2017-12-21 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, December 14:

Liquefied natural gas ship (Photo: donvictori0 | Adobe Stock)

  • Liquified natural gas is running out of steam. Natural gas demand in Europe is 12% lower than it was 10 years ago. Chinese and Indian demand continues to grow, but the dramatic gains by solar power and wind, where costs have fallen 85% since 2009, have severely limited the prospects for natural gas as a power source. [MetalMiner]
  • Southern California Gas Co is partnering with the University of California-Irvine’s Advanced Power & Energy Program to design an “Advanced Energy Community.” The community will be planned as a replicable model that optimizes a variety of energy options, including solar, wind, and renewable natural gas. [North American Windpower]
  • Moody’s Investors Service is telling cities that they must prepare for increasingly worse storms due to climate change or their credit ratings could suffer. Lower credit ratings mean a city has to pay more to borrow money. The warning comes after studies showed climate change worsened damage from Hurricane Harvey. [Houston Public Media]

Friday, December 15:

Asian Hercules 3 (EOWDC image)

  • Boskalis’ Asian Hercules 3 giant floating crane has arrived in its port in Peterhead ahead of foundation installation at Vattenfall’s 92.4-MW Aberdeen Bay offshore wind farm off the coast of Scotland. The 25,000-tonne crane will be used to transport and install the 77-metre-high, 1800-tonne steel suction bucket jacket foundations. [reNews]
  • The former energy secretary who signed off on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant has told Unearthed he doubts the project will ever get built. Sir Edward Davey said the lower cost of renewables today means “the economics have clearly gone away” from the project. Only a year ago, he said it was a “good deal.” [Unearthed]

Retreating glacier in Greenland (Mario Tama | Getty Images)

  • Data processing machines often have algorithms judging whether data is sufficiently outside the normal range that it will contaminate a study. Because of climate change, a weather recording site in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, rejected all of the data it received for the entire month of November because it was made up of nothing but outliers. [CNN]

Saturday, December 16:

Wilson’s warbler (Photo: Amado Demesa, Wikimedia Commons)

  • In a paper published Friday in Diversity and Distributions, a professional journal, researchers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University reported that the more sensitive a bird species is to rising temperatures during the breeding season, the more likely it is to be affected positively by being near old-growth forest. [KTVZ]
  • Congressional Republicans released the text of a tax proposal that includes incentives for electric vehicles and wind power, as well as a fix to the so-called BEAT provision critical to renewable energy. Nuclear tax credits, however, were excluded from the bill. The legislation combines of bills passed by the House and Senate. [Utility Dive]

Post-2008 seismicity rate change in the CUS

  • The journal Science Advances released a report, “Discriminating between natural versus induced seismicity from long-term deformation history of intraplate faults,” which addresses the causes of an unnatural number of earthquakes that hit Texas in the past decade. The authors suggest activities associated with fracking as a cause. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, December 17:

 

Monday, December 18:

 

Tuesday, December 19:

 

Wednesday, December 20:

 

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2017-12-14 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, December 7:

Storage at the Imperial Irrigation District

  • Pacific Gas & Electric submitted six energy storage contracts, totaling 165 MW, to the California Public Utilities Commission for approval as part of its efforts to meet the state-mandated goal of adding 580 MW of storage by 2020. If these contracts are approved, PG&E will have already reached 42% of its energy-storage goal. [pv magazine International]
  • General Electric Co is planning to cut 12,000 jobs in its power business, with most of the cuts happening outside the US, a person familiar with the matter said. The manufacturer has been hit hard by flagging demand for electricity generated with natural gas, in part due to a shift toward power from renewable sources. [BloombergQuint]
  • The Moray Council has backed a development that could transform an abandoned airfield in northern Scotland into one of Europe’s biggest solar farms. Elgin Energy wants to cover the Milltown Airfield with about 200,000 solar panels. Moray’s attraction is due to its long summer days, the result of its being so far north. [Energy Voice]

Friday, December 8:

Early morning commute in California (Rick Patrick, Twitter)

  • Wildfires are raging just north of Los Angeles, destroying whole communities just a short drive from the city’s downtown area. The fires consume everything in their path and only go out when they reach the Pacific Ocean. Commuters accustomed to massive traffic jams on the Highway 101 are now forced to run a gauntlet of flames. [CleanTechnica]
  • The latest confirmed initiative for power restoration in Puerto Rico is a donation of 6 MW of batteries from AES, which has suggested microgrids and large-scale solar could be the answer to long term stability issues. Other companies including Tesla, Sonnen, and Tabuchi America have made equipment and labor donations. [Energy Storage News]

Coal-fired plant in Germany (Photo: Sascha Steinbach | EPA)

  • More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report from the analysts Carbon Tracker. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22 billion ($25.8 billion) in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfills its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns. [The Guardian]
  • Coal accounts for nearly 80% of the power generated by PPL Corp, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The company has issued a climate assessment saying that coal will provide about 10% by mid-century. The decline will be caused by market forces. The company now vows to use more distributed energy and cleaner-burning fuels. [Forbes]

Saturday, December 9:

  • Eighteen-year-old Ethan Novek has invented a CO2 capture technology that could capture CO2 at about $10 per metric ton – around 85% less than the industry standard. It works by reacting the exhaust gases at a fossil fuel plant with ammonia. Water and CO2 react with the ammonia to form a salt, which can the be used industrially. [Inhabitat]

Ethan Novek

  • Eurelectric represents the interests of 3,500 electric companies all across the European continent on major issues. Its members create more than €200 billion in revenue each year. Its members agreed unanimously to commit to an ambitious program of making all electricity generated in Europe carbon neutral by 2050. It will save them money. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, December 10:

Thomas fire in Ventura County (Photo: AFP | Getty Images)

  • Devastating wildfires fueled by climate change are “the new normal,” California Governor Jerry Brown said. He continued, “We’re facing a new reality in this state,” and said they could happen “every year or every few years.” He made the comments after surveying damage from a 180-square mile fire in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles. [BBC News]
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed subsidizing coal-fired and nuclear power plants to compensate them for the reliable energy they provide to the nation’s grid. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which Perry directed to study the issue, is scheduled to deliver a decision on the proposed rule on Monday, but asked for more time. [Financial Tribune]

Pollution (AP Photo | Andy Wong, File | for the AJC)

  • The worst-case predictions regarding the effects of global warming are the most likely to be true, a new study published in Nature has warned. It said that if emissions follow a commonly used business-as-usual scenario, there is a 93% per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4°C by the end of this century. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

Monday, December 11:

  • Months after putting the project on hold, the backers of the Vermont Green Line have pulled the plug on their proposal for a power cable under Lake Champlain. The estimated $650 million project ran afoul of concerns that Vermont’s grid wasn’t prepared to handle the quantity of electricity the cable was slated to carry. [vtdigger.org]

Moraine Lake

  • Canada Is Ready To Be a Global Environmental Leader Using Blockchain” • Blockchain technology could not have arrived at a better time. It can enable developing nations to leapfrog developed nations and with the recent quickly falling prices in solar and wind power, a future of renewable power grids is coming fast. [Coinsquare Discover]
  • A call to action, signed by some of the world’s most prominent economists, urges wealth fund managers, professional financiers, and all investors to stop investing in businesses that extract, process, distribute, manufacture, and sell fossil fuel products, including any form of oil, gas, or coal, to generate power. [Sputnik International]

Tuesday, December 12:

Black-legged kittiwake (Photo: Ed Marshall)

  • Birds are increasingly threatened. Overfishing and changing sea temperatures are pushing seabirds to the brink of extinction, new data on the world’s birds shows. Birds that are now globally threatened include the kittiwake and the Atlantic puffin. And on land, the Snowy Owl is struggling to find prey as Arctic ice melts, say conservation groups. [BBC]
  • Here’s another good news item that will certainly bother EV critics. Though most people seem not to know it, the batteries that power EVs keep getting cheaper. The average price of a lithium-ion battery pack is down to $209/kWh and the prices are set to fall below $100/kWh by 2025, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance survey. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, December 13:

World’s biggest floating solar project

  • The world is quickly abandoning coal. But that’s not the end of the road for coal mines. In many countries they’re coming back to life as solar farms. The world’s biggest floating solar project began operating in the eastern Chinese city of Huainan, which accounted for nearly 20% of the country’s coal reserves in a 2008 estimate. [Quartz]
  • In what amounts to the largest order yet for the Tesla Semi Truck, PepsiCo has placed a pre-order for 100 units. The order is twice as exactly large as the previous largest order, in which Sysco ordered 50 units. The number of reservations taken to date, according to a tally that Reuters is maintaining, is now at least 276. [CleanTechnica]

Belshazzar’s Feast (Rembrandt, 1635)

  • “A Hand Writing on the Wall for Natural Gas” • September of 2016 was the last month in which US natural gas generation exceeded what it had been for the same month of the previous year. Since September 2016, every single month has seen a decline for electricity generation from natural gas, which has dropped 10% overall. [CleanTechnica]

2017-12-07 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, November 30:

Students in Arlington, Virginia (Credit: Lincoln Barbour)

  • Nearly 5,500 K-12 US schools, about 5% of them, are now powered by the sun, and their solar capacity has almost doubled in the last three years, according to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association, The Solar Foundation, and Generation 180. Their total generating capacity is 910 MW, enough to power 190,000 homes. [InsideClimate News]
  • Sales demand for sedans in the US could fall by more than half by 2030 due to the influence of self-driving taxis on the market, going on the findings of a new study from the consulting firm KPMG. The study predicts a “precipitous decline” in the US from the current 5.4 million sedan sales each year to 2.1 million by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Coal mines in the Ruhr Valley (Photo: Amelia Urry)

  • “Life After Coal” • At one time, 500,000 miners worked in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, producing as much as 124 million tons of coal every year. Next year, that era will come to an end when the last mine closes. Wind turbines have sprung up among old shaft towers and coking plants, as Germany strives to hit its renewable energy goals. [Grist]

Friday, December 1:

  • A German court has ruled that it will hear a Peruvian farmer’s case against energy giant RWE over climate change damage in the Andes. The decision is labelled by campaigners as a “historic breakthrough.” Farmer Saul Luciano Lliuya’s case against RWE was “well-founded,” the court in the north-western city of Hamm said. [The Guardian]

Hornsdale Power Reserve

  • The Hornsdale Power Reserve, Tesla’s 100-MW/129-MWh Powerpack system, started delivering power to the grid a day early. It is connected to the Hornsdale Wind Farm, South Australia’s biggest renewable generator. The Powerpack project cost roughly around $50 million and can power around 30,000 homes for one hour. [Inhabitat]
  • A plan for zero tolerance of plastic pollution of the oceans may be agreed by nations at a UN summit on the environment. Governments are being asked to move towards a legal treaty banning plastic waste from entering the sea. Experts say ocean plastics are an obvious subject for a global treaty because plastics present a large-scale threat. [BBC News]

Saturday, December 2:

Snow making at Gore Mountain

  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, and Borrego Solar announced the completion of Gore Mountain Ski Resort’s 5.3-MW solar array, about 90 miles north of Albany. NYSERDA said the project is the largest solar system dedicated to a US ski resort. [Solar Industry]
  • “Climate policy innovation” • Instead of reducing emissions in the past five years, Vermont’s greenhouse-gas emissions have increased. Far from being on track to meet our goals, we are not even headed in the right direction. The release of an innovative new climate pricing policy brings hope to getting Vermont back on track. [Rutland Herald]
  • “Battery Storage Steals The Spotlight At Nuclear Power’s Birthday Party” • Nuclear power had its birthday bash, 75 years after the first manmade nuclear reaction. The CEO of Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear operator, named energy storage the most promising technology of the future, one that could render nuclear power unnecessary. [Forbes]

Sunday, December 3:

Electric cargo ship (China News)

  • China has launched the first all-electric cargo ship. According to China Daily, the 230 foot long vessel is equipped with a 2,400 kWh lithium-ion battery that stores enough electrical energy to transport 2200 tons of cargo a distance of 50 miles on a single charge at a top speed of about 8 miles per hour. It will be used to transport coal on the Pearl River. [CleanTechnica]
  • According to a report from the US Army Corps of Engineers, climate change will set off economic and environmental crises like nothing ever seen before across the 13-state region of the Ohio River. It will cause more frequent flooding, drought, and power failures in Kentucky, Indiana, and the rest of the Ohio River basin. [The Messenger]
  • The tax bill passed by Republican senators elevates American fossil fuel production at the expense of renewable energy. The measures they approved included proposals to open the Arctic to oil and gas development, weaken investment incentives for solar and wind production, and end a big tax credit for new electric vehicles. [Los Angeles Times]

Monday, December 4:

Carbon farming (Shutterstock | NagyDodo)

  • For more than four years, McDonald’s has trying to find a way to produce “sustainable beef.” Now, the fast-food giant is setting out on a small but potentially significant project to measure and analyze the ability of cattle farming to sequester carbon in soil, using a style of grazing it has been researching called “adaptive multi-paddock.” [GreenBiz]
  • Borrego Springs, California, is a quaint town of about 3,400 people in the Anza-Borrego Desert, about 90 miles east of San Diego. Summers temperatures are often above 100°, and power losses can threaten lives. In the past, the town has suffered from frequent power outages, but today, Borrego Springs has its own microgrid. [InsideClimate News]
  • In October this year Australia managed to install 100 MW of rooftop solar, a major milestone but still below the record set in June 2012, which was fueled by a rush to take advantage of a solar tariff before it was ended. Then last month the industry managed to install 120 MW, breaking the 2012 record without that tariff. [RenewEconomy]

Tuesday, December 5:

Solar power in South Africa

  • A report from the UK development company Crown Agents concluded that 2018 will be the year solar hits its commercial tipping point, resulting in a dramatic drop-off in price and making the technology viable for a billion people. It would open the door to save developing countries up to 80% by switching to solar from diesel and petrol. [CleanTechnica]
  • Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Dr Yuval Steinitz spoke today at the Israel Energy and Business Convention at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan, presenting his long-term vision for the energy sector in the country. “By 2030, Israel will no longer use any gasoline or coal,” he said. [Globes]
  • “Three Reasons Why Renewable Energy Leaders Are Optimistic” • At Green Tech Media’s US Power and Renewables Summit, utility company executives, financiers, renewable energy developers, and regulators shared their research and different experiences of the rapidly evolving renewable energy industry. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Wednesday, December 6:

Navajo Generating Station

  • Tesla just built and installed the world’s largest battery, with 129 MWh of grid storage, in South Australia. Now Hyundai says it intends to build and install a battery that will be 50% larger than the South Australia facility near Ulsan on the southeast coast of South Korea. It is scheduled for completion in February of next year. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US Department of the Interior approved the replacement lease at the Navajo Generating Station. It officially sets a firm retirement date. NGS, the largest coal-fired power plant in the West, will retire in December 2019. The Navajo Nation and the owners of NGS had agreed in June on terms to retire NGS in 2019. [White Mountain Independent]

