2014-03-06 Energy Week


¶   Tesla has developed a battery to store power for homes, commercial sites and utilities. They have announced plans to invest up to $5 billion in the world’s largest battery factory, and want to cut battery prices by 30%. [Businessweek]

¶   ”An Accident Waiting to Happen” Huge amounts of oil are being transported by rail from the shale oil fields. The probability of an accident with an oil spill over time is close to 100%. The possibility of recovering lost oil before it does heavy damage is small. [Resilience]


¶   ”Natural Gas Inventories are Headed Toward Zero” We have already withdrawn 2.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from inventories, and we are likely 4-6 weeks away from the bottom. At this pace, the inventory would reach zero the week of March 28th. [Energy Trends Insider]

¶   Genscape is reporting that renewable generation was up 30 percent for the week ending February 20, 2014, while gas consumption plummeted 35 percent as a result of the increase in renewables and weaker power demand. [Fierce Energy]

¶   When heat waves wracked Australia at the start of the year, driving up electricity demand, the presence of wind power in the country actually kept electricity costs 40% lower than they otherwise would have been, according to a new study. [ThinkProgress]


¶   The number of very hot days have soared in the past 15 years, according to a study in the journal Nature Climate Change reports. A study from NASA agrees, and one from the World Meteorological Organization puts the increase at 500%.[Energy Collective]

¶   According to Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg Energy Finance, recent price declines for solar energy have been “massive,” while merely “substantial” for wind, meaning that a global shift away from fossil fuels is no longer “theoretical.”[CleanTechnica]

¶   In his annual letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway’s utility MidAmerican Energy will have spent $15 billion on renewable energy investments by the time a handful of wind and solar projects are completed in the next few years. [TheStreet.com]


¶   ”Vt. loves renewable energy, except when it arrives” But strong opposition from citizens’ groups to a variety of renewable proposals have some questioning the state’s willingness to turn talk into action. [Rutland Herald]

¶   A centerpiece of Germany’s new energy agenda is a “relaunch” of the Energiewende, an ambitious project launched in 2003 to produce investments in renewable energy. In the new plan, renewable energy targets remain ambitious.[European Public Affairs]


¶   Physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences(SEAS) envision a device that would harvest energy from Earth’s infrared emissions into outer space. Recent technological advances can transform the heat imbalance into DC power. [Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences]

¶   German utility RWE posted its first net loss in 60 years, down €2.8 billion for 2013 following €4.8 billion of impairments to its conventional power plant fleet. The operating result for renewables division RWE Innogy was up 7% to €196 million.[reNews]


¶   US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz says he expects wind, solar and other renewables to make up 30% to 40% of the country’s energy mix by 2030. He says of nuclear power in the US, “the long term trajectory remains quite uncertain.”[WBUR]

¶   In China, wind power is leaving nuclear behind. Electricity output from China’s wind farms exceeded that from its nuclear plants for the first time in 2012, by a narrow margin. Then in 2013, wind pulled away-outdoing nuclear by 22%.[InvestorIdeas.com]

¶   A report sponsored by the Government of Canada concludes that there will likely be a substantial shortage of qualified workers that threatens the high growth potential of the renewables industry, unless a national HR strategy is immediately implemented. [AltEnergyMag]


¶   “5 Reasons Solar’s Win Over Gas In Minnesota Is Just The Beginning” If solar trumps gas for peaking power in Minnesota, there’s little reason to be building new natural gas peaking capacity anywhere in the country.  Ever again. [CleanTechnica]

¶   President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal released March 4, calls for extending a tax credit for cellulosic biofuels and puts forward the idea of cutting billions in fossil fuel subsidies. [Biomass Magazine]


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