2015-04-16 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, April 9:

  • Commercial and industrial, governmental and educational institutions signed over 23% of wind power purchase agreements last year, for more than 1,770 MW of power. US non-utility groups are increasingly buying wind power as a hedge against rising fuel costs and reduce their environmental impact. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • A team of Stanford researchers has developed an aluminum ion battery that offers many significant advantages over the traditional lithium-ion batteries currently used in most electronic devices and today’s electric and hybrid cars. It is lower cost, has longer life, is not a fire hazard, and has environmental benefits. [Planetsave]
  • Billionaire Michael Bloomberg says he’s donating an additional $30 million to a Sierra Club initiative working to reduce the nation’s use of coal. The Sierra Club has a goal of replacing half the nation’s coal plants with renewable energy by 2017. Bloomberg had donated $50 million to the program in 2011. [Business Spectator]

Friday, April 10:

Offshore wind. Photo by Arnold Price, from Wikimedia Commons.

  • The North Seas Grid should be one of the building blocks of the Energy Union, companies and campaigners have told EU energy ministers. Momentum builds behind the project connecting offshore wind farms in Ireland, Scotland, the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. [EurActiv]
  • An area in southern England could hold more oil than the North Sea. Oil and Gas Investments, an exploration firm that has been drilling in the region, says it could hold as much as 100 billion barrels, or 158 million barrels per square mile. The North Sea produced about 45 billion barrels over the last 40 years. [AOL Money UK]
  • The California Public Utilities Commission is ordering Pacific Gas & Electric Co to pay a record $1.6 billion penalty for unsafe operation of its gas transmission system, including the pipeline rupture that killed eight people in 2010. Most of the penalty amounts to forced spending on improving pipeline safety. [CNN]
  • The US is seen to deploy a record 18 GW of new renewable energy capacity this year, while also retiring 23 GW of coal-fired power plants, according to research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The US will add an estimated 9.1 GW of solar parks and 8.9 GW of fresh wind capacity in 2015. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance have forecast that 2015 will be a watershed year for the US’ decarbonization efforts, predicting that the country will reach a two-decade low in power sector emissions nationally this year. They say the US efforts to transform the nation’s power sector are bearing fruit. [RenewEconomy]

Saturday, April 11:

  • A study in Nature Climate Change shows that electric vehicle batteries have been getting cheaper much faster than expected. From 2007 to 2011, average battery costs for battery-powered electric vehicles fell by about 14% a year. The cost of batteries is about what the International Energy Agency predicted for 2020. [UK Progressive Magazine]
  • With the lesson of Hurricane Sandy in mind, New York aims to get ahead on adapting to climate change by modernizing and integrating renewables into its power grid and making its infrastructure better able to withstand extreme weather. Its smart grid research is likely to influence the rest of the country. [Tribune-Review]

Sunday, April 12:

Offshore wind farm.

  • Despite the public perception of offshore wind energy being highly expensive, electricity generated via this technology is already cheaper in Europe than that generated by gas-fired power plants or proposed nuclear projects such as the Hinkley Point C project, according to a new analysis of publicly available data. [CleanTechnica]
  • The public health burden associated with the coal industry and coal-fired power plants had some light shed on it by a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. It found that long-term improvements in air quality were strongly associated with better respiratory function among growing children. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, April 13:

  • The economic viability of some 53% of 39 of the power plants planned for construction in Europe’s largest economy by 2025 has been called into question, according to the German energy industry association BDEW. It said investors are nervous over low profitability for coal- and gas-fired power stations. [Economic Times]
  • The world’s largest network of municipalities adopted an action plan aimed at taking prompt measures against climate change. The Seoul Action Plan was released by a congress held in Seoul to gather more global support at the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives World Congress. [eco-business.com]
  • Gunter Scheibner, in charge of keeping flows stable over 6,200 miles of transmission lines in eastern Germany, must keep power from solar and wind in harmony whether it’s sunny or overcast, windy or still. He is proving that renewable energy from the sun and wind can be just as reliable as fossil fuels. [Bloomberg]

Tuesday, April 14:

  • Wind is now the cheapest way to bring new electricity generation to the grid in many countries, including the US. Solar PV costs are rapidly dropping and solar is expected to join wind over the next few years. Low-cost utility-scale solar already beats out all other sources of electricity in some bidding processes. [CleanTechnica]

Indiana wind farm. Photo by Patrick Finnegan from Lafayette, IN, USA. Wikimedia Commons.

  • In 2014, the World Health Organization measured air quality levels in 1,600 cities around the world, and the Indian capital city of New Delhi was found to have the highest concentration of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers. It was ten times as bad as New York’s level and three times Beijing’s. [CNN]
  • Wind power output in Estonia on Sunday reached 3,797 MWh. According to recently released data by the EU’s statistics office, Estonia is one of three member states that have surpassed their renewable energy target for 2020. The country reached a 25.6% renewables share in 2013; the goal for 2020 is 25%. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wednesday, April 15:

  • Analysis presented at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit says the world is now adding capacity for renewable power faster than for coal, natural gas, and oil combined. This has been going on since 2013, when 143 GW of renewable capacity were added, compared with 141 GW for fossil fuels. [Bloomberg]
  • Renewables, mainly including hydropower, solar and wind, reached 28% of the total electric power supply in Germany in 2014, 19% in the UK, 22% in China, 76% in Brazil and 13% in the US, as investments in renewables increased more than 15% globally last year, BNEF Chairman Michael Liebreich said Tuesday. [Climate Central]
  • The US witnessed an 82% surge in wind energy project financing following the release of guidance last year that clarified the qualifying criteria for the wind energy Production Tax Credit, according to a new report.Wind energy project finance shot up to $7.1 billion, an 82% increase on the $3.9 billion the first half. [The Engineer]
  • Legislation strengthening Illinois’s renewable electricity and energy efficiency standards would drive billions in new clean energy investments and save consumers $12 billion by 2030, reducing the typical household electricity bill by 23%, or $22 per month, in 2030, according to new analysis. [Union of Concerned Scientists]
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