flying start, the UK-built Solar Orbiter spacecraft launched from Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida on its principal two-year mission to study the sun's polar regions.

European Space Agency and NASA scientists will observe changes affecting solar winds – trying to make sense of the firework display of charged particles spewing from the sun across the solar system. 

British brains and brawn built three of the 10 science instruments on board with international design teams led by University College London and Imperial College London.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council report a team spokesperson explaining, “Solar Orbiter instruments will combine data to get the most detailed understanding yet of how the Sun works and how its low corona is connected to the inner heliosphere.”*

Strengthening connections is the core objective behind England’s major new transport project HS2 High Speed Rail Network – Europe’s largest infrastructure initiative approved yesterday with a revised £106bn projected budget.

While a price CAN be put on progress, the project’s environmental sustainability has come under fire: 62 ancient woodlands will be cut down, compromising carbon reduction targets and green open space; notably negative impacts on already threatened wildlife; some 40+ Sites of Special Scientific Interest at risk.

Promising a boon for North-South mobility, the scheduled 10-20-year construction links routes I’ve frequently travelled – London, Birmingham, Crewe, Manchester and Leeds. To satisfy commuter and corporate demand to ditch air polluting cars, HS2 can’t come speedily enough.

*SOURCE: UK-built spacecraft designed to observe the Sun launches successfully, STFC, 10/02/20, https://stfc.ukri.org/news/uk-built-spacecraft-designed-to-observe-the-sun-launches-successfully/

 

[01/02/20]: Fresh food follows the sun

British food tastes evolved as a result of international travel, giving previously uneducated palettes a treat discovering food cultures far and wide.

Immigrant communities have had an incalculable influence on Brits' shopping, eating and restaurant dining styles – importing foodstuffs from native lands to cook traditional dishes in their adopted home.

Day One of Britain's departure from the EU sees the range, frequency and price of food imports thrown into jeopardy with tortuous negotiations ahead to minimise trade tariffs, customs duties and tight regulations.

Describing his concerns over the negative impact on food supplies, Julian Marks at Barfoots semi-exotic vegetable farms in Chichester says produce sourced from Spain, Senegal, Peru and elsewhere will all be affected.

“We follow the sunshine around the world to supply fresh produce 52 weeks a year,” Marks explained, putting complex time management and logistics planning decisions into perspective.

It's taken nearly four years since the Referendum to cut ties with the EU – Brits' renewed can-do spirit will no doubt rise to the challenge to sign and seal key trading bloc deals only 11 months from now.

SOURCE: Brexit: The Transition, Farming Today, BBC Radio 4, 1/2/20, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dxqc#play

 

[30/01/20]: Sparks fly – in a good way – world's largest solar telescope

Stunning new close-ups of the sizzling sun ranked top 5 in today's Newsfeed social media stories, #DKIST (TRT World TV).

The four-metre Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope at the National Science Foundation, Hawaii, reveals “explosive behaviour” around the sun's magnetic fields.

Highest-resolution images observe the sun's surface crackling like fiery volcano lava x1000s of times hotter – showing “specific fingerprints of hundreds of atoms and ions throughout the solar atmosphere.”

There's a serious side to the spectacular light show as the team study factors influencing space weather and its effect on satellites, power grids and communications infrastructure.

MORE: Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope https://www.nso.edu/telescopes/dki-solar-telescope

 

[08/01/20]: Solar-fuelled future food

Finnish start-up Solar Foods have created a taste-free, nutrient-rich protein that will be price competitive with soya within a decade – grown using electricity sourced from solar and wind power.

The “miracle” protein uses soil bacteria, hydrogen, 1/10 of the water and produces next-to-no greenhouse gas emissions.

In line with rapid advances in meat-free protein production – promoted this week at both the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas and the 80th Oxford Farming Conference in the UK what's not to like?

The focus on plant-based foods in extreme locations like Vegas and Oxford (hedonist vs. traditional) demonstrates the sector's unrivalled global potential.  

SOURCES: Food 'made from air' could compete with soya, Today, BBC Radio 4, 8/1/20 + Solar Foods Oy, Crunchbase

 

[06/01/20]: “Solar happenings”

Definition: Indigenous communities designing their own solar projects, not waiting for state authorities to initiate green infrastructure.

“Up in northern Minnesota, people are going solar – we're seeing many solar happenings.”

SOURCE: The Conversation, BBC World Service, 6/1/20

 

[30/12/19]: Solar vision 2020

During the same week BBC broadcast 'How does the Sun affect my body and mind'* – an exposé of the power of light on general health and wellbeing – the UK government will guarantee payments from 1/1/20 to households generating excess solar energy sold back to the grid.

NEW YEAR, NEW DECADE, NEW HORIZONS.

See [09/06/19] – Sunny skies for solar sales

* World Service, this morning

 

[17/12/19]: Iberdrola steps up wind and solar

Talking of “so much wind, so much solar” (yesterday's blog), renewable energy conglomerate Iberdrola has stepped up its wind and solar investments with a wide-ranging expansion strategy spanning the breath of Andalucía.

The company was a shining light launching the investments amid heated exchanges during last week's UN Climate Conference with the region's residents and businesses set to benefit from a DOUBLING of Iberdrola's green footprint with 1.100 MW of renewables:

  • its first 50 MW solar plant, El Andévalo, in Huelva
  • 150 MW solar installations in Sevilla
  • projects totalling 300 MW capacity in Granada
  • 210 MW solar installations in Málaga
  • a 36 MW wind farm in Martín de Jara
  • 30 MW solar installations in Cádiz.

These new projects totalling 776 MW will provide real power to real people as early as 2020 and 2021 – serving 600.000 homes, and adding to 856 MW already installed in Huelva, Granada, Cádiz, Málaga, Almería and Sevilla.

 

FULL PRESS RELEASE: Iberdrola duplica su apuesta por las energías limpias en Andalucía, con 1.100 MW renovables nuevos, https://www.iberdrola.com/sala-comunicacion/noticias/detalle/iberdrola-duplica-apuesta-energias-limpias-andalucia-1-100-renovables-nuevos

 

[16/12/19]: Hot air, damp squibs
Adopting the Spanish 'mañana' syndrome while falling to adopt urgent climate change targets, there were no ceremonial fireworks on display at the end of disappointing COP25 talks in Madrid.

“We have so much wind, so much solar – we just need politicians to back the solutions.” – Wise words from one economist concluding the event.

With 25,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries agreeing to postpone setting global CO2 emission levels, we'll hold our breath till COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland next year.

Christmas wish: Minimal extreme weather events wreaking havoc before then.

 

[7/12/19]: Solar saves Yemen

Good news seldom comes out of demolished Yemen – limited to choose between food or electricity, residents sought a natural alternative, solar energy.

The sun-blessed country has become the largest solar panel importer, used by businesses and households trying to pick up the pieces during an endless war, also powering a disabled man's electric wheelchair.

Necessity is the mother of innovation.

 

[3/12/19]: China's new sun

China's Academy of Sciences announced the creation of an artificial sun using nuclear fusion, able to produce clean energy without CO2 emissions.

The team aim to have a fully operational artificial sun by 2050.

SOURCE: China24, CGTN, 3/12/19

 

[3/12/19]: Soundbite 2, Madrid Climate Conference

“We should convert our energy system to solar, wind, hydro and nuclear...we have the means to reach these climate friendly solutions.”

Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization

 

[2/12/19]: Soundbite 1, Madrid Climate Conference

“We're all doing our bit, we just need to do a bit more.”

– Tom Burke, Director, E3G

 

[24/11/19]: SolarAid

BBC Radio made a Christmas appeal this morning – £40 for solar lights to help sub-Saharan school kids study after sundown.

Recounting the unnecessary deaths of 11 children after a candle burnt them and their homes to ashes, this is a life-saving cause any time of year.

SOURCE: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000bl11

 

[21/11/19]: Coldplay concerts to be “largely solar powered”

Multiple award-winning Brit band Coldplay prove cool creativity once again.

After launching their album playlist as a classified ad in a local UK paper, they've rejected wholesale air travel so won't be going on tour.

Choosing to perform in an empty stadium in Lebanon, gigs will be live streamed instead.

Band leader Chris Martin says they're doing their bit to reduce CO2 emissions.

“Future concerts will have no single use plastic and will be largely solar powered.”

While they're not climate preachers, he says “everyone will catch up if you prove it's easy to do it the right way, just accept you can do your best.”

Responding to the suggestion he's a hippy, Martin said, “I'm a hippy and I know it, clap your hands.” (In conversation with Colin Patterson, BBC World Service, 21/11/19)

 

[12/11/19]: Rise, Sunrise

Founder of America's climate campaign The Sunrise Movement promotes their mission: “joyous, raucous, determined, resolved”, repeating their call for a national roll-out of the Green New Deal to revolutionise the US economy.  

Featured on 'Earthrise', Al Jazeera, 12/11/19

 

[12/11/19]: Tale for our times

By Dario Poli, Diplomat Magazine:

“...since those heady days of our beautiful earth, many things have changed, I foolishly agreed to allow beings from another solar system to establish a base here known as the Garden of Eden.”

Thought-provoking read, good ending.

'New World, a modern fable', http://www.diplomatmagazine.eu/2019/11/02/new-world-a-modern-fable/

 

[04/11/19]: Spain saves Chile Climate Summit2

While waiting for a quick resolution to Chile's street protests, Madrid's confirmation as host of COP25 is great news.

 

[01/11/19]: Spain saves Chile Climate Summit

After violent street protests forced Chile to withdraw from the UN COP25 Climate Summit, Madrid has stepped in with a generous offer to host the 2-13 December meeting.

UN officials are assessing Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez's offer letter.

As one of the world's most stable countries – and as Christmas lights are switched on across many parts of the globe – what better gift to society than overseeing a key Summit addressing mounting climate change concerns?

 

[24/10/19]: China's huge steps backward – and forward

Silence accompanied news of the 39 frozen bodies of Chinese nationals discovered in a UK lorry.

The horror these people endured is unimaginable irrespective of nationality*, arriving at their intended destination for a better life in Britain – cruelly denied that noble objective.

Ambitious, hardworking Chinese seek every opportunity to advance themselves and their families. It's premature to blame Trump's trade tariffs and China's economic slowdown for driving desperate workers to risk that deadly voyage, but these factors must have contributed.

Ambitious, hardworking Chinese are front and centre of solar energy innovation – announcing a plan today to construct a massive solar park in energy-starved North Korea.

While wishing the fateful migrants RIP and their murders investigated and severely punished, new life chances could be generated through green jobs much closer to home.

*Following this post, victims were confirmed as Vietnamese.

 

[16/10/19]: Clean. Green. Cheap.

No, not my personal attributes – reasons for ramping up wind and solar energy.

Fun ideas and easily digestible but wacky tech aims to “bring everyone along and avoid an unpredictable cloud and sun future.”

There's solar film, a new one on me, such as “plastering The Gherkin (landmark London building) to generate electricity.” That I'd like to see – a possible improvement on the Thames River of Fire display celebrating the new Millennium.

Then there's fine-tuning what we've got and taking giant steps further, like massive “utility-scale batteries” – a natural extension from batteries we're familiar with.

Other “exciting and different” concepts call for deeper engagement with people, helping us become part of the solution.

SOURCE: Powering Britain, Costing the Earth, first aired 15/10/19, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009b3q

 

[08/10/19]: Nobel Prize for “solar-type star”

Nobel Prize for Physics awarded for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a “solar-type star” – changes long-held ideas about the universe.

E.T. phone home. Maybe extra-terrestrial life DOES exist...

 

[02/10/19]: Sun shines in Málaga for China's 70th celebrations

Celebrating 70 years of the People's Republic of China, CGTN TV highlighted Málaga's Picasso Museum – a fitting feature as Spain's “cultural hub” for its 'Culture Express' show yesterday.

The show also looked at Liverpool's Chinese restaurant heritage – many of which mum treated us to back in the day during her shopping trips as a theatre fabric buyer. I've yet to eat Special Fried Rice as nice.

BBC meanwhile praised China's Green Wall as a positive step in its forest protection measures – an eco brand name taking an original slant on the ancient Great Wall.

 

[25/09/19]: Rapid rise of solar

“The incredibly rapid expansion of solar energy has vastly exceeded predictions from the past; people are starting to recognise the opportunities that are here.”

– Climatologist Emily Shuckburgh, Cambridge University, UK.

SOURCE: Business Daily, BBC World Service

 

[23/09/19]: India, a shining light

“There's huge development in solar energy all over the world – India has a fantastic programme putting solar panels all over the place. Small countries and low-lying states lead the way: Sweden, Norway – they're really doing stuff...China's got a long way to go but it’s doing lots of work on renewables.”

– Prof Joanna D Haigh, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment, Imperial College London.

SOURCE: BBC World Service News, 23/9/19

 

[21/09/19]: Costa Rica renewables

Costa Rica's richly-deserved reputation at the forefront of renewable energy may be at risk from oil and gas prospectors oblivious to fossil fuel impacts – ignoring climate change science, blind to witty protest banners.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of people power promoting planet protection, amid last-minute speech changes for the UN's crucial Climate Action Summit this week.

Ever since touring Costa Rica's lush rainforests, jaw-dropping waterfalls and coffee farms years ago, the country's responsible environment policies left a lasting impression.

Through UN delegates, its government can renew a commitment to protect these precious natural assets.

 

[13/09/19]: Out and out solar

Latest important discovery outside our solar system unearthed by space scientists this week: exoplanet K2-18b.

Smaller than the sun and far from being fit for human habitation, it's the first known planet with a numerically significant amount of water to sustain some form of life – temperatures neither too hot nor too cool, i.e. a Goldilocks planet.

While the news coincided with India's unsuccessful moon landing, the space race continues to see if, how and when humanity will benefit.

 

[03/09/19]: Sun up

A climate change report by an influential group called the Club of Rome stresses the need for solar energy use to continue doubling every four years.

Now that the Green Climate Fund is coming on stream, the group have high hopes for Asian countries to lead solar investment projects as this region is at particular risk of the damaging effects of global warming.

“The region is great at smart tech”, the group highlight, “we must look at wellbeing as well as growth and move forward to a more humanist view of the world.”

 

[29/08/19]: Yes we can do our bit

Great to hear Greta Thunberg sailed into New York Harbour yesterday thanks to wind and solar power – and a BBC news report this morning featured Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry, saying: “Look how offshore wind and solar energy have developed, everybody was completely surprised how quickly that technology was developed and how affordable it has become.”

 

[14/08/19]: Greta sails with solar

Green teen Greta Thunberg sets sail from Plymouth to New York today for the UN's upcoming climate change conference.

Travelling on an eco-yacht powered by on-deck solar panels and wind turbines, we wish her a safe, low-carbon crossing as she prepares to address world leaders.

Refusing to fly to the key UN summit, she says her two-week trip “won't be comfortable, but I can live with that.”

Our climate change future won't be comfortable – we can make sure we don’t have to live with it.

 

[06/08/19]: Solar price slash

According to 'People Fixing the World', due to “an extraordinary transformation in the price of renewable energy, the cost of solar has fallen very quickly over the last 5 years. It used to cost $300 per megawatt hour, the global price next year will be on average $50 and in leading locations it will be $20-$30 – fossil fuels simply can't compete, they'll struggle to have a price of less than $50.”

