2016-08-25 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.

Since the previous show was recorded on Tuesday, this show has nine days’ news.

Tuesday, August 16:

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux. Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux. Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • University of Queensland is saving $50,000 a year in mowing costs at its Gatton campus solar farm by using sheep to keep the vegetation down. The ABC reports that to mow the grounds used to take 4 days and cost a significant chunk of change. Now, ten sheep help cut mowing costs and seem to be enjoying doing so. [Energy Matters]

08-16 energy incentives

  • Wind energy still accounts for an extremely small share of all federal energy incentives, according to the most comprehensive review of energy incentives to date. AWEA’s compilation of all available data shows that for every dollar spent on federal energy incentives, wind energy received less than 3 cents. [Windpower Engineering]

Wednesday, August 17:

  • The Netherlands may soon approve of an outright ban on new cars fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel by the year 2025. Only zero-emissions cars powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells would be permitted. Germany may not be far behind, with growing murmurs in support of a ban on conventional cars by 2030. [CleanTechnica]
  • The federal government calls the impact of carbon dioxide the “social cost of carbon,” and the EPA set a price at $36 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. A group of refrigerator makers sued, calling the price “arbitrary and capricious,” but a federal district court ruled against them unanimously. [CleanTechnica]

Thursday, August 18:

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo, after Hurricane Katrina. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

  • July was the world’s hottest month ever, according to NASA, the tenth month in a row to break temperature records globally. Since October 2015, every month has set a new global record for hottest temperatures, but the rise may slow down soon. A developing La Nina weather pattern may help, though probably not until 2017. [CNN]
  • Electric utilities cannot pass on to their Massachusetts ratepayers the costs of financing new natural gas pipelines, the state’s highest court ruled on Wednesday. The unanimous decision from the Supreme Judicial Court was cheered by environmental groups, which had dubbed the proposed tariffs a “pipeline tax.” [Boston Herald]
Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Wind energy pricing remains attractive to utility and commercial purchasers, according to an annual report released by the US Department of Energy and prepared by the Electricity Markets & Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The levelized long-term price of wind power averages around 2¢/kWh. [EurekAlert]
  • Vermont’s largest electric utility has committed to purchase 14 hydroelectric dams in New England and to get power from two others, a buy that will net Green Mountain Power an added 17 MW of energy production for just over $20 million. The dams will help the company meet statutory renewability requirements. [vtdigger.org]

Friday, August 19:

 Final turbine installed at Block Island. Deepwater Wind photo.


Final turbine installed at Block Island. Deepwater Wind photo.

  • Fred Olsen jack-up vessel Brave Tern has lifted the final turbine at the 30-MW Block Island project in Rhode Island, a long-awaited milestone for America’s first offshore wind farm. “The Block Island wind farm is now fully constructed,” Deepwater Wind’s CEO said on Twitter. Crews are working on electrical connections. [reNews]
  • The recent power supply auction in Chile got a solar bid of $29.1/MWh (€25.65/MWh) for the Maria ElenaPV park, built by SunEdison. That bid marks the world’s record lowest for solar. The previous record was an offer of $29.9/MWh for the 800-MW third phase of a 5-GW solar power complex in Dubai. [SeeNews Renewables]

Saturday, August 20:

Hydrogen fuel cell cars fueling, Fountain Valley, California.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars fueling, Fountain Valley, California.

  • When produced using renewable energy, hydrogen could cost nearly the equivalent of 50-cent-per-gallon gasoline, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The NREL plan assumes large-scale production of hydrogen through electrolysis, but with renewable energy used for power. [Green Car Reports]
  • The oil and gas sector is headed for much more “turbulent times” beyond the ongoing oil bust, former Vice President Al Gore said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. He said the industry will go through the same pains as the coal sector unless it adopts more renewable and sustainable sources of power and fuel. [Houston Chronicle]

Sunday, August 21:

Crystal Serenity.

Crystal Serenity.

  • In a rare endeavor, Crystal Serenity has embarked on a 32-night journey through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic region north of Canada that was unattainable until just 100 years ago. Crystal Serenity is about to become the largest ship ever to attempt the Northwest Passage. There are nearly 1,000 passengers aboard. [RusTourismNews]
  • At least three municipalities in Finland are considering founding solar parks within their city limits to create energy from the sun. In one community about an hour north of Helsinki, a biogas facility would make use of biomass from the local community and agriculture, in addition to the solar-powered electricity. [YLE News]

Monday, August 22:

  • Opinion: “UK energy mix faces seismic shift” • These last weeks have been a time when an inescapable set of signals emerges, all pointing in the same direction. The idea that renewables are not competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power has lost all basis in fact. It’s time to wake up to the energy revolution. [Climate Home]
The ANU solar thermal dish. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU

The ANU solar thermal dish. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU

  • A team of Australian National University scientists brought economically competitive solar thermal energy generation closer to reality. They hit a record in efficiency for the technology with a design that boosts conversion of sunlight to steam to 97%. This could produce a 10% reduction in the cost of solar thermal electricity. [RenewEconomy]

Tuesday, August 23:

Arctic Sunrise.

Arctic Sunrise.

  • Navigating through the icy waters of the Arctic, a Greenpeace ship is delivering solar panels to the Inuit community of Clyde River, Nunavut. Delivering solar panels and a team to install the systems for the Clyde River community is Greenpeace’s way of offering a better solution to meet increasing demands for energy. [CleanTechnica]
  • A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies have found. Pro-nuclear countries have been slow to implement wind, solar, and hydropower technologies. [(e) Science News]

Wednesday, August 24:

2016-08-16 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.

Scheduling at BCTV made it necessary to record this show on Tuesday, August 16, so it only has five days’ news.

Thursday, August 11:

Kiara Nirghin won Google's Community Impact Award.

Kiara Nirghin won Google’s Community Impact Award.

  • With South Africa in its worst drought in history, a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Johannesburg created a super absorbent polymer out of orange peel and avocado skins. It is capable of storing reserves of water hundreds of times its own weight, forming reservoirs that would allow farmers to maintain their crops at minimal cost. [CNN]
  • Exelon Corp said in its August 9 quarterly Form 10-Q report that the New York ISO has said its doesn’t need the Ginna nuclear plant operating beyond March of next year for grid reliability purposes. Ginna is a 581-MW, single-unit pressurized water reactor located in Ontario County, New York. [Electric Light & Power]
Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image).

Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image).

  • Wind power generated the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity needs on 7 August, according to WWF Scotland. Analysis by WWF of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that for August 7, wind turbines in Scotland provided 39,545 MWh to the National Grid. Scotland’s demand for the day was 37,202 MWh. [reNews]
  • Germany added 150 bio-gas plants in 2015, with 23 MW of capacity. This was the smallest annual increase since the Renewable Energy Sources Act was first adopted in 2000. The overall pace of additional construction is somewhat disappointing. Nearly 9,000 bio-gas plants are currently operational in Germany. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

Friday, August 12:

Deepwater wind – first US offshore project. Deepwater wind photo.

Deepwater wind – first US offshore project. Deepwater wind photo.

  • American offshore wind power is one step closer to becoming a reality, with installation of the first turbines at Deepwater Wind’s Block Island project now complete. The Block Island Wind Farm will be America’s first offshore wind farm, and it remains on-schedule to be fully commissioned this fall. [Renewables International]
  • A coalition of individuals and businesses seeking to protect Vermont’s environment and repower our state with local renewables have launched a campaign in support of wind power in Vermont. The coalition, Wind Works VT launched a website and will promote wind power as an essential part of the state’s energy future. [Vermont Biz]

Saturday, August 13:

Lightsource solar farm.

Lightsource solar farm.

  • The UK’s surging solar PV capacity has helped the country to a new quarterly renewable generation record. In Q1 2016 renewables generated 25.1% of the UK’s electricity despite lower than expected wind speeds and rainfall. That figure was up 2.3 percentage points on generation recorded in Q1 2015. [Solar Power Portal]
Scotland’s wind turbines (Image: Dorli Photography)

Scotland’s wind turbines (Image: Dorli Photography)

  • Scotland is pledging to reach 100% renewable sustainability for energy production by the year 2020, a reasonable goal after meeting 100% of the energy demand through wind power alone for a day. Scotland is believed to have the largest oil reserves in Europe, but has proven they largely do not need it. [Interesting Engineering]
  • Britain’s Chinese partner in the Hinkley Point power station deal has been accused of plotting to steal US nuclear secrets. A nuclear engineer for state-owned China General Nuclear is accused of setting up US experts to obtain sensitive information, confirming the worst suspicions of critics of the UK-Chinese nuclear deal. [Sputnik International]

Sunday, August 14:

Mountain Wind Power wind turbines in Uinta County, Wyoming. Photo by CGP Grey. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Mountain Wind Power wind turbines in Uinta County, Wyoming. Photo by CGP Grey. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

“Who owns the wind? We do, Wyoming says, and it’s taxing those who use it” • Four years ago, the Wyoming Legislature began entertaining a lofty question: Who owns all of that wind? They concluded, quickly and conveniently, that Wyoming did. Then they did something no other state has done: They taxed it. [Los Angeles Times]

Residents of Sardar Para in Satjeliya Island and the village's solar panels. WWF photo.

Residents of Sardar Para in Satjeliya Island and the village’s solar panels. WWF photo.

The World Wildlife Fund offered the people of the village of Sardar Para, in Bangladesh, home solar systems, but many were skeptical. Then local women formed a self-help group and found an acceptable answer. A 4.1-kW PV array provides power, and each home has its own battery-powered energy access kit. [The Weekend Leader]

Monday, August 15:

 Stormy weather. (Photo: Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr)


Stormy weather. (Photo: Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr)

  • By mid-morning on Friday, in just a 12-hour stretch, more than a foot of rain fell near Kentwood, Louisiana. It was  a downpour with an estimated likelihood of just once every 500 years, and roughly three months’ worth of rainfall during a typical hurricane season. It’s the latest in a string of what had once been rare rainstorms. [Pacific Standard]
  • The crown estate has waded into the battle over Hinkley Point, pointing out that offshore windfarms are already cheaper than the proposed atomic reactors. The crown estate said that windfarms at sea will be on course to meet 10% of the country’s electricity by 2020, sooner than Hinkley Point C can to produce 7%. [The Guardian]
Jeremy Turner, managing forester at Stiles Brook Forest. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

Jeremy Turner, managing forester at Stiles Brook Forest. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

  • The managing forester for Stiles Brook Forest, in Windham County, Vermont, sees an uncertain future because of climate change. Some signs are stunted trees, increasing numbers of invasive insects, and a dwindling moose population. A controversial plan to install 28 wind turbines at Stiles Brook is part of the solution. [vtdigger.org]

Tuesday, August 16:

Wednesday, August 17:

2016-08-11 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, August 4:

Guilin, China

Guilin, China

  • Opinion: “What I Saw in China Will Help Change the World” • Air pollution is blamed for 1 million premature deaths a year in China and for reducing life expectancy by nearly 25 months. China alone accounts for 27% of the global carbon footprint. But the country is doing a lot to fight climate change . [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • Opinion: “Institutional investors are heeding climate warnings. Should you, too?” • Most people recognize that climate change is a risk for life on Earth. But a warming planet is likely to be dangerous to investment portfolios, too. Institutional money managers are coming to realize it, and retail investors should pay heed as well. [The Globe and Mail]
  • California is the first in the country to publish a draft blueprint for fulfilling the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, for cutting existing power plant emissions. The state’s landmark cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions and proposed amendments to extend that system will be used for compliance. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

Friday, August 5:

Apple solar array.

Apple solar array.

  • SiliconBeat reports that Apple received approval to begin selling off its excess renewable energy. The approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission means Apple will be able to start selling excess energy generated from its solar farms and other renewable energy facilities it has located in Nevada, Arizona, and California. [9 to 5 Mac]
Some politicians blame wind farms for supply problems. Photo: Bloomberg

Some politicians blame wind farms for supply problems. Photo: Bloomberg

  • AGL said the batteries it plans to install in and around Adelaide will be linked with solar panel arrays in a system that would be the “world’s largest virtual power plant.” The company hopes the system will help meet demand peaks and avoid the need to source electricity from local power stations. [The Sydney Morning Herald]
  • “Nuclear Power Is Losing Money At An Astonishing Rate” • Half of the existing nuclear power plants are no longer profitable. The New York Times and others have tried to blame renewable energy, but the admittedly astounding price drops of renewables aren’t the primary cause of the industry’s woes. [ThinkProgress]

Saturday, August 6:

With no access to power lines or plenty of cow manure, Pa Deng' s villagers have turned to faeces. (Photo: AFP)

With no access to power lines or plenty of cow manure, Pa Deng’ s villagers have turned to faeces. (Photo: AFP)

  • Nestled in a deep pocket of forest, off Thailand’s electrical grid, villagers in Pa Deng have become early adopters and evangelists for an unusual alternative energy source: poop. After successfully lighting up their homes with solar panels and stoves fueled by cow dung, the villagers are now clean energy crusaders. [Deccan Chronicle]
Walney Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. DONG photo.

Walney Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. DONG photo.

  • US grid operator ISO-New England is mulling a request from DONG Energy, which is seeking an 800-MW of grid capacity for its planned 1-GW Bay State wind farm off the Massachusetts coast. DONG wants the link at Brayton Point power station, where an existing 1-GW coal plant is scheduled to close next year. [reNews]
  • The White House Council on Environmental Quality directed Federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in all decision-making. According to the White House, “Federal agencies are required to consider and disclose the potential effects of their actions and decisions on the environment.” [CleanTechnica]
  • Hampshire College is constructing the largest campus solar power array in New England. The project will put 15,000 solar panels on 19 acres of campus land to generate 4.7 MW of electricity and includes a battery storage system. Hampshire College will be able to boast that 100% of its electricity will come from renewable energy. [WAMC]

Sunday, August 7:

Manything turns old smartphones into video monitoring devices. Photograph: Manything

Manything turns old smartphones into video monitoring devices. Photograph: Manything

  • Old smartphones can give us new opportunities. “There are around one billion idle smartphones in America,” the head of a startup business says. “They’re just sitting in drawers at the moment destined for landfill. Yet they’ve got a GPS, two cameras, a microphone, a processor and five or six other useful sensors.” [The Guardian]
  • A California project would have 100 turbines on platforms tethered to ocean floor floating 33 miles off the coast. Trident Winds, a Seattle-based company, plans to place the turbines off the coast of Morro Bay. The turbines would be affixed to floating platforms, which would be tethered to the sea floor using cables. [Seeker]

Monday, August 8:

  • Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia announced today that the PSD has reached an agreement with Green Mountain Power that, pending Public Service Board approval, will result in a 0.93% rate increase for GMP customers in the coming year. [vtdigger.org]
Sam Villella wants to add more panels, but a new electric co-op fee is holding him back. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Sam Villella wants to add more panels, but a new electric co-op fee is holding him back. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

  • Electric co-ops across Minnesota have instituted fees on new residential solar arrays based on a 2015 law, and renewable energy advocates are angry. Lyon-Lincoln Electric charges a customer $49 per month for a rooftop solar connection. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is investigating the fees. [Duluth News Tribune]

Tuesday, August 9:

  • EDF’s decision to invest in the £18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear plant should be declared invalid, French trade unions have said. The unions at the French firm said senior board members knew that the UK government was considering delaying its final decision, but did not disclose this before last month’s vote. [The Guardian]
Solar panels were used to charge devices during a power outage on the Aran Islands. A little power is better than none at all.

Solar panels were used to charge devices during a power outage on the Aran Islands. A little power is better than none at all.

  • A prolonged electricity blackout affecting two of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland has given renewed impetus to making the islands carbon-neutral and independent, according to a local renewable-energy project. The outage began when a submarine cable was broken on Friday and lasted until Monday night. [Irish Times]
  • A festive feeling took hold as Governor Charlie Baker signed an energy bill that could launch an offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. New Bedford is poised to benefit from offshore wind development, potentially at the $113 million, state-funded Marine Commerce Terminal just inside the hurricane barrier. [SouthCoastToday.com]

Wednesday, August 10:

  • Alaska averaging 33.9° over seven months may not seem warm to folks in the Lower 48. But that just proves they haven’t lived there. A not-far-above-freezing high from January 1 to July 31 is a virtual heat wave. This year’s average is 8.1° above the 20th century average of 25.8°. So far, 2016 has been the hottest year on record. [CNN]
Power can be created where salt water meets fresh. (Photo: 27707 / Pixabay)

