2014-12-18 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, December 11:

  • Opinion: “No, cheap oil will not kill solar power” Solar energy investors seem to fear that cheap oil will erase demand for alternative energy. But it won’t, say industry analysts. Oil dominates energy demand in transportation fuels, but solar power customers are primarily of two types: public electric utilities and large corporations, neither of which use oil to generate electricity. [CNBC]
  • The U.S. is producing the most oil in 31 years, economic growth is picking up and crude prices are plunging. Nevertheless, American use of petroleum is waning. Greater efficiency is part of the cause. Another part is greater use of renewable resources. Another part is increased urbanization, particularly among younger people. [Bloomberg]
  • Two AllSun Trackers manufactured by AllEarth Renewables at a home in Alburgh. AllEarth Renewables photo

    Two AllSun Trackers manufactured by AllEarth Renewables at a home in Alburgh. AllEarth Renewables photo

    Vermont will not meet its renewable energy goals unless policy changes are made, according to a report by the Shumlin administration.The Total Energy Study, prepared by the Department of Public Service, makes it clear that new policies are needed if the state wants to meet its goal of 90% renewable energy consumption by 2050. [vtdigger.org]

  • The US DOE has issued the Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects loan guarantee solicitation of $12.5 billion to support innovative nuclear energy projects. The DOE’s Loan Programs Office also includes the $8 billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects Solicitation, the $4 billion Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Solicitation, and the $16 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. [PennEnergy]

Friday, December 12:

  • great-plains-wind-adj-570x385The wind resource in the Great Plains states is so extraordinary that some wind energy professionals call the region the “Saudi Arabia of wind.”  Texas alone could provide sufficient electric power for the needs of the entire country, but the largest loads are on the East Coast, and transmission system upgrades are needed to move the power. [CleanTechnica]wind-development-2012-570x407
  • If India proceeds to build all proposed coal-fired power plants, the country may face a quarter million deaths every single year, according to the latest report from India-based Conservation Action Trust and Urban Emissions. A year ago, they found the death toll from coal emissions had already reached 80,000-115,000 per year. [Energy Collective]
  • Exelon says the EPA was “well within” its legal authority to require existing plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. An Exelon senior vice president said the Clean Power Plan was “legally and scientifically required.” She also called for more credit for nuclear plants. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

Saturday, December 13:

  • Oil markets slid to new lows after the International Energy Agency lowered its forecast for demand growth in 2015, the latest sign of continuing oversupply. Falling oil prices may boost economic growth, but they could threaten the economic health of oil producers and lead to lower investment in expensive drilling projects. [Wall Street Journal]
  • Salt River Project, an Arizona utility, is proposing higher charges for customers who have their own solar PVs. The company suggests changing the rate structure so such customers pay about $50 more a month, which SRP officials say is necessary to cover their use of the power grid when the sun is not shining. [azcentral.com]
  • Nebraska’s wind energy industry has immediate potential for even short-term expansion. An official report released by the Nebraska Power Review Board found that Nebraska’s existing transmission infrastructure has room for at least 2,000 MW of additional renewable generating resources. [McCook Daily Gazette]

Sunday, December 14:

  • panasonic-smart-home-9-590x350A new experimental “smart town” based especially around the technologies of solar energy and battery storage is being developed in Japan by Panasonic Corporation and others. The new 1000-household-strong town recently had its grand opening, with the first residents moving in earlier this year in the spring. [CleanTechnica]
  • The well-regarded CEO of Renault-Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, recently made the rather notable comment that one of the main reasons his company was pursuing the adoption of electric vehicles aggressively was because of climate change. Ghosn called to climate change an “unprecedented humanitarian challenge.” [CleanTechnica]
  • renewable energy price dropThanks especially to the plummeting costs of solar and wind power, states can cost-effectively cut much more carbon than the EPA originally proposed this June. Wind and solar costs are now a mind-blowing 46% lower than the EPA estimated last summer. As a result, an additional 14 million-plus homes could be given clean power. [Energy Collective]

Monday, December 15:

  • Pollution-climate-generic-credit-sxcUnited Nations climate talks in Lima concluded last night with an agreement that plots a path towards next year’s global negotiations in Paris, but without mentioning energy or renewable power. The agreement was widely criticised by campaigners for failing to commit to action on climate change. [reNews]
  • UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei says OPEC will not cut its output or hold an emergency meeting even if oil prices fall as low as $40 a barrel. Some oil ministers have said that the organization has no fear of oil prices falling to that level amid a price war with Russia and high-cost US shale producers. [Press TV]
  • Innovations already at work in some modern buildings provide a networked ecosystem of “intelligent” building equipment and devices. Beyond the “Wow!” factor and the large-scale benefits to our planet, green and smart building technologies are changing the way we live and work, creating business in the process. [TechCrunch]

Tuesday, December 16:

  • A study has found that switching to driving EVs that use electricity made from renewable energy can actually push down death rates due to air pollution by as much as 70%. The study also shows that EVs powered by coal-based electricity could increase the number of resulting deaths due to air pollution by 80% or more. [Zee News]
  • The American Public Transportation Association has just released its December Transit Savings Report, which shows that “individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can also save, on average, more than $797 per month. This month the average annual savings for public transit riders is $9,569.” [CleanTechnica]
  • plant_vogtle_southernco_h.jpg_6The nuclear expansion project at Plant Vogtle near Augusta appears headed for further delay, which could result in higher electric bills for ratepayers. The state’s independent construction monitor, William Jacobs, said last month he expects the two new reactors to take longer to build than Georgia Power’s current projections. [WABE 90.1 FM]

Wednesday, December 17:

  • The head of one of Australia’s biggest electricity networks says he sees a long-term future for neither large, centralized electricity generators, nor big electricity retailers. He says the generators will be made redundant by the increased use of localized, mostly renewable generation, and the retailers won’t be needed any more. [CleanTechnica]
  • Japan’s nuclear regulator gave safety clearance to two more reactors Wednesday, raising the prospect that Japan could have four units back online next year to help power the nation’s economy. The approval comes three days after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ’s pronuclear party won decisively in a general election. [Wall Street Journal]
  • Austin-e1418683819714The city of Austin raised its solar power goal from 200 MW by 2020 to 950 MW by 2025. 200 MW of this solar power will be operating within Austin’s city limits and 750 MW will be utility-scale solar. For the 200 MW within city limits, half has to be from customers, meaning residents or building owners with their own solar power PV systems. [CleanTechnica]
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