SOURCE: BBC World Service News, 6/8/19

 

[02/08/19]: Hot, hotter, hottest

We don't need to be climate scientists to know that sweltering July temperatures were well above the norm, soaring to 38°-41°C in northern Europe while fires continue to rage across vast swathes of the Siberian Arctic.

Today, global data collected by EU climatologists confirms our worst fears: July was the hottest on record.

Accompanied by flash floods in several British cities, Barcelona and heaven knows where else, I defy ANYONE to deny climate change in action.

August is yet to unveil what she has in store – usually welcomed with its promise to bring the year's warmest weather.

Cue @StevieWonder's hit 'Hotter Than July'.

 

[31/07/19]: Rise of Sunrise Movement

Democrats lead the charge for the US Presidential Race 2020, placing climate change front and centre of their call to action.

With chief climate change denier Trump currently at helm, highly visible and vocal members of the Sunrise Movement aim to sweep him from power on a platform of environmental protection nearly everybody's talking about.

Campaigning starts NOW.

We live in hope.

 

[26/07/19]: Anyone for solar geo-engineering?

This new terminology was described by The Economist's environment editor as one of many tech solutions in the pipeline to help combat global warming: “Artificially cooling the planet by reflecting part of the sun's energy back into space...the sci-fi version with mirrors in space is very far off, but you could put some particles into the stratosphere and bounce the sun's energy back into space that way.”

Whatever scientists – and the media – want to call it, such solutions can't come soon enough.

 

[02/07/19]: South America's 100% sunblock

Total solar eclipse will be seen in Chile's Elqui Valley and Argentina.

Super clarity expected.

Lucky sunworshippers.

 

[01/07/19]: Holland = green, Spain = brown

“The Netherlands is always green, Spain is always brown” – a conclusion by climatologists at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, studying heatwave patterns and the impact of climate change on soil moisture properties.

Meeting last weekend in Toulouse, France – in the midst of Europe's mind-melting heatwave – they're predicting more extreme weather events and frequent heatwaves with greater intensity as global warming “attribution” increases the rate of climate change.

What can be more extreme than ½ a metre of hailstones in Guadalajara, Mexico, today following a week of 30°C temperatures, destroying buildings, cars and forcing 500 households to flee to safety???

 

[15/06/19]: Sunseap's “solar guy” speaks to CNBC

Frank Phaun, CEO of Sunseap, Singapore's leading solar panel retailer, spoke to CNBC last night.

Stressing the company's commitment to 100% clean energy, Phaun describes himself as “the solar guy” – something of an understatement by the man in charge of the sector’s most sophisticated solar tech installed in residential and commercial buildings.

 

[09/06/19]: Sunny skies for solar sales

Good news Sunday – Great Britain goes green with ordinary people now able to sell excess energy from solar panels back to the National Grid.

Lower cost electricity, kind to the environment.

Source: Sky News

 

[05/06/19]: Environment in the air

Today is World Environment Day – air pollution is this year's theme.

Besides China's notorious smog, Delhi, India, is highlighted as one of the most dangerous cities for citizens' health as death-inducing levels of pollution plague people going about their daily business.

Marking WED19, The Times of India states: Windmills and solar panels are the only solution to air pollution today.”

 

[03/06/19]: High hopes for UK-US climate talks

One of Donald Trump's first moves was to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and Green Climate Fund.

Arriving with his entire extended family for a 3-day red carpet date with the Queen, PM Theresa May has an opportunity – her last – to knock some sense into the principal climate change denier.

 

[27/05/19]: Green gains in Europe

As results rolled in from the European Parliament elections last night, German voters led the way with the Green Party making great gains.

An outcome repeated across many parts of the bloc as the electorate – myself included – placed their 'X' in support of pro-EU, pro-environment and pro-humanitarian policies.

“This was the climate election” one reporter commented, while the UK Greens spokeswoman said the public is responding to “the accelerating climate crisis.”  

 

[17/05/19]: Spreading the solar gospel

Landmark initiative by Nottingham City Council, UK, installing solar panels on affordable homes, enabling residents to save on gas and electricity bills while playing an important role in the fight against climate change.

I spent MANY wonderful weekends in Nottinghamshire staying with friends in Newark, enjoying picnics in secluded spots and Sunday pub lunches in one of Britain's most dynamic, youthful regions. The sooner solar panels cover the entire county, the better for local people and the planet. Well done #nottingham @MyNottingham.

Spreading the solar gospel far and wide:

Across the pond in Arizona, US, the Solar Summit 2019 focused minds on the power of this vital resource in the renewable energy mix. Hosted by Greentech Media, 14-15 May, public and private sector speakers presented energy efficiency strategies, analysed key market trends over the last 12 months as well as the growth of software applications used in research, monitoring and management #gtmSolarSummit.

Following a weekend in Vegas eons ago (my ex-partner won hundreds of $$$ playing Black Jack), our San Diego-based friend treated us to a personal flight over the Grand Canyon, Arizona's most popular visitor attraction – has to be seen to believe nature's true bounty and beauty.

Closer to home on 15-17 May, the Intersolar Europe Exhibition in Münich, Germany, saw the launch of the Solarize Africa Market Report and presented awards to the most innovative photovoltaic power plants, solar thermal technologies and electrical energy storage projects in Austria, Belgium, China, Finland, France, India, Israel, Jordan, Slovakia, Ukraine, US and, of course, Germany @Intersolar.

Next month's Intersolar Summit Spain, 18 June in Barcelona, highlights the sharp increase in interest the solar industry currently enjoys. Hosted by SolarPower Europe and the Spanish Solar Association UNEF (Unión Española Fotovoltaica), 20+ speakers will present opportunities surrounding grid parity, corporate sourcing, regulations and policy developments.

 Setting a shining example for us all, UNEF's Solar Forum will meet 22-23 October 2019 at Hotel Puerta de América, Madrid – a stand-out design and architecture marvel I reviewed a decade ago. WTS for updates on both events  @UNEFotovoltaica and check out Summit details at https://www.intersolar-summit.com/en/spain/intersolar-summit-spain.html.

 

[09/05/19]: Green Speech of the Week

“I have an agenda of things to do in design before I start pushing up daisies.” – Professor Ken Yeang, Green Architect, Principal, T R Hamzah & Yeang.

Before climate change concerns reached fever pitch, CNBC interviewed eco-starchitect Ken Yeang from the summit of a green skyscraper, re-broadcast this week on Managing Asia with Christine Tan.

Providing top leadership insights against the backdrop of 360° views, this money-minded Malaysian singled out Singapore as Asia's green hub, describing his design process behind the country's National Library Board – “a climate responsive building with lots of sunshades to imitate, emulate and replicate the properties of nature.”

Yeang calls this “eco-mimicry”, highlighting his latest project in Réunion near Madagascar (solar blog 30/04/19), based on “ecosystem services” weaving natural habitats into the built environment.

In the face of “sustainability inflation” – where green credentials are blown out of proportion to environmental realities – Yeang aims to teach ecological literacy to the next generation, changing perceptions of architecture to improve its impact on communities.

Ms Tan revealed Yeang's 4 Pillars of Design:

Function – the Holy Grail of architecture, along with Form

Criteria – budgets, cost controls, biodegradable materials, well-built structures

Beauty – speaks for itself

Happiness – gives people pleasure, marrying quality with cost.

At 72, Yeang adds Architecture as the 4th of the 3Rs: Re-use + Recycle + Restore + Reintegrate (that's 4 or 5, not counting Reading, Writing, Arithmetic!)

Key characteristics in collaborators? Leadership and entrepreneurial ability.

Legacy? “Ongoing endeavour; life. I have an agenda of things to do in design before I start pushing up daisies.”

CATCH UP NOW – Managing Asia with Christine Tan, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/03/22/eco-architect-ken-yeang-on-the-blueprint-for-his-green-designs.html

@hamzahyeang @ManagingAsia @ChristineCBNC #green #solar #SustainableEnergy @CNBCEnergy

 

400+ published articles covering modern architecture and global LEED projects (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design awards), including Top 10 green skyscrapers and Living Towers.

Contact Chris Dove: dovechris1@gmail.com

 

[08/05/19]: Steps in the green direction

@europeangreens quick off the mark today, launching their European Parliament manifesto @TheGreenParty.

The week started badly with worrying conclusions from the latest UN biodiversity report – thanks to selfish human action, 1 million animal and plant species are at imminent threat of extinction.

Among the 150 experts who spent three years writing the report, Greenpeace forests and climate campaigner Dr Christoph Thies says from Hamburg, Germany: “We are consuming for two planets and we only have one. We can change it.”

We're reminded that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture show the need for managed grazing models to achieve carbon neutrality and reduce beef, pork and lamb consumption (oh dear, the latter is my favourite).

The International Institute for Sustainability in Rio cites 80% deforestation of the Amazon, saying there's time before we completely destroy the planet but efforts “need to be scaled up.”

Glad I visited Rio and stayed in an Amazon eco-lodge 15 years ago...

 

[03/05/19]: Galvanising climate action – finally!

Britain announced a national climate emergency yesterday with the Climate Change Committee publishing a report aiming for the nation to lead the 21st century Green Revolution as it led during the 18th century Industrial Revolution.

The previous day, Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey sought to “spur on the excitement” of the Green Deal, critical of government for “reducing almost all support for solar power” and urging it to “properly seize the economic opportunities within the green economy.” A view echoed by the Scottish National Party's Drew Hendry.

Business Minister Chris Skidmore highlighted the government's “good news story when it comes to solar capacity”; Barry Sheerman MP called for “passion, innovation and enterprise”; while Alex Chalk MP warned the planet is “hitting climate change tipping points.”

Where there's political will, there's a way.

 

[30/04/19]: Heat, light – solar action

Solar made simple is the theme for this month's Sustainable Energy on CNBC, all we want – and need – to know about solar in one easily digestible format.

The show excelled itself with features on India's Solar Sahelis (Solar Friends) from Frontier Markets – an inspiring network of female entrepreneurs fighting fuel poverty in rural areas through the distribution of solar charged household appliances. As I write from Spain's sun-soaked Sohail district in Málaga, Costa del Sol, there's a natural connection following my journeys through Mumbai and Goa.

3GSolar, Jerusalem, just launched life-long solar batteries for indoor use in smartphones and domestic gadgets – bringing the benefits of solar tech to small home devices for the first time.

A friend of a friend lives in La Réunion – a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean. She's no doubt among the residents welcoming Reuniwatt's revolutionary solar rooftop solutions for futuristic weather forecasting today.

Sustainable Energy's lead feature is an interview with Upendra Tripathy, Director-General of the International Solar Alliance, attending the 'Green Grids: connecting Asia Conference' – a collection of the brightest industry brains pushing renewables and solar-generated electricity, key components of the clean global energy mix.

Held at Wilton Park, West Sussex, England, the event coincided with mass media attention on climate change in London and beyond.

CATCH UP NOW – Solar: Sustainable Energy, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/26/innovative-ideas-are-transforming-solar-power-part-one.html

 

[02/04/19]: Japan's solar searcher springs back to life
Continuing its mission to reveal secrets of the solar system, Japan's Hayabusa2 space probe sprang back to life after a dormant period recharging its solar batteries.

According to JAXA Space Agency, minerals have been found containing water within rock samples, as well as asteroids preserved intact since the birth of the solar system.

The search goes on for more fascinating finds.

Source: Newsline, NHK World Japan, 02/04/19

SEE BELOW: Jap-tech strikes again... [22/02/19]

 

[12/03/19]: Solar storm coming our way?

Researchers at Lund University in Iceland have found that two severe solar storms that caused massive power failures in Quebec, Canada in 1989 and Malmö, Sweden in 2003 weren't the last to impact Earth.

While the sun's radiation constantly bombards our planet, evidence based on ice core samples formed 100,000 years ago show a powerful solar storm occurred in 660BC.

The university's professor of geology, Raimund Muscheler, says: “If that solar storm occurred today, it could have severe effects on our high-tech society. Our research suggests that the risks are currently underestimated. We need to be better prepared.”

As Phys.org report, such a storm “poses a risk to the electrical grid, communication systems, satellites and air traffic.”

If we thought unregulated drones caused havoc with air space...

Read more at https://phys.org/news/2019-03-uncover-additional-evidence-massive-solar.html#jCp

 

[22/02/19]: Jap-tech strikes again...

There's no stopping Japanese innovation and who'd want to?

Only this morning, reports flooded through cyberspace of Japanese probe Hayabusa2 landing on an asteroid 300 million kilometres away, the beginning of its mission to collect space rocks holding secrets of the 4.6 billion year-old solar system.

An earlier attempt was aborted due to the asteroid's uneven surface, one had to be found “that was flat like a football pitch,” a JAXA mission spokesman explained.

Another enthused: “Touchdown was no problem, it was a success. This is a new beginning in asteroid science.”   

A Tokyo University prof could barely contain his excitement saying, “We want to collect more rocks this time,” while mission manager Takashi Kubota said, “Today, mankind's hand has reached a small bright star.”

Way to go, Nippon nerds – the probe is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of 2020 – in time to sprinkle stardust on the host nation's Olympic medal winners.

(Sources: Phys.org & NHK World Japan, 22/02/19)

 

[08/02/19]: Mijas, Spain – Turning Japanese? Hope so.

Back in 2014 – five years, already – I planned to launch a Solview360© smartphone app promoting Fuengirola, Mijas and Marbella walking tours, based on a Japanese TV programme I love, Somewhere Street.

Now NHK World Japan has come to our streets, screening Sunday 10 Feb, 15:10 + 23:10 Spanish time (or On Demand after).

Visiting the Costa del Sol for the first time (as far as I know, they previously toured Cuenca), the camera crew extol the quiet charm of Mijas – “a spectacular village with colourful flowers and whitewashed walls to fend off the powerful rays of the sun.”

Only last week, Marbella tourist information chatbot Venus was launched to help explore the town.

Japanese love tech, cameras and architecture. They had plenty to snap and chat about along the silent sloping streets in Mijas.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/tv/somewhere/20190210/4017086/

 

[26/01/19]: Spanish PM's great green speech, Davos 2019

While Spanish citizens basked in winter sun, snowy slopes in Davos welcomed Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for his Special Address at the World Economic Forum.

Before delivering a great speech about job creation in a digital age with opportunities to combat climate change under the Green New Deal, he summarised Spain's current position and future priorities (full transcript by Chris Dove, scroll down for green speech):

 

“Since the crisis, we run the risk of forgetting how we suffered, our mistakes and what we promised to change. Once the danger had passed we set our sights lower...our societies are still bearing the burdens of globalisation, reactionary populism and inequality...we must change now while we have some degree of freedom to do so.

“The economy is not self-serving, it serves people. We run the risk of creating new tech divides through loss of jobs to new digital platforms. We must ensure citizens are participants in this modernising revolution and we must devote every effort. Inequality is destroying us and all our societies; it is a source of destabilisation.

“We must go beyond the balance sheet to decisions that result in marginalised men and women, young people with limited prospects and workers that live in inadequate conditions despite their best efforts. The economy must always be at the service of the people.”

