2014-03-20 Energy Week


¶   City-owned Austin Energy is about to sign a 25-year PPA with Sun Edison for 150 megawatts of solar power at “just below” 5¢ per kWh. The power will come from two West Texas solar facilities. [Energy Collective]

¶   The Vermont Senate has voted to support a House-passed bill that would nearly quadruple the amount of power utilities could buy from customers with solar or other renewable energy systems. [WPTZ The Champlain Valley]

¶   New York’s clean energy policies, such as the Zero Emission Vehicle program, are significantly cutting emissions of carbon pollution – the leading cause of global warming – according to a new report by Environment New York Research & Policy Center. [Long Island Exchange]


¶   ”How Risky Is It To Invest In Oil Stocks?” Oil — the energy king… of the 20th century. But what about the 21st century? Purely from a financial point of view, would oil stocks be a good way to invest your money? [CleanTechnica]

¶   To put Austin Energy’s recent deal to buy power from a solar farm into perspective, we can compare its price of just under 5¢ per kWh with costs from other power sources, including wind, natural gas, coal and nuclear. Spoiler: Renewables win. [Treehugger] (Austin could have paid 7¢ for natural gas, 10¢ for coal, or 13¢ for nuclear. From a wind power plant, the estimate was 2.8¢/kWh to 3.8¢/kWh. Solar without subsidies might have cost 8¢. Five years ago, solar cost 16.5¢.)


¶   Average temperatures this winter were among the top 10 coldest in some parts of the Upper Midwest and South. But while East Coast and Midwest were cold, it has not been cold everywhere. In fact, many areas are unusually warm. [Energy Collective]

¶   The massive Cape Wind offshore wind farm scored a huge legal victory on Friday, when a US District Judge upheld the results of a ten-year permitting process and rejected a laundry list of claims brought by opposition groups. [CleanTechnica]

¶   According to a Frost & Sullivan report, the smart grid market worldwide is forecast to witness a compound annual growth rate of 26.6%, reaching $125 billion by 2017, with 75% of Europe anticipated to be smart grid-enabled by 2018. [Utilities-ME.com]


¶   The Wyoming legislature has blocked educators’ use of new science standards that include the modern understanding of evolution and climate science. The reason appears to be because they do not like the implications of climate science.[Ars Technica]

¶   Part of ending society’s addiction to fossil fuels is ending our addiction to the plastics they are used to make. There are a number of plastics that offer alternative solutions that do not use fossil fuels at all. [Care2.com]


¶   Dozens of Greenpeace activists sneaked into a nuclear power plant in eastern France at dawn. As a demonstration of weak security, they broke into the Fessenheim plant and hung a banner reading “Stop risking Europe’’ on the side of one of its reactors. [The Daily Telegraph]

¶   Huge losses at star Chinese renewable energy firms are ringing alarm bells as the nation vows to keep its growth momentum by investing in the environmental sector. Some large solar and wind manufacturers had loses, and Suntech filed for bankruptcy. [Chemistry World]

¶   Greenhouse gases must be cut 40% to 70% within 36 years to prevent cataclysmic environmental changes, according to a U.N. panel’s draft report that urges an immediate shift away from coal-fired power plants. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶   The EPA is seeking stronger standards on the emissions put out by wood burning stoves. New regulations would cause all new wood burning stoves, including pellet stoves, to burn 80 percent cleaner than their predecessors. [The Salem News]


¶   Goldman Sachs recently released a report that states solar energy is fast approaching grid parity – the moment when electricity from solar power becomes the same price or cheaper than electricity produced by fossil fuels. [inhabitat]

¶   A £1 billion wind farm in ­Scottish waters that would be the third largest in the world has been given the green light. Approval has been granted for up to 326 turbines off Caithness, providing electricity for more than a million homes. [Herald Scotland]

¶   The Australian Senate has voted today to block legislation that would repeal the carbon tax. The Labor Party and the Greens combined to vote against the repeal laws 33 votes to 29. [Australian Mining]


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