Green Aruba 2015

Green Aruba is an annual conference born in 2010 with the specific aim to place dedicated emphasis on Aruba's energy transition to 100% fuel independence.

Besides showcasing Aruba's progress and challenges to the accelerated penetration of renewables in the total energy mix, Green Aruba also exhibits the experiences and knowledge of other institutions and island nations in this field. Over the past six years, Green Aruba has evolved into a practical and valuable well-known platform within the region for the exchange of information and applied knowledge on sustainable and best practices for the shift to cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy sources and resources.

Green Aruba VI – Share Sustainability

At this year's Green Aruba conference to be held October 27th and 28th, the main theme will focus on sharing sustainability by together confronting the common barriers we face, identifying the solutions moving forward and creating the essential roadmaps to achieve our desired growth paths of the sustainability journey for our island nations.

Aruba has made remarkable progress over the years in the penetration level of renewables and/or efficiency at production level, with in 2015 reaching close to the 20% mark. With the ongoing and upcoming planned projects operational by the end of 2017, the 40% barrier will be surpassed by 2018!

With our goal to reach 100% fuel free energy production by 2020, and in order to surpass the 40% level, it is fundamental to embark on a “deep dive” into our existing energy mix. Aruba is examining cutting-edge technologies and new business models for our utility companies, all in conjunction with our RAS framework, to create a balance between Reliable and Sustainable investments. This balancing act will only be achievable if energy production costs remain Affordable for the customer base.

Local utility stakeholders together with foreign renowned institutions are preparing for this dive known as the Aruba Renewable Integration Study (ARIS), and will present their approach and concept at the upcoming conference. The ARIS will provide models that map out the road forward towards Aruba's aspiring renewable energy goals, while maintaining grid reliability and minimizing overall system costs, and can serve as a prototype or starting point for fellow island nations. More


CARICOM Countries Address Renewable Energy, SIDS’ Development, Climate Change

CARICOM 5 July 2015: The 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) focused on energy, bolstering education systems, and Haiti's “looming humanitarian crisis,” among other issues. A high-level symposium on sustainable development convened on the sidelines of the Conference.

During the meeting, held on 2-4 July 2015, in Bridgetown, Barbados, leaders welcomed the establishment of a Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy, which will be hosted by Barbados. The Centre will act as the implementation hub for sustainable energy activities and projects within the Caribbean. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago proposed creating a Caribbean Energy Fund, which participants supported.

Discussions at the Conference also addressed: access to concessional development financing for small island developing States (SIDS), with leaders advocating for a vulnerability measurement instead of gross domestic product (GDP) to determine economic health; a climate agreement that would limit warming to below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels; and decision-making mechanisms in the region.

The Conference resulted in a communiqué that addresses: sustainable development; resilience building and wealth creation for Caribbean development, and the role of Caribbean universities; science and technology; and the promotion of sustainable energy. Participants also adopted 'The CARICOM Declaration for Climate Action,' which outlines the Caribbean region's priorities for the 2015 climate agreement, including loss and damage, limiting warming to below 1.5°C, a compliance mechanism, and finance measures, including improved and privatized access to funds by SIDS.

Speaking during the high-level symposium on sustainable development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that, by 2020, Barbados will be one of the world's top five solar energy users on a per capita basis, and Caribbean countries “are lighting the path to the future.” Noting that sustainable development and climate change are “two sides of the same coin,” Ban reiterated that this generation could be the first to end global poverty, and the last to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, “before it is too late.”

Ban underscored that the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be “focused, financed and followed up,” and that partnerships must be strengthened with regard to capacity building, financing, access to technology, and improved data collection and statistics.

Ban also called on countries to: link the global agenda to regional agendas; deepen regional integration; focus on the needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS and middle-income countries (MICs), including by addressing the debt challenge; and achieve a low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathway. He said he will continue working to guarantee that SIDS and the least developed countries (LDCs) are top funding priorities of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), among other sources.



Abu Dhabi summit to discuss water security challenges

More than 32,000 global leaders from 170 countries representing government, industry, investment and research to Abu Dhabi, will provide an upfront look at affordable technologies to enable sustainable water resource management to help meet the Middle East’s rising demand for water.

Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, ADSW is a yearly platform that addresses the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate risk and sustainable development.

