[INFOGRAPHIC] 12 Facts About Solar for Earth Day
Solar energy is no longer a fringe technology unjustly considered by many to be unproven.
As the world’s demand for energy continues to grow, countries the world over are looking to new forms of electricity generation to fill the gap, ideally in an environmentally neutral way. And for its elegant simplicity, relatively small geographic footprint and lack of greenhouse gas emissions, solar energy has largely become— at this point, anyway— the fastest growing kid on the renewable energy block.
In the United States, for example, 2014 was the strongest year on record for growth in electric generation by renewable sources. And while it didn’t make up the largest share of renewable totals, solar did show the most meteoric expansion.
Comparing yearend totals for 2012 and 2013, solar PV production grew by about 34.36 percent, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The following year saw production increase by 40 percent, continuing a trend toward exponential growth that started around 2005.
To put it another way, solar PV technology was responsible for 427 trillion Btu (8.8 percent) of the 4.852 quadrillion Btu produced by renewables in 2014 (excluding biomass).
And all that increased production capacity has been translating into more jobs, according to the EIA. The organization reported that between 2011 and 2014, the electricity generation sector suffered across the board job cuts in every sector but one: renewables.
While nation-wide the electricity generation sector lost over 5,800 jobs in that period, non-hydro renewables were up by almost 1,800. That equated to a roughly 16 percent gain in wind, 20 percent in biomass, 9 percent in geothermal and a whopping 201 percent in solar, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
So whether it’s the abundance of supply, the cleanliness of the technology, the jobs or the simplicity, it seems that solar energy is here to stay. So then it’s probably pretty important for those outside the energy industry to learn more about this highly impactful source of energy.
NRG Energy seems to feel the same. Energy Digital went to Earth Day 2015 at Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif. this previous weekend where we found the infographic below produced by the company. With their permission, we bring it to our readers now.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.