2014-04-10 Energy Week


¶   The UN IPCC report said that during the next 100 years, bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration could pull 125 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the sky, while biochar energy systems could draw down 130 billion tonnes. There were 40 billion tonnes emitted in 2013. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶   A report released by Exxon Mobil about how greenhouse gas emissions and climate change factor into its business model found that climate change, and specifically global climate policies, are “highly unlikely” to stop it from selling fossil fuels for decades to come. [Resilience]


¶   Energy efficiency contributed 63 exajoules (EJ) of avoided energy use in 2010 – that’s larger than the supply of oil (43 EJ), electricity or natural gas (22 EJ each), said a first- ever “Energy Efficiency Market report.” [CleanTechnica]

¶   Three major atomic accidents in 35 years are forcing the world’s nuclear industry to stop imagining it can prevent more catastrophes and to focus instead on how to contain them. When the next nuclear accident occurs, we to need to know how to limit damage. [Bloomberg]


¶   Owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors across the US will be required to undertake extensive analyses of their structures and components because they cannot show that their reactors would withstand the most severe earthquake revised estimates say they might face. [Indiana Gazette]

¶   Two studies released by the Alberta government separately show that the incidence of cancer downstream of tar sands development is higher than expected and that air emissions from a certain type of drilling tar sands operation is likely causing health problems. [Energy Collective]


¶   In many parts of the U.S., wind energy is now the cheapest form of electricity generation – cheaper than natural gas and even coal, NextEra chief financial office Moray P. Dewhurst recently stated on an earnings call. [Triple Pundit]

¶   The new solar strategy from the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change envisions building a vast distributed network of “solar hubs” on buildings and brownfield sites. Unfortunately, it additionally envisions building new nuclear power plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Nations are running out of time to cut their use of fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, according to a draft UN study to be approved this week. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8° since 1900 and are set to go past 2° in coming decades. [Business Spectator]

¶   “Exxon’s Climate Response ‘Consummate Arrogance’” After Exxon Mobil’s uncharacteristically public response to shareholder requests for information about the company’s climate change mitigation efforts, climate activist Bill McKibben denounced its report as arrogant provocations. [Energy Collective]


¶   Renewables, excluding hydropower, accounted for 8.5% of global electricity generation, up from 7.8% in 2012, according to research by the United Nations’ Environment Programme and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶   Global investments in renewable energy slumped 14% last year, with China pouring more money into the sector than Europe for the first time on record. Investments in non-hydro renewables fell $35.1 billion to $214.4 billion in 2013, according to a report from the UN. [Rappler]

¶   Almost half of new electricity generation is now renewable, and the costs of wind and solar power are falling sharply. It “should give governments confidence to forge a robust climate agreement” next year, says the director of the United Nations Environment Program. [New Scientist]

¶   A recent study from NREL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory specifically addresses the value of demand response [adjusting customer demand during peak times] by putting demand response resources into a commercial production cost model. [Energy Collective]


¶   Of the decline in investment in renewable power capacity, 80% resulted from falling cost of renewable energy technology, primarily solar panels. The remaining 20% a drop in actual construction activity, thanks largely to the uncertain fate of government subsidies. [Mother Jones]

¶   Oregon State University chemists have found that cellulose — the most abundant organic polymer on Earth and a key component of trees — can be heated in a furnace in the presence of ammonia, and turned into the building blocks for supercapacitors. [Science Daily]

¶   The role of utilities is being questioned as technology changes. Dominion Virginia Power is establishing microgrids, which can be separated and provide power to communities without any support from the bulk power grid, as pilot projects. [Platts]

¶   The German government approved a reform of their energy transformation to reduce subsidies for renewables and stem rising electricity prices. The reform plan is still designed to meet 80% of its energy needs with renewables by 2050. [The Local.de]


¶   Emissions from transportation may rise at the fastest rate of all major sources through 2050, the United Nations will say in a report due April 13. Heat-trapping gases from vehicles may surge 71 percent from 2010 levels, mainly from emerging economies. [Businessweek]

¶   Entergy is asking federal regulators for permission to end off-site emergency planning 16 months after the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant shuts down. NRC staffers are evaluating Entergy’s request. [vtdigger.org]

¶   Disagreements between Entergy Nuclear and the Agency of Natural Resources surfaced this week in an exchange of letters over the proposed draft permit for Vermont Yankee’s continuing thermal discharge into the Connecticut River. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]


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