2014-05-29 Energy Week

This is a collection of news items covered in Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell on May 29, 2014.


¶   EDP, a major European utility with equal exposure to fossil fuels, wind, and hydro, says that onshore wind is the cheapest of any new utility scale technology. The levelized cost of electricity of onshore wind in Europe is 20% cheaper than gas and 30% cheaper than coal. [RenewEconomy]

¶   The UK’s Prime Minister, an avid supporter of fracking for shale gas, is set to boost extra compensation offered to communities affected by controversial fracking to an average of £800,000 in a bid to bypass opposition in Tory heartlands. [Huffington Post]

¶   An environmental advocacy group backed by hedge fund tycoon Tom Steyer is set to unleash a seven-state, $100 million offensive against Republican “science deniers” this year that could help decide which party controls the Senate and key statehouses come November. [CNN]

¶   Wind is going head to head with natural gas at the heart of the fracking boom—and wind is winning. In 2003, wind made up less than 1% of the power supply. By 2013, that share had risen to roughly 10%. [National Journal]


¶   The US energy world was rocked by a new Energy Information Agency report that significantly cut the projection of recoverable oil from the massive Monterey Shale formation in California. The cut was 96%. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Writing on the NPD Solarbuzz blog, senior analyst Michael Barker has predicted that the US PV market is set to reach a cumulative total of 20 GW by the end of 2014, doubling capacity from 2013, thanks primarily to continuing declines in cost. [CleanTechnica]


¶   Replacing fossil fuels with renewables as the world’s primary source of energy will not only save the planet from dangerous levels of warming – it will also save the global economy $71 trillion by 2050, according to a report released by the International Energy Agency. [CounterCurrents.org]

¶   Because the current automotive industry is likely unsustainable, General Motors recently announced it is aiming to overhaul many of its operations. Now GM is more or less on track to achieve its goal of 500,000 electrified vehicles on the roads by 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Construction of the world’s largest single-axis tracking solar PV plants – the 206 MW Mount Signal Solar farm in southeast California – has been completed and is ready to generate enough electricity to power 72,000 households in the San Diego area. [CleanTechnica]


¶   Close to half of the food that the world produces goes to waste, whether it’s on the farm, at the production or packaging plant, or from the dinner plate. A company in Israel has stepped up to the plate in America, aiming to transform food waste to biofuel. [ISRAEL21c]

¶   A Bloomberg report warns it would cost Australia billions of dollars and thousands of jobs if the Abbott government chooses to scrap the country’s renewable energy target. An expert panel is currently reviewing Australia’s goal of 20% renewable power by 2020. [International Business Times AU]

¶   Lawsuits filed in Illinois by Farmers Insurance claim the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and other municiaplities knew their stormwater infrastructure was insufficient to deal with extreme precipitation brought on in part by climate change. [Energy Collective]

¶   Just two weeks after the US Navy announced a major research partnership to ramp up its solar power and other clean energy programs, Barclays has warned that the solar market is likely to “disrupt the status quo” for the electric utility industry sooner rather than later. [CleanTechnica]


¶   Russian authorities will continue to rely on nuclear power and drilling the Arctic shelf for a bright future, as Moscow continues to turn its back on the worldwide boom in the renewable energy sector and place its bets on nuclear power and fossil fuels. [Bellona]

¶   The Sun Day Campaign has just released a press release proclaiming the fact non-hydro renewables has outproduced hydropower for the first time. Also, for the first time, wind contributed 5% of the nation’s electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Commercial buildings could cut their heating and cooling electricity use by an average of 57% with advanced energy-efficiency controls, according to a year-long trial of the controls at malls, grocery stores and other buildings across the country. [Daily Fusion]


¶   “Are Shales a Bubble?” Hype works. Hype has been the primary tool used by the oil and gas industry with regard to shales and it has worked brilliantly. There is just one problem. When considering shale economic viability, hype was the only aspect that actually existed. [Resilience]

¶   Large parts of the Southwest are drier than they were during the 1930s Dust Bowl. And the latest science says unrestricted carbon pollution will make this a near-permanent situation post-2050 in a growing portion of this country and around the world. [Energy Collective]

¶   President Barack Obama is about to unveil the centerpiece of his agenda to fight climate change, calling for each state to meet carbon emissions reductions and giving each state the job of deciding how they are met. Cap-and-trade is one option among many for states. [Times Record]


¶   A report by Goldman Sachs’ global commodities team said that Chinese demand for imported coal is past its peak, so demand for seaborne thermal coal will grow just 2% per year on average to 2018, leaving coal prices too weak to generate profits on new mines and infrastructure. [Courier Mail]

¶   Germany’s Energiewende is very much alive. The biggest “winners” in the first quarter were solar power, whose production was up 82.5%, and offshore wind, up 33%. Natural gas production was down 19.7%, hard coal down 17.4%, and nuclear energy down 4.6%. [CleanTechnica]



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