Running from January 17 to 24, ADSW includes the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the world’s foremost event dedicated to the advancement of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology; and the International Water Summit (IWS), which provides a business approach to addressing water scarcity, sustainable growth and economic development in arid regions.

“The Mena region is in a truly unique position to solve the challenge of water security,” remarked Raed Bkayrat, vice president of development for Saudi Arabia at First Solar, which is participating in WFES.

“While the region is quite arid, it also has one of the highest solar irradiances of any region in the world, and much of the population has ready access to seawater. Accordingly, solar photovoltaic projects are proving to be sustainable means of powering water desalination in the region, ensuring that the supply of clean water will keep up with the region’s increasing demand for it,” he noted.

Masdar took a major step by launching a pilot project to test energy-efficient desalination technologies – such as reverse osmosis and forward osmosis – powered by renewable energy.

The company awarded contracts to Abengoa, Degremont, Sidem/Veolia and Trevi Systems to build the desalination plants, which are expected to enable the implementation of cost-competitive desalination plants powered by renewable energy in the UAE and abroad.

“Engaging different sectors of the industry is really crucial to bring forward innovative solutions, as well as pilot projects that demonstrate to governments the value of new integrated systems,” Bkayrat added.

Both WFES and IWS will offer numerous keynote addresses, panel discussions and workshops as well as exhibitors introducing affordable technologies to enable sustainable water resource management.

Along with WFES and IWS, ADSW will include the second EcoWaste and the seventh Zayed Future Energy Prize Award Ceremony; it also coincides with the Fifth General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency.-TradeArabia News Service More


Solar energy: a sunflower solution to electricity shortage

Computer giant IBM last week revealed the prototype of its advanced solar electricity generators: a 30ft-high concrete “sunflower” fitted with wafer-thin aluminium mirrors and a maze of tiny tubes for carrying coolant through the heart of each device.

The machines, which will be built in conjunction with the Swiss company Airlight Energy, can convert 80% of the sun’s radiation into electricity and hot water, it is claimed, with each generating 12 kilowatts of electricity and 20kW of heat on a sunny day, enough to supply several homes.

At the device’s official unveiling in Zurich, executives for both companies said they hoped that by 2017, when their sunflower generators should be ready for the market, they could be manufactured for half to one-third of the cost of comparable solar converters today. According to IBM, the machine’s secret lies with the microscopic tubes that carry water through the cluster of photovoltaic chips at the heart of each device. This system has already been adopted by IBM to cool its high-performance supercomputers. “We were inspired by the branched blood supply of the human body,” said Bruno Michel, from the IBM Research laboratories in Zurich.

The sunflower operates by tracking the sun so that it always points in the best direction for collecting its rays; these are then focused on to a cluster of photovoltaic cells that are mounted on a raised platform. The cells convert solar radiation into electricity. However, without the microchannel cooling system, which carries distilled water through the chips, temperatures would reach more than 1,000C. With the microcooling system, which carries water to within a few millimetres of the back of each chip, temperatures are kept down to 90C – a far safer, and far more efficient, operating level. Electricity is generated while the system also produces large amounts of hot water from the cooling system. “That hot water is a game changer,” added Michel. “Electricity is obviously vitally useful but so is the heat – for we can use it for desalinating water.”

At present, about 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity. However, that figure is dwarfed by the number – 2.5 billion – who have no access to proper sanitation. And according to figures supplied by Airlight Energy, that latter number is currently increasing at a rate of 9% a year. However, the IBM-Airlight sunflower is designed to tackle both problems. The electricity will have numerous uses while the hot water can be pumped through desalinators that use porous membranes to boil salt water and distil the result into pure, drinkable water. A large installation made up of several generators could provide enough fresh water for an entire town, it was claimed at last week’s launch.

Apart from sites in Africa, the Middle East and Australia, it is hoped the sunflower system will be used for remote hospitals, hotels and holiday resorts. IBM says it will instal its first two devices for free in 2016 and has asked towns around the world to put their names forward to be the first to have a solar sunflower erected on their land. More


Inside the Huge Solar Farm That Powers Apple’s iCloud

Inside the Huge Solar Farm That Powers Apple's iCloud

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The article was reported by the Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg, and the video was produced by Climate Desk's James West.

The skies are threatening to pour on the Apple solar farm but as the woman in charge of the company's environmental initiatives points out: The panels are still putting out some power. Apple is still greening its act.