 

Referring again to the crisis: “If we have lost a decade, we have the obligation to win the one ahead, to recover what we have lost and take advantage of oppporuntites ahead.”

He went on to highlight tech as a source of progress. “We´re seeing ecology and the fight against climate change offer economic activity and gains in social well-being. We're seeing globalisation perceived as a challenge of national identity rather than a source of cultural wealth. We're seeing feminism distorted as pitting men and women against each other rather than a campaign for truly equal opportunities. We're seeing young and old as a chance for generational equity.

“Each of these challenges is the line that separate social progress from privilege. This contravenes our social contract and weakens our societies.

 

Citizens need to feel that their fates are in their own hands; that effort, talent and courage count for something; that they can make autonomous physical life plans.

“Our priority is to reverse this negative model for people to feel solidarity. This can only be reversed if politics and economics go hand-in-hand.”

Reaffirming his pride in Spain and denouncing the instability populism creates, the PM said: “Spain continues to lead growth among the main European economies and our prospects continue to be robust. According to the European Commission, Spain will grow above the Eurozone average until 2020.

“In 2019, we will create over 330,000 jobs; our risk premium is stable. In 2018, Spain was visited by over 82 million tourists. Spain inspires trust as seen in high levels of foreign direct investment for 3 reasons:

 

1. Social harmony including in the area of labour relations

2. Legal certainty

3. Strong institutions and companies

 

“I add a 4th: Spain is a singularly Europeanist country. Our identity is a modern Europe as a driver of change and community of values. Our identity also values the UN 2030 Agenda [on Sustainable Development Goals].

“One of my government’s priorities is to strengthen social cohesion out a sense of justice and to contribute to a more balanced economy.

“Another economic priority is energy transition under the Green New Deal to create new jobs. Spain is in a privileged position to make this change: we know what we need to do and we're going to do it.

“This change will mobilise €200 billion in investments over the coming decade, 80% of which will correspond to the private sector. We are creating wealth, jobs, opportunity and equality.”

 

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Special Address by Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain, 23/01/2019, https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting/sessions/special-address-by-pedro-sanchez-prime-minister-of-spain#

 

[18/01/19]: It's official – sunshine makes us healthy!

Sunworshippers in Spain have long appreciated the sun's capacity to brighten our lives, and now there's a growing focus on the power of the sun from an unlikely quarter – British author Linda Geddes, formerly of The New Scientist.

In her new book, Chasing The Sun: The new science of sunlight and how it shapes our bodies and minds, she says it isn't really a new science at all.

Recognising the sun's curative properties, Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians slapped liberal amounts of oily herbal concoctions all over their bodies and lay out under the sun for hours. Before Costa del Sol sunbeds were ever invented, these were the original sunbathers – no doubt kept cool being fanned by some unfortunate eunuch, passing out from weary arms and an absence of shade.

According to Geddes, it was late-18th century Danish doctor Niels Ryberg Finsen who discovered the ability to magnify sunlight as a cure for TB. Originally from the Faroe Islands, and due to low light levels in Arctic regions, he found artificial UV sunlight could heal all manner of ailments.

As the number of health spas increased, sunbathing went to extremes – even babies suffering from rickets were forced to wear dark goggles while standing in front of walls of UV lights. Luckily the craze died down as the benefits of Vitamin D absorption in moderation was discovered for maintaining healthy bones, and medication in the form of affordable pills became available.

Next it was nurse Florence Nightingale who recommended the sun's energy to enhance people's moods. Sunlight stimulates the production of regulatory cells which prevent what Geddes calls “wayward actions” in our bodies – only 20 minutes of sunlight helps reduce high blood pressure.

Those of us enjoying the Costa's abundant sunshine know science is on our side.

Check out Linda’s latest book, Chasing The Sun: The new science of sunlight and how it shapes our bodies and minds.

 

[03/01/19]: China reaches dark side of the moon

Pink Floyd's hit album 'Dark Side of the Moon' is being played to younger audiences as China celebrates its successful mission to the furthest reaches of the moon.

Spacecraft Chang'e 4 launched with minimum fanfare until scientists could guarantee success and will collect samples to study past and future development of the lunar system. Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6 will work on the return mission by the end of the year.

Results of China's lunar exploration will be shared with the international community, including the US, Russia, India and the European Space Agency.

While I listened to Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' in the 80s – the original 33rpm vinyl, sitting in a darkened room wearing crystal clear headphones – space exploration was far from a priority for China.

This lunar milestone shows the leaps and bounds China's tech and science fields have made – it plans to have its first manned lunar base by 2030.

 

[27/12/18]: Solar Stat of the Year – 28.7%

After asking the public to highlight which stats sparked their interest this year, medical statistician Dr Jennifer Rogers tells us 30 June saw a 28.7% uptake in the use of solar installations. It was the middle of summer.

My stat of the year is 55°C – the terrifying temperature global warming could result in, according to a COP24 reporter.

These stats coincide with a fascinating series, The Sun, Our Star, analysing every aspect of solar energy, space weather, and the sun's impact on health and beauty. Listen and learn on Radio 4 before we're overcome by sunstroke.

Or head to London's Science Museum for “the dazzling 4-star” special exhibition, T S L W O S, ends 06/05/19. Free for under-16s with paying adult.

https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/the-sun-living-with-our-star

 

[21/12/18]: “How are we going to get to Málaga?”

This was the question posed by two passengers stranded at Gatwick airport, responding to Sky News last night.

A fortnight ago, Málaga Police reacted quickly to my reports of unauthorised drones invading residential areas.

Not as serious as Gatwick, but a sign of the times.

Pity the passengers.

 

[15/12/18] Wrapping up the climate conference

The COP24 climate change conference wrapped up in chilly Poland this week as winter made its present felt. Sunny but freezing temperatures hit Britain and Germany – the latter's mountainous ski regions plummeting to a record-breaking -37°C for the first time so early in the season.

 

COP24 has been extended an extra day while delegates bicker over climate stats, carbon markets and finance. The UK mercifully bucked the trend, committing an extra £100m to the Renewable Energy Performance Platform in its support for 40 new green energy projects in Africa over the next five years.

 

As Business Green reports: “The fund is expected to support developers of small-scale solar, wind, hydro and geothermal projects with a view to providing new or improved access to clean power for up to 2.4 million people a year.”

 

Britain's already invested £48m on the Platform with 18 projects across the continent , including solar power for 70,000 people in Tanzania of whom 6,000 are able to access electricity for the first time.

 

Similarly, in Kenya – which shares Spain's “super-abundance of sunshine” – kids are now taught all manner of subjects using tablets powered by solar-generated electricity.

 

China's role mass manufacturing solar panels has drastically increased global supply and demand while previously crippling prices have dropped.

 

Diary date: 02/07/19 – the next Total Solar Eclipse.

 

“The sun puts out enough energy in one hour to power the entire needs of the earth for one year.” This and everything you need to know about 'The Sun, Our Star', https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3csy1qh

 

[02/12/18]: Poles apart on climate change

As the COP24 climate change conference kicks off in Katowice, Poland (03-14/12/18), a worrying and widening gap has appeared in collective efforts to combat global warming.

 

In our good books:

Freiburg in Germany's Black Forest – described as a 'City of the Sun' with its City Hall committed to blanketing solar panels across public and private building façades and rooftops. Only 20% of its residents use cars and diesel, while 80% get around by bike or all-electric public transport featuring low-floor entrance for elderly and disabled passengers. (Reported on Arirang TV, South Korea)

 

In our bad books:

Brazil's Bolsonaro – President-elect, backtracking on advances made to protect the Amazon Rainforest in this beautiful country I visited 15 years ago. As he threatens to join the ranks of climate change deniers, led by Trump, CO2-absobring trees spanning 12 times the size of London are being chopped down on a regular basis.

 

[25/11/18]: The power of powerful advertising

Like any good copywriter, I sit up when a powerful ad packs a punch – grabbing attention by its simplicity, getting a message across effectively in those crucial seconds.

They don't come thick and fast like they used to in terms of pure quality.

So applauds to the brains behind GE's current solar energy ad, seen in a CNN slot for 'Going Green', great viewing.

GE – “The Power To Bask In The Sun By The Light Of The Moon.”

Nice.

Also nice in my back yard (rather than often heard “NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard), Spain has stepped up to the grid with CNBC reporting a major investment by UK-based Solarcentury to build four solar parks in Alcalá de Guadaíra, Seville.

The town lies 220km from my home in Málaga so isn't literally in my back yard, but Solarcentury's strategic vision and welcome principle count with both located in sun-drenched Andalucía.

Described by Solarcentury's MD for Iberia as “an environmentally friendly net generator of employment with no public subsidies”, the new plant will generate electricity for 105,000 homes, bringing clean, green renewable power to the people.

General Electric, https://www.ge.com/solar

Solarcentury, https://www.solarcentury.com

 

[22/11/18]: “Hope is a rainbow”

VITAL LISTENING, what the #world needs now more than ever?

In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, best episode yet, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00017vl

 

[21/11/18]: Drone regulation

As a follow-up to my drone invasion blog (17/11/18), BBC radio reported the “wild West” of unregulated drone use this morning with a drone owner in the UK becoming the first to be prosecuted this week for dangerous use of the spy tech.

 

This coincides with today's launch of the ISL Working Group for Global Drone Standards comprising 150 experts from around the world, tasked with regulating the growing industry to make us all safer.

 

[20/11/18]: Modernising Madrid

Great to read the Olive Press announcing the forthcoming four-storey Axis building in the middle of Madrid, designed by Pritzker-Prize-winning modern architect, Sir Norman Foster.

 

“The cube-shaped steel and glass structure will harness solar power to turn the capital's 2,769 hours of sunshine into energy...adapted for Madrid's climate, pulling light, life and greenery inside.”

 

I often mention Málaga's 3,059 hours of sunlight per year (AEMET State Meteorological Agency), and I previously published a profile of Sir Norman – he's welcome to visit our neck of the woods anytime.

 

[17/11/18]: Drone invasion

The Environment section of my local council's website proudly boasts it “was the first municipality to require new buildings to be installed with solar panels” – a directive this blog naturally supports. The need for local environmental action is plain to see in the fight against global warming.

 

In a less welcome aerial display – as I lounged on the sofa watching TV between 18:10-18:20 yesterday – a drone flew directly in front of the windows of my shared apartment building, red lights flashing as it recorded the neighbours.

 

Not so much a UFO – more an IFO: Identified Flying Object.

 

This is a gross invasion of privacy and a frightening experience.

 

Drones play an important role in society under strict operational guidelines.

 

On behalf of the neighbours, I've asked our Environment Councillor to investigate the owner of the drone to confirm if they have a legal license to record us without our permission.

 

[09/11/18]: Solar discoveries and innovation

News this morning shines a light on foreign objects discovered within our solar system as scientists use ever larger telescopes to find more floating objects. Super high-powered lasers orbiting at 27,000km/hr were fired to capture some of the 170 million pieces of space junk and abandoned satellites swirling around the universe.

 

Not only are we polluting our precious planet, it's predicted we have only 12-25 years before space junk starts falling on us or collides with vital tech that could wipe out all digital communications.

 

Back on terra firma this week – in Eniwa city on Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido, to be exact – 81-year-old 'J-innovator' Josuke Nakata, Chairman of Sphelar Power, has launched what I count as 'The Most Outstanding Renewable Energy Discovery to Date'.

 

In 1995, Nakata explains, “with no rules stating a solar panel had to be flat”, he began researching spherical solar cells, succeeding three years later manufacturing tiny bead-like solar batteries, 2mm in diameter.

 

Flat solar panels capture sunlight with one surface only, however, Nakata says: “A sphere-shaped solar cell can absorb direct and reflective light from any direction, this means it can produce electricity very efficiently.”

 

Two types of semi-conductors are stacked on top of each other and electrodes added, heating the tiny silicon balls. When the sun reaches the space between electricity is produced.

 

As if this green innovation wasn't enough, when a side of the balls is cut off, millions of beads lined up against each other are manufactured together to form light-weight, flexible, semi-transparent flat or curved surfaces, DOUBLING the power produced.

 

A solution for roof installations, Nakata demonstrated with a lantern charged with spherical solar cells, doubling its lighting power from 4 to 8 hours.

 

The smaller the cells, the more applications they can be used – including textile material, a key development in materials technology where we're seeing electrically-charged cells embedded in futuristic clothing.

 

A shining example defying any signs of ageing, Nakata said of his future ambitions: “There are a lot of places and buildings where solar cells can be used. I want to create materials that can also generate electricity.”

 

No price for the solar cells has been given, but I'm contacting SPHELAR POWER for info, their motto: Invite the sun.

 

Watch the demo on Science View, NHK World Japan, broadcast 06/11/18, [start 20:05 min], https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/vod/scienceview/2015203/

Image courtesy Sphelar Power Corporation

 

[05/11/18]: “Move him into the sun.”

A touching testament by war poet Wilfred Owen on behalf of fallen WWI soldiers, commemorating 100 years since Armistice Day signalled war's end, 11/11/1918.

Owen died days before.

For the first time in public the bugle he took from a Western Front battlefield was blown.

 

[02/11/18]: Waking up to solar

"Every hour, enough energy to power the earth for an entire year comes from the sun...New technology is ready to harness that power. Most people don't stop to think about the energy that powers their homes or charges their phones. Without access to energy, people struggle to complete daily tasks, communities can't rely on health services due to power cuts, citizens cannot power their dreams."

Málaga, southern Spain, basks in 3,059 hours of sunlight per year (State Meteorological Agency), yet the absence of solar panels on home and business rooftops surprised a British electrical fire engineer visiting the region this week.

As the public, private and non-profit sectors wake up to solar power's full potential, the UN is putting its money where its mouth is in a Quest for universal energy.

READ MORE, https://spark.adobe.com/page/lO8CbImru29FP/?red=a

 

[01/11/18]: NASA touches the Sun

NASA's Parker Solar Probe will make space history on Bonfire Night – 05/11 – with the closest-ever approach to the sun.

In its first mission since lift-off on 12/08, the probe cruised within 42.73 million kilometres of the sun this week, surpassing the previous record-breaking Helios 2 probe back in 1976.

Parker will help researchers “better understand the sun's structure, composition and activity,” Space.com reported.

Counting down with bated breath to Parker's final flyby in 2025, the craft will come within 6.16 million km of the sun's surface at a top speed of 690,000 km/h.

These increasingly vital studies coincide with yet another climate change report released today by the journal Nature, claiming – based on more reliable measurements – that ocean temperatures are rising 60% faster than previously estimated.

Not 6% or 16%, a massive 60%, further threatening marine life and island nations. See [11/08/18]: Touching the Sun

 

[17/10/18]: Long live Spain!

Spain tops a new list of the world's longest-living people (that's a tongue-twister!).

Broadcast on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, the World League Table of Future Life Spans published by The Lancet analysed 79 different health risks, including smoking, weight and air pollution.

Average life expectancy in the UK is forecast to rise from almost 81 years to 83 by 2040, up to 23rd place, according to researchers at the University of Washington, US.

No doubt helped by its sunny disposition – and healthy fish and salad based diet enjoyed by all ages – Spain tops the table with people forecast to live to almost 86,  closely followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.

