2014-12-03 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, November 27:

¶   September and October were the hottest months ever recorded, continuing the record-breaking streak that started in April and almost assuring that 2014 will be the warmest year ever. Canadian ocean surface temperatures for September, shown in the NOAA images, approached 4oC above normal. This is where the entire planet may be headed by the end of the century. [Energy Collective]

¶   Scotland has broken renewable energy generation records, producing 10.3 TWh of electricity in the first half of 2014 and overtaking nuclear as the country’s main source of power. The data also shows that nuclear accounted for 7.8 TWh, coal provided 5.6 TWh and gas-fired electricity generation produced 1.4 TWh during the same period. [edie.net]

¶   A waste to biofuels plant operated by Enerkem in Northern Canada is the first in the world to transform solid waste into biofuels and chemicals. The waste is heated and converted into a gas, then changed into liquid methanol, which is then used in the production of local products, including windshield wiper fluid and gasoline. [OilPrice.com]

Friday, November 28:

¶   Hard on the heels of last week’s historic US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change, in which China pledged for the first time to cap its CO2 emission by 2030, China’s State Council has just announced a new energy strategy action plan that includes, also for the first time, a cap on national coal consumption by 2020. [Energy Collective]

¶   Oil prices came crashing down Thursday to trade below $70 per barrel after OPEC announced it was leaving oil production levels unchanged. The low price is bad news for certain oil-producing countries like Russia, Nigeria and Venezuela, which depend on prices of at least $90 a barrel. While they last, lower oil prices could also halt the US shale oil boom. [CNN]

¶   The Indian government has received proposals from twelve states for setting up of solar power parks/ultra mega solar power projects with a total capacity of 22,100 MW. The the biggest of these is to be a 7,500 MW park to be set up in Leh and Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir. There have been hundreds of proposals. [I Government]

Saturday, November 29:

¶   “A New Climate? How A Utility, Germany, Elon Musk And Falling Oil Prices Are Conspiring To Fight CO2” By piecing together a series of seemingly unrelated threads, there’s a case to be made that 2014 will be remembered as a critical year in the decarbonization of the global economy. Sound unbelievable? Tie these eight stories together and see. [Forbes]

¶   Coal use in China could peak earlier than previously forecast as slower economic growth cuts power demand and the government clamps down on energy-intensive industries to meet its emissions reduction goals. The Natural Resources Defense Council predicts coal use will peak before 2020, cutting years off earlier forecasts. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶   The world’s largest solar power plant has gone online in California, with enough power to supply 160,000 homes. Spanning a huge 9.5 square miles (25 square km) – a third of the size of Manhattan – the Topaz Solar Farm consists of nine million solar panels and has a capacity of 550 MW. The plant cost $2.5 billion. [Daily Mail]

Sunday, November 30:

¶   The largest pension funds manager in Norway, KLP, is divesting completely from coal energy. The money involved, around $75 million, will instead be invested into renewable energy companies. With assets of around $84 billion, KLP is second in the world only to Norway’s state-owned oil-revenue fund with regard to investment clout. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Energy suppliers in remote areas are turning to renewable-powered microgrids like those on islands. They can operate independently or in conjunction with the area’s main electrical grid. By being able to produce electricity on site, distributed solar and wind systems reduce utility infrastructure requirements, cutting the cost of rural electrification. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, December 1:

¶   EON SE, Germany’s largest utility, will break itself up, spinning off fossil fuel power plants into a separate company so it can focus on renewable energy. EON also announced it will write down the value of assets by €4.5 billion, leading to a substantial full-year loss. Even so, the shares had the largest jump in more than two years on the plan. [Businessweek]

¶   West Australian Energy Minister Mike Nahan has instructed the state-owned utility Horizon Power to investigate renewables-based micro-grids as a means of providing cheaper and more reliable power to regional areas. Nahan had been a fierce critic of renewables, but says the stretched-out grid is too expensive and unreliable. [RenewEconomy]

¶   National Grid has filed comments on the EPA’s Clean Energy Power Plan and issued a statement supporting the proposed regulations, which aim to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. National Grid US president Tom King. says expanding access to energy efficiency was an especially exciting aspect of the plan. [PennEnergy]

¶   A competitive lease sale of 742,000 acres off the coast of Massachusetts will be offered for commercial wind energy development on January 29, 2015. According to the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the area could provide up to 5 GW, enough electricity to power over 1.4 million homes, or half the homes in Massachusetts. [Oliver Reports]

Tuesday, December 2:

¶   The amount of electricity generated by US utility-scale solar PV power plants is up more than 100% in 2014 over the same period in 2013, thanks to big projects, many of them highly productive, that have been coming online. A number of major factors made this possible, including the steep decline in the price of PVs. [Breaking Energy]

¶   About $1 billion in loans, under a UN initiative for poor countries to tackle global warming, is going toward the construction of power plants fired by coal. Japan gave the money to help its companies build three such plants in Indonesia, saying they burn coal more efficiently and are therefore cleaner than old coal plants. [The Philadelphia Tribune]

¶    Green Mountain Power is the world’s first utility to become a certified B Corp, or benefit corporation. The state’s largest electric utility has joined nearly two dozen other Vermont companies that have met a high standard for social and environmental consciousness, joining the ranks of such companies as Ben & Jerry’s. [vtdigger.org]

Wednesday, December 3:

¶   SunCommon, a 2012 spinoff of the advocacy group VPIRG, has made its 1000th solar installation in Vermont. SunCommon regularly works with 100 other Vermont companies and says it has created 100 jobs in the state. It also says that the solar installations it has done have saved customers $14 million. [vtdigger.org]

¶   Citigroup says the impact of the China-US climate deal signed earlier this month could total $3.9 trillion. That’s the loss in revenue for Big Oil and Big Coal over the next 15 years from the joint undertaking on greenhouse gas emissions by the world’s two biggest economies. Citigroup analysts suggest thermal coal is on a permanent decline. [CleanTechnica]

¶   One in five Australian households has installed domestic solar energy systems, data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows. Solar Citizens national director Claire O’Rourke said most of the households were on lower and middle incomes, and that they were using solar as a way to reduce power costs. [eco-business.com]



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