2014-11-13 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Friday, November 7:

¶   Projections for a “death spiral” in the utility sector are premature, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The industry is being transformed by widespread adoption of distributed generation, but utilities, state lawmakers, and regulators are acting to refine utility cost-recovery models, decreasing the threat of disruption. [Platts]

¶   There is more than enough geothermal energy in British Columbia to power the province’s grid, yet not one site has been developed. Geothermal energy has never been invited to bid on calls for power. In fact, with 150 known hot springs in western Canada, there isn’t a single developed geothermal site in the country. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Ice Energy today announced it has been awarded sixteen contracts from Southern California Edison to provide 25.6 MW of behind-the-meter thermal energy storage. Ice Energy’s proprietary Ice Bear system uses electricity at low-demand times to freeze water, which provides cooling during high demand periods. [Rock Hill Herald]

Saturday, November 8:

¶   A small German town in southern Bavaria is participating in an interesting experiment proving that a high-renewables future is viable. Wildpoldsried (pop. 2,600) currently produces 500% more energy than it needs through renewable energy systems, and sells the surplus power back to the grid. [RenewEconomy]

¶   A 231-MW solar power plant broke ground in Okayama prefecture, western Japan. It is expected to be Japan’s largest solar power plant. The plant is located in a disused salt pan. It is scheduled to begin operation in the first half of 2019 with 920,000 solar panels installed. The project will cost $950 million. [Daily Times]

¶   The man responsible for maintaining India’s power supply says he wants the country’s coal production to double within the next five years. The Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable energy, says India needs to dig twice as much coal as it does today if it is to meet its soaring energy demand. [Truthdig]

Sunday, November 9:

¶    A report from the Institute of Self-Reliance says locally owned renewable energy projects create more economic benefits than absentee-owned projects, and they are less likely to encounter community opposition. By enacting policies to support local renewable power, states stand to gain thousands of jobs and millions of dollars. [San Diego Free Press]

¶   Inspired by bamboo’s adaptation to wind, University of Vermont engineers developed a low cost micro-wind turbine. The small bamboo vertical axis wind turbine is combined with a solar panel. Bamboo has a tensile strength similar to steel, but without the weight, and it is grown rather than mined. [Energy Matters]

¶   For millions of Americans, and many more worldwide, rooftop solar is already cheaper than electricity from the grid, but until recently, utility-scale solar projects weren’t cheaper than other types of power plants (ignoring externalities, which we shouldn’t really do but we do). That has been changing. [Treehugger]

Monday, November 10:

¶   The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology recently announced it has made white solar PV modules to use in buildings, offering applications in several consumer-centered sectors. The technology can be used to modify any crystalline solar PV module to produce white or coloured modules.  [CleanTechnica]

¶   New renewable energy projects create 10 times more green jobs than similar-sized fossil fuel investments, new research has found. A study by the UK Energy Research Center taking data from the US, Europe, and China, suggests green energy provide a boost to employment, short term construction jobs and lifetime plant jobs. [Business Green]

Tuesday, November 11:

¶   Grid operators may be able to use buildings to help regulate grid frequency as they integrate more renewable energy sources. Variable-speed drives used to run heating and cooling systems can be rapidly modulated by grid operators to keep the frequency of electricity on the grid within necessary tolerances. [Energy Collective]

¶   The Kenya Electricity Generating Company decided to capitalize on their geothermal resources by adding 280 MW of geothermal energy to the national grid, and the power started feeding into the national grid in July. Kenya saved $100 million in the first three months of operation. [ESI Africa]

¶   Denmark’s government plans to have the country completely off of fossil fuels by 2050, including cars. One problem with this is that energy production from wind and solar plants cost very little to run, so the more they appear, the less energy will cost. This means energy companies will struggle to make any profit. [UPI.com]

¶   Massachusetts is currently considering extending its net-metering qualification guidelines to include small hydroelectric projects over 60 kW in capacity, in addition to those under 60 kW. This would put hydroelectric on level ground with solar energy, wind energy, and anaerobic digestion systems in the state. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, November 12:

¶   US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced both countries will curb greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. The US would cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26-28% before 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions and get 20% of its energy from zero-carbon sources by 2030. [CNN]

¶   The prime ministers of Pakistan and China are reported to have witnessed the signing of 19 agreements and memorandums mostly focused on the energy sector. China has pledged $42 billion funds of which $31 billions are dedicated to projects in the energy sector. Coal accounts for 80% of the new power. [Business Recorder]

¶   Despite pledging in 2009 to phase out the use of fossil fuels, G20 countries are spending $88 billion a year in taxpayer money to discover new reserves around the world, according to a new report published Tuesday by the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International. [eNews Park Forest]

¶   Six years ago, Wisconsin’s Gundersen Health System, which makes up a network of hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes and other health facilities,  set a goal to reduce energy consumption. It has more than reached that goal. Every day since October 14, it has produced more energy than it consumed. [ThinkProgress]

Thursday, November 13:

¶   Fossil fuels see about $550 billion a year in subsidies, dampening investment in cleaner forms of energy, the International Energy Agency said. Crude oil, coal and natural gas received more than four times the $120 billion paid out in subsidies for renewables, according to the annual World Energy Outlook. [Live Trading News]

¶   Renewable energy technologies are set to gain ground on fossil fuels rapidly as they are helped by falling costs and subsidies, according to World Energy Outlook 2014. It suggests that by 2040 world energy supply will be divided into four almost equal parts: low-carbon sources (nuclear and renewables), oil, natural gas and coal. [reNews]

¶   Such developing countries as China and India will lead a projected 60% increase in worldwide nuclear power generation capacity through 2040, while costs to decommission aging reactors in advanced nations will soar, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday in its World Energy Outlook report. [Nikkei Asian Review]

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