Power can be created where salt water meets fresh, such as at this estuary. (Photo: 27707 / Pixabay)

  • A team of international scientists from Switzerland and the United States developed a powerful osmosis power plant capable of generating more power than any osmotic power generator that has come before. An osmosis power plant creates power by use of a membrane separates salt water from fresh. [Nature World News]
  • New figures from GTM Research have revealed that the United States currently has 10 GW of utility-scale solar PV projects currently under construction. In 2015, the entire US solar sector installed a record 7,286 MW. In 2015, the country’s utility solar sector grew 6%, but 2016 may see a growth rate of over 100%. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill to make the state one of only three to have an energy storage mandate, and Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed the landmark measure on August 9. Massachusetts began paving the way for more far-reaching storage policies over a year ago with an energy storage initiative. [Utility Dive]

2016-08-04 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, July 28:

Wind farm. Author: Samir Luther. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Wind farm. Author: Samir Luther. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

  • The Democrats adopted their party platform at their national convention. The energy and environment section is titled “Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice.” It begins with this statement: “Climate change is an urgent threat and the defining challenge of our time.” [Global Warming]
  • Amid a blistering heat wave and some strong weather, electricity prices in New York soared this week. According to Platts, New York ISO real-time prices went above $800/MWh (80¢/kWh) on Monday afternoon, and Zone A West real-time prices soared in to more than $1,500/MWh ($1.50/kWh). [Utility Dive]
  • China has installed 22 GW of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of 2016. According to PV-Tech, China’s National Energy Administration announced at an industry event in Beijing that the country had logged 22 GW of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of the year, with 11.3 GW in June alone. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, July 29:

The Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County. Constellation Energy photo.

The Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County. Constellation Energy photo.

  • “NY’s historic bailout of nuke plants explained: Why ratepayers could pony up $7 billion” • New York energy regulators are poised to approve the nation’s first clean-air subsidies for nuclear plants, a controversial move that would guarantee about $7 billion in new revenue to three Upstate nukes threatening to close. [Syracuse.com]
  • Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years were unexpectedly delayed when the UK’s government put a final decision off until the early autumn. EDF, which is financing most of the £18-billion Hinkley Point project, approved the funding. But the UK’s government said it needed to review the project. [BBC]
  • The world’s 47 largest investor-owned fossil fuel and cement producers have been formally accused of human rights abuses. This week, the fossil fuel and cement producers named in the complaint were sent their copies of it by the Philippines Commission on Human Rights. They have 45 days to respond. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, drawing from cash paid to the state by Yankee owner Entergy, has given $400,000 to the Windham Regional Commission to develop the program over the next several months. Officials say grants will be geared toward small-scale renewable projects in the county. [vtdigger.org]
  • The Vermont Public Service Board issued interim noise standards for commercial and small-scale wind projects, in accord with legislation that directed the Public Service Board to issue interim rules. For commercial wind projects the board set a limit of 45 decibels outside of a building and 30 decibels on the inside. [Vermont Public Radio]

Saturday, July 30:

Wind farm in the UK.

Wind farm in the UK.

  • In 2015 renewable energy provided 25% of the UK’s electricity, up from 20% the previous year. Once considered the lifeblood of this country, coal is now marginally behind gas as the dominant source of electric energy in the UK, with renewable energy sources filling the gap it leaves behind. [Kensington Chelsea & Westminster Today]
  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne on Friday put out a new wind-turbine siting policy statement. “If a town says no to a large industrial wind project I would use all the power of the governor’s office to ensure that is the end of the project,” Dunne said in his statement. “I will ensure that no means no.” [Seven Days]

Sunday, July 31:

Neural Connections of the Brain via Flickr CC.

Neural Connections of the Brain via Flickr CC.

  • The American Psychological Association links air pollution to brain disorders and diminished cognitive abilities in a report that links air pollution to increased depression, educational troubles for children, and degenerative problems. “Now, the evidence is mounting that dirty air is bad for your brain as well,” it says. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, August 1:

Pollution in the Henan Province, China. Credit: V.T. Polywoda / flickr.

Pollution in the Henan Province, China. Credit: V.T. Polywoda / flickr.

  • The global battle against climate change passed a historic turning point, according to senior economists. China, the world’s biggest polluter, more than tripled its coal use from 2000 to 2013, emitting billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. But its coal consumption peaked in 2014, much earlier than expected, and began falling. [Climate Central]

2014 fuel shares in world total primary energy supply. Source: IEA.

  • Global renewable energy production increased by 2.6% between 2013 and 2014, and reached a share of 13.8% in total primary energy supply, the International Energy Agency said last week. Annual growth rates in 1990 to 2014 have been especially strong for PV and wind power, at 46.2% and 24.3% respectively. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • The Massachusetts legislature has passed a compromise energy bill and sent it to the governor. The bill would require utilities to solicit long-term contracts with offshore wind farm developers for at least 1,600 MW in the next 10 years and encourage delivery of larger supplies of Canadian hydropower and other renewables. [Odessa American]

Tuesday, August 2:

NOAA image.

NOAA image.

