2014-01-02 Energy Week (two weeks)


¶   The cost of battery storage is falling quicker than most analysts presume and could be competitive with gas-fired generation – even in the US, where gas prices are low – within the next 18 months. [CleanTechnica]

¶   REC Solar, a national leader in solar electric system design and installation, and Integrated Solar, a Vermont renewable energy company, today announced they have been selected to build a 2.5-MW DC solar array in Brattleboro, Vermont.


¶   Scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a continuous chemical process that turns wet algae into useful crude oil. Using wet algae eliminates costly drying and extraction steps and brings the processing time to about one hour. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Vestas has installed the nacelle of its V164 8.0-MW offshore wind prototype at the Osterild onshore test site in Denmark. The company lifted the 390-tonne unit into place on its 140-metre tower on 19 December. [reNews]


¶   November was the second month this year in which renewables accounted for 100% of new power capacity. The same thing occurred in March. Actually, in March, solar power alone accounted for all new power capacity. [CleanTechnica] (October was 99% renewable)


¶   Blackouts in Philippine areas devastated by Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ could have been mitigated if renewable energy sources were in place, according to proponents of these alternatives to fossil-fuel power plants. [InterAksyon]


¶   ”Is Interior’s eagle plan good for the birds?” The kill permits for protected birds have been issued before, and have induced developers to act to reduce avian deaths by retrofitting poles and removing features attracting eagles to the areas. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶   A preliminary report from the EU monitor, EurObserv’ER, estimates put the renewable energy share of gross final energy consumption for the EU at 14.4% in 2012, compared to 13.1% in 2011. [Hydrocarbon Processing]

¶   A report by the World Economic Forum and Accenture indexes countries on energy. It says that Norway is number one, with seven other European countries plus New Zealand and Colombia in the top ten. The US is at 55th place. [EarthTechling]

¶   Through 2020, the UBS analysts predict negative growth of power demand in Europe and Australia, zero growth in the US, and substantially slower growth in developing countries where new power supplies are being added most rapidly.[Energy Collective]

¶   Reacting to the declining price of wind energy, which is now cheaper than all other forms of energy, Michigan utility DTE altered its renewable energy surcharge downward by 85%, bring the fee down from $3 to 43¢ per month. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   The Shumlin administration and Entergy Corp. have reached an agreement that, if all goes according to plan, would see the decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant decades earlier than originally planned. [Valley News]


¶   ”The nuclear renaissance is stone cold dead” 2013 has been the nuclear power industry’s annus horribilis and the nuclear renaissance can now be pronounced stone cold dead. Dr Jim Green reveals the global unravelling of the nuclear dream … [The Ecologist]


¶   In March 2009 just one Synergy solar household customer was registered in Western Australia’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme. By November 2013, that had grown to 130,000 households, around 13% of Synergy’s entire customer base. [Energy Matters]


¶   ”Time to Break Free of Net-Metering; We Need a ‘FIT’ Policy for Renewable Energy to Soar” It is time to liberate Americans from the tyranny of utility-company control of our lives and from the politicians and regulators who serve these companies. [National Geographic]

¶   The Alberta government is handing over the regulatory responsibility for the province’s tar sands industry to a corporation that’s funded entirely by Canada’s oil, coal and gas industry. [ThinkProgress]

¶   The Cape Wind Project is getting into high gear. It will consist of 130 wind turbines with a combined capacity of up to 420 MW. The DOE already anticipates that installed US offshore wind capacity will grow from nearly zero to 3.5 GW by 2019. [CleanTechnica]


¶   ”Fossil Fuel Industry and Koch Brothers Align to Kill Extension of Wind Energy Tax Credits” Americans for Prosperity is targeting vulnerable Republican legislators with an estimated $75 million ad campaign to end windpower incentives. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶   Siemens Energy confirmed a 1,050-megawatt wind turbine order it recently received from MidAmerican Energy Company. The news was announced at a commemoration event at Siemens’ blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa.[4-traders]

