2014-10-23 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Friday, October 17:

¶   Italian utility Enel is considering phasing out 23 “obsolete” thermal power plants in Italy in the near future, accounting for 11 GW or 43% of the company’s existing thermal generation capacity. The decommissioning procedure for nine plants has already started, Starace added, listing units with a combined capacity of 2.2 GW. [ICIS]

¶   The UK’s National Audit Office has begun an investigation into the controversial subsidy regime for the planned new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. The financial watchdog will be checking whether the guaranteed prices of £92 a megawatt hour – double the current cost of electricity – represented “value for money”. [The Guardian]

Hinkley Point nuclear power station plans

An artist’s impression of Hinkley Point C. The NAO move has pleased green groups which believe nuclear is getting preferential treatment over windfarms. Photograph: EDF/PA

¶   The Army is gaining ground on its goal of going fossil fuel-free at many of its installations, according to the recently released program summary for its Net Zero initiative. The report, which covers fiscal 2013, breaks down efforts at nine pilot installations in the program. [Defense Systems]

Saturday, October 18:

¶   Queensland network operator Ergon Energy wants to take some remote customers off-grid because of the cost of maintaining its sprawling grid network. New technology, such as solar and battery storage, costs so little it makes sense that some customers have stand-alone energy systems. [CleanTechnica]

ew ergon-storage-big

¶   The NRC issued a much-delayed report on Thursday on Yucca Mountain’s suitability for vast shipments of spent nuclear fuel, saying it would be safe for storing nuclear waste. The 780-page staff report concluded the site “with reasonable expectation” could satisfy federal licensing requirements. [The Fiscal Times]

¶   Officials with the soon-to-close Vermont Yankee nuclear plant said Friday it could cost up to $1.24 billion to decommission the reactor, and that they currently have about half that much in a fund dedicated to paying for that work. The figure was contained in a “site assessment study.” [Washington Times]

ew vy

¶   A prominent volcanologist disputed regulators’ conclusion that two nuclear reactors are safe from a volcanic eruption in the next few decades, saying such a prediction is impossible. He said a cauldron eruption at one of several volcanoes surrounding the Sendai could cause a nationwide disaster. [The Japan Times]

Mt Ontake, photo by KAMUI, from Wikimedia Commons.

Mt Ontake, photo by KAMUI, from Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 19:

¶   The International Energy Agency just released its second annual Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014 confirming energy efficiency’s place as the world’s “first fuel” and estimating the value of the energy efficiency market at between $310 and $360 billion and growing. [Energy Collective]

¶   India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released revised guidelines for auction of solar photovoltaic power projects with a significant hike in overall capacity. The government plans to add 15 GW of solar power capacity by Q1 2019. The first of the auctions will involve 1,000 MW of capacity. [CleanTechnica]

EW Gujarat-Solar-Park

Monday, October 20:

¶   “Is France’s Love Affair with Nuclear Over?” During the next 11 years, France will reduce the percentage of electricity coming from nuclear from 75% to 50%. To do that, estimates are that as many as 20 of France’s 58 reactors would have to be closed and replaced with efficiency and renewable sources of power. [OilPrice.com]

¶   Investors are seeking funding from the UK government for an ambitious plan to import solar energy generated in North Africa. The TuNur project aims to bring 2 GW of solar power, enough for 2.5 million UK homes, to the UK from Tunisia if the company wins a contract for difference. [BBC News]

An impression of what a large-scale concentrated solar power facility might look like in the Tunisian desert

An impression of what a large-scale concentrated solar power facility might look like in the Tunisian desert

¶   A recent Union of Concerned Scientists study found that America can nearly quadruple its renewable electricity in the next 15 years, reaching 23% by 2030. This comes in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal that America set a modest goal of 12% renewable energy by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

ew graph

Tuesday, October 21:

¶   The hot summer was the third in which Southern California went without 2,200 MW from the San Onofre nuclear plant. Drought reduced the state’s hydroelectric output by another 1,628. Despite these events, California did not have any major outages, primarily because of its increased renewable capacity. [KCET]

¶   A report from the EU on power prices is only the latest of a number coming to the same conclusion. Along with three earlier reports, it proved that “wind energy is one of the lowest cost options for reducing carbon emissions,” with each focusing on a different attribute of wind energy’s performance. [CleanTechnica]

ew wind lcoe

¶   A new, somewhat clever means of managing and improving the efficiency of the power grid was recently unveiled by a coalition of some of the world’s largest automakers. It is in fact simply a technology that allows for the direct communication of utility companies and plug-in electric vehicles, via the cloud. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Renewable energy lies at the heart of a dispute between Spain and France: Spanish wind turbines easily produce more power than is needed in the domestic market but that energy is wasted because there are few transmission lines to carry it across the border to France, but France wants to protect its nuclear reactors from competition. [Financial Times]

Wednesday, October 22:

¶   The Department of Defense released its 2014 Climate Change Adaption Roadmap, outlining how the military plans to adapt to climate change. For the first time, the Pentagon discusses climate change as an immediate risk – a factor to be incorporated into how the military operates today. [Energy Collective]

¶   A new report from the US DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley and National Renewable Energy Laboratories on the price impacts of its SunShot initiative has found the cost of solar energy in America fell by up to 19% in 2013, with utility-scale PV systems falling below $2 a watt – 59% below what modeled pricing predicted in 2010. [Energy Matters]

¶   The US wind industry saw installations surpass last year’s total last month, according to new data published this week. The American Wind Energy Association announced that the total for the first nine months of 2014 was 1,254 MW. The installations for 2014 have now exceeded the 1,088 MW installed during the whole of last year. [Business Green]

EW gulf-wind

Thursday, October 23:

¶   Trash to fuel, the stuff of the 1980s sci-fi comedy movie trilogy “Back to the Future” is now a reality. The 2015 Bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala – not a tricked-out DeLorean – really can run on leftovers, table scraps and, oh yeah, grains from brewing beer, as Quasar Energy Group uses organic waste to produce biogas, which can fuel the car. [Florida Weekly]

¶   The US is reducing oil dependence, slowing the growth of electricity needs, and making energy services more affordable to all Americans – and our smarter use of energy is the single most important contributor to these positive trends, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9% and 10% leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. Scientists evaluating this put the use of fracked gas in perspective. In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. [ThinkProgress]

 

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