  • Opinion: “What World Climate Can Expect From US Presidential Choices” • “This year, every vote is a vote for or against climate change,” says Nick Stockton on Wired.com. Citizens of the United States have to make a real choice about climate this year. Our votes may determine how the country addresses the world climate for decades. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Clean Energy Standard, part of an initiative to double the New York’s renewable energy providers and cut carbon emissions 40% by 2030, was approved unanimously at a meeting in Albany Monday. The four nuclear power plants were added to the CES because they produce a third of the state’s carbon dioxide-free energy. [WSKG News]
  • Vermont gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne’s renewable energy position proposing to leave wind and solar siting questions up to the local community lost him a powerful endorsement. Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org is no longer endorsing him, and has given his endorsement to Sue Minter instead. [WCAX]

Wednesday, August 3:

  • The Ukrainian Government is exploring options to construct a 4-GW solar power plant in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Once completed, the plant would be the largest solar project in the world. Aside from guards and workers who manage roadblocks and barriers, the zone has been barren and uninhabited for 30 years. [Power Technology]
First tower section is lifted onto its foundation. Image sent by Twitter.

First tower section is lifted onto its foundation. Image sent by Twitter.

  • Turbine installation has started at the 30-MW Block Island project off the coast of Rhode Island, the US’ first offshore wind farm. The developer, Deepwater Wind, said on Twitter that the first tower section has been put atop one of the foundations. The components for the rest of the turbines are all on hand. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Matt Dunne, Democratic candidate for Governor of Vermont, unveiled a plan to tackle climate change and secure the state’s clean energy future. “Climate change is the most significant threat to our planet and even in the short-term will fundamentally harm our economy. … Collectively, we can solve this problem.” [Vermont Biz]
  • At a press conference at the Vermont Statehouse, Sue Minter was surrounded by environmental advocates to receive the endorsement of the Vermont Conservation Voters in her race for Governor. Minter reiterated her commitment to Vermont’s bold goal to reach 90% renewable energy by 2050 and deal with climate change. [Vermont Biz]

 

2016-07-28 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, July 21:

Rendering of the project Donald Trump opposed, saying it would ruin the view from his golf course. (Vattenfall image)

Rendering of the project Donald Trump opposed, saying it would ruin the view from his golf course. (Vattenfall image)

  • Vattenfall has committed to the construction of the 92.4-MW Aberdeen offshore wind farm off northeast Scotland for £300 million. The Swedish utility acquired the 25% stake in the project previously controlled by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group ahead of the final investment decision. [reNews]
  • It’s no news that Greenland is in serious trouble, but now, research has helped quantify just how bad its problems are. A satellite study, published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that the Greenland ice sheet lost a whopping 1 trillion tonnes of ice between the years 2011 and 2014 alone. [The Independent]
  • New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland have filed lawsuits in their respective state courts seeking millions of dollars in damages from VW for emissions from diesel engines. The attorneys general for each state say they will name people who lied, who destroyed evidence, and who, in upper management, knew and failed to act. [gas2]

Friday, July 22:

The vast tropical forests of Amazonia account for almost one-fifth of the world’s terrestrial vegetation carbon stock.

The vast tropical forests of Amazonia account for almost one-fifth of the world’s terrestrial vegetation carbon stock.

  • A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, by killing trees and slowing trees’ growth rates, a study has shown. In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed trees’ mortality rate went up while growth rates declined. [BBC]
  • Elon Musk, Tesla Motors chief executive, has unveiled a ‘master plan’ for his company to broaden its product portfolio into electric trucks and buses, car sharing and solar energy systems. The strategy additionally includes plans to go into more competitive markets to develop car and ride-sharing programs. [E&T magazine]
  • A coalition of over 150 local businesses and institutions ranging from farms and credit unions, to hotels, main street shops, manufacturers and solar companies has sent a joint letter to the Vermont Public Service Board urging the regulators to support renewable energy and protect the state’s net energy metering program. [Solar Industry]

Saturday, July 23:

Perhaps this abandoned coal mine in West Virginia is a valuable antique. Photo by ForestWander. CC BY-SA 3.0 US. Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps this abandoned coal mine in West Virginia is a valuable antique. Photo by ForestWander. CC BY-SA 3.0 US. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Ambitious pro-coal plans were put on full display at the Republican National Convention. But the same day that US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) spoke to the convention in support of the coal industry, a federal court issued a ruling that upheld the EPA’s veto of the notorious Spruce No 1 mine in her home state. [CleanTechnica]
  • Lawyers for Entergy say the company will support a proposal to provide $1 billion in subsidies to nuclear power plants struggling to remain profitable. This comes after the Public Service Commission changed the proposal’s language, removing requirements that the plant be licensed and be struggling financially. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

Sunday, July 24:

Solar Impulse 2 taking off.

Solar Impulse 2 taking off.

  • An aircraft powered by solar energy has left Egypt on the last leg of the first ever fuel-free flight around the world. Solar Impulse 2 climbed out of Cairo on Sunday in darkness, bound for Abu Dhabi. The journey should take between 48 and 72 hours. The carbon fibre plane set off on its epic challenge in March last year. [euronews]
  • Opinion: “The Switch: soon solar will be the cheapest power everywhere” • Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall – its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all. [The Ecologist]

  • According to the United Nations weather agency, global temperatures for the first six months of 2016 have been high enough to set this year up as the hottest year in recorded human history. Considering the heat waves we are in, the idea that we are currently in the midst of the hottest year in history isn’t too hard to believe. [The Inquisitr]
  • This spring, there has been a dramatic decline in the health of Eastern white pines across New England and Northeast Pennsylvania. Needles on trees have turned color and fallen from the trees. The severely affected trees decline further and die. The cause is not entirely known, but climate change may be part of the problem. [Scranton Times-Tribune]

Monday, July 25:

