2014-01-09 Energy Week


¶   The European Commission is to order Britain to end wind farm subsidies. The commission is preparing to argue that the onshore wind and solar power industries are “mature” and should be allowed to operate without support from taxpayers.[Telegraph.co.uk]

¶   Three new nuclear reactors were connected to the grid in 2013 and four were permanently shut down, dropping the total number of reactors in operation around the world to 436 with an installed capacity of 372 GW. [Nuclear Engineering]

¶   A report from the Edison Electric Institute paints a bleak picture for the future of investor-owned utilities.  It essentially says their business model, in the current regulatory environment, is not sustainable, given expected growth in rooftop PVs. [energycentral]

¶   Last year saw many of changes for coal as solar and wind generation hit record highs and prices declined. Installation of renewable energy capacity outpaced coal, oil, and nuclear growth combined. Nationwide, 30% of existing coal plants is set to retire. [Fierce Energy]


¶   New York City’s climate change pollution is down 19% since 2005. As he leaves office, May Bloomberg announced a new initiative focused on large buildings, and ten of the city’s leading residential property management firms say they are accepting the challenge. [Energy Collective]

¶   For the first time, California’s utility-scale solar power production has topped 3 GW. The California ISO, which oversees the grid for much of the state, tweeted that solar generation hit a record 3,048 MW at 12:02 p.m. January 3.[EarthTechling]


¶   NewLight Technologies is promoting a new set of plastics it calls AirCarbon. AirCarbon plastic is not only biodegradable and recyclable, but because it is made from carbon dioxide and methane, it sequesters carbon and so is carbon-negative.[CleanTechnica]

¶   It’s now officially a requirement in Lancaster, California, a first for the US and possibly for the world. Each new single-family residential unit must include at least 1 kW of solar power capacity at its development site. [CleanTechnica]


¶   Researchers at North Carolina State University and Johns Hopkins University say the variability of wind power might actually worsen instability when there are disturbances on the grid. The problem can be reduced with storage and computers. [Energy Collective]

¶   UBS analysts say utilities in Europe need to shut down 30% of their gas, coal, and oil-fed power capacity by 2017, not to fight global warming, cut pollution, or cut fuel imports, but because renewable energy is pushing fossil fuels off the grid.[CleanTechnica]

¶   In India The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) says in a study that a 100% renewable energy supply by 2050 in India is possible. In 2010, fossil fuels accounted for 74 per cent of the total energy consumed in India. [EE Herald]

¶   Danish turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems has received its highest ever monthly total of orders in December, 1346 MW, as wind farm developers in the United States rushed to meet a year-end deadline to qualify for a tax credit. [Business Spectator]


¶   “60 Minutes Show On Cleantech Looks Like Its Going To Be ‘Dumb & Dumber Part 3′ (+13 Charts)” The show’s title is “The Cleantech Crash.” Oy, someone hasn’t been readingCleanTechnica, or keeping up to date at all. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Over the weekend, the New York Times noted that the solar power “craze” is partly responsible for Wall Street’s recent good times. The Times used the example of SolarCity, with a sevenfold increase in its share price to $59.27 since it went public. [Energy Collective]

¶   The Vermont Public Service Board has approved an application to construct a 149.5-kilowatt solar array at a former landfill off Grafton Road in Townshend. The project will be funded by private investors and constructed by Westminster-based Soveren Solar. [Brattleboro Reformer]


¶   ”Are Wind Power Subsidies Still the Answer?” The EPA estimates that the social costs of carbon dioxide emissions are $12 to $116 per ton. (That is $0.12 to $1.16 in health and other costs per gallon of gasoline, and the victims, all of us, are uncompensated.) [EarthTechling]

¶   In their call for a goal for carbon emissions cuts for 2030, the EU’s top four economies – Germany, France, Britain and Italy – are calling for a reduction of at least 40%. Current targets foresee a 20% reduction on 1990 emissions by 2020.[London South East]

¶   China, already the world’s largest producer of wind power, has embarked on the greatest push for renewable energy the world has ever seen. From a current installed capacity of 75 GW, the aim is to achieve a staggering 200 GW by 2020. [BBC News]

¶   The New York state Energy Planning Board approved an long-delayed plan calling for reduction of carbon emissions from the energy sector of 50% by 2030. The state will expand solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal and hydrokinetic energy sources. [Capital New York]


¶   “Are EV Battery Prices Much Lower Than We Think? Under $200/kWh?” A look at the EV battery market shows GM is selling batteries in the range of $131 to $187 per kWh. McKinsey had predicted a drop to $200 by 2020. Could the current numbers be true? [CleanTechnica]

¶   Sales of 100% electric cars in the US increased 228.9% in 2013 compared to 2012, with the number of sales, 46148, almost catching up with the 48951 sales of plug-n hybrids. Plug-in hybrid sales increased by 26.9% in the same time. [CleanTechnica]

¶   After reports from October exposed the utility for lying about funding anti-solar ad campaigns and phony grassroots organizations, a web of dark money surfaced. A new report says dark money accounts for about 75% of funds for anti-renewable campaigns. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Renewable energy critics harp on the variability of wind and solar but ignore that conventional power sources are no sure things themselves. In an extraordinary cold snap, with conventional generators struggling, wind power capacity helped a lot. [EarthTechling]

¶   The Australian government’s main economic advisor has significantly revised its cost estimates for leading energy technologies. The latest report makes clear that the cheapest avenue forward for Australia is renewables, and solar in particular. [RenewEconomy]

¶   The Shumlin administration has proposed several changes to allow expansion of the state’s popular net metering program for three more years while a more permanent solution is crafted before solar tax credits expire at the end of 2016. [Rutland Herald]

¶   The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will soon downgrade the Pilgrim nuclear power station’s performance, placing the 685-megawatt plant on a list with seven others deemed as degraded. [The Patriot Ledger]



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