United States, China and Brazil outlined their climate plans

And these are huge steps in the right direction for both renewable energy and afforestation. This bode well for the upcoming IPCC climate talks that will take place late this year in Paris.

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India will invest 2.3 trillion in low carbon tech

A while ago TreeHugger wrote a compelling article on how India is committed to low carbon growth and energy sources. The local environment Minister, Mr. Jairam Ramesh stated in an interview given to Reuters :

“We will unilaterally, voluntarily, move on a low-carbon growth path. We can’t have 8-9% GDP growth and high-carbon growth. It has to be low-carbon growth...that is the objective that we have set for ourselves.”

CleanTechnica give us details on a massive $2.3 trillion dollar that will be invested by the country in energy. (Yes, that’s 1,600 billion euros).

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Californian electricity to be 33 % renewables

While the US federal government is still haggling about a climate and energy bill, the richest state is willing to have a third of its electricity coming from solar, wind and the likes by the end of the decade.

The local government points to the fact that this will decrease the dependence on foreign fossil fuels, improve air quality and create jobs. This is not what I call a gloomy prospect

I don’t understand why not all US States are following their example. This is the boldest plan in the United States. (Colorado comes second)

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Egypt to build its first nuclear reactor

To the AFP : ” Egypt announced on Wednesday it would build its planned nuclear powerplant on the Mediterranean coast of el-Dabaa which it hopes will start production in 2019, the state news agency MENA reported. “

” Egypt has already used several foreign companies as consultants, including Areva and Westinghouse Electric Co. (this) plant would be followed by three other reactors, tentatively scheduled to start production in 2025. “

This would be the fourth country in the region to build nuclear reactors. Meanwhile, the country is also willing to develop renewable energies such as wind and solar.

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Portugal’s bold renewable energy policy

To CleanTechnica : ” Five years ago, when 17% of Portugal’s energy came from renewable energy – about like California now – the government made a bold decision to aim for 45% during the next five years – by 2010.”

And it worked : the country is due to reach this most ambitious goal by the end of this year. The added capacity – mostly hydro and wind power – will add little to the utility bills and the investments are due to pay themselves within ten years.

Of course, Portugal is relatively small as its population is only of 10 million, but what can be done there can be done everywhere.

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The critical issue of back up power

20 percent of America’s – and perhaps the world’s – electricity could soon come from wind and solar. Our societies thus need reliable, cheap and sustainable energy storage solutions.

Concentrated solar could benefit from molten salts, yet wind energy doesn’t have yet its own solution. German and Swiss utilities are working on Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) as among these solutions.

The first test plant using CAES is due to be completed in 2013 and will be able to store the equivalent capacity of 200 MW during five hours.

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Energy sprawl is another reason to mix sources

Land use : the intensity of energyEven if this not new as I wrote about this very issue as early as June 2008, the additional research bring us more data on how renewables – and especially biofuels – need much more land to generate energy than traditional solutions.

As you can see with the graph biofuels are by far the least efficient solutions in terms of space used per TWh. The most efficient and sustainable ones are nuclear and energy efficiency as it enable to decrease the space needed.

To bring a TWh per year wind energy needs 72 square kilometers, hydro 54 ; solar photovoltaïc 36.9 ; solar thermal 15.3 ; geothermal 7.5 and nuclear only 2.4.

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Are we making earthquakes worse ?

Are dams at risk ?Last month the French magazine Science et Vie [Fr] dedicated a series of articles to the earthquake risks induced by dams, mines, oil drilling and geothermal power. You might think that these activities are without seismic risk.

But to their findings, around 200 earthquakes have been triggered by human activities so far. This can be explained by the billion of tonnes of coal, oil and minerals we have extracted so far.

This means that at least four energy sources – and two among the cleanest – are making earthquakes more frequent and more damaging.

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New dams in Brazil ?

brazil.jpgThis question appeared lately in the US press notably in the New York Times. This happens as the local President is willing to stimulate economic growth.

The current President of this large country, Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – also known in the media simply as Lula – is willing to build two dams in the Amazon Rainforest.

This project would cost around USD 11 billions and would be located in the Rondônia state. (Northwest of the country)

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