PV powering a train

  • The authors of a report from Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab and the climate change charity 10:10 found that electric railways could be powered by subsidy-free solar power. Solar panels connected directly to the substations that provide power to the rail system could bypass the electricity grid altogether, they said. [Imperial College London]

2017-11-30 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Wednesday, November 22:

Utility-scale solar system in Mexico

  • Preliminary results from Mexico’s latest energy auction have broken the record for solar costs. According to Electrek, Italian developer Enel pitched two solar lots at $17.70/MWh, or just 1.77¢/kWh, the lowest bid achieved anywhere in the world so far. The Mexican government said the average price in the auction was $20.57/MWh. [Greentech Media]
  • The chances of a hurricane flooding parts of Texas, like Harvey did, have soared sixfold in just 25 years because of global warming and will likely triple once again before the end of the century, a study says. What was once an extremely rare event, 20 inches of rain over a large area of Texas, could soon be almost common. [The Japan News]
  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a report forecasting thats the global energy storage market will “double six times” from now to 2030, from less than 5 GWh last year, to more than 300 GWh and 125 GW of capacity by the end of the next decade. An estimated $103 billion will be invested in energy storage over that period. [Greentech Media]

Thursday, November 23:

UPS electric delivery bike

  • UPS is continuing to electrify its delivery vehicles. It recently announced an e-bike delivery vehicle in downtown Pittsburgh, as the latest example. In addition to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, the deployment of the electric delivery/cargo bike will also clearly reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise pollution. [CleanTechnica]
  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance has some good news for us. Global electric car sales (including plug-in hybrids) surged 63% in the third quarter of this year and are up 23% since the second quarter. BNEF is now confident EV sales will top 1,000,000 units this year. But there is also bad news. China accounted for almost all of those increases. [CleanTechnica]

The Getz Ice Shelf (Photo: NASA | Jeremy Harbeck)

  • Two glaciers on Pine Island Bay are the largest and fastest-melting in Antarctica. They act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans, enough to inundate every coastal city on the planet. Finding out when these glaciers will collapse is one of our most important scientific questions. [Mother Jones]

Friday, November 24:

  • Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative installed its Bourne Tidal Test Site in the Cape Cod Canal. It is ready for test engineers to assess tidal energy equipment performance and output. The next step in preparing the site for testing is to install data acquisition, processing and transmission systems on top of the platform. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Brayton Point (Commercial Development Company image)

  • A privately held real estate investor based in Missouri believes that the waterfront site of a former coal-fired thermal power station in Massachusetts could be turned into an offshore wind port. Commercial Development Company Inc said it intends to invest significant resources to reposition the Brayton Point facility for post-coal utilization. [Renewables Now]
  • A study by scientists at the University of Bath shows that the fatty acids released into the air while frying food may help clouds that cool the atmosphere to form. Fatty molecules in the air form complex structures that endure longer than most molecules, allowing moisture to gather and form into clouds, which in turn cool the air. [Daily Sabah]

Saturday, November 25:

Farming with solar panels (© Hofgemeinschaft Heggelbach)

  • Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute For Solar Energy Systems experimented with 720 bi-facial solar panels covering about a third of a hectare of agricultural land high enough for farm equipment to operate under them. A year of trials showed that the dual use system increased the total productivity of the land by 60%. [CleanTechnica]
  • In a seemingly confounding move, US Rep Matt Gaetz, who represents Florida’s 1st congressional district and turned heads in February by pushing to abolish the EPA, now sits on the Climate Solutions Caucus. The Earth, Gaetz asserted, is warming, and politicians should no longer waste time debating the validity of the issue. [Pensacola News Journal]
  • California released its annual climate check-up. The good news is the electricity is getting much cleaner. But there is also bad news: emissions from cars and trucks have not changed. Even so, carbon dioxide emissions were 16 million metric tons lower than in 2015 – a “huge and unexpected drop,” according to economist Michael Wara. [89.3 KPCC]

Sunday, November 26:

  • “Michael Howard: Low-carbon wind is set to power Brexit Britain. The work that Thatcher, Major and I undertook is paying off.” • John Major, and Michael Howard signed the UN climate change convention for Britain 25 years ago. Three years earlier, Margaret Thatcher was the first world leader to call for such a convention. [Conservative Home]

Monday, November 27:

Signorello Estate winery smolder after the October wildfires in Napa, California (Photo: Eric Risberg | AP)

  • “American leaders should read their official climate science report” • The United States Global Change Research Program’s report on the science of climate change and its causes is available for anyone to read, and it gives an overview of the most up to date science. It paints a bleak picture of the consequences of climate denial. [The Guardian]
  • Caribbean island nations and territories have been shattered by this year’s hurricanes. For China, the crisis in the Caribbean is an opportunity to expand its influence in an area where it already has deep historic and economic ties dating to Cuba’s 1959 revolution. Aside from China, much of the area’s hope is for private investment. [The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer]
  • Low carbon energy was placed at the front and center of the UK’s long-awaited industrial strategy white paper, with offshore wind set to be one of the main beneficiaries. In the paper, the UK government identified clean growth as one of four “Grand Challenges” to “put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.” [reNews]

