2015-04-02 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, March 26:

  • SunEdison plans to buy about 1,000 vanadium flow batteries from Imergy Power Systems. They will store more than 100 MWh of energy at SunEdison’s rural electrification and solar-powered minigrid projects in India. SunEdison intends to bring reliable energy to 20 million people globally by 2020. [Clean Technology Business Review]
  • Renewable electricity in the UK surged 20% to 64.4 TWh in 2014 and claimed a record share of 19.2% of total generation. The latest Energy Statistics show offshore wind generation rose by 16.1% and onshore wind by 7.9% compared with 2013. Both increases were mainly due to increased capacity. [reNews]
  • Oil companies continue to get burned by low oil prices, but the pain is bleeding over into the financial industry. Major banks are suffering huge losses from both directly backing some struggling oil companies, but also from buying high-yield debt that is now going sour and difficult for the banks to sell on the market. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, March 27:

Shanghai smog as the afternoon sun has reached the smog line. Photo by Suicup, Wikimedia Commons.

Shanghai smog as the afternoon sun has reached the smog line. Photo by Suicup, Wikimedia Commons.

  • China is reducing coal use for power generation faster than expected as the use of cleaner-burning fuels and slowing economic growth drags thermal utilisation rates to a potential record low. Utilisation rates at thermal power plants, nearly all coal-fired, have dropped to 52.2% in the first two months of this year. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • Fueled by the policy-driven installation increases in China, Germany, and the US, the global wind industry had a remarkable comeback in 2014. Other countries contributed, including Brazil, Canada, and France. Navigant Research says worldwide wind power installations grew by 42% on year in 2014. [Digitimes]
  • Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 8.4% in 2014 due to a decline in fossil-fuel power generation, preliminary government data showed on Thursday. The fall largely resulted from a 15% decrease in emissions from the energy supply sector as coal-fired generation fell and output from renewable power sources rose. [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Provisional Renewable Electricity Generation 2014 national statistics show that 49.6% of electricity consumption came from renewable sources in Scotland last year, up from 44.4% in 2013. Hydro, bioenergy and wind generation all increased, with hydro at a record high level, up 26% to 5,503 GWh. [The National]
  • The US Energy Information Administration’s electricity generation figures for December 2014 show the country has reached very interesting milestone that was widely missed: wind power actually produced more electricity than hydropower for the month as a whole … for the first time in history. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, March 28:

  • Seven Republicans joined all Senate Democrats in voting, 53 to 47, for an amendment to tie climate change to national security and call for action to cut carbon pollution and invest in efficiency and renewable power. The vote shows cracks in the wall of Republican opposition to action on climate change. [Huffington Post]
  • The Georgia State Senate unanimously passed legislation that would allow for third-party ownership of rooftop solar power in the state. The bill, had passed the Georgia House of Representatives unanimously on February 9. It now heads to the desk of Republican Governor Nathan Deal. [Greentech Media]

Sunday, March 29:

  • State utility regulators, including those in Colorado, are increasingly changing how business is done. The century-old business plan for utilities, with rates based on investments in big power plants and lines, is not working well now. Demand is slowing with increased energy efficiency and rooftop solar. [The Denver Post]
  • German energy utility RWE disclosed it was in talks with an unnamed Gulf investor, raising hopes that it could receive fresh funds and emerge from a crisis that has saddled it with €31 billion ($33.6 billion) of debt. The 117-year-old German group is desperately looking for ways to reinvent its business model. [Gulf Business News]]
  • Even as the US oil industry slashes investment, pipeline operator Enbridge Energy isn’t paring back its record five-year, $44 billion building program. The company’s CEO said in an interview that the 50% drop in crude oil prices since June is dire for the industry, but hasn’t changed the economics of pipelines. [Bakken.com]

Monday, March 30:

  • Maine is positioning itself as a player in Arctic politics, which could increase opportunities for Maine’s climate researchers and for businesses in the advanced materials, construction, marine transportation, renewable power and logistics sectors. Governor LePage supports taking advantage of climate change. [Press Herald] (LePage had earlier called climate change “a scam.”)
  • For almost 40 years, Northern Power Systems, based in Barre, Vermont, has combined quality and innovation in the manufacture of wind turbines. And the company, which built the first turbine in New York City, is now partnering with companies across the globe to increase the generation of clean energy. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

Tuesday, March 31:

Australian concentrated solar photovoltaic project

Australian concentrated solar photovoltaic project

  • A fully grid-connected, first of its kind, concentrated solar photovoltaic power tower was unveiled in Newbridge, Victoria, Australia. Some believe it could reduce the cost of solar-based electricity around the world. The project has an ultra efficient concentrated photovoltaic receiver and a heliostat collector field. [CleanTechnica]
  • Rich nations provided around five times as much in export subsidies for fossil-fuel technology as for renewables over a decade, data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says. The figures on export credits are central to a debate on targeting funding ahead of UN climate talks. [Independent Online]
  • When the city council of Fort Collins, Colorado voted to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050, it seemed the local utility might be doomed. But the utility decided to employ a new integrated utility services model, which provides on-bill financing and other services. [GreenBiz]

Wednesday, April 1:

  • German CO2 emissions fell for the first time in three years as the country’s high-profile switch to renewable energy takes hold. CO2 emissions dropped by more than 41 million tonnes last year, a drop of 4.3%, according to data from Germany’s UBA environment agency, and a 27% decline on 1990 levels. [Business Green]
  • Siemens has published a study to determine the actual environmental impact of wind energy, from manufacturing through construction and operation. It found an offshore wind farm with 80 turbines saved as much CO2 as would be absorbed by a Central European forest of 1,286 square km (496 square miles). [CleanTechnica]
  • A Scottish project is using horizontal directional drilling to create cable bores to link the onshore site with four subsea tidal turbines, said project owner Atlantis Resources. Trenchless techniques such as HDD are playing an important role in several upcoming renewable energy projects involving offshore installations. [Trenchless International]
  • Samsung SDI and ABB are partnering to develop and sell modular, scalable microgrids. The agreement is for ABB to provide specific solutions for electrification, control optimization, and stabilization, and for Samsung SDI to provide lithium-ion batteries and battery management systems. [CleanTechnica]
  • Researchers from the University of Delaware have found a new catalyst to produce inexpensive hydrogen fuel that could be more attractive to consumers and businesses alike. Fuel cells are notoriously expensive because they are made using platinum-based catalysts. The new catalyst uses copper and titanium. [Hydrogen Fuel News]
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