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons

  • Solana Beach could become the first city in San Diego County to create its own power company, with the goal of moving to 100% renewable energy. The city is searching for a company to provide a power system based completely on solar, wind, geothermal, or other renewable sources of electricity. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
Wind turbines in South Australia. Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in South Australia. Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • “Why fossil fuel industry needs South Australia ‘experiment’ to fail” • Price spikes, such as what recently happened in South Australia, used to be an important part of the business model for coal and gas generators. With the advent of renewable power, the spikes have all but gone away, so when one comes, they blame renewables. [RenewEconomy]
  • With four days of convention activities, energy consumption and emissions will rise around Philadelphia. To help offset this increased energy usage, WGL Energy Services, Inc has donated enough carbon offsets to cover the hotel stays of all 28,000 convention attendees for all four days of the Democratic event. [Stockhouse]

Tuesday, July 26:

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

  • More than a year after it first took to the skies, Solar Impulse 2 has completed an epic around-the-world journey without burning a single drop of fuel. The revolutionary single-seat solar-powered plane touched down Tuesday morning in Abu Dhabi, at the same airport from which it took off back in March 2015. [Huffington Post]
Wind power costs and capacity.

Wind power costs and capacity.

  • “Clean Energy Is Booming in Historically Red States – and It’s Splitting Conservatives Apart” • Policy fights pitt right-wing grassroots activists against well-funded conservative advocacy groups aligned with fossil fuel producers and power utilities. Fossil fuels have the upper hand for now, but the situation may be shifting. [AlterNet]
  • Climate change is leaving migratory birds with nowhere to go. A study showed that the Arctic region is rapidly becoming unsuitable for shorebird breeding as global warming heightens. Published in the journal Global Change Biology, it said migratory bird breeding in the Arctic could be wiped out by the year 2070. [Nature World News]
  • Six weeks after Trump appeared before petroleum producers in North Dakota and gave a speech tailor-made to win their support, the fossil fuel industry seems unexcited about responding. Of the $63.5 million Trump and the Super PACS raised in June, about $580,000 came from people connected to the fossil fuel industry. [InsideClimate News‎]
Wind turbine near the coast, Ireland. Author: Harry Pears. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Wind turbine near the coast, Ireland. Author: Harry Pears. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

  • The Celtic Interconnector, a roughly 700-MW link between France and Ireland to increase competition and support the growth of renewables, is entering the Initial Design and Pre-Consultation phase. EirGrid Plc and RTE completed feasibility studies for the €1-billion project, and they agreed to move to the next phase. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wednesday, July 27:

  • If anthropogenic global warming is to be limited to under 2° Celsius (3.6° Fahrenheit) then technology will need to be developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, in addition to completely ceasing greenhouse gas emissions by 2085, according to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US reached 74,821 MW installed wind power capacity by mid-2016 and there are now more than 18,200 MW of wind farms under construction or in advanced stages of development. The American Wind Energy Association said activity approached record levels in the second quarter with record low wind costs. [SeeNews Renewables]

2016-07-21 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, July 14:

One of the two huge Archimedes screws being installed at Otley Weir.

One of the two huge Archimedes screws being installed at Otley Weir.

  • Work on a hydroelectric turbine at Otley Weir in Yorkshire began last November but was seriously hampered by high river levels and the Boxing Day floods. Now, the project is back on track, as two Archimedes screw turbines, each the length of a single-decker bus and nearly twice as wide, have been lifted into place. [Wharfedale Observer]
  • A report from GTM Research analyzed rate structures of 51 US utilities to assess economics of commercial electric storage management. Its data show commercial energy storage economics are currently attractive in seven US states, and are expected to increase in attractiveness over the next five years to 19 states. [CleanTechnica]
  • A bipartisan senate bill aims to establish investment tax credits for various types of energy storage in commercial applications and for residential battery storage. For commercial energy storage applications of at least 5 kWh, the bill proposes the same tax incentive as is currently available for solar. [SeeNews Renewables]

Friday, July 15:

Salt Lake City. Photo by Skyguy414. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Salt Lake City. Photo by Skyguy414. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Salt Lake City announced Wednesday its commitment to transition to 100% renewable energy sources by 2032. The city also plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2040. In the resolution, city officials stated that changes in water systems and extreme-weather events are increasingly having effects locally. [EcoWatch]
  • Opinion: “From Global Temps to Clean Energy, Broken Records Define the Climate Crisis” • We’re living in a time of records. More renewable energy came on stream in 2015 than ever, 147 GW, equal to Africa’s entire generating capacity. Other records were broken. But are the good records enough to help us deal with the bad? [AlterNet]

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  • New figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that energy intensity continued its twenty-five year decline in 2015 in nearly every world region. According to the EIA, global energy intensity, measured as energy consumption per unit of GDP, has decreased by nearly one-third between 1990 and 2015. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, July 16:

Reuters image / John Sommers II

Trump introducing Pence. Reuters image / John Sommers II.

  • Donald Trump’s choice for vice president, the conservative governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, denies climate change and is an outspoken coal advocate. His record has made him a favorite in the very conservative wing of the Republican Party and earned him large contributions from the fossil fuel industry. [InsideClimate News]
  • The Long Island Power Authority has formally recommended to its board of directors a proposal from Deepwater Wind, a Rhode Island company, to construct a 90-MW, 15-turbine wind farm in federally leased waters approximately 30 miles east of Montauk, New York, the utility’s chief executive officer has confirmed. [East Hampton Star]
  • The asking price for the 13 TransCanada hydro dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers has passed $1 billion. The dams, totaling about 560 MW of power, were bought by TransCanada in 2005 for about $500 million. The high price tag means Vermont alone will not make an offer, but is still a potential partner for a proposed deal. [Vermont Biz]

Sunday, July 17:

Global warming will take a toll on reptiles and birds. @bberwyn photo.

Global warming will take a toll on reptiles and birds. @bberwyn photo.

