Renewable energy grows at a record pace – worldwide

solar-powered water pump, malawi
Click to enlargeJoerg Boethling/Alamy
Solar-powered water pump, Malawi

An upsurge in new wind, solar and hydro plants and capacity saw renewable energy smash global records last year, according to a report on new supply.

Some 147 Gigawatts of renewable electricity came online in 2015 – the largest annual increase ever and as much as Africa’s entire power generating capacity.

Clean energy investment increased to $286bn, with solar energy accounting for 56% of the total and wind power for 38%.

Overall, more than twice as much money was spent on renewables than on coal and gas-fired power generation the REN21 global status report found.

Christine Lins, REN21’s chief, said: “What is truly remarkable about these results is that they were achieved at a time when fossil fuel prices were at historic lows, and renewables remained at a significant disadvantage in terms of government subsidies. For every dollar spent boosting renewables, nearly four dollars were spent [by governments] to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels.”

RTFA for details and questions – some of which reflect the level of sophistry introduced to the discussion by politicians committed to do-nothing economics and ideology whenever and wherever possible.

Looks like a trend to me — louder than the whining from public utility companies

net metering
Click to enlarge

Furthermore:

A charitable fund of the Rockefeller family – who are sitting on a multibillion-dollar oil fortune – has said it will withdraw all its investments from fossil fuel companies.

The Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity set up in 1967 by descendants of John D Rockefeller, said on Wednesday that it would divest from all fossil fuel holdings “as quickly as possible”.

The fund, which was founded by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson and David Rockefeller, singled out ExxonMobil for particular attention describing the world’s largest oil company as “morally reprehensible”.

U.S. Government is run with museum-piece hardware and software — matching Congressional ideology

The government is squandering its technology budget maintaining museum-ready computer systems in critical areas from nuclear weapons to Social Security. They’re still using floppy disks at the Pentagon.

In a report released Wednesday, nonpartisan congressional investigators found that about three-fourths of the $80 billion budget goes to keep aging technology running, and the increasing cost is shortchanging modernization.

The White House has been pushing to replace workhorse systems that date back more than 50 years in some cases. But the government is expected to spend $7 billion less on modernization in 2017 than in 2010, said the Government Accountability Office…

Although lawmakers of both parties say they are frustrated, it’s unclear whether Congress will act. Part of the problem is finding money to invest in a transition to new systems at agencies across the government.

Part of the solution is removing Know Nothing-Conservatives from Congress.

Among the vintage computing platforms highlighted in the report:

— The Defense Department’s Strategic Automated Command and Control System, which is used to send and receive emergency action messages to U.S. nuclear forces. The system is running on a 1970s IBM computing platform, and still uses 8-inch floppy disks to store data. “Replacement parts for the system are difficult to find because they are now obsolete,” GAO said. The Pentagon told GAO it is initiating a full replacement and the floppy disks should be gone by the end of next year. The entire upgrade will take longer.

— Treasury’s individual and business master files, the authoritative data sources for taxpayer information. The systems are about 56 years old and use an outdated computer language that is difficult to write and maintain. Treasury plans to replace the systems but has no firm dates.

It goes on and on from there. RTFA. Contact your Congress-critter. Ask ’em if they’ve gotten off their rusty dusty to modernize government technology. No papier-mâché excuses accepted.