Countries close to achieving 100% renewable energy

100% Renewable Energy

Countries close to achieving 100% renewable energy

With advances and investments in renewable energy made every day, some countries have become almost non reliant on fossil fuels (except cars, planes etc).

Costa Rica

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said that around 98.1 per cent of the country’s electricity came from green sources. consisting of a combination of geothermal, hydro electric, wind turbines, solar panels and biomass.

Iceland

Due to Iceland’s geology they can cover most if not all their energy needs from Renewable Sources. Almost 100 percent of electricity production is covered by Renewable Energy, with about 75 percent coming from hydro power and 25 percent from geothermal power. Geothermal power is also used for heating homes and buildings

Bonaire

Bonaire is a small country of the Venezuelan coast. It used to rely on diesel generators to provide electricity to its population and tourist. That all changed in 2004 when their main diesel generator burned down. The country now is now almost achieving 100% renewable energy. In peak times wind energy can provide 90% of the electricity needs of the small Island, they are backed up by Biodiesel Generators. The biodiesel. They plan to produce biodiesel from the abundance of algae.

Lesotho

The small mountainous country which is enclosed by South Africa achieves close to 100% of their electricity requirements through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This project was established to provide water to South Africa, with the added benefit to cover almost all of Lesotho’s electricity needs.

Paraguay

Paraquay has one of the world’s largest dams (Itaipu dam), Which provides almost 90% of Paraguay’s electricity and about 20% of Brazil’s electricity requirements.

With future developments and decreasing prices, we will see more countries improving their percentage of renewable energy. Countries like Germany, Denmark and Spain are investing heavily in Renewable Energy

Biogas as an energy source

Biogas as an energy source, many people would never consider this as a viable & renewable energy source.

Biogas can be used in many different ways. Cooking, Heating, Lighting, and powering generators and turbines those are all choices to use this source of energy.

Biogas typically refers to a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste. Biogas consist of Methane (CH4) & Carbon Dioxide(CO2).

Biogas as a fuel is used for any heating purpose, such as cooking. It is also used to convert it into electricity and heat. Other uses are as fuels for cars and machinery. The use of biogas can help farmers to drive down their input cost by generating their own energy.

Biogas is a clean and renewable form of energy which produces less greenhouse gases than conventional energy sources (coal,oil).

Any organic material is suitable to make biogas, Killing two birds in one, it can assist in the disposal of agricultural waste and organic materials in landfills naturally produce biogas, which can be tapped..

The remaining liquid organic waste (which is left after the production of Biogas) can be used as a fertiliser for crops, which makes the cycle continue and repeat itself.

So who thought that cow manure, rotting plants and landfills can be used to generate energy.

How to save energy

Saving energy and reducing fuel consumption has many benefits. Not only does reduced energy and fuel consumption save you money, it also saves valuable resources which can be depleted. Another advantage of saving energy is less impact on the environment and preserving valuable resources.

Reduce electricity consumption with these easy tips

  • Buy Energy Star qualified appliances, or A or B rated appliances and lights. These are the low energy using appliances.
  • Improve the insulation of your property, to make it cooler in summer and keep it warmer in winter. Les heating and cooling will be required which saves electricity
  • Turn off appliances and gadgets that are in stand by state.
  • Set air conditioner’s at a slightly higher temperature in summer and during the winter slightly lower. It will make a difference to your electricity bill
  • Use air conditioner only in the rooms occupied.
  • Use a fan instead of air conditioner, they sometimes give effective cooling for a lower electricity consumption.
  • Avoid opening the fridge door as much as possible
  • Turn off the light when you leave the room.
  • Decrease washing machine water temperature and use a shorter cycle, for most laundry it will still come out clean and fresh
  • Fill the washing machine / dryer / dishwasher before operation. Avoid small loads
  • Use energy saving features in the computer’s operating system control panel.
  • Hang the laundry to dry instead of using the dryer. In most places the laundry will dry quickly.
  • Install solar water heater system.
  • Reduce the water temperature of your geyser

Reduce fuel consumption with these easy tips.

  • When buying another car consider a smaller car with low fuel consumption
  • Avoid high acceleration / deceleration driving.
  • Avoid driving with high motor RPM. Switch gears to a higher one asap.
  • Don’t drive with unnecessary luggage or other items to reduce weight.
  • Close the windows to reduce drag
  • Avoid driving during traffic jams.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips. Rather wal or take public transport.
  • Keep tires with optimal air pressure. This will save energy as well as extending the life of your tires.
  • Keep your car well maintained.
  • Plan your trips so you can minimize the distance or avoid driving through cities with lost of stop starts. Maintaining a steady speed on a highway is normally low on fuel consumption.
  • Don’t be in a rush, a lower speed will make sure you arrive alive, but at a lower fuel consumption. Rather leave earlier.
  • Even if one implements a couple of these you will notice the difference. Just changing your habits can save a lot of money.

Load Shedding

Load Shedding is in full swing at the moment. It will be a fact that South Africans will have to live with & endure. Load Shedding will be here for many years. Load Shedding occurs when demand is greater than capacity to generate electricity. To avoid a total blackout of the power grid Eskom has to implement Load Shedding.

Load Shedding is implemented by switching of the power to certain areas for a certain time. There are several levels of Load Shedding. Load Shedding increases with the severity of the electricity demand & supply.

The following stages of Load Shedding are currently in place

  • Stage 1: Generation shortfall of up to 1 000 MW
  • Stage 2: Generation shortfall of up to 2 000 MW
  • Stage 3: Generation shortfall of up to 4 000 MW

How to reduce the effects of Load Shedding.

Load Shedding is an inconvenience to everybody in South Africa, from people to businesses. Some ways you can work around the effects are

  • Plan your schedule around publicized Load Shedding schedules.
  • Implement Renewable Energy Sources like Solar Power/Solar Heating or Wind Energy.
  • Use a generator (not environmental friendly, but for long periods of Load Shedding a viable but expensive option).
  • Start cooking and boiling water on LPG/Gas or a wood fire.
  • Have a battery/invert-er backup in place.

How to help Eskom by reducing your electricity consumption

One of the best ways to help Eskom & the rest of South Africa if everybody plays their part in reducing their electricity consumption. There are some quick and easy ways to accomplish this.

  • Switch off all equipment/lights which are not needed. (TV’s, Computers, Geysers Etc)
  • Increase the temperature of your air-conditioner or switch it off altogether.
  • Start preparing meals on a Gas stove or make a braai.
  • Change to energy efficient equipment & lights
  •  Become self sufficient by investing in renewable energy and get of the grid or become grid tied.

In periods like this we South Africans have to stand together to avoid a total blackout of our electricity supply which can take weeks to resolve.

Eskom declares power emergency

Unexpected problems at Eskom Power Stations have caused the electricity supply to be severely constrained

Eskom said in a statement it “is now following the protocol in terms of its emergency procedures in order to secure the power system.” It has alerted its key industrial customers and instructed them to reduce their power usage by 10%.

“While we will make every effort to avoid load shedding, we are hopeful that by applying these measures we will achieve the required load reduction necessary to protect the national grid.”

Save Electricity, Swicth Off

Eskom called on South Africans to urgently switch off all non-essential appliances from 5pm to 9pm. “As workers leave office buildings this evening we ask that they please switch off lights with the exception of the security lighting.”

It said the load shedding schedules are published as a “precautionary measure” and apply to its direct customers. The Eskom call centre can provide extra information at 0860 037 566.

If load shedding becomes necessary, it will only last while the supply is constrained, most probably between 17h00 and 21h00

Eskom Load Shedding

Eskom will publish load shedding schedules at the following site

http://loadshedding.eskom.co.za

Save Electricity How To

Save electricity it is something we all should strive for. Saving electricity will not only cut down on our day to day expenses, it also will reduce carbon emission and thus save the environment. It is possible to save electricity without feeling the loss of daily comforts or downgrading your lifestyle. Saving electricity is in most cases an simple issue of changing bad habits into habits which save electricity.

Turn Down Your Geyser

Turn down your geyser’s temperature to 60˚C. This will save electricity. How much savings? In most cases depending on current temperature settings you can achieve up to 5% on your electrical bill. This might just help with the latest price increases.

