It can be no coincidence that in October 2009 European electricity company trade group Eurelectric launched an initiative to push forward the standardization of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure just as the world's major motor manufacturers announced a wave of second generation pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. This, taking place against a backdrop of carbon emissions limitations legislation such as Europe's 20% by 2020 directive, sets the scene for a major roll-out of new technology.
How do most people in developed economies perceive the impact of clean energy in their daily lives? In most cases, unfortunately, as an abstract concept. That is because the process of power generation is sufficiently far removed from how and where it is consumed as to be invisible to the end user.
Shortly after the beginning of the third millennium it looks as though the first decade was lost to the greediness, egoism and irresponsibility of our so-called 'global elite'.
Renewable Energy World unveils a new section that asks leading players in the industry to give their verdict on a key issue of the moment. This time we ask: Given the outcomes at Copenhagen, what are the implications for the global renewables industry in the year ahead?
It is quite possible that this new decade will decide whether the 21st century will be China's century, in the way the 20th century was America's. Nothing will be more central to that determination than the race to create the infrastructure for a clean energy future. With deft management of its economy, China has brushed off the carnage wrought by the financial industry in late 2008 and built what looks to be a formidable renewable energy infrastructure. This will not only power its continued economic growth, but is setting the stage for China to emerge as the leader of the green revolution. To be sure, there are obstacles to China's ambitious push to become the world's leader in renewable energy manufacturing and deployment. They include a certain weakness in R&D, an area that remains a forte of the West and vital to the technological breakthroughs necessary to create scale development of renewable energy worldwide.
It is fair to say that the world has entered 2010 and a new decade on an undercurrent of uncertainty rather than wave of hope. A fragile global economy, inconclusive international action on climate change and apprehension over the shifting balance of geopolitical power are some of the reasons.
Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. Twenty years ago, my father and I went on a trip to explore several glaciers. It was a special experience for us, and one of my fondest memories. So you can imagine my horror to see recent photos of these very same glaciers that showed how much they had receded. Just 20 years ago, they were majestic examples of the Earth's natural beauty. Now, they are case studies of a planet in crisis.
In renewable R&D laboratories around the globe, researchers are constantly refining their products to yield that vital essential percentage point of efficiency – along with a host of other qualities such as durability, reliability, and a lower price. Sometimes, with this ceaseless quest for improvement, it would be easy to think that only the best is good enough.
In many countries heat pumps are experiencing renewed popularity. Although heat pumps have been used to heat buildings for more than 50 years, the technology first boomed in the 1980s and since then, much has changed. Today the technology is very advanced and modern heat pumps matched to the heating demand and equipped with efficient controls can offer both economical as well as environmental advantages over a system supplied by fossil fuels.
From time to time, Renewable Energy World magazine publishes articles presenting various scenarios about how a particular renewable technology, or a market, may develop over time. In fact in this issue, we present – albeit only as a taster – a new piece of work that looks at scenarios for growing the solar heat sector in Europe to 2020 and beyond.