2015-05-14 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, May 7:

  • Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said countries were ahead of schedule in negotiating a global agreement on curbing greenhouse gases that can be adopted at a Paris summit in December. Technology has changed things since a similar effort failed in 2009. [Chippewa Herald]
  • Hawaii looks set to be the first US state to put a firm use-by date on carbon intensive energy generation. The new compromise bill sets targets of 30% renewables in 2020, 70% by 2030 and 100% renewables by 2045. It has passed in the legislature, and is now just awaiting Governor David Ige’s signature. [Energy Matters]

Friday, May 8:

  • For the first time, the global average concentration of CO2 has surpassed 400 ppm for an entire month. NOAA’s lead greenhouse gas scientist pointed out that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide levels to rise more than 120 ppm since pre-industrial times, with half of that since 1980.” [CleanTechnica]

Fracking waste being spread on Albertan fields near a natural gas facility fracking at Rosebud, Alberta

  • Unconventional drilling (ie, fracking) creates a huge amount of waste, some of which is being sprayed onto farmer’s fields. The most economical disposal method is to dump the waste on agricultural land. This includes the grasslands, where animals graze, and crop lands. The waste also is spread into water. [CleanTechnica]
  • Germany’s anticipated installation figures for offshore wind this year are 2071 MW, nearly four times the country’s 529 MW installed during 2014, according to GlobalData, a global research and consulting firm. The report details the global quarterly intake for wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. [CleanTechnica]
  • Italy’s biggest utility will invest 27% more in renewable energy in the years ahead even as a slump in oil prices makes it more difficult for solar and wind power to compete with fossil fuels on price. Enel Green Power SpA plans to increase annual capital spending to €2.1 billion through 2017, up from €1.66 in 2014. [Bloomberg]

Saturday, May 9:

  • A new study in Nature Climate Change says that utility-scale solar plants taking up massive amounts of open space in the countryside actually aren’t necessary: We can get more than enough solar power by building in cities instead. The study focuses on California because it is pursuing renewable goals. [Co.Exist]

Solar Panels at Topaz Solar 7. Photo by Sarah Swenty/USFWS. Wikimedia Commons

  • A “massive” global expansion of solar power, possibly enough to supply about a third or more of the world’s electricity, may be necessary by 2050 to reduce the impacts of fossil fuels on the climate, according to a report published by MIT. But that means increasing solar from today’s 20 GW to 400 GW in the US. [Kitsap Sun]
  • UK Prime Minister Cameron’s 2014 commitment to go ‘all out for shale gas’ may have been controversial, but now he has secured power this could be huge news for the oil and gas industry in the UK. Estimates suggest up to £6 billion of shale gas annually could be produced in Lancashire for the next three decades. [OilVoice]

Sunday, May 10:

  • The first renewable energy scheme in Scotland to draw heat from the sea could be installed in Shetland. The archipelago’s capital of Lerwick already has the largest district heating system in Scotland, heated by burning trash. But there is not enough trash, so they are considering an ocean source heat pump. [Herald Scotland]

Lerwick, Shetland. Photo by Eric. Wikimedia Commons.

  • According to the US Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes (magnitude 2.0 or higher) since the beginning of this year, the latest a magnitude-2.7 quake near Farmers Branch on Saturday. There was only one in the 58 years before 2008. The difference is probably due to fracking. [CNN]

Monday, May 11:

  • Apple announced expansion of its renewable energy and environmental protection initiatives in China, including a new multi-year project with World Wildlife Fund to increase responsibly managed forests significantly. The new forestland program aims to protect as much as 1 million acres. [The FINANCIAL]

Forest in Lesser Khingan Mountains near Yichun, Heilongjiang, China. Photo by Lzy881114. Wikimedia Commons.

  • The Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché has received an order from Younicos AG to build a turnkey battery power plant on the Azores island Graciosa. The storage system is part of a micro-grid solution, which will increase the proportion of renewable energies used on the island from 15% to 65%. [Sun & Wind Energy]
  • Building off of a strong January and February, new electricity generation capacity added in the USA in March brought the 1st quarter split to 84% for all renewables, 81% for solar + wind. Utility-scale solar power now accounts for 1% of total US electricity generation capacity, small-scale solar an estimated 0.7%. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, May 12:

  • A race is on to harness the tides and waves for electrical power, with more than 100 different devices being tested by companies hoping to make a commercial breakthrough. The UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, are all developing technologies to harvest the tide. [eco-business.com]

A tidal power plant being developed in Swansea Bay, south Wales in the UK. Image: Tidal Lagoon Swansea

  • Scotland renewables are important , but more are coming. By the middle of 2014, they were already greater than nuclear, the country’s second resource. Capacity was 7,112 MW by the end of the 3rd quarter. Wind alone has 8,161 MW of capacity in various stages of construction and another 3,765 MW in planning. [CleanTechnica]
  • Iowa’s 5,688 MW of installed wind capacity uses only 1% of the state’s wind resources, according to a new report, Iowa’s Wind Potential for Addressing 111(d) Goals. The resources are more than adequate to meet the state’s Clean Power Plan requirements cost-effectively and help neighboring states, too. [Utility Dive]

Wednesday, May 13:

  • The UK’s new Conservative minister for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd, has made clear her unequivocal backing for action to combat climate change and for the science behind it. This is vital in a year when a major international deal to combat global warming is expected in Paris in December. [New Scientist]

March Against Climate Change, September 2014. “Margaret Thatcher was the first ever world leader to sound the alarm.” Photo by peganum from Henfield, England. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Greenpeace has released a report naming the tech companies who make the best (and worst) use of renewable energy. The report grades companies on areas including renewable energy commitment, deployment and advocacy of green power, mitigation and the transparency of their energy policies. [The Register]
  • The Board of Supervisors of Riverside County, California, signed off on a major solar plant, voting unanimously to approve a 485-MW, 3,600-acre project near Blythe. The project, on private, previously disturbed land, would power about 180,000 homes and add over $500,000 per year to the county’s revenues. [The Desert Sun]
  • Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp, the agency redeveloping the Navy Yard, is installing a “smart-grid” system on the 1,200-acre campus in South Philadelphia. PIDC envisions an interconnected network of renewable power sources and storage devices in a self-supporting “community” microgrid. [Philly.com]
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