2014-06-19 Energy Week

This is a collection of the news items used in Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell, June 19, 2014


¶   Uruguay’s government said on Thursday that 84% of its energy last year came from renewable sources. The small South American country has been pushing for an energy diversification policy focused on developing wind and solar energy since 2008. [HispanicBusiness.com]

¶   Germany’s government has decided to stop issuing credit guarantees for exports of equipment used for nuclear power generation because the risks to public safety are too great, according to the Economy Ministry. [Reuters]

¶   EPA chief Gina McCarthy said on Thursday that newly proposed rules to slash carbon emissions from U.S. power plants will cut electricity bills after 2030 by forcing power plants to become more efficient. [MarineLink]


¶   Elon Musk has made yet another highly interesting and somewhat unpredictable move/announcement (in a long line of such moves) — Tesla Motors will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, uses the company’s technology. [CleanTechnica]

¶   New York legislation would let people without their own roofs for solar panels invest in clean energy projects, which is more attractive than ever thanks to recent drops in the price of solar and wind power. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) dashed the hopes of environmentalists, leading manufacturers and renewable-energy businesses Friday and signed a bill shelving requirements for utilities to ramp up the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. [Washington Post]

¶   The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has issued two orders that will allow Massachusetts to become the first state in the country that requires electric distribution companies to take affirmative steps to modernize the electric grid. [Berkshire Eagle]


¶   As the use of solar energy has grown exponentially over the past decade, Massachusetts has become a national leader in the field. Massachusetts currently has 496 MW of solar energy capacity, up from less than 1 MW 10 years ago. [Wicked Local Wilmington]

¶   A new report conducted by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shows that the state has made progress with greenhouse gas emissions. It was 5.4% below 1990 levels in the most recent test period, 2010, which is better than hoped. [The Daily Voice]


¶   The latest round of UN climate talks concluded in Bonn yesterday on an upbeat note, with a pledge that elements of a draft treaty aimed at curbing global warming would be circulated to the parties as early as July 15th. [Irish Times]

¶   A massive Chinese state-owned company has been given $25 million by the governments of Australia and Victoria to develop more Latrobe Valley brown coal. Shanghai Electric is promising to build a $119 million demonstration plant to process coal into briquettes. [The Age]


¶   Lawrence Livermore’s National Ignition Facility had its first fusion reaction that got more energy from the fuel than it absorbed. The reaction, which was at 50 million° C and a pressure of 150 billion atmospheres, produced twice as much power as was used to trigger it. [Scientific American]

¶   Tesla has managed to bring down battery prices per kWh by half in just four years with plans to half the cost again when its gigafactory comes online in 2020. As electric cars become more affordable, demand should produce even more economies of scale. [ValueWalk]

¶   At the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition in Manila, large international agencies and financial organizations showing support for off-grid renewable systems that can offer viable, strikingly swift change to remote communities. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The new leader of Norway’s Labour Party has called for the country to become the world’s first zero-emission nation in an unexpectedly radical speech that signalled a sharp change in the party’s climate policy. [The Local.no]


¶   Energy companies generate the lion’s share of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, about 40% of the total. But they will also suffer as global warming picks up pace, as generators – from nuclear reactors to coal-fired power plants – feel the brunt of the weather changes. [The Guardian]

¶   Chinese President Xi Jinping says that his government is drawing up new criteria for reforming energy consumption and production and will move faster to modernize its outdated energy regulations. [OilPrice.com]

¶    France is set to unveil a much-delayed energy transition bill on Wednesday that will avoid making tough choices on its dominant nuclear energy sector, instead focusing on measures to cut red tape currently stifling renewables and boost energy savings. [Reuters]


¶   Despite being quite a grey country, with average solar irradiation levels worse than even the US Northwest and Alaska, Germany is the world’s solar power leader. In the past couple of weeks, it broke another three records, at one point getting 50.6% of demand from solar PVs. [Treehugger]

¶   Four former heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who served under Republican presidents urged lawmakers Wednesday to stop bickering over whether climate change is real and start finding solutions. [Tico Times]



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