Saudi power giant sees solar taking on base load fossil fuels

By Giles Parkenson, Australia

The $25 billion Saudi power company ACWA Power announced that the cost of solar technologies are falling so quickly that within a few years the combination of solar PV and solar towers with storage will be able to compete directly with base load fossil fuels.

In reaction to the news, the director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Adnan Amin, said that ACWA’s winning a bid for a for 200MG solar farm out in the desert was a “seismic” event.   As for those who question the idea of cost parity between renewables and fossil fuels, Amin said:

“If they think that, then they need to wake up and smell the coffee.”

paddy-300x168 abu guy

Pictured above, left to right:  Paddy Padmanathan ACWA power company and Adan Amin, director of the International Renewable Energy Agency.                         Below: What the mega solar power reserve in the middle of the desert will look like.


Santa Barbara City Council votes to oppose the P66’s Tar Sand train spur expansion in San Louis Obispo

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 5-2 to write a letter urging that San Luis Obispo reject an application by Phillips 66 to expand the railroad spur at its Nipomo refinery.   In drafting a letter, Santa Barbara joins a list of 40 cities and other governmental entities along the coast in opposing the oil train rail spur.

One of the most persuasive arguments that led to the decision: the bomb train blast zone map, showing 16 schools, many parks, a municipal golf course and City Hall.

s b

Renewable energy now cheaper than oil, says National Bank of (oil rich) Abu Dhabi

One of the biggest banks in the Middle East and the oil-rich Gulf countries says that fossil fuels can no longer compete with solar technologies on price, and says the vast bulk of the $US48 trillion needed to meet global power demand over the next two decades will come from renewables.

The report from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi says that while oil and gas has underpinned almost all energy investments until now, future investment will be almost entirely in renewable energy sources.

abu dhabi

Oil train week of action: Protesters against oil trains detained at Benicia-Martinez rail bridge

BENICIA (KRON) — Activists protesting the threat of crude oil transporting trains were detained Monday morning as they attempted to hang a 60-foot banner in front of the Benicia-Martinez railroad bridge.

The banner read “Stop Oil Trains Now: Are You in the”

Activists say the move was part of a plan to kick off a week of action with some 80 scheduled events in opposition to oil trains across the US and Canada.

You know what’s scary?  This bridge, slated to bear the weight of most of the heavy oil trains coming to California refineries, was built in the 1930s and has not been retrofitted to our knowledge.

bridge 2     bridge 1

In California, people of color are dangerously close to oil train disasters

In California, as more and more crude arrives by rail, more people will find themselves within the “blast zone,” a one-mile evacuation area recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation. As a report released Tuesday finds, California’s “blast zone” lands squarely on the shoulders of people of color.

For the complete story:

wooshing train

A Triple Play for Progress: Opportunity often knocks, but this week it knocked down the door.

In just five years, the cost of generating electricity from wind turbines has fallen 58 percent, while the cost of solar power has plunged a breathtaking 78 percent, the Advanced Energy Economy Institute reported in a study that came out this week.

It costs less now to get new electricity from wind turbines than from generators fueled by nuclear power, coal, or natural gas. Utility-scale solar power costs less than nuclear and, in most cases, competes favorably with coal and natural gas, even before federal incentives are added.windmillsFor story, go to:

Dutch citizens sue their government over failure to act on climate change…and win

One fourth of the Netherlands is below sea level.

Hailed by Dutch press as a landmark legal case,” this lawsuit was the first European example of a group of citizens attempting to hold a government responsible for inefficient climate policies, and the first time that existing human rights laws have been the basis of a case.

Last month, the court agreed with the citizens organization and ruled in their favor.

No court in the world has ever directly ordered a government to cut carbon emissions, and it its believe by many that this could have implications far beyond the Netherlands.

dutch attorney

Dennis van Berkel, an attorney with the Dutch environmental group, Urgenda

An April 2015 story outline the history of the upcoming case:

What? There have been how many oil spills in the Niger Delta last year?

Chevron continues to decimate the Amazon.  The wildlife in the Gulf of New Mexico still struggles to survive after the BP spill.   Conocophillips, the second largest extractor of Tar Sands, has turned Alberta Canada into Mordor.

The tailing ponds are so large they can be seen from space.

And now Shell admits to the world it was responsible for 204 oil spills in the mighty Niger River in 2014 alone.

GOI - Eiser Eric Dooh toont de ruwe olie die de oevers van de kreek door zijn dorp Goi (Ogoniland) heeft aangetast. Meerdere lekkages in een pijpleiding van Shell hebben de kreek over een lengte van vele kilometers zwaar verontreinigd, waardoor vis en ander leven uit het getijdengebied zijn verdwenen.

GOI – Eiser Eric Dooh toont de ruwe olie die de oevers van de kreek door zijn dorp Goi (Ogoniland) heeft aangetast. Meerdere lekkages in een pijpleiding van Shell hebben de kreek over een lengte van vele kilometers zwaar verontreinigd, waardoor vis en ander leven uit het getijdengebied zijn verdwenen.

Is it any surprise that we are teetering on the cusp of what scientists are predicting to be the 6th Great Extinction?  Is it any surprise the divestment in fossil fuels is the biggest activity in Wall Street?

And THIS is the company that is heading to the Arctic right now to “drill, baby, drill.”

To learn more about these spills and to send a letter to Obama telling him to get tough on Shell’s plans for Artic Sea, click here: