2015-2-26 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, February 19:

  • An NRG Energy subsidiary, NRG Renew, will join Kaiser Permanente, a major US health provider serving over 9 million people, in creating one of the top three on-site commercial solar portfolios among all US companies. The California project will also be one of the world’s largest vehicle-parking solar projects. [CleanTechnica]
  • Last week, Rolling Stone published a blockbuster climate change article complete with the incendiary title, “The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk.” Now, the US Navy has posted a response with a forceful declaration of support for the Rolling Stone article. [CleanTechnica]
  • Green Mountain Power announced that for a third year, thanks to power generation at its Kingdom Community Wind Farm, five Northeast Kingdom Towns will receive Good Neighbor Fund payments. This year, GMP will distribute more than $188,000, an increase of $62,000 over last year. [vtdigger.org]

Friday, February 20:

  • No matter how fast the cost of oil drops, it just can’t keep up with the pace of improvements in electric vehicle batteries. In the latest development, a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, has come up with a paper-like material that could bring in a new generation of high-range batteries.[CleanTechnica]
  • Pumped storage has been around a long time, much longer than renewables’ intermittent nature required it. In July 1930, the magazine Popular Science ran an article announcing start of operations at the first US “ten-mile storage battery,” or pumped-hydro energy storage plant, in Connecticut. [Scientific American]
  • Citigroup Inc said it would set aside $100 billion to fund environmental projects over the next decade, doubling the amount it had earmarked for such projects in 2007. Citigroup said it would fund projects related to renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable transportation. [eco-business.com]

Saturday, February 21:

  • “We Don’t Need New Energy Storage Innovations” – There’s been a lot of talk about energy storage being a “holy grail” for solving the problems of deeper renewables saturation in the US power grid. But it’s time to start pushing back on the rhetoric. The solutions we have now for storage are sufficient to the task. [Greentech Media]
  • It’s been frigid in much of the US this week, and in New England for weeks on end. But nationally, the country has been going through a surprisingly warm winter. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the December 2014 to January 2015 period has been the sixth warmest on record in the contiguous US. [Huffington Post]
  • The US Navy Task Force Energy is now drawing our attention to an op-ed by a former Navy commander outlining the risks of continued oil dependency. Like another recent one, it pulls no punches, drawing attention to the thousands of American deaths attributed to petroleum transportation in Iraq and Afghanistan. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, February 22:

  • Electric car sales (including plug-in hybrid electric cars) in the UK surged over 300% in 2014, as compared year-on-year against 2013, according to the most recent figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. EV sales in the UK rose from just 3,833 units in 2013 to 15,361 units in 2014. [CleanTechnica]
  • The oil and gas industry sponsors and spins research to shape the scientific debate over horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That’s the conclusion of analysis by the non-partisan group, Public Accountability Initiative, of more than 130 documents distributed to policymakers by industry representatives. [Huffington Post]
  • A broad political coalition, from liberal environmentalists to tea-party conservatives, has banded together in Florida to press for something that ironically is in short supply in the Sunshine State: solar power. The group launched a campaign to place a pro-solar initiative on the state’s 2016 ballot. [Fox News]

Monday, February 23:

  • Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a prominent climate change denier and researcher, quietly took more than $1.2 million in payouts from the energy industry, including the Koch brothers and other oil lobbyists, for the past 14 years, newly released documents obtained by Greenpeace have shown. [eNews Park Forest]
  • Apple plans on investing €1.7 billion (£1.3 billion) into Europe, which is the biggest investment the American company has ever made on European soil. The plan is to create two new data centres in County Galway, Ireland, and Denmark’s central Jutland. The facilities will run on 100% renewable energy. [ITProPortal]
  • Engineers in Norway and Sweden, two of the countries trying hardest to develop wave power technology, have announced “breakthroughs” in their methods, which the inventors believe will make wave power competitive. The latest Norwegian experiment has been installed in a redundant fishing vessel. [eco-business.com]

Tuesday, February 24:

  • New Coal Plants in China: A (Carbon) Bubble Waiting to Burst” – China’s coal consumption growth has slowed down and fell in 2014. At the same time, coal-fired power generating capacity is growing rapidly. This represents an investment bubble that will burst as overcapacity becomes too large to ignore. [Energy Collective]
  • The government of the Australian state of Victoria has made good on a pre-election promise to support the state’s first solar-powered town. Energy audits and retrofits to reduce consumption have already begun in Newstead as the first step towards a community micro-grid using 100% renewable power. [The Fifth Estate]
  • Senvion is delivering 18 wind turbines for the Nordergründe offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. Each turbine has a rated power of 6.15 MW, enabling it to supply about 4,000 households with energy. The Nordergründe offshore wind farm will be completed in the fall of 2016. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Wednesday, February 25:

  • President Barack Obama, exercising his veto power for the first time in five years, rejected on Tuesday a measure green-lighting the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It is unlikely GOP lawmakers will be able to reverse Obama’s veto, as that would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber. [CNN]
  • As part of its first major retrofit in 30 years, two custom-designed wind turbines have started generating power for the Eiffel Tower. Located above the World Heritage Site’s second level, about 400 feet off the ground, the sculptural wind turbines are now producing 10,000 kWh of electricity annually. [ThinkProgress]
  • SunEdison Inc, a US solar panel maker and project developer, expects its annual installations to more than double this year. The company intends to complete solar and wind power facilities with 2,100 to 2,300 MW of capacity during 2015. Last year it completed 1,048 megawatts of solar farms. [Bloomberg]
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