2014-09-04 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Friday, August 29

¶   The tar sands industry’s tailings problem is a growing liability and it is getting worse. For every barrel of tar sands bitumen produced (the semi-solid substance from which oil is eventually refined), 1.5 barrels of toxic liquid waste is added to the tailings ponds. [Energy Collective]

¶   A new study, published online in the journal Nature Climate Change, has found that savings from health benefits dwarf the estimated $14 billion cost of a cap-and-trade program. It says the health savings outweigh cap-and-trade pollution abatement costs more than 10 times over. [CleanTechnica]

¶   More and more utilities say they buy wind energy to save their customers money. In some places, wind is now the cheapest way to add electrical generating capacity. It provides a great long-term hedge against rising prices for natural gas everywhere. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, August 30

¶   Austin Energy could be a greenhouse-gas-free utility eventually, as the Austin City Council passed a measure requiring the utility to make larger investments in renewable energy. The goal is for the utility to be completely green by 2030. [Austin Business Journal]

Sunday, August 31

¶   One of the most important pieces of news of the summer made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the US Energy Information Administration. It is that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash. [Resilience]

Monday, September 1

¶   South Australia’s Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter has condemned the recently released Renewable Energy Target Review report, referring to the move by the Abbott Government to scale back the RET as “anti-science.” [Energy Matters]

¶   Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is vulnerable to ‘direct bombardment’ in Ukraine if caught in the conflict, a Greenpeace nuclear energy expert told a German newspaper, claiming that its nuclear reactors are not protected from armor-piercing weapons. [RT]

¶   Just days after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection disclosed 243 cases of contamination from oil and gas drilling operations, a major drilling company has voluntarily dropped an attempt to force its operations upon unwilling property owners. [CleanTechnica]

¶   With the Islamic State (ISIS) reportedly trying to recruit terror operatives just across our southern border, one terrorism expert — an ex-CIA officer — is warning of an “imminent threat” to the US electric grid. [Western Journalism]

Tuesday, September 2

¶   The respected International Energy Agency (IEA) has found that world renewable energy capacity grew at the fastest ever annual rate in 2013. Renewable energy now accounts for 22% of the world’s electricity generation, and that figure is expected to climb to 26% by 2020. [The9Billion]
… According to the latest report from the IEA, renewable energy now accounts for 80% of new generation among the 34 developed countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Policy uncertainty remains a threat, however. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “The Upcoming Crisis for Fortis Inc and TransAlta Corporation” Power generators aren’t nearly as safe as investors think they are. What’s the upcoming crisis? It’s solar energy.  The risk is that you and I will put solar panels on our roofs. [The Motley Fool Canada]

¶   Impatient with the pace at which states and the federal government are confronting climate change, communities from the coast to coast have begun taking steps to elbow aside big electricity companies and find green power themselves. [Los Angeles Times]

Wednesday, September 3

¶   RenewableUK, the country’s leading renewable trade association, announced Monday that UK wind had exceeded coal on the 3rd, 9th, 11th, 12th, and 17th of August. Wind also beat out nuclear on the 29th of August. [CleanTechnica]

¶   After decades of very little build-out of new transmission lines, US investor-owned utilities have boosted spending fivefold over the last 15 years. The driving factors have been needs for resiliency initiatives, along with new preparations for managing distributed energy. [Energy Collective]

¶   Executives of Green Mountain Power and NRG Energy announced a partnership Tuesday that will see the companies working together to create a “microgrid” in Vermont and offer an array of products and services intended to help customers be more efficient and save money. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

Thursday, September 4

¶   The latest statistics from NPD Solarbuzz predict that by the end of 2018 there will be at least nine countries with installed solar PV capacity levels above 5 GW. But they expect China to surpass the 100 GW capacity mark in the same year. [CleanTechnica]

 

¶   In a speech to Australia’s House of Representatives, Clive Palmer took the Government’s attitude to renewable energy to task. It appears Mr. Palmer believes the Renewable Energy Target review was a waste of taxpayer money. [Energy Matters] (Palmer leads a party that has three critical votes in the senate; if they do not vote to alter it, the RET may be retained as it is.)

 

¶   Wind power provided a record 41.2% of Denmark’s electricity consumption in the first half of 2014, power grid operator Energinet.dk said in its half-year report published Tuesday. Wind energy accounted for 33.2% of the country’s energy consumption in 2013. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   Renewable energy technologies are getting a boost in Africa, driven by the need to power base stations for mobile phone operators in rural areas that are unconnected to national power grids. Companies are selling phone chargers and enabling customers to light their homes. [AFKInsider]

 

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