Consumer-Driven Change

Here are two articles that report changes in how we power our homes and cars … changes that are already happening.  As you’ll learn, none of these changes are initiated by political leaders of any party.  Just as availability of healthier organic foods has been driven by consumer demand, change to a sustainable world is going to have to come from consumers, like us.

Beginning with our overall global energy supply …

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Renewable energy to expand by 50% in next five years – report

 

Energy agency says solar power will drive

faster than forecast growth in renewables

 

Jillian Ambrose

The Guardian

21 Oct 2019

 

Global supplies of renewable electricity are growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years, powered by a resurgence in solar energy.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in four years.

Its latest report predicts that by 2024 a new dawn for cheap solar power could see the world’s solar capacity grow by 600GW, almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan.

Overall, renewable electricity is expected to grow by 1,200GW in the next five years, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US. The IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said …

 

“This is a pivotal time for renewable energy.

Technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV)

and wind are at the heart of transformations

taking place across the global energy system.

Their increasing deployment is crucial for ef-

forts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, re-

duce air pollution, and expand energy access.”

 

The Guardian reported earlier this month that a renewable energy revolution could end the world’s rising demand for oil and coal in the 2020s, decades ahead of forecasts from oil and mining companies.

Renewable energy sources make up 26% of the world’s electricity today, but according to the IEA its share is expected to reach 30% by 2024. The resurgence follows a global slowdown last year, due to falling technology costs and rising environmental concerns.

However, Birol warned that the role of renewables in the global energy system would need to grow even faster if the world hopes to meet its climate targets.

The report said growing climate ambitions in the European Union and the US played the biggest role in driving the IEA’s forecasts higher, but it will be China which leads the way in rolling out wind and solar energy projects.

The IEA expects solar energy to play the biggest role in jumpstarting fresh growth in global renewable energy because falling costs are already below retail electricity prices in most countries.

The cost of solar power is expected to decline by a further 15% to 35% by 2024, spurring further growth over the second half of the decade.

The appetite of energy-hungry businesses and factories is expected to be the biggest driver of the solar power boom as company bosses exploit falling costs to help cut their energy bills.

But the number of home solar panels is also expected to more than double to reach around 100m rooftops by 2024, with the strongest per capita growth in Australia, Belgium, California, the Netherlands and Austria.

Even after the “spectacular” growth expected for solar over the next five years, panels will cover only 6% of the world’s available rooftops, leaving room for further growth. Birol said …

 

“Renewables are already the world’s

second largest source of electricity, but

their deployment still needs to accelerate

if we are to achieve long-term climate,

air quality and energy access goals.”

 

He warned that although the potential for solar power was “breathtaking” the rapid rollout could disrupt electricity markets unless regulators and utilities adapt.

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 Next, once we’re powering our homes (and other buildings) with solar power, why not extend the change to include how we transport ourselves?

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Ford announces launch of largest electric vehicle charging network in the US

 

Demand for electric cars has grown slowly.

But the tsunami is coming

 

Peter Valdes-Dapena

CNN Business

17 October 2019

New York (CNN Business) Ford doesn’t currently offer any electric vehicles, but it announced Thursday that, once it does, it will offer the largest North American network of electric vehicle chargers of any automaker — including Tesla.

Unlike Tesla, though, Ford didn’t build this charging network on its own. Working with EV charging companies Greenlots and Electrify America, Ford has created what it calls the FordPass Charging Network. When needed, users will be directed to one of the network’s chargers using an app or in the vehicle’s central touch screen.

Next year, Ford will begin selling an electric crossover SUV with styling based on the Ford Mustang. It’s the first vehicle Ford has ever offered that was designed, from the outset, as an electric vehicle. That vehicle has not been unveiled yet. An electric version of the Ford F-150 pickup is also being developed.

The FordPass network will include more than 12,000 charging stations with a total of 35,000 plugs in the United States and some parts of Canada. Tesla has 4,375 public charging stations with about 15,000 plugs in the United States, according to the Department of Energy.

While Tesla’s chargers can only be used by Tesla (TSLA) cars, the chargers in the FordPass network will work with most other electric cars. Unlike Tesla’s chargers, which are all run and operated by Tesla, the chargers in the FordPass network will be operated by different companies. The charging network will include fast chargers that can rapidly juice up a vehicle’s battery to about 80% in about 40 minutes, in some cases. While the chargers themselves will work with many different cars, only Ford drivers will be able to use the FordPass app.

Ford (F) electric vehicle owners will be able to pay for charging through the app without having to subscribe separately to individual charging networks. Greenlots, a subsidiary of Shell, operates the software behind the app.

Electrify America is building its electric car charging network using money from a settlement that Volkswagen reached with US regulators over the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal. Other charging network operators are expected to join the network, a Greenlots spokeswoman said.

Ford also announced it is working with Amazon (AMZN) Home Services to install at-home chargers for customers who buy a Ford electric vehicle. Most electric car owners charge their cars at home or at work the vast majority of the time. Public chargers, like those in the FordPass Charging Network, are mostly used when drivers are taking longer road trips.

Earlier this year, General Motors (GM) announced it was working on a plan with the construction company Bechtel to build a large network of public chargers across America.

(Notice that Ford is announcing cars and a network that “will be coming soon.” The article included pix of a sample of e-cars that are already available including a Renault, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, and Porsche.  If you Google the article, you’ll see that style-wise, they look great.  And as an owner of a e-car, I can tell you that they’re both less expensive to operate and also a lot more fun to drive.)

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Just 20-30 years ago, if you wanted to eat healthier organic food, you had to find a small specialty shop run by Hippies – and bring your own bag. Then, larger stores, such as Whole Foods, made organic foods available on a larger scale, in facilities similar to traditional supermarkets.  Now, virtually every supermarket has a wide array of organic foods.

That’s consumer-driven change.

And that’s the bottom-up approach that will be needed to make the change to “sustainable living” the new norm.

When will you get on board?

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