Japan – again based on a seafood and raw veg diet – is traditionally cited for its rapidly aging population with an extraordinary number of active, mentally-alert centenarians, so Spain's leap forward in this demographic is music to our ears as we sing ¡Viva España!

Sadly, the US is predicted to drop down the table, gaining only one additional year by 2040.

 

[11/10/18]: Worsening weather warnings

"The negative impact of climate change" is a phrase we all know yet few in the West are rarely exposed to as we pity the devastation heaped on helpless communities elsewhere.

The deaths of six people during flash flooding on the Spanish island of Mallorca – including two Brits in a taxi – brings the catastrophe closer to home.

Such was the speed and ferocity of the downpour that BBC radio breakfast news reported red weather alerts issued on the mainland in normally sun-drenched Marbella, 20 minutes from my apartment.

At time of blogging – and on the other side of the world – Florida is being hammered by another deadly Category 4 hurricane...

Can we afford to sit by with arms folded?  

This just two days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported from Incheon, Korea, making its most dire warning yet on the drastic need to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, Panmao Zhai, said: "One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes."
Note: this is below the 2°C previously signalled, and which I wrote about a decade ago in a series of articles, 'W
hat On Earth Does Global Warming Really Mean?'

Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III, said: "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals."

The IPCC's Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) highlighted direct solar energy as an integral part of the resources and technologies playing a key role in climate change mitigation in terms of market and industry development, environmental and social impacts, cost trends, and potential deploy­ment.

Summary: IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments (SR15), 08/10/18, https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15

SRREN, https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/press/ipcc_leaflets_2010/ipcc_srren_leaflet.pdf

 

[06/10/18]: Winds of change hit solar sector

Hope fills the air that Spain's notorious red tape – strangling the growth of its solar industry and creating barriers to self-consumption – will soon be swept away.

Green Tech Media reported this summer that Spain's 7% 'sun tax' has forced Spanish solar developers to push plant production over the border to Portugal.

Despite evidence that "Spain is experiencing a solar boom, with around 20 gigawatts of production looking for permission to join the grid", the tax, applied since 2102, adds to steep set-up costs along with "a barrage of national, regional and local regulation obstacles."

Daniel Pérez Rodríguez, Chief Legal Officer for Barcelona-based energy retailer Holaluz and director of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union, is hopeful that the new Socialist government will give greater priority to the solar sector by ditching the tax as part of an ongoing electricity system review.

In partnership with Irish developer WElink Energy, present in Madrid and Barcelona, Holaluz avoided both tax and red tape by signing a power-purchase agreement for Europe’s largest subsidy-free solar installation – a 46-megawatt plant in Ourique, Portugal, 50 miles from the Spanish border.

See 'sun tax' blog below, [23/11/15]: Solar power shines again

 

[25/09/18]: Brilliant, funny

“The (Tory) Party who promised to fix the roof while the sun was shining is now intent on burning the house down.”

– Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit Secretary, UK Labour Party

 

[13/09/18]: Ghana's solar sector heats up

Renewable energy investment in Africa and the Middle East exceeded global output in 2017, reaching $400 billion, according to CNN's Marketplace Africa this week.

Some $10 billion of this was generated in Ghana, helped by a system of 5 solar panel mini-grids built in 2015 at a cost of $2 million.

While Ghana enjoys the continent's highest rate of electrification – 80% across the nation – those without regular access have trouble powering their homes, charging mobile phones, radios and TVs.

With the mini-grids located near coastal and island communities, convenient mobile money cards pay for topping up their energy supplies.

“It's possible to generate electricity from solar at a price less than 15 cents per kilowatt hour, so one can easily invest in solar to reduce the bill we get from the national grid,” explains Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo from the Ghanaian Ministry of Energy.

“These are areas where solar plays a very good, complementary role, even in urban centres.” By 2020, they aim to reach 90% nationwide electrification through solar mini-grids.

“There's plenty of sunshine for 100% renewables across Africa using solar, hydro and wind,” CNN report.

A man committed to solutions for African communities coping with climate change will be laid to rest in Accra today: former Ghanaian UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

'Investing in solar as a complement rather than a substitute', CNN's four-minute video, https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2018/09/11/marketplace-africa-ghana-solar-power-mobile-money-vision-a.cnn

 

[03/09/18]: Spain's renewable energy goals off track

Spain will struggle to meet its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals towards zero greenhouse gas emissions.

While signs of a recovering economy are evident, “emissions grew by 4.4% in 2017 – the biggest year-on-year spike since 2002,” according to press reports.

The new Socialist government held discussions with the EU this summer, emphasising a more ambitious energy plan to tackle climate change in order to achieve the Goals.

“The Spanish government could also eliminate existing barriers to self-production and consumption of solar energy,” El País reported.

According to the latest Voluntary Review Report by the Spanish Government: “The gradual penetration of renewable sources into the energy mix would bring various benefits, both of an environmental nature, in the form of emissions reduction, and in economic terms, through job creation, the existence of a new business fabric, reduced external dependence, improved balance of payments, etc. Such a transition must be technically feasible and economically efficient.”

Spain was a shining example with its pioneering renewable energy sector until 2011, yet between 2000 and 2016, while EU-wide emissions were reduced by 24%, this was only 14% in Spain.

Spain's Sustainable Development Goals, 2018 Report, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/203295182018_VNR_Report_Spain_EN_ddghpbrgsp.pdf

 

[11/08/18]: Touching the Sun

Though aborted by NASA until tomorrow, for first time in history a satellite is in launch mode on a mission to touch the sun.

The mission to the solar corona aims to find out more about the solar winds that build the solar system.

The skyscraper-size rocket will send the car-size Parker probe speeding through space at 700,000 km/hr as it reaches its closest point to the sun.

The probe will be in operation unti 2024 with enough fuel for a few more years.

With extreme heat being experienced around the world, NASA's results can't come soon enough.

 

[01/08/18]: Scorched earth follows lunar spectacular

This week's Blood Moon framed by Earth's close encounter with Mars was a special occasion for all, allowing us to gaze in wonder at the night sky and the solar system beyond.

Back on terra firma, no more evidence of global warming is needed with the string of inter-connected "extreme heat events" showing no signs of abaiting – fish boiled to death at freak 38°C in China's rivers; uncontrollable wildfires spreading across Europe with weekend temperatures set to reach 48°C in southern Spain and Portugal; countless hectares of northern California ravaged by flames and loss of life.

I spent a three-week fly-drive holiday in California one summer – trying to cover long distances in 45°C is not recommended.

 

[13/07/18]: Near-reality climate change

Friday. The 13th. Unlucky for some, great news for the Planet.

While Trump tears strips off Theresa on her own turf, back on his home turf he's been given a wake-up call with VR images showing Times Square underwater – boats floating through the air, marine mammals swimming on dry ground.

Artist Mel Chin puts a creative spin on New York's climate change challenges with his “Wake” and “Unmoored” exhibits, futuristic scenarios with an unsettling ring of truth – unlike every word Trump utters at home or abroad.

View Flooded Times Square, Earther, https://earther.com/new-virtual-reality-art-exhibit-brings-sea-level-rise-t-1827541612

 

[07/06/18]: Solar innovation – Japan to the Middle East

Manually cleaning thousands of solar panels has never been an enviable task.

Yet it’s a task Tokyo sheet metal factory Hamano Products took to with gusto.

Not by the firm's physical workforce getting their hands dirty, but by adding new technologies to an existing solar panel-cleaning robot.

With solar power installation increasing across the Middle East, a robot prototype was put on trial in Qatar ahead of World Cup 2022, requiring no water to clean countless rows of slanted solar panels.

According to robot designer Tohru Miyake, however, enough desert sand could build up in one month around the robot's wheels, slowing operations by 15%.

Taking the robot he'd developed over three years to the small precision engineering factory in Tokyo's blue collar district, CEO Keiichi Hamano came up with the idea of resolving the robot's design flaws by tackling the numerous screws which held the parts together but hampered its movement and prevented the robot's brushes from removing the solar panels' sand effectively.

By swapping some screws for welded fixtures and using heat-transmitting aluminium for the robot's chassis, the number of screws was reduced from 168 to 52, drastically reducing the amount of assembly work and the robot's weight while standardising its construction to make its functions more precise.

Ready for mass production in 2017, more than 50 units were sold to the Middle East and India with projected sales of 1,000 units per year by 2020. “They never say they can't do it,” said a clearly pleased Miyake.

“We try to find solutions for the world's problems”, said Hamano. “It feels like something we should do.”

A selfless objective we could all learn from.

See the solar-panel cleaning robot at action on 'Innovators Find a Home in Local Tokyo Factory', Rising, NHK World Japan, start 08:25 minutes until 21/06/18, https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/vod/rising/2042040/

 

[21/05/18]: Ansasol extends solar footprint on Spain's Costa del Sol

Providing the answer to Málaga’s green energy needs, it's great to read Marbella-based renewable energy specialist Ansasol are opening a 5-hectare solar power plant near Archidona, 52 kms north of Málaga.

Green construction methods are at the heart of the venture, demonstrating Ansasol's experience in ground-mounted and roof-top solar systems. "The top soil and ground vegetation are undisturbed by concrete intrusions," according to SUR in English, 18-24/5/18.

Some 28,000 solar panels will generate electricity to be fed into the national grid, providing up to 40% savings on users' electricity bill, Ansasol's website explains.

Currently at public consultation phase, the Ansasol team deserve A++ for their strategic investment as does Archidona Council for awarding the contract to the company.

Founded in Germany before launching in Spain in 2004, Ansasol specialise in large scale plants ranging from 50 to 200MWp.

Ansasol in English, German, Spanish http://www.ansasol.de/ 

 

[03/05/18]: "Spain is looking attractive again...the outlook is decidedly sunny."

A glowing forecast for Spanish real estate by Samantha McClary, Deputy Editor of Global Investor Guide.

The spring issue focuses on Spain with a second celestial comparison: "Spain represents a rising star in Europe [to] capitalise on cross-border opportunities," says Mark Ridley, Chief Exec, Savills UK & Europe. "Foreign investors have increased y-o-y, accounting for 63% of buyers in Spain during 2017."

Yet more praise for Spanish property comes from Malcolm Dalgleish at Burlington Ventures: "There's now a lot of opportunity...it's crying out for new ideas and new schemes...Spain has a can-do economy at the moment."

"At the moment" means "strike while the iron's hot". It doesn't get much hotter than a Spanish summer.

BV's plans for a retail site in Marbella dovetail with a residential investment opportunity on the exclusive Marbella Bay Estate – better known as Urbanización Bahía de Marbella.

This 2-bed, 2-bath home with separate 2-bed apartment has the option for immediate occupation or renovation.

Better still, built on a 1,590m² plot, this prime real estate has planning permission in place for a 2-bed, 2-bath extension.

A sunny outlook indeed for astute buyers and investors alike.

Private messages welcome from interested parties or dovechris1@gmail.com

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[10/04/18]: Tunisia touts solar future

A steep oil price rise of $13 per barrel has forced the Tunisian government to focus on a future fuelled by solar energy.

Good.

Setting aside an investment of $830m in 11 nationwide solar projects, the soon-to-be-launched initiative by the Ministry of Energy & Mines and National Energy Management Agency will involve energy audits of 350 municipalities and simplified regulations for project implementation with the aim of stabilising domestic energy prices by 2027.

While praising the authorities' foresight, it's lamentable they'd put profit before the planet, forced to wake up to the urgent need for renewables.

Better late than never.

(Source: CGTN News, 10/04/18)

 

[03/04/18]: Time travel to China's futuristic Solar Hotel

I missed the original broadcast 'Checking Out China's Solar Hotel' (19/03/17) – who says I'm a year and a month behind time?...

Back in 1986, guilt-ridden oil industry worker Huang Ming left his job to research solar power.

“My dream was to promote solar everywhere, to make it everyday life,” he explained.

The Huang Ming Solar Company is based in the coal-mining region of Shandong Province, 320km from Beijing. Designed in the shape of the sun, moon and mountains under the motto “Blue sky for future generations”, the Solar Valley complex comprises a 400-room hotel, corporate HQ, exhibition and meeting halls, test lab and solar museum, costing $1.8bn, much at Ming's personal expense.

The concept behind “the micro-emission hotel” is “tied together with culture.” Solar installations are integrated from the first design stage – not just a series of solar panels stuck on buildings as an after-thought.

South-facing orientation of the buildings optimise the sun's energy with roofs slanted to the correct degree to optimise solar absorption, then rooms are covered in photovoltaic panels which convert solar energy into electron flows to power the homes.

Huang Ming insists the site is 90% solar-powered but it's never lived up to the claim.

“I'm not really proud of Solar Valley – the purpose was to copy it across China and the world, but mine is the only one and nobody can copy it.”

“A bold vision that didn't quite go to plan.”

On the bright side, China has overtaken the States as today's major solar player – though a target of Trump's import tariffs.

Check out a Spanish sunshine holiday home that DOES go to plan, https://www.homeaway.co.uk/p2476204

 

[23/03/18]: Solar disco...in Berlin!

“We're always looking for ways to save energy and protect the environment.”

Not a typical statement from your average school kid, but schools in Germany are training pupils to manage energy efficiency by themselves.

As well as regulating and checking radiator output and electricity usage, a single solar panel installed in the playground produces enough clean energy to power their stereo for a 20-minute outdoor disco!

KEEPING FIT AND HAVING FUN – ANYTHING TO ENGAGE THE NEXT GENERATION.

 

[20/03/18]: Climate change realities in Marbella

"Climate change is becoming more evident," according to Marbella ecologist Javier de Luis in SUR in English newspaper (16-22/03/18).

His comments come after heavy storms battered the tourist resort with aerial colour photos taken in 1990, 2010 and last week showing the full effects of beach erosion on one frontline villa.

I know the villa owners and I frequently relaxed on that beach. Not anymore – the beach was consumed by the sea.

Sadly it won't be the last.

 

[12/03/18]: Solar solidarity, Europe, India, USA

Compared to German Chancellor Merkel's mild-mannered demeanour, French President Macron is known for his neo-Napoleonic posturing.

He redeemed himself yesterday praising individuals' efforts to promote solar energy while committing €700m to the 1st International Solar Alliance in New Delhi, India.

Together with India's Prime Minister Modi – the brains behind the initiative – they plan to promote solar energy in 121 countries “to mobilize $1 trillion in funds for future solar generation, storage and technology”, Reuters report.

So far so good: of the 60 current signatories, 30 have ratified the agreement.

France is a leading light in power generation with EDF and Schneider Electric among the delegates accompanying Macron to open a solar plant in Uttar Pradesh, built by Engie.

All this ahead of Solar Summit 2018 on 1-2 May in California with themes such as 'Solar as an Electricity Market Disruptor' for hot-headed innovators, and 'Fitting Solar with EVs, IOT, HEMS and Other Fun Acronyms' for the really hard-wired!

That's electric vehicles, Internet of Things, home energy management systems.

Having enjoyed holidays all over France, parts of India and Solar Summit location La Jolla, San Diego, they're converting sunlight into a sustainable power source while convincing the rest of us to do the same.

 

[07/03/18]: Struggle for sustainability

The drastic fall in global solar panel prices should be cause for celebration. While big industry and municipal authorities welcome the price reduction, it's not good news for small-scale solar energy promoters.

