2015-07-09 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, July 2:

  • Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a coating that can be applied to turbine blades to reduce the amount of sound they make. The material, which is made of 3-D printed plastic, can reduce the noise generated by a blade up to 10 decibels without affecting aerodynamic performance. [Buildings]
  • Dong Energy’s 210-MW Westermost Rough offshore wind plant was officially inaugurated off the east coast of England. The project is the first to use Siemens 6-MW wind turbines on a large scale in a commercial project. Each turbine will have an integrated helicopter-hoisting platform at the rear of the nacelle. [reNews]
  • Germany has agreed to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, retaining them as a “capacity reserve” system for power shortages. The decision means Germany could meet its goal of reducing German CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. [The Guardian]

Friday, July 3:

  • Dong has selected Siemens to supply 7-MW turbines for the 1.2-GW Hornsea 1 offshore wind farm in England. The company will use up to 171 of the next-generation machines at what will be the world’s largest wind farm project. The contract has yet to be signed, and work may begin in 2017 for completion in 2018. [reNews]
  • Costa Rica produced 98.55% of its electricity through renewable energy sources in the first half of 2015, according to data of state-run utility Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. The mix includes hydro, geothermal, wind, biomass and solar power. The goal for thermal generation for the year is 2.9%. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Coal is no longer king in America. That’s the latest findings from the US Energy Information Administration, which provides independent statistics and analysis of the energy sector. Coal lost its number one spot as the nation’s top electricity source for the first time on record this April, when it produced less than natural gas. [EcoWatch]
  • The White House has categorically rejected biomass fuels as carbon neutral, saying the idea flies in the face of sound science. The administration issued a policy statement declaring its strong opposition to a House measure it believes would undermine President Obama’s ability to put environmental reforms in place. [Utility Dive]

Saturday, July 4:

  • Solar Impulse, powered only by the sun, has landed in Hawaii after making a historic 7,200km flight across the Pacific from Japan. The distance covered and the time spent in the air, 118 hours, are records for manned, solar-powered flight. The duration is also an absolute record for a solo, un-refuelled journey. [BBC News]

Solar Impulse. AP.

  • Governments must rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants around the world, which are now the “most urgent” threat to the future of the planet, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warns. The warning from a “club of the world’s richest countries” is strongly worded. [The Guardian]


Sunday, July 5:

  • The world’s longest underwater electricity cable will soon enable sharing of renewable energy between the UK and Norway. Starting in 2021 power will be able to move as needed, balancing grid loads, thanks to a 730-km (453-mi) underwater cable between Blyth, Northumberland, and Kvilldal in Norway. [Geographical]

A picturesque fjord in Kvilldal, where the Norwegian end of the pipeline will be situated. Credit: Geoffrey Kopp.

  • The London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, had its second anniversary of operation. The 630-MW wind project has produced more than 5 TWh of affordable, renewable electricity, while mitigating more than two million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. It powers about 2% of all homes in the UK. [Khaleej Times]

Monday, July 6:

  • The National Trust is to invest £30 million in solar panels, woodchip boilers and innovative technology that can extract heat from a lake, in a bid to supply half of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. The investment is an eightfold increase on what the trust has made in five pilot projects. [The Guardian]

A biomass boiler will heat the entire property at Ickworth House, a Georgian mansion, 680 feet long, in Suffolk, UK. Photograph: David J. Green/Alamy.

  • Twenty subnational governments, with over 220 million people and $8.3 trillion in GDP, have now committed to targeted reductions in carbon emissions through the Compact of States and Regions, a partnership of The Climate Group, CDP, R20, and nrg4SD supported by the United Nations and others. [CleanTechnica]
  • Wind power generated 33% of Scotland’s electricity needs in June, according to analysis by WWF Scotland. This represents an increase of 120% compared with June 2014. WWF also found that homes fitted with solar PV panels typically produced sufficient energy to supply themselves in much of the country. [reNews]
  • When Vermont became the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in 2012, Governor Peter Shumlin said the ban was “in keeping with our environmental ethic and our protection of our natural resources.” But now the state seems likely to increase the use of fracked gas from Canada. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

Tuesday, July 7:

  • New York Governor Cuomo announced the state’s solar power increased more than 300% from 2011 to 2014, double the US growth rate. Over 310 MW of solar panels had been installed by the end of last year, enough to power more than 51,000 homes. Over 304 MW more is under contract as of May 2015. [Energy Matters]
  • The biggest highlight of the US electricity generation capacity market is that 74% of new US capacity added in January through May of 2015 came from wind and solar power. Renewables overall accounted for 75% of new electricity generation capacity. Wind and solar now make up 7.6% of the US capacity. [CleanTechnica]
  • A bipartisan group of mayors from over 250 cities is taking an important stand against “climate change denialism,” calling for the “swift implementation” of climate education in high schools nationwide. This happend at a conference of the United States Conference of Mayors, for cities over 30,000 in population. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, July 8:

  • As US coal production has seen gradual decline in the last few years, mountaintop removal mines have taken the hardest hit, according to a report from the US Energy Information Administration. Total US coal production decreased about 15%, but mountaintop removal mining saw a 62% drop. [State Journal]

Mountaintop removal mining in Kentucky. Photo by iLoveMountains.org. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

  • In Nevada, NV Energy has lined up what may be the cheapest electricity in the US, and it comes from a solar farm. The Berkshire Hathaway company agreed to pay 3.87¢/kWh for power from a 100-MW First Solar project. Include subsidies, and it is close to a record of 5.85¢/kWh set in January in Dubai. [Daily Democrat]
  • The White House has taken steps to boost installation of solar power and other renewable energy for federally subsidised housing. The new goal is to install 300 MW of solar and other renewable energy in affordable housing by 2020, tripling a goal set in 2013 which has already been surpassed. [Business Recorder]

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