The UN goal of providing sustainable energy for all by 2030 may create up to four million jobs in the off-grid electricity industry alone, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The Abu Dhabi-based Agency, which released a study on renewables on Wednesday, also said that power from renewable energy sources was getting cheaper every year, challenging long-standing myths that clean energy technology is too expensive to adopt. The IRENA study noted that the costs of generating power from solar panels had fallen as much as 60 per cent in just the past few years, while the price of generating power from other renewables, including wind, hydro power, concentrating solar power and biomass, was also falling. “One of the (myths) out there perpetuated by industry lobby groups is that renewable energy is too expensive,” said Adnan Amin, IRENA’s director general, adding that in reality, “costs are falling exponentially … and will continue (to do so) in the future.”
Amin also said there was “considerable employment potential” arising from the global renewables industry, “in the downstream linkages, particularly in the distribution, sales, installation, operation and service of such systems, which can be enhanced if well integrated with local commercial activities.” Renewable energy companies currently employ 5 million people, Rabia Ferroukhi, senior programme officer at Irena’s Policy Advice and Capacity Building Directorate, said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi today. Of the 1.3 billion people who lack access to electricity, 45 per cent live in Africa and 50 per cent in Asia, Irena said in a statement today.
Wind building for green desal
Adelaide-based wind-powered desalination company Danvest Australia has announced today that it has acquired another South Australian business, Windesal Limited, in a company restructure to further develop the firm’s patented wind-diesel technology in Australia and overseas. Danvest says it has taken over all Windesal operations and staff in a restructure it describes as an exciting way forward for the company and major stakeholders. “Stakeholders including creditors overwhelmingly supported the restructure proposal, which has resulted in the release of significant new funding into the business,” said Danvest Australia managing director Jonathan Whalley. “This injection of capital from the restructure has enabled us to progress several new contracts already, so we’ve really hit the ground running.”
Danvest Australia is a subsidiary of the Denmark-based Danvest Group, a world leader in hybrid wind-diesel plants. It specialises in wind-diesel plants ranging in capacity from 100kW to 10MW, making them well suited to off-grid consumers in regional and remote areas. The technology allows for wind-diesel operation where high wind penetration can result in reductions of fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions of up to 85 per cent a year when compared to standard diesel generator plants.
On the Ascent, with solar iPhone charger
There has been some talk of developing solar-powered iPhone chargers, but now a US company appears to have come through with the goods. Bloomberg reports that shares of Ascent Solar Technologies, a Colorado-based thin-film solar panel maker, rose sharply after it announced a solar-powered charger case for Apple’s iPhone. The aptly-named Ascent, rose 48 per cent to 86 cents at the close in New York on Wednesday, the most since August last year, with news of the charging technology, developed under Ascent’s new EnerPlex line of solar power consumer products. The case consists of a battery paired with the company’s copper-indium-gallium-selenide, or CIGS, thin-film solar cells, Ascent said on Thursday in a statement. The EnerPlex line will provide mobile phone users with a product that “prolongs battery life, increases mobility and allows them to be ‘green’,” Victor Lee, the company’s CEO said. The company also expects to release a similar case for Samsung’s Galaxy S III phone.