2014-05-08 Energy Week

Here are the news items discussed in the May 8 edition of Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell:


¶   Green Mountain Power has announced it will use a planned solar farm at the former Rutland city landfill to test battery technology that would allow it to store power generated at peak times and release it into the grid as needed. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶   Unit 3 at the Boundary Dam Power Station in Saskatchewan will switch on later this year after a lengthy refit. It will be the first time that a commercial-scale plant supplying electricity to the grid captures and stores a large fraction of its carbon dioxide emissions. [Scientific American]

¶   Australian network operators have begun to accept that new technologies – mostly centred around localised renewable generation, energy storage, and some smart software – are a better and cheaper option than just adding more poles and wires. [RenewEconomy]


¶   According to the International Monetary Fund, when you factor in implicit subsidies from the failure to charge for pollution, climate change and other externalities, the post-tax cost of support for fossil fuels comes in at close to $2 trillion each year. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The global fossil fuel industry faces a loss of $28 trillion in revenues over the next two decades, if the world takes action to address climate change, cleans up pollution and moves to decarbonise the global energy system, according to European broking house Kepler Chevreux. [CleanTechnica]


¶   Nearly half, or 44%, of the Earth’s new electricity production comes from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and water power. With costs declining renewables grow, even though investments into renewable energy production decreased 14% in 2013. [Helsinki Times]

¶   A federal judge has ruled in favour of the 468 MW Cape Wind project following a legal challenge, the 26th failed legal challenge the project has faced. The judge said, “There comes a point at which the right to litigate can become a vexatious abuse of the democratic process.” [reNews]

¶   In 2007, solar panels throughout Massachusetts could generate a total of 3 MW, enough for a little less than 500 homes. Now, there’s a total capacity of 475 MW — enough for more than 230,000 homes. By 2020, state officials want to see 1,600 MW. [The Sun]


¶   For the first time in at least 800,000 years, the average level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere exceeded 400 ppm for a full month in April. Measurements made at a NOAA observatory in Hawaii showed that the monthly average in April reached 401.33 ppm. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶   New York State is proposing to turn its electric utilities into a new kind of entity that would buy electricity from hundreds or thousands of small generators and set prices for that electricity and for the costs of running the power grid. [New York Times]

¶   Young people across the country are suing several government agencies for failing to develop a climate change recovery plan, conduct that amounts to a violation of their constitutional rights, says their lawyer Julia Olson. [Al Jazeera America]


¶   “Revealed: ALEC’s 2014 Attacks on the Environment” An internal tracking document – obtained from ALEC by the Center for Media and Democracy/the Progressive Inc. under Texas public records law – reveals the scope of ALEC’s anti-environmental efforts in 2014. [Huffington Post]

¶   Mile for mile, there are almost as many earthquakes rattling Oklahoma as California this year. Many researchers suspect the deep injection wells used for the disposal of fracking wastewater could be causing the earthquake activity. [Huffington Post]

¶   Coal mining in Australia is entering a “structural decline”, with projects set to become unviable due to unrealistic expectations over the potential to export the fossil fuels to China and India, according to a new report. [The Guardian]


¶   Now, we are at another critical moment for agriculture. Climate change is bringing more frequent and severe weather challenges, unlike any that farmers have seen before, and already farmers are feeling the effects. [Energy Collective]

¶   Climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a real and present danger in the United States, according to a new US government report. The US Global Change Research Program says that climate change is already being felt across the country. [CNN]


¶   Investors could spend up to $1.1 trillion over the next decade on oil projects and assets that never reach production if governments enforce measures to curb climate change. The projects require a market price of at least $95 a barrel to break even. [MarineLink]

¶   A new study of South Australia’s electricity sector found that wind energy greatly reduced the state’s carbon emissions without increasing wholesale electricity prices or requiring back-up. In South Australia, wind energy now accounts for 28% per cent of electricity produced. [eco-business.com]

¶   A SkyPower Global and FAS Energy joint venture signed a deal to build 3 GW of solar projects in Nigeria at an estimated cost of $5 billion. SkyPower FAS Energy expects to build the projects in phases over five years with initial commercial operation to begin in 2015. [reNews]


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