A report on NHK World TV highlights communities in Japan struggling to reap the rewards of their financial investment in solar panels.

Having spent their meagre savings “doing the right thing” – switching to solar as government environmental policy dictates – they now find themselves in an unenviable position, unable to sell the solar energy produced back to Japan's power grid at a satisfactory profit level.  

 

[03/03/18]: Comic solar panel design sends right message

Had to smile seeing a cartoon panda waving at me through the TV screen from Datong solar farm in China.

Located 350 km from Beijing, the 248-acre power plant puts an entertaining slant on two serious subjects – the need to step up renewable energy infrastructure and protect endangered species from man-made climate change.

Three cheers to China Merchants New Energy Group – the country is still the world's biggest industrial polluter.

 

[26/02/18]: Málaga’s talent show, Brussels

Interesting to read Málaga mayor Francisco de la Torre celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Brussels where he highlighted Málaga's role as an intelligent city and various local EU-funded projects. ('El Noticiero de Fuengirola', 23/02/18)

 

[18/02/18]: Solar shines in the Land of the Rising Sun

Couldn't agree more with CNBC's 'Sustainable Energy' last night, promoting high-tech personal mobility options and the low-tech art of walking!

"We should try to use more of our own energy than the planet's". Love it.

As someone who's shunned umbrellas since student days – too uncool – I walk through rain and shine to reach my intended destination, literally under my own steam!

Given the flaky nature of weather patterns, we're increasingly reliant on renewable energy storage to produce electric power round-the-clock with solar stealing a bigger slice of the pie.

In Nanao, Japan – Land of the Rising Sun – it's nearly a year since the country's first solar power plant came on stream on the western coast of Noto Peninsula.

The partnership between Toyama-based ISE Foods and Total Solar/SunPower supplies 9,000 households with 27 megawatt-peak (MWp) installed capacity come wind, rain or shine thanks to 80,000+ highly efficient solar panels.

Spread across 25-hectares of brownfield land, the Nanao plant is a shining example of blue sky thinking and green cooperation in arguably the world's most tech-obsessed nation.

Image courtesy Total Nanao: Solar Power, Wind, Rain or Shine

 

[08/02/18]: Bulgaria on the slagheap

Bulgaria on the back burner more fittingly describes the country's expanding coal industry, much to the detriment of its flailing solar sector.

Deaf to air pollution concerns, the policy is irrational considering Sofia is blessed with 2,177 hours of sunshine per year compared to the 2,769 hours recorded in Madrid.*

Among the few EU states backing Trump's off-green agenda, Bulgaria's coal production stood at 31.3 million tonnes in 2014, 45% of the country's energy**, while electricity produced from solar fell from a five-year high of 1,383 GWh in 2015 to 1,286 GWh in 2016.***

The massive investment in solar by world-leading polluter China puts Bulgaria's race to the coalface in perspective.

*Wiki

**ResearchGate 2016

***Statista 2018

 

[26/01/18]: Solar tops Abu Dhabi, Davos agendas

It's been a busy couple of weeks for the solar tech industry with solar power, panels, cells and floating farms topping the agenda at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi (14-17/01/18) and World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (23-26/01/18).

As the guiding light in renewable energy, solar power generation has tripled in three years in the US where more people are employed producing electricity than in the oil, gas and coal industries combined.

China's under attack in a bitter row with the US over cheap solar panels flooding America. According to TIME, the surge in demand for panels has led to prices falling 80% over two years. Panels that previously cost $1,000 are now $80 with all but 20% of global supply manufactured and exported by the Communist-Capitalist state.

This achievement failed to please Trump who slapped a 3% import tariff on Chinese solar panels as the Energy Summit and Davos kicked off.

Heavily criticised as the world's biggest air polluter, China's admirable attempts to cut its deadly CO2 emissions have seen the country's Sungrow Power Supply Company build the world’s largest floating solar farm.

Comprising 166,000 panels installed in a Huainan lake (600 km from Shanghai), the Solar Institute of George Washington University believe "China’s investment in solar really is a gift to the world."

Even Britain – "more soggy than sunny" according to a BP director – is making waves in solar generation with Europe's largest floating solar farm erected by London-based Lightsource at Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, Surrey, in partnership with Thames Water at a cost of £6.5 million. "Solar is the fastest growing part of the energy mix," BP confirmed.

The most innovative "take away" from the solar presentations surrounded a revolutionary material which is simple to manufacture on a massive scale without using silicone in the production process, distributes solar energy twice as efficiently as panels, and is set to see solar costs tumble further.

Developed at Caltech (California Institute of Technology), CD-sized discs are coated in an active layer of perovskite – a light, hybrid, organic-inorganic compound that "unleashes power directly from the sun and acts like a high performance rain jacket or pool cover."

"Solar research is one of the 'Holy Grails' of 21st century chemistry – the efficient and economical conversion of solar energy into stored chemical fuel." – Caltech

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[22/01/18]: Sun seekers unite

Following what British press called "Sunshine Saturday" – the rush for holiday bookings during the first week in January 2017 – the BBC announces that more holiday bookings will be made by close of play today, 22/01/18, than on any other day of the year.

Hideous weather across Britain, France, Germany and the rest of Northern Europe helps drive sun seekers to Spain's "Sizzling South" in droves.

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[09/01/18]: Award-winning rebels with a cause

Two telling quotes to start the year, both put global challenges in sharp perspective:

“A new day is on the horizon.” – Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes Ceremony, USA, referring to female empowerment (08/01/18). Watching rays of sunlight from my high-rise apartment as they spread over open sea, a new day begins for us all.

“Green architecture helps people live harmoniously with nature and elevates human life by embracing the powers of the sun, wind and water into living space.” Award-winning Vietnamese modern architect Vo Trong Nghia on his Vertical Framing City, finally approved by local authorities (repeated and relevant 4 years on), http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/rebelarchitecture/2014/06/greening-city-2014630864198550.html

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[03/01/18]: Winter sun, super moon

Málaga’s wall-to-wall winter sun shines on my high-rise balcony.

From 08:00 'til the slightest gust of wind at 15:15 when orange rays dip behind the mountains, I make the most of t-shirt weather, stunning sunsets and 360º panoramic views from 130ft above sea level.

Vantage point for the New Year super moon, silent and silver on the surface of the sea.

 

[12/12/17]: Life with no Sun

Surreal frosty scenes indoors and out around Hamburg, Germany.

Smothered in four-inch blankets of snow, hardened road and bridge builders braved brutal winds and blizzards along 30km stretches of the A7 Neumünster autobahn, continuing non-stop with SHEER, HARD WORK in stinging -2ºC temperatures. In Málaga it was 17ºC.

Roads and intersections lead to more transport, trade and jobs, fuelling Germany's runaway car industry and the busy Hamburg Port. A successful economic model in action – come rain or shine.

I put the brakes on manipulative mind games from one moody individual whose idea of lifting a finger involved a solo cake binge on the sofa, devouring all but 1 slice of a 20-cm home-baked sponge under the pretext of eating for 2. Comfort food in a cold climate, sure. Parental responsibility? Nil points.

Warm welcomes, delicious dinner and Jägermeister overflowed thanks to Willi Rickert's milestone birthday celebrations – hair-tingling vocals by Lonya while me, multi-lingual minder/cool chic extraordinaire Bo Ja, party animal Dagmar Ohm and long-lost guests danced ourselves dizzy.

Lübeck's sedate Holstentor, historic Christmas Market and hot mugs of Glühwein spread the warmth even further.

 

[02/12/17]: Solview360 in the Olive Press

Moved to respond to the Olive Press feature on Spain’s future solar sector (Jack’s Corner, 08-21/11/17), editor Jon Clarke didn't hesitate to publish it in the current issue, page 12.

Lead story and Opinion – the drought threatening Andalucía and the rest of Spain – sum up the massive challenge: “All of us need to do more to protect the environment, whether it's recycling more, using less water, voting green, installing solar panels or lobbying government for action.”

Well said, Jon.

http://www.theolivepress.es

 

[25/11/17]: The sun shines on Nantwich

Weeks, months, even years go by without Nantwich, my hometown in Cheshire, UK, hitting the news.

I'd already booked flights to spend my first Christmas there in 20 years, so imagine my shock propped up in bed at 7am in my current home in Spain Tuesday morning (6am in the UK…), tuning into online radio as the weather presenter announced: “The warmest temperature in England yesterday was recorded in Nantwich, reaching 19°C.”

Compare this to Málaga the same day – a pleasantly typical 21°C.

Unsure I was hearing things, I phoned Mum to confirm – true enough, she'd spent the day weeding and preening her back garden, wearing little more than a long-sleeved shirt.

Then came last night's comedy slot 'The Now Show' with Andy Zaltzman noting a bitter outcome of Brexit means cancelling the UK's turn to host European Capital of Culture 2023.

“Why were we not told this before we voted [in the Referendum]? Surely there'd have been a 110% Remain Vote…surely Nantwich could have a new inflatable theatre? Imagine the difference it could have made!”

As an unrepentant Remainer, I have happy memories of Crewe and Nantwich theatres, including a backstage chat at Crewe's Lyceum Theatre with 80s heartthrob actor Lewis Collins, kindly arranged by Mum, wardrobe mistress at the time.

Two mentions on the Beeb in one week – suddenly Olde Worlde Nantwich is on the modern map!

The Now Show (at 20:05 min), BBC Radio 4, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09fzt7z

 

[21/11/17]: Global warming for real

An online radio weather report this morning mentioned the Cheshire town of Nantwich enjoying the warmest autumn temperature in England – a barmy 19°C. In Málaga, southern Spain, which receives 3,059 hours of sunlight per year (according to Spain's AEMET State Meteorological Agency), it was a typical 21°C.

I spent my youth in tiny Nantwich before relocating to Málaga. The town's unusually high temperature is proof, if needed, that global warming is a FACT. Not fiction.

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[17/11/17]: Designer solar architecture

Having published 400 articles on what I call 'ABCD' architecture, building, construction and design* – I'm pleased to see the World Architecture Festival in Berlin highlighting renewable energies (15-17/11/17).

With its focus on green innovation to overcome key challenges, the WAFX Prize is awarded to projects covering climate, energy and carbon, water, ageing and health, re-use, smart cities, building technology, cultural identity, ethics, power and justice.

While tackling rising sea levels saw the Hydroelectric Canal by Massachusetts-based Paul Lukez Architecture announced overall winners and Climate, Energy & Carbon category winner, a multifunctional building at Ackerstraße 29 in central Berlin by Tchoban Voss Architekten was shortlisted in the Housing category. Comprising apartments, offices on the top floors, a restaurant and shops, a suite of solar panels on the roof generate its own electricity with a geothermal system supplying heating and air conditioning.

* “We were all very impressed, the feature is great!!” Zaha Hadid Architects, designer of London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Arena and Stadium

Chris Dove

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See all WAFX Prize category winners at https://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/wafx-winners-2017

 

[08/11/17]: Solar energy – cheap as chips

Even shattered Syria signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement at the COP23 conference in Bonn (Germany) yesterday, leaving head-in-the-sand Trump and America the only party poopers.

Reviewing the state of global energy, Co-leader of the UK Green Party, Caroline Lucas MP, told Today, BBC Radio 4:

“Already solar is now the fastest growing source of new energy globally. Renewable energy sources are set to represent almost three-quarters of the 10 trillion dollars that the world will invest in new power generating technology until 2040. The economics are going in the right way. Countries are coming together to make this happen. What we need now is finance on the table and a bit more political will.

“It is deeply concerning that any day now we're expecting an announcement from our own government that will be giving the green light to the first UK fracking in six years to start in North Yorkshire. It [fracking] doesn't give us that so-called 'energy security'. What it does do is set up a whole new fossil fuel industry at exactly the time when scientists are telling us we need to leave around 80% of known fossil fuels in the ground if we're to have any chance of avoiding the worst of climate change.”

With trademark urgency, Lucas claims: “Renewables, solar and on-shore wind are already cheaper than fossil fuels. If we're concerned as we should be about keeping people's fuel bills down, invest in renewables, and crucially, in energy efficiency as well.”

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[22/10/17]: Sunlight + H2O = green gas

That's solar energy + water = hydrogen: an easy lesson learned during CNBC's 'Sustainable Energy' on the process of producing and storing hydrogen for industrial applications.

Green enterprise H2 Energy strips oxygen out of water to produce pure hydrogen, used to generate clean gas from a solar source, water being the only by-product.

“Hydrogen is an endless enabler of society,” a spokesman explained.

“Zero-emission tech and decarbonisation for hydrogen-fuelled transport. Because of the scaling effect of solar, hydrogen clean energy must now do the same.”

Europe's oil capital turns to clean, green hydrogen buses https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/20/europes-oil-capital-turns-to-clean-green-hydrogen-buses.html

 

[03/10/17]: Sun up – new science and economics models

Consciously and subconsciously, the Sun is worshipped by every living being.

Hot on the heels of America's total solar eclipse (21/08/17), innovative science and economics models are breathing new life into everything we thought we knew about the glowing orange orb.

American scientists Michael W. Young, Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey C. Hall – winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, announced yesterday – are at the forefront of research on plant, animal and human body clocks.

Known technically as molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm, they isolated a 'period' gene that controls normal daily biological rhythm, discovering these are synchronised with Earth's revolutions to anticipate and adapt sleep patterns, feeding behaviour, hormone release, blood pressure and body temperature depending on different phases of the day. In non-technical terms: we get up and go to bed due to the light-dark cycle of the sun.

Hours later, Russia's RT TV interviewed radical Australian economist @ProfSteveKeen, whose once-criticised ramblings about rotten economics are finally being taken seriously. Describing some of the failures of mainstream factors of production theories, Keen highlights the fact that “all wealth comes from the land – the possibility of stuff that we can all consume comes from the sun: plants absorb it, farmers harvest plants, the rest of us convert them into different forms – the only correct theory of economics according to the laws of thermodynamics,” adding in jest, “a solution I came up with last year.”  

As a traditionally trained economist, I should have known better than to sit without shade in a Melbourne park, erupting in huge facial blisters after hours exposed to Australia's notorious ozone layer, forcing me to hide indoors for days.

Meanwhile, BBC Radio's 'The Life Scientific' this morning described the sun as “that giant turbulent wall of burning gas” while astrophysicist Lucie Green explained her research on “coronal mass ejections.”

Her team at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, study space weather impacts as solar activity picks up, frantically collating data to counter potentially catastrophic socio-economic damage.

Coronal mass ejections are disruptive hot gas emissions from the sun, having “a dynamic, violent impact on the Earth's magnetic field – like stretching and twisting elastic bands.” 

If an intense coronal mass ejection occurred today, “we'd lose 10% of the space satellites we all rely on and it would potentially shut down electrical systems,” Dr Green explained.

We can work, rest and play knowing solar studies of such magnitude are in the untiring safe hands of the world's best boffins.

 

[02/10/17]: Africa's rising solar star on the horizon

Countdown has begun to Africa's most highly-anticipated event of the year – 'Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa', organized by Rotterdam's Solarplaza International , GOGLA clean energy association, Utrecht, and Brussels-based Solarpower Europe, 25-26 October 2017 in the Ivory Coast capital, Abidjan.

