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07 Oct | Renewable Energy in the News

I just stumbled across a great article on the Malta Independant Online website with some wonderful juicy figures on renewable energy that I thought warranted sharing.

The piece focused on a speech given by Pasquale Pistorio, a respected, now-retired Maltese businessman who for over 25 years was the head of STMicroelectronics.

Below is an extract. To read the article in full visit the Malta Independant Online:

The EU has what it calls its 2020 targets, which also mean a 20 per cent cut in energy consumption by 2020. But the targets may even go up to 30 per cent. It would be easy if there was the right political will.

As for renewables, they are now a reality, from solar to thermo to PV, to wind to geothermal to biothermal.

Wind renewable energy is now mature. It could soon be as cheap as fossil fuels. In most coastal areas, wind energy could be as low as €0.05 per kw/hour. This is even cheaper than fossil fuels. Twenty per cent of the energy needs in Denmark come from wind energy, 10 per cent in Spain, eight per cent in Germany and from three to six per cent in the EU as a whole.

In 2009, wind energy produced some 158 gigawatts in the whole world, which works out at something like 55 power stations compared to the 375 nuclear power stations. But wind stations are increasing by 25 per cent a year. By 2025, energy from wind will overtake energy from nukes.

Solar energy is still young. Over the past year it produced only some 25 gigawatts, equivalent to four power stations. But it has a 50 per cent growth rate and the costs are falling. Last year in the US solar energy went below the $1 mark.

Thermo dynamics create energy through using huge mirrors. Covering just two per cent of the world’s deserts by such mirrors would solve all the energy needs of the entire world. The cost is still high but is falling.

Photovoltaic energy will reach parity by mid-decade. There is still so much research to be done that will make this and other renewables more efficient and cost-effective by the second half of this century.

Malta is in an ideal situation to go for renewables. It is a small island, its population is quite intelligent and it is very sunny. A Sicilian saying says that the sun that hits one square metre of Sicilian land is the equivalent of one barrel of oil.

Malta could become the first country in the world to be carbon free, for instance by 2030, the first country in the world to get its energy needs from clean renewables.

A green economy also creates jobs. In Germany, three to four million jobs have been created by the green economy – 400,000 in renewable energy and 900,000 in energy conservation. There are very few jobs in nuclear energy.

Can there be any doubt that a broadly diversified, long range, renewable energy portfolio can be anything but profitable. Well I can’t say a definitive ‘YES’ but the odds look good.