2015-04-23 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, April 16:

The Burgar Hill wind farm has been in operation for 13 years and faces the windiest conditions in the UK

The Burgar Hill wind farm has been in operation for 13 years and faces the windiest conditions in the UK

  • A wind turbine in Orkney has become the first in the UK to generate more than 100,000,000 kWh of electricity. It sits on the island’s exposed Burgar Hill, the windiest location for a wind farm in Europe. It was erected as a prototype in 2002, and produces enough power, on average, to supply 1,400 homes. [Scotsman]
  • America’s power generation fleet has changed so much since the 1950s, and especially over the last decade, that the amount of carbon we emit per MWh of electricity produced has dropped to its lowest point in recorded history. In fact, 2015 could be the cleanest ever for our power industry. [Environmental Defense Fund]
  • The Dow Chemical Company announced new sustainability goals, to be accomplished by 2025, which include creating products that offset three times more carbon dioxide than they emit throughout their life cycle and delivering $1 billion in cost savings or new cash flow by valuing nature in business decisions. [Environmental Leader]

Friday, April 17:

  • As it turns out, the solution to a serious problem discovered last year at Ivanpah, the first solar power tower in the US, actually has turned out to be “one weird trick.” A mishap in January produced the Eureka moment for safe solar power tower development. Now there are no more dead birds at all. [CleanTechnica]
Tower at Ivanpah. Photo by Craig Dietrich. Wikimedia Commons.

Tower at Ivanpah. Photo by Craig Dietrich. Wikimedia Commons.

  • One of Australia’s largest power generators, AGL Energy, has adopted a new policy. AGL will not finance or build new coal-fired power stations, and it will not extend the operating life of any existing coal-fired power stations beyond 2050. The announcement came at the opening of AGL’s 102-MW Nyngan Solar Plant. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • BP shareholders voted overwhelmingly to publish regular updates on how its strategies were affecting climate change, making it one of the first global oil companies to disclose such details. The plan was proposed by a group of investors the annual general meeting and got support of 98% of investors. [News24]
  • In a poll of US parents, 81% said they want to live in a solar-powered home. The majority (67%) also wants solar to be the world’s primary energy source when their children grow up. And 95% believe it’s their responsibility to teach their children about alternative energy for a better environment for the future. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, April 18:

  • The European Commission announced approval for Germany to invest nearly €30 billion in the development of 20 offshore wind farms. Germany notified the EU of its plans to invest in 17 wind farms set to be located in the North Sea, and another 3 in the Baltic Sea, amounting in total to 7 GW of new capacity. [CleanTechnica]
Wind Lift I, a special crane ship for installing offshore wind turbines. Photo by kaʁstn, Wikimedia Commons.

Wind Lift I, a special crane ship for installing offshore wind turbines. Photo by kaʁstn, Wikimedia Commons.

  • Nebraska Public Power District, the state’s largest utility, announced plans to replace a coal-fired power plant unit with one that runs on hydrogen, cutting its carbon emissions by over 1 million tons per year, even as the state battles proposed new federal rules on coal plants. It will generate 125 MW with the unit. [Reuters Africa]
  • US wind power saved 68 billion gallons of water in the US in 2014, according to a report by the AWEA. This is an increasingly valuable benefit in droughts. In California, wind energy saved 2.5 billion gallons of freshwater in 2014, while Texas led the nation with savings of 13 billion gallons of water. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Sunday, April 19:

  • The Hazelwood brown coal power plant is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the Australian state of Victoria. Two Harvard fellows have attempted to find the cost of unseen impacts of the plant’s emissions, based on work by the US National Academy of Science. They estimate it at about $900 million a year. [The Age]
  • “ExxonMobil’s Dangerous Business Strategy” – Total, ENI, Statoil, and Shell are advocating for a carbon price (such as a tax or permit system) to hasten the transition to low-carbon energy and are beginning to prepare internally for it. However, ExxonMobil’s business model continues to deny reality.[Mareeg Media]
  • In 2013, computer simulations by the Hawaii Electric Company showed the grid could not handle more distributed solar power, and they put a moratorium on new rooftop solar connections. Then Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, got HECO to run actual tests, and based on the results, the moratorium was ended. [Reading Eagle]

Monday, April 20:

  • The Detroit Zoo is headed for greener pastures with its plan for the first biodigester at a US zoo. The $1.1 million project will convert 400-500 tons of manure and other organic waste annually. The biodigester will save the zoo $70,000-$80,000 in energy costs and $30,000-$40,000 in waste disposal fees. [Crain’s Detroit Business]
  • Toshiba Corp on Monday said it has started operations at a demonstration facility using renewable energy and hydrogen in the city of Kawasaki, Japan. Solar power is used in the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen, which is then stored and used in fuel cells to generate electricity and hot water. [SeeNews Renewables]

Tuesday, April 21:

  • Carbon emissions from the US energy sector increased in 2014 for the second year in a row, despite a big boost in renewable energy capacity, the Energy Information Administration reported on Monday. Energy-related carbon emissions increased 0.7% in 2014, while the 2014 GDP grew at a rate of 2.4%. [ThinkProgress]
A flock of Geese fly past the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the sun sets near Emmett, Kansas.

A flock of Geese fly past the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the sun sets near Emmett, Kansas.

  • After overhauling Indonesia’s fuel subsidy program, the country’s government is now striving to explore new and renewable energy resources. Indonesia is currently heavily dependent on fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal, despite having abundant resources for renewable energy, primarily geothermal and solar. [Jakarta Post]
  • Apple’s new Environmental Responsibility Report doesn’t mince words. It states clearly the debate about whether climate change exists is over: “We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it.” Apple is a big advocate of renewable energy and is willing to put its money where its mouth is. [The Green Optimistic]

Wednesday, April 22:

  •  Audi has been a pioneer of diesel vehicle technology for decades. Now they have announced having successfully produced their first batch of an eco-friendly diesel fuel. It is a synthetic version, made from carbon dioxide and water, using Audi’s latest technology in sustainability. Ambient CO2 can be collected for use. [eGMCarTech]
Korean solar PV-covered bike lane.

Korean solar PV-covered bike lane.

  • Korea has created a PV-covered bike lane connecting Sejong and Daejeon. It offers a clean transit option that utilizes unused median space in an existing highway, while providing renewable solar electricity. The PV-covered bike lanes runs approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) between the two cities. [CleanTechnica]
  • Big oil is losing its grip on the auto industry; and, perhaps more interestingly, the recent drop in oil prices is at least partly the result of demand destruction rather than simply being a supply issue, according to analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The future of transportation is set to look very different. [CleanTechnica]
  • Three organizations, Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas Co, the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the industry-backed National Fuel Cell Research Center, are combining forces to produce a series of projects demonstrating converting renewable power into methane fuel. [Natural Gas Intelligence]
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