2014-11-20 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Friday, November 14:

¶   A cool summer and increased levels of hydro generation has resulted in a significant reduction in coal-generation in China over recent months, with coal consumption in August down by 11%. A large impact, has been on coal imports, which have fallen by half, with heavy impact on Australia. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A landmark lawsuit that challenges the lax regulation of hydraulic fracturing in Canada has just scored a major victory. An Alberta Chief Justice dismissed all key arguments made by the government of Alberta against the lawsuit, including the fear of a flood of lawsuits against a government dependent on hydrocarbon revenue. [Resilience]

¶   The Ginna Nuclear Power Plant is losing money to the tune of $100 million over the past three years. A decade-long power purchase agreement between Ginna’s ower, Exelon and Constellation Energy and RG&E expired last month. The future of the plant seems uncertain. [WROC-TV]

Saturday, November 15:

¶   The first article in a new series in The Guardian about individuals helping to make cities more resilient: There are many lessons to be learned from Alex Wilson’s farm in Vermont. Building durable, well-insulated buildings with simple, redundant systems out of easy-to-fix local, renewable materials in strong, caring communities makes sense just about anywhere. [The Guardian]

¶   Republicans in the US approved legislation, 252-161, for the ninth time to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on the bill. If it overcomes a 60-vote threshold it will head to President Barack Obama’s desk where he will either sign it into law or veto it. [Great Falls Tribune]

¶   The much-maligned Department of Energy loan guarantee program that funded solar manufacturer Solyndra and electric vehicle maker Fisker Automotive is now making money for U.S. taxpayers. Further losses are not expected, and interest on the loans will ultimately net up to $6 billion for taxpayers. [Utility Dive]

Sunday, November 16:

¶   Solid-state batteries capable of delivering on a 400+ mile range per single charge are a real possibility and possess “great potential” according to Volkswagen’s Chairman of the Board Dr Martin Winterkorn. If such a battery can be economically manufactured, then that would more-or-less turn the industry upside-down. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have thought he left global climate change off the agenda for the G20 summit in Brisbane, but US President Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put it in the spotlight through a series of actions in the past few days. Obama ensured climate change was front and center before he even got to Australia. [Mashable]

¶   The Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s microgrid project, the “Complete System-Level Efficient and Interoperable Solution for Microgrid Integrated Controls,” aims to standardize the toolkit for managing and controlling an effective, reliable, and safe microgrid. It is now two years in, and the fruits of the labor are starting to show. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, November 17:

¶   In Australia, the Victorian Labor Party is underlining its renewable energy credentials by vowing to help the town of Newstead, near Bendigo, to become 100% renewable energy by 2017, making it the state’s first “solar town”. The effort will focus primarily on solar power and battery storage for reliable 100% renewable power. [RenewEconomy]

¶   The region Australians call New England may become the first region in the country to be powered 100% from renewable energy sources. The Northern Tablelands Greens candidate Mercurius Goldstein says this would provide energy security while keeping the region free from Coal Seam Gas mining. [The Inverell Times]

¶   Electric cooperatives are facing a new challenge that centers on how today’s members view renewable energy. “For the first time, we see cooperative members who want to talk about and want to see renewables and clean power, and they see that as more important than reliability and cost. And that’s a major change.” [Electric Co-op Today]

Tuesday, November 18:

¶   The Leader of the US Senate says that under the China-US climate deal, China can “do nothing at all for 16 years.” That turns out to be the very reverse of the truth. China is already leading the world in greening its energy supply, and has committed to add a massive 1.3 GW of renewable power capacity every week for 15 years. [The Ecologist]

¶   “The U.S. Government Has Invested $34 Billion in Renewable Energy – and It’s Making a Profit” The United States government a savvier investor in green technology than Silicon Valley’s masters of the universe? It sure looks like it. A report shows that the DOE has far fewer failures than a typical venture capital firm, and is earning money for taxpayers. [TakePart]

¶   As critics of the Energiewende like to point out, in 2013, Germany’s emissions rose to 952 million tonnes. Nevertheless, while that is an increase, it is actually 23% lower than its figure for 1990, which is the baseline year adopted by nations who signed the Kyoto Accord. By comparison, the world’s emissions are now 61% higher than 1990 levels. [CleanTechnica]

¶   SunEdison can continue its growth even without the support of tax credits in the US, the company said on Monday, as it agreed to a $2.4 billion deal for privately owned First Wind that will make it the world’s largest developer of wind and solar power. First Wind has wind farms several states, including Maine, New York, and Vermont. [Financial Times]

Wednesday, November 19:

¶   The Senate blocked a measure Tuesday that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline as Democrats chose their pro-environment base over an old friend, embattled Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Republicans will be ready to try again, with much better odds of success, once they take control of the Senate next January. [CNN]

¶  “How To Profit From Solar & Storage” When there is a sudden surge in demand, the electric grid needs to deploy additional power immediately and ramp up and down to provide a stable power supply. Batteries are able to provide an instantaneous response (within 4 seconds or less), which is known as frequency regulation. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “Reclaim the power! Democratic energy must replace corporate capture” Democratising energy would not only save thousands of lives a year but would be a big step forward in saving the planet. Could Eigg in Scotland, an island owned collectively by its inhabitants and supplied by renewable electricity, be the model for a transformation of energy? [The Ecologist]

¶   The massive task of refurbishing 10 nuclear reactors – at a cost of $25 billion, is the crucial issue for keeping electricity rates under control in Ontario, says a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce investment banker. He illustrated by running through a list of projects that have missed deadlines and gone hugely over budget. [Cambridge Times]

Thursday, November 20:

¶   The future of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in the UK is under a cloud amid a financial crisis at Areva, a shareholder in the project and the designer of the proposed reactors. Power plants in both Finland and France are massively over-budget and behind schedule, forcing Areva to consider whether it needs an injection of new cash to survive. [The Guardian]

¶   There has been a lot of controversy around the Ivanpah concentrating solar power plant. Charges range from the idea that it is killing thousands of birds to the idea that it is producing only a fraction of the power it was designed to make. One thing to remember is that you should not believe everything you read in the media. [CleanTechnica]

¶   AES is building a 100 MW, 400 MWh lithium-ion battery for Southern California Edison as an alternative to gas peaker plants. The president of AES Energy Storage called it “the new state of the art.” He added, “This contract marks the emergence of energy storage as a cost-effective alternative to peaking power plants for local power capacity and reliability.” [Energy Collective]

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