¶   The planning, construction and operation of wind turbines in Rhode Island does not depress nearby property values, according to a study conducted by a University of Rhode Island economist. [North American Windpower]


¶   The Shumlin administration and a key lawmaker are pledging action to update Vermont’s net metering program next month. This will likely result in raising caps now in place that prevent new, small-scale renewable energy projects from going online. [Rutland Herald]

¶   Chesapeake Energy is front and center in the nation’s natural gas fracking boom and it just got hit with one of the largest ever civil penalties for violating Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The penalty was levied against a subsidiary, Chesapeake Appalachia. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A new report was released by the EPA Inspector General regarding drinking water contamination in Parker County, Texas. The report says the EPA should be acting to protect citizens from pollution linked to natural gas operations.[Energy Collective]


¶   Scotland is meeting targets for renewables to generate 50% of consumption by 2015, and 100% by 2020. In 2012, it reached 40.3%. In September 2013, installed renewable capacity was 6.5 GW, and 4.6 GW of wind power is under construction or planned. [Triple Pundit]

¶   Renewable energy provided 42.4% of the electricity demand in Spain this year, 10.5 percentage points higher than in 2012. Wind power contributed most to the annual electricity demand coverage with a share of 21.1%, an increase of 3% from 2012. [Energy Matters]


¶   RGS Energy, the commercial and utility division of Real Goods Solar, Inc., has joined forces with Green Lantern Capital to co-develop seven solar projects totaling 4.5 MW in Vermont. The company expects to complete construction by November, 2014. [MarketWatch]


¶   Nicaragua has logged a record 50.51% of power generation from renewable sources and voiced ambitions to hit 90% by the end of the decade. The new goal was set in a five-year expansion plan unveiled by Minister of Energy and Mines Emilio Rapacciolli. [reNews]

¶   Climate change may be far worse than scientists thought, causing global temperatures to rise by at least 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, or about 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a new study, published in the journal Nature[Huffington Post]

¶   The wind industry faces uncertainty again as a key federal incentive for wind farms expired, almost one year after getting a reprieve. Unlike last year, there’s no “fiscal cliff” deal to get Congress to act at the last minute to renew the wind production tax credit. [Tulsa World]


¶   The University of Delaware’s Atmosphere and Energy Research Group found that staggering and spacing out turbines in an offshore wind farm can improve performance by as much as 33%. [YottaFire]

¶   Credit Suisse estimates that approximately 85% of US future demand growth for power through 2025 (including the impact of coal plant retirements) could be met by renewable generation with compliance to existing RPS programs. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Fifty-one American sailors and marines, many of whom served on the USS Ronald Reagan, are suing TEPCO over a variety of cancers and other severe health ailments they say were caused by the Fukushima meltdown. [American Free Press]

¶   The Northern Pass, a proposed transmission line carrying low-cost renewable hydroelectric power to New England, cleared a major regulatory milestone by securing “I.3.9 approval” by ISO New England, the operators of the region’s power grid. [AZoCleantech]



”7 things everyone knows about energy that just ain’t so” The list is  getting longer as the fossil fuel industry (which has little interest in intellectual honesty) continues its skillful manipulation of a gullible and sometimes careless media.[Resilience]

  1. Worldwide oil production has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last several years. (Growth slowed considerably, starting 2005.)
  2. U.S. natural gas production continues to grow by leaps and bounds. (Sorry, fields don’t last.)
  3. There is enough natural gas under the United States to last the country for 100 years. (It’s more like 25.)
  4. The United States is about to become the world’s largest oil producer. (Probably not, since fracked fields are reducing output by 40% per year.)
  5. The United States is on the verge of energy independence. (It has never been an issue, except for oil.)
  6. The United States has 250 years of coal left. (We don’t know how much we have.)
  7. Peak oil is a myth. (Oil is a finite resource.)

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