2015-01-08 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Friday, January 2:

  • In 2000, wind farms composed just 116 MW of capacity on Texas’ main electric grid. That number has since soared to more than 11,000 MW, while wind fuels about 10% of all generation. (On average, one MWh of wind energy can power 260 typical Texas homes for an hour.) [Midland Reporter-Telegram]
  • Indian Prime Minister Modi wants companies from China, Japan, Germany and the United States to lead investments of $100 billion over seven years to boost the country’s solar energy capacity by 33 times to 100,000 MW, a top official in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said. [Economic Times]
  • The Kulan is an electric-powered farmer’s utility vehicle named after a Central Asian type of donkey. It has two 2-kilowatt motors in the back two wheels. There’s a lithium-ion battery sitting there between them. Its range is 186 miles, the top speed is 31 mph, and it can carry 1 ton of cargo. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, January 3:

  • Construction of the world’s largest tidal stream turbine power plant looks set to begin next month in Scotland. The project’s majority owners, Australian-founded Atlantis Resources, say they had met all requirements for funding through the UK’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund. [CleanTechnica]
  • Analysis by WWF Scotland found that last year wind turbines provided enough energy to supply the electrical needs of 98% of Scottish households, or 2.36 million homes. Wind turbines generated enough power to supply over 100% of Scottish households on 25 out of the 31 days of December. [SNP]
  • Xcel Energy Inc says it wants to far more than double the amount of electricity it gets from wind and solar in the Upper Midwest. The business, which serves 1.2 million ratepayers in Minnesota, has the most wind power of any US utility, and plans for a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030. [Macro Insider]
  • A coalition of US governors is calling on President Obama to implement a series of crucial changes to the country’s wind power policies. Among their goals are a multi-year extension of the renewable energy production and investment tax credits and expansion of transmission line development. [reNews]

Sunday, January 4:

  • New figures from the US Energy Information Administration suggest that for the fastest-growing parts of the country, electricity is gaining share as the heating fuel choice. In the future, that electricity for heating could increasingly come from renewable sources, such as wind or solar. [Energy Collective]
  • The city of La Paz, Mexico, is to be powered 100% by solar energy. It already has 39 MW of solar PVs, and another solar plant is being built with battery storage. It will have 97,000 solar panels on 44 acres, costing $80 million and with a 30 MW capacity. The battery will have 11 MW. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Nuclear power is the greenest option, say top scientists” – In an open letter, more than 65 biologists, including a former UK government chief scientist, support a call to build more nuclear power plants as a central part of a global strategy to protect wildlife and the environment. [The Independent]

Monday, January 5:

  • The UK’s grid operator confirmed wind power generation rose 15% during 2014 from 24.5 TWh to 28.1TWh, enough to supply the needs of more than 6.7 million households. Overall, grid-connected windpower met 9.3% of the UK’s electricity demand during 2014, up from 7.8% in 2013. [Business Green]
  • Norway is close to agreeing on a €2 billion investment to construct a 700 km underwater power line that would allow the UK to import hydroelectric power as Britain attempts to solve its power crisis. A firm decision to build the line between the two countries would be made early this year. [Financial Times]
  • For January through October, renewables accounted for 13% of US electric generation, up from 12% for 2013 according to the US Energy Information Administration. Only solar installations of 5 MW or more were counted. With smaller installations, the figure would be about 13.7%. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, January 6:

  • EDF Renewable Services, the US subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, expanded its portfolio of renewable energy projects in Canada by 52% in 2014. Over the course of the year, the company signed contracts for 27 projects in Quebec and Ontario, representing 454 MW of wind and 134 MW of solar power. [EcoSeed]
  • Exelon Corp, the biggest US owner of nuclear reactors, estimates it will need to charge 83% above wholesale prices to keep the Ginna nuclear plant running. The plant, near Rochester, New York, recorded losses exceeding $100 million from 2011 to 2013. Ginna is one of ten nuclear plants considered uncompetitive. [Tulsa World]
  • In his Monday inaugural address, California Governor Jerry Brown proposed an ambitious expansion of California’s renewable energy goals, from one-third by 2020 to 50% by 2030. The goal also includes big increases in alternative fuels, building efficiency, and smart grid investments to put them to use. [Greentech Media]

Wednesday, January 7:

  • Prices for German solar power storage systems have reportedly fallen 25% since the spring. According to the German Solar Industry Association, about 15,000 German households now use battery storage combined with solar power, a number has been growing faster and faster as the costs have come down. [CleanTechnica]
  • Solar power is growing in New York at 63% per year. The figure is not for a single year, but the average for the period of 2010 to 2013, according to a new report titled, Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in New York. At this rate of growth, the state could be 20% powered by solar by 2025. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Cape Wind project planned for Nantucket Sound was dealt a significant setback as Massachusetts’ two biggest utilities, Northeast Utilities and National Grid , announced that they are terminating contracts to purchase power from the wind farm because of the project’s failure to meet contractual deadlines. [MassLive.com]
  • California Governor Jerry Brown has announced a goal of cutting California’s oil use in half. This may sound like an impossible task in a state famous for freeways and sprawl. But many experts consider the ambitious climate and energy goals Brown spelled out in his inauguration speech difficult but doable. [SFGate]

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