2015-07-16 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, July 9:

  • Hundreds of wildfires are burning in Alaska and Canada, fed by record high temperatures and drought. They mark a new milestone in the history of climate change. The fires may speed up the melting of permafrost, releasing methane into the atmosphere, as the permafrost’s natural insulation becomes fuel for the fires. [Wired]

An Alaska Army National Guard helicopter drops water on a fire near Cooper Landing, Alaska. Photo by Sgt. Balinda O'Neal, US Army National Guard.

  • Governor Charlie Baker plans to file legislation to help bring up to 2,400 MW of hydropower to Massachusetts from Canada. Baker’s energy and environmental affairs secretary says the state needs more renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as required by the EPA Clean Power Plan. [Boston Globe]
  • New York’s Governor Cuomo announced awards of about $100,000 each to be given to 83 communities across the state to support microgrid projects. These awards were granted as part of the NY Prize microgrid competition to support a new generation of community-based power. [Hudson Valley News Network]

Friday, July 10:

  • Climate change is threatening the survival of bumblebees, significantly reducing the habitats in which they can survive, researchers say. Natural ranges are being compressed in Europe and North America. The analysis indicates that warming is having a greater impact than pesticides or land use change. [BBC News]

Across Europe and North America bumblebees are losing to climate change.

  • The Caribbean nation of Belize is now aiming to go to 100% renewables, reports say. All of its electricity needs are to be met via renewable energy, and it’s transportation sector to fully embrace electric vehicles.The new goal is to get 89% of its electricity via renewables by 2033, with longer term goal of 100%. [CleanTechnica]
  • Duke Energy claims a pair of power plants burning natural gas in North Carolina’s Salisbury and Rockingham counties should get credit for burning biogas from swine waste in Missouri and Oklahoma. The NC Pork Council is upset that it will not use the contributions of a single hog in North Carolina. [News & Observer]

Saturday, July 11:

  • World seabird populations have suffered a staggering 70% drop over the last 60 years, according to new international research. This means around 230 million seabirds have disappeared across the globe since the 1950s. Climate change, overfishing, and pollution from plastics and oil have been blamed. [Scotsman]

Numbers of black-legged kittiwakes have plunged by 77 per cent since the 1980s. Factors including climate change are blamed. Picture: RSPB.

  • On an unusually windy day, Denmark found 116% of its electric power needs were met by wind turbines. When electricity demand dropped for the night, it rose to 140%. Interconnectors allowed 80% of the power surplus to go to pumped storage plants in Germany and Norway, and the rest to Sweden. [The Guardian]
  • President Obama and presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) have announced separate initiatives to help low-income and middle-income Americans afford solar power. Sanders introduced the Low Income Solar Act, to establish a $200 million loan and grant program throughout the US. [Computerworld]

Sunday, July 12:

  • The global solar industry has seen exponential growth in recent years, and that’s expected to continue. After hitting about 178 GW of capacity by the end of 2014, global solar PV capacity is expected to hit 200 GW shortly. BSW-Solar expects the global solar PV capacity to reach at least 400 GW within four years. [CleanTechnica]
  • It has emerged that the Australian government is puting a stop to solar investments other than the largest industrial-scale projects. It opened up another front in its war on renewable energy by pulling the plug on investments in the most common form of alternative energy, rooftop and small-scale solar. [The Guardian]
  • A Stratham-based alternative energy company hopes to change New Hampshire’s status as a solar energy laggard. NHSolarGarden.com is working on building solar arrays all over the state that would create more solar energy in New Hampshire than all of the current solar energy projects combined. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]

Monday, July 13:

  • Oil prices dropped today as Iran and global powers appear close to a historic deal to loosen sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program. Sanctions have long reined in Iran’s oil exports. Crude prices dropped by 1.6% to around $52 a barrel as investors reacted to the potential new supply. [CNN]
  • All Wales’ electricity will come from renewable sources within 20 years if Plaid Cymru wins the 2016 assembly election, the party says. Plaid backs community-owned power schemes and energy efficiency. Wales generates twice as much electricity as it uses but only 10% comes from renewable sources like wind. [BBC News]
  • A $600 million project by Iberdrola Renewables will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with plans for about 50 more. It will be the South’s first wind farm. It will generate about 204 MW, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes. [The Denver Post]

Tuesday, July 14:

  • ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change, seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years on climate denying research. [The Guardian] (I missed this last week, for which I apologize.)
  • The Clean Energy Finance Corporation could have an avenue to fight the Australian government’s ban on investing in wind power and rooftop solar, a senior lawyer says. The Abbott Government already tried to abolish the taxpayer-funded $10 billion CEFC twice and now is trying to redirect its efforts. [ABC Online]
  • A new energy plan for the next 20 years released by TVA projects electricity demand in the Tennessee Valley to grow at the slowest rate in TVA’s 82-year history. This negates any need for the federal utility to build new nuclear, coal or other major baseload power facilities during that time. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Wednesday, July 15:

  • The premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, says his government is close to announcing plans to boost investment and jobs in the renewable energy sector by bypassing the Abbott government’s policies. In an attack on the Abbot government, he noted that windpower creates many jobs. [The Age]
  • A report from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says energy intensity relative to the GDP has fallen from 12,100 BTUs per dollar, in 1980, to 6,100 BTUs per dollar, in 2014. Roughly 60% of the cut came from better energy efficiency. The savings were estimated as $800 billion. [CleanTechnica]
  • Alabama Power petitioned the Alabama Public Service Commission last month to install up to 500 MW of renewable energy projects, including solar power, a company spokesman confirmed. The company is seeking a way to provide renewable energy for corporate customers who want it in their energy portfolios. [AL.com]

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