2015-01-02 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Wednesday, December 24:

  • Reactor operators at Vermont Yankee are getting ready for the nuclear plant’s final shutdown next Monday. Their preparation includes training on a control room simulator at the company’s corporate offices in Brattleboro. The simulator is an exact replica of the control room at the Vernon plant. [Vermont Public Radio]
  • Going solar, according to new research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, might be a more beneficial economic energy choice in states one does not expect to see at the top of the list. Hawaii and California do top the list, but the number three state is not very sunny at all; it is Connecticut. [CleanTechnica]
  • A series of studies from government research agencies and industry in the last few years have found that anywhere from 5% to 20% of today’s natural gas demand could be met with renewable natural gas, also known as bio-methane. It is produced in bio-digesters, from landfills, and through other carbon-neutral methods. [Energy Collective]

Thursday, December 25:

  • The Indian cabinet has now officially cleared the way for setting up of 25 Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects across India. Each of these projects will have a capacity of 500 MW or more, totaling 20 GW. They are scheduled to be set up by 2019 and will receive a Central Government financial support of $649 million. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, December 26:

  • The US EPA has a formula to evaluate nuclear power in its carbon reduction plan. It says 5.8% of existing nuclear capacity was at risk of being shut for financial reasons, and thus for states with nuclear reactors, keeping them running would earn a credit of 5.8% toward that state’s carbon reduction goal. [New York Times]
  • The 10th edition of the Climate Change Performance Index has good and bad news. The index compares the 58 top carbon-emitting nations. It reveals that global carbon emissions have reached a new peak. However, the index indicates that countries have recently developed a new readiness to take action on climate change. [Triple Pundit]

Saturday, December 27:

  • ERCOT, which manages 90% of Texas’ electric grid, took another look at the impact of seven EPA clean air safeguards on the electric grid. They now say that once power companies comply with EPA’s other clean air protections, the proposed Clean Power Plan’s requirements could be met by closing a single coal-fired plant. [Energy Collective]
  • One misperception in San Francisco is that, due to the fog, the solar power potential for the city is not good, but this is not true. San Francisco’s solar radiation is 93% of San Diego’s, and cooler temperatures make photovoltaics more efficient, because PV systems operate more efficiently at lower temperatures. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, December 28:

  • The Windham Solid Waste Management District says it has 11 proposals to build a solar array on a closed landfill in Brattleboro, Vermont. Four of the proposals are from Vermont companies. The system being considered will have a capacity of 5 MW. It will provide revenue for the district and its 19 member towns. [Press Herald]
  • Elon Musk announced that Tesla will relaunch its Roadster model. The new model will have a new battery pack, increasing the distance the car can travel. According to the company, the new battery pack will allow the car to travel about 400 miles with a single charge compared to 245 miles with the current model. [Uncover Michigan]

Monday, December 29:

  • The New York Public Service Commission approved Con Ed’s Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management Program. The plan calls for replacing about $1 billion to upgrade two substations, which the utility says it would need to do by 2018, with less expensive distributed alternatives. [Energy Collective]

Tuesday, December 30:

  • “Five energy surprises for 2015: The possible and the improbable” Predictions: Oil and gas production both going into decline, oil going below $30 per barrel, a breakthrough in solar thermal, an international agreement calling for binding GHG emissions limits, and oil at over $100 per barrel by the end of the year. [Resilience]
  • 2014 saw new records for German renewables, which produced 25.8% of the year’s power. Wind power hit a new record peak of 29.7 GW on December 12. Coal-fired power in Germany during 2014 was 10% less than in 2013. Gas-fired power plants dropped to 9.7% while nuclear energy’s share increased by half a percent to 15.9%. [Energy Matters]
  • The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant stopped sending electricity to the grid Monday after producing total of 171 billion kWh over its 42-year lifetime. The shutdown came just after noon as the plant completed its 30th operating cycle when workers inserted control rods into the reactor core and stopped the nuclear reaction process. [Washington Times]

Wednesday, December 31:

  • A new report from the consulting company Accenture, the Digitally Enabled Grid, clearly states that if the utilities wish to maintain a market share similar comparable to today’s, the companies will need to “fundamentally transform their business models.” Their revenues decline as $123 billion a year by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

Thursday, January 1:

  • An “affordable” flow battery based on high-capacity organic electrolytes is currently under development by researchers at Ann Arbor–based Vinazene Inc, in partnership with Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center and its Chemistry Department. [CleanTechnica]
  • New York’s residential kitchens and yards, supermarkets and restaurants (24,000 in New York City), 600 wastewater treatment plants, $3 billion food processing industry, farms, and many landfills make millions of tons of waste every year. It can all produce renewable natural gas. [Albany Times Union]
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