  • Birds and reptiles in fragmented habitat in the Southwest will be hit hardest by global warming in the decades ahead, according to a study by scientists with the US Geological Survey and the Northern Arizona University. The researchers did studies of approximately 30 animals. [Summit County Citizens Voice]
Ditching coal is un-American. US National Park Service photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Ditching coal is un-American. US National Park Service photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Coal is looking at taking a starring role during the Republican national convention, as it gains greater support. The fossil fuel was included in the draft political platform ahead of this week’s convention in Cleveland. The draft platform includes a sentence in support of “clean coal,” an edit offered by a Texas delegate. [Washington Examiner]

Monday, July 18:

Wind farm. Siemens photo.

Wind farm. Siemens photo.

  • Siemens has signed a cooperation agreement with Cuban utility Union Electrica to modernize the country’s energy infrastructure and boost renewables. The German company and the state-owned utility will pursue projects and services for power generation, transmission and distribution, renewable energy, and automation. [reNews]
  • “The Truth About Australia’s Soaring Electricity Prices” • Wind and solar has again been blamed for South Australia’s high power prices. Just because this is often repeated, it doesn’t’ make it true. The spikes in electric costs have been around since before the first solar panel or wind turbine was installed. [Energy Matters]
  • The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce is stepping up its fight against South Carolina Electric & Gas’ annual rate increases to help pay for new reactors at the VC Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville. If approved, it will be the ninth rate increase related to the nuclear plant since 2009. [Charleston Post Courier]

Tuesday, July 19:

Offshore wind farm. Photo by Tycho. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Offshore wind farm. Photo by Tycho. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • A building boom is underway offshore in Europe with hundreds of turbines being installed. With low oil prices, all this building work might seem to make little economic sense. But with falling prices for offshore wind power, the cost of electricity from new offshore wind is almost 30% cheaper than new nuclear. [The Ecologist]
  • Scientists have found yet another issue with fracking. Asthma patients are 1.5 to four times more likely to have asthma attacks if they live near bigger or a larger number of unconventional natural gas development wells, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. [CNN]
  • Australian infrastructure investor Lyon Group says it plans to build the world’s biggest solar plus storage project in South Australia in the next two years, and sees a huge future for combined solar and battery storage plants. The first project for South Australia includes 100 MW of solar PVs and 40 MW of storage. [RenewEconomy]

Wednesday, July 20:

Clear-cut forest. Photo by Calibas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Clear-cut forest. Photo by Calibas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • The UK imports millions of tons of American wood pellets every year to be burned in power stations for ‘climate friendly’ electricity. But the practice is devastating forests, and the UK government’s own research shows that it’s worse for the climate than the coal it replaces, as forests that offset carbon emissions are being destroyed. [The Ecologist]
  • The Vermont Public Service Board issued an order scaling back support for solar, bringing loud complaints from environmentalists and industry officials. The changes include a sharp reduction in the amount of power utilities will be required to buy from customers who generate their own power for net metering. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]
Republicans would reclassify coal as a "clean energy resource."

Republicans would reclassify coal as a “clean energy resource.”

  • The final Republican platform would pull the United States out of the international climate accord, open national forests for logging, and declare coal a “clean energy resource.” It would also end limits to CO2 emissions, pull the US out of the United Nations climate process, and end all subsidies to renewable energy. [Deutsche Welle]
  • The Scottish courts have quashed planning consent for 2.3 GW of offshore wind farms off the country’s east coast. In doing so, it sided with claims by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which was acting to protect birds and other wildlife. The Scottish Government said it remains committed to offshore wind. [reNews]
  • The Obama Administration announced it has partnered with six federal agencies to pursue a new catalytic goal to deploy 1 GW of solar power systems for low-to-moderate-income families by 2020. The new objective is a tenfold increase of the president’s initial target of 100 MW set in his Climate Action Plan. [SeeNews Renewables]

2016-07-14 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, July 7:

Low cost steel and favourable regulations are helping to cut offshore wind power costs (Pic: DONG Energy A/S)

Low cost steel and favourable regulations are helping to cut offshore wind power costs (Pic: DONG Energy A/S)

  • DONG Energy set a record low price for offshore wind power in a winning bid to build two arrays off the coast of the Netherlands. DONG committed to supply electricity at €72.70/MWh ($80.40/MWh), not including transmission costs, which may add about €14/MWh. An industry goal is €100/MWh by 2020. [Climate Home]
  • In a mixed ruling, a federal court ruled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management were not in compliance with the Endangered Species Act or the National Environmental Policy Act when they issued a lease for the Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. [North American Windpower]
An anaerobic digester system in the UK.

An anaerobic digester system in the UK.

  • Almost a third more biogas energy is being produced in the UK compared to this time last year, according to new figures from industry trade body Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association. The AD Market Report shows that the UK now has 617 MW of biogas capacity, enough to power the equivalent of 800,000 homes. [FarmingUK]

Friday, July 8:

 AES Corp.'s Laurel Mountain battery complex in West Virginia. Photo courtesy of AES.


AES Corp.’s Laurel Mountain battery complex in West Virginia. Photo courtesy of AES.

