2014-04-24 Energy Week

First, apologies that this was not included earlier. It is sufficiently important to talk about, even though it is late. It is an entry from 4-9.

¶   Unilever, Shell, BT, and EDF Energy are among 70 leading companies today calling on governments across the globe to step up efforts to tackle climate change. The companies say the world needs a “rapid and focused response” to the threat of rising global carbon emissions. [The Guardian]


¶   Tackling climate change is the only way to grow the economy in the 21st century, according to Unilever CEO Paul Polman. He says businesses are starting to understand climate risks, but governments are failing to respond. [RTCC.org]

¶   Greenpeace has just put out an optimistic new report suggesting that China’s decade-long coal boom might soon come to a close, due to slowing economic growth and new crackdowns on air pollution. Citigroup and others have been making similar predictions of late. [Vox]

¶   The manager of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has admitted not having full control of the facility. Contrary to the statements of the Japanese PM, TEPCO’s Akira Ono said attempts to plug the leaks of radioactive water had failed. [RT]

¶   A small county in Northern California has become the first county government in the state to become grid energy positive. Yolo County (population 200,000), just west of Sacramento County, now produces 152 percent more energy from solar panels than it uses. [Christian Science Monitor]


¶   According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office (FERC), 92.1% of new electricity generation capacity in the US in January through March of 2014 came from renewable energy sources. [Treehugger]

¶   According to a new analysis by SNL Financial, more than half of all new energy generation infrastructure planned for the next few years is renewable energy, with renewable power plants replacing retiring coal. [Smithsonian]

¶   Reports released by the NRC show dozens of reactors that reassessed their vulnerability to earthquakes in the wake of the March 2011 meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are at greater risk than they were originally licensed to withstand. [Environment News Service]


¶   Opinion: “Onsite Generation: Can Utilities Rethink Their Business Proposition?” Can utilities adapt to emerging innovations that allow customers to “bypass” their services? Or, will power companies become the modern-day dinosaur? [Forbes]

¶   The South Korean Finance Ministry says it plans to recommend easing unnecessary rules to fuel innovation and investment in technologies that can allow growth in such areas as wind, solar and geothermal power generation. [GlobalPost]

¶   Turkish Officials are examining plans to build the country’s first ecological city, with buildings heated by burning biogas produced from pistachio shells. The pistachio-heated city would encompass 3,200 hectares, and house 200,000 people.[South China Morning Post]


¶   Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated plans to boost construction of solar and wind power plants along with projects to transmit electricity from the clean sources. The nation will also start construction of some key nuclear power projects in eastern coastal areas. [Bloomberg]

¶   The site of Britain’s nuclear dump at Sellafield was poorly chosen. It is virtually certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste, according to an internal document released by the Environment Agency. [The Guardian]

¶   Around 1 billion people live in areas at risk of sea-level rise and coastal flooding. The US East Coast has a rate of sea level rise three or four times faster than the global average, with cities, beaches and wetlands exposed to flooding, according to the new IPCC report. [Climate Central]


¶   HELMETH EU is an power-to-gas process that can be more than 85% efficient. First, power from solar or wind turns water into oxygen and hydrogen. Then, hydrogen reacts with carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide to methane, the main constituent of natural gas. [Nanowerk]

¶   Something rare and extraordinarily positive occurred on American television. Fortunately, through YouTube and 350.org, the rest of the world got to see it too.  A new cable TV series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” is about climate change in the 21st century. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The US DOE released its comprehensive, Strategic Plan 2014. The Plan provides a roadmap for the DOE’s work over the next four years and highlights its major priorities. The Plan promises to halve the county’s net oil imports by 2020. [CleanTechnica]


¶   Scientists at Harvard and MIT announced something extraordinary: they had found a way to create solar cells that can store accumulated energy from sunlight, and then, with no more than a burst of a few photons, release that energy in a steady and continuous form. [Echonetdaily]

¶   By using computers to analyze data continuously from wind turbines, wind power forecasts of unprecedented accuracy are making it possible for Colorado to use far more renewable energy, at lower cost, than utilities ever thought possible. [MIT Technology Review]

¶   The UK is set to become the largest market for solar PV in Europe during 2014, confirming its status as the hottest market across the region. This is the first time that the UK will have been at the lead for installed PV in Europe, which is nearly always taken by Germany. [Solar Power Portal]


¶   Kenya’s economy could be boosted by as much as $45 billion by the year 2030 with a switch to a ‘green’ economy, according to a new joint study from the UN Environment Programme and the Government of Kenya. [CleanTechnica]

¶   China will allow private investment in 80 projects spanning the energy, information and infrastructure sectors as part of reforms to increase privatisation. The 80 involve solar energy, hydro power, wind power, and oil and gas pipelines, previously state monopolies. [Business Spectator]

¶   According to analysis, new wind and solar can provide power at up to 50% lower cost  than new nuclear and carbon capture and storage. A reliable generation system of wind, and solar with gas as backup is 20% cheaper than a system of new nuclear power combined with gas. [Energy Matters]

¶   The US EPA’s Green Power Partnership has released a new list of the top 100 organizations that use electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power. Intel is at the top, meeting 100% of its electricity load with renewable resources. [Solar Industry]



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