Homebiogas: easy, clean, climate-friendly way to heat and power your home with garbage

Yesterday, I saw a demo of the Homebiogas bioreactor: it's essentially an artificial stomach that uses colonies of microbes to digest your home food waste (it can do poop, too, but people tend to be squeamish about this), providing enough clean-burning biogas to cook your next meal, heat your house, or run a generator -- what's left behind is excellent fertilizer. Read the rest

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is spending billions in renewable energy

Saudi Arabia is known for its oil and sun-soaked deserts. In a move to secure the kingdom’s financial future, its name could soon become synonymous with renewable energy.

According to the New York Times, Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided that Saudi energy company ACWA Power would spearhead the creation of a $300 million solar farm capable of powering 200,000 homes. And that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what the Saudi government plans to spend on renewables.

“All the big developers are watching Saudi,” said Jenny Chase, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm. ... The renewables strategy finally started to take real shape when Khaled al-Falih took over as energy minister in 2016. Mr. Falih made solar and wind a priority for the kingdom, and set up a new unit last year to expedite the work. Much of the staff was drawn from Aramco.

Mr. Shehri, who had worked at Aramco before leading the kingdom’s renewables program, said he faced an “extremely challenging” task. Meeting Saudi Arabia’s targets would require contracts for a series of new facilities to be awarded by the end of 2020. “The only way this was possible,” he said, “was because we have done previous work.”

Saudi Arabia, with its vast oil resources, would seem an unlikely champion for renewables. But the country’s location and climate mean it has plenty of promising sites for solar and wind farms.

By 2019, the Times writes, they’ll have thrown $7 billion at the creation of solar and wind farms. Read the rest

Promising energy storage technologies for our renewable future

When the wind is blowing, the great plains could generate enough power to supply all of America, but storing and moving energy to supply those places where the wind isn't blowing, the sun isn't shining and the tide isn't coming in is a significant technological challenge that we're still figuring out. Read the rest

Kentucky coal museum installs solar panels because conventional energy is too expensive

The Kentucky Coal Museum in Benham, KY, spends $2,100 a month on electricity; to save money, they're putting in 80 solar panels, which will save them $8,000/year. Read the rest

Wyoming bill prohibits power companies from using renewables

A group of Wyoming legislators in the state's House and Senate -- all representing coal country and all avowed climate deniers -- have introduced a bill that would ban Wyoming power companies from using solar or wind power by 2019, and requires non-renewable power to account for 95% of the state's power by 2018. Read the rest

Canadian government thinktank warns that renewables will gut market for Canada's dirty oil

For a decade, Canada's previous petro-tory government prosecuted scientists who publicly reported their results without first passing them through the party's commissars, almost as though reality had a well-known left-wing bias and couldn't be trusted. Read the rest