2014-02-06 Energy Week


¶   The investment bank Goldman Sachs is supporting renewable energy projects with around $40 billion of investment between now and 2021, with bosses expecting large profits as a direct result. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶   The suppression pool of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit No. 2 reactor may have a 3-centimeter hole in it, through which the highly radioactive water might be leaking out, the plant operator said. [RT] (Unit 2 is the one in the group of 1 to 4 that did not blow up.)

¶   The Vermont House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to sharply expand the net metering program nearly four-fold. Current law requires utilities to accept customer-generated electricity up to 4% of their peak capacity that cap is being increased to 15%. [Product Design & Development]


¶   The world’s first magma-based geothermal energy system has been built in Iceland, taking advantage of the Earth’s heat to generate electricity. Iceland’s new system is the first to produce that steam in a region of molten, rather than solid, rock. [Wired.co.uk]

¶   Shell’s incoming CEO announced that a court ruling has placed “significant obstacles” in the way of oil exploitation in Alaska. The company also announced it will cut capital spending by around $10 billion this year and sell many of its assets. [inhabitat]

¶   The U.S. wind power industry didn’t put a whole lot of new generating capacity into operation in 2013, but it laid the groundwork, beginning construction on a whopping 10,900 megawatts in the fourth quarter. [EarthTechling]


¶   Bloomberg New Energy Finance has revealed that China “outstripped even the most optimistic forecasts” to install a record 12 GW of photovoltaic projects in 2013. In fact, a boom at the end of the year could have pushed the total up to 14 GW. [EnergyCollective]

¶   A new, relatively low-temperature means of creating liquid fuels from common plastic waste has been developed by researchers from the Centurion University of Technology and Management, and the National Institute of Technology, both in India. [CleanTechnica]

¶   ”Why traditional utilities are like frogs in warming water” Jim Rogers, the recently retired head of Duke Energy, the biggest utility in the US, says regulations and business models will not change quick enough to save traditional utilities in face of solar. [RenewEconomy]


¶    A study from UC Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research says the global warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. [Energy Collective]

¶   The Japanese region of Fukushima, left devastated by the 2011 nuclear disaster, has said it will aim to be 100% dependent on renewable energy by 2040. The region already has an offshore wind farm, which was developed following the disaster. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]


¶   Faced with a plunge in profits, Germany’s power utilities are having to bend to the will of the government and join the renewable energy revolution, while smartening up on the retail front with new customer-friendly energy saving products.[Business Recorder]


¶   Saying Entergy Corp. “is under no legal obligation” to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, the NRC has asked Entergy for additional information before granting its request to be exempted from costly studies and safety improvements. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶   Burlington Electric has settled with current owners of the Winooski One Dam for a purchase price of $16 million. This will allow Burlington Electric to provide a 100% renewable power supply and provide greater energy security. [WCAX]

¶   The Ivanpah Solar Power Plant, the world’s largest solar thermal electric plant has begun operating its three generating units, which will soon deliver enough clean energy to power more than 140,000 homes in Northern and Southern California. [RenewablesBiz]


¶   In a decisive vote, 341 to 263, the European Parliament called for three binding targets for 2030: a 40% cut in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels; at least 30% of energy to come from renewable sources; and a 40% improvement in energy efficiency. [The Guardian]

¶   “Victory for the Arctic Ocean: No Drilling Next Summer or Maybe Ever” The wild Arctic Ocean just got a blast of good news. Shell Oil bowed to the inevitable and announced it will not be drilling for oil off the coast of Alaska this summer. [Energy Collective]

¶   Azle Texas has suffered a swarm of earthquakes — more than 30 — that has cracked the foundations of the houses, frightened local residents, created sinkholes and raised concerns about property values. Increasingly, science blames fracking. [Resilience]

¶   EDP Renewables will use GE’s Wind PowerUp software to increase the power output of 402 GE 1.5-77 wind turbines located at five U.S. wind farms. The result is expected to be an additional 420,000 MWh each year, enough for 33,000 average US homes. [PennEnergy]

¶   Smithfield Foods commitment to renewable energy is starting to show tangible results according to the company. Anaerobic digesters in Missouri and Utah will soon deliver electricity to neighboring communities. [Hoosier Ag Today]


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