2014-05-15 Energy Week

Here is a list of the news items referenced in the May 15 edition of Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell:


¶   According to a spate of recent scientific studies from the United States and Australia, the shale gas industry has generated another formidable challenge: methane and radon leakage three times greater than expected. [Resilience]

¶   Grid managers want to know the power will be there when needed. Demand response provides a measure of security, as consumers can switch off power-using equipment, or even switch on generating stations to balance the grid. [The Economist]

¶   The share of renewable energy in German electricity consumption rose by 4 percentage points to 27% from a year earlier in the three months of January through March, industry group BDEW said. Windpower production was up 19%, and solar up 70%. [Economic Times]

¶   The off-grid solar market is booming, and investors are sitting up and taking notice. In just the past four months, almost $45 million has been invested in this fast-growing market — with plenty more in the pipeline. [Energy Collective]


¶    The UN’s top climate change official says it is critical for all political parties to put aside their differences and unite in the battle to prevent catastrophic climate change. She says the political right to see global warming as “a huge business opportunity.” [The Independent]

¶   According to tweets from the American Wind Energy Association conference in Las Vegas, prices for power purchace agreements for utility scale solar averaged just over 5 cents/kWh in 2013, and those for utility scale wind in US interior averaged 2.1 cents/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶   President Obama urged US businesses to curb emissions to reduce environmental threats that are causing climate change. He announced a series of carbon-reducing steps, which are designed for private companies to boost solar power and promote energy efficiency. [Industry Leaders Magazine]


¶   More than 10,000 protesters have taken to the streets in Berlin. Members of one of the largest environmental NGOs called B.U.N.D. said the German government is endangering the energy transition with their new policies. [Press TV]

¶   A Walgreens drug store in Evanston, Illinois is going totally off the power grid and generating its own energy. After installing 800 solar panels, two wind turbines and geothermal technology, the store will produce 28% more electricity than it needs. [Murfreesboro Post]


¶   Manufacture of a new black silicon wafer can reduce the cost of manufacture by 23.5%. The pilot manufacturing batches produced wafers of 15.7% efficiency, and this is expected to improved with mass production, becoming about the same as current production wafers. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Indoor vertical farms are on the rise, thanks partly to new high efficiency LED growing lights that cut electricity costs to the bone. LED farming translates into new opportunities for siting year-round hyperlocal, organic farm-to-table operations, sustainably powered. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A new study by ROAM consulting shows that future power prices will be lower with Australia’s Renewable Energy Target in place than they would be if it was removed. The RET is minimizing the costs of generating power with natural gas. [EcoGeneration]

¶   The last snow survey this year (taken just last week) showed that California snowpack was just 18% of normal. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 100% of California is now in moderate to exceptional drought. The drought is expected to continue with climate change. [Energy Collective]


¶   The complete melting of a major section of West Antarctica’s ice sheet appears inevitable, and the process could lead to higher end-of-century global sea levels than previously anticipated, according to NASA researchers. [CNN]

¶   The International Energy Agency says $44 trillion will have to be spent through to 2050 in order to decarbonise the energy sector and keep the average temperature rise to 2° C. This is a 22% increase from the 2012 figure, with the difference due to increased use of coal. [PennEnergy]


¶   Germany has set yet another new record for itself. Last Sunday, renewable energy, including wind, solar, hydro, and biomass, accounted for 74% of national demand during the middle of the day (when the sun was at its peak), Renew Economy has reported. [The9Billion]

¶   Massachusetts is accepting applications for SREC II, the second phase of the commonwealth’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) program. SREC II is intended to meet the goal of reaching 1.6 GW of installed solar capacity by 2020. [Solar Industry]

¶   Florida Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet granted Florida Power & Light permission to build two nuclear generators and 88 miles of transmission lines in Miami Dade County. Various local governments and groups are expected to mound challenges. [Tampabay.com]


¶   Chinese consumption of coal increased for the 13th consecutive year in 2012. China is by far the world’s largest consumer of coal, accounting for 49% of global coal consumption—almost as much as the rest of the world combined. [EIA]

¶   Despite international efforts to shift to cleaner and safer fuels, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party government wants to almost double the share of domestic coal in energy generation. [Today’s Zaman]


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