2014-06-05 Energy Week

The following are the news items used in Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell, June 5, 2014:

5-30

¶   Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene, and the world is on the brink of a sixth great extinction, according to a new study published by the journal Science[Huffington Post]

¶   Xcel Energy announced that, as of 2013, it had reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 20% since 2005, exceeding President Barack Obama’s announced goal of achieving a 17% reduction by 2020. [Boulder Daily Camera]

¶   The National Resources Defense Council says new federal standards that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants would save the nation’s consumers $37.4 billion in 2020 via reduced electricity bills by the time the rules are fully implemented. [Denver Business Journal]

¶   Chevron’s renewable power group produced profits for 2013 that were nearly double what the company hoped for. Nevertheless, managers told the group that funding for the effort would dry up and encouraged staffers to find jobs elsewhere. [Businessweek]

5-31

¶   “How to Cut Power Plant Carbon by 50%: New EPA Climate Rules Can Create a Foundation for Real Global Warming Solutions” New UCS analysis shows that a strong standard provides an opportunity to cut our power sector emissions in half by 2030. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

¶   Everyone understood that solar power, as a promising renewable form of energy, needed to eventually compete with nuclear, oil, coal and gas — without any government subsidies. Much faster than anyone expected, we’re almost there. [NASDAQ]

¶   Green Mountain Power announced it has reached an agreement with the Vermont Department of Public Service and other stakeholders to decrease electric rates by 2.46%. The rate decrease will take effect on October 1, 2014. [Green Energy Times]

6-1

¶   Now that the age of fossil fuels and petrochemicals is winding down, sewage mining is obviously the Next Big Thing. The wastewater-to-biogas angle is already going strong and a number of companies are busily reclaiming other useful raw materials, too. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The idea of replacing America’s asphalt roads with solar panels apparently has plenty of appeal. The Solar Roadways IndieGoGo campaign has raised some $1.5 million to use towards research and development of this cutting-edge solution to our world’s environmental woes. [CleanTechnica]

6-2

¶   Denmark has given the green light to investment in the 700 MW Cobra interconnector with the Netherlands. Energy minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen issued the all-clear this morning. The 300 km subsea line will carry high voltage DC power from wind farms. [reNews]

¶   Lake Kivu lies on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a relatively small body of water that poses a not-so-small problem: it’s filled with 60 billion cubic meters of methane gas. A project called Kivuwatt plans to use that problem for power. [RYOT]

¶   The Obama administration will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, potentially one of the biggest steps any country has taken to confront climate change, people familiar with the plan said Sunday. [Los Angeles Times]

6-3

¶   Vermont is the only state not covered by the Obama administration’s sweeping new plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent over the next 15 years, but the state will still benefit by working with other states to meet the goals. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶   US solar panel installations climbed to a record 1.3 GW in the first quarter of 2014, according the SEIA quarterly report. Solar PV installations jumped 79% from the first quarter of 2013, with 744 MW added. Only 2013 Q4 had more installations, with 2.1 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, the report says that proper investment in wind, solar, and other renewable energy generating technologies can lead to an economic boom. [Triple Pundit]

6-4

¶   The Guardian reported this morning that the Queen’s Speech is to contain a surprise measure designed to make it easier for local residents in the UK to invest in wind or solar farm projects near their properties. [Business Green]

¶   The world is not moving fast enough on investment in low carbon energy to tackle climate change, new research from the International Energy Agency has found. About $1.6 trillion is invested annually in the global energy supply, but amount needs to rise to $2 trillion. [The Guardian]

¶   The European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions continued to fall in 2012, as a 1.3% decrease meant emissions have now been cut to 19.2% below 1990 levels, according to official data from the European Environment Agency. [Click Green]

¶   Vernon, Vermont selectboard members are touting the potential benefits of new biomass power plant — with the possibility of a natural-gas component — that could be built at the Vermont Yankee site after the nuclear facility shuts.[Bennington Banner]

6-5

¶   “Obama Isn’t Killing Power Plants. The Sun Is.” Opponents to President Obama’ regulations for controlling carbon emissions are claiming the new rules are so onerous they will imperil the electric utility industry. Actually, it’s a little too late for that; solar power got there first. [Bloomberg View]

¶   The world needs to spend $48 trillion between now and 2035 to meet rising demand for energy, according to the International Energy Agency.  The good news is that for an extra $5 trillion, we can both meet demand and avoid dangerous climate change. [Business Spectator]

¶   It seems Australia’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets more than tripled on the weekend, from a 5% cut by 2020 to a reduction of more than 18%. Surprised? The Abbott Government might be too. The new target is a default, automatically generated by law. [Energy Matters]

¶   An explosive new report from the US DOE makes clear that Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is likely a climate-destroying misallocation of resources. That is, if one uses estimates for methane leakage based on actual observations. [ThinkProgress]

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