2015-07-02 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, June 25:

  • “Why are the government’s energy forecasts so bad?” In 2009, the US DOE’s Energy Information Administration forecast that US wind power would grow modestly, reaching 44 GWof generating capacity in 2030. Just six years later, US wind capacity is already up to 66 GW. So what’s up with this? [Politico]
  • It’s illegal to knowingly ignore the dangers of global warming, according to a Dutch court. The court ordered the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 in order to preserve the low-lying Netherlands and protect its people from the dangers of global warming. [ThinkProgress]
  • New research from GTM Research forecasts that the US community solar sector is to reach a tipping point soon, growing five-fold in 2015 and regularly reaching 500 GW by 2020. The report forecasts community solar to reach 115 MW installed in 2015, and predicts 500 MW annually by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, June 26:

  • Google is planning its newest data center, and not only will Google be using renewable energy to power it, but it will do it reusing a retired coal power plant. Google announced the development on its Official Blog. The data center will be reusing the soon-to-be retired Widows Creek coal power plant, in Alabama. [CleanTechnica]
The Widows Creek coal power plant, Jackson County, Alabama, will become a renewably-powered Google data center.

The Widows Creek coal power plant, Jackson County, Alabama, will become a renewably-powered Google data center.

  • Scientific models supported by the UK’s Foreign Office show that if we don’t change course, in less than three decades industrial civilization will collapse due to catastrophic food shortages, triggered by climate change, water scarcity, energy crisis, and political instability. NOTE: “…if we don’t change course, …” [CleanTechnica]
  • US senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), and representatives Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Mike Thompson (D-California) reintroduced their MLP Parity Act. It would allow renewable energy developers to form master limited partnerships, now only available to fossil fuel projects. [Argus Media]

Saturday, June 27:

  • A post-2020 climate-control action plan, to be submitted by China to the United Nations by the end of this month, will be a powerful driving force on energy research and innovation, according to the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency. It will see investments estimated to total $6.6 trillion. [ecns]
  • Germany’s nuclear power phase out begins its final phase with the closing of the 1.3 GW Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant. The plant is the first of the final nine plants scheduled for decommissioning. E.ON is closing it earlier than scheduled for economic reasons. [Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers]
  • A report released by Environment America considers an ongoing battle between electric companies and customers over the value of solar energy. It shows that utilities’ assertions that net metering costs them more than it is worth are false; such systems actually provide benefits exceeding their costs. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, June 28:

  • “Solar Power Pros And Cons: Is Solar Power Worth It?” – If it were a disease, we’d have a full-blown epidemic. From $0-down leases to $0-down solar loans, there are easy ways to go solar these days. Even your grandmother can do it. But what are the actual pros and cons of solar power these days? [PlanetSave.com]

  • “Activism fomented by Koch brothers turns against them” – The Koch brothers’ political machine, Freedom Partners, says it will raise and spend $889 million pushing conservative causes in the 2016 presidential election. An emerging champion against the Koch brothers is Tea Party activist Debbie Dooley. [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Germany’s oldest remaining nuclear reactor has been shut down, part of a move initiated four years ago to switch off all its nuclear plants by 2022. Bavaria’s environment ministry said Sunday that the Grafenrheinfeld reactor in the southern German state was taken offline as scheduled overnight. [Chicago Daily Herald]

Monday, June 29:

  • Genesis Energy Corporation, based in London, and SHP Malthe Winje, based in Norway, have signed a memorandum of understanding for Modular Mini Hydro Power that could efficiently and effectively meet Nigerian and other African energy needs quickly and with no negative environmental impact. [THISDAY Live]
  • Thirteen miles off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island boasts 17 miles of beaches, 365 freshwater ponds, 250-foot bluffs and 150 bird species. It also has electricity costing 50¢/kWh. Now the island is about to become well known for another reason. It will host the first offshore wind farm in the United States. [GreenBiz]

Tuesday, June 30:

  • This morning, June 29th, 2015, at 3:03 am local time in Nagoya, Japan (6:03 pm GMT on June 28th), Swiss pilot André Borschberg took off in the single-seater aircraft from Nagoya endeavoring to reach Hawaii, in what will be the longest exploration leg of the Solar Impulse’s “Round-The-World” mission. [CleanTechnica]
Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse.

  • Neste, the world largest producer of renewable diesel, CLP Motorsports, and X-Games and Rallycross champion Tanner Foust made history, when CLP Motorsports’ Superlite Coupe crossed the finish line in Santa Monica, California, after driving across the USA on one tank (37.6 gallons) of renewable diesel oil. [AZoCleantech]
  • Electricity industry representatives and consultants were divided Monday on how much impact the US Supreme Court’s remand of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to a lower court is likely to have on power markets and investments. The court did not vacate the standard, but sent it back to the lower court. [Platts]
  • A new, peer-reviewed article published in the scientific journal Science estimates that 30,000 km² of land have been lost due to oil and gas well pads and associated operations in North America since the year 2000. The DOE says we could get 35% of our energy by using 3,400 km² for wind farms. [Clean Energy News]

Wednesday, July 1:

  • Samsung researchers developed a technology that enables them to coat silicon battery cathodes with high crystal graphene. They can now virtually double the capacity of lithium-ion batteries! This energy density increase could almost double the range of electric vehicles without adding a single pound of weight. [CleanTechnica]
  • A statewide ban on fracking is now official in New York State, nearly a year after communities won the right to ban oil and gas development locally. This action concluded New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s comprehensive, seven-year review and completely prohibits fracking. [Environment News Service]
  • An Oklahoma woman who was injured by an earthquake can sue oil companies for damages, the state’s highest court has ruled. This opens the door to other potential lawsuits against the state’s energy companies. Researchers have blamed fracking for a dramatic spike in earthquakes in the state. [Columbus Dispatch]
  • Texas-based community-owned utility Austin Energy has received record-low, firm solar power bids of under $40 per MWh in a recent 600-MW request for proposals. Austin Energy has a goal to source from renewables 55% of its power by 2025, and it is retiring coal-fired and gas-fired power capacity. [SeeNews Renewables]

 

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