2015-05-28 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, May 21:

  • Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, could phase out the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century, according to the kingdom’s oil minister. He said the kingdom plans to become a “global power in solar and wind energy” and could start exporting electricity instead of fossil fuels in coming years. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • Minnesota utility regulators approved lower electric rates for people who charge plug-in vehicles in their garages at night. The new rates, which take effect in about two months at Xcel Energy Inc. and two other utilities, could shave 40% or more off the already low cost of charging plug-in cars. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
  • Renewable energy development company SunEdison has received contracts to build 33 MW of DC rooftop solar with Southern California Edison in the utility’s most recent round of solar procurement. SCE will purchase the electricity from the 17 rooftop installations through 20-year power purchase agreements. [PV-Tech]

Friday, May 22:

  • Despite burning more coal for energy than all other provinces combined, Alberta is set to ween itself off the black mineral, earning praise from a coalition of physicians. Canada has laws to close or upgrade coal plants, but its provinces have pushed through stricter, faster plans, and Alberta could be next. [Calgary Herald]
  • AXA, one of the largest insurance companies in the world and the largest in France, announced this week that it will sell more than $550,000,000 in coal investments by the end of 2015. It will triple its investments in renewable energy, energy infrastructure and green bond to more than $3 billion by 2020. [PlanetSave.com]
  • A new government analysis of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan shows that the proposal could further weaken an already battered coal industry. Electricity generation from the carbon-intensive fossil fuel would fall by 90 GW, more than twice the decline government analysts had predicted as recently as April. [Lexington Herald Leader]

Saturday, May 23:

  • Australians in Melbourne have been negotiating for four years with various government bodies of the state of Victoria for an entirely solar-powered tram network in Melbourne. The network would be the world’s largest, and it would make the capital city of Victoria become a world environmental leader. [CleanTechnica]

Solar powered tram. Digital visualization by Australia Solar Group.

  • Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, has endorsed warnings that the world’s fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions. The oil boss has also predicted that the global energy system will become “zero carbon” by the end of the century. [The Guardian]
  • Over 2,000 business leaders, political leaders, and senior climate negotiators at the Business & Climate Summit pledged to lead a global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. The question is “who will lead?” Policymakers call for business leadership, and business leaders call for well-founded policy. [CleanTechnica]
  • According to a recently released report by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, grid parity was coming much quicker than expected. It has already been met in six major cities, and in 2017 the population at parity is likely to be 71 million instead of the 51 million projected in 2012. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, May 24:

  • AXA, one of the largest insurance companies in the world and the largest in France, announced this week that it will sell more than $550,000,000 in coal investments by the end of 2015. It will triple its investments in renewable energy, energy infrastructure and green bond to more than $3 billion by 2020. [PlanetSave.com]
  • A new government analysis of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan shows that the proposal could further weaken an already battered coal industry. Electricity generation from the carbon-intensive fossil fuel would fall by 90 GW, more than twice the decline government analysts had predicted as recently as April. [Lexington Herald Leader]

Monday, May 25:

  • The construction on a 2.3-MW floating solar power plant has been completed in Hyogo prefecture, western Japan. It is the world’s largest floating solar power plant in terms of output. The plant is expected to generate 2,680 MWh every year. It is more efficient than land-based systems because the water cools the panels. [Xinhua]
  • Roughly 1% of Australia’s geothermal energy, which is shallower than five kilometres, could supply the nation’s total energy requirements, government estimates reveal. In the state of Victoria, some of the best geothermal areas are below beds of brown coal. The state government seems to prefer the coal. [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Recent bids in Jordan confirmed last year’s results from Dubai: Solar is now cheaper than gas-fired power in this region, with major implications for energy strategies. Bids in Jordan’s recent solar auction were just over 6¢/kWh, slightly above the record 5.84¢ from Acwa Power last November in Dubai. [The National]

Tuesday, May 26:

  • Just weeks after producing its first batch of synthetic diesel fuel made from carbon dioxide and water, Audi has laid claim to another synthetic, clean-burning and petroleum-free gasoline replacement fuel called “e-benzin.” The fuel was created by Audi’s project partner Global Bioenergies, in France. [Gizmag]
  • The Government of Japan signed a contribution agreement on its pledge of $1.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund, bringing the total confirmed agreements since the GCF’s November 2014 Berlin meeting up to 58.5% of amounts pledged, and well over the 50% threshold required by its governing board. [CleanTechnica]
  • Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk has grown to include over 100 institutional investors with more than $24 trillion in collective assets. The network is actively calling for an end to global fossil fuel subsidies and a strong Paris climate agreement later this year. It is also moving the corporate world. [Communities Digital News]

Wednesday, May 27:

  • According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, wind and solar accounted for all new generating capacity placed into service in April. Wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower combined have provided 84.1% of the new US electrical generating capacity placed into service so far in 2015. [North American Windpower]
  • Clean energy employed more than 7.7 million people across the world last year, according the International Renewable Energy Agency. The number, which covers people employed directly by renewable energy firms and throughout the supply chain, marks an 18% rise on the 6.5 million jobs recorded in 2013. [GreenBiz]
  • Ahead of the climate change Conference of the Parties in December, France’s lower house of parliament has approved a bill aimed at boosting renewable energy and reducing reliance on nuclear power, among other environment-friendly measures. There were 308 votes for the bill, and 217 against. [Jamaica Observer]
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