Shower instead of a bath

Taking a shower instead of a hot bath can help you to save electricity. You can save up to 40% in water and use 5 times less electricity than taking a hot bath.

Install an energy-efficient showerhead

Now you have made the switch to a shower instead of a bath, the next thing to consider is your showerhead. An energy efficient showerhead is designed to use up to 40% less hot water and saves an average family about R480 or more on your electricity bill per year.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

Insulate times 3. Insulate your roof/ceiling, it will keep your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter reducing the need for heating or air conditioners. Insulating your ceiling can save up to 16% in electricity by minimising the workload of your airco and or heater.

Wrap your hot water pipes in insulation. It prevents heat loss, reducing the cost of electricity needed to keep water hot.

And lastly insulate your geyser with a geyser blanket. This slows heat loss, reducing the cost of electricity needed to keep water hot by R500 or more a year so your investment in a geyser blanket will pay itself of within the year.

Switch of and unplug

Flip that lightswitch when you leave a room for a longer time. Unplug any chargers not in use and unplug electrical appliances like televisions and dvd players which are on standby. Some older electrical appliances use as much energy on standby mode as on normal operating mode. So if you are at work the whole day why not unplug and save electricity.

Run your pool pump for shorter periods

An easy method to save electricity is to run your pool pump for fewer hours. At 12 hours a day as many people have it set, it can be about 12% of your electricity bill. Cutting down to 6 / 7 hours in summer and 4 / 5in winter will cut electricity usage by your pool pump in half.

Replace lights and appliances with energy efficient equivalents

Replace your old incandescent light bulbs with energy saving cfl’s or led’s now and start reaping the benefits immediately. Is your fridge or other electrical appliance nearing its end of life ? Make energy consumption part of your checklist when replacing.

Save electricity, it is easy todo

Hope you picked some ideas on how to save electricity and if you have any tips and hints yourself feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Grid Tied Solar Power Systems

Grid tied solar power systems are the most common installed systems for companies and households who have access to the national electricity grid. But what is a grid tied solar power system and what are its advantages and disadvantage?

What is a grid tied solar power system.

In layman’s term a grid tied solar power system is a solar powered system which is connected to national power grid. While the sun is shining the photovoltaic solar panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity. Electricity generated by the system can be used for your home and business. Any excess power requirements which your solar panels can not supply will be taken from the national power grid. When the power grid is running properly, your home or business will use power generated from your solar panels and/or pull electricity from the grid. If at any time you generate more electricity from your solar panels as your current power requirements this excess power will feed back into the national power grid. This excess power fed back into the national power grid can give you credit’s on your electricity bill.

Advantages of a grid tied solar power system.

The main advantage of a grid tied solar power system is that you can start small and gradually add on to the system depending on your power requirements and budget. Your power requirements should always be met. If you don’t generate enough energy through solar the national electricity grid will supply the extra power requirements. Excess power for example on weekends when a business generally requires less electricity can be fed back into the national grid. With A grid tied system you can start reducing your electricity bill with a relative low investment.

Disadvantages of a grid tied solar power system

The disadvantage of a grid tied solar system is it only works during the day when the sun is shining and when the national power grid is fully functional. If during the day the national electricity grid fails due to for example load shedding your grid tied solar power system will switch of automatically as well. All grid tied systems will switch off during a power outage because these systems are required by law to feature an automatic shut-off mechanism. These requirements are in place to protect workers working on the power grid during a power outage. This is known as an Anti-Islanding requirement.

So in short the system will not save energy during the night as you will be fully depending on your national power grid and they will not provide electricity during blackouts and load shedding.

Conclusion.

A grid tied solar power system will save money but you will always be depending on the national power grid for your electricity needs.

LED Lights

LED lights or light-emitting diode are becoming the most cost effective energy saving product on the market. Considering the small size of the initial investment the choice to go LED lights is easy.When converting your property to LED lighting instead of regular light bulb you save easy thousands of Rands on your annual electricity bill. Besides the financial savings of LED Lights, the environmental benefits of LED light bulbs are huge.

LED Lights benefits

LED lights seem to last forever. The common incandescent light bulbs only last about a thousand hours, and the compact fluorescent lights about 5,000 hours. LED lights can last for up to 100,000 hours. That’s a long time. Many maintenance free years, without changing a bulb. The main benefit of LEDs is that they use about a tenth of the electricity compared to an incandescent bulb because they produce almost no heat. A standard incandescent light bulb, in which only about three percent of the energy used is transformed into light, while the remaining 97% becomes heat.

Led Lights started to become common place as decorative lightning, but with the ever improving technology of LED lights and decreasing prices they are becoming more common place to light up many places in and outside a building.

So next time you need to replace lights in your house or office consider the use of LED Lights. When looking to replace decorative lighting or, long-lasting light for inside or outside, LED lights should be number one your list of options to investigate. It will be an investment well worth and will save you lots of money in the long run due to low running cost.

Solar Power Systems

Solar power systems create free energy from the Sun. Solar power system are using the sun to the process light or heat into an energy source.
It is becoming a reliable renewable energy alternative to regular power sources like coal powered electricity in urban areas. Solar Power systems are even been used in outer space to power satellites and even the international space station. Solar power system as renewable energy sources are used in homes for lighting, electricity generation and water heating. Renewable energy like solar power is becoming even more popular as the cost of fossil fuel continue to rise. Solar panels both thermal and photovoltaic are designed to collect the free energy from the sun.

Different applications of solar power.

Once the solar energy is collected by the solar panels installed the solar power has to be converted into energy either electrical or heat. Solar thermal application processes involve using the energy from the sun to directly heat air or liquids. The process of photoelectric application involves the use of photovoltaic cells to change the energy into electricity.

Solar power challenges.

Solar power poses no harm to the environment. There is an abundance of solar power available. one hour of sunlight beams enough energy to planet earth to satisfy our energy needs for a year. Even though so much free renewable energy reaches earth every hour of the day less than one tenth of one percent of global energy demand is sourced through solar power. Why are we using so little of this freely available solar power ?

  • Cost is currently the main factor. Technology to produce electricity from the sun is still more expensive as burning fossil fuels
  • Storage of solar power. Solar power does not work at night, so energy captured during the day still has no efficient and cost effective way of being stored.

Even though solar power has its challenges it is still a very good choice going forward. Solar thermal energy for hot showers and baths is already proven very cost effective and is growing in popularity. Once the initial investment in solar thermal power is made the solar power is free and reduces your fossil powered energy by about 30%.

Solar power is also very economical to use in remote areas where it is expensive to provide common fossil powered electricity. Your off grid systems with battery backup prove to be very successful in those areas.

CFL lights vs Incandescent lights

By buying CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) instead of traditional Incandescent Light Bulbs you will save electricity. Using Compact Fluorescent Lights reduces electricity usage use which equals to saved natural resources like coal, oil and gas. Less usage of fossils fuels reduces greenhouse gasses which will slow down global warming. Another benefit of changing to CFL for your lighting needs is financially. It will save you money over time.

Advantages of CFL

  • Reduced Electricity Consumption
  • Longer lifespan than Incandescent Light Bulbs.

Disadvantages of CFL

  • Higher purchase price
  • They contain mercury which needs to be disposed of in an environmentally process

Running cost compared between CFL and Incandescent Light Bulbs

CFL Light Incandescent
Watt 20 100
Hours 8 8
Price Kwh 80 cent 80 cent
Yearly price R 46.72 R 233.60

Compared to incandescent light bulbs Compact Fluorescent Lights have a much lower running cost. The higher purchase price of CFL’s is quickly offset by their lower running cost. So it makes sense or cents to replace your old incandescent light bulbs with new CFL of a lower wattage. Under normal circumstances your CFL should last about 5 times longer as the old incandescent light bulbs. This alone already offsets the higher purchase price. Another advantage is you have to replace your CFL’s less often which means saving time.

In conclusion, you should replace your old incandescent light bulbs as soon as possible. The only real disadvantage of a a CFL is the tiny amount of mercury left behind. There are many shops nowadays who provide a free collection point for CFL so they can be recycled and disposed of in a responsible and environmentally friendly way. So don’t delay and start saving money now and save the earth from global warming. Replace your old technology with new.

In certain countries you are not even able to buy incandescent light bulbs or they are restricted to a low wattage.

CFL lights vs Incandescent lights

incandescent light bulb