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Uruguay to Become World Leader in Wind Energy by 2016

8:37 pm in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

A wind turbine

Uruguay is becoming a world leader in wind energy.

Move over Denmark, there will be a new leader in wind energy.

According to a report by SEG Ingenieria, Uruguay would be able to surpass Denmark by 2016 with the amount of wind energy generated in proportion to the total consumption of electricity. Denmark currently gets 28 percent of its electricity from wind energy and Uruguay would be able to get 33 percent of its electricity from wind energy by 2016.

SEG Ingenieria is an Uruguayan energy consulting business primarily interested in achieving “a sustainable and renewable energy-efficient environment, optimizing resources and making things happen.”

“As leader in the field of energy efficiency and cost optimization in the region since 1996, our company’s main purpose is to analyze, plan, consult and implement systems aimed at a better use of resources,” their “About Us” section states.

It should be noted, as mentioned in the report, Uruguay did not believe it could have achieved such a position, let alone surpass other developed countries.

“Leading the world ranking in wind energy seemed like a utopia several years ago, but actually, this possibility seems like near reality. Is it perhaps possible for a small and developing country like Uruguay achieve and position itself as a world leader in wind energy? The answer is yes,” the report stated.

Renewable energy powered 84 percent of the country’s energy last year, according to government data. Ramón Méndez, an energy official, hoped it would go as far as 90 percent for 2015 as 84 percent was “innovative on a world level.”

Two years ago, former Energy Minister Roberto Kreimerman announced the country would invest $5 billion in, according to LaRed21, “amounts that never before seen in the generation, transmission and distribution of energy” in 2014. The country even offered tax breaks for companies to join in this venture.

This is an effort that the French-based organization Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century noted in their report on how developing countries were investing a great share of their GDP in renewable energy in a recent report.

Uruguay’s President José Mujica mentioned in a radio address the growing potential of wind energy in the country and said, by 2015, the country will have the “highest percentage of wind energy in its energy included in its energy matrix.” He also mentioned the declining cost of electricity as the country invested $7 billion in its energy matrix.

Companies are well aware of this as Bloomberg News reported on Eurus Energy purchased 44 percent of stocks last year in a new farm that was recently finished in Lavalleja, Uruguay.

Efforts by Uruguay to investment in alternative energy is not limited to wind energy as it recently agreed to buy electricity from a solar farm by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures.

This is newsworthy in Latin America as other countries—such as Ecuador and Venezuela—have been dependent on oil for their profits. In addition, petroleum was discovered in Paraguay and the Mexican government pushed forth privatization of its oil and gas reserves. Uruguay would rely on natural gas but it would be an last resort option if they cannot amass enough energy from wind turbines.

It should be noted, however, the amount of megawatts will be 1,200 by “early 2016″ as the report states.

“Uruguay will certainly will function with 1,200 MW in the beginning of 2016, if considering all the parks already awarded to private companies or constructed by [Uruguayan state energy agency] UTE (National Administration of Electric Plant and Transmissions), and are already in their distinct stages of design, construction and commission,” the report said.

Compared to other countries, this is a small figure. DeSmogBlog journalist Chris Rose reported on the MWs of other developed countries with China at “91,412 MW, the U.S. at 61,091 MW, Germany at 34,250 MW, Spain at 22,959 MW, India at 20,150 MW and the U.K. 10,531 MW.” Still, as Rose puts it, “there is more to wind power than statistics.”

Méndez stated to La República the latest report provided significant news for the country in terms of its energy policy. Even on windy days, the country could have 100 percent of its electricity powered solely through wind energy.

“In the next two months, a third of the energy consumed by the country is exclusively through wind power,” he said.

Even if dwarfed by other developed countries, it certainly provides good news for environmentalists throughout the world.

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Obama Administration Adapts to Climate Change Amid Warning Signs

9:32 pm in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

The White House announced a new initiative, presented by two science advisers, to provide resources on the impact of climate change with climate.data.gov.

For the future. The White House announced a new initiative, presented by two science advisers, to provide resources on the impact of climate change with climate.data.gov.

By presenting such information, citizens and companies would be able to plan what to do in response to climate change threats. Data would be provided through federal agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Coastal areas were a reason for the initiative as simulations will be shown on the website to show the impact of rising sea levels. A post dated March 19, while announcing a joint NOAA and NASA “Coastal Vulnerability Innovation Challenge,” emphasized the impact in the opening lines:

Coastal communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the risk of damage from coastal inundation. We only have to remember the recent impact of Hurricane Sandy on communities in the northeast to see the potential damage that a single storm can cause.

Overall, the announcement was to place focus on getting citizens to focus on global warming in contemporary times. John Podesta, a special science adviser to President Barack Obama, told reporters that civilians “need to understand what is happening and what is likely to happen.”

A March 13, 2014 Gallup poll found 36 percent of Americans believing climate change would “pose a serious threat to [their] way of life.” Among age groups, 43 percent of Americans between 18 to 29 agreed it would pose a threat to their way of life. Still, a Jan. 16, 2014 Gallup poll found only 55 percent of Americans citing climate change as an extremely or very important issue the federal government should act on.

In a post on the White House blog, Podesta and John Holdren—director of the White House Office of Science and Technology—spoke more on the significance of the global warming in the U.S. since it “caused more than $110 billion in damages and claimed more than 300 lives” in 2012. Furthermore, as they elaborated on the devastation brought by climate change, they focused on the main reason why the website was created—change:

Every citizen will be affected by climate change—and all of us must work together to make our communities stronger and more resilient to its impacts.

Interestingly, the post said the country would need to “work to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and expand renewable energy generation.” Podesta has gone on-the-record for criticizing environmental groups on their protests against the Obama administration’s turn to non-renewable energy, such as natural gas. Podesta told the Wall Street Journal:

“We remain committed to developing the resource and using it, and we think there is an advantage, particularly in the electricity generation,”

Podesta has also defended the administration’s efforts to support the use of fossil fuels and rejected any plan to drop its “all-of-the-above” strategy.

It seems more likely the use of climate change will be used as a tool to ensure the election of Democrats as a few weeks ago Senate Democrats held an all-night session on the issue of global warming. However, that was in response to both Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who both spoke on drone strikes and health care respectively. Both saw a surge in campaign contributions as a result of their speeches in the Senate that garnered media coverage. Even Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), who organized the all-night meeting, referenced both Senators and their filibusters as a model:
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