2014-10-16 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Friday, October 10:

¶   Less than 4 GW of natural gas-fired power plants are being built in Western Europe, the lowest level in more than 10 years, according to the Platts Power in Europe Project Tracker. The Tracker which shows electric power generation capacity and construction in Europe. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶   In line with a campaign promise by President Francois Hollande in 2012, the French parliament has voted to reduce the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation to 50% from the current level of 75% and has also adopted a program to drastically reduce energy consumption before 2050. [Kuwait News Agency]

¶   The Austrian government will challenge at the European Court of Justice the European Commission’s OK to use of billions of taxpayer pounds to back the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in the UK. Vienna believes the EC decision could pave the way for the construction of other new nuclear power stations closer to home. [Recharge]

Saturday, October 11:

¶   Since last summer there have been rumors that GM is building a $30,000 electric car with a driving range of 200 miles, and the Detroit Free Press reports that GM has confirmed the existence of this EV, minus any revealing details. Select investors and media were invited to check out several upcoming GM vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶   China has announced it will reintroduce import tariffs of 6% a tonne on thermal coal used to generate electricity and a 3% a tonne on metallurgical coal used to smelt iron. The tariffs are not new but a return to those that were in place when China first began to import significant quantities of coal. [CleanTechnica]

¶   ZooShare Biogas Cooperative Inc is building a 500-kW biogas plant conveniently located across from the Toronto Zoo. Scheduled to be operational by December 2015, the facility will produce renewable power for the Ontario grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 10,000 tonnes each year. [Canada NewsWire]

Sunday, October 12:

¶   “WSJ Gets it Wrong on ‘Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True'” A wrong version of how our economy works has been handed down through the academic world, through our system of peer review, with each academic researcher following in the tracks of previous academic researchers. [Energy Collective]

¶    Just two weeks after the largest climate march in history, over 250 groups from nearly 40 countries urged United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to reject fracking as a part of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. This came on the eve of the Global Frackdown, a day of action to ban fracking on October 11th. [eNews Park Forest]

¶   Residents who live in Massachusetts towns that have municipal electric companies enjoy smaller monthly electric bills than customers who live in communities served by National Grid. The difference will grow even wider on the heels of a 37% rate increase by National Grid that will go into effect on November 1. [Worcester Telegram]

Monday, October 13:

¶   Norwegian energy firm Statnett has been granted a licence to allow it to start working with the UK to build the world’s longest sub-sea cable. The huge cable running under the sea will be able to carry 1,400 megawatts of electricity and is scheduled to be operational by 2020. [The Local.no]

¶   There have been several instances in recent months when wind energy has accounted for all, or nearly all, electricity demand in South Australia. Last Tuesday, however, set a new benchmark – the combination of wind energy and rooftop solar provided more than 100% of the state’s electricity needs, for a whole working day between 9:30am and 6pm. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, October 14:

¶   This past September was the warmest since records began in 1880, according to new data released by NASA this weekend. The announcement continues a trend of record or near-record breaking months, including last May and August. This means 2014 will become the warmest year on record. [Huffington Post]

¶   Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to an EU analysis. The report says that onshore wind costs roughly €105 per MW/h, while gas comes in at €164, coal at €233, and nuclear at €125. [The Guardian]

¶   Of the total €120 billion to €140 billion in energy subsidies handed out by the 28 EU member states in 2012, coal accounted for €10.1 billion, exactly the same amount as onshore wind, despite it being a markedly more mature industry and its central role in driving up greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. [Business Green]

¶   In the report, Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said uncertainty in climate change projections cannot be an “excuse for delaying action.” The 20-page report was released as Hagel attended a conference in Peru with his counterparts from North and South America. [International Business Times]

Wednesday, October 15:

¶   A new survey of Australian households conducted by Ernst & Young across regional and metro Victoria, NSW and Queensland found 9 out of 10 Australians have considered or would consider switching to solar power. The main motivation is cutting electricity bills, but environmental benefits have appeal too. [Treehugger]

¶   Just a few years ago, with prices of coal through the roof, it was cigars and caviar time for an industry who were proposing more new projects than you could point an activist at. A long and glorious future was expected, based on China’s insatiable demand for coal. Now, things have changed, and coal companies are in trouble. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Green Mountain Power today announced that it is once again sponsoring a program to help eight non-profits construct solar arrays. The Vermont Public Service Board approved a GMP proposal to award eight matching grants of up to $20,000 each to non-profit groups all across Vermont, and GMP is encouraging organizations to apply. [vtdigger.org]

Thursday, October 16:

¶   The price of oil has gone down because of high production levels from Saudi Arabia. In order to protect market share, the Saudi’s have decided to keep producing at current levels. While they are still making a good profit, US producers cannot break even with crude oil prices hovering around $80/bbl. [Resilience]

¶   In early March, when Russia first sent troops into Ukraine, oil was trading comfortably above $100 per barrel. Now, it is around $81, a three-year low. That’s tough for Russia since the country relies heavily on oil revenues to bankroll its budget – over half of the government’s revenues come from oil and gas. [CNN Money]

¶   US-based aerospace giant Lockheed Martin says it has devised a new type of miniature nuclear fusion power generator. In the announcement of October 15, the defence technology company said its new compact fusion reactor could be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. [The Australian]

¶   The renewable power that Vermont homeowners and businesses generate has more than doubled since 2012, according to a report by the Department of Public Service on the state’s net-metering program. This growth is expected to continue ahead of looming uncertainty over the federal solar tax credit for solar PVs. [Reformer]

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