  • On hot summer days, Los Angeles residents turn on air conditioners, creating a high demand for power. Five years from now, natural gas may no longer cover those summer peak loads. It is to be replaced by the world’s largest storage battery, capable of delivering over 100 MW for four hours. [Environment & Energy Publishing]
  • The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, unveiled plans to crack down on the most polluting vehicles. It is said to be the toughest plan ever proposed by any major city in the world. Specifically, Khan has proposed a £10 per day Emissions Surcharge on older vehicles and an extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone. [CleanTechnica]
  • The foreign oil firm TransCanada has filed a lawsuit against the US government under NAFTA rules, seeking $15 billion in compensation for the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The suit alleges that the US violated NAFTA’s broad rights for foreign investors by thwarting the company’s “expectations.” [CleanTechnica]
Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PA

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PA

  • The total lifetime cost of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could be as high as £37 billion ($48 billion), according to an assessment published by the UK government. The figure was described as shocking by critics of the scheme, especially as the same energy department’s estimate 12 months earlier had been £14 billion. [The Guardian]

Saturday, July 9:

(two pictures on this story)

Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern vessel will rise above the waters near Block Island to assemble the wind farm. Image credit: Fred. Olsen Windcarrier

Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern vessel will rise above the waters near Block Island to assemble the wind farm. Image credit: Fred. Olsen Windcarrier

Turns were especially challenging and the team had to build its own roads to negotiate tight spots. Image credit: LM Wind Power

Turns were especially challenging and the team had to build its own roads to negotiate tight spots. Image credit: LM Wind Power

  • Photos: GE Renewable Energy is assembling the parts for five of their Haliade wind turbines for America’s first offshore wind farm, which is being built by Deepwater Wind near Block Island. The nacelles weigh 400 tons each. The blades are 240 feet long. The towers are 330 feet tall. The activity is quite a show. [Product Design & Development]
  • The International Energy Agency has painted a grim picture of the global oil market, with oil prices dropping, investment dropping, and supply increasing, all of which are hurting energy efficiency trends.The oil industry has cut more than $300 billion in spending in two years, or around 42% of the overall total. [CleanTechnica]
  • New York State utility regulators today released a proposal to subsidize Upstate nuclear plants with annual payments totaling an estimated $482 million a year. The public has until July 18 to comment. Exelon, the owner of the oldest two plants, said it will close them unless subsidies were approved by September. [Syracuse.com]

Sunday, July 10:

 The center of Greensburg, Kansas, twelve days after it was hit by an F5 tornado in 2007. Photo by Greg Henshall/FEMA. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greensburg_kansas_tornado.jpg


The center of Greensburg, Kansas, twelve days after it was hit by an F5 tornado in 2007. Photo by Greg Henshall/FEMA. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

  • America’s warm, wild and costly weather broke another record with the hottest June, federal meteorologists say. They also say 2016 is flirting with the US record for most billion-dollar weather disasters. In the first half of the year, there have been eight of them; eight used to be average for a whole year. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
  • The forward to a new report quotes National Grid’s head of energy insights as saying, “We are in the midst of an energy revolution.” Two years ago, National Grid expected solar capacity in the UK to be 8 to 17 GW by 2030. Today, they see 15 GW as a minimum, and believe capacity could be as much as 39 GW. [CleanTechnica]
  • Bernie Sanders’ still-impassioned campaign electrified debate over the Democratic Party’s platform, winning concessions on climate change. Sanders supporters cheered when they won environmental amendments that included support for pricing greenhouse gases, prioritizing renewable energy, and limiting fracking. [SFGate]

Monday, July 11:

The developers' investment of £6.4 million will be boosted by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government

The developers’ investment of £6.4 million will be boosted by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government

  • As part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator program, developers Dong Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, RWE, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall have signed up to the initiative to help reduce the cost of offshore wind to below £100 per MWh by 2020. The developers will invest £6.4 million over the next four years. [edie.net]
  • Germany’s new renewable energy law is not as ambitious as other EU states and lacks stability in volumes for offshore wind, according to WindEurope. The law sets a variable offshore cap to ensure the country reaches its 15 GW wind energy target in the next 15 years, and it replaces feed-in tariffs with auctions. [Financial Times]
  • Estimated subsidies for nuclear plants in New York have soared to $965 million over the first two years of the Clean Energy Standard program, the Department of Public Service said in a new proposal. Initial estimates of the subsidies for nuclear facilities were in the range of $59 million to $658 million through 2023. [Albany Times Union]

Tuesday, July 12:

  • China will ban the construction of new coal-based chemical facilities and coal-fired power plants until 2018 and continue to shed overcapacity in coal mining and oil refining, according to the state news agency, Xinhua. The ban on projects should cut coal’s share of the overall mix to 58% from the 64% it currently has. [Web India 123]
  • Britain has generated more electricity from the sun than coal-fired power plants for the first time on a monthly basis, new research has shown. Solar panels in homes and businesses across the UK produced 1.38 TWh in May. The Times reported that was much more than coal-fired power stations, which added 0.89 TWh. [City A.M.]

Wednesday, July 13:

Colstrip power plant.

Colstrip power plant.

  • Washington’s power grid may have come one step closer to being carbon-free. In a settlement with the Sierra Club, Puget Sound Energy and co-owner Talen Energy finally agreed to shut down the two oldest, dirtiest units of a coal-fired power plant in Montana. PSE still gets 20% of its electricity from Colstrip. [Seattle Weekly]
  • Construction starts for new nuclear reactors fell to zero globally in the first half of 2016 as the atomic industry struggles against falling costs for renewables and a slowdown in Chinese building, a report on the industry showed. The number of reactors under construction is in decline for a third consecutive year. [Reuters]
Solar Impulse 2 flies over the pyramids of Giza.

Solar Impulse 2 flies over the pyramids of Giza.

  • The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Cairo on Wednesday for its penultimate stop as the solar-powered plane nears the end of its marathon tour around the world. After the two-day flight from Spain, just one final leg lies between it and its final destination, Abu Dhabi, where it started its odyssey in March last year. [Muscat Daily]