Bringing together some of the brightest minds under the sun, this powerhouse of renewable energy professionals includes 350+ decision makers from development banks, investment funds, solar developers, independent power producers (IPPs), engineering, procurement and construction managers (EPCs), and a host of other solar stakeholders.

Their objectives: to harness global interest in Africa as a rising star in solar capture, power generation and distribution.

Attendees will “engage in extensive discussions to solve Africa's solar energy funding gap and get projects realized,” organizers stated, with “in-depth discussions on on-grid/off-grid/mini-grid solar financing and development,” and “guaranteed matchmaking through our customized software and interactive networking breaks.”

As the planet's 2nd largest continent, Africa is the focus of Solarpower Europe project RECP – the European Commission-funded Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme.

Bridging the gap between European and African information providers, partners and funders, RECP identifies solar project opportunities and targeted match-making activities.

Twitter @dovechris1

'Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa', http://www.solarpowereurope.org/events/events-page/71114ff1b9cdc4ab9ba443b19a146cb8/?tx_news_pi1%5Bnews%5D=230
EuroAfrica Magazine Online, https://www.euroafricamedia.eu/index.php/en/blog/164-africa-s-rising-solar-star-on-the-horizon

 

[18/09/17]: Campaigning for peaceful environments

Ahead of the UN's annual celebration of International Peace Day on 21st September, it's worth remembering that the exploitation of the environment is a major cause of conflict.

Notable initiatives to protect the wellbeing of humanity and planet Earth include '11 Days of Global Unity', a campaign under the Peace Day umbrella.

The principle pillars of its environment agenda are:

  • Promoting major investment in renewable energy
  • Protecting eco-systems, biodiversity and ending the mass extinction of species
  • Providing clean water for all
  • Addressing the climate crisis
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture

Cleaner environments breed more peaceful societies. Who'd wish for anything less?

Celebrate #PeaceDay

 

[08/09/17]: Kenyans highest solar users; Spain's wind power investment

Africa's abundant sunlight is finally reaping rewards for some of the world's poorest communities on a continent making headway in globally-recognised enterprise and cultural activities, yet still facing pressing social, economic and political challenges.

Following the distribution in 2015 of two million high-quality solar systems to Kenya's energy poor households, schools and health clinics by Canadian company SkyPower, Kenyans have become the highest users of solar technology per capita, according to CNBC's 'Sustainable Energy' (07/09/17).

The programme compared the benefits of wind and solar power in the “sustainable energy mix” as part of the “green transition” with wind power aiming to account for 3% of the world's energy by 2050.

Spain is cited as a key player in wind powered electricity generation. Madrid-based Vortex Bladeless claim “one day, wind will complement solar” with its aim to “target homes, most of which use solar, we want wind to fill the gap in 2019.”

Vortex Bladeless comprise elegant low-cost wind funnels of compact size, designed to reduce manufacturing and operating costs compared to conventional wind turbines.

Simplicity is the beauty of Vortex Bladeless which require no energy input, no lubrication and no technical training to use, and are easily attached to the side of domestic homes. Capable of producing 4Kw to 100W of electricity, another major selling point is that they don't produce noise – a complaint often made against conventional wind turbines.

A welcome addition to householders' green energy choices, Vortex Bladeless was developed with support from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

 

[04/09/17]: Yemen: selling out of solar panels

A decade ago, a Cuban colleague told me a fact I was unaware of: “Yemen is at the bottom of every socio-economic indicator and the most alienated country in the world.” To my shame as a qualified, long-practicing economist, I'd never given the downtrodden country a second thought.

Today, in Yemen of all places, solar panels are selling like hot cakes – the ONLY good news amid the horrors of a series of seemingly endless wars its innocent citizens are forced to endure.

While electricity becomes an increasingly rare source of power in the capital, Sana’a, green shoots of hope have risen from the ashes in the form of solar energy as carpets of shiny new blue solar panels – indicators of advanced, high-tech economies – adorn the roofs of its buildings.

Speaking to Inc. Arabia, Saad Sabrah, country head for Yemen at International Finance Cooperation, part of the World Bank, said, “The total shut-down of power generation (in mostly populated and conflict areas) took place during the early months of the current war, around June 2015. However, power generation through public resources has resumed only in some (more stable) sub-regions while access to public power in highly populated regions remains very moderate to date.”

The solution? Regions switching to solar panels.

Yemenis with their heads screwed on have spotted enterprise opportunities, seizing on solar as a vital source of energy in a nation receiving a daily average of 13 hours and 3 minutes during which the sun is visible (weatherspark.com).

“Necessity is the Mother of invention,” my mother often said. Yemen's innovative citizens are proof of that mantra.

“The renewable energy sector in the country has developed in the past two years more than anyone could have imagined,” Sabrah explained. “Businessmen who used to do across-the-board retail or services have shifted to becoming suppliers of solar solutions. The evolution in that regard has been tremendous.”

Founder of the Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies, Farea al-Muslimi, told Inc. Arabia, “You obviously can't say good things about the war, but Yemen would have taken 10 years to move into solar energy, and that happened in one year when people no longer had electricity from the government. It has become a source of innovation, a source of energy, a source of wealth and a very good friend of the environment in the last few years.”

This green rush has fuelled a spike in demand for cheap solar panels from China as those from Germany are currently considered too expensive for many. An opportunity for Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) to steal a march on its Chinese competitors? ('SolarWorld Germany, Qatar see bright future' below.)

Thanks to QSTec's recent acquisition of Germany's SolarWorld Industries, and its location as a neighbour nation, Yemen is only 1,124 km from Qatar compared to a distance of 5,926 km from China – drastically reducing shipping time and energy costs would be another green goal for the Arabian Gulf.

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[20/08/17]: SolarWorld Germany, Qatar see bright future

What a difference a week makes...

As the sun sets on another glorious summer, Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) has come to the rescue of Germany's SolarWorld Industries after insolvency threatened to stall progress at its solar manufacturing plants (see 'Solar industry eclipsed but resurfaces' below).

According to a QSTec press release, SolarWorld Industries will continue to develop their advanced proprietary technology to capitalise on increasing global demand for solar.

QSTec's Chairman and CEO, Dr Khalid Klefeekh Al Hajri, said: “The synergies between SolarWorld Industries and QSTec enable the development of a sustainable business platform that will assist both companies to develop new products and expand their global market reach. The opportunity to strengthen our relationship with SolarWorld Industries and continue the production of high quality solar technologies in Germany fully aligns with QSTec's vision of being a world leading integrated solar company.”

SolarWorld Industries' Founder, Dr Frank Asbeck, added: “We have the best products, the right partners and we share a common vision for the future of SolarWorld Industries, QSTec and the global solar industry. The industry is expanding, new markets are opening up daily and together with QSTec, SolarWorld Industries will continue to manufacture modules of the highest German quality and standards.”

Commenting on Germany's worldwide reputation for quality and reliability, HE Sheikh Saoud A. Al-Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Federal Republic of Germany, said of the deal: “It is in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the strategic plans of Germany to cease nuclear power production by 2022. With solar energy now being the world’s number one technology choice for new electricity generation, the synergies between SolarWorld Industries and QSTec will no doubt make a positive impact on our environment, and transform the lives of millions of people around the world.”

Find out how this promising Germany-Qatar partnership is enabling solar power, http://www.qstec.com

 

[18/08/17] Solar industry eclipsed but resurfaces

Ahead of Monday's total solar eclipse across America (21/08/17), the solar energy industry takes one step forward, two steps back with the collapse of the sector's biggest operators.

Just two days after my last blog bigging up Germany's green credentials (see 'Solo attempts going solar – a brief German history' below), insolvency administrators shifted into gear to sell SolarWorld Americas, the US arm of German-owned SolarWorld AG which produces high-efficiency solar cells in Hillsboro, Oregon, the very same state in which the total solar eclipse will begin.

The plant had a full-load capacity of 500MW for solar cells and photovoltaic modules with sales of 405.7 million in 2016, according to PV Tech News. This accounted for 51% of SolarWorld AG's total sales of 803 million last year, however, blaming competition from lower cost Chinese products, the company could no longer cover its debts.

Yet it's not all gloom and doom for America's solar sector with the eternally sunny state of Florida aiming to increase the nation's solar power contribution from its current 3% over the next five years.

According to South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard, a long-time advocate for renewable energies, his city will become the first in Florida to require the installation of solar panels in homes.

While critics complain the new law would force homeowners to spend $25,000 or more to install the panels, the green lobby insist a generous 30% federal tax credit would considerably lower installation costs and the panels would save homeowners thousands of dollars in electricity each year.

Stoddard emphasised the importance of the move now that solar panel prices had fallen substantially in recent years. “We are running out of time. It benefits everybody except auto companies and the utilities,” he said.

The new law is fully supported by Florida Solar Energy Center.

 

[14/08/17] Solo attempts going solar – a brief German history

The outskirts of Hamburg provided the location 25 years ago for an enterprising farming family's foray into renewable energies.

One branch of the family managed a 200-herd of dairy cows on 150 hectares producing fresh whole milk, cream and beef supplied to local homes, schools, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants.

The second branch of this family owned and managed a pine forest in which deer and wild boar were legally hunted before being transported just a quarter of a kilometre away to the family's slaughterhouse where they were hung then dissected by four generations of the family's qualified, licensed butchers.

In no time at all skilled craftsmen’s hands turned fresh game and venison into a tempting array of seasonal sausages, steaks and stews. Again, this local produce pleased the palates of households and catering establishments within the vicinity and further afield.

Marrying ancient traditions with ground-breaking technologies to generate electricity for business and domestic use, and as a means of lowering their operational costs despite the initial high financial investment, the dairy farmers sought to install solar panels while the wild meat butchers drew up plans to install a wind turbine.

Germany isn't the first country that springs to mind in terms of sun-blessed destinations, but its northerly regions enjoy more than their fair share of wind power, the electricity output from both renewable sources were to be shared among the local community. After weighing up the challenges and opportunities, both branches of the family applied for the appropriate equipment licenses from the relevant authorities and were stunned to learn they'd been turned down...

Even in a technologically advanced nation like Germany, corporate interests held the upper hand – fearing the loss of income from the national power grid solar generation was seen as a growing threat while the wind turbine was classed as an unsightly nuisance that would create noise pollution!

Needless to say the family was back where it started although Germany has come leaps and bounds in the green energy stakes ranking 18th out of EU-28 countries in 2015 for its share of renewables in gross final energy consumption compared to Spain's 14th position and the UK's 24th placing.

SOURCE: Eurostat, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Share_of_renewables_in_gross_final_energy_consumption,_2015_and_2020_(%25)_YB17.png

© Chris Dove as told by the Timm family, Hamburg

 

[01/08/17] 'Solar Power to the People'

With global concern increasing about the damage plastic bottles are inflicting on oceans and marine life, I can hold my head high in the knowledge that my plastic footprint is minimal – I don't drink cola, manufactured lemonade or beer, so I buy one 1-litre mineral water bottle every three months, drink it then fill it with tap water, and using a BRITA water filter, it's reused more than 100 times before it's taken to the recycling bin where I trust my local authority correctly disposes of it.

It's what our local taxes are paid for though I dread to think where it actually ends up...

Probably in Third World countries like the Philippines. Here, trillions of carelessly discarded plastic bottles carpet streets and beaches, forming a blight on the landscape before drifting out to sea and killing innocent fish and seabirds. Fed up with the destruction of their communities, enterprising environmentalists in the capital, Manila, launched a plastic bottle recycling initiative that harnesses the power of the sun.

Wearing specially designed t-shirts proclaiming 'Solar Power to the People', this small band of eco-warriors brave the filth to collect and clean plastic bottles – their aim: transforming them into solar light bulbs in a simple yet highly effective win-win scenario.

Non-biodegradable bottles are filled with water and bleach then suspended through tin roofs of the modest buildings millions of Milanese residents are forced to call home. Refracted by sunlight, the plastic bottles bring cost-free illumination to people for whom reliable electric lighting is a far-off luxury, helping to combat energy poverty by freeing up households to spend their minimal incomes on other priorities.

“This will really help people save money for their food in Manila and beyond,” an NGO representative said in '21st Century' on South Korea's Arirang TV.

Meanwhile, sun worshippers from Britain to India and beyond enjoyed more than half an hour of intelligent analysis of the sun's strengths and weaknesses listening to 'The Power of the Sun', BBC Radio 4, first aired on 30/07/17, a Sunday of course!

And only this morning, it was announced that Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympics Games – its motto: 'Follow the Sun', another shining example of power to the people in a city I had the pleasure of sun worshipping some 15 years ago.

 

[24/07/17] UK promotes solar energy

Sunny news on BBC Radio 4 this morning: “The Government says consumers could save up to £40 billion by 2050 with a shake-up of the energy market. The rules will be changed to make it easier for people to produce their own power with solar panels, store it in batteries and sell it to the national grid”, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_fourfm.

 

[21/07/17] Solar planning in frozen Finland

Sunshine is rare in Finland so every ray of illusive natural energy is welcomed.

That's the thinking behind an innovative open source 3D modelling initiative by Helsinki urban planners using digital photos to show highly accurate images of the city's streets and buildings.

The models effectively track carbon emissions and analyse energy use including the best locations to place solar panels.

“We are the first city in the whole world that delivers both of these models as open data”, explained Jarmo Suomisto, urban planner from the City Executive Office.

The city has collaborated with Rotterdam, Hamburg, Vienna and Singapore to become a world leader in this field.

 

[15/07/17] Solar panels suddenly funny

The dry topic of solar energy took a funny turn yesterday with who else but Trump repeating his threat to build a 900-mile wall along the US-Mexico border.

His typically deluded idea that Mexicans will pay for a fence preventing them reaching their Promised Land is side-splitting enough until you hear Trump proposing a “see-through wall probably made of solar panels.”

I'm fully supportive of solar tech applied to as many industrial and social uses as possible, but in this instance Trump really takes the biscuit.

Good luck with the wall, Mr President – you're going to need it.

 

[05/07/17] Germany-China renewable pandas

Ahead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany (7-8 July 2017), two Chinese pandas en route to Berlin Zoo have unknowingly stolen the show – not a difficult feat for the cute and cuddly pair when compared to the dry meetings lined-up between cool, calm, collected German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the world's most powerful grey-haired men wearing obligatory grey suits.

Never known to miss an opportunity to bang their own drum, China is cosying up to Merkel in a bare-faced display of environmental concern having quickly occupied the role of lead climate change advocator following Trump's naive decision to take a back seat regarding this pressing global issue.

With China already accounting for 1/3 of German exports, the pandas are a large but welcome sweetener for the Germans – a highly visible, newsworthy symbol of China's push for renewable energy investments.

 

[03/07/17] Solar concentration “from hi-tech to smart-tech”

A quote by HELIOVIS spokesman Farhad Shikhaliyev, the company behind a solar concentration plant in Spain, speaking on 'The Edge', CNBC during Expo 2017 Astana (10 June to 10 September, Kazakhstan).

Using a series of HELIOtubes, the innovative process brings back memories of school science experiments – concentrating the power of the sun through a hand-held magnifying glass to generate heat and flames.