The company, which once drew fire from campaigners for working conditions in China and heavy reliance on fossil fuels, is now leading other technology companies in controlling its own power supply and expanding its use of renewable energy.

After converting all of its data centers to clean energy, the Guardian understands Apple is poised to use solar power to manufacture sapphire screens for the iPhone 6, at a factory in Arizona.

And in a departure for its reputation for secretiveness, Apple is going out of its way to get credit for its green efforts.

“We know that our customers expect us to do the right thing about these issues,” Lisa Jackson, the vice-president of environmental initiatives told the Guardian.

Apple's solar farm is said to be the
largest privately owned array in
the US. James West/Climate Desk

This week the company invited journalists on a rare tour of its data center in North Carolina to showcase its efforts.

Until a year ago, the telegenic Jackson was the front woman for Barack Obama's environmental ambitions as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now she is leading the effort to shrink Apple's carbon footprint—and make sure customers realize the company is doing its bit to decarbonize its products and the internet.

Data centers require huge loads of electricity to maintain climatic conditions and run the servers carrying out billions of electronic transactions every day.

With Apple's solar farm, customers could now be confident that downloading an app or video-chatting a friend would not increase carbon pollution, Jackson said.

“If you are using your iPhone, iPad, Siri or downloading a song, you don't have to worry if you are contributing to the climate change problem in the world because Apple has already thought about that for you. We've taken care of that. We're using clean energy,” she said.

The company is also moving to install solar and geothermal power at a plant in Mesa, Arizona, that has been manufacturing sapphire glass. Apple would not directly comment on the Arizona factory but the state's governor, Jan Brewer, has publicly praised the company's decision to relocate there and to use solar and geothermal in manufacturing.

“We are aware that almost 70 percent of our carbon footprint is in our supply chain,” Jackson said. “We are actively working on the facilities that we have here in the United States.”

The initiatives mark a turnaround for Apple, which was criticized in the past for working conditions and the use of toxic chemicals at its factories in China and for its heavy reliance on carbon intensive sources such as coal to power the cloud.

Greenpeace now says the company is out ahead of competitors like Google and Facebook, which also operate data centers in North Carolina.

“They are the gold standard in the state right now,” said David Pomerantz, a senior Greenpeace campaigner. “There are a lot of data centers in North Carolina and definitely none has moved as aggressively as Apple has to power with renewable energy,” he said.

The 55,000 solar panels tracking the course of the sun from a 400,000 square meter field across the road from Apple's data center in Maiden were not in the picture seven years ago when Duke Energy and local government officials sought to entice Apple to open up a data center in North Carolina.

Duke Energy, which has a near monopoly over power supply in the Carolinas, set out to lure big companies like Apple, Facebook and Google to the state with offers of cheap and reliable power for the data centers that are the hub of internet.

Data centers, with their densely packed rows of servers and requirements for climatically controlled conditions, are notorious energy hogs. Some use as much power as a small city. In Apple's case, the North Carolina data center requires as much power as about 14,000 homes—about three times as much as the nearby town of Maiden.

Charging up a smart phone or tablet takes relatively little electricity, but watching an hour of streamed or internet video every week for a year uses up about as much power as running two refrigerators for a year because of the energy powering data centers elsewhere.

That made data centers a perfect fit for Duke, said Tom Williams, the company's director of external relations. With the decline in textile and furniture factories that had been a mainstay in the state, the company had a glut of electricity.

“What the data centers wanted from Duke was low cost and reliable power. Those two things—cost and reliability—are fundamental to their operations,” he told the Guardian. “What we like about these data centers is that it's an additional load on our system.”

In the early days, Apple bought renewable energy credits to cover the center's electricity use. In 2012, the company built its first solar farm across the road from the data center.

Apple built a second solar farm, and announced plans this month for a third, all roughly about the same size, to keep up with the growing use of data. It also operates fuel cells, running on biogas pumped in from a landfill. All of the power generated on-site is fed into the electricity grid.

“On any given day 100 percent of the data center's needs are being generated by the solar power and the fuel cells,” Jackson said.

The company has been less successful in its efforts to get other companies to switch to solar power. Duke, in cooperation with Apple, launched an initiative last year to encourage other big electricity users to go solar but so far there have been no takers.

Renewable energy accounts for barely 2 percent of the power generated in North Carolina, and Duke does not see the share growing significantly by 2020. More