2014-06-12 Energy Week

This is a collection of the news items used in Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell on June 12, 2014.


¶   Global oil prices—which, at the current $90 to $110 per barrel range, are at historically high levels—are nevertheless too low to justify tackling ever-more challenging geology. The industry needs an oil price of at least $120 per barrel to fund exploration in many places. [Resilience]

¶   A team of scientist from the University of Florida developed electrical cables that are augmented with nanotechnology, giving these cables the ability to transmit and store electricity in a single, lightweight copper wire. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶   The Chinese government has established ambitious targets of 5,000 MW of offshore wind power installed by 2015 and 30,000 megawatts by 2030. They are teaming with the British Embassy in Beijing to investigate ways a China offshore wind plan could scale up quickly. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Indian government is aggressively accelerating the solar energy program, and aiming for four giant plants of 1,000 MW each. It also wants to bundle solar and conventional power to make renewable energy more affordable. [Economic Times]


¶    A team of students has calculated that for the low cost of $5.00, your home could be transformed into a smog-eating house that could eliminate pollution-causing nitrogen oxides from the air just by sitting there. The is done with a coating of $5 worth of titanium dioxide. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Europe’s power, gas and coal markets are in a sharp down from their highs. Power and coal futures are down by around 40% since peaking after the Fukushima Disaster of 2011 pushed prices up. Solar and wind power have added generating capacity while demand has fallen. [Reuters]

¶   Tokyo Electric Power Company started building the big underground cooler meant to freeze the soil into a rectangular ice wall around TEPCO’s four nonfunctioning but still highly radioactive reactors to keep ground water from leaking through. [CleanTechnica]


¶   The average fuel economy for new vehicles hit a record high in May of 25.6 miles-per-gallon, a 0.4 mpg rise from April. Vehicle fuel efficiency has increased 5.5 mpg since October of 2007, when the Institute began monitoring fuel economy. [Energy Collective]

¶   Already the No. 1 windpower state, Texas is on pace to increase wind capacity by about 70% within two years. Between that and new natural gas capacity, several energy analysts expect Texas to meet the EPA’s proposed goal of cutting CO2 emissions 39% by 2030. [Fort Worth Star Telegram]


¶   Analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute found the US could transition to a 2050 economy energized by tripled efficiency and 75% renewables for a $5 trillion savings while supporting a 158% bigger U.S. economy and slashing carbon emissions 82–86%. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The solar energy storage system market in Germany is approaching a boom period, according to many analysts, with a rapid uptick in sales likely as the technology enters wider use. The systems benefit both the consumer and the grid. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Obama administration’s proposed regulations for power plants would give a big boost to nuclear power as the industry faces an uncertain future with increasing retirements and declining prospects for dozens of aging reactors. [Washington Times]


¶   A decision by parties to an obscure convention has huge implications for Europe’s ageing nuclear reactors. Licence extensions for nuclear reactors must follow EIAs which compare the potential impacts to those of alternatives – including wind, solar and other renewables. [The Ecologist]

¶   At the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention, Warren Buffett was reminded by an aide that Berkshire Hathaway had spent on $15 billion on wind and solar power. He responded: “There’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.” [Businessweek]

¶   University of California President Janet Napolitano formed an advisory group to help the UC system cut pollution. Napolitano hopes the University of California will reach carbon neutrality by 2025, by cutting some of its emissions and paying to offset the rest. [San Francisco Business Times]


¶   Japan’s parliament on Wednesday enacted legislation that will allow the country to liberalize the household electricity market that has been dominated by regional monopolies over the past 60 years. [GlobalPost]

¶   According to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the EPA, numerous toxic chemicals found in Hispanic communities, largely from power plants, account for the difference in the number of Hispanic children who die from asthma compared to non-Hispanic whites. [VOXXI]

¶   The first industrial-scale municipal solid waste to biofuel facility opened in Edmonton, Alberta on June 4, 2014. Enerkem’s waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facility will convert 100,000 tonnes of sorted municipal waste per year into biofuels and chemicals. [CleanTechnica]


¶   Google Inc. is looking to make a deeper push into the billion-dollar U.S. energy market by developing tools to deliver power more efficiently, with hope that a “smart grid” would be an improvement, as solar and wind power become more prevalent. [MarketWatch]


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