Tuesday, November 28:

Restored forest in Costa Rica (Photo: Aaron Minnick | WRI)

  • New analysis from The Nature Conservancy, WRI and others estimates that stopping deforestation, restoring forests and improving forestry practices could cost-effectively remove 7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, or as much as eliminating 1.5 billion cars – more than all of the cars in the world today! [CleanTechnica]
  • Empire State Connector Corp started an open solicitation process for interested parties to reserve space on a new 265-mile, 1-GW transmission line, which will carry power from upstate New York renewable generators to New York City. The electricity will be transmitted through two submarine cables in the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. [reNews]

Wednesday, November 29:

Olive trees at Stone Edge Farm

  • As the recent fires in Northern California blazed through wine country, workers at Stone Edge Farm had to evacuate. The farm had no grid power for nearly a week, but workers controlled its microgrid over the internet. They maintained heavy irrigation, counteracting the extreme heat from the fires and minimizing the potential for fire to spread. [CleanTechnica]
  • Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill earmarking $146 billion for reconstruction of the hurricane-hit US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Sanders told journalists that the situation in the US Caribbean territories was “not acceptable” two months after the islands were hit by two hurricanes. [Daily Mail]

Airbus prototype electric aircraft

  • Three of the top aviation engine engineering firms in the world, Airbus, Siemens, and Rolls-Royce, are now collaborating on the development of a hybrid electric aircraft engine, the companies have jointly revealed. The new collaboration aims to fly a demonstrator aircraft in 2020 after ground tests have concluded. [CleanTechnica]

2017-11-22 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, November 16:

Airbus Vahana

  • The Airbus Vahana project is ready for flight testing, just as Boeing, Uber, and others jumping into the electric plane game and electric airplanes and other vertical take-off and landing aircraft taking off. The Airbus Vahana project says it will not need a runway, will be self-piloted, and can automatically detect and avoid obstacles and other aircraft. [CleanTechnica]
  • Puerto Rico just met the halfway mark to restoring power, and the lights went out. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló had just tweeted that power was back to 50% of utility customers when the outage hit San Juan. Fifty-six days after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still experiencing the longest blackout in US history. [Grist]
  • At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at UN climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday. The alliance aims to have 50 members by the next UN climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities. [Reuters]

Friday, November 17:

Tesla Roadster 2.0

  • Elon Musk unexpectedly disappeared from stage during the Tesla Semi Truck unveiling, and then to everyone’s surprise, a Tesla Roadster 2.0 appeared. The base model will be the fastest production car ever made when it comes to market in 2020. Musk said, “The point of all this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.”  [CleanTechnica]
  • Instead of traditional 25-year deals, Indian power distributors are negotiating ten-year agreements with coal power providers. The distributors believe the development of renewables and storage makes long term agreements redundant because solar and wind have become the country’s least expensive power resources. [Power Engineering International]
  • TransCanada announced that it has shut down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota because it discovered 210,000 gallons of oil has spilled from the pipeline. The state of Nebraska will decide next week if it will allow a stretch of the Keystone pipeline to be built through the state. Waterways or wildlife areas appear not to have been impacted. [Anadolu Agency]

Saturday, November 18:

Norwegian offshore oil rig (Photo: Norsk olje og gass, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Norway’s government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks, worth £28 billion ($37 billion). Norges Bank, the fund’s manager, said the step would make the country “less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices.” Its advice was not based on a price forecast or the sector’s sustainability. [BBC News]
  • Siemens is to release 2% of its global workforce, mainly in Germany, as its power and gas division continues to suffer from the onslaught of clean energy expansion. “The market is burning to the ground,” Siemens board member Janina Kugel, who is in charge of group human resources, told journalists in a call. [Power Engineering International]
  • A major New England transmission line planned by Eversource Energy and Hydro-Quebec has won a Presidential Permit from the US DOE. The federal permit marks a significant milestone for the $1.6 billion, 192-mile Northern Pass, first proposed in 2010. The line would carry electricity from Canada to the New England power grid. [MassLive.com]
  • Investors are now better able to gauge the climate risks likely to impact their investments thanks to a new risk management tool developed by Deutsche Asset Management and Four Twenty Seven and published for COP23, which maps more than a million physical corporate locations alongside climate models to assess their climate risk. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, November 19:

Corn field and ethanol plant (Photo: Associated Press)

  • A study showed that Wisconsin ranked 9th in carbon dioxide releases due to farming practices. Converting unused land to produce crops for ethanol production releases a lot of carbon dioxide from the soil. The authors said most of the state’s new farm land had previously been pastures or forests, with some wetlands. [Wisconsin State Farmer]
  • A cost-effective catalyst has been developed to recycle two of the main causes behind climate change – carbon dioxide and methane. In a study, published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, scientists have described how they created an advanced nickel-based catalyst to create synthesis gas for fuel or chemical feedstock. [The Indian Express]

BYD bus being tested in New York City (Photo: Marc A. Hermann | MTA New York City Transit)

  • Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD will be opening its first assembly facility in Canada next year in Ontario. This is in anticipation of surging demand for electric trucks in the country, the company has revealed. BYD chose to move into Canada because it has a friendlier environment for EVs than the US currently has. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Hydrogen Council coalition launched its first quantified study of the role of hydrogen, developed with support from McKinsey and Company. It shows that hydrogen could generate $2.5 trillion worth of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050, and it could account for almost 20% of final energy consumed by then. [The Peninsula Qatar]

Monday, November 20:

Warming seas, melting ice (NASA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

  • One of the fathers of climate science is calling for a wave of lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel companies that are delaying action on what he describes as the growing, mortal threat of global warming. Former NASA scientist James Hansen says the litigate-to-mitigate campaign is needed alongside political mobilization. [The Guardian]
  • China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is poised to install a record amount of solar-power capacity this year, prompting researchers to boost forecasts as much as 80%. About 54 GW of solar power will be put in place this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said, raising a forecast of more than 30 GW that BNEF made in July. [Bloomberg]

Ujjani Dam

  • In order to prevent mass-scale evaporation of water, the state government of Maharashtra has given a nod to a proposal that involves setting up floating solar panels on the reservoir at Ujjani Dam. The solar panels will be set up on a water surface of 4,640 acres, to generate 1,000 MW of electricity, making it one of the largest projects of its type. [EnergyInfraPost]
  • Australia’s chief scientist contradicted the government’s claims that Labor’s 50% ­renewables target by 2030 is “a road to ruin.” Dr Alan Finkel is issuing a major report that shows the plan for more renewable energy sources will not lead to major blackouts despite the government’s claims that the “huge renewable target” is irresponsible and “crazy.” [PerthNow]

Tuesday, November 21:

  • Every hour, Chinese workers install an array of solar panels at least the size of a soccer field. Already home to the world’s largest solar plant and floating solar installation, over half of the world’s current construction on solar power installations is taking place in China. Meanwhile others, including the US, are increasingly falling behind. [HuffPost]

Pipeline construction (Houston Chronicle photo)

  • Nebraska officials voted to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the state, a key step toward the completion of the Keystone Pipeline network. The state’s Public Service Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the expansion pipeline, days after the existing Keystone Pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. [Houston Chronicle]
  • Middlebury College will significantly reduce its carbon footprint thanks to an innovative partnership with Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, Vermont, Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Vermont Gas. A facility at Goodrich Family Farm will combine cow manure and food waste to produce Renewable Natural Gas. [vtdigger.org]

Lamborghini Terzo Millenio

  • MIT and Lamborghini have partnered to develop an electric care. The Terzo Millenio is powered using supercapacitors instead of traditional batteries, allowing it to charge faster and hold more power. The vehicle can induce its own health check, and if any damage is detected the car can fill in cracks with nanotubes. [Energy Digital]

2017-11-16 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, November 9:

Solar Farm in Thailand (Asian Development Bank image, CC BY 2.0)

  • A global transition to 100% renewable electricity, far from being a long-term vision, is happening now, a study says. It is the work of Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Energy Watch Group, and it was published at the UN climate change conference, COP23. The conference is now underway in Bonn, Germany. [eco-business.com]
  • Exposure to particulate matter air pollution is responsible for more than 10.7 million cases of the development of chronic kidney disease per year, according to a study. Chronic kidney disease is just one of a long list of reasons moving away from petrol/gas and diesel cars, and coal-fired power plants, would benefit public health greatly. [CleanTechnica]
  • The European Commission published its annual climate action progress report this week. Between 1990 and 2016 the European Union has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 23% while at the same time growing its economy by 53%. This proves again that environmental action need not negatively affect the financial bottom line. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, November 10:

  • “Cities Stand United on Paris Agreement at COP23” • Cities face a new reality of monster storms, unprecedented flooding, dangerous and record-breaking heat and drought, wildfires, and other challenges. More than 350 US “Climate Mayors” have pledged to commit to reduce emissions 80% by 2050, as laid out in Paris. [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • Self-driving systems don’t have to be perfect to save tens of thousands of lives, the RAND Corporation says in a report, The Enemy of Good: Estimating the Cost of Waiting for Nearly Perfect. If autonomous vehicles systems drive only slightly better than humans, they could prevent hundreds of thousands of fatalities worldwide over the next 30 years. [CleanTechnica]

Protecting future generations (Photo: Pezibear | Pixabay)

  • The federal government is ignoring threats to life presented by climate change, according to a claim of a lawsuit against Trump administration officials. The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia, on behalf of two Pennsylvania children and the Clean Air Council. Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Rick Perry are named as defendants. [Public News Service]

Saturday, November 11:

  • Senate Republicans have put forward their own tax reform plan this week which, unlike the tax reform bill proposed by the House, does not take aim at renewable energy provisions such as the wind Production Tax Credit. The House plan proposed eliminating the vehicle tax credit and added a retroactive tax hike on the wind industry. [CleanTechnica]

Wisconsin farmland (Dairyland Power Cooperative image)

  • Officials of Dairyland Power inaugurated a $167 million wind farm in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. The 98-MW Quilt Block project, with 49 turbines, is the state’s fourth largest wind farm and boosts the Wisconsin’s wind capacity by 15%. It is expected to provide enough energy for over 35,000 average households. [The Courier Life News]
  • Practically the entire island of Puerto Rico went dark again after a major power line repaired by Whitefish Energy failed. Even though that the failure may have had nothing to do with Whitefish’s work, it is still a demonstration that microgrids and renewable energy are the way to go for grid resiliency and reliability. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, November 12:

Kauai (Photo: Christopher Michel, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Stories of Kauai are turning heads at the United Nations Climate Conference. The island’s strides in clean energy, along with the progress in the rest of the state, are catching attention. Sen Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is part of a five-person legislative delegation representing the American people at the UN Climate Conference. [Thegardenisland.com]
  • Pope Francis blasted “shortsighted human activity” for global warming and rising sea levels and urged leaders at climate talks in Germany to take a global outlook as they negotiate ways to curb heat-trapping emissions. Francis met with a delegation of Pacific leaders and told them he shares their concerns about rising sea levels. [CTV News]

Indian Schoolboy with his face covered by a handkerchief

  • “Letter from Bonn: Pollution Killing More Indians Than Wars, Govt Must Understand Urgency of Now” • India loses more people to pollution than it would possibly to a war. Yet, successive governments resort to ad hoc measures, lacking implementation of a long term strategy to ensure clean air to people and address their right to life. [News18]

Monday, November 13:

  • Electric buses have been selling like hotcakes in China. The EV-loving city Shenzhen is taking it one step further. In Shenzhen, electric buses will make up all public bus transportation by the end of this year. The city already has 14,000 electric buses on the streets, with only has a few hundred diesel-powered buses left to replace. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-burning power plant

  • According to Agora Energiewende, shutting down twenty lignite-burning power plants in Germany would not lead to electricity shortages in the country, even during the coldest parts of the winter; it would only mean a reduction in the amount of electricity is exported. It would also get the country halfway to its carbon reduction goals. [CleanTechnica]
  • Global emissions of CO2 in 2017 are projected to rise for the first time in four years, dashing hopes that a peak might soon be reached. The main cause of the expected growth is greater use of coal in China as its economy expanded. Researchers are unsure of whether the rise in emissions is a one-off or the start of a new period of CO2 build-up. [BBC News]

Tuesday, November 14:

After the walkout, only reporters and a few White House guests remained  (Twitter image)

  • At their sole function at COP23, US delegates promoted “clean” fossil fuels as a solution to reduce emissions. The Governor of California Jerry Brown ridiculed the attempt to promote fossil fuels, and dozens of activists chanted “Keep it in the ground” over the speech of executive director of the United States Energy Association. [Deutsche Welle]
  • Protesters interrupted an event sponsored by the US climate delegation at the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany on Monday with a repackaged version of the song “God Bless the USA” before staging a mass walkout. Then the room was empty, aside from the press, panelists, and White House guests in the front row. [Common Dreams]

New York Smog

  • The Rocky Mountain Institute published a report at COP23 that provides cities worldwide with “22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success” to help move them toward climate-neutrality and provide results within a year. The solutions in The Carbon-Free City Handbook have been proven in use. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, November 15:

  • In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk. Over 16,000 scientists from 184 countries published a second warning. It says things are alarmingly worse and we must act quickly. [CNN]

Offshore wind farm (Pixabay image)

  • Wind power will be the EU’s leading source of electricity soon after 2030, boosted by strong growth both onshore and offshore wind plants, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The “World Energy Outlook 2017” report also said that solar PVs will be the largest source of clean power globally by 2040. [reNews]
  • Over 450,000 Rwandan households are expected to get power in the next five years following the launch of Rwanda Renewable Energy Fund project. Financing for the $50 million project was done by the World Bank. The fund is intended to increase off-grid solar energy access for those who do not have power, mostly in rural areas. [News Ghana] ($111.11 per household)

2017-11-09 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, November 2:

Renewable energy (Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez | Getty Images)

  • A report says at least $1 trillion are being invested globally in ways to reduce the threat of climate change, including renewable power, energy efficiency, and public transportation. Investments like these may make it possible for the world’s governments to meet their commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. [The Guardian]
  • Ten years after PetroChina peaked on its first day of trading in Shanghai, the state-owned energy producer has lost about $800 billion of market value, a sum large enough to circle the Earth 31 times with $100 bills. In current dollar terms, it’s the world’s biggest-ever wipeout of shareholder wealth. And it may only get worse. [Montreal Gazette]
  • President Trump has declared an end to the “war on coal.” But coal country is grappling with powerful market force. More evidence of coal’s challenges came as Armstrong Energy, a western Kentucky coal company, filed for bankruptcy protection. Armstrong recently warned it would lay off workers at two of its facilities. [KVIA El Paso]

Friday, November 3:

Wind farm construction (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

  • “Renewables Are Starting to Crush Aging US Nukes, Coal Plants” • In parts of the US, it has become a less expensive proposition to build new solar and wind farms and use their power than to keep the existing, and aging, fleet of coal and nuclear generators producing electricity, according to financial adviser Lazard Ltd. [Bloomberg]
  • US Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested that the expansion of fossil fuel use in Africa would help protect people there from sexual assault. The comment was followed by a swift rebuke from environmental activists. The Sierra Club, which campaigns for increased use of wind and solar power, called for Perry to resign. [The Japan Times]

Offshore wind farm

  • The states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island released reports setting out contexts for development of offshore windpower in the Northeast and revealing potential economic benefits. The Northeast could see offshore wind deployment of between 4,000 and 8,000 MW by 2030, creating up to 36,000 jobs. [Offshore Wind Journal]
  • Louisville, Kentucky, has problems with air pollution, and some areas of the city are worse than others. Residents in the poorer neighborhoods of Louisville, those closest to Louisville’s industrial areas, have life expectancy that is 11 years shorter than those in more upscale neighborhoods where trees, parks, and green spaces are common. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, November 4:

Thunder Ranch wind farm

  • “Long-Awaited US Tax Reform Signals Continued Undermining Of Renewables” • US Republicans finally published their proposed tax plan to much ballyhoo and recriminations, not only among Democrats but also in the country’s renewable energy industry, which will likely lose thousands of jobs and billions in investments if it passes. [CleanTechnica]
  • Renewable energy may offer emissions-free electricity, but it isn’t always easy for electrical grids to integrate that energy. Dutch company Alfen is launching their answer to the dilemma. The Cellular Smart Grid Platform allows a central grid to be divided into smaller cells that can operate independently, if necessary, and even self-heal. [Inhabitat]

Sunday, November 5:

Melting sea ice (Photo: David Goldman | AP)

  • President Trump is accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming, blocking a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles. The row has erupted after a key polar satellite broke down a few days ago, leaving the US with only three ageing ones, and the only backup was ordered dismantled. [The Guardian]
  • The Trump Administration released a sweeping federal climate report concluding that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate due to human activity. The congressionally mandated report said the Earth is undergoing its warmest period “in the history of modern civilization,” fueled primarily by rising levels of carbon dioxide. [Bloomberg]
  • To the anger of environmentalists, a Trump adviser is expected to take part in a presentation in at COP23, the UN’s climate conference in Bonn, promoting coal as a solution to climate change. Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement. [BBC News]

Monday, November 6:

Nashville’s Music City Center (Credit: Roofmeadow)

  • Despite the lack of renewable-energy-friendly policies and the reluctance from Republican-led state legislatures to address climate change, states across the South and Appalachia are rapidly expanding their solar markets. Utilities are investing in solar projects, which are now cost-competitive with coal and gas. [InsideClimate News]
  • Lazard has released its annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 11.0), with analysis of power costs. It shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind, but energy storage is not yet cost competitive in most applications. [ThinkGeoEnergy]
  • As Rick Perry makes one laughable statement after another, the Department of Energy goes about its renewable energy mission, full steam ahead. A new article appeared on the DOE’s website on November 3 under the title, “Concentrating Solar Power Could Provide the Flexibility and Reliability the US Electric Grid Needs.” [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, November 7:

Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma

  • American Electric Power announced it is increasing capital investment in its regulated operations and new, renewable generation over the next three years to provide more advanced, cleaner energy solutions for its customers. The company plans to invest $1.8 billion in new renewable generation during 2018 to 2020. [Digital Journal]
  • Strong winds and storms in October helped Scottish turbines produce more than 1.7 million MWh of electricity for the National Grid. Wind power provided more than 100% of electricity demand for Scotland on 15 days during October and supplied enough electricity to power all of Scotland’s homes on 28 days. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

Miraah solar plant

  • Petroleum Development Oman and GlassPoint Solar have announced completion of the first block of one of the world’s largest solar plants, the 1,021-MW Miraah solar plant in Oman. Each of the 36 blocks has a separate greenhouse protecting its solar array from the harsh conditions on the oilfield, such as strong winds and dust storms. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, November 8:

  • The US is now a party of one in its stance on climate change. Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal. Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn on Tuesday. [CNN]

Flooding in downtown Houston (Photo: Jason Dearen | AP)

  • “White House admits Trump climate policies will destroy all US coastal property” • The massive climate report released by the Trump administration makes clear that its climate policies will destroy every last bit of US (and global) coastal property in the decades to come, and over $1 trillion in US coastal property will eventually be valueless. [ThinkProgress]
  • In its mania to prove how horrible the Clean Power Plan is, the EPA has rejiggered the numbers and found that the Clean Power Plan could save more lives than the Obama officials thought. Oddly enough, the means that rolling back its provisions could lead to between 40,000 and 100,000 more premature deaths in America by the year 2050. [CleanTechnica]
  • Digital technologies are set to transform the global energy landscape, making it more reliable and sustainable, a report by the International Energy Agency says. Demand side response from buildings, industry, and transport could provide 185 GW of flexibility, avoiding $270 billion of new infrastructure investment through 2040. [ETEnergyworld.com]