As Mr Shikhaliyev explained:We don't actually use magnifying glasses – this is a figure of speech to better explain the concept behind the technology. The HELIOtube is made from 3 types of plastic film. Inside HELIOtube, a reflective film runs lengthwise, forming two air-tight chambers. The arch is achieved by creating a small difference in air-pressure between the chambers. The arched film concentrates the sunlight onto the thermal receiver and thus heating the coolant flowing through.”

Each HELIOtube produces 1MW of thermal energy and the energy produced is used in industrial processes or converted to electricity by a turbine.

Currently 55% cheaper in capital expenditure (CAPEX) compared to glass-based technology, HELIOVIS was pilot tested on a small scale in Spain in 2013 to prove the fundamental principles of the technology. After a successful large scale plant was commissioned on the 23rd of June 2017 in Villalgordo del Júcar, Spain, HELIOVIS are set to take the solar industry by storm.

Check the website for more fascinating details about this ground-breaking renewable energy source. https://heliovis.com

 

[27/06/17] Spain's web streaming video to reach 79% in 4 years

Streets ahead of the game in 2014, I planned Solview360° solar time-lapse camera app, live streaming 360° landscape photos 24/7 to smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs.

Now Cisco's Visual Networking Index reveals video will comprise 79% of Spain's internet traffic in 2021 – virtual and augmented reality accounting for most traffic. (kippel01.com; Barcinno)

From 'mobile first' to 'video first' in the race for all-round entertainment with consumption in Spain estimated to exceed 46 million minutes per month, and from 38 megabits per second in 2016 to 65 megabits per second in 2021.

Any forward-looking collaborators interested in pushing Solview360° through – swapping the solar camera for a recreational drone – please drop a line to dovechris1@gmail.com.

Business plans in English and Spanish available.

Solar Blog: Korean techies cite Solview360° concept, https://www.solview360.com/solar-blog

 

Chris Dove, BA (Hons) Econ: SEO Cert.

Global Content Producer/Mobile App Developer

Pro Write and Edit

Connect LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/prowriteandedit

View Website: https://www.solview360.com/pro-write-and-edit  

Facebook Friend Me: www.facebook.com/Chris.Dove.author

Follow Twitter: @dovechris1

Skype Chat: prowriteandedit

Location: Málaga, Spain – “A cultural hub” (The New York Times, August 2016)

 

[18/06/17] First solar oven sparks interest

Simple green tech innovations crop up every day.

Enterprising engineers dubbed “makerspace” at Eco Teclab in Togo have buyers lining up for their solar-powered oven, a first for a West African country suffering energy poverty.

The foot-square oven comprises 25 solar discs and is made of wood, plywood, glass and sheet metal.

Speaking in French, solar oven inventor Ousia Foli-Bebe explained: “When you open the oven, rays of sunlight pass through the glass to optimise the rays received. The cover traps the sunrays and transfers them to the glass. Once the rays reach inside the oven they turn into heat. This heat can't come out of the glass so is stored inside the oven and cooks the food.” 

Users like its small dimensions making it less cumbersome, and they no longer worry about cooking.

“I take my time doing the laundry because the solar oven takes care of cooking and adds taste to the food,” one user explained after using it for two months.

Best BBQ idea – ever.

No need for electric or fossil energy, widespread use of solar cooking could meet deforestation challenges around the world.

Why didn't we think of this before?

Follow Twitter @dovechris1

'Sun baked', China Global Television Network, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6twgYdgPZ8U

 

[08/06/17] China's 'man-made sun'

As part of the “Future Energy” theme during the Astana Expo 2017 (10 June-10 September), China Global Television Network (CGTN) highlighted the 'man-made sun' exhibition in the China Pavilion – a revolutionary development in China's nuclear fusion energy.

The artificial sun developed by the Chinese Academy of Science features a super-heated long pulse plasma discharge exceeding 50 million degrees in temperature.

First initiated in January, the 102-second discharge is “the longest discharge at such a high temperature, which marks an important breakthrough in artificial sun research.”

As the world's largest energy polluter, China, unlike Trump's America, is throwing its almighty weight behind the climate change agenda and is keen to demonstrate scientific advances few countries are willing or capable both of pursuing and funding, evidenced by the Chinese Premier's attendance at the Astana Expo opening ceremony in Kazakhstan.

Trump's abscence was noted.

 

[20/05/17] One soul promoting solar

An enterprising individual in the West African country of Cameroon aims to change the fortunes of his homeland by transforming it into a tech hub.

Within the context of the 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who have no or limited access to electricity (World Bank), renewable energy engineer Bolivie Wakam installs low-cost solar panels to charge batteries which are then used to purify drinking water in rural areas.

Having made it his mission to teach local communities about the benefits of solar energy, he set up Africa Tech Solar as an NGO with the goal of spreading clean energy from his hometown, Batoufam, to the furthest reaches of the country.

“Solar energy does not pollute the environment; it’s clean energy and it’s renewable”, says Wakam.

His solar system has made great advances and is now used to power computers in schools and libraries, enabling young people to continue their studies with a reliable energy source when electric power lines fail or are non-existent.

See Eco@Africa on Channels TV, http://www.channelstv.com/programmes/ecoafrica/

 

[22/04/17] Less coal, more sun

While Britain celebrated its first full day without coal-powered electricity – a feat to be cheered after Brixton's Electric Avenue, south London, became the first to use electric street lighting in 1888 – millions of environmentally concerned citizens took to the streets in support of World Earth Day.

Not to be outshone, Málaga’s Costa del Sol in southern Spain put plans in gear to launch the world's first solar car. Designed by local company Evovelo, the dinky two-seater called Mö is made from sustainable materials and will run for up to 90 kilometres when fully charged by 2-3 days of sunlight.

The green driving machine can be ordered from www.evovelo.com, price: €4000-5000.

This enlightened approach is a far cry (and we will be crying) from that of Chief Climate Change Denier President Trump who's threatening to pull out of the COP21 Paris Agreement to reduce global CO2 emissions. Signed by 195 countries and ratified by 143, citizens of the States – the world's biggest polluter – aren’t (yet) compelled to wearing breathing masks all day as those in China are forced to do, the second biggest polluter.

Let's hope the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C. on 29 April sends the blinkered billionaire a clear message.

NO COP-OUTS AT COP21, PLEASE, [02/12/15] below

 

[11/04/17] Green Matters media on verge of launch

Green Matters, launching this month, is a media company dedicated to making news and topics across sustainability and innovation accessible.

Led by experienced media executives, backed by distinguished venture partners, and built using start-of-the-art technologies, they seek to develop awareness, conversations and communities to inspire real-world change.

Watch this space for upcoming articles on solar energy, wind farms, geothermals, hydroelectric power, sustainable electricity generation, storage and distribution; also marine conservation, the blue economy and sustainable fisheries local and global.

Green Matters launch coincides with Al Jazeera's repeat broadcast of 'Pricing the Planet' which discusses the economic invisibility of nature and asks what financial price would we pay for the Sun to rise and set every day?

“Our ecological footprint is escalating. To satisfy our needs we're using the resources of one and a half planets. If we continue at this rate, by 2030 we'll need two planets, by 2050 two and a half.”

Talk about costing the Earth.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2015/11/pricing-planet-151119111851963.html

 

[11/03/17] Egyptian Sun God rises from the ashes

If only the Egyptian Sun God had risen from the ashes of a Cairo square during my visit 15 years ago...

Led by a German archaeologist from the University of Leipzig, a 26-foot statue was discovered in a construction site in El Matariya, northern Cairo, and bets are on that the bust and head belong to all-powerful Pharaoh Ramses II.

This hugely respected deity took to the throne while just a teenager, reigning from 1279-1213 BC. King Ramses II was so revered that it's believed he was a human representation of Sun God Ra to such an extent that his statue at Abu Simbel Temple was strategically located to evoke the highest praise when sunshine fell on his face.

I soaked up the Pharaohs' aura during my visit to Karnak Temple in Luxor as strong sunlight bathed the entire edifice in ancient glory.

At the beginning of this month, Egypt's Antiquities Minister described "the big discovery of a colossus of a king, most probably Ramses II, made out of quartzite" in an area known as Heliopolis 3,000 years ago.

The Minister went on to explain: "We removed the head and found the crown and the right ear and a fragment of the right eye", which goes to show that the famous Egyptian Eye of Horus as a symbol of royal power and good health has been watching events unfold in this embattled country from his city centre underground tomb.

 

[01/03/17] People power shines through in Hamburg

It was refreshing to hear a group of Hamburgers insist on managing their electricity grid themselves during last week's Al Jazeera broadcast, 'Europe's Forbidden Colony'.

Having led a gruelling three-year campaign and citizen's initiative titled 'Our Hamburg – Our Grid' (OHOG), they held a 'Yes/No' referendum to wrest control from power-hungry private network operators – and won.

Putting pressure on the Hamburg Senate and City Parliament, the referendum demanded to "fully remunicipalise the Hamburg electricity, district heating and gas distribution grid" to achieve "socially just, climate-friendly and democratically controlled energy supply from renewable sources."

Home to my long-term German partner and a city I've visited on several occasions – first one Christmas when temperatures plummeted to minus 4° – OHOG faced an uphill battle against self-interested political parties and trade and industry representatives, and were outnumbered 1:100 in campaign resources.

"We had one Euro and they at least a hundred to place respective ads, print materials, etc.", explained Friends of the Earth Germany.

Read the original heart-warming story on Power to the People, 'Energy Remunicipalisation: How Hamburg is buying back energy grids', http://www.power-to-the-people.net/2016/10/energy-remunicipalisation-how-hamburg-is-buying-back-energy-grids-part-i/

 

[22/02/17] Funny side up

"If Al Gore wants to fix solar panels to my roof, he's welcome any time."

These are the words of American editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez, discussing the power of political cartoons on Al Jazeera's interactive programme, 'The Stream' (22/02/17).

I don't care how 'satirical' he thinks he is, it's proof that in the world's second biggest greenhouse gas polluter, some aren't taking climate change seriously enough.

 

[12/02/17] "Solar panels are the future. Period." – Tony Seba

I was fired up again watching renewable energy promoter Tony Seba on Bloomberg's 'Forward Thinking: What Would a Sustainable World Look Like?'

After hearing Mr Seba's salient words during the programme's first broadcast (29/06/16, repeated 11/02/17), he reminds us: "Solar panels are the future. Period."

Based in Silicon Valley, he couldn't be clearer than that and I, for one, am right behind him as he describes widespread economic and social advantages we'll accrue as cost-effective technologies impact our energy and transportation habits.

Writing from southern Spain – a region enjoying 3000 hours of sunlight annually – I was taken aback learning how enough sunlight is emitted per day to power Earth for a year. How long will it take for the powers that be to switch on to this untapped natural resource?

Watch Tony Seba on Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-29/forward-thinking-what-would-a-sustainable-world-look-like

 

[07/02/17] Solar lamps light up Africa

Reporting on the 'Grass roots' section of China's CGTN Africa Business News (07/02/17), the West African country of Burkina Faso enjoys 900 watts per square metre of sunshine every day, but when the sun goes down it's lights out – literally.

Spotting a green business opportunity, French company LAGAZEL captures this sunlight to produce 1000 solar lamps each week, creating local jobs by employing 20 people to assemble the lamp components.

Each lamp sells for US$21-46, providing an affordable earth-friendly solution which one local resident welcomes, saying: “I don't need oil or batteries anymore.”

LAGAZEL aims to produce 1 million solar lamps by 2020, brightening up the future in one of Africa's sunniest regions.

See full report at http://africa.cgtn.com/2017/02/07/solar-lamps-solve-electricity-challenges-in-burkina-faso/

 

[04/02/17] Russia invests future in solar

A country not known for its wealth of sunshine, Russia stakes the future of sustainable electricity generation, storage and distribution firmly in the solar sector via the Russia Direct Investment Fund.

According to The CNBC Debate: Future Energy (04/02/17), 2015 was a record year for solar output from photovoltaics (PV) representing about 30% of renewable power generating capacity added worldwide and accounting for the “great outlook for renewables by 2021.”

In similar vein from its HQ in Abu Dhabi and European base in Germany, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) attributes: “The rapid growth of solar PV to game-changing storage innovation, the success of fine-tuned policies and new financing mechanisms” in its report, 'REthinking Energy 2017'.

In 2014, Spain's renewable electricity generation from solar stood at 13,673 GWh and in 2015 at 7,132 Mw.

Check your country's solar credentials on page 118 of the report, http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_REthinking_Energy_2017.pdf

 

[12/01/17] Korean techies cite Solview360° concept

Korean tech is streets ahead of many global rivals, so when its directors predict trends in consumer engagement, you know they know what they're talking about.

Discussing demand for image technologies and related content to satisfy the growing appetite for VR experiences (virtual reality), Korean TV channel Arirang highlighted drone cameras capturing and transmitting images to VR headsets and other wearables that place users in the 3D space they're viewing ('UPFRONT', 12/01/17).

Solview360° solar camera concept was considered too futuristic for Spanish tourism authorities when presented in 2014. The simple idea involved strategically placed solar cameras live streaming 360° panoramic images across coastal and inland areas for real time viewing on smartphones, laptops and tablets so visitors see year-round visuals alongside tourist info promoting local landmarks.

“No one uses coins anymore”, explained one CEO commenting on the growth of FinTech (financial technologies) where mobile payments using computer chips, PINs and eye/voice/fingerprint recognition come to the fore.

We may not be as far ahead as tech wiz Korean consumers when it comes to notes and coins, but the time might just be right to take Solview360° into the virtual realm.  

Watch this space.

 

[18/12/16] Solar in South Africa  

South Africa may be struggling to provide decent homes for all its people but it's taken great strides in the solar energy stakes.

As reported on CNN's 'Africa's Energy Surge', Solar Capital is using the natural gift of the sun to generate much-needed electricity with 700,000 solar panels installed on the nation's largest solar farm covering 500 hectares on the 175-megawatt facility in De Aar.

A fantastic outcome given the 70,000 jobs it will create, and uplifting news for the rapidly ascending continent.

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/12/africa/de-aar-solar-south-africa/

 

[11/12/16] Best ever Christmas TV

'Snow Magic' takes kids and adults on an unusual educational nature trip across Japan's Lake Shumarinai, “the Kingdom of Snow”.

Narrated in English through the eyes of a wizard accompanied by haunting background music, you'll see the fluffiest fox, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and 3D ice crystals.

Watch in darkness for the full effects.

'Snow Magic', NHK World, https://www.facebook.com/nhkworld/videos/1124017004311721/

 

[16/10/16] Spain in solar spotlight

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Spain's Miguel Arias Cañete, will participate in the III Spanish Solar Forum on 29 & 30 November in Madrid. He'll be joined by Alberto Nadal, Secretary of State for Energy in the caretaker government, and Jorge Barredo, President of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union, UNEF.

The Forum's motto: Photovoltaic 2.0: the sector's new opportunity”.

I interviewed Cañete online when I was editor with responsibility for Spain, Diversified Business Communications, USA.

 

[08/10/16] Kenya keen to power solar industry

More than half-way through this 21st century decade, I'm still scratching my head wondering why more African countries haven't jumped on the solar energy bandwagon.

So it was uplifting to see today's report on China's CCTV News banging the drum for the industry in its Global Business programme.

