2015-03-12 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, March 5:

  • A recent, widely seen documentary on air pollution in China, “Under the Dome,” appears to have had a strangely pronounced effect on the Chinese government. Rather than stifle those involved, or brush the matter aside, some higher-ups have even praised the documentary. Does it indicate a sea change? [CleanTechnica]
  • The EU took a step to reduce its energy dependence, especially on Russia, by improving transmission connections between Spain and Portugal, and the rest of Europe. The leaders of Spain, Portugal and France pushed moving spare renewable energy produced south of the Pyrenees to the rest of Europe. [The Local.es]
  • The US Senate tried, but failed, to override President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday. The measure drew 62 “yes” votes, with 9 Democrats joining Republicans in voting to override the veto. Separate consideration is ongoing, and the issue is not over. [Huffington Post]
  • To the dismay of many climate activists, a major natural-gas pipeline expansion project that will impact southern New England, New York and New Jersey has been approved. The proposal has drawn grassroots opposition along the pipeline’s 1,127-mile path between New Jersey and Beverly, Massachusetts. [ecoRI news]

Friday, March 6:

  • In Texas, where consumers can buy electricity through competitive power plans, renewable energy plans are among the cheapest available. In a review of the state-run website PowertoChoose.org, three of the ten lowest-priced plans offered in Dallas this week were advertised as 100% renewable. [Dallas Morning News]
  • Buoyed by tens of thousands of petitioners seeking to breathe new life into the Cape wind project, demonstrators took to Boston Common on February 28 to ask utility National Grid to rekindle its financial relationship with the project. Then about 96,000 more people signed online support petitions. [Barnstable Patriot]
  • Iowa generates 27% of its electricity from wind. It has 4,000 wind-related jobs. And wind companies pay farmers millions each year to host turbines. Now, for this Saturday’s caucus vote, Republican presidential candidates will have to answer for their position on the federal wind production tax credit. [U.S. News & World Report]

Saturday, March 7:

  • Comparing 2014 to 2013 in terms of changes in power produced in the US, windpower increased most. In fact, windpower gained more than all traditional power sources put together. Solar was number two, with 2014’s output more than doubling 2013’s. Output from natural gas fell, despite increased capacity. [CleanTechnica]
  • The UK has spearheaded a return to growth for the utility-scale solar sector in Europe, according to Wiki-Solar.org. The website, which tracks installation of solar projects over 5 MW solar worldwide, says there was a total of 35.9 GW of utility-scale solar capacity at the end of 2014, up 14.2 GW from 2013. [Solar Power Portal]
  • Around the world there were 51,477 MW of wind capacity installed during the year, a 44% increase over the amount installed in 2013. This brings the total global wind capacity to 369,553 MW, a huge number! Also, growth figures indicate we could double wind capacity during the next 7 years. [Treehugger]
  • Prominent leaders from agriculture’s diverse value chain issued an open letter to policymakers and presidential hopefuls attending the first ever Iowa Ag Summit, urging them to consider Iowa’s renewable energy record in wind, solar and biofuels as an example for clean energy policies for the nation. [KMAland]

Sunday, March 8:

  • More than 5,000 protesters gathered outside Parliament in London calling on the Government to take tougher action on climate change. Crowds of environmental activists cheered as a host of speakers including Vivienne Westwood and Caroline Lucas attacked the Government and accused it of not taking action. [Belfast Telegraph]
  • The prospective GOP presidential candidates at today’s Iowa Ag Summit were pressed to express their opinions on everything from federal policies that have boosted ethanol production to expanded trade with Cuba. Each candidate answered a series of questions from the event host, an Iowa agribusiness man. [Radio Iowa]

Monday, March 9:

  • If the “true costs” of emissions — increased rates of premature death, illness, increased loads on the healthcare system, lowered crop yields, missed work days, etc — are factored in, a gallon of gasoline would cost you roughly $3.80 more at the pump than it currently does, according to Duke University research. [CleanTechnica]
  • Solar Impulse 2 took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates en route to the Omani capital Muscat at the start of a five-month journey of 35,000 km (22,000 miles) organised to focus the world’s attention on sustainable energy. The flight will be the first around the world in a solar-powered plane. [Reuters Africa]
  • Clean energy and transport projects across the US created 47,000 new jobs last year, according to a new study from business group Environmental Entrepreneurs. Analysis confirms that the US has created more than 233,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs nationwide over the past three years. [Business Green]
  • The owner of the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear plant wants an exemption to use money from the plant’s decommissioning fund to pay for guarding spent nuclear fuel. The state, saying this violates federal regulations and could delay decommissioning, sent a letter to the NRC calling for a hearing. [Valley News]

Tuesday, March 10:

  • “Rethinking the Addison pipeline” $154 million is a lot to spend on Vermont Gas Systems’ Addison County pipeline. That same amount of money could be much better spent weatherizing homes and businesses, installing more efficient heating systems and installing solar photovoltaic systems. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]
  • At the RE-Invest 2015 summit in India last month, banks, financial institutions and the private sector offered commitments to shift the country’s power supply to clean, renewable resources. What didn’t come along with this was any explicit roadmap for how the grid would support such changes. [Energy Collective]

Wednesday, March 11

  • Solar Impulse 2 landed in India late on Tuesday, completing the first major sea leg of its epic bid to become the first solar-powered plane to fly around the world. The aircraft touched down in Gujarat at 11.25 pm to finish its second leg in a little less than 16 hours after taking off from the Omani capital Muscat. [Hindustan Times]
  • The Vermont House passed H.40, a bill designed to reduce residents’ carbon footprint, despite complaints from Republicans who fear the new renewable energy targets will come at an unforeseen cost. The RESET program increases percentages for renewables from 50% of sales by 2017 to 75% by 2032. [vtdigger.org]
  • In 2015, electric generating companies expect to add more than 20 GW of capacity to the power grid. The additions are dominated by wind (9.8 GW), natural gas (6.3 GW), and solar (2.2 GW), which combine to make up 91% of total additions. Nearly 16 GW is expected to retire, including 12.9 GW of coal. [Business Spectator]
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