Over in Kenya, conscious of the perennial problem of domestic and corporate power cuts, technological innovation is providing a sustainable solution in the form of multi-junction solar convectors.

While the term doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, these are in fact highly efficient semi-conductors being developed in the US for installation at a fraction of the cost of standard solar panels. Early days maybe, but proof there's light at the end of the renewable energy tunnel.

 

[10/09/16] Haircuts sunnyside up!

Africa's star is definitely rising with the first passengers taking off and landing at the upcoming continent’s first solar-powered airport.

And a barber with his head screwed on is taking full advantage.

As Al Jazeera report today from George Airport, Western Cape, power cuts cost SA's economy up to $780 million per month, and as solar panels have become more affordable, two more airports are in the pipeline.

Excess electricity feeds into the national grid, creating new business opportunities as companies start occupying unused land near the airport.

A shining example being the world's greenest barber, Steven Goitseone, using two small solar panels in his portable barbershop: “It's all in one,” he explains, “and powers everything from hair clippers to phone battery charger.”

SA's aiming high, predicting 40% of its electricity needs will be from renewable energy by 2030.

Solar panels prop up South Africa's electricity grid, Al Jazeera, 10/7/16, http://video.aljazeera.com/channels/eng/videos/solar-panels-prop-up-south-africas-electricity-grid-/5119582030001

 

[07/09/16] Weather outlook

“It was raining and FREEZINGLY cold.” – South African community worker, Cape Town

A new word for the dictionary, heard today, a good description of conditions, made me laugh as I basked in Spain´s 32-degree sunshine.

 

[05/09/16] Rosetta found at last!

After two years lost in a shaded corner of a comet, Rosetta´s Philae lander has been found, phew!

Finally able to complete its mission, we'll soon be star struck by the valuable information collected.

Watch this SPACE for more...

 

[31/07/16] Rio Carnival 2.0

The world's most extravagant street party – Rio Carnival – had me in tears of joy and sadness during my 2004-05 trip.

Every soul invests their time and pride in this (at least) once in a lifetime event, money no object despite the financial strain on households, families, businesses, authorities.

They don't do it for show, they do it for themselves. Tourists reap the biggest rewards then fly home.

A low point was witnessing the diversion of countless millions of much-needed public funds to house these people, perched precariously on top of each other with little access to life's bare necessities.

Granting the Olympic Games to Brazil put South America on the sports and sponsorship maps – BUT WAS NEVER TO BENEFIT 'THE PEOPLE'.

Residents protesting over the weekend distributed paper doves to the public, drawing attention to their cause, bemoaning the drastic downturn since its days as the biggest of the BRIC group of growing countries with Russia, India, China.

Days before the circus commences is too little, too late.

Original image not online for posting.

 

[26/07/16] Mission accomplished

Today marks the end of the first sun-powered flight around the world as Solar Impulse touched down in Abu Dhabi.

I was unaware my stopover in the country years ago would hail such historic news.

Congratulations to the technicians and pilots – your feat signals a watershed in renewable energy use.

http://www.solarimpulse.com/adventure

 

[07/07/16] Solar soars to new heights

Ref America's sunshine state: “Ambitious renewable energy goals are fuelling a boom in solar energy across California. The state passed a climate bill requiring 50 percent of each utility’s retail sales to come from renewable energy by 2050. California now boasts enough solar energy to power an estimated 3.3 million homes.”

California Outshines Other U.S. States In Solar Power, Statista, 7/7/16, http://www.statista.com/statistics/289149/revenue-solar-power-industry-united-states/

 

A fortnight earlier, while I was holidaying in sun-starved Germany, Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Seville after a 3-day flight across the Atlantic from New York – “one of the longest legs of the first ever fuel-less flight around the world,” according to Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-solar-plane-seville-landing-idUSKCN0Z90GB

 

[21/06/16] Are Solar Panels Just for Rich People?

COURTESY Priceonomics

The price of solar has plummeted since the late 1970s. Back then you’d pay US$77.67 per watt for solar cells, and you still wouldn’t be able to produce electricity – not until you connected a bunch of cells together to form a solar panel.

Last year, the price for a fully made solar panel – including the glass cover, aluminium frame, and electrical wiring—reached 57 cents a watt.

*** READ FULL http://priceonomics.com/are-solar-panels-just-for-rich-people/

This post is adapted from SolarPulse, a Priceonomics Data Studio customer. Does your company have interesting data? Become a Priceonomics customer.

 

[04/06/16] Sundown

Perpetual sunseeker David Yorke died suddenly on 27 May 2016.

David was my step-father – though not married to mum, they were together 30 years, longer than either of their first marriages.

We´re waiting for the post-mortem results, early indications are that it wasn´t a heart attack as suspected.

David was a much-loved father to me in ways my dad NEVER was.

I´m attending his funeral in England, 23 June.

RIP David

 

[11/05/16] Solar tech growth forecast

Mike McNamara, CEO, Flex smart wearables: “Solar tech is the first exciting area where we´re seeing a lot of our capital investment, e.g. in Malaysia producing 3 million solar modules…high profitability and high growth rates = sustainability for the next 20 years.” (Managing Asia, CNBC, rebroadcast 11/5/16)

The company´s investing in solar farms, creating dynamic energy fields by tilting solar panels to track the sun.

 

[24/04/16] SOLAR IMPULSE has landed!

Touchdown went to perfection for Solar Impulse airplane this morning, successfully landing in California on the 9th stage of its round-the-world trip from Hawaii having completed its jaunt around the Atlantic.

Powered only by renewable energies, clean techs and the Sun, next stop: New York in June before soaring over the Pacific.

 

[11/03/16] Mother Nature in Spain & Japan

As Japan commemorates five years since an earthquake triggered a tsunami, 11,000 kilometres away in Málaga, southern Spain, residents like me were shaking in our beds at 05:45 in the morning as a noticeable tremor shook our tower block.

My first experience of such a tremor – mild compared to the one my partner underwent in January while I was in Barcelona – but unnerving nevertheless.

We fear it won´t be the last. nor so gentle next time.

 

[09/03/16] Solar eclipse over Asia

Wonderful watching TV footage of Indian worshippers in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, gathered for the solar eclipse over the region.

Only their counterparts in select areas of Indonesia caught the total eclipse, many missing out on the spectacle thanks to a well-timed burst of cloud cover. Disappointed faces said it all.

At least they don´t have long to wait for the next, nor, apparently, do onlookers in the West: all eyes will be gazing skywards in autumn 2019.

 

[25/02/16]: Chinese sun and smiles

The absence of smog and the rare sight of clear blue skies forced people in Beijing to take to the hills today (NHK World News, Japan).

“I just wanted to see the sun,” one woman sighed, another: “I love taking photos when the sun is shining,” while yet another summed it all up saying, “I finally saw sun today.”

The report ended on a bright note: “The sun's rays in winter bring smiles to people's faces.”

 

[12/02/16]: Tesla SolarCity

Interviewed on CNN Talk Asia re their forthcoming driverless car, Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO said: “Our goal is sustainable transport. Goal posts for solar are getting hotter as coal and oil energy go slow.”

I wrote about Tesla´s wireless remote control making advances in home automation for Modern Design Magazine in 2007. These guys have come a long way.

 

[10/02/16]: Solar shines in all sizes

Two TV broadcasts shine a light on the power of solar energy – regardless of installation size.

In Brooklyn, NY, an animated opening introduced a pair of guitar-strumming, folk-singing Truck Farm directors describing their back-of-the-DODGE mobile garden producing toms, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, parsley et al year-round, aided by an innovative greenhouse cover fitted with just one solar panel. (Community Channel, 09/02/16)

At the other end of the scale, a Japanese car factory maintenance worker was all smiles explaining he'd prefer to be building the vehicles, but gained tremendous satisfaction as a dedicated team HAND-CLEANING the plant's 20,000 solar panels. (NHK World, 09/02/16)

Clearly, size DOESN'T matter!

 

[17/01/16]: Solar on the rise in West Africa

Anyone who´s anyone in the solar power industry will be hotfooting to Accra, Ghana – my family roots – for the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa Conference, 19-20 April 2016.

Aiming to “aid in speeding up the uptake of solar in West Africa”, delegates from across this up and coming continent will gather to exchange best practice initiatives for commercial and consumer use.

According to Solar Media: “With approximately 58MW of solar installed in West Africa so far, our market analysis points that in the next 2 years the installed capacity would increase exponentially going past 400MW.” Glow Ghana! 

Watch the video, http://westafrica.solarenergyevents.com/

Blogs:

[2013.02.28] Grow Ghana: West Africa’s regional development gathers pace - SITE NO LONGER AVAILABLE, CONTACT BLOGGER FOR TEXT - http://www.prowriteandedit.com/news.php?idn=163

[2013.03.10] Ghana – The Great And The Good - SITE NO LONGER AVAILABLE, CONTACT BLOGGER FOR TEXT - http://www.prowriteandedit.com/news.php?idn=165

 

[24/12/15]: Sun god Helios to stand tall in Rhodes

Greece has a mountain of socio-economic problems to deal with, but plans are afoot to erect a 150-metre high statue of titan sun god Helios on the island of Rhodes.

The original 30-metre Colossus of Rhodes was built to celebrate Greeks´ victory over Cyprus in 305 BC, and, prior to being destroyed in a 226 BC earthquake, was said to have been constructed from enemy weapons.

This new statue will use light generated by solar panels, visible from as far as Turkey, but will it lessen the impact of an ongoing Greek tragedy?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQJJHLHg2js

Over in the US, my solar camera concept received a boost when a “solar webcam in a box” was selected as one of the year´s best inventions. Designed by California-based Planet Labs to capture the Earth´s images, it featured on CNN´s `Make. Create. Innovate.´ broadcast 23/12/15.

 

[20/12/15]: WTO Women in Business

For the first time ever, the World Trade Organisation held its Ministerial Conference in Africa – a sign of the continent's ascendancy with the honour going to Kenya – and the first chaired by a woman, Somali-Kenyan Dr Amina Mohamed (15-18/12/15).

The International Forum on Women in Business included case studies on Namibia and its innovative use of solar drying to prolong the shelf-life of agri-products during cross-border transit.

Many parts of Europe are experiencing their warmest winter temperatures, with reports of spring flowers like irises and snowdrops carpeting the British landscape.

Daffs in December indeed! Some premature blooms flower only once a year so won´t appear next spring. Strange...

 

[17/12/15]: So much for solar

Seats occupied by climate change representatives have barely had time to cool, yet cop-outs on COP21 have already appeared.

Less than a week after signing the “historic” Paris Agreement limiting global temperature rises to 2°C, the UK government announces a cap on solar industry subsidies.

Short-sighted or just stupid?

 

[06/12/15]: Nippon rising in lighting technologies

Futuristic Japanese lighting designers have set the stage for public art and entertainment. LEDs and solar powered creations by Motoko Ishi transform city nightscapes into serene 4D artworks, while supercharged performances by squeaky clean electro pop trio Perfume feature psychedelic tech projections and chic neon costumes. Far out, man.

 

[02/12/15]: NO COP-OUTS AT COP21, PLEASE

Returning to the UK in 1990 after a prolonged stint in Spain, the first TV programme that piqued my interest was 'The Green Sell'. It focused on environmental marketing and the dangers of green-washing, where products and services are flogged under the eco banner despite possessing the flimsiest earth-friendly credentials.

 

Twenty-five years later – the lifespan of an entire generation – we're barely on the fringes of tackling environmental problems. Green marketing isn't the issue, it's green education.

 

Few, thankfully, have been able to escape the bombardment of bulletins covering the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), the UN's Convention on Climate Change, on now in Paris till 11 December.

 

One programme, 'MOMENTA', featured 350.org climate change movement with a solar panel manufacturer saying: “Solar is one of the best ways you can create jobs.” Music to my ears in light of the solar camera concept I've developed! 

 

My two-part series 'Global warming – what on Earth does it all mean?' was published in 2008 in the wake of 'The Inconvenient Truth', putting the pressing issue in a modern design context with its threat to our carefree lifestyles. 'Green vs Greed' followed in 2010 for a Barcelona business magazine. 

 

Read COP – What's it all about? for stark facts we're finally waking up to www.cop21.gouv.fr/en/learn/what-is-cop21/

 

Follow on Twitter: @dovechris1    Email: dovechris1@gmail.com

[23/11/15]: Solar power shines again

Global energy policies have dampened demand for solar power by effectively taxing the sun – Spain being a noted culprit introducing unfavourable industry regulations in June 2014, hampering the competitive and innovative nature of photovoltaic facilities converting sunlight into electricity up to a maximum 120 MW.

Now though, the Moroccan Sahara finds itself in the eye of the storm, enjoying an outbreak of commercial interest in the unbeatable value of solar power.

In a report by BBC Environment and Energy Analyst Roger Harrabin, a vast installation equivalent to 35 football fields of concave, solar-collecting mirrors have begun tracking the sun – where else than in the middle of the Sahara (I wonder whose great idea that was). Oil-filled pipes are heated by sunlight, generating enough constant electricity to power 1 million households up to 20 hours per day.

“Climate change is a unique opportunity for our nation,” explains the Moroccan project director. “Solar will be the dominant source of energy by 2050. This is a moment in history.”

Currently, less than 1% of global electricity is solar-generated, and fears persist that solar can
't be scaled up fast enough to meet global electricity demand – one fifth of all energy consumed, and rising.

In January 2015, Spanish tourism authorities rejected my Solview360© solar camera plan to develop an app for smartphones, tablets and online streaming...perhaps now they
'll see the light: Andalucía alone produces 3,000 hours of sunlight per year, look out the window!

Roger Harrabin full report: BBC Radio 4, 23/11/15 at 8pm GMT @RHarrabin

 

Follow on Twitter: @dovechris1

[25/11/14]: Solar power to the people

The waves of media interest generated by space probe Rosetta in its mission to unlock the secrets of the Solar System have shone a light on solar panel usage as never before.

Aided by lander Philae as it touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko a fortnight ago, Rosetta is the first space mission to travel through the main asteroid belt powered solely by solar panels.

Low-intensity low-temperature solar cells – a revolutionary technology used at the European Space Agency (ESA) – allowed Rosetta to operate more than 800 million km from the Sun where sunlight is only 4% of the strength of Earth
's.

The mission was monitored from ESA
's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany by the DLR German Aerospace Agency, while closer to familiar terra firma, a German innovation is empowering us to install solar panels on our own homes.

Based in Freiburg, the Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems, in collaboration with scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, have developed a way to produce efficient solar panels that reduce home assembly time and installation costs and make intelligent savings.

After inventing a highly efficient solar cell under the Smart Energy Buildings and Cities initiative, the new lightweight flexible panels are easy to install, don
't require a mounting frame, traditional cables or qualified technician.

Installing traditional solar panels on a roof takes an average 26 hours
' work by an electrician which the Institute calculates at €3.88 per watt.

The team solved the problem with cables which simply connect one after the other, reducing time taken to 10 hours at the low cost of €1.18 per watt.

Although solar power accounted for 10.5% of all the EU
's electricity generated from renewables in 2012, increasing from just 0.1% in 2002, Eco-Tech Energy of the Future announced earlier this year: “There's lots of energy that comes from the Sun which we're still not using.”

 

Follow on Twitter: @dovechris1